A Taste of the Mediterranean

Last week I mentioned that I finally made myself sign up for a 5K. I hadn’t run the full distance but I figured I could make it happen within the next three weeks. Well, on Sunday, it just so happened that I felt like going a little further on my run and I ended up going the full 5K distance; I did it again today. I set this goal for myself last year and it feels great to finally accomplish it. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep myself motivated after I complete the race. Over the past week, I ended up making a couple mediterranean recipes that were really great. I hadn’t planned on having two Mediterranean dishes, but conveniently, it turned out that way. I’ve always liked Greek and Mediterranean food, but other than making Greek salad, I’ve never really made it myself. I’ll definitely be adding these to my list of favorite recipes.

Mediterranean Orzo
This is a quick recipe that can really work for any meal or ¬†even an afternoon snack. I think my sister and I had it warm, but it would be great chilled as well. If you’ve never tried it, orzo is a rice shaped pasta; I always use whole wheat. Be sure you measure out your serving sizes with orzo, it’s small, so it’s easy to overestimate the amount you need. The other main ingredients are sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, artichokes and feta cheese. I used the feta cheese with sun-dried tomatoes and spices to give a little extra flavor. My sister and I both liked it a lot. I think we were feeling like having a light dinner, so we didn’t have it with anything else. You could always serve it as a side though; it would go great with chicken or fish. You could even add shrimp to make it a more filling main dish on its own. Click here for the recipe.

Mediterranean Flounder with Tomato Sauce
I’m always looking for new fish recipes to try. I usually keep cod in the freezer and make it pretty frequently with lemon pepper and garlic seasonings. I came across this recipe a few days ago and really wanted to give it a try. I used flounder instead of snapper because it was the best fresh option at the grocery store. Plus, I know I like flounder, so that made it an easy decision. The Mediterranean tomato sauce is what really adds the flavor. I used cherry tomatoes instead of plum tomatoes, and Kalamata olives instead of capers. I’ve used these olives to replace capers in another dish; they’re both salty/briny and I like and use Kalamata olives more than capers, so it works better for me. The sauce also has a few fresh herbs that make it really flavorful. One is tarragon, which I don’t think I’ve ever used. To me, it tastes similar to licorice, it’s kind of bitter, but worked really well with everything. The dijon mustard added a bit of sweet but tangy flavor that I really enjoyed. The only “mistake” I think I made was using too much olive oil to cook my fish. It ended up being a little too oily, so next time I think I’ll use cooking spray, less olive oil, or possibly just bake the fish instead of pan roasting. Give this one a try, it’s really good! Click here for the recipe.

A Quick Smoothie
I don’t make smoothies often, but I was strangely in the mood for one the other day after a run. I had some yogurt that I needed to use, so I figured I’d just toss something together. I used 1/2 cup of plain yogurt, about 3/4-1 cup of mixed frozen berries, and a banana. I blended everything up and enjoyed a nice, sweet, cool, and healthy treat for breakfast. Smoothies are super easy to throw together and are usually pretty healthy. Using frozen fruit makes it easy because you don’t have to worry about ice, which I think can dilute the flavor of the fruit. I saw a similar idea for a slushy on Pinterest the other day that I might try next time I’m in the mood for a frozen treat. It used fresh strawberries, ice and diet seven up. If I make it, I think I’ll try the same thing but use my flavored sparkling water instead. I’ll let you know how that works out if I give it a try.