• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Christina Ferrare offers healthy recipes in 'Big Bowl of Love'

April 5, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Those who cook know it's an art form to be able to cook cheap, tasty and healthy too. That's exactly what one celebrity does in her new cookbook, "Big Bowl of Love."

"Whenever my grandmother or my nonna would bring a bowl to me it was like serving us love," said Christina Ferrare. "So when I cook you something and I come to the table, I'm serving you up a big bowl of lovely tomatoes, a big bowl of love."

Like many women, Ferrare is a multi-tasker-- former model, decorator, talk show host and mom to name a few.

Now she's whipped up a TV show and cookbook of the same name, "Christina Ferrare's Big Bowl of Love," offering 150 recipes common sense style.

So whether you're new to the stove or you've been cooking for years, you'll most likely like her concept, because it's fun and festive but not necessarily fancy.

"My grandmother never threw anything away so she taught us how to use all the leftovers," said Ferrare.

For example, turning ripe tomatoes into a pasta sauce or soup.

"So you have two different meals. You have soup- hot or cold- and you have a wonderful pasta sauce. You could also use it in lasagna or any kind of pasta you'd like to put a sauce over," Ferrare said.

Ferrare's daughter Alexandra has celiac disease and can't tolerate gluten, so in lieu of pasta, she uses spaghetti squash.

"This is what I love. You take your fork and you just pull it- it makes these little spaghetti strands," said Ferrare. "Looks just like a pasta."

She even saves seeds to toast for snacks and salads. Ferrare runs a well-stocked, efficient kitchen that saves her time and calories. Starting with produce.

"What I like to do when I bring my vegetables home, I take the time to go ahead and clean them," Ferrare.

She puts them away so they're ready for use when prepping meals. Veggies are wrapped in paper towels as moisture leads to mold, therefore waste. She also saves the tops of veggies for juicing and soup.

Ferrare's pantry is packed with essentials, with a few I wouldn't have thought of, such as anchovies.

"I have a wonderful recipe in my book for a light Caesar salad. My husband and my children love a sauce I make with anchovies, garlic and some red pepper and olive oil," said Ferrare.

Ferrare can surely design a decadent dish, but on the whole, loves clean eating with heart-healthy olive oil and fresh herbs to peak flavor from pasta to salad.

"I believe if you're cooking low-fat and you're trying to cook healthy and you're eliminating all the fats and sugar, it's important to flavor your food," she said.