It’s artichoke season, so today we’re going to focus on this spiky green veggie. After reading this post, you’re going to have a great tip, a trick and a brand new recipe focusing on this edible flower that grows mainly in California and in the Mediterranean.
Though artichokes are sharp and thorny and quite intimidating, the work you have to do to get to the good stuff is worth it. (The good stuff, by the way, is the heart of the artichoke, found beneath the hairy, inedible, ugly choke.)
Artichokes are delicious and they’re also rich in magnesium—a vital mineral that many of us don’t get enough of. (We need 300 milligrams of magnesium in our diets each day to maintain good health, and an artichoke provides you with 77 of those milligrams).
Not only are artichokes high in magnesium, but they’re also linked to reducing the risk of developing prostate cancer and leukemia. They’re high in fiber and they also aid in liver health.
Artichokes might look strange, but when you taste the sweet tender meat, you’ll know what all the fuss is about.
Now, it’s time for your Trick:
Use a set of kitchen shears to trim the thorny tips off the leaves (or the petals, whatever you want to call them) of the artichoke. Chop about an inch from the top of the artichoke and put the veggie in a pot of boiling water for about 40 minutes. You could also steam the artichoke for 15 or 20 minutes, which is how I prefer to prepare them.
Don’t discard the delicious tender petals of the artichoke to get to the heart. Use the leaves for scooping up your favorite dip! Or dip them in a mixture of lemon juice and melted butter. Mmm!
And your Artichoke Recipe:
Spanish Paleo Lasagna
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup Paleo marinara sauce
1/2 cup canned artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/2 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
3 cups arugula
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, place first 9 ingredients (ground beef through black pepper). Using your very clean hands, blend well. Press mixture evenly into a 9- x 13-inch baking pan coated with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes or until beef has browned on the outside and is cooked through.
Remove from oven, draining off excess fat. Spread marinara sauce, artichokes, olives and sun-dried tomatoes in even layers over the meat. Return to the oven and bake for 5 to 8 minutes or until sauce has set and toppings have softened. Remove from oven, top immediately with arugula then and serve.
Right now, fresh corn on the cob is at its seasonal best and even better, cheapest price. Locally grown stuff can be had for mere pocket change at produce stands all over the country. Take advantage of the season and have a meal of just corn!! YUM!
Here’s today’s TRICK:
When buying corn, get the freshest possible stuff you can find. The sugars in the corn quickly become starch and the flavor just isn’t the same. Look for fresh ears with silk that hasn’t even started to brown yet. Pull down one of the husks and check it out before you buy or you may take home a bunch of worms or lousy corn, eewww!
Here’s a TIP:
GRILL your corn! Hey, if you’ve got the grill already fired up, why heat up the kitchen with a pot of hot water? Clean the corn and throw it RIGHT on the grill. You can move it around for about 5 to 10 minutes on the grill grates, depending on how hot it is. I just like my corn to get nice and marked up. Pull it and keep it warm. Once you’ve had grilled corn like this, you’ll never want anything else!
And your fresh corn RECIPE:
Okay, so if you’ve grilled your corn, then I have a recipe for a compound butter you’ve just gotta try! It’s the BEST thing going… absolutely LOVE it!
Using a knife, rub a big blob on your corn and dig in! You won’t need any salt or anything, just this delectable butter, yum!
Spicy Compound Butter
In a small bowl, whip together all ingredients using an electric beater or do it by hand.
Once everything is well combined, place it in a sealed container and keep in the fridge till ready to use.
Makes enough for about 8 ears of corn.
Fresh basil is one of the most heady, aromatic herbs and the smell of it makes me think of summer. Love dried basil in soups and stews, love fresh basil in salads, pesto (of course), pastas, brushetta and anything else I can think of. This is one my most favorite fresh herbs!
But it isn’t just the flavor that is so good—it’s also good for you. Basil is high vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, iron, vitamin A, plus lots of trace minerals. Add to that the fact its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities make it a healing herb, what’s not to love about basil?
Here’s today’s TRICK:
Grow your own! It is so easy to grow in the ground, a container or with a start from a nursery. When you take the leaves off the top, it will keep growing until your first frost.
Here’s a TIP:
Remember just the leaves; the stalks are bitter. To make a chiffonade (thin ribbonlike slices of fresh basil), take all your leaves, pile them on top of each other, roll them up like a big cigar then using kitchen shears, snip away. Fast and easy!
And your Basil RECIPE:
Pasta Salad Primavera
Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, steam the carrots (for 4 minutes) then add zucchini cook till just until tender, another 3 to 5 minutes. Place in a bowl with ice to stop cooking, then drain and add the vegetables in a large bowl, along with the bell pepper, onion and corn.
Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
Add pasta to bowl and toss lightly.
Per Serving: 203 Calories; 15g Fat; 2g Protein; 9g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 30mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 2 Vegetable; 1 1/2 Fat.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Serve with a big green salad.
For more recipes like this, check out Dinner Answers.
Not many people think of radishes as something more than a salad garnish – you know, pretty, but not something you necessarily want to eat. But radishes are actually great for snacks and including in meals! They’re spicy and sweet, rich in potassium, ascorbic and folic acid, vitamin B6, and calcium. A whole cup is only 20 fat free calories! So start thinking outside the garnish!
Once upon a time, radishes were of such value in Greece, that statues were made in their image…out of gold!
Radishes with their spicy flavor, are related to wasabi. So, if you enjoy the kick of wasabi, you will probably also enjoy the heat of radish.
These days, radishes don’t receive as much fanfare as they should, as far as I’m concerned. These pretty pink spring veggies are not only widely available, but they are absolutely packed with nutrition.
Let’s take a gander at the health benefits in radishes.
Since radishes are most often served on salads, they are generally surrounded by fiber, but radishes also contain about a gram of fiber per serving. Fiber, of course, can reduce your risk of developing diabetes, diverticulitis, heart disease and colon cancer. So eat up!
There is a ton of vitamin C in radishes, especially considering their size. You can get 14% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C from a 1/2 cup serving. Vitamin C is important for our overall health. It’s not stored by the human body, so we need to take in lots of vitamin C in our daily diet to replenish our supplies.
There are compounds in a radish root that can actually induce cell death. That’s right. Radishes have the power to kill cancer cells.
Besides fiber and vitamin C, from a serving of radishes, you’ll receive good amounts of folate, vitamin K, B vitamins, manganese, potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium, copper, zinc and sodium.
Radishes are delicious sliced into salads and eaten raw, but they also add a nice spice to a pot of vegetable soup. Radish sprouts are amazing in a salad, giving it a nice peppery heat. Mmm mmm.
Here’s Today’s TRICK:
Before storing in the refrigerator, be sure to remove the tops of the radishes and they’ll last up to 7 days. And one more little trick: you can use radishes in place of turnips in recipes!
Here’s a TIP:
Before preparing, use a vegetable scrubber and wash under cold water.
Here’s your Radish Recipe:
Chicken Radish Salad
In a large bowl mix all ingredients together, adjusting the yogurt to your liking, salt and pepper to taste.
Serve on a bed of lettuce, or in pitas, or wraps.
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I enjoyed a bumper crop of zucchini this year from my garden, but I’m definitely over the beautiful orange squash blossoms for this season, sadly.
Today, we’re going to give you a trick, a tip and a great recipe to use with squash blossoms (and you can use any blossom, from any squash, even pumpkin!)
Squash plants produce male and female flowers. The male flowers are commonly referred to as false blossoms as it’s the female flower that produces the actual little baby squashes.
Squash blossoms are about 4 inches long and they have papery orange petals.
(If you don’t grow your own squash, you will have a hard time finding squash blossoms because they are extremely perishable. Ask around at the farmers’ market to see if anyone has any blossoms they can sell you.)
Squash blossoms aren’t very high in nutrition, but they are tasty, gorgeous and fun to eat!
Now for your Trick:
Insects may be hiding in those blossoms, so wash them really well before using. You also need to remove the fuzzy yellow part from inside the flower.
You can either toss the blossoms in with a stir fry or soup, or you can stuff them with whatever sort of filling you’d like and lightly sauté for an impressive appetizer. Or treat them like pasta and serve them with tomato sauce. Use your imagination!
And your Squash Blossom Recipe:
Balsamic California Chicken Salad
Preheat outdoor grill to MEDIUM-HIGH.
In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients for vinaigrette; blend well then set aside.
Brush all sides of chicken with melted coconut oil then evenly season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Grill for 5 to 7 minutes per side or until juices run clear; remove from grill and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss together remaining salad ingredients (mixed greens through bacon). Chop the cooked chicken and add it to the salad. Drizzle vinaigrette over the top and enjoy!
Chicken SoupThere are so many amazing health benefits you gain from eating dino kale. One cup of this wonderful Italian variety of kale gives you a walloping nutritional punch, providing 100% of your daily recommended amount of Vitamins K and A along with 88% of the Vitamin C you need in the run of a day. A great way to eat dino kale is in my great Kale Chicken Soup. And here is the recipe.
Ingredients:1 tablespoon olive oil,
2 medium carrots, diced,
2 medium stalks celery, diced,
1 small onion, sliced
1 bunch dinosaur kale, de-stemmed and chopped,
2 cloves garlic, pressed,
1 teaspoon curry powder,
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger,
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin,
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes,
2 teaspoons tomato paste,
4 (6-oz.) boneless skinless chicken breast halves,
3 cups low sodium chicken broth,
2 cups water
Instructions:Heat the oil in a large soup pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat; add next 9 ingredients (carrots through crushed red pepper flakes). Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until vegetables soften. Stir in tomato paste then top with chicken. Pour broth and water over chicken. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken to a cutting board and shred with two forks. Stir shredded chicken into soup.
If you and kale have an on-again, off-again relationship, there’s a good chance that you just haven’t met the right kale yet. (It’s not kale, it’s you.)
Some types of kale are better for some things than others and all varieties of kale have a slightly different taste and texture.
There are so many amazing health benefits you gain from eating kale that I strongly suggest you find one that you can incorporate into your diet without too much pain!
If you’re not a fan of curly kale, you might really like dino kale. This dark kale with long, flat, textured leaves is also commonly referred to as tuscan kale, black kale or lacinto kale. Many believe this kale to be more versatile, more delicious, and easier to work with than other kale varieties.
Dino kale has a pleasant texture that holds up to a little bit of cooking, but it’s also nice and earthy-sweet when eaten raw.
One cup of this wonderful Italian variety of kale gives you a walloping nutritional punch, providing 100% of your daily recommended amount of Vitamins K and A along with 88% of the Vitamin C you need in the run of a day. A member of the brassica family of plants, tuscan kale is a fabulous source of sulfur compounds that have shown to prevent cancer.
Now, that you’re willing to give dino kale a chance, I’ve got a trick, a tip, and a recipe for you!
A Dino Kale Trick:
Buy the freshest dino kale that you can because the older it is the more rubbery the texture! Plus, the taste starts to get bitter after a while so buy it fresh and eat it up.
Dino kale is one of the easiest things to grow in your garden! If you plant your own tuscan kale, it can grow up to three feet tall or more. This variety of kale looks very interesting when it grows and it will give an almost prehistoric look to your garden (it is called dino kale after all!). Kale likes lots of sun and rich soil. Kale loves the cold so don’t worry if you’re in a cooler climate.
And your Recipe:
Heat the oil in a large soup pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat; add next 9 ingredients (carrots through crushed red pepper flakes).
Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until vegetables soften.
Stir in tomato paste then top with chicken.
Pour broth and water over chicken.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Remove chicken to a cutting board and shred with two forks.
Stir shredded chicken into soup.