Healthy eating and an active lifestyle are essential to me. Creating recipes low in fat and salt, high in fiber and nutrients is vital to staying fit and youthful. I believe in cooking good tasting food that is satisfying to the pallet. I’ve wanted to incorporate more tofu into my recipes for the enormous benefits of soy. Putting it on top of kale, butternut squash, and red pepper makes this an extraordinary healthy, fulfilling one-pan meal.
I use William-Sonoma Goldtouch bakeware for even temperature cooking and cleaning up, which is essential to me. And they are last long.
1 bunch kale, cut and stems removed 1 (20 oz package) cut butternut squash 1 red pepper sliced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 shallot, minced 1/4 cup olive oil sea salt pepper 1 container ( 16 oz.) super firm Nasoya Organic Tofu 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon Bragg Coconut Liquid Aminos 1/4 cup cornstarch 2 teaspoon sea salt 1 teaspoon black pepper 2 teaspoon garlic powder
Pre-heat oven 425F.
Place kale, butternut squash, red pepper, garlic, and shallots in a large baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Prepare tofu: Cut tofu into one-inch cubes. In a small bowl combine olive oil and coconut liquid aminos: mix cornstarch, sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a medium bowl. Dunk tofu cubes in the liquid mixture, turning to coat, then dredge tofu in cornstarch. Place tofu on top of the vegetables. Bake for 30-35 minutes until tofu is golden.
Cooking should be fun! I am amazed when I hear people say they hate to cook! Why would you dislike something essential to survival and can be so creative? I like everyone who cooks has experienced disasters in the kitchen. I once made a cake that, when I frosted, slid off the plate and onto the floor.
Every misshape has made me the cook I am today, and I am grateful for all my cooking experiences.
If you are tackling a new recipe, my first suggestion is to read the recipe in total. Then gather all the tools you need and the ingredients and arrange them on your countertop in order of their use. This makes it so easy to follow the recipe for a novice. Even though I am an experienced cook, I take out my tools and ingredients before cooking.
Cooking is like any other skill; the more you practice, the better you become.
Butternut squash is one of my favorite vegetables. And so delicious with kale in a vegetarian lasagna. I roast both to bring out the flavor; instead of a traditional tomato, I used bechamel sauce. No-boil noodles cut the preparation time.
Butternut Squash and Kale Lasagna
1 package (20 ounces) butternut squash
4 cups kale, cut into 2-inch pieces and stems removed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 sage leaves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Unsalted butter, for the baking dish1 cup grated fontina cheese (about 4 ounces)
1 cup grated low-moisture mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
15 ounces ricotta cheese (can be part-skim)
2 eggs, beaten
9 no-boil lasagna noodles
Make the vegetables: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the squash and kale with 2 tablespoons olive oil on a baking sheet; season with salt.
Roast, rotating the baking sheets once until the vegetables are tender, 18 to 20 minutes; set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
Meanwhile, make the bechamel. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sage and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the flour until smooth; cook, whisking, until the flour is lightly golden but not brown, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, occasionally stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add parmesan cheese. Stir in the nutmeg.
Assemble the lasagna. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Toss the cheeses and the flour in a bowl; set aside 1/2 cup for topping. Evenly coat the bottom of the dish with 1/2 cup of the bechamel.
Lay 3 noodles side by side on top. Cover with one-third of the remaining bechamel. Sprinkle with half of the remaining cheese mixture, half of the ricotta cheese, and top with half of the vegetable mixture. Arrange 3 more noodles on top and repeat the layers (bechamel, cheese, ricotta, vegetables). Top with the remaining 3 noodles, then cover with the remaining bechamel; sprinkle with the reserved 1/2 cup cheese.
Loosely cover the dish with foil and bake until bubbly, about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 additional minutes until browned and bubbling. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
To make ahead, cover the unbaked lasagna with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. To bake, remove the plastic wrap and follow baking instructions.
To freeze, cover lasagna tightly with plastic wrap, then aluminum foil. Freeze up to 3 months. To bake, remove the plastic wrap, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 90 minutes. Uncover, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
Our family loves to celebrate July 4th! We gather on the idealic Martha’s Vineyard to celebrate our country’s birthday. A barbecue is a must as we make a traditional New England summer dinner, lobstahs, clams, corn on the cobb, potatoes, grilled vegetables and baked beans.
The clams are from our claiming expedition on Lake Tashmoo. Fresh caught and we cooked them on the grill in white wine, garlic and sea salt.
This years my helper with the baked beans was my granddaughter, Maddi. We make easy vegetarian beans by using canned beans to cut down the preparation time.
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into small dice
1/2 medium red pepper, cut into small dice
3 large cans (28 ounces each) vegetarian baked beans
3/4 c. barbecue sauce. I used 1/2 cup Stubbs Orignal BQ sauce and 1/4 cup Stubbs Spicy BQ sauce
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. distilled or cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan.
Add onions and peppers and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add beans and remaining ingredients bring to a simmer.
Pour flavored beans into a greased 13-by 9-inch (or similar size) ovenproof pan. Bake until beans are bubbly and sauce is the consistency of pancake syrup, about 2 hours. Let stand to thicken slightly and serve.
Springtime in New England our markets are bursting with fresh asparagus, which is one of my favorite veggies. I love to combine asparagus with leeks then flavor with thyme and lemon. I used this combination to make this rich goat cheese quiche. A wonderfully easy dish, I used store-bought piecrust, saving time, and cleanup while maintaining the rich fresh favor.
Asparagus Leek and Goat Cheese Quiche
1 (14.1-oz.) pkg. refrigerated piecrusts
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced leeks
1 chopped shallot
1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces)
1/2 kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 whole milk
1/2 heavy cream
4 large eggs
4 oz crumbled goat cheese tablespoons
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Unroll piecrust; stack on a lightly floured surface. Roll stacked piecrust into a 12-inch circle. Fit piecrust into a 10-inch deep-dish pie plate or a lightly greased tart pan with removable bottom; press into fluted edges. Flute and pitch if using a pie plate. Trim off excess piecrust along edges if using a tart pan.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high. Add leeks, shallots, asparagus, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and cool 5 minutes. Reserve 4 asparagus spears for decoration.
Whisk together eggs, milk, cream, nutmeg, goat cheese, mozzarella, salt, pepper and lemon zest
Spoon asparagus mixture in the prepared pie dish. Gently add egg mixture. Arrange reserved asparagus spears on top. Bake in the preheated oven until set, about 45-50 minutes, covering with foil to prevent excess browning if necessary. Cool on baking sheet on a wire rack 20 minutes before serving.
Eggplant is so versatile. I grew up in an Italian American family where my mother cooked eggplant regularly. In the summer she used freshly picked eggplant from my grandparent’s bountiful garden. In addition to the traditional Eggplant Parmesan, my mother used eggplant creatively. We had roasted eggplant, in ratatouille, baked, all dishes that she just “threw together”. Her words, not mine. All equally outstanding!
I like to make baked stuff eggplant, hollowing out the soft meat, and using it as the base for the stuffing. Every time I make stuffed eggplant I tend to change the filling for a new adventure with eggplant. The recipe below is my Italian version of baked stuffed eggplant; olive, artichokes, capers, and mozzarella cheese. I love to experiment!
1 large eggplant
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon capers
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
1 can(14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/4 cup plain panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
4 oz. fresh mozzarella sliced 1/8 inch thick
2 tablespoon parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350F.
Cut the eggplant in half and scoop out the center, leaving enough meat inside the skin so that it holds its shape when baked. Chop the removed eggplant meat into cubes.
In a medium pan heat olive oil. Add shallot and garlic, saute for 5 minutes until the shallot is translucent. Add eggplant meat, season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking on medium for 5- 10 minutes. Stir while the eggplant cooks making sure it doesn’t stick to the pan. The eggplant should become soft but not browned. Add capers, olives, and artichoke hearts and cook for another 5 minutes.
Remove from heat. Add panko breadcrumbs and herbs to eggplant mixture, stir until combined. Fill bottom eggplant shell with 1/2 of the cooked eggplant meat. Layer half of the sliced mozzarella. Add remaining eggplant meat and then the remaining mozzarella. Place eggplant top over and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
If you want you can also divide eggplant meat equally between the top and bottom eggplant shells. Top each eggplant with half of the mozzarella and sprinkle with parmesan. Bake for 50 minutes. Mozzarella cheese should be melted.
When I was going through some old recipes, I’m looking to declutter, I found an old an easy Potatoes Dauphinois recipe that I made faithfully as an accompaniment to baked ham. I remember the delicious baked potato casserole and I made it again this year for Easter. The dish did not disappoint and was as wonderful as we remembered! Nutmeg adds a delicate flavor that enhances the potatoes, cream, and gruyere cheese. And you can ready the dish in advance, refrigerate and bake later.
This recipe is easy to double if you are serving a large group.
6 medium-size potatoes, Yukon golden potatoes
1 1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese
1/4 cup shallots, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 325F.
Peel and thinly slice the potatoes on a mandoline or vegetable slicer (about 1/8-inch-thick slices). Combine salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a small bowl.
Layer 1/2 of the potatoes into a baking dish, 13x9x2. Pour half of the cream over the potatoes, then 1/2 of shallots, season with 1/2 salt, black pepper and nutmeg mixture, and sprinkle with half of the Gruyere cheese. Top with the remaining potatoes then add shallots, sprinkle again with black pepper and nutmeg. Pour on the remaining cream, and sprinkle with remaining Gruyere cheese. Sprinkle a little nutmeg on top.
Bake for 2 hours or until potatoes are tender and liquid is absorbed.
If you read my blog by now you know that I am obsessed with cranberries. As soon as these red jewels come to market I start to cook and bake everything with cranberries. My family loves Brussels Sprouts with cranberries and I make this recipe for our Christmas dinner; the red cranberries are an added festive touch. Many grocery stores carry the petite Brussels Sprouts which I like to use as they are nice and tender. If you use the larger variety you will need to split them in half. Another favorite ingredient that I use regularly is fig balsamic vinegar; sweet and tangy perfect with Brussels Sprouts. Versatile Brussels Sprouts are so perfect roasted alone too!
2 tablespoon butter
2 small shallots, chopped (about 1⁄4 cup)
2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 garlic cloves)
3 tablespoons fig balsamic vinegar
3 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts, halved (about 10 cups) or petite Brussels, whole
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 cup fresh cranberries
Melt large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots, and cook, stirring often, until shallots are softened and start to brown, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, and cook, stirring often for 1 minute. Add vinegar, and cook until thick and syrupy, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and pour into a small microwavable bowl. Cool to room temperature, cover, and chill until ready to use, up to 1 day ahead.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss Brussels sprouts with olive oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1⁄2 teaspoon of the pepper. Transfer to lightly greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish.Roast Brussels sprouts in the preheated oven until golden and tender, about 25 minutes, stirring halfway through baking. Set aside for up to 1 hour.
Microwave shallot mixture on MEDIUM (50% power) until mixture can be stirred, about 30 seconds. Add shallot mixture to Brussels sprouts.Sprinkle evenly fresh cranberries, and bake at 400°F until heated thoroughly about 15 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
I love locally grown tomatoes. Farm fresh tomatoes taste wonderfully alive with flavor and bright with color. You can see and taste the difference. I am fortunate that the town that I live in has a summer farmers market and I have generous friends that share their bountiful produce. Lately, I’ve been seeing a rainbow of color tomatoes from golden yellow to deep purple come to market which makes a beautiful colorful tomato casserole.
I serve this casserole as a side dish with dinner or for lunch with a salad and crisp fresh bread.
3 cups assorted cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, basil, rosemary, and french thyme
Preheat oven to 350F. Place tomatoes, olives, and herbs in a bowl, gently toss to combine. Transfer tomato mixture to a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until tomatoes are bubbling and topping is golden brown.
For summertime entertaining, barbecues, pool parties, picnics with family and friends I prepare easy to make ahead meals so I can relax with my guest. We hostess just want to have fun too!
Baked beans are great for celebrating July 4th, an all American side dish. Why buy already prepared baked beans from a can when you can easily make homemade. I like to use a variety of different beans, black, kidney, pinto, navy beans, you choose your favorite. I lean to more vegetarian and vegan food so I make these beans vegan and flavored with bourbon.
You can put the baked beans together a day ahead, refrigerate and bake the day you want to serve.
BOURBON BAKED BEANS
6 15- to 16-ounce cans assorted beans, black, red kidney, pinto, northern beans, drained
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion. chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 cups purchased barbecue sauce
1/2 cup bourbon whiskey
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoon cup dark molasses
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional
2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F.Place beans in a large bowl. Cook onions in oil until translucent about five minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic cooking for an additional five minutes. Cool then add to beans. In a medium bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients except for parsley.Pour over beans and stir until combined. Transfer to a 113 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish. Bake uncovered until liquid bubbles and thickens slightly about 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes.
Cherry tomatoes, the petite jewel of the tomato family, so versatile, wonderfully delicious tossed in a salad, added to a casserole or baked parmesan style. I like to serve this dish either a side dish or as a lunch entree with a salad and fresh bread.
2 pints cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2-ounce goat cheese, crumbled
4 fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup julienned fresh basil
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 400F. Toss tomatoes in a bowl with oil, garlic, and oregano to coat. Arrange tomatoes in 10 x 14 x 2 ceramic baking dish. Scatter goat cheese, followed by mozzarella, parmesan cheese and then basil. Combine breadcrumbs, garlic, salt, parsley, and oil. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the dish. Bake for 40 minutes until bubbly and golden brown. Serve at room temperature.