The Food You Crave

“Ribbons of colorful vegetables and fresh herbs intertwine with tender noodles in this delicately flavored salad.”

That is how Ellie described this tasty salad. And she was RIGHT!! Of course!!

Soba noodles mixed with fresh bell pepper, carrot, basil from my garden and some cilantro. Mix that with a fantastic sauce will all the Asian flavors – rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic fish sauce – and you have a healthy alternative to the usual heavy noodle salads. Delicious!! The sauce alone will make you swoon!!

I loved the bite of the cilantro mixed with the sweet bell pepper and carrot. Make this one! SOON!!

You can find Ellie’s recipe on FOODTV or on page 139 of The Food You Crave.

The theme this week for I Heart Cooking Clubs was Oodles of Noodles.  I know there will be other delicious noodle dishes posted there.

I am not a sandwich fan. Not cold ones anyway. If I eat a sandwich it is usually a nice hot one. And I usually sub in a wrap rather than a real sandwich. So when Kayte chose this week’s theme I was all in. (A little late maybe, but all in!)
Especially when it contains just veggies and grilled veggies at that.



This is Ellie’s Hummus and Grilled Vegetable Wrap and it is perfect. And very colorful and very easy to put together.

Simply – a whole wheat wrap spread with Hummus {I used Roasted Red Pepper Hummus} stuffed with grilled zucchini, red onions {Ellie said just diced purple onion but I am not a fan of raw onions so I grilled some thin slices.}, spinach, mint leaves. pine nuts, and roasted red pepper. 

It just doesn’t get any better!!! I could eat this every day for lunch!

The recipe is from Ellie’s The Foods You Crave  on page 99.  I also found it on Food NetWork 

Please visit Eating with Ellie for more Wraps

How many times over the past 20 or so years have we made New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight?  Or at least eat healthier?  Only to have those initiatives fade after a couple of months.  Diet is a four letter word.  I don’t use it any more.  I also don’t make resolutions any more.  I use the word suggestion and it is easier to follow.  So is eating healthier when Ellie Kreiger is around.

Our ‘assignment’ this week was to find something from Ellie to give us a FRESH START.  So, owning 5 of Ellie’s books I went recipe hunting.  It is cold and windy outside.  It is supposed to rain and thunder.  I needed comfort food. What about Mac and Cheese?  Perfect!


Not as ooey-gooey as my regular M&C but tasty and definitely healtheir.

It’s all about not using as much cheese as you normally would and subbing in something to replace the flavor.  Like Winter Squash. And low fat milk.  And ricotta cheese.

    1 pound elbow macaroni
    2 (10-ounce) packages frozen pureed winter squash
    2 cups 1 percent lowfat milk
    4 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (about 1 1/3 cups)
    2 ounces Monterrey jack cheese, grated (about 2/3 cup)
    1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon powdered mustard
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    2 tablespoons unseasoned bread crumbs
    2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
    1 teaspoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until tender but firm, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, place the frozen squash and milk into a large saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up the squash with a spoon until it is defrosted. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the mixture is almost simmering, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the Cheddar, jack cheese, ricotta cheese, salt, mustard and cayenne pepper. Pour cheese mixture over the macaroni and stir to combine. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the baking dish.

Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, then broil for 3 minutes so the top is crisp and nicely browned.    Original Recipe The recipe is also from The Food You Crave. page 168
We liked the sweetness of the butternut mixed with the spice of the cayenne and dried mustard. The only change I would make would to make the chess sauce ‘saucier’ before adding to the pasta, or using less pasta.

I only made 1/2 of the recipe and cut the ricotta in half because I didn’t have enough.  (I think that is why it was just a tad dry.) It was plenty for two people to have more than two medium servings each.  Ellie said the whole recipe made eight 2-cup servings and I didn’t need that much. Each serving is only 390 calories.

Definitely something to make more of this winter when the wind is howling.  The rain is blowing.  The night is dark and dreary.

Check out what the other IHCC members made for their FRESH START.


Why is it when I know I have a month to plan and cook/bake I wait til the last minute to actually do it? Could be because it has been a crazy month. In town. Out town. Even the weather has been crazy. Mid-June and we had Spring. Now it’s HOT! Summer. And of course summer means more time out side {Unless you live in the humid hot deep South} and more picnics and the chance to eat al fresco which happens to be this months LETS LUNCH theme. I didn’t even decide what to do until Thursday afternoon. Sheesh! So if it looks hurried…. But it was fun. And tasty!


    Pudding and Cookie Jars

I have seen lots of ‘jarred’ desserts around the internet. Some with cake. Some with Cheesecake {YES PLEASE!} Some with fruit. Some ‘trifled’. I thought that would be a perfect easy to carry dish to bring to the Lets Lunch picnic.

In small pint jars layer your cookies, I used mini Oreos and NutterButters, with pudding. Flavor of your choice. I had some vanilla – NOT what I wanted but what I had – thanks to boxes. And I made some tofu Chocolate pudding from Ellie Krieger.


Using the puddings layer them with cookies, or cookie crumbles in the jars. Top with whipped cream and garnish with cookie bits, mini chocolate chips. It’s all up to your imagination. Go WILD!! Put on the lid. Place in a cooler and everybody gets their own individual dessert. No big bowls. No big spoons. No bowls to mess with. Easy!!

Dark Chocolate Mousse
adapted from Ellie Krieger’s The Food You Crave

    1 (12.3 ounce) package silken tofu, drained
    3 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
    1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/4 cup water

Puree the silken tofu in a food processor until completely smooth.
Combine the bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder, water, and brandy. Microwave on medium until chocolate starts to melt. Stir. Continue until all the chocolate is melted and ingredients are combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar, a little at a time, until smooth.
Add the chocolate mixture to the tofu in the food processor and puree until well-combined and smooth. You may have to stop it a few times to scrape down the sides.
Pour the mousse into individual serving dishes, cover tightly, and refrigerator for at least one hour, up to three days, to set properly. {I let mine partially set and then spooned into the jars in layers.}

Want to enjoy the picnic? This month’s Lets Lunch is hosted by Annabelle at Glass of Fancy and she will have the complete list in case I miss someone here.

Enjoy the Picnic, Y’all!!

Follow us on Twitter: #LetsLunch

Annabelle’s Butterscotch Brownies
Betty Ann’s Adobong Mani or Peanuts in Garlic
Grace’s review of The Great Outdoors Cookbook
Karen’s Watermelon Mint Cocktails
Linda S.’s Spicy Nectarine and Tomato Salad
Lisa’s Spinach and Three-Cheese Coil Pastries
Anne Marie’s Peachy Picnic Sliders
Linda’s Spicy Nectarine and Tomato Salad
Cheryl’s Perfect Summer Pesto

Today is the 17th of August. That means it is almost September. Which means FALL is right around the corner! Right? Okay, fine! I am stretching it just a wee bit, but I am so ready for fall after all the HEAT we have had this summer!!

So when my friend, Di , mentioned making Pumpkin Muffins the other day I found myself wanting pumpkin. Before the Pumpkin Craze starts!!

And since Ellie has a pumpkin muffin recipe in The Foods You Crave I saw it as an omen!!

These muffins pack in all the flavor of pumpkin pie – nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, ginger – without all the sugar (3/4 cup brown and 3/4 cup molasses) and without all the necessary whipped cream on top. {I think I can resolve THAT problem, but then they won’t be quite as healthy!!} AP and Whole Wheat flour add to the health-ful-ness of this tasty little muffin. {Only 205 calores/muffin and 7gm fat} After only 18 minutes I had some lovely little bites {13} for breakfast. Thanks, Ellie!

These muffins can be found on page 21 of TFYC

BTW I forgot to toss on the pumpkin seeds before baking so just pretend they are there!!

Several years ago when I joined Craving Ellie there were several recipes I had missed and wanted to try. Back then there were weekly choices made by each individual member. Now we only have one monthly member pick and the other Fridays are ‘free’.

    Chicken Cacciatore

I haven’t made cacciatore in years and the last time I did it was with a very heavy sauce. Ellie’s has a nice light sauce made with diced tomatoes, garlic, onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms. (I left those last two out because B doesn’t care much for them.) With the white wine the sauce was just right in taste. I decided to use boneless chicken thighs rather than breasts. It may not be as healthy as Ellie’s version, but it was definitely flavorful. The only thing I would change would be to thicken the sauce a little. Not much, must a little.

(I forgot to take a pic of just the sauce before I mixed it with some egg noodles.) It seemed the best way to serve the dish.

Ellie’s cacciatore is on page 204 of The Foods You Crave it is also HERE!!

Last week I got back into CEinMB cooking with Ellie’s Turkey Meatloaf. We did not eat it alone.

These are not your every day mashed potatoes, these are SMASHED potatoes. Potato pieces steamed in their skins then mashed with sour cream, snipped chives, and chicken broth. I love CHUNKY potatoes. And these still have their skins so they were very rustic and very good. The sour cream and chives made me think of a deconstructed baked potato. Lots of sour cream. They would be good with some added shredded cheese, too.

The fact that I could walk outside and snip off my own chives made these especially fun, too.

I followed Ellie’s recipe with one exception – I cooked the potatoes in the microwave – like baking them – and then cut them into chunks. And then because I didn’t have the moisture from steaming I added a little more chicken broth. Um! UM! GOOD!!

If you like to cook from Ellie’s books just come on by the web page – Craving Ellie in My Belly – and leave your link. No membership required!!

It has been quite a while since I have done an Ellie recipe. I just have not felt like cooking – at all!!

But I think I am out of my slump now and ready to hit the kitchen running!!

What better way to get back into it than with a nice healthy recipe from Ellie!

This is what Ellie said was, “…square in the comfort zone for me with all the homey flavors…” And she is right. All the same ingredients I put in my meatloaf except for the turkey. I have never really used ground turkey that much. But this wasn’t bad. We could get used to it. It does have plenty of flavor. Onions, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, red bell pepper. Yep! Lots of flavor. The only problem I had was that it was pretty crumbly when I went to slice it up. It actually sat for about 45 minutes after cooking in a warm oven because an emergency errand came up. Ellie says to let it sit about 10 – 15 minutes. Not sure why it was crumbly because it was not dry at all.

One tip I learned. I use oatmeal in mine for filler but Ellie says to soak the oatmeal in milk before adding to the other ingredients. Did make it easier to work with!!

The recipe is in Ellie’s The Food You Crave on page 216. If you like using ground turkey you will like this meatloaf.

Please visit the other CEinMB members and see what they made this week.

There are always certain things in my food collection. Cheese, eggs, onions, etc. Like most everyone else these are staples. But I also usually have cauliflower, corn, peas, and broccali because these are my favorite vegetables. So making this ‘classic Italian egg dish” was a snap. And perfect for a good healthy breakfast.

This was super simple to make. Eggs, cheese, red onions, broccali. That’s it.

one half of the recipe fit nicely into a 6.5″ cast iron skillet.


      …breakfast for two!!

You can find the recipe in Ellie’s The Food you Crave on pae 32 or on The Food Channel.

Smoothies!! They are big these days. Not just the ones you can out but the ones you can make it. They are delicious, nutricious, and quick for breakfast.

This PB smoothie IS nutritious but I was really disappointed in the flavor – there was none!! The banana overwhelmed the PB. With only 1 1/2 TBL of PB there wasn’t enough to flavor the smoothie. I added 1/2 of an artificial sweetener packet and that helped some, but it’s not one I make again. Sorry, Ellie.

Chekck out the other CEinMB members this week and see what they made.

The smoothie recipe is on page 42 of The Food You Crave.

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