Dec 312011
Sorry I’ve been so MIA this week. I’ve been enjoying a long, belated Christmukkah/New Years weekend with my family in Chicago (and many of you know how I can go off the grid when in Lubin lockdown). I have a few recipes from our holiday dinner that I can’t wait to share (an amazing broccoli and a chicken marsala) but of course I left my camera cord back in nyc. But, I wanted to share at least one more recipe before 2011 has said see ya. So while we’re all thinking about our resolutions, one of yours might to be cut back on animal proteins. If so, here’s a crispy asian tofu I made a few weeks back in my food science class.
This method can work with essentially any marinade an flavor profile you want for your tofu. Step 1: drain the liquid out of the tofu. Step 2: create a kick butt (or should I say tush) marinade with lots of flavor for the tofu to soak up. Step 3: Thinly slice tofu and let soak in the marinade for at least 30 minutes. Step 4: Cook under the broiler (not too close so it doesn’t burn) for about 10 minutes or until brown and crispy, flipping the pieces half way through. This version would be perfect thrown in an asian salad or served with some brown rice.
A rough recipe for my favorite asian marinade: 
  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • top with toasted sesame seeds and scallions

Hope everyone has a happy and healthy new year! And don’t worry, I’m going to get off my tush and give you plenty of New Years resolution recipes in the upcoming weeks!

Dec 212011

It doesn’t necessarily feel like it’s time for Christmas/Hannukah yet. I just finished my finals, it’s 55 degrees with no snow in sight, and the only sign of Christmas in my apartment is the worlds tiniest fake christmas tree in the windowsill (but I must add that it sits there all year round). But, shopping for gifts has gotten me in the christmas spirit, so when I got home from my last exam today, I decided to whip up something easy and festive.

I’m not going to say these are “healthy” per-say…but you can do a lot worse when it comes to holiday treats. These also happened to be one of the easiest things EVER to make. No baking, only 3 ingredients. I just melted some dark chocolate (hey that’s healthy, right?), and decorated with pomegranate seeds (antioxidants, yay!) and green frosting to make little wreaths and holly. I also added pretzel antlers to some and made little reindeer.  That evil looking one in the middle below is definitely the one that was mean to poor rudolph…

And if you want another awesome simple idea, check out my santa hat brownies from last year :)

Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Holly, Wreaths, and Reindeer
(aka, the easiest recipe ever)

  • 1/2 lb dark chocolate (bars or chips are fine)
  • seeds from 1 pomegranate
  • store bought green icing
  • (and broken pretzels if you want to make reindeer)
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave (but be careful it doesn’t burn this way).  Meanwhile, pop the seeds out of your pomegranate and set aside.  Put parchment paper on a baking sheet and get ready to make your shapes.  For wreaths, use a spoon to drop a circle of melted chocolate.  Then place pomegranate seeds around the edge with space left between.  For the holly, put 3 seeds together in the center.  For reindeer, make  triangle shaped chocolate and press in two broken pretzels for the antlers.  I put a little more chocolate over the tip of the antler so it would stay attached.  Place a pomegranate nose on and whatever you can find for eyes (I used slivered almonds which is why mine look so evil).  You could also try other shapes like snowflakes or snowmen covered in coconut or anything else you can think of! 
Dec 162011

I like to consider myself pretty well-versed in the kitchen. I’ve worked with a lot of different ingredients and cook using plenty of different methods. But, I have to confess, that until last week, I had NEVER used yeast. Something about it scared me, and I thought making bread was a mystical cooking technique that I could never achieve. No more! My class forced me to get over it and make some awesome breads!

Each group made different type of roll and flatbread.  That means for dinner that night I consumed: challah, white rolls, wheat rolls, honey wheat pretzels, multigrain bread sticks, and 5 varieties of flat bread.  I never knew there’d be so much carbo loading in nutrition school.  My group made the honey wheat pretzels…which were adorable and delicious.  We made a spicy honey mustard dipping sauce to go with.  My other favorite from the night was the multigrain bread, which they served with an apricot and cinnamon butter (mmmm).   

Nutritional highlights:  Basically, the moral of this story is that bread making is not scary once you try it.  Plus, you can see what exactly is going into your bread.  You know that they’re aren’t any crazy preservatives taht you might find in store bought breads and you can make substitutions like using whole wheat flour.  It’s definitely a process to make it, but something thats fun to try at least once!

I’m going to give just the multigrain roll recipe since it was the tastiest and healthiest, but explore the different bread recipes out there and don’t be afraid!

Multi Grain Rolls


  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 package rapid rise yeast
  • 1-1/2 cups low fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (you can get this by grinding oats in a food processor as well)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed
  • 1 tablespoon millet
  • 1 tablespoon quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • All purpose flour for dusting, as needed
  • 1/4 teasponn vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup whole oats

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F
2. Mix ingredients:

  • place bread flour and yeast in bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment
  • heat milk and honey to 120F, pour into bowl with flour mixture, and mix on medium speed for 3 minutes
  • Mix in oat flour, sesame seeds, flax seed, quinoa, millet, and salt.
  • Replace paddle with dough hook, add remaining flour in small batches, on low speed, until dough no longer sticks to side of bowl; some flour may remain unused.  Beat on medium speed 1 minute.

3.  Knead: lightly dust work surface with flour and knead dough 100 times.  Dough should be smooth and pliable.
4.  Ferment: pour oil in medium size mixing bowl, place dough in ball, turn to coat with oil.  Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in warm location for 1 hour (if using active dry yeast) or 30 minutes if using rapid rise yeast, or until it doubles in volume.
5.  Punch down: gently press your hand into the dough to expel the CO2 and knead 6 times.
6.  Scale and shape: cut into two ounce portions and shape into rolls, breadsticks, or pretzels…or whatever you want!
7.  Brush each roll with the egg and sprinkle with a teaspoon of rolled oats
8.  Proof: place on baking sheet and cover with lightly greasted plastic film and let rise in a warm location for 30 minutes (dry active yeast) or 15 minutes (rapid rise yeast).
9. Bake: place in preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until internal temp reaches 200 F.  Remove to cooling rack.

Dec 062011

Remember the kind of assignments you’d be given college?  Write a 20-page research paper, give a 5 minute powerpoint presentation, read 150 pages of this textbook (by next week).  Well, my grad school assignments are a little different than that.  For this one, I had to take a favorite family recipe and modify it for a therapeutic diet of my choice.  Since heart disease is very close to my family at this time, I chose the “TLC diet” for heart health, and I modified my mom’s famous (and not so diet friendly) lasagna.  

This assignment reminded me that we can really get creative to make our favorite foods healthier.  In this recipe, I substituted lean ground turkey for pork Italian sausage, I used all low-fat cheeses, whole wheat noodles, added veggies, and even mixed in some pureed white beans with the ricotta (and you’d never even know it).  We even had to do a nutrition analysis, and check out the comparison here:  

Nutritional Highlights:  As you can see above, the original version is a little frightening–75% of your daily saturated fat, more than half of your daily sodium, and almost 50% of your daily cholesterol in just one serving.   By swapping turkey for sausage, cutting out half the cheese, using all low-fat versions, choosing no salt added tomato products, using whole wheat noodles, and adding pureed white beans and roasted veggies, I was able to create a version with a third of the fat and sodium, 200 less calories, more than double the fiber.  Hooray for fighting heart disease!  It was SO delicious (although the cook in me wanted to add more salt) and I will absolutely use these substitutions from now on.

I “Heart” this Lasagna!
 HEAVILY modified from a Better Homes and Gardens recipe 

·      1 lb lean ground turkey breast

·      2 clove garlic, minced

·      2 Tbsp whole basil

·      1/4 tsp salt

·      ½ tsp red pepper flakes

·      28 oz can Italian style tomatoes, no salt added

·      2 – 6 oz cans tomato paste, no salt added

·      ½ cup water

·      10 oz whole wheat lasagna noodles

·      1 egg, 1 egg white

·      8 oz fresh Ricotta, part-skim

·      1 cup white beans (no salt added), rinsed, drained, and pureed

·      1/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese

·      2 Tbsp parsley flakes

·      ½ teaspoon dried oregano

·      1/4 tsp salt

·      1/2 tsp pepper

·      8 oz part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (1 bag)

·      3 cups of cooked vegetables of your choice, steamed or roasted: I used zucchini, yellow squash, and mushrooms (other ideas include red pepper, eggplant, broccoli, or spinach)


·      Spray pan with nonstick spray and brown meat slowly.  Add next 5 ingredients and 1/2 cup water.  Simmer, covered, 15 minutes; stirring often.  Cook noodles in boiling water until tender; drain; rinse.  Mash or puree the white beans.  Beat eggs; add the white beans and remaining ingredients, except mozzarella.  Put some sauce in first, then layer half the noodles in 13x9x2 in baking dish; spread with half the Ricotta filling; add half the mozzarella cheese, all of the mixed vegetables and half the meat sauce.  Layer the rest of the noodles, the spread with the remaining ricotta, sprinkle with the rest of the mozzarella, and cover with the rest of the meat sauce.  Bake at 375 about 30 minutes (or assemble early and refrigerate; bake 45 minutes).  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.  Serves 8-10.

Dec 012011

You’ve probably heard of wild rice before.  You’ve also probably assumed that it’s a type of rice, because it has the word rice in the name. Guess what, it’s not!  I learned in my food science class last week that wild rice is actually an aquatic grass and not related to regular rice at all.  I know, I felt deceived too.  Either way, it’s great for you and delicious, so I wanted to share this recipe we made in class–wild rice with pecans, scallions, and dried cranberries.  

Nutritional Highlights: Wild rice is higher in protein than most grains, and is a good source of fiber, folic acid, and niacin.  Half a cup only has 80 calories.  Combined with sweet and savory add ins like pecans, cranberries,and scallions here, wild rice is exciting enough to serve to guests, or even as part of a gluten free Thanksgiving!

Wild Rice with Pecans, Cranberries, and Scallions
adapted from my Food Science class!


  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted (original recipe had 1 cup but I reduced it)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup wild rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 whole scallions cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • Coarse salt and pepper to taste
  • My addition:  1/4 cup dried cranberries
1.  Bring stock, rice, and salt to a boil in small saucepan.  Reduce heat to barely a simmer, cover, and cook for 1 hour or until rice is tender.  Drain any residual liquid.
2.  Meanwhile, toast nuts.  You can do this in a 350 degree oven on a baking sheet until aromatic.  Shake pan occasionally and watch closely so they don’t burn.
3.  Combine toasted nuts with hone and cayenne in a small bowl, set aside.
4.  Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add scallions and cook and stir until wilted, about 2 minutes.  Add in rice, pecans, and cranberries.  Cook for a minute until combined and heated.  Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as necessary.
5.  Serve and enjoy!