Parmesan Butternut Squash

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Sometimes simple ingredients come together to make the perfect dish. With only four ingredients, this side dish is easy to make yet so tasty. I don’t normally add much salt to my vegetables, but the saltiness of the cheese really put this squash on another level. It tastes as sweet as always but with perfect contrast. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The only trick to know here is that the squash can’t be crowded in the pan, or it won’t brown; it will steam. It may seem like an unnecessary effort to use two pans, but it caramelizes the squash so it tastes like something you’d get at a restaurant.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • sea salt
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with foil and coat with olive oil spray.
  2. Use a knife or a vegetable peeler to remove the skin from the butternut squash. Cut it in half and remove the seeds; then cut into small pieces.
  3. Put half of the squash on each baking sheet, being sure to leave lots of room for the pieces to brown. Drizzle a half-teaspoon of oil over each baking sheet, and use your hands to mix the oil into the squash. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes at 425 degrees. Remove the pans from the oven, stir the squash, and return the pans to the oven, but switch the pans—the pan that was on the top rack should now be on the bottom rack. 2014-10-31 18.57.10
  5. Turn the oven down to 400 degrees and bake the squash for 15 minutes more.
  6. Remove squash from the oven and sprinkle each pan with parmesan cheese. Stir and serve.

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Serves 4. Active time 15 minutes; total time 55 minutes. Adapted from http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2013/11/roasted-butternut-squash-with-pine-nuts-and-parmesan/

Lentil-Vegetable Couscous Stew

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A steaming bowl of soup is my favorite meal in cold weather, but it doesn’t travel well. I was inspired to make this stew when I was making soup and thinking about how difficult it would be to bring to work for lunch. Adding some whole-wheat couscous took care of the liquid but preserved the flavor, and the dish turned out to be just as filling and warming as a soup.

This is a simple recipe that could be changed in so many ways. The ratio of broth, vegetables, and couscous is important so you end up with the right consistency of stew, but you can throw in any vegetables you have on hand. Different spice and herb combinations would work, too, but I recommend using the goat cheese every time to add a bit of creaminess.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup green lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 32 oz low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat couscous
  • 1 oz goat cheese
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • grated parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium in a large soup pot. Chop carrots, red pepper, and sweet potato (with skin on) and saute in olive oil for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the lentils, broth, bay leaf, onion powder, oregano, and thyme to the pot. Bring to a boil and then drop heat to a simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. 074
  3. Remove the bay leaf, and add the salt, couscous, and goat cheese. Stir, drop the heat to low, and cover the pot. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, until the liquid is all absorbed. Stir to incorporate the goat cheese. 076
  4. Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach and vinegar until spinach wilts.
  5. Serve topped with parsley and parmesan cheese.

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Serves 4 to 6. Active time 20 minutes; total time 50 minutes.

Pumpkinhead Cupcakes (The Leftovers Club)

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It’s rare that I make a dessert for The Low-Acid Kitchen that doesn’t try to mask whole-wheat flour, do without oil, or otherwise be very healthy. These cupcakes are a true dessert, though, and they’re a treat with their light texture and delicious spice blend. They’re naturally moist from the pumpkin puree, and the fat content isn’t problematic if you eat only one. This recipe also includes a secret ingredient: Shipyard Pumpkinhead, my favorite autumn ale.

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The key to keeping this dessert heartburn-friendly is to omit the frosting. Cream cheese frosting would be fantastic on these, but it’s not necessary. I topped each cupcake with shredded coconut instead of frosting, and the pop of sweetness and texture was the perfect finish. The part of the coconut that isn’t directly touching the cake gets browned and crispy and is divine!

I sent these cupcakes to Ginger of Stark Raving Delicious for The Leftovers Club. She made me a moist and well-spiced pumpkin loaf, and I wanted to reply with a seasonal treat. If you love to bake and want to receive goodies in the mail each month, consider joining Ginger and me in The Leftovers Club.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • a few dashes of cloves
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and add paper liners to a standard cupcake tin.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Mix well.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the sugars, oil, vanilla, egg, pumpkin, and beer. Stir until smooth.
  4. Add the dry ingredients in several batches into the wet ingredients, and stir until all lumps have disappeared. 2014-11-02 19.21.55
  5. Fill each cupcake liner with a scant 1/4 cup of batter. Sprinkle each cake with coconut, and bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cake comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the pan and cool on a wire rack.

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Makes 12. Active time 10 minutes; total time 26 to 28 minutes. Adapted from http://shipyard.com/article/pumpkinhead-cupcakes

Healthier Apple Crisp

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Apple crisp is a fall favorite, and it can be a healthy one, too. I made this version low in fat by cutting over half of the butter and replacing it with applesauce. This particular recipe makes more of a granola topping, rather than the traditional buttery crust, but it is delicious.

The key to making this recipe good for heartburn is to use mostly red apples (which have a higher pH than green apples and thus are easier on the throat) and throw in one green apple for tartness. I used a mixture of red, green, and tan apples that a friend picked at the orchard and left at my house. I’m not sure where tan apples fall on the spectrum of acidity, but I come across them so rarely that I’m not going to worry about it.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 3 or 4 large Gala apples
  • 1 green apple
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp whole-wheat white flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat white flour
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 tbsp applesauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Core and thinly slice the apples, measuring them (about 10 cups) and placing them into a 9 x 13 inch glass baking pan.
  3. Mix the sugar, 1 tbsp flour, spices, and pinch of salt in a medium bowl, and sprinkle the mixture over the apples. Stir to coat.
  4. Combine the oats, 1/4 cup flour, almonds, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, melted butter, applesauce, and salt, and use a fork to mix well. Use your fingers to sprinkle the mixture evenly over the apples. 2014-10-09 15.55.25
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
Serves 8. Active time 25 minutes; total time 70 minutes. Adapted from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/healthier-apple-crisp-ii/

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Boloco: Make Your Own Bowl or Burrito

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If you live in New England or DC, Boloco is probably already on your radar. Its burritos come in flavors inspired by many cuisines—you could call them wraps, really, since only a couple of the choices are typical Mexican fare. Their menu has many options for those trying to avoid heartburn.

The best option for GERD is to make your own bowl or burrito. Walk down the ingredient line to see what’s there, as it can be tough to find all of the options just by reading the menu. My most recent bowl (pictured here) featured quinoa, baby kale, broccoli, chicken, black beans, corn salsa, carrots, cilantro, and cheese. I also recommend the roasted mushrooms, butternut squash, carnitas, celery, pinto beans, beets, cucumbers, and brown rice.

I didn’t put a sauce on this particular bowl because the ingredients have so much flavor. The Thai peanut and tikka masala sauces are both delicious, but you’ll want to order them on the side and use sparingly to spare your throat.

Sometimes I order a mini burrito so I can save room for a shake. The Jimmy Carter (peanut butter, banana, and yogurt) is my favorite, but the seasonal pumpkin shake is a welcome treat as well. Boloco is a restaurant WIN in many ways!