5 Vegetarian Winter Dishes

Pesto Pasta

Pesto Pasta with Green Beans and Potatoes

A few times each week, I try to make vegetarian dishes for my family. Though it’s a tad more challenging in the cooler Winter months, I like discovering seasonal and hearty dishes.

Winter vegetables like kale and root vegetables (squashes, parsnips, carrots, yams, potatoes) have become my staple this time of year. Add in legumes (beans, lentils), nuts, and grains (whole-wheat pasta and brown rice) and dishes become rich and satisfying.

Here are 5 vegetarian recipes that can be served (from soup to nuts) in one lovely 5-course dinner or made and enjoyed throughout the week:

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Weeknight Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Wings

Making Chicken Parmesan at home was a snap with FD's pre-breaded cutlets!

In winter (even warm ones), I like making meals that remind me of home, especially classic favorites like chicken Parmesan. Is there anything better than hearty sauce and fresh mozzarella on a cold winter’s night? (If your answer is “yes,” please let me in on your secret immediately!)

When I’m cooking for friends, I pull out all the stops—no jarred sauces. But when cooking for myself I don’t always have the already-made sauce in the freezer (or the hours to spend over the stove).

Now that I work at FreshDirect, I’ve been cutting a lot of corners to save time on weeknight meals, mostly in the form of precooked items. So this time I wanted to try combining some of our ready-to-cook/precooked components to make an easy, healthier version of one of my favorite meals….

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Kid-Safe Seafood (with Recipes!)

Verlasso Salmon

Verlasso salmon is both kid-safe and tasty too!

You know seafood is good for you and your family, but you want to make the absolute best choices when it comes to the kids. Truth is – for most adults the health benefits of eating a variety of seafood outweigh the risks of occasionally eating fish that contain contaminants.1 But for growing children, the best choices will be low in contaminants and high in omega-3s.

That’s why I was thrilled to learn more about a non-profit group called KidsSafe Seafood, who highlight the best seafood for kids to eat to support their growth and development, while being low in contaminants, and ocean-friendly, too! They shared their best seafood choices for kids’ health, and some family-friendly recipes with me, so that I could share them with you!…

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And the Award Goes To…

Caviar

Our Caviar platter is perfect for an elegant awards-viewing party!

Getting your circle of movie critics together for the Academy Awards and secretly nervous you won’t make the nominees for best host this year? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

First – you’ll need a printable ballot listing all the nominees. You can find one on here:  http://oscar.go.com/nominees

Next, you’ll need some sort of prize. You could ask each guest who wants to participate to donate $5 toward a potluck prize – then whoever gets the most answers correct on their ballot wins the loot. Make sure to task someone with writing down all the right answers! Other prizes? You could find a small statue and make the winner give their own speech to receive their “golden” token but a gift certificate or a box of chocolates, work fine too.

Selecting your food is really easy with FreshDirect’s catering platters. Just click and unwrap, leave the messy prep work and schlepping of heavy drinks to us. Whether you’re looking for sophisticated appetizers or tasty finger foods, we’ve got it, ready to roll.

Here are some sample menu choices:…

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N’awlins-inspired Recipes for Mardi Gras

Gumbo

Shrimp Gumbo is a perfect dish to celebrate Mardi Gras!

Laissez les bons temps rouler! (Let the good times roll!)  February 21st marks Mardi Gras this year, but those who embrace the Carnival season celebrate from mid-January until midnight on the “Fat Tuesday” prior to Ash Wednesday… the dawn of Lent.

For me, I fell in love with New Orleans through her food. From spicy gumbo to addictive sweet beignets, there was so much to enjoy!

Mardi Gras is a great excuse to enjoy a Southern-style dinner, with N’awlins-inspired cuisine on the plate and a breezy cocktail in the glass.  Here are some recipes to help you bring a touch of New Orleans to your table!…

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Celebrate Mardi Gras with a Pancake Party

Vanilla Soy Pancakes

Vanilla Soy Pancakes

Mardi Gras (aka Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday) is upon us; if you’re gearing up for Lent, a good way to celebrate your last hoorah is with a pancake feast. I don’t personally need an excuse to eat pancakes, but it’s nice to know there is one available annually.

One of my favorite ways to eat pancakes is for dinner, so if you don’t have time for a Tuesday brunch, why not have people over for an evening pancake buffet? Starting with a basic recipe (such as these vanilla soy pancakes), you can churn out the homemade pancakes, and your family or guests can add their favorite toppings. It’s an easy way to have fun with the kids or bring out your friends’ inner children.

Chocolate chips and blueberries are always crowd favorites (inside or on top), but there are tons of other toppings, batter additions, and combinations thereof to help you start experimenting:…

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Ideas for a Valentine’s Day Dinner at Home

Fondue

Chocolate Fondue is an easy and fun Valentine's Day dessert.

Looking to avoid cramped restaurants, predictable menus, and make this Valentine’s Day a truly memorable event? Then you’ll have to create a special meal with stellar ambiance at home. Fortunately, that’s easy.

For starters, you’ll have to set the mood. Dim the lights or replace your bulbs with lower wattage. You can also simply light some candles. A strategically-placed strand of holiday lights can also create a whimsical feel to any room.

Next, you’ll need to make your usual dining spot look like a romantic nook. Ever consider moving your table to a different part of your living room or apartment? Even turning the table to a slight angle can create a whole new look. Then find a solid color table cloth to give your placemat-friendly eating spot a facelift. If you have a lace tablecloth or runner, place it over your solid table cloth for an extra special touch. A few freshly cut flowers can instantly complete a look.

Now – the food. This is where it gets tricky, right? Wrong. Whether it’s a full meal or simply tantalizing dessert, we’ve got you covered….

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The Healthiest Foods For Your Heart

Garnet Yams

Be Heart Healthy by Eating Orange Vegetables like Garnet Yams.

Upgrade what’s on your plate, and you have the power to prevent America’s #1 cause of death. February is American Heart Month, a time to turn the spotlight on essential heart health.

Every year, too many American families are affected by heart disease and stroke. More women die of heart disease than all forms of cancer combined, and it is still the leading cause of death for all Americans. One in every 3 people in the United States has some form of heart disease – that’s 80 million adults. It often develops silently, without symptoms until it’s too late.

That’s why it’s so important to make heart-healthy changes today. Let this February be the start of – or revitalized commitment to – leading a heart healthy life. It’s good for you, and it’s good for your loved ones.

Eating right is one of the best things you can do for your heart. Some of the healthiest foods for your heart are vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish, nuts, legumes, seeds, and fruit. (You’ll find my hand-picked selection of seasonal heart-healthy foods at Healthy Living for Less.) Here’s a list of my favorite heart-healthy foods:…

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