Spring Favorites

Rainbow Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Scallions

Black Bean and Spinach Enchiladas with Chile Verde

Chicken Provencal

Mushroom Farro Tart

Coconut Fish Curry

Spinach and Feta Quiche

Butternut Squash and Gruyere Galette

A galette is a rustic french pastry which can be stuffed with a sweet or savory filling. This version provides a delightful melody of sweet roasted butternut squash, rich caramelized onions and is topped with nutty gruyere cheese. Make it with whole wheat flour for extra texture and crunch, as well as additional fiber.

For the galette pastry:
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (or use half white and half whole wheat)
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water

For the filling:
1 small butternut squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced in half-moons
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
3/4 cup fontina cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces), grated or cut into small bits
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves

In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Place the butter in another bowl, make sure its still cold. Next, make a well in the center of the flour. Add the butter to the well and, using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Make another well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add half of this mixture to the well. With your fingertips, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Remove the large lumps and repeat with the remaining liquid and flour-butter mixture. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel squash, then halve and scoop out seeds. Cut into a 1/2-inch dice. Toss pieces with olive oil and a half-teaspoon of the salt and roast on cookie sheet for 30 - 45 minutes or until pieces are tender, flip the pieces midway so they are roasted on both sides. Set aside to cool slightly.

Caramelize onions: While squash is roasting, melt butter in a heavy skillet and cook onion over medium low heat with the remaining half-teaspoon of salt, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes. Stir in cayenne.

Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Mix squash, caramelized onions, cheese and herbs together in a bowl.

On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Spread squash, onions, cheese and herb mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the border over the squash, onion and cheese mixture, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open.
Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting. Serving warm or at room temperature.
*Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

This is the perfect fall/winter dish. Not only is it amazingly good, its filling, healthy and will keep for days in your refrigerator. Your kitchen will smell amazing...

Vegetarian Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

2 medium sweet potatos, peeled and cut in chunks
¼ cup milk or plain soymilk
1 Tbs. butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (optional)

1 ½ tsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 carrots, diced
2 zucchinis, diced
1 cup frozen peas (optional)
3 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
¼ cup wine, sherry or vermouth
1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (or 1 bag veggie crumbles)
1 cup veggie broth
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbs. shredded Parmesan cheese, optional
1 can tomato paste

For Topping:
Boil sweet potatoes and mash with milk and butter. Season with salt, pepper, and Parmesan.

For filling:
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and herbs until onion is translucent. Add carrots. Cover and cook on low a couple mins.

Add wine, and cook 30 seconds to deglaze pan. Return heat to Med. Stir in beans or veggie crumbles, zucchini and broth. Cover, and simmer 10 minutes, or until veg are soft. Add tomato paste and cinnamon. Simmer another 10 min. Add frozen peas and remove from heat.

Pour Filling into 2 to 3 quart glass baking dish. Spread topping over filling. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if using.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place casserole on cookie sheet to catch drips Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and cheese has melted. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Carob Chip Oatmeal Cookies - sugar free!

These cookies are high in fiber, sugar free, buttery and so good! If you're trying to eliminate sugar from your diet or dealing with candida you can eliminate the honey as well.

Oatmeal Carob Chip Cookies
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon Stevia powder concentrate
2 Tbs honey (can be omitted and increase Stevia)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup oats
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup millet flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup unsweetened carob chips

Mix together first 5 ingredients. Add in flours, soda and oats. Mix well. Add in carob chips.
Divide into cookies and bake 10-12 mins at 350 degrees F. Makes about 12-14 cookies.
Optional: add cinnamon and/or nuts

Tomato Basil Bruschetta

Great for parties or just as a snack - this is easy to make, delicious and good for you!

6 or 7 Roma tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 baguette French bread or similar Italian bread
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 450.
Chop up the tomatoes into small cubes. Put tomatoes, garlic, 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, vinegar in a bowl and mix. Add the chopped basil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Slice the baguette on a diagonal about 1/2 inch thick slices. Coat one side of each slice with olive oil. Place on a cooking sheet, olive oil side down. Toast for 5-6 minutes, until the bread just begins to turn golden brown.

Transfer the bread to a serving platter, olive oil side up. Either place the tomato topping in a bowl separately with a spoon for people to serve themselves over the bread, or place some topping on each slice of bread and serve. If you top each slice with the tomatoes, do it right before serving or the bread may get soggy.

Tomatoes are high in antioxidants, Vitamins C and A and can help to lower cholesterol levels.

Vegetarian Moussaka

This is the perfect hearty, flavorful dish to enjoy on a cold winter day in New York. You can vary the recipe and make it with your favorite vegetables - try using zuchinni, spinach or red peppers.

3 1/2 pounds eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1/2 cup (about) olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 cup finely chopped peeled carrots
1 cup finely chopped celery
4 garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces portobello mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
7 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups low fat milk
4 large egg yolks

Preheat oven to 425.
Arrange eggplant in single layer on baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes. Turn eggplant and rotate pans in oven. Continue baking until tender, about 15 minutes longer. Cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
Meanwhile, heat 1/4 cup oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and celery. Sauté until onion is very tender, about 12 minutes. Mix in garlic, then mushrooms. Sauté until juices evaporate, about 10 minutes. Mix in oregano and cinnamon. Add tomatoes and parsley. Cook until mixture is thick, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Lightly oil 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange half of eggplant rounds in single layer in dish. Spoon half of tomato mixture evenly over eggplant. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cheese. Repeat layering with remaining eggplant, tomato mixture and 2 tablespoons cheese.
Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Stir 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk. Simmer until sauce thickens, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in 1/2 cup cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk yolks in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in hot sauce. Pour sauce over vegetables in dish. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over sauce.
Bake moussaka until heated through and sauce is golden brown on top, about 45 minutes.

Chicken Cacciatore

This is my Dad's favorite dish! He requests this every year for his birthday dinner. Growing up in an Italian American family, Chicken Cacciatore evokes fond memories of holidays and family gatherings. A satisfying and delicious fall meal.


4 chicken thighs
2 chicken breasts with skin and backbone, cut in half
sea salt to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour, for dredging
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry white winet
1 ( 28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1/4 red pepper or cayenne
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup grated asiago cheese (optional)


Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly.

In a large heavy saute pan, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and saute just until brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic to the same pan and saute over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, oregano and red pepper. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 30 minutes for the breast pieces, and 20 minutes for the thighs.

Transfer the chicken to a platter. Cook the sauce until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove any excess fat from atop the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle with the basil and asiago.

Tomatoes are high in antioxidants, Vitamins C,A and K. Studies have found that they assist with bone health and help to lower cholesterol.

Baked Salmon Fillets with Olives, Parsley and Lemon

2 portions of salmon fillet, skin on (or you can use other firm-fleshed fish)
about a dozen pitted green olives
1 large clove garlic, crushed
a large handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
lemon pepper
1 fresh lemon, half sliced into rounds, other half to squeeze for juice

Pre-heat oven to 325. Prepare two parcels out of aluminium foil or baking paper. Lightly grease the bottom with a little olive oil.
Slice the olives and crush the garlic.
Place a piece of salmon in the center of each foil packet, skin side down. Add chopped parsley and garlic and season to taste with lemon pepper. Spoon olives over each. Take the half of lemon and squeeze the juice onto the fillets. Then place the lemon slices over the top of each piece. Trickle a little more olive oil over the top if you desire. Seal each parcel by folding the edges together over the top of the fish. Bake for 15 minutes.

Salmon is very high in Omega 3 fatty acids which help lower cholesterol, reduce cancer risk, improve skin and reduce inflammation. Salmon is also high in Tryptophan - a precursor to Serotonin which helps to elevate mood, reduce anxiety and regulate appetite.

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Goat Cheese

This hearty gluten-free, vegetarian dish incorporates one of my favorite things - portobello mushrooms. Portobello mushrooms are high in fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins and potassium. Since these stuffed mushrooms are high in protein thanks to the goat cheese and the quinoa, they can be served as either a main dish or a side dish. Delicious hot or at room temperature.

1 large Portobello mushroom per person
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

For the stuffing:

One small onion, diced
About 1/3 to 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa per mushroom cap
1/2 tsp basil
sprinkle oregano
1 cup spinach (frozen or fresh)
4 oz or about half a cup of goat cheese crumbled and softened
1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil the bottom of a baking or gratin dish.

Gently clean off the mushroom caps; slice off the stems and using a sharp teaspoon carefully scrape out the gills. Place the caps in the baking dish. Lightly drizzle with a olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with a little sea salt and pepper.

Pre-bake the mushrooms for about 15 minutes to soften.

In a skillet, heat a little olive oil over medium heat. Add onions once oil is hot. Stir frequently and cook until onions are lightly browned and starting to caramelize. Add the spinach and spices and cook for a couple minutes. Remove from heat and add cooked quinoa. Season with salt and pepper. You can add a little red pepper to make it a bit spicy if you want. Stir. Add goat cheese and mix. Moisten with more olive oil, as needed. Stuff each mushroom. Top with lightly toasted pine nuts. Bake in the oven at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes, until mushrooms are tender.

Sweet Summer Dessert

Healthy Rice Pudding
(4 servings)
2 cups rice milk
(vanilla or plain)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup short grain brown rice
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 teaspoon each: ground cardamom, ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon each: turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon
1/3 cup dried cranberries or chopped dried apricots

Combine the rice and coconut milks in a medium pot over medium-high heat.
Bring the rice milk and coconut milk to a boil and add the rice. Bring back to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook, covered for about 30 minutes. Add the spices and cook for another 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
Add brown rice syrup and dried fruit after the rice is cooked. Allow the rice to cool and refrigerate in individual bowls for a few hours before serving. Top with fresh fruit and berries to add antioxidants.

*Recipe altered from Alexandra Jamieson's Anti Inflammatory Rice Pudding.

The spices ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and turmeric are anti inflammatory. They help with digestion, boost the immune system and assist with recovery from illness.