Healthy Turkey Day Additions

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Near the end of last week I accidentally poisoned myself. I am allergic to onions but I continue to test the spectrum occasionally to see if maybe there is a strand that is tolerable. As of 11/16…there isn’t.

The latest trial was with leeks and oh boy the results where basically instantaneous. It was because of this that I took it easy on myself over the weekend. I made most of my food, which is rare on Friday and Saturday, and made sure I knew exactly what was in all the other food I consumed. Clean eating is generally a good practice to live by outside of remedying digestive issues but occasionally I slack in favor of convenience foods.

While I finished getting my digestive system back on track in time for the ultimate feast, Thanksgiving, I stuck with soups and squash. I cannot get enough of my immersion bender or stuffing anything I can think of into a squash. Not only is the latter gorgeous but incredibly tasty. When I made this Hazelnut and Farro Stuffing-esque Acorn Squash for Friendsgiving I knew it was not a one time thing. Any time you want that Thanksgiving taste and feel in a meal without the guilt some associate with this holiday, this recipe should be your go-to. You can even make this if you are low on time when the craving strikes with 10 minute farro from Trader Joe’s.

The farro in veggie broth with some of the traditional stuffing ingredients and the addition of hazelnuts is a revelation. When you are ready to serve the squash top with a dollop of cranberry sauce or a drizzle of honey to fully round out the flavor. This dish has the added benefit of being vegan. It is perfect for those hard to please family members at the holiday meal whether they normally enjoy meat or live more plant based.

This photo definitely does not do the squash justice. I did not trim the bottoms enough so I needed a bowl to hold up the finished product. After the squash I moved on to tomato soup. Adolescent Katie was rolling her eyes. Traditionally, tomato soup is the lowest of the low on the soup list. Yet, I saw this recipe a few weeks ago and knew I needed to try it. I guess that is the benefit of good food photography, check out that link this soup is gorgeous.  I roasted three different kinds of tomatoes and used asiago, parmesan cheese and more than the required garlic and basil. This soup completely blew me away and totally changed my childhood perception. Run, don’t walk to the store and stock up on ingredients to make this soon!

So as I lay on my couch, surrounded by Christmas decorations yet to put up and still full of the amazing Thanksgiving meal yesterday (with leftovers this morning) I am dreaming of the meals that made it possible for me to enjoy this Holiday.

Hazelnut, White Bean, and Farro Stuffed Acorn Squash

Perfect for Thanksgiving or for those cold winter nights where you want to get in the Holiday spirit without the Holiday food coma. Can feed 3-6 depending on how you cut the squash or if you want it for a … Continue reading

  • Prep Time: 10m
  • Cook Time: 1h
  • Total Time: 1h 10m

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked whole grain farro
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped or julienned carrots
  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts
  • 1 15-16 oz. can cannellini beans (unsalted)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 acorn squash

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cook farro according to instructions. If you are in a hurry use the 10-minute farro from Trader Joe's
  3. Cut the tops off the squash and scoop out the seeds. Put a light coating of olive oil and some salt and pepper in the squash, add to a sprayed baking dish cut side up, and bake for about 45 minutes until tender.
  4. In the mean time. Add olive oil to a medium-high heated pan and then add celery and carrots. Season with salt and pepper and let cook for about 10 minutes.
  5. Add sage in the last minute then remove from stove and add in farro mixture, beans, and hazelnuts
  6. Fill the acorn squash with this mixture, drizzle the tops with a bit more olive oil, and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes until the mixture is slightly browned.
  7. You can serve as is, or add some honey or cranberry sauce over the top depending on your mood.

I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday and enjoy this fabulous long weekend.

-Katie

The Most Satisfying “Salad” Around

I would love to claim I walked into this week with a meal plan, I didn’t. I was SO excited to start meal prepping for one of my favorite people that I went easy on myself and employed my favorite “lazy chef” fall back, Trader Joe’s.

Trader Joe’s and I have been involved in a love affair since I begrudgingly, thanks budget!, broke up with Whole Foods. I adore all of the unique items I can find at TJ’s along with fresh staples. It is a serious necessity when I have an abbreviated week like this one and have to limit my leftovers. This week, and for the purposes of this recipe, I went with already halved brussel’s with garlic, roasted sweet potato wedges, and tempeh.

If you haven’t tried tempeh, if you aren’t sure what it is, or if you are almost positive it isn’t for you I promise it is and you should absolutely try it once. Tempeh is the kinder cousin of tofu. It has so much going on, you really know what you are eating, and feel full after eating it.

For all of my meals I look for a variety of flavors, textures, shapes, and sizes on my plate and this fits the bill. Salty/slightly spicy tempeh, garlicky/flaky brussels, soft spinach, and (obviously) sweet but also savory sweet potatoes. With the addition of salt, pepper, and parmesan shavings, and lemon this meal had it all

So we have arrived at tonight. Today was a Tuesday that could have been a Monday. An actually great day despite spilling on myself more than once and going to a mostly plank workout already sore. I arrived home having mentally discarded my plan of cutting that spaghetti squash I had dreamed about earlier and reaching for the easier on the arms scissors instead. You could switch anything in this recipe out with whatever is in your fridge. It is easily adaptable to the 30 minute need food now feeling or if you have more time you can ditch the scissors and microwave and break out the knife set and oven.

What foods do you gravitate towards on nights like this? Let me know if you try this or what variations of this recipe you enjoy!

Tempeh, Brussel Sprout, Sweet Potato, Spinach “Salad”

This recipe is ready in 30 minutes and is perfect for nights where you just want everything. It is easily adapted to any diet preference and whatever is in your fridge.

Ingredients

  • 1 package sweet potato
  • cup spinach leaves
  • 1 package tempeh
  • 2 cups brussel sprouts (halved)
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 lemon

Instructions

  1. Preheat Oven to 400 degrees
  2. lightly coat brussel sprouts with olive oil, option to add 1-2 cloves of minced garlic here as well
  3. Place brussel sprouts on sprayed baking dish and bake for 20-30 minutes until fork tender (if you have time you can cut your sweet potato and add it at this point as well)
  4. When you have about ten minutes left heat up your sweet potato if you haven't already. I used trader joe's roasted sweet potato wedges for this recipe and they worked perfectly
  5. Cut your tempeh to desired size. I cubed mine. Add tempeh to a medium high skillet with olive oil and curry paste.
  6. Let the tempeh sit for a minute or two and then add the tamari or soy sauce and start to gently move the tempeh pieces until all sides are browned. This process takes about 4-6 minutes.
  7. At this point your brussel sprouts should be done. Add spinach to plates and divide sweet potatoes, tempeh, and brussel sprouts between two plates. Salt and pepper and squeeze over the juice of the lemon. I also added parmesan cheese to mine
  8. Enjoy!

-Katie