Love her or hate her, Rachel Ray has skyrocketed from a no name to a well known brand name across all channels of media over the last decade. According to Rachel Ray, she grew up on food, with her first vivid memory watching her mom in a restaurant kitchen. Not only has Rachel Ray hosted three Food Network series, but she has also syndicated her own talk and lifestyle show, Rachel Ray, authored 19 cookbooks, is the Founder and Editorial Director of her own lifestyle magazine, and founded the Yum-o! organization (a nonprofit organization to “empower kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking.” Her Rachel Ray television show has won two Daytime Emmy Awards.
By her own admission, Rachel Ray says, “I have no formal anything. I’m completely unqualified for any job I’ve ever had.” Her catchphrases such as “E-V-O-O” (extra virgin olive oil), and “yum-o” caught on during her popular 30-Minute Meal series on Food Network; in fact, EVOO was added to the Oxford American College Dictionary in 2007, largely credited to Rachel Ray. Although I haven’t watched Rachel Ray on television in a while (I just found out she is now on the Cooking Channel), I remember being glued to the TV when she first arrived on the food scene. Over the years, her hair color has changed as has the amount of makeup she wears on set (my boys have commented numerous times about how different she looks with all the makeup), but Rachel Ray’s down to earth personality remains unchanged.
Her spunky personality and tips for getting a meal on the table in 30 minutes or less were what caught my eye years ago when Rachel Ray appeared on her 30-Minute Meals series. Her concoctions may not be gourmet fare, but they are practical, easily accessible, and uncomplicated. While many of the recipes I have come across are definitely not on the healthy side (she uses lots of sausage, bacon, and cheese), there are ways to modify her recipes to reduce the fat and calorie count. Her serving sizes are very generous, so plan on having leftovers or serving more people with her recipes.
This week, Rachel Ray is being honored by a small group of food bloggers as one of 50 Women Game-Changers in food recently recognized by Gourmet Live. Mary from One Perfect Bite came up with this brilliant idea, so if you’re interested in joining in on the fun, just ask Mary. We’ve been cooking our way through this list of 50 influential women in food, selecting a recipe from each of them to try each week.
As I was thumbing through the first Rachel Ray cookbook I bought, Cooking ‘Round The Clock, I spotted a few healthier recipes, including Cold Morning Oatmeal, Double Tomato and Pesto Cup-o-Soup, Lean, Mean Green Cup-o-Soup and Tuna Marinara Sauce.
With the recent hurricane that came through our area, many supermarkets are still closed, and my pantry is stocked with emergency canned food, including tons of tuna fish that my husband bought. So, guess what I made…Tuna Marinara Sauce tossed with gluten-free pasta. Although Rachel Ray serves this Tuna Marinara Sauce with Ravioli, I decided to keep this dish on the healthier side and skipped the ravioli.
I made a few adjustments to the cooking directions as the way the recipe was written would have resulted in undercooked onions and burned tuna. My kids enjoyed this for lunch this week, and asked me to imitate an “Iron Chef” presentation of this Tuna Marinara Pasta dish, which I did as best as I could. They love eating the “blog picture” food.
I have to admit that I’ve been in Rachel Ray burnout for the past several years, but now I’m curious to see what she’s up to. So…I think I will tune into the Cooking Channel and find out.
Tuna Marinara Sauce with Pasta
Adapted from Cooking ‘Round the Clock. Rachel Ray’s recipe suggests serving this with ravioli. Instead, toss this protein rich sauce with gluten-free or whole grain pasta for a lighter, healthier meal (I have also used less pasta than her original recipe for a lower-carb meal).
- 8 ounces gluten-free pasta
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 can (6 ounces) Italian tuna, drained
- 1/4 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3-4 tablespoons chopped pitted black olives, such as Kalamata
- 1 can (15-ounce) crushed tomatoes (I used chopped tomatoes)
- 3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- fresh chopped parsley or shredded basil, for garnish
- Cook pasta according to instructions on package.
- To make the Tuna Marinara Sauce, heat a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add olive oil, then add onion and garlic; cook 1 minute.
- Add tuna, breaking and mashing tuna up; cook 2 minutes, stirring often.
- Add olives and tomatoes, and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
- Add chopped parsley, and season with salt and pepper.
- Toss with cooked pasta and serve.