Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Roasted Beet Stacks with Garlicky Cottage Cheese "Cream" and Pumpkin Seed Parsley Pesto

We're on day 2 of the 21 Day Fix, but that doesn't mean we can't have delicious food!  I was reading Fitness magazine earlier today and saw an amazing looking recipe for "Beet Napoleans".  I might have to try their actual recipe sometime (mine is very roughly inspired by it), but right now it doesn't fit with my meal plan (way too much oil, goal cheese, cream cheese, honey, too many nuts...).

I made these for my husband and I.  The amount of beets I used was not nearly enough to accompany the "Cream", so I will probably up those next time.  I wanted us to eat all of the "Cream" because it is full of protein and that helps give this meal its fill factor. I purposely made extra pesto so that I could use it again, so only 1/8 of the recipe is one serving.  As I made them this time, they count as 11/8 green, 1 red, 1/2 orange, and 1/2 teaspoon per person.  The amounts below for the beets and the "Cream" make two servings, but the pesto makes a lot extra.

You can make the pesto ahead of time (even a day or two before!) and the cottage cheese mixture can be made a few hours ahead.  Or maybe even earlier, but I haven't tried that.  I made the beets so that they finished cooking right before we ate, but they could be reheated or eaten cold, and they'd still be tasty.

Also, feel free to mix up the pesto!  You could use basil or maybe cilantro instead of the parsley, or a blend of herbs.  The beet greens could be substituted with spinach, baby kale, or arugula.  The pumpkin seeds could be replaced with walnuts or pine nuts.  I just did it this way because 1) I already had pumpkin seeds 2) my beets came with greens that actually looked good 3) parsley is cheaper than basil and I had already been adding cilantro to too many things lately.

The Components:

Pumpkin Seed Parsley Pesto (makes eight servings, 3 Tablespoons each, counts as 1/2 orange, about 1/8 green, and 1/2 teaspoon per serving)

1 packed cup of beet greens-or any other greens you want to use (1 packed green)
1/2 packed cup of Italian parsley (1/2 packed green)
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (4 orange containers)
4 teaspoons oil olive
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar, or a white wine vinegar
Pinch of sea salt
Water to mix

If you are using beet greens, make sure to wash THOROUGHLY.  They tend to be very dirty.  Cut or tear the greens and parsley into blendable pieces.  Throw these and all other ingredients, excluding the water, into your blender or food processor.  Pulse while slowly adding water until the mixture blends into a pesto.  Be careful not to add too much water- it may take a little time to get things going (depending on your blender), but be patient and keep pulsing.  Let sit for at least 2 hours.  Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Garlicky Cottage Cheese Cream (makes 2 GENEROUS servings, 3/4 cup and 1 red each)
1% or 2% Cottage Cheese
1 head of garlic
Splash of lemon juice

Roast the garlic head first: Simply place the whole thing in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes, or until soft.  If you aren't 21 Day Fixin' you could cut the very top off before roasting and add some olive oil, but I skipped that this time.

Next, peel your garlic.  Add all of the cloves plus the cottage cheese and lemon juice to your blender or food processor and puree until smooth.  Done!  Store in the fridge until you're ready to use.

*Note: This would make an AWESOME super healthy dip too... maybe add some roasted onions and black pepper.  Serve with crudites or some healthy chips!

Roasted Beet Slices (2 servings, 1 green each- you might want to double... the beets shrink A LOT)

4 medium beets, scrubbed, ends cut off, and cut into 1/8-1/4 inch thick slices.
Cooking spray
Salt and pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray.  Arrange beet slices across pan, being careful not to overlap.  You will need more than one pan if you are doubling the amount.  Spray the tops of the slices VERY lightly.   Season with black pepper and a pinch of salt.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until tender and lightly browned.  If you used two pans, make sure to switch top and bottom halfway through.

The Assembly:

Now that you've got your parts made, it's time to serve this stuff up!  I wanted to be all fancy since this was my first time displaying my creation- hence the tidy little stacks.  You can be fancy too, or you can just plop the correct amount of each component onto each plate and create the mixture as you eat.  They make cute (though messy) little tacos with the beets as the shell.

If you are doing the Fix and want to keep to a serving of 1 red, 1 1/8 green, 1/2 orange, and 1/2 teaspoon, then you get half of the Cottage Cheese Cream, half of the Roasted Beets, and 1/8 of the Pesto,  If you're not doing the Fix, then you can have however much and whatever proportions you want. :-)

So, if you want to make the stacks, start by divvying up your portions. Then, place a larger beet slice on your plate. Top with a little of the "cream" and then a little of the pesto.  Top with a medium beet slice, repeat with the "cream" and pesto.  And top with a smaller beet slice, repeat with the "cream" and pesto.  That's one stack!  You'll probably be making 3-5 per serving, depending on the size of your beets were.  Serve with the extra "cream" and any extra pesto left in your serving.  Enjoy!