Sometimes -- very lucky times, indeed -- you find yourself with a house full of kids and grandkids having so much fun playing in the snow that afternoon turns into evening and, while wet jackets and mittens and shoes bang around in the clothes dryer, everyone decides to stay for dinner. If that happens, and you have nothing prepared, you'll be glad you stored this recipe for baked three-cheese bow-tie pasta in your recipe box. It's a mac and cheese made easy, combining low-fat ricotta and cottage cheese with just enough nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano and a buttery bread crumb topping. Toss together a side salad for the adults; then, with dinner under control, get out of the kitchen and have fun with the kids.
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When my husband Ted traveled to Tanzania last summer to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, he ended his trip with a few days of rest and relaxation on the island of Zanzibar, famous as a crossroads of the spice trade. And because Ted has lived with me for a whole lot of years, he never once considered not taking a tour of a spice farm. For months I've been having fun cooking from the packets of curry powders, cumin, ginger, nutmeg, and more that Ted bought from Butterfly Farm. This Zanzibar tandoori grilled turkey recipe pays homage to the Indian, Arabic and African fusion cuisine on the island. Tandoori masala, which you can find in Indian markets, colors the marinade a beautiful pinkish-red, and my photos don't do justice to the resulting color of the grilled turkey. Make friends with your butcher, and ask him (or her) to butterfly the turkey breast for you. Then, serve with some homemade tomato nectarine chutney or dried cranberry and pear chutney, and imagine yourself on a Zanzibar beach at sunset, watching the dhows float across the horizon. Oh, my.
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Ramen gets a bad rap. Too many college dorms, too many hot plates, too many quick and cheap dinners on the run between classes. This dish of teriyaki turkey meatballs with cabbage and ramen noodles is not the packet-o'-soup food we boiled up in our frugal college days, though the noodles are the same. In this recipe, low-fat turkey meatballs take center stage, and cabbage cooked in with the noodles bathe in a sweet and salty sauce. With the exception of the meat and cabbage, all of the ingredients in this dish come straight from your pantry; you can substitute spaghetti or angel hair pasta for the ramen. At the beginning of the year, I try to eat foods that are a bit lighter, and this ramen dish fits into a healthy eating plan. Also, it's just plain good food.
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It's school vacation week, and you've got your hands full. Why not toss a few ingredients into the slow cooker, and let dinner cook all day while you're making snow angels or going to see The Hobbit with the kids? This Italian pot roast tastes great on the day you make it, served with boiled potatoes or egg noodles, and even better the next day. The balsamic vinegar and olives lend their perky tang, and sun-dried tomatoes deepen the sauce, turning a humble chuck roast into a divine stew. Dinner doesn't get much easier, or more comforting, than this.
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