Tag Archives: healthy

Easy Weeknight Dinner

I am always trying to figure out good quick things to make for dinner on weeknights. After work I often don’t have time to do something elaborate but I don’t want to eat unhealthy things either. There are some general foods that I always keep on hand which I am slowly profiling in my Kitchen Essentials Series which are a great base for a lot of my weeknight eating. I am also always trying to think of what foods I can make that I can turn the leftovers into something nice for lunch the next day.

So take a quick peek into some of the weeknight meals I have been making these past few months and maybe they can help you come up with some ideas for your own weeknight dinners.

Healthy dinnersGrilled hearts of romaine, dried fig, blue cheese, with a balsamic vinaigrette


Homemade falafel from Jerusalem: A Cookbook, homemade hummus, and whole wheat tortilla

Healthy dinners
Healthy dinnersChopped kale salad, with parsley, cucumber, grilled onions, left over falafel, and feta cheese with a tahini, hummus, basamic, dressing

UntitledRandom left overs and pantry staples of: Pasta, Ricotta, Harissa, and Basil Paste mixed into a great quick meal

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My Kitchen Essentials: Dried Chickpeas/ Garbanzo Beans

Dried Chickpeas

ITEM: Dried Chickpeas/ Garbanzo Beans

WHERE TO FIND: Most Grocery Stores in the Grain and Legume Section

ABOUT: Chickpeas are an ancient legume that have been eaten for thousands of years. They make up a important part of Middle Eastern and Indian Cuisine where they are used in many forms. From whole cooked Chickpeas to flour they create a strong and healthy backbone of a balanced vegetarian diet. They are a very versatile food that is incredibly healthy, packed with protein and a variety of anti-oxidants and other healthy goodness (check out a full profile here)

WHY I KEEP IT AROUND: I keep them around mostly to make hummus. I love homemade hummus as it is so much better than store bought and a lot cheaper too a bag costs about $3 something and makes about 5 or so batches of hummus (I use a modified version of the recipe from Jerusalem: A Cookbook, which also has a great falafel recipe). Chickpeas are also an integral part of making Falafel which are like one of my favorite things ever (nothing like stopping for a $3 falafel sandwich at my favorite place in Brooklyn after a night out). Falafel are not only amazing the day of they are also great to add to salads during the work week to add some depth and excitement to your lunch. They really are not too hard to make either. Once you have some cooked chickpeas they great tossed with a little bit of Olive Oil and spices and added to a lettuce based salad, a grain based salad, or on top of scrambled eggs like I had the other day in the Moroccan Scramble from Five Leaves here in Brooklyn. Chickpeas are endlessly useful and store for a long time. While you can get them precooked and canned I prefer not as I feel they are a bit tinny in taste.

HOW TO PREPARE: Soak in water until they double in size (I usually leave them overnight). Pour out into a pot and cover with about 3″ of water bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. It takes around 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours for the chickpeas to cook until they are soft. (If the water boils off when cooking add more as needed).  Once the Chickpeas are soft drain and use in your desired preparation.

Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison: “The Legume Family: Chickpeas” pg 376

The Worlds Healthiest Foods: Garbanzo Beans

Jerusalem: A Cookbook: Falafel pg 98, Basic Hummus pg 114

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On the Kale Train

Kale Chips

I have friends that love love love kale. I have never really understood the obsession, I am not really a fan of bitter things and in a salad there is something about it that I do not enjoy about it. I like though to keep healthy snacks around the apartment to eat and Kale chips are something that fit the bill. So this past weekend I decided to try out making some kale chips to see what all the hype was and if I could get into the kale thing.

While the kale chips turned out well and they were kale fanatic approved it is taking me a while to get into them. I am slowly starting to get the kale chip love and I am interested in making them with some other spices in addition to the salt next time. Only time will tell what happens with my relationship with Kale but for now I am curious and willing to try some more.

Kale Chips


If you have seen one Kale Chip recipe you have seen pretty much all of them but regardless here is mine.

1 bunch of curly leaf kale

1-3 Tbsp Olive Oil

Salt to Taste

Any other spices

Large bowl

Parchment Paper or Silpat

Sheet Pan(s)


Wash and Dry Kale, tear into larger than chip sized pieces (they will shrink while cooking when the water is evaporating) removing and discarding the rib

Pre heat oven to 350F degrees

In a large bowl mix the kale pieces and olive oil making sure that the kale is fully coated with the olive oil

On your parchment/ silpat lined Sheet Pan lay out the kale pieces single layer (per the first picture) and salt and spice to your taste

Bake for about 10-20 minutes until the kale is crispy, it is best to bake only one tray at a time even if you are using multiple pans

Let cool and serve

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Oat Bars: Episode One

Oat Squares

I have been trying to eat better at work and avoid unnecessary snack trips for unhealthy and expensive snacks during the day, so while pursuing the web looking at different recipes for granola type bars I could make I ran into the  4 Ingredient Banana Nut Bars from The Kitchn. I liked how simple the recipe was so I went to work making some with what I happened to have on hand in my kitchen on that particular day, which happened to be Oats, bananas, Coconut Flakes, and dried blueberries. While the original recipe did not include any egg my mix seemed a bit dry so I threw one in to help bind everything together and add a bit of extra protein into the mix. From that first round of bars I have started to experiment with different additions and subtractions to switch it up and find what I like best.

Regardless if you follow the orignal inspiration recipe or my version below these snack bars are quick to make and great as a quick, healthy and filling breakfast, snack during the day, or as a pre gym energy snack.

Oat Squares


Makes about 16  1 1/2″ squares

This Recipe makes a particularly dense bar which is why I suggest cutting them into such small pieces. You can make them less dense by adding some chopped dried fruit to the mix. Either way they are filling, healthy and tasty. I used powdered peanut butter because it has less fat than regular peanut butter but feel free to substitute the normal stuff in its place. This recipe is very forgiving so feel free to experiment and substitute ingredients as you see fit for your tastes and pantry contents.

8oz Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

1 Ripe Yellow Plantain (about 5oz)

2 Ripe Bananas (about 6oz)

1 Large egg

2oz Chopped Almonds

1 Tbsp + 1 Tsp Sesame Seeds

1 Tsp Blue Agave

1 Tsp + 1/2 Tsp of Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt

2 Tsp Powdered Peanut Butter (available at Health Food Stores)

Preheat your oven to 350°F

In a large bowl mash together the Bananas and Plantain making sure there are no large chunks in the mix. (When I made mine the Bananas and the Plantain were still a bit hard so I sliced them into pieces before mashing to help incorporate, by nature the plantain is less soft than the banana but the mix comes together with enough man power)

Once the Banana and Plantain are mashed up add the egg, powdered peanut butter, 1 tsp of the Cinnamon (save the rest for the top of the bars), Blue Agave, and Salt. Mix well until all ingredients are incorporated.

Add in the Oats, Chopped Almonds, and 1tsp of the Sesame (save the rest for the top of the bars) and mix well.

Once everything is incorporated turn out the mix into a non stick or grease 7×7 (or 6×6) baking pan.

Sprinkle the top of the bars with the remaining sesame seeds and cinnamon.

Bake for about 30 minutes until the mix is solid and has browned.Let cool for about 10 minutes in the pan on a cooling rack then turn the bars out of the pan on to the rack and allow them to cool completely.

Cut into 16 pieces and enjoy!

Oat Squares

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