7 Delicious Pastas, Lightened Up!
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
When the weather turns chilly, nothing beats a comforting plate of pasta. Indulge the healthy way with these tasty dishes that are low in fat, but high in flavor.
Downing an antipasti platter followed by a plate of pasta can spell diet disaster. Get the best of both worlds (without breaking the calorie bank) with this delicious dish. Sauteed soppressata, artichoke hearts, and olives join forces with tomato and fresh basil to form the mouth-watering sauce. Stirring in chunks of mozzarella at the end makes it all feel utterly indulgent.
Spinach and Artichoke Macaroni and Cheese
This recipe takes mac ‘n cheese to a whole new level. Skim milk, reduced fat sour cream, part-skim mozzarella and low-fat Swiss cheese form the creamy sauce while a hearty dose of spinach packs protein and nutrients. Broiling it all with the pasta makes for a mouth-watering finish.
Lemon Whole-Grain Linguine with Turkey Meatballs
Meatballs just got a makeover. Here, using turkey cuts calories without sacrificing flavor. The meat gets a little kick when combined with Parmesan cheese, basil, oregano, fennel seeds and red pepper flakes. Instead of tomatoes, lemon, cream and Parmesan cheese form the zesty sauce.
Roasted Cauliflower Lasagna
Vegetarians will love this meat-free lasagna. Roasted cauliflower stands in for the usual ground beef and gets blended into a savory ricotta cheese mixture. The homemade tomato sauce stars sweet red bell pepper and basil.
Turkey, Kale and Oat Meatballs with Quick Tomato Sauce
Is there anything kale can’t be used for? Here, the nutrient-dense veggie helps form the base of these turkey meatballs. Fiber-rich oats replace traditional breadcrumbs to bind the garlic, onion and Parmesan cheese.
Spicy Fish and Olive Spaghetti
This dish is a cinch to throw together — yet the results are spectacular. Pieces of fresh tilapia and kalamata olives are cooked in a homemade red pepper tomato sauce. The result? The perfect combination of salt and spice.
Cheesy Spinach Baked Penne
A cheesy casserole is transformed into a healthy family feast with the help of chopped spinach, cottage cheese (a tasty stand-in for ricotta) and part-skim mozzarella.
Abigail Libers is a freelance writer and editor living in Brooklyn. She is also the creator and editor of notesonfatherhood.tumblr.com.
Thinking of Going Paleo? Nom Nom Says, Yes!
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
You don’t have to eat just like a caveman to call yourself Paleo. Or at least that’s the attitude of Paleo blogger and cookbook author Michelle Tam, creator of NomNomPaleo.com and the book, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans. “I’m not a slave to ‘this is exactly Paleo,’” she says. “Cavemen ate bugs and raw meat.” For Tam, the real goal of eating Paleo is to make smart choices and be more conscious of where your food comes from and how eating it makes you feel. Oh, and it’s got to taste good too!
Why did you decide to go Paleo?
About four years ago, my husband started doing it. He felt great and looked amazing, but it all sounded so crazy to me. I have a degree in nutrition and food science and I’m a pharmacist — the diet seemed to be the opposite of everything I’d been taught. But I was in my mid-thirties with two young kids. I felt terrible and I was tried all the time. My husband claimed to feel great eating this way, so I just decided to try it too. I kind of assumed that everything I was feeling — fatigue and GI issues — were just a function of age and the fact that I worked night shifts. But after I changed my diet, I did feel better, had more energy and felt stronger.
Why do you think that eating Paleo is a healthy plan?
It’s a common misconception that if you’re Paleo all you eat is meat and bacon. But when I look at my plate now it’s filled with vegetables and small portion of healthy, high-quality meat.
What do you say to critics who decry the lack of whole grains in the diet?
I actually think it’s more nutrient dense to eat an array of vegetables, fruit and meat. I don’t know that grains really add that much more. But I’m also personally not against having some. I think after a month of hardcore Paleo—cutting all grains, legumes and dairy — it’s fine to reintroduce those things in moderation and see how you feel. I eat white rice and potatoes on occasion. My goal now is just to pay more attention to how those foods affect me and adjust my diet accordingly. I used to just eat blindly.
What are your favorite Paleo snacks?
Sometimes I eat a little mini-meal of leftover chicken and some roasted broccoli. Or I’ll just grab a handful of macademia nuts. But I really don’t snack as much as I used to. I used to eat a lot of low fat stuff that wasn’t very satisfying and I felt hungry all the time. But now my meals are more satisfying, so I’m not that hungry in between meals.
Are you raising Paleo kids?
When they’re at home, I control what they eat, so they’re pretty Paleo. But when they’re out of the house, they make their own choices. My goal is to teach them that eating healthy food will make them feel healthier, and hope that they make smart choices.
Asian Cauliflower Fried “Rice”
From Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans by Michelle Tam and Henry Fong/Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC 2013
Makes 6 servings
Hands-on time: 45 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Grain-free eaters can indulge in a bowl (or three) of fried rice with my vegetable-forward version. I daresay it easily trumps the greasy, soy-drenched stuff peddled by your local Chinese restaurant. Sure, this recipe takes a bit of time and effort to prepare, but once you taste it, you’ll be hooked for life on this deeply satisfying one-wok meal.
3 slices of bacon, cross-cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 medium cauliflower head, cut into uniform pieces
2 large eggs
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons ghee or fat of choice
1 small yellow onion, minced
4 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons coconut aminos
1 teaspoon coconut vinegar
1 teaspoon Paleo-friendly fish sauce
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once it crisps up, about 15 minutes, transfer the crunchy bacon to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon.
While you’re crisping the bacon, toss the cauliflower into a food processor, and pulse until it’s the size of rice grains. Pro tip: don’t overdo it. We don’t want liquid cauliflower.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs together with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the eggs into the hot bacon drippings, and fry up a thin egg omelet. Remove the omelet from the pan, slice it into ribbons, and set aside.
Melt the ghee in the skillet over medium-high heat, and add the onions along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Once the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes, throw in the sliced mushrooms. When the mushrooms are browned, add the grated ginger and stir for 30 seconds to incorporate.
Add the cauliflower “rice,” season with a bit more salt and pepper, and mix the ingredients together. Place the lid on the skillet, turn the heat down to low, and cook for about 5 minutes with the skillet covered. The “rice” is ready when it’s tender but not mushy.
Season with the coconut aminos, coconut vinegar, and fish sauce. Before serving, mix in the scallions, cilantro, omelet slices, and the reserved crispy bacon.
Sally Wadyka is a Boulder, Colorado-based journalist who writes about nutrition, health and wellness.
Best 5 Beef Casserole Recipes
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
While some meals require you to make multiple components, casseroles are all-in-one beauties that have starch, vegetable and protein elements built in, so they’re go-to timesavers on hectic weeknights. When you’re considering which ingredients to combine in your casserole, think about which flavors you know work well together, like those in classic pasta dishes, or in tacos, enchiladas and burritos — they’ll likely shine in a casserole as well. Check out Food Network’s best-five casseroles with family-friendly beef as the focus and find top tips from Trisha Yearwood, Sunny Anderson, Rachael Ray and more chefs.
5. Beef and Bean Taco Casserole — Think of this big-batch dinner as a platter of deconstructed tacos, with a base and topping of crunchy tortilla chips and a hearty filling of cumin-laced ground beef and pinto beans.
4. Gwen’s Old-Fashioned Potato-Beef Casserole — The key to Trisha’s easy recipe lies in the prep work for her tender potatoes and cheesy ground beef. Trisha explains, “If they are still hot when you assemble the casserole, the baking time can be greatly reduced or even eliminated; simply brown the crumb topping under the broiler for a couple of minutes.”
3. Sloppy Joe Macaroni and Cheese Casserole — Made with dark brown sugar, tomato sauce and a few splashes of Worcestershire, Rachael’s from-scratch sloppy joe sauce turns her cheddar-topped macaroni into a decadent supper.
2. Easy Beefy Cheesy Enchilada Casserole — Instead of rolling enchiladas, Sunny layers the tortillas with a classic enchilada sauce, plus vegetable-laced ground beef and a duo of cheeses, to create an updated take on this bake-and-serve dinner.
1. Beef and Cheddar Casserole — To make sure this casserole (pictured above) turns out richly satisfying, toss the just-cooked pasta with sour cream and Parmesan, then mix with the seasoned tomato sauce and finish with a blanket of cheddar.
Smothered and Covered Chicken and Gravy — Down-Home Comfort
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
I love gravy. I really love gravy. I really, really love gravy. I’d like to think that there are rivers of gravy in heaven. Gravy is a down-home comfort food that soothes, satisfies and satiates like no other. And Smothered and Covered Chicken and Gravy is extra-special. This old-timey recipe is a mash-up of fried chicken and gravy, cooked together in a skillet: Where one ends, the other starts. In other words, pretty much the most nearly perfect comfort food. Ever.
Gravy is not actually created by angels. By definition, it is a thickened sauce made of meat juices and pan drippings, usually left over from a roast or searing meat in a skillet. There are a couple of key things to consider when making Smothered and Covered Chicken and Gravy.
For best flavor, it’s very important to sear the chicken until it’s golden, amber brown. Not searing it enough will result in flabby skin coated in bland gravy, and too much will result a scorched taste and tough chicken. Humble leg quarters are tailor-made for this country-style dish. You can also use chicken thighs or chicken breasts on the bone. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts may be tempting, but keep in mind that anytime you cook meat on the bone, it is more likely to be tender and moist.
Roux, a mixture of flour and fat, is used to thicken the gravy. The fat helps the starch to expand and separate, and it lubricates the starch so it can be incorporated into the stock. Then, when the starch is heated in the stock, the grains of starch swell and then burst, releasing starch and thickening the liquid into gravy. This recipe utilizes the flour used to coat the chicken and the residual oil from searing the chicken as the roux. When the seasoned flour is combined with the oil and the rendered chicken fat from searing, the individual flour granules become coated, which keeps them separate. This allows each starch granule the opportunity to absorb the heated broth relatively equally, which makes smooth gravy.
In terms of seasoning, the onion powder doubles up the onion flavor alongside the sliced onion, and the paprika gives it a boost of color and richness. Lastly, the cayenne gives it a bit of heat. Started on the stovetop and finished in the oven, this down-home comfort dish is perfect for a weeknight supper.
Bon Appétit, Y’all!
Get the Recipe: Smothered and Covered Chicken and Gravy
Georgia-born, French-trained Chef Virginia Willis has cooked lapin Normandie with Julia Child in France, prepared lunch for President Clinton and harvested capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen. A Southern food authority, she is the author of Bon Appétit, Y’all and Basic to Brilliant, Y’all, among others. Follow her continuing exploits at VirginiaWillis.com.
Heritage — Off the Shelf
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Sean Brock’s new cookbook, Heritage, is easily one of the most-anticipated books of the year. Sean Brock, the Virginia-born executive chef of Husk restaurants in Charleston, S.C., and Nashville, is quickly becoming a titan of Southern cuisine, and the dishes in this book carry his signature blend of elegance and hearty Southern charm. It should be noted right up front that Heritage is not a Husk restaurant cookbook; it’s so much deeper and more thorough than that. Heritage is an edible historical guide to Southern cuisine, and if you give it a chance, it’ll be your new favorite cookbook in no time.
The book is broken down into chapters based on where the ingredients are sourced, including The Garden, The Mill and The Yard, and the introduction includes a whole aside detailing the history of and a recipe for Low-Country Hoppin’ John. Brock also includes for his readers his Manifesto on food, but don’t be fooled: The book doesn’t read like a stuffy, overly structured culinary curriculum. The whole book reads like a love letter to the raw ingredients and agrarians of the South, and getting an inside look at Brock’s passion for preserving Southern heritage seed breeds is a real treat.
What brings the book to life are the small histories and factual passages about ingredients, written with humor and attention to detail. The recipes leap off the page, vibrant and fun, and with deep roots — each of them. The dish offerings cover everything from Pork Rinds and Husk Hot Sauce to homemade bacon and the famous Husk Cheeseburger (recipe below for you to try at home). They run the gamut of savory to sweet, and you’ll be hard-pressed not to satiate your sweet tooth with the Charleston Ice Cream, the Apple-Sorghum Stack Cake or the mouthwatering Chocolate Chess Pie (a true Southern classic). This is the book for anyone who’s ever aspired to make real Southern cuisine at home, whether it be a perfectly tender and light biscuit or a low-country seafood boil. The overall tone of the book makes you feel like you’ve wandered into a Southern kitchen just as the big Sunday meal is being made and been fortunate enough to be invited to stay. Heritage by Brock is on sale now, and you can order a copy for yourself here.
Makes 10 cheeseburgers
When I opened Husk, I knew we had to have a cheeseburger on the menu. Everyone has his or her own idea of the perfect burger; mine was inspired by the drive-in that my family used to take me to when I was young. Robo’s was the only real “restaurant” in my hometown, and my family just loved it. We would go there after my Little League Baseball games. As a game wound down, I would be daydreaming about that burger, shake and crinkle-cut fries. It’s probably the reason for some missed fly balls.
What I remember most about the cheeseburger was the squishy bun and how wonderful it was to eat the double patty covered in gooey American cheese. This recipe is a tip of the hat to that burger. I’ve changed it a little to make it my own — I wouldn’t dare try and replicate the burger from Robo’s. This recipe feeds a crowd, but you can halve it for a smaller group.
If you don’t have a meat grinder, ask the butcher to grind the meats for you.
1 3/4 cups mayonnaise, preferably Duke’s
1 1/4 cups yellow mustard
5 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 cup bread-and-butter pickles, drained and cut into 1/8-inch dice
1/4 cup pickled jalapenos, drained and cut into 1/8-inch dice
Grated zest (use a Microplane) and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon Husk Hot Sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons pepper vinegar, preferably Texas Pete brand
One 3-pound fresh boneless chuck roast
12 ounces fresh flank steak
3 ounces bacon, preferably Benton’s
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
10 hamburger buns, preferably potato rolls
1 cup shaved white onion
20 slices American cheese
50 bread-and-butter pickles
For the sauce:
Combine all of the ingredients in a large container and stir together to blend well. Cover, and refrigerate. (Tightly covered, the sauce will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.)
For the cheeseburgers:
Grind the chuck, flank steak and bacon through a meat grinder fitted with the large die into a bowl. Mix gently to combine. Then run half of the mixture through the small die. Mix the two together.
Portion the meat mixture into twenty 3-ounce patties, about 1/2 inch thick (each burger gets 2 patties). If not cooking right away, arrange on a baking sheet, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. (The patties can be refrigerated for up to 1 day. Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you’re ready to cook; it’s important that the patties are not ice-cold when they hit the hot pan.)
Generously butter the tops and bottoms of the buns. Toast on a griddle until nice and golden brown. Reserve.
Heat two 12-inch cast-iron skillets until as hot as possible. Divide the patties between the two hot pans. When the patties are nice and charred, about 2 minutes, flip them over and cook for 2 minutes more for medium. Place the onion slices on 10 of the patties. Place a slice of the cheese on all of the patties and allow it to melt, about 30 seconds. Stack the non-onion patties on top of the onion patties. Remove from the heat.
Smear both sides of the buns with special sauce. Place 5 pickles on the bottom half of each bun. Add the burger patties and top with the top halves of the buns. Serve at once.
Excerpted from Heritage by Sean Brock (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Peter Frank Edwards.