Spaghetti Squash Is More Than Just A Pasta Plant

Most people have had hand at cooking spaghetti squash, and there are a lot of ways to prepare this tasty vegetable.

This winter squash starts getting popular at the farmers market and grocery store in early fall. The cooked stringy flesh is delicious, but there are a few cooking tricks to know.

(Photo from Elizabeth Norris’ blog)

Cut the squash in half length-wise. Make sure to use a good knife and a little muscle – this is a sturdy squash! Once you have the squash in half, scrape out the seeds and pulp the same way you would with any other winter squash.

Turn the halves cut-side down in a baking dish. Add a little water and roast in a 350 degree oven for about an hour. You’ll know it’s done when a fork slides in and out of the flesh easily. If you’re in a hurry you can quick cook it the same way in the microwave in a glass dish – just blast on high until fork tender.

Now to get those noodle-like strands out of the shell. Turn the squash up and gently scrape the flesh with a fork along the grain and loosen it up. Then scoop the squash into a bowl and finish how you like.

It’s a great low-calorie and gluten-free option to traditional pasta for topping with marinara. Or toss it with maple syrup or honey, a little butter or olive oil, some minced fresh herbs and some sea salt for a great side dish to any entrée. –Kathy

Posted by Kathy Casey on October 29th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Foodie News, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, Recent Posts

Liquid Kitchen and the Fairmont Hotels in Bar Magazine

Earlier this summer Liquid Kitchen hosted the Fairmont Global and mixology team in developing and creating a new global cocktail menu. Check out Bar Magazine’s post on the recent media event announcing the soon-to-be launched menu, including a team photo of the Fairmont Tastemakers.

Posted by Kathy on October 28th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Press, Recent Posts

Chia Seeds: the SUPER Food

Cha-cha-cha-CHIA! Yes, that is what we think of when we say chia. Those funny terra cotta heads sprouting green hair. Until now! Chia seeds are everywhere these days and have been sweeping the nation as an up-and-coming nutritional ingredient.

Who remembers these commercials?

Chock full of fiber and omega-3’s, these little seeds can be added to almost anything from juices, baked into muffins or even toasted and sprinkled on a salad! They digest quickly, hydrate your body better than sports drinks, and provide long-lasting energy. Athletes love them!

When soaked in a liquid, they become gel-like and are virtually tasteless. In Mexico, they are added in a drink called Chia Fresca made with fruit juice and chia seeds which have been plumped in water – sounds so refreshing!  I love a plumped spoonful spooned over a margarita for fun texture!

I have also used them plumped then blended in a low-fat salad dressing – they work as a natural thickener so you can use less oil, and who doesn’t love that!? If you’re looking to add chia seeds to your diet, check out stores like Whole Foods, PCC, and in the “Natural Foods section” of most grocers to buy them or try them in a fun chia beverage.

And check out this chia seed post from Wellness Mama for more tricks and tips on what to do with them, including her recipe for healthy homemade pudding.

So try something new and get your Cha-cha-cha-CHIA on! – Kathy

To plump chia seeds: Soak 2 Tbsp Chia Seeds with 1 1/2 cups HOT water. Let sit for 1 hour then store refrigerated for up to 2-3 days.

Posted by Kathy Casey on October 22nd, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Foodie News, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, Recent Posts

D’Lish Beets!

Pickled or roasted, steamed or boiled. I adore beets whatever way they’re prepared! I even grate them raw into salads for some fantastic color, roughage, and flavor.


In addition to being delicious, beets are REALLY nutritious. Betalains are the nutrient-rich pigments found in beets which also act as antioxidants – they can have anti-inflammatory benefits as well, and can even reduce your risk of heart disease. Beets are a great source of fiber and vitamin C!

If you boil or roast your beets, don’t bother peeling them before-hand. Once they’re cooked, the skins will rub and peel right off! Just don’t forget to wear gloves… those pigments will dye your hands the same color as the beets!

Looking for a mashed potato alternative? How about trying my Mashed Roasted Beets with Lime, Sour Cream and Cilantro. This will turn the most resistant beet eater into a beet enthusiast in no time! The sweet flavors of the beets with the zing of the lime and a dollop of low-fat sour cream will make this a family favorite.

Oh, and if you are buying beets with the tops on don’t forget you can eat the greens too – just saute with some olive oil, garlic and a little onion and serve with a squeeze a lemon.

Beets – a healthy, delicious and colorful addition to your table. – Kathy

Mashed Roasted Beets with Lime, Sour Cream & Cilantro

This beet preparation will turn the most resistant beet eater into a beet lover. If you have time, the ultimate taste intensity can be produced by roasting the beets in a 375-degree F. oven until very tender; allow about 1 – to 2 hours depending upon the size of your beets The yield will be reduced because of moisture evaporation, so use 5 beets.

Makes four 1/2-cup servings.

4 beets (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
2 tablespoons soft butter or margarine
1/4 cup sour cream or non-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
salt to taste

Wash the beets, trimming top to 1″ – 2″ and leaving root untrimmed. Steam until very tender (or see roasting note, above).

As soon as beets are cool enough to handle, slip the skins off and cut into large chunks. Place in food processor with butter and 3 tablespoons of the sour cream; process until smooth-like in texture but not a total puree. Mix in lime juice, coriander, pepper flakes and chopped cilantro. Season to taste with salt.

Serve hot, dolloped with remaining sour cream if desired.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Posted by Kathy Casey on October 15th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in KOMO Radio

Restaurant Hospitality Magazine

Restaurant Hospitality Magazine posted an article on syrups used in savory dishes, including my easy tips for making flavored butters. Check out the article here.

Posted by Kathy on October 14th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Press


A true sign of fall: apples appear everywhere. From thick caramel-coated and dipped in nuts to sweet and tangy cups of fresh-pressed cider at the local market to grand glass bowls filled with elegant red apples simply used as a table centerpiece.

The Northwest has always been the hub for amazing apples. Glorious Galas with their perfume-y sweet flavor, firm Fujis that hold their texture amazingly well when cooked, deep-blushed Braeburns, and the list goes on.

What most of us (at least us pie-lovers) think about when thinking of apples is pie, I love to make my apple pie with a little cheddar in the crust – yum!

Spinach & Apple Salad with Warm Meyer Lemon-Bacon Vinaigrette
Photo by Kathy Casey Food Studios for Sunkist

But in addition to desserts there are bushels of other great ways to cook with apples. Try whipping up a Spinach & Apple Salad with Warm Meyer Lemon-Bacon Vinaigrette. It’s really quick and delicious.

Looking for a new side dish? How about a toothsome Apple Barley Risotto – a twist on the classic using pearl barley instead of Arborio rice?

Just remember, one of the best apple tips to observe is to always keep your apples refrigerated. At 70 degrees, apples break down and become soft 10 times faster than if refrigerated. Many a Northwesterner accomplished this in the olden days by stashing the winter’s apples under the bed, back when winter bedrooms were quite chilly. I bet those rooms smelled appley great!

Cheers crisp fall apples – crunch! -Kathy

Spinach & Apple Salad with Warm Meyer Lemon–Bacon Vinaigrette
This salad is delicious as a starter, or serve it as an entrée topped with grilled chicken breast and crumbled blue cheese.

Makes 6 servings as a starter salad

6 cups baby spinach
1 apple, cored and cut into thin slices
1/2 cup thinly sliced white onion

1/3 cup fresh-squeezed Sunkist Meyer Lemon juice
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely diced raw bacon
2 tsp. minced fresh garlic

Place spinach, apple and onion in a large, heat-proof bowl and refrigerate until ready to dress salad.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, sugar, pepper, salt
and olive oil. Set vinaigrette aside.

In a small nonstick pan, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until three-quarters done, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and stir for about 30 seconds, but do not brown garlic. Add the reserved vinaigrette to the hot pan. Immediately remove from heat and pour over reserved spinach mixture.

Toss until salad is well coated with dressing, and serve immediately.

Recipe created by Kathy Casey for Sunkist®

Apple Barley Risotto
Allow about 50 – 60 minutes total cooking time for this recipe.
Makes 4 servings

2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 Braeburn or Fuji apple, unpeeled, cored and diced 1/4-inch
1/2 cup pearl barley
2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup water
1/4 cup shredded, high-quality Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts, lightly toasted
1/8 tsp. black pepper
salt to taste (If using canned broth, less salt will be needed.)

In a large heavy-bottom saucepan melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and red onions. Sauté till mushrooms are limp. Add the garlic and stir around for about half a minute. Then immediately add the wine, increase heat to high and reduce wine till syrupy, about 3 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium and stir in the diced apple and barley. In a bowl or large measuring cup mix together the broth and water. Add 1 cup to the barley and simmer till almost all the liquid is absorbed about 6 – 8 minutes.

Stir in another cup of the broth-water mixture and continue cooking, stirring often, until all the liquid is absorbed. Repeat this process again until all the liquid has been used and the barley is tender.

Remove from heat and fold in cheese, nuts and pepper. Taste and season with additional salt if needed.

Recipe © Kathy Casey Food Studios® –

Posted by Kathy on October 8th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Fruit, KOMO Radio, Recipes, salads

Ancient Grains are New Again

Whole grains are all the rage, and with good reason. Their health benefits and high-fiber content make them a great addition to your regular menu!

One of my favorites is quinoa, an ancient grain-like seed. It’s a high-quality protein with eight essential amino acids and a good source of fiber, as well as B vitamins, iron, and other minerals. You can get regular quinoa, red and tri-colored – all are tasty tasty!

I like to toast it dry in a pan before cooking to add a bit of nutty flavor. I love it made into a salad to take for lunch such as my Big Protein Red Quinoa Salad – cooked quinoa, cucumbers, carrots, garbanzos, raisins, hazelnuts and fresh herbs all dressed up with olive oil and lemon juice. The combination of textures and flavors is d’Lish and so good for you!

Red Quinoa!
(Photo courtesy of FitSugar)

Another fave is farro, an ancient hulled wheat that was served as the daily ration of the Roman legions. Today it is making a huge comeback and can be seen on restaurant menus everyhwere (and also grown locally in eastern Washington). I love its toothsome bite. Most instructions say to soak it before cooking (preferably overnight). This is great to speed up the cooking, but I typically just give it a long slow boil until it is tender. I love it in a dish of Kale Lacinato, Wild Mushrooms and Goat Cheese. Perfect for this time of year.

So cook up some ancient grains this fall and get your freekeh on – yes that’s another type of new grain! –Kathy

Big Protein Red Quinoa Salad
I like to make this salad with all organic produce.
Makes about 4 cups

3/4 cup red or tri-color quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. minced or grated lemon zest
1/2 cup peeled, seeded and 1/4-inch-diced cucumber
1/2 cup canned organic garbanzo beans, drained
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2cup organic golden raisins
1/2 cup organic hazelnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup grated carrot
3/4 to 1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Rinse quinoa in cold water and drain well. Put the drained quinoa in a heavy medium saucepan and dry roast the grain over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 1 minute. Add the water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for about 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove lid, fluff grains with a fork, and let cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa with the remaining ingredients and toss well.

Recipe © Kathy Casey Food Studios® –

Farro with Kale, Wild Mushrooms & Goat Cheese
I love this dish made with fall chanterelles.
Makes 4 to 6 servings

1/2 cup whole farro, dry
2 quarts water
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup sliced wild mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, sliced paper thin
pinch red chili flakes
1 large bunch black kale (lacinato)* or green kale, torn
1/4 cup chicken broth (or substitute vegetable broth)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lemon
3 ounces fresh goat cheese (chevre)

To cook the farro: In a medium saucepan, combine farro and water and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer; cook the grain for about 30 minutes, or until very tender, but do not let it become mushy. Add more water if it gets low. Drain the cooked farro and set aside. (You can do this the day before; refrigerate cooked grain.)

Heat oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Sauté mushrooms until half cooked, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add garlic and chili flakes and sauté for a few seconds. Stir in kale. Add chicken broth and cooked farro, and cook, turning greens several times, until greens are wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze lemon over dish to brighten flavor. Serve dolloped with goat cheese or grated sexy local cheese.

*Also called dinosaur kale.

Recipe © Kathy Casey Food Studios® –

Posted by Kathy on September 30th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, salads

Bananas for Bananas

Bananas, the ultimate naturally portable snack! Perfect for throwing into your purse or bag.

Besides being deliciously handy, bananas are a great source of potassium while being low in sodium. They are a good source of Vitamin B6 as well as Vitamin C and dietary fiber, and are naturally fat free!

If you’re thinking of a late-season campfire, then consider this s’more alternative:

Take an unpeeled banana and make a split lengthwise – just not all the way through. Carve a trough from end to end, keeping the peel. Munch on the removed banana to tide you over, while filling the trough with bits of marshmallow and chocolate and sprinkle with crumbled graham crackers. Wrap the whole thing in tin foil and stick it in the embers like a potato, or over a hot grill. After a little while, take it out and carefully unwrap. Yum!

s'more banana
Fun Photo from Tablespoon.

And bananas are quite delicious with savory things as well. My recipe for Banana Pineapple Chutney is flavored up with warm spices such as ginger and allspice. It’s a fantastic way to zip up a grilled chicken breast, or even better with a pork chop.

Any way you slice them (or even if you don’t), bananas are d’lish! –Kathy

Banana Pineapple Chutney
Great served with basmati rice and vegetable curries as well as grilled scallops, chicken, pork chops or ham.

Makes 3 cups

1/3 cup 1/4-inch-diced red onion
1/2 cup 1/4-inch-diced red bell pepper
2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. currants
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced ripe fresh pineapple
2 cups (about 2 large) firm underripe bananas, peeled, cut in half lengthwise then in 1/2-inch chunks

In a heavy, wide, shallow, nonreactive pot, place all ingredients except the fruit. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for about 4 minutes until mixture is syrupy and slightly reduced.

Add currants and pineapple, reduce heat to medium and cook for about 1 minute. Gently fold in bananas and cook until just thickened, about 2 minutes more. Occasionally stir the mixture gently; do not stir roughly—you want to keep the fruit pieces’ integrity. Chutney should be thickened but still slightly juicy. If too dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.

Remove from the heat and let cool. Refrigerate if not serving right away. Chutney should be slightly warm for serving.

Recipe by © Kathy Casey Food Studios® –

Posted by Kathy on September 24th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Fruit, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes