Don’t fear the squash!

Chow Ciao logo




Fall is a time for squash.  I have to admit; as a kid, we never ate much squash.  Now, I have seen how good they can be!  Wondering what to do with that garden’s bounty of squash?  Worry no more.  Just recently, I made a butternut squash risotto, which was quite filling and flavorful.  I’ve also used butternut squash to make some tasty from-the-oven french fries.  Chef Fabio has an additional delicious option, with a little squash 101 to start: Butternut Squash Ravioli!

(Spaghetti squash is another of my personal favorites!)

Get the recipe!

Vegetarian Ground Beef

Veggie Ground Beef

Let me start by saying that I am not a vegetarian (but my wife and I don’t have meat included in our meals every day).  It’s not so much that we don’t enjoy steak/burgers/chicken/shrimp/insert other food here, but rather part expense/part health.  Meat can be expensive, and we are trying to eat as healthy as we can.  We both come from families that have had meat as part of meals more often, and that’s ok.  We don’t have anything against it (and I love home cooking).

As a part of trying to eat healthier, we have tried some vegetarian products, one of which is Lightlife Gimme Lean ground beef.  It’s in the refrigerated case in the vegetables/fruits section of our local food market.  I’ve now had it a few times in a few different dishes, and it doesn’t disappoint or make me long for a non-vegetarian substitute in its place (a key component for someone like me).

There’s this perception that trying to eat vegetarian (even if it’s only so often) leaves someone with few, bland food choices, or you only eat vegetables themselves, or it will leave you hungry somehow.  This product is a perfect example of how that is not true.  I’ve made this into tacos with black beans- tasty with some unflavored Greek yogurt and salsa.  (Seriously, try some unflavored Greek yogurt in place of sour cream.)  I couldn’t tell any major difference using Gimme Lean with lasagne. Most recently, we made cabbage soup with this-a tomato base with red wine and kidney beans.  It’s simple to include this in multi-component meals.  I’m not sure that I would use it by itself and it crumbled a bit in the soup, but it’s a quick-cooking, easy substitute for meat, if you’re looking for something to try as an introductory meatless product.  Enjoy!

“The Sistine Chapel… of Green Tomato”

Chow Ciao logo

Chef Fabio has a quick and tasty way to enjoy green tomatoes.  This may be the only way I’ll get to enjoy tomatoes from our garden, as just about the time they are ripe, they are gone! (e.g. my wife has eaten them right off the vine, or the vexing planting zone 5 phenomenon also known as the “tomato monster”)  We always plant quite a few plants in our limited space to maximize tomato production.

These stuffed green tomatoes were making me hungry!


The freshest lasagna

Chow Ciao logo

Fabio prepares a classic for us: lasagna.  Everyone seems to have their own twist on this dish (over 200 recipes on All Recipes alone!)  There are the time-saving, yet deliciousness-sacrificing easy use store bought noodles (boil and no-boil) for making lasagna, but Fabio has a much tastier fresh noodle (still no-boil!) option.  Who needs ricotta?  Check out this Chow Ciao!

The recipe: lasagna

Get Pissed Off (Eggs) for Easter!

Chow Ciao logo

Chef Fabio shows us a quick and easy dish for Easter brunch: Pissed Off Eggs. You don’t even have to be upset to eat it!

While not everyone is a fan of spicy, Chef shows us how to moderate the heat.  I’ve become more a fan of spicy flavors as I’ve grown older.  I remember avoiding spicy as a kid all the time.  Now I appreciate what it can do for a dish’s flavors and enliven the senses.


Keenwah… I mean Quinoa…


(Photo from Article)

Quinoa– no matter how you say it (keenwah… keenwah…), it remains an excellent food option.  I hadn’t tried quinoa until fairly recently- maybe a year ago.  It’s fairly tasty when made with broth and some herbs of your choosing.  Due to its complete nutritive nature, you could use it as a main dish, but I’ve had it more often as a side dish.  Definitely make sure to wash off the natural saponins (the water will run clear through the quinoa), or it may not be as tasty as you were hoping.