My friend, has just lost 25 pounds and looks great. She attributes her success to a marinated, raw salad every night — just a tasty mix of raw vegetables and olives. Continue reading Marinated Raw Salad
As if …
going without meat one measly day a week is a big deal. Seriously? So Monday is the one day of the week that collectively, we go a bit off the grid and take some baby steps toward doing the thing. Not a sacrifice. Continue reading Moroccan Lentils with Carrots and Golden Raisins
- Squash has worked its way into one of the season’s IT vegetables. As such, it has a guaranteed place at our Thanksgiving Table, and chances are, we’re going to opt for this super simple and spicy variation.
One has to figure: there’s already going to be enough butter, sugar and labor-intensive dishes. What table couldn’t benefit from some humble and super healthy chunks of squash with a fun, little spice blend?
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled seeds removed and cubed
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. dried ginger
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Peel squash, remove seeds and cut into 1-inch chunks. Add to a large bowl.
- In a small bowl combine olive oil, brown sugar and spices.
- Add spice/oil mixture to the squash and stir until every chunk is coated.
- Coat 9 x 12 pan with cooking spray and spread squash in the pan in an even layer. Cover with foil and cook for 20 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Serve warm.
There’s nothing like a rainy Friday in the fall to spark a hankering for some genuine comfort food. Mac and Cheese, of course, is at the very top of the comfort food list, and over the years we’ve switched it up a bit with whole wheat penne, spinach and tomatoes — to the point that some real nutrition now trumps the fat and carbs.
And another beautiful thing about this dish: unlike say, a cake, where getting the proportions right matters, pasta is a completely open-ended proposition. Less of this and more of that tends to work just fine, or even lead to a great discovery. That’s a good thing on a Friday night when no stress and not bothering with a recipe are big goals.
Take tonight for instance: I had my heart set on this delicious combination only to discover a critical milk shortage. I gave serious thought to mixing in some almond milk, and then upon opening the can of diced tomatoes, I had a Eureka moment, realizing that the tomato juice in the can could stand in as a tasty — and fat free — liquid to extend the cheese sauce and maybe even add a tasty new dimension to mac and cheese. And it did. Combined with a simple side salad, life was good.
- 10 oz. whole wheat penne
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 Tbsp. flour
- 2 cups milk (or a mix of another liquid such as the juice canned tomatoes)
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 14 1/2 oz. can of diced tomatoes
- 2 cups shredded cheddar, colby or Monterey Jack cheese
- 2 oz. cream cheese
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 2 oz. parmesan
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Cook pasta according to package directions — draining while it is still slightly al dente.
- Melt butter in a heavy skillet and add flour, whisking vigorously. When flour is fully incorporated, add milk in a slow stream, continuing to whisk and ensure that no lumps have a chance to form. Mixture should thicken quickly. Add more milk if it appears too thick.
- Add shredded cheese along with cream cheese, diced tomatoes, spinach, salt and pepper. Stir until spinach wilts and cream cheese melts. Add pasta.
- Coat baking dish with cooking spray and pour pasta mixture into prepared dish. Top with 2 oz. of shredded parmesan.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
Whaddya say we take the most ordinary of pantry essential (cornmeal), add some water and salt. Simmer, stir, add in a little parmesan and butter and end up with a rather snazzy dish. Even though the ingredients could not possibly be more plain, polenta is delightfully off the beaten path and packed with all sorts of possibilities.
There are those who say that polenta and cornmeal are the same thing, and others who point out that polenta has a coarser grain than cornmeal, but is essentially the same thing. I prefer the coarse to the creamy, but either way, one part cornmeal to three parts water, a little salt and 25-30 minutes on the stovetop yields some tasty stuff that stands on its own or serves as a great base.
This Polenta Primavera creation is simply a variation on my version of Pasta Primavera, which tends to be a combination of whatever vegetables are on hand, sautéed in olive oil with a good dose of oregano and topped with lots of parmesan.
- 1 cup coarse cornmeal
- 3 cups water
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 red pepper
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 carrots
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1 fresh tomato
- 1 zucchini
- 1 cup of kale leaves, stems removed and sliced thin
- 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. pepper
- Slowly pour one cup of coarse cornmeal into 3 cups of boiling salted water, and whisk rapidly until mixture starts to boil. Reduce heat to low and continue stirring.
- In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil and add onion, red pepper and garlic. Stir polenta every few minutes while vegetables are cooking.
- Peel and chop carrots. Add to vegetables and cook for another 2 minutes before adding chopped zucchini, tomatoes and kale. Continue stirring polenta.
- Add oregano and pepper to vegetables.
- As polenta begins to take on a solid consistency, add butter and 1/2 cup parmesan. Stir vigorously as butter and cheese melts.
- Spread polenta mixture into an 8 x 8 pan that has been coated with cooking spray.
- Cut the nearly solid polenta into squares and cover with sauteed vegetables. Top with parmesan cheese.