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Brain Food

Healthy, Easy Family Favorites

1308_Cookin_2Go-To Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Combine an 8-oz package of room-temperature low-fat cream cheese, ½ cup chopped spinach (thawed frozen or cooked), and one 6-oz jar of marinated artichokes, drained. Reserve the marinade. Pulse all ingredients in a food processor while slowly pouring in half of the reserved artichoke marinade.Blend until smooth. Taste and season.


1308_Cookin_3Asian Lettuce Wraps

Rinse and pat dry Romaine lettuce (if packing for lunch, store with a damp paper towel in a bag or clear wrap), 1/3 cup shredded or chopped protein: chicken, beef, cooked shrimp, or fried tofu – tossed with 1 Tbsp hoisin sauce, and 1/3 cup broccoli slaw mixed with 1 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar. Other ingredients can be added: cooked soba or rice noodles, toasted sesame seeds, or stir-fried vegetables.


1308_Cookin_4Veggie Burgers or Meatballs

In a food processor purée half of a 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed. In a large bowl, combine ¼ cup cooked quinoa, the bean purée, the remaining whole beans, ½ cup corn (thawed frozen or cooked), ½ cup panko breadcrumbs, 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, dash of salt, ½ tsp chili powder, ½ tsp ground cumin, 2 garlic cloves finely minced, dash of pepper, and 1 Tbsp lemon juice. Mix and form 8 small patties or about twice as many meatballs. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes to firm.Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet and cook until golden, about 6 minutes per side.Other vegetables that can be added or substituted: ½ cup cooked spinach or kale, grated carrots, ½ cup cooked broccoli, or wild mushrooms.


1308_Cookin_5Summer Roasted Tomato Soup

Preheat oven to 450°F. Wash, core and cut 2½ lbs mixed color, variety and size seasonal tomatoes into halves. Spread the tomatoes, 6 peeled garlic cloves, and 2 small sliced yellow onions onto a baking tray. Drizzle with ½ cup of olive oil.Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until caramelized. Transfer all to a large stock pot.Add 3 cups vegetable stock, 2 bay leaves and 4 Tbsp unsalted butter. Bring to boil, then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.Purée the soup with an immersion blender. For a creamy soup add ¾ cup heavy cream. You can add fresh chopped basil or thyme. For a bit of protein add sliced, cooked turkey sausage or bacon. (Store in freezer-safe pint containers.)

Christine Wansleben, chef and owner of Mise En Place Cooking School, lives in the West End, where she cooks up a storm with her husband and their twins.
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