I only recently acquired a taste for pesto. (Honestly, I think I was weirded out by it because it’s so unapologetically green.) Anyway, now that I’ve discovered the magic of pesto, I’m sort of obsessed with it.
I wanted to make pesto at home, but the cost of fresh basil and pine nuts gave me serious pause at the grocery store. Maybe it’s just my area, but basil seemed to be especially expensive, and pine nuts are always sold at a premium. I decided I would do the real-world thing: use what I have on hand. This spinach-almond pesto is the result.
I keep squeezable tubes of fresh herbs in the fridge, so I used that to incorporate a small amount of fresh basil into the recipe. The bulk of the work is done by the spinach though — a 75-cent block of the frozen stuff did the trick for me. Almonds are my favorite nut and I always have several bags in my pantry, but you could use any nut you like. Walnuts and pistachios would work especially well.
Pesto is always a simple way to make something boring seem extra special, and this version is no different. Spoon it on top of grilled tilapia or chicken, add it to a shrimp sauté, or just mix it in with your favorite pasta. It’s simple, nutritious, and costs next to nothing per serving.
Here’s how to put this tasty spinach-almond pesto together. Read more… →
I’ve really been doing my best lately to cook with what I have on hand. I have a bad habit of getting carried away at the grocery store every week — it’s a natural result of my nonstop quest for new recipes and dishes. This week though, I think I’m doing well. I poked around my kitchen and made these black bean and cheese quesadillas. They’re just the thing for a Meatless Monday when you’re feeling lazy. The ingredient list is short and sweet, filled with things you probably have in your pantry already: black beans, cheese, and tortillas. That’s pretty much it.
A lot of people prefer to make quesadillas with flour tortillas, but I always use corn tortillas whenever I’m cooking Mexican-inspired dishes. Corn tortillas are usually the better choice. They’re much lower in calories, fat, and sodium than flour tortillas (although I should note that flour tortillas are higher in fiber and protein). Low-sodium canned black beans make life easy — no need to soak them overnight, and no need to worry about consuming a ton of salt. I used fat-free cream cheese to bind everything together, but as always, you should feel free to substitute with whatever cheese you like. Use what you have!
These black bean and cheese quesadillas are great for lunch on the go. You can prepare the bean filling in advance, and warm the tortillas in the office microwave for a satisfying mid-day meal. At home, they cook up on the stove in a matter of minutes — ideal for those nights when you don’t have the time or energy to make anything fussy. Serve it with salsa and a green salad to round out your dinner.
Quick, easy, and guilt-free. That’s what it’s all about. Read more… →
Golden, crispy, and cheesy. I don’t think you can go wrong when you make potatoes this way.
I was inspired to make these potato pancakes after having some fantastic rosemary pommes frites at a restaurant in town. I made a mental note to steal the idea ASAP. The simple step of adding a touch of rosemary elevates an otherwise humble food and makes it so much more. The rosemary and the asiago combine to create an absolutely mouthwatering aroma. Plus, the asiago helps bind the pancakes together and adds that little bit of saltiness that makes any good french fry so tasty. (But really, who needs an excuse to add cheese to potatoes?)
These potato pancakes are baked, not fried. At just 40 calories each, you can enjoy a few without wrecking your resolutions. Serve them as appetizers as a party, as a side with steak or roasted chicken, or just as a late night snack. They’re great à la carte, but they’re great with some low-sugar ketchup too.
Here’s how to put these simple rosemary-asiago potato pancakes together. Read more… →
My mom makes a ton of food that I love, but sinigang might just be my absolute favorite. It’s probably because sinigang is the most starkly Filipino food I can think of. The food of the Philippines, like much of Filipino culture, is a blend of Asian and Spanish influences. Sinigang, however, is Pinoy through and through. I can never get enough of it.
I literally leapt out of my chair with excitement when one of the contestants on Top Chef made sinigang on last week’s episode. One of the judges described the flavor of the dish this way: “It really makes you sit up straight. In a good way!” Perfect description. Sinigang is quite simple in its essentials — pork, shrimp, and vegetables are boiled together in a clear broth. It’s the flavor that really sets it apart.
Sinigang is sour. (And if I’m making it, it’s VERY sour.) It tastes bright and clean, with the mildly fishy taste of the shrimp adding a little something extra to the broth. Pork ribs and taro make the soup extra filling, while all the greens add beautiful color and tons of nutrients to an already healthy dish.
This is a very basic recipe for sinigang that calls for just a few ingredients. Make it your own by adding whatever vegetables you like. I didn’t use them here, but tomatoes, green beans, and daikon are all common additions. You’ll also want a fresh, hearty green for your sinigang. I used turnip greens, but bok choy, mustard greens, or even Chinese broccoli would all work well.
Read on to learn how to make this bold Filipino dish!
Read more… →
Healthy pasta dishes can be hard to come by. I almost never order pasta when I’m eating out. Restaurant pasta is usually loaded with tons of cheese, salt, and oil. It’s also often way more food than anyone needs for one meal. (I’m looking at you, Cheesecake Factory.) Naturally, it’s delicious. Is it good for you? Not so much.
It’s a shame — it really doesn’t have to be this way. You really can enjoy pasta guilt-free, as long as you keep a few things in mind. (1) Keep a high vegetable-to-pasta ratio, (2) measure and minimize your fats, and (3) always eat a sensible portion. This Latin-style pasta is a perfect example of this philosophy in action.
This pasta is full of big, bold Latin flavors. Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and cumin bring heat and spice to the tomato-based sauce, while a touch cilantro adds a little brightness. Not a fan of cilantro? Just use fresh basil instead. A hearty 1 1/2 cup serving clocks in at 251 calories and just 223 mg sodium — much better stats than the standard restaurant options.
Here’s how to put this filling, flavorful Latin-style pasta together. Read more… →