Luscious Lemon-Glazed Brussels Sprouts

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Raise your hand if you love Brussels sprouts but only cook them once a year? That used to be me. For one, I was the only sprouts eater in the house. Then there’s the prep – what a pain it can be trimming the dried ends off all those little cabbage balls! Finally, there’s the issue of getting the texture just right. To me, Brussels sprouts should be soft, no matter what your method of cooking. So many times I’ll see them on a “Harvest Specials” menu in a restaurant and order them thinking they sound good (i.e. “crispy roasted with bacon”). Then they arrive at the table all hard and unappealing – often tasting of nothing but bacon grease. One day I was rooting around the freezer case at the store, looking for frozen bags of brown rice, when I discovered the answer to all my Brussels sprouts issues: Continue reading

Pomegranate Sparklers

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I. Love. Pomegranates. Maybe because they’re only available for a few months out of the year. (Though so are pumpkin spice lattes, and those I really could do without.) Maybe it’s because, like the best things in life, they take a little work. (See below.) Or maybe it’s because they’re beautiful inside and out, as well as irresistibly tangy/tart/juicy/sweet and good for you, too! So there’s a lot to love.

It should come as no surprise, then, that these Pomegranate Sparklers have become my go-to “house cocktail” for fall and winter entertaining (all the way through Valentine’s Day!) A little pomegranate juice, some bubbly prosecco (Italian sparkling wine), and a few jewel-like pomegranate seeds (technically arils) for a fun garnish. Easy and festive!

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Baked Butternut Squash Rigatoni

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It’s the first weekend of October – hooray! Colder days, but not too cold. Pumpkins, apples, baking. Halloween! However, it looks like the rain this weekend is going to squash my plans to hang spooky skeleton hand lights in the trees, decorate the front porch and go apple picking. Perfect weather for a comforting casserole, though, so I thought I’d recycle a favorite fall recipe from the early days of my blog. After all, sometimes you don’t need MORE recipes, just a reminder of the good ones you already have. Right?

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A Winning Slow-Cooker Brisket Ragu

brisket raguI mentioned in my last post that I’ve been doing a lot of whining lately. On the road towards positivity, I thought I’d spin that into a win-win, wine-themed post: a fall-apart tender, red wine-enhanced brisket ragu with cellentani (corkscrew) pasta, and a chance to win tickets to the NYC Wine and Food Festival! I’m feeling more upbeat already. Continue reading

Blissful Turkey Meatballs & Italian Wedding Soup

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Crafty wordplay aside (Get it? Wedding/Bliss?), you might be wondering if a meatball could really be blissful? Darn good, maybe – but blissful? Hardcore carnivores might not agree, but I think these lean turkey meatballs – laced with parmesan cheese, deliciously caramelized outside and spoon-tender inside – are about as good as a meatball can get. They’re the newest addition to our family’s “Favorites” list – whether added to this healthy meal-in-one soup, served with spaghetti and tomato sauce, or eaten straight from the pan.

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Mini Pumpkins with Farro Pilaf and Crispy Sage

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Looking for a Thanksgiving side dish that’s traditional yet a “little” different? These stuffed mini pumpkins deliver big autumn flavors in an adorable little package. Even better? They’re highly nutritious (thanks to the whole grain farro), easy to prepare, and can be made a few days ahead.  Continue reading

Chicken Curry Chili

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So is it a curry or a chili? Exactly. This one-pot wonder can be whatever you want it to be – it’s all in the marketing. For example, if you’re serving to kids or vegetable-phobes, do not call it “Chicken Curry Chili with tons of tomatoes, garbanzo beans and winter squash”; “Chicken Chili” might be a safer bet. Or build a campaign around the secret ingredient: peanut butter.

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Skinny Cream of Broccoli Soup with Aged Cheddar

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Everyone in our house grooves on crispy roasted broccoli, so it’s in heavy rotation on the dinner menu playlist.

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However, no one but me will eat the stems or stalks. I’m not really sure why this is, but I’d guess it’s because the florets get so much crispier than the stalks. Whatever the reason, I end up with pounds and pounds of broccoli stalks that I can’t bring myself to throw out. (We had to stop putting food in our backyard compost pile because the rats and raccoons thought they’d stumbled upon a 24/7 gastropub.)

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So now, whenever I make roasted broccoli, I chop up the underappreciated stems and store them in a gallon-size ziplock bag in the fridge. (They’ll keep for weeks.) When the bag’s full, it’s time to make Cream of Broccoli soup.

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Kale, Cabbage and Quinoa Salad

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Wait – keep reading! If the idea of a kale and quinoa salad sounds less than appealing, I should also mention the crunchy toasted almonds and tangy-sweet balsamic dressing. And, that this delicious fiber-fest is also vegan, gluten-free, low-calorie, nutrient-rich, and filling. FILLING! Now do I have your attention?

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Wild Mushroom “Fondue”

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This New Year’s Eve, I intend to make a few toasts. As in, toasted baguette slices, slathered in creamy Wild Mushroom Fondue and drizzled with a little black truffle oil. One last holiday hoorah before the austerity of the New Year begins.  Then it’s back to carrot sticks and kale salad for a while.  Continue reading