tasteovers by jackie

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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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zero-waste fresh seasonal fruit vinaigrette

Posted by on May 22, 2015 in tasteovers by jackie | 6 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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