5 ways to squash your dinner

5 ways to squash your dinner

You can tell by the bright yellow or orange flesh of winter squash (well, depending on the variety), that this fall harvest fruit is good for you. (Yes, squash is a fruit!) Winter squash, like acorn and butternut, are the more substantial varieties. And I’m sure you already knew it, but zucchini is considered a summer squash.

If you’re looking for some ideas about how to get more of this delicious fruit that’s easy to find, easy to cook and easy on the budget, I happen to have some fab suggestions for you. 😉

The following are five ways you can prepare squash to enjoy with your dinner this evening:

Roasted with root vegetables. If you’re roasting beets, parsnips or carrots, toss in some squash. You can also make it even easier and simply slice your squash in half, remove the seeds (save them to roast later), and roast in its skin at 375 for about 30–40 minutes, depending on the squash and its size. When dinner’s ready, scoop out the flesh of the squash and enjoy with some butter.

Mashed or puréed. You can steam your squash and mash it, just like you would with potatoes. I personally don’t care for this method as it’s not nearly as flavorful as roasting, but it’s a good way to bulk up a serving of mashed vegetables. Puréed squash also looks very pretty on a plate.

Souped up. Make a simple soup from your squash, and serve it as an appetizer. Or, bulk it up with more veggies and serve it as a main course.

Stuffed. You can stuff and roast just about any squash you would like. Imagine a beautiful spaghetti squash, sliced in half and stuffed with tomato sauce and meatballs. Or an acorn squash sliced and stuffed with sausage and apples. Use your imagination (and Google—you can find endless ideas for roasting squash.)

As noodles. You may already know that you can roast a spaghetti squash and scoop out its noodly flesh to eat as you would any traditional noodle. But if you have a vegetable spiralizer, you can also make noodles out of other types of squash like acorn or butternut, and gently steam them to serve for dinner. (You can find veggie spiralizers on Amazon.) The accord squash “noodles” are wonderful!

I hope I’ve inspired you to add squash to your menu this evening. 🙂

What veggie can I not get enough of right now?

What veggie can I not get enough of right now?

By: Leanne Ely

 

It’s time for Tricks, Tips and a Recipe! And in honor of this most ultimate summer squash, today we’re giving it the attention it deserves. Sound good?

Zucchinis are packed with beta-carotene, potassium and B vitamins. They also provide fiber and a bit of Vitamin C, but a large zucchini contains only 16 calories!

While zucchini can be used in muffin and loaf recipes, I prefer to eat it in its pure form, simply stir fried as a simple side dish. Oh you know what else is good? Grated zucchini sautéed in olive oil and a bit of garlic with salt and pepper. Absolutely delicious and almost rice-like in texture.

This is one versatile and delicious veggie!

zucchini

Now, it’s time for your Trick:

If you don’t know what to do with all that zucchini in your garden, grate it up and put it in the freezer, sealed individually in one-cup servings.

Your Tip:

Select small to medium sized zucchini if you’re eating them for flavor. The bigger guys start to lose their taste after awhile. They’re okay for purposes like zucchini bread, but they won’t do much for you in a stir fry.

And your Recipe from our new 21 Day Knock Out!

Fried Egg and Veggie Skillet
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced
1 large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
1 pound zucchini, quartered and thinly sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
4 large eggs

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS: In a very large skillet over medium high heat, melt half the coconut oil. Add onion, pepper, and zucchini and sauté for 5 to 8 minutes, until tender.

Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Stir in thyme.

Move the veggies to the outer edges of the skillet and lower the heat to medium. Add the remaining coconut oil. Crack eggs into the center and fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Flip eggs over and fry for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, or until eggs reach desired doneness.

Carefully scoop vegetables out and top with eggs. Season eggs with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

If you want more tasty recipes to help you stay on track and get ready for summer, join me on our new 21 Day Knock Out here!

It’s not easy being green (Kermit the Frog)

It’s not easy being green (Kermit the Frog)

By: Leanne Ely

 

It’s not easy being greens. So packed with goodness and fiber, yet so many people just push them around the plate without any respect for the nutrition in their pretty green leaves.Mixed Salad Greens over white

If you want to get the nutrients you need in your system, you have to get good and comfortable with eating greens. And since today’s produce is so deficient in many vitamins and nutrients, you have to eat as many greens as you can manage.

From late March through early May, there’s a wide variety of spring greens to enjoy, including:

•    kale
•    spinach
•    baby lettuces
•    arugula
•    dandelion greens

Salad greens are chock full of phytonutrients, anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants.

Eating spring greens provides you with many nutrients and minerals including:

• vitamins A, C, E and K
• calcium
• iron
• fiber
• magnesium
• phosphorus
• potassium

Greens can protect the body against diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and hypertension. Greens can help your cells repair themselves and they can help detoxify the body. Eat a wide range of greens and eat them often, but always choose organic. Lettuce and kale are both on the Dirty Dozen list because of the high amounts of pesticide residue that have been found on them. If you can’t find organic greens, choose a different green veggie.

When it comes to choosing which types of greens to use in your salads, you really can’t go wrong. Experiment with different varieties until you find one you like best. I love putting fresh dill in with my blend of spring greens. Gives them a nice fresh flavor.

And when it comes to dressings, don’t toss your money away on the store bought stuff. Simply top your greens with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and some balsamic vinegar. Perfect.

Dinner Answer gives you great opportunity to use greens deliciously! Click here for details!

Looks like a brain to me

Looks like a brain to me

By: Leanne Ely

 

It’s time once again for Tricks, Tips and a Recipe. Today you’ll learn a tip, a trick and you’ll get a great recipe to try it out with. Isn’t that great?

Today’s focus is on: CAULIFLOWER

Also known as Cabbage Flower, cauliflower is a member of the Brassica family of veggies, well-known for their cancer fighting capabilities. Mon petit chou means (in French, chou is pronounced “shoe”) “my little cauliflower” and is a term of endearment! How do you like that?

cauliflower

Here’s today’s TRICK:

Take the stem off your cauliflower and keep it in an opened plastic bag in the fridge. It will last a good week, maybe longer!

And here’s a TIP:

To tone down the smell of cauliflower cooking, add a few celery seeds or some celery leaves to your cooking water. It won’t pick up the celery’s flavor, but it will certainly tame the smell!

And your RECIPE:

Bacon and Cauliflower Stir-Fry
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 pound bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 large shallot, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 large avocados, pitted, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cups baby spinach

Directions:
In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until dark brown and very crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove from skillet and drain on a paper towel lined plate; set aside. Melt the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cauliflower, shallot, salt and pepper; cook for 10 minutes or until cauliflower is slightly tender. In a large bowl, combine bacon, cauliflower mixture and avocados.

In a small bowl, whisk together honey, lemon juice and olive oil; pour mixture over bacon/cauliflower stir-fry. Serve stir-fry over a bed of baby spinach.

Want more great recipes like this one? (you know you do!) check out our new Dinner Answers here!

 

Little house on the…forage?

Little house on the…forage?

By: Leanne Ely

 

Now that I have everyone talking Paleo, I thought the timing would be just right to talk about all of the delicious foods you can find in the wild, or right in your own backyard!

We have our ancestors to thank for figuring out that the leaves of the rhubarb plant are poisonous, but the stalks are a wonderful source of fiber. That the flowers of a dandelion are too bitter to stomach, but their leaves are delicious. It took a lot of trial and error to discover that sweet, edible meat contained inside that ugly oyster shell and which mushrooms were safe for human consumption. They didn’t have a choice since food didn’t just appear in the grocery store like it does for us!

Food is easy for us to find nowadays, but with this huge Paleo movement sweeping the country, foraging for food has actually become rather trendy.

Chanterelles

With spring finally here, this is the time to look for edible wild greens and mushrooms.

DISCLAIMER: Do your homework to find out what’s available and edible (i.e., non toxic) in your own neck of the woods. Please don’t rely on this blog post to identify what’s safe to eat and what is not. There are dozens of varieties of plants and mushrooms around Canada and the US and I don’t claim to be an expert on them all, so do your research!

Daisies

Wild spring edibles

Here are some different types of edible foods you may find in the spring. This list will vary depending on where you live:

• Watercress. Find it in early spring right until late fall in marshy areas near streams and rivers. Can be eaten raw in salads.
• Morels. Find them in fields and forests. Black morels are found in early spring and white morels are found later in the season. Enjoy grilled or sauteed.
• Chanterelles. These beautiful golden mushrooms grow in the woods all summer long. Enjoy them sauteed in butter.
• Fiddleheads. Look for these alongside streams and forests. They are delicious sauteed in a frittata or just served as a side dish with some fresh fish.
• Wild leek. Found in woodlands early in spring and late in fall. Use them in soups and salads.
• Asparagus. Wild asparagus can be found in open fields, mid-spring until early summer.
• Dandelion greens. You can find dandelion greens just about anywhere! Read more about the nutritional value of dandelion greens and about how to enjoy them.
• Stinging nettle. You can find stinging nettle throughout the spring. Harvest them before their flowers appear. Nettle can be used as an herb or eaten as greens.
• Oxeye daisy. Did you know you can eat the unopened flower buds of the ordinary old daisy? Sauteed with some wild garlic and other wild edibles, they make an interesting side dish.
• Wild garlic. You can find wild garlic growing in damp woodlands. It looks like lily of the valley, but when you smell the edible leaves of the plant, you’ll know you have garlic on your hands. Literally! Eat the leaves raw or cooked.

Depending on where you live, you may be able to catch trout from a nearby stream, collect dulse or kelp from the sea shore or gather wild strawberries from the roadside.

There’s a free grocery store right outside your door!

Dandelion

Remember to only harvest these edibles from places you’re confident have not been treated with pesticides. Even then, when you feel the food is safe to eat, give everything a very good wash.

Okay, UNCLE!! We listened! And yes, we’ve extended our sale on our New Dinner Answers! Forage away! 😉 Click here for details!