chicken, tomato + cabbage ditalini soup.

Yes, I’m bringing you another soup. What can I say, my blog is a true reflection of what I actually eat, and I’m eating soup. You would be eating it as well, with single digit temperatures and feet of snow on the ground! And you should, regardless of the weather outside! This is flavorful, filling, healthy, and satisfying, thanks to the addition of pasta in the soup.

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I very rarely use pasta noodles in my soups, but I was craving a ‘noodle soup’, and I’m a frequent visitor to reddit’s r/eatcheapandhealthy subreddit, and they had a thread some months back about favorite soup recipes. So many of them sounded delightful, but there was one in particular that caught my eye: a tomato and cabbage broth-based soup that used ground turkey and orzo, but I swapped in a diced chicken breast and ditalini pasta. Any small, short pasta will work in this, and feel free to use ground turkey or chicken in place of the cooked, diced chicken. You’ll be surprised at how far a single chicken breast and a half cup of dry pasta will go in this veggie-packed soup.

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Serve with a slice of toasted, seeded whole grain bread and enjoy this twist on chicken noodle soup. As a very January-esque bonus, a serving of this soup is under 200 calories! So go ahead, have some bread. 🙂

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chicken + vegetable ditalini soup.
inspired by and adapted from a reddit eatcheapandhealthy subreddit! 

ingredients
1 tablespoon oil
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups savoy or green cabbage, cored and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
28 ounce can stewed tomatoes
5 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup ditalini pasta, uncooked
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 dried bay leaf

directions
In a 1.5/2 quart pot, heat water to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and the chicken breast, and poach until the chicken breast is cooked through, about 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the breast. Once cooked, remove from heat and set aside.

In a large dutch oven or heavy soup pot, heat the tablespoon of oil and add the onion and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent browning. Add the cabbage, salt, basil and turmeric and stir, allowing the spices to become fragrant and coat the onions, garlic and cabbage. Cook for 2 minutes further until the cabbage begins to soften and the onions are translucent.

Add the stewed tomatoes (undrained), chicken stock, bay leaf and chicken and bring to a boil. Add the ditalini pasta and reduce to a simmer (medium/medium-low), stirring frequently to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot and cook for 15 minutes until the pasta is cooked through. Remove the bay leaf and add the pepper. Stir, taste to add more salt if desired.

Serve immediately or allow to continue to cook on very low until ready to serve. Freezes well.

Serves 6.

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Indian mulligatawny lentil soup.

Hello from crazy, unpredictable upstate NY! Our weather here has been all over the place, with the past two days reaching in the high 50s, with a forecasted low tomorrow of -1! Never fear, however, because I have just the recipe to fill you up, keep you warm, keep you energized for all that shoveling (boo) with this vegan, gluten free soup! That’s right – SOUP season is back with a vengeance. Hooray!

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Today it’s Indian mulligatawny soup, which I made recently during the cold snap that hit much of the U.S, with temperatures in the negative 20s and 30s with the wind chill. Mulligatawny is a British soup with Indian origins, and literally means ‘pepper water’. This soup is very spicy, but you can scale the pepper down to your taste preferences. We get some of the spiciness from all the warming spices, as well as the fresh ginger. The coconut milk added at the end cools it down some and adds a nice creaminess to the finished soup. This freezes beautifully, so make a double batch for an easy dinner when winter seems never-ending. 🙂

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Indian mulligatawny soup.
inspired by the wanderlust kitchen.

ingredients
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 small jalapeño, seeded and diced (can sub 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced, (scale back to 1 tablespoon if you prefer less heat)
1 medium firm apple, peeled and diced
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons mild curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2-1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup red lentils
3 cups vegetable stock
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk (canned)
cilantro, to garnish
slivered raw almonds, to garnish

directions
Heat a large, heavy soup pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the oil. Once shimmering, add the onion and carrot and cook for 3-4 minutes. Once onions and carrots are slightly softened, add the garlic, pepper, ginger and apple and cook, 2-3 minutes longer, until all the vegetables are tender, reducing heat to medium if needed (you want the vegetables/fruit to sweat [cooking with no color]). Add the tomatoes, curry powder, cumin, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, black pepper, cayenne pepper and stir to combine. Add the 3 cups of vegetable stock and lentils and stir to combine again.

Increase heat to a rapid simmer and then reduce to medium-low and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and the soup has thickened.

Using an immersion blender (or a stand blender), puree about 50-75% of the soup (I pureed about 75%, but next time I would go a little less, I like a chunkier texture). Taste, and add the sea salt and pepper. With the heat on very low, add the coconut milk and stir to combine and let rest for 5-10 minutes for flavors to meld.

Serve, topping with chopped cilantro and silvered almonds. Serves 4 as a main course, 6 as a starter course.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

hoisin chicken stir fry with sweet potatoes + cabbage.

During these busy days of December, I rely on recipes that are super quick to whip up so I can save myself from an unhealthy meal on-the-go while running seemingly endless errands for the upcoming holidays. This hoisin-spiced stir fry definitely fits the bill of fast, simple, healthy, and oh-so-delicious!

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I normally dislike when hoisin sauce (essentially a Chinese barbecue sauce) is a major ingredient: I find that on its own, the flavor is overpowering for me. However, mixed with the sesame oil, ginger, garlic, a pinch of red pepper flake and the vegetables: the finished dish was aromatic, complex and balanced.

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The longest part of this dish is the cooking of the sweet potatoes: covering the skillet partially and slicing them relatively thin is essential to keeping the cook time under 12 minutes. Adding a splash of water helps prevent the potatoes from sticking to the pan and avoiding too much browning. Once that’s done, the rest of the cooking comes together in no time flat.

I think you’ll love this creative take on a stir-fry as much as I did! It’s wonderful for using up leftover produce – as a bonus, cabbage, celery and sweet potatoes last forever in the fridge and pantry, so this is easy to whip up any time!

hoisin spiced chicken stir-fry with sweet potatoes.

ingredients
2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
1 large sweet potato, peeled, cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick rounds, then cut into 1/3-inch-wide strips
1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped into half moons
8 ounces skinless boneless chicken, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
2 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3-4 cups green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (about 1/4 medium head)
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
pinch of crushed red pepper, optional

directions
Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sweet potatoes and onion; stir-fry until yams are just tender, adjusting heat if browning too quickly and adding water by tablespoonfuls if mixture is dry, about 12 minutes. Remove vegetable mixture from the pan, set aside on a plate.

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Add chicken, ginger, and garlic; stir-fry 3-4 minutes. Add cabbage; stirfry until chicken is cooked through and cabbage is wilted but still slightly crunchy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in hoisin sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in 1/2 cup cilantro.

Transfer stir-fry to serving bowl; sprinkle with remaining cilantro.

Serves 4. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

curried chickpeas with spinach.

Hi! How was your Thanksgiving holiday? I hope it was filled with friends, family, and absolutely delectable food and drinks. 🙂  I was in D.C. visiting beloved friends, and it was absolutely splendid! Below are just a sampling of the spectacular day.

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But alas, we’re back to real life! To rectify the absolutely incredibly yet gluttonous eating, I’m starting the week off with this curried chickpea + spinach dish! It’s crazy simple, vegan, gluten free, and comes together in less than 20 minutes!

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Every once in a while, I challenge myself to cleaning out the fridge and pantry down to the bare bones (aside from longterm staples like spices, vinegars, etc.). It helps keep my budget in check, too. I had purchased a huge container of spinach and when I realized I was in danger of letting it go bad before I got to it, I made this dish. Bonus — I had all the ingredients on hand already, and this is super freezer-friendly. Hooray!

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This dish is only chickpeas, tomato sauce, spinach, ginger, garlic, onion and a few spices. That’s it! Serve over rice like I did, or with some naan. This is incredibly filling, and versatile! Add in any other cooked veggie that you’d like (cauliflower would be oh so delicious, as would potato, a la chana aloo, frozen peas, you name it!).

If you make this ahead to freeze, I would freeze just the chickpeas and spinach and then cook up some rice the night you want to serve it. I don’t love the texture of frozen rice, but if you don’t mind it, go right ahead! This is perfect for winter evenings when you want something fast, filling, healthy, and warming.

curried chickpeas + spinach.
barely adapted from Budget Bytes.

ingredients
1 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
8 ounce can tomato sauce
8 ounces baby spinach
cooked rice, for serving

directions
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the onion is translucent and garlic and ginger are fragrant. Add the curry powder and smoked paprika and cook for another minute, allowing the spices to bloom.

Add the chickpeas and tomato sauce and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until well combined and fragrant. Add the spinach in 2-3 batches, and stir for 1-2 minutes, until the spinach wilts slightly. Season with the sea salt and pepper and serve with rice.

Serves 3-4. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

roasted butternut squash + sweet potato soup with sage butter.

The sage love continues! I know fall means everyone goes crazy over pumpkins, apple, cider, and I love all those things too, but the thing I really love is sage. The woody, musky flavor it imparts on dishes… heavenly. Sage butter is where it’s at, everyone!

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This soup is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters: the sweet potato and squash impart not only a natural sweetness, but a velvety smooth texture without any cream! The addition of cayenne pepper offsets the sweetness so that the finished soup is rich and balanced, but not cloying.

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I garnish this with raw pumpkin seeds for some texture, but this is also wonderful with some toasted baguette or pita. I am SO glad soup season is back in full swing! This would also be a lovely second course for your holiday table!

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roasted butternut squash + sweet potato soup with sage butter.
adapted from epicurious. 

ingredients
1 tablespoon grassfed butter or coconut oil
1.5 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, diced (about 1 medium onion)
3-4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
4 tablespoons sage leaves, chopped
4-5 cups vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
pumpkin seeds for garnish, optional

directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray, add the butternut squash and sweet potatoes and sprinkle generously with the teaspoon of sea salt. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and light golden. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat and put the sage in and let it cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the sage leaves being to get dark and crinkly. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened and translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add the nutmeg, cayenne pepper, black pepper and cook for 30-45 seconds, stirring well to combine.

Add the roasted squash and sweet potatoes and broth. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce to a light simmer, and partially cover. Let cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Let cool for five minutes and either transfer to a blender, or use an immersion blender to blend the soup smooth. Taste and season with additional salt and/or pepper.

Divide amongst 4 bowls and top with toasted pumpkin seeds if desired. This soup freezers great, too!

Serves 4. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

 

ginger spiced apple-pear sauce.

I feel like applesauce is so underrated. It is not just for school lunch boxes. So, I’ve made you some! But not just any applesauce, a thick sauce full of not just apple chunks, but pears, spiced with fresh ginger, cinnamon, and lemon, too!

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This easy stovetop applesauce comes together in less than 30 minutes: just peel, core and chop the fruit, mince the ginger, and combine everything in a pan over medium low heat for 15-20 minutes or until the fruit is tender. Once you stir everything together, the fruit will break down. For a smoother sauce, use a potato masher to thoroughly breakdown the fruit. I like to leave it chunky for some texture. I know the ginger probably seems like an odd addition, but trust me! It adds a slight spiciness that plays so well amongst the fruit and cinnamon.

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The sauce will thicken as it cools, the photos were taken right after I took it off the stove, so you’ll see pockets of liquid: these will be gone once the sauce is cooled. Store in an airtight jar, and it will keep well in refrigerator for 7-10 days. Look for my favorite way to serve this next week!

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ginger spiced apple pear sauce.
adapted from Food Network. 

ingredients
3 Macoun, Fuji, or Gala apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 pears (Bosc, or other firm pear), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon unrefined sugar (I like coconut palm sugar)
1/4 cup water

directions
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the peeled and cut apples, pears, minced ginger, lemon juice, zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Stir together to get the spices evenly distributed, and then add the water.

Heat to a boil, stir, and then partially cover and reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the sauce comes together and the fruit begins to break down, turn the heat off.

Once cool enough to handle, transfer to an airtight container like a Mason jar, and refrigerate once completely cool. Keeps for 7-10 days.

Makes 3 cups.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

dijon tilapia fish cakes with baby arugula.

Today we’re having fish cakes! Tilapia cakes, to be exact. Why should crab cakes have all the fun??

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This recipe is lovely because it can do triple duty: a fresh first course? An elegant yet simple lunch? A light dinner? Check, check, and CHECK.

The key to successful fish cakes is to chill the cakes for thirty minutes minimum after shaping the patties. You may find that the patties are a little wet when you form them, but you’ll be amazed once you’ve let them hang out in the fridge. They really set up nicely, and will not fall apart during the cooking process; which I think is the biggest issue people (myself included, countless times) have when they try to make any type of fritter or cake. Letting them chill for 30-60 minutes is absolutely essential to the success of this recipe. When cooking them, you can press down gently with your spatula to ensure an even browning; I did not do this on my first two cakes, as I was curious about them holding their shape but once they did, I lightly flattened the subsequent patties, as it makes for a prettier presentation.

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See how the bottom cake is unevenly browned? That was my test cake. 🙂

I used 2% greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise, and whole wheat panko instead of white. Both of these swaps up the nutrition and lower the calorie count, so you can feel even better knowing how healthy these are.

I served these with baby arugula tossed with a quick french vinaigrette (recipe below) and a squeeze of lemon: easy and elegant!

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dijon tilapia cakes with arugula. 

ingredients
1.25 pounds tilapia filets
1/4 cup olive oil plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 eggs
3 tablespoons chives, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 cup whole wheat panko
6 ounces baby arugula
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I tend to use 4, but go up depending on how acidic you like your dressings)

directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with nonstick spray, place each tilapia filet on the sheet and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each sea salt and pepper and drizzle with the teaspoon of olive oil. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through (opaque all the way through). Let cool and using a fork, break into medium flakes. 

In a mixing bowl, add the yogurt, dijon mustard and eggs and whisk to beat the eggs and combine the mixture. Add the sliced chives and stir to incorporate. Add the flaked fish, panko, remaining salt and pepper and lemon zest and fold in to incorporate.

With a cutting board near you, form the mixture into eight cakes (about 1/4 cup each). Do not overwork; the mixture will feel wet. Place the cakes on the cutting board and place in the refrigerator. Let chill for at least 30 minutes, preferably 1 hour.

Heat a cast iron skillet or other heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and add half of the cakes (this will depend on the size of your skillet; I was able to cook 4 at a time in 2 batches). Cook for 3-5 minutes per side, pressing gently to slightly flatten. When the cake is ready to flip, it will easily move. Once golden brown on each side, remove to a plate and continue with the next batch, adding the remaining oil.

While the cakes are cooking, make the salad dressing. In a jar or small bowl, whisk the dijon mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper and oil. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. Toss with the arugula.

Divide the arugula amongst four plates and top each with two cakes. Serve immediately. Serves 4 as a main, 8 as an appetizer.

*Please use all organic ingredients wherever possible* 

carrot ginger soup.

I cannot believe that I have been blogging for over two years (!), and have yet to share this recipe with you. It is one of my most favorite soups ever. EVER.

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This soup turned me into a carrot soup lover. I never ate it growing up, but once I had it several years ago, I was sold. I crave it now, and it couldn’t be simpler to put together. The ginger provides such a sweet and spicy flavor and aroma, and it pairs perfectly with the carrots. Carrots and ginger are a classic flavor pairing; just think of the carrot ginger salad dressing that is served at most Japanese restaurants! Think of that dressing turned into a soup. The additional of lemon juice and zest add brightness, and the tomato lends some additional acidity to the soup. With just vegetable stock, salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne, the finished soup is delicate, and allows for the carrots and ginger to really shine. This soup is easily made vegan/dairy free by substituting the butter with a vegan spread or coconut oil.

Serve with a swirl of sour cream if you desire, but I prefer it simple, with a hunk of crusty bread on the side. I promise you, this will be your new favorite!

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carrot ginger soup.
adapted from epicurious. 

ingredients
2 tablespoons grassfed butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1.5 teaspoons fresh garlic
1.25 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped (about three cups)
2 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 1.25 cups)
1.5 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
3 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
pinch of cayenne (optional)
1/2 teaspoon each sea salt and black pepper (more or less to your preference)

1 carrot, grated, to garnish
sour cream, to garnish

directions
Melt butter and oil in large, deep pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, and sauté 2 minutes.

Add chopped carrots, tomatoes, lemon zest, cayenne (if using) and sauté for 1 minute. Add 3 cups stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Puree soup in batches in blender. Return soup to pot. Mix in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring soup to simmer, thinning with more stock, if desired. Ladle into bowls. Top each with sour cream and grated carrot if desired.

Serves 4 (one cup servings). *Please use all organic ingredients wherever possible* 

sautéed butternut squash + spinach pasta.

I purchased a butternut squash about a week ago and it is the gift that keeps on giving!

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First I used it for butternut squash congee. Then I used some of the grated leftovers for butternut squash polenta when I had friends over for dinner. And I still had some leftover! Not one to let food to go waste, I knew I had to find a way to use up the last cup or so. It was already grated, so the classic roasting was out. I wanted something healthy yet comforting, so vegetable-heavy pasta it is!

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I sautéed the squash in a little mixture of butter and olive oil, seasoned with garlic, crushed red pepper and nutmeg. Stir in the baby spinach until slightly wilted, and then toss with the hot cooked pasta. I do recommend whole wheat here; the nuttiness of it is an ideal accompaniment to the squash and spinach. You can top with grated parmesan if desired, but I left it sweet and simple (and dairy free!).

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butternut squash + spinach pasta. 

ingredients
4-5 ounces whole wheat spaghetti, linguine, or long pasta
sea salt for pasta water
2 tablespoons grassfed butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1.5 cups shredded butternut squash
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2-3 handfuls baby spinach
1/3 cup pasta water

directions
Heat a pot of water to boiling with a big pinch of sea salt, and add the pasta, cooking according to package directions for al dente.

Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat and add the olive oil and one tablespoon of butter. Once the butter is melted and the fats are lightly sizzling, add the garlic cloves and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly golden but not burnt. Add the butternut squash, nutmeg, cayenne, sea salt and pepper and saute, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes, or until the squash is lightly golden and tender and add the baby spinach. Add the cooked and drained pasta to the pan with the squash/spinach mixture, and the 1/3 cup of reserved pasta water. Toss well for 1 minute, or until the spinach is just beginning to wilt.

Season with additional salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Serves 2. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

butternut squash congee with fried ginger.

This is congee dressed up in its autumnal finest. We’ve had our fair share of Indian summer weather here in NY, with temperatures in the high 80s for the majority of the past week. Luckily, the weekend has brought relief, by way of temperatures in the low 60s with a gentle breeze. PERFECT for this incredibly simple yet warming congee turned soup.

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Have you had congee? It is essentially a rice porridge that is commonplace in East and Southeast Asian cuisine. On it’s own, it is typically served as a side dish, dressed up with vegetables, meat or seafood, and it’s transformed into a main dish entree. This is very simple to make, and you’ll be amazed at how the simple ingredients transform into a finished dish that is nuanced, fragrant and complex. The shredded squash will melt into the dish during the long, slow simmer. Finished with some brightness and freshness with the basil, cilantro and fried ginger and served with crusty bread on the side, this dish is perfect when you want cozy, comfort food that you can feel so good about.

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The pulsed rice will help release some of the starches and it will thicken the congee; the consistency is very similar to oatmeal once it’s finished.

butternut squash + ginger congee.
from cooking light magazine.

ingredients
12 ounces (weight) butternut squash, peeled and grated
1/3 cup long grain white rice
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1.5 teaspoons fish sauce
1 inch piece fresh ginger, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

directions
Add the rice to a small bowl and cover with water. Let stand for ten minutes and then drain. Add the rice to a food processor and pulse until the rice is in small granules.

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add the rice and the grated butternut squash and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the fish sauce, sea salt, stock and water. Increase heat to high until the mixture starts to boil. Stir, reduce heat to low and partially cover. Let the mixture simmer for 75-90 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and creamy.

When the mixture is almost done, heat a small skillet over medium high heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Once hot, add the ginger slices and fry for 3-4 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Remove and drain on a paper towel lined plate.

Turn the heat off and add the sugar and pepper to the congee. Split the congee amongst four bowls, and top with fried ginger, basil and cilantro. Serve with crusty bread if desired.

Makes four 1 cup servings. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible*