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Tina’s Famous Farro

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I love it when I meet an author who has true passion for her subject. Someone who has a calling and practices what she writes about, but doesn't overwhelm with too much salesmanship during the interview. Such was my fortune to meet with Tina Ruggiero, M.S.,R.D. If you haven't purchased a copy of Tina's new book - The Truly Healthy Family Cookbook -you definitely should.

Tina Ruggiero, M.S., R. D. promotes clinical nutrition in an easy to understand format. “Food is a science” she said. “It’s the type of info that changes lives.” Her cutting-edge focus provides unexpected recipes from the freshest and tastiest ingredients. I attended a cooking seminar she put on. I expected her chef demonstration incorporating clinical nutrition to be somewhat dry and boring. I was very wrong. She is a powerhouse of knowledge and caring rolled up around delicious gourmet-style recipes. Her easy-breezy style is easy to follow and enjoy. I’d come back for more any day of the week. Actually, that can be done easily by reading – and using – her newest recipe book.

Her newest cookbook, The Truly Healthy Family Cookbook features more than 120 recipes that even the most die-hard, fat lovin’fast-food lover could learn to love. The book itself is beautiful, easy to read through and understand and features full-color photography. Leave it to Tina to make sure the cover and pages are coated with something special that make spills slide right off. The book lies flat when you open to any page. The recipes, although not short, are reasonable in length and come with a photo to show the reader what the end product should look like. I loved it. You will too.

The cookbook is perfect for busy, health-conscious families, singles or couples that want big flavor and minimal prep time. A short motivational message on each page explains why each recipe makes sense. Each recipe includes nutrition tips, calorie counts and a nutrient analysis. You’ll get advice on preparation, freezing and serving suggestions. It’s all there for even the most skeptical or novice cook to try. I guarantee you this cookbook will exceed your expectations whether you are just starting your healthy eating journey or you’re an old hand at it.

One of my favorite recipes is featured below. It’s easy, delicious and can be made by anyone. Thanks go to Tina and Page Street Publishing for allowing me to share the recipe with you.

You can purchase Tina’s book on Amazon.com $10.99 Kindle, $16.62 paperback.

Farro with Roasted Butternut Squash, Swiss Chard, Walnuts
and Dried Cranberries
Complements of Tina Ruggiero, M.S., R.D., L.D.
Nutrition Expert - Spokesperson - Author
The Truly Healthy Family Cookbook

"Here's what Tina has to say about this recipe, ""Emmer, or farro as it’s called in Italy, is an ancient ancestor of wheat. If you’ve never eaten farro, you’ll soon make it a pantry staple; it’s satisfying, nutritious, inexpensive and versatile. I use it in soup, salads, stuffing and pilafs. You can even bake with it. New science shows that farro is a rich source of disease-fighting antioxidants. In this recipe, each serving provides 120 percent of a day’s worth of vitamin A and more than one-third of your daily requirement for vitamin C."

Yield: 8 servings | Time: 30 minutes

½ small butternut squash, washed, peeled and cut into ½”/1.3 cm cubes (about 1 ¼ cups/195 g)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp/15 ml vegetable oil
1 cup/200 g pearled farro
1 tbsp/15 ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling (optional)
2 tbsp/30 ml red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, finely chopped or grated
8 oz/230 g Swiss chard, sliced into ¼”/6 mm ribbons
½ cup/55 g chopped walnuts
½ cup/60 g dried cranberries, unsweetened
½ cup/30 g parsley, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 400°F/200°F or gas mark 6. Place the butternut squash on a baking sheet and toss with salt, pepper and vegetable oil. Roast, turning the chunks over once or twice, until soft and golden, about 20 minutes.

Place the farro in a pot of salted water and bring to a boil over high heat; cook until al dente, about 15 minutes. Drain.

While the farro is cooking, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar and garlic. Stir half into the farro while it is warm. Reserve the rest. Allow the farro to cool to room temperature.

Place the Swiss chard in a saucepan. If it is still wet from washing, cover the pot and heat to wilt the leaves and cook the stems, about 5 minutes. If the leaves are dry, add a couple of tablespoons of water to the pan before proceeding. Drain any excess liquid from the pan.

Add the butternut squash, Swiss chard, walnuts, cranberries, parsley, and remaining oil and vinegar to the farro. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Drizzle with additional olive oil, if desired.

Per serving: Calories 210, protein 5 g, total fat 9 g, carbohydrates 32 g, sodium 65 mg, fiber 6 g

Tina’s Tip: Don’t be intimidated by that squash! The secret to cutting squash effectively is to always keep the tip of the blade on the cutting board and secure the blade of your knife into the flesh of the squash. Press down carefully, never letting the knife come off the cutting board. The leverage makes it simple to cut the squash into chunks.

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