Artichokes are actually big thistles, a member of the sunflower family. I bet you didn’t know that, did you? Watch for when they are coming into peak season so you can take advantage of the sales that are going to be out there and enjoy this fun, fiber-filled veggie. Don’t know how? That’s why I’m here!
Here’s today’s TRICK: Choose heavy ‘chokes, size doesn’t matter—big ones grow at the top of the stalk, the little ones come out of the sides. You want the leaves to “squeak” when you rub them. Little streaks of brown are indicative of a delicious flavor, nothing to worry about. If the ‘choke is starting to “bloom” and the leaves are opening and it feels light and hollow, it’s too old, don’t buy it.
And here’s a TIP: For easy preparation, wash with cool water, cut off the stem and the tip with a sharp knife. Use your kitchen shears to snip all the little sharp ends off the individual leaves—don’t worry, it doesn’t take much time at all. Steam standing up in a vegetable steamer till tender (you can pull a leaf off easily) and serve with a lemon/mayo dipping sauce. (I use low-fat mayo mixed with fresh lemon juice, about 2:1) YUM!!
And your RECIPE:
If preparing those big old artichokes intimidates you, you can still enjoy the delectable artichoke heart with this easy recipe.
All About Artichokes
In a food processor, add all ingredients and chop, chop, chop till smooth.
Heat and serve with the usual fixin's: veggies, healthy chips, cut-up whole grain bread...
COOKING NOTES: You could double this and serve at a party, you could use as is and give it to the kids for a fun chip and dip lunch. It really takes almost no time to make and it's substantial enough, too. Make sure it's smooth, no chunks allowed--chunks will probably freak out the kids.
Per Serving: 38 Calories; 2g Fat; 2g Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 8mg Cholesterol; 131mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates. Points: 1
Looking for more delicious appetizer recipes like this one? Check out our Dinner Answers program today!
Such a pretty addition to a gourmet salad, lovely, lacy frisee lettuce is more than just a pretty face! Frisee (pronounced free-zay) is rich in fiber, vitamins A, B, C, and E.
Ever wonder why there are so few of those frizzy leaves of pale green that you see in salad mixes? Well, it’s because frisee lettuce is a very laborious green that is quite expensive to produce commercially. You’ll rarely see it as a sole salad ingredient for that reason. Also, the flavor of frisee is quite strong and rather bitter as far as greens go, so a tiny bit can go quite a long way – you might not want to eat an entire raw salad made with frisee.
Sauteeing or wilting your frisee will help to take some of the bitter taste out of this pretty vegetable. Try it wilted and topped with goat cheese and toasted walnuts or topped with bacon and a poached egg for a grain-free eggs benedict! Wilted frisee is also lovely served with red meat. Remember to always tear frisee into pieces rather than using a knife.
Now that I have you dreaming up a salad for dinner, it’s time for Your Trick!
Limp frisee can be revived by sticking it into lukewarm water followed by a plunge into ice water. You’ll literally shock it back to life.
Tight packaging will cause your frisee to rot in the fridge. Give it some breathing room and use it within a couple of days of purchase.
And your Recipe:
Mandarin Orange Teriyaki Chicken Salad
In a large zipper-topped plastic bag, combine chicken and teriyaki sauce; seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
Drain and discard marinade.
Coat a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray; add chicken; cook and stir for 5 to 7 minutes or until no longer pink; transfer to a bowl; cover and refrigerate until chilled.
In a large bowl, combine salad greens, frisee, chicken, oranges, carrot, almonds and green onion.
In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine remaining ingredients; shake well and drizzle over the salad; toss gently to coat.
NUTRITION per serving: 299 Calories; 13g Fat; 25g Protein; 22g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 49mg Cholesterol; 1066mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 3 Lean Meat; 2 Vegetable; 1/2 Fruit; 2 Fat. Points: 6
Interested in MORE Scrumptious Salads?
I’m sure you’ve seen the ubiquitous bean sprout in your grocery store since you were a child. And maybe some alfalfa sprouts. But there’s more to sprouts than what is in your grocery store. There’s radish sprouts, clover sprouts, broccoli sprouts—just to name a few.
These wonderful sprouts are all full phytochemicals, massive nutrients and a nice amount of protein too. The best part is they’re easy and cheap to grow yourself!
Here’s today’s TRICK:
Add sprouts to a variety of foods—in your salads and sandwiches to be sure, but don’t forget to throw in a handful for extra nutrition in your smoothie, soups and even stews! You can add sprouts to about anything.
Here’s a TIP:
Sprouts are fabulously easy to grow, you don’t need special equipment and they grow year round. Here’s how:
Use wide mouth glass canning jars, available at many hardware stores. You will need screen lids; either cut pieces of different (plastic) mesh screens, or buy some of the special plastic screen lids designed for sprouting (usually available in health food stores or even hardware stores).
Sprouting is easy: just put the seed in a jar, add the soak water and put the lid on. When the soak is over, invert jar and drain the water, then rinse again. Prop the jar up at a 45 degree angle so the water will drain (or your seeds will continue to soak).
Keep your seeds out of direct sunlight. Rinse seed in the jar 2-3 times per day until ready, always keeping it angled for drainage.
And here’s your RECIPE:
Put together and eat. How's that for cinchy instructions?
For gooooood eatin', slice onions up and saute till brown.
When they're still working on their tans, add a little barbecue sauce and add that to your yumwich.
Per serving: 279 Calories; 13g Fat; 9g Protein; 36g Carbohydrate; 7g Dietary Fiber; 8mg Cholesterol; 410mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 Vegetable; 2 1/2 Fat.
Looking for more healthy recipes? Check out our Dinner Answers program today!
You’re probably most familiar with rosemary in its dried or fresh form, being used as an herb for adding a distinct flavor to pork or beef dishes. There are all kinds of flavor in this aromatic herb but it’s also quite healthy for you.
Among rosemary’s properties…
•It acts as a natural antidepressant
•It serves as an expectorant
•It’s an aphrodisiac (wink wink, nudge nudge)
•It’s even a natural disinfectant
Besides those magical powers, rosemary can do all kinds of other good in your body including stimulating bile secretion and eliminating it in the intestines. It also improves blood flow and it can even keep your mind sharp and energized.
Speaking of your mind, rosemary has many calming effects that can help with digestive problems caused by stress, as well as helping to battle anxiety, sadness, and fatigue.
Rumor has it that rosemary can even help with hangovers, constipation, cramps, cough, muscular pain, and sinusitis.
For these types of benefits, you may want to look at purchasing rosemary in the form of tea, capsules, tincture, or even an ethereal oil.
More to rosemary than meets the eye isn’t there?!
Rosemary is dead easy to grow, so why not plant some of your own? It’s great when used fresh (for best results, store your cut sprigs in a glass of water in the fridge), but you can also dry the rosemary out yourself by hanging the sprigs in a warm and dry place. Then you have your own dried rosemary for the winter. How pioneer-ish of you!
Here’s your Trick:
Rosemary acts as a natural insect repellant so plant lots of it!
And here’s your Tip:
Toss springs of rosemary onto the coals of your barbeque to naturally flavor meats.
And your Recipe:
Rosemary Pork Medallions
In a small bowl or cup, make a paste from the garlic, rosemary, sage and oil.
Rub into the pork then slice pork into almost 1-inch strips.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute pork strips until they are no longer pink in the center, about 4 minutes per side (use a little more oil if needed).
Place pork strips on a serving platter and drizzle with lemon juice.
Per Serving: 215 Calories; 7g Fat; 36g Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 111mg Cholesterol; 85mg Sodium.Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 5 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 0 Fat. Points: 5
Interested in finding more dishes that use this delicious herb? Check out our Dinner Answers program today!
Fennel is a versatile food (essentially it’s an herb) with a sweet, slight licorice taste that’s used for its feathery stalks, it’s aromatic seeds, and its flavorful root which is eaten as a vegetable. The whole fennel plant is edible.
On the health front, fennel is extremely good for you. It reduces inflammation in the body and may help prevent several types of cancers. There’s a list of medicinal uses for fennel that’s longer than my arm! This herb is used for everything from helping with colic, digestion, and respiratory congestion to promoting milk supply, treating angina, and improving kidney function. You’ll see fennel listed as an ingredient in cough remedies and it can even be turned into a tea to help cure food poisoning.
Sounds like something we could all stand to eat more of, don’t you think?
Fennel most delicious during the peak of its season from fall through early spring. It can be used raw in salads or sandwiches or cooked into a delicious side dish. I love to braise fennel and serve it with seafood.
Give it a try and see how you enjoy it best!
Now it’s time for your Trick:
When shopping for fennel, look for white or pale green bulbs that aren’t bruised, spotted, or split. Don’t purchase fennel with flowering buds because that means the plant is old. When you bring the fennel home, cut the leaves from the stalks and the stalks from the bulb. Store the stalks to be used in soups and stews.
The leaves can be used to season foods and the bulb can be stored on its own to be used as a vegetable with its own starring role on your dinner plate.
Fennel can be frozen but that causes it to lose its flavor. You’re better off to put the fennel in your crisper drawer and eat it within four days of purchasing it.
And your Recipe:
Roast Chicken with Fennel
Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
On a large rimmed baking sheet, combine garlic, fennel, and 1/2 tablespoon of oil.
Toss and season with salt and pepper.
Roast for 10 to 12 minutes.
Rub chicken with remaining oil; season with oregano, salt, and pepper.
Remove baking sheet from the oven; push fennel and garlic to sides and place chicken in the center.
Roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is done and juices run clear.
Per Serving: 351 Calories; 12g Fat; 42g Protein; 21g Carbohydrate; 8g Dietary Fiber; 104mg Cholesterol; 264mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain (Starch); 5 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 1 1/2 Fat. Points: 9
There’s nothing like a gorgeous purple beet sliced onto a salad, roasted in the oven, or juiced with some greens and other veggies to make a beautifully colored glass of deliciousness.
What’s this you say? You don’t love beets? Well, maybe you’re just not doing it right!
Beets are in season now and they are one of those root veggies you should not be walking past without bagging up for dinner. Not only are beets delicious and beautiful, but they are also full of nutrients like magnesium, vitamin C, fiber, and folate.
As I mentioned, you can enjoy beets raw in juice or salads, or you can cook them in a variety of ways. Steam them, stir fry them or roast them and see how you enjoy them best. Don’t forget to top them with butter or a squeeze of lemon juice and salt and pepper. Mmm, mmm!
Here is a helpful beet Trick:
That red beet juice can stain your skin and your clothes so be cautious of what you wear when you’re handling beets. Wear gloves if you want to prevent skin stains. If you do happen to get some of the juice on your hands, lemon juice will help remove it.
Here is a Tip:
Beets are one of the crops in the US which are allowed to be genetically modified. For this reason, buy organic beets or look for the Non-GMO Project verified seal to avoid consuming GMOs.
And here is a delicious beet Recipe:
Chicken Burgers with Pickled Beets
In a medium bowl, mix the first 4 ingredients (chicken through chili powder).
Form chicken mixture into patties.
Heat grill to high heat and place burgers on the grill.
Cook for 10 minutes on each side, until burgers are no longer pink in the center.
In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat coconut oil.
To the skillet, add the onion, vinegar, honey, and beets.
Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and cook for 5 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Place burgers on lettuce leaves and top with sautéed onion and beets.
SERVING SUGGESTION: Sweet Potato Fries (Peel sweet potatoes and cut into “fries”; toss with olive oil and bake on a cookie sheet in a preheated 425-degree oven, turning once, until tender; season to taste with salt, pepper and chili powder.)