Archive for October, 2014

ROASTED SWEET POTATO AND BLACK BEAN TACOS WITH GOAT CHEESE

Here’s something a bit different that is loaded with great nutrients and fiber!

ingredients Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos with Goat Cheese l wanderingroot.com

1 lg. sweet potato, diced

1 15 oz. can of black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup red enchilada sauce (see recipe below)

8-10 corn tortillas

goat cheese

olive oil

fresh cracked pepper

fine sea salt

ingredients for enchilada sauce (will yield 2 ½ cups)

2 T olive oil

2 T all-purpose flour

2 T chili powder

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth

½ t ground cumin

½ t garlic powder

½ t onion powder

¼ t crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 t salt

directions

Preheat the oven to 4000 degrees. Place the diced sweet potato on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, toss then roast another 15 minutes.

While the sweet potato is roasting prepare the enchilada sauce. (This can be also be prepared in advance and re-warmed.) Heat the oil in a large skillet to medium heat. Whisk in the flour and chili powder. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to whisk until lightly browned. Gradually whisk in the tomato sauce, chicken broth, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes and salt. Stir until smooth, and continue simmering over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

Use 1 cup of this sauce and add in the black beans and sweet potatoes. Once the black beans are warmed, remove the saucepan from the heat.

Warm the tortillas in oven. Fill the tortillas with the black bean mixture and sprinkle with goat cheese. Top with any other desired toppings – guacamole, salsa, lettuce, avocado, cilantro, green onions, etc. (To keep the calories low, go easy on the goat cheese and other caloric toppings such as sour cream.)

 (NOTE: the taco recipe was adapted from a recipe found on http://www.wanderingroot.com and the enchilada sauce was adapted from a recipe found on http://www.recipegirl.com)

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OMG, BTW, BRB, BFF, and TOFI?

Acronyms are a part of our daily life now that texting seems to be the primary way that we communicate. TOFI is one of my favorites. Have you heard of it? It stands for Thin on the Outside, Fat on the Inside, also known as being “Skinny Fat”.

We live in a thin-obsessed culture focusing on the wrong things. Many people, particularly women, exclusively look at the number on the scale. This is a huge mistake. While the scale can be a useful tool, that’s all it is–a tool. It has limitations because most scales do not show body composition. How much lean muscle and fat you have is a crucial health factor. So yes, your weight can be just perfect for your height, but you could have way too much visceral fat, making you thin on the outside but fat on the inside!

Visceral fat is the fat that surrounds your vital organs. It’s the imagesdangerous fat because it contributes to heart disease, and produces inflammatory markers. While obese people have both subcutaneous fat (that’s the more visible, squishy fat) and visceral fat, thin people, too, can have a large amount of visceral fat. Don’t be fooled!

So if you’re thin and your diet is crappy and you don’t exercise but love the number on the scale, be warned……..you might be TOFI. Being healthy is most important!

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PENNE WITH CHERRY TOMATOES AND NUTMEG

Somehow the combination of the cherry tomatoes and the Cherry_tomatoesnutmeg works! Lovely warm-spiced sauce. Give it a try!

ingredients (serves 4)

3 ½ lbs ripe cherry tomatoes, halved and seeded

½ t ground nutmeg

1 lb penne rigate (can use whole wheat)

2 t unsalted butter, divided

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 handful of fresh basil, leaves picked from the stalks

grated Pecorino Cheese

directions

Use a thick-bottomed, low-sided saucepan . Melt 1 teaspoon of butter in this pan and add ½ the garlic. Cook until the garlic begins to color. Add the tomatoes and ½ teaspoon of salt. Simmer over a medium heat for about 15 minutes. Stir to break up the tomatoes. When it reduces to a sauce, stir in the nutmeg and the remainder of the garlic. Cook for a few more minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Test the seasoning adding pepper, then stir in the basil leaves and remove from the heat.

Cook the penne in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente, then drain. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of butter. Add the pasta to the tomato sauce, stir to coat and serve with the grated Pecorino.

(Adapted from a recipe found in the “River Café Cook Book Green”)

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WANT MORE ENERGY?

Several years ago, I had a disagreement with a client. He was explaining to me how tired and fatigued he always felt. After looking at his diet, I could see why: Too much fat, sugar, salt, and processed foods and not enough fruits, vegetables and fiber. He insisted that his diet had nothing to do with it. I said it did.

I’m not sure exactly what happened but after 3 ½ years of exercising with me, he got motivated: He started eating healthier and has lost over 25 pounds. He moves better, he sleeps better, he feels better, and surprise, surprise, he has more energy.

No two people are exactly alike…..energy levels do vary. While this natural tendency exists, your diet will greatly impact how you feel. Eating a diet high in fat, sugar and processed foods will absolutely zap your energy. This crappy food will affect your digestion, your regularity, your blood sugar spikes and your blood pressure. It’s like putting dirty, leaded gasoline into your car and wondering why your car doesn’t run so well.

So clean up your diet and you, too, might be surprised at how this newfound energy snuck up on you!

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CHICKEN CACCIATORE

If you’re a fan of chicken cacciatore, this recipe is for you!!! It’s my husband’s favorite!

ingredients EI1D10_chicken-cacciatore_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscape

6 skinless chicken pieces (legs, thighs, breasts), bones in

salt and freshly ground pepper

½ cup all purpose flour, for dredging

1 T olive oil

1 large red bell pepper, chopped

1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3/4 cup dry white wine

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice

3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

3 T drained capers

1 ½ t dried oregano leaves

¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves

directions

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly.

In a large heavy sauté pan, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and sauté just until brown, about 5 minutes per side. (If all the chicken does not fit in the pan, sauté it in 2 batches.) Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic to the same pan and sauté over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and simmer until it is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, capers and oregano.

Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 25-30 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil and serve.

(Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis’s recipe on foodnetwork.com)

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ORANGE MAPLE BUTTERNUT SQUASH MASH

ingredientsFNK_orange-maple-butternut-squash_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscape

1 butternut squash (3 to 3 1/2 pounds)

Kosher salt

2 t ground coriander

1 ½ T unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 T orange zest

2 T pure maple syrup

directions

Cut the bulbous bottom of the squash off from the long top. Split the bottom in half through the root end and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut the long part in half lengthwise. Cut off the rind, then cut the flesh into 1-inch pieces.

Add the squash to a 4-quart pot, add enough water to cover, bring to a boil, and cook, covered, over high heat, about 18 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cover. Lower the heat to medium and cook until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork, 10 to 12 minutes more. (There should be no resistance, but the squash should not fall apart. Be attentive: It can overcook very quickly and absorb too much water, making your mash soupy.)

Meanwhile, toast the coriander in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, until aromatic, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.

Strain the squash in a colander. Return it to the pot, add the butter and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Add the orange zest, 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the toasted coriander and salt to taste and stir to combine. When serving, drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of syrup over the top and dust with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon coriander.

(Adapted from a recipe found on foodnetwork.com)

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SLOW-COOKED TOMATO AND HERB WHITE BEANS

This bean dish cooks for a very long time but boy, is it worth it! 355555

Ingredients For Beans

1 cup dried navy beans

6 cups water

1 medium carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 medium white onion, coarsely chopped

4 (3-inch) thyme sprigs

1 (3-inch) rosemary sprig

1 (3-inch) sage sprig

½ t kosher salt

Ingredients For Tomato Sauce

3 bacon slices, chopped

1 T extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium white onion, chopped

2 T minced garlic

½ t kosher salt

¼ t freshly ground black pepper

1 pound tomatoes, chopped (3 cups)

½ cup canned tomato purée

1 ½ T chopped thyme

Directions

Soak the beans overnight (8 to 12 hours) in water to cover by 2 inches or quick-soak (see note* below), then drain.

Bring the beans, water (6 cups), carrot, onion, and herb sprigs to a simmer in a 4-quart heavy pot, then simmer, partially covered, until the beans are al dente, about 45 minutes. Add the kosher salt, then continue to simmer until beans are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour more.

While the beans are simmering, make the tomato sauce. Cook the bacon in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the oil and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden, about 12 minutes. Add the garlic, kosher salt, pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is softened, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato purée, and thyme and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 30 minutes.

Discard the carrot and herb sprigs from the beans. Drain the beans in a sieve set over a bowl, reserving the cooking liquid, and return the beans to the pot. Add the tomato sauce and 1 1/2 cups bean-cooking liquid and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 45 minutes.

You can make this dish a day or two in advanced.

*NOTE: To quick-soak beans, cover them with water by 2 inches in a 3-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a boil, then boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and cover, then soak 1 hour. Drain, discarding water.

(Adapted from a recipe found on http://www.epicurious.com)

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