tasteovers by jackie

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vegan dark chocolate-pumpkin bread

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

Vegan Dark Chocolate-Pumpkin Bread

From Thanksgiving through Christmas, you can usually find me baking up some goodies or watching romantic holiday movies—or both! Luckily, the Recipe Redux theme this month is “Creative Quick Breads”; so it’s the perfect excuse for me to create a new fresh-from-the-oven treat. This inspired recipe is like a glammed up pumpkin bread. It’s heavy on chocolate, but not on calories. It has a just-right amount of sweetness. As a bonus, it’s vegan. Enjoy … one slice at a time, of course!

Calories saved: 260

Why it’s better for you? Less added sugar and salt. No “white” flour.

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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blanco huevos rancheros

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

Blanco Huevos Rancheros

My newest cookbook, The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook, 2nd edition, is here … perfect timing for American Diabetes Month! Each recipe in the book is ideal to be enjoyed by people with diabetes, prediabetes, heart health issues, or simply looking to improve their diet. Click here for more about it. I can’t wait for you to take a taste!

Enjoy this “sneak peek” recipe to get your day started right: Blanco Huevos Rancheros. This version is an egg whites-only dish since yolks are not always included in certain diets for people with diabetes. Plus, using all egg whites here helps me to keep this recipe calorie-friendly while including other tasty, nutritious, yet rich ingredients, such as avocado and cheese. It’s a Mexican-inspired recipe keeper for breakfast or brunch—or beyond!

Calories saved: 910

Why it’s better for you? It’s nutrient rich, not calorie rich!

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pistachio and garnet sweet potato risotto

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

pistachio and garnet sweet potato risotto

Food Day is October 24! The focus for this year’s Food Day is Toward a Greener Diet. So celebrate real food and say “cheers” to eating less meat and enjoying more whole plant-based foods; it’s better for you, the animals, and our environment.

Here’s a tip: If you’re not already doing so, pick at least three specific days each week to go meatless, beginning on Meatless Monday. Mark it on your e-calendar so you don’t forget! Already doing that? Keep going, one day at a time, until most or all of your meals are meat free. Small changes toward a greener diet absolutely do add up. This recipe is just one small step to help you do just that.

But that’s not all! National Nut Day is on October 22! Though you don’t need a holiday to enjoy nuts, it gives you a really good reason to get extra nutty. And since this month’s Recipe Redux theme is “A Nutty Nut Day,” it’s a perfect time to share with you my nut lovers’ risotto recipe.

This is not traditional risotto; it doesn’t involve classic risotto-making technique. I use a simplified cooking technique to make it less intimidating to fix … but the result is plenty risotto-like. An ideal “al dente” texture is created by using short grain brown rice. What’s also notable here is that pistachios act as part of the rice for extra nuttiness and texture intrigue. For still more nut goodness, this recipe uses peanut oil, cashew cheese, and additional pistachios for garnish.

Beyond nuts, this inviting vegan entrée has savory earthiness from mushrooms. Pick a unique variety from your local farmers’ market or try a mixture of sliced shiitake caps, baby bellas, and oyster mushrooms. Soft cashew cheese keeps this twist on risotto vegan while providing creaminess and slight tanginess. If you can’t find cashew cheese or don’t need the recipe to be vegan, you can use goat cheese in its place. Red Garnet sweet potato adds pops of color and a slightly sweet contrast to the nuts. Fresh basil provides a lovely herbal finish.

Try it soon … for National Nut Day, Food Day, Meatless Monday, and any day you wanna be a little greener or nuttier–or both. Or prepare it any day you just want a delicious dish!

Calories saved: 120

Why it’s better for you? It’s nutrient dense, not calorie dense. Plus, it’s meatless.

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

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roasted butternut squash skewers

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

roasted butternut squash skewers

You simply can’t go wrong by serving roasted butternut squash as a seasonal side dish. But adding extra herbs and spice and serving it as a fun hors d’oeuvres on skewers is way more intriguing. So voila, here’s the recipe! These seasonal vegetable kebabs are crazy good! And when you’re able to give each and every butternut squash cube the individual attention it deserves, you’ll be more satisfied.

This recipe can be easily doubled for a party buffet. The skewers are perfect to help you ‘Sideline Meat’ on Meatless Monday nights. Pair them with almond nog for a holiday celebration!

Calories saved: 107

Why it’s better for you? The just-right portion size is a fun way to boost party-time veggie intake.

Disclosure Note: I am an official Meatless Monday blogger! I did not receive compensation for this blog post. The recipe and opinions expressed here are my own.

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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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