Something to Chew On

A Guide to Eating Right and Living Well


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Think Healthy for the Holidays!

Looking to make something healthy and creative for your friends and family this holiday season? Watch this video  to learn about healthy choices plus see how easy it is to whip up this fun holiday treat.

7-Layer Lemon Hummus & Pesto Yogurt Dip

Ingredients
1 (15-oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 T tahini (sesame seed paste found in the ethnic food section, or use unsweetened almond butter)
1 lemon separated into 1 tsp grated zest, 3 T juice
3 T organic or reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup basil pesto
1 cup shredded (not grated) Parmesan cheese (or use crumbled feta for a stronger taste)
1 large tomato, seeded, diced 1/4 inch (1 cup)
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded with a spoon, and diced (about 3/4 cup)
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced

For dipping
Serve grilled or toasted whole-grain pita chips or flatbread torn into pieces
Romaine hearts

Directions
1. To make the hummus: Purée chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, lemon zest, broth, salt, garlic powder, and pepper in a food processor until smooth. Drizzle in olive oil. Spread hummus evenly in the bottom of a 9- X 9-inch glass dish.

2. Stir together yogurt and pesto and spoon over hummus. Evenly sprinkle the cheese, followed by single layers of tomato, cucumber, scallions, and olives. Enjoy this dish on the same or the next day for optimal freshness.

*Note: For a more festive look, use a trifle-style glass bowl rather than a square baking dish. It makes for a great-looking potluck contribution.

Nutrient Analysis per 1/4-cup serving
Calories: 77; Total fat: 5 g; Sat fat: 1 g; Cholesterol: 4 mg; Sodium: 243 mg; Total carbohydrate: 5 g; Dietary fiber: 1 g; Protein: 4 g

— Recipe reprinted with permission from Clean Eating for Busy Families: Get Meals on the Table in Minutes With Simple and Satisfying Whole-Foods Recipes You and Your Kids Will Love by Michelle Dudash, RDN (Fair Winds Press, December 2012) 


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The Perfect I’m Sorry Dish

We’ve all been there. That moment when you need to swallow your pride and admit that you were wrong. My most recent episode occurred a few days ago. I had brought home a cat assuring my husband that he was already

Portrait of a male tabby catproperly trained and would get along great with our Australian shepherd, Bamboo. To get the cat accustomed to his new environment, I shut him in one of the guest bedrooms with food, water and a litter box for the night. To my horror the next morning, the cat had shredded up a good chunk of the carpet next to the door in attempts to free himself from the locked bedroom. The cat ended up going back to his original owner and I was left with the silent treatment from my husband.

If there’s a way to get to back on my husband’s good side, its bacon. Since bacon is a higher fat meat, it is not consumed on a regular basis in our household. That means when it is served, it is a real treat. This bacon stuffed chicken recipe not only cheered him up, it was also loaded with healthy vegetables.

Bacon-Vegetable Stuffed Chickenphoto 1

  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5-8 oz fresh spinach leaves
  • 10 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 5-8 strips of bacon
  • 3 chicken breasts, pounded thin or butterfly

1. In a medium-large sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms and spinach and continue stirring until spinach is wilted. Add just a pinch of salt and pepper, for taste. Once cooked, remove pan from heat.

2. Meanwhile lay bacon strips on baking sheet and cook at 375oF for 10 minutes. Flip bacon and cook an additional 10-12 minutes until crisp.

3. Chop cooked bacon and mix evenly into vegetables.

photo 4

4. Spoon mixture evenly onto thin chicken breasts. Fold one half of the chicken breast over mixture and secure with a toothpick. Bake chicken at 375oF for 25-30 minutes or until an internal temperature of 165 F is achieved. Serve with your favorite vegetable dish.

Have you ever wondered what to do with your leftover turkey from Thanksgiving? Amanda Figge, Springfield Clinic registered dietitian, shows us around County Market on how to make a delicious recipe with leftover turkey.  Plus she delivers some excellent healthy eating tips. Enjoy!

Roasted Turkey Goat Cheese Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

RoastedTurkeyGoatCheeseSalad

For the dressing:

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp honey

1 tsp Dijon mustard

¼ cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

For the Salad:

3-4 oz leftover white meat Thanksgiving turkey

1 ½ cups Salad Greens (50/50 mix of Spring Mix and Spinach recommended)

1 oz of goat cheese, crumbles or freshly sliced

2 Tbsp dried cranberries

2 Tbsp walnuts

1. Whisk together salad dressing ingredients in small bowl and set aside. Combine all salad ingredients in bowl. Drizzle 1-2 Tbsp of dressing over salad and serve immediately.

 

In case you missed Part One : http://somethingtochew.com/2013/11/18/holiday-edition-part-one/

 


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Challenge Accepted.

One of my addictions is the cooking competition shows on the Food Network. It amazes me how the chefs on the show Chopped will receive a “mystery basket” of ingredients and then turn those foods into a wonderful masterpiece. The whole concept of not using a recipe terrifies me! Sure, I’d consider myself a good cook, but I generally need to follow a recipe in order to make something edible. This past week, I decided to challenge myself with some leftover ingredients and create a new side dish. To my surprise, it came out quite tasty!

photo 2

Sautéed Vegetables with Tangy Mustard Dressing

  • 3 small-medium sweet potatoes, sliced
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced into thick wedges
  • 12 oz mushrooms, sliced into thick wedges
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup of chopped asparagus
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil

For the Dressing

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp fresh dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add sweet potatoes, onions, mushrooms and garlic and heat until sweet potatoes become slightly tender, stirring often.

2. Add asparagus and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes until asparagus becomes slightly tender.

3. Meanwhile, whisk all dressing ingredients together in small bowl.

4. Pour dressing over vegetables or serve as a dipping sauce on the side.


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Trendy Dish

Spaghetti squash is one trendy food item that continues to grow in popularity. It’s a great alternative for individuals who have gluten intolerance or for those simply wanting to cut back on consumption of starches. The first time I attempted to make spaghetti squash, I failed miserably. In fact, I couldn’t even cut through the squash, so thinking it was a bad squash, I threw it out. When this recipe called for spaghetti squash, I did what every normal person would do; I used Google to see how to cut it. The simplest and safest way to cut squash (without losing a finger) is to lay the squash on its side and cut off the top end. Then you can put the cut end down on the cutting board and have a stable base to slice the squash lengthwise in half. It takes a little muscle and a very sharp knife, but the rewards of the spaghetti squash will definitely be worth it!

I was excited to try this recipe, especially since one of the ingredients was hot sauce, which is one of my husband’s top 5 favorite food group (No, hot sauce is not considered a “food group” but for hot-sauce lovers out there, you understand me). I’m not too keen on hot sauce, but mild buffalo sauce was appropriate for my sensitive taste buds. The recipe calls for ½ cup hot sauce, but you may scale up or down depending on how much heat you like in your dishes.

photo 1Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients:

•             1 large spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise

•             2 tablespoons olive oil

•             1-2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed

•             2 garlic cloves, minced

•             ½ sweet onion, finely chopped

•             1 large carrot, finely chopped

•             2 stalks of celery, finely chopped

•             ½ cup hot sauce ( I use buffalo-mild sauce)

•             Salt and pepper, to taste

•             Chopped green onions, to garnish

•             Sprinkle of red pepper flakes

•             1/3 cup mayonnaise (I recommend the mayo made with olive oil-the one with the olive-green colored lid)

1. Preheat oven to 415oF.

2. Place spaghetti squash open side down on baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until skin is soft and threads of squash easily remove with fork.

3. While squash cooks, place a large pan over medium heat. Add oil and chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Once chicken is browned and cooked to an internal temperature of 165oF. Remove chicken from pan.

4. In the same pan, still over medium heat, add garlic, onion, carrot and celery. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Once onions become translucent (about 5 minutes), remove from heat.

5. Add spaghetti squash threads, chicken, mayo and buffalo sauce to pan. Garnish with green onions and red pepper flakes.

Recipe adapted from http://paleomg.com/buffalo-chicken-pasta/


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Fall – The Season of Sweet Potatoes

Taking advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetables is a cost-effective way to consume healthy and nutritious foods all year long. The sweet potato is one fall vegetable that happens to be one of my favorite starches. If you asked me a year ago if I liked sweet potatoes, I probably would’ve responded with a big “Yuck!” The first time I tried sweet potatoes was at Thanksgiving. They were smothered in marshmallows and brown sugar and in my opinion, were a mushy mess. I later tried sweet potato fries and was also very disappointed. Knowing that sweet potatoes were good for me, I was bound and determined to find a way to prepare them that was to my liking.

steamables_sweet_lgDid you know sweet potatoes are actually not related to the potato family? They are a member of the morning glory family. Personally, I enjoy sweet potatoes with my eggs in the morning or roasted with mixed vegetables as a side dish for lunch and dinner. My favorite way to spice them is with garlic, sea salt and pepper. However, most people prefer using cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves. Sweet potatoes served with egg whites also make an excellent post-workout snack. If I’m in a rush, I grab a bag of steamable sweet potatoes at the supermarket and can have a quick side dish on hand in a matter of minutes.

A small sweet potato (about 5 inches long or about 1 cup) contains 112 calories, 2 grams of protein, 3.9 grams of fiber and is also a good source of potassium and Vitamin C. Sweet potatoes are most known for their content of Vitamin A and the antioxidant, beta-carotene which is excellent for skin and eye health. Beta-carotene is found within the deep orange pigment of the sweet potato. Other sources of (orange-pigmented) beta-carotene include carrots, pumpkin and squash and it is also found in green-pigmented vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and kale. Beta-carotene is best absorbed when it is consumed with a small amount of fat. This can be easily accomplished if you use a small amount of olive oil when sautéing or roasting your sweet potatoes. They also are a good source of Vitamin B6 which is essential for red blood cell formation and protein metabolism.

Using sweet potatoes in unconventional ways is a great method for consuming nutrients, especially for individuals with food allergies.  Here is a kid-friendly, gluten-free and dairy-free recipe for making:

Sweet Potato Pancakes

  • 2 small sweet potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2-1 large banana
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger
  • Canola, olive or coconut oil (for cooking)
  1. Wash and pierce potatoes with a fork; cover with a paper towel and microwave for 5-6 minutes until soft.
  2. In a food processor, add the scooped out portion of the flesh of the sweet potatoes, eggs and ½ – whole banana (for sweetness) and puree until smooth.
  3. Add baking soda and spices, to taste.
  4. Heat oil on skillet over medium heat. Scoop ¼ cup batter onto skillet and cook 2-3 minutes on one side. Flip carefully and cook an additional 1-2 minutes on other side.
  5. Serve with fruit, yogurt or your favorite breakfast protein for a balanced breakfast or serve by itself for a healthy, sweet treat.

A zesty way to roast potatoes in the oven:

Baked Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges

  • 2 sweet potatoessweetpotatowedges
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Olive oil (1-2 tsp)
  1. Preheat oven to 350oF.
  2. Slice potatoes into even wedges.
  3. Combine spices in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, add potato wedges and drizzle with olive oil. Add spices and lime juice; lightly toss together.
  4. Spread potatoes on baking sheet and bake 30-35 minutes, turning half-way through.
  5. Enjoy!

 

**Extremely high intakes of Vitamin A can lead to toxic levels in the body. Please consult with your physician if considering taking a Vitamin A supplement.

 


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Healthy Recipe – Creamy Baked Pumpkin Risotto

CreamyBakedPumpkinRisotto

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 2 cups pumpkin or butternut squash, small diced
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup medium yellow onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400oF and arrange a rack in the middle.

2. Combine broth, rice, squash, puree, and onion in a 3-quart baking dish, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and stir to evenly combine.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake, stirring occasionally, until most the water has been absorbed and rice granules are puffed, about 35 to 30 minutes.

3. Remove from oven, stir in remaining ingredients, season to taste and serve. Serves 6.

Nutrition Information: Calories: 269.Total Fat: 11 g. Saturated Fat: 4 g. Sugar: 3 g. Fiber: 2.5 g. Cholesterol: 12mg. Sodium: 253 mg. Total Carbohydrate: 36 g. Dietary Fiber: 2 g. Protein: 9 g.

-www.foodnetwork.com- Recipe courtesy of Aida Mollenkamp; 2012 Television Food Network G.P.

 


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Healthy Recipe Monday

Potatoes are one of America’s favorite vegetables. They are a good source of potassium and you can get a little extra fiber by eating the skins. Remember to practice good portion control when consuming potatoes by sticking to ½ cup serving sizes. For a balanced meal, be sure to add a green vegetable such as asparagus, green beans, spinach or broccoli along with potatoes.

Garlic Potatoes with Fresh Herbs

GarlicPotatoeswithFreshHerbs

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boiling or baking potatoes, with or without skins
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper (white preferred)

1. Fill a large saucepan with enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, cut the boiling potatoes in half or the baking potatoes in quarters. Add the potatoes and garlic to the boiling water and return to a boil. Boil for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft all the way through when tested with a knife. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a medium bowl and the garlic to a small plate, reserving the potato water.

2. Mash the garlic cloves. Add to the potatoes, combining lightly with a potato masher or large fork until coarse-textured. (Do not sure a food processor.) Stir in the remaining ingredients, adding a little hot potato water if needed for the desired consistency. The texture should remain coarse.

Cook’s Tip – For a taste change, substitute other fresh herbs for the rosemary and/or oregano. Parsley and sage are just two possibilities. This recipe doubles well.

Nutrition Information: Calories: 106.Total Fat: 2 g. Saturated Fat: 0.5 g. Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g. Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g. Trans Fat: 0 g. Cholesterol: 0 mg. Sodium: 80 mg. Carbohydrate: 21 g. Fiber: 3 g. Sugars: 1 g. Protein: 2 g.

-American Heart Association, Recipes for the Heart


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Back In Action- Farmer’s Market Kick-Off Today

After a two-week hiatus from the Illinois Products Farmer’s Markets for the Illinois State Fair we are back in action at the market. Join us tonight from 4-7 pm at the Illinois State Fairgrounds for fresh produce, sweet treats, and more. Tonight we will be giving away salad shakers to the first 100 visitors to our booth. shaker1 shaker2 Complete with fork and a special compartment for your dressing of choice. Also tonight you can visit with our Orthopedic Group and pick up our Healthy Recipe of the Week: Chicken Pasta Salad with Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing.

Notes from Amanda Figge,” This recipe has already been approved as delicious. The Channel 20 news studio gobbled it up and when I brought the leftovers up to Lincoln this morning; they were completely gone in 30 minutes (by 8:15am!).”

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup fat-free, sugar-free vanilla yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 ounces dried whole-grain penne
  • 12 ounces cooked skinless chicken breast, cooked without salt, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 ounces spinach, cut into long, thin pieces or torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, halved and slivered
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, dry-roasted
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fat-free milk (optional)

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Set aside.

2. Prepare the pasta using the package directions, omitting the salt. Drain in a colander. Rinse with cold water until cool. Drain well.

3. In a large bowl, stir together the chicken, pasta, spinach, bell pepper, and onion.

4. Pour the dressing over the salad, tossing to coat (using two large spoons works well). Sprinkle with the almonds or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours, sprinkling with the almonds just before serving. If the salad seems dry after refrigeration, toss with the milk at serving time to add moisture.

chickenpastasaladcreamypoppyCook’s Tip – For a hearty side salad, omit the chicken and add some shredded carrots, chopped cucumber, or other vegetables.

Nutrition Information: Calories: 358.Total Fat: 7.5 g. Saturated Fat: 1.5 g. Monounsaturated Fat: 3.5 g. Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g. Trans Fat: 0 g. Cholesterol: 75 mg. Sodium: 233 mg. Carbohydrate: 37 g. Fiber: 7 g. Sugars: 4 g. Protein: 35 g.

-American Heart Association, Recipes for the Heart


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Building Better Salads- Part 2

Salad Dressings.

Salad Dressing IllustrationIs it just me or does everyone have at least 6 almost-empty bottles of salad dressing in their fridge? I’m sure this is a trait I picked up from my mother and it drives my husband insane. If you’re like most people, a salad just isn’t complete until it has the perfect dressing to tie all those nutritious ingredients together. While there appears to be hundreds of varieties of dressings available at the grocery store, choosing the right salad dressing not only creates the perfect salad ,but it can be beneficial to your health. Too often, our healthy salad creations are sabotaged by choosing the wrong salad dressing. Here are a few simple tips to help guide your next salad shopping adventure.

Don’t always go with the fat-free variety. There are several reasons why fat-free salad dressings are not the best selection. First of all, they don’t taste good…at all. I know this because during my early college years, I had convinced myself everything I ate had to be fat-free. Fat, along with sugar and sodium help flavor the foods found on the shelves at the grocery store. If you remove one of those elements, you’re going to have to add more of the other two in order to make up for lost flavor. We also need a healthy source of fat in order to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins that are found in the colorful vegetables that make up our salads.

Do monitor portion sizes. A serving of salad dressing is 2 Tbsp which is about the size of a golf ball. If you don’t’ trust yourself in only pouring 2 Tbsp on your salad, serve your salad dressing on the side and dip the tip of your fork into the dressing before each bite. This is a great technique to help control your portion size of salad dressing and it can also help slow down your speed of eating.

Don’t dress your salad too early. You only need to make this mistake once before learning this lesson. It was one of the first holidays I was spending with my boyfriend/now husband’s family. I decided to prepare a delicious spinach salad with a homemade salad dressing for everyone. Unfortunately, I put the salad dressing on the salad an hour before it was served and left everyone with a soggy, sad representation of my culinary skills.

Do try to choose a vinaigrette dressing more often.

  • Vinaigrettes spread easier than other dressings. This can help you keep your portion size of salad dressing under control.
  • The consumption of vinegar before a meal may have beneficial effects on postprandial blood sugar spikes which can be beneficial for individuals with diabetes. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/1/281.long
  • Try making your own vinaigrettes at home by using heart-healthy olive oil as your base. A simple balsamic vinaigrette only needs:
    • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
    • 2 tsp dark brown sugar (optional)
    • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
    • ½ tsp salt
    • ½ tsp ground pepper
    • ¾ cup olive oil
  • Do be adventurous. I was always scared of choosing vinaigrette in the past simply because of the word “vinegar”. By trying new foods, I have discovered that some of my favorite dressings are different blends of vinaigrette’s like citrus-lime or roasted red pepper. salad-dressing-aisle
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