So we are well into the New Year, and it’s definitely time to up my game and start smashing my fitness and healthy cooking and eating goals for this year.
I’ve joined a new gym, hired a Personal Trainer and committing to doing Yoga, Pilates, Barre and weight training plus lots of walking at least 4 times a week from now on. I’m also focusing on lower carb eating for a while – cutting out sugar, processed foods, carb loaded foods. And drinking more water, getting more rest and taking my vitamins. The list goes on! Gosh, getting healthy and in shape is not easy.
I decided to make a lighter version of Lemon Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti that’s normally loaded. I swapped out healthy spaghetti squash roasted with olive oil, sea salt and pepper instead of pasta to lighten up the carbs and calories.
Then I simply shredded it into spaghetti strands with a fork…
and sautéed some sliced fresh garlic and shrimp in olive oil, butter, red chile pepper, fresh parsley and a big splash of fresh lemon juice. YUM!
It’s so light and delicious i don’t even miss the pasta or bread (truly!) This lovely dish is also low in calories and high in protein – two staples to losing weight. Not to mention staying full and energized without the sugar highs and lows from eating all those heavy carbs.
You can also add more veggies to the dish if you like..try sautéing some mushrooms, zucchini, cherry tomatoes or bell peppers and adding them to the mix. I absolutely love the possibilities of this dish! Who needs pasta when you have delicious buttery strands of squash instead? Please add your comments below on how you would make or alter the dish – creativity is good!
Hope you enjoy the recipe and here’s to happy and healthy New Year to all of you. xx
The New Year has arrived, and it’s time to start anew. I like to kick bad habits and start new resolutions, such as exercising more, dropping a few pounds, cleaning house, and of course eating healthier and lighter.
I recently got the new KitchenAid® Spiralizer Attachment to go along with my KitchenAid® Stand Mixer and am so excited to experiment with it to make some healthier low-carb meals! It comes with five different blades for peeling, coring and slicing and is perfect for fresh fruits and vegetables. I love pasta and rice, but spiralized veggies are such a great substitute when I want to lighten up my recipes.
Because we are in the middle of winter, I thought a delicious comfort food dish with a healthy twist would be perfect. I made an amazing Red Beef Curry with Zucchini Noodles, with stewed beef, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic and green beans in a lovely curry sauce made with coconut milk, red curry paste, fresh lime juice, fish sauce, a little beef broth and a dash of Sriracha.
Super delicious and easy to make!
I also got an amazing new Professional Series 3.5″ Paring Knife that came with my larger set, perfect for chopping my onions and garlic. and Thai chilies and basil, which I used for garnish. The larger Chef’s knife was great for cutting up the large chunks of beef, and sweet potatoes with it’s sturdier grip and large super sharp blade.
This is such a great Winter comfort food dish to make and it’s so easy with all the right tools! You’ll definitely want to make this Red Beef Curry for dinner – tonight!
As the weather cools down in the late fall season, there’s nothing I love more than cooking a big one-pot comforting dish on a Sunday afternoon. One-pot dishes are so easy to make, and the enticing smells from the oven are enough to wipe out any winter blues that might be coming on. Welcome my Wine-Braised Chicken with Bacon, Veggies and Herbs.
I love making hearty braised dishes with meat and vegetables because they’re easy and so good, especially in my KitchenAid® 6.0Qt Cast Iron Cookware.It’s big enough to make a meal for a crowd, and it’s enameled with cast iron inside which makes it the perfect vessel to cook slow braised dishes, roasts, stews, soups, chilis and any one-pot meals. It even has a grill pan inside the lid! How cool is that?
My Wine-Braised Chicken has tons of goodness inside: chicken thighs, shallots, bacon, cipollini onions, garlic, fresh rosemary and thyme, bacon and carrots. It’s slow-cooked into a big pot of deliciousness with white wine, chicken broth, and then a reduced au jus cream sauce served over the top.
This is such a delicious and easy recipe to make and it’s pure comfort food perfect for a chilly Winter day. The best part is you only have to cook and clean in one pot, which is awesome. (More time to snuggle under the blankets and watch movies by the fireplace!)
I’d love to hear what you would make in your KitchenAid® Cast Iron Cookware by experimenting with my recipe. Would you use a different meat, like beef or pork? What vegetables would you substitute or add? Would you try a different sauce for the recipe?
Share your take on this Wine-Braised Chicken recipe on the KitchenAid Instagram page using #MadeWithKitchenAid for a chance to be featured!
One of my favorite recipes to make for a summer BBQ or outdoor party is Shrimp and Veggie Pasta Salad with Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette. It has a light, lemony herb dressing with fresh basil, parsley, dill and tarragon, along with a touch Dijon mustard, Champagne vinegar, olive oil and fresh lemon.
I love using big seashell pasta and adding plenty of fresh veggies including cucumbers, celery, roasted red peppers, grilled corn and scallions for crunch, and adding fresh sautéed shrimp, which you can also grill if you prefer. It goes perfectly with grilled chicken, burgers, skewers and fresh fruit like watermelon, pineapple and mango.
First cook your seashell pasta, drain and set aside. Then you can either grill the shrimp or sauté it for a few minutes in a large sauce pan with some fresh lemon, herbs, seasonings and olive oil and let cool while you prep the other ingredients.
Season and grill the corn, shave off the kernels and add to the salad with the rest of the veggies (celery, cucumbers, roasted red peppers, green onions). Feel free to sub whatever fresh veggies you like to the salad to make it colorful and healthy!
Make the Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette by whisking together some extra virgin olive oil, Champagne vinegar, Dijon mustard, fresh lemon, salt and pepper and chopped fresh herbs.
Pour over the pasta, veggies and shrimp in a large mixing bowl and fold together. I like to put the salad in the fridge and let the flavors meld together – you can really taste the fresh herbs and zingy lemon when you let it sit together for a bit.
So easy, so light and refreshing and perfect for a backyard BBQ or beach party.
Shrimp & Veggie Pasta Salad with Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 6-8 servings
Serving Size: 1 cup
1 pound of pasta (medium-large shells or rotini)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 pound small shrimp, peeled, cleaned and deveined, tails removed
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
Sea salt, to taste (for shrimp and salad dressing)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon dried dill or 1 tablespoon fresh dill
1/4 cup fresh herbs, roughly chopped (tarragon, basil, parsley)
2 fresh sweet corn cobs or 1 cup frozen
1 cup English cucumber, diced
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup roasted red peppers, diced
2 lemon wedges, squeezed for garnish
Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions (usually about 9-11 minutes for al dente). Drain, rinse under cool water and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Slice scallions and cook until soft about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; add one more tablespoon of oil then add shrimp, red pepper flakes, Old Bay seasoning and sea salt; sauté together stirring constantly until shrimp are opaque, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set pan aside to let shrimp mixture cool.
In a large mixing bowl add salt and pepper, vinegar, mustard, garlic, lemon juice and zest. Use the KitchenAid® 3-Speed Hand Blender with the whisk attachment to blend ingredients together and slowly pour in the olive oil in small amounts until the dressing is emulsified and mixed well. Chop the fresh herbs, mix into the Lemon-Herb dressing and set aside.
Prepare the fresh corn by grilling it – add a little olive oil, salt and pepper, then char it over a medium-high grill for about 15 minutes. Shuck the cooked kernels off the cob and set aside in a separate mixing bowl. If using frozen sweet corn, simply boil in 1-2 tablespoons of water in a small pot over medium-high for 3-4 minutes, then drain and place into a bowl, set aside.
Add the cucumbers and celery to the accompanying mixing bowl of the KitchenAid® 3-Speed Hand Blender, and pulse a few times until chopped into a small to medium dice. Chop each vegetable separately to avoid overfilling the blender bowl. Chop the roasted red pepper into medium diced pieces. Throw all the chopped veggies into a bowl and set aside.
Pour the cooked pasta, shrimp and scallion mixture, corn and all the prepped veggies into a large mixing bowl and add the Lemon-Herb dressing. Gently mix all the ingredients together with a large spoon. Garnish pasta salad with additional chopped herbs, fresh lemon juice and additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator or cooler until ready to serve.
Summer is that time of year when we get to take some time off from our crazy busy lives, at least for a little while, to clear our heads, visit with friends and family, go to the beach, have a backyard cookout, or simply lie in a hammock and read a book or take a good, long nap.
It’s also a time when i tend to get a little lazy because it’s so hot outside. Or because I actually have some time on my hands to just, well do nothing. Or sleep in a little longer.
Because I’m constantly cooking as a profession, the last thing I feel like doing on vacation is well, cooking. Even though I get to stay at my parent’s house with a huge kitchen and backyard patio that actually has a grill and some room to move. And I always have all these big plans to make all this delicious food when I’m here but really just want to do – well, not much. You know – relax a little bit. 🙂
I decided to make something easy for breakfast today. And healthy. All in one big pan. A Summer Veggie Frittata that’s full of spinach and onions and fresh zucchini with some shredded cheese that’s lovely and light and just tasty and good all around. Yes, I threw in a tablespoon or two of cooked bacon because I just can’t help myself but if you’re a vegetarian feel free to leave it out.
I think I could get used to these lazy Summer vacation days. Don’t you agree?
1 package frozen spinach, defrosted and drained well (or 2 cups fresh spinach leaves)
1 cup shredded cheese (Jack, Cheddar, Mozzarella)
1 small zucchini, sliced
Preheat broiler to high.
Meanwhile, combine cream, eggs, salt, pepper, cooked bacon and seasonings in a mixing bowl, whisking well.
Heat a medium-large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add oil or butter to the pan and saute onions for a few minutes until soft and translucent.
Add spinach and cook for a few more minutes until heated through (or wilted if using fresh spinach).
Pour the egg mixture into the pan and cook for about 5 minutes until eggs are slightly set.
Sprinkle half of the cheese over the top evenly.
Top the frittata with the zucchini slices over the egg and cheese mixture.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and place in the oven.
Broil for about 3-5 minutes until the top is lightly browned and cheese is melted.
Remove from oven and cut into wedges.
Serve with additional fresh veggies or a green salad.
You can also add a little extra protein by mixing in some cooked ham or sausage.
Feel free to substitute the veggies by adding in summer squash, peppers, tomatoes, whatever you have on hand.
Goes great with a green salad and a glass of white wine if you're in the mood!
I’ve been on a spicy food kick lately. Maybe it’s the pseudo-Spring weather. Or maybe I’m just addicted. I decided to make a fun twist on pizza and make a seriously delicious Taco Pizza. Yes, TACOS. And PIZZA. All baked into a bubbling pile of goodness. This Taco Pizza is the easiest thing to make, and the best tasting thing on the planet. Like a fiesta in your mouth.
I had a bunch of Pillsbury Crescent Dough in the fridge, as well as a ton of fresh ingredients I wanted to use up. Yes, I could have made Nachos. Or Burritos. Or Enchiladas. Or even a Taco Salad. But why not make a Taco Pizza? It was Friday after all. And Fridays are made for FUN FOOD, arent’ they?
The crust is super buttery and flaky and a delicious canvas for this Taco Monster creation.
The pizza is topped with all the goodies you would make tacos with – salsa, ground beef, taco seasoning, black beans and onions,
with a layer of fresh veggies like black olives, tomatoes, jalapenos; and of course plenty of shredded cheddar cheese.
Just layer all the goods on the dough, pop it in a 375 degree oven and bake for about 13-16 minutes until the crust is golden and the cheese is melty-ooey-gooey.
Then, top it with some chopped cilantro, a few dabs of sour cream and some wavy corn chips for extra crunch.
Serious YUM. And perfect for a Friday afternoon. With a margarita or two, of course. 🙂
A seriously delicious Taco Pizza made with ground beef, tomatoes, jalapenos, olives, black beans and cheese, topped with sour cream, cilantro and crunchy corn chips baked on a crescent dough crust.
2 cans (8 ounce) Pillsbury crescent dough
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped (or 1 tablespoon minced dried onion)
1 package taco seasoning
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed
1 cup chunky salsa
10-12 cherry or plum tomatoes, halved
1 jalapeno, sliced
1/2 cup black olives, sliced
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup wavy corn chips, for garnish
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, for garnish
1/2 cup sour cream, for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Separate dough into 2 long rectangles and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Press perforations to seal into one large rectangle of dough. Repeat for second pizza.
In a large skillet, saute ground beef, onions and black beans until cooked through and meat is no longer pink. Drain grease, and add taco seasoning and 1/4 cup of water, mix together well and keep warm, covered.
Prep the veggies and pizza topping ingredients.
Layer the dough with the salsa, 1/2 cup for each pizza.
Top dough with the taco beef and bean mixture, olives, tomatoes, jalapenos and shredded cheese on both sheets.
Bake for 13-16 minutes until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown.
Garnish pizzas with corn chips, sour cream and fresh cilantro.
Cut each pizza into 6 squares and serve hot.
You can also substitute shredded chicken, ground chicken or turkey or pulled pork for the ground beef.
A regular pizza dough crust can also be used in place of the crescent dough.
Summer is here and it’s absolutely my favorite time of the year! The sun is shining, the trees are in bloom, and everyone is outside enjoying the weather making it prime time for entertaining family and friends with barbecue and cocktails by the beach, lake or even in the backyard by the pool. I’ve put together some party planning and decorating tipsfor the perfect summer outdoor beach party, along with some menu ideas featuring lots of fresh seafood, finger foods, and refreshing fruits and veggies.
One of my favorite recipes to make for a summer outdoor beach party is a Shrimp and Veggie Pasta Salad with Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette. It has a light, lemony herb dressing with fresh basil and tarragon, lots of veggies including cucumbers, celery, roasted red peppers, grilled corn and scallions for some extra crunch, and fresh sautéed savory shrimp. It goes perfectly with grilled chicken, burgers, skewers and fresh fruit like watermelon, pineapple and mango.
I was asked to create three veggie portraits of Jennette and The Couch hosts Carolina Bermudez and John Elliot using Birds Eye Vegetables to feature on the show. I picked up a few packages of frozen carrots, peas, green beans and corn and had a fun evening drawing faces and glueing veggies on white plates to create the portraits. Not as easy at it looks! Here’s a few photos of them along with some photos and videos from the TV Segment. Read on to find out Jennette’s Dinnertime Rules for eating healthier by incorporating fresh veggies into your kids meals!
McCurdy and Birds Eye have some suggestions for getting started ‘Rewriting the Dinnertime Rules.’
Rule #1: Role Reversal. Kids pick the menu and the veggies, help shop for the groceries and are in charge (with a little help from mom and dad) in the kitchen. Plus, they get to pick the theme and dress and decorate accordingly, whether it’s hitting the “beach,” bringing out your family’s wild side in the “jungle” or cheering on your favorite sports team.
Rule #2: Play with Your Birds Eye Veggies! You can use your veggies to make smiley faces or create colorful rainbows on your plate. You can even give your broccoli a mohawk haircut (really!) – just have fun!
Rule #3: Celebrate Every Bite. It can take up to 12 times for a kid to try a new type of veggie, or any new food before he or she begins liking it (http://www.choosemyplate.gov). So, keep it up! And while you’re at it, give yourself a high five for every bite your kid takes.
Rule #4: Be a Veggie Explorer. There are all sorts of cool and surprising ways to serve veggies. Like smoothies (mixed veggies with yogurt, OJ and honey), popsicles (carrots and OJ) and salad dressings (carrot ginger). You AND your kids will be amazed at all the cool ways you can eat your veggies.
For easy advice on getting kids to eat their veggies, more dinner “rules” and recipe ideas created for and tested by kids, visit www.BirdsEye.com.
Enter to win a trip to Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play on September 21st in New York City!
CLICK HERE to watch the video from the TV Segment on CBS The Couch
I recently had an opportunity to meet an amazing author/chef/blogger/photographer at a recent book launch party at Candle 79, Michael Natkin. If you haven’t checked out Michael’s award-winning vegetarian blog, Herbivoracious, then you absolutely must. His creative vegetarian dishes are colorful, fresh and vibrant, and he recently published his first cookbook named after his blog. I had the opportunity to meet Michael at the party and get a signed copy of his cookbook which I absolutely adore (even though I am not a vegetarian) and loved the recipes so much that I wanted to share a few with you and offer a chance for you to enter to win a copy of the amazing cookbook yourself, giveaway courtesy of Harvard Common Press.
The cookbook is full of 150 recipes and global dishes that he has created based on inspiration from his travels around the world: Mediterranean, Middle East and Asia are some of the main areas of influence on his cooking, which has led to his unique dishes full of taste, texture, aroma and gorgeous presentation. Appetizers and Small Plates, Soups and Salads, Sandwiches and Tacos, Pasta and Noodle DIshes, Side Veggie Dishes and Desserts are all colorfully presented in this beautiful cookbook.
Whether you are an omnivore, herbivore, vegan, vegetarian or pescatarian (or just love fresh veggies, salads and healthy recipes) – I know you’ll love this cookbook as much as I do! Michael has also graciously given me two recipes from his cookbook to share with you: Over The Top Eggplant Parmesan and a cool and refreshing Watermelon, Radish and Watercress Salad (see recipes following). Enjoy!
***THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED! CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNER, SHEA ROSS OF ATLANTA GA! STAY TUNED FOR FUTURE COOKBOOK GIVEAWAYS 🙂
Here’s how to enter to win a copy of the cookbook (open to US/Canadian residents only):
Comment on this post: Tell me what is your favorite vegetable or vegetarian dish, or simply why you would like to win the cookbook to receive one (1) entry;
Share this post on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or Pinterest with your followers & get an additional entry for each post;
*** VERY IMPORTANT! ***Leave a separate comment for EACH of your entries or only one entry will be counted.For example, leave your first comment about your favorite vegetable or vegetarian dish and why you want to win the cookbook, then add another comment to say “I follow you on Twitter”, another to say “I follow you on Pinterest”, etc. If you already follow me on Twitter, Pinterest and/or Facebook let me know as well, since this counts as an entry.
*NOTE: Please make sure to provide your current email address (which won’t be visible) so I can reach you if you win.
I will randomly draw one lucky winner on Sunday, June 10 at 11 pm EST. Good Luck and enjoy the recipes from Michael’s book below!
Over-the-Top Eggplant Parmigiana
SERVES 6 1 HOUR (40 MINUTES ACTIVE)
For this no-holds-barred eggplant parmigiana, the eggplant is breaded with panko and pan-fried, layered with fresh mozzarella and homemade tomato sauce, finished in the oven, and then topped with a dice of fresh heirloom tomatoes. It makes a satisfying entrée, and you need only add a green salad to make a celebratory dinner.
I don’t salt and drain eggplant for most uses, but it is worthwhile in this recipe. Extracting some of the liquid makes the eggplant fry up firm yet fork-tender. You don’t want any mush factor in your parmigiana.
Here’s a great tip for breading. Use one hand to put the eggplant in the flour, egg, and bread crumbs. Use the other hand to toss the eggplant in the bread crumbs and into the skillet. By keeping one hand for the wet stuff and the other for the dry, you avoid getting your hands breaded along with the eggplant!
The finest canned tomatoes for Italian dishes come from the area of San Marzano; look for that name on the can.
3 large or 5 smaller globe eggplants (about 4 pounds total)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups panko bread crumbs
4 large eggs, beaten
Vegetable oil, for pan-frying
12 ounces mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 handfuls fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 1⁄2 cups diced vine-ripened tomatoes (only truly good, ripe tomatoes will do here; don’t use those supermarket ones ripened with ethylene gas)
1 handful fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Peel the eggplants and slice lengthwise into planks a scant 1⁄2 inch thick. Layer in a colander with a heavy sprinkling of kosher salt between each layer, top with a plate, and weight with some cans. Set aside on a plate to drain for at least 30 minutes. Wipe off excess salt with a paper towel.
Heat the olive oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, while you make the rest of the recipe. Don’t add salt, because the eggplant will still have residual salt from the draining process.
Set up a rack or baking sheet covered with paper towels for draining the fried eggplant. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and preheat the oven to 400°F.
Set up for dredging, with plates for the flour and bread crumbs and a shallow bowl for the eggs. Heat a good 1⁄4 inch of vegetable oil in your biggest skillet over high heat. Working with two slices of eggplant at a time, pat them in the flour until they have a dry coating, then drag through the egg, and finally press both sides in the bread crumbs, covering thoroughly. Place them in the skillet, where they should start sizzling immediately. Don’t pack them in too tightly in the skillet; leave yourself some room to work. Flip when brown, about 2 minutes, then brown on the other side. They should be fork-tender at this point (the oven time is just to melt the cheese, not cook the eggplant). Transfer the eggplant to the rack to drain. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, adding more vegetable oil as necessary.
To assemble, set down your first layer of eggplant in the prepared baking dish, and top each slice with a couple tablespoons of tomato sauce, a piece of mozzarella, a bit of Parmigiano, and a bit of basil. Build up three layers, finishing with cheese.
Bake until the cheese is thoroughly melted, about 20 minutes.
To serve: Toss the diced tomatoes with the basil and a pinch of salt. Put an eggplant stack on each plate, and top with 1⁄4 cup of the tomato salad and a grind of fresh black pepper.
Watermelon Radish and Watercress Salad
This delicious salad is driven purely by its beautiful ingredients; all you have to do is take a little care to arrange them nicely.
Watermelon radishes are green on the outside, but when sliced you see that they are intensely red in the middle, looking much like tiny watermelons. If you have a mandoline, use it here: It is excellent for slicing them thinly and evenly.
If you have difficulty finding watercress, check the refrigerated produce section of upscale markets. They often carry hydroponic watercress, making this peppery green, once strictly seasonal, available year-round. Look for bright, fresh leaves with no signs of wilting. The tart cress makes a great foil for the sweet figs and pomegranate seeds (or more technically, arils).
1 large watermelon radish, very thinly sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 handfuls watercress, rinsed and dried
4 ripe fresh figs, halved
1⁄4 cup pomegranate seeds
16 shavings Parmigiano-Reggiano or other hard aged cheese
12 toasted walnut halves
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
Arrange a circle of watermelon radish slices on each of four chilled plates. Drizzle with a little olive oil.
Toss the watercress with a bit of the olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Place a fluffy handful on each plate. This is the critical step to making the salad look nice—aim to make a tall, high mound in the center, and don’t let it spread out.
Add 2 fig halves, 1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds, 4 cheese shavings, and 3 toasted walnut halves to each plate. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and serve immediately.
Herbivoracious is also available in an enhanced e-book edition, with 25 videos featuring Natkin touring ethnic markets, introducing ingredients and showing how to choose them, and preparing recipes from the book. The e-book will also offer social media functionality for sharing recipes, photos, and video on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs.