Sides

Think outside the potatoes/rice box! Recipes for healthy, delicious side dishes include quinoa, lentil salad, baked mushrooms and more.

roasted artichoke

I love food that must be eaten slowly, deliberately. I love lobsters, whole fish, and artichokes. I dislike food that you tend to gobble up fast, like fast-food burgers and most sandwiches. But I like artichokes not just because it takes 20 minutes or so to eat one – I also love their intense, unique flavor and the way you slowly build your way from the outer, tougher leaves, through the inner, delicate, tasty leaves, all the way to the yummy heart. Plus, artichokes are good for you – they’re high in fiber, potassium, vitamin C and magnesium.

This simple recipe for roasted artichokes takes some time, but in every other respect, it’s very easy. And the result is a tender, tasty artichoke, flavored with olive oil, lemon and garlic – a true delicacy.
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Shirataki Noodles Recipe

Shirataki are traditional Japanese noodles made from the high-fiber konjac root. Since they are basically made of fiber and water, shirataki noodles have no nutritional value (no calories, no net carbs) despite being very filling. They also have no flavor of their own, which makes them an ideal vehicle for absorbing soups and sauces.

I find that shirataki noodles make a good pasta and noodle substitute, as long as you prepare them correctly (instructions below) – otherwise they are rubbery, slimy and unpleasant to eat. But prepared correctly and mixed with a yummy sauce, or added to soup, they do give a satisfactory answer to your noodle cravings, if you happen to have them.

Shirataki noodles also have health benefits. Konjac root is basically glucomannan, a soluble fiber, or prebiotic. It encourages the growth of good bacteria in our stomach. It CAN cause extra gas production in some people, so the first time you try it, and until you know how shirataki noodles affect you, you better be alone. :)

There are plenty of ways to use shirataki noodles, but my favorite is the simplest – buttered shirataki noodles with Parmesan. Here’s how to make them.
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crab stuffed mushrooms

Crab stuffed portobello mushrooms are festive and tasty. The fresher the crabmeat you use, the less fishy this dish will taste – the supermarket lump crabmeat that comes in small plastic containers tends to be quite fishy. If you have Whole Foods in your area, try the crabmeat sold at their seafood counter.

Another challenge in this dish is that stuffed and baked portobello mushrooms can become soggy. To avoid sogginess:
1. Wipe clean, don’t wash them (they absorb water).
2. Pre-broil to release some of the water.
3. In the final stage of baking or broiling, broil or bake briefly, just until topping is browned. Baking too long will result in mushy mushrooms that have released their liquid into your filling. If that happens, the only thing you can do is to carefully drain the liquid, and place the mushrooms on paper towels to soak as much of the liquid as you can.
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onion quiche

When reader John Razzano emailed me to ask if he could make my mini onion quiches in a 9-inch pie plate, I was intrigued. It sounded doable, and easy!
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roasted garlic

Creamy and almost-sweet, roasted garlic is a delicacy. Most recipes for roasted garlic use a whole garlic head, but I rarely have whole garlic in the house (I can’t stand peeling garlic), so I use pre-peeled garlic cloves that I get at Whole Foods.

Roasted garlic is excellent when mashed and spread on warm toast, but I usually serve it scattered on top of any vegetable dish that I might be making that night. Tonight I steamed some broccoli and topped it with melted butter and roasted garlic. Yum.
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sauteed broccolini

Most recipes for sautéed broccolini will tell you to blanch the broccolini first (cook briefly in salted water, then quickly rinse in cold water or dip in ice water). But I like to sauté the broccolini first, until browned and crisp, then add a bit of water to the hot pan, cover and briefly steam, just until the stems are crisp-tender.
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spaghetti squash casserole

Got some leftover spaghetti squash and don’t feel like making spaghetti squash fritters? Try this cheesy, tasty spaghetti squash casserole.
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