Quick and Easy Chana Masala

I haven’t had many strange cravings during this pregnancy so far (except for maybe chocolate milk… but let’s be real, who doesn’t crave that normally?), but one thing I can say is that now that the weather is getting a tiny bit cooler, I want stew every night! Last week I made a crock pot minestrone stew that somehow didn’t make it onto the blog, and this week I wanted something spicy! Chana masala sounded really good.

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Happy July!

Happy July! The summer is rolling in FAST and that means HOT. After spending our afternoon at an outdoors event last night, I was craving something cool and light. I had a few extra tomatoes on hand and some balsamic glaze that I had picked up at TJ’s (sample stand impulse buy, anyone?) so this salad basically made itself. I threw in some leftover corn from the other night and also some brown rice to bulk it up a bit.

Caprese with a side of black lab 🙂

On the fourth we will be driving up to Michigan where hopefully we’ll get a reprieve from the heat (or at least the humidity!) This summer has been especially bad so far- not sure if that’s pregnancy-related or if I’m just becoming a normal human being?

P.S. I started using my pregnancy pillow and at first I was like, “this thing is a monster, how do I even use it?” but once I got the hang of it, life = changed. Not sure Ben likes having something the size of another human being in our bed with us!

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Ok, on to the recipe!

Caprese and Corn Salad
Recipe Type: Salad
Cuisine: Summer, Healthy
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
A light and fresh salad that is perfect for hot July nights!
Ingredients
  • 5 large tomatoes, chopped coarsely
  • ¼ cup chopped basil (about 8 leaves)
  • 8 oz mozzarella pearls
  • 1 ear corn, cooked (or ½ cup corn kernels)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp maple syrup or honey
  • sea salt flakes
  • black pepper
  • optional: 1/3 cup cooked rice or other grain (I had leftover rice so just threw it in to sop up some of the dressing)
  • optional: balsamic glaze
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, add tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, corn, and garlic.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients (through pepper). Drizzle on salad and toss gently.
  3. Top with additional sea salt, pepper, and balsamic glaze!

Hope you enjoy!

Marrakesh Carrots with Cumin-Spiked Yogurt Sauce

Wow, it’s been a while! Just popping in for my (embarrassed to admit) FIRST post of 2018!

How is your year shaping up?

Now that it’s almost spring, I wanted to kick off the season with one of my newest favorites: Marrakesh carrots. I got the idea for this from a cookbook I got for my birthday last year called Bowl and Spoon, written by Sara Forte, the author of The Sprouted Kitchen blog. I guess I’ve had a thing for turmeric lately, because last week I made a version of my sister’s Moroccan Red Lentil Soup which has a ton of it. I swear every mixing spoon in my kitchen is now orange.

Marrakesh Carrots

I mixed things up a little with this recipe, especially in the dressing, where I added in some tahini and red wine vinegar. Plus more spices because I can’t help it. Finished with a cumin-spiked yogurt sauce and feta.

You could serve this for lunch or as a side for dinner. The chickpeas and tahini dressing, plus the protein in the yogurt sauce, give it enough staying power for a meal. I also served ours with warm pita!

Hope you enjoy!

Marrakesh Carrots with Cumin-Spiked Yogurt Sauce
Recipe Type: Salad, Side
Cuisine: Moroccan, Marrakesh, Healthy, Vegetarian
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 10
A healthy salad with staying power! Inspired by the flavors of Morocco, this carrot salad is sure to be a hit!
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs whole carrots, rinsed thoroughly
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped roughly
  • 5-6 green onions
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • For yogurt sauce (optional): Plain yogurt, lemon juice, cumin
  • Chopped pistachios
  • Crumbled feta
Instructions
  1. Use food processor (shredding disc) to shred carrots. Set aside in a big bowl.
  2. In same food processor (S blade), pulse red onion, green onion, cilantro, and a drizzle of olive oil. Add chickpeas and pulse 2-3 times until roughly chopped. Add mixture to carrots.
  3. To make dressing, pulse together remaining ingredients and pour over salad.
  4. Stir in raisins and toss well.
  5. For yogurt sauce, whisk together 1/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt, 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, and a pinch of cumin. Add water as needed to thin. Set aside.
  6. Chill salad until ready to serve, then top with yogurt sauce, chopped pistachios, feta, and more cilantro.
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Have a great week!

Sweet Potato Crust Pizza

Recipe for crust adapted from pinch of yum’s 3 ingredient sweet potato crust pizza

Happy Halloween! This post has been a long time coming, but since I had an unexpected day at home today (read: possible fracture after dropping a cookie sheet on my toe yesterday morning), I thought it was time to finally get it up.

This sweet potato crust pizza is super easy and adaptable to whatever odds and ends you have on hand! I imagine it would be really tasty with pinch of yum’s BBQ toppings, or traditional marinara. I didn’t have either one available, so I chose a tahini dressing to drizzle over the top! I also topped it with some pumpkin spiced pumpkin seeds I picked up at Trader Joe’s (don’t judge me- I didn’t realize they were PS until after I got home and PS is still NOT ok).

Sweet Potato Crust Pizza w/ Tahini Dressing

I like to serve a lil slice of this with some wilted spinach on the side. I imagine this would be perfect to serve before the kiddos leave for trick-or-treating tonight! Recipe below.

Sweet Potato Crust Pizza
Recipe Type: Pizza, Casserole
Cuisine: Vegetarian, Healthy
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8-10
Filling and just sweet enough to satisfy your halloween sweet tooth! This would be perfect to feed the kids just before trick or treating.
Ingredients
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • dash of paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • Toppings for pizza: e.g. mushrooms, spinach, beans, broccoli, mozzarella
  • Tahini Dressing:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • squirt of red wine vinegar
  • hot water to thin out
Instructions
  1. Prepare crust:
  2. Place crust ingredients (diced sweet potatoes, through salt) in food processor and pulse until resembling a loose dough.
  3. Mix in 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.
  4. Press firmly and evenly in bottom of a lightly sprayed casserole dish (you could also use a pizza pan lined with parchment paper)
  5. Bake at 400 deg for 25-30 minutes until dry.
  6. Top with your favorite toppings and return to oven until tender.
  7. Cool and cut into squares. Serve with wilted spinach or a side salad w/ tahini dressing (whisk all dressing ingredients listed above)

(Note: Pinch of yum suggests inverting the crust after the first bake and baking it again, but that felt way too high maintenance to me so I decided to just bake it one-sided. The result was a little on the soft side, and would probably fall apart if you tried to pick it up like a piece of pizza. If that is really important to you, I’d suggest trying her method!)

Sweet Potato Crust Pizza w/ Tahini Dressing

Walnut Pesto Pasta Salad

Walnut Pesto Pasta Salad

Happy Labor Day! Will you be relaxing at home, or potluck-hopping your way through the day? We have a few get-togethers planned, one of which is a potluck, so I thought I’d give summer one last hurrah and whip up this pasta salad to bring.

I’m always looking for recipes that make perfect leftovers to last us throughout the week. Salads seem to do the trick because they are so versatile and last a long time! Ben has also been asking for more pasta recently, since he has started eating pescatarian with me.

I was so pleased with the way this salad came out. Homemade walnut pesto is the perfect dressing! Just don’t make the mistake I did of adding the pasta when it’s still too hot, otherwise it will just absorb all the pesto! Allow your pasta to cool to room temp first so you don’t have to make more pesto later.

You could also add black olives, salami or pepperoni to this salad and it would be even better!

Walnut Pesto Pasta Salad
Recipe Type: Salad, picnic
Cuisine: vegetarian, healthy
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
Perfect for your Labor Day potluck or to last for the short week ahead!
Ingredients
  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 box whole wheat rotini
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 8 oz mini mozzarella balls (“perlines”)
  • 1 bag chopped kale
  • 1 cup frozen peas
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients for pesto except for the olive oil and vinegar. Pulse on high until roughly chopped, then drizzle in oil and vinegar until smooth. Add more water or oil if you like!
  2. Prepare pasta to al dente and drain, reserving 1 cup of the liquid.
  3. Return 1 cup pasta water to the pot and add kale. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to low until kale is steamed. Remove from heat.
  4. Return pasta to pot and add tomatoes, red onion, mozzarella balls, and peas.
  5. When pasta has cooled, toss with pesto and serve!

Walnut Pesto Pasta Salad

Enjoy!

Mediterranean Grain Bowl

Mediterranean Grain Bowl

Mediterranean Grain Bowl
Recipe Type: Vegetarian, Salad
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
Roasted cauliflower with warm notes of schawarma spice and zoodles are perfect additions to this Middle Eastern inspired grain salad!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa or blend
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 green or red peppers, sliced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 4 tbsp schawarma spice (2 tbsp ground coriander + 1 tsp each of cinnamon, cumin + 1/2 tsp each turmeric, ginger, black pepper)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, drained
  • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Add 1 cup quinoa blend to 2 cups boiling water. Lower to simmer for 15 minutes and remove from heat.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high and add garlic, peppers, tomato, onion, and 2 tbsp schawarma spice. Cook until tender.
  3. Add juice of lemon, parsley, vinegar, olives, and 1 tbsp olive oil to bowl of a food processor. Pulse on high until roughly chopped.
  4. Add white beans and remaining schawarma spice, and pulse a few more times until chopped (you don’t want a paste!)
  5. In a large bowl, toss together warm quinoa, white bean mixture, and pepper and onion mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with roasted cauliflower, feta, and sliced avocado.

Mediterranean Grain Bowl

Summer Corn Salad w/ Miso Vinaigrette

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Summer Corn Salad w/ Miso Vinaigrette

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? This weekend was packed with a ton of fun for us. Saturday morning we chilled and I went to the gym, then Saturday evening we walked around downtown Durham (including the American Tobacco Center, which is one of my absolute favorite spots in Durham). The sky was so blue!

Then we went to Rue Cler for dinner- it’s Triangle Restaurant Week and the prix fixe menu was superb. I started with a chilled cucumber soup with crab timbale, then a “tower” of marinated veggies with sheep’s milk feta. My main course was an outstanding sautéed NC yellowfin tuna served with piperade (a pepper and tomato-based sauce- yes, I looked it up) and crispy potatoes. Plus a humungous perrier that made me have to pee for the next four hours…

Which is very unfortunate because then we went to see “The King & I” at DPAC, and let’s just say the ladies room line was the longest I have EVER seen it. These are the times I really wish I were a man. The line was seriously out the door and extended across the entire floor to the opposite set of stairs. Seriously! Good thing they move you in and out pretty quickly.

Sunday was church and then I got to work on a new recipe. I was craving something summery, light, and that could be served as a garnish for tuna burgers or a side salad on its own. I adapted this recipe from Cooking Light with a few additions and modifications, and I think it turned out really well!

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Summer Corn Salad w/ Miso Vinaigrette

This would be perfect for using up any leftover corn on the cob. It would also make the perfect side for your next cookout. I served it with some homemade tuna burgers (recipe coming soon!) over spinach and some roasted sweet potatoes on the side. Looking forward to enjoying it all week long! Recipe below.

Summer Corn Salad w/ Miso Vinaigrette
Recipe Type: Summer, Vegetarian, Salad
Cuisine: Summer, Low-Calorie, Vegetarian
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8
This salad would be a perfect way to use up your leftover corn on the cob! The miso paste adds a little extra umami and the tomatoes soak up the delicious vinaigrette. Summer is officially started!
Ingredients
  • 4-6 fresh corn on the cob, roasted or grilled
  • 4 medium plum tomatoes (or 8 small campari tomatoes), quartered
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup cooked quinoa (or other grain)
  • 1/2 cup edamame
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fresh pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • feta for topping
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, sprinkle tomatoes with salt and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Shave off corn kernels from fresh corn and combine with edamame. Add to tomatoes and gently toss.
  3. While still warm, add quinoa to tomato mixture.
  4. Prepare vinaigrette by combining remaining ingredients (through lemon) in a mason jar. Whisk to combine. Thin out with hot water if needed.
  5. Pour vinaigrette over salad according to taste (I usually save a bit in the jar for later- don’t want to overdress!).
  6. Chill at least 30 minutes before serving.
  7. Serve over spinach and sprinkle with feta.

Summer Corn Salad w/ Miso Vinaigrette

Happy Summer!