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Food Diaries: Chef Carla Hall

By Paige Herman Axel
Posted On Jul 23, 2014

Chef Carla Hall’s secret to creating delicious and healthy meals means cooking with love.

BY Linda Childers PHOTOGRAPHS by craig sjodin/ABC (hall); getty images (oatmeal)

Carla Hall

Carla Hall first rose to fame on the Bravo cooking show Top Chef, where she won over fans with her lovable, larger-than-life personality—not to mention her soulful approach to cooking natural and organic meals with Southern- and French-inspired flare. Hall, 49, is currently a co-host on ABC’s The Chew. She released her new cookbook, Carla’s Comfort Foods: Favorite Dishes From Around the World (Atria Books, $30), this spring. Her website, Carlahall.com, features her new line of sweet and savory petite cookies.

Breakfast

Oatmeal with Nuts and Raisins
Blended Green Juice Drink
?    kale
?    spinach
?    celery
?    apples, pears, or nectarines
“I start each morning drinking a liter of water. For breakfast, I will typically have cereal such as granola or Cheerios with almond milk. I try to limit the amount of dairy that I consume. The kitchen staff at The Chew always prepares a hot meal for us—usually a frittata or oatmeal. The oatmeal will keep me satisfied until lunchtime. I have made a conscious decision to not eat the warm bagels that come into the studio in the morning. I admit, I’m a bread addict, so that can be a very slippery slope.”

Snacks

Pretzel Sticks and Peanut Butter
Petite Cookies
“Sugar is my vice, so I try to limit how much I eat. However, I do allow myself to have a little everyday like my petite cookies—almond-ginger cherry shortbread, lemon black pepper shortbread, or black forest crumble­­­. I hydrate with water or hot tea. For every segment of The Chew, water is set at our place settings, and I make sure to drink each glass that is set before me.”

 

Lunch

Carla’s Zesty Turkey Salad
?    2 cups leftover turkey, shredded
?    5 scallions, thinly sliced
?    ¼ cup dried cranberries
?    ¼ cup mayonnaise
?    1 lemon, zested
?    2 tbsp dill, chopped
?    salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Gently fold together all ingredients until thoroughly combined. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serves 4.
“For lunch, I may have some soup. Two of my favorites are chicken dumpling and red lentil. These always hit the spot and I can enjoy them any time of the day. Or I may have a great turkey salad, such as this one with scallions, cranberries, and dill. This salad is in my new cookbook.”

Dinner

Dijon Tarragon Salmon
?    3 tbsp Dijon mustard
?    3 tbsp minced fresh tarragon leaves
?    1½ tbsp mayonnaise
?    4 (6-oz) center-cut

Salmon fillets
Set the broiler rack 6 inches from the heat source. Preheat to high. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Next, in a small bowl, stir together the first four ingredients. Place the salmon on the baking sheet and slather the tops and sides with the mixture. Broil the salmon until opaque on top but slightly translucent in the middle, about eight minutes. Serves 4.
“This dish is the ideal dinner for a busy weeknight—few ingredients, big flavor, fast, and healthy. Perfect over a mixed greens salad, rice, or sautéed spinach.”