Tag Archives: Ellie Krieger

Sardine Pastas!

21 Jun

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 Brother/Sister Pasta with Sardines

I’m new to the whole “fish in tins” thing. Fresh fish is great, but I am picky about where it comes from, etc., etc., so I don’t buy it often. And even though I love my vegetarian-friendly chia seeds and ground flaxseeds, I always feel like I should be eating more fish.

(Re: the recent news about the updated recommendations for pregnant women and children to eat more fish…not that I am pregnant, or a child, but nonetheless, a little fish in the diet is good for the brain, the heart, the body)

I took a big step (for me) last year and started to eat canned tuna fish. Not bad. Not great. But I do it for my health, right? It’s good to change up the diet, add some variety to the mix. And you can keep it in the pantry to have on-hand.

This year, I am taking the “fish in tins” challenge. Bring it on sardines and anchovies. These smaller fish are supposed to be more sustainable, plus, anchovies can add a nice salty flavor to dishes and sauces, and sardines are a hot “super food” bursting with healthy omega-3 fat. A few months ago, I tried sardines from the tin for my first time. Last month, I bought anchovy paste and made my own version of fish sauce to go into a curry. I was definitely scared, but I persisted and came out strong in the end.

I can now say that I enjoy a nice pasta with sardines sprinkled throughout. I buy the boneless skinless sardines packed in olive oil. (I know, I’m not a true sardine fan until I can enjoy them skin, bones, and all, but this is a process…I’ll get there soon).

This was my first run at sardine pasta, adapted from Ellie Krieger’s Weeknight Wonders cookbook:

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Whole wheat fusilli pasta with broccoli rabe, pine nuts, golden raisins, and sardines. I added Parmesan on top. And it was SO good!

The sardines got added at the last minute before serving. The worst part about fish is the fishy smell, so I was pleased that the sardines had a very mild fishy smell only if they got too hot, but a smell so delicate that I was not offended.

I recently made a version of Ellie’s Pasta with Sardines with my brother. The pasta was a combination of Ellie’s recipe and my Throw Together Late Spring/Early Summer Pasta.

Instead of broccoli rabe, my brother and I used asparagus ribbons, fresh spring garlic, swiss chard, and cremini mushroom slices. We used toasted pine nuts, but no raisins this time.

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Brother/Sister Pasta with Sardines

Once you have the basic method down, you can always substitute your favorite vegetables and nuts/seeds. You can omit the raisins or keep them. Parmesan is optional, but I love the salty tufts on top of my pasta.

Don’t forget to always save your pasta water!

Pasta with Sardines and Vegetables

Adapted from Ellie Krieger

Makes about 4 servings

3 small tablespoons pine nuts (or whatever nut you like)

1 small bunch (3/4 lb. or so) of broccoli rabe (or a combination of whatever seasonal vegetables you have)

4 cloves garlic (in the spring, look for fresh garlic!)

1 can olive-oil packed sardines (Ellie uses 2, I just used 1…up to you; I like the boneless/skinless kind)

12 ounces whole-wheat or regular fusilli or spaghetti

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup raisins (optional)

salt and pepper and red pepper flakes, to taste

grated Parmesan, for serving

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While the water is heating, toast the pine nuts in dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Trim the tough ends from the broccoli rabe, then chop the rest, including the leaves, into 1/2-inch pieces (or, prepare/chop your other vegetables how you like). Roughly chop the garlic and drain the sardines.

Cook the pasta for 1 minute less than it says on the package directions; drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water *If using asparagus or zucchini ribbons, drop them into the pasta water 1-2 minutes before you drain the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet (you can use the same one you toasted the pine nuts in) over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli rabe, raise the heat to high, and cook, stirring, until it is crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Add the drained pasta to the vegetable skillet. Add the sardines, the raisins, the pasta cooking water, toasted pine nuts, and the salt/pepper/red pepper flakes. Turn the heat to medium-high and toss to warm through, 1 to 2 minutes. The sardines will break up as you toss. Serve each bowl with a little grated Parmesan on top.

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Pasta with Sardines Broccoli Rabe 

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Earl Grey Spiced Fruit Compote + A Fun Compost Workshop With Seniors

22 Mar

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After months of planning and a handful of snow-day cancellations, this morning I helped Project Director Chris Pawelski, Ed.D conduct a “composting and healthy snacks” session for seniors with mild memory loss in conjunction with The Memory Tree Program, Teachers College, and the Morningside Gardens Co-op.

The Memory Tree is New York City’s first program devoted to people with mild memory loss, and their family and caregivers.

This morning’s session was the beginning of a series of “Going Greener” workshops, continuing a previous project about nutrition, cooking and farmer’s markets. “Going Greener” came about as a way to learn how to keep the world healthy, seeking out composting operations in the community.

In short, we kicked off the first session with the idea that if everyone could start saving just one thing, it would help reduce waste and contribute to the idea of composting and giving back to the earth. After watching a video of how a local family organizes their food waste, we were inspired to designate a special bin where everyone could drop their used tea bags. Throughout the next few weeks, we will document how many tea bags we collect altogether.

Sometimes just starting with one small change makes a big difference.

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I prepared a snack for the group to complement our “save your tea bags” theme: Ellie Krieger’s Earl Grey Spiced Fruit Compote. The recipe involves heating water with tea and honey, and adding in dried fruit, cinnamon, and a squeeze of lemon. A very simple recipe that requires little effort–just measure, dump, and simmer (need a knife just to cut a lemon wedge).

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Throughout the “Going Greener” journey, we will encourage the seniors to share and document their experiences through picture-taking and media, so we provided digital cameras today for them to take pictures of the recipe ingredients, the finished recipe, and each other! Can’t wait to upload all of their pictures, but for now I am sharing my pictures.

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Each participant received their own easy-to-follow copy of the recipe so they could see how it was made, and maybe even make it themselves at home.

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Who knew dried fruit could be so gorgeous?! Even though it is technically spring now, the New York fruit season is not quite ready. The markets are still heaping with end-of-season apples and there is not a berry in sight yet. Until the spring fruit arrives, this spiced fruit compote is a great way to pack it in.

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During today’s session, we served the compote with plain Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of granola. Water with lemon wedges for a refreshing beverage. I was impressed that everyone gobbled down the compote, and there were even requests for seconds!

Leftover compote is excellent atop pancakes, stirred into oatmeal, or spooned over a simple cake. Feel free to mix up the dried fruit, and add nuts or a splash of alcohol (rum, bourbon…) for a little kick.

Thanks again to Ellie Krieger for a great recipe.

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Krieger says, “Tea and dried fruits rank among the most powerful of beauty foods. They contain concentrated amounts of compounds that protect the skin from sun damage, and they are linked with less skin wrinkling as we age.”

Earl Grey Spiced Fruit Compote

adapted from Ellie Krieger’s Weeknight Wonders

serves 4

3 tablespoons honey

1 Earl Grey tea bag

1/2 cup dried apricots

1/2 cup pitted prunes

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 large lemon

1 cinnamon stick

optional: 4 whole cloves

Bring 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the honey, then immerse the tea bag in the water. Add the apricots, prunes, raisins, the juice from the lemon, the cinnamon stick, and if using, the cloves. Return to a boil.

Lower the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 4 minutes. Remove the tea bag, then continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid thickens to a loose syrup, about 8 minutes more. Remove the cinnamon and cloves and discard (or compost!). Allow the compote to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Serve with toppings. I like a dollop of yogurt and granola, or instead of syrup atop pancakes!

The compote will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Nutrition per 1/3 cup serving (without toppings):

Calories 190; Total Fat 0g (Sat Fat 0g, Mono Fat 0.0g, Poly Fat 0.1g); Protein 2g; Carb 52g; Fiber 3g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 10mg

Good source of: Fiber, Potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin K

Ellie Krieger’s Korean Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry

19 Feb

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Here’s a hot, spicy stir-fry to get you through the week. Korean Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry. Three stand-out ingredients make this recipe great: lots of broccoli, lean sirloin and crunchy, spicy kimchi.

Broccoli is such a good vehicle for soaking up all the juicy sauces and spices of a stir-fry. The broccoli gets steamed in the microwave to keep the recipe fast and healthy.

I put my money on the table for a nice cut of sirloin from the farmer’s market. I got it from Sawkill Farm in Red Hook–totally worth the few extra dollars for this beautiful piece of meat. If you are trying to keep things lean, sirloin is the way to go. Generally, if the name of the cut has the word “loin” or “round” in it, it is a lean cut.

Every time I eat kimchi at a restaurant, I love it, so why haven’t I thought to use it home?! You can buy kimchi at most markets now, and I definitely want to try making it myself one day.

Note that the recipe calls for low-sodium beef broth. I’m not usually a fan of beef broth because I don’t like how most of them taste. Instead, I used water with a dash of soy sauce. I’m just giving you options if you are like me and get fussy for good beef broth.

This stir-fry hit the spot for me this week. Serve it over rice, and you’ve got healthy restaurant-style food in the comfort of your own home.

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I am obsessed with Ellie Krieger’s latest cookbook, Weeknight Wonders. It is definitely helping me get out of my rut in the kitchen. So far I made her pork tenderloin with fennel and grapes, warm bulgur salad with feta and grapes, simple meatballs marinara with spaghetti, a variation of her tuna and white bean salad, and her earl grey spiced fruit compote. I am excited to try more of her 30-minute recipes.

Ellie Krieger’s Korean Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry

from Weeknight Wonders

makes 4 servings

1 head of broccoli

1 pound beef sirloin, trimmed of all visible fat (I used slightly less, a 0.7 pound cut)

2 tablespoons canola or olive oil, divided

1 onion

3 cloves garlic

1 1/4 cups store-bought kimchi (10 ounces)

1 cup low sodium beef broth (I used 1 cup water + 1 tablespoon soy sauce)

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce

Cut the large stems off the broccoli, peel them, then slice them into 18-inch-thick coins. Cut the top into florets about 2 inches in diameter. Place the broccoli, with the water still clinging to it from washing it, in a microwave-safe dish. Cover tightly and microwave on high power until just crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. (Alternatively, you can steam the broccoli in a pot on the stove for 4 minutes).

Thinly slice the beef against the grain into 1/4-inch-thick strips. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a very large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the beef and brown until just cooked through and slightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. (I like to use tongs here). Transfer to a plate.

Meanwhile, thinly slice the onion and garlic and roughly chop the kimchi. After transferring the beef to the plate, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet, then add the onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 additional minute.

While the onions are cooking, add whisk together the broth (or water + soy sauce if using), cornstarch, and chili-garlic sauce until the cornstarch is dissolved.

Add the broth mixture to the pan, turn the heat to high, and cook, stirring, until the liquid begins to thicken, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the beef with any accumulated juices, broccoli, and kimchi and cook until just warmed through, 2 minutes more.

Serving size: 1 1/2 cups

Calories: 330; Total Fat 13g (Sat Fat 2.5g, Mono Fat 6.5g, Poly Fat 2.3g); Protein 33g; Carb 21g; Fiber 6g; Cholesterol 50mg; Sodium 660mg

Ellie Krieger’s Warm Bulgur Salad with Grapes and Feta

3 Feb

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Even though I enjoy cooking, life is busy and sometimes, I just want a big (healthy!) plate of food in front me me without having to work too hard for it.

I’ve talked about grain-based salads before, but I always come back to them because they are an everything-in-one meal. More on them later…

Last week, I went to a book talk for Ellie Krieger’s latest cookbook, Weeknight Wonders: Delicious, Healthy Dinners in 30 Minutes or Less. Krieger, who is very much a pragmatist, focuses on quick meals that can be prepared from chopping to eating in less than 30 minutes. During the recipe development process for the book, she even purposefully cut the onion slowly to be sure that the recipes would be within her time limit.

In the book, instead of listing “1 onion, chopped” in the ingredient list, she lists “1 onion,” and then later in the methods section, she gives directions to chop the onion. Things get prepared in the little pockets of time during the course of the recipes because that is how most people cook.

Krieger is a nutrition educator at heart, and that is what drives her personally and professionally. She sees a recipe as the perfect nutrition education tool. People want food that tastes good, and tasty food is a powerful motivator. Recipes can also bridge cultural gaps because everyone eats, and often times many cultures have similar foods prepared only slightly different (i.e. we all have some kind of taco-like dish…). Furthermore, recipes can create self-efficacy, or confidence in people when they try the recipe, they feel they can do it and they share it with friends.

It’s true! Sometimes, I am afraid to try a new recipe because it looks intimidating on the surface or I fear the new. Once I try it, though, I often like it, and then I share it with all of YOU.

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Besides being full of ideas and knowledge, Krieger is so down-to-earth and personable, and she truly loves food.

After the way she described this Warm Bulgur Salad with Grapes and Feta at the book talk, I knew I had to make it right away. The warm grain delicately wilts the spinach, and the burst of sweet grapes complement the slightly melted and salty feta cheese. What a lovely, simple salad.

Bulgur is a quick-cooking whole wheat that is often the basis for a Middle Eastern tabbouleh salad. Did you know that bulgur has twice the fiber of brown rice?! We reap different benefits and flavor profiles from different grains, so keep mixing it up! But as I always say, if you want to use another grain that you have on-hand, go for it.

Note that you can buy pre-washed spinach for this recipe. I used to think that I needed to do most of the work in the kitchen from scratch (which is I nice ideal), but sometimes “healthy shortcuts” like pre-washed greens, quick-cooking whole grains, and frozen fruits and vegetables, can make the difference between preparing dinner at home versus ordering in.

Krieger says, combining grain and vegetable in this dish does double duty as a side that pairs well with simply grilled or roasted meat or poultry. Or tossed with some walnuts, this would be a great vegetarian entree.

I know what I’m eating for lunch the next few days!

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Warm Bulgur Salad with Grapes and Feta

recipe adapted from Ellie Krieger’s Weeknight Wonders

makes 6 servings

1 cup quick-cooking or fine bulgur wheat

2 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves

1 shallot (or 1/4 large red onion)

a few sprigs of fennel fronds or dill fronds (I used fresh fennel fronds and dried dill)

1 cup seedless red grapes

3 ounces feta cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 large lemon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook the bulgur according to the directions on the package.

While the bulgur is cooking, chop the spinach, finely dice the shallot, and chop the fennel fronds. Place them into a large bowl. Cut the grapes into quarters, and crumble the feta cheese.

When the bulgur is done, fluff it with a fork, then add it to the bowl with the spinach and herbs. Toss well until combined, then let sit until the spinach is slightly wilted and the grain is no longer steaming, about 3 minutes. Add the oil, lemon juice, and the salt and pepper and toss until well coated. Add the grapes and feta and toss to combine.