recipe

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burrito

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SWEET POTATO & BLACK BEAN BURRITO

Makes 8 Servings

Recipe Inspired by Oh She Glows

Sweet Potatoes:

  • 3 medium Sweet Potatoes, Diced
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • ½ Tbsp Ground Cumin
  • Garlic Power
  • Sea Salt, to taste
  • Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Rice & Bean Mixture:

  • 1.5 cups Uncooked Short Grain Brown Rice
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2-3 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Cumin, or to taste
  • ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper, or to taste
  • 2, 15-oz can Black Beans, drained and rinse
  • 4 Sprouted Grains Tortilla Wrap
  • Baby Spinach Leaves
  • Avocado or Guacamole
  • Sriracha Sauce (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F and line a large glass dish with tinfoil. Drizzle olive oil on potatoes and toss with salt, pepper, chili powder & cumin. Roast sweet potatoes for 35-40 mins. or until tender.
  2. Cook brown rice in 3 cups water with sea salt. Boil for 20-25 minutes or until rice has absorbed liquid.
  3. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add oil, onion, and minced garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Now add in salt and seasonings and stir well.
  4. Add chopped red pepper, black beans, and cooked rice and sauté for another 10 minutes on low.
  5. When sweet potatoes are tender remove from oven and cool slightly. Slightly mash sweet potatoes with a fork. Add 1.5 cups of the cooked potatoes to the skillet and stir well.
  6. Add rice & bean filling to tortilla along with desired toppings. Wrap and serve.

Leftovers can be reheated and served as topper of spinach salad, stuffed in baked potato, served as tacos, or as a base for grilled flank steak! 

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JALAPEÑO & BLACK BEAN SPAGHETTI SQUASH BOATS

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JALAPEÑO & BLACK BEAN SPAGHETTI SQUASH BOATS

(Makes 4 Meals)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Spaghetti Squash
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 Yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 5 cups Fresh Baby Spinach
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) Roasted Tomatoes with Green Chiles
  • 2 cans Black Beans 
  • 2 Tbsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp Sea Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • 4 ounces Goat Cheese, crumbled
  • Sliced Jalapeño (optional, garnish) 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400F and line baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds in the center and discard. Brush sides with EVOO + Sea Salt + Pepper. Place the squash halves face-down on the lined baking sheet. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the light brown spots begin to appear on the skin of the squash. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.

While the squash is cooking, pour the 2 cans of roasted tomatoes and green chiles (including the liquid) into a blender and add in the ground cumin and salt. Blend until smooth and set aside.

Melt the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat and sauté the onion until the onion is tender. Add in the garlic and spinach, and stir until the spinach is wilted. Add black beans and stir.

Use a fork to scrape the cooked spaghetti squash flesh into pot and pour the enchilada sauce over the top. Stir well until everything is heated through, season to taste, and then divide the spaghetti squash mixture between the shells of the spaghetti squash arranged cut-side-up on a baking sheet.

Top each serving with crumbled goat cheese, and place in over to heat through for 5-6 minutes. Serve Warm!!

Recipe Inspired by Detoxinista

5 Ways to Re-Invent a Homemade Waffle

For Christmas my husband received a waffle maker from my parents. He LOVES waffles and has been eating frozen waffles for the past several months. I'm okay with frozen waffles, but as a dietitian, my hope is that my husband, as well as our family, can enjoy quality "whole foods" with minimal preservatives and without unnecessary additives.  When my husband received a waffle maker for Christmas, so began my search for a waffle batter recipe that would be a perfect for us!

Ree Drummond (better known as The Pioneer Woman) provided a recipe that inspired me to warm up our waffle iron!

Need ideas to warm up your waffle iron?

Below are 5 foodie fun reasons to begin incorporating waffles back into your diet:

  1. Chicken and Smoked Cheddar Waffles (Recipe: MyRecipes)
  2. BLT on Cheddar Rosemary Waffle Bread (Recipe: Baker Bettie)
  3. Strawberry Shortcake Napoleons (Recipe: Feels Like Home)
  4. Waffle Ice Cream Sandwiches (Recipe: Martha Stewart)
  5. Breakfast Quesadilla with Waffle Tortilla (Recipe: Waffle Batter Below - Fill with Favorite Breakfast Ingredients and Cook Like Quesadilla on Stovetop! Garnish with Sliced Avocado, Sour Cream, and/or Sriracha!)

Waffle Batter Recipe (Recipe Inspired by Pioneer Woman)

Ingredients: 347

  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 teaspons Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoon of Sea Salt
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 1 ½ cups Organic Fat-Free Milk
  • 2 Organic Whole Egg Yolks
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, Melted
  • 4 Whole Organic Egg Whites

Directions:

  • Pre-heat your waffle iron.
  • Mix together all-purpose flour, baking powder, sea salt, and sugar in a medium mixing bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, blend milk, 2 egg yolks, and vanilla together. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and gently mix until halfway combined. Pour in melted butter and gently continue mixing ingredients until combined.
  • In a separate bowl, use a mixer to beat the egg whites until stiff. Slowly fold them into the batter until slightly combined.
  • Scoop the waffle batter into the waffle iron in batches and cook according to its directions. Serve immediately with butter, warm maple syrup, and mixed berries.

Pumpkin & Cinnamon Chip Cupcakes

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Hey all, its Therese again with another fall themed recipe. I hope you enjoyed my last recipe, I know I did. Sticking with my orange gourd vegetable theme, I decided to make pumpkin cinnamon cupcakes with whipped cream cheese frosting! I cannot express to you, through this post alone, just how amazing these cupcakes are… you will just have to make it yourself!

I based my whipped cream cheese recipe off of Living Better Together’s whipped cream cheese. I like to make each recipe my own by tweaking the recipe a bit so I added cinnamon to the whipped cream cheese.

After never hearing of their existence, before walking around Walmart, I decided to add cinnamon chips to my cupcake recipe. The rest of the recipe is based off reading around twenty various pumpkin cupcake recipes on Pinterest that were all basically the same ingredients, but to give props to a specific recipe (which really helped in teaching me how to bake the cupcakes): Tracey’s Culinary Adventures brown butter pumpkin cupcakes.

Sticking to the fall theme, I wanted to make a dish that would be great for the season… the season of football. Everyone loves their wings, dips, and beer but what about dessert? Dessert is our ultimate goal anyways… These cupcakes are perfect for tailgating with their festive, football baking cups. I decided to bring these cupcakes to the Alabama-Tennessee game in Knoxville this weekend. However, I taste-tested one with one of my lucky roommates this afternoon and they are MELT IN YOUR MOUTH DELICIOUS- the perfect mixture of salty and sweet.

I also purchased some frilly pink baking cups (mostly so I could take SUPER CUTE pictures) to display how pretty these desserts are! I am saving these cupcakes for our girls’ night in tonight for "TGIT" and red wine.

Pumpkin & Cinnamon Chip Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 15 cupcakes

Ingredients

Pumpkin Cinnamon Cupcakes

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter
  • wine
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup cinnamon chips
  • 2 large eggs

Whipped Cream Cheese Icing

  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions

For Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, line cupcake pan with baking liners
  2. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, pour into bowl and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cinnamon chips.
  4. In a separate medium bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, brown sugar (be sure to pack down in measuring cup), granulated sugar, eggs, and add the butter. Once well mixed, add the dry ingredients to mix together.
  5. Divide the batter into the baking cups, inside cupcake pans, fill until about ½ or ¾ full.
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (be sure to rotate the pans about 10 minutes in)
  7. Cool the cupcakes before adding the frosting

For Frosting

  1. Let the cream cheese soften by either setting out while baking cupcakes or soften in microwave (but not me-- I recommend microwaving for 30 seconds)
  2. Mix the cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar in medium bowl and whisk at medium speed (if you own an electric mixer)
  3. Add heavy whipping cream and whisk until the frosting forms peaks
  4. If the frosting is not thick enough, let sit in fridge for a bit and whip again
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Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

Need a quick weeknight dinner idea?

NutriFocusRD has got your answer!

This creamy, nutritious soup hits the spot!  It is a guaranteed family favorite!!

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Creamy Tomato & Tortellini Soup:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • ½ lb. Italian Sausage
  • 1 Diced White Onion
  • 24oz Organic Marinara Sauce
  • 8oz Reduced Fat Cream Cheese
  • 32oz Reduced Sodium Chicken or Vegetable Broth
  • 8oz Diced Bella Mushrooms
  • 4-5 cups Fresh Organic Baby Spinach
  • 16-20oz Frozen or Refrigerated Whole Wheat Cheese Tortellini
  • ½ cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • French Bread or Rosemary Olive Oil Bread (Costco)

Directions:

  1. In a stockpot, add EVOO, diced onion, and Italian sausage. Cook until sausage is brown.
  2. Add marinara sauce into the meat mixture and stir well.
  3. Using a whisk, stir in cream cheese until blended well. Once blended, add chicken broth and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.
  4. Add mushrooms, baby spinach, and cheese tortellini to broth and combine well. Allow to simmer for 7-9 minutes.
  5. Serve soup warm, topped with 1-2 Tbsp shredded parmesan cheese, and with a warm, crusty French bread for dipping! Enjoy!!!
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3 Reasons to Start Eating Chickpeas!

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I love foods that are versatile!!!  This is probably the main reason I love chickpeas!! Chickpeas can be used in salads, soups, curries, chilis or stews.  I highly recommend that you consider roasting chickpeas as a tasty and inexpensive protein source!

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 In addition to their versatility, chickpeas also offer 3 health benefits you do not want to miss.

  1. Reduce Cholesterol Levels: Research has shown that including 3/4 cup of chickpeas in your diet can help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) which in turn, lowers your risk of heart disease!  Research has also shown that individuals that consume chickpeas on a regular basis have better body fat regulation, lower LDL cholesterol levels, lower total cholesterol levels, and lower triglyceride levels.
  2. Control Hunger Cues: Due to their high fiber and high protein content, this powerful combination will stabilize your hunger cues.  My consuming 1/2 cup chickpeas in your daily intake you are more likely to eat an appropriate amount of calories for your body due to more accurate hunger/fullness cues.  The long-term benefit means your body will rest at a healthy body weight.
  3. Improved Digestive Support: Did you know that 2 cups of chickpeas will give you approximately 28 grams of fiber? That is 100% of the recommended daily value!  Consider chickpeas a staple on your grocery list if you want good colon health. 65-70% of the fiber found in chickpeas is insoluble fiber.  This means the fiber is not digested until it reaches the very end of your colon which promotes healthy bacteria growth and reduces your risk of colon cancer!

Today, I'm sharing the easy concept of roasting chickpeas so you can always have a tasty, nutrient dense, meatless protein option available for your main entrée or for a snack!

Roasted Chickpeas:

Ingredients:

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  • 2 - 15oz Cans of Low Sodium Chickpeas
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • Assorted Herbs and Spices of Your Choice (I like to use Dried Thyme, Oregano, Ground Cayenne Pepper, and Crushed Rosemary)
  • Garlic Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Cooking Spray

Directions:

Pre-Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.  Drain and rinse chickpeas.  Pat dry.  Once dry, toss chickpeas with EVOO, assorted spices and herbs of your choosing, garlic salt, and ground black pepper.  Toss chickpeas to make sure they are evenly coated with EVOO and herbs/spices.  Pour chickpeas onto baking sheet and spread out so that all chickpeas are in a single layer.  Roast at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes (depending on your oven).  Stir chickpeas halfway through cooking process to cook evenly on all sides. Serve hot or cold.  This recipes makes 4-5 servings.

I like to serve roasted chickpeas on salads or over rice as a curry!  Roasted chickpeas are great to make hummus and delicious as a portable snack!!!  Be creative and enjoy this nutrient dense food!!!

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Wild-Caught Pesto Cod with Tomato & Olive Relish - Dinner in Less Than 15 Min!

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Time.

It seems to be the most common and prevalent barrier between people eating a nutrient-dense diet and fueling their body to do the activities that are taking up so much time!

How many times have you justified going through the drive-thru window b/c of no time? How many times have you skipped a meal due to a “lack of time”? How many times have you microwaved an unappetizing tv dinner due to a time crunch?  

Food Myth: “To eat “healthy” or nutrient dense means I must spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking, dirty up a lot of dishes, and eat bland foods.”

NutriFocusRD has news for you!!

THAT IS A LIE!!!!! And I can prove it!!!!

Last week, I started with fresh, nutrient-packed ingredients and had dinner on the table on 14min and 23 seconds flat! Yes, I timed it and proud of it!!! I wanted to see exactly how long it would take to prepare and serve a balanced, tasty meal. And I was extremely surprised!!!

I proudly served up Wild-Caught Pesto Cod topped with a Tomato & Olive Relish on a Bed of Wilted Organic Spinach. I finished off the dish by pairing it with warm slices of Rosemary & Sea Salt French Baguette!

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So no more excuses… It’s time to make health our priority so we can enjoy our loved ones, hobbies, and activities to the fullest!!!! I’ve shared the recipe below!!! Bon Appetite!

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 Wild-Caught Pesto Cod Served with Tomato & Olive Relish:

Ingredients:

  • 4 Wild-Caught Cod Filets (Frozen – Allow to Thaw Before Cooking) (Can also use tilapia, mahi-mahi or other white flaky fish)
  • 4 Tbsp Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • Cooking Spray
  • 4 Tbsp Homemade or Store Bought Pesto
  • 1-2 Small to Medium Sized Tomatoes
  • 8 Kalamata Olives, Pitted & Sliced
  • Garlic Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • French Baguette
  • Sea Salt
  • Dried Rosemary
  • Organic Baby Spinach or Frozen Spinach Leaves

Directions:

Pre-Heat Oven to 425 Degrees.

Pat fish dry and place on a baking pan covered in cooking spray. Top each cod filet with 1 Tbsp shredded parmesan cheese. Place in oven to cook for 8-10 minutes.

While fish cooks, prepare relish, bread, and spinach. For relish, dice tomatoes and place in small bowl. Add Kalamata olive slices to the tomatoes. Season with garlic salt and pepper to taste. Toss with EVOO and sit to the side.

For bread, slice French baguette into single servings. Drizzle each slice with EVOO and sprinkle with sea salt and dried rosemary. Place in heated oven with fish for 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, sauté spinach on the stovetop in a skillet over medium high heat with a drizzle of EVOO. If you purchase frozen spinach, place in microwave.

When fish is done cooking, top each filet with 1 Tbsp pesto. Place each pesto cod filet on a bed of wilted spinach and garnish with Tomato Olive Relish. Serve the Rosemary & Sea Salt French Baguette on the side! Delish!    

Salsa Verde Mexican Potato Hash

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Mexican Potato Hash:

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 2 Russet Potatoes, Grated or 1 Bag Refrigerated Potato Shreds
  • 1 Onion, Diced or sliced
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin
  • ½ Tbsp Ground Red Pepper
  • Garlic Salt (to taste)
  • Ground Black Pepper (to Taste)
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 2-3 cups Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves
  • Salsa Verde Chicken or Shredded Rotisserie Chicken
  • ¼ cup Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese or 50% Reduced Fat Cabot Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese
  • Low-Fat Sour Cream
  • Sliced Jalapenos (optional)
  • Sriracha Sauce (optional)

Directions:

Heat coconut oil in large skillet. Mix grated potatoes, onion, cumin, ground red pepper, garlic salt, and ground black pepper together. Place in skillet in flat layer. All potatoes to cook around 7-9 minutes or until golden brown. Flip potatoes over which may need to be done in segments. Cook another 7-9 minutes. Meanwhile saute spinach in skillet until wilted. Re-heat Salsa Verde Chicken or shred rotisserie chicken to prepare for assembly.

Place 2/3 – 1 cup shredded potatoes on plate. Top with sautéed spinach, 2 Tbsp shredded cheese, salsa verde chicken, sriracha sauce, sliced jalapenos, and a dollop of low-fat sour cream. Recommend serving with a salad or roasted vegetable of choice!

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Do you know......? :

  • 1 cup serving of sweet potatoes contain 65% of daily amount of Vitamin C?
  • Sweet Potatoes are a great source for calcium, folate, and potassium
  • Sweet potatoes are a low glycemic food!  Sweet potatoes have an index of 17 which can be compared to a white potato with the index of 29
  • 90% of the world’s crops are grown in Asia
  • Sweet potatoes are great for your skin due to their vitamin A content!
  • Help reduce muscle cramps due to the potassium content
  • The Tater Day Festival, one of the few festivals devoted to sweet potatoes, is held in Benton, Kentucky each year!
  • Color-related phytonutrients (Cyanidins and Peonidins) help to lower the risk posed by heavy metals and oxygen radicals in the digestive tract

Want a recipe idea for sweet potatoes? Try to following recipe from Eating Well -- It's delicious!

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Sweet Potato Fritters with Smoky Pinto Beans

4 servings, 2 fritters & 1/2 cup beans each | Active Time: 35 minutes | Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large poblano peppers or small green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (see Note), divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 3/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 lime wedges for garnish

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Prick sweet potato in several places with a fork. Microwave on High until just cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. (Alternatively, place in a baking dish and bake at 425ºF until tender all the way to the center, about 1 hour.) Set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture. Add beans, 1/2 teaspoon paprika and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Cover and set aside.
  4. Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon paprika and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Peel the sweet potato and mash in a large bowl with a fork. Stir in the reserved onion-pepper mixture, egg and water. Add the cornmeal mixture and stir until just combined.
  5. Form the sweet potato mixture into eight 3-inch oval fritters, using a generous 1/4 cup for each. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook 4 fritters until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining fritters and oil.

Bake the fritters until puffed and firm to the touch, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve the fritters with the reserved bean mixture and lime wedges, if desired.

Bring on the Brussels Sprouts!

As members of the cabbage family, it is easy to see by their cabbage-like appearance.  Typical Brussels sprouts range from 1 – 1 ½ inches in diameter.  Brussels sprouts are readily available year-round, but the peak season is from September to mid-February.

A firm sprout, with small bright-green head is indicative of a sweet taste.  When choosing sprouts, look at the size for taste, but also for cooking purposes.  It is important to choose sprouts of similar size so they will cook evenly.

To store the sprouts properly, remove any loose leaves and place the unwashed Brussels sprouts in a Ziploc bag and store in the refrigerator.  You can expect most sprouts to store for approximately 3-4 days before the flavor begins to turn unpleasant.

To cook sprouts properly, wash each Brussels sprout, pat dry, and trim the stems.  Brussels sprouts should not be cooked for more than about 10 minutes.  Their green color should remain intense.  A drab color is indicative of overcooked sprouts.

Why Eat Brussels Sprouts?

  • Brussels sprouts are full of phytonutrients, which may help protect against cancer.
  • Brussels sprouts may have a detoxing effect on our bodies due to their content of glucosinolates and sulfur.  Enzymes in our cells required for detox, can be activated by compounds made from glucosinolates.
  • Our natural detox system also requires sulfur to run efficiently, which Brussels sprouts have been shown to provide in abundance!
  • Brussels sprouts are powerful dietary source of vitamins and antioxidants, including vitamins A (in the form of beta carotene), C, and E. Vitamins A and C help fight against heart disease, cancer, and cataracts.
  • Anti-inflammatory response can result from the Vitamin K content in Brussels sprouts.  Vitamin K (also known as potassium), helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol.  Other important vitamins:
  • Folate- necessary for normal tissue growth and may protect against cancer, heart disease, and birth defects
  • Iron - necessary for maintaining red blood cell count

I tried a new recipe with hesitancy.  My favorite Brussels sprouts are at Ocean’s (www.oceanbirmingham.com) located in the Five Points area of Birmingham, AL.  The recipe I used was titled: Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, which I found in the March 2011 edition of Cooking Light. Thank you to one of my awesome clients that brought me the magazine to session (you know who you are!!)

I started the recipe with cooking 4 pieces of Applegate Bacon (nitrite and nitrate free) in a deep dish skillet.

Once the bacon was cooked, I placed onion slices and dried thyme in the same skillet with the bacon drippings.  I allowed the onions to sauté long enough to turn soft and slightly transparent.

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Next, I chopped the Brussels sprouts in half and added to the onion mixture in the skillet, along with 3 cups of low-sodium chicken broth.

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The mixture did not take long to bring to a boil, but once boiling, I placed the lid on the skillet and allowed to cook for approximately 7 minutes.  The recipe was ready to serve!  I plated the Brussels sprouts and sprinkled the fresh cooked bacon to add flavor.

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Although the Brussels sprouts were not exactly like Ocean’s, they most certainly were close!!!  A super easy recipe helped add flavor and variety to my dinner plate.  I get tired of eating the same ol’ same ol’ green vegetables, so I’m pleased to share this simplistic recipe to help you add variety to your dinner plate as well!!  Hope you enjoy as much as my household did!!! I served the Brussels sprouts with boneless, center-cut pork chop topped with black cherry sauce (you can find recipe in an earlier blog!), baked sweet potato, and a slice of rosemary sourdough bread! The total amount of time spent on cooking was approximately 30 minutes!   

Bon Appetite!

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Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Other Time: 20 minutes Yield:  4 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)

3 slices center-cut bacon, finely chopped 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme 1 1/2 cups presliced onion 1/3 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon; cook 7 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon; drain.

2. Add thyme and onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add broth and Brussels sprouts; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Sprinkle with bacon.

(You can find the recipe in the March 2011 Edition of Cooking Light or on the web at www.cookinglight.com)

RECIPE REVIEW: Edamame-Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

I try to keep lunches new and fresh as a way to avoid lunchbox boredom! Taking your lunch to work/school is a great way to keep your intake healthy and nutritious because it gives you more control over what is available to you during your busy day!  By bringing your lunch, you have the ability to save money, meet your daily needs for fruit and vegetables, increase your fiber intake, decrease your saturated fat intake, and practice portion control!  Although peanut butter & jelly sandwiches are easy, they can get old day in and day out, so I tried a new recipe to see if I could add some excitement back to my lunchbox.

I made Edamame-Orzo Salad with Feta Cheese which is altered version of a recipe by Cooking Light called Chicken-Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese. I made revisions simply because of the ingredients I already had in my kitchen!!  This salad made my lunchbox have some flavor and kept me fueled with fiber, protein, and whole grains!  And the best part… it was SO EASY & FAST to whip up!!

I started by cooking my orzo pasta according to the package directions, but without the salt and fat.  I was able to save a few pennies because I was fortunate to have a coupon from Whole Foods for $1.00 off pasta and the weekly special was BOGO for pasta! Always check Whole Foods website along with Southern Savers to learn the weekly specials at local stores to help cut the grocery budget!

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While the pasta was cooking, I chopped the tomatoes, boiled the edamame, chopped the red bell pepper, and red onion. I purchased all my produce from Whole Foods since the produce involved fall on the “dirty dozen” list of recommend produce to purchase organic!

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I purchased my edamame from Whole Foods as well because they have my favorite frozen, shelled edamame beans at a reasonable price!!

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Since I already had dried basil and oregano on hand, I used dried herbs instead of fresh, but I would recommend using fresh if available!  Before combining the ingredients, I roughly chopped the arugula into bite sizes.

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Next, I combined the pasta, edamame, and the next 6 ingredients through oregano in a large bowl and tossed well.

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And finally, I combined the red wine vinegar, oil, salt, and black pepper with a whisk  before I drizzled vinegar mixture over pasta mixture. The final step was sprinkling the pasta salad with cheese!

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Edamame-Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

Recipe By: Cooking Light

Leftover salad is also good the next day for lunch; stir in a handful of arugula to add a fresh touch, if you have extra on hand. Serve with pita wedges. Yield:  6 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups salad and 1 tablespoon cheese)

1 1/4 cups uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta) 3 cups Edamame Beans 1 1/2 cups trimmed arugula 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper 1/4 cup chopped red onion 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1/8 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon black pepper 6 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well.

Combine pasta, edamame, and the next 6 ingredients (through oregano) in a large bowl; toss well.

Combine vinegar, oil, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle vinegar mixture over pasta mixture; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with cheese.

RECIPE RAVE!

I made this recipe on Thursday night for my husband and myself with a little hesitancy, but  I was pleasantly surprised!!  If you need a quick weeknight meal this recipe is for you! This pasta dish contained a lot of flavors and made enough for a large group or lunch leftovers! Mike and I both ate the leftovers for lunch on Friday cold,  and the dish cold was just as good as the original dish right off the stove! The star ingredients contain vitamins and minerals that have a major impact on our health as indicated below:

  • Spinach in this dish makes it a great source of  potassium, iron, and folate
  • Olives make it a great source of Vitamin E which has anti-inflammatory actions, helps reduce the severity of conditions caused by high levels of free radicals (asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer), and may help reduce the frequency and/or intensity of hot flashes in women going through menopause.
  • Whole Wheat Pasta makes this recipe a great source of dietary fiber and provides other health benefits such as lowering risk of metabolic syndrome, lessens chronic inflammation, and promotes gastrointestinal health!
  • Olive Oil is rich in monounsaturated fats which lowers rates of heart disease, diabetes,  and asthma. By reducing inflammation and free radical damage , dietary olive oil protects the lining of our blood vessels, helping to maintain its ability to relax and dilate which prevents high blood pressure.
  • Feta Cheese is rich in calcium, riboflavin, phosphorus, and vitamin B12.  Calcium is required for the development of bones. Riboflavin is required by the body as it aides in metabolism of macronutrients (carbs, pro, and fat). Phosphorus plays a major role in the formation of bones and teeth and Vitamin B12 is required by the human body to keep red blood cells healthy, supports function of the immune system, and prevents heart disease.

It reminded me of a dish that would be served at Taziki's, maybe similar to the oh so famous Friday's Special!! I highly recommend this recipe to my NutriFocus family!! If you try this dish, please share your comments!! Bon Appetit!!

Penne with Spinach, Feta, and Olives Yield:  4 servings (serving size: 2 cups) 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 3 garlic cloves, crushed 6 cups hot cooked whole wheat penne (about 12 ounces uncooked tube-shaped pasta) 2 cups chopped spinach 1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives 2 tablespoons capers 3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Add pasta, spinach, olives, capers, and cheese; toss well.

Cooking Light, May 1998

RD's Recipe Review: Sante Fe Soup for the Soul

Happy Fall Yall
Happy Fall Yall

According to the majority of my clients, the most common barrier to success in terms of following a meal plan is, LACK OF TIME!  As a full-time, working professional, as well as a wife, daughter, and friend, I know time can easily hinder our ability to nutritionally care for ourselves. We live in a fast pace society which is clearly evident by the high number of fast food restaurants, take out menus, and pre-made meals at local groceries.  So if you feel pressed for time, you are not alone. As a young girl, I can remember sitting down to a hot meal every night for dinner. I consider my mom a “super mom” for many reasons, but one reason being her ability to complete a full day of work as a school teacher and still manage to place a piping hot, comfort meal on the table for my two brothers, my dad, and me to enjoy.  I still marvel at her ability to manage time and I’m so thankful for the priority she placed on meal time as a family. It was not only a time to nourish our bodies, but also our souls by reconnecting with each other at the end of an eventful day. All of us may not have the gift of time management, but that does not mean we have to skimp on enjoying delicious, home-cooked dinners on a weeknight!  Each week I will be reviewing recipes that my family personally enjoys and that I find time to make with my busy schedule.  Our bodies are important and the best preventative medicine is nutrition, so I encourage each of you to make meal time a priority, not only for your physical bodies, but also as a time to reconnect with loved ones.  For this week’s “RD’s Recipe Review”, I decided put together a quick “Santé Fe Soup” recipe.

This recipe is a modified version of the Southwestern Soup recipe that can be found in “Super Fast Suppers” by Cooking Light.  This particular recipe caught my attention because of the short amount of cooking time, but more so because the ingredient list contains mostly pantry staples!

Soup Ingredients
Soup Ingredients
Sante Fe Soup II
Sante Fe Soup II

This soup was extremely easy to put together.  It really made my house feel like a home by filling it with the comforting smell of soup bubbling on the stove.  After all, there is no better comfort food than soup!  This soup brings vibrant flavors by combining the taco seasoning, ranch seasoning, and jalapeños. A dollop of sour cream added a nice touch by incorporating a creamy texture and a nice temperature differentiation.

This soup will help you meet your daily vegetable servings by incorporating onions and a heaping amount of tomatoes!  Tomatoes are full of lycopene which is a carotenoid considered a potential agent in the prevention of certain types of cancer. Your protein needs will be met by the fajita chicken strips and the black-eyed peas!  And finally, your carbohydrate needs are partially met by the addition of corn and black-eyed peas.  In order to complete the meal I simply served the soup with a hearty slice of Mexican cornbread, of which I would share the recipe but I must admit, I did not make the cornbread. It’s my mother-in-law’s specialty which she was kind enough to make while visiting us this past weekend in Birmingham!

I can confidently recommend this recipe for a quick weeknight meal or for entertaining guest on a budget!  Enjoy!

Great Back to School Snack Recipe

I thought NutriFocus Fans might like this recipe from Whole Foods at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/recipe.php?recipeId=253 Apple Sandwiches with Granola and Peanut Butter - 2 servings

Kids will love to help you make this healthy snack since it's fun to spread the nut butter and sprinkle the chocolate chips. No corer in the kitchen drawer? Slice the apples into rounds first then use a small cookie cutter to remove the core from the center of each slice. Wrap sandwiches tightly and tuck them into lunchboxes, if you like.

2 small apples, cored and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick rounds 1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional) 3 tablespoons peanut or almond butter 2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips 3 tablespoons granola Directions

If you won’t be eating these tasty treats right away, start by brushing the apples slices with lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.

Spread one side of half of the apple slices with peanut or almond butter then sprinkle with chocolate chips and granola. Top with remaining apple slices, pressing down gently to make the sandwiches. Transfer to napkins or plates and serve.