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Whipped Winter Squash

One ingredient, one wholesomely good—and delicious—food. And it’s a snap to prepare. Best purchased at harvest time, squash can be stored for months in a cool, dry place. Serves 4.

Try this with: Pork Dijon with Chutney and Sauteed Swiss Chard

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds seasonal squash such as Hubbard or Butternut, skin peeled away and remaining squash cut into chunks

Directions

  1. In medium saucepan boil one inch of water.
  2. Place squash in steamer basket above water, cover, and simmer 15-20 minutes until tender.
  3. Drain and puree or mash.

Per serving: 102 calories, 2gm protein, 27 gm carbohydrate, 0 gm fat, 0 gm sat fat, 0 gm mono fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 5 gm fiber, 9 mg sodium

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.

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.

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.

Savory Shrimp and White Bean Stew

Here’s a “shrimply delicious” option for a heart-healthy dinner tonight! This stew features succulent shrimp, rich in omega-3 fatty acids and creamy cannellini beans, a super source of protein and soluble dietary fiber. Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14-ounce can diced low-sodium tomatoes, drained
  • 1 teaspoon each dried oregano, basil, and rosemary
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 pound small frozen shrimp, thawed and peeled
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a soup pot. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion softens, about 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in the cannellini beans, tomatoes, oregano, basil, and rosemary.
  3. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the stew is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
  4. Add the shrimp and simmer just until cooked through, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add parsley and serve.

Per serving: 377 calories, 37 gm protein, 35 gm carbohydrate, 11 gm fat, 2 gm sat fat, 6 gm mono fat, 170 mg cholesterol, 8 gm fiber, 234 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK For a heartier meal, serve this stew over a scoop of cooked brown rice.

Nutrition Goldmine: Beans are an excellent source of protein, are relatively low in calories, cholesterol-free, low in fat and a good source of soluble dietary fiber.

Southwestern Chicken Chopped Salad

It doesn’t get any easier! This salad combines the convenience of nutritious canned black beans and sweet corn with fresh ingredients like cilantro, basil and crunchy jicama. Dressed in mustard yogurt vinaigrette and snappy barbecue sauce, it all adds up to a super speedy supper that’s high in Vitamins A, C, K and dietary fiber. Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup low-fat yogurt
  • ¼ cup fat-free sour cream
  • ⅛ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced, white and light green parts only
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 12 ounces cooked chicken breast, shredded into bite sized pieces
  • ¼ cup bottled BBQ sauce
  • 8 cups romaine and spinach, torn
  • 12 large fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • ½ small jicama, cut into medium dice (optional)
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ 15-ounce can corn, drained (or frozen and thawed)
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • 2 large tomatoes, cut into medium dice

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Put chicken into bowl with BBQ sauce and toss to coat.
  3. In a large salad bowl, toss together remaining ingredients, except for tomatoes. Top salad with chicken and circle with tomatoes.
  4. Serve with dressing on the side.

Salad with dressing: 416 calories, 37 gm protein, 52 gm carbohydrate, 5 gm fat, 2 gm sat fat, 1 gm mono fat, 78 mg cholesterol, 10 fiber, 628 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK In this recipe, the chicken serves as a condiment rather than a main ingredient, letting the vegetables be the star. For additional color, substitute red cabbage for some of the lettuce.

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