“You and me go fishing in the dark …” In October Brian and I went to Nashville, Tennessee for vacation and the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. We enjoyed toe-tapping, knee-slapping country music. We also enjoyed great food, including fish tacos. Here is a recipe for Crispy Tilapia Tacos that we tried from the Nov/Dec 2015 Cooking Light magazine article called, “The Healthy Cooks Guide to Fat.” We added a few different toppings (corn and black beans) and pan-fried, rather than deep fried, the tilapia. Cooking Light staff tested cooking methods and found that dredging in flour absorbed less fat then panko crumbs. They also added flavor to the fish by adding a generous amount of garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper. Salt was added after frying so the fish was flavorful when only a small amount of salt was added.
Mary Anne and I spent a Friday afternoon cooking together. The menu included Beet and Goat Cheese Salad, Seafood alla Puttanesca, and Crepes with Poached Pears. Mary Anne choose a delicious white wine to serve with it. It was fun to try several new recipes. Dave and Brian came after work and we enjoyed a wonderful meal, lively conversation and playing the game Forbidden Desert.
My lasagna was just so-so until I adapted this recipe from an old The Best of America’s Test Kitchen magazine. This recipe easy and convenient. The sauce and cheese filling can be made the day before and easily assembled the next day. It freezes well either ready-to-bake or already baked. I have served it for birthday dinners and other special events. It even worked to slip it in the oven before Mass and come home to piping hot manicotti on Christmas day. It was a nice change from cheesy hash browns and ham!
Add reserved meat mixture to cheese mixture and combine.
Fill 9”x13” baking pan with boiling water and soak noodles three at a time until pliable (about 1-2 minutes). Remove from pan and set aside in single layer on a kitchen towel. Do not stack or they will stick together. Dry baking pan and coat with cooking spray.
Spread ½ sauce on bottom of pan. Cut noodles in half, spread filling across the bottom of each noodle and roll into a tube. Set roll cut-side down in pan. Do the same for all 32 manicotti rolls.
Top with remaining sauce.
Cover with foil and bake for about 50 minutes or until bubbly.
Remove foil and top with reserved shredded cheese and bake until cheese is melted–about 10 minutes.
Cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Spread ¼ sauce on bottom of pan. Layer ⅓ noodles, ⅓ cheese mixture and ¼ sauce for a total of 3 layers of each ending with sauce.
If you freeze it to cook later, you will need to thaw it in the refrigerator and make sure it’s fully thawed before baking. If you take it out of the refrigerator rather than baking it right after assembly, it will take longer to cook so allow extra time.
Nutrition per serving: 319 calories, 15 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 22 g carbohydrates, 3 g dietary fiber, 472 mg sodium, 374 mg calcium, 3 mg iron, 1126 IU vitamin A.
The white chocolate chips are a delicious addition to the pumpkin bread Brian’s grandmother made! She used canned pumpkin but we like to grow or buy pie pumpkins in the fall for this recipe.
Very versatile! For breakfast, you can make pumpkin muffins by omitting the chocolate chips and baking the batter in muffin tins. Switch it up and make cupcakes by frosting the muffins with your favorite cream cheese frosting. It’s even birthday party worthy! This bread freezes well so make an extra loaf for later. You’ll be happy you did!
Grandma Anne’s Pumpkin Bread with White Chocolate Chips
I was looking for a healthy way to make chocolate-covered almonds and this is what I came up with. It’s simple to make and healthy to eat. A little sweet and a little salty. Just the right combination. Most importantly they’re delicious!
These cupcakes can be made with frozen rhubarb or blueberries. Today is the first snowstorm of the season so my rhubarb patch is covered but I can make these year-around because frozen blueberries work well too. I also have rhubarb in the freezer to use.
I’ve been trying to grow rhubarb for many years with little luck. Fortunately my mom has a nice big patch of rhubarb which she transplanted from my brother’s place in East Peoria, Illinois. It has long, thin, rosy red stalks which are tender throughout most of the summer. Laura and I picked rhubarb twice this year from my mom’s place, washed and chopped into small quarter-inch cubes, and froze it. It will be such a treat to have the taste of summer rhubarb now that the snow is flying.
Only the long, thick leaf petioles, the “stalks,” are edible. Rhubarb leaves are toxic and must never be eaten. The stalks do contain high levels of oxalic acid, which can tie up calcium and make it unavailable in the body. Eating an occasional dish containing rhubarb does not pose a serious nutritional threat; indeed, spinach, widely considered a health-promoting food, also contains high levels of oxalic acid. However, people with gout, kidney disorders, and rheumatoid arthritis may want to avoid foods high in oxalic acid and should consult with their physicians about consuming these foods.
¾ cup diced rhubarb or blueberries (**frozen or fresh)
¼ cup toasted walnuts or slivered almonds (optional)
Cream cheese frosting (1 tablespoon per cupcake)
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
*If you are using sour milk, prepare it by putting ½ tablespoon lemon juice in liquid measuring cup and fill with milk up to the ½ cup line.
Prepare muffin tins by spraying with cooking spray or lining with paper muffin cups.
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon or cardamom in bowl and set aside.
Combine sugar, oil, egg, milk, vanilla and mix with well.
Add flour mixture to liquid ingredients. Mix by hand until just blended. Gently fold in blueberries or rhubarb. Do not over mix.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins until ¾ full.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into middle cupcake comes out clean.
Let cupcakes cool in tin on wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan.
Frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting.
**If you are using frozen fruit, add it without thawing so it doesn’t bleed into the batter. You can also toss it in a couple tablespoons of flour just before gently mixing it in. Stop stirring if it starts to bleed.
I like to use a flour that is a blend of all purpose white flour with 30-50% whole wheat flour or UltragrainR whole wheat flour. This increases the whole grains and doubles the fiber.
These freeze well either before frosting or after. Take out just enough for one or two people at a time.
Nutrition Per Serving: 193-196 calories, 8 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 29 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 178 mg sodium.
Happy Fall! It’s chili season again! This post highlights a homemade chili seasoning mix you can make ahead and have on hand. It’s a low cost alternative to buying a seasoning packet. It also gives you control of the salt content. The chili recipe is a variation of the Three-bean and Corn Chili we made last year. It’s fun to be creative and change things up when making chili. Change the ingredients and you have a new chili each time you make it. Let us know the variations you’ve made and enjoyed! It’s a long winter so we need lots of ideas!
15 ounce can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
4 ounces canned green chilies
4 cups tomato juice (regular or low sodium)
21/2 tablespoons chili seasoning mix
Salt (optional, season to taste)
Saute finely chopped onion, carrot and minced garlic in olive oil for few minutes in a soup kettle.
Add ground turkey, onion powder, garlic powder and meat seasoning. Stir to crumble meat and brown until meat is no longer pink.
Add the beans to the ground turkey mixture along with tomatoes and green chilies.
Then add tomato juice. Adjust the amount based on your preference for thickness.
Add the chili seasoning mix. Adjust spices and salt to your taste.
Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until flavors are blended.
Serve chili with crackers or hearty bread. You can add your favorite toppings such as chopped green onion, sour cream or shredded cheese.
Divide leftovers into individual portions, label and freeze for a quick and easy meal at the end of a busy day. If you remember to transfer it from the freezer to the refrigerator in the morning, it will take less time to thaw and cook in the microwave at the end of the day.
Nutrition Per Serving: 255 calories, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 10 g fiber, 660 mg sodium (without added salt), 799 mg potassium, 32 gm carbohydrate, 3 mg iron (18%), 60 mg vitamin C (100%), 6141 IU vitamin A (123%)
Teresa made this wonderful dish from the eggplant and tomatoes she got from her Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share. She often makes a dish like this on the weekend and then packages individual servings to take for lunch to her new job as an English teacher. The Land Stewardship Project has a CSA Farm directory that gives information on how to get involved in local food movement.
What is Community Supported Agriculture?
According to the Land Stewardship Project: At their most fundamental level, CSA farms provide a weekly delivery of sustainably grown produce to consumers during the growing season (approximately June to October). Those consumers, in turn, pay a subscription fee. But CSA consumers don’t so much “buy” food from particular farms as become “members” of those farms. CSA operations provide more than just food; they offer ways for eaters to become involved in the ecological and human community that supports the farm.
We encourage you to purchase locally grown food! If you already do, let us know what you are doing.
This is a quick and easy way to make pizza without heating the oven on a hot summer day. The variations are endless so you can make exactly to your own taste. The crust is made from whole wheat frozen roll dough. The frozen dough can be set on the counter covered with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray to thaw until you are ready to roll them into pizza rounds. Thawing can take 3-4 hours. To save time we usually cook extra pizza crusts and then freeze them to use later. This makes for a quick meal another time. This recipe so easy to make for one or two people but it’s also great for a group because everyone can get involved. We often prepare the crusts by cooking them on one side and then letting everyone make their own pizza using their choice of toppings. Then they are put back on the grill again to heat the ingredients and melt the cheese. It’s fun to invite each guest to bring a topping to share and then you’ll have great variety with something for everyone.
1 ½ ounces shredded mozzarella and reduce-fat sharp cheddar cheese
Your choice of toppings
Thaw dinner roll dough for several hours.
Roll dough with a dusting of flour into a 6 inch round.
Let rounds rise slightly in a warm place.*
Prepare toppings such as sliced sweet pepper, diced or caramelized onions, cooked sausage or chicken breast, pepperoni, green or black olives, mushrooms, etc.
Slide dough rounds onto the grill and brown one side.
Remove from grill and top the cooked side of pizza crust with 2-3 tablespoons pizza sauce, toppings of your choice and cheese.
Slide back onto grill to cook the other side of the pizza crust and melt the cheese. You will need to lower the grill temperature or move pizza away from the burner; otherwise the crust will get too brown before the cheese melts.
Enjoy hot off the grill alone or with a side salad!
*Warm the oven or grill to 250ºF, turn it off and insert dough rounds on a greased cookie sheet and let rise until you get all the toppings ready.
I am always looking for a low fat meat to top pizza. My latest find was seasoned turkey burgers. They can be grilled while the crust and toppings are being prepared and then diced and used like sausage on pizza.
Variations: Use light alfredo sauce for a white pizza and be creative with the toppings-fresh tomato slices, taco meat and salsa, garlic olive oil for sauce, etc.
Nutrition Per Serving (no meat): 286 calories, 11 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 29 g carbohydrate, 3 g dietary fiber, 640 mg sodium.
I received this recipe, which has become a family favorite, several years ago in a recipe swap from Pat, a good friend of mine. When I asked her if I could use her recipe for our blog she said: “Certainly you may use. It is still a family favorite. I initially got it from a parenting magazine in about 1995, and then adjusted it over the years to what we like. I’m guessing “Parents” magazine but I don’t know for sure. I use any and all kinds of apples, and I always use a ton more cinnamon than the recipe because we love cinnamon. … Although I make it occasionally year-round, it’s a signal of fall in my family. We would go the apple farm and buy multiple bushels of apples which meant fresh apples and baked apple pancake! The kids would ask for it.“
Melt butter in 10 inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat and swirl to coat pan.
Add apple slices and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and cinnamon.
Cook the apples on medium heat, stirring often.
Preheat oven to 425ºF.
While apples are cooking, beat egg, milk, oil and vanilla until well blended.
Mix together flour, 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, baking powder and salt.
Add dry ingredients to milk and egg mixture and mix until just blended. Set batter aside.
By now the apple slices should be browned but still hold their shape. Arrange the apple slices into an even layer in the skillet.
Pour batter evenly over hot apple slices.
Place skillet in oven and bake for 13-15 minutes or until batter is cooked through and puffs up around the edges of the pan.
Using a pancake turner, immediately loosen edges from the sides and a bit of the pancake from the bottom of the pan.
Place serving platter over the skillet and, using hot pads, invert skillet and platter to flip pancake onto serving platter so that the apples are on the top. A few apples may stick to pan but they can be easily scooped out and put back on the pancake.
Cut into wedges, dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately while piping hot!
The original recipe was for 3 apples, but I make a double batch. It’s too delicious to only make a small one with 3 apples 🙂
Joy’s notes: I made two modifications to the original recipe from Pat.
1. I use one tablespoon butter to cook the apple slices. I cook them rather slowly and the butter and moisture from the apples seem to keep them from sticking to the pan.
2. I slice the apples very thin and leave the skins on because it’s quicker. Plus, this increases the amount of fiber.
I like to cook up the apples a day ahead or use pre-made chunky apple sauce so it’s quick and easy to prepare in the morning after church. I’ve even made the batter before church and put it in the refrigerator. I spray the pan with cooking spray and heat the apples before adding the batter and then we have apple pancakes in about 20 minutes.
If you are cooking for one or two, you can refrigerate and warm the slices of pancake in the microwave the next day. It also freezes well.
Nutrition Per Serving: 159 calories, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 24 g carbohydrate, 1 g dietary fiber, 147 mg sodium.
We recently visited Upper Michigan on a family vacation and enjoyed a Yooper pasty. First we stopped at a small restaurant that advertised pasty and fruit pie. They were both delicious! Later Teresa and one of the hotel staff struck up a conversation and she said she made the best pasty in the area. She went on to say that we could find the second-best pasty at small grocery store in the next small town. So we made a road trip and tried their pasty. They are wonderful as well! Later in the summer we were in northern Minnesota and tried a pasty in Menahga, a small Finnish community. They were also very tasty! So my mom and I decided to make Grandma Hilma’s No-fail Pie Crust with butter and make our version of Finnish pasty. The crust is flaky and the filling is very flavorful! Try these with either ketchup and beef gravy. Our family is split on which topping we like best. Give this recipe a try and let us know how they turn out! Place your vote–either ketchup or gravy?
Pre-made dough for four pie crusts or one recipe of Grandma Hilma’s No-fail Pie Crust
8-12 ounces extra lean ground beef or pre-cooked roast beef, shredded
2 medium carrots, shredded
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cups ¼ inch diced potatoes (fresh or frozen)
½ cup rutabaga, shredded (optional)
¼ cup fresh parsley chopped or 1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoons minced garlic
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 whisked egg
Prepare pastry if it’s from scratch.
Make filling by combining beef, carrots, onion, rutabaga, parsley, garlic and seasonings until well mixed. You want to have at least 6 cups of this mixture. If you are short, just add a few more potatoes.
Divide the mixture into 6 to 8 portions–¾ to1 cup each.
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Divide prepared pastry into 6 or 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a 8-9 inch circle.
Put a portion of meat filling onto one half of the pastry circle. Fold the other ½ of pastry over the filling and crimp the edges with a fork to seal the pastry. It will be the shape of a half circle.
Brush the pasty with the egg wash.
Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet. You can also spray the baking sheet with cooking spray.
Bake for 45-60 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. If they get brown too quickly, cover lightly with tinfoil to stop browning.
Serve hot with with ketchup or beef gravy.
Pasty can be baked and then frozen, which makes it perfect if you are cooking for only one or two people.To reheat, place in a 300ºF oven for 20 minutes or until warmed through.
Since we are not miners taking these hand meat pies down for quick energy during their strenuous shift, I’d suggest serving these with something light like a vegetable salad.
Nutrition Per Serving: 564 calories, 32 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 43 g carbohydrate, 4 g dietary fiber, 304 mg sodium, 472 mg potassium, 5219 IU vitamin A.
From the kitchen of Grandma Hilma Tisdell (mother, grandmother and great grandmother). Grandma said,”this recipe came from my Aunt Lempie Kumpsula and it has never failed me.” Along with pie, this pastry can also be used for making pasty, quiche, tarts or shepherd’s pie.
1 rounded cup vegetable shortening or 1 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons white or cider vinegar
⅓ cup water
Mix flour, salt and shortening. Work shortening into flour and salt with fingers or pastry blender until mixture looks like coarse meal.
Mix egg, vinegar and water. Beat mixture with a fork until well blended.
Stir egg mixture into flour mixture with a fork or pastry blender until well mixed. The dough should form a ball. Since flour differs, the dough may be sticky. Let dough chill for 5 minutes and it will be easier to work with.
Divide dough into balls. (4 pie crusts or 8 pasty).
Sprinkle dough with flour and roll between two sheets of waxed paper to the desired size.
Transfer to pie pan or assemble pasties.
This pastry freezes very well so you can prepare it in advance and refrigerate it for a couple of days or freeze it for a month or two.
Currently I have a job assisting with a research project growing dry beans. So today I was weeding a field just north of the Twin Cities and I heard chimes about 10 am coming from the house on this family farm. Before I knew it the farmer invited me in for one of the most magical meals of the day, which previously I didn’t even know existed–the meal called “second breakfast.” What is second breakfast you ask? Second breakfast is the meal after first breakfast, silly! No, I’m serious! And guess what was included in second breakfast along with other foods? A cookie! My grandmother calls it morning “lunch.” When she grew up on the farm, her family ate five meals a day–breakfast very early, morning lunch, dinner at noon, afternoon lunch and then supper after the last milking. The second breakfast or morning lunch often includes a sandwich, fruit, beverage and cookie.
The cookies in this recipe use one of my favorite combinations of ingredients–chocolate and nuts. If you have never had Nutella before, go to the store right now and try it because it will be a day that you will always remember. I had my first spoonful of Nutella when we hosted Mercedes, our foreign exchange student from Spain, and she was given some to make her feel more at home. Nutella is the perfect food except for one small glitch. It can be a mess to eat. But what if you made a peanut butter cookie and placed Nutella in the center, and magic–no more mess! Next time I go out to the farm I am going to bring some of these for second breakfast! Yum!
This is a quick way to make a small batch of cookies for one or two people. I got this idea and adapted the recipe from Handle the Heat.
Carrots, Peppers, and Onions OH My! I am constantly running into the problem of bits-and-pieces. I really dislike throwing away even the smallest amount of food and I am not the type to overeat just to finish something. So I am a collector of bit-and-pieces. Now a collection of this type would be a huge moldy problem if it wasn’t for this recipe. Fried rice turns bits-and-pieces into gold. Each of my leftover vegetables turn into beautiful gems when added to the pan.
Fried rice also solves another problem. Being a solo cook and consumer, I often hesitate cooking large amounts of one kind vegetables just for myself. I know that if I heat up a can of corn I will be eating corn, corn, corn for the next three nights. This idea is discomforting not only to my taste buds but to my body as well. I find it much more appetizing and just plain fun to eat a couple trees of broccoli, a few leaves of kale, some rings of onion and a couple branches of asparagus. Goodness it sounds like I have a whole tiny town on my dinner plate tonight:) See, I told you this would be fun!
The another plus about this recipe is that it takes no time at all to make even if you start with raw vegetables. If I’ve used up my bits-and-pieces, I can head out to the garden, pick the veggies that I am craving that day, throw them in a pan and have a hot meal in less than 30 minutes. What could be more fun than a tiny town in my tummy? Let me know if you experiment with any fun vegetables in your rice!
1- 1 ½ cups of vegetable of your choice. (In this batch I used peppers, sugar snap peas, asparagus, and broccoli.)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Cook brown rice as directed on the package. Set aside.
Coat pan with vegetable oil and saute garlic, onions, carrots.
Cut up vegetables (peppers, sugar snap peas, asparagus, and broccoli) and place them in pan with onions until heated. Vegetables in fried rice should not wilt.
Add rice and crack an egg over the rice. Mix and flip until egg is cooked.
Add soy sauce. Mix. Enjoy!
Cook 2 cups of rice instead of 1 cup and then place half of rice in freezer for super-fast prep next time around.
Add any veggies you want. Be brave when you go to the farmers market or grocery store and try some new veggies. Try ingredients like kale, kohlrabi, or Swiss chard.
Lower the sodium content by using salt-free spices like red pepper flakes, garlic powder, onion powder or a little ground ginger. You can also add flavor by adding fresh ginger, chili paste and a little sesame oil when sautéing.
Nutrition Per Serving: 491 calories, 16 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 75 g carbohydrates, 11 g dietary fiber, 1068 mg sodium, excellent source of vitamin A.
It’s the time of year when the lettuce keeps coming from the garden. So this recipe is perfect now and all year long. It’s delicious! The Parmesan cheese adds just the right amount of salty flavor. Thanks Paul for sharing this recipe with us!
From Paul’s email: I love the blog! The way you and the girls participate in activities together is awesome! That (Caesar) salad looks great, but where’s the recipe? I have a good one I make in bulk and just pour over Romaine and toss with Parmesan as desired. It easily stays fresh for a couple weeks but is generally gone long before that. Honestly, I’ve never had a batch go bad.
Whirl all ingredients in a food processor or blender until garlic is minced and mixing is complete ( about 30 seconds).
Toss dressing with the leaves from 2 heads of romaine lettuce, or less if you wish. Add 1 cup Parmesan cheese and re-toss. Enjoy!
Generally, I make the entire dressing recipe, but only a fraction of the salad. The rest of the dressing goes into the fridge for later.
I often alter the recipe for however I’m feeling when I make it. Generally more garlic, although anything over 4 cloves doesn’t offer a pronounced change in flavor. Sometimes a little more pepper sauce to give it a little more kick.
We keep romaine lettuce around all the time. It takes moments to rip a few leaves off, rinse, tear and toss them for a heart healthy, satisfying and tasty side.
Less hearty varieties of lettuce (like red leaf, bibb, butter, green leaf, etc.) don’t hold up so well to the acid in the dressing.
Nutrition Per Serving: 82 calories, 9 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, trace dietary fiber, 12 mg sodium.
Our family has had the privilege of eating at Carol’s (Brian’s mom) house once a week. This tradition started when Teresa and Laura were small and I worked evenings. Carol took care of them until Brian got home and then they’d have dinner together. The tradition still continues and recently Carol made omelets and shared this recipe with me. Omelets are great because they easy, make just one serving and there are so many possible variations. Just change up the vegetables and cheese, add a new seasoning or fresh herb and you have a new taste every time! Please share your favorite omelet with us.
1 ounce slice Swiss cheese, regular or low fat cheese of your choice
Coat small frying or omelet pan with a small amount of canola oil or cooking spray.
Beat eggs and add milk, salt and pepper and set aside.
Chop cauliflower, potato and onion into small pieces.
Heat pan and saute cauliflower, potato, onion and Worcestershire Sauce until soft and remove from pan.
Put beaten eggs mixture to hot pan. When egg mixture starts to set, add the cauliflower mixture to one half side of the omelet.
Place slice of cheese over cauliflower mixture.
When eggs are firm enough to flip, flip one half of omelet over other half.
Cover and continue cooking until just cooked through and serve piping hot!
Low or reduced fat cheeses made with 2% milk are a healthy choice since you get the same amount of protein and calcium with ⅓ less fat and half the saturated fat. If you use low or reduced fat Swiss, sharp or pepper cheese, you will find you can use less cheese without sacrificing flavor.
Nutrition Per Serving (low fat cheese): 361 calories, 15 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 3 g dietary fiber, 492 mg sodium.
Nutrition Per Serving (regular cheese): 417 calories, 22 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 3 g dietary fiber, 492 mg sodium.
Perfecting this recipe came as a VICTORY for me amidst frustration. I was recently told, along with 20 percent of all women, that I was deficient in iron. I was advised to eat more meat, especially beef. This recommendation did not sit well with me. I do eat meat, but I do not believe it NEEDS to be essential in everyone’s diet. I mean there are many countries in the world that do not eat meat. I have many friends that choose, for various reasons, to follow a vegetarian diet. I believed there had to be a high iron food that was plant based!
Shortly after I was diagnosed with a iron deficiency my sister Teresa headed to the grocery store and checked nearly every label in the store for iron content. She came bearing a grocery bag with meatballs, spinach pasta, orange juice (vitamin C helps uptake iron), and an item that really sparked my interest–black lentils. We learned that black lentils are high in iron and protein.
Now at that point I was not a fan of beans due to their texture. A couple weeks later I was cooking with a friend and she suggest we whip up some falafel. I helped her add the spices and mix it up and to my surprise they were incredible. I was also fascinated on how she made the patties and put the non-fried leftovers in the freezer just like a hamburger or sausage patty.
Chickpeas which are normally used to make falafel are high in protein similar to meat. They are missing some nutrients that are in beef, particularly iron. On the bus ride home from my friend’s house, it came to me. Using the high iron black lentils in the falafel alleviated my frustration. Women CAN get enough iron without consuming large amounts of meat. This is especially helpful on a college student’s budget.
I prefer to eat my Black Lentil Falafel in a pita with cucumber sauce, tomatoes fresh from my garden and lettuce. For an added iron absorption, drink vitamin C rich juice with the falafel. Enjoy and keep experimenting with this recipe. Let me know what you come up with!
½ cup dried black lentils (soaked and then drained)
15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (or ¾ cup dried chickpeas soaked and then drained)
2 cloves garlic
1 small onion, quartered
1 tablespoon ground cumin
¾ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper or 1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves or parsley
Lemon juice from ½ lemon
About 2 tablespoons flour or enough to hold patties together
Canola oil for frying
Advanced prep at least 7-8 hours in advance: Pour 1 cup boiling water over ½ cup dried black lentils and let sit for 7-8 hours or overnight. You can also soak chickpeas overnight or use canned chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans).
Combine all ingredients except canola oil in large food processor and pulse until well mixed.
Shape into 16 small patties or balls.
Heat ½ inch oil in pan with high sides. Heat until drops of water sizzle in the pan.
Brown falafel patties on both sides until golden brown. This should be done in several batches so the patties are not crowded, brown well and can be easily turned.
Remove from pan and drain on paper towel.
We enjoyed the falafel in whole wheat pita with tomato, cucumber, mild onion and tzatziki (cucumber sauce). Soaking onion rings in cold water for short time will take away some of the harsh flavor.
Variation: Roll falafel balls in cooked brown rice. We use quick-cook brown rice for the convenience. This give a wonderfully nutty taste to the falafel!
Nutrition Per Serving: 251 calories, 15 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 23 g carbohydrate, 8 g dietary fiber, 360 mg sodium.
3 ounces of cooked ground beef contains 9% iron (heme) and the black beans in this recipe provide 13% iron (non-heme). Heme iron is absorbed 2-3 times efficiently than non-heme iron. Vitamin C rich foods, like citrus and sweet peppers, enhance non-heme iron absorption when eaten at the same meal.
Let’s grill! It’s a great way to keep the house cool in the summer. Here is one of our favorite recipes for the spring and summer grilling season. Fresh asparagus tastes wonderful since it’s the first vegetable to come up in the spring. When the first spears appear I become very excited and hopeful after the long winter. These are quick, easy and can be made for one, two or a whole crowd. I like to use center-cut bacon or turkey bacon because it’s very flavorful while lower in fat. You can switch it up and use pancetta or a wide variety of seasoned bacons. Even veggie bacon strips work if you want to go meatless. It also works well to roast these in the oven. Then you can enjoy them anytime of the year!
Red pepper flakes or other seasonings of your choice
Wash asparagus and break off the tough ends of the asparagus. If you bend the stalk it will naturally break at the tender spot.
Wrap three spears with ½ strip of bacon.
Drizzle each bunch with olive oil.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and seasonings.
Grill on medium heat. Turn once. It does not take long– about 5 minutes on each side. Cook until bacon is done and asparagus is tender.
It also works well to roast these in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350ºF, turning once. Use a low sided baking dish or baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
You can also substitute broccoli for the asparagus when asparagus is no longer in season. Cut the florets apart and down the stalk. Use a vegetable peeler to pare down some of the stalk that is not as tender.
Nutrition Per Serving: 161 calories, 14 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 5 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 196 mg sodium.
Make this easy chicken soup recipe, that tastes like Grandma made it, without all the work of cooking the chicken and rolling out the noodles. Just buy a rotisserie chicken, eat once and then use the leftover chicken to whip-up this savory soup that hits the spot. Frozen egg noodles make it hearty and give it that delicious homemade taste.
Along with being a three-bean chili, this is also a three-season dish. It is great for those cool spring and fall days as well as the cold days of winter. It’s a hearty, one-pot meal that’s very satisfying. The variety of beans and the corn make it a colorful dish that is fun to serve to one or a group.
This recipe can be easily adapted for the slow cooker. Just complete the first two steps on top of the stove and then put all the ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 2-3 hours, depending on your slow cooker. It’s always a good idea to try slow cooker recipes while you are home so you can adjust the temperature as needed. Then you will know the accurate cooking time the next time you make it and there will be no surprises, neither undone or overdone.
1 pound lean ground turkey or extra lean ground beef
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 can (~7 1/2 ounces) canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 can (~7 1/2 ounces) canned white beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 can (~7 1/2 ounces) canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (~15 ounces) canned diced tomatoes
1 can (~11 ounces) canned Mexican corn (with red and green peppers )
3-4 cups low sodium V-8 juice
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika, smoked
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt, season to taste (optional)
Saute onion and green pepper in olive oil for few minutes in a soup kettle.
Add ground meat, along with garlic, onion powder and garlic powder. Stir to crumble meat and brown until meat is no longer pink.
In the meantime, mix all three cans of beans in colander, rinse and drain. Divide beans into two batches. Label and freeze one batch for use later.
Add the other half of the beans to the ground beef along with tomatoes and corn.
Then add 3 or 4 cups V-8 juice. Adjust the amount based on your preference for thickness.
Add the spices. Adjust spices to your taste.
Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until flavors are blended.
Serve chili with crackers or hearty bread. You can add your favorite toppings such as chopped green onion, sour cream or shredded cheese.
Divide leftovers into individual portions, label and freeze for a quick and easy meal at the end of a busy day. If you remember to transfer it from the freezer to the refrigerator in the morning, it will take less time to thaw and cook in the microwave later on.
Made with ground turkey
Nutrition Per Serving: 238 calories, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 7 g fiber, 383 mg sodium (without added salt).
Made with lean ground beef
Nutrition Per Serving: 278 calories, 11 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 7 g fiber, 367 mg sodium (without added salt).
This is a super-simple recipe that adds a bit of elegance to breakfast or any meal! If you’re not a big fan of grapefruit, this may be just the recipe to try because it takes the bitterness away and is oh-so sweet, almost like candy.
My husband and I have been to a couple of bed and breakfasts over the years where we’ve been served broiled grapefruit. It was a special treat each time but recently we found it hard to eat because the grapefruit half was not pre-cut. So, to make eating experience enjoyable, cutting around the edge of grapefruit half is crucial. Having a serrated grapefruit spoon to eat it with is ideal. If you don’t have grapefruit spoons, I’d suggest cutting between the grapefruit sections so that the flesh can be easily scooped out. This takes the struggle out of eating it and prevents the embarrassing moment when you squirt the person next to you with grapefruit juice.
Here is a Minnesota favorite! It is a make-in-20-minutes dish that is quick, easy and delicious. It uses pre-cooked ingredients that you can have on hand. You can use leftover turkey from Thanksgiving or purchase a rotisserie chicken and eat half and use the rest for this soup. Wild rice takes awhile to cook from scratch but can be cooked ahead and frozen in 1 ½ cup packages which makes it very convenient for use later. Wild rice can also be purchased cooked in a can. If you’d prefer, you can use instant brown rice which cooks directly in the broth. This makes it very convenient and quick. Serve it with crackers or crusty bread. Enjoy!
Getting tired of the same-old breakfast or just don’t have time for it? This Fruit and Nut Granola may be the answer. I scaled down my recipe from 16 servings (which was way too much for us now that we are empty-nesters) to 8 servings. My husband and I can eat it every other day and it lasts a little over a week. If 8 serving still seems like too much, this granola freezes well for about a month. It’s delicious with low fat milk or yogurt.
It also works wonderfully to make a simple apple crisp for one or two. Just cut an apple or two into slices and arrange in a ramekin sprayed with cooking oil, sprinkle with a little brown sugar and cinnamon and top with this granola. Then bake at 350 degrees F for about ½ hour or until apples are cooked and it’s bubbly. Other times, change it up and use peaches, pears or blueberries. Fruit crisp for breakfast is a great way to get out of a breakfast rut!
If you don’t have time to fuss, try filling a snack bag with granola and grabbing a yogurt to go. Eat it on the bus, train or when you get to work. This can also be a great pick-me-up later in the day.
I also like to mix it up and make it with pecans, almonds or even mixed nuts. In the winter, I like to substitute pumpkin or apple pie spice for the cinnamon to make it more festive for the holidays. It is good with other dried fruits such as apricots, papaya, pineapple or bananas. Next time I’m going substitute pure maple syrup for the honey. Yum! What other ideas do you have?
Do you have a taste for something Tex-Mex? These taco-flavored meatloaves are a fun twist on regular meat loaf. Bake in ramekins or individual baking dishes (with tight-fitting covers) for easy freezing. Try Mini Taco Meatloaves with Mexican Corn Casserole and green salad topped with tomatoes, black beans and tortilla chips and a side of salsa. Both dishes freeze and reheat well later.
This versatile casserole is a crowd-pleaser at potlucks and the leftovers freeze great! It is the perfect combination of spicy and sweet. It can also be baked in individual baking dishes, frozen and then used as a quick go-to dish anytime. It goes well with taco mini meatloaf (coming soon!) or as a side for any Mexican meal. If you like it with a little more kick, use hot green chilies.
Wild-caught salmon from Alaska, walleye from northern Minnesota, and frozen tilapia or cod can be a healthy addition to your weekly menu. Here is a recipe for one that is healthy, adaptable, and very flavorful. Be creative and top the fish with a wide variety of toppings and seasonings. It can be a new dish each time you make it with either a Mediterranean, Asian or north-woods flair.
The American Heart Association recommends that we eat two servings (3.5 oz. cooked, or about ¾ cup of flaked fish) of fish weekly. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna and lake trout are high in omega-3 fatty acids which can reduce your risk of having a heart attack. Fatty fish may also reduce risk of rheumatoid arthritis, prevent oral and skin cancers, protect vision and possibly improve memory. More importantly it can be quick, easy and delicious!
Wake up to a hot breakfast that is comforting, heart-healthy and sticks with you during the morning! Depending on the serving size, this makes enough so one person can eat it almost daily (2/3 cup) or every other day (1 cup) for a week. For variety, top with any dried or fresh fruit and nuts of your choice. Store in individual microwavable dishes in the refrigerator for up to a week. This do-it-ahead breakfast is quick, easy and so satisfying!
Add all ingredients to the slow cooker, mix well and cover.
Cook on low or medium low for 8 hours or overnight.
Serve with low fat milk. Calcium-fortified almond or rice milk also works well.
Top with chopped dried fruit (apricots, cherries, craisins or raisins) or fresh fruit (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or banana slices).
Also top with nuts (toasted walnuts, slivered almonds, or sunflower seeds).
I put my slow-cooker (with 5 temperature settings) on low overnight and it did not cook at all. Then I put it on high and it cooked in an hour. Cooking time varies depending on your slow cooker, so you may want to test this recipe and check on it since it may be done much sooner or later than you expect.
You can also cook this on the top of the stove or in the microwave using the instructions on the steel cut oats container.
Nutrition Per Serving (2/3 cup without milk or toppings): 149 calories, 2 g fat, trace saturated fat, 3 g dietary fiber, 95 mg sodium.
Nutrition Per Serving (1 cup without milk or toppings): 223 calories, 3 g fat, trace saturated fat, 4 g dietary fiber, 143 mg sodium.
My mom had the idea for making a homemade pancake mix that can be kept in the freezer and used to make small batches of hot, fresh pancakes. These pancakes, or griddlecakes, were adapted from The Greater American Cook Book (copyright 1942). My mom says the way to make them very tender is to use buttermilk. She’s right! They are melt-in-your-mouth good!
Please read this recipe carefully because you use only 1 cup of homemade mix for a batch and save the rest to make another batch later.
Store the rest in an airtight container or freezer zipper bag in freezer for several months.
Combine egg, buttermilk/sour milk and oil and mix well in 4 cup liquid measuring cup with spout.
Add 1 cup mix gradually, beating to obtain a smooth batter.
Pour small amount of batter onto a hot greased griddle or frying pan.
Keep the heat rather low, so the cakes do not brown too fast. When the top is full of tiny bubbles and edge is slightly dry, check the underside to see that it’s golden brown. Then flip the cake and brown on the other side.
Serve hot with your favorite toppings-real maple syrup, berries and whipped topping, brown sugar and butter, or cinnamon apple chunks.
*To make 1 ¼ cup sour milk, use 1 tablespoon lemon juice and enough milk to equal 1 ¼ cup. Stir and let stand for 5 minutes before using.
This makes approximately 3 batches of 8-9 small pancakes per batch.
Nutrition Per Serving: 87 calories, 2 g Fat, trace saturated fat, trace dietary fiber, 186 mg sodium.
We have a hot debate when it comes to making pumpkin pie in our family. Brian’s mom Carol is very passionate about using only Festal brand canned pumpkin. One fall she was very frustrated that she couldn’t find Festal Pumpkin at her local grocery store. Going online, she found a phone number for the Owatonna Canning Company and called that number. A very nice gentleman answered the phone. She told him of her plight and he seemed very concerned! It turned out that Owatonna Canning Company had sold out to Seneca Foods. Part of the agreement of that sale was that Seneca retained the Festal name on their canned pumpkin. The gentleman she was talking to turned out to be the retired president of the Owatonna Canning Company. He told her he would talk to the president of Seneca and take care of the problem. He then suggested she e-mail Seneca and tell them of her concerns. To her surprise, she was sent a case of Festal Pumpkin!!!! Pumpkin, anyone?
On the other hand, my daughter Laura likes to use fresh pumpkins to make pumpkin pie. We’ve tried growing pumpkins but have not had much luck. Now, each fall we collect pumpkins (and squash) from a variety of places–local farmers markets, roadside produce stands, garden centers, farms near my hometown of New York Mills, apple orchards and the student organic farm at the U of MN.
This morning I was laying in bed half awake and dreaming about making pumpkin pie from the cooked pumpkin in our freezer. I realized that the snow was melting and soon we’d be past the pumpkin pie season. I started thinking about an easy single-serving pumpkin pie. How about baked pumpkin pudding and pie crust cookies like my grandma made from leftover pie dough?
I thought it would be fun to use the pumpkin pie filling recipe on the Festal canned pumpkin label but since I was using our own cooked pumpkin, I needed to find the recipe. So, I searched for it online and the closest thing I found was a recipe on the Minnesota Public Radio website from 2003 by Marian Biersdorf. She, like Carol, has a unique story about her experience with Festal Pumpkin which you can find at http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/11/27_olsond_pumpkin/ .
Your favorite pumpkin pie filling using canned or cooked from fresh pumpkin
Package of prepared pie dough
Spray ramekins with cooking spray.
Make pumpkin pie filling.
Pour equally into 6 or 8 ramekins.
Bake at 350 ºF oven for 30-35 minutes or until inserted knife comes out clean.
Roll out pie dough like you would for a pie crust and transfer to a cookie sheet or pizza pan.
Cut into 16 pie-shaped triangles separating so triangles don’t touch each other.
Sprinkle pie dough triangles with cinnamon and sugar.
Bake at 350 ºF for 10 to 15 minutes or until edges are just turning slightly brown. Watch carefully!
Pumpkin is easily prepared from fresh pumpkin by cutting a pumpkin in half and removing the seeds. Place halves face down baking pan. Add 1 inch water and bake at 350 ºF for 45-60 minutes or until pumpkin is fork-tender. Let cool until you can scoop the flesh out of skin. Place pumpkin in fine sieve or colander lined with cheesecloth. Let drain for 15 minutes. Then package 2 cup portions (enough for 1 pie) into sealed zipper bags. Label bags with date and contents. Freeze for up to 6-8 months.
Nutrition Per Serving: Refer to your pumpkin filling recipe and the Nutrition Facts on the pie dough label.
One of my daughter’s favorite foods is mashed potatoes but now that she’s in college and cooking for herself she rarely takes the time to make “real” mashed potatoes. Here is a cook once and eat-many-times or share-with-a-friend recipe. These potatoes can be quickly heated in the microwave or oven-baked so they are twice baked. They are extra tasty topped with a sprinkle of sharp cheddar cheese. They go great with mini meat loaves since both are freeze and reheat recipes. So this is for you Laura! Enjoy everyone!
Jazz up traditional meatloaf by simply adding Italian seasonings! These mini loaves are especially tasty served with fun-shaped pasta, your favorite store-bought or homemade pasta sauce and roasted Italian green beans or side salad. Italian meatloaf also goes well with Now and Later Mashed Potatoes. (Recipe coming soon!) After a long day, just take out a frozen meat loaf and some already cooked mashed potatoes. They both can be warmed up in the microwave or oven. This recipe makes two mini loaves so one loaf can be frozen and eaten later. Mini loaf pans are great to use when cooking for one or two.
Put half of meat mixture in each of the mini loaf pans.
Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350ºF until inner temperature reaches 165ºF (no longer pink inside). Check for doneness early so they don’t become overcooked and dry.
Serve hot with pasta sauce.
Freeze in mini loaf pans or plastic wrap and zipper bag. They are safe stored in the freezer for 2-3 months.
Defrost in refrigerator or in microwave.
Reheat in microwave on low for a short time or in the oven covered with tin foil to keep the moisture in.
Tip: I save the ends of whole wheat bread in the freezer. When I have a small bag full, I put them in the food processor and make bread crumbs. I freeze the bread crumbs in a zipper bag for use later in recipes like this one.
This can be baked in 4-6 ramekins or an 8 or 9 inch square or round pan as well.
Nutrition Per Serving: 266 calories, 13 g Fat, 4 gm saturated fat, 2 g dietary fiber, 304 mg sodium (with salt: 575 mg per serving).
Our Grandma Anne enjoyed going to the Pannekoeken Huis for their triple berry Pannekoeken. We would go there after we picked her up from bowling. It’s a mystery how she got the recipe, but we soon enjoyed a hot-out- of-the-oven Pannekoeken at her house. It was such a treat! We still enjoy making them even though Grandma Anne and the bowling alley are gone and the Pannekoeken Huis is now a bank. The happy memories still last. Make your own memories by preparing this Pannekoeken recipe that magically puffs up and is always a surprise when it comes out of the oven!
This super-simple recipe is great for a winter or spring party with friends. It can also be put together Sunday night, refrigerated overnight, plugged in the morning so that you’ll have dinner when you get home from work on Monday night. What’s better then hot soup after a long commute in slushy spring storm? After the first meal, this soup will be ready to eat throughout the week. Make this along with Easy Wild Rice Soup (coming soon!) on the weekend and then you will have a variety to eat that week. To change it up you could add corn (frozen or canned) one night. It also freezes well so it’s ready later in the month when you’re not in the mood for cooking.
Taking time for tea is a ritual I enjoy daily and most often alone. The five minutes it takes to brew a cup gives me a chance to pause and enjoy a quiet moment in my day. It gives me time to take some deep breaths, clear my mind and, as the British government put on a motivational poster before the Second World War, “Keep Calm and Carry On.” When I do this for myself, I feel nourished in mind, spirit and body. When I have time, I like to make a batch of scones and enjoy one hot from the oven with a cup of tea. Then I have extras to freeze and enjoy throughout the week for breakfast, afternoon tea with a friend, or before-bed as a snack with herbal tea.
Here is a recipe for baking powder biscuit-like scones that I developed. The dry ingredients and butter can be mixed ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. Tea and scones are wonderful to enjoy as a special treat alone or with a friend. They are also a great gift either baked or as a mix. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
1/3 cup white chocolate chips or dried fruit or combination
½ cup 1% or skim milk
Mix dry ingredients (except chips and dried fruit). Cut in butter with pastry blender or knife. Mix in chips and fruit. (Keep in airtight container for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.)
Add milk. Mix and form into a ball. Add 1-2 tablespoon more liquid if it is too dry. Pat into a one inch high round (about 8 in. diameter). Cut round into 8 wedges with pizza cutter or knife. Place wedges on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350ºF for 15-20 min. – until edges start to lightly brown. Serve warm with jam or lemon curd.
They can easily be reheated on low in the microwave or oven so they taste just-baked.
Nutrition Per Serving: 232 calories, 8 g fat, 4 gm saturated fat, 1 g dietary fiber, 408 mg sodium.