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Weekend Eats 6/12 – 6/14

1 Jul


Will travel for food…one of my mottos in life. I am so lucky to have friends who live by the same creed. Ha! I read reviews about MP Taverna in Astoria, Queens and decided to use my summer Friday to take the hour plus trip from East Harlem in order to explore Michael Psilakis’ take on traditional Greek fare.

We started with a warm octopus salad, grandmas meatballs and chickpea dip. The octopus was grilled to perfection and the combination of the charred bits, dill, lemon and onion was delicious. Grandmas meatballs were the lightest meatballs I have ever had. It was as if someone filled them with air. The dip was good, nothing to rave about but solid. We stayed with the seafood theme for our mains and ordered the dourade and the grilled prawns. Both were amazing!

At first I wondered if I should have opted for a hole in the wall Astoria restaurant versus the fancier place, but my taste buds were so happy that we went with MP Taverna. I will be back!

P.S. I made a summer corn salsa with red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, the juice of 2 limes and salt. Yum!


Carb-less Meals: Spaghetti Squash

4 Jun

I walked into a co-worker’s office during lunch and smelled something delicious. Laura told me that she made spaghetti squash with tomato sauce, ground turkey, onions and a little greek yogurt. Hmmm…the wheels started turning.

I decided to put my own twist on it by attempting to make a ground turkey and chicken sausage bolognese. I kept my fingers crossed that I would enjoy the spaghetti squash because I heard that it was a little sweet, had a bit of a bite to it and it’s obviously not pasta.

Result, YUM! Pasta who?


I first rinsed and cut the squash in half. Then I used a spoon to scoop out and discard the seeds. Next, I rubbed the insides with olive oil and sprinkled it with salt and pepper.


Then put it face down on a foil lined pan and roasted it in the oven at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.


While waiting for the squash to roast, I started my bolognese. I first like to sweat my chopped onion, garlic and spices in olive oil. My spice blend included oregano, basil, red pepper flakes and lemon pepper.


I added the ground turkey meat and chicken sausage, which I took out of the casing. It cooks pretty quickly but note that the ground turkey produces a lot of liquid. Once it is all browned I set it aside in a bowl.


Then I deglazed the pan with a little white wine and let it come to a slow simmer.


At this point I added a big can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and added the meat back into the sauce.


Here comes the “change your life” moment…plain green yogurt! It gives the sauce great depth of flavor and mellows out the acidity of the tomatoes.




I let my sauce continue to simmer while I pulled out the squash. If you put a knife through the middle it should slide out easily. Once the squash was cool enough to handle I flipped both halves over and used a fork to scrape out the “spaghetti.”


Scraped clean!


Mix the sauce together with the squash and add a little parmesan.

Carb-less Meals: Mock Mashed Potatoes

11 May

I am a pretty active person but wanted to try and make some sustainable and realistic changes in order to be healthier and slim down for summer.

For the past 3 weeks I have made a change to what I eat for breakfast and dinner each day. First, I substituted my oatmeal or bacon egg and cheese sandwich (after a long night out) with a green smoothie made in my blender. Just 1 ripe banana, 2 big handfuls of spinach or kale, 2 large scoops of plain Greek yogurt, 1 spoon of chia seeds and a few pieces of cut pineapple = a delicious and filling green drink. At first I wasn’t sure that it would sustain me throughout the morning, but I felt full and energized.



Lunch was usually leftovers of some sort and dinner was carb-less…carb-less. I never thought I would utter those words but I have lost 6lbs with my make shift eating plan which forced me to find some creative alternatives…

Mock Mashed Potatoes
My cousin Chelsea has a gluten allergy and worked to perfect mashed cauliflower that tastes just like potatoes. My first attempt at the recipe was tasty but the consistency was too thin. Only boil the cauliflower for 6 min to the second and quickly press out as much of the absorbed water as possible. Then pulse the hot cauliflower with cream cheese, grated parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, fresh garlic, and a little chicken stock. I left out the butter and didn’t miss it at all. Make sure to check the consistency in between pulses so it’s to your liking. Find the recipe here.






My next carb-less meal will be spaghetti squash. Stay tuned!

Pancakes…with Vinegar?!

11 May

Pancakes are by far my favorite sweet breakfast food. I am always on the hunt for a perfectly cooked, fluffy, buttery pancake and have found some great ones (Buttermilk Channel in Brooklyn or Prune on the LES) but haven’t been able to replicate it at home…until today.

I woke up craving pancakes and went on the hunt for a recipe from scratch. The recipe that I found “sours” the milk with white vinegar (sounds strange but works!). Soured, not spoiled milk is more acidic, adds more flavor and great texture. I doubled the recipe and added vanilla extract. Result, best I’ve ever made!

You can find the recipe here.


Happy Halloween!

1 Nov

Hurricane Sandy has struck here in NYC so I’m cooped up in the house and looking for the scariest Halloween recipes I can find. Got one! When I saw the below photo I literally cringed. Not sure if I’d be able to actually take a bite but they look amazingly sick and fun! Try handing these out to the trick or treaters…

Get the recipe from Texanerin here!

Food Finds: Moroccan M’Smen

14 Aug

I’m admittedly late to most things, but NEVER late to brunch on the upper west side. Arriving 30 minutes early and strolling through the 79th street Greenmarket is one of my favorite things to do.

Hot Bread Kitchen gave out samples of Moroccan M’Smen, a buttery and flaky flat bread. I tried it the traditional way with a drizzle of honey but thought that it could be just as good in a savory preparation. The wheels started turning and I made a yummy breakfast a few days later.

I got the idea to create an open faced breakfast sandwich with ingredients that I had in the fridge.

Nothing like a Corona to help you cook 😉

This turned out to be a great one pan dish. After cooking the eggs, I warmed and crisped some ham, then put the M’smen in the pan to get warm. Layer your ingredients and go to town!

If you’re on the upper west side try some M’Smen or other great breads. Hot Bread Kitchen preserves baking traditions from around the world and creates opportunity for immigrant women. It doesn’t get any better than cooking and eating while helping a great cause!

What’s for Dessert or Breakfast? Blueberry Yogurt Cake

7 Jul


Bessert? Dessfast? Yeah, I’m not too good at creating combo names, but this breakfast + dessert cake looks heavenly. I imagine having a slice with my morning coffee, or nibbling on a piece after dinner. Once I buy some chopped walnuts and restock my greek yogurt this cake is getting made…and eaten quickly thereafter 😉

Shutterbean has the recipe.