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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Thanksgiving is this week, and with it comes myriad rich foods and starchy sides. These honey roasted sweet potatoes, however, remain light and almost fluffy while tasting strongly of honey. Even better, it’s simple to throw together and doesn’t take much attention while baking, making an excellent side dish for Thanksgiving.

 

3 red-skinned sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into 1-inch chunks and put in a 9×13 dish. In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, honey and lemon juice. Pour mixture over potatoes and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the salt, and bake, covered with tin foil, for about 1 hour, until potatoes are tender. Stir after half an hour. Yeilds six servings.

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If you’re looking for something light, fancy and easy, these fancy pizzas are perfect appetizers or even light meals.

 

1 red onion, sliced
3 cups arugula, coarsely chopped
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 whole-wheat tortillas OR naan bread OR pre-cooked pizza dough
4 ounces reduced-fat goat cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Saute the onions in a medium skillet over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and caramelized, about 15 minutes. Turn the heat up to medium and add the arugula. Cook until the arugula is wilted, about one minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the tortillas, naan or pizza bread on a baking sheet and top each with some of the arugula/onion mixture. Crumble some goat cheese on top of each, and bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes and cut each pizza into 4 triangles.

I made this recipe using tortillas and although the arugula, onion and goat cheese topping were excellent, the tortillas were tough and made eating the pizzas very difficult. Using a softer, thicker crust such as plain naan would provide a better foundation for the pizzas.

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French onion soup is the kind of hearty yet healthy meals that can put a soothing capstone on a hectic winter day. The only problem is this recipe, while simple, takes several hours to simmer and so might be best made beforehand — or on a snow day.

 

2 teaspoons olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced sweet onion
4 cups thinly sliced red onion
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup white wine
8 cups fat-free beef broth
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
8 1-ounce slices French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
8 1-ounce slices reduced-fat Swiss cheese

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Stir in sugar, pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Increase heat to medium-high, and sauté for five minutes or until onion is golden brown. Transfer the onion to a large pot, then stir in wine, and cook for one minute. Add broth and thyme; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for two hours.

Since I don’t have broiler-proof bowls, I improvised a way to top the soup with croutons and cheese. First, toast the bread cubes about two to three minutes until crispy; it’s best to do this already grouped for the number you’re serving. Then, top with a slice of cheese and broil for another few minutes until the cheese begins to brown. Then place each group of croutons and cheese onto each bowl you’re serving.

Yields eight servings.

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This dish is simple, tasty and, best of all, easy to make. If you’re looking to make it heartier for these colder temperatures, add another chicken breast.

2 chicken breasts, diced
1/3 pound whole wheat pasta
2 cups broccoli florets
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp black pepper

Dice chicken breasts and soak overnight in the olive oil and garlic, adding black pepper to taste, or use a garlic marinade. Sauté in a skillet on medium-high. Cook pasta according to instructions. Steam broccoli florets. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Serves four.

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Squash is another great fall food, and this recipe makes use of butternut squash’s rich flavor and a slightly sweet spice called garam masala. If you prefer a little more kick in your food, up the spice. This can be served as a main course but probably goes better as a side dish.

2 1/4 pound(s) butternut squash, fresh, peeled, cut into one-inch chunks
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a large nonstick baking sheet with cooking spray. Place squash and onion on prepared baking sheet; drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with garam masala, salt and pepper; toss to coat.

Roast, covered in foil and tossing about halfway through cooking, until squash and onions are tender and slightly browned, about 25 minutes.

Transfer vegetables to a serving platter or bowl and sprinkle with cilantro; toss to coat. Yields about six servings.

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Apples are in season right now, especially juicy, crunchy honeycrisps. For this recipe, fruit fresh from the orchard combines with onions and vinegar to create a fantastic pork dish. Serve alongside some fresh steamed vegetables and enjoy.

 

4 lean boneless pork chops
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup red onion, chopped
1 cup apple, chopped
1 and 1/2 Tbsp fresh rosemary
1 cup fat-free chicken broth
1 and 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, and lightly coat a baking dish with cooking spray.

In a skillet, spray cooking spray and brown the pork chops, sprinkled with the black pepper, over medium heat, until the pork is browned on all sides. Transfer the pork to the baking dish and roast for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the onion, apple and rosemary to the skillet and sauté until soft. Stir in the broth and vinegar. Increase the heat to high and boil for about 5 minutes until the sauce has reduced. Serve the pork with the apple balsamic reduction on top. Yields four servings.

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This ziti recipe is a healthier alternative to the traditional Italian dish, but it doesn’t lack in flavor and still fills you up. Better yet, it’s simple to make and affords you time to prepare a salad or other side dishes.

 

3/4 pounds turkey sausage
1 green pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
28 ounces (2 cans) diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
12 ounces uncooked whole wheat pasta, cooked according to package instructions
8 ounces low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese

Brown the turkey sausage in a large skillet. Add diced onion and pepper and cook until softened. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste and spices, mix thoroughly and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.

Add the cooked ziti and 5 ounces of the mozzarella cheese. Mix together, then transfer to a 9-by-13 pan. Top with the remaining cheese and bake for about 20 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

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