Tag Archives: Brandi Koskie

Garlicky Mushroom Cavatappi Pasta Recipe: A Love Story

mushroom cavatappi pasta recipe

Do you remember the Book-It program? It’s Pizza Hut‘s program for rewarding kids for reading. I crushed Book-It. I mean, in first grade, I had piles of those free Personal Pan pizza coupons stacked up at home. About once a month, mom would take me to the neighborhood Pizza Hut to collect my prize. You were only allowed one topping. One.

Here kids, here’s a whole bag of Skittles, now let’s just eat one. Say what?

baby-bella-mushroom

Early on I narrowed in on my choice and never once deviated. At age six — through elementary school — it was a plain mushroom pizza for me. I love those little squishy, cheesy bites of fungi! Three nights ago I ordered pizza for dinner — mushrooms only. It’s really the best option. Even my homemade pizzas are piled high with thick slices of mushrooms, and the salami, bell peppers, and basil are just there for decoration.

This, however, is not about pizza. It is a lot about how I’ve found one more place to enjoy three of my favorite things — mushrooms, cheese, carbs. Pile ’em up, baby! (more…)

Sunny Side Up Breakfast Sandwich: Because We are Free to Eat Egg Yolks Again!

fried-egg-breakfast-sandwich

While most people like to take advantage of sleeping in on a weekend morning, I roll out of bed and start cooking. Similar to most other families, mine is a crazy kind of busy all week. But on Saturdays we get one another’s undivided attention over a hearty breakfast that fuels our equally busy weekends. Since I have a preschooler who rises at dawn, sometimes my version of sleeping in is letting someone else cook, and that’s where I found this sandwich.

One morning at a favorite local breakfast dive, I poured over the menu and couldn’t find anything I wanted. However, the BLT on the lunch menu called to me, especially with the mention of avocado and tomato slices. I asked them to breakfast-ize it with an over-medium egg. They did, and it was glorious. It seemed so obvious, yet, I’d never thought about it before!

Any guilt you’ve harbored for the last few decades over eating a fried egg, well go ahead and shake it loose. Cholesterol is no longer the nutritional enemy we’ve been told to avoid. Our Mary Hartley, RD explains why we are no longer relegated to egg white omelets. That’s why we’re celebrating over runny egg yolk sandwiches! (more…)

7 Health and Fitness Newsletters that aren’t Spam!

If you’re like most people, you receive dozens of emails each day that you never actually read before deleting. These are the messages you know are junk, yet somehow you keep resisting the urge to actually mark as spam. Maybe you actually took the time to subscribe to a certain email list, maybe you were added after making a purchase or signing up for a service. No matter why you get these messages, the beginning of the year is a good time for clearing out the clutter and your inbox is a great place to start.

Easier said than done, right? Wrong. Our own Brandi Koskie recently used unroll.me to see what subscriptions were lurking in her inbox and found 99 different email newsletters! She unsubscribed from about 65 of them.

reading email

Margo Donohue, aka Brooklyn Fit Chick, also sees a lot of surplus emails flow into her inbox. “On average I read and answer about 250 emails per day,” says Margo. “These are from people I need to deal with on top of the regular newsletters. I don’t always have the time to read even the newsletters I’m  interested in, but the ones I do read usually have snappy headlines linked to a few articles.” (Note to publishers: Keep it quick and simple!)

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Spice Up Fall with a Chicken Taco Soup Recipe That’s Simple and Satisfying

It is the crunchy season, aka fall, and that means it’s soup and stew season, too. Woohoo!

I love fall. Like lovvvve fall.

Not such a fan of the soups though. I’m more of a stew and chili kind of girl, if I have to be. But a few years ago, I found a compromise in my Crock Pot and it has become my family’s single most favorite meal of fall and winter.

I used simple, healthy Mexican ingredients — a food genre I swear I could eat every single day — stirred them up, and started filling bowls with Taco Soup.

chicken tortilla soup

It’s one of those slow cooker meals that fills the house with intoxicating smells for hours until you’re so hungry you’ll risk third degree burns on your tongue just to get that first taste! (more…)

Twice Baked Shepherd’s Pies Makeover a Favorite Winter Classic with Baked Potatoes

New on our “cozy food” seasonal menu rotation is a made-over classic. It’s the Shepherd’s Pie like you’ve never tried it before. It’s usually not my thing – loaded with lamb and mashed potatoes – two foods I don’t particularly care for. But I’ve got a pretty big thing for the baked potato.

I made a Shepherd’s Pie that’s a little leaner, bigger on flavor, and maybe even cuter.

Call them miniature. Call them single-serve. Call them dinner! These Twice-Baked Shepherd’s Pies are bound to be a staple of your winter menu.

twice baked potato shepherd's pie

I skipped the mashed potatoes because, like I said, I’m a little un-American and truly can’t stand the stuff. But, a baked potato, much less one that’s been baked twice, I’m all over that.

Then I cut the lamb and even skipped over the beef and went right to ground Italian turkey sausage – super lean with a great taste that fits right in here. (more…)

Score a Win with Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad at Your Next Football Tailgate

Nothing is better than tailgating season. And nothing is better than buffalo-flavored anything at a tailgate. Which would then suggest that this Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad is the best food of tailgate season. At least that’s how our math works.

It’s that big, bold buffalo flavor that you love, in a less fatty serving.

We’ve taken everything you love about a big platter of wings, blue cheese dip, and fresh veggie sticks and tossed it all with whole grain penne pasta. Think of it as the buffalo chicken platter deconstructed.

buffalo chicken pasta ingredients

Frank’s Red Hot is kind of the definitive sauce for buffalo-flavored dishes, but we also like the new buffalo flavor from Tabasco. Any hot sauce will work, and you can use as little or as much as your fierce taste buds can handle.

Loaded with crisp, fresh veggies, you aren’t as likely to pass these over when they are tossed with the pasta. And rather than an endless bowl of blue cheese dip, which can run more than 500 calories alone, we give you a generous 1/2-cup shake of the crumbles. All the flavor for around 50 calories! (more…)

You’ll Fall in Love with This Harvest Chopped Salad with Orange Ginger Vinaigrette

Summer is over but my salad bowl is still full! I’m a big fan of the big a– salad trend. Just a plate piled high with greens, veggies, berries, nuts and frankly anything else you want – it’s an entree that never disappoints. I always finish feeling full, satisfied, and not weighed down.

With Autumn as my muse, and my refrigerator quickly filling with the early seasonal produce, I crafted an entirely new entree salad. And it’s gooooood.

beet quinoa salad

“How is this even real?” was our photographer’s reaction upon tasting hers. And then she proceeded to demolish the rest of the food props.

Our Harvest Chopped Salad is like a farmers market truck unloaded in your kitchen. And then it rained down this homemade vinaigrette and what bloomed was just the best darn thing you’ve eaten in a while!

fall salad ginger vinaigrette

With red beets, carrots, quinoa, and ginger, this salad is not only hearty and satiating, but it’s also a great way to get your food experimentation on. If it’s been a while since you’ve tried some of these ingredients, or presents the first time, get after it! All of the complementary flavors blend perfectly together and it’s so darn pretty you won’t have any choice but to want to eat it. (more…)

Creamy Parmesan White Wine Sauce with Pasta for a Guilt-Free 419 Calories!

If I were going to be stranded on a desert island, and I could take only one food with me, it would be macaroni and cheese. It is the single most comforting comfort food. With its chewy noodles, gooey sauce, and creamy mouthfeel, I’d have no qualms about eating that every day.

But here in the real world, that’s hardly an option. The stuff in a box actually tastes terrible and is laced with chemical ingredients that kind of ruin the whole experience when you think about it. And if you really go for it at a restaurant, a bowl of chicken Alfredo at Olive Garden has 1500 calories! The classic mac at Macaroni Grill has nearly 700 calories… in the kids serving!

chicken alfredo
Nah, that’s not going to work. I’d like a big bowl of pasta, tossed in cheese sauce, and I’d like it for less than 500 calories.

This pasta in a white wine Parmesan sauce is very real, much more likely to happen that the desert island scenario, and comfort food I can enjoy without any discomfort of guilt. Why? It rings it at 419 calories for the whole bowl! (more…)

Make Mint Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread Your Favorite New Dessert

Who doesn’t have too much zucchini right now? It’s one of those good problems to have as summer turns to fall. A high yield garden means tons of fresh veggies for you, but honestly, how many zucchs can you eat in a day, a week? At some point you’ve got to start giving them away.

Or baking them. In to bread. The most delicious bread.

There’s zucchini bread, which sure, everyone loves. But now, there’s Mint Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread. It’s a real thing. We made it.

mint chocolate chip zucchini bread

It’s a very real thing baked full of freshly grated, garden-picked zucchinis, fresh mint leaves that could have very well come from your garden, too, and sweet little morsels of chocolate. (more…)

Pick a Peck of Homemade Sweet and Spicy English Cucumber Pickles

I will never buy pickles from the grocery store ever again.

I’ve seen the light.

I’ve tasted victory.

Why didn’t I figure this out sooner?

When I remember the summer of 2013, it will be the Summer of the Pickle!

homemade pickles

My grandfather planted a beautiful garden in his backyard this spring. We’ve been reaping the benefits of his hard work all season and I couldn’t be more thankful. My house doesn’t allow for a garden, so when he emailed and asked, “what would you like me to plant?”, I sent him a list that probably took him by surprise.

At the top of that list were English cucumbers. A thinner skin, sweeter taste, and fewer seeds, English cucumbers are a much better eating experience than the ‘ole standard cucumber. While not an issue when grown in the backyard, when bought at the store, English cucumbers typically come without the layer of wax found on regular cucumbers. And they’re prettier. For what that’s worth!

english cucumbers

Grandpa’s harvest has been good, which means we’ve had English cucumbers out the wazoo. A girl can only eat so many before she starts daydreaming about getting rid of cucumbers. So I asked my three-year-old sous chef, and pickle aficionado, if she’d like to spend a Saturday making pickles. She was delighted at the invitation and we set to slicing a heaping pile of cucs. (more…)