Healthy and Sane

It’s Ellie (Krieger) week!

September 8th, 2010 · 29 Comments · Ellie Krieger, favorite recipes, Italian, Meditarranean, shrimp, vegetarian meal

Adam told me today that the focus of my blog has become a lot less “healthy” and a lot more “sane,” since so many of my posts cover food/body image issues and the like. Well, I’m showing him up tonight with a post that’s all about healthy foods because hey, I’ve been cooking and I want to tell you all about it! :mrgreen:

This week I did something kind of fun. Remember CEiMB Thursday posts? Well obviously I’ve been a big slacker on that front but I still love Ellie and take inspiration from the CEiMB group and other Ellie recipes. This week I challenged myself to an Ellie recipe a day in honor of “my” week on CEiMB. I chose the recipe for the baked falafel sandwiches (here) that hopefully all the group members will be excited about making and will enjoy eating. Let’s start with that one and I’ll show you what I else I made this week. Some good stuff not to be missed here! 😉

I remember seeing this recipe on an episode of Healthy Appetite some time last year. It looked so easy and the idea of baked falafel (instead of fried) really intrigued me. Can it still taste good? How will it compare to the “real thing”? This week it was time to find out! 😀

I followed the recipe for the falafel pretty closely, except of course omitted the onions. They came out flavorful and delicious although admittedly a lot drier than their fried counterparts (I’m assuming oil is usually used a lot more liberally in the “filling” too). The taste of cumin and coriander added decisively Mediterranean flavors. If I ever get a craving for falafel, I won’t hesitate to dig up this recipe again. By the way, Adam loved this :)

You may also notice that this is not exactly a “sandwich.” This is where I decided to add a little twist to the recipe. We had some fresh pizza dough in the freezer so I decided to make falafel flatbreads instead. I rolled out the dough and grilled it. The tahini sauce was transformed into a drizzle by a generous addition of non-fat yogurt and some lemon juice to cut the tartness. Some lightly dressed greens and fresh cucumbers and heirloom tomatoes from the farmer’s market completed the flatbreads. It was one delicious summer meal (don’t remind me that summer is almost over, ok? I’m in denial and I plan on staying there until meals like that can no longer be enjoyed out in the summer heat.)

So that was Monday. We “traveled” to Italy the following day. I actually decided to make a recipe I missed on CEiMB a few weeks ago – shrimp and liquine fra diavolo (recipe here). It got great reviews and this used to be my “go-to” meal at outings to Italian restaurants. I think I had a bad experience once and that kind of ended that trend. But no more, here is what Tuesday’s dinner looked like (what you don’t have a glass of wine mid-week with your dinner? You do? Ok, good! 😆 )

I actually put a little twist on this recipe as well. I decided to serve this with zucchini “pasta” instead traditional linguine the recipe calls for. I got this idea from an old post by Sabrina – her pictures make it look like legit pasta, while mine were more like zucchini ribbons (btw, I tried the mandolin method and a vegetable peeler actually worked better – it created thinner strips).

By the time I was done with dinner, it was getting dark so I’m sorry for these blurry photos. I had to fight with lighting. But let me tell you – this was AMAZING. I can’t stop thinking about it. I used diced tomatoes with chiles, which added additional heat and the zucchini ribbons soaked up all the saucy goodness. They do NOT taste like pasta. I don’t even want to call them that. They are thin strips of zucchini, working in perfect balance with the spicy tomatoes, shrimp and garlic. I was lucky enough to score the leftovers and could not wait for lunch today. SO good.

Lastly, on this rainy Wednesday night, it was all about comfort food – lasagna. Well, technically – portobello lasagna rollups (recipe here).

This was a bit more involved than I meant it to be for a weeknight meal but it was VERY much worth it at the end. We somehow ran out of spinach so I dug into my freezer and found some frozen asparagus. That was quickly “steamed” in the microwave and jumped into the rollups. I also bought baby bellas because they are cheaper than portobellos and had to be chopped anyway. Lastly, I used TJ’s organic tomato sauce instead of making my own. It’s my favorite sauce – it’s healthy, organic, delicious, costs next to nothing and takes no effort. Shortcuts are sometimes good. Really good. 😀

Can someone say no to this?

I think not (ok, maybe if you’re vegan. lol)

This one is going straight to our favorite recipes list (PS. I’m going to organize it one day!). Adam was in heaven. I think his dad may drool a little onto the screen. Am I right, Jim? (lasagna love runs in the family). 😀

How is your week going so far? Does any of the above tempt you?

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29 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Michelle

    I’m glad that this week is half over so it is going great! I’m loving all three of these healthy recipes!

  • #2 - Diana @ frontyardfoodie

    Umm falafel is one of my favorite foods in the world and that looks AMAZING. I’m also a huge lasagna fan! I’m not much for seafood myself though but it looks delicious still.

    I love seeing the sane and healthy sides of this blog. You’re doing great! Keep it up!

  • #3 - Jean@RoastedRootsandPumpkinSpice

    I never thought to make baked falafel. It looks delicious!

    I love your photos, by the way.

  • #4 - Liz

    Elina, thank you so much for a great CEiMB pick. I was so excited to try this one because I have been curious about falafel ever since I saw Bobby Flay do a throwdown on Food Network :) I have never had it before so can’t compare it to anything, but we enjoyed it a lot. The balls were a little dry, but all together it had great flavor.

    I have seen the zucchini slices used in place of pasta before, and I think that sounds genius! I enjoy pasta as much as the next person, but more than anything, I use it as a vehicle for some kind of sauce. Zucchini sounds like the perfect way to help me slurp up some of that spicy diavlo sauce all the same :) Glad you enjoyed it. I’ve been eyeing the lasagna roll-ups for a while, too…. they look a little complicated to make but since your photo turned out so great, I might be inspired to take it on once the weather gets cooler.

    Great pictures; great choice. I hope you’ll be back with the CEiMB Thursdays a bit more – I miss you :)

    OH – I almost forgot… you mentioned the Sandwich Thins earlier in the week and I never got a chance to respond. I do not like them for meat burgers as it is not enough bun to meat, but I do love them for veggie patties and the like. I never noticed the artificial sweeteners before, and I’ll keep an eye on that now. I get the Trader Joe’s ones, and I don’t have any on-hand so I can’t comment on that, but I am hoping they don’t have Splenda or anything like that. Again, I think they are good for sandwiches – like a ham and cheese to take to school – or veggie patties. They aren’t really bun replacements, in my world.

  • #5 - Lauren

    Lovely meals! I made edamame falafel last night from a recipe I found on another blog, and both John and I enjoyed it. I used a little less flour to bind the falafel, and pan-cooked them in a tiny bit of oil rather than baking or deep frying. The result was a tender – not too dry – healthy falafel. I love your idea of using pizza dough to create flatbread, and the drizzle is a gorgeous touch!

    I fully support having a glass of wine mid-week, by the way ;).

  • #6 - RhodeyGirl

    The veggie peeler worked MUCH better for me, too!!!

  • #7 - Bridget

    oh man I totally fell out of the ceimb loop haha! But these meals look delicious!!! Reminds me to go back to making Ellie meals because they are always delicious :)

  • #8 - style'n

    I have never tried making falafel but I might try. WE try and eat mostly vegetarian (just to be more healthy :) and we love eating falafel. definitely trying this one (but with the onions!)

  • #9 - Joanne

    Good pick this week because it was so different from what we’re used to. Agreed, it was dry plus I didn’t make the tahini sauce saucy enough.
    But it was tasty and no regrets on making it.

    I think Ellie spelled Falafel wrong “Felafel”? But I went with it. My sp. check agreed with you.

  • #10 - Jess

    Um. I am TOTALLY inviting myself over to your place next time. Those dishes look incredible!! YUM!!!

  • #11 - Katie @ Health for the Whole Self

    It all tempts me!

    I really want to try making the baked falafel. I love it fried, but it would be great to have a homemade, much healthier option. :)

  • #12 - MelissaNibbles

    I haven’t had falafel in forever! Definitely need to hook this up!

  • #13 - Bri

    Fantastic pick this week! I had never made or eaten falafel before and I loved it! Since I’ve never had the fried version, I didn’t notice them being especially dry. I thought they were great as is. Thanks for choosing this!

  • #14 - Jenna

    The baked falafel sandwiches/flatbread! Yum! Well, all of the above grabbed my attention, but especially that recipe.

  • #15 - Kelly

    The week’s been going well although I lost part of my camera tripod and cannot wait to get it back today. My pictures are SO much better when I use it that without it I haven’t much felt like blogging.

  • #16 - sister inna

    the falafel sounds like a really awesome idea. i could probably pre-make a few portions and add them to salads for work :)
    i shall work on these tonight! YUM

  • #17 - Meghan@traveleatlove

    You have been cookin’ up a storm! I love making baked falafel and have even made it with a variety of different beans. My favorite part of falafel is, of course the toppings like pickles and tzatziki!
    I am glad the week is almost over!

  • #18 - Margaret

    Ellie week. What a great idea. And all good stuff, too. Haven’t made falafel before and not gotten to this one yet. But will cause I have to try this.

  • #19 - Adam's Dad

    Hi Elina.
    Seems you know me so well, but since I’m sure that Adam didn’t save me any of the lasagna his mom and I have decided to go to Italy to find some of our own.
    BTW your photography is becoming first rate!
    See you soon.

  • #20 - Kerstin

    The picture of your falafel flatbread is making my mouth water – what a yummy dish!

  • #21 - Sues

    Ooh falafel flatbread is SUCH a good idea! Now I’m totally craving falafel :) And I love that lasagna runs in your family hehe.

  • #22 - Notes from the Fatty File

    We live spitting distance from two awesome falafel shops and my husband and I love both of them. I am TOTALLY going to try the baked version at home. Thanks for sharing!

  • #23 - Jessica@tastyandtrim

    Those portobello lasagna rollups look insanely delicious, yum! Def a recipe that I need to try :)

  • #24 - Rachael

    Falafel, in any form, can do no wrong!
    This weekend is going to be my last attempt to hold on to summer – cooking up the rest of summer foods, canning tomatoes and caressing the remnants of my basil plants (which somehow survived frequent waterings and a two month car trip. I attribute it to love).
    have a great weekend!

  • #25 - Kristy

    I love Ellie!! I met her last year and she is so down to earth, she cooked for us at a book signing in Boston! Love your blog, your dishes look amazing!

  • #26 - Liz

    loved the falafel! Hope all is well with you!

  • #27 - Magic of Spice

    Wonderful meals and that lasagna looks amazing :)

  • #28 - Lily @ Lily's Health Pad

    Yes, yes, yes about the sandwich thins!! I picked those up at the grocery store a few months ago, looked at the ingredient list, and promptly put them down. Why are healthy living blogs shamelessly promoting these??

    Not saying people shouldn’t eat these ever…I just think there are better choices. These aren’t any better than your average store bought bread.

  • #29 - Shannon

    everything looks delicious :) and it’s gotten my tummy grumbly before bed!