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October is National Pasta Month and that’s reason for me to celebrate since my favorite comfort food (by far!) is pasta.  Ever since I was a little girl, my all time favorite dish was spaghetti and meatballs.  It brings back memories of Sunday dinners with family and I still use Sundays to cook up a big pot of tomato gravy for my family.  Pasta is really very versatile, as it can be combined with a variety of other things like meats, seafood, or, as I’ll show you, fruit and vegetables to create a flavorful and healthy meal.


Brown Butter Spaghetti with Baby Kale and Roasted Butternut Squash is perfect for the fall season.  I love pasta dishes like these, which are simple in that they combine a few flavors that complement one another.  This recipe includes cubed butternut squash, minced garlic, sliced onion, baby kale, sliced chives (for serving), butter and olive oil, Romano cheese, parmesan cheese, pasta and salt/pepper to taste.

pasta with kale and butternut
Photo courtesy of The Little Epicurean


Garden Veggie and Ravioli Skillet will satisfy your craving for a heartier pasta dish.  This recipe is loaded with veggies such as asparagus, corn, red bell pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, and cherry tomatoes.  The sauce is made from roasted pistachios, finely chopped, unsalted butter, fresh herbs (thyme, basil and oregano), minced garlic, lemon zest and juice, grated parmesan, and salt/pepper to taste.

Photo courtesy of Half Baked Harvest


Roasted Vegetable Lasagna is a lighter and healthier version as it contains plenty of veggies, which reduces the amount of cheese you need to use.  You’ll roast acorn squash, zucchini, and eggplant for layering.  Then you’ll also add spinach into the cheese mixture.  In addition, this recipe has you make your own Marinara sauce (don’t worry–its not difficult and you’ll be hooked on the fresh flavor!).

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
Photo courtesy of Eat Drink Binge


Another favorite is this recipe for Rustic Garlic Butter Pasta with Roasted Broccoli and Mushrooms.  What’s especially terrific about this recipe is you can make it in a half hour.  It’s a perfect weeknight dish (think Meatless Monday)–simply add a salad and you’re set.  The ingredients include whole wheat penne pasta, chopped fresh broccoli, sliced mushrooms (fresh), minced garlic, butter, olive oil, dried Italian herbs, parmesan cheese (for topping), and salt to taste.

penne with broccoli and mushrooms
Photo courtesy of Pinch of Yum


I hope you enjoy these recipes and I’ll return next week with a look at the new popularity of braising as a cooking method, along with some delicious recipes.


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Seafood is a great protein choice for many people since it’s lower in fat and calories than many meat options, especially if you prepare it by broiling or grilling and without using high fat sauces.  In addition, some fish like salmon and tuna, are high in omega-3 fatty acids.  Fruit and vegetables traditionally go perfectly with seafood–both as a side dish and as part of a recipe to enhance the flavor of the seafood.  You’ll find that these perfect pairings make it easy to create a healthy dish for your family.


This simple recipe for Salmon and Summer Veggies in Foil is best when the vegetables are at their peak of flavor during the summer months, but can really be prepared at any time of the year since these veggies are available at your supermarket all the time.  I’d also say that during the summer months, you can use your grill to prepare this and give your oven a break.  Sliced zucchini and yellow squash are combined with sliced shallot, garlic and olive oil.  Salmon fillets are placed atop the veggies and then topped with a combination of diced tomatoes, herbs, sliced shallots and garlic. The fish and vegetables are baked for 25-30 minutes until cooked through.

Photo courtesy of Cooking Classy


Here is a recipe for Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Mango Salsa, which you can also use with any other firm fish such as tuna.  This sweet/savory salsa has a bit of kick that it gets from the addition of a finely diced jalapeno pepper.  Lime juice, cilantro and red onion give even more flavor to it.

mahi mahi and mango salsa
Photo courtesy of The Nest


Scallops are another popular seafood choice–high in protein and Vitamin-B12.  This recipe for Seared Scallops with Apple Cider-Balsamic Glaze, omits the high calorie creamy sauces that can tend to come with them many times and instead uses flavors that brings out their natural sweetness.  Spinach, mushrooms and a tiny bit of bacon complete the dish–this one is absolutely delicious!

Photo courtesy of She Cooks He Cleans


Finally, as one of their featured healthy plates, Fruits & Veggies–More Matters has this recipe for Yellow Potato and Red Pepper Shrimp Saute.  Yellow potatoes, red bell pepper, onion, zucchini, shrimp, as well as herbs and spices are combined in this tasty one-dish meal.



I hope you enjoy these healthy seafood dishes and if you love pasta, you’ll want to check out next week’s blog when I share some recipes that include working fruit and veggies into pasta dishes.


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Americans love their dogs!  According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, as of 2012, 43,346,000 households owned at least one dog.  That’s 36.5 percent!  And, if you’re a dog lover like myself you know that your furry friend is part of the family.


It’s common knowledge that protein plays a big role in a dog’s diet, but you may have noticed the recent trend of adding fruits and vegetables along with, or in place of, other fillers that are traditionally added to dog food. This is because those vitamins and minerals in fruits and veggies that are so good for us also benefit our canine companions. However, it’s important to recognize that not all fruit and veggies are beneficial to dogs–some can actually be toxic to their systems. According to the ASPCA, the following fruit and vegetables are hazardous to your dog:


  • Avocado
  • Grapes and Raisins
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Onions
  • Garlic


I’d also like to note that listed at my vet (and on other websites) are mushrooms, as they contain toxins so I would stay away from these.


My dog, Barney, enjoying a healthy snack.


As with people, even with the fruit and veggies that are beneficial, you need to be careful what you give your dog and the amount, in order to avoid stomach upset.  My chocolate lab, Barney Rubble, enjoys snacking on baby carrots and I’m sure he’d eat the entire bag if I let him, but I limit it to 4 or 5.  A small dog would do fine with 1 or 2.  I think they enjoy the “crunch” of the carrot and it satisfies the desire to chew on something.  A larger carrot would work well for this too.  I’ve pulled together a few recipes for homemade dog biscuits that add fruit and veggies in the mix.  The ingredients are much healthier than the store bought version (and much cheaper than the healthy versions you’ll find at the specialty stores).*


Apple Carrot Dog Biscuits are made with whole oats, whole wheat flour, grated apple and carrot, an egg, vegetable oil, water, and a bit of brown sugar (you can leave this out if you choose).  Yes, you could eat these “dog” biscuits if you wanted–they’re that good!

apple carrot dog biscuits
Photo courtesy of Reluctant Entertainer


Pumpkin Oat Dog Biscuits are perfect for the fall season.  Four ingredients–whole wheat flour, whole oats, pumpkin puree, and water are combined together in this simple recipe.  You’ll feel good about giving your dog a healthy treat with no preservatives that’s economical too.

Photo courtesy of Bake At Midnite


If you have a dog, give these recipes a go, I’m sure your pup will enjoy the special treat. 
*It’s recommended that treats, including fruits and vegetables, should be given to your dog in moderation, as it’s important to maintain a nutritionally balanced diet. It’s also a good idea to consult with your vet before adding new foods.


I’ll return next week with some ideas for seafood and fruit/veggies that go well with them.


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