Monday, December 7, 2009

Fit 2 Wed Fall/Winter Cooking 101

Thanks so much Nancy & Laura all the great cooking tips and yummy recipes!

Pumpkin Hummus

From Tosca Reno’s The Eat Clean Diet Cookbook

This is a fun fall alternative to regular hummus, and you get the added benefit of vitamins A and C, iron and fiber. If using canned pumpkin, make sure to use plain, not the kind with added spices. You can also use fresh pumpkin or any small squash: butternut, acorn or even a large sweet potato. Serve with pita chips or sliced cucumbers, radishes and carrots.


  • 2 Tablespoons tahini
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin or olive oil
  • ¼ tsp. sea or kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 15 ounces pumpkin, baked or canned
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or passed through a garlic press
  • 2 Tablespoons cilantro


  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth, adding water so that it has a consistency similar to traditional pesto.
  2. Chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy!

Calories: 25 calories per 2 Tablespoons; Serves: 16

Pita Chips


  • Whole wheat, whole grain or Ezekiel pita bread rounds, cut into pie wedges
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • Garlic or kosher salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
  2. Lay out pita bread wedges on a baking sheet and spray cooking spray on both sides of pita chips. Sprinkle with salt of your choice.
  3. Toast in oven until a slightly darker brown color and crispy all the way through, approximately 10 minutes. Flip halfway through cooking.
  4. Cool and serve with hummus.

Calories: varies depending on type and size of pita or flat bread; Serves: varies

Roasted Vegetable Medley

You can basically use any vegetables in this recipe. Just make sure you check your vegetables every ten minutes or so because some vegetables roast faster than others. For example, asparagus, peppers and mushrooms will be done in about 20-30 minutes. Root vegetables such as parsnips and carrots can take up to an hour.


  • Bell peppers (any color but green), seeded and cut into strips
  • Asparagus, trimmed
  • Brussel sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
  • Mushrooms
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Parsnips
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic
  • Fresh herbs or dried herbs such as basil, oregano, thyme, etc.


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a jellyroll pan with foil or parchment paper, and coat the foil with canola or olive oil cooking spray. Cut your vegetables into small chunks or hearty bite-sized pieces.
  2. Add vegetables in a single layer to the foil-lined pan and spray the top with cooking spray or drizzle with a bit of olive oil (use no more than a teaspoon of oil for every cup of vegetables). If you use oil, toss the veggies about on the pan to coat as much of them with oil as possible.
  3. Sprinkle on any desired seasonings, such as rosemary or basil, parsley, marjoram, salt and pepper. Coat the tops of your veggies again with canola or olive oil cooking spray, if desired, especially if you didn't drizzle with oil in Step 2.

Bake until veggies are lightly browned in areas, and tender. If your vegetables look like they are starting to dry out during the roasting period, spray with olive oil or cooking spray. Different vegetables require different cooking times. Check your roasted vegetables after 20-25minutes (this is probably the halfway point for some of them), turn them over with a spatula, then cook until they're tender and nicely browned around some of the edges (about 25-30 minutes more.)

Beet Salad with Oranges and Feta

This salad can either be chopped and tossed so that you can have it on hand throughout the week, or sliced and layered for a festive presentation if you are entertaining. This is a very easy recipe to vary. If you like bleu cheese, substitute bleu or gorgonzola for the feta and omit the oranges.


  • 3-4 medium sized beets, scrubbed and dried
  • ½ medium shallot, finely diced (can also use chopped green onions)
  • ¼ cup walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
  • 1 orange, peeled, sectioned and cut into ½” pieces
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon basil, chopped, plus a little extra for garnish
  • ¼ cup fat-free feta, plus a little extra for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette


  1. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.
  2. Trim stalk off of beets, and then wash and dry them, removing all traces of dirt. Wrap in heavy duty foil and place on baking sheet.
  3. Roast beets for approximately 40 minutes, or until you can insert a fork easily. Time will vary depending on your oven and the size of the beets. Cool beets on a plate.
  4. While beets are roasting, prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Once beets are cool enough to handle, slip skin off and rinse. Chop or slice, depending on which style salad you are making.
  6. For chopped salad, put chopped beets, shallots, walnuts, zest, orange sections, and basil in a bowl. Toss with vinaigrette. Top with feta and extra basil.

Calories: 125 calories per ½ cup serving; Serves: 4-6

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Quinoa* Soup with Butternut Squash and Spinach

Servings: 8 Calories: 1 cup = 160


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed**
  • ½ tsp. thyme or Italian seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • l cup butternut squash, cubed (time saver tip: buy the Trader Joe’s bag that is pre-cut)
  • 1 cup corn (fresh, frozen, or canned)
  • 6 ounces fresh baby spinach, chopped (time saver tip: buy a 6 oz. bag of baby spinach)
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth, more if needed
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste


Add oil to medium sized soup pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for a few minutes while preparing garlic and squash. Add garlic and squash and sauté for another couple of minutes. Add half of the chicken broth (3 cups) and bring to a boil. Add quinoa, thyme, and bay leaf; return to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Add corn and remaining broth (3 cups or more if needed) and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf, add spinach and cayenne; cook 5 minutes more. Taste for salt and pepper, and add more broth or water if too thick. Serve.


*Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a high-protein grain cultivated by Incan tribes in the Andes Mountains of South America. It is also the only grain containing all of the essential amino acids; it is high in iron and other minerals. It can be substituted for rice in most recipes and has a nutty quality to it. It can be found in well-stocked grocery stores and most health food stores.

**Quinoa has a residue call saponin on the outside of it; if not rinsed well, this will leave a bitter taste in your food. Make sure to use a fine mesh strainer as the quinoa grains are quite small.

Cooked quinoa doesn’t freeze well, so this soup is best made right before you want to serve it. It keeps well in the fridge, but doesn’t look as pretty as when the spinach is still a beautiful bright green juxtaposed against the yellow corn and orange-colored squash.

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Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

2008, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, All Rights Reserved

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 28 minutes Level: Easy Serves: 4


  • (1 1/2-pounds) butternut squash, peeled and 3/4-inch) diced
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons dried cranberries or pomegranate seeds
  • 3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 ounces baby arugula, washed and spun dry
  • ½ cup walnuts halves, toasted
  • 1 ounce freshly grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  1. Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. Add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.
  2. While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
  3. Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Calories: 140; Serves: 6-8

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Dr. Weil’s Roasted Winter Squash and Apple Soup


  • 1 large winter squash (about 2 1/2 pounds), such as butternut,
    buttercup or kabocha; peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tart, firm apples, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and red chile powder to taste
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 cups water


  1. Preheat oven to 400˚ degrees.
  2. In a large roasting pan, toss the squash, onions, garlic and apples with the oil to coat. Season well with the salt and chile.
  3. Roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until the vegetables are fork tender and lightly browned, about 40 minutes.
  4. Put half of the vegetables and 2 cups of the broth in a food processor and purée until smooth. Repeat with the remaining vegetables and broth. Return puréed mixture to the pot. If the soup is too thick, add more broth. Correct the seasoning and heat to a simmer.
  5. Serve in warm bowls with dollops of cilantro-walnut pesto.

Calories: 140 calories per 1 cup serving; Serves: 12

Cilantro-Walnut Pesto

  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • 2 cups cilantro leaves, washed, drained and stemmed
  • 1 green jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1. Put the walnuts in a food processor and grind them fine.

2. Add the cilantro, jalapeño pepper, salt, vinegar and 2 to 3 tablespoons of water and blend. Blend in a little more water if necessary to make a thick sauce. Taste and correct the seasoning, adding more salt if necessary.

Calories: 150 calories per 1 tsp. serving; Serves: 12

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