Until I got into cooking, I never realized that the way a food is sliced can completely change the way it tastes and the way that particular ingredient becomes part of a dish. A zucchini cut into discs is certainly different than a zucchini cut into long ribbons. You may find those discs sautéed into a stir fry, whereas the ribbons would be better suited for a fresh summer salad. I love when I’m at a restaurant and a certain vegetable will be sliced uniquely, and the new shape totally changes the way I think about the food and in turn, changes the way it tastes.
Although I’ve had roasted cauliflower many a times, when I saw this recipe for Caramelized Cauliflower Slivers, I was captivated by the thin pieces which are so different than the large florets that typically emerge from my oven. I loved how the slim pieces allow for more surface area to become roasted and crispy. I’m not one to compare a health food to a snack food, but my husband and I literally popped these cauliflower slivers like they were chips and the entire pan disappeared in mere minutes. I can’t believe I’m professing my love for something as basic as roasted cauliflower, but by simply using this new slicing technique this dish became anything but basic. I know this new preparation has me thinking about other ways I can slice vegetables to step them up a notch, and I hope it does for you too!
This holiday season, Cooking Light is running a Bake It Forward campaign, encouraging people to bake an extra batch of treats for a friend, coworker, charity, community organization, or anyone who could use some good cheer. I can totally get behind this idea because I’m a firm believer that good food should be shared, especially food that is homemade with love. If you following me on Instagram, you may have seen that I Baked It Forward by bringing brownies to the fire station in our neighborhood. It was an unexpected surprise for them, and it made me feel good to see their reactions. You can post your own Bake It Forward picture on Instagram and #BakeItForward for a chance to win $500 from Cooking Light.
Last week I made these Spiced Pecans, and although they’re not technically a baked good, I thought they’d be an easy thing to make an extra batch of and share. Anyone on the receiving end of these sweet and spicy nuts will love how they can be enjoyed as a quick snack or added to the top of a salad. They would also look enticing on a coffee table during a holiday party. The ancho chili powder, syrup and other seasonings make these Spiced Pecans a tasty homemade gift for anyone to Bake It Forward!
Two weeks ago my husband and I hosted our first Thanksgiving. Luckily there wasn’t too much pressure since I had tons of help from my mom and sister-in-law, and because it was just my family for the holiday. Prior to their arrival, I prepared as much as I could so we would have plenty of food to eat and ready-to-go meals. Everyone rolled into town late on Tuesday, and with children involved, it was too late to go out. I wanted to have dinner ready for them when they arrived, so I made my first ever Classic Lasagna. As I scoured the internet for the best lasagna recipe, I became overwhelmed by the variations and options. Ultimately I consulted my mom for a tried and true recipe, and the outcome was everything I had hoped for! The lasagna was meaty, cheesy and saucy, possessing many qualities of the perfect winter comfort food dish. Although this dish does take a little time to prepare and assemble, the degree of difficulty is low and it’s not nearly as involved as some other lasagna recipes. Plus, this dish feeds an army, is great left over and freezes well. Served with a big salad and a glass of red, this Classic Lasagna was the perfect way to kick off our indulgent holiday week!
When a couple of friends came to visit earlier this year, I joked that we were going to be on a Kale Caesar Salad Tour. Ever since the word got out about kale, salads containing this leafy superfood have been gracing restaurant menus everywhere. Each and every restaurant I took my friends to when they were in town had some version of a kale caesar on the menu. And we ordered it at each and every spot.
Since I’m often ordering kale caesar salads when out, I’m shocked that I haven’t thought to make my own at home…until now. I came across a great caesar dressing recipe, and decided that with a few tweaks, I could make this healthier and just as good as its restaurant counterpart. I swapped mayo for Greek yogurt, ensuring the dressing is just as creamy without tons of fat. With the tanginess from the lemon and garlic, the dressing packs nothing but punch. One bite of salad, and my husband was already commenting that it tasted unhealthy. It’s a victorious moment when something healthy tastes much more sinful than it is!
I have been on a muffin-baking binge lately. It started with the Banana Blueberry gluten-free muffins, and it has just spiraled out of control! Since then, I’ve tried out several different types of muffins. The catalyst for this muffin bender was finding out that my husband graciously buys a muffin for his coworker each morning at the coffee shop. When I heard this, the health conscious person in me said, “I could provide a healthier breakfast option”; the economist in me said, “we could save some dough if I make the muffins”. So, I got to work and now the freezer has been stocked with muffins galore for many breakfasts to come. In my opinion, this muffin-baking kick is a win/win for everyone!
The current flavor of the week is Apple Streusel with Maple Drizzle from Cooking Light Magazine. These muffins looked majorly enticing with the oatmeal streusel topping and maple drizzle. Plus, these were a great way for me to use up the last of our loot from apple picking a few weeks ago. The recipe called for spelt flour and whole wheat flour; I substituted the spelt for good ‘ole white flour. Next time, I’ll pick up some spelt flour at the store and give them a try with the intended flour type. Aside from the topping, the muffins are not super sweet, which I think is great, because then you don’t feel like you’ve started off your day with dessert. The apple inside provides a fruit serving, plus they help keep the muffins moist – delish!