Drunken Valentine’s Day Eve

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What better on Valentine’s Day Eve (or national ‘Eat Italian Food Day‘) than to look to a classic Chow Ciao! for some last minute recipe ideas: Drunken Spaghetti!  In keeping with the red wine theme, Chef Fabio also offers a recipe for Red Wine Risotto via his website.  In either case, you have an excellent meal idea for Valentine’s Day.

Don’t fear the squash!

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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!