Tag Archives: Easy

Skinny Spaghetti

There’s only one thing this girly girl likes to twirl more than a giant party skirt, and that’s a fork full of spaghetti.  If I could have one wish granted from a genie it would be that all carbs would be calorie free, and if the genie told me that was greedy, I would happily accept pasta as my calorie free carb of choice.  Or pizza? No, I’m gonna stick with pasta.  But alas, I don’t have a magic lamp to rub, so it looks like I am sh*t outta luck.

There is nothing comparable to a big old bowl of starchy spaghetti, but there are alternatives.  Don’t worry; I’m not getting all “hippie dippie tofu fake spaghetti” on you.  Yes, that is a real term.  But, I am forgoing the flour for something a little more figure friendly.  Zucchini, if cut properly can transform into silky strands of spaghetti.  How you ask? Let me tell you – the solution is simple and it’s just one word – Julienne.  Julienne is a type of knife cut in which the food is cut into long thing strips.  These thin strips usually resemble shoe strings.  But if you ask me, spaghetti sounds way more desirable than shoe strings any day of the week.  The easiest way to julienne cut your zucchini is to use a mandolin.  But since the good ones are really expensive and slightly dangerous, they aren’t the most popular kitchen appliance for the average Joe.  Of course, I have another solution for you – a julienne peeler.  Not only is this little tool effective, it is totally reasonable.  At $8, it would be silly not to buy this easy to use utensil.  And of course, there is always the option of practicing your knife skills and cutting these bad boys by hand.

No matter the tool to get the job done, the once average zucchini is now spaghetti, and that’s seriously magical.  If you thought skinny and spaghetti didn’t go together before, think again.  This recipe will fill you up and trim you down.

Skinny Spaghetti (serves 2)
Ingredients
4 medium-large zucchini
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of tomato sauce

Directions
Prepare a large bowl of ice water.  (Once the zucchini is cooked, it will need to be cooled down immediately to stop the cooking process.)  Boil a large pot of heavily salted water.  When the water is boiling, add the julienne cut zucchini for 1 minute.   Remove immediately and place into the ice bath for 1 minute.  While the zucchini is cooling off in the ice bath, heat 1 cup of your favorite tomato sauce.  You can use my recipe for a chunky tomato sauce, or use a jar of your favorite! Once the zucchini is cool and the sauce is hot, add the zucchini to the pot and toss in the sauce.  Serve with some grated parmesan or mozzarella.

Me, well I’m a Golden Delicious

Do you ever see something, and think, god that’ so ME! I do, all the time actually.  Like anything yellow or smiley.  And now, I have another object to add to my list of “So me’s.” GOLDEN DELICIOUS APPLES.  So me, right?  I mean, if I was an apple, I would be a golden delicious, it’s really that simple.

Here’s a fun fact about yours truly, I’m a champion apple picker.  If apple picking was a competitive sport, I would take home the gold medal.  It’s a skill I was born with, and then further developed as a child, and continue practicing as an adult or whatever I am now.  Apple picking is literally my favorite activity.  Forget what I said about shucking corn.

It’s a fact of life that apples taste better when they come straight off the tree.  And, it’s totally rewarding to PYO – pick your own.   It’s not only fun, but its resume booster.  Everyone has a life resume, and apple picking is a great extra-curricular, if I do say so myself.  Plus, it makes the apple pie you bake that much better.

I love to make apple pie, not only because it’s delicious, but because it is incredibly easy.  Hey, this Bite-Sized Blonde appreciates ease as much as any twenty something hormone driven guy.  And lucky for you, my recipes are just that, easy.

Easy as Apple Pie
Ingredients
1 frozen pie-crust
6 Green Apples
1 cup of Sugar
1 cup of A/P Flour
1 3/4 sticks of Butter
Cinnamon

Directions
Yes, I use pre-made piecrust.  I promise you, no one will ever know the difference, except maybe Martha Stewart, and she’s probably not coming over for dessert anytime soon.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Wash and peel the apples.

Then, dice them into chunks, not too big and not too small.  Coat the apples with a small amount of flour, about 1/8 of  cup.  This will help make sure the pie isn’t too wet.  Then, place the apples in the piecrust.  The piecrust should be totally full.  Remember the apples will shrink during the baking process, so make sure you have enough in the pie!

To make the crumb topping, combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon.  I love cinnamon so I use about a tablespoon, but feel free to adjust based on your taste.  Cut the sticks of butter into small pieces.  Make sure the butter is really cold before you add it to the flour, sugar and cinnamon.  You can smush the pieces of butter into the flour mixture, or you can use a food processor.  I prefer to use the food processor, but sometimes it’s fun to use your hands.  The mixture will start to look like crumb topping, which is how you know it’s ready.  Cover the pie with the topping and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Bake for approximately 45 or until golden brown on top.   The more apples you put in, the longer it will take to cook.  Serve warm!

Rock You Like a Hurricane

Oh, Irene.  You are such a tease.  And since it takes one to know one, I can say this with conviction.  You got us New Yorkers all riled up, and for what? Nothing, I tell you, nothing!  Except maybe a little junk food eating contest.  If you stocked up on food to prepare for the possible power outages, I bet you ate it all this weekend.  Not because the power went out and you needed to, but because you were so bored the food actually provided an activity.  Well, if you gained the “Irene Fifteen” this weekend, you might be looking for a light and easy dinner, out of your apartment, which of course now feels like a jail cell. 

Westville is the perfect place to go.  This small and simple restaurant has a menu that speaks to everyone.  Their food is prepared simply and tastefully, which is exactly what the doctor ordered, or nutritionist, whatever.  

The Greek Salad is loaded with olives, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red onions, feta cheese and avocado.  It is served over grilled bread with melted herb goat cheese.  I like to add the Grilled Steak to this salad to make it a meal.  The steak is flavorful and juicy and the salad is crisp. 

The Grilled Lemon Herb Marinated Chicken is my favorite item on the menu.  The chicken is packed with flavor and it is incredibly juicy, the way chicken is meant to be cooked.  It is served with 2 sides from the market.  What’s the market? Glad you asked.  The market is Westville’s abundant list of veggies.   They offer everything from asparagus to bok choy and back again.  It is a vegetarian’s dream come true, and mine as well.   I love the Honey Dijon Brussels Sprouts, and for good reason.  They are little tidbits of veggie heaven.  I couldn’t resist the Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad.  After all, it is tomato season.

Riddle me this.  What’s dinner without dessert?  While you ponder that, feast your eyes on this.  A homemade ice cream sandwich. Clearly, I’ve become a little obsessed with Ice Cream Sammies recently.  This isn’t on the menu, but ice cream is, and so are cookies, and the waiters are more than happy to accommodate your needs, no matter how indulgent they are.

With three locations, Westville convenient for everyone.   I happen to love the Lower East Side location, but they offer the same menu in the West Village and Chelsea.  So, whether the weather has you feeling on a bit on the bulky side, or you just want an easy, light dinner, head over to Westville.

Westville East
173 Avenue A (11th Street)
New York, NY  
212.677.2933

Westville West
210 W 10th Street (Between Bleecker and West 4th Street )
New York, NY
212.741.7971

Westville Chelsea
246 W18th Street (Between 7th & 8th Avenue)
New York, NY
212.924.2223

The Wizard of Gaz

And August begins…Doesn’t it feel like it was just Memorial Day? I would say Happy August, but that’s like saying Happy Sunday.  August, like Sunday, is great. But the greatness is overshadowed by the lingering feeling that it’s all about to end soon.

So, while it is still sunny and hot, and the fruits and veggies are still in season, take advantage of what Mother Nature, and your corner produce stand, is offering…tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers oh my! Thinking salad? Think again.  In this heat, the best use for those oh so fresh veggies is Gazpacho.  This cold soup will fill you up and cool you down, without blowing you up.  This dish is gluten free, dairy free, vegan, low fat, high fiber and wheat free.  The only thing this soup isn’t free of is flavor!

Gazpacho

Ingredients
3 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large cucumber, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 yellow pepper, chopped
1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Red pepper flakes

Directions
Place the tomatoes and garlic in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.  Add the puree to a bowl.  You can strain the puree if you want a smooth soup.  I personally like a little texture, so I leave the mixture as is.  Add the cucumber, onion and peppers.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a touch of heat! Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Ice Ice Baby

The summer heat makes it nearly impossible to be near an oven, so what’s a dessert lover to do to keep cool as the temperature creeps up?  Frozen dessert, duh! I love ice cream and Haagen Dazs really does know their stuff.  But, where’s the fun in serving someone else’s hard work? I felt like all the stars aligned when I came across this recipe in Bon Appétit, “Freeze Right Where You Are.”  This article is all about making frozen dessert without an ice cream machine, and since I don’t have an ice cream machine YET, this article spoke to me. 

So, what did this Bite-Sized Blonde make? A watermelon granita, that’s what.   A granita is similar to a shaved ice, like Ralph’s for all you New Yorkers.  It’s cold and refreshing and oh so yummy.  It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare; the freezer does all the hard work here! Plus, it’s low in calories.  Jackpot! My guests were impressed and I know yours will be too.

Watermelon Granita

Ingredients
4 cups cubed seedless watermelon
½ cup sugar substitute
1 tbsp. Fresh lime juice

Directions
Puree all the ingredients in a blender until smooth.  Pour into a baking dish and wrap in plastic wrap.  Place in the freezer for 1 hour.  Set a timer otherwise you will definitely forget. * After an hour, remove the granita from the freezer.  Stir the mixture, and smash any frozen parts with the back of a fork.  Cover the mixture and place back in the freezer for about 2 hours, or until you are ready to serve it.  To serve, scrape the granita vigorously with a fork to form ice flakes.  Scoop into a cup and serve!

*Don’t worry if you forget.  Let the granita sit on the counter for about 10 minutes.  You should be able to remove it in pieces.  Place the pieces of the frozen mixture back in the blender for a couple minutes and then refreeze until you are ready to serve!

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2011/06/watermelon-granita

Please sir, I want S’more!

Ah, Memorial Day, the official start to summer, or at least summer hours. By now, I’m sure most of your plans are in order.  If you are anything like me, your packing list is ready and waiting to be checked off.  All that’s left to do is actually pack and pick up a nice bottle of wine for the friends that are so graciously hosting you this weekend.

Summer means a couple of things for me, sun, s’mores and sombreros.  Aright, you caught me, I couldn’t think of a third “S” and sombrero is just kind of funny.  But I am dead serious about s’mores.  S’mores are the quintessential summer dessert.  Graham crackers, good, chocolate, good, marshmallows, good.  I can just hear Joey now.   But, it’s not always easy to get everyone around the fire. Fear not, I have a solution! Brownie S’mores Pie.  This pie is so easy it’s almost stupid, which is the best kind dessert of course.

Ingredients
1 box of brownie mix
water
vegetable oil
eggs
1 pre-made graham crack piecrust
1 bag of mini marshmallows

You can find pre-made graham cracker piecrust in many supermarkets.  Hey, if Sandra Lee can appreciate the power of pre-made ingredients, so can I.  Of course, if you want to make your own graham cracker piecrust, who am I to tell you not to.  Go for it, knock ya socks off.  But I’ll just kick back and let the little Elves at Keebler do the dirty work for me on this one.    The next thing you’ll need is a  box of brownie mix and whatever ingredients the box calls for (usually vegetable oil and eggs).  And don’t forget the best part, marshmallows!!

Directions
Follow the recipe of the box of brownie mix and combine off all of the ingredients.  Pour the brownie batter into the piecrust and bake for approximately 45 minutes.  The pie is finished when you poke it with a  toothpick and it comes out clean.  While the pie is still warm, top it with lots of marshmallows! Wait to toast the marshmallows until you are going to serve the pie so they are warm and gooey.  To toast the marshmallows, you can use a small kitchen torch.  No torch? No problem.  Stick the pie in the toaster oven on broiler for about a minute.  Keep your eye on it though; the marshmallows burn quickly.  Slice and Enjoy!!

Is this New York or Seattle?

It seems we have gotten a break from the rain this morning…but according to weather.com, we are looking at more rain this afternoon.  You know what Seth Meyers would say to this…Really?   Really, rain gods.  We get it; you are good at your job.  Now, really, take a leave of absence…go on vacation…do something, just get out of New York, really!

Spare me the lecture on how we need rain, blah blah blah.  I know the benefits of rain, but it has seriously been raining cats and dogs for months now.  I feel like I’m on the set of The Killing, which by the way, is a great new show on AMC that takes place in, you guessed it, Seattle.

On the bright side, because there is always a bright side with this Bite-Sized Blonde, the world is green again.  Let’s face it, green equals good.  As a new shade brightens our city, I am also using it to brighten my kitchen.  Peas have a bad reputation, and one that is quite undeserved if I do say so myself.  So, I am giving my peas a makeover with a hint of mint and a splash of love to accompany a delicious filet of halibut.

Halibut with Pea Puree (Serves 2)

Ingredients
Halibut
Two 6-ounce filets of halibut
2 tbsp. dry white wine
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. salt
Fresh ground pepper

Pea Puree
½ cup of peas
5 mint leaves
1 small shallot, minced
2 tbsp. water
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mushrooms
1 cup of assorted mushrooms
1 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. water
½ tsp. salt
Fresh ground pepper

Directions
Season the halibut with salt and pepper. Place the fish in a hot skillet with olive oil, skin side down. Move the fish around immediately after placing it in the skillet to make sure that it does not stick. After 3 minutes, add the white wine and cover the pan. In a small pan, sweat the shallots. Add the peas and cook until they are heated through, no more, no less! If you leave them in the pan too long, they will discolor. Once the peas are cooked, add the mixture to a blender with the mint leaves and water. Blend until smooth.  Add more water if you need to; the mixture should be smooth.  Season with salt and pepper. In another small pan, add the mushrooms,  water and butter. Partially cover the pan and cook for about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender and they have absorbed all the liquid. Add the pea puree to the plate first. Then, place the halibut on the puree and top with the mushrooms. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a slice of lemon.  Serve, enjoy, and wait for the compliments to roll in.

Spring into Your Beach Body

We finally got our first real taste of spring this week…minus the intermission of isolated thunderstorms yesterday, of course.  The flowers are blooming and the trees are budding, which can only mean one thing…summer will be here before you know it! If you are anything like this Bite-Sized Blonde, you love summer.  If this was a video blog, a shot of the lake at camp would be panning out on your screen right now while reveille played in the background.   Yes, I just went there.  I love camp.

Whether you love summer because of the great memories you made at camp as a child, or the great memories you are making now as an adult on the beaches of the Hamptons and Fire Island, the power of summer is undeniable.  So, excitement is not only natural right now, it’s expected…unless of course you have been slacking at the gym this winter.  I would be lying if I said I’ve been a gym junkie all winter long.  Hey, a girls’ gotta live a little. But now, I am in full-on summer prep mode.  As a true Foodie, I don’t exactly believe in diets.  Would you tell Picasso to only paint in oils or Amare Stoudemire to only make lay-ups?  Of course not! So, you can’t tell a Foodie to only eat low cal foods.  It’s just wrong.  (I’m sure there is a clever analogy in there somewhere). 
 
To get bikini ready, I pray to the gods of spin class and Physique 57.  If you don’t know about Physique, you should check it out.  It’s the most, rewarding and painful experience you can have in NYC.   And spinning is the best way to work up a sweat at the gym.   But I’m told exercise alone won’t cut it.  So, when I am in summer mode, I opt for lighter meals every once in a while so I can still enjoy my guilty pleasures, which right now is a carton of vanilla ice cream.  Thank you Haagen Dazs.

Lighter doesn’t have to equal less flavor.  Sacrificing flavor for calories is like wearing a designer knock-off.  It looks similar, but you know it’s just not the same.  And would you really be caught dead in a knock-off? I didn’t think so.

My go-to “Summer is So Damn Close I can Taste it” meal is Steamed Cod with Ginger and Scallions.  This dish is so packed with flavor, you don’t even realize it’s a light meal. 

Steamed Cod with Ginger and Scallions (serves 4)
Ingredients
3 tbsp. rice vinegar (unseasoned)
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. finely grated peeled fresh ginger*
4 skinless cod filets (about 1 ½ pounds)
6 scallions, chopped
 
Directions
In a large skillet with a tight lid, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, ginger and scallions.  Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper.  Place the fish in the skillet and bring the liquid to a boil.  Once the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.  Cover and cook until the fish is almost opaque, which should be about 6-8 minutes. 
 
*Ginger can be tricky to peel because it is so misshapen.  An easy way to peel ginger is to actually forgo the peeler altogether! Use the back of a spoon to peel the skin away; it helps with all the nooks and crannies! Once the ginger is peeled, grate 2 tbsps. If you have extra ginger left over, freeze it!! You can actually grate frozen ginger into your meals in the future when a recipe calls for it.