Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Edamame and Corn Fruit Salad with Coconut Shrimp

Summer is on its way and that means more fresh fruit and greens. This edamame salad is a delicious no-cook dish that will soon be apart of your regular menu rotation. It is quick to prepare and perfect for a quick dinner or as a side dish for a BBQ or party. I served it over mixed greens and topped it with crunchy coconut shrimp and a cilantro avocado dressing for an entrée salad. It was the perfect sweet and savory mix!

 Edamame is another name for soybeans. The health benefits of soybeans can be quite controversial depending on who you talk to. I include organic soybeans and products in my diet as a plant source of protein. Many are concerned about GMO soybeans and products. If this is a concern for you, select organic varieties, which have not been modified. Soy has been apart of many Asian cultures for centuries and has been related to having a lower risk of heart disease. Soybeans are a complete protein (meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids) and are high in fiber and vitamins and minerals (such as iron, potassium, manganese). They can be found in your local grocery store in the freezer, either shelled or unshelled. I buy both varieties depending on what I plan on doing with them. If you buy edamame in the shell they are delicious steamed and you can eat them out of the pod. If you buy them shelled they are easy to use in salads, casseroles, soups and beyond.

Edamame Fruit Salad
Makes 8 servings

2 cups frozen edamame, thawed
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 red pepper, diced
½ cup red onion, diced
1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
1 mango, diced
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients and chill for at least 20 minutes.

 

Crispy Coconut Shrimp

Serves 4

1 pound frozen large and raw shrimp, thawed
1 egg
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 Tbsp canola oil

1. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Oil is ready when you sprinkle small amount of water in the pan and it sizzles.

2. Dip each shrimp into egg and in coconut. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown.

Cilantro Avocado Dressing

½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
Meat of 1 avocado
2 Tbsp lime juice
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp honey
3 cloves fresh garlic
Pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until well combined.

To assemble the salad place 1.5 cups of mixed salad greens on a plate, top with ¾ cup edamame salad, 4-5 coconut shrimp, and drizzle 2 Tbsp of salad dressing on top. Serve immediately.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Turkey and Bean Chili

Spring in Vermont is almost here. I cookd my last batch of chili for the season this weekend. I always look for the change in season for the new weather as well as new seasonal ingredients and recipes. Today was a beautiful day, mid 70s with a nice breeze. The forecast for tomorrow is not as kind, looking at mid 30s again. I guess I’ll take the bad with the good.

 

Ground lean turkey is a healthy alternative to ground beef. I find that it needs a bit more flavorings (herbs, spices) than ground beef, but it can certainly be big on flavor. Chili can be done in 30 minutes if you are short on time, but the longer you cook it, the more flavor it will have. It will also thicken up a bit, which is how I like it. Of course, it always tastes better the next day. This recipe freezes very well so you can enjoy it a few months down the road.

 

Yes this chili has some vegetables, but the more the merrier. Serve with a side salad or your favorite steamed vegetable and dinner is ready.

 

Turkey and Bean Chili

Makes 8 servings

 

Ingredients:

1 sweet onion, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 jalapeño, seeded and diced

2 Tbsp chili powder

½ Tbsp garlic powder

Dash of cayenne powder (optional)

¾ pound 93% lean ground turkey

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

2 cans (15 oz) of diced tomatoes

2 cans (15.5 oz) dark kidney beans

Black pepper to taste

 

For serving:

Shredded Mexican cheese

Sour cream

Sliced avocado

 

Directions:

  1. Brown the ground turkey in a frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Meanwhile heat a large covered saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, red pepper, and jalapeño and cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the spices and stir. Cook additional minute.
  4.  Combine the meat with the vegetable spice mixture. Add tomatoes and kidney beans and cook covered for 1 hour. Remove cover and cook over medium to desired thickness (at least 15 minutes).
  5. Serve immediately.

 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Meatless Monday...Balsamic Tempeh Stuffed Portabellas

There was a time when I was cooking with tempeh a lot, but it had fallen off of my radar up until recently. I picked some up the other day and was excited to experiment with some new recipes. What's not to love about a juicy stuffed portabella? Tempeh is a fermented product made from soybeans and packed into patties. Often it is mixed with a variety of grains or seeds as well.

Tempeh is easy to digest and is higher in protein, fiber, and vitamins when compared to tofu because the whole bean is used. This also gives it a much heartier and stronger flavor. Tempeh is a wonderful meat substitute and is versatile in a variety of dishes. Try it in stirfrys, stews, or as a filling for tacos and sandwiches! Concerned about GMOs in your soy? Go for an organic variety! 

The nutrition facts vary by brand and flavor. I use organic Lightlife flax, 4 oz (usually ½ a package) contains 220 calories, 9 g fat (1.5 saturated), 16 g carbohydrates, 20 g protein, 10 g fiber, 0 g sodium. It is also a good source of calcium and iron. 

Balsamic Tempeh Stuffed Portabellas
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
4 large portabella mushrooms
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, divided
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
½ cup red pepper, diced
1 tomato, diced
4 oz tempeh, diced into 1/2" cubes (I use LightLife flax) 
2 cups fresh spinach 
1/3 cup shredded provolone cheese
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup chopped kalamata olives
Pepper, to taste
½ tsp dried basil

Directions: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle 1/2 tsp of both olive oil and balsamic over the mushrooms. Bake for 15 mins. 
Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a large frying pan. Add garlic and sauté for 2 mins. Add onions, peppers, tomato, tempeh, and remaining balsamic vinegar and cook for 5 minutes. Add spinach and wilt. Remove from heat and add olives, cheese, and pepper/basil. 
Remove mushrooms from oven and stuff each with ~3/4 cup mixture. Bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. 
Serve with a garden salad or your favorite steamed vegetable! 


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla

Love buffalo chicken? Yes, buffalo wings are delicious, but they are deep fried meaning they are a "sometimes" food for me. To fill my buffalo chicken craving I get creative with other casseroles, wraps, and salads. This dish is reminiscent of buffalo chicken pizza for a fraction of the calories, fat, and carbohydrates.  Definitely a kid-friendly recipe. If the kiddos aren't fans of spicy foods simply substitute hot sauce for a low-sugar BBQ sauce (or better yet, make your own!). Serve with a salad or your favorite vegetable and dinner is ready.

Too often my clients will tell me they don't have time to cook, so they go out to dinner or rely on processed foods out of boxes or the freezer. This recipe uses leftover chicken for a super quick stovetop dinner.

Think burrito shells are unhealthy transports for fillings? Think again; there are plenty of nutritious wraps on the market now. Watching your weight or calories? Look for a lower calorie version (many are burrito size for 100 calories or less). Some of my favorites are the "La Tortilla Factory", "Wrap-Its", or "Joseph's" brand. Go for a whole grain variety for extra fiber and nutrition. Some even have flax and other seeds for healthy fats and omega 3s.

Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla
Makes 1 quesadilla

Ingredients:
1 whole wheat 100 calorie burrito shell
1/3 cup cooked chicken breast, chopped
1 Tbsp Franks Buffalo Sauce
1/3 cup low fat shredded mexican cheese
1 Tbsp low fat blue cheese dressing
1/4 cup shredded carrots
Salsa, for serving

Directions:
1. Mix the chicken breast and buffalo sauce in a bowl.
2. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat.
3. Spread 1/4 cup of cheese on one half of the tortilla. Spread chicken on top of the cheese and sprinkle remaining on the other half of the tortilla.  Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes.
4. Sprinkle carrots on top, drizzle blue cheese dressing and fold the tortilla over the fillings. Cook for 3-4 minutes until golden brown and cheese is melted.

Nutrition Facts: 1 Quesadilla
250 calories, 10 g fat (3 g saturated), 20 g carbohydrates, 12 g fiber, 30 g protein.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Homemade Irish Soda Bread


Irish soda bread is a super easy, quick bread to make. St. Patty's Day in my house is not complete without a corned beef and cabbage dinner and fresh loaf of Irish soda bread. Quick breads don’t require kneading or rising time and are ready to bake in 15-20 minutes. Traditional Irish soda bread is a brown table bread and only contains 4 ingredients (flour, buttermilk, baking soda, and salt). The American-Irish variety that is prepared for St. Patty’s Day around the U.S. is fancier and often contains sugar, egg, butter, dried fruit (currants or raisins) and caraway seeds.

I made some adjustments to the original recipe I was using, cutting the sugar in half and using a mixture of bread flour and whole wheat flour to improve its nutrition profile. Bread flour is typically not used in quick breads because of its high gluten content. I wanted to experiment with it in this recipe. The result was a much heartier texture than a traditional soda bread; I loved the result. Using all-purpose flour will give it a softer texture and crust. I omitted the dried fruit and caraway seeds out due to personal preferences. This made a very large loaf (about 16 large slices). It will go with our corned beef and cabbage for dinner tonight, but is also delicious in the morning for breakfast (with an egg or peanut butter).

Investing in good flour is crucial. I go for King Arthur flour because it is high quality and a Vermont company (love to support my local foods). It is non-GMO and unbleached and they sell organic varieties as well. I find the cost is worth it when you compare the results of baked goods to other brands of flour.

Irish Soda Bread
Makes 16 slices 1” slices

Ingredients:
3 cups bread flour, plus more for kneading
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup white sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces.
1 ¾ cup buttermilk*
1 egg, beaten
1 cup raisins (optional)
Tbsp caraway seeds (optional)

*Buttermilk Substitute: add 1 ¼ Tbsp of white vinegar to skim or 1% milk and stir.

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2.  Mix the bread flour, whole wheat flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda in a large bowl.
  3. Work the butter into the flour mixture with your hands or a pastry cutter, until it resembles a course meal.
  4. Mix the buttermilk and egg in a small bowl. Add in small amounts to the flour mixture and stir well.
  5. Knead for 2 minutes on clean, floured surface (cutting board or counter). Form into a loaf and place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
  6. Cut a large “X” into the top of the bread with a serrated knife and bake for 45-50 minutes, until golden brown on top.

Nutrition Facts: 1 slice without raisins (1/16th of loaf)
160 calories, 3 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 29 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 5 g protein, 170 mg sodium

1 slice with raisins (1/16th of loaf)
200 calories, 3 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 36 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 6 g protein, 170 mg sodium

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