tasteovers by jackie

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zero-waste fresh seasonal fruit vinaigrette

Posted by on May 22, 2015 in tasteovers by jackie | 2 comments

zero-waste fresh seasonal fruit vinaigrette

I became a salad fanatic as a teenager. But back then, I smothered my leafy greens with gobs of creamy ranch salad dressing. It wasn’t until I began learning about nutrition in college that I started paying attention to the ingredients in my bottled dressing. I soon realized my pick was definitely science experiment worthy. Luckily, I quickly changed my bad habits and began making my own vinaigrettes and other salad dressings. One of my favorites throughout the years has been fruit vinaigrette. It still provides creaminess, but it’s from real produce not a chemistry lab!

I’m so glad the Recipe Redux theme this month is “DIY kitchen essentials.” It gives me the opportunity to share my very personal recipe with you. This colorful vinaigrette recipe works with just about any fruit, like blackberries, cherries, and mangoes which I’ve used here. Since the natural sugar and water content of fruits vary, simply add extra vinegar when you need extra zing. You can change the ratio of oil to acid and make it lower in calories; but this original version is designed to be full of Mediterranean appeal.

I’m an advocate for preventing food waste whenever possible. So this fresh vinaigrette is a go-to whenever I have excess seasonal fruit on hand that’s on its last days of delicious ripeness. I hope you enjoy it like I do … often. And I hope that in some small way it helps make an extra dent in preventing waste. After all, every little bit makes a difference!

Calories saved: 30

Why it’s better for you? It’s 100% real and preservative free!

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beet “pesto” cauliflower pizza with greens

Posted by on May 4, 2015 in tasteovers by jackie | 0 comments

Beet “Pesto” Cauliflower Pizza with Greens

It was such as pleasure hosting two amazing food-loving dietetic interns this spring. One of them, Lucy Song, has a terrific palate for plant-based cuisine and an eye for photography. So as part of her internship experience, I asked her to create a recipe makeover for Meatless Monday. Here’s her story behind this recipe.

Lucy Song

I first discovered the delectable flavor combination of pear and cheese a few years ago in the form of a Quattro Formaggio Pear Pizza at a cute Italian restaurant in Old City, Philadelphia. That afternoon, I had dragged my patient boyfriend all over the neighborhood as I sought to satisfy my voracious craving for Italian food. We finally decided on this spot, and the pizza was incredible. In this recipe, I sought to create a lighter version of this pizza with a twist that satisfies both my love for pear and cheese, and also my love for vibrant colors and flavorful vegetables. The end result was a delicious cauliflower crust with a cool, refreshing beet “pesto” and a crisp pear and cheese salad to top. We hope you enjoy. Bon appétit! (Or perhaps I should say, buon appetito!) ~ Lucy Song

Calories saved: 240 (or more!)

Why it’s better for you? Vegetables are features of all three parts of this pizza—the crust, “sauce” and topping!

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vegan portabella crostini with tunisian carrot puree and greens

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

Vegan Portabella Crostini with Tunisian Carrot Puree and Greens_main

The “Recipe Redux” theme this month is spring cleaning. So after peeking into my fridge to see what I haven’t used in a while, one ingredient treasure I found was harissa. I adore it! But for some reason I forget I have it. So I put it to excellent use.

I was so lucky to host two amazing food-loving dietetic interns this spring. One of them, Rahma Rekik, was actually born in Tunisia where harissa is a popular condiment. So as part of her internship experience, I asked her to create a recipe inspired by her Tunisian roots. Here’s her story behind this recipe makeover.

Vegan Portabella Crostini with Tunisian Carrot Puree and Greens_with Rahma

Harissa, olive oil, and spices are just a fraction of the ingredients used in Tunisia, a small country in North Africa that many people often mistake for Tanzania. Growing up there, I developed a palate for these amazing, robust flavors. However, there was one dish — for some reason — I couldn’t wrap my tongue around. It was overly flavorful for my taste. Tunisians eat it with a baguette and a drizzle of olive oil. It’s called “Omek Houria” which means “the mother Houria” — most likely named after the recipe developer but no one really knows. It’s been a popular mashed carrot appetizer in Tunisian cuisine for decades. Although I was not fond of this dish, I wanted to be. First of all, it’s plant-based and healthy. Second, it’s very high in vitamin A. Third, all my family and friends liked it and I felt so different for not eating it. I had to find a way to incorporate it into my food dictionary but make it more interesting, hence, this recipe!

I absolutely love this very elegant appetizer! It has a perfect balance of flavor, color, and texture. The harissa and the coriander give it a nice kick. The mushrooms and baby greens add a bite to the dish. Everything falls together perfectly!

This dish is perfect as an appetizer if you’re hosting a party. And now you can tell everyone that you know how to cook a Tunisian dish! ~ Rahma Rekik

Calories saved: 190

Why it’s better for you? It’s loaded with plant-based goodness!

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portabella and swiss cheese sliders

Posted by on Apr 6, 2015 in tasteovers by jackie | 0 comments

portabella and swiss cheese sliders

Sliders have been popular for decades! The cheeseburger version can be made with pasteurized process cheese food, sometimes known as American singles. It’s unfortunate since this type of “cheese” is only required to contain 51% real cheese. Many fast-casual restaurants offer cheeseburger sliders on their menus today; however, they often come three per serving and typically include a mini white bun, beef patty, American singles, onions, and some sort of slider sauce. Of course, fries usually automatically arrive with your order to put your meal into calorie overdrive!

So here’s my updated and upgraded version of the slider, made with quickly caramelized red onion, fresh baby arugula, pan-seared portabella mushrooms, and Sargento® Sliced Cheese. The highlight is the Sargento® Deli Style Sliced Swiss Cheese because it’s 100% real, natural cheese.

These sliders are tasty as is. But if you like, pair them with your favorite condiment, such as Dijon mustard or an avocado-based mayonnaise.

Calories saved: varies—but potentially over 1000 calories saved as an entrée!

Why it’s better for you? You use natural cheese instead of process cheese food; whole grain instead of white bread; plus plenty of vegetable goodness.

Disclosure Note: I teamed up as a paid spokesperson with Sargento Foods to provide you this blog post. The recipe and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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peppery romano “fried” zucchini chips

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

Peppery Romano “Fried” Zucchini Chips

When served on an appetizer menu, zucchini chips sound like they may be healthier than some other options. Unfortunately, the zucchini acts like a mop and soaks up oodles of oil in the process of being fried. It’s usually served with a dip or sauce, too. So even though you do get some vegetable benefit, the greasy app can be associated with over a meal’s worth of calories.

In my version of zucchini chips, the focus stays on the zucchini. The coating includes a crispy combination of Romano cheese and whole-wheat Panko breadcrumbs. They get deliciously browned by baking (aka “oven-frying”); no deep frying is required. For extra pep, a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper is the key.

This month’s Recipe Redux challenge was to create a “two for one” recipe—meaning one recipe that you can serve in two ways. Consider it like cooking once, but eating twice. So check out below for how I like to dish up extra zucchini chips … when I have extra!

Calories saved: 502

Why it’s better for you? You’ll get your veggies with a just-right amount of healthful oil.

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mini chili and cheese bowls

Posted by on Mar 2, 2015 in tasteovers by jackie | 0 comments

mini chili and cheese bowls

Every year I create a new chili recipe. This year I decided to have extra fun with it and make a party-friendly chili. The recipe is served up in personal-sized sourdough bread bowls. And yes, you can and should eat the bowl!

The chili is a good-for-you bean lovers’ version along with my signature additions of cinnamon and fresh herbs. The bowls are topped with luscious cheese— Sargento® Deli Style Sliced Natural Sharp Cheddar Cheese, that is. To entertain in style, serve each of these cheese-laced “edible” chili bowls topped with Greek yogurt or sour cream. Don’t forget some jalapeño slices for a kick in the palate, too.

Calories saved: 85

Did you know? Pasteurized Process Cheese Food, sometimes known as American singles, is only required to contain 51% real cheese. Sargento slices are 100% real, natural cheese. I made this chili recipe with Sargento® Deli Style Sliced Natural Sharp Cheddar Cheese. Choose sharp Cheddar, like I did, or pick your favorite variety. (Hint: Sargento has 30 delicious sliced varieties.)

Disclosure Note: I teamed up as a paid spokesperson with Sargento Foods to provide you this blog post. The recipe and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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spicy dark chocolate “gelato” {recipe redux}

Posted by on Feb 22, 2015 in tasteovers by jackie | 10 comments

spicy dark chocolate gelato

What’s your favorite chocolate pairing? Maybe chocolate and strawberries? Or perhaps chocolate and peanut butter? There are so many pairings I adore, it’s difficult to choose. Chocolate and mint is definitely one of them. I’m a lover of chocolate with spice and “crave” chocolate with salt, too.

This month’s Recipe Redux theme was to highlight a chocolate match. Since I couldn’t decide on just one, I picked three: bananas, jalapeño, and sea salt! Yes, it’s a bit unique. But trust me when I say the combination in this inspired “gelato” truly tastes exotic. The banana is the base of this ice cream-like treat instead of rich milk or cream—making it extra calorie-friendly, yet still super creamy and comforting. You’ll grill the jalapeño for extra intrigue. Plus, this chocolaty recipe is surprisingly simple to make. Savor every single sweet, spicy, salty, and ever-so-slightly smoky taste of it!

(Hint: This “gelato” provides only 70 calories a serving. That means you actually can enjoy second helpings!)

Calories saved: 180

Why it’s better for you? It counts as a fruit serving!

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spinach & artichoke flatbread pizza {meatless monday}

Posted by on Feb 8, 2015 in tasteovers by jackie | 2 comments

spinach, artichoke, and swiss cheese flatbread pizza

Cheesy pizza is a food that I simply don’t think I could live without! Luckily, as long as it’s not loaded up with greasy pepperoni and sausage, it can be good for you. And if you top it with plenty of vegetables, it can be extra good for you. That’s what I’ve done here with a luscious-tasting spinach-artichoke topping that was inspired by spinach-artichoke dip! It’s served on flatbread, like whole grain pocketless pita, to keep it simple. Enjoy it as a personal pizza anytime. Or arrange slices on a platter for a party appetizer that’ll impress your guests.

Calories saved: 90 (or more!)

Why it’s better for you? It’s loaded with veggie and whole grain goodness!

Disclosure Note: One of my clients is Sargento® Foods. I did not receive compensation for this blog post. The recipe and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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