I started following weight watchers again about 2 weeks ago. I did it once before and lost about 20 pounds. Unfortunately, I’ve put all that weight back on in the last few years. I probably couldn’t have picked a worse time to start trying to lose weight. I mean Thanksgiving is two days away and there are often pre Thanksgiving events, like Friendsgiving, that are just as calorie heavy as turkey day itself. But there is always an excuse to NOT lose weight. In the summer there are barbecues and cookouts. In the winter, when it’s cold, it’s easy to load up on carbs and comfort foods like mac and cheese. Each season brings with it a number of holidays where food is involved. You have to learn how to navigate those holidays with moderation, balance, and eating well beforehand. This is one of the reasons why I love the Weight Watcher’s program so much. It’s not a “diet” in the traditional sense. It’s more of a lifestyle change. (more…)
This year I’ve really been enjoying the flavors of fall. Typically I find fall a little depressing probably because I love summer so much but this year I’ve actually enjoyed it. Not the cold weather, but definitely the food. Trader Joe’s pumpkin ice cream may have something to do with that. Seriously though I’ve recently realized just how delicious all the seasonal fall flavors can be, like the different kinds of squash that emerge, including my new favorite, delicata squash.
This dish is hearty, comforting and is definitely perfect for fall because of the butternut squash. The squash becomes the sauce in this recipe and is tossed with pasta shells and lots of sharp cheddar cheese. Then it’s topped with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs and baked off in the oven. Quintessential comfort food. There are lots of variations on butternut squash mac and cheese but this is the way I make it. (more…)
In my family we like to try out new dishes and we often create unique twists on traditional recipes for Holiday meals. However, we are also suckers for the classics and one classic we ALWAYS, always have at the dinner table every Holiday, no matter what, is my grandmother’s green bean casserole (pictured on the right in between the mac and cheese and brussels sprout salad). However, there are no crunchy onions in this version. It’s also by no means healthy and it’s old fashioned because, yes, it does call for one of those Campbell’s cream of whatever soups (no judgement please), but if you can get past that I promise you this casserole is delicious and is always the first thing to go at any of our Holiday parties. I live by the motto, “everything in moderation” and so I treat myself to this delicious casserole on Holidays. (more…)
I know I’ve been posting a lot of pasta recipes lately but here comes another one and this one doesn’t have anything to do with fall. In fact most of the flavors incorporate traditional springtime ingredients. But, I make no apologies! It’s delicious and quick and wonderful. It’s also a Matt approved meat-free meal.
Between the asparagus, peas and lemon this pasta is full of freshness and bright flavors. The weather has been a bit dreary here in New Jersey and this pasta was the perfect pick-me-up I needed. I happened to have 1/2 lb of penne to use up so this recipe makes a bit less than my usual pasta recipes do. I’m also trying to work on portion control especially when it comes to carbs. I’m always tempted to pile on the pasta and help myself to seconds (and thirds). Cooking less ensures that I will eat less. If you want to use a full pound of pasta, just double the recipe. (more…)
I don’t care what anyone says about Olive Garden. Their Zuppa Toscana soup is one of my favorite soups around. That and their breadsticks. So good! There are so many different versions of Zuppa Toscana out there and I’m sure they are all good but I decided to create my own based on the Olive Garden version I love so much. I have no idea what they put in theirs but I think my version comes pretty darn close and it’s incredibly simple. It’s also a one pot meal which makes cleanup a breeze. (more…)
Last night was the first night that really felt like winter to me. I was craving something comforting for dinner and pasta is the quintessential comfort food for me. This recipe combines many comforting flavors, especially for the fall and winter seasons. Butternut squash, Tuscan kale, and spicy sausage make up the backbone of this dish and the flavors go perfectly together.
What I love most about this dish is that the butternut squash actually becomes the sauce for the pasta. It’s pureed with chicken stock, mixed with some half and half and parmesan cheese and simmered until it becomes thick and creamy. I saw this idea on one of Rachael Ray’s shows and thought it was genious. I love butternut squash but I’ve never thought to turn it into a sauce for pasta. I bet you could also use canned pumpkin puree as a substitute if you didn’t have butternut squash on hand. This recipe has many different components and does require a number of steps and ingredients but it is really quite simple to follow and it’s so worth it! I’ve broken down the ingredients and recipe into two parts – making the squash sauce, and assembling the rest of the dish (the pasta, kale & sausage). (more…)