Roasted Red Pepper Recipe

I used to only eat roasted red peppers at restaurants. They kind of seemed like a “gourmet” ingredient, and I never even thought about making them at home. Turns out, they are really easy to make! I love roasted vegetables because the roasting process enhances the flavors of the vegetables. Roasted red peppers are a great addition to salads, wraps, sandwiches, homemade hummus, homemade pesto or as a filling in tamales.

I made them in the oven under the broiler. It only takes about 10 minutes to cook and 30 minutes to cool.

Here is how it’s done!

  1. Turn oven on to the “broil” setting. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil
  2. Rinse red peppers and pat dry. Cut around the stem then pull it out. Cut the pepper in half (from top to bottom- length wise). Cut out all the white parts and remove the seeds. If some of the seeds are sticking, I like to run the pepper under cold water to get rid of them.
  3. With your hands or a knife, flatten each half-pepper and place them peel side up on the baking sheet.
  4. Place under broiler for 8-10 minutes or until the pepper is fully charred. (Don’t worry, we will remove the skin so it won’t look so ugly!) You may need to rotate the peppers half-way through to make sure that they get charred evenly.
Ugly... I know! But they won't look like this at the end.

Ugly… I know! But they won’t look like this when at the end.

5. Take the peppers out of the oven, wrap them in the tinfoil. Let sit for 30 minutes

6. Peel the skin off the peppers with your hands or a knife. Then chop and serve!

Homemade Organic Grass-fed Burgers (only $8!)

The restaurant industry in San Diego is booming. In the past couple of years, several new “gourmet” burger restaurants have popped up; To name a few, Burger Lounge, the Counter, Eureka. Some of these restaurants have grass-fed burgers and others have “vegetarian-fed” burgers (whatever that means lol).

I love that restaurants are working with the “farm-table” concept and that they are using more sustainable animal meat. However, most restaurants still use cheap industrial seed oils.  Also, the price per burger is pretty expensive with tax, tip, plus add-ons like avocado and fries. On a personal note, when I eat at restaurants, I tend to eat bigger portions than I do at home. I’m totally okay with occasionally spending the money and eating at restaurants but on a weekly basis I prefer to make HOMEMADE BURGERS.

Last night, we had some friends over for dinner. I made these wowmazing homemade burgers and get this…. With all the toppings and sides they cost around $8 per person. As you can see in the picture below, this $8 meal contained: organic grass-fed patties, avocado, caramelized onions, tomato, lettuce, whole wheat bun (or you can go naked style with no bun- thats how I roll) and some delicious crispy potatoes.

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Oh and did I forget to tell you that the burgers only take 20 minutes?!

Homemade Burger Recipe

Ingredients

  • Optional toppings/ sides: sweet potato fries, potato crisps, spinach, cheese, avocado, sprouts, sautéed mushrooms, roasted peppers
  • 1 lb organic ground grass-fed beef
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil, Ghee, or Organic Tea Seed Oil

Method

  1. Prep any burger toppings/ sides prior to cooking the burgers.
  2. Turn on oven to 350F degrees.
  3. Place ground beef, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in mixing bowl. Mix together thoroughly with your hands.
  4. Break the beef mixture into quarters and then form each quarter into a patty with your hands. You don’t want the burgers to be too thick
  5. Pre-heat your grill-pan or cast-iron skillet to a medium-high heat. Melt ghee or coconut oil.
  6. Place burgers on the pan for 3 minutes or until the bottom is browned. Then flip the burgers and cook for another 2 minutes. Take a knife and cut into the middle of one burger. Peak inside to see if the burger is cooked through. If not, then place the burgers in the oven for 2-3 minutes or until cooked to your desired temperature. (We like ours cooked “medium” so we only leave them in the oven for 1-2 minutes)

Serves 4

Spaghetti Squash With Garlic and Butter Sauce

Spaghetti squash is one of my favorite winter dishes. It is a great gluten-free alternative to regular or whole wheat pasta. Unlike pasta, spaghetti squash is considered a “whole food,” that means that it is unprocessed, more easily digested, and still has all of it’s nutrients.  One other benefit to spaghetti squash is that it is significantly lower in carbohydrates than pasta.

Here is a simple spaghetti squash recipe for you to try. There are some additional suggestions for recipe variations below.

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Ingredients

  • 1 medium Spaghetti squash
  • 1.5 Tablespoons organic butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ½ tsp chili flakes (optional)

Directions for Roasted Spaghetti Squash

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees
  2. Cut spaghetti squash in half (long-way from top to bottom) and scrape out the seeds.
  3. In a large glass baking dish, pour enough water to cover the bottom of the dish until there as ¼ or ½ inch of water.
  4. Place spaghetti squash halves face down in the dish and cover with tin foil.
  5. Bake in the over for 35-45 minutes– until the squash is easy to grate with a fork.
  6. Run a fork down the squash to create “spaghetti-like” strings.

Saute

  1. In a medium pan, melt 1 Tablespoon of butter. Add shallots and garlic and sauté for 3-5 minutes until fragrant.
  2. Add roasted spaghetti squash to the pan and mix until well-incorporated and heated through. Season with salt and pepper (and optional chili flakes)

Serves 2-3

Chef recommendations

  • Plate the spaghetti squash sauté and add a piece of Wild Tilapia or Grilled chicken
  • Option to add Italian spices like oregano, basil and/or thyme
  • Add a homemade pesto or tomato sauce to the Spaghetti squash

Lemon and Dill Baked Salmon

I have always been a fan of baked salmon, however I only recently become a fan of fresh dill. I have never been very comfortable cooking with dill because I never knew what to pair it with. Since it is summer and I am feeling adventurous, I decided to try something new. I absolutely love this fresh Lemon and Dill Salmon recipe. It is more than perfect for summertime.

Salmon is well-known in the nutrition world as a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are good for our health because they are anti-inflammatory. Other sources of Omega-3 fatty acids include: fish oil, olive oil, avocados, and almonds.

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Ingredients
1lb wild-caught salmon
1 Tbsp tea seed oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 bunch dill, chopped
1 small lemons, 1/4 inch slices
1/2 cup organic vegetable stock

Directions
1. Heat oven to 350 F degrees
2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Place 3-4 lemon slices and 1 Tbsp chopped dill on the baking tray.
4. Rinse salmon then dry. Rub both sides of salon with tea seed oil, sea salt and pepper.
5. Place 3-4 lemon slices and 1 Tbsp chopped dill on top of salmon.
6. Add organic vegetable stock to the baking dish to surround the salmon
7. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20-25 minutes. (cooking time varied depending on thickness of salmon)

Note: Serve hot or take salmon out of the oven to cool for an hour before serving

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water or vegetable stock (low sodium & organic)
  • 1 large cucumber, medium dice
  • 2 roma tomatoes, medium dice
  • ½ medium red onion, small dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, medium dice (optional)
  • ½ cup olives, chopped (optional)
  • 2 oz crumbled organic feta cheese
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • ½ bunch mint, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt (or more to taste)
  • black pepper

Directions

  1. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer until water runs clear.
  2. Add quinoa and water (or stock) to a medium size sauce pan. Bring to a boil then cover and let simmer for 20-25 minutes. You will know quinoa is ready the tiny seeds are all unraveled into spirals.
  3. While quinoa is cooking chop tomatoes, cucumber, onion, parsley and mint. Combine chopped ingredients into a large bowl, set aside.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. When quinoa is cooked, spread out evenly on the baking sheet and fluff with a fork. Let cool for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Combine the quinoa with the vegetables. Add feta cheese, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Note: If you want to make extra for leftovers don’t add feta, lemon juice, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Salad will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days without dressing.

I absolutely LOVE quinoa. It is just so versatile and takes very little time to prepare.

Be sure to check some other fantastic quinoa recipes:

 Morning Quinoa porridge

Hearty Kale and Quinoa Citrus Salad 

So Many Protein Bars To Choose From!

Okay, fine, I’ll help you out a little bit. It is a huge challenge to choose a good protein bar because there are way too many choices. The truth is that most protein bars have tons of processed ingredients that aren’t good for our health. The biggest problem that I have with protein bars is quality and quantity of sugar used to sweeten them. There are also usually way too many ingredients smooshed together in 1 bar.

While my preference is to eat real “whole foods,” I do understand that there are times where we have to make some exceptions. Protein bars and protein powder are to be used as a supplemental snack/meal in addition to an already existing whole foods diet.  They are not meant to be a replacement for a whole foods diet.

I just found my new favorite pre-workout bar and I am more than happy to share the secret. RISE protein bars! There are several flavors, however don’t be fooled– only 2 of the flavors are protein bars, the rest are “energy bars,” which contain much higher sugar levels and barely any protein. The two flavors that are on the ‘Nourished-Balance’ approved-list are:

  • Crunchy Carob Chip
  • Honey Almond

Rise

These tasty little bars have 17grams of protein. Both of these bars are gluten free as well. There are 13 grams of sugar in each of the bars, which is considered pretty high for a snack. In nutrition there is always a better & best option. These bars would be considered a “better” option because they use higher quality sugars than most of the other bars on the market.

The ingredient list for Crunchy Carob Chip includes: almonds, organic agave, whey protein isolate, carob powder and crisp rice.

The ingredient list for the Honey Almond Bar is: honey, almonds, whey protein isolate

The bars are available on Amazon or at Whole Foods (and if you buy the whole box you get 10% off). My local health food store, Jimbo’s…. Naturally, also carries these yummy snacks.

If you still don’t like either of these options, you can try my homemade protein bar recipe. (coming soon!)

Refreshing Summer Salad

This salad is composed of beautiful color combinations and fresh flavors that are perfect for summer. It has a nice fusion between mexican and asian flavor profiles. I love switching it up every now and then from the standard ‘leafy green’- based salad. For those of you who have never experimented with Jicama, let me introduce you to one of my favorite vegetables. Jicama also pairs well with some chili and lime for a refreshing snack.

Simple. Quick. Refreshing.
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Prep time– 10 minutes    Serves– 4

Ingredients
1 bunch pink radishes, thinly sliced (round or sticks)
1 english cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 small jicama, peeled and sliced into sticks
1/2 mango, cut into cubes
1/2 cup, chopped cilantro

Lime Vinaigrette Dressing
1/4 cup lime juice (about 3 limes)
1/2 tsp celtic sea salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Drizzle 1/2 of  dressing over the salad lightly. Toss and then adjust with more dressing if needed. Top with a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Note: Add some quinoa plus tofu or grilled chicken to turn this appetizer salad into a main dish.
Recipe adapted from Isabel’s Cantina