Ricotta Zucchini Spinach Dumplings

When I first discovered ricotta, I was in cream cheese heaven. It was mindblowingly tasty. On top of that it is also quite a healthy cream cheese and extremely versatile as it works for savory dishes just as well as for sweet desserts. The wonderful thing about this particular dish is that it is perfectly suited for meal preps, as it can be easily reheated and still tastes awesome. This recipe makes for four servings as a main dish and takes approximately 45 minutes.

Ingredients for the dumplings

  • 2-3 generous handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini
  • 1 cup of ricotta
  • ¼ cup of grated parmesan
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup of all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Ingredients for the sauce

  • 28 ounces (850 ml) of whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons of native olive oil
  • 1 handful of fresh basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves

Start off with the sauce. The secret to a perfectly-flavored tomato sauce is the time you allow it to simmer, as this enables the spices to truly infuse. So any minute more is a minute that will work in your favor. For the tomato sauce, use a large pan and on a medium heat. Chop the garlic cloves into tiny dices and add them to the pan with the oil. After approximately one minute, add the peeled tomatoes and tomato paste. Once everything is well blended, add the salt, pepper and basil leaves. Then let it simmer on a low to medium heat.

Now it’s time to focus on our dumplings. For this, grate the zucchini into a bowl, add the salt, mix it well and let them rest for ten minutes. During this time, the salt will drain the zucchini of liquid and therefore help the dumplings achieve a good texture. Afterwards, pour the zucchini flakes into the center of a kitchen towel and twist it over the sink to let all the excess liquid run out. Then, chop the spinach leaves into smaller bits and add them to the bowl. Mix the zucchini and spinach and then add the ricotta, parmesan and egg, as well as the cayenne and ground pepper, and whisk it all in until nicely blended. The dough is now ready.

The grand finale, a.k.a. the next step, is bringing a large pot to the boil. Ideally this should have 2.5 inches/6-7 centimeters of water in it. Use 2 tablespoons and scoop out a golf ball-sized portion with one of the tablespoons and solidify the dough a bit by using the second spoon. Let the ball glide into the water. Repeat the process until you have a good quantity of dumplings in the water without them laying on each other. The dumplings are ready when they float onto the surface.

 

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Halloumi Avocado Bacon Salad With Dill-Lemon Dressing

Halloumi is one of Cyrus’ tastiest gifts to the world. It has rightfully become popular, as it is a wonderful meat substitute for BBQs and other culinary applications, as you can marinate and grill it just like you would with a steak or burger patty. It’s traditionally made out of a mix of goat and sheep’s milk, although a lot of providers use cow’s milk as well. Coupled with maple syrup, it becomes divine.

This salad is an amazing weekday dinner option that’s perfect after coming home from the gym or as a refreshing summer dish on a hot day. Its rich flavors leave nothing left to wish for as far as meals are concerned. This recipe makes 2 servings as a main course. Prep time is 20-25 minutes, depending on whether you do the bacon and halloumi parallel or one after the other.

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 10 slices of bacon
  • 2/3 cup of sweet corn
  • 5 spring onions
  • 5 ounces (125 grams) of halloumi cheese (click here)
  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • 3 tablespoons of dill
  • 3 tablespoons of native olive oil
  • Salt and ground pepper

Start by chopping the avocado into dices and the spring onions into small rings. Add it all to a salad bowl, along with the sweet corn. Fry the bacon in a pan on medium heat until crispy. Make sure to put the bacon into the cold pan and then turn on the heat, as this makes for crispier and less greasy results. You also don’t need to add any butter or oil for frying the bacon. Once the slices have reached the desired state of crispiness, lay them on a paper towel to soak up all the extra fat. Then fold the paper towel and crush the bacon inside, then add the crumbles to the salad bowl. Pour in the dill and you are ready for the grand finale: the cheese.

Afterwards, cut the halloumi into slices (or dices, whatever floats your boat) and cook it in the pan with the vegetable oil and maple syrup. The latter allows the halloumi to slightly caramelize and gives it a unique and super tasty flavor. Once the halloumi has gone a dark golden color, add it to the bowl.

As for the dressing, squeeze one fresh lemon into a small glass or bowl, add the olive oil, salt and pepper and whisk it all together. Note that there is no need to have any vinegar, as the lemon adds all the acid that is needed. Mix it into the other salad ingredients and enjoy. Serve it while the halloumi is still slightly warm.


You’ve been hit by, you’ve been struck by… a smooth(ie) criminal

That’s right, this sneaky soft talker of a smoothie will steal your heart in a flash. Guilty of being tasty. This one thrives on the awesome taste of maple syrup and by God does it thrive. This recipe makes for one generous serving and is an ideal meal replacement, if you want to skip dinner for a nutritious yet enjoyable option.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of chilled oat milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 scoop of My Protein Maple Syrup flavor
  • 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds
  • Nutmeg

Truth be told, the maple syrup protein powder is for people with a real sweet tooth. So you might want to tone it down a bit. This can be achieved with the help of the banana, which coincidentally also ensures a healthy dose of potassium, minerals and vitamins with your smoothie. Flaxseeds are full of omega-3 fatty acids and a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid, which can lower your risk for heart-attacks.  Lastly, the nutmeg can help your body eliminate the toxins accumulated in the liver and kidney and overall contributes to a better night’s sleep, as it is said to be a great home remedy for treating insomnia. After all, a good night’s sleep is the best foundation of a healthy body and mind.


Berrylicious smoothie

Whether you are busy multitasking or – like me – a mom with a newborn, a smoothie is always a great way to replenish your vitamin stores.  It’s your quick fix of a healthy meal. The good news: the preperation is so fast, that you will always find the 2-3 minutes it takes even if you have plenty of to-do’s on your list. This recipe makes 2 generous helpings.

img_20180505_115948_009-200716722.jpgIngredients

  • 2 cups of low-sugar oat milk
  • 1 cup of frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup of raspberries
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tablespoons of cacao

As per all my smoothie recipes, the frozen berries ensure that your drink is chilled, but not watered down due to melted ice cubes. Blend all in a mixer and enjoy!


Greek Veggie Feta Casserole

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Greece is the origin of so many amazing things: democracy, philosophers that are still as relevant today as they were more than 2,000 years ago and, of course, olive oil and feta cheese. I have yet to encounter someone who was not completely in awe of the wonderful Greek islands and their tasty food. This casserole dish, while not following an original recipe, draws heavily from Greek cuisine and is a great weekday meal option with limited preparation time. This recipe makes 2 servings as a main course or 4 servings as a side dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 very large or 2 medium-sized zucchini(s)
  • 6 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 1 cup of pitted black olives
  • 1 chopped medium-sized onion
  • 9 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 7 ounces (200 grams) of feta cheese
  • 1 handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 3-4 slices of ciabatta bread
  • 4 chopped garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper

Cut the zucchini, tomatoes, olives and feta into dices. Chop the fresh basil. Bring a pan to medium heat and fry the chopped onion and 2 of the chopped garlic cloves with 5 tablespoons of olive oil. After 1-2 minutes, add the zucchini dices. Let it cook for 5 minutes and then mix in the tomatoes and olives, as well as the basil, and fill everything into a casserole. Drizzle the feta on top and then bake it in the oven for 25 minutes at 360 degrees Fahrenheit/180 degrees Celsius.

In the meantime, cut the ciabatta bread into dices. Add the 4 remaining tablespoons of olive oil and chopped garlic cloves to a medium-heated pan, as well as the ciabatta bread dices. Make sure to mix everything well and fry the bread for 3-5 minutes until crunchy. The bits will be added as a topping after the casserole is done and out of the oven.

Want to make the dish carbs free? Simply leave out the ciabatta bread.

Enjoy!