Beat the Heat with Our 20 Minute Taco Salad!

The NYC humidity is no joke in July! With the temperature staying around 80/90 degrees the last few weeks, turning on the oven to cook these days is no longer an option. So we’re cooling it down with our delicious taco salad recipe that’s super easy to prepare and will keep you full for that post-work Pilates class or (who are we kidding?!) happy hour drinks! For our salad, we topped it with some zesty, seasoned shrimp but the best thing about this recipe is that you can customize it any way you want: include jalapenos if you’re feeling spicy, or top with tofu if you’re a vegetarian! Mix and match any ingredients that you want to celebrate Taco Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday/Friday/Saturday….. ūüėČ

Taco Salad

Recipe serves 3 – 4

You’ll Need:

2 heads of romaine lettuce

shredded taco cheese

sour cream

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 jar medium salsa

1 avocado

cilantro

tortilla chips

Chop romaine lettuce and toss with salsa as a low fat and flavorful dressing. If desired, add a spoonful of sour cream to make dressing creamier. Chop red onion and avocado and add on top. Add cheese, cilantro, tortilla chips as desired.

Seasoned Shrimp

Recipe serves 3 – 4

You’ll Need:

1 tablespoon of avocado oil or olive oil

1/2 pound of fresh, raw shrimp (peeled and deveined)

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon fresh chopped garlic

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon fresh chopped cilantro

Combine dry seasonings except cilantro in a bowl. Add in shrimp and mix until shrimp is well coated. Heat avocado oil or olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add chopped garlic. Cook for 30 seconds and then add shrimp. Cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat or until shrimp is fully cooked. Turn off heat, add fresh chopped cilantro and mix. Once done, add shrimp to taco salad and enjoy!

If you’re looking for a side dish to complement the taco salad, our go to is always the classic Mexican rice and beans. Check out our 5-minute recipe below if you’re looking for something a little heartier to serve on the side or mix into your taco salad!

Mexican Brown Rice

Recipe serves 6 – 8

You’ll Need:

1 tablespoon of avocado oil or olive oil

2 bags of Uncle Ben’s 90 second brown rice

1 small can of sweet corn

1 small can of black beans (we used reduced sodium)

1/2 jar medium salsa

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

Cook both bags of Uncle Ben’s brown rice in microwave for 90 seconds. Heat avocado oil or olive oil in a large skillet or pot on medium heat. Add all of the ingredients listed above except for the cilantro, starting with the cooked brown rice, black beans and corn. Mix well. Cook for 3-5 minutes on medium heat. Turn off heat, add fresh chopped cilantro on top and mix!

 

How To: Become a Baller ;)

Okay so we don’t mean that we’re going to teach you how to get rich overnight or become really successful….. but we ARE going to teach you how to make 3 different types of delicious meatballs that you can feed to your family and friends! All of the recipes listed below are super easy to make and provide a unique twist on the “traditional meatball”. We’ve also suggested ways to pair each meatball option to dispel the belief that meatballs are only served in marinara sauce or with pasta! So check out your options below and make your favorite one! And if you’re feeling really “ballsy”, why not try em all?!

Traditional Italian Turkey Meatballs

Recipe yields about 25-30 meatballs

You’ll Need:

1 pound ground turkey

1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped

3 large cloves of garlic, chopped

3 heaping tablespoons of tomato sauce

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese 

1/4 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs

1 egg

2 tablespoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

salt (to taste)

pepper (to taste)

In a large bowl, mix all of the above ingredients together and form into 1 & 1/2 inch balls. Put meatballs in a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or avocado oil). Cook meatballs on medium heat on each side for about 3-5 minutes or until outer layer is brown and crispy. Transfer meatballs to a large pot and cover with sauce (we recommend Rao’s Tomato Sauce but feel free to use your favorite jarred sauce or make your own sauce from scratch!). Cook on low heat for about an hour and a half to two hours, stirring occasionally.

Pro tip: Pair these Italian turkey meatballs with some whole wheat spaghetti for a lighter pasta dinner!

Greek Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

Recipe yields about 25-30 meatballs

You’ll Need:

1 pound ground turkey

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

3 large cloves of garlic, chopped

2 heaping tablespoons of tomato sauce

2 large zucchini grated

2 tablespoons dried oregano

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 

4-6 tablespoons seasoned Italian breadcrumbs

1 egg

1/2 small container of crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)

salt (to taste)

pepper (to taste)

In a large bowl, mix all of the above ingredients together and form into 1 & 1/2 inch balls. Put meatballs in a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or avocado oil). Cook meatballs on medium heat, turning them every few minutes. Cook for about 20-25 minutes or until cooked through and brown on all sides.

Pro tip: Top these Greek turkey meatballs with some homemade Tzatziki Sauce (recipe below) and serve with brown rice and a side of veggies if you’re trying to cut down on the carbs!

Homemade Tzatziki Sauce

Recipe yields about 3 cups

You’ll Need:

2 cups plain Greek yogurt (we recommend Siggi’s)

2 mini seedless cucumbers, diced small

2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill

juice of 1 lemon

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

salt (to taste)

pepper (to taste)

In a large bowl, mix all of the above ingredients together and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.

Vegetarian “Meat”balls

Recipe yields about 25-30 meatballs

You’ll Need:

1 can lentils, drained and rinsed

1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

3 tablespoons of tomato paste

4-6 large Crimini or button mushrooms, wiped clean and finely chopped

2 eggs

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs

1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

salt (to taste)

pepper (to taste)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Drain and rinse lentils and set aside. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil to a large pan. Bring heat to medium/high and add in chopped onions, celery, carrots, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir frequently for 5-10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the tomato paste to the pan and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pan and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Once cooked, transfer mixture to a large bowl and let cool. When cool, add in the lentils, eggs, Parmesan cheese and walnuts. Mix by hand until all ingredients are well incorporated. Place in the refrigerator for 25 minutes. Remove mixture from the refrigerator and form mixture into 1 & 1/2 inch balls, making sure to pack the mixture firmly. Use cooking spray to coat a baking sheet and place balls on cooking sheet. Cook for about 30 minutes until meatballs are firm, cooked through and crispy on the outside. Allow meatballs to cool before topping!

Pro tip: Try these vegetarian “meat”balls in a whole wheat pita with arugula and topped with chimichurri sauce! YUM!

Tag us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook @foodtoeat with pictures of the meatball recipe that you chose and what you paired it with for your meatball-inspired lunch or dinner!

 

Healthy Eats for Memorial Day Weekend!

Really trying to stick to that diet plan this summer? Same. But if you’re like us, you’re already scared of what food will be tempting you at the Summer kick off BBQ that your friend is hosting for¬†Memorial Day Weekend. Alcohol + all of the delicious food you’ve been avoiding = recipe for disaster!

The best way that we’ve found that we can avoid cheating on a diet is to meal prep. Which is why we’ve come up with healthy alternatives to the traditional burgers and sides that are usually served during the holiday weekend. All of these items are super easy to make and can be prepared at home and brought with you to any MDW party! So whenever you’re feeling like you’re about to dive headfirst into the buffet table, you can chow down on your pre-made turkey burger, pesto chickpea pasta salad, grilled carrots, tomato and cucumber salad and crispy chickpeas without feeling guilty!

The Burger

Turkey Burgers: Recipe yields about 4 burgers

You’ll Need:

1 pound ground turkey

2-3 heaping tablespoons of tomato sauce

2 cloves of fresh chopped garlic

1 egg

1/4 cup of breadcrumbs (we suggest seasoned breadcrumbs but any kind is fine)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes

1 teaspoon onion powder

Pro Tip: Adding tomato sauce to your ground meat recipe keeps the meat super moist without adding a tomato sauce flavor!

In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients above and form into patties. These burgers can be cooked on a cast iron skillet inside (New Yorkers stuck in the city, we’re lookin at you) or an outdoor grill. Cook on each side for about 8-10 minutes. Make sure that they are completely cooked through before adding your favorite toppings. For our meal we did arugula, onion, tomato and avocado!

If you’re really committed to your diet, we suggest eating the burger sans bun. But if you’re craving the burger, bread and all, we suggest Multigrain sandwich thins (which is what we put our burgers on) or Multigrain toast as a replacement for the traditional Potato or Brioche bun.

The Sides

Grilled Carrots: Recipe yields about 3 carrots per person

You’ll Need:

2-3 pound bag of carrots

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 tablespoons olive oil

Pro Tip: Leave carrot tops on for pretty presentation!

Peel carrots and place in a bowl. Drizzle will olive oil, mix in seasonings and toss. Grill for about 10-15 minutes on medium heat on a cast iron skillet or an outdoor grill OR roast in the oven at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes (we prefer roasting them in the oven but either works!). Carrots should be charred on the outside but soft on the inside. Use a fork to test!

Tomato and Cucumber Salad: Recipe yields about 4 portions

You’ll Need:

10-12 Plum (or Roma) tomatoes

3 stalks celery 

3 mini seedless cucumbers 

3 cloves fresh chopped garlic

handful of fresh chopped basil

1/4 cup olive oil

Cut the celery down the middle and then slice. Cut the cucumbers down the middle and then slice. Cut tomatoes in half, slice each half down the middle and then across to make 4 pieces (pieces should be about 1 inch in size). Add all of the ingredients above to a large bowl and mix. Let everything sit in fridge for 1 hour before eating or serving!

Pesto Pasta Salad: Recipe yields about 4-6 portions

You’ll Need:

1 box Banza (chickpea) pasta (any shape you like, for our meal we used rotini)

3 mini seedless cucumbers

1/2 container of Heirloom Cherry tomatoes or Cherry tomatoes

1 small container of crumbled Feta cheese

2-3 handfuls of arugula

Pesto sauce (store bought or homemade)

Cook Banza pasta, rinse with cold water and chill for 15-20 minutes. Cut the cucumbers down the middle and then slice. Slice cherry tomatoes in half. Add all of the ingredients above to a large bowl, using as much or as little pesto sauce as you’d like. Add in the chilled Banza pasta and mix. Let everything sit in fridge for 1 hour before eating or serving! (Our homemade pesto sauce recipe is below for any overachievers! It does require a food processor.)

Homemade Pesto Sauce: Recipe yield about 1 cup

You’ll Need:

2 cups fresh basil

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup pine nuts

juice of 1/2 lemon

3 cloves garlic

 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)

Add the basil and pine nuts to the food processor and blend for a few seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients to the basil/pine nuts mix in the food processor and blend until smooth.

Crispy Chickpea: Recipe yields about 2 cups

You’ll Need:

2 cans chickpeas/garbanzo beans

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Rinse and drain chickpeas. Place on paper towel and make sure to dry completely. Add the chickpeas and the ingredients above into a large bowl and mix. Transfer chickpeas to a baking sheet lined with tinfoil and bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until desired crispiness. These are perfect for snacking throughout the day!

Tag us @foodtoeat on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with pictures of your creations! Happy cooking!

Foods to Keep Your Heart (and Body) Healthy

According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death. An estimated 17.9 million people die each year from heart disease or stroke. February is American Heart Month, which means there’s no better time to take a look at what you’re putting into your body and how it affects your heart than right now!

Diet and exercise are the keys to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But let’s be honest… during these cold winter months, getting out of bed at 6AM to make that gym class just usually doesn’t happen. So we think an easier way to improve your heart health is to start making healthy choices about the food you put into your body. Small changes to your diet, such as cutting out simple carbohydrates like white bread and pasta and replacing with whole wheat substitutes, as well as increasing your fiber and protein intake, can make a big impact on lowering¬† your heart disease risk.

Based off of the recommendations given by the American Heart Association and our own research on some key heart healthy foods, below is a list of items that will keep your heart strong and healthy!

  1. Leafy Greens: Kale, Spinach, Watercress and Broccoli
  2. Nuts: Almonds, Walnuts and Pistachios
  3. Whole Wheat Bread, Pasta and Crackers
  4. Grapes and Berries: Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries
  5. Fish: Salmon and Tuna
  6. Low-Fat or Greek Yogurt
  7. Quinoa
  8. Beans: Chickpeas and Lentils
  9. Oatmeal
  10. Red Wine and Dark Chocolate (our personal favorites!)

Looking for ways to include these foods in your office’s next team breakfast or lunch?! Below are meal ideas from our favorite vendors that offer heart healthy options you can try today!

Blue Dog Kitchen: Pre-packaged 16 oz fresh pressed juices: All Greens Plus Juice, Bulldozer, Replenisher, Full Bloom Juice, Knights in Armor Juice and Spring Awakening

Fresh & Co: Steel cut oatmeal served with agave, brown sugar and fresh, seasonal berries

Little Urban: Blackened Salmon, Vadouvan Spice Lentil Stew, Braised Quinoa, Roasted Broccoli and Watercress & Herb Salad

Two Forks: Build Your Own Grain or Green Bowl with smashed chickpeas, chicken, cucumber/tomato/olive slaw and top with Harissa buffalo sauce

February #Eats

From Valentine’s Day to Mardi Gras to the Chinese New Year, there’s nothing better than getting to¬†experience a new culture¬†through food or showing someone that you care with a delicious treat! Whichever holiday you’re celebrating this month, let us know and we’ll customize the meal to fit your needs!

Valentine's Day Cupcake
Valentine’s Day is a day to show that special someone how much you care for them. What better way to show your office some love than with a decorate your own cupcake bar from Berger’s?! The red and white sprinkles, Valentine’s M&M’s, sweethearts and colored icing will have your coworkers feeling warm and fuzzy all afternoon! (or at least full from cupcakes….)
mardi-gras-gumbo.jpg
Don’t feel the love in the air?? Join the Mardi Gras celebration with some Fat Tuesday festivities! Distilled NY has created a special Mardi Gras themed menu including creole gumbo, jambalaya and beignets that will get you in the bead-throwing spirit!
Mr Bing Chinese New Year 1
On Friday, February 16th, we celebrate the Chinese New Year and welcome the Year of the Dog! Create your own reunion dinner in your office with dumplings and bings (traditional Chinese street crepes) from Mr. Bing!