When paired with a balanced diet, I believe that everyone is entitled to a food splurge every once in a while. I would be quite a grumpy person if I had to rid myself of treats forever. But I recently came to a rude realization that these eating sprees have become part of my everyday routine.
Working in an office full of food enthusiasts, it’s not surprising to find myself eating cake at 2 p.m. on a weekday. My love for burgers has me taste-testing my way through New York City in search of the best. And I add bacon to pretty much everything, cookies included. I decided that I need to make these indulgences more of what they’re meant to be, guilty pleasures to be enjoyed on occasion.
When I had this epiphany, I was determined to have a veggie-packed dinner right away. I was craving something hearty and didn’t want to feel like I was sacrificing a delicious dinner just to be healthy. Ellie always seems to have a solution for that and her Tuscan Vegetable Soup really is comfort food at its finest. Generally for me, that category entails something like a big bowl of mac and cheese, but this soup really fit the bill for a satisfying and feel-good meal.
Here are few things to consider before making this recipe
Our sister site, GACtv.com, announced today that the Celebrity Chef Pavilion Stage at the first-ever Show Me Music and Arts Festival will feature three Food Network stars: Chefs Robert Irvine, Ellie Krieger and Aaron McCargo, Jr.
According to the site, “Chef McCargo, the 2008 winner of Food Network Star and host of Big Daddy’s House will start things off. Chef Krieger, host of Healthy Appetite will be up next and chef Irvine, host of Dinner: Impossible, Worst Cooks in America and Restaurant: Impossible, will close things out.”
Visit GACtv.com for more information about the event.
So I’m standing about 5 feet away from Mario Batali, both an Iron Chef and one of the most successful restaurateurs in New York City. I go up to him and say, “Excuse me, where did you get that hot dog?”
And do you know what he says? “Over there.” Mind you, this guy can cook dishes like fennel dusted sweetbreads with his eyes closed, and yet there he stood, eating a hot dog like we were at a Mets game.
Since I work on FoodNetwork.com’s healthy features: Winter Ideas from Eating Well, Easy Meals, Good Deals , 30 Days of Healthy Recipes, and Heart-Healthy Valentine’s Day, I love the idea of eating healthy. As I also like balance in these recipes, I seem to gravitate to Ellie Krieger’s choices. Good for you but still taste great, which is why they always sneak onto my “to-make” list.
Confession — my biggest weakness is sweets. I love to bake — cookies and cupcakes every day if I had time! I’m not afraid to use obscene amounts of cream, butter and sugar.
Sweets lie ahead. Read more.
The head honcho is traveling, so my latest spy mission wasn’t that covert. Without worrying about colleagues sneaking up behind me (forcing me to scramble for a work-related Internet window), I emailed my buddy and FN executive chef here at FN, Rob Bleifer for an interview. My FN inner fanatic soared midway through his email: “How about next week? Ellie Krieger is taping some web shows in the FN Kitchens right now.” Love. Ellie.
A brilliant idea came in the form of an interoffice envelope. I whipped up a label reading “Important for Rob Bliefer” and scurried to the kitchens. After a friendly hello from big-smiles guard Clarence, I slithered through the swinging door, towards Rob’s homey office. Cameras were rolling, lights were blazing and Ellie had spatula in hand.
She’s taping 12 shorts, called Healthy Meal Makeovers with Ellie Krieger. Don’t let the “healthy” term deter you. Ellie will be whipping up dishes like Better Beef Lasagna, Sesame Shrimp Fried Rice and an amazing veggie quiche. I hungrily watched the china-doll-esque chef create a healthy version of chicken pot pie….yummy. How the heck do you make chicken pot pie non-artery clogging? Ah…stay tuned. Think stir fry with down-home comfort. If only I could have snuck a taste…
Until next time…
Happy Resolution Keeping! ~ Secretary Confidential
(Today, we have a guest FN staff contributor to The FN Dish)
By Secretary Confidential:
I’m stepping away from my desk. Where to? The vending machines! This isn’t a casual snack, but an FN Vending Machine break. Depending on season, scents of chicken pot pie may fill our office.
Shall I select Paula’s amazing Frozen Chocolate Mousse Pie (i heart chocolate) or maybe her yummy Piggy Pudding? (Paula, I love ya but “piggy”? Not a great mental image while I’m digging in.) Ellie’s Spiced Chicken & Grape Skewers or Giada’s Spicy Bean Soup are healthy… Who am I kidding? I want the mousse.
Ok, clearly I’m a little FN delusional. Too much toner, too many stamps, WAY too much coffee! The vending machine doesn’t have Ina’s Chicken Pot Pie, though I’ve requested it as a replacement for Twizzlers. It’s your average, run-of-the-mill vendor. Candies, crackers…you get the idea. Each item only costs a quarter, but nothing fancy here.
I could sneak into the FN kitchens, hope the stars are aligned and find myself munching on a little sumthin’-sumthin’ that was tested for a show, challenge or cookbook. It’s all good there. Wait, is that Anne Burrell heading for a shoot in the kitchen? Definitely time for my snack break!