Cabbage Leaf + Parsley Omelet Stuffed with Brown Rice Wrap

Sometimes you just need to think outside the box. I seem to be enjoying brown rice so much lately; it’s almost like I can’t get enough of it. I got so involved with these new grains, (quinoa, Khorsan Kamut, gluten-free this n’ that, even Couscous) I forgot about one of my favorite grains and that being rice, especially brown, black and whole grain rice.

Well, like many of my inventions this one came from the craving for rice; so I opened up the fridge like many a times before and found that I had cabbage, so I got this curious idea of using it as a wrap for my rice, then I thought why not double-wrap the rice and make a thin parsley omelet, I could possibly bake it for just 15 minutes and let all the aromas get infused. Well, it worked out and I decided to post this recipe.

So, the box I was refereeing to at the beginning of this post was the fact that you can make all types of wraps and you don’t only have to stuff bell peppers; you can invent anything you want and it’s so fun to re-invent healthy food. I think health ingredients are my favorite ones to work with. I guess it’s the fact that not only is healthy a habit or lifestyle it’s truly the person I am. I can’t imagine not eating healthy foods with healthy ingredients.

Healthy for me is the obvious vegetables, fruits, whole-grains and lean proteins; but also foods that come for organic upbringing, foods that are handled with care and love. I think Parmigiano Reggiano, Mozzarella di Bufala, Pecorino, Prosciutto Crudo di Parma or San Daniele, Gelato, or fresh baked Bread all have healthy ingredients in them; they may not be things that you would eat everyday but when you look at the way they make these foods, you can pronounce all the ingredients and they are all natural (atleast here in Italy). If I’m craving something it’s generally these things. So, don’t always assume that healthy has to be strictly, low-fat, low-cal, no fun foods in your diet I think they just need to be made from real ingredients and a good source of nutrition.

Now lets get to cooking a delicious light, meatless Monday meal.

 

Ingredients:
Makes 4 wraps

1 ½ cups Brown Rice, cooked

4 large or 8 medium Cabbage leaves

4 Parsley Omelets, see below

Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Drizzle Soy Sauce

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a pot of boiling salted water you may either add the whole cabbage head for 8 minutes, remove from heat and then pull off the leaves or pull of the leaves first blanch them in the boiling water for 4-5 minutes and then place them in cold water, remove and set aside.

Mix your brown rice with a bit of E.V, O, a tiny splash of soy and pepper.

Preheat the oven at 250°
In a baking tray drizzle just a bit of E.V.O.
Now on a flat surface lay your omelet, then lay your cabbage leaf on top, get a little over ¼ cup of rice and place in the middle of the cabbage leaf and close up kind of like a burrito, place in the baking tray. Continue the steps until you make all the wraps.
Now you may drizzle a little soy and e.v.o over the wraps, place in the oven for 10 minutes and serve. Enjoy

 

How to make the Parsley Omelets:
Makes 4 Parsley Omelets

4 Egg Whites

3 Egg Yolks

1 tbsp E.V.O

2 tbsp Chopped Parsley

Salt and Pepper to taste

Beat all ingredients together. Now with a ladle place one spoonful of egg mixture in a non-stick pan and spread out thinly cook and flip carefully. Place aside and continue with other omelets.

P.S. If you want you can just do cabbage and rice and leave out the Omelet.

 

Gnudi – Spinach and Ricotta Delicate No-Carb Balls

Have you ever just had a craving for something? I love all things cheesy and although I might not eat cheese everyday when I do I like it to be good quality cheese with a quality meal. Sometimes it’s just cheese and wine; here in Italy it’s so common to eat Parmigiano Reggiano in chunks with a nice glass of wine or for a snack.
However delicious; one of my favorite types of cheese is a good Pecorino aged at least 100 days but anyway I find it I like it. I find it so delicious and also easier to digest, maybe because it’s from sheep’s milk instead of cow. Whatever the reason I really enjoy it.

I was thinking the other night as I prepped my menu for the week as to what I would like to make for dinner and as seeing that it’s been cold, rainy, snowy the last week or so I thought of something warm, indulgent and possibly not too heavy because in the winter most dishes seem to be a little bit more heavy and a little too indulgent.
This recipe popped in my head and I thought ‘brilliant’, this it is: Gnudi which means ‘Nude’, they are in the family of Gnocchi but in a much lighter and delicate way because they have no-Carbs whatsoever they are not heavy or chewy, they melt in your mouth and feel like a little piece of heaven when you eat them.
Now, even though these don’t have a lot of ingredients and seem light they are still filling so I think that 4 or 5 balls per person is plenty. You can serve them with a light red sauce, mushroom sauce, bacon or whatever you like I choose a light sage and olive oil concoction, accompanied by a nice green salad. They are very simple and fast to make and make a great impression. Delizioso! I hope that you like as much as we did. Enjoy!

Ingredients: Makes about 15 large balls

1 kg. of frozen Spinach,  thawed, squeezed dry & chopped (get rid if the excess water)

300 gr. of Sheep Ricotta*

150 gr. of Pecorino, grated**

1 egg

Salt and Pepper to taste

For the sauce:

4 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil

5 leaves of Sage, fresh chopped or whole

Handful of Pecorino, grated

Preheat your oven at 350° (180°) degrees.

In a large bowl mix together spinach, ricotta, pecorino, the egg, salt and pepper.
Grab a baking dish and start making the balls placing down one by one, don’t worry if the are close to each other they won’t stick.

Now in a small sauce pan heat your olive oil and sage together until starts to sizzle and switch off. Drizzle the Olive oil mixture evenly over the balls, sprinkle the pecorino on top and bake for 20 minutes. Serve.

*Ricotta can also be from cow’s milk.

**You can use Parmigiano instead of Pecorino, I just wanted to use all sheep’s cheese.

Healthy Side Dish Alternatives for Christmas

Christmas, Yet another holiday is among us and life is at its ultimate stress mode. There is so much to get done, so many things to decide and so little time to do it.
First of all I want to tell you the one secret, Breathe! No one is expecting you to perform the way you are expecting yourself to perform. You are your biggest judge, and Christmas is a time of Love, Forgiving and no Judging. So just breathe, it’s not like if you stress you are gonna get anything extra accomplished. It actually might just do the opposite.

I am one of those girls that like to occasionally spice up a Holiday Tradition; what I mean by this is sometimes I like to make roasted potatoes vs. mashed potatoes, or throw in a lasagna, or just make something different to add to the Turkey or Chicken and all the other standard side dishes that go along this festive late lunch/dinner.

Vegetables, yes I pretty much name this food group in every single one of my posts because I simply love them and can’t imagine my meals without them. So I have just a few simple and fast side dishes that will keep your dinner lighter but still delicious.

Lets start off with something I came up with that ended up being a success not to long ago when I had to bring something to a lunch. It can be served as an appetizer, finger food or main course if you’re going all vegetarian. Really simple.

Ricotta and Pesto Stuffed Artichoke Cap

Ricotta and Pesto Artichoke

Get your Artichoke cap*, scoop a 1/2 tbsp. of Pesto** and a dollop of Ricotta***, sprinkle some Pepper. Place in a baking tray drizzled with a little olive oil and  bake in the oven at 320° for 20 minutes.

*For the Artichoke: I found some frozen artichoke caps, I boiled them for 10 minutes and let them cool. You could try to do with fresh artichoke just remember to clean correctly and boil for approx. 20 minutes. You could also substitute with mushrooms caps.
**For the Pesto: I used a fresh store-bought version. I think in the USA you could probably find the Barilla version, if it’s to thick? Take it out if the container, put in a bowl add some olive oil mix until a little more creamy.
***For the Ricotta: Put the ricotta in a small bowl, add a drizzle of olive oil, some salt and 2 tbsp. of either Parmigiano or Pecorino. Incorporate all ingredients and that’s it.

Now for Side dishes I have a few delicious options:

Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower

Put your clean and chopped Cauliflower in a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper and bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes. It tastes so good you would’ve never thought that so little ingredients could make Cauliflower taste so darn good.

Roasted Cabbage with Pancetta

Roasted cabbage with Pancetta

Grab a head of cabbage and slice it in 4 or 8. Get out 4 or 8 big enough piece of aluminum foil to cover each piece of cabbage individually. Lay out 1 pc. of foil, place 1 slice of cabbage facing up, drizzle olive oil, sprinkle some salt and pepper, get about 1 tbsp. of diced pancetta and sprinkle on top. Cover the cabbage completely with the foil, to where no holes (like if you were to steam). Repeat the same steps with remaining cabbage. Place in the oven and bake at 380° for 25-30 minutes. Leave in foil so each person can open in their own plate.
Be careful when you open as steam may let out.

Artisanal Flat buns

You can also try out these Artisanal flat buns recipe here, so delicious and perfect to accompany your dinner, or for a sandwich with the leftover Turkey.

And last but not least I always prepare a salad, it’s fresh and perfect for accompanying a heavy meal. Here are some recipes:
My Light Grilled Corn and Mushroom Salad
Elegant Zucchini Ribbon Salad
Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad
No-Carb Grilled Veggie Stack

Well, I hope that I gave you some yummy and healthy ideas for this Holiday feast or for any other day. Happy Holidays!

Ciao

 

Healthy and Elegant Zucchini Ribbon Salad

Try this for your meatless Monday. I truly enjoy salads, and I like exploring in the vegetable world and seeing what I can use in a salad so that we never get bored or feel that it’s too monotonous. Salads don’t just have to be made of leaves, it can be of anything you like. I am determined to believe that the more you explore and diversify your meals the more you look forward to experimenting and eating healthy foods. i.e. if you make the same salad everyday, then you start feeling as if you are deprived but if you spice it up and add different things you start forgetting all the other bad foods and start craving and looking forward to the foods that you are eating.

I am a firm believer that you crave what you eat, if you eat too many sweets you are going to be craving sweets, if you snack on junk food, your body will crave junk food anytime it’s hungry, if you eat too much meat your body will crave more meat, and when meat (or any other food) is not included in a meal you may feel as though you are still not satisfied because your body will send signals to the brain that its missing something. So, if you eat veggies, or fish, or nuts, or any healthy eating habit you’ve formed your body will be more inclined to craving that vs. the other. I am not saying by any means that meat is bad for you, I understand that we all have our opinions and a good grass fed filet of meat is delicious; but eaten in moderation. In my opinion meat should not be eaten all the time, once in awhile is good, there are so many better for you replacements out there like; fish, chicken, eggs, nuts and etc….

However seeing that this is a dedication to meatless Monday lets stick to no meat at all. This recipe is nutritious, vibrant, healthy, low carb and most of all delicious. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 Zucchini

1 handful Rucola

1 Jalapeno, optional

1 handful Parmigiano Reggiano Shaves

2 1/2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed

Salt and pepper to taste

Start off by washing all your vegetables. Get a salad bowl and a mondoline*, now get you zucchini chop off the 2 ends and lay longways on the mandoline and start shaving (slicing) you don’t want them too thin, if you have one of those that adjust make sure that it is almost transparent. Once you are done with those add your handful of rucola and if your adding your chopped jalapeno add it now as well. In a separate little bowl mix the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pour over the salad and gently mix all the ingredients, be careful to not break the zucchini.

Plate and shave some parmigiano over the dish and serve. If you like you can drizzle a little olive oil over the dish or you could also sprinkle some toasted pine nuts. You can do what you like. I hope that you like and enjoy this recipe.

* if you don’t have a mandoline you can also use a peeler, hold the zucchini in your hand and run the peeler across, it should do the trick.

 

What’s more Healthy than: Quinoa Primavera

So as you know I love Meatless Mondays and an All Vegetarian meal whenever I can….??!!

I especially love Quinoa, for me it’s the best substitution to heavy carbs and it marries so well with vegetables (really anything, in this case I am focusing on vegetables 😉 ), I love the fact that it really will just blend with whatever flavors it is paired up with.

It’s been winters and although I love salads it’s been pretty hard to just have a salad when outside it’s snowing or just plain cold. So, what I resort to is basically roasted, steamed or lightly sauteed vegetables. On this particular day I hadn’t gone to the store in a while it was snowing outside and I just was going to use whatever I had in the fridge. I always have a large variety of veggies so I figured that I would make vegetables accompanied by……??? I opened the cupboard and there was the Quinoa, so I decided I would make something using both. I seldom will serve my Husband just vegetables, unless requested by him. Even if I just eat all vegetarian I always try to make him, chicken, beans or pasta or something (healthy) to go along with the veggies. So in this case it was Quinoa.

I do have a post I completely dedicated to the Nutrition facts and health benefits for Quinoa, you can see here: http://mythineats.com/2011/11/11/quinoa-nutrition-facts/

However this dish is simple, light, healthy, low carb, and low fat. So I hope that you like it. You can serve as a main dish or as a side dish to chicken, salmon, meat, eggs; whatever you like or prefer. Enjoy

Ingredients:

Serves 2 as main dish 4 as side dish

1 cup Quinoa

2 cups of Water

1/2 cup frozen Peas

2 Zucchini

1 Endive

A couple leaves of Radicchio

A handful of Arugola, washed

Salt and Pepper to taste

A few drizzles of Olive oil

Preheat your oven at 180° C (350° F).

Now put the quinoa and the water in a small pot, add a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper to taste, mix, cover and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil and lower flame to minimum and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes (until all water is absorbed).

Get your slice in 1/4 in rounds and place on a baking paper over a big baking tray or cookie sheet tray, lay them out one by one. Do the same with the endive. You should be able to fit your leaves of radicchio also, drizzle some olive oil over the vegetables and add salt and pepper to taste. Put in oven and allow to bake for about 15 – 20 minutes.

Place about 1 cup of salted water to boil in a little sauce pan, once boiled throw in the peas and allow to cook for about 5-8 minutes. Drain immediately in cold water and set to the side

Fluff your Quinoa, join all ingredients in a salad bowl and mix lightly and if you like you can squeeze a little bit of lemon over it and serve.

I have included a photo with an fried egg on top, or you could also chop up some feta or any cheese you like and throw it in. There are so many endless variations. Enjoy!!!