Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spaghetti Squash with Sausage and Peas

I read an article recently about foods that we should "break up" with. Some are quite obvious, such as white flour and processed meats. White flour because it lacks any nutrients and causes a spike in blood sugar levels. Processed meats because they contain saturated fats and unsavory fillers. Others are not too obvious, for example, dried fruit. Fruit, both fresh and dried are good for us, no? It turns out that some dried fruit preparations can contain added sugar and corn syrup, extra sources of glucose that most of us do not need.

Today, I am "breaking up" with spaghetti squash but not for  any of the reasons you might think. This recipe has been overdone at our house. It is one that I have been making almost bi-weekly since last fall. So I think it is time to give it a rest, for fear that my hubby will never want to see another spaghetti squash again. If you do get to try this recipe, you will surely agree that its ease of preparation and simple healthfulness make for a wholesome weeknight meal, and I'm sure you will understand why it become a  go-to recipe at our house over the last few months. 

Spaghetti Squash with Sausage and Peas

Serves 3 to 4

1 spaghetti squash
1/2 lb spicy sausage
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
salt and pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan
chopped parsley

1.  Carefully cut the squash lengthwise in half. Brush the cut sides with a little oil and place cut side down of a baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 20 minutes until the spaghetti threads can easily be removed with a fork.
2. Cook the sausage in a skillet over medium high heat, for about 10  minutes, trying your best to break up any large chunks into small bite-sized pieces.
3. Once the sausage has been properly cooked, add in the  spaghetti squash and the peas. Combine well. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Transfer to a serving dish and top with grated parmesan and chopped parsley.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Kale Flatbread

These days, it is a rare event when I get to cook for my siblings, since the moments when they visit are so few and so far between. But I got the opportunity last month to make this flatbread for my sister, who braved the tortuous winter weather to spend a few days with us. This recipe will make a kale fan out of you, as it did for her.

Kale Flatbread
Serves about 3 to 4

2 tbsp vegetable oil
10 oz washed and chopped kale
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup shredded cheese
4 oz of cooked ham, cubed
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp honey
Flatbread dough (see recipe below)

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over low heat and cook the kale until it has wilted a little. This might take about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
2. Roll out the dough as thin as you can get without it tearing. Transfer to a well greased baking sheet and cover evenly with the shredded cheese, cooked kale,  and the ham.
3. Baked in a 350 degrees F oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
4. While the flatbread is baking, add the balsamic and honey to a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until slightly thickened, about 5 to 7  minutes. Drizzle the thickened balsamic sauce over the flatbread before serving.

Flatbread dough

1 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup luke warm water
1 tbps olive oil
pinch of salt
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour

Add the yeast with the sugar to the lukewarm water, in large bowl and let the yeast form bubbles and proof, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the olive oil, salt, all purpose flour, and whole wheat flour. Mix well to form a ball. Knead on a floured surface for about 2 minutes. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap or kitchen towel and allow to almost double in size.