For our May pasta spotlight, we sat down with Marlene Koch, best known as the “Magician in the Kitchen.” Marlene is also a New York Times Bestselling cookbook author and a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. This month, Marlene’s newest cookbook, Eat What You Love Quick and Easy debuts. We sat down with Marlene and got a preview of what to expect in her new cookbook, how she became known as the “magician in the kitchen” and got a sneak peak at one of the new recipes featured in her book. Read on for what she had to say and be sure to check out her new cookbook!
1. We’re so excited to try all of the recipes in your new cookbook, Eat What You Love Quick and Easy. Can you share what kinds of pasta recipes our readers can expect to find in your book?
Because eating what you love includes pasta for me, readers will find a wide array of pasta dishes in the book. Lasagna lovers will find easy cheesy Weeknight Lasagna Roll-Ups and Shortcut Veggie Lasagna. For last minute weeknight suppers flavorful One-Pot BBQ Chicken Pasta and Super-Fast Fresh Tomato and Zucchini Pasta are just two of my picks. The 15-Minute Shrimp and Penne Pasta with Marsala Marinara transports you to a trattoria – without the wait (or weight!), and for the big game you can’t go wrong with my slimmed down “Fried” Macaroni & Cheese. Best of all, virtually all of the recipes can be on the table in 30-minutes or less.
2. We know that you’re also known as a “Magician in the Kitchen.” How did you learn how to cut sugar, fat, and calories for healthier substitutions, without losing flavor?
My mom was a great cook, so great tasting food was something I was fortunate enough to grow up with. Add to that years and years of cooking, researching, and LOTS of experimenting, with not only lighter ingredients, but even more so in finding the perfect combination of them, gave me my “magician” moniker. I guess you could say I am a bit of a perfectionist. Unless the flavor, texture and the visual appeal of on my recipes is as good (or better) than a higher calorie counterpart, it doesn’t get published. A single recipe can get revised a dozen times.
3. We know your Eat What You Love brand is all about eating healthy, without having to sacrifice your favorite foods or flavors. Many people often believe the misconception that they can’t eat pasta if they want to lose weight. Can you explain to our readers some ways you can still eat pasta without sacrificing health or flavor?
I love the fact that I can assure pasta lovers that pasta can be part of any healthy diet, including weight loss and diabetes diets. One of the healthiest ways enjoy nutritious pasta is to look not only the portion you eat, but the proportions of the dish. I always include plenty of healthy veggies in my pasta dishes, along with a lean source of protein. The combination not only keeps pasta portions in check, it helps create pasta dishes filled with a tempting array of tastes, colors and textures.
4. We love that many of your recipes feature healthier versions of classic, family favorite recipes. Growing up, what were some of your favorite family meals?
My mother is Italian and my siblings and I were weaned on spaghetti and meatballs. To this day it is still her favorite dish to cook, and ours to eat. Homemade lasagna was another favorite dish growing up, as was good ‘ol mac & cheese. My mom also made a mean beef stroganoff (served over noodles of course), and burgers were always welcome.
5. We’re just around the corner from the summer season! What kinds of summer ingredients are you looking forward to incorporating in your meals?
While every season offers incredible fresh ingredients, summer’s bounty is hard to beat. Fragrant basil and peak of the season fresh-off-the-vine juicy tomatoes are two of my favorites. Come summer I fix a lot of Caprese salads and quick-fix pasta dishes, such as pasta pomodoro with them. Zucchini and fresh sweet corn are also among my favorite summer veggies. As a side dish I like to sauté the combo in a bit of oil and butter with a pinch of fresh dill and seasoned salt. They also make great add-ins to Southwestern inspired pasta dishes.
6. Finally, can you share one of your favorite pasta recipes with our readers?
I’d love to! My Better-than-Ever Stovetop Mac & Cheese is an easy meal that has an extra layer of flavor that is delectable!
About Marlene Koch:
Known as a “Magician in the Kitchen” for her amazing ability to make excess sugar, fat and calories simply disappear from everyones favorite foods, Marlene is also a nationally recognized registered dietitian nutritionist, culinary expert, television personality, and the New York Times Bestselling author of the Eat What You Love series of cookbooks. A regular guest on QVC, Marlene and her recipes have been featured in numerous publications including Cooking Light and Men’s Fitness, on shows such as the Today show, and on food, fitness and lifestyle sites across web. At home you will find her cooking for her big food-loving family.
More from Marlene: