guest post: baked rigatoni with roasted vegetables

Thank you Jess from Ica Jell Eats for this wonderful recipe. I can’t wait to make it when I get back from Haiti! Be sure to check out her blog!

I have always loved Fall. It’s the meeting of most of my favorite things: warm days with cool nights, baseball and football, local breweries and their Oktoberfest brews and most importantly; fresh produce and hearty meals.

While perusing the Farmer’s Market last weekend, I saw the late harvests of eggplant, zucchini, peppers and onions. Immediately, this had me thinking about dinner. Well, most things get me thinking about dinner I suppose, but with this one, I think I was onto something delicious.

I got home and started ransacking the fridge and pantry; I found a batch of homemade marinara in the freezer and a box of rigatoni keeping the shelf from getting dirty. Hey, wait! Didn’t I see some goat cheese somewhere? Yes, yes I did.

Something you need to know about me: I love cookware. I love it so much I own over 40 individual ramekins of various sizes. I knew I had to put whatever this was going to be into some of those ramekins.

I started the pasta boiling. I chunked up the veggies. And then I thought….Roast them. So they went into the oven with a little olive oil. By now, my house was smelling all kinds of awesome. I warmed the sauce, added the pasta and veggies, and divided it between six of my previously mentioned ramekins. Then I topped it with some grated parmesan cheese and tossedit into the oven.

And that was when I realized I had forgotten the goat cheese. Oh well, no harm, no foul.

What came out of the oven was perfect! Piping hot pasta with a crisp cheese topping and those slightly over cooked pasta edges that everyone loves! Hey, where did that goat cheese go? A few dollops on top and the heat from the pasta melted it just enough to give everything a creamy finish.

As I put down my fork, and finished my glass of Malbec (which goes perfectly with this dinner, by the way), I thought to myself, “Fall really is the greatest time of year.”

I’ve included the recipe below; I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Baked Rigatoni with Roasted Vegetables - 6 servings

  • 1 pound rigaoni
  • 1 eggplant, peeled & diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups marinara sauce (homemade is best, but store-bought will do)
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 3 oz. goat cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Place vegetables on large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until softened and slightly charred, about 45-60 minutes.
  3. Cook pasta according to manufacturer’s directions. Heat marinara to a simmer.
  4. In large bowl or saucepan, combine roasted vegetables and pasta. Add sauce and stir to combine.
  5. Spray 6 individual serving dishes or a 9×11 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place pasta mixture in baking pans and top with parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes until cheese is browned and sauce is bubbly.
  7. Crumble goat cheese over top of dish. Allow pasta to rest at least 10 minutes before serving.

*Looking for a lower carb alternative? Roast 1 pound of chicken breast, top with the veggies, sauce and cheese, bake at 400° for 30 minutes and you’ll have a delicious Catticatore-style dinner in no time!

review: blake’s mac & cheese with chicken

Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who gets sucked into the frozen aisle at Whole Foods. I literally scour those aisles every time I’m there. Well, I guess I do that to all of the aisles. (Don’t want to miss any new products!) :)

I’ve seen Blake’s products for years at food shows and in the freezer, but since I don’t purchase a lot of frozen meals, I had never tried them. But I knew there would be a time when I needed a delicious dinner that didn’t require much from me. And that is the beauty of frozen foods, right? You may not know when you are going to need them, but if you need them is never a question.

Fan of:

  • the crunchy topping
  • the creamy cheese sauce
  • the organic chicken (and a decent amount of it)
  • decent nutritional stats (mac & cheese doesn’t exactly get a good rap, but this size keeps the calories and fat in check!)

Wished:

  • there was more broccoli (hey, I’m a Nutritionist!)
  • there was a bit more flavor, but it was perfect with some sriracha (and probably very kid friendly)
  • the portion was a little bigger, but when paired with a side of veggies it was actually pretty satisfying

Will I buy it again? You know I’m a sucker for family businesses, cute packaging and a convenient meal, so yes!  I also think that a certain someone will love the Shepard’s Pie so that’s next on the list.

guest post: juicing

I met Emily through my wonderful sister-in-law Mary Beth . Emily and I have a shared interest in (obsession with?) nutrition and cooking, and when she asked me to write a guest post for A Nutritionist Eats, I was incredibly flattered. Thanks for the opportunity, Emily!

What can I say—Emily likes her wine, I like my beer (and my juice)

My interest in nutrition slowly evolved after years of dealing with Crohn’s disease. Prescription medications have a place in controlling Crohn’s and keeping it in remission, but I knew there had to be a way I could help myself from the inside. The disease affects the digestive system, so why not try to heal it through food?

Doctors recommended that I watch my fiber intake, which meant restricting fruits and vegetables. It’s tricky to limit fiber and still get all the necessary nutrients. How can a processed diet of Sprite, chicken ramen, goldfish crackers, and Jell-O help your body heal?

Enter juicing. With just 15 minutes and a pile of produce, you can get several servings of fruits and vegetables in just one sitting. There are myriad benefits to juicing. The concentrated dose of antioxidants you receive helps detoxify your body, cleanse your blood, and boost your immune system, while your stores of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes are replenished. Nutrients are easily and efficiently assimilated thanks to juice’s stripped-down state. You can add variety to your diet by incorporating many different fruits and vegetables, and juice is hydrating and energizing.

A quick search online will reveal recipes for any ailment, from anemia and acne to high blood pressure and the common cold. Juicing is also a great way to find balance again after traveling or a particularly rough night of drinking. (I know we’re talking health here, but I can’t wait to juice fresh tomatoes and herbs next summer for Bloody Marys!) I find that green juices in particular help curb my incessant craving for sweets. But the fact that freshly squeezed juice simply tastes so damn good is what will make juicing part of your food routine.

You don’t have to spend much on a juicer to get started. The model I purchased is affordable and easy to clean, two sticking points for many people when it comes to home juicing.

Sometimes I juice first thing in the morning and sip on it as I’m getting ready; lately I’ve found that having juice for dinner with a handful of almonds is a perfect weeknight dinner when I’m not too hungry.

It’s fun to experiment with different combinations, especially as my cravings and available fruits and vegetables change with the seasons. I would have to say, though, that nothing beats a glass of plain grapefruit juice on a crisp January morning. The vibrant pink color alone makes me swoon, and with just one taste, you’ll wonder how you ever ate the fruit with extra sugar sprinkled on top.

Here’s a recipe for one of my favorite combinations. Energizing iron, anti-inflammatory bromelain, bone-building vitamin K, and immune-strengthening vitamins A and C—you’d be hard pressed to find a better way to start your day. And oh! the flavor…do you remember the old Hi-C flavor Ecto Cooler? Well, this is it, only without the added sugar. Welcome to your new breakfast.


Adult Ecto Cooler

  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 3 generous handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1/3 bunch of parsley
  • ¼ pineapple
  • 2 celery stalks
  • ½ cucumber

 

Rinse all vegetables and cut as needed to fit into your juicer. Juice away, give it a stir, and enjoy!

Thank you Molly for making us all drool this morning, now I REALLY want a juicer! Looking forward to reading your blog soon!

 

in haiti

I’m back in Haiti this week and we should be in Thiotte today, busy working in the clinic. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I was in Haiti last December and to say that it changed my life would certainly be an understatement. You can read all about my 2009 trip below. Can’t wait to share this years trip with you!

Haiti: The Overview

Haiti: The People

Haiti: The Food

Haiti: The Market

Haiti: The Mission

Stay tuned for some great guest posts!