Saturday, January 29, 2011

Super Bowl of Spinach Dip


Game day dips can often times be full of high-fat ingredients. Up the nutritional value of your Super Bowl party with this healthy dip recipe!

4 cups spinach
2 cups canned cannellini beans, rinsed
¼ water
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and chill before serving.  Pairs great with a colorful assortment of fresh veggies, baked chips or whole grain pita chips.

Super Spinach
This super vegetable contains Vitamin C, A, iron and calcium.

Special note from the CDC regarding iron and calcium absorption:
Iron and calcium in plant foods are not highly absorbed by the body. Spinach contains a chemical called oxalic acid, which binds with iron and calcium and reduces the absorption of these minerals. To improve iron absorption, spinach should be eaten with vitamin C-rich foods such as orange juice, tomatoes, or citrus fruit.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pureed Red Pepper Sauce for Fish

Use this tasty and colorful roasted red pepper sauce with your favorite mild white fish!

Ingredients
Shown with slices of avocado and arugula red pepper salad

¾ lb turbot (or any mild, white fish)

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 whole shallot
  • 1 tsp black pepper
Preparation
  1. Sauté the red pepper in 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for 10 minutes until soft
  2. Dump the red pepper and the oil into a mini food processor and add remaining ingredients
  3. Puree until smooth and serve immediately on top of poached, pan seared or grilled fish

This sauce is full of Vitamin A and C from the red bell peppers.  In fact, ½ cup of a red pepper contains 240% of your DV of Vitamin C!  

On the Go Trail Mix

Don’t let your energy levels dip or hunger strike you at an inopportune time.  Make homemade trail mix your healthy backup snack when you are en route or on the go.

This week has been a travel week for me with six-hour flights and a lot of dining out at specific intervals.  What has saved me has been my trail mix.  I have been carrying it in my purse and munching on it when I don’t have access to healthy snack options – or any options for that matter.  The combination of whole grains and raw, unsalted nuts has been perfect for curbing my appetite, sustaining my energy levels and getting me to that next meal opportunity. 

Make it your own… here is my favorite medley
1 cup kamut cereal - unsweetened
1 cup whole, raw cashews, unsalted
1 cup almond slivers, raw/unsalted
1 cup amaranth flakes – unsweetened
½ cup dark chocolate mini chips
½ cup walnut pieces, raw/unsalted

Mix ingredients together in a bowl and portion out 2.5 cups into two Ziploc bags.

This type of snacking is great anytime of day and certainly better than a granola or protein bar with added sugar, salt and other processed additives.  With this approach, you know exactly what you are eating and best of all you get to create it with all of YOUR favorite things.   Plus, it is easily portable and does not perish. 

No matter your mixology, just be sure to wash your hands before digging in!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Vitamin C Slushy

We all know Vitamin C strengthens your immune system.  And who doesn’t need a little boost of Vitamin C this time of year?

When I get bored of the standard glass of OJ in the morning, I mix it up a bit with this Vitamin C Slushy recipe which uses fresh juice from oranges, paired with frozen mango chunks.  It is refreshing, satisfying and full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. 

Ingredients
  • ½ cup of frozen mango (unsweetened)
  • 1 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed if possible)
  • 1 cup ice cubes
Preparation
  • Combine ingredients in blender until smooth
  • Serve immediately

You can turn this into a “Creamy Vitamin C Slushy” by substituting ½ cup almond milk for ½ cup of OJ

This refreshing drink is perfect for when you feel like you might be coming down with the cold or flu...
  • One orange provides more than 140% of your daily allowance of Vitamin C
  • Oranges offer more than just vitamin C – they also contain calcium, potassium and magnesium
  • 1 serving of mango (½ cup) provides 40% of your daily allowance of Vitamin C and 15% of your daily allowance of Vitamin A

Monday, January 10, 2011

Vegan Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Low-carb, Italian food sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?

Not so with this spin on a traditional Italian pasta dish.  With this Vegan Pesto Spaghetti Squash recipe, you can get your pasta fix by substituting spaghetti squash which has similar texture to pasta.  But how could spaghetti squash taste like pasta? You can actually shred the cooked squash into thin spaghetti – it is flavorless like pasta and has the same look and texture.

Pair it with this vegan spin on the traditional pesto by substituting walnuts for the cheese which has a similar texture when blended.

Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 avocado for garnish
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut your squash in half length-wise and remove seeds
  3. Line aluminum foil on a baking sheet and spray with olive oil
  4. Place open sides down and bake for approximately 45 minutes
  5. While squash is cooking, blend remaining ingredients in a mini food processor until smooth
  6. Turn squash over and using a fork, scrap against the inside of the squash to naturally shred the squash into thin spaghetti strands and place in separate bowl 
  7. Mix the pesto in the spaghetti squash or place the pesto on top of the spaghetti squash when serving – either way is delicious
  8. Garnish with avocado
Health Benefits
This dish offers fiber and is low in calories while staying high in flavor.  The vegan pesto contains heart healthy fats from the walnuts, zero cholesterol and much lower saturated fat than a classic pesto recipe.

Four Berry Crumble

This time of year, I love warm desserts!  This four berry crumble is both sweet and savory and is a great way to indulge guiltlessly.

Dry Ingredients
  • ½ cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 2 tsp Stevia extract
Wet Ingredients
  • 3 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 385 degrees
  2. Combine dry ingredients, mix and set aside
  3. Rinse the berries (and cut strawberries into tiny pieces)
  4. Combine all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and place in sprayed 9x9 baking dish
  5. Sprinkle dry ingredients on top of wet ingredients until the dish is evenly and fully covered
  6. Bake for 40 minutes (until golden brown on top)
  7. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (try almond ice cream to stay heart healthy – no cholesterol and less saturated fat) 
Health Benefits
This lighter version of a traditional crisp or crumble dessert uses whole grains and fresh fruit without all the butter and sugar (what would Paula Deen say!?)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Strawberry Walnut Bread

What’s better than banana bread?  Strawberry walnut bread . . .  a nutritious dessert or even breakfast treat! 

Dry Ingredients
  • 1½ cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (raw, unsalted)
  • 1 tsp Stevia extract or ½ cup Splenda

Wet Ingredients
  • 2 cups strawberries, pureed (frozen or fresh)
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix together dry ingredients and slowly add in wet ingredients until all ingredients are incorporated
  3. Spray baking pan with canola oil and add the mix
  4. Bake for 50 minutes
  5. Let cool in baking pan on drying rack for 10 minutes
  6. Turn baking pan over and let cool on drying rack for another 5 minutes

Health Benefits
  • This loaf is loaded with fiber from the fruit and whole-grains
  • Strawberries are high in Vitamin C – one serving (1/2 cup) has 80% of your daily value
  • Walnuts contain omega-3 polyunsaturated fats which provide an essential fatty acid that our bodies need.
  • Naturally sweetened with applesauce and berries
  • Cinnamon and vanilla extract give this a decadent flavor and smells amazing when it comes out of the oven!

Serving Suggestion:
For breakfast, enjoy a slice of the loaf warm with your favorite nut butter and fresh berries.
For dessert, sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar and serve warm with fresh strawberries.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Whole Wheat Very Veggie Pasta with Chicken Sausage

This is my husband’s favorite dinner dish.  I load it up with any vegetable in the fridge to boost the nutrients in this high fiber, one bowl dinner. 

Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole-wheat rotini pasta
  • 4 cups of chopped mixed veggies (such as red, yellow and orange bell peppers, mushrooms and broccoli)
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 4 chicken sausage, sliced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 cups basil garlic tomato sauce
  • 1 avocado

Directions
  1. Place pasta in boiling water
  2. While pasta cooks, dice veggies, chicken sausage and shallot
  3. Sauté in large pan with olive oil
  4. Heat pasta sauce on stovetop
  5. Season veggies with pressed fresh garlic and black pepper
  6. When pasta is cooked, strain and add to veggie pan
  7. Add tomato sauce and fresh basil
  8. Garnish with one avocado

Health Benefits
  • Whole-wheat pasta adds fiber to keep you fuller longer
  • This dish is loaded with a variety of veggies – no vitamin supplement needed!
  • Chicken sausage is much leaner than regular sausage and just as flavorful.  I recommend using spicy jalapeño flavored chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s

Rosemary Roasted Zucchini

Roasting vegetables is a healthy way to pack a lot of flavor without adding much oil.  The zucchini combined with the red bell pepper in this dish provides loads of Vitamin A and C – key nutrients for a healthful diet.

Ingredients
  • 4 small zucchinis
  • 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 3 sprigs of green onions, diced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp rosemary (fresh or dried)
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed (or sprinkle with garlic powder)
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Slice zucchini into medium chunks and red bell pepper into thin slices
  3. Add all ingredients into large plastic zip lock bag
  4. Seal bag and shake until vegetables are evenly coated with oil and seasonings
  5. Pour contents of bag into a sprayed glass baking pan
  6. Roast in oven for 20-22 minutes
  7. Serve hot
Health Benefits
  • Zucchini is high in Vitamin A and calcium and also contains a good amount of Vitamin C. 
  • 1 serving (1/2 cup chopped) red bell pepper contains 240% of your Vitamin C!  It is also a good source of Vitamin A.

Dark Chocolate Nut Encrusted Pretzel Sticks

This indulgent dessert is fun to make and eat!  The combination of the rich chocolate with the lightly salted honey wheat pretzel is decadent but doesn’t break the calorie bank.  The crushed nuts on the outside give it a nice texture and up the nutritional value of these tasty treats.

Ingredients
  • 1 bag Honey Wheat Pretzel Sticks (low-fat)
  • 1.5 cups dark chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup raw, unsalted nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts or peanuts)
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips (optional)

Directions
  1. Add dark chocolate chips to glass bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute
  2. Stir chocolate and put back in microwave for another minute
  3. Using a mini-food processor, chop your favorite nut into tiny pieces
  4. Add white chocolate chips to separate glass bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute, stir and then microwave for another minute until fully melted
  5. Cover pretzels with dark chocolate using a spoon
  6. Roll the chocolate covered pretzel in crushed nuts or drizzle with the melted white chocolate using a fork
  7. Lay the pretzel sticks on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper and place in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes until chocolate hardens
  8. Serve at room temperature

Special thanks to my mother-in-law, Elise, for the inspiration for this recipe.

Turkey Meatballs

This lean, protein-rich dish pairs well with quinoa, brown rice or whole wheat pasta.

Ingredients
Turkey meatballs shown here with pasta
  • 1-pound ground white turkey meat (extra-lean)
  • ½ cup oatmeal
  • ½ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 egg white (or egg substitute)
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Black pepper
  • ½ cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Mix ingredients well
  3. Form into approximately 20 balls
  4. Place meatballs on sprayed baking pan
  5. Bake approximately 15 minutes
Health Benefit
This high protein dish is lower in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than other ground meats.