Boston Medical Center

It’s Pastapalooza!


Well, we love pasta here (any shape, any sauce, any day), so it’s really always pastapalooza here, but seeing as I was asked to invent a recipe for a contest  by Dreamfields Pasta, in their #Pastapalooza competition, the heat is on, as it were.

Now this is no ordinary competition (although do think Chopped only at home, without having to be filmed, thank goodness). Dreamfields is using this fun and creative initiative to make a difference. Five bloggers will create and share a new recipe using the same ingredients and Dreamfields will make donations to local food pantries (to be named by the competing bloggers) which is nothing short of fantastic. The winning blogger’s recipe will reap a donation of $1000 to their local food pantry.

As I’m sure you know, there are many, many families that are food insecure and the numbers only rise in the summer months, so this is an especially important and timely initiative right now. Read more about ways you can help on Dreamfield’s blog.

There are so many great organizations working to stop hunger, it was difficult to choose, but I went with my local food pantry,

the Newton Food Pantry.





And I also want to give a shout out to the following wonderful organizations, so go check them out, too.

Boston Medical Center Preventive Food Pantry

Greater Boston Food Bank

Lovin’ Spoonfuls





So the challenge? Incorporate pasta, cumin or Za’atar or Harissa, garlic, legumes, chutney and citrus. I have to say, the chutney gave me pause. Luckily I remembered seeing some gorgeous tomato chutney at the market last week and, in the serendipitous way that things sometimes happen, met the owner of this lovely company, The Backyard Food Company, at Getting Gorgeous this past week and they have a terrific, not-too-be-missed tomato jam. It would be great in this dish, because it’s great on a spoon.

Here is my (winning?) recipe:

(photo credit to my daughter)


Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

1/2 box Dreamfields Elbows
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons tomato chutney or tomato jam
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cans (15 ounces each) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 medium-size ripe tomatoes, diced (see note)
3 Persian cucumbers, diced
Chopped parsley (optional)

Cook pasta according to package directions. Place pasta in large bowl; set aside. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, chutney, cumin and garlic; set dressing aside.

Add chickpeas, tomatoes and cucumbers to pasta; toss to combine well. At serving time, add dressing; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

Note: 1 1/2 cups diced grape or cherry tomatoes can be substituted for regular tomatoes.

Nutrition information (1/4 of recipe): 580 calories; 20 g protein; 89 g carbohydrates;

19 g total fat; 2 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 340 mg sodium; 17 g total dietary fiber.

This is a great side salad – add a protein or feta cheese to bump it up a little.

Go vote for this fantastic recipe here. Just by voting you could win a family pack of Dreamfields pasta and a $1,000 donation to your local food bank, too. And there are plenty of places that could put that donation to good use (see my suggested list above).

So join me – just click here to vote for your favorite Gourmet Market Basket recipe, even if it’s not mine. Really. Voting begins tomorrow (Thursday) morning. Maybe I am just a little excited about this. Maybe.

More ways to connect with Dreamfields Pasta







I was chosen to be part of the Dreamfields Pastapalooza Middle Eastern Market Basket Challenge. I was compensated for this post and the local food pantry (Newton Food Pantry) will receive $200. All opinions and recipes are my own. Also, all of the other recipes are really good, too. But vote for mine anyway.


Boston Medical Center’s Demonstration Kitchen – featured by A Step Up

Last night, the women of A Step Up featured The Boston Medical Center’s Food Pantry & Demonstration Kitchen (the first in the country – now ten years old) which is connected to their Grow Clinic for Children, formed to treat Failure to Thrive (FTT) in young children. The programs that the BMC runs are so thoughtful and practical  – medical care, food and books- they also partner with Reach Out and Read each child gets a new book at each well visit and they have shelves of gently used books in almost every department for children to take home as well.  What a wonderful group of programs making a difference in so many people’s lives. Want to help? Great – Go here to the Virtual Food Drive page.

BMC’s Virtual Food Drive is a great way for schools and organizations to help the Preventive Food Pantry buy the food it desperately needs. For every $10.00 received, The Boston Medical Center Preventive Food Pantry can provide food for two families for a week.

If you would like to organize a food drive or donate food in person, please contact:

Latchman Hiralall
Food Pantry Manager

They can also use books – new or gently used – for children. Did you resolve to be more organized this year? Go through your book shelves and clean out the books (yes, keep your copy of your child’s favorite book – give the rest to the BMC).

Helping those in need: Teaching healthy cooking:

From the website:

At BMC, a doctor’s prescription might be for a bag of healthful groceries, and the hospital’s Food Pantry is the place to get it. More than 7,500 BMC patients and their family members use the pantry each month, obtaining culturally appropriate foods for diets that are nutritious and therapeutic. Studies done by BMC researchers have documented that food stamps alone cannot support the nutritional diet recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture. To supplement patients’ resources, BMC created the Food Pantry. Many patients lack access to supermarkets and would otherwise rely on the less nutritious fare found at corner stores and bodegas. The pantry relies totally on philanthropy, including food drives that help keep the shelves stocked. BMC patients can not only get healthful food but also learn to cook nutritious meals in the Demonstration Kitchen. Classes are offered in special areas like cardiac rehabilitation, weight reduction and diabetic diets.

Find out What’s Cookin’ with Boston Medical Center and A Step Up

A Prescription of Wellness from A Step Up and the Boston Medical CenterPlease join A Step Up  to hear what’s “cooking” in The Nutrition Resource  Center (NRC) at the Boston Medical Center.

TUESDAY, January 10 7:30pm

at the home of Amy Briney, 93 Beethoven Avenue, Newton
*a suggested donation of $35 made payable to the Boston Medical Center

The BMC is changing the lives of their patients by providing exceptional care without exception, serving all patients regardless of their social and/or economic circumstances. A Step Upwill be raising funds for the Nutrition Resource Center, an innovative program, that includes an onsite prescription food pantry and demonstration kitchen, that is meeting patients nutritional needs right alongside their medical needs.  Come learn more about a service delivery approach at the NRC that is consistent with the thoughtful wraparound services that are meeting the needs of the diverse patient population the BMC serves.

To RSVP  please reply to this email.  If you are unable to attend the event but would like to donate, please click on the link below:


Amy Briney, Stacey Keenan, Lori Mendik
Carolyn Shaughnessy, Gina Saltonstall

To learn more about the BMC:

For more information about A Step Up, please check out our
website at

%d bloggers like this: