Monday, January 27, 2014
Monday, January 20, 2014
Just like Popeye's powerfood, this crimson vegetable is one of the best sources of both folate and betaine. These two nutrients work together to lower your blood levels of homocysteine, an inflammatory compound that can damage your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease. Plus, the natural pigments-called betacyanins-that give beets their color have been proved to be potent cancer fighters in laboratory mice.
Beets are not only healthful, but they are delish. I've used them in several recipes previously published but here is a short list of what you could do with the little ruby gems:
1. Peel the outside and shred on a box grater. Add fresh and raw beets to any normal salad for a boot of flavor and health or add to a grain salad like this recipe: Late Summer Lentil Salad
2. Peel and chop into cubes. Roast in the oven, puree and add to chicken stock and ½ cup of plain yogurt, ½ cup of chopped chives for a yummy beet soup.
3. Roast in the oven, slice into thin rounds and drizzle with feta cheese, fresh thyme and balsamic vinegar.
4. Check out the recipe below and see how I "snuck" roasted beets into a weeknight dinner wrap that will satisfy the pickiest eater in your family
Monday, January 13, 2014
Monday, January 6, 2014
This week's recipe is showing some love for the dry beans resting in your pantry shelf. If you are anything like me, you buy them since they look great, are nutritious and truly inexpensive. However, when you think of cooking with them, you have to factor in the time to soak them overnight, rinse, sort and then cook them...way too much time for a weeknight meal.
My solution? Cook a large batch on a weekend when you have a little more time AND forget the overnight soak. It's true! You can still have fully cooked and tender beans in as little as two hours. I know it's still not extremely quick, but if you want all of the following health benefits and delish flavor, you might want to give it a try:
1. Beans are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc.
2. Eating beans regularly may decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease, colorectal cancer, and helps with weight management.
3. How do they help with weight management? Beans are hearty, helping you feel full so you will tend to eat less. Not to mention a serving, ½ cup, of beans only has 100 calories. You'll feel so much more satisfied with 100 calories of beans versus three crackers, right?
So, if you are ready to try the two hour bean cookery, rinse the dry beans (to remove any dirt and foreign particles), sort (to remove any larger debris like stones) and place in a large, heavy pot over the stove. Add enough water to cover the beans by three inches and turn the heat to high. Bring the beans to a boil and immediately cover, turn the heat down to very low and let them cook for the next 2 hours. Remove from the heat, rinse and set aside to be added to your next meal. Feel free to store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
What You Can Do With Beans
- Hummus - for a quick dip, purée a 1 and ½ cups of chick peas, ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt, 3 TBSP olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper to taste, and a dash of paprika. Serve with toasted whole wheat pita triangles and fresh vegetables for dipping.
- Add to soups, salads, stews and chili
- Add to pasta
- Serve as a side dish
One of my favorite ways to work with beans is to create a hearty and healthful soup. This way I can make lunches for the week or a quick weeknight meal.
Mixed Bean, Collard Green and Ham Soup
-2 cups of mixed beans, cooked (I used cranberry beans, mung and black eyed peas)
-1 bunch of collard greens, stems and ribs removed, chopped roughly
-2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into half moons
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 TBSP olive oil
-1 TBSP fresh sage, chopped or 1 tsp. dried and ground sage
-1 cup of ham, chopped (substitute Canadian bacon or another lean protein if you don't have any on hand)
-32 oz. vegetable or chicken broth
-10 cups of water
-1 TBSP. sea salt
-1 TBSP. black pepper
-1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
In a large pot, add the olive oil and turn heat to medium. Once the temperature is up, add the garlic, ham, carrots, sage, salt and both kinds of pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the liquids and scrape the bottom of the pan to release the flavor bits attached to the bottom of the pot. Stir in the beans and collards greens and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium for a nice simmer and continue to cook for 15 to 20 minutes.