Spiced Tofu Nuggets w/ Orange Chili Aioli

Spiced Tofu Nuggets with Orange Chili Aioli via @runwaychef #healthy #appetizers The only consolation that summer is pretty much gone is that football season is here. And by football season I mean tailgating season. And by tailgating season I mean stuffing-my-face-with-ridiculous-amounts-of-insanely-delicious-and-absurdly-bad-for-you-food season. While I love to catch parts of Chiefs games (Go Chiefs!), and I worked as the football team manager for my college, I just don’t have the attention span to watch an entire football game (hence why I failed miserable at my team manager job). But eating, now that is a sport I have the attention span for. Let me assure you that if eating was truly a game, I would score a bazillion touchdowns every single time. I’m not even sure how you score a touchdown in eating, but I just know I would. So while everyone else is focused on the football game, I’m focused on the tailgate game, plotting my next play to score a touchdown at the food table. My biggest concern? Protecting my waistline. Now don’t get me wrong I love a good plate of nachos, french fries dipped in ranch, and I would probably kill for some good boneless buffalo wings, but a diet like that won’t get me very far in the game so I like to mix in a few healthy treats or modified takes on unhealthier favorites every time there’s a tailgate spread. These spiced tofu nuggets are just one example. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking “Tofu?! Gross!” but believe it or not these actually taste almost exactly like chicken nuggets. They can be served alone with the orange chili dipping sauce or dressed up with a little orange coleslaw and a tortilla chip (almost like a mini taco) for a completely delicious guilt-free treat (or as guilt-free as something that is fried and covered with a mayonnaise sauce can be).

fried tofu nugget spiced fried tofu nuggets fried tofu nuggets Spiced Tofu Nuggets with Orange Chili Aioli via @runwaychef #healthy #appetizers

Spiced Tofu Nuggets with Orange Chili Aioli
Serves 2
A spicy tofu take on the chicken nugget served either alone with a orange chili dipping sauce or mini taco style
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
For the tofu
  1. 1/4 cup of cornmeal
  2. 1/4 cup of flour
  3. 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  4. 1 teaspoon paprika
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons of chili powder
  6. 2 teaspoons salt
  7. 1 teaspoon of a smokey seasoning mix (optional)
  8. 8 ounces of tofu
  9. Oil
For the aioli sauce
  1. 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise (can also use a Vegan mayonnaise)
  2. 2 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce
  3. 1 teaspoon of sriracha
  4. 3 tablespoons of orange juice
For serving (optional)
  1. Corn chips (I used sweet potato ones from Trader Joe's)
  2. Coleslaw (shredded cabbage mixed with a few tablespoons of OJ, mayo & apple cider vinegar & sprinkled with salt and pepper)
  3. Jalapeños
  4. Avocado or guacamole
Instructions
  1. Begin by making your breading mixture. Combine all the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Stir until well mixed. Set aside.
  2. Add about 1/4" of oil to a medium-sized skillet and begin heating it over medium heat. Then cut the tofu into thick cubes. Begin rolling them in the flour mixture until they are well coated. Once the oil is nice and hot and sizzling, begin dropping the tofu cubes in. Cook until crispy and golden brown, turning it every few minutes until you have cooked it on each side (this should take about 10-12 minutes total). Remove the cubes from the oil and drain on a paper towel. Repeat this process until all the cubes have been cooked.
  3. To make the aioli, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir until well combined and smooth. Feel free to adjust the amounts of ingredients based on flavor preference.
  4. To serve the tofu nuggets, either leave them as is or assemble them into mini tacos by layering a chip with some coleslaw adding a nugget and then topping it with the aioli.
  5. Serve immediately. If there are any nuggets leftover, store in an airtight container then reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes (although be warned that they will not be as crispy). Also do not store any of the mini tacos assembled as they will get soggy.
Notes
  1. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a larger group of people.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
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Grilled Vegetable Salad

Grilled Vegetable Salad @runwaychef #vegan #glutenfree From here until the end of time (ok, just the end of summer) don’t be surprised if I talk about how sad I am that summer is basically over in every single post. Guys, I’m so sad! Like, how did this even happen?! Can’t deal. Summertime sadness aside, there is one thing that I won’t be sad to see go- eating in swimsuits. I know that sounds weird, but I have to be totally honest, there is nothing that I dislike more than being dripping wet in a bikini for a cook-out at someone’s pool/beach/lake. I always feel weird, gross, and judged 10 times more than usual for eating that second cheeseburger….with bacon….with potato salad (it’s ok, I know you’re just jealous because you want to be eating that too!). Also, I find it highly comical that girls won’t eat to fit into bikinis to wear to places where they’re going to be eating. Anyone else with me on this? Obviously, barbecues in bikinis are nearly unavoidable so this grilled vegetable salad is part of my solution. It’s quite possibly one of the easiest salads you can make as it is simply grilled vegetables chopped up then topped with a light dressing made from hummus (a great base for creamy dressings when you don’t want to use mayonnaise). This salad is healthy, light and fresh and definitely swimsuit approved! And since swimsuit season is almost over, don’t worry, this salad is also clothing approved!

P.S. This would make a healthy side dish for this coming Labor Day weekend’s barbecue and cookout festivities! Grilled Vegetable Salad @runwaychef #vegan #glutenfree Grilled Vegetable Salad @runwaychef #vegan #glutenfree Grilled Vegetable Salad @runwaychef #vegan #glutenfree Grilled Vegetable Salad @runwaychef #vegan #glutenfree Grilled Vegetable Salad @runwaychef #vegan #glutenfree

 

Grilled Vegetable Salad
A vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free vegetarian salad that's perfect on it's own or as a healthy side dish
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Ingredients
  1. 1 large zucchini
  2. 2 large summer squash
  3. 1 large eggplant
  4. 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  5. 2 cups corn
  6. 1/2 cup hummus
  7. Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
  8. 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  9. 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  10. A handful of dill
Instructions
  1. First, wash and slice your squash, zucchini, and eggplant. Toss it with a little olive oil and proceed to grill as you normally would. The vegetables should take about 5-7 minutes per side. Once they're done, remove from the grill and set aside to cool.
  2. To "grill" the corn, add a dash of olive oil to a medium-sized skillet set over medium heat. Add the corn and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until it begins to char, making sure to stir every few minutes. Remove the corn from the pan then toss the tomatoes in and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Once the grilled vegetables have cooled, chop them into small pieces. Add to a serving bowl and toss with the corn and tomatoes.
  4. To make the dressing mix the hummus, olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice together. Stir until well combined.
  5. Drizzle the dressing over the salad, sprinkle with salt and pepper and finish with shredded dill on top. Toss right before serving. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to a week.
Notes
  1. This salad is tasty on it's own for a lighter meal, but it would also be good with a nice crusty bread (almost like a bruschetta), served alongside fish or steak, topped with grilled tofu, or sprinkled with some goat or feta cheese.
  2. This recipe can easily be doubled or cut in half. The vegetables can also be substituted based on preference.
  3. The vegetables can be grilled the night before and stored in the fridge until you are ready to use them the next day.
  4. If you do not have a grill, or it's too cold outside, you could also use a grill pan or roast the vegetables in the oven.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
 

Orangeberry Smoothie + Florida OJ Tailgate Party

Orangeberry Smoothie via @runwaychef #breakfast #healthy #fruit I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for the Florida Department of Citrus. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.

Growing up, I’d watch everyone in my family start their morning with a glass of orange juice. At the time, pulp wasn’t quite my thing, so my Mom would sneak my OJ (always 100% Florida) to me in the form of a fruit smoothie, and boy am I glad she did. Do you know how much vitamin C is in just one 8-ounce glass of 100% Florida Orange Juice? Let me tell you…it’s a lot, as in ‘more than 100% of your daily value’ a lot. It also counts as one serving of fruit, serves as a good source of folate, thiamin and potassium, and is free of sodium, cholesterol, fat, and, something that is hard to find in most juices today, it is free of added sugar. Obviously I wisened up and now drink loads of OJ (pulp, no pulp, I’ll drink it all), but I still love adding it to my morning smoothies, and even more so, I love cooking with it (one of my favorite things to do is add it it to pork chops with apples and onions). The Florida Department of Citrus is working to help people (like my 5-year-old pulp hating self) to understand just how wonderful, healthy, delicious, and versatile Florida OJ is and I’ve teamed up with them to help them spread the message.

In honor of working with FDOC I wanted to share the recipe for their Orangeberry Smoothie, along with the healthy adjustments I make to it when I’m drinking it as my morning smoothie.

orange juice smoothie via @runwaychef

Orangeberry Smoothie
Serves 1
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Ingredients
  1. 4 ounces Florida orange juice
  2. 1/4 cup fresh Florida strawberries, sliced (I also like using a mix of berries, including blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and cherries)
  3. 1 frozen banana
Instructions
  1. In a blender combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and serve.
Notes
  1. To make this a more decadent treat for dessert add a 1/2 cup of ice cream (or frozen non-dairy product for vegans) in place of the frozen banana, and also add in 1 cup of ice.
Adapted from Florida Orange Juice
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/

OJ also makes a splash when added to sauces, salad dressings, and even soups. With tailgating season coming up, there will also be plenty of opportunities for you to sneak some healthy OJ into all those game time apps. And speaking of game time, Florida OJ is throwing a tailgating event in New York City on Tuesday, Aug. 19. Come check it out! Special guest and sports broadcaster Erin Andrews will stop by to share her top tailgating tips. You can find out all the deets and RSVP here. Not going to be in the area? Follow along on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as I share live updates from the event with the hashtags #OJTailgate and #OJSelfie. Also make sure you’re following Florida Orange Juice on Twitter and Facebook for more event fun, OJ facts, and recipe ideas.

I’d love to know, what’s your favorite way to have orange juice?

Zucchini Casserole

Zucchini Casserole via @runwaychef #vegetarian What I’m about to say is going to sound a little odd, especially since part of my job is writing recipes, buuuut……I almost never follow a recipe (don’t worry, I do test all the recipes that make it onto this blog). I have a folder full of recipes that rarely get touched, magazines that only get browsed through, and cookbooks that are used for decorative purposes. About 95% of what I cook, I just wing. I throw in a little of this, a little of that, and a pinch of this (I rarely measure things either) and it just works. This is how I’ve cooked most of my life as has my Mom. I do get inspiration from magazines and cookbooks, but the recipes that inspire me are ones that I usually follow more as guidelines than as an actual recipe. Obviously, then, for me to say I found a recipe that I like and follow almost to a ‘T’ is a big deal. Such is the case with this zucchini casserole recipe. My Mom found this recipe a while back and started making it all the time. When I moved out, it was one of the recipes I made sure to take with me. Mr. RC and I now have it on a pretty regular basis. It’s healthy and light enough for summer but comforting enough for cold winter days. And in case you’re worried about satisfying the carnivores in your life, you’ll be happy to know Mr. RC loves his meat but is constantly requesting this dish. Whether you follow recipes or you don’t, this is one I highly suggest you add to your arsenal.

Zucchini Casserole via @runwaychef Zucchini Casserole via @runwaychef Zucchini Casserole via @runwaychef Zucchini Casserole via @runwaychef Zucchini Casserole via @runwaychef

Zucchini Casserole
Serves 6
A tangy and nutty casserole that is both healthy and light while also being the perfect comfort food
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup bulgur (I've also use quinoa and brown rice)
  2. 3/4 cup boiling water
  3. 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  4. 2 cups sliced onions (about 1 1/2-2 medium-sized onions)
  5. 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  6. 6 cups thinly sliced zucchini or summer squash (about 3 small or 2 medium/large zucchini)
  7. 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  8. 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  9. A dash of black pepper
  10. 2 eggs
  11. 1 cup feta cheese crumbles (5 ounces)
  12. 1 cup cottage cheese
  13. 1/4-3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (depending on tastes preferences)
  14. 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  15. 3 tablespoon soy sauce
  16. 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (3 ounces)
  17. 2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced (or a handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced)
  18. 1 1/2 tablespoons of sesame seeds (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl place the bulgur and the boiling water. Stir and set aside until the water has been absorbed.
  2. In a medium-sized skillet, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil until the onions are just translucent. Add the zucchini, dried herbs, and black pepper and continue to sauté on medium to low heat until the zucchini is tender. I sometimes cover the pan with a lead to help the veggies cooke faster.
  3. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then mix in the cottage cheese and feta cheese.
  4. To the bulgur, add the tomato paste, soy sauce and parsley and stir until combined.
  5. To assemble the casserole, grease a 9x9" pan. Then layer the bulgur mixture on the bottome, the sautéed vegetables in the middle, and finish with the feta mixture. Top with the cheddar and the tomatoes.
  6. Cover with foil then bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. I usually take the foil off after about 30 minutes so that the top gets crustier.
  7. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes for easier serving. Store leftovers tightly covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Notes
  1. This pairs nicely with a tossed salad, some crusty bread and a nice glass of red wine.
  2. To bake this in a 9x13" pan, I only double the bulgur mixture.
Adapted from New Recipes from Mossewood Restaurant
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
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Greek Appetizers + Bites

Greek Appetizer Plate Mr. RC and I always seem to be short on time, but we love cooking together so much that we don’t always want to eat out. Our solution has been creating themed appetizer plates, with mostly ready-made options for ease, but enough homemade parts to still get a little cooking time together. We’ve been doing these for quite some time now and have developed an array of themed app-dinners (as I like to call them) so I thought it would be fun to share them with you over the next several months. First up, our favorite Greek/Mediterranean themed app-dinner. We probably eat this at least once every couple weeks during the summer. The lighter fare and refreshing elements make it especially perfect for warm summer nights. Here’s what we like to include in our Greek appetizer spread:

  • Hummus (homemade)
  • Greek Yogurt Dip (homemade, recipe below)
  • Tahini Dip (store bought)
  • Stuffed Grape Leaves (we want to try making these but for now they are store bought…the canned ones sold at Trader Joe’s are really good)
  • Pita Pieces or Pita Chips (store bought; homemade recipe here)
  • Falafel (homemade; Trader Joe’s sells a good one too)
  • Olives (Trader Joe’s Greek Olive Mix or Fairway’s olive bar)
  • Feta and/or haloumi cheese
  • Cherry Tomatoes and Cucumber 
  • Roasted Red Pepper & Eggplant Dip (Trader Joe’s) or Roasted Veggie Dip (recipe here)

To make this into a bigger, slightly more complicated meal we’ll serve these appetizers alongside a Greek Salad or Spanakopita.

Hummus Greek Olives falafel Greek dips Mediterranean Appetizers Feta Greek yogurt Dip Greek Yogurt Dip Mediterranean appetizer plate

Feta Greek Yogurt Dip
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups Greek yogurt
  2. 1/3 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
  3. The juice of 1 lemon
  4. 2-3 tablespoons of Za'atar (depending on flavor preferences)
  5. 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  6. A large dash of garlic powder
  7. A dash of cumin
Instructions
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all ingredients. Stir until well-combined and serve. Store leftovers, tightly covered, in the fridge for up to a week.
Notes
  1. This does taste better after it has sat in the fridge for several hours, so if you can I highly recommend making this ahead.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/