Great Minds Eat Alike: How to Cook (Healthfully!) for Two

Posted by on Saturday Jul 9th, 2011 | Print

We started our Great Minds Eat Alike series in order to mix up the usual BGSK offerings with interviews and submissions by cooks and eaters whose mentality towards cooking and eating meshes with ours. Today we are incredibly excited to bring you a great guide and a delicious recipe from a fellow quarter-life blogger, N.

N. used to write a blog with the tagline, “making my world healthier, happier, and more free through food,” we knew we’d like her from the first moment she got in touch. Her idea is to chronicle the balance of a professional career, with an ever-growing ability (and desire) to cook well for two, all the while celebrating wellness, passion, good taste, and good health. She does so with style and flair, giving tips along the way and featuring delicious recipes like Lemon Quinoa with Chickpeas and Fresh Pesto and Greek-Influenced Chicken Milanese. Here are her tips on cooking healthfully for two. Enjoy!

–Cara and Phoebe, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOKS

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A major step in the lives of “big girls” can involve moving in with a significant other. While it’s an exciting and fun time, it also means many more meals will be shared together. When my boyfriend and I moved in together, I resolved to find ways for us to eat great meals made from local ingredients. The challenge was how to cook really delicious food that is also healthful–it can difficult for guys to eat their vegetables when a pizza is only a phone call away! I devised a few simple guidelines that have helped me become a successful cook for two.

Start with great ingredients: If you start with so-so ingredients, you’ll end up with a so-so meal. Check out your local farmers’ market for vegetables, fruit, dairy, eggs, meat, even grains. If you don’t have access to a farmers’ market, try to buy organic at the supermarket. Buying foods picked in season means they’re bursting with flavor, so you don’t need to do much to make them taste great.

Roast, baby, roast: Want an easy way to get your man to eat his vegetables? Roast them! I love roasting because it requires very little effort, with a high return on taste. I roast everything from beets to brussels sprouts to potatoes. Roasting vegetables slowly caramelizes their sugars, so they become sweet and satisfying. You can use roasted vegetables as a side, or toss with pasta or rice for an easy one-dish meal.

Do it with dairy: Don’t be afraid to use butter and cheese! A little goes a long way. Sauteing vegetables in some butter, or grating a little cheese on grain-based dishes adds instant flavor. Try lower fat, high flavor options like feta or goat cheese.

Easy eggs: Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods around, and are incredibly versatile. Scramble them with spinach and herbs, poach them with asparagus, bake them in a frittata or quiche. You can also add salsa, cheese, and avocado. Delicious, healthy, and fast!

Make it his and hers: I don’t eat much meat other than fish and poultry, but my boyfriend loves it. Who am I to deprive him? We like to pick up sausage or even bison from the Greenmarket, cut it up, and keep it in the freezer. When I’m cooking, I’ll separately cook the meat, and add it to the end product for my boyfriend’s portion.

Go shopping together: When my boyfriend and I go shopping together, I’m sometimes surprised by what he picks up. A cauliflower or acorn squash will end up in the basket–who knew! You can never anticipate what you two might brainstorm together on your shopping trip. Plan your menus for the week together so you can look forward to wonderful meals conceived and eaten together.

Here is an easy, healthy, and delicious recipe to get you started in your new adventures in cooking for two – enjoy!

**Recipe**

Orecchiette in Feta Sauce with Roasted Turkey and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Serve 2

Ingredients
1 turkey breast, preferably from the farmers’ market
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, cut into half moons
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups fresh broccoli rabe
2 cups uncooked orecchiette pasta
3/4 cup fresh feta cheese
8-10 pieces of sun-dried tomatoes
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. Rub the turkey breast with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the meat in an oven-safe dish and slide in the oven.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan {you’ll be adding a lot of stuff to it later}. Add the onions and garlic and simmer until caramelized, about 15 minutes.

Fill a small pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the 2 cups of pasta and boil until slightly cooked, but still firm, about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta, broccoli rabe, feta cheese, and pasta water to the saucepan with the garlic and onion.

Using tongs, mix the pasta with the other ingredients by grabbing from the bottom and pulling up towards you. You want to be folding the ingredients together to combine, not mixing them.

Check on the turkey. if the juices are running clear, it’s ready. Take it out of the oven and cover loosely with tin foil. Once it’s cooled slightly, slice into bite-size pieces

Spoon the pasta mixture into bowls, Place the turkey and sun-dried tomato pieces on top, then spoon some of the feta sauce on top of the entire thing. Serve.

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