Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Tomatoes and Basil

Pair  incoming fall produce like spaghetti squash with end of  summer tomatoes and  basil for terrific in-between season meals. spaghettisquashDisclosure: I have received a Produce Box, mentioned in this post, free of charge and  I was not expected  to write a review. I was not financially compensated for my time.  Opinions are my own.

I’m not one to easily abandon anything I love, and summer just so happens to be close to my heart. I ‘ve been slowly transitioning my meals from summer to fall with a combination of both summer and fall produce. It’s actually been easy because the Produce Box does it for me. Every week I enjoy fresh North Carolina produce delivered to my door; September has been a terrific assortment of summer and incoming fall fruits and vegetables. As a consumer, I  prefer to eat locally because the  food tastes better and eating in season = eating sustainable.  As a registered dietitian I respect  the natural nutrient density of  local fruits and vegetables; the shorter the time from harvest to my kitchen the better!    If you care about eating foods that are good for your health and good for the environment,  I encourage you to vote with your wallet and fork and become a member of the Produce Box.

Today’s recipe is just one of many I’ve prepared with locavore goodness.  This one ties summer with fall in a warm and delicious vegetarian entree or a  healthy side that pairs easily with just about any lean protein.  How pretty does this prepared dish look served in the hard shell of the spaghetti squash?IMG_2666

Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Tomatoes and Pecorino

by Diane Boyd

(makes 2 entree servings or 4 side dish servings)


  • 1 spaghetti squash, halved
  • 2 beefstake tomatoes, cut into 2 at the equator
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 6 basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 oz. pecorino cheese, grated


1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Place both halfs of spaghetti squash cut side down onto a baking sheet and roast in oven for about one hour.

3. Meanwhile, place cut tomatoes on a second baking sheet(cut side up) , lined with foil. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with garlic.

4. Half way through cooking time for squash, place tomatoes in the oven and roast until brown at edges and slumped, about 30 minutes.

5. When squash and tomatoes are finished roasting remove from oven. Shred the squash into spaghetti like strands, placing into a medium sized bowl. Cut tomato halves into quarters and add to squash along with fresh basil.

6. Toss to combine. Top with pecorino cheese. Serve immediately.

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3 Tips to Avoid Eating Extremes: + Zucchini Bread with Pepitas

Every once in a while a sweet treat and/or a food I haven’t eaten for a while (like zucchini bread) makes me more mindful of the process of eating. Zucchini Bread with Pepitas
 How do you eat healthy without feeling like you’re depriving yourself of some of your favorite foods? A recent article in Shape Magazine, October 2015 entitled Eating Extremes caught my attention. The article discusses what I like to refer to as the all or nothing approach to food: ‘one day you’re eating clean and green, the next you’re digging into pork belly and cream cheese.’ I like these 3 tips from Shape to find a happy medium.

1. Excite your taste buds every week. Do you  get bored by eating the same safe foods day in and day out?  Are there some foods you won’t eat because they’re just too darn tasty and you don’t trust yourself to stop eating? If so, occcasionally include small bites of these foods along with your regular meals. For me, occasionally including something different (like  a slice of this zucchini bread) along with my salad at lunch, hits the spot and makes me more mindful of the process of eating. You will find you eat much less when you’re satisfied.Zucchini Bread with Pepitas

2. Lose the good versus bad mentality. All food can fit into a healthy lifestyle. Stop villifying food.  Learn the principles of mindful eating (which include not judging) to honor both the pleasure of taste and your health!

3. Tell yourself you can always have more. Serve a  small portion of an indulgent food like zucchini bread (it’s basically cake, right?). Then remind yourself you can have more tomorrow.  Trust yourself with food; you are in control. A slice of this bread  along with a cup of coffee in the late afternoon is a pleasure of mine. When I make zucchini bread, I make 2 loaves and freeze what I don’t want to eat right away.

Excite your taste buds every week with foods you love like this zucchini bread with pepitas. You will eat less when you 're satisfied. 3 tip to avoiding eating extremes + recipe for zucchini bread

Zucchini Bread with Pumpkin Seeds

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients (makes 2 loaves)

  • 1 pound zucchini (about 2 medium)
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups 100% white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin kernels)
  • cooking spray
  • equipment : 2 8x 4 inch loaf pans


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray pans with cooking spray.

2. Trim stem and root end of zucchini. Using a box grater, grate zucchini. You should have about 3 cups.

3. Place the grated zucchini in a clean kitchen towel or several layers of cheese cloth and squeeze to press out as much liquid as possible.

4. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

5. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla extract .

6. Add grated zucchini to dry ingredients. Pour liquids over the top. Gently stir and fold just until no more flour is visable.

7. Pour batter into pans and bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for about 10 minutes and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Storage: Store bread in an air-tight container for several days. To freeze, wrap tighly in foil for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or warm in oven for 20 minutes.

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Beef & Eggplant Lasagna

Eggplant is the hidden vegetable in this  terrific meaty lasagna; make two, one for now and one for later. Make two, freeze one
What do you do when you encounter foods that you DON’T like? I’m asking , because I sometimes face this situation. Take for instance, theseIMG_2417

American globe eggplants. They are, to my eyes, lovely.  But to my taste buds, not so much.  I don’t care for their spongy texture.  So I follow the  advice I give parents of children who dislike vegetables: keep on trying, but  prepare them different ways. Today, I’m taking  eggplant outside of where we’ve ever been.  First, I ‘m thinnly slicing them lengthwise, then roasting to get a roasty charry goodness going. Now, into my lasagna… btw I am making two because if I’m going to the trouble of making lasagna, I ‘m going to get an extra meal in the freezer for that day when I don’t want to cook.  Talk about a #twoforone, this month’s Recipe Redux theme just happens to be: Fantastic Freezer Meals.  September is the  perfect time to remind those of us with gardens and  those who chose to eat according to the seasons, that tomatoes, summer squash, corn and eggplant are starting to fade.  If you want to enjoy the bounty of summer longer, use them in dishes you can freeze for later. Here is the result of my lasagna made with my  not so favorite summer vegetable.. and the taste testing begins..IMG_2462

Can you hear my sigh of relief over the internet? It  tastes as good as it looks! Be sure to visit the links at the bottom of this post to find more recipe ideas for heat -and -eat freezer meals.


Beef and Eggplant Lasagna

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients (make 2 pans of lasagna, each pan 6 servings)

  • 3 pounds eggplant, thinnly sliced lengthwise (1/4 inch)
  • cooking spray
  • coarse salt and ground peppger
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2/3 cup fresh basil
  • 4 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 10 cups prepared marinara sauce
  • 16 oven ready lasagna noodles
  • 2 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Arrange sliced eggplant on a single layer on 2 sheets pans. Spray  both sides using cooking spray  and season with salt and pepper. Roast the eggplant until it is soft and golden. Turn slices halfway through, about 15 minutes. Let sheet cool on a wire rack.

3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet coated with cooking spray, add beef and cook, stirring occassionally until no longer pink. Add basil, oregano and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally until fragrant, 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Turn oven down to 375 degrees F. Spread 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of an 8 inch baking dish. Top with 2 noodles. Layer with one quarter of the beef, then 1 cup sauce and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Top with 2 more noodles, one quarter of the  eggplant, 1 cup sauce and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers with the remaining ingredients, reserving the last 1/4 cup Parmesan. Cover lasagna loosely with foil and and bake on top rack until sauce bubbles, 35-40 minutes. (Place a rimmed baking sheet on middle rack to catch any drippings.) Remove lasagna from oven and heat broiler. Sprinkled with reserved Parmesan and broil until cheese is browned and bubbling, 3 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes before slicing.

For second lasagna: Line an 8 inch baking dish with non-stick heavy duty foil allowing several inches to extend over sides. Prepare lasagna as direct above but DO NOT BAKE. Remove lasagna from baking dish by holding edges of foil and lifting out of pan. Fold foil over lasagna and wrap with additional foil, making sure it is tightly sealed to keep air out. Freeze for up to one month.

TO BAKE SECOND LASAGNA: Remove from the freezer. Take out of foil wrap and place in an 8 inch baking dish coated wtih cooking spray. Cover and thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Bake, covered, in a 375 degree oven for about one hour or until heated through and sauce begins to bubble.

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Cod, Pasta & Zoodles with Lemon Pesto Sauce

Use ribbons of zucchini  to incorporate more vegetables into sandwiches, stews and pasta dishes. 

IMG_codwithzoodles_edited-2Who else wants a second serving of pasta without doubling calories or compromising taste? Yea, I though so!  You ‘ll  especially love this tip if you’re still using up zucchini from a CSA box! Take that farm fresh  zucchini and make noodles, aka zoodles, with a spiralizer or vegetable peeler and combine with pasta of similar shape.  It’s a simple  way to  cut down on the carbs without having to cut down on your portion.   Produce is low in calories and sodium and  bursting with vitamins, minerals, health enhancing fiber and antioxidants. You’ll  not only reduce the calories of  a dish,  but also improve its nutritional profile. This  life hack was the inspiration for my light and healthy meal  under 500 calories. I  made zoodles, mixed them with linguine, and   topped it all off  with pan seared cod and a yummy  lemon pesto sauce.  Satisfyingly scrumptious!

Cod, Pasta & Zoodles with Lemon Pesto Sauce

Cod & Zoodles with Lemon Pesto Sauce

(serves 4)

by Diane Boyd


  • 1/4 pound uncooked linguine
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 large lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons plain low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon pesto
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pound white fish, such as cod
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • fresh basil
  • 20 yellow cherry tomatoes


1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain.

2. While pasta cooks, shave zucchini into ribbons using a vegetable peeler or into julienne slices using a julienne peeler; place in large bowl.

3. Cut lemon in half and squeeze juice of one half into small bowl.

4. Add yogurt, mayo, 2 Tablespoons cheese, pesto and salt to juice and stir well. Set aside.

5. Add egg to pyrex baking plate. Add panko to second plate. Dip fish into egg and then panko. Heat olive oil in a medium -size skillet over medium high heat. Add fish to skillet, and brown on each side (about 3 to 5 minutes depending on thickness of fish.) Remove fish from pan and cover with foil to keep warm.

6. Add sauce to skillet , reduce heat to medium-low and cook 1 -2 minutes.

7. Increase heat to medium high and add butter, remaining 1 tablespoon cheese, and white wine. Bring to boil. Cook stirring constantly, 1 minute or until thickend.

8. Combine zucchini and linguine place on large serving platter. Mix in basil. Top with cooked fish. Pour sauce over fish and vegetable pasta mixture. Garnish with cherry tomato halves.

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Cod, Pasta &  Zoodles with Lemon Pesto Sauce Label
Cod, Pasta &  Zoodles with Lemon Pesto Sauce Label
Cod, Pasta &  Zoodles with Lemon Pesto Sauce LabelCod, Pasta &  Zoodles with Lemon Pesto Sauce LabelCod, Pasta &  Zoodles with Lemon Pesto Sauce LabelCod, Pasta &  Zoodles with Lemon Pesto Sauce LabelCod, Pasta &  Zoodles with Lemon Pesto Sauce Label
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Fusilli with Broccoli & Peanuts | #PastaFits

Fusilli with Broccoli & Peanuts is just one example of the myriad of ways pasta fits into a busy lifestyle by providing a means to quick, wholesome and affordable  meals that are pleasing to the palate.honey
Disclosure: I was asked to participate in the  Pasta Fits campaign as a member of Healthy Aperture Blogger Network.  I was compensated for my time. 

Aah, summer. It’s hard to say goodbye to the beach, pool parties and lazy days.. The school year is a slew of schedules and the best way to navigate the hectic  mornings, homework assignments, activities and rounds of sports is organization. Preparing for back to school  should include a plan for meals and snacks. Easing  back into a routine of healthy eating after  the summer doesn’t have to be difficult. Keep it simple by focusing on  foods that:

• provide sustained energy

• are quick and wholesome

• are  affordable

• please every palate on every occasion

Pasta  fits the above criteria making it a smart choice for meals during the school year! One serving of pasta of provides 7 grams of protein and about 200 calories of sustainable engery.  The start of a new school year is no time to be sluggish, tired and unable to concentrate. Complex carbohydrates, like a pasta, provide the optimum type of fuel to power your muscles and brain. A slower release of energy keeps both you and your kids going throughtout the day .

Pasta  can be the start of  wholesome meals  that can be assembled  in minutes. It pairs well with   protein rich foods ( like lean meat, seafood, nuts and legumes),  nutrient dense vegetables and heart healthy fats.

Pasta is one of the most affordable meals. Keeping pasta on hand  elimates the need for pricey takeout.

Pasta is versatile; it can be eaten at any time of the day, and there infinite ways to add your own special culinary twitst. Today I combined it with broccoli, peanuts and a lemon honey dressing for a  terrific side or vegetarian meal ..IMG_2308

and the leftovers are perfect to tote school or work.



This school year, make the grade with  pasta  for  quick, affordable,  nutritious and satifying meals!

Fusilli with Broccoli & Peanuts

serves 6

total prep/cooking time: 20 minutes

by Diane Boyd


  • 7 oz. dry fusilli
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cups broccoli flowerets
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup roasted peanuts


1. Cook  pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Toss with canola oil.

2. Blanch broccoli for one minute in boiling salted water. Refresh under cold running water and drain well.

3. Blend lemon juice, honey and seasonings (onion powder through salt). Combine pasta with the broccoli , lemon-honey mixture and seasonings. Cool, cover and refrigerate. Stir in peanuts just before serving. Serve cold or reheat in microwave.

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