ROASTED SQUASH WITH TURMERIC-GINGER CHICKPEAS

This is a delicious winter salad! I made the squash and chickpeas ahead of time (see “tip”), which made it quick and easy when I was ready to eat. I LOVE honeynut squash!

ingredients

2 pounds squash, such as butternut, honeynut, acorn or kabocha, seeds removed, cut into 1 ½-inch pieces

10 sprigs fresh thyme

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil

 Kosher salt and black pepper

1 small red onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

4 garlic cloves, sliced

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and grated

1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained

1 cup mixed torn fresh herbs, such as mint, cilantro, parsley and-or dill

4 cups spicy salad greens, such as arugula or mizuna

½ cup whole-milk yogurt

¼ cup pomegranate seeds (optional)

directions

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash and thyme with 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. Spread in an even layer. Roast until the squash is tender and just beginning to turn golden-brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

As squash roasts, toss the onion, vinegar, garlic, turmeric and ginger in a large bowl; let marinate at least 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas and the remaining ¼ cup oil and stir to coat. Toss in half the herbs and season with salt and pepper.

Divide the salad greens among 4 bowls and top with the roasted squash. Serve with a generous amount of the marinated chickpeas, and a dollop of yogurt. Garnish with the pomegranate seeds, if using, and the remaining torn herbs.

TIP: The marinated chickpeas and roast squash can be made up to 2 days ahead. Add the fresh herbs just before serving.

(recipe found on https://cooking.nytimes.com/)

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CORONAVIRUS: THE HAZARD OF FOCUSING ON WEIGHT

Recently, a woman reached out to me inquiring about starting some training sessions. She had previously been a relatively consistent exerciser, but fell off the wagon due to the pandemic. She had gained some weight and felt awful. I wanted her to either start zooming with me or coming to my studio (with COVID precautions) as soon as possible, because I knew that once she started exercising and moving again, she would feel so much better. She hesitated. After some gentle prying, I discovered that she felt that she had to lose weight before she could start exercising. Oh, there is that “weight-loss issue” always getting in our way!

Here’s the reality. Regardless of your weight, exercise works. If trained properly, you can get stronger, keep your bones healthy, improve your balance, enhance your flexibility, improve your cardiovascular fitness and build muscle. Regardless of your weight, you can change your body composition by building muscle tissue and losing fat. Regardless of your weight, exercise will definitely boost your energy levels and put you in a better mood. And let’s face it, in our current situation, we all could use to feel happier. Exercise will help relieve stress, and help you sleep better.

The problem with this potential client is she might not be able to lose weight right now. We are living in a global pandemic and we are stressed!  Given her view that she can’t start exercising until she loses some weight, she is missing an opportunity to feel better.

Bottom line: Don’t let your weight be a barrier for not exercising. Once you get going, you will be so glad that you did!

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LEMONY WHITE BEAN SOUP WITH TURKEY AND GREENS

Here is another Melissa Clark recipe. Hearty, delicious and packed with great nutrition. PERFECT for this winter weather!

ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1 large carrot, diced

1 bunch sturdy greens, such as kale, broccoli rabe, mustard greens or collard greens

1 tablespoon tomato paste

¾ teaspoon ground cumin, plus more to taste

⅛ teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more to taste

½ pound ground turkey

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 quart chicken stock

2 (15-ounce) cans white beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup chopped fresh, soft herbs, such as parsley, mint, dill, basil, tarragon, chives or a combination

Fresh lemon juice, to taste

directions

Heat a large pot over medium-high for a minute or so to warm it up. Add the oil and heat until it thins out, about 30 seconds. Add onion and carrot, and sauté until very soft and brown at the edges, 7 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, rinse the greens and pull the leaves off the stems. Tear or chop into bite-size pieces and set aside.

When the onion is golden, add tomato paste, 3/4 teaspoon cumin and 1/8 teaspoon red-pepper flakes to the pot, and sauté until paste darkens, about 1 minute. Add turkey, garlic, ginger and 1 teaspoon salt, and sauté, breaking up the meat with your spoon, until turkey is browned in spots, 4 to 7 minutes.

Add stock and beans, and bring to a simmer. Let simmer until the soup is thick and flavorful, adding more salt if needed, 15 to 25 minutes. If you like a thicker broth, you can smash some of the beans with the back of the spoon to release their starch. Or leave the beans whole for a brothier soup.

Add the greens to the pot and simmer until they are very soft. This will take 5 to 10 minutes for most greens, but tough collard greens might take 15 minutes. (Add a little water if the broth gets too reduced.)

Stir herbs and lemon juice into the pot, taste and add more salt, cumin and lemon until the broth is lively and bright-tasting. Serve topped with a drizzle of olive oil and more red-pepper flakes, if desired.

(recipe found on https://cooking.nytimes.com/)

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HEARTY BEEF STEW WITH RED ONIONS AND ALE

This is the first time I made a stew using ale instead of red wine. NICE! I love carrots so I doubled the amount. Delicious and a perfect winter dish!!

ingredients

2 pounds boneless beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch chunks

Kosher salt and black pepper

3 medium red onions

1 to 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more as needed

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

  1. teaspoon ground coriander

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

2 cups beef or chicken stock, preferably homemade

1 cup ale or beer (nonalcoholic is fine)

1 rosemary sprig

3 carrots, sliced

1 tablespoon cider vinegar or sherry vinegar, plus more to taste

Chopped chives, for garnish

Flaky sea salt, for garnish

directions

Season the beef all over with salt and pepper. Set aside while you prepare the onions.

Peel the onions. Cut 2 of them in half root to stem, then thinly slice them crosswise into half-moons. Cut the third onion, root to stem, into 1/2-inch wedges.

Dust the beef cubes lightly with flour. Heat butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven or other pot over medium-high. Add beef, in batches taking care not to crowd the pan, and sear until it’s good and dark all over, 5 to 6 minutes per batch. Transfer beef cubes to a bowl as they brown. Add more oil and adjust heat if necessary to prevent burning.

Stir in sliced onions and raise heat to medium-high if you lowered it. Cook until pale golden brown and soft, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant and lightly golden at the edges, 2 to 3 minutes longer.

Make a well in the center of the onions, then stir in tomato paste, coriander and allspice; cook, stirring until paste is darkened, 1 minute. Stir in stock, ale, 1 cup water and rosemary sprig. Return beef and any juices to the pot and bring to a simmer. Partly cover the pot and simmer gently for 45 minutes.

Give the beef a stir, then add onion wedges. Simmer for 15 minutes, then stir in carrots and continue to simmer until the meat, onions and carrots are tender, 30 to 45 minutes longer.

If the sauce seems thin, use a slotted spoon to transfer meat and vegetables to a platter; cover with foil to keep warm. Discard the rosemary. Return pot with liquid to stove and simmer until thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in vinegar. Taste and add more salt and vinegar if you like. Spoon sauce over meat and garnish with chives, flaky sea salt and more black pepper.

(recipe found on https://cooking.nytimes.com/)

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TURKEY MEATBALLS IN TOMATO SAUCE

I LOVE Melissa Clark’s recipes from NYT Cooking and this one is AMAZING!! I was able to get 36 mini meatballs out of this recipe and froze what I wasn’t cooking for another time. A great way to start 2021!! ENJOY!

ingredients

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, more for serving, if desired

½ cup panko or other plain dried bread crumbs

¼ cup minced onion

¼ cup chopped chives or basil

2 garlic cloves, grated on a microplane or minced

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon dried oregano

Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

1 ½ pounds ground turkey, very cold

1 large egg, beaten

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed

3 cups marinara sauce, more to taste

directions

In a large bowl, combine cheese, bread crumbs, onion, chives, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano and red pepper flakes, if using, and mix well. Add turkey and egg and blend with your hands until well mixed. If you’ve got time, cover mixture and chill for an hour or up to 24 hours. These are easiest to form into balls while very cold. Form into 28 meatballs, each about 1 ¼-inches in diameter.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large sauté pan. When hot, add enough of the meatballs to fit in one layer without crowding, and brown on all sides, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate, add another tablespoon of oil to pan and brown another layer of meatballs, transferring them to the plate as they brown. Repeat until all meatballs are browned, adding more oil to the pan as needed.

When meatballs are all browned, add marinara sauce to pan and bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits on the pan bottom. Return meatballs and their juices to pan, shake pan to cover the meatballs with sauce, and lower heat. Partly cover pan and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve hot, drizzled with more olive oil and sprinkled with more cheese, if you like.

(recipe found on https://cooking.nytimes.com/)

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