Skillet Rigatoni: Weeknight Dinner Recipe

The cooler weather finally has come to Alabama, and on Halloween it is supposed to be pretty chilly. We have a super busy week ahead with my daughter’s dance, Halloween and my youngest son is his little league football’s Super Bowl (which means practicing almost every night). This Skillet Rigatoni Recipe is the perfect weeknight dinner recipe. It’s easy, fast and a crowd pleaser, and my kids absolutely love it. Feel free to use ground turkey if you want.  I may just make this on Halloween night to make my life a little simpler.

Lazy Lasagna and “Substitute Yourself Skinny” Cookbook Giveaway

This summer, I was lucky enough to travel through Italy with several journalists from around the U.S. One of them, whom I hit it off with immediately, was Susan Irby. Susan is known as the “Bikini Chef”, the host of the well-loved Bikini Lifestyles on 790 KABC in Los Angeles, CA. This radio station actually spans the globe with listeners in Italy, France, Germany, Australia, Canada and many other countries worldwide. She was a blast to be with on the trip, and I’m so excited to share her current cookbook with you, Substitute Yourself Skinny. Susan is a 7-time author who helps people obtain their healthy bikini goals by focusing on lifestyle changes rather than a short term diet.

Her recipe for “Lazy Lasagna” really caught my eye. It’s perfect for when the weather is cool, and kids love it. For only 308 calories and 3 grams of fat per serving, everyone can feel good about eating a hearty slice of this family favorite. This is just one of many delicious low-fat and beautiful recipes in her book. I am excited to give away one copy of her book. Just follow the steps below for a chance to win a copy. Winner will be chosen Sunday, October 30th at 8 a.m.

1. Leave a comment below telling me your favorite healthy pasta recipe.

2. Follow Alison Lewis on Twitter

3. Like Ingredients, Inc. on Facebook

4. Follow Susan Irby, The Bikini Chef on Twitter

5. Like The Bikini Chef on Facebook

Turkey Burgers Featuring Belle Chevre Goat Cheese

I am so excited about sharing this favorite Burger recipe: Turkey Burgers with Belle Chevre, a recipe by Chef Marvin Woods, Emmy Award Winner Nominee, Cookbook Author, and one of the first chefs to join the “Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign”. He has teamed up with Belle Chevre Creamery to create a new E-Cookbook filled with fabulous summer recipes. I am honored that Belle Chevre has featured me on their blog this week. These Turkey Burgers are so easy to prepare, and my kids loved them too. Using Vidalia onion and panko breadcrumbs adds wonderful flavor and crunch. Enjoy these this summer on the grill or anytime of the year using a grill pan. Sliced Belle Chevre Artisan Goat Cheese makes these a winner.

Kids Cook it Up: Sausage-Vegetable Pizza

My kids are already out of school for the summer, and they are so excited. They love having friends over, of course, and I like to ask them if they want to help out in the kitchen. My kids (and their friends) love being in the kitchen. It’s the center of our home. Most of their friends know that I’m a Recipe Developer and Cookbook Author and that I’m always taking pictures in the kitchen. We made these Sausage-Vegetable Pizzas the other day, and they had a blast. Making pizzas is a fun kid’s activity. I love to set up an array of toppings, and I let them create their own. Try this for an awesome summer activity.


Easy and Healthy Beef and Broccoli

My three kids love Asian flavors. This easy and healthy Beef and Broccoli recipe is a hit every time that I make it. It’s so quick to prepare using very simple-to-find ingredients. I love using skirt steak as it’s very tender after being simply marinated with honey, fresh ginger, reduced-sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Just marinate the steak for an hour or overnight, and dinner is on the table in less than 30 minutes. This dish is perfect for busy weeknights. I served with rice and some edamame beans, and everyone loved it (and was full).

New Year’s Resolution: Low Calorie, Low-Fat, Low-Carb Beef Empanadas

How about a low-fat, low-calorie, low-carb appetizer to start the New Year? Is it really possible? Yes, it is… With bowl games going on and the Superbowl on its way in a few weeks, I thought I would share this appetizer recipe I developed recently for Laura’s Lean Beef Company. Each Empanada only has 85 calories, 1.5 grams of fat and 8 carbs, so you can indulge without breaking your New Year’s resolution. Using wonton wrappers and baking them in the oven is the key to their ease and delicious success.


Beef Empanandas

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Yield: 20 servings

Ingredients

1/2 pound lean ground round

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup canned low-salt yellow corn, drained

1/3 cup salsa

1 tablespoon tomato paste

20 wonton wrappers

Cooking spray

Salsa, low-fat sour cream (optional)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Cook ground beef, onion and next 3 ingredients in a large nonstick skillet 5 minutes or until beef is browned; drain. Add corn and next 2 ingredients and cook until heated through. Remove and let cool.

3. Working with one wonton wrapper at a time, spoon 1 tablespoon beef mixture into center of each wrapper. Bring 2 opposite corners together and pinch the points to seal, forming a triangle. Place wrappers on a wire rack and repeat procedure with remaining wrappers and beef mixture.

4. Place empanadas on lightly greased baking sheets and coat lightly with cooking spray. Bake 4 to 6 minutes on each side, turning once or until golden. Serve with salsa and sour cream, if desired. 

Hanukkah Sweet and Sour Brisket

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My sister, Julie, is a fabulous cook and has been making this recipe for Hanukkah for years. The recipe sounds so bizarre with apricot preserves, chili sauce and, oh my, sauerkraut? When I worked at Southern Living Magazine as a Food Editor, and I sent this recipe to the test kitchen, they were a little questionable about it. But when we discussed it around the taste-testing table (a long table that seats about 20), everyone gave it the highest rating possible. It is really delicious, although, I will admit, difficult to photograph so I added some photos from this year’s Hanukkah party at my house (that’s my son reading the prayer-yes I was proud). This recipe is ideal for Hanukkah or in the fall or winter months when you want something comforting, warm, with a touch of sweet and sour. And if you live in Birmingham, Alabama and don’t have time to cook brisket, head to Jim N Nick’s Barbecue on Highway 280-yum!

 

Sweet-And-Sour Brisket

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 31/2 to 4 hours

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

1  (5-pound) beef brisket, trimmed

1  (1-ounce) envelope onion soup mix

1/2  teaspoon  garlic powder

1/2  teaspoon  Italian seasoning

1/2  teaspoon  ground red pepper

1  (10-ounce) jar apricot preserves

1  cup  water

1  cup  chili sauce

2  (10-ounce) cans sauerkraut, drained

Preparation

1 Place brisket in a lightly greased roasting pan. Sprinkle with soup mix and next three ingredients. Spread preserves on top of brisket. Add 1 cup water to pan. Cover tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil.

2. Bake, covered, at 350° for 3 hours. Uncover and pour chili sauce over brisket; top with sauerkraut. Cover and bake 1 more hour.

3. Remove from oven; let stand, covered, 30 minutes before slicing. Serve with sauerkraut and pan juices.

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