Pizza Express

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A couple of weeks ago I was talking to my little brother about the food options in Scotland, and he was horrified that there were not that many good pizza places. Before speaking to him, I had only eaten from the local St Andrews Dominos to fill my Italian cravings.

So, I rounded up a friend and we headed to try Pizza Express, an Italian chain in the UK.

I ordered the Fiorentina, which consisted of spinach, free-range egg, mozzarella, tomato, garlic oil and black olives, and finished with Gran Milano cheese.

This was obviously much better than Dominos, and the salty olives reminded me of Bertucci’s back at home.  However, the dough was quite thick, and next time I think I will get their Romana style, which is stretched thinner.  The atmosphere was family friendly, and it was nice seeing kids running around with their parents.

You can make reservations online, to make sure that you get a table.

Up next on my list of restaurants to try is Little Italy, the last Italian restaurant left in St Andrews!

 

 

 

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I Love Olives: Easy Meal Edition

As I said earlier this summer, I worked far away from my home.  So I relied on quick’n easy meals filled with healthy ingredients.  Olives became one of my favorite ingredients to use because I love salty food 🙂

Green Machine Salad

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Place a few handfuls of fresh spinach in a bowl.  Add pitted green olives, Samira’s hummus, a handful of Biena’s Chickpea Snacks, and an avocado.

Quinoa Spinach Salad

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Cook around 1/4 cup of tri-colored quinoa according to the instructions on the bag.

Place spinach in a bowl.  Add quinoa, pitted kalamata olives and crumbled feta.  Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Greek Power Bowl

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Place spinach in a bowl.  Add kalamata olives, Samira’s hummus and spicy grape leaves, and Watusee Chickpeatos.

Enjoy!

 

Healthy Noodles: Easy Meal Edition

This summer, I had a full time internship, with an hour and a half commute to and from work.  By the time I got home, I wanted to work out, and then eat a quick, healthy meal.  At the beginning, I mostly made monotonous salads.  But I soon grew bored of spinach leaves, and tried to be more creative.  Here are three quick and easy noodle ideas… that do not use traditional pasta!

Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs 

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Have you ever heard of spaghetti squash before?  It is an oval shaped squash that produces stringy threads when baked, which are reminiscent of thin spaghetti!

This meal is really easy because all you have to do is bake the squash.  My mum had made the meatballs in bulk beforehand.  And the sauce is Rao’s Marinara.

To bake the squash, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Carefully cut your spaghetti squash in half.  Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.  Line a baking tray with parchment paper.  Sprinkle salt and black pepper on top of the fleshy side of the squash halves.  Then rub olive oil so the fleshy side is completely covered.  Then lay the squash flesh side down (The “fleshy side” is the interior of the squash).  Bake for 1 hour.  Then, using a fork, scrape the inside of the squash to create spaghetti!

Top with warm marinara and meatballs.  Add some grated parmesan on top.  Then you are all set!

“Puttanesca” Spaghetti Squash

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While puttanesca sauce is now popular, and an esteemed dish, that was not always the case.  Puttanesca translates to as “in the style of a whore.”  There are theories as to where this tarnished relation came from… Puttanesca sauce is very easy and quick to make.  The intense aroma of the pasta would lure men off of the street.  Etc, etc.

Puttanesca generally consists of tomatoes, garlic, olives, and anchovies.  It has a saltier bite than a traditional marinara.

This version is not a traditional puttanesca, but it has similar salty, briny flavors.  I used Rao’s Artichoke sauce, which is very similar to their marinara, but artichokes are added!

Prepare the spaghetti squash following the above recipe.

Chop kalamata olives and remove the pits.

Mix the spaghetti squash with the sauce.  Add the chopped olives.  Crumble feta on top. And serve!

Butternut Squash Noodles with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and Roasted Chickpeas 

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Start with the roasted chickpeas. Preheat your over to 400 degrees.  Open one can of chickpeas, wash thoroughly, then pat dry.  Lay parchment paper on a baking pan, and put the chickpeas on top.  Salt and pepper the chickpeas.  Then drizzle olive oil on top and mix all the chickpeas together. Bake for 30 minutes.

Drizzle olive oil in a sauce pan that is on medium high heat.  Place the sweet potato noodles in the pan and cook until the potato is cooked through.  Around 3o minutes.

I used Seggiano Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto.  Toss the pasta in the sauce.  Sprinkle the chickpeas on top.  And enjoy.

 

“Shrimp My Ride” Salad

One of these days I hope SweetGreen discovers my food blog and names a salad after one of my inspirations… that day has yet to come!  This salad is unique because the shrimp is marinated in an herb and salt mixture, Aglio Olio, that my cousin mailed to me from California.

Aglio Olio

Aglio Olio

She knows I am a big foodie and she usually mixes the seasoning with olive oil as a dip for bread.  I took the liberty of repurposing it and was met with success.

"Shrimp My Ride" Salad

“Shrimp My Ride” Salad

“Shrimp My Ride” Salad (for one)

6 shrimp washed and deveined

olive oil

Aglio Olio seasoning

half an avocado (or full if you’d rather just go for it)

half a yellow bell pepper (chopped)

carrot (chopped)

1/4 cup feta

handful sunflower seeds

6 Greek olives (pitted and chopped)

2 cups romaine lettuce

2 cups spinach

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

Place the shrimp in a bowl.  Pour olive oil on top to cover it.  Sprinkle on the Agli Olio salt and herb mixture to season the shrimp.

Grill the shrimp until each side is pink and cooked through.

Place spinach and lettuce at the bottom of a large bowl.  Cut the tails off of the shrimp.  Place everything on top of the greens.  Drizzle on balsamic vinegar and olive oil to dress the salad.  Dig in!

 

 

Romaine Greek Salad

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Romaine Greek Salad

romaine salad

chickpeas, washed and drained from a can

feta cheese

fresh tomatoes

cucumber

kalamata olives

sunflower seeds

lemon juice

olive oil

Whisk the lemon juice and olive oil together to make the dressing.  I went 1/4 parts lemon juice 3/4 parts olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Chop the tomatoes and add salt to help counteract their juiciness.  Let them dry a little on a towel.  Chop the cucumber.  Chop and pit the olives.

Place the romaine in a large salad bowl.  Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, and olives.  Crumble the feta cheese on top.  Sprinkle on the sunflower seeds.

Drizzle on the dressing and toss the salad.

 

Olive Romaine Salad

This is probably the easiest salad ever constructed.  Fresh chopped romaine with salty kalamata olives and a homemade dressing.  Whip it together in under 10 minutes for a light side and you will not be disappointed!

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Olive Romaine Salad

washed and chopped romaine

pitted and chopped kalamata olives

olive oil lemon dressing

Place the romaine and olives in a large salad bowl.  Toss with dressing.

Olive Oil Lemon Dressing

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2-2/3 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together all the ingredients.  Can be stored in the refrigerator if you do not use it all.