Friday, November 17, 2017

Asparagus & Egg Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette – Eat Well Challenge #30

Trying something new, with the promise of holiday feasts on the horizon to look forward to vs. behind us, it is a better motivator to help lose those holiday pounds before you even gain them.  So with three meals this week to help me reach my goal of the 30 Eat Well Meal Challenge I had set for myself as my New Year’s food resolution in January, it is the perfect way to feel a little less guilty with Thanksgiving around the corner.  Without the bacon, this asparagus and egg salad makes a great light meal or at least a filling side that would help you from overindulging elsewhere. 

Price:   $4 for 2 servings = $2 per serving

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Butternut Squash Soup – Eat Well Challenge #29

Butternut squash is what I get most excited for each fall so admittedly I might be just going a little overboard between roasting it for an autumn statement salad to a lasagna to pappardelle and now this soup, all within a month.  But at $1.79 each from Trader Joe’s for any size, how can I resist trying this new recipe for Butternut Squash soup that tastes so creamy and rich without any cream.  I had such faith that I would love it enough to make again, after 17 years I finally invested in a Rachael Ray recommended immersion blender from Cuisinart.  So much easier than having to transfer to a blender to process by batch, she was right that I did want to hug it after cleaning it. 

This soup is the perfect accompaniment to go with any leftover ham from Thanksgiving.  Put a few slices between a toasted torta roll with some melted cheese and it is like having a grilled ham and cheese sandwich to dip in the delicious soup. 


1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed (seeds removed)
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. butter
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
1 qt. low-sodium chicken broth


1.      Preheat oven to 400ยบ. On a large baking sheet, toss butternut squash and potatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, 25 minutes.

2.      Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium heat, melt butter and remaining tablespoon olive oil. Add onion, celery, and carrot and cook until softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Season generously with salt, pepper, and thyme.

3.      Add roasted squash and potatoes and pour over chicken broth. Simmer 10 minutes, then using an immersion blender, blend soup until creamy. (Alternately, carefully transfer batches of the hot soup to a blender.)

4.      Serve garnished with thyme.

Price:   $4 for 4 servings = $1 per serving

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Spaghetti Squash with Mushroom Ragu - Eat Well Challenge #28

With the holidays just around the corner, let’s be realistic, extra holiday pounds starting Thanksgiving is a given.  However, instead of waiting until January to make that New Year’s resolution to hit the gym or the trails for a few weeks to a month before it falls by the wayside, I thought dropping those pounds BEFORE the holiday even start this year might be a better idea.  That meant a combination of exercising more and adding more “eat well” meals that will coincidentally help me reach my New Year’s food resolution of 2017.  Yes, over 10 months into the year and I am still sticking to my New Year’s resolution - 

In just 3 ½ weeks, 3 lbs down for me and 7 lbs down for him.  With that kind of progress and turkey, stuffing, corn bread, and pie on the horizon, bring on the spaghetti squash!!

Spaghetti Squash with Mushroom Ragu Rachael Ray Show Recipe -

Price:   $8 for 4 servings = $2 per serving

Friday, November 10, 2017


It has been years since I’ve made souvlaki, ever since my Souvlaki spice seasoning expired and prior to me starting this blog.  All I needed was a nudge from Rachael’s recent show to remind me what I had been missing.  Although the original recipe I used in the past was 5 tbsp of souvlaki seasoning that consisted of minced onion, minced garlic, sea salt, spices, and black pepper mixed with 1/3 cup each of lemon juice and olive oil for the marinade, this combination that RR did was just as tasty.  With a small pork roast in my freezer, I cut that into cubes and cooked it via my original method per my notes below. 


  1. If you are using wooden skewers, make sure to soak them in cold water for at least an hour to prevent burning
  2. For my preparation, I threaded the pork cubes onto the skewers, brush with the remaining mariande and place onto a pan with a drip tray underneath (I used my broiler pan) and place in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes or until it has cooked thoroughly
  3. Halfway through cooking, brush them with EVOO and turn them over
  4. I bought a container of tzatziki from Trader Joe’s vs. making from scratch and served it on flatbread. 

Price:   $12 for 4 servings = $3 per serving


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Involtini di Frittata (Herb Frittata Roll Ups)

While the kuku - had a bunch of herbs and Persian spices running through the omelet, this Involtini is rolled around a creamy Italian herb pesto.  With the first frost just around the corner, my basil plant is coming to an end so this was a perfect opportunity to make use of it before Jack Frost nips at its nose.  With eggs just $2 for 18, this is cheap and cheerful!!

Involtini di Frittata Lidia Bastianich Recipe on Rachael Ray Show -

Price:   $2 for 24 pieces

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Honey Turmeric Chicken

Recently I discovered Santos Spice Products that fellow home cook Hazel introduced me to when I was looking for cardamom to make the Persian omelet kuku.  Predominantly an Indian specialty store, it offered a whole aisle of practically every spice you would normally find at the supermarket and more, like sumac.  For less than the price of a small supermarket sized bottle, you can easily get a 4-7 oz bag.  So in addition to the cardamom which now I need to find more recipes to use it in, I also picked up a bag of turmeric after a cousin in Hawai`i touted its anti-inflammatory properties.  Not a huge fan of just sprinkling on top of oatmeal like she does, I decided to try it out on this honey turmeric chicken recipe instead.  Overall, the flavors were not overwhelming as the honey tones down the pungency of the turmeric but at the same time it does make the pan difficult to clean when the sugar burns onto the pan.  So just make sure you have a Brilo pad or scrubber close by. 

Price:   $10 for 5 servings =   $2 per serving

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Lasagna with Butternut Squash, Roasted Garlic, and Brown Butter Sauce

When it rains, it pours, and this week we have been on butternut squash overload that began with an autumn statement salad to this lasagna and the Pappardelle with Autumn Pesto - planned for tomorrow. 

Since a bag of Tuscan kale can be used between this and to make kale pesto for that pappardelle, kale and my leftover spinach from the salad were my greens for this dish.  In theory, although it tastes really rich even without the sausage (which we left out), this lasagna is actually loaded with vegetables making you feel less guilty about having an extra serving.  

Warning since you are making your own “sauce” with the butternut squash, it takes about 1 ½ hours to make all the layers for assembly so plan accordingly to start early on a weekend, otherwise you will be eating at 9. 

Lasagna with Butternut Squash, Roasted Garlic, and Brown Butter Sauce
Rachael Ray Show Recipe -
Price:   $14 for 8 servings =   $1.75 per serving