Watch Cooking Channel

Author Archive

Meatless Monday: Red Lentil Salad

lentil salad

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

Dried beans can take a long time to cook (dried black beans, chick peas, kidney, etc.), but lentils are a surprisingly quick-cooking legume. They’re also a great, healthy addition to a vegetarian’s pantry; lentils provide protein and complex carbohydrates, and they’re full of fiber to keep you satisfied longer. Plus they’re super inexpensive, so you get major bang for your buck (less than a buck in most cases.)

A cheap, healthy, filling, vegetarian protein source? Sounds like a dream come true, right? But how do they taste? Lentils taste bean-like, but are pretty mild and take on the flavor of the sauce or spices they’re cooked in. Their texture is pretty bean-y but they hold their disc-like shape well (unless they’re cooked for a long time, like in lentil soup). They’re a staple in Indian and Mediterranean cooking and work well in stews, soups, curries and salads made with grains, vegetables or just lentils.

Continue Reading Meatless Monday: Red Lentil Salad

Meatless Monday: Butternut Squash Soup

butternut squash soup
Butternut squash soup shows up on restaurant specials menus from now through Thanksgiving, and rightly so: it is special. Butternut squash is in season right now, and when roasted, the flesh softens and the flavor deepens, making it ready to be pureed into creamy fall soup.

But while butternut squash soup is special, it’s not especially difficult to make at home. It takes a little bit of patience (you’ll have to wait about a half-hour for the squash to roast) but once the squash is cooked, you just need to simmer with some liquid, season and puree. If you have a hand blender, the process is even easier  — a hand blender allows you to blend soup right in the pot — but if you don’t, you can use a regular blender. Be sure to puree the soup in batches; if you over-fill the blender you could end up with a mess. (Think soup volcano.)

Continue Reading Meatless Monday: Butternut Squash Soup

Meatless Monday: Penne With Spinach Sauce

Penne With Spinach Sauce
Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?
The best pasta recipes — for weeknight dinners anyway — are the ones where the sauce is made in the time it takes to cook the pasta. Giada’s Penne With Spinach Sauce is one such recipe: the creamy, cheesy, garlicky spinach sauce comes together in seconds (just whiz is all up in a food processor) while the pasta is cooking, then the sauce, thinned with a little of the pasta cooking water is tossed with the hot pasta. It’s about as fast as mac and cheese out of a box, but one million times better (and better for you).

Look out mac-and-cheese-in-a-box makers, recipes like this one might put you out of business.

Continue Reading Meatless Monday: Penne With Spinach Sauce

Meatless Monday: Roasted Squash Chili Mac

chili mac
Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

Chili-anything is usually loaded with meat. Chili dogs, chili-cheese fries and the chili that comes with nachos at a restaurant — always beefy. If you want to start a big fight, tell a chili enthusiast that vegetarian chili is legit. True chili traditionalists believe that chili is made with meat, or it’s not chili at all.

Rachael Ray’s Roasted Squash Chili Mac is an exception to the everything-chili-is-made-with-meat rule. It’s made with roasted butternut squash and chili spices like chili powder, cumin and oregano, plus cinnamon and nutmeg which pair well with the squash. It’s creamy and cheesy like mac and cheese should be, but there’s nary a beef clump in sight.

Bonus: You can assemble the casserole ahead of time and bake it before you’re ready to eat.

Continue Reading Meatless Monday: Roasted Squash Chili Mac

Meatless Monday: Paella with Tomatoes

paella with tomatoes
Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

Paella is traditionally made with chicken, seafood and smoky chorizo sausage. Mark Bittman’s stripped-down, vegetarian version is not only meatless, but it takes much less time to make. It’s loaded with tomatoes, so you can use up the fresh end-of-season tomatoes that are everywhere now, but that will be gone quite soon. Best of all, smoked paprika stands in for chorizo, giving the rice dish its traditional flavor.

Continue Reading Meatless Monday: Paella with Tomatoes

Meatless Monday: Swiss Chard au Gratin French Bread Pizzas

french bread pizza
French bread pizza was on the menu every Friday at my elementary school cafeteria. I never once tried it (the plastic-looking cheese and brown-ish sauce freaked me right out) but I’ve always loved the idea of French bread pizza. It sounds somewhat foreign and exotic, to my 6-year-old self at least (I thought it actually was French), but in reality it’s just a great way to turn a store-bought loaf of bread (you can even use day-old bread) into a meal.

You can top your loaf with plain old sauce and cheese, or fancy it up a bit with those greens you bought but aren’t sure what to do with. To save a little time, make the Swiss chard au Gratin mixture (that just means greens in a creamy, cheesy sauce) ahead of time and bake everything before you’re ready to eat.

Continue Reading Meatless Monday: Swiss Chard au Gratin French Bread Pizzas

Meatless Monday: Every Herb Pesto

pesto recipe
Pesto is a great way to use up fresh basil, but what about all of the other herbs? I’ve gotten cilantro, parsley, chives and mint from friends whose gardens are overflowing and in my own CSA share, and I am never able to use them up fast enough minus the few sprigs that end up in a salad or snipped over scrambled eggs. I end up having to throw the extra away. I start out with good intentions — I’ll freeze them or dry them to use in the fall and winter. But I usually forget about them until I see the brown bunch in the back of the fridge.

Kelsey’s Every Herb Pesto is the best way to use up assorted fresh herbs and to make a super flavorful, tastes-like-summer sauce to spread on crostini, spoon over grilled vegetables, slather on sandwiches and swirl into pasta dishes. Pesto freezes well, so make a whole bunch and freeze it for when it’s all grey outside and there are no green plants to be seen.

Continue Reading Meatless Monday: Every Herb Pesto

10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Julia Child

julia child
Today we’re celebrating the 100th anniversary of Julia Child’s birth. Honor the queen of French cuisine by reciting Julia quotes all day long (in your best high-pitched Julia voice, of course), watching classic videos (like this one: Julia and the Chicken Sisters), browsing bloggers’ best Julia dishes, making a fancy French feast and by memorizing some Julia Child trivia to recite to anyone who will listen.

Better get started. Did you know . . .

Meatless Monday: New Macaroni Salad

macaroni salad

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

I’m totally creeped out by mayonnaise, from its greasy feel and yellowish hue to its gelatinous texture. Plus even if a mayo-laden salad comes straight from the fridge, I’m automatically scared that it’s been sitting out for too long. I know I’m not alone in this; mayo is polarizing — you either love it or hate it. I fall into the latter category, with one exception: I’m a full-time mayo-hater but I love deviled eggs. (Maybe because the mayo gets masked by the yolks? Who knows.)

Anyway, mayonnaise is gross; we covered that. But it’s also totally unnecessary in summer salads. Greek yogurt is cool and creamy without being greasy, plus it has a tangier (I think better) flavor than mayo, so it makes a good substitute for mayonnaise in potato or macaroni salads. It is still just as perishable as mayo, so don’t go thinking you can leave it out in the sun forever.

Continue Reading Meatless Monday: New Macaroni Salad

Meatless Monday: Baked Penne With Roasted Vegetables

baked penne
Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

So you don’t eat meat on Mondays. Or maybe you don’t eat meat ever. But tell the truth on this one — does eating less meat mean you eat more vegetables? Or do you subscribe to the pizza-and-beer-are-vegetarian philosophy? They are meatless after all, but mom was right about vegetables. You need to eat more of them.

Eating more vegetables shouldn’t be too hard; eat a salad with dinner, snack on crudite, or ask for a side of broccoli instead of fries. But eating more vegetables doesn’t mean that you now have to snack like a rabbit. You can easily add vegetables to the food you like anyway — pizza, lasagna, sandwiches — so you get a filling, comforting meal, plus all the good stuff that comes from vegetables, like vitamins and fiber and all that.

Continue Reading Meatless Monday: Baked Penne With Roasted Vegetables

c