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Stuffed Acorn Squash

This is a fun vegetarian “one dish meal” that is combined with lentils. The maple syrup adds a hint of sweetness. Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup dry lentils
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1½ cup onions, chopped
  • ¾ cup mushrooms, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Put lentils in pot and pour water over them until an inch above the lentils. Bring to boil and then let simmer with the lid on, about 20-25 minutes. The lentils should be tender but not mushy. Add more water if needed. Drain and add salt.
  2. Meanwhile, bake squash halves, cut side down, on a spray-oiled cookie sheet at 375° for 30 minutes or until flesh is soft.
  3. Heat olive oil and sauté onions and mushrooms until onions are transparent, about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Transfer cooked lentils and onion mixture to a large bowl. Use a spoon to scrape flesh from squash leaving skin intact and add to lentils and onions. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  5. Spoon mixture into squash shells and reheat just before serving.

Per Serving: 343 calories, 10 gm protein, 52 gm carbohydrate, 14 gm fat, 2 gm sat fat, 4 gm mono fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 10 gm fiber, 310 mg sodium

Market-Fresh Noodle Stir-Fry

Vary a couple of ingredients to this basic stir fry recipe for a new dish each time. The possibilities are endless! One of our favorite secret ingredients—chili garlic paste—adds a burst of flavor to this and so many other recipes. Available in your grocer’s Asian foods aisle, this ingredient packs a punch. Serves 6.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces ⅜ inch thick rice noodles
  • Optional lean protein: 2 ounces per serving of cooked shrimp, seared scallops, thinly sliced beef, chicken, tofu or pork

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon chili garlic sauce

Vegetables

  • 4 teaspoons peanut oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, thin sliced diagonally
  • 1 cup English cucumbers, cut length-wise, seeded, thinly sliced
  • ½ pound (4 cups) napa cabbage, shredded
  • 1 small red bell pepper, sliced in thin matchsticks
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • ½ cup cilantro

Directions

  1. Rehydrate rice noodles in warm water until soft, about 15 to 30 minutes. Drain well just before cooking.
  2. Combine sauce ingredients and prepare vegetables, keeping in separate piles.
  3. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil, and heat until a drop of water sizzles in the pan. Add garlic and onion; stir-fry.
  4. Add vegetables with the longest cooking first, e.g. carrots, cucumber, cabbage, bell peppers, and bean sprouts. Stir occasionally only to keep vegetables from burning, about 5 minutes. Remove vegetables from pan when 90% cooked.
  5. In same pan, heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Add rice noodles and press them down into the pan for about 30 seconds or until slightly crispy and translucent. Turn noodles over for another 30 seconds. Add the sauce mixture to the pan and toss. Return vegetables to pan and mix lightly. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Per serving: 233 calories, 5g protein, 47g carbohydrate, 4g fat, 1g sat fat, 1g mono fat, 0mg cholesterol, 5g fiber, 263mg sodium

The Seasoned Cook Unlike its waxy-skinned American cousin, the English cucumber needs no peeling, making us grateful for the time-saving step. When serving this recipe as a warm noodle salad, after rehydrating them, cook in boiling water just until soft (about 2 minutes—don’t overcook!) Drain well and place noodles in serving bowl, adding stir-fry vegetables on top, then sauce.

Roasted Garlic

This is one of those appetizers that people forget about and think that it takes forever to put together, when in fact, a little time in the toaster oven and it’s done. Because it does take an hour to bake, make extra for flavoring in other dishes. Serves 8 as an appetizer.

Ingredients

  • 2 heads garlic
  • ¼ cup chicken stock

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cut just the top of garlic heads to expose cloves and place in small sauce pan or ramekin. Add chicken stock to depth of about ¼ inch, cover tightly with foil. Bake for 1 hour. Let cool.
  3. Serve at room temperature with crackers or thinly sliced 100% whole wheat baguette.

Per serving: 12 calories, 1 gm protein, 2 gm carbohydrate, 0 gm fat, 0 gm sat fat, 0 gm mono fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 gm fiber, 12 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK Roasted garlic can be removed from garlic head with butter knife and spread. Always make more garlic to have extra on hand. 

Spinach Barley

Barley is great as the base in soups and stews, and this versatile grain pairs well with fish and chicken or in other vegetable dishes. In this recipe, we’ve simply added chopped spinach for a nutritious and tasty side dish. Goes great with our Tangy Baked Cod. Serves 4.

Try this with: Tangy Baked Cod and Broiled Tomatoes Parmesan

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup barley, rinsed
  • 2½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups chopped spinach

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion cooking until translucent, 3 minutes.
  2. Add the barley and broth, bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 30 minutes.
  4. Add the spinach; stir for one minute until thoroughly mixed. Serve.

Per serving: 233 calories, 10 gm protein, 39 gm carbohydrate, 5 gm fat, 1 gm sat fat, 3 gm mono fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 9 gm fiber, 52 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK Barley is a source of soluble fiber, like oats, and so can be effective in lowering cholesterol levels. Have a bag of fresh spinach in the fridge for use throughout the week. Keep frozen spinach on hand for last minute menus. For a whole grain version of this dish, choose hulled or hulless barley. Pearl barley is polished, which removes much of the bran along with the hull.

Mango Cucumber Salsa with Curry Chicken

The marriage of the curry’s pungent flavor with fresh, cool mango and cucumber is worth celebrating. This recipe is easy enough for a weeknight family meal and special enough to impress company. Serves 4.

Salsa (3½ cups)

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup English cucumber, seeded and diced
  • ½ cup yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons each of lime zest and lime juice

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Set aside for 20 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
  2. Serve on top of chicken, meat or fish.

Chicken Marinade

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (4-6 cloves) garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup minced fresh herbs (mint and cilantro)
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients and marinate chicken 3 hours or overnight before grilling or broiling.
  2. Preheat broiler. Discard marinade and broil chicken until browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Top with salsa.

Per serving: 243 calories, 30g protein, 20g carbohydrates, 5g fat, 1g sat fat, 3g mono fat, 68mg cholesterol,
4g fiber, 381mg sodium

The Seasoned Cook Aside from its interesting flavors, this recipe’s added bonus is that it can be prepared in advance (up until broiling), making mealtime more relaxed. Consider adding any variety of fresh or frozen fruits for extra color, nutrients, and fiber. For a bold change, serve this dish with black quinoa, shown here.

Roasted Cauliflower and Carrots in Mustard Sauce

This dish is an amazing combination of flavors and textures. It’s sweet, savory and crunchy. It’s versatile and goes well with chicken, pork, beef and vegetarian dishes. Both healthy and satisfying! Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 small head cauliflower, trimmed into florets (about 2 cups)
  • 4 large carrots (about 1 pound), diagonally cut into 1" slices
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

For mustard sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon prepared mustard or a favorite mustard
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt to taste, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. In a bowl, toss cauliflower florets and carrots with 2 teaspoons olive oil and pepper. Cover and microwave 5 minutes.
  3. Spray a baking sheet with cooking oil spray. Place vegetables in a single layer on the sheet. Roast 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender and cauliflower edges are browned.
  4. For the sauce: While the vegetables are roasting, combine olive oil, mustard, horseradish, and honey in a small bowl.
  5. Remove vegetables from oven, toss with the sauce and parsley.

Per serving: 131 calories, 3 gm protein, 15 gm carbohydrate, 8 gm fat, 1 gm sat fat, 5 gm mono fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 5 gm fiber, 194 mg sodium

Seared Pork Tenderloin Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

Filled with antioxidants and high levels of dietary fiber, strawberries are a powerful little fruit. They provide luscious sweetness to this salad, which is a complete meal when served with lean and light pork tenderloin. Get it done quickly – either pan-seared or outdoors on the grill! Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1½ cups (8 ounces) strawberries, washed and halved
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 6 cups mixed salad greens
  • ¼ cup shredded basil leaves, to garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine in a medium mixing bowl, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved, add strawberries and set aside for 15 minutes.
  3. Season pork with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Heat oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, sear the pork until golden on both sides. Move pan to the oven and roast for 10 minutes or until pork is 150°F. Remove pork to a plate, tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes, temperature will rise to 155°F.
  4. Heat same skillet over medium heat and add stock to deglaze the pan. Bring broth to a boil, add strawberry mixture then reduce heat to low and warm strawberries through. Season with optional ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  5. Slice pork and lay over salad greens on a large platter. Top with sauce and sprinkle with basil.

Per serving without ¼ tsp salt: 207 calories, 25g protein, 12g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 6g fat, 1g saturated fat, 3g mono fat, 74mg cholesterol, 295mg sodium

Per serving with ¼ tsp salt: 211 calories, 26g protein, 13g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 6g fat, 1g saturated fat, 3g mono fat, 74mg cholesterol, 583mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK If cooking on your grill, preheat to 400°F. Brush meat lightly with olive oil and place on hot grill. Sear the outside and then drop temperature to medium low (if on charcoal, move to indirect heat area) and cook 15-20 minutes per pound until internal temperature is 145°F. Remove from heat and tent with foil for 10 minutes before slicing. On the side burner, make strawberry sauce as directed in saucepan.

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