There isn’t anything I don’t like about pizza. I like wood fire, NY style, grease bomb, and everything in between. You can hold the green bell peppers and onions, but otherwise I’ve never found a slice of pizza I didn’t like.
In the past year though, my favorite pizza is the one that I make. I’ve worked my homemade sauce to be just right, found a crust that is pretty perfect, and realized I don’t need a stitch of meat. Rather than give up pizza because it’s so unhealthy, I found a way to enjoy it on occasion because it’s not that bad for me.
I start with a whole grain naan, an Indian bread that is usually sold near your grocer’s bakery. The Stonefire brand is excellent (I find this at Kroger), and SuperTarget’s house brand is great, too. They usually come two to a pack and I try to keep at least one in the freezer at all times. You never know when it’s going to be the perfect night for pizza! (more…)
Americans love fad diets. There is a long history of attaching ourselves to the next fad, dating back to the Vinegar diet in 1820. (No wonder I am constantly being asked to find a quick fix to the growing obesity epidemic in our country.) However, this is not the case in Europe where food culture and traditions hold fast against the deep pockets of the weight loss industry. Europeans have an innate sense to diet sensibly without falling victim to the 40 billion dollar weight loss industry that we Americans buy into year after year.
Luckily, the tide may be turning in the U.S. The Federal Trade Commission recently announced an initiative against deceptive claims made by marketers of fad weight loss products. From food additives to dietary supplements, the government is making a move to intervene and crack down on deceptive and misleading propaganda.
Meet someone who not only seems to speak my language about life in general, but speaks my food language fluently. Elana Horwich does her thing with food and words over at MealAndASpiel.com, which serves as a web presence for this worldly chef’s fun-having cooking school. Rustic Italian techniques, prioritized flavor, and a loveable sass… see, Elana is like my culinary kindred spirit.
She kind of summed up the enthusiasm around this rare two holidays in one so well that we wanted her to tell you for herself. So enjoy Elana’s Thanksgivukkah message, which is as much a lesson in embracing our diverse, multi-cultured landscape as it is a free invitation to gobble down on her Thanksgivukkah Latkes with Butternut Chutney.
Why did you start your food blog?
Before I am a cook, I am a teacher. It is intrinsic to who I am. Since I truly believe that cooking with loveadds genuine goodness to the human condition and since I can personally only teach so many people at a time in a cooking class, I started my food blog to share my passion and knowledge with those I will never have an opportunity to meet. It is my gift to the world.
How would you describe your approach to eating/health?
My definition of good food is that it should make you roll around on the floor shouting “MAMMMMMMAAAAA!!!!” While you are there rolling around on the floor your belly shouldn’t hurt and it should be easy to stand up afterwards. That about sums it up. (more…)
The first time I ever tried a caprese salad was when I was visiting my much-more-sophisticated-than-I older cousin Billy Jo. She and her husband own an exquisite home in Houston and my sister and I were down for a visit nearly a decade ago now.
Before dinner one night, Billy pullled out the ingredients for a caprese salad – fresh mozzarella, gorgeous roma tomatoes, huge stems of basil, and a little balsamic vinegar.
Never having seen such an adventurous flavor combination before, I watched closely as she meticulously layered the cheese with the tomato, and then the basil, over and over again until the plate resembled the Italian flag. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar finished it off before we all claimed our portion. Admittedly, my then 16-year-old self didn’t appreciate the robust, fresh flavors. But now, it’s one of my absolute favorite Italian bites. This “grilled cheese” sandwich is an homage to that salad with a bit more heartiness and the ease of portability. (more…)
Win a $5 Jennie-O Coupon when you share this recipe on Facebook and/or Twitter by Friday, March 29!Four winners will be selected.
We all know when going through a sub sandwich line that the meatball isn’t typically the healthiest choice, but why does it have to taste so good? The perfectly cooked meatballs simmering in hearty marinara sauce, nestled into a fluffy bun and topped with melty mozzarella cheese – what more could you ask for? How about a version that doesn’t leave you regretting your lunch pick for hours?
This sub sandwich may appear a little complex but it’s so, so simple. Thanks to Jennie-O’s lean ground turkey and Italian turkey sausage, there’s lots of flavor and protein without much fat. Our favorite marinara sauce amps up the flavor and sends the savory factor over the top. Then, we nestled ours into a whole wheat bun and topped it with two slices of low-fat mozzarella and a bit of grated Parmesan cheese. Serve it alongside salad and you’ll be satisfied the healthy way ’til dinner. (more…)
If I had a dollar for every time Fettuccine Alfredo came up in a nutrition session with a client I would be a very wealthy woman. It seems to be the dish that is the ultimate counterpoint to healthy eating, the sin that must be confessed. That steamy bowl of rich creamy pasta is not sensible – it is evil, ridiculous, void of common sense, and completely and utterly delicious!
Unfortunately, one bowl piles in about a day’s worth of calories and fat. ONE BOWL has approximately 1200 calories and 75 grams of fat!
The original recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo was created nearly 100 years ago by a man named Alfredo di Lelio in Rome. He created the recipe to please his very pregnant wife who struggled with morning sickness. Butter, heavy cream, cheese, and pasta to the rescue!
This morning sickness cure can now be purchased jarred or frozen and is on nearly every Italian restaurant menu across the country. Fettuccine Alfredo is an indulgence that we tend to “indulge” in way too often.
Now you can have your Alfredo and eat it too. Just make it at home. The Abra Pimped way. (more…)
Hearty penne marinara is a staple in my home. About once a week, my husband I start craving this classic Italian dish and get to cooking the best way we know how. But, I can guarantee you it’s nowhere close to ‘classic’ Italian style, since the sauce most often comes from a jar and the noodles come from a box and usually end up overcooked.
But thanks to chefs like Bobby Flay who take the seemingly complicated meals and break them down into totally doable dishes, we’re able to recreate regional favorites right in our own home.
Flay – longtime chef, restaurateur, and Food Network star – recently stopped by The Today Show to dish out his tips on what to do – and what not to do – wen it comes to classic penne marinara.
With his guidance, we can avoid those common cooking mistakes and finally master the process that yields a perfect tomato sauce and the quintessential al dente noodle. Flay even throws in his tips for garlic bread, too. (more…)
So you’re an Italian who loves good food, even better wine, and you have your name behind some of the finest restaurants in the country. Sounds like the good life, right? Then, you visit the doctor and learn that you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and you’re going to have to make some changes. For many, this would be an end to the road of a life of feel-good, taste-good indulgence. However, it might have just been the beginning for Joe Bastianich.
“I’m enthusiastic to share how healthy living transformed my own life,” Joe told us in an interview. His diagnosis of these early indicators for heart disease forced him to make some changes in his lifestyle, and the result is inspiring and attainable for anyone. He credits diet, exercise and medication with helping him to “no longer have any medical conditions.”
Joe has previously taken Lipitor, a popular cholesterol-lowering drug that he also represents, and follows a heart-healthy diet and a daily fitness regimen which he credits with helping him to change the course of his health. “Lipitor, regular exercise, and a new way of thinking about food and eating,” point this proud Italian in a better direction.
He says he fell in love with running, something that is “very much a part of my life.” Last year he completed the world championship ironman competition in Kona, Hawaii, and next month you’ll see him running the LA Marathon. He’s looking at a half-ironman competition in Italy this summer, too. For him, “running, cycling, and swimming is my personal time, my meditation time.” More than his fitness and general health, his training contributes to his “mental health and overall productivity.” He takes time every day to eat right and allow himself to train. (more…)
When most people think of Italian food they think of heaping piles of pizza, pasta and chicken Parmigiana drenched in tomato sauce and greasy cheese. While it’s true that this is a picture of the food served at many Italian restaurants in America, authentic Italian cuisine is entirely different. Even though Italy is known for its spaghetti Bolognese and eggplant Parmigiana, there are 20 regions in Italy, each with its own unique cuisine. When you’re dining out at an Italian restaurant, you can start your meal with a fresh salad, keep your portions small and opt for red sauces over heavy cream-based options. When you’re cooking at home, it’s important to dismiss the traditional notion of Italian food to keep your meal delicious and satisfying without taking a break from your healthy diet. (more…)
The culinary preferences of Americans are as diverse as our population. Unfortunately, the way most of us enjoy our Mexican, Chinese and even Italian food is very Americanized – fried, greasy and cheesy. When we start thinking about all the things we have to “give up” to lose weight, our favorite internationally inspired dishes are the first to go. However, the newBiggest Loser Flavors of the World cookbookwill put all of your quesadillas, potato pancakes, and even tiramisu right back in your diet. Chef Devin Alexander is the recipe author for the new cookbook, as she has been for all of the Biggest Loser cookbooks (last year she released the Biggest Loser Desserts cookbook). Devin told us “We really dug deep to find ingredients that were really healthy.” She boasts about the book an all-natural cookbook. So, not only are the recipes all under 400 calories, they also use wholesome ingredients. She’s “all about decadence” and “figured out ways not to sacrifice flavor.” Biggest Loser Flavors of the World is a first-of-its-kind cookbook: it’s so all-natural Devin couldn’t even use evaporated cane juice or fructose and the recipes are lower in fat, calories, saturated-fat, cholesterol, etc. Best of all, it’s still really decadent.
Listen now to our interview with Devin. Her enthusiasm for the book is completely contagious. You’ll hear how she and her team worked to put together the recipes, the stringent parameters Biggest Loserhad her working within, and her list of favorite recipes from the book.
Navigating the menu at an Italian restaurant can pose many challenges and if you are the type to shy away from carbs then it can become that much harder. I am a big supporter of well-balanced meals, which entails a mixture of protein, carbohydrates and fat. These types of meal combinations can be found in many areas on the menu at an Italian restaurant, but it’s easy to get tripped up with all cheesy goodness that is woven throughout as well.
From pizza to parmesan and even baked ziti there are some pitfalls that if avoided will help keep your dining experience a yummy, but healthy one, too. (more…)
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