Watermelon Gaspacho

I love this tangy and refreshing soup in the summer! You can serve it as a light lunch or serve it as an appetizer at your next summer BBQ. This is my version of the recipe I recently found in The NY Times from Chef Brian Streeter at Cakebread Cellers. Here it is!

Serves 8 (or 12 if appetizer portions)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped*

3 cups watermelon, cut in 1 inch cubes

1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped

1/2 large red pepper, coarsely chopped

1/2 bulb fennel, coarsely chopped

1/4 – 1/2 small red onion, coarsely chopped

2 T. Extra virgin Olive Oil

3 T sherry vinegar, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3 T finely diced watermelon (optional for garnish)

PROCESS

  1. To make tomatoes easy to peel, fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Fill a separate bowl with cold water and a few ice cubes to create an ice bath while water boils. Make a small X with a sharp knife in the bottom of the tomatoes just enough to penetrate the skin. Gently place the tomatoes in the boiling water and boil for 1 minute. Remove the tomatoes from the pot and place in the ice bath. You can now easily peel the tomatoes. Next, seed and coarsely chopped them and place in a large bowl. Place all the other fruits and vegetables in the large bowl together.
  2. In a blender, in batches, puree all the ingredients except the last two ingredients (salt and watermelon garnish). add a little bit of ice water (about 1 cup) to achieve a soup-like consistency. Season with salt, taste and add a little more vinegar if necessary. Chill Thoroughly.
  3. Divide the soup among eight cold bowls or 12 small appetizer cups. Garnish each serving with a spoonful f diced watermelon. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil if desired and serve.

3 Step Lentil Soup

What could be better than an easy and savory soup that’s chock full of vitamins and nutrients? It’s low in fat and high in fiber and protein too. Sometimes I modify this recipe and toss in a handful of cherry tomatoes while cutting in half the amount of crushed tomatoes. I make up a large batch and store it in the fridge for a quick but satisfying meal during the week. It also freezes well.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped in 1/2 inch dice
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (or 1 T fresh)
  • 2 cups dry lentils (I like red)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup spinach, rinsed and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  • Step 1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook and stir until onion is tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and basil; cook for 2 minutes.
  • Step 2. Stir in lentils*, and add water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until lentils are tender, at least one hour.
  • Step 3. When ready to serve, stir in spinach and cook until it wilts. Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper; taste and adjust as needed.

* Don’t forget to rinse the lentils well before placing in the pot as this removes some of the indigestible sugars that can cause you to feel bloated and gassy and also removes any dirt or debris.

Nutrition Facts 

Per Serving:

Lentil Soup Nutritional Facts

Servings Per Recipe: 8
Calories: 349

% Daily Value *

Protein: 18.3g 37 %

Carbohydrates: 48.2g. 16 %

Dietary Fiber: 22.2g. 89 %

Sugars: 3.3g 

Fat: 10g 15 %

Saturated Fat: 1.4g 7 %

Vitamin A 85 %

Niacin Equivalents: 5.7mg 44 %

Vitamin B6: 0.5mg 33 %

Vitamin C: 13.3mg 22 %

Folate: 333.7mcg. 83 %

Calcium: 98.1mg 10 %

Iron: 6.2mg 34 %

Magnesium: 104.4mg 37 %

Potassium: 969.5mg 27 %

Sodium: 130.5mg. 5 %

Thiamin: 0.4mg 39 %

Calories From Fat: 90.1

Gaby Inspired Pan-Roasted Eggplant

Ingredients

  • 1/4 to 1/3c. olive oil
  • 1.5 lb. baby eggplant (Japanese or Baby variety), sliced in half lenghthwise and diced into 2-3 inch pieces if Japanese and larger variety of eggplant
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Vinaigrette-
    • 2 T. lemon joice
    • 1/2 c. olive oil
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/2 c. grated Pecorino (or your favorite hard cheese. I like Spanish Manchego)
    • Kosher salt & pepper to taste
    • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Process

  1. Make your vinaigrette and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add eggplant and turn often for about 15 minutes. Add more oil if eggplant starts to burn- you want it to caramelize.
  3. Transfer eggplant to a large bowl and toss with (more oil!) about half of the vinaigrette.
  4. Save the rest of the vinaigrette for your salad.
  5. Sprinkle with more Pecorino if desired and serve.

Thai Marinated Cucumber Salad

This sweet and tangy salad is a perfect side dish all year around.  It is super easy to make and the flavors get even more delicious as it marinates.  Allowing it to marinate at least 10 minutes is key.  If possible, allow it to marinate over night as I think it is even better the 2nd day. 

 Makes: 4 Servings

Time: 20 minutes to overnight

  Ingredients

  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Cucumbers
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 2-inch Piece Ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 Small Bunch of Thai Basil (optional)

Instructions

1.Prepare the ingredients:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and mince the garlic and ginger.  Trim off and discard the ends of the cucumbers. Cut the cucumbers lengthwise and then again so that the cucumbers are spears.  Then cut into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Peel, halve and thinly slice the onion; place in a small bowl with the vinegar and set aside.

2. Assemble & marinate the cucumber salad:

In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, sesame oil, sugar, garlic and ginger, and as much of the onion-vinegar mixture as you’d like. Stir to thoroughly combine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and let marinate, stirring occasionally, for at least 10 minutes.

3. Finish & serve your dish:

Transfer the marinated cucumber salad to a serving dish; season with salt and pepper to taste.  Pick the Thai basil leaves off the stems; discard the stems and roughly chop the leaves and add to the salad just before serving.  Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Holiday Chex Mix

1Makes 8 cups

I’ve added my own little twist to the old time favorite Chex Mix around the holidays.  This party mix can even be enjoyed by your guests with dietary restrictions or gluten free preferences.  It’s a modified recipe from the original Chex Mix.  I nix the Wheat Chex, use gluten free pretzels, and also add my own little twist.  Your guests will be coming back for more so you might want to make two batches!

Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion power
2 teaspoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup pretzels (gluten-free versions available from Snyder’s or Snack Factory)
1 cup fancy mixed nuts
3 cups Corn Chex cereal
3 cups Rice Chex cereal

Instructions

1. Melt butter in a 13X9 in baking dish in a 250 degree oven.
2. Remove dish from oven and stir in the seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce.
3.  Add cereals, pretzels and nuts and stir until coated.
4.  Bake @ 250 degrees for 45 minutes stirring every 15 minutes or so.
5.  Remove from the oven and cool (if you can keep your family from nibbling)
6.  Store in an airtight jar or large ziplock bag.

Skinny Lasagna

DFTSI - Skinny Lasagna_9601

Thin sliced zucchini instead of lasagna noodles turns this into a delicious yet hearty low carb meal.  You won’t even miss the pasta!

Skinny Lasagna

Cook Time: under 60 minutes        /            Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb. 85% lean ground beef
  • kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 – 24 oz jar tomato basil pasta sauce ( I like Bertolli)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil (plus a few leaves for garnish (optional)
  • 5 shakes of italien  herbs (about 1/2 tsp.)
  • 1 large or two medium zucchini (sliced 1/8″ thick using a mandolin)
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1-2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Pear Snack Bites

DFTSI Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Pear Bites_6428Sometimes you just need something sweet and crunchy. It’s tempting to reach for something pre-packaged that’s easy and tasty but makes you feel guilty right after you put it in your mouth.  Not these.  They are crunchy and satisfying while also being high in nutrition Get your snack fix with this easy to prepare treat that you can feel good about.

Preparation: 5 minutes
Servings:  2
Ingredients: 4
Calories: 200/serving

Ingredients

1 medium pear
4 Tablespoons  PB2 (Powdered Peanut Butter)
2 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons mini chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons shredded coconut (I like it toasted)

Preparation

In a small bowl, mix PB2 with 2 Tablespoons of water.

Slice the pear into 8 -10 wedeges

Spread peanut butter mixture thinly onto pear wedges and place on either a serving platter or 2 individual salad plates.

Sprinkle with coconut and chocolate chips. Enjoy!

 

Zucchini Rice

There’s a new healthy rice substitute that is SP friendly*. With just a few simple ingredients and little effort to prepare, our zucchini rice recipe is the side dish you’re going to be making all summer long. 

MAKES 4 SIDE-DISH SERVINGS
START TO FINISH: 35 MINUTES

INGREDIENTS
4 zucchini, ends trimmed
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS
1. Grate the zucchini on the coarse side of a box grater. Squeeze the grated zucchini with your hands and drain off the excess liquid.
2. Add the salt to the zucchini and toss to combine. Transfer to a strainer and drain, squeezing occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes.
3. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and zucchini to the pan, and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the cheese until combined, and season with salt and pepper.
5. Serve immediately, warm.

* SP = Standard Process Purification Program