Tag Archives: roasted

Fresh versus Canned Pumpkin

Over the last few years, I’ve met several people who SWEAR by fresh pumpkin. They tell me I should never use canned pumpkin because you can really tell the difference between fresh roasted pumpkin and canned pumpkin. Well, this year, I decided to test it out.

First, I used a “pie pumpkin”. This is a much smaller pumpkin. Prior to roasting it, I used it as a table centerpiece. I have heard mixed responses in person and online as to whether you have to use a pie pumpkin or can just use a regular jack-o-latern pumpkin. From my experiences with my baked pumpkin dinner, I think you’d be safer using a pie pumpkin. Jack-o-lantern pumpkins sometimes have smooth, creamy interiors and sometimes are more stringy like a spaghetti squash. You wouldn’t want the stringy texture.

Here is a comparison of the purees. I roasted my pie pumpkin at 400 for about 45 minutes-1 hour, until it was fork tender. (I cut it in half and seeded it first). Fresh is on the right, canned on the left.

Fresh vs Canned Pumpkin Puree

You can see the canned is a much deeper orange color. And a slightly more watery, smoother texture. I could have added some water to mine to puree it to a similar consistency. I didn’t think it was necessary.

Here is the cookie dough. This is flipped from above – canned on the right, fresh on the left.

Fresh vs Canned Pumpkin Cookie Dough

This one is harder to tell a difference. The dough is a bit darker with the canned, but not too much. The doughs mixed up and baked pretty much the same.

And of course, the final product. Back to fresh on the right, canned on the left.

Fresh vs Canned Pumpkin Cookies

Any difference you see is in the lighting. There was not visible difference in the two cookies.

Taste? Well, I tried out both cookies on 18 people, not telling them what the difference was, asking if they had a preference. Most said they really couldn’t taste much of a difference. If they HAD to choose, maybe they liked canned better (although they didn’t know it was the canned one).

So my verdict: I’ll be buying canned pumpkin. To me, there wasn’t a big enough difference to justify the work and money of making my own.

But I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Nutrition, Recipes

Roasted Green Beans

I’m sure I have waxed poetic about my dislike of canned green beans on this site before. Thanksgiving means green bean casserole for most families. No offense to anyone out there who loves it, but just thinking about it makes me kind of sick. The only good part is the crispy onions on top.

My solution: can the cans. Get rid of the canned beans, the cream soup, and the canned fried onions. Start with fresh ingredients. Add some balsamic vinegar and my favorite new seasoning mix, and you have a vegetable side dish to be thankful for. Enjoy!

Roasted Green Beans (Serves 4)

Roasted Green Beans

1 pound green beans, trimmed
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon salt free garlic and herb seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil.

2. Toss all ingredients together. Spread in one layer on baking sheet. Roast for about 15 minutes, until desired tenderness. Toss again before serving.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 78
Protein: 2 g
Fat: 4 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 11 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sodium: 9 mg

Recipe notes: My new favorite seasoning blend is this one from McCormick. I put it on everything lately. But feel free to use whatever seasoning blend you like. Some garlic powder and Italian seasoning would also work well.

Source: adapted from Emeril Lagasse

1 Comment

Filed under Recipes

Curried Squash Soup

Back in college, I got to try recipes as part of one of my jobs. Butternut squash soup was the first recipe, and I loved it. Every autumn, I would make it again. And progressively, I liked it less and less and each time. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Then last October, I went to Panera for lunch one day and tried the Autumn Squash Soup. Light bulb!

All of that is to say, this recipe has evolved over time. I took my basic recipe and then edited it heavily with some copycat recipes I found online. The bad news is this is no longer a “one pot wonder” soup. The good news is that the flavor is a million times better. Enjoy!

Curried Squash Soup (Serves 8)

Curried Squash Soup

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 medium baking or yukon potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 ½ tablespoons canola oil, divided
½ teaspoon cinnamon, divided
¾ teaspoon curry powder, divided
pinch of salt
1 small onion, chopped
1 sweet apple (gala, red delicious, golden delicious), chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon garam masala
¾ teaspoon cumin
6 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
½ cup orange juice
Chopped cilantro, optional garnish

1. Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil.

2. Combine squash and both potatoes with 1 tablespoon oil, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon curry powder (make them heaping if you’d like), and salt. Toss together to coat vegetables. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet. Roast for about 30 minutes, until fork tender.

3. When vegetables are almost done, heat ½ tablespoon oil in a bottom of a large stock pot over medium heat. Add onion and apple. Saute 3-5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic, ½ teaspoon curry powder, ginger, garam masala, cumin, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Saute 1-2 minutes, until fragrant and heated through. Do not let this burn.

4. Add roasted vegetables and broth. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes, until vegetables are soft and flavors combined.

5. Remove from heat. Stir in orange juice. Blend soup until smooth. Add more juice or broth if needed to thin out the consistency. Serve warm, with cilantro if desired.

Nutritional Information (Amount per Serving):

Calories: 124
Protein: 4 g
Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: less than 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 22 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sodium: 449 mg

Recipe Notes: Adjust the level of curry based on your heat preference and the heat of your curry powder. I currently have pretty potent curry powder, so these might be low.

Source: adapted from several sources online

2 Comments

Filed under Recipes

Roasted Butternut Squash

I’m back! I had my baby at the beginning of August, so all the posts since then were written pre-baby. But today, I’m back! Please pardon if posts aren’t as regular as before. Cooking and writing will be a work in progress.

I feel like the internet explodes with pumpkin recipes as soon as September hits. I like pumpkin well enough, but I actually prefer the other fall flavors – apples, pears, and SQUASH (butternut, acorn, spaghetti, oh my!). This roasted squash is an incredibly easy side dish that is sure to please. And if you don’t have adventurous eaters (like my 2 year old), you can lie and call it potatoes. She totally fell for it and probably ate more than any of the adults at the table. Enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Squash (Serves 4-6, depending on your squash)

Roasted Butternut Squash

1 large butternut squash
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup lightly packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with foil.

2. Peel squash and remove seeds. Cut into ½” to 1″ cubes. Place on baking sheet.

3. Combine butter, sugar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Pour over squash. Stir lightly to coat.

4. Bake for 20-45 minutes, depending on how large you cut the squash. Squash will be fork tender. Toss in glaze before serving.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 128
Protein: 1 g
Fat: 6 g
Saturated Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 15 mg
Carbohydrates: 20 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sodium: 201 mg

Recipe notes: You could sub canola oil for the butter, but it is a different flavor. You can really cut the squash to whatever size you want. Cutting it up is the hardest part, so I have done bigger chunks than pictured before. It just takes longer to cook. I’ve also tossed a little cinnamon in here before. This is tasty as well.

Source: family cookbook

1 Comment

Filed under Recipes

Roasted Tomato Risotto

My family always had a garden growing up. Tomatoes were one of the few vegetables we grew well. I’ll admit, I haven’t always loved tomatoes. For the most part, raw tomatoes aren’t my thing, unless it is in something. Cooked is a different story. This risotto is a great way to use enjoy all of the awesome tomatoes in season right now.

Roasted Tomato Risotto (Serves 3-4)

Roasted Tomato Risotto

8 medium tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
5 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup arborio rice
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh basil

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

2. Toss the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, thyme, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet. Roast for 35 minutes. Set aside.

3. Heat stock until boiling. Reduce heat to a low simmer.

4. Puree ½ of the roasted tomatoes in a food processor.

5. Heat remaining olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onion, saute for 3-5 minutes, until beginning to soften. Add garlic; saute for 1 minute until fragrant. Add rice. Cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add ½ cup of stock; stir to scrape up any brown bits off the pan. When stock is mostly evaporated, stir in 1 cup of stock and the pureed tomatoes. Stir frequently. When it is almost evaporated, add another ½ cup. Continue stirring and adding stock as it evaporates until stock no longer evaporates and rice is tender.

6. Stir in the parmesan, basil, and remaining roasted tomatoes.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 341
Protein: 12 g
Fat: 9 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 6 mg
Carbohydrates: 54 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sodium: 362 mg

Recipe Source: adapted from Drizzle and Drip

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

Tilapia with Tomatoes and Green Beans

I was pretty oblivious to Lent and eating fish on Fridays until I got to high school. Even then, most of my exposure was making sure we chose somewhere to eat on Fridays that had fish for the one Catholic member of a traveling team I was on. Even during graduate school, I would forget. I once took pork egg rolls to a Friday gathering during Lent. Needless to say, my friends weren’t super thrilled with me.

While I still don’t observe Lent, I am making a conscious effort for my family to eat more fish these days. We all know fish is good for us – low in fat, low in cholesterol, high in omega-3s, good source of protein. But I find most people, like myself, are hesitant to cook fish. Maybe it is fears of “fishy” smells or tastes or overcooking it. I know I seem to hold fish dishes to a higher standard of needing to be “amazing” to be worth the effort.

This fish dish actually exceeded my expectations, which is pretty rare. The flavors were light, refreshing, and still filling. Even my toddler ate a few bites, although I did tell her it was chicken. Enjoy!

Tilapia with Tomatoes and Green Beans (Serves 4)

IMG_6352label

Cooking spray
4 roma tomatoes, sliced between ¼ and ½ inch thick
¼ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon black pepper, divided
½ tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces green beans, trimmed
¼ cup light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs
4 teaspoons horseradish mustard
4 tilapia fillets
2 lemons, sliced to get 12 slices total

1. Preheat oven to 450.

2. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray. Arrange tomato slices on baking sheet. Spray tomatoes lightly with cooking spray, then sprinkle half of the salt and pepper over the top.

3. Combine remaining salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, and green beans on a separate piece of foil; toss to coat green beans evenly. Fold foil to make a sealed packet around green beans. Place on baking sheet next to tomatoes. Bake tomatoes and green beans for 20 minutes.

4. Combine mayonnaise, herbs, and mustard in a small bowl.

5. Remove pan from oven. Scoot tomatoes and green beans to make room for fish. Place fish in a single layer on tray. Spread mayonnaise mixture evenly over top of fillets. Place 3 slices of lemon on top of each fillet.

6. Return pan to oven and bake for 6 minutes. Leave pan in oven, but turn broiler on to high. Broil 3 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork or reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees. Serve fish with tomatoes and green beans.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 207
Protein: 26 g
Fat: 8 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 61 mg
Carbohydrates: 11 g
Fiber: 3.5 g
Sodium: 395 mg

Recipe Notes: I admit to scanning this recipe when menu planning, and then being totally shocked when I went to make it. I missed that the original recipe included breadcrumbs on the fish, which I wasn’t in the mood for. If I want breaded fish, I’ll buy fish sticks, thanks very much. I also thought sliced tomatoes were much nicer for serving. The “sauce” needed a lot more herbs and mustard for my taste than originally called for. I had rosemary and thyme on hand, which was very tasty. The original recipe called for tarragon, which would also likely be delicious. I used horseradish mustard, but Dijon would also work nicely. Don’t be disheartened by the muted green color of the green beans when you unwrap the packet. I felt like they looked like they had come out of a can. But the taste was completely different and delicious.

Source: adapted from Cooking Light

4 Comments

Filed under Recipes

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I have a confession to make. I hate green bean casserole. I know this borders on insanity to many of you. I can’t stand canned green beans in any form, honestly. If I’m being completely honest, I hate any sort of green bean that hasn’t been sautéed or stir-fried. I know this is un-American. I’m sorry.

If by some miracle you are also in the anti-green bean casserole camp or are just looking for a different green vegetable side for your Thanksgiving table, I humbly submit these roasted Brussels sprouts. They caramelize into something almost sweet when you roast them. Tossed with a little bit of bacon and parmesan, I think your guests will thank you for skipping the green beans.

Enjoy!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Serves 4)

IMG_6106label

1 lb Brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon water
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 strip bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 500. Place rack in upper-middle position in oven.

2. Trim stems of sprouts, but keep a little to keep intact. Cut large sprouts in half. Toss sprouts with olive oil, water, and pepper.

3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread sprouts in an even layer in pan. Tightly cover with another sheet of aluminum foil.

4. Roast in 500 oven for about 10 minutes. Remove foil lid. Return to oven and cook for 10-12 minutes more, until sprouts are tender and lightly browned.

5. Toss cooked sprouts with bacon crumbles and parmesan cheese before serving.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 98
Protein: 5 g
Fat: 5 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 4 mg
Carbohydrates: 11 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sodium: 99 mg

Recipe Notes: This is a pretty straightforward recipe.

Source: only slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Low-iodine adjustment: skip the bacon and cheese. Add ¼ teaspoon of salt to sprouts before roasting. Toss with just a touch more olive oil before serving.

2 Comments

Filed under Recipes