Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tofu, don't I know you?

Aaaah, hummus. The dip with the grainy mouthfeel and somewhat odd taste that is great with carrots, celery, pita chips, and many more vegetables. Usually made with chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) and tahini, hummus is a traditional dish in the Middle East. I have another version of hummus that I usually make that is much spicier and contains the traditional ingredients, but found this recipe in my favorite cookbook The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger and just had to try it.

I wanted to make this because I had leftover tofu from the Peanut Sesame Noodles that I made the other night and I love edamame. But not as much as Dooce does, apparently. Tofu is not a regular staple in my household, as most recipes that I make must contain some sort of meat - or so demands my carnivorous hubby. However, I have also found that he will most likely eat what I make, even if he doesn't like it a lot. And even if he has to add more salt. Which is quite often.

I digress. Uuuuhhhh ... tofu! I was talking about tofu. Tofu is loaded with tryptophan, which does not make you sleepy by itself and is an essential amino acid. Tofu is also very high in protein and iron, both of which are very good for your blood. Tofu usually comes in soft or firm and can be fried, sauteed, baked or eaten raw. The beauty of tofu is that it usually takes on the flavor of the sauce it is served in or the food it is served with. I dare you to try this inexpensive vegetarian staple!

Edamame Hummus (from The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger)
2 cups shelled edamame, cooked according to package directions
1 cup silken tofu, briefly drained of excess liquid
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice, plus more, to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin, plus more, for garnish

Set 1 tablespoon of edamame aside for a garnish. Place the rest of the edamame, tofu, salt, garlic, oil, lemon juice, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin in the bowl of a food processor and process until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper, plus more lemon juice, if desired. Remove to a serving bowl and garnish with reserved edamame, and some cumin.

12 Servings (1/4 cup each)

Nutritional Information
FAT 6g (Sat. 0.7g, Poly 0.8g, Mono 3.5g)
SODIUM 110 mg

Sesame for me

When I first saw this recipe on the Smitten Kitchen blog, I thought, mmmm, looks good, but it's probably too difficult. Then I read further and realized how easy and good it sounded.
It was easy and quick!!! And oh, so so good. Hubby and I both loved it and we barely like tofu. However, I must warn you, this is NOT a light recipe. It does have lots of nutrients, but this is definitely one of those recipes that fits in the "once in a long while" category of your moderate diet. ; )

On that note ... what is good about this recipe is the sesame! Both the sesame oil in the dressing and the toasted sesame seeds offer lots of unsaturated fats and are a very good source of copper. Sesame also contains fibrous groups called lingans that have been shown to lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure. Sesame seeds, although mostly known as being white, also come in yellow, red and black.

I also have to say that I loved how many vegetables were in this. And the soba noodles (buckwheat) cooked really quickly and were exceptionally tasty. I can't wait to make this again... in oh, 4 months. ; )

Peanut Sesame Noodles

(as seen in Smitten Kitchen blog [Adapted from Gourmet, June 2002])

Servings: Makes 6 side-dish or 4 vegetarian main-course servings.

For peanut dressing
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce (I used low sodium to control the salt)
1/3 cup warm water
1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 medium garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons Asian toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes or a splash of the hot sauce or chili paste of your choice

For noodles
3/4 lb dried soba nooodles (dried linguine fini or spaghetti will work in a pinch)
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips
Half a seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
1 cup firm or extra-firm tofu, cubed
3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

Purée dressing ingredients in a blender until smooth, about 2 minutes, then transfer to a large bowl.

Cook pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until tender. Drain in a colander, then rinse well under cold water.

Add pasta, scallions, bell peppers, cucumber and tofu to dressing, tossing to combine. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information
(for one main serving)
FAT 31g (Sat. 5.5g)
SODIUM 1,524 mg
FIBER 6.6g

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Short and Easy Week

This week is pretty short since we are heading to Kansas on Friday to see my little, er, younger, brother graduate from college! So excited that not only do we get to see him don his cap and gown, but my older brother and sister-in-law will be there as well and we will be staying with my grandparents. Hooray! So, here's the menu for this week. Short and sweet!

Monday: Class/OYO

Tuesday: Peanut Sesame Noodles ala Smitten Kitchen

Wednesday: Stir-Fry with Chicken

Thursday: Baked Potatoes with Pick-Your-Own Toppings (spiced ground beef, cheese, butter, sour cream, salsa, etc.)

Friday - Sunday: In Sterling, KS for bro's graduation!

See the rest of the MPM bloggers' menus here.

Have a great week everyone!!

Nuts for Nutrition

Finally, an answer to what I just know you all have been thinking - just what is this blog all about anyways? ; ) When thinking about a starting a cooking blog, I really wanted to write one that not only had the nutritional information for good recipes, but also highlighted key elements that are good for the body.

Why "Nuts for Nutrition"? Well, the title has many meanings. 1) I am nuts for nutrition - as a dietetics student and avid good food eater, I am always advocating foods with high nutrient value. I thought it was about time that I share those good (and sometimes bad) recipes with others. 2) Nuts are excellent for nutrition! As I will outline below, nuts have numerous nutrients and are often undervalued in our diets. 3) My nickname is Nutmegs - so the Nut part only fit better! ; )

So how about them nuts? First of all, there are many, many different kinds of nuts. There are soy nuts and peanuts, almonds and cashews, walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios and chestnuts, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, pecans and coconuts. I feel like Bubba Gump. ; ) I decided to highlight a few of the most used for your enjoyment - oh and of course a recipe - granola!!

Pecans: Good source of protein and Vitamin E, lots of unsaturated fats (60% mono, 30% poly - good to break down the LDL in blood), 1 ounce provides 10% of daily value (DV) of fiber.

Walnuts: Excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids (1/4 c. provides 90% of DV), very good source of manganese, contains an antioxidant called ellagic acid that supports the immune system and has anti-cancer properties

Almonds: Very good source of manganese and Vitamin E, high amount of monounsaturated fats, may help you lose weight

Side Note: What is manganese? Manganese is a cofactor for your enzymes that aids in disarming free radicals in a cell's cytoplasm. In other words, it helps prevent cancer.

I like to serve this granola with yogurt or milk poured over it. Yummy!

Nutty Granola (from The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger)

Cooking Spray
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup chopped raw, unsalted walnuts
1/2 cup chopped unsalted almonds
1/2 cup chopped unsalted pecans
1/2 cup maple syrup (regular may work, but trust me, it tastes better with the real stuff)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins, optional (I like to do a combination of dried cranberries and raisins)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl combine the oats, nuts, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon and the raisins, if using. Spread the mixture onto the baking sheet and bake until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Transfer the sheet to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

9 (1/2 cup) Servings

Nutritional Information
FAT 15g (Sat. 1.5g)
SODIUM 67 mg
FIBER 4.5g

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Monday, Monday, Monday!

It's that time again! This week is fairly plan free as I needed a small break. One of my favorite meals is on Thursday, though!!

Monday: On Your Own/Class
Tuesday: Chopped Nicoise Salad (leftover from last week, didn't make)
Wednesday: Spaghetti or Stir-Fry with Chicken
Thursday: Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers
Friday: Veggie Pizza
Saturday: Spaghetti or Stir-Fry with Chicken

To see the roundup of menus from other bloggers, click here.

Hubby and I went snowshoeing in Rocky Mountain National Park on Saturday and it was GORGEOUS!! There wasn't a soul on the trail with us and it was so quiet, minus the creaking of the trees as they bowed in the wind. Here are just a few pictures from our 4 mile hike through the fresh powder.

This sign was buried in about 4 feet of snow!! We also sat on a "bench" that is normally the horse-tie before the meadows. Only in Colorado. ; )

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Menu for this week (late!)

I was lazy in posting my menu on Monday this week, even though I prepared in on Sunday, like usual. Nothing too special this week, although I am looking forward to the Chopped Nicoise Salad on Friday and the meal on Saturday as well. Although, those are up in the air as to when I make them as we might go up Granby on Friday night for some skiing or snowshoeing on Saturday.

Monday: Class, On Your Own Dinner
Tuesday: Cornmeal Crusted Catfish with Mushroom-Curry Bulgar
Wednesday: Enchilada Bake with Salad
Thursday: John and Tina's Wedding
Friday: Chopped Nicoise Salad
Saturday: Chile Relleno Casserole
Sunday: Open for Options!!

In other news, I got registered for the online nutrition courses that I wanted for my BS in Dietetics!! So excited to start those on May 19th! Until then, my Biology class is going splendidly well.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Broccoli - the super veggie

I love broccoli. It's filling; it's tasty; it's versatile. And it looks like little trees! Plus, it's one beautiful vegetable, look at the color! The red pepper was gorgeous as well and I couldn't resist getting some wonderful shots of these colorful vegetables.

I was intrigued by the following recipe when I read that the broccoli was to be browned and the red peppers barely blackened. I was anticipating that I would burn both, as I sometimes do in dishes, but I have learned that at our high altitude, it is better to cook items on medium when the recipe calls for medium-high, so they faired well!

There are many, many good things about this recipe, including the short amount of time that it took to cook it, but I wanted to put the spotlight on the green broccoli (as opposed to blue broccoli, you know? Note sarcasm). These little tree stalks are nutrient rich, loaded with Vitamin C (200 % of your daily value), Vitamin K (194% DV), and fiber. This tasty veggie has also been shown to help prevent cancer and detoxify your body with its plethora of phytonutrients. There is so much more to tell about broccoli, but I will leave that for another post about this crunchy veggie.

Rigatoni with Broccoli and Canadian Bacon
(from Cooking Light)

2 quarts water
4 ounces rigatoni pasta (I used bow tie)
1 Tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon
3 cups broccoli spears
1 1/3 cups julienned red pepper (1 large red pepper)
4 ounces Canadian Bacon, cut into 1/4" strips
2 minced garlic cloves

Cook the pasta in boiling water for about 10 minutes, or until the pasta is "al dente". (I cooked it a little longer, I like my pasta softer.) Set aside in a medium sized bowl.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli and cook until browned, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Remove the broccoli from the skillet and set aside.
Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to the skillet and add the red bell peppers. Cook until slightly blackened, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli back into the skillet. Add in the Canadian bacon and garlic, cooking until warmed, about 2 minutes. Remove from skillet and stir in with the pasta and serve.

3 Servings (Adjusted, recipe states 5 servings - I say that's a bunch of baloney)

Nutritional Information
FAT 9.5g (Sat. 1.8g, Poly 1.2g, Mono 5.7g)
SODIUM 500.3 mg
POTASSIUM 535.9 mg
FIBER 3.7g

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Beans, beans, the musical fruit...

...the more that you eat, the more that you toot! Yes, that's right, I'm talking about your colon and food! (And if you haven't heard my sister and I sing that song in harmony, you are missing out!) The scrumptious casserole that was tonight's dinner was full of the fiber filled fritters. (Say that ten times fast).

There are many types of beans (black, red, kidney, garbanzo, etc.), but this dish features pinto beans. Beans are not only a great source of fiber, but they are also packed with antioxidants (especially black beans), full of essential nutrients and contain nonheme iron - which is one of two kinds of iron that you need in your diet. They are an excellent source of protein for diabetics as they help maintain a person's blood sugar levels and help lower cholesterol.

In addition to all of these great things, this meal was made by my wonderful hubby!! I'm full of beans, you say? Nope, just a very lucky woman. Since I have class on Mondays and Wednesdays and don't get home until 8 on Wednesdays(10 on Mondays), he has taken to cooking dinner on these nights. I am so blessed!

Beef, Bean and Corn-Bread Casserole (from Cooking Light)

3/4 pound 93% ultra-lean ground beef (we used 1 lb. of ground turkey)
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
Cooking Spray
1 tablespoon chili powder (Hubby used Chipotle Chili Powder - it was spicy!)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 (8-ounce) cans no-salt-added tomato sauce
1 (16-ounce) can pinto beans, drained
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
3/4 cup skim milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/3 cups self-rising yellow cornmeal mix

Cook beef, onion, and garlic in a large saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until browned, stirring frequently to crumble the beef. Drain the beef mixture in a colander.

Return beef mixture to pan. Add chili powder, cumin, sugar, oregano, tomato sauce, pinto beans, and chiles; cover and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Pour mixture into a 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray; set aside.

Combine the milk and egg in a bowl, and stir well. Add the cornmeal mix, and stir well. Pour the cornmeal mixture over the beef mixture. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until the corn-bread topping is lightly browned.


4 servings

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 448(18% from fat)
FAT 9g (sat 2.9g,mono 3.5g,poly 1.3g)
SODIUM 948mg
FIBER 4.4g

Thyme for more soup!

Okay, I don't normally make soup that often, but apparently I have been on a kick lately! This soup looked quick and indeed, it was. Chop the vegetables, chop the chicken and you are ready to begin!

I was a little nervous about tempering the eggs, even though I have done it for other recipes before, but it turned out really well. No curdling of the eggs occurred in this episode.

So what is so special about this recipe? The thyme, of all things! Thyme has been found not only to be an excellent source of Vitamin K, but it also contains a variety of flavonoids and many antioxidants. Add it to your list of blueberries, pomegranates and green tea as a way to get those cancer preventing enzymes in!

Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo

4 tsp. olive oil, divided
8 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into small chunks
Pinch of salt, plus more to taste
1 med. onion, diced
2-3 stalks celery, diced
1 med. carrot, diced
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 cup orzo, preferably whole-wheat
2 large eggs
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with the salt, add it to the pot, and cook, stirring a few times, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a dish and set aside.
Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pot. Add the onion, celery, carrot and thyme and cook, stirring over medium-high heat until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add 5 cups of the broth and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and let simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Turn the heat down to low to keep the soup hot but not boiling.
Warm the remaining 1 cup broth in a small saucepan until it is hot but not boiling. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Gradually whisk the lemon juice into the eggs. Then gradually add the hot broth to the egg-lemon mixture, whisking all the while. Add the mixture to the soup, stirring well until the soup is thickened. Do not let the soup come to a boil. Add the cooked chicken to the soup. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

4 servings
Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups

Nutrition Information
FAT 10g (sat 2g,mono 6g,poly 1g)
SODIUM 291mg

Source: Ellie Krieger's "The Food You Crave" - Love this cookbook!! Have yet to have a bad recipe from it.