We’ve all been told to eat our veggies, drink our milk and stop eating so much sugar and other junk food. While there has been a much-renewed focus on health and nutrition even in the last few years, there’s still the problem of obesity and lack of exercise. For some a healthy lifestyle is a must. Others may find it a little harder to get on board with proper nutrition, and with an astounding 34.9% of adults and approximately 17% of children (Source) in America suffering from obesity, it has never been more important to emphasize proper nutrition and good health.
Yes, its name is sadly unappetizing, and often the way squash is prepared makes the name seem perfectly suitable. But here are five delicious ways to work the super nutrient food into your diet.
My husband is the perpetual squash-hater. When we were first married I cooked recipes with acorn squash, butternut squash and yellow squash, and while polite and thankful for the food, he just couldn’t get over the texture.
A few years later, I’ve picked up a few skills for getting the vitamin A-, alpha-carotene- and beta-carotene-rich food into our diet — and even getting my husband to enjoy it. Here are some great recipes that have worked for us:
1. Butternut Squash Soup With Sage and Parmesan Croutons from Real Simple Magazine:
This delicious recipe uses the nutty flavor of butternut squash accented with some onion, celery, sage and parmesan to create a delectable bisque that even the pickiest eater can’t turn down. If you’re working with an especially avid squash-hater, you can also add crumbled bacon to add additional flavor.
2. Roasted Vegetables from Whole Living Magazine:
Infuse winter veggies with the flavors of olive oil and any assortment of herbs you like. Roasting with this recipe crispens up the outside of the veggies while making the insides nice and tender and flavorful. The diversity of this recipe allows you to play around with the herbs and spices you enjoy.
3. Summer Squash Pizza from Cooking Light Magazine:
Who doesn’t love a good pizza? With this recipe from Cooking Light, you can get a little zucchini and yellow squash into your meal by including it on a pizza. For those who don’t like the texture of squash, just cut your pieces a little smaller than called for in this recipe. This hides the texture and lets the squash add flavor and nutrients without adding anything else.
4. Summer Squash and Applesauce Muffins from Vegetarian Times Magazine:
Did you know you can even work squash into something as delicious as a muffin? Try this recipe from Vegetarian Times, and you don’t even have to tell anyone you snuck some squash into their snack. If you think about it, it’s not that different than sneaking carrots into carrot cake.
5. Panang Vegetable Curry from Bon Appetit Magazine:
Go gourmet with your squash and enjoy this recipe from Bon Appetit that incorporates the flavors of homemade curry paste, tons of squash and an assortment of herbs. Who ever said squash had to be boring?
With these and other recipes you can start to make squash a staple in your fall and winter diet. For the freshest squash, take a trip to your local farmers market and select from an assortment of just-picked seasonal produce.
Photo by Jim Franco
We might be watching our waistlines, but Southern soul food is surprisingly on the up–even in gourmet magazines.
It seems the deep-fried, decadent and oh-so-delicious Southern staples like fried chicken and red velvet cake aren’t on their way out—even in today’s calorie-counting, carb-watching world. In fact, Southern cuisine is gaining even more respect these days, as several recent issues of magazines have placed it front and center on their covers. And it’s not just regional titles like Southern Living or Taste of the South.
Both Bon Appétit and Saveur—magazines well known for featuring exotic tastes and places—are jumping on the Southern bandwagon as well. Bon Appétit went so far as to dub the South “America’s New Food Capital,” and the entire February issue might as well have been a guide to what’s good below the Mason-Dixon Line.
Inside, the editors share five simple steps to making the best fried chicken (like the crispy drumstick featured on the magazine’s cover). And they’re talking real fried chicken—not the baked-because-it’s-healthier kind. Other Southern culinary phenomena include chicken and dumplings, deviled eggs, bourbon and, of course, barbecue. But why the obsession with Southern food, especially for those of us who haven’t grown up with it?
According to writer Kim Severson in one of the issue’s articles, the reason is because food is the great equalizer in the South. All you have to do to break the ice is ask a local the best place to eat. Not to mention it’s long been considered a source of comfort—and who couldn’t use a little more of that these days?
Saveur’s March issue got all sweet on Southern food as well with a picture-perfect slice of red velvet cake on its cover. Inside, it gets even better with recipes for lemon layer cake, walnut spice cake, caramel cake and coconut cake—along with the red velvet—each photographed up close in all their layered glory. (For a more grown-up take, turn to Bon Appétit’s coconut southern comfort layer cake.)
Both magazines tackle how to perfect these magnificent cakes. Saveur’s tips are of the general sort: Use cake flour, use refrigerated ingredients that are room temperature, mix the batter quickly and drop the pan before placing in the oven to remove any air bubbles. Bon Appétit shared a no-fail technique for slicing cake rounds into layers before frosting.
Though neither Bon Appétit nor Saveur tried to lighten up the Southern recipes they featured, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. In fact, with magazines like Cooking Light seeking out healthier versions of Southern foods, it’s no wonder this regional cuisine remains popular–even in a more health-conscious world.
It’s pretty impossible not to crave chocolate on a day like today–the pinnacle of National Chocolate Month–but indulgence doesn’t have to mean guilty regret.
Chocolate tempts us even more than usual this time of year, what with all that Valentine’s Day candy on the shelves since just after Christmas.
With the sweet stuff so prominently featured just about everywhere, it’s no surprise, really, that February is National Chocolate Month. But don’t think that if you’re (still) sticking to your New Year’s resolutions to get fit or if a restricted diet prevents you from indulging that you can’t get in on the celebration.
Three magazines tackled chocolates and other desserts in their February issues, all with the purpose of offering some seasonally appropriate desserts on the lighter side.
Cooking Light magazine’s February issue took some inspiration from the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament format and presented a Sweet 16 Bake-Off to find the “best light chocolate recipe ever” that had been published in its pages in the past 25 years.
Sixteen finalists were culled from the last quarter-century of recipes, and the field was eliminated in a head-to-head showdown until only one dessert was left standing. The top four recipes were published in the February issue, and each boasts 10 grams of fat or fewer per serving.
Among double chocolate ice cream, chocolate-frangelico fondue, Texas sheet cake and classic fudge-walnut brownies, the brownies came out on top. (Though none of the other finalists’ recipes were published in the magazine, the issue was noted so devoted readers can consult their archived copies.)
For even lighter chocolate recipes, Food & Wine magazine featured three from Joy the Baker blogger Joy Wilson. Each of these weigh in at 6 grams of fat or fewer per serving, thanks to her use of lighter ingredients like cocoa nibs and Greek yogurt.
Wilson shares her tips for making chocolate frozen yogurt with caramelized bananas, cocoa-pepper waffle cookies and cocoa nib pavlova with raspberries. Each promises maximum chocolate flavor without the guilt.
Finally, Everyday Food magazine lets readers in on some unlikely ingredients that can help trim fat in desserts like brownies and cupcakes. A triple-chocolate brownie recipe uses pureed black beans as a substitute for some of the butter, resulting in four fewer fat grams per serving.
Not a chocolate lover? No problem. The magazine also includes recipes for vanilla cupcakes with fruit glaze, which uses pureed white beans to get its sweetness. Gingerbread mini cakes are moist—and good for you—thanks to pumpkin puree.