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/

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Boloco: Make Your Own Bowl or Burrito

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If you live in New England, 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!

Sweet Potato Oatmeal

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I was holding on to this recipe until I felt that true autumn feeling, and it finally happened today. As I drove around my new neighborhood and found a road that looked downright rural, leaves of many colors littered my windshield. It’s pumpkin spice season!

I often use sweet potato instead of pumpkin in baked goods because the potato leftovers are more versatile than the leftover canned pumpkin. Sweet potatoes take more time, though, since you need to microwave and peel them. The taste is similar, so use whichever item you prefer.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup oats, gluten-free if desired
  • 2/3 cup almond or soy milk
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • dash of vanilla
  • 1/4 cup mashed sweet potato (if you don’t have any on hand, follow these directions to cook a small potato)
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • sliced almonds (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine the oats, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the sweet potato and maple syrup and stir. Microwave for 2 more minutes, watching the bowl carefully for overflow. IMG_5598
  3. Stir and serve topped with sliced almonds, as well as more cinnamon and maple syrup to taste.

Serves 1. Active and total time 6 minutes. Adapted from http://www.theoatmealartist.com/maple-sweet-potato-oatmeal/

Cucumber-Pear Smoothie

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When I received small pickling cucumbers in my Boston Organics produce delivery, I knew I wouldn’t be making any vinegar-soaked, acidic pickles. Cucumbers aren’t my favorite salad addition, either. But they add a surprising flavor to smoothies without being strong enough to overpower the sweetness of the fruit.

This is one of the more unusual smoothie combinations I’ve tried. Since pineapples and most berries are too low in pH for the low-acid diet, I have to get creative! The cinnamon and ginger were a nice touch here, and the unexpected flavor combo worked for me. Try adding a spoonful of almond butter if you’re looking for a more filling, protein-packed snack.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pickling cucumber (or 1/3 of a normal cucumber)
  • 1 ripe Bartlett pear, cored
  • 1/2 a frozen banana
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground ginger

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Peel the cucumber, and use a small spoon to remove the seeds. Roughly chop the cucumber flesh.
  2. Add the cucumber, pear, banana, and milk to a blender or mini-chop. Blend for about a minute until smooth.
  3. Add cinnamon and ginger to taste. Pulse to combine and serve.
Serves 1. Active and total time 5 minutes. Adapted from http://www.queenofquinoa.me/2012/06/cucumber-pear-smoothie/

Baked Cod & Corn on the Cob

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Although Labor Day has come and gone, it’s still hot enough in Massachusetts for me to want a light, summery meal. White fish is so easy to cook, and the corn is still sweet this late in the season. This is a simple meal, but using fish instead of chicken makes it feel more special. Also, fish ends up being easier to cook and clean up after, as long as you put the wrappers in the outdoor trash immediately to keep your kitchen smelling fresh.

I served this with a side of Sesame Bok Choy Salad, but any vegetable side dish will work. Take advantage of your farmers’ market while it’s still flush with produce! Also, feel free to cover the side with cheese since the rest of this meal is so healthy.

 INGREDIENTS

  • 2 4-oz cod fillets, defrosted if frozen
  • 2 ears sweet corn
  • 1 tsp lemon olive oil
  • oregano
  • thyme
  • sea salt
  • ground coriander

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and set a large pot of water on high heat to boil.
  2. Shuck the corn, removing as many silks as possible with your fingers. Rinse, snap off the ends of the cobs, and set corn aside.
  3. Line a baking sheet with foil, and spray with olive oil spray. Place the fish on the sheet, and sprinkle with the spices to taste.
  4. Bake fish for 15-20 minutes, until the middle is warm and opaque.
  5. When the water comes to a boil, add the corn cobs. Cook for 5 minutes, bringing the water back to a boil during that time. Remove corn from the water after 5 minutes.
  6. Fill two plates with fish and corn (and a side salad, if you wish), and enjoy!

Serves 2. Active time 10 minutes; total time 30 minutes.