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Put Your Best Fork Forward// Small Changes to Help You Find Balance

Put Your Best Fork Forward.jpgMarch is National Nutrition Month! To help spread its message this month, we’ve got five recommendations for ways you can “Put Your Best Fork Forward.”


  1. Focus on small changes. The Dietary Guidelines recommend starting with small changes that add up to lasting lifestyle changes over time. Perhaps that means starting your day with breakfast, drinking more water or reaching for fruits/vegetables at snack time.
  2. Prepare more meals at home. Gather your family around the table, share a healthy meal and make memories at the same time. Remember to talk positively about healthy foods—your kids are listening!

  3. Make your plate MyPlate. Focus on the five food groups and fill your plate with lean protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and a serving of low-fat dairy on the side.

  4. Choose healthful options when dining out. Request healthy side dishes and ask for modifications to be sure the meal meets your nutritional goals. Practice portion control by bringing half the food home for another meal.

  5. Find that balance. Weight management comes down to calories in versus calories out, so be sure to find that balance between the two by eating the right amount of food to meet your needs while finding ways to move your body through physical activity.  

This article was written by Kaitlin Anderson, news@postbulletin.com.

 




Four Reasons to Get Your Teen in the Kitchen

Teens in the Kitchen.jpgNot all teenagers want to help out in the kitchen. But encouraging them to do so is a worthy goal because of the many benefits.


Why get your teens in the kitchen?

Promotes conversation – When you cook with your children, you can model good communication.  Studies have shown that the more teens communicate with their parents on a daily basis, the less likely they are to participate in risky behaviors.

They’ll be more likely to eat It – Do you have picky eaters?  Teens will be more likely to try new things if they are able to help prepare the meals they are eating. They will also be getting a more balanced diet when meals are prepared in the home.

Promotes confidence in the kitchen – As teens grow into adulthood, the task of feeding themselves becomes their own. We need to prepare our kids with skills for the future to help make the transition into adulthood more successful. And the likelihood of them having to feed a family of their own one day is pretty high!

Reinforces science and math – What a great way to “trick” kids into doing math and science.  They have so much fun in the kitchen, many times they forget they are learning new skills and applying many math and science concepts. Help your teens develop a love of cooking and at the same time, they will be making connections to other aspects of their learning.

USU Extension’s Youth Can Cook Program

Do you have a teen looking for more cooking experience? Here are five reasons they should join the Youth Can Cook program.

1. Be part of a group!

Come and make friends with other teens who don’t attend your school, who view the world differently than you do, and are excited to learn! Youth Can Cook brings together teens from all over the county, giving them a chance to learn and grow in different and distinct ways.

2. Master Food Preserver Course – kitchen skills

Do you have a favorite salsa your grandma makes every fall? Or have you ever broken out a bottle of canned peaches in the middle of winter and had flashbacks to summer time? Food preservation gives us the ability to enjoy our favorite foods all year round! Teens will learn food preservation techniques from community Master Food Preservers. These skills will later be used  as part of their Youth Can Cook paid apprenticeship as they assist in future food preserver courses.

3. Food Safety Managers Certification

Jobs available to teens are likely to involve food, and working in a food establishment requires a food handler’s permit. As a part of the Youth Can Cook program, teens are guided through the Food Safety Managers course (ServSafe equivalent). Youth will participate in hands-on activities that help solidify the concepts learned. This is an $80 course that is free to program participants.

4. Job, life, and relationship skills

In a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the data collected showed that teamwork/collaboration, oral and written communications, and critical thinking/problem solving were all identified as “absolutely essential” to be career ready.

Teens will leave the program with a fresh resume, interviewing and communicating skills, and the ability to navigate relationships in the job sector.

5. Paid apprenticeship & job reference

Teens will apprentice community educators to get a feel for what it’s like to work in the professional world. They will be given responsibilities and tasks to demonstrate the skills they learned throughout the program. The apprenticeship lasts 50 hours, and teens are paid $9.50 an hour — more than $2 over minimum wage.

Learn more about the Youth Can Cook program here.


Information for this article was submitted by Ashlee Christiansen, Youth Can Cook program coordinator, Washington County, and Katie Kapp, Youth Can Cook program coordinator, Salt Lake County

 

 




Cooking with Kitchen Staples

Kitchen Staple GraphicWith a few basic cooking skills and some common kitchen staples, you can cook a variety of foods in your kitchen. Try some of these basic recipes using flour, and learn more about the Youth Can Cook program.


Youth Can Cook

The Youth Can Cook program is a multi-tiered life skills and job-readiness program. Eligible youth will be provided with food-related education, healthy relationship tips and be connected to career opportunities, by completing the Food Safety Manager Certification and through a paid internship. 

As part of the Youth Can Cook program, teens learn about basic cooking skills. With the combination of basic cooking skills and staple ingredients, the options are endless. Staple ingredients are ingredients commonly used for a variety of recipes. Today we are focusing on the staple ingredient, flour.

Cooking with Flour

Do you have a lot of flour but are not sure what to do with it? Flour is a kitchen staple that many people have on hand. It is a diverse ingredient used for making sauces, desserts, and tortillas. Here are a few recipes that don’t take long and might have you thinking outside of your normal routine! The following recipes call for whole wheat flour; feel free to use half whole wheat flour and half white flour, or just white flour for these recipes.

Homemade Tortillas

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ C. whole-wheat flour
  • ½ C. oil
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 C. water heated in microwave for 1 minute

Instructions:

  1. In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer set with a dough hook, pour in the flour, oil, and salt. Beat with the paddle until crumbly, about 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape the sides as needed. If your hand-held mixer comes with dough hooks, those can be used as well.
  2. With the mixer running, gradually add the warm water and continue mixing until the dough is smooth, about 3 minutes.
  3. Take out the dough and divide it into 12 equal-sized pieces. I do this by making the dough into a big log shape that is about 8 – 10 inches long. Then I cut it in the middle. Then I cut each of those pieces in the middle and so on until you have 12 pieces.
  4. Using the palms of your hand, roll each piece into a round ball and flatten it out on a baking tray or board. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes or up to one hour.
  5. Heat a cast iron skillet, griddle or 12-inch skillet over med-high heat. The pan should be fairly hot before you begin cooking the tortillas.
  6. On a lightly floured board or counter top, use a rolling pin to turn each ball into an 8-to-10 inch flat circle (measure against your recipe if printed on a 8.5 X 11 sheet of paper). Be careful not to use more than a teaspoon or two of flour when rolling out each ball into a tortilla because too much excess flour will burn in the pan.
  7. Grease the pan with a touch of oil (or ghee) and then carefully transfer each tortilla, one at a time, to the pan and cook until puffy and slightly brown, about 30 to 45 seconds per side. Set aside on a plate to cool slightly. Eat within an hour, refrigerate or freeze.

Recipe from: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/recipe-whole-wheat-tortillas/

Homemade Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

  • 2 C. whole-wheat flour
  • 1 ½ T. yeast
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 ½ t. sugar
  • ¾ C. water
  • 1 t. canola oil (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Add water and oil and mix well to incorporate flour mixture. Form dough into ball. Let rise 10 minutes while covered with a clean towel.
  4. Turn dough onto a well-floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out into a pizza crust shape.
  5. Place on prepared pizza pan or baking sheet. Cover with your favorite sauce and toppings and bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Recipe from: Food $ense program

Homemade Pretzels

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 C. warm water
  • 2 t. salt
  • 1 package fast acting yeast
  • 2 ¼ C. all-purpose flour
  • 2 ¼ C. whole-wheat flour
  • 4 T. butter
  • ¼ C. honey
  • Vegetable oil, for pan
  • 10 C. water
  • 1/3 C. baking soda (for boiling water)
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 T. water
  • Salt

Instructions:

  1. Combine the water, salt, yeast, flour, butter, and honey.
  2. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the dough from the bowl, and prepare a second bowl by rubbing vegetable oil along the inside.
  4. Place the dough in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
  5. Preheat the oven to 450 F.
  6. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
  7. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan.
  8. In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope.
  9. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel.
  10. Place onto the parchment-lined, half-sheet pan.
  11. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, one by one, for 30 seconds.
  12. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula.
  13. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with salt.
  14. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe from: http://honestcooking.com/honey-whole-wheat-pretzels/


This article was written by Katie Kapp, Youth Can Cook Program Coordinator with Utah State University Extension Salt Lake County

 




More on Cooking for One or Two

Cooking for One or TwoDid you see our tips for cooking for one or two people last week? Here are a few more tips to help you cook food that is delicious and nutritious, and to cut down on wasted food.


Rethink your recipes.

Most recipes that serve four or more can be easily converted to produce a smaller quantity; however, having knowledge of kitchen measurements can be helpful for those tricky conversions that are not as straightforward.

Keep these recipe measurement conversions in mind:

1 cup 16 tbsp.
1 tbsp. 3 tsp.
1 cup 8 fluid ounces
1 fluid ounce 2 tbsp.
1 pint 2 cups
1 quart 2 pints

For example, to make half of a recipe, you would substitute the following:

Recipe Calls For: Use:
1/4 cup 2 tbsp.
1/3 cup 2 tbsp. + 2 tsp.
3/4 cup 6 tbsp.
1 tbsp. 1 1/2 tsp.

Cook Once, Eat Twice

Having a plan for leftovers can be a great way to increase variety in your eating, reduce boredom and eliminate food waste.

For example, a one-pan, roasted vegetable and chicken dish makes an easy first meal and the components can be used in a variety of ways for leftovers.

Sample Recipe: Honey Mustard Chicken with Roasted Vegetables

Roasting a pan of vegetables at the beginning of the week can be an easy way to add in extra vegetables over the next couple of days. Leftover vegetables can be frozen for use at a later time. Here are some ideas for using leftover roasted vegetables:

  • Make roasted vegetable tacos. This recipe includes black beans for an inexpensive protein source, and the Mexican flavor profile mixes things up.
  • Create a roasted vegetable + leafy green + whole grain + flavorful toppings bowl. Leafy greens include spinach, kale or mixed salad greens. Try whole grains such as quinoa, farro or brown rice, and add crunchy or flavorful toppings such feta or blue cheese crumbles, roasted pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and/or walnuts and a vinaigrette dressing. Try this farro roasted root vegetable bowl.

Similarly, there are many uses for leftover roasted chicken.

  • Add roasted chicken to a soups or to a mixed greens salad.
  • Or, try the leftovers in chicken salad. This honey mustard chicken salad uses a similar flavor profile to the original sheet pan recipe. Substitute 2 tbsp. of light mayonnaise + 2 tbsp. non-fat Greek yogurt for the ¼ cup regular mayonnaise and you’ll pack in extra nutrition without sacrificing flavor.

Keep Food Safety in Mind

  • Remember to use good food safety practice when handling leftovers.
  • To start, food should initially be cooked to proper temperatures. Visit Food Safety.gov to find the proper cooking temperatures for various foods.
  • To cool cooked foods faster, place them in a shallow dish no more than 2 inches deep, and refrigerate promptly. (Foods should be kept in the temperature danger zone (40º-140ºF), or the temperature range that promotes bacterial growth, for less than two hours total.)
  • Never put warm foods directly in the freezer. Instead, cool them in the refrigerator and then put in the freezer.
  • Reheat all leftovers to 165 F. Stir food as it is reheating to make sure it is being heated thoroughly throughout, and test the final temperature with a food thermometer.
  • Keep a thermometer in your refrigerator to make sure the temperature remains at 40 F or below.
  • Refrigerated leftovers should be eaten within 3-4 days or discarded. Frozen leftovers can be kept for a few months, depending on the type of food. Visit Food Safety.gov to find the recommended times to store different foods in the refrigerator or freezer.

This article was written by Brittany Bingeman, Extension Assistant Professor FCS, Washington County

References:

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2015). 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. Retrieved October 5, 2017, from https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.
  2. Henneman A. (2012). Planning Healthy Meals for One or Two – A Checklist. University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension. Retrieved from https://food.unl.edu/documents/Cookingfor1or2.pdf
  3. Allen R. Cooking for One or Two. University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. Retrieved from http://www.frontierdistrict.k-state.edu/health-nutrition/food-preparation/docs/Health%20Nutrition%20Cooking%204%20One%20Or%20Two.pdf
  4.     Henneman A. Reducing the Size of Recipes. University of Nebraska Lincoln. Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Retrieved from https://food.unl.edu/reducing-size-recipes-0
  5.     McEntire JC. (2011). Handle Leftovers with Care. FoodSafety.gov website. Retrieved from https://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/leftovers.html
  6.   FoodSafety.gov. Storage Times for the Freezer and Refrigerator. Retrieved from https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/storagetimes.html



Cooking for One or Two

Cooking for One.jpgTry these strategies for planning balanced, nutritious meals when cooking for just one or two people. Stay tuned for more tips on this topic next week!


It can be tempting to think that it’s too much trouble to plan and cook a balanced meal for just one or two people, but think of maximizing your nutrition as part of your self-care routine. You deserve it! Here are some helpful strategies.

Use MyPlate to plan balanced meals.                                      

MyPlate is based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provides evidenced-based recommendations for nutrition and health for Americans ages two and older. Key strategies to maximize nutrition include the following:

  • Fill half your plate with nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose different kinds of colorful vegetables to provide a greater variety of nutrients.
  • Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products for calcium and other important nutrients.
  • Eat a variety of lean, animal-based protein sources, such as lean cuts of meat, poultry and fish (including fatty fish), and plant-based protein sources, including nuts, seeds, beans, peas and soy products.
  • Choose whole fruits, including fresh, frozen and canned in 100 percent  juice, over fruit juice most of the time.
  • Aim to eat whole grains for at least half of your daily grain servings. Whole grains include 100 percent whole wheat products, brown rice and ancient grains like quinoa, amaranth, millet and whole corn.

Create a grocery shopping plan to allow for nutritious meals, while eliminating food waste.

Here are some helpful hints:

  • Shop with a list. (A good guideline for everyone!)
  • Choose fruit according to ripeness based on when you plan to eat or use it. (I.e., buy ripe fruit only if you will eat it in the next day or two.)
  • Check the back of the grocery display for fresher produce.
  • Choose frozen and canned fruits and vegetables, which will keep longer.
  • Rethink buying in bulk. Yes, the unit price can be lower, but is it really saving money if part of it goes to waste? Sometimes, buying a smaller quantity (i.e., a 6 oz. container of yogurt) that you will actually use is less expensive.
  • Buy meats and poultry in larger quantities, prepare one portion, and immediately freeze the rest in individual portion sizes.

This article was written by Brittany Bingeman, Extension Assistant Professor FCS, Washington County

References:

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2015). 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. Retrieved October 5, 2017, from https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.
  2. Henneman A. (2012). Planning Healthy Meals for One or Two – A Checklist. University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension. Retrieved from https://food.unl.edu/documents/Cookingfor1or2.pdf
  3. Allen R. Cooking for One or Two. University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. Retrieved from http://www.frontierdistrict.k-state.edu/health-nutrition/food-preparation/docs/Health%20Nutrition%20Cooking%204%20One%20Or%20Two.pdf
  4. Henneman A. Reducing the Size of Recipes. University of Nebraska Lincoln. Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Retrieved from https://food.unl.edu/reducing-size-recipes-0
  5. McEntire JC. (2011). Handle Leftovers with Care. FoodSafety.gov website. Retrieved from https://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/leftovers.html

6.   FoodSafety.gov. Storage Times for the Freezer and Refrigerator. Retrieved from https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/storagetimes.html




Flavorful Eating in the Later Years

Flavorful Eating.jpgLooking to amp up the flavor of your favorite foods? Try these simple tips.


According to the 2014 U.S. Census Bureau data, there are more than 80 million people age 65 and older. This group comprises close to one-quarter of the total population of the United States. Numbers have increased significantly since the 1990s when they were only at 12 percent. This increased longevity has a variety of nutritional implications.

Oftentimes caregiving for these seniors falls to the younger generations which may include children or grandchildren.  Providing meals may offer a challenge for what seems like picky eaters or those with no interest in food. A little understanding or education can go a long way in making the process a bit easier.

Many seniors find that the foods they used to love just don’t taste the same anymore. It’s not their imagination; it’s a fact. Over time, our senses of taste and smell diminish, either naturally or as a result of medical treatments such as chemotherapy or medications. These losses can result in a decreased appetite, lack of interest in food, or even malnourishment. However, compensating for these losses is well within your control. Following are some ideas for making food more appetizing.

  • Arrange food attractively on the plate. Use simple plate patterns so food is clearly visible.
  • Vary shapes, textures, and temperature of the food. Take time to savor the food; smell it before you taste it and chew it thoroughly before swallowing.
  • Augment food’s flavor with a variety of herbs and spices.
  • Look for strongly flavored foods, if tolerated, such as garlic, onions, citrus fruits, and flavored vinegars.
  • Use fruit sauces or jams as well as concentrated flavors and extracts to stimulate taste buds.
  • Double the amount of herbs and spices added to recipes, but within reason. Black or red pepper shouldn’t be doubled automatically. Dry rubs and spice/herb combinations on meat and poultry add flavor without fat.
  • Use flavor enhancers like monosodium glutamate to enhance savory foods or reduce perceived bitterness or acidity. MSG is lower in sodium than table salt and can boost the flavor of sodium-restricted diets.
  • Add small amounts of fat (creamy dressing, cheese sauce, bacon bits) to soften sharp-tasting foods.

The chemosensory losses associated with aging and medical treatments can be readily and easily managed. By using these simple tips, seniors themselves, or through their caregivers, may regain the enjoyment eating once had, leading to improved nutritional status and better overall health.


This article was written by Ellen Serfustini, FCS Agent, Utah State University Extension

 




Roasting Vegetables

Roasted Veggie how toTry these simple directions to achieve perfectly roasted and flavorful veggies.


Fall is upon us and so is the abundance of the harvest.  Are you looking for a fast, easy and yummy way to prepare those vegetables?  Roasting them is a great way to add some pizazz to your next meal.  Not only is roasting vegetables delicious, but it is very healthy as well.

Combining vegetables that have similar roasting times is an easy way to create a delicious, evenly cooked vegetarian side or main dish. You can also combine foods with varied roasting times – just add the faster-cooking vegetables to the oven later or pre-cook hard root vegetables on the stove top.

Easy Instructions:

  • Set oven temp to 450 F.  High heat is necessary for the vegetables to brown and caramelize by the time they are completely done.
  • Cut vegetables into similar-sized pieces.
  • For every 2 pounds of vegetables, toss with 1 T. olive oil and seasonings (such as salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary, thyme or sage).
  • Line baking sheet with either parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  • Spread vegetables on baking sheet in a single layer with space between pieces.
  • Roast each vegetable variety separately or combine them.
  • Use roasted vegetables as a side dish, on a sandwich or Panini, on a tortilla, in soups or over brown rice or whole grain pasta.

Approximate cooking times for various vegetables:

10 to 15 minutes:  asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, buttercup squash, yellow and zucchini squash, garlic, leeks, okra, tomatillos, radishes

15 to 20 minutes:  Brussels sprouts, carrots, cherry tomatoes, green beans, mushrooms, parsnips

20 to 30 minutes:  baby artichokes, baby carrots, cauliflower, onion, corn on the cob, eggplant, kohlrabi, plum tomatoes, sweet peppers, sweet potatoes, turnips

30 to 40 minutes: butternut squash, baking potatoes, rutabagas, new potatoes, celery

50 to 60 minutes: acorn squash, beets


This article was written by Patricia Mathis, USU Extension 4-H and Family and Consumer Sciences Educator in Wasatch County




Chicken Chili Verde Three Ways

Chicken Chile VerdeDid you know you can mix up your mealtimes while using your same favorite recipes? With small adjustments, one recipe can provide a variety of meals. Here’s an example of a delicious recipe and how it can be altered to provide you with several dinner ideas!


Chicken Chili Verde

  • 1 lb. chicken
  • 2 tablespoons oil (vegetable or olive)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (7 oz.) green chilies or ½ cup roasted chili peppers
  • 2 cups water or chicken broth

Make it a Burrito

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. In a medium saucepan, brown chicken in 1 tablespoon oil. Add remaining oil and flour. Stir constantly until flour browns. Stir in garlic, cumin, and salt. Mix in chilies and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until chicken is tender and sauce thickens, 30-45 minutes, adding more water to thin if necessary.

Serve in tortilla shells; top with cheese or other desired toppings.

You can also serve it over rice.

Make it a Soup

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. In a saucepan, brown chicken in 1 tablespoon oil.

In a separate medium saucepan, combine 1 tablespoon oil with the flour. Stir constantly until flour browns. Slowly add chicken broth or water, whisking until smooth. Stir in chicken, garlic, cumin, salt, and chilies. Add more liquid, as needed, to reach the desired consistency of soup broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until chicken is tender. If soup is too thin, simmer sauce until thickened. If soup is too thick, add more water.

Soup can be topped with cheese and sour cream if desired.

Make it a Salsa/Dip

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. In a medium saucepan, brown chicken in 1 tablespoon oil. Add remaining oil and flour. Stir constantly until flour browns. Stir in garlic, cumin, and salt. Mix in chilies and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until chicken is tender. This is where personal preference comes in: if you like salsa/dip to be chunkier, simmer for a longer amount of time, until it has reached the desired thickness. If you like salsa/dip to be runnier, add more liquid as needed, simmering for less time until it has reached the desired thickness.

Serve with chips as a side dish.

 


This article was written by Kelsey Chappell, Family and Consumer Sciences Intern, and Melanie Jewkes, Utah State University Extension associate professor, Salt Lake County




9 Unusual Vegetables You Should Try

unusual veggies graphicNext time you’re at the grocery store, look for some of these interesting vegetables to incorporate into your menus.  Watch the video clip for some recipe ideas, and read up on the nutritional benefits of these veggies below.


Unusual Vegetables Play

Bok Choy

bok-choy-1922455_1920

Bok choy is a member of the cabbage family, and contains fiber, protein, and vitamins A and C, which are antioxidants and protect cells from damage. Try sautéing it in a skillet with hot oil and garlic until leaves are bright green and stalks are translucent.

Anise/Fennel

fennel-533692_1920

Anise, or Fennel, is a root vegetable and also an aromatic and flavorful herb in the same family as carrots and parsley. It continues fiber, some protein, vitamins A, C and E, potassium, zinc, and beta-carotene.

Roasted Fennel with Parmesan

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 fennel bulbs, cut vertically 1/3-inch thick slices, fronds reserved.
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Lightly oil bottom of a 13×9 glass baking dish. Arrange fennel in the dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then with parmesan cheese. Drizzle with oil. Bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Chop enough fennel fronds to equal 2 tsp, then sprinkle over the roasted fennel and serve.

Kale

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Kale contains protein, fiber, potassium, and vitamins A, C and B6. Try it in a massaged salad, or added into soup.

Massaged Kale Salad

  • 2 bunches of kale
  • ½ c parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • ¼ c lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt

Strip leaves from the stems (discard stems). Wash and dry the leaves. Tear the leaves into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Add parmesan, oil, lemon juice, garlic, pepper, and salt. With clean hands, firmly massage and crush the greens to work in the flavoring. Stop when the volume of greens is reduced by about half. The greens should look darker and somewhat shiny. Taste and adjust seasoning with more parmesan, lemon juice, garlic, and/or pepper. To avoid mess, massage in a Ziploc bag!

Broccoflower

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Broccoflower looks like a light green cauliflower, and has a milder and sweeter flavor than either broccoli or cauliflower. It can be eaten raw or cooked. Broccoflower contains vitamins A and C, folic acid and magnesium.

Rainbow Chard

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Rainbow chard is a relative of the beet, with colorful stalks that resemble celery topped with dark green leaves. It contains vitamins A, C, E, and K, beta carotene, calcium, and potassium. Prepare the leaves as you would spinach, and the stalks as you would asparagus.

Purple Potatoes

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They may look different, but purple potatoes contain the same vitamin C, potassium and fiber that regular potatoes do, and can be prepared the same way.

Shallots

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Shallots contain more nutrients than onions, and have a milder flavor. They contain vitamins A and C, pyridoxine, folates, and thiamin.

Jicama

jicama-875254_1920

Jicama is a root vegetable, and contains potassium, fiber, protein, and vitamin C. It should be stored on the counter, not in the fridge. Eat it with hummus or on a salad.

Beets

beetroot-904371_1920

Beets contain antioxidants, vitamin C and B6, fiber, potassium and magnesium. Try them roasted.


Information for this article was contributed by Jaqueline Neid-Avila, RDN, CD with USU Extension in Davis County

 

 




9 Tips for Easy Summer Meals

Easy Summer MealsTry these nine tips to save you time in the kitchen, so you can spend more time enjoying your summer.


1. Put your slow cooker to work.

Prepare chicken, beef, or pork for wraps, salads, and sandwiches.

2. Use your microwave.

Try a baked potato bar. Cook the potatoes in the microwave.  Top with shredded reduced-fat cheese, non-fat sour cream, chopped chives or green onions, bacon bits, chili, or other toppings your family enjoys.

Create a burrito and warm it in the microwave. Each person can create their own by filling a whole-grain flour tortilla with shredded chicken or beef, black or refried beans, fresh veggies like green, red, yellow or orange peppers, green onions, grated carrots, olives, shredded cheese, etc.  Then wrap it into a burrito shape, and microwave for a minute or two.

3. Create a main dish salad.

Chinese chicken salad, taco salad, chef’s salad, grilled chicken salad, shrimp or seafood salad, etc.

4. Whip up a stove-top dinner.

Grilled sandwiches, BLT sandwich (while the turkey bacon is cooking, toast the bread and slice the tomato), quesadillas, omelets, ham fried rice, fajitas, sloppy Joes, pancakes, French toast, waffles

5. Chop or spiralize raw veggies in advance.

Having veggies ready to go in the fridge makes preparing a healthful meal easier, whether it’s a sandwich, salad, quesadilla, omelet, or stir fry.  Personal favorites include bell peppers, green onions, jicama, celery, carrot, zucchini, and tomatoes.

6. Grill it!

Heat up the grill instead of the kitchen to cook your favorite meats, vegetables, and even fruit.

7. Use frozen vegetables.

Stock up on frozen vegetables that can be added to what you are making quickly.   They are easy because they come chopped up and ready to go.  They also come in a variety of mixes, so you can get a variety of veggies in just a few bags.  Stir-fry mixes can significantly reduce prep time.

8. Use convenience products when the price is right and time is scarce.

It is often less expensive to prep foods yourself at home, but pre-cut produce and pre-cooked poultry and meats can be time savers.  Weigh the cost to your budget and the time saved to decide if the trade-off is worth it.

9. Serve a low-fuss fruit salad.

Use raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, red and green grapes, bananas, canned pineapple chunks, strawberries, and apple slices in bags to prepare an easy fruit salad.


Ann Henderson, Extension Associate Professor for Utah State University in Box Elder County

References:

Magee, E.  Guide to a Healthy Kitchen:  10 Tips for Fast Cooking.  Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-kitchen-11/10-tips-for-fast-cooking?page=1 on May 16, 2016.

Meyer, H.  4 Tips to Cook Dinner Faster.  Retrieved from http://www.eatingwell.com/healthy_cooking/healthy_cooking_101_basics_and_techniques/4_tips_to_cook_dinner_faster?page=2 on May 16, 2016.

Orlov, Alex. (2015)  12 Brilliant Meal Prep Tips to Help Free Up Your Time.  Retrieved from http://dailyburn.com/life/health/meal-prep-ideas-healthy-eating/ on May 16, 2016.