tasteovers by jackie

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make-ahead fusilli pasta bowls

Posted by on Sep 22, 2015 in tasteovers by jackie | 0 comments

make-ahead fusilli pasta bowl

At the end of a long day, sometimes cooking up a quick pot of pasta doesn’t seem speedy enough—and a packaged frozen entrée doesn’t sound appealing enough. That’s where this fast pasta bowl fix comes in—inspired by The Recipe Redux theme of this month, “Fantastic Freezer Meals.”

It’s my go-to pasta bowl of the moment. I pair whole grain fusilli with a good-quality marinara sauce, plus some of my favorite ingredients: baby arugula, goat cheese, pistachios, and lemon zest. Yum!

Here’s all you need to do: (1) Prepare this recipe whenever you have 15 minutes or so to spare (for me, that’s usually Sunday late evening); (2) freeze it in 4 bowls; (3) microwave a bowl of it for 3 minutes whenever you want a warm, comforting meal ASAP! It doesn’t get much quicker than that. The bonus: It’s both tasty and nutritious. Try it!

Calories saved: 60

Why it’s better for you? It’s meat free, yet still has ample protein!

Disclosure Note: One of my clients is Wonderful Pistachios. I did not receive compensation for this blog post. The recipe and opinions expressed here are my own.

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spanakorizo-style spinach and rice

Posted by on Sep 7, 2015 in tasteovers by jackie | 0 comments

spanakorizo-style spinach and rice

Sometimes we worry so much about the entrée, we put little effort into the sides. So here’s what I suggest!

When you need a side dish, ready-to-heat and packaged rice mixes can save time. There are a handful of quality brands on the market, like Seeds of Change, which I recommend! Unfortunately, most popular brands are highly processed and not so healthful. By eating these latter picks, you may be shortchanging your health since most mixes are based on processed “white” rice and contain way too much sodium. They also can be a hidden source of trans fat—of which the body needs absolutely zero!

When you’re in the mood for a rice dish, consider making your own whole grain pilaf, like this Greek-inspired recipe. I did add my own signature Lebanese influences to it, including fragrant cinnamon and fresh mint. I suggest simmering in tea rather than water, too; it’s one of my favorite ways to boost antioxidants and add calorie-free intrigue. And I went for it with the whopping one-pound spinach addition!

Ultimately, this recipe acts as a grain side plus a vegetable dish, so all you need to serve it with is a protein-rich entrée of choice. Hint: When you glam up your side like this, you can simplify your main dish—which you can prepare while this spinach and rice is simmering.

Calories saved: 80

Why it’s better for you? Health-promoting whole grain goodness plus a plentiful pop of spinach!

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beet, greens and goat cheese linguine

Posted by on Aug 22, 2015 in tasteovers by jackie | 8 comments

beet, greens and goat cheese linguine

I don’t think I could live without pasta! How about you? I’m always trying to find new ways to enjoy it. So I hit my local farmers’ market and filled up my sack with all of the fresh vegetables that “called out” to me, including some amazing beets. (I seem to be on a beet kick lately!) Then straight to my kitchen I went. Actually, I take that back. Straight to my building rooftop I went where I snipped a day’s worth of fresh basil. (Yep, that’s how we do it here in Brooklyn!) Then off to my kitchen I went.

This is what I got when I married pasta with the classic tastes of a beet and goat cheese salad. It’s a family-sized pasta dish that’s stunning to look at (hello, fuchsia!) and absolutely scrumptious. It’s a colorful way to bring the family back to the table … if there’s no objection to pink food! It’s hard not to love a good bowl of pasta, after all. Though since this pasta is particularly pretty, you may find it best suited to an evening in with girlfriends. Either way, this luxurious linguine is a must try—especially when you’re able to find organic or local beets at your farmers market. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do … stained pink fingers and all!

Calories saved: 110

Why it’s better for you? It’s a celebration of whole grains and seasonal vegetables—plus it’s packed with fiber!

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red beet baba ghanoush

Posted by on Aug 3, 2015 in tasteovers by jackie | 2 comments

red beet baba ghanoush

Beet hummus is a thing. But beets can be showcased well beyond hummus. So I picked up a couple beets from my farmers’ market and transformed them into a different Middle Eastern dip … baba ghanoush.

I roasted the beets to bring out their full flavor. A hint of smokiness is provided with a pinch of smoked paprika. And you’ll definitely detect the refreshing citrusy notes by way of both fresh lemon juice and zest.

Though I usually prefer traditional eggplant baba ghanoush rather homestyle and lumpy, this red beet version with its stunningly gorgeous fuchsia color looks more beautiful when pureed until velvety. (Hint: The vivid color is from phytonutrients naturally found in beets, called betalains, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant abilities!)

Enjoy this recipe’s nutritious goodness with fresh or grilled whole grain pita bread wedges. Or serve it as a clever sandwich condiment. By the way, this delightful dip is vegan. So enjoy it any day of the week, including Meatless Monday. But be forewarned: Don’t make or eat this while wearing white … or else your dry cleaner will be more pleased than you!

red beet baba ghanoush Calories saved: 40

Why it’s better for you? Both hummus and this baba ghanoush are good for you picks! But if you simply need to keep calories or total carbs in check, this dip can be your better bet.

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summer vegetable coconut curry

Posted by on Jul 22, 2015 in tasteovers by jackie | 13 comments

summer vegetable coconut curr

July is one of the happiest months when it comes to the plentiful array of produce available. So this seasonally-inspired recipe takes advantage of what you’ll typically find at the farmers’ market right now, including zucchini, organic corn-on-the-cob, grape tomatoes, shallots, and baby spinach. If you like, make swaps for what’s “hyperlocal” in your area, such as heirloom cherry tomatoes, purple scallions, or dark leafy greens grown at a nearby farm (or your own backyard garden!) rather than grape tomatoes, shallots, or baby spinach, respectively.

Ladle the saucy vegetable-centric curry over steamed whole grains of choice, like brown rice or quinoa or a blend, to round out the meal. Serve it as a vegan dinner that’ll please everyone–on Meatless Monday or any day. Simply grab a fork, chopsticks, or spork and slowly savor every flavorful, fragrant bite of comforting summertime goodness in a bowl. And if you need someone to help you finish the curry, invite me, pretty please!

Calories saved: 700

Why it’s better for you? Overflowing with seasonal produce and way, way less saturated fat

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seasonal tomato shakshuka

Posted by on Jul 12, 2015 in tasteovers by jackie | 0 comments

seasonal tomato shakshuka

I love this word: “shakshuka”! That’s almost enough to sell me on the dish. But it’s truly the taste that keeps me intrigued. And if you haven’t had it before, you’re in for a real palate pleaser.

Shakshuka is a Middle-Eastern-style spiced-up dish of eggs poached in a saucy mixture of tomatoes, peppers, and onions. It’s often made with canned tomatoes; but I enjoy hitting the farmers’ market and picking up juicy ripe local tomatoes to make it a seasonal delight. Here I’ve kept the spices light to make everyone’s tastebuds happy. But you can always add extra spice if you’re into more intensity or prefer one spice, like paprika or cinnamon, to stand out!

This shakshuka is a lovely option when you’re in the mood for eggs with vegetables, but don’t want the calorie overload of a typical stuffed omelet. Pair it with whole grain pita bread, if you like. I do! And don’t just think it’s simply a breakfast dish since it showcases eggs. This shakshuka is a perfect pick for a Sunday brunch or a Meatless Monday dinner for two!

Calories saved: 560

Why it’s better for you? It’s tastier than an omelet any day—and you’ll get way more veggies this way!

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frozen chocolate cream pie martini

Posted by on Jun 22, 2015 in tasteovers by jackie | 4 comments

frozen chocolate cream pie martini

I prefer savory rather than sweet food. Though every once in a while, I do like to indulge in a creamy chocolaty dessert. When the weather is sizzling hot, I usually don’t want to add to the heat of the day by baking a pie. So here’s a summertime experiment of mine inspired by chocolate cream pie … perfect for this month’s Recipe Redux “pie love” theme. It’s actually a cross between a pie, milkshake, and martini. Yes, there’s vodka here! Multiply the recipe as needed. Cheers!

Calories saved: 280

Why it’s better for you? It no longer has over a day’s worth of “bad” fats!

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roasted vegan carrot hot dogs

Posted by on Jun 8, 2015 in tasteovers by jackie | 0 comments

roasted vegan hot dogs

I have yet to find a truly tasty vegetarian hot dog. How about you? And most of what’s on the market is downright scary when you take a look at the ingredient lists and find “stuff” like this: chemical additives (i.e. disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate), added sweeteners (i.e. corn syrup solids), highly processed proteins (i.e. hydrolyzed soy protein and hydrolyzed corn protein), and artificial food coloring (i.e. red 40 and blue 1). Yikes! Who would actually want to put this into their body? And what food company would be proud to sell this?

So, here’s my take on a vegan hot dog. It’s made from carrots that you’ll hand-sculpt using an everyday paring knife and vegetable peeler! You simply need to try this recipe … now! Then be sure to serve them for family on Meatless Monday and grill ‘em up for friends at your next cookout.

Calories saved: 165

Why it’s better for you? It’s a real vegetable, not a manufactured formulation of pseudo-meat!

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