January 2012
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January 2012 posts

Waist Not, Want Not Refrigerator Soup

Got leftovers? You have the makings of a great soup. Start with cooked lean meat or low-fat sausage, then add two cups of fresh or cooked veggies on hand. And don’t forget the freezer, where all kinds of treasures await. Serves 6.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup barley, rinsed
  • 1 14.5-ounce can low-sodium diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • ½ teaspoon each dried oregano, basil, black pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • plus leftovers from the refrigerator or freezer

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a heavy pot on medium high and sauté onion for 4 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add carrot and celery and sauté 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until barley is tender, about 35-40 minutes.
  3. 10 minutes before completion, add leftovers below, heat through and serve.

Per serving (based on basic recipe above): 192 calories, 9g protein, 33g carbohydrate, 4g fat, 1g sat fat, 2g mono fat, 0mg cholesterol, 8g fiber, 99g sodium

THE SEASONED COOK The numerous veggies in the soup base provide not just rich flavor, but antioxidants like beta carotene and lycopene too.

Childhood obesity

Eating healthy and being physically active are important things to keep in mind during and especially after the holidays when an abundance of food is present.

Parents often have questions about their child’s weight such as: Is my child’s weight appropriate? Is there a difference between being overweight and being obese? When should we be worried about his or her weight? If I am overweight, what is the risk that my child may become overweight?

Physicians often use the term BMI (body mass index) to define the terms overweight and obese, and this provides physicians and parents with a guide to monitor weight in children. BMI can be calculated using the weight and height (weight in kilo divided by square of height in meters; this can also be calculated using the BMI calculator. A child is considered overweight if the BMI is greater than the 85th percentile and obese if greater than 95th percentile. Once a child is obese, they are at risk of developing complications like hypertension, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, etc.

Physical activity should be a significant part of everyday life of your child. Each child should aim to be active for a minimum of 30 minutes per day. They can be enrolled in an organized sports activity program like football, soccer, baseball, or swimming, or they can remain active by riding a bike, jogging and so on. Parents need to be aware if their child is playing video games for hours at a time and restrict the amount of screen time if necessary. Reduced television watching and computer use may reduce BMI and sedentary behavior.

Eating healthy plays an essential role in the well-being of every child. Studies have shown a lower prevalence of obesity in children who eat a healthy breakfast every day. Parents need to provide children with healthy food options at home so that they can develop a habit of eating healthy. It is important for children to try to eat all food groups, including grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and meat or fish. Fats, oils and sweets must be consumed in limited amounts. Lifestyle modification involving the whole family is a key factor in maintaining healthy weight in children.

What if my child is obese or overweight?

Vegetable Medley

Zucchini and mushrooms are a perfect complement in this easy-to-prepare dish. It’s important not to overcook the zucchini, which easily becomes mushy. Serves 4.

Try this with: Orange and Spice Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Sauté onions and garlic until golden. Add mushrooms and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mushrooms begin to brown.
  2. Add zucchini, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and 2 tablespoons water. Stir to combine.
  3. Cover skillet, reduce heat to low, and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is tender.

Per serving: 99 calories, 3 gm protein, 6 gm carbohydrate, 8 gm fat, 1 gm sat fat, 5 gm mono fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 gm fiber, 152 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK Balsamic vinegar is aged vinegar made from sweet grapes. Although it can be very expensive, it’s not necessary or even wise to use the expensive bottles for cooking. Do look for a bottle that says “Made in Modena.” Modena, Italy, is the home of authentic balsamic vinegar.

Nutrition Goldmine: The mushrooms in this dish are a great source of potassium.

Veggie Confetti Salad

There is something ridiculous about how simple this salad is to put together and how much everyone likes it. These are staples for most kitchen pantries. Pair it with Greek Yogurt Chicken and not only is it pretty to eat but absolutely delicious as well. Serves 8.

Try this with: Greek Chicken with Herbed Yogurt Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet red peppers, sliced thinly
  • 10 ounces frozen corn, thawed
  • 10 ounces frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 14-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • ½ cup carrots, chopped
  • 4 green onions chopped (include green stems for color)

Balsamic vinaigrette dressing

  • 1½ tablespoons each olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon each oregano, basil
  • ¼ teaspoon each thyme, black pepper

Directions

  1. Combine ingredients and pour dressing over salad and mix.
  2. Chill for one hour and serve.

Per serving with dressing: 200 calories, 9 gm protein, 34 gm carbohydrate, 5 gm fat, 1 gm sat fat, 2 gm mono fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 8 gm fiber, 64 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK If you'd like, substitute roasted red peppers to add a smoky flavor.

Think Spring Spaghetti

Primavera perfection! Here’s a pasta that will gladden your heart with 100% of your daily dose of manganese and selenium. Sweet cherry tomatoes, aromatic basil and delicate asparagus adorn healthful whole wheat pasta. Low in fat and calories, so mangia! Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces whole wheat spaghetti (or other pasta)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ pound fresh asparagus spears, cut into 1" slices
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes (may substitute sun dried tomatoes)
  • 12 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 8 curls of Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • Red chili pepper flakes to taste (optional)

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to directions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in large skillet. Add asparagus, garlic and pepper. Sauté 4 minutes. Add ¼ cup water or vegetable stock and simmer until tender (about 4 more minutes).
  3. Drain pasta, return to pot, and immediately stir in ricotta cheese until melted.
  4. Add tomatoes and asparagus mixture to pasta. Gently toss.
  5. Top with basil, lemon zest and cheese. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 404 calories, 19 gm protein, 70 gm carbohydrate, 8 gm fat, 3 gm sat fat, 4 gm mono fat, 12 mg cholesterol, 2 gm fiber, 107 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK If you like some heat, feel free to add some red chili pepper flakes. Start with 1/8 teaspoon and add more as desired. Substitute any green vegetable for the asparagus depending what’s on hand. A vegetable peeler is a great tool for creating slivers of cheese.

Tangy Beet Soup

If you don’t like beets, be honest. Is it because you tried canned ones? If so, you owe it to yourself to make this soup with fresh beets, because once you do, it will open up your world to how amazing this root vegetable can be. The balsamic vinegar gives the soup a tangy taste, and we promise that you will not regret it. In fact, we should have called this soup “The World’s Best Beet Soup!” Because it really is. Serves 4, with leftovers.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound beets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1½ cups onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ cups red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 14.5-ounce can tomatoes, diced
  • 1½ cups chicken broth, fat free
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup yogurt, low-fat

Directions

  1. Roast beets in 400° oven for 40 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife. Cool, peel, and quarter.
  2. In large skillet heat oil and sauté onions, garlic and cabbage until cabbage is wilted (about 10 minutes).
  3. Add rest of ingredients except yogurt, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool.
  4. Process in food processor or blender until fairly smooth but retaining some texture.
  5. Garnish with a dollop of yogurt and a pinch of dill weed. Serve warm or chilled.

Per Serving: 111 calories, 3 gm protein, 20 gm carbohydrate, 3 gm fat, 0 gm sat fat, 2 gm mono fat, 1 mg cholesterol, 4 fiber, 530 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK The unique phytonutrient pigment in beets provides higher antioxidant benefits than many other vegetables.

Upside Down Wilted Spinach Salad

With these staples from your pantry, you can have a quick meal on the table in 15 minutes. Serving the greens on top allows each person to mix them in as they like. Spinach is nutrient dense and calorie light, offering vitamins K and A, manganese, folate, iron and many more. Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can low-sodium tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 cups spinach, or other leafy greens
  • 4 teaspoons grated Parmesan

Directions

  1. In a medium sauce pan, heat olive oil and sauté onion and garlic until slightly browned.
  2. Add tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add beans and simmer 3 more minutes.
  4. Turn off heat and season with pepper.
  5. Dish into wide bowls, divide spinach among each serving and top with Parmesan. As they are mixed in, the greens will wilt to create a warm salad.

Per serving: 146 calories, 8g protein, 22 carbohydrate, 4g fat, 1g sat fat, 2g mono fat, 6mg cholesterol, 8g fiber, 479mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK This dish serves 2 as a complete meal, and 4 with additional protein. Add more protein with grilled shrimp, fish, or an egg, as shown here. This recipe works equally well with whatever beans you have on hand. For a bit more bite, mix in some arugula with the spinach.

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