Robby’s Butternut Squash Cassoulet

IMG_2366

My friends Robby and Brittany had me over for a veggie-based feast last week when I got home from Spain to help ease three weeks of ham overload. Robby, who is known for freestyling gourmet recipes like a rapper spits rhymes, did his usual throw-a-few-things-in-the-oven dance and produced this incredible cassoulet, which I couldn’t get enough of. He used pancetta, which I replaced with ham to lower the fat content of this dish (goodbye, crispy morsels of heaven). A splash of dry white wine like Pinot Grigio adds flavour without fat.

The availability of butternut squash is one of the upsides of winter. Packed with Vitamins A and C and boasting significant values of potassium and fiber, this veggie is a prime candidate for your weekly recipe rotations. Here, it’s made decadent by my favourite cheese, gorgonzola. Caramelized onions add a gourmet twist, and the white wine makes for a deep and rich flavour. I suggest serving the cassoulet as a main course alongside a green salad and a small dish of Whole Wheat Cranberry-Walnut Couscous to boost the fiber and protein content!

Ingredients (serves 2 as a main course):

5 cups cubed butternut squash, brushed with 1 teaspoon olive oil

1 1/4 cups thinly sliced yellow onion, sauteed in 1 TBSP sugar and 1 TBSP olive oil

1 cup chopped ham (cold cuts work fine)

1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP crumbled gorgonzola

2 TBSP dry white wine

black pepper

olive oil cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop butternut squash and brush (or dot, if you don’t have a brush) with olive oil. Roast for thirty minutes, until squash is soft.

2. The roasting time gives you plenty of time to prepare the rest of your meal. Start by slicing your onions, and caramelize them by adding equal parts olive oil and sugar to a small frying pan and stirring constantly until sticky and slightly brown. Set aside.

3. Chop ham into small cubes. Prepare a medium-large glass baking dish by coating it lightly with cooking spray (I like to use one made with olive oil). When the squash is done roasting, turn the oven down to 350 degrees and transfer to the baking dish. Add ham, 1/4 cup gorgonzola and onions. Drizzle with white wine, add freshly ground pepper and stir well. Top with the remaining 2 TBSP gorgonzola and return to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then finish under the broiler for 5 minutes to brown the cheese.

Whole Wheat Cranberry-Walnut Couscous

IMG_2359

This is a super-quick side dish that adds fiber, protein and omega-3‘s to any savory meal. Have a small serving for a filling afternoon snack to keep you going through those hours that drag. Look for whole wheat couscous at any store, or find it at Trader Joe’s on the cheap! Couscous is actually a pasta, not a grain, which it’s sometimes mistaken for, but the whole wheat kind can pack even more fiber and protein than quinoa!

For each serving, mix:

1/3 cup whole wheat couscous

1/4 dried cranberries*

2 TBSP chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon olive oil

sprinkle of cinnamon

1. Prepare couscous according to package (this takes 5-10 minutes). Add oil, walnuts and cranberries and stir. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve!

*Always read the labels on dried fruits. While it’s difficult to find unsweetened dried cranberries, it’s easy to avoid buying brands that throw in extras like hydrogenated oil!

HGC + Glamour Magazine 4eva


Check it out y’all! Glamour’s February issue features a one-week gentle dietary cleanse that is nearly identical to the one HGC featured last summer. Props to Glamour for rejecting post-holiday guilt trips and unhealthy quick fix schems (ahem, Master Cleanse) in favour of body-friendly ways of getting back on track.

Also in this month’s issue, Glamour makes good on its promise to feature more models with real bodies in its fashion spreads. Way to go, Glam!

What I did on my Winter Vacation

Sup yiz’all! HGC is back from Spain, where I chilled mad hard with mi familia for the last three weeks. I was hoping to bring some ideas back with me for the kitchen–you know, some healthified Spanish eats to share with my dear readers–but it turns out that Spain didn’t work with me much to that end. “Ensalada” seems to be Spanish for “ham and cheese drenched in olive oil”. We did manage to find a few vegetarian restaurants in Madrid and Toledo, which were the only spots where we found our holy grail, the Leafy Green Vegetable. In fact, at Madre Tierra in Toledo (where we ate two nights in a row cause we couldn’t get enough!), I had an incredible spinach salad topped with–are you ready?–artesanal goat cheese ICE CREAM!

Anyway, happy new year everybody! I’m looking forward to catching up with my bad self in the kitchen, and excited to share some new recipes with you, so stay tuned!