Nutrition, recipes

Cajun Salmon Cakes

This recipe comes together quickly and makes for an easy, nutritious entree. Canned salmon is low in mercury and is a fairly inexpensive dietary source of vitamin D and healthy omega-3 fats.  Tip: Canned salmon comes in varieties with or without bones; purchasing canned salmon with bones is a good option if you are looking for ways to increase your calcium intake.

Ingredients:
3-6 ounce cans canned salmon, drained
¼ cup green onions, chopped
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp dry breadcrumbs
1 tsp Cajun seasoning blend
2 tsp Dijon mustard
½ cup cornmeal
1 tbsp canola oil

Instructions:
Combine salmon, green onions, mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, Cajun seasoning and Dijon mustard together in bowl. Divide mixture into 6 equal portions and shape into patties. Dredge patties in cornmeal and shake off any excess. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp canola oil and place patties in pan. Cook patties about 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Yield: 6 cakes or patties (1 per serving)

Nutrition Information per Serving:
Calories: 230 • Protein: 32g • Sodium: 840mg • Carbohydrate: 21g • Fiber: 3g •
Fat: 15g • Sat Fat: 2g

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light
Uncategorized

Potato Basil Frittata

A frittata (similar to an omelet) can effortlessly transition from brunch to a quick weeknight dinner, being both elegant and easy.  Add a side salad to round out your meal.

Ingredients:
2 tbsp olive oil
4 red potatoes, peel left on, cubed
8 extra large eggs
¼ cup low fat milk or soymilk
½ cup basil, chopped
1/3 cup scallions, chopped
¼ cup grated pecorino romano or parmigiano reggiano cheese
3 ounces goat cheese, sliced into rounds
Pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions:
Heat a sauté pan on medium heat and then add olive oil. Add cubed potatoes and sauté, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork (about 15 minutes). Meanwhile in a separate bowl, whisk the eggs; then stir milk, basil, scallions, grated cheese, and salt and pepper into eggs. Turn on oven broiler.

Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes and cook on medium low heat for 3-5 minutes,
occasionally running a rubber spatula around the edges of the frittata to loosen. Frittata is ready for the broiler when eggs around the edge of the pan start to set, but the middle is still loose.

Top frittata with goat cheese rounds and place under the broiler for about 3 minutes or until eggs are set throughout. Run your spatula along the sides and bottom of the frittata to loosen from the pan and place on large plate or platter.

Yield: 8 servings

Nutrition Information per Serving:
Calories: 273 • Protein: 15g • Sodium: 327g • Carbohydrate: 18g • Fiber: 2g
Fat: 15.5g • Sat Fat: 6g

Nutrition, recipes

Kale – A Powerhouse Vegetable

By Toni Ambrogio, Dietetic Intern

IMG_1782

While many leafy green vegetables are full of healthful nutrients, kale has recently taken the spotlight for its versatility in the kitchen. While kale may start as a crunchy, leafy vegetable enjoyed in salad, it can be easily softened into a soup or stew, or transformed into kale chips for a healthier snacking option.

What Makes Kale Healthy?

Kale contains beneficial nutrients like beta carotene, Vitamin K, and Vitamin C. Beta carotene plays a role in vision and immunity; Vitamin K aids in proper clotting and coagulation of our blood; and Vitamin C is an antioxidant. Antioxidants are molecules that attach to free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals can negatively impact our bodies by causing damage to cells. Kale is also known as a “diabetes super food” due to its low glycemic index.

Kale Chips

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F.

Put the kale leaves in a bowl. Lightly pour the olive oil over the kale until the kale is glistening and coated (do not apply too much oil).

Transfer the kale to a baking sheet and spread it out for even cooking. Lightly season with salt. For a kick of citrus flavor, sprinkle with lemon pepper seasoning. Create a bold, new flavor by sprinkling the kale with chili powder and garlic powder. You can be very creative!

Bake until crispy, 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your oven. Cool and serve.

Ribollita – The Italian Minestrone

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)

4 – 6 garlic cloves, chopped

1 medium to large onion, finely chopped

2 medium carrots, diced

1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced into rounds

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup dry red wine

1 15 ounce can petite diced tomatoes, low sodium

6 cups water (or vegetable stock, low sodium)

2 15 ounce cans small white beans, low sodium

4 cups chopped kale

Directions:

  1. If vegetables are canned, rinse under water until water runs clear to rinse away some of the sodium.
  2. Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the EVOO. Add the garlic, three-quarters of the chopped onion, the carrots and zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Cook the veggies for 7 to 8 minutes, then add the wine to deglaze the pot. Stir in the tomatoes and stock and bring up the heat. When the soup boils, reduce it to a simmer and stir in the bread and beans. Pile the greens into the pot and wilt them into the soup.
  3. Simmer the ribollita for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring the soup as it simmers, until it thickens to a dense stew-like consistency. Turn off the heat, adjust the seasonings and ladle into shallow bowls.
  4. Additional – top each bowl with some of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, an additional drizzle of EVOO, a spoonful of the reserved raw onion and some basil.
recipes

Cranberry Gorgonzola Spinach Salad

This salad utilizes flavorful, seasonal ingredients without derailing your healthy diet and takes minimal effort to prepare. Add grilled chicken, salmon or flank steak to make it into a meal.

Ingredients:
1 cup pecan halves
12 cups baby spinach
½ cup dried cranberries
1 cup gorgonzola (or other blue cheese), crumbled (about 4-5 ounces)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp grated orange peel (optional)
Salt and pepper

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake pecans on an ungreased cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes or until golden. In a large bowl, combine spinach, cranberries and gorgonzola. Pour balsamic vinegar into a small bowl, whisk in olive oil and orange peel (if using). Pour over salad mixture and toss to combine.  Add pecans, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 6 servings

Nutrition Information per Serving (chicken, salmon or steak not included):
CALORIES: 300 • PROTEIN: 6g • SODIUM: 360mg • CARBOHYDRATE: 14g • FIBER: 3.5g •
FAT: 25g • Sat Fat: 6g

recipes

Power Granola

Sprinkle this granola on top of yogurt or fresh fruit for a healthy dessert or portion it into Ziplock bags for an on-the-go snack. The flaxseeds and walnuts provide a healthy dose of omega-3 fats, while the dried fruit adds a touch of natural sweetness.

Ingredients:
2 cups oats
1/3 cup flaxseed (whole or ground*)
¼ cup walnuts pieces
¼ cup slivered almonds
2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup honey
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup dried cranberries
¼ cup dried apricots, chopped
¼ tsp salt
Cooking spray or additional canola oil

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 315 degrees. In a large bowl, mix oats, flaxseed, nuts and cinnamon. Combine orange juice, honey and sugar in a small saucepan and cook on medium heat until sugar dissolves; remove from heat and stir in oil and vanilla. Pour orange juice mixture over oat mixture and toss to combine. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray (or grease lightly with additional canola oil) so that granola will not stick to pan. Spread oat mixture on cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes; stir mixture and bake for an other 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Stir in dried fruit and let cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or in the refrigerator for up to several months.

*Ground flaxseed will provide more omega-3 fats

Yield: About 4½ cups (serving size: ¼ cup)

Nutrition Information per Serving:
CALORIES: 125 • PROTEIN: 3g • SODIUM: 35mg • CARBOHYDRATE: 20g •  FIBER: 2.5g • FAT: 4.5g • Sat Fat: 0.5g

(Recipe adapted from Cooking Light)
recipes

Chicken Gumbo

Get in the Mardi Gras spirit any time with this the MGH Be Fit program’s recipe for chicken gumbo.

Ingredients

One 32 oz container of low sodium, fat-free chicken stock
2 c. cooked chicken, diced
1/2 c. Spanish onions, diced
1/2 c. carrot, diced
1/2 c. celery, diced
1/2 c. green peppers, diced
1/2 c. okra, frozen, precut
1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes, no added salt
¼ c. brown rice, uncooked (or 1 c cooked brown rice, if using leftovers)
1 t. dried thyme
Salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

Cook rice according to directions on package. While rice is cooking, bring chicken stock to a boil. Add cooked chicken, onion, carrot and celery to chicken stock. Reduce mixture to a simmer for 5-7 minutes.
Add thyme, tomatoes, okra, green peppers. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 15-25 minutes more. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with rice.

Preparation Tips
– If soup is too thick, more chicken stock can be added without drastically affecting the nutrition information

– If chicken is not already cooked, it can be baked in a 375-degree oven for 25 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Yield:4 servings

Nutrition information per serving:

CALORIES: 234 • PROTEIN: 29g • SODIUM: 360 mg • FAT: 3g • CARBOHYDRATE: 22g • FIBER: 4g • Sat Fat: 1g

(Adapted Recipe Courtesy of the MGH Eat Street Cafe)
Nutrition, recipes

Be Fit Basics: Chicken Corn Chowder

January is National Soup Month. Stay warm this weekend with this corn chowder recipe from the MGH Be Fit program. Freeze any leftovers in single-serve portions for an easy weekday dinner idea.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 pound raw chicken breasts
1 tbsp butter
¾ cup celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 (16 oz each) packages of frozen corn, thawed
2 cups milk (low fat or skim), divided
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¾ cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Instructions:

Heat a large sauté pan and add olive oil to pan; cook chicken about 5-7 minutes per side or until the inside of the breasts reach 165 degrees. Remove chicken from pan and let rest 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan or pot, melt butter and add celery, onion, and 1 package of corn; sauté for about 5 minutes. Place remaining package of corn and 1 cup of milk in a blender and process until smooth. Add the pureed corn to the pan with sautéed corn; add remaining milk, salt, black pepper, and cheese and cook over medium heat until the cheese melts. Shred the cooked chicken with your hands (alternatively, you could cut it into chunks) and add to the soup.

Yield: About 6-1 cup servings

Preparation Tip:
-Defrost the corn in the refrigerator or by running it under cold water.

NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING:
CALORIES: 255 calories • PROTEIN: 24 g • SODIUM: 415 mg • CARBOHYDRATE: 15 g • FIBER: 1.5 g •
FAT: 11 g • Sat Fat: 5 g

(Recipe adapted from Cooking Light)
recipes

Pumpkin Soup

It just wouldn’t be fall without pumpkins and (pumpkin-flavored) dishes.  Make a satisfying meal that is light on calories, but heavy on flavor with this recipe from the MGH Be Fit program.

Ingredients:

1½ tablespoon canola oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 tbsp flour
4 cups chicken broth, low sodium
3 cups (~25 oz) pumpkin puree
1 clove, minced
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup 2% Greek Yogurt (Try FAGE) ®
Pinch of nutmeg (ground or freshly grated)

Instructions:

Sauté onions in saucepan until translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring for approximately 2 minutes or until it thickens. Add remaining ingredients, except for yogurt. Bring soup to a simmer, whisking occasionally. Ladle soup into bowls and top with 1 tbsp yogurt per bowl and a dusting of nutmeg.

Yield: 4-2/3 cup servings

NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING:
CALORIES: 193 • PROTEIN: 9g • SODIUM: 294mg • CARBOHYDRATE: 25g • FIBER: 6.5g •      FAT: 7g • Sat Fat: 1.5g

(Recipe adapted from Volumetrics, by Barbara Rolls)
Nutrition, recipes

Pesto Artichoke Barley Salad

Consider cooking barley the night before a busy day. Simply refrigerate cooked barley overnight and add remaining ingredients before serving for a quick and refreshing cold salad.

4 cups water
1 cup uncooked pearl barley
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, quartered, water drained
1 scallion, sliced
2 tbsp prepared commercial pesto
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add barley, cover and reduce heat; simmer for 45 minutes.

Remove barley from heat and let stand for 5 minutes (or refrigerate overnight after barley is no longer hot to the touch). Add remaining ingredients and toss. This salad can be served warm or
chilled.

Yield: about 7 servings, 1 cup serving size

NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING:
CALORIES: 240 • PROTEIN: 10 g • SODIUM: 448 mg • CARBOHYDRATE: 35 g FIBER: 8 g • FAT: 6 g • Sat Fat: 2 g

(Recipe adapted from Cooking Light)
Nutrition, recipes

Green Seasoning

By Fern Harper
Administrative Coordinator for the DSME Program

Mixed vegetables in a wicker basket

Season your food using only fresh ingredients and no salt. I like to use this green  seasoning in soups and as a marinade for meat and chicken.  It’s also very delicious with steamed vegetables.

You can buy these vegetables at your local supermarket or Farmers Market, or you can even pick them fresh from your own garden. Depending on your taste, you can add more or less of any ingredient, or substitute in other vegetables.

Ingredients:

2 cups of green onions
1 whole red pepper (seeded, chopped)
1 whole green pepper (seeded, chopped)
2 cups of celery
One bunch of cilantro (fresh)
One cup of thyme leaves (fresh)
One cup of basil (fresh)
One cup of rosemary (fresh)
1 bunch of chives
2 cups of onion
3 cups of garlic
1 cup of fresh mint leaves
2 shallots
A small piece of Ginger
¼ of a lemon
One quarter of a scotch bonnet pepper, seeds removed if you do not like it hot (optional)
¼ to ½ of cup of vinegar to moisten.

Additional items you will need:

Food Processor
Preserving glass jars
Mixing bowl (optional)
Ziploc bags (optional)

Preparation:

Wash vegetables and cut into small pieces.  Place in a food processor and process to desired texture, adding vinegar as needed.  When finished, pour into a preserving glass jar and store in the refrigerator.  If you don’t have a food processor, you can mix your vegetables in a large bowl and store in quart size Ziploc bags (vinegar, lemon juice and ginger are optional with this method).

Green seasoning will last about 2 months in the refrigerator.  You can also store in Ziploc bags in the freezer and take out and defrost as needed.

Enjoy!

(Post content reviewed by MGH Nutrition Department)