Marinated Portobello Steaks with Cilantro Chimichurri

I had never made any kind of chimichurri before last week and boy was I missing out.  It’s so full of herb-y goodness and in the summer when herbs are everywhere it’s one of the best and simple toppings for pretty much everything.  I have also been missing out on marinated portobello mushrooms.  What am I doing with my life? Marinated Portobello Steaks with Cilantro Chimichurri | Life Healthfully Lived

I hesitated to call these steaks because I’m not trying to replace steak.  Sure, portobello mushrooms are considered “meaty” and a lot of people use them in place of steak but I think that does this mushroom a disservice.  Why do they have to be like steak to taste good?  I finally decided to call them steaks mostly because I prepared them how I would a steak and topped them with chimichurri which is most often used on steak.

Now, my chimichurri is slightly different because most sauces rely heavily on parsley and I went with cilantro.  Either way, it brightens up the flavor of this dish and it’s what I had in my fridge, so, yeah.  Also, this makes a GREAT weeknight meal because it comes together fast.  While you’re marinating the mushrooms you can make the chimichurri and once you’re done with that you only have to cook the mushrooms for about 8 minutes.  Marinated Portobello Steaks with Cilantro Chimichurri | Life Healthfully Lived

Boom. Dinner.

I say boom a lot when it comes to quick meals.  I guess it’s my version of Emeril’s “bam”?  Eh, whatever just try this one out and let me know what you think!

Portobello Steaks with Cilantro Chimichurri Marinated Portobello Steaks with Cilantro Chimichurri | Life Healthfully Lived

  •  4 portobello mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp spicy mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Chimichurri: 

  • 1 cup cilantro, stems removed and minced into tiny pieces
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced small
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, more if needed (you don’t want it too dry or super oily)
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

 

  1. Place the mushrooms into a large plastic bag, whisk together the marinade ingredients, and pour into the bag.  Seal it tightly and smoosh things around a bit and then let the mushrooms marinate while you get the chimichurri together.
  2. Place all of the chimichurri ingredients into your blender or food processor and pulse a few times.  DON’T puree it because you want to leave things a bit chunky.  Or puree it if that’s what your heart truly desires.  PRO TIP: If you want to stir in avocado chunks after you make the sauce it’s a really tasty addition!
  3. Heat a cast iron skillet or grill and add in a little olive oil.  Cook the mushrooms for about 3 to 4 minutes per side or until they start to blacken just a bit.  Plate and top with chimichurri and enjoy! Marinated Portobello Steaks with Cilantro Chimichurri | Life Healthfully Lived

Oil-Free Cilantro Lime Pesto

One of the things I hope this blog proves is just because you have a certain dietary restriction/need/preference doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor or some of your favorite things.  There is usually always a way to meet your cravings based on your food needs.  Now, that being said, that doesn’t mean I’m magic and can fix all your dietary woes with a healthy substitution.  Some things just cannot be recreated and more often than not it’s better that we can’t turn all junk food into healthy food.  Who wants to eat a healthy Twinkie anyway?  Or a real one for that matter….

I digress.  Today’s recipe was created because of two things.  1.  While I love fat, it’s super easy to go overboard with it especially when it comes to liquid oil like olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil.  Unless you’re measuring everything out, oil can add up pretty quick.  I started to realize I was buying big jugs of olive oil more and more frequently and running out of them fast.  Which leads me to my second reason… 2. I was out of olive oil and I wanted pesto.Oil-Free Cilantro Lime Pesto | Life Healthfully Lived

I want to stress I don’t think good fats are bad.  In fact, they’re awesome and I try to get them in at every meal.  But too much of a good thing can be bad and when you use an entire 1.5-liter bottle of olive oil in less than a week and a half, you might need to evaluate your food situation.  I’ll still use olive oil to make my spinach pesto, broccoli rabe pesto, and all other delicious things that require olive oil but it’s nice to have an option that is oil-free and just as delicious.

I used this last night on Adam’s fish and he deemed it “pretty tasty”, which is husband speak for good.  It has a nice light flavor from the cilantro and even though there is no oil, it’s still creamy.  You can use any green herb or vegetable you would like, I just happened to have a bunch of cilantro I needed to use so that’s what I went with.  This would also be great on pasta or zoodles or panini’s or chicken/pork or crackers or your finger….

Oil-Free Cilantro Lime PestoOil-Free Cilantro Lime Pesto | Life Healthfully Lived

  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, rinsed and dried and ends trimmed
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • juice of 1 to 2 limes, depending on how lime-y you want it
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp roasted garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast (or freshly grated parmesan if you do cheese)
  1. To toast almonds: Add almonds to a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Shake the pan back and forth every so often and dry toast the almonds until golden brown.  Let them cool while you get everything else together.
  2. Place the rest of the ingredients into a blender or food processor, starting with the garlic, then cilantro, then seasonings, and finally lime juice.  Pulse a few times then add the cooled slivered almonds.
  3. Blend until you have a relatively smooth and creamy sauce.  If it’s a little too thick you can add more lime juice or water 1 tablespoon at a time to thin it out.  Taste and adjust the salt then store in your fridge in an airtight container for about a week. Oil-Free Cilantro Lime Pesto | Life Healthfully Lived

 

DIY Wednesday: Infused Olive Oil

We’reDIY Wednesday: Infused Olive Oil | Life Healthfully Lived about to get fancy people.  Today you are going to learn just how easy it is to make flavored and infused olive oils.  If you have never tried an infused olive oil, then you and your food are in for quite the treat.

I have had a variety of infused oils before, but I have never bought my own.  They were either gifts or I was using someone else’s when cooking at their house.  The reason I never bought my own?  They are expensive!  A good infused oil can be $15 to $20 a bottle and sometimes even more.  Don’t get me wrong, they’re delicious and add a ton of flavor to a dish, but I’m not spending $20 on a bottle of fancy oil.  Sorry, I’m just not that girl.

DIY Wednesday: Infused Olive Oil | Life Healthfully Lived

Then I learned just how simple it is to make your own fancy oil.  For some reason, I thought it was this complicated and mysterious process to infuse olive oil.  It really isn’t.  It’s as simple as choosing the flavors you want, heating those flavors with some olive oil, cooling/straining, and then using your infused oil in all the foods.

The options are endless when it comes to infused oil.  You can do fruit/citrus, garlic, onions, herbs, or even flowers.  It’s all up to you.  A few pointers before we get started:

  • Use decent olive oil.  It doesn’t have to be super expensive, but better oil will result in better flavor
  • For herbs, try to use fresh instead of dried.  Both will work, but fresh will leave a more powerful and fresher flavor. Also, blending the herbs with the oil will have a more intense flavor
  • For spices, buy whole and either leave them that way or ground them at home.  Store-bought ground spices just don’t have the same freshness as whole and home-ground
  • For aromatics like garlic or onion, you can leave them in the oil instead of straining them out.  This will keep infusing the oil with their flavor and make them stronger
  • Infused oils HAVE to be stored in the fridge.  Because the oil has been heated it will spoil faster if left out on the counter.  Just pull the oil out of the fridge a few minutes before you use it.

Once you start infusing your olive oil, you’ll want to try all the different kind of flavors.  Infused oils are great for adding another layer of flavor to dishes, work really well in salad dressings, and are great for dipping bread into.  They also make really pretty and thoughtful gifts.  So let’s get to the infusing!

Infused Olive Oil

DIY Wednesday: Infused Olive Oil | Life Healthfully Lived

Garlic-Cilantro-Lime Oil

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, washed and stems removed
  • 6 cloves garlic, washed and rinsed (you don’t want dirt in your oil)
  • 4 strips of lime peels, use a vegetable peeler to remove even strips
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
  1. If you want you can roast the garlic cloves at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes.  It isn’t necessary, but gives the oil a nice rich garlic flavor
  2. While garlic is roasting, wash and remove the stems from your cilantro.  Blend the one cup of olive oil with the cilantro and pour into a medium saucepan.

    DIY Wednesday: Infused Olive Oil | Life Healthfully Lived

    Blended oil and cilantro with garlic, lime, and red pepper flakes

  3. Add in the roasted (or not) garlic, red pepper flakes, and lime peels.  Heat over medium-low heat until the oil is lightly bubbling, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.  Once the oil is cool, use a fine mesh sieve or cheese cloth to strain your oil into a glass container.  You can add back in the garlic if you would like to have a more powerful flavor.
  5. Seal tightly and store in the fridge.  The infused oil will keep for up to a month

It might seem like a lot of steps, but once you get the hang of it, it’s really easy.  You can keep it simple and just infuse your oil with one thing like garlic or basil or red pepper or you can get more creative and create blends like star anise, lemongrass, and orange or oregano, basil, and thyme.  Plain old olive oil just isn’t going to cut it anymore once you start infusing it with awesome flavors. DIY Wednesday: Infused Olive Oil | Life Healthfully Lived

What blend would you make for your oil?

Cilantro-Garlic Pasta with Egg Sauce

SometimesCilantro-Garlic Pasta with Egg Sauce when I am coming up with recipes I let things get a little out of hand.  I blame The Flavor Bible and The Vegetarian Flavor Bible.  These are my go-to cookbooks when I am creating recipes and they are awesome.  You look up whatever ingredient you have and find flavors and other ingredients that go well with them.  I get a little ingredient happy as I’m looking through the lists and soon I end up with a recipe that has 500 ingredients, not all of which are easy to find.

I have to remind myself to keep it simple.  We often think simple recipes that have fewer ingredients can’t be as good as the fancy elaborate recipes.  Fancy recipes have their place, but it’s the simple recipes that are the backbone of the food world.

I took it simple with this pasta dish.  I was looking for a meal that was light and refreshing but also felt like comfort food.  I also didn’t have much food on hand so I had to work with what I had.  I remembered seeing a recipe for spaghetti carbonara and wanted to try and make a pasta using the same kind of a sauce.  This in no way is spaghetti carbonara, but the egg sauce is made in the same way.  With only four ingredients and less than 20 minutes to put together, this makes for a really easy weeknight meal that everyone will love.

Cilantro-Garlic Pasta with Egg Sauce 

Cilantro-Garlic Pasta with Egg Sauce

  • 1 package of pasta like penne or rotini (I used Trader Joes brown rice pasta)
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook pasta according to package drain and set aside.  While pasta is cooking, mince the garlic and chop the cilantro and whisk the eggs.
  2. Once the pasta is cooked and drained, in a medium saucepan, heat a little olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the minced garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Add the pasta into the pan and mix to coat with olive oil and garlic.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat.  Pour in the eggs while constantly stirring the pasta.  Make sure you keep stirring the pasta or else you will end up with scrambled eggs over pasta instead of a creamy sauce.
  4. Once all the eggs have been whisked in, stir in chopped cilantro and season with salt and pepper.

Cilantro-Garlic Pasta with Egg Sauce

That’s it!  The egg sauce makes this dish feel super comforting and indulgent, but the cilantro helps brighten it up and make it not feel too heavy of a meal.  This is also great poor college student food because there are no specialty ingredients and each serving is less than $3.00.

Cilantro-Garlic Pasta with Egg Sauce

What is your favorite simple meal?

Happy Friday and have a great weekend everyone!