Power Lunch: Turkey, Veggie, and Brown Rice Bowls

You guys, sh*t is gettin’ real over here.  How real?  Well, my gorgeous diploma for my B.S. in Nursing came in the mail yesterday, my NCLEX (that’s the nursing licensure exam) is 2 weeks away, and I had my first job interview this week!  I have been losing myself in daydreams about how much I want this job.  It’s a resource position, which means I would get to fill in for other nurses on vacation, sick days, or family leave, and it’s at one of the best hospitals in the state.  I’ll be hearing back next week and am excited/terrified!

In the meantime, I’ve been truly enjoying my unemployed-cation.  I have time to cook most of my meals at home, have been going on long walks with my dog, and I’m catching up on Homeland just in time for Season 2.

Even if you are working a 9-to-5, this power lunch bowl would be an easy and energy-boosting work take-a-long.  Just sauté your ingredients over the weekend (make enough for several days to save time), cook some rice, and you’ll have an envy-inducing lunch on Monday.  The protein from the turkey and the fiber from the brown rice will keep you satisfied for hours.  Which is also a plus for a homebody like me whose kitchen is only steps away.

Turkey, Veggie, and Brown Rice Bowls
makes 2 servings

– 1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
– 1/2 lb ground turkey
– 1/2 tsp chili powder
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
– 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
– 1 red or orange bell pepper, diced
– salt, to taste
– 1/2 avocado sliced

Cook turkey and spices in a large skillet over medium-high heat until beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.  Add tomatoes, peppers, and about a pinch of salt.  Cook for another 7-10 minutes until peppers are tender.  Serve over 1/4 cup warm rice topped with 1/4 avocado.

Tuna Nicoise Sandwiches

What do you get when you put classic nicoise salad ingredients between 2 slices of bread?  You get the perfect picnic takealong.

I was inspired by this sandwich over at Tartelette.  It was just the thing to bring for an afternoon cooling off by the river last weekend.  It was Jeremy’s birthday and we needed a way to beat the heat and get out of our ordinary routine.  We ended up with happy tastebuds and a very happy dog.

Chasing sticks never gets old for him.

I used some lovely homemade focaccia bread and quick-pickled onions in this recipe.  Use whatever bread you prefer, but I really recommend you give the onions a try.  They only take about 5 minutes to put together and they add a zesty tang and crunch.

I hope everyone is staying cool out there.  I’ve stationed myself in front of the fan for the afternoon.

Tuna Nicoise Sandwiches
makes 2
adapted from Tartelette

– 2 hard-boiled farm eggs, peeled and chopped
– 1 can tuna packed in olive oil, drained
– 6 olives, halved (I’m obsessed with castelvetrano olives)
– 1 clove of garlic, minced
– several large basil leaves, torn into pieces
– 1 Tbsp olive oil
– 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
– salt and pepper to taste
– 1 tomato, sliced
– several slices quick-pickled onions
 bread of choice

In a large bowl, mix eggs, tuna, olives, garlic, basil, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Spread thickly between slices of bread, topped with tomato and onions.

I added this post to this week’s Melt in Your Mouth Monday.

Totally Addictive Tali Sauce

What you see here is the last serving of the condiment that saved my week.  If you don’t live in Portland, OR you may never have heard of Tali sauce.  This creamy, lemony, garlicky wonder was one of the first culinary delights I fell in love when when I moved to this city 5 years ago.  It’s served at The Whole Bowl, a downtown food cart, and it has the amazing ability to turn a plain ol’ bowl of rice and beans into something extraordinary.  Of course, they don’t just give their recipe away, but I managed to find a good approximation at The Improbable Farmer blog.

Part of the amazing flavor comes from nutritional yeast, which I once heard described as catnip for vegans.  I thought that was hilariously accurate.  Moving on.

I’ve been enjoying this with brown rice, pinto beans, and avocado.  It’s also good with a chicken breast and steamed broccoli.  And I’m about to sauté some zucchini to eat with the last of it.  The point is that you can let your imagination run wild.  May your lunch never taste boring again.

Tali Sauce
adapted from The Improbable Farmer

– 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 1/2 cup cooked pinto (or garbanzo) beans
– 3 garlic cloves
– 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
– 1/4 cup water
– 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
– 1/4 cup lemon juice

Place all ingredients in the blender.  Blend on high for a few minutes until smooth.  Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

* I shared this post with this week’s Fresh Bites FridayWellness WeekendSimple Lives Thursday and Pennywise Platter.

Egg Salad

I recently got my hands on a copy of River Cottage Every Day by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

It’s a beautiful cookbook; just about every other page boasts some jealousy-inducing photo with a mouthwatering recipe to accompany it.  For some reason, it took me a few days to decide to make something from it.  It could be the beginning of the school semester and the mountain of work that is slowly piling on.  This will be my first time with a clinical placement in a hospital where I will be working with real, live patients.  I’m excited but have the novice nurse jitters about it.

Another thing that kept me away from this cookbook at first was the fact that most of the recipes seem extremely rich.  I’ve been craving somewhat light, healthy fare this week and, while you can certainly find that in this book, it is not the focus.  As I flipped through it this morning, the egg tartare recipe caught my eye and I noticed that I had almost all the ingredients on hand.  It sounded like it might be a good, protein-filled lunch to keep me satisfied during a 4-hour computer training I have tomorrow afternoon.

Of course I am incapable of actually following a recipe to the letter.  I made some substitutions based on what was in my herb garden and also because I don’t like mayonnaise.  You could definitely substitute the oil, sour cream, and yogurt for 1-2 Tbs of mayonnaise if you wanted to.

Egg Salad
serves 3-4

– 6 hardboiled eggs, peeled and roughly chopped (click here for my favorite HB egg instructions)
– 1 Tbs fresh chives, finely chopped
– 1 Tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped
– 2 Tbs fresh dill, finely chopped
– 3 sweet baby pickles, finely chopped
– 1 Tbs capers, rinsed
– 2 Tbs sour cream
– 2 Tbs plain greek yogurt
– 1 Tbs olive oil
– 1 tsp Dijon mustard
– sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Mix together all ingredients except the eggs until well combined.

2. Add eggs and stir until evenly coated.

3. Serve on bread for a sandwich or as a topping for your favorite salad greens.

I surprised myself by actually enjoying the taste of the sweet pickles in this recipe.  I have always had something against sweet pickles since I was a kid, when I chomped on a bread and butter pickle that I had assumed was a dill.  I thought it was disgusting at the time, but I decided to give these another chance since I seem to have also gotten over my hatred of olives this year.

Do you have any foods that you wouldn’t eat as a child but have recently begun to enjoy?