Monthly Archives: August 2011

Mediterranean Couscous

A blend of couscous, sun dried tomatoes, garlic and feta are combined in this 10 minute Mediterranean couscous salad recipe!

Sun Dried Tomato Couscous

I realized 2 things after my first week back at school, I despise anything math related and I always lose weight while I’m in school because I never have time to eat!

With a back-to-back class schedule and boat loads of homework I will sometimes go all day only eating an energy bar and large cappuccino (not a great thing for someone who loves food as much as I do!)

Needless to say when I got home from school today I had consumed a Trader Joes fruit and nut trail mix bar and a 7-eleven french vanilla cappuccino… and it was now 5:00 pm… I was very hungry and I needed something QUICK!!

Today’s recipe was inspired by both what was in my pantry that I could make fast, as well as a recipe from one of my Food Network favorite’s, Guy Fieri.

Mediterranean Couscous Recipe

Couscous is a very quick cooking mediterranean grain and one of the healthiest grain-based products out there!

It’s low in fat, high in protein and lower on the glycemic index than pasta.

Mediterranean Couscous Ingredients

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese (crumbled)

Begin by heating the olive oil in a medium skillet, next add the garlic and red pepper flakes, sauté for 1 minute.

Sautéed Garlic and Red Pepper

Next, add the sun-dried tomatoes and sauté an additional minute.

Sautéed Garlic, Red Pepper and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Mediterranean Chicken Stock

Add the couscous then remove the skillet from the heat and cover.

After 5 minutes remove the lid and fluff with a fork.

Sun Dried Tomato Couscous

Now it’s time to add the cheese (my favorite part!) I used the mediterranean feta from Trader Joe’s which worked perfect for this recipe, but regular feta will work too!

Sun Dried Tomato and Feta Couscous

Now toss together with salt and pepper to taste and you have a healthy, simple, delicious meal in about 10 minutes!

Mediterranean Sun Dried Tomato Couscous

If you haven’t noticed yet most of my lunches do not involve meat, for 2 reasons, meat dishes usually take longer to cook and meat is expensive.

My goal with lunch is creating something delicious, yet also quick and inexpensive!

Mediterranean Couscous

Lemon Rosemary Chicken would be a delicious addition to this Mediterranean Couscous for dinner!

Mediterranean Couscous with Feta Cheese

Mediterranean Sun Dried Tomato Couscous
5 from 1 vote
Print

Mediterranean Couscous

A blend of couscous, sun dried tomatoes, garlic and feta are combined in this 10 minute Mediterranean couscous salad recipe!

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 489 kcal
Author Whitney Bond

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes drained
  • 2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbled

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet.
  2. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, sauté for 1 minute.
  3. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and sauté an additional minute.
  4. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.

  5. Add the couscous then remove the skillet from the heat and cover.
  6. After 5 minutes remove the lid and fluff with a fork.
  7. Add the feta cheese, toss and serve.

Chili Lime Garlic Grilled Shrimp

Grilled shrimp is marinated in a delicious, slightly spicy, chili lime garlic marinade, then cooked on the grill, or in a cast iron skillet, for an easy, healthy gluten free recipe!

Chili Lime Garlic Grilled Shrimp

Yay!!  My first dinner post!! So unfortunately my roomie Nick is moving back to Boston on Tuesday, but fortunately that gave us a great excuse to plan a little going-away dinner for him this weekend that involved surf-and-turf!

Now if you would have asked me 5 years ago what surf-and-turf was I would have probably said some sort of exercise but after venturing in to the seafood world about 3 years ago… yes New Years Day 2009 was my first time to eat anything out of the water IN MY LIFE!

No salmon, no shrimp, no lobster, not even my favorite, crab, until this fateful day in 2009! I don’t know how I lived before crab legs, lobster rolls and one of my favorite  things I’ve ever made, Chili Lime Garlic Grilled Shrimp!

Chili Lime Garlic Grilled Shrimp

Now there’s still that fishy (get it, fishy, haha) story out there that my parents always try to tell me about how I ate fish sticks from Hardee’s when I was about 9 years old because I thought they were chicken strips, but all the same, for the purpose of this post we’ll say my first fish experience was in 2009 (besides I don’t know if you can consider fish sticks from Hardee’s really fish!)

Back to the dinner! As soon as the boys (my two roommates) decided on surf-and-turf for dinner I knew I had to make these grilled shrimp.  I made them once before on Father’s Day this year and they were to-die-for!

Garlic Chili Lime Grilled Shrimp Recipe Ingredients

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 15-20 large shrimp (peeled & deveined)

Place all of the above ingredients, except the shrimp, in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

Garlic Chili Lime Grilled Shrimp Recipe

Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for 15 minutes.

Grill the shrimp for app. 3 minutes on each side.

Garlic Chili Lime Grilled Shrimp Recipe

They can also be grilled indoors in a cast iron skillet.

Chili Lime Garlic Grilled Shrimp Recipe

Now these little shrimpies are ready to come off the grill and get in my belly!

Chili Lime Garlic Grilled Shrimp

I finished off the meal by throwing in the leftover creamy orzo from Wednesdays lunch with some crispy veggies and some grilled corn on the cob and we had a serious feast going on!

Fast forward almost 4 years later to April 2015, and I made this Cilantro Lime Pesto Risotto, then topped it with this shrimp, so delicious!

Cilantro Lime Pesto Risotto with Chili Lime Shrimp

Chili Lime Garlic Grilled Shrimp on plate with Fresh Cilantro and Limes
5 from 2 votes
Print

Chili Lime Garlic Grilled Shrimp

Grilled shrimp is marinated in a delicious, slightly spicy, chili lime garlic marinade, then cooked on the grill, or in a cast iron skillet, for an easy, healthy gluten free recipe!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Marinating Time 15 minutes
Total Time 11 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 69 kcal
Author Whitney Bond

Ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce tamari for gluten free
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 15-20 large shrimp peeled & deveined

Instructions

  1. Whisk the garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce, chili powder, lime juice, red pepper flakes and olive oil together in a medium mixing bowl.

  2. Add the shrimp and toss to coat.
  3. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for 15 minutes.
  4. Grill the shrimp for 3 minutes per side.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Gluten Free Option: Substitute gluten-free soy sauce to make this recipe gluten-free.

 

Caramelized Beet and Feta Cheese Salad

Steamed Beets are oven roasted in olive oil & balsamic vinegar then topped with creamy feta cheese in this easy 20 minute Caramelized Beet and Feta Cheese Salad Recipe.

Caramelized Beet and Feta Cheese Salad

Today’s lunch was inspired by what was in my refrigerator… beets!

Caramelized Beet and Feta Cheese Salad Recipe

I usually make a caramelized beet and goat cheese salad that involves arugula and avocado… but I didn’t have goat cheese, arugula or avocado so what else did I have in there?  Well I had feta, that could replace the goat cheese, I had onions and tomatoes so there I go!

Caramelized Beet and Feta Salad Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 8 oz baby beets (steamed & peeled)
  • 1/2 red onion (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tomato (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp feta cheese

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil then place the beets on top.

Sprinkle the chopped onions over the beets then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic. Top with salt and pepper.

Caramelizing Beets

Place in the oven for 6 minutes, toss, then cook for an additional 6 minutes.

Remove from the oven and place the beets on a plate. Pour the sauce from the foil onto the beets then top with the chopped tomatoes and feta cheese.

Easy Beet and Feta Salad Recipe

The result was D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S and healthy! Don’t even get me started on my purple food obsession, but beets pack tons of antioxidants, as well as betanin pigments which have been shown to lessen tumor cell growth, I’m sold!

Caramelized Beet and Feta Salad

Caramelized Beet and Feta Cheese Salad
5 from 1 vote
Print

Caramelized Beet and Feta Cheese Salad

Steamed Beets are oven roasted in olive oil & balsamic vinegar then topped with creamy feta cheese in this easy 20 minute Caramelized Beet and Feta Cheese Salad Recipe.

Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Greek
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 185 kcal
Author Whitney Bond

Ingredients

  • 8 oz baby beets steamed & peeled
  • 1/2 cup red onion diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tomato chopped
  • 2 tbsp feta cheese crumbled

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

  2. Line a baking sheet with foil then place the beets on top.
  3. Sprinkle the chopped onions over the beets then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic.
  4. Top with salt and pepper.
  5. Place in the oven for 6 minutes, toss, then cook for an additional 6 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and place the beets on a plate.
  7. Pour the sauce from the foil onto the beets then top with the chopped tomatoes and feta cheese.

Butternut Squash and Mozzarella Salad

This roasted butternut squash and mozzarella salad is drizzled in a balsamic vinegar reduction for a sweet, delicious, gluten free and vegetarian salad made in under 45 minutes!

Balsamic Vinegar Mozzarella Squash Salad

Today’s lunch was inspired by a lovely salad I had at the fabulous La Piazza Ristorante Italiano at The Grove.

Butternut Squash Mozzarella Salad

The salad is sweet, salty and Italian, so pretty much a combination of all of my favorite things!

Butternut Squash and Mozzarella Salad Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 12 oz butternut squash
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnut pieces
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese balls

Pre-heat the oven to 400°F, then prepare the butternut squash.

I am fortunate enough to live within walking distance to Trader Joes (which is pretty apparent in all of my ingredient shots!) so I purchased pre-cut ready-to-go butternut squash cubes.

If you aren’t so fortunate to live near a Trader Joes, just buy a couple of medium size squash and cube them yourself.

Place the butternut squash cubes on a baking sheet (I like to line with foil bc I HATE to do dishes and it prevents them from sticking to the baking sheet so easier clean up!)

Drizzle the olive oil over the top.

Roasted Butternut Squash

Sprinkle with salt, pepper and cinnamon.

Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash

Then on to my favorite part… BROWN SUGAR!  I feel that everything in life would be better if it had a little brown sugar involved!

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Butternut Squash

Now the squash is ready to go in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Toss them about half way through.

While the squash is roasting prepare the balsamic reduction for drizzling over all of this yummy salad!

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat then add 1 cup of balsamic vinegar to the skillet, followed by 2 crushed garlic cloves. Bring it to a boil then lower the temperature and allow it to reduce by half.

Next, toast the walnuts.

Once again, I bought already chopped walnut pieces from Trader Joes, but if you have whole walnuts just give them a nice chop and you’re ready to go!

Throw these on some foil on a baking sheet and in to the oven for 3-4 minutes, these little babies toast up quick in the 400 degree oven!

Once the squash and walnuts are out of the oven and the balsamic is reduced it’s time to put it all together. Use tongs to move the squash on to a plate in a nice little pile, then top each pile of squash with 4-5 mozzarella balls, next sprinkle a few toasted walnuts on top, then it’s time for that yummy, syrup-y, balsamic reduction goodness to get drizzled all on top!  Your plate should end up looking something like this ↓

But are those two plates I see?!??!

Yes those are two plates of deliciousness you see!  So if you are thinking back to yesterdays blog and thought “didn’t she say she experimented with cooking at lunch because she was only cooking for herself” why yes, yes I did say that so now I guess I’m a liar, but all in good reason!!

Time to introduce my best friend Erin, she’s the kind of girl who will drink a case of bud light with you and enjoy an enormous burrito all while wearing 5-inch heels and approximately 68 pieces of jewelry, needless to say she is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!  Well I had the fortune of feeding her lunch today after she arrived home early from a work trip and had the day off! Watch as she intently stares at her food, raising her fork in anticipation of that first magical bite:

And here she goes… time to dig in!

Mmm delicious!  Definitely recommend this dish for a great appetizer or lunch salad, or I was thinking I might skewer a ball of mozzarella between two pieces of the roasted butternut squash and drizzle with the balsamic reduction for cocktail parties! Who wants to come to my next cocktail party now? 🙂

Butternut Squash Mozzarella Salad
5 from 1 vote
Print

Butternut Squash and Mozzarella Salad

This roasted butternut squash and mozzarella salad is drizzled in a balsamic vinegar reduction for a sweet, delicious, gluten free and vegetarian salad.

Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 543 kcal
Author Whitney Bond

Ingredients

  • 12 oz butternut squash
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup walnuts chopped
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese balls

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

  2. Place the butternut squash on a baking sheet then drizzle the olive oil over the top.
  3. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, cinnamon and brown sugar.

  4. Place the squash in the oven for 25-30 minutes, toss half way through cooking.
  5. While the squash is roasting prepare the balsamic reduction.
  6. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat then add 1 cup of balsamic vinegar to the skillet, followed by 2 crushed garlic cloves.
  7. Bring to a boil then lower the temperature and allow it to reduce by half.
  8. Toast the walnuts by placing them on a baking sheet and in to the oven for 3-4 minutes.

  9. Use tongs to move the squash on to a plate, then top the squash with 4-5 mozzarella balls, next sprinkle a few toasted walnuts on top, then drizzle with the balsamic reduction.

Creamy Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

Creamy orzo is tossed with roasted vegetables in this delicious recipe made in under an hour, perfect as a side dish or entree!

roasted vegetable orzo, creamy orzo recipe, risotto style orzo, creamy vegetable orzo, roasted vegetable risotto, vegetarian risotto, vegetarian orzo recipe, recipes

SOOOOO excited to share my first cooking post on the blog! Lunch is a time where I like to experiment for two reasons:

  1. I never plan what I’m going to have for lunch because every day is different in my life and I don’t know where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing so  therefore when I’m home and have time to cook lunch I just use what’s already in my kitchen to make instead of shopping specifically for the meal.
  2. I’m only cooking for myself at lunch so if it sucks I’m the only one that suffers haha! But on the other side if it’s awesome I get to eat it all myself 🙂

roasted vegetable orzo, creamy orzo recipe, risotto style orzo, creamy vegetable orzo, roasted vegetable risotto, vegetarian risotto, vegetarian orzo recipe, recipes

This morning I had my girl Rachael Ray on and she was making a lemon risotto on 30 Minute Meals and I love myself a good risotto, so I took to my cabinets to see what I could find to make my own version of Rachael’s yummy little dish! As I got looking through my cabinets I saw that Trader Joe’s bag of Orzo staring me in the face.

I’ve never cooked with orzo but as I adventure into new food frontiers I find myself grabbing 2 or 3 items I’ve never cooked with before each time I go to the store and incorporating them into my new dishes. So today became project Creamy Orzo, basically an Orzo Risotto of sorts. So here we go!

roasted vegetable orzo, creamy orzo recipe, risotto style orzo, creamy vegetable orzo, roasted vegetable risotto, vegetarian risotto, vegetarian orzo recipe, recipes

Ingredients (serves 2- as meal, 4- as side dish)

  • 2 red onions (1 chopped, 1 sliced)
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 red bell pepper (quartered)
  • 1 green bell pepper (quartered)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (separated)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, (2 minced, 4 whole)
  • 2 cups orzo
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil (chopped)

Begin by slicing one red onion and both bell peppers.  Cut the eggplant in half.  Arrange the vegetables with 4 garlic cloves on a baking sheet, then drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper.

roasted vegetable orzo, creamy orzo recipe, risotto style orzo, creamy vegetable orzo, roasted vegetable risotto, vegetarian risotto, vegetarian orzo recipe, recipes

Next, place the vegetables in the oven at 350°F for 30 minutes while preparing the orzo.

Begin preparing the orzo by bringing 4 cups of chicken stock to a boil.

While the stock is heating up place 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet then add the chopped onion and minced garlic.

roasted vegetable orzo, creamy orzo recipe, risotto style orzo, creamy vegetable orzo, roasted vegetable risotto, vegetarian risotto, vegetarian orzo recipe, recipes

Cook for 1-2 minutes then add the orzo, cook for 1 minute then begin adding the chicken stock 1/2 cup at a time.

roasted vegetable orzo, creamy orzo recipe, risotto style orzo, creamy vegetable orzo, roasted vegetable risotto, vegetarian risotto, vegetarian orzo recipe, recipes

Every time the orzo starts to look dry add another 1/2 cup of stock until all of the stock has been used and the orzo is soft and creamy! This should be about a 15 minute process.

Next, add the parmesan cheese and mix into melty goodness!

roasted vegetable orzo, creamy orzo recipe, risotto style orzo, creamy vegetable orzo, roasted vegetable risotto, vegetarian risotto, vegetarian orzo recipe, recipes

Remove the vegetables from the oven, chop the bell peppers, onion and garlic. Simply scoop the inside of the eggplant out and add them all to the orzo along with the fresh basil.

roasted vegetable orzo, creamy orzo recipe, risotto style orzo, creamy vegetable orzo, roasted vegetable risotto, vegetarian risotto, vegetarian orzo recipe, recipes

This dish could be served as a vegetarian entree or side dish for Chicken Parmesan or Italian Crusted Pork Loin!

roasted vegetable orzo, creamy orzo recipe, risotto style orzo, creamy vegetable orzo, roasted vegetable risotto, vegetarian risotto, vegetarian orzo recipe, recipes

The orzo is creamy and delicious on it’s own, but the addition of flavorful roasted vegetables makes it oh-so-scrumptious!

roasted vegetable orzo, creamy orzo recipe, risotto style orzo, creamy vegetable orzo, roasted vegetable risotto, vegetarian risotto, vegetarian orzo recipe, recipes

The Great Moose Hunt of 2011

No, I’m not talking about the hunting where you use big guns and wear camouflage pants with bright orange vests, I’m talking about setting out on an adventure with the family into the great outdoors of Colorado just to spot one of the cute, furry critters!

One week ago I was helping my brother move into his new digs in Colorado Springs when my family decided we would go for an adventure up Pikes Peak, I began to see signs everywhere for deer crossings and big foot crossings.

Then Mom and I began to make friends with these little furry fellas, lets just call them Chip and Dale 😉

I was now on a mission to really make myself one with the outdoors and take this time to see as many animals in their  natural habitat as possible. (The closest I get to this in LA are the  little gophers that come out to peak at me while I’m in downward facing dog during yoga at Runyon Canyon!)

Anyway, I digress, so back to my mission: animals! But not just any animals, I was on a Moose hunting mission! Don’t ask me why, I have no idea, I just really felt the need to see a moose.  They’re furry, they have antlers, this one looks like it’s smiling at me…

You get the appeal, right? Kind of?  Well I don’t care, it’s my moose hunt mission and I’ll moose mission if I want to 🙂 Needless to say I spent 4 days in Colorado and no Moose sightings :-/ I went home sad, but not defeated, oh no because these days we have the wonderful, amazing, majestical… GOOGLE!

With three magical words: MOOSE IN COLORADO, I find a link that may fulfill my moose hunt mission! State Forest State Park (why the double state in the name? Is that really necessary?) Once again, that’s besides the point, claimed to be “the moose viewing capital of Colorado, with over 600 moose to be observed year-round” I’ve found my spot!

Stayed tuned for my next trip to Colorado and to the Moose viewing capital… I will not rest until I  see those furry little antlers in person and complete my moose hunt mission!

welcome to little leopard book

Over the years I’ve had websites and blogs and Facebooks and Twitters… but I finally decided I wanted a blog where I can write about whatever I want!

The title “little leopard book” came from this fuzzy little leopard gem I have been carrying around with me for years, jotting down everything from new recipes to workout routines, encouraging quotes and new business ideas. In an effort to keep myself sane in the insane city of LA I am writing to all of you with my thoughts, inquiries, ideas, adventures and to make you really jealous of my roommates who get to eat my food 🙂

Little Leopard Book