What I’m not: a technical chef by any means. But with a phenomenal cook as a mother and a candy-making background in my blood, let’s just say I can stir different ingredients and spices in a pan and make it taste pretty darn good.
To know: I’m very much a health-conscious vegetable lover. And while I genuinely savor the rich flavors of restaurant dishes – especially at some of my favorite spots in the city – when it’s just me, my kitchen and a wooden spoon, I tend to aim for fuel over flavor; i.e. cooking spray and olive oil over butter, cauliflower over potatoes, and buckets of Parmesan cheese. Because Parmesan cheese by the bucket is healthy, right?
I’m not a vegetarian, but most of my dishes are. The fourth grade version of myself would slap me right now and shove a burger down my throat (or two), but the Stacy of today – and for quite some time now – is adamant about filling her body with whole grains, healthy fats and fish or other non-meat based proteins. It’s what makes me feel the best, as does sitting down with a jumbo bag of frozen dark chocolate peanut m&ms and a tall glass of wine.
This should make between 4 and 6 servings. On the first night, all we ate was soup, and so we served heftier portions. Then, we saved two smaller portions and froze these for a later date.
The key to creating the perfect summer veggie kebab is to be open and adventurous. Anything in the kitchen is fair game. Leave no veggie or fruit unskewered.
Vegetarian Recipe: Eggplant with White Cheese
This dish turned out to be fairly simple despite the lengthy prep time. Plus, it’s completely vegetarian — and if you’re a vegan, you can simply remove the cheese from the mix, and call it a day. Craving a little Mediterranean home cooking? Then I highly recommend it.
Tomato and Chickpea Stew with Bulgar
If you’re looking for an incredibly easy recipe that requires little more than what’s already on your shelves, then I definitely suggest trying this one out. Served warm on a cold day or cold in the summer, it’s the perfect little meal for the person with a taste for Turkish or the runner concerned with effective fueling.
Turkish Inspired: Grilled Swordfish Steaks
I served this as one of two main dishes on a Saturday night for friends. Swordfish happens to fall on the cheaper side of seafood, and when served with a grain, you don’t need that much of it. I cooked up three steaks for four bellies.
Asian on the Cheap: Vegetarian Stir Fry Teriyaki
Stir fry dinners are one of my favorite ways to create a quick and effortless meal that incorporates both colorful veggies and whole grains (if you use brown rice, that is). It’s also extremely easy on the wallet and a surefire way to use the last of your produce before it rots away in the fridge. Sound appetizing? Come and get it!
If you’re looking for a simple, tasty recipe that doesn’t involve chicken or red meat, then I definitely recommend trying this simply tuna dish after a long, hard run. Best of all, because it requires such little preparation and cooking time, you won’t have to stand on your achy feet for too long.
Florida Favorites: Peel ‘n’ Eat Shrimp
I have this really pleasant memory from my childhood. It’s of sunsets, beaches and delicious Peel ‘n’ Eat Shrimp, a simple dish served up either cold or hot from the shores of a restaurant called Lorelei in Islamorada. My mom, being the chef extraordinaire that she is, replicates this on occasion at home. Now, I’ve started to as well.
A Fall Favorite: Perfectly Crispy, Almost-Burnt Carrots
On days when I want my apartment to smell the way my kitchen does when my mom cooks — especially on Jewish holidays like Yom Kuppur — I know that all I have to do is break out this insanely simple recipe. While probably too short and too easy to share with you, I’m thinking that maybe some of you have never tried to broil your own vegetables because, when it’s all said and done, the finished product looks like it took a lot more work than it actually did. (And for those of you who can’t or won’t cook, I encourage you to try this out too.)
Mild Citrus Guacamole with Fresh Tomatoes
If you love massive bowls of sloppy, green avocado as much as I do, here’s how it’s done. The tomatoes add bulk, so you can boost the nutritional value and fill yourself up.
Double Trouble: Rock Salt & Lime Artichokes
When done (you can check by pulling off and tasting one of the leaves), pour out the water and put your cooked artichokes in a bowl. Squeeze 1 fresh lime over the leaves, and sprinkle with a dash of rock salt to taste. Top off with a little bit of pecorino cheese.
Not Your Mom’s Mashed Potatoes: Cauliflower Puree
The backstory of my cauliflower puree is simple. Not long ago, my mom began to replace the main ingredient in mashed potatoes with cauliflower – and I’m not referring to the butter. Instead, taking inspiration from a side dish I loved growing up of pureed broccoli (I was a weird kid), she cooked up a concoction of cauliflower with a dab of butter. Now, taking inspiration from my mom (but replacing the butter with olive oil and a bucket of Parmesan cheese), I’m bringing the recipe to you.
Recipes I Love: Lentil and Beet Salad
This lentil and beet salad I put together isn’t just for the health-conscious, green eater; it’s for the runner too. Best of all, it’s vegan, and can be served on its own with a fresh side of greens or, when hosting carnivorous guests, as a side-dish to a meatier meal.
Healthy Chickpea & Black Sesame Coleslaw
The following coleslaw salad is not only delicious, but it’s packed with enough ingredients to warrant it dinner. The chickpeas add protein, so it’s definitely filling, especially when eaten with a slice of whole grain toast. Best of all, it’s a great way to utilize the ingredients you already have sitting in your home.
Salad Topper: Spicy Toasted Chickpeas and Onions
I recently put together this insanely easy-to-make recipe for Spicy Toasted Chickpeas and Onions that I can’t get enough of lately. All you need: 1 can of chickpeas (drained), 1/2 red onion, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.
Runner’s Delight: Vegetarian Balsamic Lentil Salad
As a non-vegetarian who doesn’t really eat meat and is constantly looking for other sources of protein to stay full and strong (that’s a category now), lentils are one of my go-to ingredients. They’re low in fat, full of protein, and really delicious whether you’re a meat eater or not. Enjoy, and here’s hoping that your giant Tupperware-full of legumes lasts far longer than mine did. Portion control is not one of my strengths.
Vegetarian Friendly: Balsamic Black Bean and Quinoa Summer Salad
Here’s the recipe to a light summer black bean and quinoa salad that’s filling, healthy, and great for vegetarians. All you need: 1 tomato, 1 cucumber, 1 can of black beans, 10-15 stalks of asparagus, walnuts, red quinoa, black pepper, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar and feta cheese (optional).
Bim-Bim-Bulgar: Chickpeas, Cucumber and Fried Egg
Bulgar wheat is a whole grain with lots of fiber and Mediterranean roots, but really, this dish is far more universal. Don’t stock bulgar wheat in your cabinets? Try bim-bim-quinoa, or heck, cook up a real bim-bim-bop using brown rice. I was just craving a tomato sauce-y dish, which happens to go really nicely with my grain of choice.
Turkish Delight: Bulgar Pilaf with Vegetables
Says my Turkish cookbook when you open to this recipe, “This is a healthful vegetarian dish. We love the combination of the bulgar and vegetables.” Enough said.
Marinated Mushrooms (for kebabs or alone)
I washed two packages of mushrooms, sliced each of the bigger boys in half, and then allowed the fungi to marinate for a few hours in the fridge in a mild blend of balsamic vinegar, fresh basil, salt, pepper, oregano and ground ginger.
Heavenly Platter: Fig & Mozzarella Antipasti
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. All that’s required is to slice up your mozzarella and tomato into ¼ to ½-inch slices and arrange on a plate. Add your fresh figs (if they’re in season and not a billion dollars), sliced into halves or quarters, and a handful of olives. Top off the platter by drizzling balsamic vinegar and sprinkling black pepper atop your tomato and cheese. Keep in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.