Freekeh and Butternut Squash

Curious to try freekeh, yet not sure where to go after eating it as a hot cereal?

Blogger, amateur chef and former high-school teacher Lauren Martin created this slow-cooker recipe. If you don’t eat meat, it’s just as delicious if you leave out the chicken and substitute vegetarian broth.

2 bone-in chicken breasts
½ C (dry) freekeh
1 large carrot
2 celery stalks
1 medium-sized yellow onion
½ C butternut squash, cubed
2 T fresh sage leaves, chopped
½ T smoked paprika (or regular paprika)
½ T rosemary
1 t garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
½ C dry white wine (I used chardonnay)
1½ C low-sodium chicken broth
½ C water

Chop carrot, celery and onion into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces and place in bottom of slow-cooker. Add butternut squash cubes. Place chicken breasts on top of vegetables, and then add sage, rosemary, paprika, garlic, salt and pepper. Add freekeh and pour wine, broth and water over chicken. Place cover on slow-cooker and cook on low at least 6 hours.

Recipe Key C = cup | T = tablespoon | t = teaspoon | oz = ounce

Source: Original recipe by Lauren Martin, MA,

Butternut Squash with Pumpkin Seeds and Cranberries


1 lb. butternut squash, cut into ½ inch cubes

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp. pomegranate juice or orange juice

1/8 tsp. kosher salt (table salt will do)

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup pumpkin seeds toasted

3 tbsp. dried cranberries


Steam the squash until fork tender, 3-5 minutes. Drain off any water. While squash is cooking place the pumpkin seeds in a frying pan over medium heat and stir constantly until brown and puffy. Let cool. In a large bowl whisk together the mustard, vinegar, juice, salt and oil. Toss the squash in the bowl with the dressing. Sprinkle squash mixture with pumpkin seeds and cranberries.

Pumpkin (or other winter squash) Pancakes


1 cup cooked mashed winter squash

¾ cup unbleached flour

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. cinnamon

2 large eggs, separated

1 tbsp. brown sugar

1 cup buttermilk

2 tbsp. melted butter or, coconut, canola or grapeseed oil

Place the cooked squash, egg yolks, butter or oil and brown sugar in a deep bowl and mix until well blended. Add the buttermilk and blend mix well. Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in another bowl and mix the dry ingredients to blend. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Clean the beaters and mix the egg whites on high until stiff but not dry. Fold the egg whites into the batter gently until blended. Use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to measure batter onto a lightly greased hot griddle. When bubbles start to appear turn and cook for another minute or two until set. Makes about 8-10 four inch pancakes.

Pumpkin Oatmeal


½ cup rolled oats

1 cup 1% fat milk

½ cup cooked pumpkin (from a can)

Cinnamon to taste

1 Tablespoon brown sugar, honey or coconut sugar

¼ cup chopped pecans

Put the oats, cinnamon, sugar and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once the mixture comes to a boil turn the heat down to allow the mixture to simmer. Add the pumpkin and stir in until blended. Cook until thick and creamy. Take off the stove and add the nuts. Makes 2-3 servings


Feta Chicken with Zucchini

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 lb.)
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 medium zucchini
1⁄4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup (about 2 ounces) crumbled Feta

Heat the oven to 400°F. Drizzle 1⁄2 tablespoon of the oil in a small roasting pan. Remove the zest from the lemon in thin strips; set aside. Thinly slice the lemon. Place half the slices in the pan. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Place the chicken on top of the lemon slices and season with 1/8 teaspoon of the salt. Slice each zucchini in half lengthwise, and then slice each half into 1⁄4 inch thick half-moons. In a bowl, combine the zucchini, parsley, pepper, and the remaining oil, lemon slices, and salt; toss. Spread the zucchini mixture around the chicken and sprinkle the Feta over the top. Roast until the chicken is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Divide the chicken, zucchini mixture, and the lemons among individual plates and sprinkle with the zest.

Preparation time: 20-25 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Pasta with Escarole and Beans

pasta escarole beans recipeThis is a very satisfying and tasty dish. Escarole, which is an endive lettuce, is a good source of postassium, calcium, vitamin K, folate, vitamin C and niacin. It packs a whopping 16 grams of fiber per head the amount found in the my recipe. Cannellini beans are a white kidney bean and the contain calcium, postassium, magnesium, phosphorous and vitamin K. They provide 11 grams of fiber per cup and there are approximately two cups in this dish. You can use whole wheat pasta or regular pasta.


1 large head of escarole

1 15 oz can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 cups dry, cut pasta like ziti, penne or fusilli

2-3 cloves of garlic

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, or to taste

2 teaspoons salt

2 slices non-cured, nitrate free bacon (Applegate naturals is a good brand)

1 tablespoon olive oil

grated Parmesan cheese


  • Put a medium pot of water on the stove to boil and add the salt. Once it comes to a boil add the pasta and follow the directions on the bag for cooking. You want to under cook the pasta so it is pretty firm and chewy because we will finish the cooking process with the greens and beans. When the pasta is done remove to a colander reserving one cup of the cooking water.
  • While the water is boiling clean the escarole by separating the leaves and putting them in a sink of water and swirling them around until they are clean. Shake them well and slice them into 1 inch strips.
  • Peel the garlic and slice each clove.
  • Open the can of cannellini beans, drain and rinse them under cold water. This will help to reduce the sodium content slightly.
  • Add the bacon to a large non stick frying pan set on medium heat and let it cook until it is crisp. Remove to a plate and let cool.
  • Add the olive oil to the bacon fat. Put the sliced garlic in the pan and let it start to sizzle, about 2-3 minutes. At this point add the red pepper flakes and the escarole and stir until the escarole starts to wilt, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the beans and stir to mix and lower the heat so it simmers gently. Break the bacon into little pieces and add to the escarole mixture with the beans.
  • Continue to cook the beans and greens for another 2-3 minutes and add the pasta to the pan. At this point you want to increase the heat so that the dish is bubbling and add half the water. Stir the mixture, continuously, with two spoons ( I use my wooden salad spoon and fork) until the water starts to absorb into the pasta. The starch from the pasta and the beans will start to naturally thicken the water to create a nice creamy sauce. Continue to add water and cook stirring until the pasta is al dente which means firm to the bite. It should not be overcooked. When your pasta is chewy you absorb less of the starch.
  • Serve with Parmesan cheese. This recipe makes 2 generous servings.  Sometimes I save some and enjoy it for lunch the next day.

Spiced Turkey Cutlets

1 lb. skinless turkey cutlets (salt and pepper to taste)
2 teaspoons canola oil
1⁄2 cup sliced scallions
1 medium red pepper, cut into 14 inch strips
1 cup low-fat, reduced sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1⁄2 teaspoon cumin
1⁄4 cup dark raisins

Sprinkle the turkey cutlets with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and sauté on both sides for a total of 10 minutes. Remove the turkey from the skillet. Add the scallions and red pepper and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Boil gentle for about 3 minutes until reduced by one third to one half. Serve the turkey with the spiced sauce.

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Serving size: 1 turkey cutlet
Calories per serving: 180

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil
3⁄4 lb. small yellow potatoes, halved, skin on
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl.
Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Spread the potatoes in one layer onto the baking sheet.
Roast the potatoes for 20 to 25 minutes until they are tender when pierced with a fork.

Preparation time: 20 to 25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Calories per serving: 101
Exchanges: 1 starch; 1⁄2 fat

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter

42 asparagus spears, rinsed and trimmed
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet; coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 12 minutes. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat; cook for 3 minutes or until lightly browned, shaking pan occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in soy sauce and vinegar. Drizzle over asparagus, tossing well to coat. Serve immediately.

Preparation time: 20 to 25 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
Serving size: 7 asparagus spears
Calories per serving: 95

Roasted Asparagus Salad with Romaine and Cherry Tomatoes

1 lb. medium-width asparagus, bottoms snapped and stems trimmed with a peeler
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
8 cups torn romaine lettuce leaves
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded
1⁄2 medium red onion, sliced thin
1⁄2 cup reduced fat Italian dressing
1⁄2 cup fat free croutons

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place prepared asparagus on a 10 × 15 inch jelly roll pan (any low large baking dish will do). Wisk the lemon juice and olive oil together and drizzle over the asparagus. Role the asparagus in the pan to evenly distribute the dressing. Roast for 5 to10 minutes, or until just tender. (Asparagus cooks quickly so keep an eye on it.) Toss lettuce, carrots and tomatoes on a large platter. Arrange roasted asparagus on top. Drizzle with Italian dressing and sprinkle with croutons.

Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
Serving size: about 1 1⁄4 cups salad plus 4 to 6 asparagus spears
Calories per serving: about 85