Category Archives: Healthy

Roasted Garlic & Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash (about 2 3/4 lbs), halved lengthwise & seeded

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1 T olive oil

s & p

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1 large yellow-fleshed potato, such as Yukon gold (about 8 oz), peeled and cut into 2″ pieces (or use a large apple)

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup carmelized onions

2 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley or chives

1. Heat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush the cut sides of the squash and the garlic cloves with the oil, season with s & p. Place the squash cut sides down on the baking sheet, tucking the garlic cloves and thyme into the squash cavities. Roast until tender, about 45 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, place the potato (or apple) in a medium saucepan and fill with enough water to cover by 1″. Bring to a low boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

3. When the squash is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the peel and the thyme. Cut the squash into large pieces. In a blender, working in batches, puree the squash, garlic cloves, potato and chicken broth. Season with s & p.

4. In a medium saucepan, heat the soup over med-low heat until warmed through. Divide among 4 serving bowls and top with yogurt, parsley and onions.


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Filed under Comfort Food, Entertaining, Healthy, Potatoes, Soup, Squash, Vegetarian Main Dish

Oven Roasted Kabocha Squash

We received some kabocha squash in our co-op basket and I found this recipe on  It was delicious!! The photos on that site are so great, in fact, I’ll just refer you straight to it instead of typing it out here:

She’s right, too, about using a really good knife. (God bless my parents who bought us Henckel knives! There’s no going back.)


Filed under Healthy, Side Dish, Squash

John & Caryn’s Pizza & Sauce (starring Rocky Balboa)

Be sure to place the pizza stone in the oven at least 1/2 hour ahead of time to make sure it gets good and hot.  475 for wheat dough or 450 for white dough. 

In a small sauce pan:

2 cans tomato sauce (15 oz each)

2 tsp sugar

shake of dry oregano

shake of garlic powder

salt (coat the entire surface)

Cook until it bubbles.

Here’s well, frankly, things get more stressful than I prefer in the kitchen.  The rest of the recipe needs to be done quickly so that the dough doesn’t stick to the counter or pizza paddle and so the sauce doesn’t make it mushy before the time comes to slide it on the stone.  I recommend a couple jogs in place and some neck stretches like Rocky would do.  Or you can just hype yourself up with this short video:

Now that you’re ready, roll pizza dough (such as Trader Joe’s) on a clean countertop into a circle. Use lots of cornmeal.  John’s tip: Think of the cornmeal as ball bearings so the pizza slides easily on and off the pizza paddle.

Quickly top that baby with sauce, cheese, & whatever toppings keep you happy.  Keeping with the cornmeal/ball bearings rule, slide the pizza on a pizza paddle and then slide it on the hot stone.  Remember: the oven isn’t cooking your delicious dinner–that burning hot hunk of pizza stone is. 

When it looks done it probably is.  Employ your pizza paddle for duty once again and serve your pizza up for dinner.  (Feel free to shout, “Adrian!” at any time now.)


Filed under Basic Cooking, Healthy, Italian, Mike's favorite, Pizza, Quick, Vegetarian Main Dish

Caryn’s Tomato Sauce

I just reread Caryn’s Eggplant Parmesan recipe since we received eggplant in our co-op, and realized I have no post for her sauce!  Hands-down, I get more requests for this recipe than any other.  We always freeze most of the sauce to use later.

First, cook 1 or 2 bone-in country-style pork ribs in hot water.  I usually do this the night before.

In a very large pot cook a small chopped onion and about 4 minced garlic cloves in olive oil.  This may sound obvious, but don’t let them burn!  If they do you need to start over so the entire batch of sauce doesn’t taste like burnt garlic.

Add in 2 cans of diced tomatoes (14.5 oz each) and cook for a bit.  Then pour in a gigantic, super-sized can of tomato sauce from Costco or Sam’s Club (6 lb, 10 oz).  Sprinkle salt over the entire surface of sauce.  Add some pepper red pepper flakes (I often use a packet that comes with pizza deliveries).  Cook over medium-high until bubbling. If the sauce looks too thick (if the surface resembles Labyrinth‘s Bog of Eternal Stench–video here), add a little water.

Place the cooked pork ribs into the sauce, cover and cook on medium-low for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Add a bit of chopped, fresh oregano and a large handful of fresh basil, chopped.  Cover and cook 1/2 hour longer.  Be sure to test it before you’re done!


Filed under Basic Cooking, Comfort Food, Healthy, Italian, Kid friendly, Mike's favorite, No oven necessary., Pasta, Pork

Teriyaki Shish Kabobs

1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup soy sauce

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp ground ginger

2 lbs boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into 1 1/2″ cubes

1 1/2 cups fresh or canned pineapple chunks (about 1″)

1/2 lb whole fresh mushrooms

1/2 lb pearl onions, peeled

1 large bell pepper, cut into 1″ pieces

Combine first 5 ingredients; toss with beef.  Cover and refrigerate overnight. Drain beef, reserving marinade. Thread meat, pineapple and vegetables, alternately on metal or soaked bamboo skewers. Grill over hot heat for 15-20 minutes, turning often, or until meat reaches desired doneness and vegetables are tender. Simmer the marinade in a small saucepan over low heat 15 minutes. Remove meat and vegetables from skewers; serve with marinade.

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Filed under Beef, Grilling, Healthy, No oven necessary.

Roasted Spicy Mustard Potatoes

This recipe is tried and true for me.  I cut it out of Taste of Home many moons ago.

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

2 lbs small red potatoes (I prefer red creamer potatoes, personally)

Spray a shallow roasting pan with cooking spray 3 times to coat well; set aside.  Mix first 6 ingredients in a large ziplock bag. Cut any large potatoes into halves or quarters so all potatoes are roughly the same size. Pierce each with a fork. Shake potatoes in mustard mixture to coat. Place in prepared pan. Bake, uncovered, at 375 for 30-40 minutes until tender.

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Filed under Comfort Food, Entertaining, Healthy, Potatoes, Side Dish

Healthier Refried Beans

Rick Bayless made these on a show years ago and we’ve never gone back to canned refried beans.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet.  Saute some minced garlic cloves (we love garlic and use about 3 cloves for two cans of beans).  Add a can or two of black beans, undrained. Heat over medium or med-low heat, mashing occasionally with a potato masher (not electric–the old-fashioned kind). 
Beans will thicken the longer you cook them, and you can mash them to whatever consistency you prefer.

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Filed under Basic Cooking, Healthy, Mexican, No oven necessary., Side Dish, Vegetarian Main Dish