You know what I love? (Besides yoga, chocolate, & BL of course)
Sweet, caramelized, crispy, I don’t know ONE vegetable that doesn’t taste better roasted. Cauliflower, eggplant, tomatoes, the list goes on and on.
This month’s Recipe Redux theme is “Gadget Gifts”, RD’s sharing our favorite kitchen tool and an accompanying recipe. I thought long and hard about this theme- what gadgets do I use the most? My blendtec, food processor &kitchen-aid mixer get almost daily billing but those puppies are also pretty expensive. Great for wedding and splurge gifts, but not so practical for the average gift.
The baking stone however is not only affordable, it’s also a healthy game-changer. This gift will actually make your friends & family eat more vegetables. It’s magic!
I roast a big batch of vegetables almost every week- perfect as a side dish, combined with rice or pasta, stuffed into a burrito or pita pocket, nothing is off limits when it comes to these vegetables. I have no affiliation with the Pampered Chef but it’s the brand I have been using for years and highly recommend their bakeware.
This recipe is inspired by one of my favorite winter dishes: angel hair pasta with balsamic vinegar and caramelized onions. I swapped the pasta for butternut squash for a great side dish for the holidays.
Balsamic Butternut Squash
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into large cubes
1/2 medium onion, chopped into small strips
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. brown sugar (or other sweetener)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/8 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine the butternut squash, onions, vinegar, oil, brown sugar, oregano, and salt in a large bowl. Toss well until everything is mixed together. Spread onto baking stone and bake for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and uneven browning.
Remove from oven and toss with parsley- taste great hot or at room temperature!
Well, it is officially here, and I don’t mean just the holidays. I mean the time of year when everyone pulls out that special recipe, the traditional food that comes around just once a year. If you’re anything like my family, we pretend like we have never seen (insert food item of the day here) before and end up eating until we are stuffed, retiring to the couch, promising not to do that again tomorrow.
Well, even if you don’t celebrate the holiday food craze like my family does, I am sure everyone has a favorite side dish that is so indulgent, so wonderful, it must only be brought out on feasting days. As I was racking my brain for this month’s Recipe Redux theme- vintage family favorites- this recipe landed quite literally in my lap.
This soup, a knock-off of Olive Garden’s creation, was developed by a dear friend to both BL and my Momma-in-law. As Thanksgiving is only a day away, it’s the perfect time to stop and reflect on those people (and food, it’s OK to reflect on food right?) who mean the world to us. Rita, who originally crafted this wonderful recipe, prepared everything with love. Because she is no longer with us, what better way to pay tribute and honor the legacy of a woman so revered for her cooking than by re-creating one of her classics. Whether it was an extra half cup of this or a dash of that, she turned any recipe into her own.
Let’s get to it, shall we? Here is the Original Recipe:
Zuppa Tuscano Soup by Rita Mae Greisen
1# Italian Sausage or links
2 medium potatoes diced
¾ cup onion diced
6 slices bacon
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
2 cups kale leaves cut up
2 T chicken base
1 ½ quarts water
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp or 1 tsp red pepper flakes depending on how hot you like it
Cook sausage. Place onions and bacon in frying pan over medium heat and cook until the onions are transparent, add garlic and stir. Remove and crumble bacon. Put the water in a kettle and add the chicken base and potatoes and simmer until the potatoes are cooked. Add all of the other ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes.
Clearly, a few changes had to happen. First, making it vegetarian. I swapped the Italian sausage for soyrizo. Don’t like or can’t find soyrizo? You can either omit it or sub baked tofu, tempeh sausage, or the like.
I also swapped out heavy cream for cashew cream, a simple trick I often do to mimic the taste of real cream without the extra cholesterol and calories. If your reading this and thinking “Cashew cream? Girl, you’re crazy”. Well, yes but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. While it may not be as low in calories as some other cream swaps, the mouthfeel and texture can’t be beat.
I also like things a tad on the spicy side. Whether it increases your metabolism or not, I notice that I eat less and feel more satisfied if food has a spicy kick to it.
I really, really enjoyed this soup. A perfect addition to my ‘I now make a soup every Sunday’ routine. BL enjoyed it too, although he said there was too much kale in it.
I simply looked at him and in my deepest, scariest voice said: “there is never too much kale.”
I am so excited for this month’s Recipe Redux theme, “Orange your glad it’s fall?”
Yes. Yes I am.
I get so excited with the change of the seasons, enjoying new flavors that I haven’t had for almost a year. Pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, and more. What do all of these wonderful vegetables have in common? They are loaded with the orange-pigmented antioxidant, beta carotene. Pumpkin is also loaded with vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and folate.
The problem with most pumpkin-flavored items is that they tend to be loaded with fat and excess sugar. Pumpkin-pie, frapps, cheesecake, all take innocent pumpkin and turn it into junk food.
These pumpkin shakes still deliver on the benefits of pumpkin, without all the added frills. Perfect for breakfast, as a snack, dessert, its the perfect way to celebrate Fall.
Spiced Pumpkin Shake
1/2 cup pumpkin
1/2 frozen banana
2.5 tbsp. sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Place all ingredients in a blender, puree into smooth. Makes 1 large serving, 2 small shakes.
This week, I am celebrating one of my favorite foods- tofu! A staple ingredient in my house, tofu is the perfect addition for a healthy diet. Rich in protein, calcium, and low in fat, try replacing tofu for a lighter version of your favorite dip. Curious on more benefits of tofu? Head over to yesterdays post which discussed soy foods and their role in reducing risk of breast cancer.
This is one of those recipes that takes no time to put together and is always a hit at parties. I make this pretty often, to take to a potluck at work, or wine nights with girlfriends. Either way, no one knows that tofu is what makes this dip so creamy and light tasting. Most dips rely on sour cream and heavy mayo, and a meager 2 tbsp. serving size can well be over 100 calories. This dip is satisfying but low in both calories and fat. It also makes a great sandwich spread.
Creamy Spinach Dip
1 package silken firm tofu, rinsed and drained
1 package frozen spinach, drained
3 tbsp. mayo (Veganaise is my favorite)
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 can water chestnuts, drained
1 scant tbsp. vegetable broth concentrate
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
Place all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse a few times until combined.