Tag Archives: healthy

chocolate angel food cake

I love baking for other people.  There’s just so much satisfaction in giving someone one of your favorite treats, like chocolate glazed gingerbread cakes, chocolate raspberry cake, apple cider cake, or a cranberry upside-down cake (can you tell I like cake?). But what about when that person is on a diet?  You’d hardly be a good friend if you showed up with these sinfully delicious, rich, gooey, brownies.

This chocolate angel food cake has become my answer to that.  It’s light and and airy and chocolatey and oh so very good, and the best part? There’s no butter, no egg yolks, no oil, and hey, it’s half air! How bad can it possibly be? It’s a much healthier alternative but it’s still so good, especially served with fresh strawberries and homemade whipped cream.

So when I said I’d bring dessert to a dinner party to celebrate the birthday of a friend that has lost over 30 pounds through several months of hard work and dedication, this is the dessert I immediately thought of.  But I was still pretty wobbly after knee surgery and was a little nervous to committing to that much time standing in the kitchen. What if I got halfway through and just couldn’t stand long enough to finish it? Continue reading


oven fried chicken

Oven Fried Chicken

When we were little, my sister received this kid’s cookbook that we just loved. There are actually only three recipes I remember making from it, but we made them over and over again. There was the yummy, chunky apple sauce, these awesome cakes that you put in an ice cream cone and that looked like ice cream but weren’t (I pulled one out of my lunchbox at school one day to the utter amazement of my friends), and oven baked fried chicken. I loved that chicken. I’m not sure how much my sister and I actually helped, but the one thing I do remember doing is putting the cornflakes for the breading in a big ziplock and mashing it to pieces with a rolling pin.  It was so much fun and I felt all grown up. And honestly, the bag and rolling pin is a useful trick I still use often (who wants to sit there chopping walnuts when you could just roll over them?).

Those of you have been following along know that I had knee surgery a little over a month ago and have been relying on Joseph for most of my meals. We also have a freezer full (well, only half full now) of amazing food my mother-in-law sent us home with right before my surgery. Joseph wins the best husband ever award in part because of how he waited on me hand and foot in the first couple weeks after  my surgery and still does all the cooking and cleaning, in part because he drives me everywhere (including all my doctor’s and physical therapy appointments of which there are many) because I’m not allowed to drive for a few more weeks, but most especially because he made me this oven fried chicken last week.

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penne with roasted tomatoes, garlic, and white beans

Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic, and White Beans

Have you ever gone to dinner at someone’s house and before they serve you the food they say, “Uh, I hope you like garlic,” with just the slightest touch of hesitation?  Like garlic?  Are you kidding?  I can’t get enough!

Fresh Tomatoes and Garli

Now, to be fair, I have on occasion turned down an everything bagel because I was afraid of starting the day off with garlic breath, but by lunch, it’s all over.  You might just want to sit on the other side of the conference room if I have a meeting with you in the afternoon.

Chopped Tomatoes and Garlic Going in the Oven

And of course there’s garlic and then there’s roasted garlic.  Don’t you just love restaurants that serve roasted garlic with thick, crusty bread to smear it on.  Well, if you like that, you’ll love this pasta dish.  The lemon adds a nice tang to the sweet, rich flavor from the roasted tomatoes and garlic, while the beans add both protein and a nice flavor and texture, and the basil adds a nice earthy sweetness to top it all off.

Whole Wheat Penne and Lemon

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joseph’s turkey burger du jour

Spicy Turkey Burger and Sweet Potato Fries

I was vegetarian for several years and ate enough veggie burgers to keep Gardenburger and Boca in business.  Then, when I was eating poultry again, I went on a business trip to Atlanta and a coworker ordered a turkey burger.  I was sort of shocked by the idea (turkey??), but since after about 10 years of nothing but veggie burgers, I was intrigued and ordered one as well.  I loved it.  My coworker told me about some good turkey burgers back in DC, but I kind of forgot about it by the time I got home.  It wasn’t until I moved to Boston and starting ordering turkey burgers at Sunset Grill that I became completely hooked.

oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, garlic powder

Worcestershire sauce, barbecue sauce, and hot sauces

But with Joseph working full time on his PhD at Tufts, well, suffice it to say, we don’t eat out a whole lot.  I was looking for healthy recipes and found this turkey burger recipe from the Mayo Clinic.  Totally healthy!  Even though Joseph was still vegetarian, he made me these turkey burgers for our first Super Bowl in Boston and several times since.  Eventually he got tired of making these awesome burgers and having a veggie burger and he starting eating them too.  He’s modified the recipe several times and this is the most current version.  I’m sure that a month or two from now it’ll be different again. Continue reading


creamy corn soup with ham and roasted poblanos

creamy corn soup with ham and roasted poblanos

The next recipe in the lineup from our week-long celebration of Rick Bayless is a wonderful, creamy corn soup.  In the recipe, Bayless says that you can use either chicken or ham and ham just seemed like an obvious choice to me.  Of course chicken would work wonderfully, but I really liked the idea of some yummy, well-seasoned ham with the mellower corn flavor.

fire roasted poblano

My favorite part of this soup, however, is not the ham, it’s the poblano chile.  It gives the soup a lovely mild spice that hits at the back of your tongue.  You roast the chile first, giving it a smoky kick. Spice-phobes need not be afraid – it has a very mild kick.

cubed ham

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curried lentil soup

curried lentil soup

Ok, I promised you something healthy after all those cookies and here it is.  Believe me, it’s worth the wait.  I found out about this recipe from my friend, Anne, who is an incredible cook.  After every amazing meal that she cooks everyone oohs and aahs over her creations and she always, always responds by saying, “Oh, it’s so easy.”  This is generally met with wide eyes because it’s often clear that it’s certainly not easy by most people’s standards.  This soup is an exception.  It is in fact very easy and it’s very delicious and it has quickly become one of our go-to recipes for when we don’t know what else to make.  It’s easy, it’s healthy, the ingredients keep well for a while, and you can even make it ahead of time, which is just what we did the other night when my sister was coming into town.

red lentils

It’s a good thing we did, because her flight got in an hour late and we were getting pretty hungry by the time we got home from picking her up. But luckily we had made this soup the night before and Joseph had set the bread maker earlier in the day.  We came home to a house filled with the scent of fresh baked bread and all we had to do was throw the soup in a pot to heat up, slice the warm bread, and pour a nice Albariño. It is the perfect remedy to a cold Boston night! Continue reading


healthy mac and cheese (aka mac ‘n squash)

Running out of Thanksgiving leftovers? Trying to squeeze in some healthy food to make up for all that pie and stuffing?  Well, look no further than this lightened up version of mac n’ cheese.

I should tell you up front that this mac n’ cheese is not going to be the same as the ooey gooey traditional stuff overflowing with cheese.  But neither is it a sad pile of flavorless, plasticy macaroni.  It’s actually one of my favorite dishes because it it satisfies my craving for mac n’ cheese without making me feel guilty.  What’s the secret? Pureed winter squash.  But don’t worry, there’s still cheese — real cheese — but now you’re also getting veggies in your mac n’ cheese!  Can’t you just feel your reservations melt away?

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maple-mustard pork tenderloin with caramelized apples

As long as I’ve known my sister (i.e. my whole life), she’s been replete with ideas both good and bad. For example, when we were kids she liked to play “chef” and take random ingredients in the small kitchen at our after school program and “cook” (or rather, mix) them and then serve them to poor saps like me. She and her friends would run around exclaiming about their marvelous creations and I only recently learned that, despite her proud exclamations of her masterpieces, she in fact found them as disgusting as I did.  And it was such a relief! I mean, we’re talking about ketchup, flour, water, sugar, baking soda, and food coloring.  That kind of thing.  Yech.

But she does on occasion have really, really good ideas. Such as Apple Day.  Here’s what it is in her own words: Continue reading


Zucchini Pasta with Almonds

I mentioned before that my sister had sent me a zucchini pasta recipe super similar to a Smitten Kitchen recipe that I was already planning on making.  My sister raved about this recipe from Cooking Light, so I had to try it and see how it compared.  The recipes both share all the same key ingredients: whole wheat pasta, zucchini (of course), lemon, olive oil, almonds, and pecorino romano.  The two main differences between the two dishes are the cut of the zucchini (simple dice vs. painstakingly cut little slivers), addition of tomatoes, and number of ingredients.

The Cooking Light pasta adds both mint and thyme.  As much as I love mint in certain situations (like mint and chocolate, which I love), I’m wary of it in certain food combos such as pasta.  I just feel like it has a strong flavor and can overwhelm the dish.  I might have been a bit light-handed when I added it, but I thought it was fine, adding just a subtle mint flavor. Continue reading


roasted pork loin with parsley-shallot sauce

Want a quick, relatively healthy, but really nice meal?  Look no further than Ellie Krieger’s roasted pork loin with parsley-shallot sauce.  Joseph cooked the pork while I prepared the roasted cauliflower (yes, I know I got the easy part).

Joseph used Thomas Keller’s technique of searing the pork before putting it in the oven to get a perfectly cooked, succulent, tender pork loin with a nice, browned, caramalized exterior.  Searing the meat and finishing it in the oven shortens the overall cooking time and makes for a more appealing appearance and texture.   I can’t stand a dry piece of meat and this meat was so moist that even when I microwaved the leftovers for lunch the next day it was still perfectly juicy. Continue reading