RED SALAD

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Ingredients
  • For the salad: radicchio, red leaf lettuce, roasted beets, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, nectarines, red plums, and peppercorns ground over the top.
  • For the Vinaigrette: I would use a prepared balsamic , raspberry or red wine vinaigrette but if you are more daring try below!
  • ½ cup fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle pepper puree (Gourmet Gardens makes a good one)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons mustard (Dijon or whole grain will work!)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme OR ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • Pinch salt & pepper
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. To make the salad: Assemble all ingredients on the plate, as you like!
  2. For the vinaigrette: Place all ingredients with the exception of the olive oil in a food processor or blender. Pulse until nearly smooth, and begin streaming the olive oil slowly through the feed. Continue to pulse until thoroughly combined. Drizzle the vinaigrette over your salad ingredients (Or under the ingredients if you prefer to prepare it first!). Enjoy!

Inspired by: http://jjbegonia.com/2015/05/27/inspired-idea-red-salad/

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FIDDLEHEAD FERNS

What are they?:  Fiddleheads are the young, coiled, fronds of the ostrich fern.  They grow wild in wet areas, typically in the Northeast region of the United States, predominantly in Maine.  As they’re only available for a few weeks of the year – between April and May depending on the growing season – they’re considered to be somewhat of a delicacy.

Where can I find them/What do I look for?:  I found mine at Wegmans, and in the past have seen them at various Farmers’ Markets.  You can also forage them if you know what to look for .  Whether purchased or harvested, fiddleheads should be tightly furled, and bright green with very little to no discoloration.  The photo below was taken pre-wash and before I removed some of the papery brown chaff, so while they look dirty here, they were in tip-top shape once cleaned.

 

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Health benefits of fiddlehead ferns

  • Fiddlehead ferns are unique by their appearance, taste, and nutrition profile. The curly young shoots carry just 34 calories per 100 g. Nonetheless; their high-quality plant-nutrition profile consists of health benefiting antioxidants, vitamins, and omega-3, omega-6 essential fatty acids.
  • Fresh fronds are very high in antioxidant vitamin-A, and carotenes. 100 g of fiddleheads hold 3617 IU of or 120% of recommended daily requirements of vitamin-A. Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is required by the body for maintaining integrity of skin and mucusa. It is also an essential vitamin for vision. Research studies suggest that natural foods rich in vitamin A help the body protects against lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • They are an excellent source of many natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds such as a and ß-carotenes. Carotenes convert into vitamin A inside the body.
  • Their unique sweet taste comes from their richness in vitamin C. 100 g of fresh fronds contains 26.6 mg or 44% of daily-required levels. Vitamin C is a moderately potential water soluble anti-oxidant. Together with flavonoid compound like carotenes, it helps scavenge harmful free radicals, and offer protection from cancers, inflammation, and viral cough and cold.
  • Fern shoots are a very good source of minerals and electrolytes, especially potassium, iron, manganese, and copper. 100 g of fresh shoots contains 370 mg or 7% of daily-required levels of potassium. Potassium is a heart friendly electrolyte, which helps reduces blood pressure and heart rate by countering sodium effects.
  • Further, they contain small to moderate levels of some of the valuable B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin.

What do they taste like?:  Fiddleheads are often compared to asparagus, but I think they also have some of the bitterness of broccoli and the snap of green beans.  Basically, they have a flavor all their own!  They also have a very “green”, grass-like component to them, if that makes sense.

What do I do with them?:   In this case fresh is best, and simple preparations are the way to go.  Avoid eating them raw as certain – though rare – cases of food poisoning have been attributed to fiddleheads in the past.  Boil them for at least 10 minutes (up to 15 minutes) as a best practice, and you’ll be in the clear!

HERE ARE A FEW RECIPES TO TRY

The Lure of the Fiddlehead Fern

Fiddlehead Ferns and Leeks with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts

Serves 2

4 large leeks
2 cups raw fiddlehead ferns
3 large garlic cloves, sliced thinly
4 oz Chevre
3 TB pine nuts
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Butter
Pasta water or chicken or vegetable broth

Trim the leeks lengthwise, then cut into 1/2″ slices. Wash thoroughly, making sure to get any dirt between the layers. Dry and set aside.
Thoroughly wash the fiddleheads, removing any brown bits inside the whorl, and trimming any brown edges and mushy parts. Dry and set aside.

Bring a quart of water to a boil. Lightly salt, and blanche the fiddleheads at a rolling boil for 1 minute. Drain and set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, toast the pine nuts until golden brown, set aside. To the skillet, add 1 TB butter and 1 TB olive oil over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the garlic and let cook for 1 minute, but don’t let the garlic brown. Add the leeks, add a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until leeks begin to turn soft, about 8-10 minutes. Add the fiddleheads, another generous pinch of salt, and cook for another 5-6 minutes, until the fiddleheads are crisp-tender and beginning to brown on the sides. Add a little pasta water, if making pasta, or a little broth, enough to loosen everything up. You can add more olive oil, if desired. Taste for seasoning. Dish onto pasta, polenta, or whatever you’re using, top with crumbled goat cheese and pine nuts, and serve.

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Garlic-Herb Papparadelle with Fiddlehead Ferns and Tomatoes

Yield: 2-3 main course servings

Ingredients

2 cups fiddlehead ferns, washed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups cherry tomatoes
8 ounces paparadelle, such as Al Dente Garlic-Herb Papparadelle
Parmesan Reggiano

Directions

1. Bring two large pots of salted water to a boil. In one pot, blanche fiddleheads, as you would fresh asparagus, 2-3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain in colander and reserve. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook noodles according to package instructions, or until they are tender yet firm. Drain and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil so they don’t stick together.
2. Heat remaining olive oil in a large sauté pan to medium heat. Add tomatoes to pan and cook until they are just beginning to wrinkle. Add fiddleheads to pan and continue cooking until tomatoes are just beginning to collapse and release their juices.
3. Toss vegetables with pasta. Season to taste with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and Parmesan and serve.

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Fiddlehead Ferns With Garlic and Capers

Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound fresh fiddlehead ferns
  • 2 tablespoons butter (I recommend salted, but feel free to go the unsalted route, if you prefer!)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (approximately ½ of a lemon)
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • (Optional):
  • 1 additional tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound Pappardelle OR Tagliatelle pasta
Instructions
  1. Place the fiddlehead ferns in a large bowl of ice water, and soak for a few minutes. Drain the water, and repeat as necessary until any dirt and particles have been removed. If your fiddleheads have any brown papery chaff on the exterior, remove that as well.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, prepare a separate bowl with ice and cold water.
  3. Add the fiddleheads to the boiling water, and cook for approximately 10 minutes, until tender. Remove the fiddleheads from the pot (The water may be dirty! It’s okay!) and immediately place them in the ice bath to prevent them from cooking any further.
  4. Melt the butter in a skillet set over medium heat.
  5. Add the garlic and the capers to the pan, and cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the fiddleheads to the pan, and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  7. Remove from the heat and toss with the lemon juice and Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
  8. If making with the pasta: Cook the pasta according to package directions [in a separate pot]. while you are boiling the fiddleheads. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter instead of 2, and cook the remaining ingredients as listed. When you remove the fiddleheads from the heat, toss in the cooked pasta, before adding the lemon juice and cheese. Enjoy!

ENJOY TRYING SOMETHING NEW THIS SPRING!!

SOURCES:

http://jjbegonia.com/2015/04/27/cooking-with-fiddlehead-ferns/

http://www.paprikared.com/?p=481

http://www.annarbor.com/entertainment/food-drink/garlic-herb-papparadelle-with-fiddlehead-ferns-and-tomatoes/

HAVE YOU HEARD OF QUINCE FRUIT?

Fragrant rich quince fruit is a member of Rosaceae family of pome-fruits. Native to Asia Minor, it is a popular delicacy. Quince is rarely eaten raw but used in cooking where just a small wedge it imparts the whole recipe with a pleasant fruity aroma.

Quince is the only fruiting tree in the genus: Cydonia. Scientific name: Cydonia oblonga.

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Quinces are medium sized semi-tropical deciduous trees, growing to about 10 to 15 feet in height. Pink-white flowers appear in the spring and early summer, which develop into golden color pear-shaped fruits. The fruit is larger than average apple and bumpy; appear somewhat like large guava, avocado, or as short-necked pear fruit. Its fuzzy surface is smooth as in peaches.

The quince fruit weighs on average about 4 to 5 ounces (500g) yet some varieties weigh more. Inside, its flesh is light yellow, gritty and has multiple poisonous seeds concentrated at the center as in apples. Raw quince has intense fruity smell and together with its bright yellow color instantly attracts the fruit lover’s attention. However, raw fruits, even after they ripen, are generally astringent and tart.

 

Health benefits of quince

  • Quince is low calorie fruit. 100 g fresh raw fruit provides 57 calories. In addition, it composes several more vital poly-phenolic antioxidants than apples and pears. The fruit is the storehouse for phyto-nutrients such as dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
  • Quince pulp along with its peel contains good amounts of fiber. Further, its gritty granules in the pulp are composed of astringent compounds known as tannins namely, catechin and epicatechin. They bind to cancer-causing toxins and chemicals in the colon, protecting its mucous membrane from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), cancers, and diverticulitis. In addition, it helps reduce body weight and blood LDL cholesterol levels.
  • It has several phenolic compounds such as caffeoylquinic acid, procyanidin-B2, oligomeric procyanidin, polymeric procyanidin etc., and essential oils like furfural, limonene, linalol, vomifoliol, toluene, β-ionone, α-terpineol, etc. Together; these compounds give quince its unique fragrance.
  • Ripe quince fruit has good concentration of vitamin C. 100 g fruit provides 15 mg or 25% of RDA of vitamin-C. Fruits rich in this vitamin help remove harmful oxygen-free radicals from the body. Vitamin C helps boost immunity, reduce viral episodes and inflammatory conditions.
  • The fruit is a good source of minerals such as copper (130 µg or 14% of RDA), iron, potassium, and magnesium as well as B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6).
  • Although not well documented, quince fruit, like pears, has anti-allergenic and anti-inflammatory properties. The fruit as well its seed’s extraction is suggested in the treatment of cystitis, atopic dermatitis, recommended by health practitioners as a safe alternative in the preparation of food products for allergy sufferers.

Nutrient Analysis

 
Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 57 Kcal 3%
Carbohydrates 13.81 g 11%
Protein 0.40 g <1%
Total Fat 0.10 g 0.5%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 1.9 g 4%
Vitamins
Folates 3 µg 1%
Niacin 0.200 mg 1%
Pantothenic acid 0.081 mg 1.5%
Pyridoxine 0.040 mg 3%
Riboflavin 0.030 mg 2%
Thiamin 0.020 mg 2%
Vitamin A 40 IU 1%
Vitamin C 15 mg 25%
Vitamin E 0.12 mg 1%
Vitamin K 4.5 µg 4%
Electrolytes
Sodium 1 mg 0%
Potassium 119 mg 2.5%
Minerals
Calcium 11 mg 1%
Copper 0.130 mg 14%
Iron 0.70 mg 9%
Magnesium 8 mg 2%
Phosphorus 11 mg 2%
Selenium 0.6 µg 1%
Zinc 0.04 mg <1%

Selection and Storage

Quince fruit season begins by September. Fresh fruits generally arrive in the USA markets from the Middle East, Turkey, Armenia, and Georgia.

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Quinces in a basket.
Photo courtesy: jespahjoy

In the markets, choose well-developed, firm, bright golden-yellow color fruits. Avoid green, immature, as they are bitter and inedible. Furthermore, avoid bruised, shriveled ones as they are out of flavor.

Once at home, Quinces stay well for up to a week when kept open in cool, dark place away from heat, and humidity. They store for several weeks placed in the refrigerator.

 

Preparation and Serving tips

Raw quince is extremely sour and astringent as it has rarely eaten uncooked. Its bitter taste and choking feeling in the mouth is due to certain chemicals in the fruit known as tannins. Cooking destroys these compounds while retaining fragrant rich essential oils and aliphatic compounds in the fruit. With the addition of sugar or honey, the fruit makes excellent flavorful sweet and savory recipes, jams, jellies, and preserves.

To prepare, just wash the fruit in cold water. Cut the fruit in quarters as you do in apples and pears. Remove central core, and seeds using paring knife. Cut In small chunks or wedges and add in the cooking.

Here are some serving tips:

quince fruit jam- membrilo
Quince jam-membrilo.
Photo courtesy: charkrem

 

  • Quince fruit makes wonderful addition in the confectionery. Some of the traditional sweet delicacies like pies, tarts, cakes, jams (membrilo), marmalade, jellies, etc., uses this fruit to acquire special flavor.
  • The fruit pulp can also be employed in stews, as a addition to seafood, poultry, and lamb preparations as a flavoring base.

 

Safety profile

Quince fruit seeds are poisonous and should not be eaten. Raw fruit may cause irritation in the throat and may cause breathing difficulty.

FUN RELATED SITE: http://www.historicfood.com/Quinces%20Recipe.htm

ACORN SQUASH RINGS WITH FETA AND PINE NUTS 

acorn squash rings with feta and pine nuts (8)

1 acorn squash
2 Tbsp your favorite pesto
Splash of your favorite Greek salad dressing
1/4 c pine nuts
1/4 c feta crumbles
1/2 c roasted red pepper slices
1/4 cup black or Kalamata olive slices (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut acorn squash in half and remove seeds. Slice into about six 1/2″ rings and place on 9 X 13″ baking dish lightly sprayed with non-stick spray. Spread rings with a little pesto and splash with Greek salad dressing. Top with pine nuts, feta crumbles, red pepper and olives if desired. Bake 15-2o minutes until squash is tender crisp and slightly browned.

YOU CAN KEEP IT VEGETARIAN BUT I SERVED WITH PARMESAN CRUSTED HADDOCK AND BROCCOLI SLAW!

SPAGHETTI SQUASH – THE MIGHTY WINTER SQUASH!

I recently read an article in bon appetite where the author clearly did not like spaghetti squash – his article entitled “5 Creative Ways to Cook with Spaghetti Squash” involved deep fat frying it and frittering it (also in deep fat fryer).  He even stated that spaghetti squash had a “blah” flavor and that his favorite was acorn squash.  So why did he write the article?

I find spaghetti squash to be a super food that most people seldom, if ever eat!

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Spaghetti squash, a type of winter squash, gets its name from the pale-yellow flesh that can be fluffed into stringy, pasta-like threads. It has a very mild flavor and, unlike other winter squash, does not have much sweetness. So you can use spaghetti squash in both savory and sweet dishes. Consider eating it warm, topped with pasta sauce or tossed with a small amount of olive oil and fresh herbs, or serve it chilled with sun-dried red peppers, olives and feta cheese.

Calories and Fat

Most varieties of winter squash contain almost twice the calories per serving of spaghetti squash, which has only 42 calories per cup.  It’s also very low in fat, with less than 0.5 grams of fat per cup. (So why would you deep fat fry it?)  Spaghetti squash contains about 92 percent water by weight, which may account for its lack of calories. These qualities make spaghetti squash a good choice for weight-loss or weight-management plans. It will fill you up without adding a lot of calories or fat to your daily total.

Carbohydrates

Spaghetti squash also fits well into a low-carb or diabetes meal plan. It contains only 10 grams of total carbohydrates per cup, whereas most types of winter squash have at least 18 grams. Of the total, 4 grams come from natural sugar in the squash, and 2 grams come from dietary fiber. Eating a diet rich in fiber may regulate digestion, reduce constipation, lower your cholesterol and help you manage your weight.

Vitamins

You’ll get small amounts of almost every essential vitamin from eating spaghetti squash. Vitamin C and vitamin B-6 are the vitamins found in highest concentration in the squash. Vitamin C plays a role in the growth and repair of body proteins, aids in wound healing and supports your immune system. It’s also an antioxidant that helps defend your body against harmful free radicals. Vitamin B-6 is involved in over 100 enzyme reactions in your body, including energy metabolism and hemoglobin production.  The fruit can range either from ivory to yellow or orange in color. The orange varieties have a higher carotene content.

Minerals

Every essential mineral is found in trace amounts in the flesh of spaghetti squash. The mineral potassium plays a part in building muscle, metabolizing carbohydrates and maintaining proper muscle function in your body. It also functions as an electrolyte, helping to regulate fluid balance and the acidity, or pH, of your blood. Replacing electrolytes is essential any time you sweat heavily or lose body fluids. Without enough potassium you may experience weak muscles, an abnormal heart rhythm or an elevated blood pressure. Spaghetti squash also contains the minerals calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and sodium.

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Ingredients

Servings: 4

I think I would add some black beans that have been drained and well rinsed!

  • Pierce squash all over with a knife to vent. Place on microwavable plate and cover with waxed paper.  Microwave on high 5 minutes.  Turn squash over and microwave on high about another 5 minutes until the squash is tender enough to pierce easily with a knife.
  • Let cool slightly. Halve lengthwise and scoop out seeds; discard. Scrape flesh with a fork to remove in long strands. Spread out on paper towels to drain, then transfer to a bowl and chill until cold.
  • Just before serving, whisk lime juice and ranch dressing in a large bowl. Add chilled squash, avocado, cucumber, and chicken and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve topped with basil or parsley leaves.

SWEET POTATO PEANUT SOUP 

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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon(s) Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) pepper
  • 4 clove(s) garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon(s) fresh grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoon(s) ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) cayenne
  • 1 1/2 pound(s) (about 2 large) sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 can(s) (14-ounce) crushed tomatoes (1 3/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup(s) creamy peanut butter
  • Cilantro  or parsley, for serving
  • Chopped roasted peanuts, for serving

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Stir in the cumin and cayenne and cook 1 minute more. Add the sweet potatoes and mix to combine.
  3. Add the tomatoes, peanut butter, and 4 cups water or vegetable broth) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the sweet potatoes are tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Serve with cilantro or parsley and peanuts, if desired.

I REALLY LIKED THIS RECIPE BECAUSE IT WAS SO EASY AND THEY DIDN’T BLEND THE SOUP.  THE SWEET POTATOES WILL MUSH UP IN TIME ANYHOW!

I USED MY CROCK POT – ELIMINATED OIL (TO CUT DOWN ON FAT, THREW EVERYTHING IN EXCEPT THE SPICES AND PEANUT BUTTER (WHICH I ADDED IN THE LAST HOUR OF COOKING)  AND COOKED ON LOW 4-6 HOURS (HIGH 2-3 HOURS).

VEGETARIAN AND GLUTEN FREE RECIPE-ALTHOUGH PEANUTS MAY HAVE SOME CROSS-CONTAMINATION SO READ YOUR LABELS OR ELIMINATE THE ROASTED PEANUTS IF YOU ARE THAT SENSITIVE TO GLUTEN.

WHAT’S TRENDING IN FOOD AND NUTRITION

As a Registered Dietitian I like to keep abreast of what is trending in the field.  I love to experience new foods and try out new ideas.  My husband often needs some coaxing in trying new things though as is true with much of the public – it’s kind of like a toddler who is going through the stages of “picky eating” and “food jags”.  I use the same principles – offer a new food with other favorite foods, ask for a “no thank you” bite and don’t make an issue of food choices – just offer a variety of healthy foods to choose from!

Ancient grains are “in” again. They’re back and nutritionally superior than many modern-day, refined grains. Some to check out this year include quinoa, kaniwa, wheat berries, and millet

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Kale and chia seeds are the craze. Kale and chia seeds are unarguably two of the hottest superfoods as of late.  Just look at these health benefits of chia seeds!

Belief in the “wheat belly”Regardless of the conflicting evidence to support wheat-free and gluten-free diets for weight loss, Paleo and gluten-free diets will remain the most popular among those looking to control their weight. Gluten-free diets also help those suffering from inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

We’re using MyPlate to fill your plate. Thank goodness the Food Pyramid finally crumbled because quite honestly it was confusing even for us dietitians. This year we’re all about using the USDA’s MyPlate to help teach you how to fill your plate with more nutritious foods.

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Local & sustainable foods are favorable. These were the two most trendy terms among consumers shopping for groceries.

Being more comfortable the weigh you are. The number of consumers who are comfortable with being an “unhealthy” weight seems to be on the rise this year.  Many people remain healthy even while carrying extra body weight – maybe the “big bone” theory has some credence!

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The low-fat trend is finally fading. Consumers are adding more fat back to their diets since recent studies have shown that “low fat” doesn’t necessarily lead to less body fat.

Breastfeeding is on the rise – YES!!  Women are overcoming the mass media of huge formula companies pushing their product and going with the natural and best way to feed their babies.

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Fruits and veggies first. Eating more servings of fruits and veggies was ranked the most important diet tweak to improve overall health this year.

Using low carbohydrate squash in place of pasta.  Spaghetti squash and zucchini make wonderful “noodles”.

Adapted from 14 Food & Nutrition Trends for 2014 at http://blog.myfitnesspal.com

QUINOA STUFFED BROCCOLI LEAVES

SUPER TASTY AND NUTRITIOUS!

quinoa stuffed broccoli leaves and haddock (5)

12 large broccoli leaves
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup vegetable broth (I used broth from the boiled broccoli leaves)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup broccoli slaw (made from your broccoli stems
1 egg beaten
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese (I used Kraft brand because it is Gluten Free)
Your favorite marinara sauce (about 24 ounces)

Remove hard stems from broccoli leaves. Bring 6 cups of water to boiling and add broccoli leaves. Boil 3 minutes. Drain reserving 1 cup of liquid if desired to make the quinoa. Rinse in cold water and set aside on paper towels.

Return broth to same pot used for boiling and add quinoa, onion, garlic, and broccoli slaw. Bring to boil, cover and reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes until quinoa is done and liquid is absorbed. Let quinoa cool.

Place egg and cheese in medium mixing bowl. Add quinoa mixture and mix until well blended. Stuff broccoli leaves.

Spread marinara sauce in a thin layer at the bottom of a baking dish*. Place stuffed broccoli leaves on top of marinara sauce then cover the leaves with the remaining sauce. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 30 minutes.

*I cooked mine in the crock pot on low for 5 hours.

Enjoy!

PORK AND FRESH VEGETABLE STIR FRY

STIR FRY

THIS RECIPE IS SOOOOO EASY.  YOUR SAUCE IS 1/2 CUP KRAFT LITE ASIAN TOASTED SESAME DRESSING AND A FEW TABLESPOONS OF SOY SAUCE*.

YOU CAN STIR FRY ON THE STOVE OR I LIKE TO LET MY THICK PORK CHOPS OR LOIN ROAST SLOW COOK IN THE CROCK POT ALL DAY (LOW setting 6-8 hours) SO THE PORK MARINATES AND FALLS APART AT THE END OF COOKING.  JUST ADD THE FRESH VEGGIES IN THE LAST FEW HOURS OF COOKING SO THEY REMAIN TENDER CRISP!

I USED FRESH SNAP PEAS, SWEET PEPPERS IN VARIOUS COLORS, BROCCOLI AND ONIONS.  OF COURSE, IF YOU ARE REALLY PRESSED FOR TIME, YOU COULD USE A FROZEN STIR FRY MIX IN THE LAST HOUR OF COOKING – THERE ARE SOME REALLY NICE VARIETIES AVAILABLE.

I SERVE OVER WHOLE GRAIN RICE* OR QUINOA.

*TO KEEP IT GLUTEN FREE, ELIMINATE SOY SAUCE AND USE QUINOA RATHER THAN RICE.

 

MEDITERRANIAN STUFFED PEPPERS

I MADE THESE STUFFED PEPPERS GLUTEN FREE BY SUBSTITUTING QUINOA FOR ORZO!

 

MEDITERRANIAN STUFFED PEPPERS -1

4 large red peppers, halved lengthwise, seeded and cored
1 ½ cups quinoa
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup pitted black olives, halved
8 oz feta cheese block, crumbled
1 ½ lbs chicken breasts, grilled and cut into bite-sized pieces
½ cup Kraft Greek Dressing with Feta and Oregano

Coat 13” X 9” baking dish with non-stick spray. Place pepper halves in bottom. Cook quinoa according to directions. In large bowl, combine quinoa and next three ingredients. Meanwhile, grill chicken, cut up and add to quinoa mixture. Drizzle Greek dressing over top and mix well. Stuff peppers. Bake 350 degrees F 40-50 minutes.
*Feta crumbles are likely fine but some sources say they may have wheat starch added to prevent clumping. Kraft uses potato starch in their shredded blends.