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Here is an easy, healthy, low-fat, one-pot or pan meal.  Lentils are a vital source of iron for vegans. They are also virtually fat-free and have an infinite shelf life. Lentils are a good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, both soluble and insoluble. They are rich in protein,  folic acid and vitamins B and C as well as 8 essential amino acids and trace minerals. Lentils have one of the highest sources of antioxidants found in winter growing legumes. lentils help manage and are good for diabetes, digestion, weight loss, cancer prevention and coronary heart disease. Sweet Potato that veritable tasty veggie is so loaded with vitamin A and antioxidants that it is one the best sources of bio-available beta-carotene in the vegetable world. Sweet potato skins, when eaten, reduce the potential risks posed by heavy metal residues like mercury, cadmium and arsenic and may help cleanse the body of the effects of cancer treatment drugs. To me, Broccoli is king of the vegetables and its health benefits are never ending. It has high amounts of Vitamin C which aid iron absorption, prevent the development of cataracts and ease the common cold. The potassium in broccoli lowers blood pressure and its large amounts of calcium ward off osteoporosis. Broccoli is also fiber-rich and as such enhances the gastrointestinal tract and aims to reduce cholesterol levels. Broccoli has also been noted to reduce hormonal related cancers such as breast, prostate, ovarian and much more. Bok Choy is a member of the cabbage family and because it has only 4 calories per serving and loads of fiber, it is great for weight control. Bok Choy has more calcium and beta-carotene than other members of the cabbage family and is also high in potassium, folate, vitamins A, C and K. Potassium is important for healthy muscle and nerve function. Bok Choy is an excellent source of phytonutrients along with the powerful antioxidant combination of vitamins A and C to keep your body cancer free. High levels of K and calcium promote strong, healthy bones. Bok Choy can prevent cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cataracts and macular degeneration.  Garlic and onion have antibiotic properties to ward off common cold and flu. Herbs de Provence usually include lavender flowers, sweet basil, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, mint, fennel and chervil. The combination of these herbs assist with stress,  sleep, bronchitis, sore throat,  upset stomach, fungal infection,  eyesight, cough, and skin. Further, these combined herbs have anti-biotic, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties as well as containing iron, vitamin B-6 and calcium.

Ingredients:

2/3-3/4 C  black or French lentils (these are smaller than green/brown lentils)

1 med. size sweet potato cut into small chunks

1 medium size broccoli crown cut into pieces

1 small head of baby bok choy

1 medium size onion

2 cloves of  garlic minced

1 sprig each of fresh thyme, rosemary and oregano or 1 tspn. of herbs de Provence

For additional seasoning: garlic powder and fresh ground black pepper

Preparation:

In a deep skillet or soup pot, saute onion and garlic until softened

Add sweet potato and lentils and 2 C of either water, vegetable broth or chicken broth

Bring all above to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes.

Add broccoli and simmer for 5 more minutes – to speed cooking, you may want to partially cover your pot or skillet.

Add baby bok choy and cook until wilted.

Remove from heat and plate topped with some of the fresh herbs for garnish,

Serve and enjoy!

Alternatives:

If you like more broth you can just add more of the liquid you have chosen to use. Be sure to do this while still cooking.

I intended to use eggplant rather than broccoli but could not find any to meet my standards. So here is another option.

You may use spinach in place of bok choy if you like.

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Here come the chicken!! This is a colorful, robust and beautiful dish packed with protein and the man in my house needs that…I cook chicken occasionally and when choosing chicken, I only use free range organic, air-chilled chicken available at Whole Foods Markets everywhere. I want to take a little time to explain what air-chilled chicken is. These chickens are raised naturally in pastures on farms and are fed an entirely vegetarian diet with no antibiotic or hormone injections and no animal by-products. Air-chilled chickens are involved in a minimal processing method for cooling them to meet food safety guidelines. This method is superior to industrial poultry production which utilizes water-chilling. With this latter method, the poultry absorbs water full of chemicals to prevent diseases, salt, phosphate, and the blood and gut particles from all the other chickens in the water. Additionally, the labels on these chickens advertise “up to 5% water content.”  Air-chilled chickens are cooled to food safety standards and this method has been used in Europe for over 40 years. Each bird is individually chilled over the course of three hours. They are moved into carefully temperature-controlled chambers where cold air is misted on them. The birds then move over a mile or more on tracks in the chambers as they cool down. The flavor of air-chilled chicken is superior and of unparalleled taste. These chickens are juicy, tender and full of natural flavor and because they are not processed with water, they cook more quickly too.

Now for the health benefits: chicken is a wealthy source of a variety of essential nutrients especially high quality protein. Just 100 grams of chicken breast accounts for more than half the recommended dietary intake of protein. This helps to prevent against bone loss. Chicken contains niacin, a B vitamin, that helps protect the body against cancer. The trace mineral selenium is also present and is required for healthy thyroid hormone metabolism, anti-oxidant defense systems, and the immune function of the body. Vitamin B-6 is present in chicken and maintains healthy blood vessels. Along with niacin, B-6 helps to boost energy metabolism in the body. Phosphorous in chicken supports the health of teeth and bones as well as proper functioning off the kidneys, liver and the central nervous system. Portobella mushrooms contain a serious nutritional punch and they are low in fat and high in fiber. The portobella, like chicken, is an excellent source of selenium and a lot of other B vitamins, and their polysaccharide and beta-glucan components show anti-cancer properties. These mushrooms taste great and have broad range versatility in many recipes. Capers and olives fall into the category of mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA’S) and as such, have a protective effect on our cells. They are also beneficial to weight control if eaten in moderate amounts. They contain vitamin E for anti-oxidant protection and the phytonutrients known as polyphenols and flavonoids. Olives and capers also have significant anti-inflammatory properties. They protect the heart, support gastro-intestinal health fight colon cancer, prevent heart disease, reduce hot flashes and protect cell structure. Herbs are often thought of as just seasoning but they are so much more. Herbs have disease fighting antioxidants too. In fact they have more than most fruits and vegetables. Herbs have been used medicinally for centuries.

Enjoy this wonderful healthful dish.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. boneless halved chicken breasts, washed and cleaned of any remaining skin

2 lbs. chicken tenders, washed and cleaned of any remaining skin

4 med-large size potobella mushrooms sliced

1/4 tspn. fresh ground black pepper

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1/2 C white wine or low sodium chicken broth

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 C pimento stuffed green olives

1/4 C capers rinsed and drained

2 T minced fresh oregano

1 T minced fresh mint

1 T apple cider vinegar

2 large garlic cloves minced

1 t minced fresh thyme

Preparation:

Sprinkle the chicken with freshly ground black pepper

In a large non-stick skillet, saute the mushrooms and brown the chicken on both sides in the oil.

Remove the chicken and mushrooms from the skillet and cover to keep warm.

Combine the remaining ingredients and put into the skillet. Stir to loosen brown bits in the skillet. Bring to a boil.

Return the browned chicken and mushrooms to the skillet and lower the heat.

Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is tender and the juices run clear.

Plate, garnish with fresh herbs or lemon wedges and serve.  Yields 6-8 servings

mangi bene!!

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Here is a delicious and nutritious recipe that can be served as is, eaten in a sandwich or put over pasta. Broccoli rabe is a member of the brassica family also know as the cabbage family. It’s flavor is somewhere between broccoli and mustard greens. Though it may look like a kinder gentler form of broccoli with its smaller flowers, this leafy green is a formidable foe of numerous health problems. The big news with broccoli rabe is its cancer fighting properties. It is a rich source of glucosinolates which our bodies convert to cancer-fighting sulforophanes. It is noted to be effective in prevention and has a curative effect on stomach, lung and colon cancers. There have also been hints that this vegetable may offer protection from breast and prostate cancers. Just 3  1/2 ounces of broccoli rabe gives you half the daily requirement of Vitamins A and C replete with antioxidants to fight off free radicals that can damage the body’s cells. It is a good source of folate to fight birth defects and heart disease. It slows the build-up of artery clogging plaque. A small serving of this powerful, healthy green provides loads of calcium, potassium and fiber. Red peppers get their antioxidant effect from carotenoids. Beta-carotene which the body converts to vitamin A is crucial for night vision. One small red pepper gives you enough Vitamin C to supply three times the daily requirement. Red peppers properties can bolster the immune system, protect against heart disease, stomach and colon cancers and help to heal wounds. They also promote better eyesight, protect against rheumatoid arthritis and promote lung health. Garlic another ingredient in this recipe has been touted a great deal in this blog. It provides a potent antibiotic effect as well as being an anti-viral agent. Garlic has been used for healing over the centuries by many cultures. It has been noted to protect against stomach and colon cancers, lower blood pressure and reduce the chances of infection. When these three ingredients are combined, the health benefits are huge…so eat up!

Ingredients:

1-2 red bell peppers or 1  small jar of roasted red peppers

1 bunch of broccoli rabe also known as rappini

2 c water

1-2 T extra virgin olive oil or reserved broth from the broccoli rabe

3-4 cloves of  garlic

1/4 t crushed red pepper

garlic powder

freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Directions for roasting peppers:

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees

Wash the peppers and dry them

Put the peppers in a parchment lined baking tray

Roast the peppers for 15 minutes

Turn them over once with tongs

Cook another 15 minutes

When done, put the peppers into a brown paper bag or covered bowl for 15 mins. The steam formed will allow you to remove the skins more easily.

Remove the skins when cool, peel only the skin that comes off easily and leave the rest.

Cut the peppers in half, let liquid run off, remove the core and seeds, then slice.

Once you have roasted your own peppers and have seen how easy it is, the flavor is so fresh and rich, you will never again want them from a jar.

Directions for cooking broccoli rabe:

Wash the broccoli rabe and remove the very ends of the stem which are usually dry

Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl or pot

In a large dutch oven or  pot, bring 2 c of water to a slow boil

Meanwhile, chop broccoli rabe in 1 inch increments across the length

Put the broccoli rabe into the gently boiling water for 4-5 minutes

Remove the rabe with a slotted spoon

Drain in a colander and reserve the broth

Immediately transfer the broccoli rabe to the waiting ice bath until cool 1-2 mins.

Remove with slotted spoon to colander and set aside

Putting it all together:

In a large skillet, heat 1-2 T extra virgin olive oil or the reserved broccoli rabe broth (if you do not use the broth, save it for a soup base or freeze it for future use)

When the oil is hot add garlic and cook slightly (do not brown or it will be bitter)

Add the broccoli rabe to the skillet

Add the sliced roasted red peppers

Season with dashes of garlic powder and freshly ground black pepper and (optional) the 1/4 t of crushed red pepper

Cook until the flavors have blended about 3-5 minutes and let it rest a while

Remove to a serving bowl and top with grated pecorino romano cheese if desired

Serve as is, in a sandwich with aged provolone cheese on a hard Italian roll or on whole wheat ciabbatta as seen here or  over whole grain pasta or gluten free pasta.

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This lasagna is a really special treat! It is great for the holiday table or any special occasion. I say this because it takes a bit more time than my usual recipes. I have made it twice recently for Christmas parties. The second time was easier because of familiarity and because I was able to store some cooked ingredients. You will need a block of time such as 2-3 hours (1 hr.15 mins for cooking) and I assure you that you will receive comments such as “this is to die for” repeatedly. It is just that good. Do not be intimidated by the preparation, it is really easy to follow and proceeds easily.  Butternut squash is a powerhouse of nutrition. Like all members of the gourd family, it is technically a fruit because it contains seeds. It is low in fat and chock full of dietary fiber making it exceptionally heart healthy. Butternut squash contains significant amounts of potassium important for bone health as well as B-6 for proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems. There is folate which has a heart healthy reputation and protects against brain and spinal cord defects particularly in unborn fetuses. As most vegetables of it’s color, this squash has a significant abundance of carotenoids to protect against heart disease, breast cancer and age-related macular degeneration. Because of it’s high antioxidant component, it acts as an anti-inflammatory and helps to reduce the risk of inflammatory related disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. Sage is an herb widely used for it’s culinary and medicinal purposes. It contains calcium important for bone, teeth and skin health. Iron is also present to increase energy and Vitamin A benefits us with it’s antioxidant properties. Sage is a memory booster and has both anti-microbial and anti-bacterial qualities.  It is known to lessen the intensity of allergies and mosquito bites.

Here is the yummy, winning recipe…

Ingredients:

2 large butternut squash (3-5 lbs.)

3 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

1 tbs. ground cinnamon

1 tbs. fresh sage leaves finely chopped

1/2  tspn.   freshly ground black pepper

1 tspn. freshly grated nutmeg from the nut ( you can use ready-ground nutmeg but the flavor is enhanced by the freshly grated kind)

2 cups ricotta cheese or a 15 oz. container

1 lb. fesh mozzarella cheese

1 cup freshly grated parmegiano reggiano cheese or grated pecorino romano cheese

2 large eggs

1 lb. dried lasagna sheets or noodles

For the Bechamel or white Sauce:

5 cups whole milk

6 tbs. unsalted or whipped butter

1 tbs. minced sage

2 tspns garlic minced

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tspn. freshly grated nutmeg

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F

You will need a 9 x 13-inch baking dish

Preparing the squash:

You need to remove the skin from the squash. I have tried many methods mostly resulting in wrist and muscle soreness in my forearm. I have discovered what I think is the best method for no side effects. First, microwave the squash for 3 minutes. This softens the skin and then you can use a horizontal blade vegetable peeler to remove the skin. It will be helpful to stabilize the squash by cutting it just above the bulbous part. Put the cut side down on a cutting board and remove the skin. Then cut the bulbous part in half and remove the seeds and loose fiber. Chop the squash into 1/2 inch chunks.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray oil the foil.

In a bowl, toss the squash with 1-2 tbs. olive oil, 1 tbs.sage, 1 tbs. cinnamon and fresh ground black pepper

Spread the squash in a single layer on the baking sheet.

Roast the squash in the oven until soft and beginning to brown for 45 mins. Stir once or twice during the roasting.

Remove squash from the oven and puree with the fresh nutmeg. The food processor and blender have not proven to do a good job for me. I prefer mashing the squash with a hand held masher. Or you can mix the squash with the ricotta and eggs and use a hand held mixer to blend. The squash is difficult to puree because of it’s healthy fibrous nature.

You can make the squash a day ahead of time or split up your time during the day before the next preparation steps.

In a large bowl, mix the squash puree (it’s okay to have a few lumps), ricotta, parmegiano reggiano, eggs and 1/2 tspn. pepper. Cover and refrigerate the mixture until ready to assemble the Lasagna.

Reset the oven to 375 degrees F.

Preparing the lasagna noodles:

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the lasagna noodles until al dente. Drain the noodles in a colander , then spread them on a baking sheet(s) and spray oil them or drizzle with oil to prevent sticking. Do not let them overlap or touch each other. Set them aside. If you can find them you can use no-boil lasagna noodles and skip this step. Just follow the directions on the package.

Preparing the bechamel sauce:

In a medium size  saucepan, bring the milk to a slow simmer over medium heat.

Meanwhile in a larger pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat.

Add the sage and garlic to the butter. Cook for 30 seconds.

Add flour and stir/whisk.

Add 3 cups of the milk and whisk well to prevent lumps. Bring to a boil while whisking continually.

Add remaining milk and whisk again

Add salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Adjust the heat to low to maintain a slow simmer, and cook until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 5 mins. This will make about 4 cups. Remove from heat.

Assembling the Lasagna:

The oven should now be at 375 degree F.

Butter or spray oil a 9×13-inch baking dish. Spoon a ladle of bechamel sauce into the dish and spread to coat the bottom.

Place a single layer of lasagna noodles on top of the bechamel.

Spread some of the squash mixture evenly on top of the lasagna noodles.

Top with fresh mozzarella cheese broken into pieces and sprinkle with parmegianno reggiano or pecorino romano cheese.

Repeat this step until all ingredients are used.  Usually 2 layers will fill your baking dish and you will use 9-10 lasagna noodles.

Finish with grated cheese and sauce directly over the noodles.

Bake covered ( may use foil) in the middle of the oven for about 1 hr. @ 375 degrees F.

Remove cover and continue cooking for another 15 mins. until golden brown and bubbling. During this time, I top the lasagna with dolops of pesto to brighten it and also add another layer of flavor. However, this is optional.

Allow lasagna to rest before slicing into it. Serve warm.

Alternatives:

This recipe may be tried vegetarian style with soy milk, soy cheeses that are like in nature, and egg substitute. Since I have not done it this way, I suggest that you try the bechamel sauce first. If the soy milk works out in the sauce, the rest should work well too. For lower fat, you can use part-skim ricotta cheese and low moisture mozzarella cheese. Skim milk is too thin to make a rue or bechamel sauce.

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Here is an easy, tasty, colorful side dish perfect for the holiday table. It can also be used as a main dish if served over pasta. String beans contain lots of lutein as well as beta-carotene hence they are beneficial to your eyes. String beans have recently been found to have antioxidants as well, and in fact have more than peas and other bean families. They provide absorbable amounts of the mineral silicon known to be important to bone health and the formation of healthy connective tissue. In addition, string beans have anti-inflammatory properties advantageous to diabetics and they promote cardiovascular health due to the amino acid known as alpha linolenic acid. Grape Tomatoes, like all tomatoes , are low in calories and rich in vitamins and minerals. They contain lots of fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium, magnesium and potassium. They have lycopene, an antioxidant that protects cells from oxygen damage, and is known to prevent certain cancers and heart disease. Garlic has wonderful aroma, taste and nutrition. it has been long known as an anti-bacterial, anti-viral and a fighter of infection. Let garlic sit after crushing or chopping to improve its flavor and to allow its enzymes to work on behalf of your health. Garlic improves iron metabolism due to its sulfides. It is also a good source of selenium. Research suggests that garlic may help to regulate the number of fat cells in our bodies due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Obesity has been linked to a state of low grade inflammation. Garlic’s greatest attribute however, is its cardioprotection. It can lower blood triglycerides and total cholesterol though moderately. It can reduce plaque formation. Garlic’s top benefit is blood cell and blood vessel protection from inflammatory and oxidative stress.

Ingredients:

1/4 to 1/2 lb. of string beans, ends snipped off

1 pt. grape tomatoes halved

3 garlic cloves chopped

1  T extra virgin olive oil, spray oil or 1/4 C vegetable broth

garlic powder

fresh ground black pepper

1/8 t of basil or Italian seasoning

Optional: 1/4 C  grated Parmagiana Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese

Preparation:

Ready an ice bath (water and some ice) in a large bowl or pot.

Fill a  medium to large size pot with water and bring to a boil.

Add the string beans for 1  1/2 minutes to blanch them. When done, drain them in a colander

Immediately put the string beans in the waiting ice bath. They will cool quickly.

Drain again in a colander. This process preserves the nutrients and the bright green color.

Set the beans aside.

In a large saute pan, add the 1 T of oil and heat on moderate heat.

When hot, add the string beans, tomatoes, garlic and seasonings.

Cook until string beans are tender and tomatoes are softened, about 15 mins. The tomatoes release their liquid and with the oil and seasonings make a thin sauce for this dish.

Serve immediately as a side dish. See below for a main dish idea.

Alternatives:

For a main dish, cut string beans into smaller pieces and serve the side dish over whole wheat pasta or gluten free pasta. If you need more liquid, add vegetable broth or some water but not too much. You may also choose to add some white wine instead. You may also add a small amount of oil or whipped butter to the cooked pasta.  Top with grated parmagiano reggiano or pecorino romano cheese.

Delicious!!

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This is a gorgeous dish with its orange and green vegetables bursting forth amidst the tawny mushroom color that highlights them beautifully. This recipe is chock full of healthy, healing phytonutrients. Sweet potato is an all star vegetable rich with carotenoids (beta-carotene and Vit. A), vitamin C, potassium and fiber. It’s antioxidant powers are unsurpassed. Some studies have shown that sweet potatoes lower the health risks of heavy metals and oxygen radicals. It is important to have some fat at a meal with sweet potato to increase the uptake of vitamin A. Just 1 tablespoon will suffice. Shiitake mushrooms with their rich, smoky flavor give us so much for so little. This lovely mushroom with its legendary benefits is a symbol of longevity in Asia. It is a potent antioxidant and good for your heart. Its healing benefits boost the immune system and fight infections like flu and viruses as well as diseases.  Edamame (pronounced ed-a-mom-ay) is a green soybean replete with phytoestrogens. It is high in protein and fiber and low in calories, fat and sodium. Soy protein may help to reduce insulin resistance in diabetics. It reduces cholesterol especially the LDL type or “bad” cholesterol. Due to its anti-inflammatory effects, it can reduce menopausal symptoms. Soy protein also protects against cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis.

Ingredients:

1 large sweet potato sliced

18 or so shiitake mushrooms sliced

1  C of edamame ( green soybeans sold frozen)

1/2  C chopped onion

1 Tablespoon of canola oil after this,  if vegetables get dry, add water or vegetable broth

freshly ground black pepper

1 – 2 teaspoons of sodium reduced Tamari soy sauce

Preparation:

Wash/scrub the sweet potato and wipe dry

Remove skin with vegetable peeler from the sweet potato

Cut the potato in half lengthwise then thinly slice the halves widthwise, set aside

Wipe the mushrooms with a dishtowel or paper towel. Avoid using water because mushrooms are porous and absorb it. Set them aside

In a large non-stick skillet, heat the canola oil on medium/low setting

When hot, add the chopped onion

Season with fresh gound black pepper

After about 1 minute, add the sliced sweet potato

After 2 minutes, add the sliced mushroom

When the vegetables are close to done, add the frozen edamame

Cook until all is warm and edible

Remove from heat and add 1-2 t of  reduced sodium Tamari soy sauce

You may serve as a complete meal

Alternatives:

For a more hearty dish, serve over brown rice or as I did, over a mix of brown rice and quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) for more nutrition.

Seeds of Change brand sells grain products ready-made and quick to prepare. Keep some of these on hand for when you are in a hurry.

If you are gluten sensitive, do not use the soy sauce.

If the mushroom dry out, soak them in water for 30 minutes and they will reconstitute.

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Spaghetti is a world wide favorite and in this recipe it is served with no-meat balls. Whole grain or whole wheat spaghetti is used because it’s nutrients remain intact. Most of wheat’s  nutrition is in the bran and germ of the wheat grain.  For years, American’s have processed wheat into white flour and grain  products and then “enriched”  them with the nutrients that the process removed.  Strange!!  In recent years, it has been discovered that leaving wheat in it’s natural state provides a wealth of nutritional value. Whole wheat contains essential B vitamins, folic acid, calcium, iron and many other vitamins and minerals. It is packed with fiber too. The health benefits of whole wheat are impressive. People who eat whole grains, weigh less. This may be because the body is using the nutrients from the grains and the fiber regulates digestion and elimination. Among other things, whole grains are known to lower type 2 diabetes. Also in this dish are store bought (short on time today) meatless meatballs though I can tell you roughly how to make them.  Having never been one to  measure my recipes rather cooking by intuition, eye and taste. It has been a big effort  to measure things as I go along for the purposes of this blog. I have used Nate’s Savory Mushroom Meatless Meatballs purchased at my local Whole Foods market. They are vegetarian, delicious, low calorie, low fat and contain lots of protein.  So, eat this healthy dish and celebrate it’s multiple benefits.

Ingredients:

1  12-16 oz. pkg. of whole wheat/whole grain spaghetti or any whole grain pasta.

Tomato sauce. See my recipe for a quick and easy tomato sauce.I am using my homemade sauce leftover from yesterday

Nate’s Savory Mushroom Meatless Meatballs

Optional:

Grated parmagino reggiano or pecorino romano cheese

Fresh basil

Preparation:

Cook the pasta as directed until al dente which literally means “to the tooth”. There should be a slight resistence in the center when the pasta is chewed. Cooking varies from 8-12 minutes so check frequently after 8 mins.

While pasta is cooking, heat no-meat balls in the tomato sauce. Nate’s meatless meatballs are frozen.

Strain the pasta and remove to serving bowl.

Top with sauce and no-meat balls.

Garnish with fresh basil if you like.

Serve with grated pecorino romano or parmagiano reggiano cheese

Mangia!!

Alternative:

You can make your own meatless or no-meat balls using fresh chopped mushroom, soy crumbles, any kind of bread cumbs or semolina, a wet ingredient for the “glue” such as mashed potato, glutinous cooked rice or any grain or eggs (or egg white) or egg substitute and herbs and seasonings of your choice. As with any meatball the key is the wet ingredients. You can’t go wrong if you assemble all the dry ingredients and then add the thickener gradually. Bake @ 350 degrees or saute one or two to taste test and adjust as needed.

You can substitute the whole wheat pasta with corn,  rice pasta or any of the alternatives available.

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