Healthy Eating Through the Holidays

I think most will agree that the holidays are a time of year when it’s hardest to stick to healthy eating habits. Gatherings of family and friends tend to also be gatherings of food (lots of food) and sweets. This is part of what makes the holidays so enjoyable, of course, but it can also leave you feeling less than your best. We wanted to lead you into the holidays with some fresh recipe ideas to help you stay on track. Enjoy & happy holidays to all!

Coq au Vin

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Looking Back on a Successful 2014

As the year begins to wind down and come to a close (crazy!), we wanted to take the opportunity to look back on a successful 2014. It was an exciting year for Just Add Cooking, which culminated in a fun and interactive event at Sur La Table where we were able to form some great relationships and start the holiday season on a high note. We are so thankful for all who have supported us and tried Just Add Cooking! Some highlights:

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Winter Comfort Foods: Can They Be Healthy?

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There are few things more satisfying than comfort foods in the winter. As the temperature continues to drop, these are foods that make a night in that much more enjoyable. Then why do comfort foods get a bad rep? Most likely because they are generally thought to be unhealthy and loaded with calories (think baked potatoes and red meat). A few of our recipes, like Leek and Potato Soup and Chicken Gruyere, accomplish the at-home coziness feeling while still being wholesome. See the recipes below to try the next time you are feeling like a night in. Enjoy!

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Media Event: Sur La Table + Just Add Cooking

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We are so excited to announce that we held our first media event at the Copley Place Sur La Table last night! Our guests included a wonderful group of local bloggers and reporters from Fast Company, Only In Bos and Style Wire, among others.

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Think Differently About Veggies in December

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Chances are, when you think of December you don’t think of fresh vegetables. However, we’re here to tell you that you should! There is a variety of delicious veggies that are at their freshest in December that you can weave into your healthy cooking.

Next week, we are including a few in our Just Add Cooking box—cranberries in our Paneer, Bulgur & Cranberries dish as well as leeks in our Beef, White Bean and Leeks dish. A few other veggies that are fresh in December and that you can easily include in your dinner routine are: sweet potatoes, radishes, parsnips, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, and beets. A few of our favorite recipes using these ingredients are below. Enjoy!

Curried Carrot, Sweet Potato, and Ginger Soup – via health.com

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This dish is a great way to get more vitamin A and beta carotene. Both the carrots and the sweet potatoes deliver oodles of both, making this recipe particularly good for both your skin and vision. Pair it with a whole grain baguette for a hearty and satisfying meal.

  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 3 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato
  • 1 1/2 cups (1/4-inch) sliced peeled carrots
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

 Preparation

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots; saute 3 minutes or until tender. Add potato, carrots, ginger, and curry; cook 2 minutes. Add broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender; stir in salt. Pour half of soup in a food processor; pulse until smooth. Repeat procedure with remaining soup.

Yield: serves 5 (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)

Rouasted Cauliflower with Fresh Herbs & Parmesan – via cookinglight.com

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Use parmesan and any fresh herbs you have on hand for this roasted cauliflower dish. While parsley, tarragon, and thyme make a nice combination, you can also try sage, chives, and rosemary for this holiday recipe.

  •  12 cups cauliflower florets (about 2 heads)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preparation

Preheat oven to 450°. Place cauliflower in a large roasting pan or jelly-roll pan. Drizzle with oil; toss well to coat. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes or until tender and browned, stirring every 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley, thyme, tarragon, and garlic. Bake 5 minutes. Combine cauliflower mixture, cheese, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl; toss well to combine.

Beet Salad with Miso and Black Sesame– via bonappetit.com

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This salad’s secret? Combining raw and roasted beets delivers two textures from one ingredient.

  • 6 small beets (about 1 lb.), preferably golden, scrubbed, divided
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup white miso
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 bunch watercress, trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds or toasted white sesame seeds

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°. Place 4 beets on a large piece of foil and rub with 1 Tbsp. oil; season with salt and pepper and close up foil around beets. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until tender, 30–40 minutes. Unwrap beets and let cool slightly. Peel and cut into ½” wedges. Meanwhile, whisk miso, vinegar, remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, and 3 Tbsp. water in a small bowl. Set dressing aside. Thinly slice remaining 2 raw beets on a mandoline. Arrange watercress and roasted and raw beets on a platter and drizzle with reserved dressing; top with sesame seeds.

The Missing Piece of the Clean Eating Puzzle

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Now that you are armed with our last-minute entertaining techniques, it’s time to spotlight an equally vital part of preparing your healthy holiday meal – your cooking tools. Cooking with fresh, locally- sourced ingredients is step one, but it is only part of the puzzle. The next step in ensuring a healthful eating experience for family and friends is using materials that are free of toxic chemicals such as BPA and parabens. One of our favorite blogs, “100 Days of Real Food,” suggested five safe cooking materials to use this the holiday season and beyond:

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