Veggie Meatloaf With Checca Sauce — The Weekender

by in Recipes, January 6th, 2012

veggie meatloaf with checca sauce
When I was growing up, my sister and I always sat down in September and set our new school year resolutions. It just seemed like the right time to initiate new habits as we entered new grades and classrooms. Of course, these lists featured childhood basics like “Be nicer to my sister” and “Remember to help Mom clean the cat box.” Nothing earth-shattering, but it was the principle of it that mattered.

To this day, fall has always felt like the more appropriate time for fresh starts to me than January. However, in my current life as a freelance writer, I need all the structure and discipline I can get. So I’m taking advantage of this new year to institute change.

Chief among my resolutions this year is to eat better (I can’t imagine I’m alone in naming this as a goal). One recipe that I’ve bookmarked for regular rotation in this new regime is this Veggie Meatloaf With Checca Sauce from Giada. It’s built on a base of brown rice and red lentils and features carrots, celery, onions, tomatoes and spinach (talk about packing in the good stuff!). It includes egg and cheese for flavor and binding and is topped with a tasty blender sauce that is good on just about anything (if you have any left over, heap it on scrambled eggs). It is a many-stepped recipe, which means you’ll want to cook it on a chilly Sunday afternoon and then eat the leftover for lunch on Monday. Just the thing for The Weekender.

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Perfect Portions for Smarter Eating

by in Recipes, January 6th, 2012

It’s a new year — time for fresh starts, changed perspectives and, of course, solemn promises to never eat “bad” foods again. Carbs, sweets, deep-fried anything — it’s all gone for many as of January 1. At least until February 1.  This year, however, instead of making sweeping declarations of limited eating and swearing off your favorite foods, learn how to savor these dishes in moderation using easy-to-remember portion control guidelines. Check out below examples of portioned plates and find what constitutes a single serving of food to prevent overeating. Then, cook up our easy and lightened-up versions of your favorite meals, so that you can have your cake and enjoy it, too.

Pasta or Rice: Just one cup of these starches (pictured above) equals a serving and, when plated, is similar in size to a tennis ball.

More perfect portions for the new year »

Celebrity Cook-Off Caption It: Pucker Up

by in Shows, January 5th, 2012


The Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-Off is heating up between Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri’s famous contestants. With just one week of the challenge under their belts, the seven remaining finalists have realized that this competition is anything but a cakewalk and that they’ll need to step up their games to win $50,000 for the charity of their choice. This week, the celebrities show off their skills in one of area of the kitchen that comes naturally to few: baking.

In this behind-the-scenes shot of Sunday’s episode, music superstar Joey Fatone takes a quick break from preparing his sweet surprise to show his team leader a little friendly affection. Is Joey thanking Guy for giving him the secret to baking success? Will Guy’s dream team have what it takes to pull off a second win over Team Rachael, currently down one member?

Before you tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c to find out which celebrity goes home next, we’re challenging you, Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-Off fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this moment in the comments below.

Almond Butter — Off the Beaten Aisle

by in How-to, January 5th, 2012


Most of us have plenty of ideas for using whole almonds. Eat them whole. Bake them into treats. Scatter them over salads or green beans.

But what about almond butter — toasted (and sometimes salted) almonds that have been ground to a peanut butter-like consistency?

After cranking out a few AB&J sandwiches, most people push the jar of almond butter to the back of the refrigerator. Time to pull it forward because almond butter is easy to use in all sorts of delicious ways in numerous cuisines.

Let’s start with the basics. Almond butter is what it sounds like: ground almonds, usually with a bit of oil and salt added for texture and taste.

It’s not the same as almond paste or marzipan, both of which are made from finely ground almonds (but with a fair amount of sugar added) and used in baking.

Get the recipe for Mole-Style Pulled Pork Buns »

Ellie Krieger’s Double-Chocolate Brownies — Recipe of the Day

by in Recipes, January 5th, 2012


Whole-grain flour and plain low-fat yogurt lighten up traditional brownies, but rich chocolate, cocoa powder and a bit of butter help maintain their classic flavor.

Get the recipe: Ellie Krieger’s Double-Chocolate Brownies

How to Stretch Your Food Dollar: Food Storage Tips

by in How-to, January 4th, 2012


Last year The New York Times and other news outlets reported a scary statistic: Americans throw out approximately 40 percent of all the food we purchase. Let’s say you spend $100 a week on groceries — that’s like taking $40 and just tossing it in the trash. If you’re one of the many of us who are resolving to spend money more wisely in the new year, then taking a look at your grocery shopping and food storage habits and making some improvements will help stretch your food dollar even further. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be sharing helpful tips to make the most of the food you buy and help you avoid having to throw anything away.

1. Don’t let oil or nuts go rancid. Whenever I cook in a friend’s home, rancid olive and vegetable oil is the number one food sin that I see committed. Many people don’t realize that oil goes bad, so it’s very important to keep it (especially pricey olive oil) in a cool, dark place. Take the sniff test to determine if yours has gone bad: if it smells musty and off, it’s time to say goodbye. (And here’s an important food disposal tip: if you must throw it away, don’t pour oil down the drain; it’s terrible for waste-water treatment plants.) If you don’t use a lot of oil, avoid buying giant bottles so it won’t go bad before you use it up.

The worst offense you could commit »

Four-Cheese Pasta With Peas and Ham — Recipe of the Day

by in Recipes, January 4th, 2012


Gooey cheeses coat penne pasta, while bright peas and salty diced ham add heft to this 30-minute weeknight dinner.

Get the recipe: Four-Cheese Pasta With Peas and Ham

January Food Festivals

by in Events, January 3rd, 2012


Welcome to January 2012. It’s cold in some parts of the country, so most of the celebrations on our foodways are indoors and focused on staving off hypothermia — mostly with drink. Cheers to a new year and new ways to relish that which sustains our bodies and our minds.

Big Beers Festival, Vail, Colo., Jan. 5-7: Another month, another wonderful suds soiree to stave off the cold (or cool our keisters, in the case of the warmer seasons). This beer festival on the bunny slopes of the Rocky Mountains is one of several spirited occasions in January. For this 12th annual event, hefty beer, including Belgians, barleywines and sours, will be showcased during exclusive dinners, seminars (The Marriage of Good Beer and Good Music with Sam Calagione) and commercial tastings. A homebrew competition and a certified cicerone (i.e., beer sommelier) exam will also be held.

More food festivals in January »

Get Ready for Worst Cooks in America

by in Shows, January 3rd, 2012


Back in August 2011, FN Dish announced that Bobby Flay would be joining season three of Worst Cooks in America, battling it out against seasoned undefeated champ Anne Burrell. Now you can officially mark your calendars — starting Sunday, Feb. 12 at 9pm/8c, Worst Cooks returns with Anne leading one team and Bobby another. The country’s most hopeless cooks will compete for a $25,000 prize, which will be awarded to the winning contestant who achieves the most progress and best performance, in addition to bragging rights and victory for his or her culinary mentor.

In the season premiere, the 16 “recruits,” each nominated by family and friends for their atrocious cooking skills, arrive at Base Camp and attempt to impress Anne and Bobby with their signature dishes. Each week, the contestant with the least successful dish on each team will be sent home, while the remaining competitors will cook on.

Tune in: Sunday, February 12 at 9 pm Eastern/8 pm Central

Which team will you be rooting for? »