Who says you can’t whip up a delectable gourmet dinner for yourself? A solo supper can be so much more than cold leftover rotisserie chicken or a trip to the drive-through. I often crave pasta and cheese in all its glorious forms, but when I want to enjoy it with less guilt, I opt for lightening up a few of the usual ingredients, like using low-fat milk and stock instead of heavy cream or cream cheese, and reducing the amount of butter with olive oil. Trust me, this lighter version leaves nothing to be desired.
“Skinny” Mushroom Alfredo for One
A little sweet, a little smoky, and totally delicious—need I say more?
Chicken With Caramelized Onions, Sweet Potato Mash, and Orange-Chipotle Cream Sauce
I LOVE lemon sauce with pasta. Don’t get me wrong—a thick, zesty marinara is always good. But this lemon sauce is to die for. Tart, herbaceous, and nutty. Feel free to toss in your favorite protein or serve alongside a simple veggie, like the blanched haricot verts pictured here.
Nothing says comfort food quite like a big bowl of macaroni and cheese. This recipe is a lightened-up take on this classic dish—a sneaky way to boost your veggie intake and I promise you won’t be sacrificing that hearty, cheesy, gooey deliciousness of the real thing. And with one-pot cooking, clean-up will be a breeze!
One-Pot Butternut Squash “Mac and Cheese”
I never thought I’d see the day when a vegetable could pass for an acceptable pasta substitute. I was skeptical of the many spaghetti squash recipes I saw on cooking shows, but after finally experimenting with one per my New Years’ Resolution to eat fewer carbs, I was shocked—it’s pretty darn close to spaghetti! In my carb-favoring opinion, the “spaghetti” has a surprisingly firm texture and a subtly sweet and nutty flavor that I don’t mind at all. Plus, one squash yields a TON of “spaghetti,” and at only 30 calories per 1 cup serving, there is zero-guilt in devouring the whole plate.
Spaghetti Squash Marinara With Grape Tomato Bruschetta
I don’t know about you, but vegetarian chili usually leaves me wanting more—but not with this recipe. Sweet potato takes the place of a meat because it’s hearty and filling. For that perfect balance of sweet and spicy, throw in smoked paprika, cayenne, and chili powder. Topped with the easiest cornbread croutons you’ll ever make, and you’ve got a delicious vegan chili ready in under a half-hour.
Sweet and Smokey Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili With Cornbread Croutons
Bangers and mash is a traditional British dish, but of course you’ll also find it in Irish and Scottish cuisine as well. In case you didn’t know, “bangers” are sausages and “mash” is mashed potatoes. Sometimes, the dish is smothered in a rich brown gravy. If you’ve ever ordered this dish in a London pub or seen pictures of it, it’s not the most appetizing plate of food and it tends to be pretty bland. Let’s be honest, it looks like a big pile of…you know.
So at the risk of offending all of my ancestors, I attempted a little Italian-English fusion last night. My concoction appeared on our dinner plates after I spent a half-hour staring at the time-to-shop-again contents of my fridge—smoked mozzarella chicken sausage, a 6-pound bag of Yukon Gold potatoes, and just the essentials in my pantry.
But with a little plating finesse and an Italian twist, you can have a tastier, upscale version of this traditional comfort fare.
Italian Bangers and Mash Continue reading
What’s the best part of your Jersey shore vacation? It’s probably not the crowds. It’s definitely not the traffic. It’s got to be the food! From sweet treats to handheld feasts, beach bites are simple, delicious, and best enjoyed in the company of your friends and family.
Check out my picks for NJ’s best summertime bites and a personal recipe for homemade copycat boardwalk fries in TimeOFF>>
Homemade copycat boardwalk fries
(Pictured above: From Nina’s in Princeton, a Yukon gold mashed potato waffle topped with BBQ pulled pork. It’s as amazing as it looks.)
Make your ordinary Wednesday night dinner extraordinary with a trip to Origin French Thai on Somerville’s Division Street. You’ll feel instantly transported with bold flavors and inviting decor.
Check out my review of Origin French Thai in TimeOFF at Centraljersey.com>>
Rotisserie chicken is my secret to pulling together a comforting, cheesy, ooey-gooey meal in a pinch. This recipe for enchiladas is a basic go-to recipe of mine. Feel free to add to, subtract from, or experiment with this recipe as a launch point for your own creation. I love making these enchiladas spicy (well, I like almost everything spicy if I can) because the guacamole balances the heat with a cooling creamy goodness. The sky’s the limit!
“Instant” Pulled Chicken Enchiladas & Fresh Guacamole