When it comes to squash, spaghetti squash is my favorite. Granted, it took me a while to master how to halve a spaghetti squash without losing a finger, but I now enjoy a big plate of faux spaghetti (injury free) at least twice a week during squash season. 98.7% of the time, I top my squash with marinara. It’s not very creative, but it gets the job done PLUS it temporarily satisfies my persistent pasta cravings.
Tonight, after channeling my inner Arnold at body pump, I was ravenous. I could already feel the signs: tightness in my shoulders, tingling in my arms, and weak in the knees. Why, hello, low blood sugar, we meet again! Luckily, I pre-cooked a spaghetti squash last night (halved, then baked in a 375 degree for 20 minutes). Bonus points for thinking ahead, but sadly I neglected the absence of marinara fixin’s in my pantry.
Dang! Time to get creative!Read More
This post might be more appropriately titled “HOLY COW, I COOKED!”
After months of neglect, I dusted off the crockpot and kicked off the arrival of Fall, my favorite season of all, with a hearty chili recipe. What I like most about this chili, besides how tasty it is, is that it’s equally delicious with or without meat. Over the past six months or so, I’ve drastically reduced my meat consumption, a change that was (unintentionally) spurred by a sausage making class I attended. Since then, our food focus has shifted substantially, and meat now serves as more of a side dish than the main event.Read More
A funny thing happened the other day.
I went to a sausage making class and emerged three hours later a fleeting vegetarian.
Bring on the beans and cheese.
Of course, I expected a slightly different outcome when I signed up for the class. Visions of grinding my own meat and hand-stuffing thick chicken, turkey, and pork sausages filled my thoughts while mounds of frozen links filled my fantasized freezer. I was one excited sausageer – that is until I spent 3 hours huddled around fifteen pounds of raw pork. There was just so much meat and so many people and so much talk about the step-by-step process involved in getting the poor free range piggies from the farm to that fork you’re holding in your hand there. And the smell…. oh dear god the smell.
I didn’t know it was possible to get the meat sweats without actually consuming meat.Read More
Growing up with divorced parents, my brother, sister, and I split our time between week nights at dad’s and weekends at mom’s. Everyone once in a while, we’d have to flip flop our schedule, and it seemed when those rare occasions popped up both mom and dad had an unspoken urge to make them special. On those weekends, dad would make breakfast: dippy eggs, buttery toast, and his breakfast potatoes. I do believe my love affair with potatoes started with these very ones around the age of eight. Sure I’d take an egg and a small piece of toast, but the remainder of that 10-inch plate was devoted solely to those piping hot slightly crunchy potatoes and the biggest squirt of Heinz 57 my kid muscles could muster. Recently, I texted my dad to finally, after all these years, ask what he put in his breakfast potatoes. (By the way, it still makes me giggle to think of him texting.)
After our bodies worked through the haze of early morning overeating, dad would move on to lunch. Lunches were varied, but one of my favorites were the tuna melts he’d make on cold days, rainy days, or days that otherwise demanded a comforting hot melty sandwich. After the recent potato-text heartbreak, I didn’t bother asking dad what he put in those tuna melts. Rather, I choose to focus solely on the memory: jumbo kaiser rolls loaded with mayonnaise-laden tuna, hunks of fresh cheddar cheese, and chopped up dill pickles. He’d wrap those giant sandwiches in foil and toss them right into the oven—no cookie sheet needed (which I remember wordlessly opposing). After a half hour or so, he’d reach into the oven with a giant pot holder. We’d line up, plates held tightly in our little hands, and dad would plop a massive foil pack on each one.Read More
It’s that time of year. The days are getting longer (and less depressing). The temperatures are creeping up. There are bugs. Everywhere. Especially caterpillars. Green ones and whites ones and ones that like to dangle discretely from low lying tree branches causing you to bust out a Michael Jackson sidestep during your walk to work. Granted, those people walking toward you have no idea that move you just finangled saved your face from creepy crawly impact. Just smile and nod. Or pretend you just received an important phone call. Can you hear me now? … How about now? Smile… Nod.
Besides the bugs, the gym is also crowded with people frantically getting ready for you-know-what season. Ok, fine. I’ll say it. The dreaded swimsuit season.
This time of year, swimsuits are in the back of my mind (in that deep dark spot where I keep all my greatest horrors hidden). Instead, I’m primed for a different sort of season: Sandwich Season.Read More
I vividly remember my mom sitting cross-legged in the pantry, furiously flipping through cookbooks and earmarked magazines, her disheveled auburn curls in disarray around her face as she searched for that one recipe she’d seen months ago and mentally filed away. As far back as I remember, my mom was adventurous in the kitchen. I helped her bake bread in recycled tin cans, wrinkled my nose as she savored caviar loaded crackers, and hesitantly obliged to mandarin oranges in our dinner salad (which was UNHEARD of at the time). I remember raising my eyebrow and dramatically cocking my head to the side as she scraped this mysterious spaghetti squash onto her plate. I gagged at the anchovies on her pizza, and I cried, yes cried, when she urged me to try her sushi.
Mom was always cooking something big, and when she made her Spanish paella she’d use this absurdly large dish–big enough to feed a family of four twice and a half over. It took her hours to prep and cook the meal–well, at least it seemed that way to her teenage “mom, I swear to god I’m dying of starvation” daughter.
I hated peas and hated shrimp, but man did I love her paella. How could I not with those huge hunks of sausage and pieces of chicken poking through the steaming bed of orange rice?
This is not my mom’s paella recipe because, according to her, she “doesn’t have one.” Uh huh. Surrrrrre mom. This is my lightened-up version of paella, which uses chicken sausage rather than Spanish chorizo, simply because I wasn’t able to find any at the grocery store. Traditional? No. Pants friendly? Absolutely.
Recipe inspired by my mom and Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Paella
Note: This pants-friendly paella uses chicken sausage. For a more authentic flavor, sub in a link or two of Spanish chorizo. Spanish saffron can be quite expensive. I’ve seen bottles for as little as $6 at Trader Joe’s, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls.
Step 1: Combine chicken rub ingredients in a medium size bowl or large zip top bag. Add chicken breast, and toss or shake to coat evenly. Cover and marinate in the fridge for one hour.
Step 2: Heat a large pot coated with cooking spray over medium high heat. Once hot, add the sausage. Break apart sausage with your spatula, and cook until no longer pink. Remove sausage from pot and set aside. Add additional cooking spray to pot, if needed, then add chicken pieces. Sear chicken on all sides then remove from pot and set aside.
Step 3: Add onions, red pepper, garlic, and parsley to the pot, season with S&P, to taste, reduce heat to medium. Cook for 3 minutes, using your spatula to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes and crush with your spatula. Season with S&P. Add uncooked rice to the pot and stir to combine. Once the liquid is absorbed, add chicken broth and cooking wine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Add the sausage, chicken, and saffron to the pot and stir to combine. Add the shrimp, pushing them down into the rice. Simmer for 15 minutes then add the peas. Garnish with remaining parsley.
Per serving: 274 calories, 27g carbs, 4g fat, 31g protein, 3g fiber