Ginger Sesame Salad Dressing

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
Combine ingredients. Store in a cool place.

Light Chocolate Chip Cookie

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled (or browned butter)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar (or dark brown sugar)
  • ½ cup semi-sweet or white chocolate chips
  • ¼-½ cup chopped, toasted walnuts
  1. Melt butter and set aside to cool.
  2. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment or foil.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter, egg and vanilla together.
  5. Stir in the brown sugar until smooth, smearing any clumps against the side of the bowl.
  6. Stir in the flour mixture, walnuts and chocolate chips until thoroughly combined.
  7. Using level tablespoon of dough each time, roll dough into balls and place on cookie sheets about 2 ½ inches apart.
  8. Bake, one tray at a time, until edges are golden and centers are just set, 11-13 minutes. Do not overbake.
  9. Cool the cookies on baking sheets for 5 min., then transfer to a wire rack or serve warm.

Light Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler


  • 1 quart fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
  • 10 ounces rhubarb, cut into ½-inch chunks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Biscuit Topping  

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (5 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • ¼ cup sugar plus 2 teaspoons
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the fruit filling ingredients together in a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Place the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the fruit releases its liquid and is hot and bubbling around the edges, 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the flour, cornmeal, ¼ cup of the sugar, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, butter, and vanilla together; set aside. In a third small bowl, mix the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar with the cinnamon; set aside.
  3. When the filling is ready, stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined and no pockets of flour remain. Remove the cobbler filling from the oven and stir. Pinch off 8 equal pieces of the biscuit dough and arrange them on top of the hot filling, spaced ½ inch apart. Sprinkle the tops of the biscuits with the cinnamon sugar.
  4. Continue to bake the cobbler until the biscuits are golden brown on top and cooked through and the filling is again hot and bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool the cobbler on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving.

Lighter apple crumble


  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ½ pounds Granny Smith apples (about 3 medium), peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  • 1 ½ pounds Golden Delicious apples (about 3 medium), peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  • 2/3cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch table salt
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground nutmeg


  • ¾ cup dry quick-cooking oats
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp light butter, melted (such as Land O Lakes)
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • ½ tsp salt

Oven at 350 degrees, cook for ~55-60 minutes or until it starts to turn brown.


Beef Chili with Kidney Beans


Amazing chili that can be made in the crock pot. Cooks Illustrated suggests making the chili at least a day in advance, up to five days, as the flavor gets better with time. We made some adjustments as we don’t like a very meaty chili and I grew up eating chili with potatoes, so we added them.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped fine (about 2 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, makes it spicy)
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, makes it spicy)
  • 1 pound 85 percent lean ground beef
  • 30 ounces of canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 28 ounces of canned diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 28 ounces of canned tomato puree
  • Table salt
  • Red potatoes, peeled and diced (about 8 small)
  1. Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking, 3 to 4 minutes. Add onions, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, oregano, and cayenne; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. 
  2. Increase heat to medium-high and add half the beef; cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink and just beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add remaining beef and cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, and ½ teaspoon salt; bring to boil.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Cook the chili on the high setting for four hours.
  5. After 2 hours, add the diced potatoes, covering with sauce.
  6. Serve hot, though the flavor is best if left overnight.

Optional items for garnish: fresh lime wedges, sour cream, green onions.

Lentil & kale soup

  • 1 large onion , chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped ½" slices
  • 3 cups rinsed and chopped kale
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 can (14 ½ ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup lentils (7 ounces), rinsed and picked over
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups water


  1. Add olive oil to soup pot over medium high heat. Add onion and carrots; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in lentils, salt, and pepper to taste; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until vegetables are softened and lentils have darkened, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Uncover, increase heat to high, add wine, and bring to simmer. 
  4. Add chicken broth, water, tomatoes, bay leaf; bring to boil, cover partially, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until lentils are tender but still hold their shape, 30 to 35 minutes; discard bay leaf.
  5. Puree 3 cups soup in blender until smooth, then return to pot.
  6. Add kale and simmer in soup for about 5 minutes until tender.

You can serve the soup with a spoon of yogurt to make it creamy. Stir the yogurt into your bowl of soup.

Spinach & mushroom lasagna


I love lasagna. I’ve been making lasagna for about 10 years and have my own recipe mixed together from favorite flavors and methods from other lasagna recipes.. This weekend I made the best lasagna to date with some methods from Cooks Illustrated (who can do no wrong, in my eyes!). I really dislike ricotta, hence the cottage cheese usage here.


  • Enough lasagna noodles to make 4 layers of lasagna in a brownie sized pan
  • 16 oz. low fat cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 20 oz. spinach, stemmed and rinsed
  • 1 lb. button mushrooms, sliced
  • Spaghetti sauce (Prego in a jar is my favorite for lasagna)
  • 8 oz. low fat shredded mozzarella cheese
  • A few tablespoons of parmesan


For the spinach

  1. Fill a large bowl with ice water, set aside. 
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil, add 1 tbsp. salt, add spinach and stir until wilted. 
  3. Drain and immediately add spinach to ice water to stop cooking.
  4. Drain and squeeze spinach in a towel to remove all excess moisture.
  5. Chop up spinach.

For the mushrooms

  1. Sautee mushrooms in some garlic and olive oil until browned and no more liquid is released. This is important to not have a soggy lasagna.

For the cheese

  1. Add cottage cheese and 2 eggs to food processor.
  2. Process until smooth.
  3. Mix cheese mixture, spinach and mushrooms in a bowl until combined.

For the lasagna noodles

  1. If you are using regular lasagna noodles, boil them according to package. If you are using no-boil lasagna noodles, soak them in hot tap water for 5 mins.
  2. Agitate noodles so they don’t stick together while boiling/soaking.
  3. Drain and use immediately. If you let them stand, they dry up and stick.

To assemble lasagna

  1. Spoon a few tbsp of spaghetti sauce on bottom of brownie pan. Shake to evenly coat bottom.
  2. Add first layer of noodles.
  3. Evenly cover noodles with some spaghetti sauce.
  4. Spread 1/3 of cheese mixture over noodles. Sprinkle lightly with a handful of mozzarella.
  5. Repeat 2-4 2 more times.
  6. Spread rest of cheese mixture over noodles.
  7. Cover with remaining layer of noodles.
  8. Cover noodles with spaghetti sauce, making sure to cover all the edges so noodles don’t dry out.
  9. Sprinkle with mozzarella until evenly covered. Shake a few tbsp of parmesan over mozzarella.
  10. Cover tightly with tin foil that has been spray with cooking spray (so the cheese doesn’t stick to it).
  11. Bake 30 min in 350ºF oven. Remove tin foil and continue baking until cheese is bubbly, 15 min. Let stand 15 min. Serve.