Healthy Recipes

Faux Thai Peanut "Noodles"

Ever since I got engaged in November I have been trying my best to eat less carbs...I mean have you ever tried on wedding dresses? Most of the designer gowns come off the runway and go right to the Trunk Shows, so yea were talking size 2 and less. Needless to say the less bloat the better. Although I am trying to eat healthier I still want to enjoy my meals especially after a long work day.  This dish is truly crave-able because it has one of the most craved ingredients in it, Peanut Butter. The peanut butter gives it the creamiest most delicious texture, the soy sauce gives it the perfect umami salty bite and the lime and cilantro both cut through the richness with their fresh flavor. Peanut Butter noodles in an Asian Restaurant can really pack a punch in the carb/calorie department but swapping the pasta out for Spaghetti Squash makes this almost guilt free. And hey it is Vegan and Gluten Free (if you use GF soy sauce)!

noodle.jpg

Ingredients-

  • 1 Large Spaghetti Squash
  • 3 Tablespoons of Chunky Peanut Butter (or whatever kind you like, creamy will work as well)
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sesame Oil (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice and more for Garnish
  • 1 Medium Garlic Glove
  • 1.5 Teaspoons freshly grated peeled Ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon Water
  • Freshly Chopped Cilantro
  • Black Sesame Seeds or Chopped Peanuts (Garnish) (optional)

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Cut the Spaghetti Squash lengthwise and brush the inner flesh with Olive Oil and Season with Salt, Black Pepper and a squeeze of fresh Lime juice.  
  3. Roast on a parchment lined sheet pan cut side down.Roast for roughly 45 minutes or until you can easily puncture the outside skin with a fork.  While the squash is roasting make the sauce.
  4. When the squash is done, scrape the inside of the squash into strands with a fork, it will resemble spaghetti. Leave it a little al dente so it has a slight bite like pasta. 
  5.  In a food processor or bullet blender, puree the peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice water,  grated ginger, garlic clove, Sesame oil, and red pepper flakes. In a large pan or pot on low heat toss the cooked spaghetti squash with the sauce until the sauce is fully incorporated. Plate and season with salt and pepper as needed but the soy is salty so you may not need it. Squeeze Fresh lime juice over the top and top with fresh chopped Cilantro and Black Sesame Seeds or Chopped Peanuts. Serve and enjoy! 

Vegan Chocolate Cake

A few months ago my little sister made every Italian mother's nightmare come true...she became a vegan! In the words of one of my favorite movies My Big Fat Greek Wedding, "What do you mean you don't eat no meat!?" Needless to say we all gave her a hard time. I mean whats a life without cheese, without that perfect runny egg yolk, without BUTTER!? We all thought it was a phase but hey this girl has been sticking to her guns! Since I love my sister oh so much I decided to surprise her with a special vegan dessert for her 20th birthday. Like the rest of the Marullo clan, Julia loves chocolate and her favorite dessert was always the Double Chocolate layer cake from Magnolia Bakery in NYC. After some research and the combining of a few good looking recipes I came up with the following recipe and let me tell you it is decadent, it is chocolatey, it is moist and you will not miss the dairy one bit! It tastes a lot like the Magnolia Bakery Cake but its vegan!

 

vegan cake.jpg

 

Ingredients

Dry ingredients:

  • 2½ cups all-Purpose flour
  • 2½ cups white sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Instant Espresso Powder (I like the Medaglia D'oro brand) (this is optional but truly enhances the chocolate flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:

  • 2⅔ cups Unsweetened Almond Milk (you can also use Soy)
  • ⅔ cups Canola oil (or vegetable)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

 

Vegan Chocolate Buttercream Ingredients:

  • ½ cup vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening 
  • 1¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Instant Espresso Powder 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons Almond Milk (as needed)

Instructions
To Make the Cake: Preheat your oven to 350F. Prepare two 8" round baking pans by lightly greasing them, and then cutting a circle of parchment paper to fit into the bottom. You can also use a 9 inch spring form pan and then careful cut the baked cake in half horizontally to fill it with icing but it will take more time to bake. This recipe will also work in sheet pans and cupcake tins! 
In a large bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients, then set aside.
In a medium bowl whisk together all of the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Don't over mix. Divide the batter into the prepared pans, then place them in the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.

Vegan Buttercream Frosting: Use a mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand blender and whip the vegan butter and shortening until light and fluffy. Add all the rest of the ingredients except for the Almond Milk. Blend until whipped and creamy. If the frosting is a bit too stiff, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of Almond milk as needed until desired consistency is reached.

Assemble the Cake: Run a knife around the edges of the cake pans, and flip the pans over to remove the cakes. Remove the parchment paper and discard. Place the first cake on your cake plate, and spread about half of the frosting on top. Place the second cake on top of the frosted cake, and spread the remaining frosting on top of that cake. Add sprinkles or Dairy Free Chocolate Chips around the perimeter to add a little pizzaz!  Store the cake in the fridge or a cool place until you are ready to serve. Serve at room temp! 

 

Indian Style Chicken

Try this easy, healthy and hearty meal full of bold flavors! 

indian chicken.JPG

 

 

Recipe Feeds 3-4 People

Ingredients-

2 Lbs Raw, skinless, boneless chicken breast cubed (about 1.5 inch cubes)
1 Large yellow onion thinly sliced
2 Cloves of garlic minced finely
2 Bay Leaves
1 Bell Pepper diced (Best to use Red or Green)
2 Teaspoon of Ground Turmeric
2 Teaspoons Chili Powder
3 tablespoons Coconut Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
1/4 Teaspoon Coriander
2 Teaspoons Fresh Ginger grated and minced
Dash of Cayenne
(1) 15.5oz can of Chickpeas (drained)
3/4 cup of tomato purée or canned diced tomato (my favorite is San Marzano)
1 can coconut milk
Salt and Black pepper to taste ( you will need at least 1 teaspoon salt)
Splash of chicken stock or Water 

**Great Served with Warm Naan Bread! My favorite is from Trader Joes freezer section! **

 

  1. Heat coconut oil in a pot, preferably a ceramic, dutch oven style pot.  
  2. In a small bowl mix together the Turmeric, Chili Powder, Coriander, Cayenne, a dash of freshly ground black pepper and a 1/2 teaspoon salt. 
  3. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken cubes in half of the spice mixture. 
  4. Add the chicken to the hot pot with the coconut oil and cook until brown on all sides but not fully cooked. Remove from the pot and set aside. 
  5. Right away add the sliced onions, bell pepper and bay leaves and sweat them until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and ginger and stir until fragrant. 
  6. Add the chicken back to the pot and sprinkle in the remaining spice mixture. Cook for a few minutes to get the spices to bloom. 
  7. Now add the tomato puree (or diced tomato) and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the coconut milk and chickpeas.  If there isn't enough liquid add about 1/4 cup or so of chicken stock just to get the liquid to almost cover the chicken mixture. 
  8. Stir it all together and let it simmer with the lid on for about 30-40 minutes. Make sure it is simmering and not a rolling boil. Then remove the lid and allow some of the liquid to evaporate and the sauce to thicken slightly. The longer you cook, the thicker the "gravy" will be. I like mine on the creamier side. Once the chicken is very tender and the sauce is to your liking, check the seasoning and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm with Naan bread, or even on top of rice!  You can garnish with chopped cilantro if you want a hint of freshness. Enjoy!

 

Turk-Ish Yogurt Parfaits

I have been named the "Brunch Queen" by my friends, family and clients, but with this reign comes a lot of pressure. I am constantly having to come up with new and innovative brunch dishes that will keep my guests excited.  This dish all started with my love for dried Turkish Apricots.  These apricots are the perfect amount of chewy and juicy and have a sweet but floral taste to them. Some of the classic Turkish desserts involve honey, rose essence, pistachios and spices so I decided to take these flavors and combine them into the perfect savory but sweet parfait. The good quality extra virgin olive oil I use in the granola just add this rich, savory element to the dish that is perfect with the sweet honey and apricots. 

 

Ingredients-

  • 3 Cups Plain Greek Yogurt (I prefer 0% fat Fage)
  • Rose Extract (only a few drops)
  • Clover Honey
  • Turkish Dried Apricots (or any apricots dried or fresh)

Pistachio Olive Oil Granola-

  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 ½ cups raw pistachios, hulled
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, hulled
  • 1 cup coconut flakes ( I prefer the unsweetened coconut chips)
  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4  teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)

Preheat oven to 300F degrees.

  1. In a large bowl, combine oats, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, coconut chips, maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and cardamom.
  2. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted. Store in an airtight container or mason jars if you do not use all of it right away.

Assembling the parfaits-

  1. Choose the parfait glasses or bowls you would like to assemble the parfaits in and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt with just 2-3 drops of Rose Extract.  If you prefer a stronger rose flavor add more to your liking. Note that it is very strong and can be overpowering, you want the flavor to come through but subtly.
  3. Scoop a few tablespoons of the rose infused yogurt into each parfait cup. Drizzle the yogurt with clover honey, sprinkle it with a few pieces of the chopped apricots and the Pistachio Granola.
  4. Repeat the layers as many times as you like! Be sure to have the top layer include the granola, apricots and a nice drizzle of honey.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Granola Bars

 

New Year, new me right? Dieting is not my forte because I love sweets! I created a granola bar recipe that is overall pretty healthy and truly satisfies my sweet tooth.  The toasted oats, flax and nuts combined with the honey and almond butter give these bars such a warm, comforting and rich flavor. They are the perfect afternoon pick me up and an easy way to get yourself out of bed in the morning.  Make the batch on a Sunday and enjoy them all week long. You'll never get sick of these because you can change up the mix-ins up as you wish! Maybe try dried apricots and candied ginger, or how about a cinnamon and dried blueberry with yogurt chips! Make your own variation and get featured on our Instagram! @gotroomformore or facebook.com/gotroomformore 

 

Ingredients-

  1. 2 Cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  2. 1/2 Cup Slivered Almonds (not sliced, slivered- you can also used chopped whole almonds) 
  3. 3 Tablespoons Flax Seed
  4. 6 ounces honey, approximately 1/2 cup
  5. 3 Tablespoons Packed Light Brown Sugar 
  6. 2 Tablespoons Coconut oil
  7. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 2 Heaping Tablespoons of Almond Butter ( My favorite is the Classic flavor from The Nutty Spoon https://thenuttyspoon.squarespace.com/) You can order online! 
  10. 6 1/2 ounces chopped dried fruit, any combination of apricots, cherries or blueberries ( I used Dried Cherries)
  11. 2 Tablespoons Cocoa Nibs (I used dark chocolate coated nibs from Trader Joes but you can just use raw nibs if you like)

(Feel free to put in any mix ins that you like! Use different nuts like cashews or even put in some unsweetened coconut or sunflower seeds! )

Steps-

  1. Line a 9 by 9-inch baking dish with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.(you can use a square dish too and have them a bit thicker) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spread the oats and almonds onto a half-sheet pan. Place the flax seed on a separate sheet pan. Place pans in the oven and toast for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Flax seeds may be faster depending on your oven so check on them frequently! You just want them lightly toasted and aromatic. 
  3. In the meantime, combine the honey, brown sugar, coconut oil, vanilla extract and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved. Stir in the Almond Butter just until it is melted and incorporated. 
  4. Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish. Sprinkle the cocoa nibs over the top and and place a piece of parchment on top and press down to ensure the mixture doesn’t stick to your hands. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely (will take a few hours or so). Cut into squares (or whatever shape you like) and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Miso Glazed Fish

The reason why I love living in New York City so much is because I can get the best food from any  type of cuisine at any time. My sister recently introduced me to this fabulous Japanese restaurant in the West Village that is serving up some super authentic yet innovative dishes every evening. One of our favorite dishes that they serve is their Miso Black Cod. One night I decided to surprise my big sis and make my own version of this flavorful fish. The marinade is super simple and tastes good on pretty much any white flaky fish or even salmon.  I even toss veggies in it and roast them until caramelized and tender. The salty, umami flavor or the miso paste (which is fermented soy beans), along with the sweet dark brown sugar and tangy Japanese cooking wine..hello heaven! Yea let me hear you say it "Oh Ive Got Room For More!"

Ingredients-

For the Glaze- Enough for about 1 Lb of Fish (enough for 2 people)

  1. 2.5 Tablespoons White/Blond Miso Paste (I use low sodium. You can usually find it in the grocery store's refrigerated section)
  2. 2.5 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar
  3. 1 Large Clove of Garlic Minced
  4. 1 Teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
  5. 2 Tablespoons Mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
  6. 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice
  7. 1/5 Teaspoons Fresh Ginger (I grate it fresh on a microplane)
  8. A pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  9. A dash of ground black pepper

Garnish- Toasted Sesame Seeds and Chopped Scallions

Fish-

I use fresh Cod filets or even fresh Atlantic Salmon.  Traditionally this is made with Cod. For this amount of marinade I buy 1 Lb of fish which will feed roughly 2 people.  You can even toss your vegetables like broccoli or diced Japanese eggplant in this marinade and roast them until tender.  This marinade brings so much flavor to just about any fish or veggie!

Steps-

  1. Whisk together all the marinade ingredients in a bowl. 
  2. Place your fish in a ziplock bag or in a container and baste the filets with about 2-3 tablespoons of the marinade. Set the rest of the sauce aside. 
  3. Marinate the fish in the fridge for about 45 minutes, but no more than 1 hour. For the last 15 minutes remove the fish from the fridge, you don't want to start cooking it when it is ice cold.
  4. Preheat your oven to 375F. Heat up an oven proof skillet or grill pan with low sides on medium heat. Put a small drizzle of olive oil on the pan to prevent the fish from sticking. Gently place the fish onto the hot pan. Allow the fish to get slightly charred and caramelized on one side. 
  5. Take the fish off the heat when you see the fish has caramelized on one side. Do not flip it it may fall apart if you are using cod. Baste the fish with as much of the remaining marinade as you can get on it. Then place the pan in the oven so the fish can cook through. It should only take about 5-6 minutes. Just make sure the fish is flaky and not cold or raw in the center. 
  6. Sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds and scallions over the fish and serve with your favorite veggies, rice or whatever you'd like! I love to baste some eggplant in the same marinade and roast it until tender and golden.  I also love to serve this with nice greens like sautéed garlic broccolini. 

Squash Toast

I would like to think I am not like all the other 20 something year old years, except for my taste in television shows. I have to admit I love the show The Bachelor. The drama, the unrealistic dates, the sappy proposal speeches, you just can't not get hooked! Why am I bringing this up? Well my sister, my best friend and I have Bachelor Mondays where we each take turns hosting the group for dinner and of course The Bachelor viewing. For the shows big finale, my best friend Rebecca had one wish, and that was for me to recreate her favorite appetizer from one of the best restaurants in NYC. Lucky for her, her best friend (me) is a chef, so helloooo challenge accepted and dominated, but of course I had to put my own "Got Room For More" spin on it.  I changed up the type of squash and added the beautiful nutty crunch of the toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas). Well lets just say I totally got the rose that night...and so did Lauren B (who we were rooting for since day 1). You go girl! Now what to do until The Bachelorette starts..sigh. We cannot wait to cheer on JoJo the newly elected Bachelorette while we stuff our faces and cry about how we don't look as good in a bikini.

Ingredients-

  1. 1  2 1/2- to 3-pound Butternut Squash, Acorn Squash or kabocha, peeled, seeded and diced into 3/4 inch pieces  (NOTE: I use one acorn squash and 1 small butternut squash. I find the blend is very nice)
  2. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for the bread
  3. ½ teaspoon dried chile flakes
  4. 1 Tablespoon Honey (I like a nice wildflower honey)
  5. 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  6. 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  7. ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  8. ¼ cup maple syrup
  9. 4 slices country bread, 1-inch thick ( I prefer Puglisi bread or ciabata
  10. ½ cup fresh, creamy ricotta cheese
  11.  Coarse salt & Ground black pepper to taste
  12. 4 tablespoons chopped mint
  13. 3-4 Tablespoons of toasted, hulled Pumpkin Seeds

Steps-

 

  1. Heat the oven to 450F. Combine the squash, 1/4 cup olive oil, chile flakes, honey and 2 teaspoons of salt in a bowl and toss well. Transfer the mixture to a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet and cook, stirring every 10 minutes, until tender and slightly colored, about 20-25 minutes or a little longer. You want the squash to be fork tender and slightly caramelized. Remove from the oven.
  2. Meanwhile, heat another 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat, add the onions and remaining teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are very soft and darkening, at least 20 minutes.Add the vinegar and syrup, stir and reduce until syrupy and broken down, again at least 15-20 minutes or so. You want it to be a nice caramelized, cohesive mixture that has a jam like texture. 
  3. Combine squash and onions in a bowl and smash with a fork until combined. Taste for seasoning.
  4. Drizzle some olive oil onto a baking sheet. Place slices of the bread onto the baking sheet. Drizzle the tops of the bread with more olive oil.  Sprinkle the bread with some ground black pepper. Toast in the oven on 400F until the bread is toasted and slightly golden, but not too toasted where it is very hard to eat. (but please toast to your liking! My grandfather likes it burnt..I mean completely burnt ;) )
  5. Spread the ricotta cheese on toasts, then top with the squash-onion mixture. Sprinkle with a small pinch of coarse salt, a little bit of the toasted pumpkin seeds and finally the fresh mint.

Acorn Squash with Apple, Sage Cream & Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

It is that time of year again! Thanksgiving is just 10 days away! Everybody knows that the turkey is just a showpiece, we all really look forward to the side dishes! Acorn squash is the perfect Thanksgiving side because everyone gets their own little "cup" of sweet and savory goodness. This recipe is beautiful and will surely take your Thanksgiving dinner Instagram pic to the next level. The squash is rich and slightly sweet with the addition of the dark brown sugar, and then the sage yogurt cream gives it this perfect tangy flavor that cuts through the sweetness, the apples give it a nice juicy freshness and finally we top it all off with spicy toasted pumpkin seeds which give this dish the most satisfying crunch. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Ingredients-

  1. Acorn Squash- 1 half per person
  2. Dark Brown Sugar (1 Tablespoons per half)
  3. Salted Butter (1 Tablespoon per half of squash)
  4. salt and black pepper
  5. Dash of Cinnamon per squash
  6. Dash of Nutmeg per squash
  7. Pinch of Clove per squash
  8. Olive Oil to baste the squash before baking
  9. 1-2 Apples shredded on a mandolin or cut into a fine julienne (I like honey crisp apples but granny smith or macintosh are great too
  10. Spiced Pumpkin Seeds (recipe below)
  11. Sage Cream (recipe below)

Pumpkin Seeds-

 

  1. 1/3 Cup light brown sugar
  2. 2 cups pumpkin seeds shelled
  3. 1 large egg white
  4. 1teaspoon cinnamon
  5. ¼ Teaspooon Ground Ginger
  6. ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  7. ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  8. a few dashes of cayenne pepper (if you like spicy you can add ¼-1/2 teaspoon)

Sage Cream-

  1. 1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I use Fage 0% fat to cut calories)
  2. 6-8 Fresh Sage Leaves
  3. 1 Teaspoon Honey
  4. Small Pinch of salt and pepper

Steps-

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds-

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F
  2. Stir together all the ingredients.
  3. Spread the seeds out on a parchment paper lined sheet pan in one layer.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes or until puffed up slightly and brown. Keep an eye on them because they can burn easily. Remove from the oven and stir them up a bit then pop them back in the oven for another 3-5 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool and dry out . Sprinkle with a little extra salt if needed.

Sage Cream-

  1. In a food processor or blender, blend together the yogurt, sage leaves, honey, tiny pinch of salt and pepper. Blend until the sage is nicely chopped up and incorporated into the yogurt.  If it is too thick to blend add a drop of water.
  2. Set aside in the fridge until ready to serve. 

Acorn Squash-

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F
  2. Cut the Squashes in half horizontally. Scoop out the seeds and discard.
  3. Place the squash halves on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle the insides of the squash with some olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle each squash half with salt and pepper, a dash of nutmeg, a pinch of ground cloves, and a nice sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
  5. Bake the squash for 45 minutes, remove from the oven and top each squash half with 1 tablespoon of the salted butter and 1 Tablespoon of Dark Brown Sugar and place back in the oven. Bake for another 15 minutes then remove and baste the squash with the melted butter and brown sugar from the center of the squash. Bake another 10-15 minutes  or  so, until the squash is fork tender.  Remove from the oven.

**To assemble- Top each acorn squash half with some shredded apple, a nice dollop of sage cream and then finish it off with some spiced pumpkin seeds.




Lebanese Brussel Sprouts

One of my favorite things about living in NYC is that you can find any cuisine from any part of the world, no matter how obscure.  One of my top 5 favorite cuisines is Lebanese food.  Of course the hummus, Babaganoush, lamb dishes and Tabbouleh are second to none, but one of my favorite Lebanese restaurants in town, has the best brussel sprouts you will ever taste.  So good that I did everything in my power to figure out the recipe.  After a few trial runs I came pretty darn close to the recipe! These are perfect for your next dinner party or holiday celebration!  They are nutty and sweet and umami and they take you on a flavor journey. This dish consists of Brussel Sprouts, a mint yogurt sauce, fig jam, toasted walnuts and sliced red grapes.  With each bite and each breath you will be introduced to new flavors and textures. A great recipe isn't one dimensional, it makes you experience and array of different flavors as you are eating it. This gorgeous dish is sure to impress!

brussel fig.jpg

 

Ingredients- 

  1. 1/2 Cup Water
  2. 10 Dried Black Mission Figs (cut the stems off)
  3. 1/2 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Sherry Vinegar
  4. 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  5. About 18 oz Brussel Sprouts (I use two round containers you buy in the grocery store)
  6. Olive Oil
  7. 3/4 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I like to use Fage brand)
  8. 1  Garlic Clove Minced 
  9. 2 Heaping Teaspoons Tahini Paste (Sesame Paste)
  10. 2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  11. 1  1/2  Tablespoons Fresh Mint Chopped
  12. 1/2 Cup Red Seedless Grapes Sliced Thin
  13. 1/3 Cup (or more depending on what you like) of Lightly Toasted Walnut Halves
  14. Salt and Pepper to taste

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. Prepare the Fig Jam by placing the dried figs, the water, sugar and vinegar in a small pot.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook the figs until they rehydrate and almost all of the liquid is evaporated and whatever is left is syrup like.  Allow to cool for a few minutes and then place in a food processor or blender until smooth and jam like.  Set aside to cool.
  3. Prepare the Yogurt Sauce by blending the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, Fresh Mint, Garlic, Tahini, and a dash of Salt and Pepper. 
  4. Wash and dry the Brussel Sprouts and cut the tough core off the bottom.  Slice each sprout in half or in quarters if they are really big.  You just want them bite size.  Lay them on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil and drizzle them with olive oil , the 2 Tablespoons of Sherry Vinegar and salt and pepper. Roast them in the oven until they are golden brown and crispy on the edges and tender inside. 
  5. Place the Brussel Sprouts in a bowl and toss them in a few spoonfuls of the yogurt sauce and a few spoonfuls of the fig jam, and the toasted walnuts.  You do not want them saturated in it, you just want them to pick up some of the flavor.  
  6. Plate them on on a nice serving dish and sprinkle some more of the nuts nicely on top along with a nice sprinkle of the sliced grapes.  Using a spoon drizzle some more of the yogurt sauce on top and then dot some more of the fig jam on top.  Garnish with more fresh mint if you'd like. 

Brussel Sprout Slaw

Spring is coming! We have moved from 15 degree temperatures to 50 degrees within one weeks time and it feels oh so good.  Spring to me means fresh veggies and salads, or anything light and fresh.  Over the course of a few years, Brussel Sprouts have become HUGE!  They are one of the most popular items on restaurant menus and one of the easiest vegetables to pick up at the grocery store. I turned an American favorite, Coleslaw, into a unique slaw equipped with crunchy, shredded brussel sprouts, crisp granny smith apple and bright, green onion and celery seed.  Serve this one beside sandwiches at a luncheon or BBQ or with any dinner entree. Enjoy!


Ingredients-

  1. 1/3 cup mayo (you can use lite mayo or even creme fraiche)
  2. 2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  3. 2 Tablespoons White Vinegar
  4. 2-3 cups Shredded Brussel Sprouts (I bought them pre shredded but if you cannot find them just cut the tough core off the bottom of the sprouts and then chiffonade the leaves (cut into thin slices)
  5. 1/2 Granny Smith Apple Peeled and Shredded (I use the julienne setting on my mandolin slicer or you can do it by hand or on the large hole of a cheese grater.
  6. 1/2 Teaspoon Celery Seed (a spice you can find in any spice isle!)
  7. 1 Tablespoon of Sugar
  8. 1/2 Cup of Chopped Scallions (green part only)
  9. Salt and pepper to taste
  10. 4 Tablespoons Chopped Flat Leaf Italian Parsley


Steps-

  1. Whisk together the mayo dijon, vinegar, sugar, celery seed and salt and pepper.
  2. In a separate bowl toss together the Brussel Sprouts, Apple, Scallions and Parsley.
  3. Pour the dressing over the sprout mixture little by little until it is dressed to your liking.  
  4. You can eat it right away but it is best to wrap it up and put in in the fridge for a few hours or overnight so the flavors really come together.

 

Three Bean Pasta Fagioli

Nothing is better than a hot bowl of Pasta "Fazool" on a cold winter day! Everyone knows February is award show month, and this is my "Award Show Meal."  I like to make a big pot of this and then cuddle up in sweats on the couch with my boyfriend and friends in front of the television. We sit and watch all of our favorite celebrities in awe, commenting on their wacky outfits and their butchered acceptance speeches...and the good ones too. 

Ingredients-

  1. 4 celery stalks diced small
  2. 1 cup carrot diced small
  3. 1 medium/large onion diced small (an onion about the size of a large orange)
  4. 4 pieces of bacon diced small
  5. 2 bay leaves
  6. 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  7. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  8. 2 Ounces Kale -Chiffonade
  9. 3 small garlic cloves minced
  10. 2 Sprigs of fresh rosemary chopped up finely
  11. 2 cups canned diced tomatoes with some of the juice 
  12. 1/3 cup dried brown or green lentils
  13. 14 oz canned Cannellini white beans
  14. 15.5 oz can of Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans)
  15. 14oz chickpeas 
  16. 6 cups Chicken stock/broth
  17. 1 cup white wine
  18. 1 Cup Small Pasta (I prefer Ditalini or small shells)
  19. Salt and Pepper to Taste
  20. Fresh Parmegiano Reggiano Cheese


Steps-

  1. Heat a large ceramic pot (like a Le Creuset if you have it) on medium-low heat. Add the bacon and cook until the fat renders, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon and set aside (you will add it back in). Add the onion, carrot, celery, red pepper flakes and bay leaves and increase the heat to medium; cook, stirring frequently, until the onions become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
  2. Add the wine and cook until it has reduced slightly. Add the bacon back to the pot along with the broth, beans, lentils, chickpeas, diced tomatoes and rosemary. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the lentils are just tender, 15-30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to transfer 1 cup of the bean mixture and a little liquid to a blender or food processor. Hold a kitchen towel over the opening to prevent splatters as the liquid is very hot. Purée until smooth and add back into the pot.  This will help to thicken the soup slightly.
  4. Add the dried pasta to the pot and stir to incorporate. Turn the heat up to a gentle boil and cook until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite, anywhere from 8-12 minutes depending on the type of pasta you used. The soup will thicken a bit by the time the pasta is cooked. Discard the bay leaves.
  5. Ladle the soup into bowls. Drizzle each portion with a touch of extra-virgin olive oil and grate a good amount of Parmegiano Reggiano on top.

I love to serve this with some homemade Focaccia bread. Check out Tyler Florence's recipe! I just use his bread recipe without his toppings and add lots of fresh rosemary and sea salt to mine  before baking and it compliments the soup perfectly. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/fabulous-focaccia-recipe.html

Butternut Squash- Two Meals 1 Ingredient

I am a woman with a very demanding full time job and a big appetite.  I love a good home cooked meal as much as the rest of you, but we all know that time is of the essence during the work week. Stressful business meetings, long commutes, squeezing in time at the gym and keeping up with emails seems to be the weekly routine for most of us living in Metropolitan cities, but I can show you how you can prep one simple ingredient at the beginning of the week, maybe Sunday evening, and have several completely different tasting meals all week long. 

1. Roasted Butternut Squash-

  1. 1 Large Butternut Squash (peeled, seeds scooped out and cut into 1 inch cubes) I like to but the pre-cut squash in the produce fridge to save some time!
  2. Olive Oil
  3. Fresh Sage (About 3-4 Leaves)- Chiffonade (finely chopped)
  4. 3 Small Shallots Chopped
  5. Salt & Pepper

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. In a roasting pan toss together the squash, sage, salt and pepper to taste and the shallots.  
  3. Drizzle on Olive Oil just to coat each piece of squash with a thin layer of oil.
  4. Roast in the oven for roughly 25-35 minutes tossing them mid way through the cooking process for more even cooking.  They are done when they are slightly golden brown on the outside and soft on the inside.  You want to be able to prick them with a fork easily.
  5. I like to eat the squash in a kale salad with a simple vinaigrette, dried cranberries or cherries, and chopped almonds or walnuts. You can also eat it as a side with any protein you like!

2. Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients-

  1. Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage (see above)
  2. Chicken Stock
  3. Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt (or Creme Fraisce or Sour Cream)
  4. Salt and Pepper to taste

Steps-

  1. Blend the Roasted Squash in a blender until creamy.  Add a heaping dollop or two of the Greek Yogurt and some Chicken Stock until you reach your desired texture.  If you like you soup thick put less stock, if you like it a little thinner keep adding stock a little at a time. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Heat up in a pot or in the microwave and serve! Also good with toasted shelled pumpkin seeds as a garnish.  

 

 

 

 

Spaghetti Squash Fritters- Vegetarian "Crab Cakes"

I HATED leftovers as a child!  I always felt like they never tasted fresh, and being the foodie that I am, I didn't want to have the same dish multiple times in one week.  Once I started managing restaurants and cooking in professional kitchens, I realized how important it is to take the scraps and leftovers of your vegetables, meats, cheeses etc. and use them to create more dishes!  Ultimately, if you throw good, useable leftovers in the garbage, you are throwing money in the garbage!  This week I had a substantial amount of Spaghetti Squash leftover, so I got a little creative and created a delicious appetizer to bring to my friend's apartment for dinner. These fritters are crispy on the outside and soft and flavorful on the inside.  The pleasantly stringy texture of the spaghetti squash and the flavors of the capers, sun dried tomatoes and breadcrumbs oddly make these little patties taste just like crab cakes! My friends kept insisting that I was lying to them and that they were crab cakes and not vegetable fritters!  So if you are a vegetarian or have vegetarian guests, this is the perfect dish to serve!  You can even make a "crab cake" sandwich by making a larger spaghetti squash patty, put it on a nice brioche bun with a cajun style aioli and top it with some mixed greens..now how delicious does that sound!


Ingredients-

1 Medium Spaghetti Squash

Canola Oil

5 Sun Dried Tomatoes chopped fine (you can use more if you'd like)

2 Small Cloves of Garlic Minced

Seasoned Breadcrumbs (about 1 cup sometimes you need a little more)

1/3 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

1  1/2- 2 Tablespoons Capers

2 Eggs beaten

Flour (you just need a few Teaspoons for the mixture to hold together)

About 4-5 Large Fresh Basil Leaves Chiffonade (sliced into thin ribbons)

Salt & Pepper


Steps-

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Cut the spaghetti squash in half vertically using a big chefs knife.  Scoop out and discard the seeds from the middle of the squash and then drizzle the flesh with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Place the cut side down onto a foil or parchment line sheet pan and roast in the oven about 35-45 minutes or until a fork can easily poke through the outer skin of the spaghetti squash.  

When the squash is cooked, using a fork scrape the squash flesh into a bowl.  It should fall into the bowl like spaghetti! Let it cool and set aside.

Once the spaghetti squash is cooled place in some paper towels or a clean kitchen towel and try to squeeze out any excess water that the squash naturally has.

Place the squash in a bowl and add the minced garlic, chopped sun dried tomatoes, parmesan cheese an capers.  Add the 2 beaten eggs and a dash of salt and black pepper.  Stir together until combined.

Add the seasoned breadcrumbs, about 1 Cup and stir together.  Add about 2 Tablespoons of Flour and stir together.  This will help to bind the mixture.  If you try to fry them and they are not crisping up and are just falling apart, add a little more breadcrumbs and flour.

Coat the bottom of a skillet with Canola Oil and heat on medium heat.  Test the temperature of the oil by placing a dot of the batter into the oil and if the oil sizzles around the batter, your mixture is ready.  Scoop about 1  1/2 Tablespoons of the mixture into you hands, make a ball, and flatten it out into a pancake shape.  You want them about 1/3 inch thick.  Place them in the pan with the hot oil and fry until golden brown and crusty on the bottom and then flip and brown the other side. Only fry a few at a time so they brown evenly and the oil temperature doesn't drop.

When they are cooked place them on paper towels to drain the excess oil. Serve with a dollop of the Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Crema! See below!


Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Crema-

Ingredients-

Plain Greek Yogurt

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto (you can also use regular pesto)

2 Large Basil Leaves Chiffonade

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

Steps-

1. Mix together some Sun Dried Tomato Pesto with the Greek Yogurt, a drizzle of Olive Oil and the chopped Basil. Add a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper, and give it a taste!  If you feel the flavor or color is too bland add more of the pesto! That is all there is too it!




Summer Lovin Salad- Fava Beans, Sugar Snap Peas, Watercress, Mint Vinaigrette & Manchego Cheese

 

We are in the final days of Spring and sailing right into summertime which to me means sunshine, the beach, relaxing in the park and...the BEST fruits and vegetables are in season!  This salad is the perfect addition to your summer BBQ or dinner party menu.  It is light, refreshing, crisp and very unique in flavor and appearance.  It is unique in that it doesn't have your typical ingredients like Romaine, Arugula or Iceberg.  It uses three things that are in season right now and they are Fava Beans, Watercress and Sugar Snap Peas.  Fava beans are not a common ingredient for most households but they should be! They are beautiful to look at and have a creamy, but crisp texture and almost a cheesy, earthy flavor that goes perfect with my mint vinaigrette and the Manchego cheese. 

Ingredients-

1  1/2 Cups Shucked Fava Beans

3/4 Lb Sugar Snap Peas Washed Throughly

1/2 Cup Watercress Leaves (remove the large tough stems)

1/3 Cup Pearl Onions (frozen and thawed)- You can use fresh as well but make sure you cook them through.

White Sugar (just a dash or two)

Manchego Cheese (Using a potato peeler or mandolin shave long thin strips of cheese and set aside)

Dressing-

1/4-1/3 Cup Fresh Mint Leaves

Juice of half a Lemon

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Canola Oil

1/2 Teaspoon Honey (you can always add more if the dressing is too bitter)

1 Heaping Tablespoon of Dijon Mustard

1 Small Clove of Garlic

Salt and Pepper to taste

Steps-

First prepare the dressing by blending the Mint, Dijon, Lemon Juice, Garlic, Honey, a dash of salt and pepper and a drizzle of both olive oil and canola oil (using a blend of oils prevents the dressing from being too bitter) in a food processor or blender.   Add more oil a little at a time until it reaches the consistency of a vinaigrette or lite dressing  Add more salt and pepper if needed. Seal in a container and set aside in the fridge to let the flavors meld together.

The Salad-

Remove and discard the stem and natural "string" from each Sugar Snap Pea Pod. Set aside. 

Fill a large bowl of water with ice and water and set aside. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and then drop the Sugar Snap Peas in the water.  Boil them in the water for 2 minutes only and then using a slotted spoon remove them from the water and place them in the bowl of ice water to shock them.  This helps them retain their color and crunch and cooks them ever so slightly.  Once they are cooled in the ice water remove them and dry them off on paper towels (set aside).

Do the same thing with the shucked Fava Beans but for about 3-4 minutes or until tender. Drain and shock in the ice water then remove the outer skin gently.  Try not to break up the beans you want them to hold their beautiful shape.

In a small frying pan, place the peeled pearl onions and sprinkle them with a little white sugar.  Cook on medium heat rolling them around and coating them with the sugar until the onions caramelize/brown and they are cooked and heated through.  Set aside.  

Toss the Fava Beans together in a large bowl with the Snap Peas, pearl onions and the cleaned Watercress.

Dress the Salad with a little vinaigrette at a time, making sure you coat each pea and bean evenly but do not over dress.  

Spoon the salad onto a serving dish and then take a few shavings of the Manchego Cheese and lay it on top as shown in my photo.  You can also just shave the cheese and toss it with the salad!  

Enjoy!



Chicken and the Egg Soup

I know it's almost summer and the temperature is rising, but no matter what time of year, who doesn't love a nice bowl of homemade chicken soup! When I am sick, stressed or just in need of some TLC, chicken soup always delivers!  It just nurtures the body and soul from the inside out! Growing up my mom made homemade chicken soup pretty often, but she always put her own spin on.  The base of the soup is traditional, but we add some spinach leaves and beaten egg into the soup to give it an amazing egg drop soup consistency to it as well. I add some leeks to the mirepoix because they have such a rich, wonderful flavor to them that is less harsh then a traditional onion.  This is one of those one pot meals that you can throw together, set on the stove, get some chores done and then sit down to enjoy it..no fuss!

  1.  Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  2. 32 oz Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  3. 1  1/2  Cups Chopped Carrots (peeled) 
  4. 1  1/2 Cups Chopped Celery
  5. 1 leek finely chopped  (clean it thoroughly and cut of the top dark green part of the leaves)
  6. 1/2 large Vidalia onion chopped
  7. 2 Bay Leaves
  8. 2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
  9. 1/3 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
  10. 1 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley Chopped
  11. 2 Large Garlic Cloves Minced
  12. 1 Whole Raw Chicken (cleaned, gizzards removed)

  13. Salt and Pepper

  14. 1 packet (or cube) chicken bouillon powder

  15. About 4 Cups water

  16. 2 Cups of Spinach Leaves coarsely chopped (you can use baby spinach but I prefer the large spinach leaves.  Make sure you remove the thick stems)
  17. 2 Eggs beaten

Parmesan Cheese (optional)

  

Cooked Egg Noodles, Orzo, Ditallini Pasta, Elbow Pasta, Small Pasta Shells (whatever you like!) (optional)

 Steps-

  1. Drizzle 1-2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil into a large pot and heat on medium low.
  2. Drop in the chopped leek, Vidalia (or white) onion, bay leaves and Red Pepper Flakes and sweat for about 5 minutes to release the flavors.
  3. Add the chopped Carrots, Celery and minced Garlic and stir to combine.  Cook on medium low heat about 5-7 minutes or until the flavors come together.
  4. Add a dash of Salt and Pepper and the whole sprigs of thyme.
  5. Place the whole chicken in the pot and pour in the chicken stock.
  6. Sprinkle the chicken bouillon into the 4 cups of hot water and stir to dissolve.
  7. Pour the water/bouillon mixture into the pot with the chicken and vegetables.
  8. Bring the mixture to a boil and then cover and simmer on medium low heat for an hour and a half.
  9. After roughly 90 minutes, remove the chicken from the pot and shred I using tongs or your fingers.  Be careful it will be hot!!
  10. Place all the shredded chicken meat back into the pot with the soup and discard the bones. Remove the Thyme sprigs and Bay leaves from the soup and discard.
  11. Add the spinach leaves and parsley to the soup and stir until the leaves wilt. 
  12. Take the two beaten eggs and while whisking or making a beating motion with a fork in the soup, carefully pour in the raw beaten eggs into the soup.  You want the soup to have a slight fogginess but not have huge chunks of scrambled egg, that is why it is important for the liquid to be moving (by the motion of a whisk or fork) while pouring in the egg.
  13. Let the soup simmer for about 5 more minutes then serve!  If you want to have noodles or pasta in the soup, keep them separate and scoop a little pasta into each persons bowl.  Keeping the pasta separate is important because if you put it in the soup it will absorb all the liquid.
  14. Scoop some pasta into each persons bowl, pour in some soup, grate some fresh Parmesan cheese over top and enjoy!

"Angeled Eggs"

AKA Beet and Pomegranate Deviled Eggs

Theyre just too pretty and too healthy to be called Deviled Eggs!

People ask me all the time how I come up with my recipes and my honest answer is I dream about them! Sometimes I have food daydreams that are so detailed and so vivid that I am starting to feel like I am a food psychic, if that even makes sense. This recipe came to me in one of those daydreams.  In my dream I started picturing these beautiful red deviled eggs, which got me wondering how they got red in the first place.  I wanted the eggs to become red in a natural way so I thought of two of my favorite ingredients, beets and pomegranates.  Both have the natural ability to dye foods a vibrant color (and also your hands so watch out), and are also full of nutrients.  The beets give the egg yolk mixture a wonderful earthly flavor as well as some moisture which makes it creamy with no fattening mayo added.  The juicy pomegranate seeds burst in your mouth when you bite into the eggs, cutting through the richness and giving the eggs a fresh finish. These are the perfect edition to your Memorial Day or summer time BBQ!

 

Recipe Feeds about 4-6 people (I estimate everyone at a party will have at least 2 halves or one whole egg)

Ingredients-

  1. 6 Whole Hard-boiled Eggs
  2. 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  3. 1/3 of a Small Shallot
  4. 1 Teaspoon Honey
  5. ½ Cup Canned Red Beets Chopped (reserve the liquid the beets come in a set aside)
  6. 1/2 Teaspoon White Wine Vinegar ( You can put more if you like more of a vinegar taste)
  7. Dash of Salt & Pepper
  8. 1 Pomegranate (you will only need the seeds so cut the pomegranate in half and gently pop out the seeds)
  9. Fresh Parsley finely chopped (you can also use mint)

Steps-

  1. Using a sharp knife, slice the eggs in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the yolks gently so you don’t break apart the whites of the egg, and place the hard-boiled yolks into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Set the egg whites aside on a plate.
  2. Blend together the egg yolks, Dijon, shallot, honey, beets, vinegar and salt and pepper until creamy.  If the mixture is too thick add a few drops of the reserved beet juice until you reach the desired consistency and texture.  You want it thick, but still very creamy.
  3. Evenly scoop heaping teaspoons of the egg/beet mixture into the egg white halves.
  4. Garnish with some parsley and about 3-4 pomegranate seeds per egg half.
  5. Serve and enjoy! 

Green Eggs: Egg Salad with Avocado Dressing

Green eggs is no longer just a phrase in a famous children’s book, it is now another delicious recipe in your repertoire. I just love a good egg salad, but it is full of mayonnaise which is fattening and high in calories.  I had a craving for nice, creamy egg salad, but had just returned from the gym, so I came up with a dressing that is just as creamy as the mayo but is much healthier!  A nice, ripe avocado does just the trick!  When pureed with the vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice and other flavor components, the avocado turns into this mixture that is as smooth as silk and a beautiful sage green color. Enjoy it on a bed of lettuce, with sliced tomato or on your favorite bread!

 (Feeds about 2 people)

Avocado Dressing-

Ingredients-

  1. 1 Ripe Avocado
  2. 3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice (Fresh)
  3. Dash of Salt and Pepper
  4. 2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  5. 1 ½ Teaspoons Honey
  6. 1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
  7. 4 Teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  8. Water

Steps-

  1. Remove the pit and skin from the avocado and scoop the flesh out into a food processor or blender.
  2. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper, Dijon, honey, vinegar, and olive oil. 
  3. Blend until the mixture is silky and smooth. 
  4. Add water a few tablespoons at a time until it has reached your desired texture.  You want it to loosen up slightly so the eggs can be mixed in easily but do not make the mixture watery.

 Egg Salad-

Ingredients-

  1. 4 hard-boiled eggs (with or without yolks.  I use two with yolks and two without to cut calories)
  2. 1/3 cup of the Avocado Dressing
  3. 2 Tablespoons Red Onion Finely Diced
  4. Chopped Chives or Fresh Dill (Garnish)

Steps-

  1. Chop up the hard-boiled eggs.
  2. Toss the eggs with the red onion.
  3. Toss the egg mixture with the Avocado Dressing.
  4. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and fresh chopped chives or dill.
  5. Eat on top of sliced tomato, mixed greens or on your favorite bread!

 

Coconut Turkey Chili

The cold weather just seems to hit you like a ton of bricks each November. One day its 70 degrees and then the next day you’re in a puffy coat, boots and gloves!  My Coconut Turkey Chili will warm you up from head to toe and will leave you feeling satisfied without all the calories and fat of normal beef chili.  The flavors are Thai and Mexican inspired, due to the addition of the coconut milk, lime and chili powder.  Serve this to your guests at your next football viewing party or even as a unique starter course for Thanksgiving dinner!

 

 

Ingredients-

  1. ½ Package of Ground Lean Turkey Meat
  2. 1 ½-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  3.  ½ Medium Vidalia Onion Chopped Fine
  4. 2 Bay Leaves
  5. 2 Cloves of Garlic Minced
  6. 2 Cups of Chicken Stock
  7. ½ a Green Bell Pepper Diced Finely
  8. 1 Cup Red Kidney Beans (Canned) (Make sure you drain them)
  9. 2 Cups Chickpeas (Canned) (Make sure you drain them)
  10. 2 Cups Coconut Milk (Canned)
  11. 1 Teaspoon Mexican Chili Powder
  12. ½ Teaspoon White Pepper
  13. Salt to Taste
  14. ½ Lime
  15. 1-2 Teaspoons Chopped Fresh Parsley (or Cilantro)
  16. Garnish- Mexican Shredded Cheese and Sour Cream  (or plain Greek yogurt)

Steps-

  1. In a large saucepan, sauté the onion, garlic, bell pepper and bay leaves.  Once the onion is translucent and soft add the turkey meat.
  2. Using a wooden spoon break up the turkey meat in the pot and allow it to cook through and brown slightly.
  3.  Add the chicken stock, coconut milk, kidney beans, chickpeas, chili powder, white pepper and the juice of half a lime.
  4. Allow the soup to simmer and all the flavors to come together.  Cook on medium low heat until the chili thickens to your desired texture. Stir in the fresh parsley.
  5. Ladle into serving bowls and sprinkle a generous amount of Mexican shredded cheese on top.  Dollop with sour cream, squeeze a little fresh lime over the top and enjoy!!

"Faux Spaghetti"

It can be very difficult to eat healthy when you have a full-time job and live in a city where you are surrounded by tons of tempting treats.  Trust me, there are many days I give in the tantalizing scent of a cheesy slice (or 3) of NY Pizza.  When we are busy we tend to consume carbs, carbs and more carbs! This is because some of the quickest foods to make or buy are in between slices of bread (burritos, deli sandwiches, gyros, street vendor hot-dogs etc.).  Trust me, as an Italian woman I cannot live without my pasta and bread, but what if I told you there is a vegetable out there that tastes and looks just like spaghetti! This magical veggie is called Spaghetti Squash, and it is full of wonderful nutrients and delicious flavor.  One cup of regular spaghetti has about 220 calories and 42 grams of carbohydrates, whereas one cup of Spaghetti Squash only has 41 calories and 10 grams of carbohydrates! What a huge difference!  Spaghetti squash can be made a million different ways such as, plain with butter, sautéed with olive oil, garlic and Parmesan, tossed with mixed vegetables and feta cheese, or with traditional marinara sauce (my favorite).  If I want a healthy but hearty meal that is easy to prepare, I like to make spaghetti squash with marinara, paired with a flaky, delicious tilapia or flounder filet.  This year, “squash” those extra pounds by finding some healthy substitutes for your favorite foods.  Start here…

 

                                                Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Sauce

(Feeds 2-3 People)

Ingredients-

  1. 1 Whole Spaghetti Squash
  2. 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  3. Salt and Pepper
  4. 2 Cups of Marinara sauce (homemade or jarred)

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Split the squash in half vertically and scrape out the seeds.
  3. Line a cookie sheet or roasting pan with aluminum foil. Season the inside flesh of the spaghetti squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place flesh side down and roast for about 45 minutes until fully cooked (until you can stick a fork in it easily).
  4. Remove from the oven and let rest until cool enough to handle.
  5. Meanwhile heat the marinara sauce in a medium size pot.
  6. When squash is cool enough to handle, using a fork, scrape the strands of squash from the inside of the skin into a bowl. Pour the hot tomato sauce over the squash.
  7. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve the squash by itself, or with a piece of grilled or broiled fish or chicken. ENJOY!

The picture above is another delicious way to make Spaghetti Squash!  All you do is sauté some shallots and garlic in olive oil, throw in some chopped Portobello mushrooms, frozen peas and a touch of chicken stock and simmer until the vegetables are soft. Toss the mixture with the spaghetti squash, salt and pepper and some grated Parmegiano Reggiano and you have another delicious “faux pasta” dish!