Roasted butternut squash with wild rice, cranberries, shallots and garlic

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 20 MINS

COOK TIME | 45 MINS

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This recipe is a star as a side dish alongside our Thanksgiving turkey or alone as the main dish on Meatless Monday. It’s festive, beautiful and full of great flavor and nutrients.

INGREDIENTS

* 2 acorn squashes (1 1/2 pounds each), halved lengthwise, seeds removed
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1 shallot, minced
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed or 5 leaves, fresh chopped sage
* Kosher salt and ground pepper
* 1 box (6 ounces) wild-rice blend.
* 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
* 1/2 cup dried cranberries
* 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
* chopped parsley for garnish, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. On a rimmed baking sheet, arrange squash cut side down; cover sheet tightly with aluminum foil. Roast until tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, about 40 minutes.

3. While the squash bakes, heat butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add shallot and sage and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and sauce for a minute more.
4. Add rice (toss the little spice packet that came with the rice) and add 1 3/4 cups broth and bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low and simmer, without lifting the lid, until tender, check after 20 minutes. If not tender yet, add additional broth if necessary, and simmer another 5 minutes or until rice is firm yet tender.
5. 
Turn the heat off, stir in the cranberries and chopped nuts and mix, add additional kosher salt and pepper to to taste.
6. Scoop even amounts of the rice mixture into each of the squash.
7. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, if using, and serve.

NOTES

Chickpeas, Spinach and Orzo Soup

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 15 MINS

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This vegetarian soup is the perfect pantry meal. A simple mirepoix mixed with other kitchen staples makes this soup perfect for a quick night dinner or weekend lunch. Substitute navy or Lima beans for the chickpeas and use any favorite green. Add precooked chicken if desired. Serve with a green salad and crusty bread.

INGREDIENTS

* 2 Tbsp olive oil
* 2 medium carrots, peeled,
* 2 Ribs celery, trimmed and diced
* 1 small onion, diced
* 1 tablespoon rosemary, minced
* 2 plump garlic cloves, minced
* Pinch red pepper flake or more to taste
* 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
* 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
* 4 cups baby spinach or other baby green such as Kale or chard
* 3/4 cups orzo, Gluten free or regular
* 1/4 cup Parmesan or pecorino plus more per serving
* Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Add the olive oil to a medium to large pot over medium high heat. Add the carrots, onion and celery. Cook for 5–7 minutes or until tender.

2. Add the garlic, red pepper flake and rosemary, stir.

3. At the broth and bring to a boil. Add the chickpeas and orzo. Reduced to a simmer and cover. Simmer until the orzo is tender about 10 minutes.

4. Add the baby greens to the soup in handfuls and simmer until wilted, about a minute or two.

5. Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with cheese and additional salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

NOTES

Double Duty: Make extra chimicchurri sauce to use later in the week. Spoon over steak or fish, Use it to marinate shrimp and then grill and serve over rice.

Creamy Feta and Spinach Orzo

YIELDS | 4-6 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 30 MINS

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Creamy feta cheese and spinach melt into the orzo to create a warm and light meal. The lemon zest gives the recipe just enough zing and compliments the feta beautifully.
This dish makes a perfectly balanced meal all on its own or serve along side with roast chicken or fish for a heartier meal.

INGREDIENTS

* 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil or half of each
* 3 large scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced set aside some of the green parts for garnish
* 2 large garlic cloves, minced
* 8 ounces baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1 ¾ cups chicken or vegetable stock plus more if needed
* 1 cup orzo
* 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
* ¾-1 cup cup feta. Not crumbles. Plus more for serving
* 1 cup fresh dill, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat a large pan over medium heat and melt the butter or heat the oil for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
3. Stir in half the scallions and garlic, and cook until wilted about 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the spinach in a few batches and sprinkle with the salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir a couple times until the spinach is wilted but not mushy, about 4-5 minutes.
5. Add stock and bring to a simmer.
6. Stir in orzo, lemon zest and cover. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 12-15 minutes and until the orzo is al dente and most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir a few times to be sure the orzo doesn’t stick to the pan.
7. Stir in the feta cheese and dill. Cover and cook for another minute to let the flavors develop.
8. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and garnish with a handful of crumbled feta and scallions.

NOTES

I adapted this recipe from a New York Times recipe. I removed a couple of steps and unnecessary ingredients.

Spaghetti with Creamy Pecorino Cheese and Black Pepper Sauce

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 15 MINS

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This is a take on a popular Italian recipe called Cacio e Pepe, aka, cheese and black pepper. It is made with pasta, its cooking water; Pecorino Romano and loads of freshly ground black pepper. The pleasing piquant flavor from the pepper pairs perfectly with the savory cheese and wraps around each noodle like a warm and cozy blanket. I combined a few recipes to come up with this easier version.
Serve with a simple green salad and good white wine.

Duty Recipe Recipe: consider making a double batch of this creamy pepper sauce to stir into mashed potatoes or add a couple of dollops to warm rice for an easy side dish during the week.

INGREDIENTS

* 1 lb spaghetti or other long pasta
* 8 ounces Pecorino Romano, finely grated and about 2 cups, plus more for serving
* 1 ¼ teaspoons coarsely grated black pepper, plus more for serving
* 1/2 cup filtered water or more as needed
* 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, optional
* Kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with a generous amount kosher salt. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the package instructions until el dente. Save 2 cups of the pasta water and drain the pasta into a colander. Add the pasta back into the pot and cover to keep warm.

2. While the pasta cooks, add the cheese and pepper to a high speed blender or food processor and half of the filtered water and blend until a thick paste forms. Add more of the filtered water as necessary and until the paste becomes smooth and glossy but still thick like the consistency of hummus.

3. To the pasta, add about 3/4 cup of the paste and 1/2 cup reserved cooking water, and mix well pulling the pasta up from the pot as you go to incorporate. Add more paste and then more of the pasta water as necessary and until you achieve the desired consistency.

4. Pour into a serving bowl and garnish with toasted walnuts, optional, additional grated cheese and a few cranks of black pepper.

NOTES

Kimchi Fried Rice

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 15-20 MINS

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Kimchi is a Korean condiment packed with nutrients. It is very low in calories and it is loaded with probiotics which are said to boost the immune system. This recipe calls for your favorite Kimchi whether store bought or home made. This dish is easy, fast and exploding with flavors. Add fried eggs, cooked diced chicken or tofu for a vegetarian option. It is hard to believe it also easily adapts to GF!

INGREDIENTS

* 1 medium head of cauliflower
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 5 cloves of garlic
* 2 cups kimchi
* 2 tbsp Korean red pepper powder called Gochujang or substitute with red pepper flakes. Adjust to your preference of spice.
* 2 tbsp water
* 2 tbsp soy sauce or Tamari to make recipe gluten free
* 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
* 1⁄2 cup sliced scallions
* 1⁄4 cup toasted sesame seeds
* 4 eggs
* A few dashes of hot chili oil, for garnish, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

1. To make cauliflower rice, chop cauliflower into florets. Pulse florets in the bowl of a food processor until it resembles. This will take about 2 minutes, you may have to do it in batches. Set aside
2. In a small bowl whisk together Gochujang red pepper powder, or pepper flakes, water, and soy sauce or Tamari if gluten free, set aside.
3. In a large skillet over medium heat sauté garlic in olive oil for 1 minute or until fragrant, add kimchi and continue sautéing for 3-4 minutes.
4. Add cauliflower rice and soy sauce or Tamari mixture. Sauté for 7-8 minutes, until cauliflower is tender, but not mushy.
5. Remove from heat, top with sesame oil, scallions, and sesame seeds.
6. In a medium skillet fry eggs in 1 tsp olive oil. Scoop kimchi cauliflower rice into individual, shallow bowls and top each with a fried egg.
7. Garnish with a few dashes of hot chili oil and enjoy

NOTES

Kimchi is a Korean condiment packed with nutrients. It is very low in calories and it is loaded with probiotics which are said to boost the immune system. See Very Easy Kimchi recipe on this website.

Cream, Tumeric & Cheese Pasta

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 20 MINS

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I had a version of this dish at a fantastic restaurant , Bacari, in Los Angeles this summer, and it inspired me to try it at home. Although there are several recipes available for turmeric spaghetti, I like the simplicity of this version. I decided to use pecorino instead of Parmesan. While I like both flavors, I really like the sharpness of the sheep’s milk cheese in this dish. It plays beautifully with the earthy turmeric. I also like using a cylindrical pasta instead of spaghetti. The turmeric, cheese and cream seep into every nook and cranny. This recipe can also do double duty. See Notes below. Definitely a keeper!

INGREDIENTS

* 1 pound rigatoni or spaghetti
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
* 1 large shallot, sliced thin
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
*  Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
* 1 cup half-and-half
* 11/2 cups freshly grated pecorino or Parmesan plus more for serving
* 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped, for garnish


INSTRUCTIONS

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. and cook the rigatoni according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water and drain.
2. While you wait for the water to boil, melt the butter in a pan large enough to hold the pasta over medium-low heat.
3. Add the olive oil, shallot and garlic and stir until lightly golden and bubbly. Add the turmeric and stir to incorporate about 16-20 seconds.
4. Whisk in the half-and-half bring to a simmer.
5. Whisk in the pecorino or Parmesan.
6. Add the cooked pasta and 1/2 cup of the pasta water gently mix until the pasta has a silky consistency. Add more pasta water as necessary.
7. Garnish with parsley, a drizzle of olive oil and a shower of grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese.

NOTES

Double Duty Recipe:
Make extra sauce to use again during the week to mix into veggies or dollop over fish or chicken