Tag Archives: asparagus

Baked Eggs with Asparagus and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

I always have a more productive day (with a lot less snacking) if I start off with a little protein in the morning.  These little egg cups are quick to throw together and they bake while you’re getting dressed and brushing your teeth.  Perfect for weekday mornings.  Or any mornings.  Or an afternoon snack.

I usually keep a jar of sun-dried tomatoes in my fridge for little things like this.  I prefer the kind that are packed in olive oil, but you can use any kind you like.  They give a huge punch of flavor to just about anything.  I had leftover asparagus from dinner the night before.  If you don’t I would recommend a quick toss in a pan or microwave just to soften it a bit, although if you like it on the crunchy side, it’s not absolutely necessary.  Feel free to adjust the ingredients in this dish to your tastes, adding or removing elements as you like.

Baked eggs with asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes.

Baked eggs with asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes.

Baked Eggs with Asparagus and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

For each ramekin:

2-3 stalks asparagus, cut into bite size pieces
1 tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, sliced or chopped (I usually buy the ones already in julienne strips)
1 strip bacon
1-2 eggs
1-2 tbsp. crumbled or shredded cheese (I used queso fresco)
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375˚.  Spray each ramekin lightly with cooking spray or rub with olive oil.  Cook bacon until crisp and drain on paper towels.  Crumble or chop.

Layer your ingredients in the ramekins.  I started with the asparagus.

aspsundriedeggs

Then the sun-dried tomatoes. No worries if there are some bits of cold oil stuck to them, it permeates the dish nicely as it cooks.

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Top with bacon and some of the cheese.

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Break two eggs carefully on top.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper and remaining cheese.

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Carefully put into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until eggs are set.  This paired perfectly with some homemade hash browns.  Want to know how to get them just right?  Click here for my hash brown recipe.

 

Baked eggs with hash browns on the side.  Mmmm!

Baked eggs with hash browns on the side. Mmmm!

 

 

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Asparagus and Shiitake Omelet

With farmer’s markets up and running for the season, as well as my favorite local fruit and veggie supplier, I have more produce than I usually know what to do with.  Everything looks so beautiful that I buy with my eyes instead of following my shopping list.  The wonderful bounty can turn into a trash can full of waste if I’m not careful.  So what I usually do to avoid this is lay everything out when I get home from shopping and plan meals around what I bought.  Large fruits like pineapples and melons get peeled and chopped and put away in the fridge for easy snacking for the kiddos (and me).  Other things get cooked for dinner, with the most perishable things getting used first.  And any leftovers most likely will find their way into my breakfast.

I found the most wonderful tiny shiitake mushrooms at the market this week.  My daughter commented on how delicious they were and how different they taste compared to other mushrooms.  She’s right! Combined with some leftover roasted asparagus, I had the makings for a tasty treat of an omelet.

Asparagus and Shiitake Omelet

Asparagus and Shiitake Omelet

Asparagus and Shiitake Omelet

4 stalks of asparagus, cut into one inch pieces
1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2-3 eggs
Salt & pepper

In a small bowl beat the eggs with a pinch of salt & pepper.  Set aside.  Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add a drizzle of olive oil and toss in your onion and mushrooms.  Saute for a couple of minutes until veggies are tender.  Add asparagus and cook another minute or two (since my asparagus was already cooked I just added it at the end and tossed it until it was heated through).  Remove veggies to a bowl and set aside.

Add another drizzle of olive oil to the pan and swirl it around to coat the surface.  Pour eggs into the pan.  Move them around with your spatula, lifting the edges and tilting the pan to move the uncooked egg to the pan surface.  You’ll end up with a lumpy moon crater surface, with all of the egg mostly cooked but still a little glossy on top.  This is how you avoid omelets that are runny in the middle or overcooked on the outside!

asparagusshiitakeomelet

Sprinkle cheese all over the egg surface.  Pile all of the veggies on one half.  If needed let it cook a few seconds until the egg is set and the cheese is melted.

Doesn't that look yummy?

Doesn’t that look yummy?

Fold over and slide onto a plate.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Phyllo-Wrapped Asparagus

Appetizers are something I love, but hardly ever make.  Unless I make them as dinner, instead of a starter for dinner.  But given the opportunity, like a recent family dinner, it’s fun to make (and eat!) something pretty and delicious.  These definitely fit the bill.

I love these little asparagus wrap ups.  They are quick to make, and I like the combination of the crunch of the phyllo dough and the tender bite of the asparagus.  They are a bit of fancy but not hard to make…one of my favorite combinations.  Doesn’t hurt that they also are pretty healthy compared to most appetizer options.

If you aren’t familiar with phyllo dough, it’s very, very thin sheets of dough, which are layered and baked.  I love the light and crispy texture.  You find it in the frozen section of the grocery store.  In most recipes you brush oil or melted butter between the layers, but the cooking spray works great and is a lot better for you.  For a vegetarian version, just leave out the ham, or substitute thinly sliced cheese.

Phyllo-Wrapped Asparagus
(adapted from Cooking Light)

1 bunch of fresh asparagus, ends trimmed
1 package of phyllo dough
Cooking spray
Thinly sliced ham or prosciutto

Unroll the phyllo dough.  Working quickly, separate one layer and lay it on a cutting board or towel.  Spray lightly with cooking spray, top with another layer, spray with cooking spray, and top with a third layer.  If you like some extra crunch you can also add a fourth layer.  (Cover remaining phyllo sheets with a slightly damp paper towel so they don’t dry out).

With a sharp knife slice the phyllo rectangle in thirds across the long length, and then down in fourths, making 12 squares.  Put a piece of ham on each square.  Place a stalk of asparagus on one end and roll up.  If your asparagus is really skinny, you can put two in each one.

Keep going until all asparagus and/or phyllo is used up.  Pile these on a plate as you finish.  If you don’t cook them all at once, just cover with a towel while the rest are cooking.

All rolled up and ready to cook!

Heat oven to 375˚. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Fill the tray with asparagus rolls, leaving a little space in between them.  Spray with cooking spray (it will help it brown a little better).  You will probably have enough for two or three trays, depending on how big your asparagus is.  Cook for 15-20 minutes, until phyllo turns golden brown.  Remove, arrange on a platter, and serve immediately.

Hot out of the oven.

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Brunch Is Dinner

Everybody likes brunch.  I love brunch.  The only thing I don’t like about brunch is that it’s so late in the morning you’re starving from skipping breakfast.  My solution?  I just eat brunch for dinner.  Because brunch food is great, but waiting for it is not so great, in my opinion.

My favorite brunch food, hands down, is Eggs Benedict.  But I’ve been doing Weight Watchers lately, and it turns out Hollandaise sauce is evil.  That’s probably why it’s so incredibly good.  But it’s also why I rarely indulge in that heavenly substance these days.  Instead I have a couple tasty alternatives.  One of my favorites is a quickie pesto sauce.  As far as being healthy, it’s not too bad, somewhere in between Hollandaise and no sauce.  With this dish, you’re eliminating the bread, which I think gives you leeway for sauce.  And I’d trade bread for sauce any day.  By the way, if you love bread, or want to make the dish a little more hearty, you can go ahead and put a piece of toast underneath this.

If you go to a culinary class or watch videos of how to poach an egg, they use a big pot, and vinegar and slotted spoons.  I don’t do it that way.  For one thing, I don’t like washing big pots.  For another, I’m lazy.  I want to cook everything in one pan if possible.  I prefer to use a skillet, and a small amount of water, and I think it works great.  Is it technically poaching?  Maybe, I don’t really know.  Does it matter?  Not to me.

Eggs Asparagus with Pesto Sauce

Eggs Asparagus with Pesto Sauce

2 eggs
8-10 stalks of asparagus (or as much as you feel like eating)
1 tsp. pesto
1 tsp. mayonnaise
1 wedge of lemon
Salt & pepper

In a medium skillet, add 1/4 – 1/2 inch of water.  Add salt and bring to a boil.  Add asparagus and eggs.  Don’t worry if they aren’t completely submerged.  Immediately turn heat down to medium and cover with a lid.  Set your timer for 3 minutes.  If you like your eggs more done in the middle you may want to cook a bit longer, but this is usually about perfect for a slightly yolky middle.

You can put these in separate pans if you want, but I don’t like to wash dishes, so this works just fine for me.

While the eggs and asparagus cook, in a small bowl mix pesto and mayonnaise.  Squeeze the wedge of lemon into the mixture, add a bit of salt and pepper and mix well.  With tongs, remove asparagus from pan and drain on paper towels.  Transfer to a plate.  Use a slotted spatula to gently remove eggs and lay on top of the asparagus.  Drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Eat!

WW Points – 6 / Calories – 237

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Spicy Thai Noodles with Spring Veggies

If I owned a grocery store, I would stock latex gloves next to the fresh chile peppers.  Why?  Because I ALWAYS forget to buy them when I’m grocery shopping, and I always wish I had them when my fingers are stinging and I’ve forgotten I shouldn’t rub my eyes after chopping peppers.  Someday I will learn my lesson and buy a case to have on hand at all times.

But until then, stinging fingers and eyes are just part of the sacrifice I’m willing to make for delicious spicy food.  This is a zippy, fresh tasting recipe that makes the most of spring vegetables available right now.  I love how the cold rice noodles are balanced by the hot, spicy stir-fried veggies.  If you are not a fan of spicy food, you can use less (or leave out) the fresh chiles.

Spicy Thai Noodles with Spring Veggies.
(And teenage boy fingers snatching noodles!)

Spicy Thai Noodles with Spring Veggies
(adapted from Cooking Light) 

7 oz. (1/2 package) flat rice noodles
1 cup thinly sliced radishes
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped mint
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tbsp. walnut oil (or peanut oil)
1 1/2 tbsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
6 garlic cloves, sliced
2 serrano or Thai chiles, finely chopped (use less if you don’t like it spicy)
2 cups snow peas
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (or more) unsalted, dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

To cook noodles, bring a pot of water to a boil.  Remove from heat and submerge noodles.  Let sit in the hot water for about 10 minutes until tender.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Place in a large serving bowl.  Add radishes, green onions, basil, cilantro, mint, lime juice and fish sauce.  Toss.

In a large skillet, heat walnut or peanut oil over medium-low heat.  Add garlic, ginger and chiles.  Cook for 2 minutes, stirring.  Increase heat to medium, add veggies and salt to pan.  Continue to cook and stir about 3-4 minutes, until veggies are crisp-tender.  Add to noodle mixture, toss well to combine.  Sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

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Feta-Crusted Tilapia

In our journey to moving to a more veggie-based diet, I’ve found my thinking has started to change.  I used to think of the days we ate fish as “light eating” days.  Now I think of those as the “meaty” days.  Although I’ve always loved seafood, I now find it more satisfying than ever before.  But I do find myself compelled to find more creative ways to cook it to add variety and fun to our menu.

Tilapia is almost always in my freezer.  Whenever I’m at the fish counter, I pick up an extra package of it for a speedy meal at some later date.  It’s quick to cook, mild enough to go with almost any flavors, and very affordable, which is a nice plus.  Combined with some of my other goodies from farmer’s market this week, I had a quick and satisfying dinner in minutes that was so good I caught myself making yummy noises while I was eating.

Feta-Crusted Tilapia with Lemon Cashew Asparagus

Feta-Crusted Tilapia
(This recipe is for one serving, just repeat or multiply for more servings)

Tilapia filet
1 tbsp. panko (japanese style bread crumbs)
2 tbsp. feta cheese
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
Salt & pepper
Olive oil

Combine panko, feta and lemon zest in a small bowl.  Pat entire mixture on top of tilapia filet.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  Bake at 400˚ for about 10 minutes until crust is light brown and fish flakes easily.

All dressed up and ready to cook.

Usually when I make something like this, I roast the veggies right along side the entree, and this was no exception.  And if you cover your pan with foil first…no dishes, woot!  See below for my asparagus recipe.

Lemon Cashew Asparagus

One bundle of fresh asparagus
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/4 cup chopped cashews
Salt & pepper
Olive oil

Lay the asparagus on a pan in a single layer, sprinkle lemon zest, cashews and salt & pepper all over.  Drizzle with olive oil and bake at 400˚ for 10 minutes.

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Hooray for Spring Asparagus & Local Goats!

Like many of my fellow foodies and crafty people, I am dealing with a bit of a Pinterest addiction.  It’s a treasure trove of recipe ideas, and I just can’t seem to stop pinning things that I want to make. Unfortunately, oftentimes I pin them and then forget all about them. When I came across this recipe the other day, there was no way I was leaving it up on the bulletin board to be forgotten.  As luck would have it I had the few ingredients needed to make it, thanks to my recent farmer’s market visit.  Hooray for spring asparagus and local goats!

Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta with Roasted Asparagus

Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta with Roasted Asparagus
(adapted from Everyday Food)

1 package rotini (or other short shape) pasta
1 big bunch fresh asparagus, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
4 tbsp. butter
5 oz. goat cheese (1 small log)
3-4 tbsp. chopped chives
Parmesan cheese (optional, for garnish)

Preheat oven to 400˚.  Spread asparagus out on a cookie sheet.  Dot with 2 tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Roast for 8-10 minutes, until asparagus is tender.  Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, until tender to the bite.  While pasta cooks, in a small bowl combine goat cheese, 2 tbsp. butter (cut into small pieces), and chives.  Before you drain the pasta, add 1/2 cup of pasta water to the goat cheese mixture and stir until creamy.  Drain pasta and return to pan or serving bowl.  Pour goat cheese mixture and roasted asparagus over the top.  Toss to combine. Add salt & pepper to taste.  Top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese if desired.

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Project Veggie: Day 23 – Asparagus Soup

It was bound to happen.  Cooking every night for 30 days, making tons of new recipes, trying unfamiliar things, bragging about my many successes…it was probably inevitable.  Recipe fail.  And the worst part is it was all my fault.

Spring is coming.  That makes me think of asparagus, among other things.  It’s one of the first spring veggies to come into season and I love it.  I wanted cream of asparagus soup.  So I was looking for the perfect recipe to try since I’ve never made it before.  While I was looking I came across a recipe for a Greek-style asparagus soup.  It sounded intriguing.  Different.  Maybe a little weird but I’m okay with that.  The picture looked great.  And it had a cool name: Asparagus Avgolemono.

But here’s the problem:  I got cocky.  I didn’t follow my own cardinal rule. Whenever I make a new recipe, I follow it the first time. That’s my rule.  It’s a good rule.  I tend to play with it from there but the first time I do it the way the author intended, to get a baseline.  I should state that I actually think this would be a good recipe if it was followed correctly.  It tasted good.  The thing I didn’t like, which was caused by the changes I made, was the texture.  First, I doubled the recipe, which for most recipes is no big deal, but might have had a bad effect in this case.  The second thing I did was add more pasta.  It just didn’t seem like enough, and I wanted this to be a hearty main dish soup so I added more.  The third thing I did was puree some of it to make it thicker before I finished it.  I should have waited until it was done and seen how thick it was to begin with before doing things to make it thicker.  I also added some parmesan cheese on top as a garnish, which didn’t improve things.  What I ended up with was something that had a good flavor, but a thick, gloppy texture that I did not enjoy.  Luke loved it and ate two or three bowls, so maybe it was just me.

I’m determined to try this one again, and follow the directions, and hopefully have a better outcome.  In the meantime, I will say this one was less than successful.  But if you want to try it, here’s the recipe I SHOULD have followed.  Don’t deviate.

Asparagus Avgolemono

Asparagus Avgolemono
(from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers)

I quart veggie broth
1/4 cup pastina or orzo
2 cups asparagus, cut into 1 inch lengths
1 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
2 eggs
2 tbsp. lemon juice
Salt & pepper

In a soup pot, bring the broth to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until almost al dente.  Add the asparagus and dill and simmer until the asparagus is just tender, about 5 minutes.  While the asparagus cooks, in a bowl, whisk the eggs and lemon juice.  When the asparagus is tender, whisk a ladleful of the hot broth into the egg-lemon mixture.  Lower the heat and slowly pour the egg mixture into the soup in a thin stream, stirring briskly all the while.  Continue to stir until the soup is thickened somewhat and heated through, a couple of minutes.  Constant stirring and low heat prevent the eggs from curdling.  Add salt & pepper to taste.

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Project Veggie: Day 12 – Salmon Cakes

Last night was a fun night of watching movies, playing Twister and cooking together.  Claire wrangled asparagus and whipped up sauce while I threw together some salmon cakes to die for.  Luke helped immensely by tasting all the ingredients along the way.

Among the indispensable things in my kitchen are my Moosewood cookbooks.  Moosewood Restaurant is located in Ithaca, New York and is known for its vegetarian menu.  Long before I was interested in vegetarian cooking, I fell in love with these cookbooks.  I have two – New Favorites, and Simple Suppers.  They are both amazing.  Creative yet approachable recipes that are absolutely delicious.  One of my favorite recipes is their Salmon Cakes.  I’ve never seen a recipe for these that had mashed potatoes and other veggies in it and they are SO GOOD!  When the kids were younger, they were sometimes iffy about liking fish, but they would always eat these.  The recipe calls for fresh salmon, which is awesome, but it also works well with canned salmon as a substitute.  The sauce is my own invention.  I usually make some version of it whenever I make fish or crab cakes to drizzle over the top or dip bites into (or both).  Claire named it “Fishy Sauce.”  So there you go.  These paired up perfectly with simple roasted asparagus and tomatoes.

Salmon Cakes & Roasted Asparagus

Moosewood Salmon Cakes
(from Moosewood Restaurant – New Favorites)

2 1/2 cups diced potatoes
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
1 1/2 pounds salmon, cut into pieces
1 egg
1 tbsp. mayo
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. fresh herbs (I used parsley)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 cup dry breadcrumbs
lemon wedges

For Fishy Sauce:

1/4 cup mayo
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. capers
1 tsp. minced red chile
salt & pepper

Put potatoes, onion & carrot in covered sauce pan with water to cover.  Bring to boil, then simmer for 10 minutes until veggies are tender.  Place fish on top and cook for 7 minutes.  Drain.  Mash veggies and fish with potato masher.  Add egg, mayo, mustard lemon juice, herbs, garlic, salt & pepper, and 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs.  Mix thoroughly.  Heat olive oil in skillet.  Pat & shape mixture into 6 cakes (sometimes more depending on how big you want them).  Sprinkle both sides with bread crumbs and cook 4 minutes on one side.  Flip and cook 2-3 minutes on other side.  Serve with lemon wedges or “fishy sauce.”  For sauce, combine all ingredients and stir until smooth.

Roasted Asparagus

Roasted Asparagus & Grape Tomatoes

Spread out asparagus and tomatoes in single layer on a cookie sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper and lemon zest (about 1 tsp).  Roast at 375˚ for 8-10 minutes.

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