Tag Archives: Healthy Sides

How to Cook a Spaghetti Squash

Have you ever looked at a spaghetti squash at the store and thought how great it would be to get one if only you knew how to cook it? Well, I don’t want that to happen anymore to you! Go buy that squash, and then follow these tips!

1. Wash and dry your squash (even if you’re not eating the skin, your knife touches it on its way through! Whatever bacteria are living on the outside go right into the part you eat.)


2. Slice off the stem.


3. Stand the squash upright on the now-flat stem side, and slice it in half lengthwise. I’m not great at cutting things exactly in half, but you get the idea. 🙂


4. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Save to roast (just like pumpkin seeds!) of discard if you want.


5. Brush the rims with a little oil and place flesh side down on a parchment or baking mat lined baking sheet.


6. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until the flesh is soft; about an hour depending on size. Allow to cool. Scrape out the flesh and fluff with a fork. Enjoy it as is or with your favorite marinara sauce!


Yum!

Healthy, happy eating!

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Roasted Guacamole

Roasted Guacamole 2

Here is a slightly different take on guacamole for Cinco de Mayo this year! In this recipe, the tomatoes, onions, and garlic get a slight roast, and the avocados get a grill treatment before mashing together. It really takes the dish up a notch!

Roasted Guacamole

Roasted Guacamole 1

Serves: 8-10

Ingredients

3 Ripe Avocados

2 cups Grape Tomatoes

½ Red Onion, sliced

6 Garlic Cloves

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Lime, juiced

½ cup Cilantro, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400⁰ F.
  2. Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic and olive oil on a baking sheet and toss to coat. Bake until tomatoes burst, and onions are slightly brown; about 25 minutes.
  3. Preheat grill to medium heat. Cut avocados in half and remove pits. Grill on lightly oiled grill, until warmed through and grill marks are visible; about 10 minutes.
  4. Allow all ingredients to cool enough to handle.
  5. Remove avocado flesh from peel, and mash with lime juice.
  6. Mince roasted onions and garlic and add to avocado mash, along with tomatoes. Mash all together.
  7. Add cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Mix. Enjoy warm or cold!

 

Happy, healthy eating!

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Grilled Okra

Can you believe summer is almost over?!  Where is the time going?  If you’re anything like us, you’re using the grill as much as possible before the snow starts to fly.  I usually end up throwing as much of the meal as possible on – not just the protein!  Grilled vegetables are delicious, and this okra is no exception!

Okra is often billed as a Southern vegetable, and about the only place I see it in Pennsylvania is on the menu at Cracker Barrel.  But why can’t we enjoy it north of the Mason Dixon line?  Usually, okra is either deep fried, or used in jambalaya.  I love a good jambalaya, but not so much in the midst of summer.  And deep fried okra is packed with fat and calories, making it a tasty, but not so healthy side dish.  I think the reason so many people overlook this veggie is that it has a tendency to get slimy, especially if you chop it up.  This preparation takes care of that!  I used a package of frozen okra, and just thawed it before using it, but if you can get fresh, that’s definitely better.  Not only is this side dish delicious and not-slimy, but it’s easy and takes very little time – perfect for weeknights!  Simply toss the okra in olive oil and garlic, throw it on the grill, and cook until it’s slightly charred.  That part is important because it makes it crispy almost like fried, but without all the fat.  Dig in, and enjoy this Southern treat – healthified!

Grilled Okra

Grilled Okra

Serves: 4

Ingredients

16 oz Frozen Okra, thawed
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 tsp Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat grill to medium heat.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat.
  3. Grill okra about 10-20 minutes, turning once, to desired doneness.

Grilled Okra Nutrition Facts

Happy, healthy eating!

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Spicy “Kohlslaw” (Kohlrabi and Cabbage Slaw)

Spicy Kohlslaw

Summer has unofficially ended, but it sure doesn’t feel like it yet!  While my brain is ready for winter squash, root vegetables, pumpkin, and soups, my body just isn’t into it.  Well except for Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte.  My body always wants that!  Special shout out to Starbucks for releasing it early this year! 🙂

I do have to apologize for not posting as much as I should be.  It’s now safe for me to announce that Handsome Husband and I will be welcoming a little addition to our family in March!  We are as excited as can be!  Luckily, I haven’t experienced any morning sickness.  Mostly profound tiredness.  My doc calls it pregnancy narcolepsy, and that describes it perfectly.  So while I have barely managed to cook some meals in the last 3 months, there’s been little else.  I’m hopeful to have more for you now!

On Friday, we hit up the Benedum Center for Performing Arts with some friends to check out the Lion King on Broadway.  It’s in town for a whole month, so if you’re local, do try to get there!  It’s a spectacular performance with the most amazing costumes!

Lion King on Broadway

We went to dinner before the show at a restaurant called Vallozzi’s.  I ordered a squid ink linguine with crab meat and white asparagus sauce with prosciutto sprinkled on the top.  I did take a picture for you, but it was so dark in the restaurant it just didn’t come out.  It was spectacularly delicious, though!  And the portion size was just right, too!  I was mostly impressed by the HUGE chunks of crab meat in the pasta.  Real crab meat.  I highly recommend this restaurant if you’re looking for a nicer place to go some night.

So let’s talk about this week’s recipe.

This year, my dad grew kohlrabi in his garden.  It kinda looks like an alien, but they are super low in calories, and great sources of vitamin C!  You can eat kohlrabi cooked or raw.  Today’s recipe takes advantage of the crispy, fresh tasting qualities of the vegetable in a slaw.  I have also roasted it with garlic, which is quite delicious too!

For the slaw, you will need to remove the skin from the kohlrabi.  It’s edible, but it doesn’t shred up very well, so it’s best to remove it.  The cabbage (from my aunt and uncle’s garden!) and carrots add a traditional element.  I replaced the typical heavy mayonnaise sauce with a light lemon and olive oil dressing, making this slaw a much healthier alternative to most.  Watch how much red pepper flakes you use!  I used the full teaspoon, and it was pretty spicy!  Start with half of that and taste it.  You can always add more, but you can’t remove it once it’s in there!

SPICY “KOHLSLAW” (KOHLRABI CABBAGE SLAW)

Spicy Kohlslaw

Serves: 12

Ingredients

½ small head of Cabbage, sliced thin

1 Kohlrabi, skin removed, shredded

3 large Carrots, shredded

1 medium Onion, slice thin

¼ cup Lemon Juice

¼ cup Olive Oil

1 tsp Honey

1 Garlic Clove, minced

½ – 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes

Zest of ½ Lemon

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

1.  Toss first four ingredients together in a large bowl.

2.  In a smaller bowl, whisk remaining ingredients together, and pour over cabbage mixture.

3.  Toss to coat.  Refrigerate for at least a few hours so flavors can marinate.

Kohlslaw Nutrition Facts

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Baked Cinnamon Sweet Potato Fries

Baked Cinnamon Sweet Potato Fries

I love all things sweet potato.  So when I saw sweet potatoes on sale during a shopping trip, I knew just what they were going to become: fries!  Sweet potato fries are a special treat at county fairs the country over (at least I would guess).  The first place I ever had them was at the Big Butler Fair.  It was love a first taste!

But traditional sweet potato fries are deep fried and so greasy they practically slip right out of your fingers!  Sweet potatoes pack a nutritional punch, but deep frying them adds a ton of fat and calories that won’t help your waistline, and they’re still not crispy.  My version has all the flavor with far less fat and calories – and the fat that is there is ultra-healthy monounsaturated fat (the kind that lowers your cholesterol!).  And sweet potatoes and cinnamon?  Soul mates!

What’s not the love?  And there’s so much flavor here that no sauce or ketchup is needed – which is kind of like heresy here in Pittsburgh (home of Heinz Ketchup)!  No, they don’t get crispy either.  I’m thinking that’s just the nature of sweet potatoes.  But I’m guessing if you’re a fan of sweet potato fries, you don’t care much about that!

Now go pre-heat that oven!

BAKED CINNAMON SWEET POTATO FRIES

Baked Cinnamon Sweet Potato Fries

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 large Sweet Potato (about 1-1 ½ lbs)

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tbsp ground Cinnamon

Salt to taste

Directions

1.  Pre-heat oven to 450⁰ F.

2.  Wash and dry sweet potato, and slice julienne style (leave the skin on).

3.  Toss with oil and cinnamon.

4.  Bake for about 60 minutes, turning with a spatula every 15 minutes or so to prevent burning, until soft and browned (they will not get crispy).

Baked Sweet Potato Fries Nutrition

Happy, healthy eating!

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