As a professional chef and Food Network personality, Alex Guarnaschelli spends most of her time cooking elaborate meals that sometimes take an entire day. That’s why, when she’s finally able to make it home, she prefers to step away from the kitchen and let her oven whip up something simple, healthy, and satisfying. When we spoke to Alex at the Folgers Simply Gourmet tasting event in New York City, where she created recipes with Folgers’ new Simply Gourmet coffee line that uses all-natural ingredients and flavors, the Iron Chef shared her favorite (and super easy!) go-to dinner that dates back to her childhood.
“My parents are big cooks, they always have been. But there are times when I saw that my mom and dad were tired, and the tried-and-true technique that worked is to put the oven on, put a heat-proof tray in, get it hot, cut up some vegetables,” Alex told us. “Rutabaga, carrots, potatoes, and just toss them in a little bit of olive oil, salt, garlic, or whatever you like. Open the oven, toss them on the tray, and let them cook until they’re tender.”
Hearty veggies like pumpkin and squash, which Alex “literally never [gets] sick of,” also add a ton of fall flavor and are rich in carotenoids, powerful antioxidants that lessen the risk of cancer, stabilize blood sugar and lower insulin resistance, which prevents fat gain.
She even made her own version of a pumpkin spice latte for the event, called a cinnamon pumpkin pie spice latte, made with pumpkin puree, molasses, pumpkin pie spice, sour cream (yes, sour cream!) and Folgers Simply Gourmet Natural Cinnamon coffee.
Another one of Guarnaschelli’s favorite fall ingredients? Fresh cranberries. “They’re loaded with antioxidants, they’re super healthy for you, so I really like that,” she said. “And there are so many different ways you can use them.” Just one cup of fresh whole cranberries packs in almost 5 grams of fiber and a solid dose of flu-fighting vitamin C for under 50 calories. Try sprinkling a handful onto the roasted veggies for a hint of bright tartness and subtle sweetness. And for more ways avoid the unnecessary dishes and calories, make room on your recipe list for some of these delish Healthy (but Lazy!) Dinner Recipes.