Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Spaghetti Squash + Roasted Tomato & Mozzarella

I've been on the hunt for great recipes using tomatoes. After all, it's summer, right? I've had a tendency in the past to buy boxes of cherry tomatoes, only to forget about them, finding them wrinkly and moldy (gross) in the back of the fridge weeks later. Not this time. 

I'm settling comfortably into fellowship and really starting to get into the groove of things. My husband is on a somewhat less friendly schedule, in the surgical intensive care unit. It's funny how easily we have gotten used to him not having to take in-house, overnight calls (thanks to a night hospitalist team). Now, he has to take in-house call once a week for this month - and it's like, say whaaa???

Despite the fact that my fellowship hours are very lifestyle friendly, the summer heat is making me sluggish...and less apt to turn on the oven. So when I came across this recipe calling for roasting tomatoes at 400F for 20 minutes, my first thought was "no way - I'm going to broil these in half the time". It worked. Yes, I know - broiling on low heat is also 400F, but I'm impatient. And in the dead of July, just the thought of cooking by convection is painful. Plus, I hate having to wait for the oven to beep when it's done preheating. I know it's not right, but sometimes I just shove everything in there before it's officially preheated. Ok, you get my drift.

I like this recipe because although it requires a few steps, you don't have to do them all at once. I accomplished this by roasting the squash one night (along with some sweet potatoes). That night, I shredded the squash and kept it in the fridge. The next day after work, I quickly broiled the tomatoes, threw everything together, and had a delicious, healthy bowl of veggies ready for dinner. Even my husband (who often protests "too many veggies!!!") liked this one. I already knew he was keen on spaghetti squash, so with the addition of some pizza-esque flavors (tomatoes, basil, mozzarella), failure was almost impossible. In fact, I'm pretty sure if I put tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella on...I don't know, say - a piece of celery, he would somehow find it delicious. 

I also like this recipe, because I'm fairly certain my Dad would love it too (right Dad?). I definitely inherited my food preferences from him, because we share a strong preference for healthy fruits and vegetables, especially starchy ones (sweet potatoes, and his all time favorite: kabocha squash). That, and a love of all things sweet - especially carrot cake.

Back to the healthy stuff:

Spaghetti Squash + Roasted Tomato & Mozzarella 
Adapted from Midwest Living

Makes approximately 2 cups & serves 2 (you will have plenty of leftover squash)


One 2 lb spaghetti squash, halved and seeded

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Salted butter, approx 1 tbsp

1 pint cherry tomatoes


One 8 oz container of cherry sized mozzarella balls

Handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped

Pecorino romano (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 375F. Brush squash halves with olive oil, and roast for 30-40 minutes until tender. Remove from oven, cool, and shred squash

2. While squash cooks, brush cherry tomatoes with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and oregano. If completing this the same day as the squash, you can simply bake the tomatoes for 20 minutes alongside the squash. If on a different day, set broiler on low and broil for 10 minutes until tomato skins are just starting to split

3. Remove tomatoes from under the broiler; gently press down on tomatoes to release their juices (careful, they will squirt)

4. Mix 2 cups of spaghetti squash (reheat if necessary) with 1 tbsp butter. Then toss in tomatoes and mozzarella (top with as few or as many mozzarella balls as you like. Since they come refrigerated, you may need to heat them up slightly before you add them to your dish).

5. Season with more oregano, salt, and pepper to taste. Top with chopped basil leaves, a dusting of pecorino cheese (optional), and serve

You will have several cups of leftover shredded spaghetti squash - I enjoyed mine the next day with some butter, herbs, edamame, and pecorino (ran out of tomatoes, but was still delicious).

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you enjoy this easy, beautiful squash recipe! Let me know how it turns out for you.


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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Edamame Guacamole

Have you been to the Whole Foods Market blog? They have some great recipes...and this is one of them. Lately I've been on an edamame kick - usually, I add them in my salad at lunch. I love the nutty flavor and texture, plus more importantly - they're a great source of protein and fiber, which keeps me full.

We are really trying to incorporate more fruits and veggies into our meals (well, who isn't these days?) We're having a good go at it, although there are times when fellowship schedules are less than conducive.  When time permits, I methodically plan out our grocery shopping list, cook over the weekend, and plan meals for the week. Of course, as we all know, there are other weekends: weekends on call, or weekends out of town, or too-tired weekends that simply do not lend themselves to meticulous planning and cooking. 

That's why I'm always on the lookout for an easy, healthy recipe that's downright unfussy. This edamame guacamole fit the bill. I almost never buy fresh edamame pods; I prefer the frozen beans, so I can have a permanent stash in the freezer. Avocados are a little bit less robust than frozen beans, but they keep pretty well in the fridge. 

This guacamole takes about 5 minutes to make, and roughly chopping some onion is all the prep work you'll need to do. It has the familiar rich and creamy taste of avocado guacamole, but it feels a little more solid with the edamame. This dip will fill you up - no surprise, since it's packed full of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. We enjoyed ours as part of a light vegetarian meal. If you love edamame, try this one out! 

Edamame Guacamole
adapted from the Whole Foods Market blog


1 small avocado

1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed

1/4 white onion, roughly chopped

cilantro (optional)

juice of 1 lime


Put edamame, avocado, cilantro, onion, and lime juice in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Serve with crudités. 

This is really the perfect 5 minute recipe for these hot, humid mid-summer days, when the last thing you want to do is turn on a stove! Thanks for stopping by, and hope you are staying cool!


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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Big Sodas are back...

I was sad to learn that New York's ban on big sodas was rejected by the NY State Court of Appeals last week. Yes, it's a little bit paternalistic. Yes, it's not perfect - milkshakes and juices were not restricted, for example, nor were certain locations like convenience stores. Yes, people could just buy 3 small drinks instead of 1 large drink. But you know what? There's clearly no panacea for the obesity epidemic in this country, and I think this was one small step in the right direction.

As far as people complaining about having their personal rights infringed upon, there's nothing stopping anyone from buying 2 smaller sodas (or walking across the street to an "unrestricted" location). The ban would no doubt have been an inconvenience for some, but a potential benefit for the larger populace. I would liken the city's efforts to reduce massive overconsumption of processed food in this country to an individual trying to lose weight by simply not keeping certain foods in the house.  If we can't control ourselves (myself included - there's a reason why I don't buy Oreos...), I'm ok with the government stepping in a little bit to help. I know not everyone agrees with the ban, but I was really rooting for it! What do you think? Leave a comment!

Thanks for reading,


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