Saturday, February 1, 2014

2-Minute Brunch Ideas

If there's anything worse than rolling out of bed on a weekend morning feeling hungry, dehydrated and lazy, I have yet to experience it. The walk to any available food outlet seems like the most outrageously difficult task in the history of the world when you are in this state, and putting on pants to make this walk is enough to make anyone throw a full blown tantrum. If you're anything like me, the idea of going to the obscene hassle of making eggs when you're still contemplating the angle at which you will swan dive back into your bed is unfathomable. However, there ARE a few brunch ideas that take 2 minutes MAX and will tide you over until you can become an awake enough human to drag yourself to a late lunch, and maybe even put on pants. These recipes are also totally college student idiot-proof and require very few ingredients and 0 cooking. Unless you consider using a toaster cooking. In which're on your own.

1.  Cherry Tomato SuperBagel

If you have never tried this combo you are SERIOUSLY missing out. Toast your bagel, spread it with cream cheese, and arrange some lengthwise-sliced cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and dill. The tomatoes add a juicy crunch that brings a boring bagel with cream cheese to the next level, and the dill adds a nice little kick. Def the perfect thing to tide you over until you feel like opening your eyes again next week in a few hours.

2. Blueberry Granola Bowl
I know what you're thinking: far too healthy for hungover food and NO presence of melted cheese. I get it. But greek yogurt with some crunchy granola is a prime combination, and the blueberries are packed with antioxidants to get you feeling ship shape in no time.

3. Bare Minimum
This option is only for when you are TRULY struggling. Hard boiled eggs solve all evils, and juicy tomatoes do the trick as well. Get some protein and potassium, and get back to bed.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Midweek 'Za

The first fifteen pages of my thesis are due on Monday. Thus, this week has been an emotional roller coaster which has included wandering around aimlessly with my shoelaces untied and/or teeth unbrushed wondering why time suddenly seems to be going by at warp speed, and making eating breakfast during class a very acceptable thing. I'm not proud of my behavior this week but I will say that my research is coming along pretty nicely and I have only had one meltdown. Well, two if you include this meal, which involved a very serious buffalo mozzarella meltdown that was truly delicious and much more enjoyable than my sputtering, sniffling "I'LL NEVER BE FUN AGAIN" debacle. 
Excuse my poor photography and paper plate (ugh) but I hope you can see this for the glory that it very much was. I love asparagus SO much and sauteed with a little EVOO, salt and pepper, I can eat it for days. It's crunchy and salty, and the head of it always absorbs all these yummy flavors that make for the perfect side-or star-of a meal. While in Italy, we found the best pizza in the fucking world in Bologna. I'm not joking. Every single item on the menu was outrageously good and we got in the genius unfortunate habit of eating entire pizzas at once there because you just simply could not leave any on the table. My absolute favorite was a glorious creation that had a thin layer of tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, thin and crispy asparagus, spicy salami, and a fried egg on top. When I was trying to find pizza inspiration last night in the sad vegetable aisle at Giant, this pizza in all its beautiful, comforting joy came to me in a vision.

This creation did not nearly do its inspiration justice, but it definitely did the trick. The flavors on this cannot be beaten. Salty prosciutto (which I subbed for salami because I couldn't find anything spicy enough at Giant...and it was actually a perfect alternative!), crispy asparagus, a little bit of egg in each bite, and a thin layer of sweet tomato sauce with chewy, melty mozzarella. So good. I also drank roughly a bottle of wine on the side which probably caused this shoddy photography. I wish I knew a better way to cook the fried egg on top-I just fried it separately and then placed it on top. Let me know if you have a better method! 

-1 Pizza crust (snaps for you if you have time to make dough yourself, I just use Boboli because it's so quick.
-4 tbsp. sweet tomato sauce (go light on this! otherwise the other flavors will be outdone)
-4 slices prosciutto
-8-10 asparagus stalks, halved lengthwise and brushed with olive oil, salt, and pepper
-8-10 slices of mozzarella, as thin as you can get them
-1 egg

-Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
-Brush the pizza crust with EVOO, spread a thin layer of tomato sauce.
-Spread out mozzarella slices over the crust, do not double-layer them.
-Interweave the asparagus: some under the cheese, some over.
-Lay the slices of prosciutto over the asparagus and cheese.
-Add some more asparagus.
-Put the pizza in the oven for 10-15 minutes, depending upon how crispy you like it.
-Fry an egg on the side.
-Take the pizza out and put the egg in the middle. Tastes GREAT if it's still a bit runny, mine wasn't and I wished it was!


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Back to School...The Final Edition!'s my last semester of college. My friends and I are on a very real denial kick which entails a lot of actions that are preceded by "well, only four months left, so...". It's very liberating. Remarkably, we have managed to work out every day (we'll see how long that lasts) and our athleticism in the gym has most certainly parlayed into our nighttime habits as well. We have mastered midnight jogs, table dancing, and all other manners of ridiculous behavior that one should absolutely not partake in mere months before they enter the world of adulthood. I haven't cooked up anything delicious YET this semester except for a quinoa stir fry which lacked any real flavor base (prior to the Sriracha that was poured on it by my dinner guest) but which sophomore boys from down the hall reported to me smelled "awesome". While the dinner was sub par, it involved some tasty sauteed spinach, jalapeno chicken sausage, and caramelized onions which could be enhanced greatly with some tweaking. I'll work on it and get back to ya.

In the meantime, thought I'd share three things that are bouncing around in my brain right now that do not involve my thesis, which is taking up ALL most of my thoughts right now. I cannot promise they are not all food related. As you can see. By number one.

1. My lightened up taco salad.
I made this over my winter break on one of my many three day health kicks that was subsequently destroyed by holiday food binges. It was DELICIOUS though and totally satisfying without any of the "bad stuff" in traditional taco salads, or tacos for that matter. Chips + sour cream do not a healthy meal make. Swap out beef with grilled salmon, shredded cheese with shredded carrots, and sour cream for cottage cheese. Salsa and lemon juice with a dash of olive oil is dressing enough, and creates a flavorful addition to the dish. Add chili powder, green onions, chopped cherry tomatoes, and some avocado wedges to finish! I also helped myself to two crunched up blue corn tortilla chips. Sorry I'm not sorry.

2. My to do list. 

It's incredibly upsetting to me that my to do list does not look more like this, but alas. Amidst searching for jobs and working on my thesis, I have had to come up with a decent solution to organization, which has never been my strong point. I'm definitely one of those last minute people, in a big keeping productive to do lists falls somewhere between walking outside in this Polar Vortex cold and retaking the SATs on my scale of enjoyment. However, I've found that the simple trick of adding things to your to do list THAT YOU'VE ALREADY DONE creates a sense of success and productivity without having to add another un-done task. I simply write down what I've already done and then cross it off. #bingo

3. Regrets from Break

-Really wishing I had tried this place while I was home. Miracle of Science in my hometown of Cambridge, MA boasts so many cool menu items and drinks. Next time!

-Really upset that a time machine has not showed up to magically transport me back to the days, a year ago, when Bologna, Italy with all its wonders-culinary and otherwise-was my everyday reality.
Swear I'm doing an Italy post soon that is very food related. And it will be amazing.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Quinoa Salad

Every year, I find that the holidays become somewhat of a Food and Drink Olympics. I start each day with good intentions-a bowl of cereal there, a workout here- and then by lunchtime I'm eyeing leftovers, candy dishes, and cheese plates from the couch, where I am buried six feet deep with my dog watching a Modern Family marathon. This year, I'm going to try reaaallly hard to be a bit more balanced during the day. I'm going to do my best to keep breakfast and lunch as healthy and small as possible, allowing more wiggle room later in the day for plenty of wine, cheese, and big dinners with family and friends. However, there are only so many salads and soups one can eat before you feel like you're going crazy. Enter...grains. More filling than lettuce but healthier than bread, grain salads can be the perfect way to curb holiday cravings. Plus, you can throw any kind of protein in with them and get a full meal going. Quinoa is my favorite because it's easy to make, not too filling, and goes with everything. Also, you can eat it hot or cold, which is ideal for my sloth-esque laziness when it comes to preparations when I'm home for break. I throw in as many chopped veggies as I possibly can, then come up with a great dressing to drizzle on top. You can keep a big tupperware of this and put a scoop over greens, by itself, or what I did with my friends for an impromptu dinner party: throw in some marinated shrimp and chopped mango, and scoop into butter lettuce for little tacos!
-2 cups quinoa, rinsed under a strainer for 2 min.
- 4 cups chicken/vegetable broth.
-1 red pepper, chopped.
-5 green onions, chopped.
-4 basil leaves, chopped.
-3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil.
-2 tbsp. red wine vinegar.
-juice of 1 lemon.
-1 tsp. paprika.

-Once the quinoa is rinsed, place it in an oiled saucepan for 2 min on medium to evaporate water.
-Add the chicken/vegetable broth. Wait until it boils, then place a cover over the saucepan for 15 min, stirring occasionally.
-In a bowl, combine all chopped vegetables.
-In another bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, paprika and lemon juice. Whisk gently.
-Strain quinoa, pour into large serving bowl, and add veggies and dressing. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Friday, November 29, 2013


Ahhh, to be sitting on my clean, fully upholstered sofa at home with my feet up on a fancy glass coffee table, eating breakfast cereal out of a clean bowl that is not plastic or paper but ceramic!!! Was I just released from prison, you ask? No, but just about. Being home from college is one of those amazing things that changes wildly from freshman year to senior year. See also: the difference between senior year and freshman year. I remember as a freshman there would be near-tearful goodbyes with my freshman year people I didn't talk to after first semester BFF's as we left for the six day Thanksgiving break, wondering what would change while we were gone. Please. Senior year, the week before Thanksgiving break, going home was all my friends and I could talk about. In the gym, in the library, on the way to class..."AREN'T YOU GUYS SO EXCITED TO GO HOME?!?! FOOD, PARENTS, LAUNDRY, MY BEDDDD????" it makes seniors giddy. For me, being able to relax and dine at home is one of the most amazing things about leaving school, in addition to surprisingly fun high school get togethers and group sleepovers reminiscent of sophomore year of high school. While the real world is looming not so far ahead, getting to be a kid isn't over until the last college break occurs. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. Here are some wonderful scenes of home that I have enjoyed and will be missing next week when I'm back in the land of cafeteria food.

1. Iced coffee done right, homemade with a newspaper. I conveniently wake up about 3 hours after my parents (being a morning person goes out the window when I'm home) and the lukewarm leftovers of their coffee make the perfect base for iced coffee. I fill a glass with ice, pour the coffee over, and let it sit for a minute or two before adding milk and sugar.

2. Thanksgiving table! Grandma looking on. This was pre-everyone digging in, of course, but it looked so pristine and un-splashed with gravy that I couldn't resist.

3. The big man himself. Totally unglam just out of the oven, thermometer and all. SO tasty. Already had a leftover sandwich...last night. Best part of November!
4. Welcome home dinner: trying to keep it light before Thanksgiving, we had gorgeous New England mussels in broth with baguette and butter on the side. To dieeee. You can also prepare these a little spiced up, which I want to try next time.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Caprese Egg Sandwich.

While studying in Italy, my friends and I noticed that eggs were rarely on the menu. Other than spaghetti carbonara, which I can't exactly condone as breakfast food in the interest of health, we rarely encountered egg dishes. This, of course, was a big problem for our American hungover selves, who all should have been gifted one of these Kate Spade bags as we walked around Bologna on weekend mornings:
We finally found an adorable restaurant, Ca'Pelletti, that served eggs in all their glorious forms, from omlettes to hard-boiled to poached and beyond. Annoyingly, we didn't realize there was an English menu until the fourth month of our stay, so many a headache was worsened by our desperate attempts to translate words on our phones as we sat in front of an impatient waitress who was probably confused as to why we didn't just order pasta and get on with our days.
Since being back in America, I have whined and griped about missing all things Italian except the lack of breakfast eggs. Even in that department, though, I have missed Italian flavors. Thus, I decided to experiment with the classic BEC (bacon egg and cheese) that Americans are so obsessed with, and even add some healthy twists. Say buongiorno to the Caprese Egg Sandwich!

This bad boy is easy and delicious, and a welcome break from the boring BEC's so common in college life. The spicy red pepper jam adds a depth of flavor, while the cool tomatoes and salty pesto get nice and cozy with a blankie of melted provolone. As chewy and delicious as everything bagels are, the bread can drown out the other flavors and make the sandwich bland. A toasted, whole wheat English muffin has the perfect amount of crunch without making you too full or taking away from the taste-bud extravaganza taking place between the muff. Additionally, swapping a half of a grapefruit in as a side instead of fries or chips lightens the calorie load and leaves you feeling refreshed instead of entering into a sodium-and-grease coma which becomes a food hangover in its own right.
-1 Egg, over easy (a little runny yolk never hurt nobody)
-1 Whole Wheat English Muffin, toasted and halved.
-1 Slice Provolone Cheese
-1/2 Grapefruit
-1 tbsp. Red Pepper Jelly (I used this)
-1 tbsp. Pesto
-2 Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
-Fry an egg over easy on a small frying pan.
-While the egg fries, halve your cherry tomatoes and the grapefruit, and toast the English Muffin.
-Once the egg looks about ready, place the cheese on top for a little under a minute.
-While the cheese melts, spread the red pepper jelly on the bottom half of the English Muffin.
-Remove the egg and cheese from the pan carefully with a spatula, and place on the bottom half of the English Muffin.
-Place the pesto in the middle of the egg, and arrange your tomatoes around it.
-Add some salt and pepper to taste!

What other non-traditional egg sandwiches have you come across??

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Back on the Bandwagon and I'm Bringing Barbecued Chicken Pizza

I'm back on the bandwagon, and I've got yummy stuff to share. While senior year is slowly but surely eating me alive teaching me valuable skills in anger/stress management and forcing me to revert to 5-year old tantrums when presented with stressful situations i.e. the real world and my English thesis, it is also a lot of fun. My seven girlfriends and I are lucky enough to live in a house off-campus, which is fantastic for theme parties but not so much for cooking. Our kitchen, even when clean, is home to roughly 67,000 solo cups and a sad, kind of broken faucet. However, where there is a will, there is a way. And the beauty of having other friends with nicer kitchens around campus is that I am always welcome as long as I can cook!
To be honest, I'm not the hugest fan of barbecued...anything. I know that sounds terrible but I'm a New England girl and I've just never caught the BBQ bug. I always find myself wishing that BBQ sauce would just decide whether it wanted to be sweet or sour or spicy or salty. However, when cooking for males, BBQ is almost foolproof. I even found myself surprised by how tasty this was, and the flavors couldn't be better together. Pizza is easy and fun to make, and generally a crowd pleaser. However, I find it pretty difficult to find anything tasty in the store-bought tomato sauce department, which led me to the idea of making this bad boy.
Ingredients (serves 2, especially if 1 is really hungry, with leftovers)
  • 1 Boboli pre-made pizza crust
  • 3 Chicken breasts
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 cup Shredded Cheese (I used Mexican for a little extra spice to complement the tomatoes and cilantro)
  • 1 cup Cilantro
  • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups Jack Daniels Honey Smokehouse BBQ sauce (you can use any kind for this
  • Lay the crust out on a counter or other surface, preheat oven to 450
  • Heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil at medium high on a frying pan. Add chicken breasts after 2 min, allow 2 min on each side.
  • While oven is heating and chicken is cooking, dice red onion and halve the cherry tomatoes.
  • Place .5 cup of the BBQ sauce into a tupperware container. Remove the chicken from the stove, shred it with a knife and fork, and place the shredded chicken into the tupperware. Cover the tupperware and shake for ~15 seconds so that chicken is fully covered in sauce.
  • Spread a generous layer of BBQ sauce on the crust, and sprinkle the cheese over it.
  • Add the shredded chicken and red onions to the crust, sprinkle a bit more cheese on top, and bake at 450 for 8-10 minutes.
  • Remove the crust and add tomatoes and cilantro. Finish with a last dash of BBQ sauce.
What's your favorite non-tomato sauce based pizza? Dying to try other alternatives to the jar-sauce boredom. Also- I didn't add avocado to this but I bet it would've been delicious.