Scrumptious Squash Soup

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I think I’m getting pretty good at cooking with squash. This soup was absolutely delicious and also helped me to rid my kitchen of the rest of the squash that had been sitting around for a little over a week! My favorite part of this recipe though is that you can use almost all of the squash – meat and seeds! You can compost the squash skin, but I haven’t found a way to eat that and enjoy it yet – let me know when you do.

Scrumptious Squash Soup

  • 1 whole kabocha squash, cut into large quarters (keep the seeds!)
  • 1/2 butternut squash, cut into cubes (keep the seeds!)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups frozen peppers and onions
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 5 cups water
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with oiil.
  2. Throw the squash all together on the baking sheet.
  3. Bake for about 45 minutes -1 hour, until the squash is golden and easy scooped out with a fork.
  4. In the mean time, add the oil, garlic, peppers and onions, spices, salt and water to a dutch oven. Bring to a gentle boil, continously stirring. Set heat on low and continue stirring until the squash is ready to come out.
  5. You can also go ahead and rinse the squash seeds out and separate as much as the gooey insides from them as possible. Set them aside to dry a little bit.
  6. Scoop the roasted squash out of the skins and dump into the pot along with roasted butternut cubes.
  7. Bring to gentle boil again.
  8. While the soup is cooking in the pot, spray the baking sheet again, bring down the temperature of the oven to 350F and scatter the seeds on the pan. I sprinked them with about 1/4 cup cinnamon sugar and baked for about 20 minutes, but you really just have to watch them in the oven. Depends how much moisture there is how long it’ll take to cook.
  9. Since I don’t have a food processor, I used my electric mixer to lightly puree about half of the soup, but I would recommend using a food processor to do this. You can make the consistency as pureed or chunky as you want. I like thicker soups so I pureed the squash and rest of the veggies just enough to thicken the soup but not too much that it was too thin. Your call.
  10. Once the seeds come out, taste test them­čśë and sprinke on your bowl of soup- enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Squash

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This. Squash. Is. Delectable. I’m not sure if its just because of how fresh it was or if I’m just brilliant or maybe all butternut squash tastes this good? Not sure, but you have to try this!

Background story on this squash – so my coworker went squash gleaning this weekend, because you know, thats just what we do in Western NY right before the snow comes, we hike on acres of farmland for free squash that would otherwise rot in the snow (with an invitation from the farmer of course), and in the trunk of her car she had an enormous plastic tote full of all kinds of squash you could possible imagine. So I went grocery shopping in the parking lot with my reuseable grocery bags, and brought some goodies home for dinner (and the next few dinners after that)!

Roasted Buttnut Squash

  • half of a butternut squash, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons oil of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • Any other add ons you desire – craisins, kale, spinach, chopped brussels sprouts, etc. I made these plain though and they were just dandy on their own!
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F
  2. Put all ingredients in a bowl; cover and mix well to thoroughly coat the squash in oil and spices.
  3. Cover a baking sheet with foil. Pour the squash on the baking pan and evenly distribute.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes and enjoy!img_20161122_180058638

Roasted Red Pepper Creamy Crab Salad

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Definitely haven’t posted in a long time! I’m sorry! The last semester of graduate school is supposed to be a breeze, right?! …..Hahaha I wish! Its definitely challenged me more ways than one, and further verifies how much I’m ready to start working in the real world (and hopefully post A LOT more regularly). Anyway, I really shouldn’t be writing on here right now (graduate school work calls) but……….I just can’t resist it has been much too long, and I also wanted to share this amazing recipe I enjoyed a few days ago after buying Chobani’s new product, meze dip! Its amazing!

Roasted Red Pepper Creamy Crab Salad

  • 1 cup crab meat, finely diced or shredded (whatever you prefer)
  • 4-5 tablespoons of Chobani Roasted Red Pepper Meze dip
  • freshly chopped parsley as desired (I only used a little bit)
1. Mix ingredients in a bowl until well blended. You may need to use more or less of the dip to your liking. Enjoy wrapped in a pita, spread on crackers (Triscuits are a good pairing) or cucumber slices, as a dip for veggies, a spread in a tortilla wrap, or in sushi. I think it would also be ┬ágreat dressing for a cold veggie salad with shredded broccoli/cabbage/carrots. I’ll have to try it and let you know =)
The only criticism I have is that when it sits in the frige it tends to get watery. Which is expected since it is yogurt based and that typically happens with yogurt. You can either mix it up before using it or just pour out the excess liquid ┬á– hopefully into something you’re going to eat and not down the drain. Either way, I still think its a great tasting product despite this down ┬áside, and versatile to be used in many different ways. I’m curious to know how the product is doing in terms of sales, because even I was skeptical about buying it at first, and the only reason I did was because it was buy one get one free at the store. But the flavor definitely surpassed my expectation – I didn’t think it would be as flavorful as it was. It reminded me of torilla roll ups my dad used to make as a kid – he would spread cream cheese and salsa on a tortilla with various toppings – olives, shredded lettuce, cheese, etc.But the cream cheese/salsa combination definitely is what this roasted red pepper dip tastes like, which is really really really really good!
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Banza Pasta – A Review

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This year was my first year at FNCE (Food and Nutrition Conference and Exposition). Its the annual national meeting for Registered Dietitians to connect, share ideas, and learn the latest evidence-based practice. Thats what its supposed to be anyway. Theres a lot of room for our profession to improve in terms of professional integrity, but I’ll leave that for another conversation.­čśŤ This post is about one of the cool new products I discovered while at FNCE – Banza pasta! What is Banza pasta? Its pasta made with chickpea flour! If you’re not an RD, you probably don’t understand my excitement and are thinking GROSS but hear me out first! I was walking around the Expo (a huge huge huge ballroom with booths everywhere of various food companies giving out free samples of any food or drink or dessert or snack or breakfast or any other thing you can think of to get RDs seal of approval for being healthy and telling our clients to buy them) and this bright organge booth was giving away samples of cheesy pasta with sauce and I was totally in! (Especially since so many vendors seemed to be giving away samples of bars, I was all bar-ed out and real food was so appealing!) I made my way through the crowds, grabbed my sample, and started enjoying my italian fare in a paper cup half listening to the sales person half walking away looking to the next free sample until she said something that caught my ears – chickpea pasta – and then I actually realized I couldn’t even tell the pasta tasted any different. How cool! So I happily returned back to the booth to pick out my free sample of an entire box of chickpea pasta shells. They had quite a good selection, similar to the different types of noddles they have for regular pasta. Rotini, penne, elbow macaroni, shells, etc. Though I don’t remember seeing any lasagna… they do sell boxed pasta with cheese for mac and cheese but I prefer to make my own….with real cheese. Shells are really the only type of pasta I like, so you know what I picked…. And I enjoyed them tonight for dinner with homemade red sauce and veggies. YUM. The next thing to try with them – mac and cheese! ┬áThey boil for 8-9 minutes just like regular pasta. Nothing else to do, no other special prep required!

Chickpea pasta is a great option to try. Yes its gluten free, which really is only important if you have celiac, but its also a great way to boost your nutrient intake without changing anything else in your regular pasta routine. Chickpeas are beans afterall, and chocked full of so much nutrition! Protein, fiber, iron, potassium, calcium, B6 and magnesium. And when compared to regular pasta, its much higher in all of these things. So instead of filling up on regular pasta and getting hungry again a couple hours later, the chickpea pasta will keep you fuller, longer, with the extra protein and fiber. When it comes to micronutrient content, it beats regular pasta butt with its eyes closed, no doubt. The higher potassium and magnesium are great for blood pressure and muscle maintenance. Iron is so important for so many functions – oxygenation, immune function, synthesizing proteins, supporting antioxiant functions, just to name a few – and its still the #1 nutrient deficiency in the world. So unless you have hemochromotosis (excessive iron storage) ┬áthis pasta will likely do you good nutritionally speaking. And as far as taste – there is a slight difference that would only be noticeable if you eat your pasta boiled and salted. Otherwise I would say you won’t notice the taste difference. Regular pasta has that starchy ┬áflavor, whereas this chickpea pasta has more of a savory, earthy flavor. ┬áThe main difference I would say is in texture. The chickpea pasta tends to be slightly more chewy with the higher protein content, but its not something that is enough to get me to stop eating it, thats for sure. With a yummy sauce and toppings its just as edible, if not more so, than regular pasta. I’ve only tried the shells though, and don’t know if other pasta forms have more of a noticeable difference. If anything, you can always make both in the same pot of boiling water and mix regular pasta with chickpea pasta for whatever dish you’re making.

Try it and let me know what you think! To see if Banza pasta is offered in a store near you, visit their website: http://www.eatbanza.com/

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Chicken Zucchini Salad

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This was one of those things I just threw together with scraps sitting around in the fridge for my lunch at work and it ended up actually being a pretty good lunch, surprisingly.Though I think it could use some other additions, I can’t seem to put my finger on what they would be so maybe its delicious just the way it is!

Chicken Zucchini Salad

  • 6 oz chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 large zucchini, shredded
  • 1/4 cup smart balance mayoninase
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Place in the refrigerator and let cool around 2-4 hours. Enjoy on a sandwich, on crackers, or even as is. I think it might even be good with dried cranberries or slivered almonds but with using leftovers I didn’t get too fancy with it.

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Slow Cooker Eggplant Lasagna

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IMG_20160828_080627399So this was probably one of the most delicious things I have ever made in the crockpot and was the easiest! I only had 10 minutes before I had to leave in the morning for my yoga class and had nothing left to do, and figured I’d chop a few things for dinner. Well I ended up making my lunch for the next 3 days – only in 10 minutes!

Slow Cooker Eggplant Lasagna

  • 4 baby eggplants, or 1-2 normal sized eggplants, sliced to 1/4″ thick
  • 2-2 1/2 cups of pasta sauce, make sure its a kind you like and is fantastic, its what makes the dish! (I used a meatless homemade jar from the market)
  • garlic – as much as you want, minced
  • 3/4 – 1 cup shredded mozarella cheese
  1. Spray olive oil or spread oil around your slow cooker so nothing sticks.
  2. Add a small amount of sauce to the bottom of your slow cooker. Add a layer of eggplant slices, top off with some shredded cheese and garlic, and then add more sauce just to cover. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, cheese, garlic, and sauce until used entirely, topping it off with sauce and cheese.
  3. Put slow cooker on high and cook for about 3 1/2-4 hours. Enjoy with any grain you prefer – rice, pasta, whole grain penne, quinoa, barley, etc. Or garlic bread would be fantastic to dip in the sauce!

This makes a great quick and easy way to make something delicious that also keeps well for leftover lunches at work or even could make a mean sandwich filling! I ate it without taking a picture because all I could think of was eating it, it was that good. Will update once I make again!

Oven Roasted Cob Corn

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We didn’t have too much corn on the cob this summer at meals, but the few times we did have it it didn’t taste that great. Not sure if it was the dry season or the cook or something else, but it wasn’t as enjoyable as usual. Until this oven roasted corn, that is. This was probably the best corn either of us had ever had! And even better? Mr. Picky thought of the recipe, and made it himself! I told him he could make this any day!

Oven Roasted Cob Corn

  • 4 ears of corn, or however many you need to prepare
  • olive oil or butter (melted)
  • garlic, 1 clove for every 2 ears of corn, minced
  • salt
  • pepper
  • any other seasonings or spices you like on your corn, paprika is nice too
  • water
  • tin foil sheets just large enough to wrap up the corn
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 .
  2. Husk the corn and pull out as many of the strings as possible. Place the corn lengthwise on the foil. Brush melted butter or olive oil on the corn and add half a minced clove of garlic, salt, pepper, and spices. Add about 1-2 tablespoons of water per foil packet. Seal the foil.
  3. Place your corn oil packets on a baking sheet and place in the oven for about 20-30 minutes.
  4. Enjoy!