This month’s Recipe ReDux theme is “Dressing for Success.” While the original idea (by my friend and fellow RD Danielle at Food Confidence) was salad dressings, the theme was expanded to include spreads and condiments.
I have posted a bunch of dip and spread recipes in the past so I needed to come up with something new. A few years ago I made a delicious pumpkin cream cheese dip that I served with cinnamon pita chips – it was really delicious! I couldn’t find my recipe for it, but decided to recreate it for this month’s post. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to roast, scoop, and puree fresh pumpkin and canned pumpkin isn’t so easy to find right now. (A couple of years ago there was a shortage of canned pumpkin and apparently this year should be better, but I had no luck finding any yet. Maybe it’s just too early in the season.) I did however find canned butternut squash, so I used that in place of the pumpkin and the end result was still delicious.
Using canned squash or pumpkin with no added ingredients and low-fat cream cheese keeps this recipe low-calorie, low-fat, and rich in beta-carotene. Portions can be kept small because a little bit of this dip goes a long way.
Butternut Squash Cream Cheese Spread
Serves 20; Serving Size: ~ 2 tablespoons
- 1 15-ounce can butternut squash
- 4 ounces low-fat cream cheese (half a bar)
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Ground cinnamon, to taste
- In a food processor, combine the butternut squash and cream cheese. Blend until well combined. Add salt and cinnamon to taste and blend well.
- Chill and serve with pita chips, crackers, or vegetables.
Nutrition Facts (per 2 tbsp): 23 calories, 1 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 2 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 1 g protein, 4 mg cholesterol, 40 mg sodium
Check out these other great “Dressing for Success” recipes from my fellow ReDuxers!
Labor Day may have passed (I know, it feels like it was a long time ago!), but it’s still warm and summery here in New York. Luckily that also means that summer produce is still around. A few weeks ago I realized I hadn’t really had much corn all summer, so I went on a little corn kick and made grilled corn on the cob, corn and tomato salad, and this delicious corn and black bean salsa, which I served with fish tacos. I had a lot of leftovers, so I ended up eating the salsa as a side dish for the rest of the week!
Corn & Black Bean Salsa
Serves a lot
- 4 ears corn
- 1 15-ounce can no salt added black beans, drained
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed
- 1 1/2-2 beefsteak tomatoes, diced
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Salt to taste
- Cilantro, if desired
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the corn for about 3 minutes. Remove the corn and set aside until cool enough to handle. Using a paring knife, cut the corn off the cob into a large bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients and toss to mix.
Did you have your fill of corn this summer? What are your favorite ways to enjoy it?
Posted in Cooking, Dinner, Lunch, Recipes, Seasonal Eating
Tagged black beans, corn, corn black bean salsa, corn recipes, healthy eating, healthy recipes, Labor day, seasonal recipes
My husband and I are pizza lovers. (Is there anyone who isn’t?!) In the past we would order in or go out for pizza, or occasionally we would enjoy a Kashi frozen pizza. But last December when I was testing recipes for We Can Cook, I made pizza at home and we really loved it. (The only other time I have ever made pizza at home is on Passover when I make matzo pizza.) Although I didn’t make the dough from scratch, it was still really fun to make the pizza – rolling out the dough, choosing the toppings, and seeing it turn into a delicious meal. Not to mention that it was so much cheaper than getting it ready made!
Last week when I made the cucumber soup I decided to make pizza to round out the meal. I had beautiful farm-fresh cherry tomatoes, basil, summer squash, and some leftover roasted broccoli on hand as toppings. I bought the whole wheat pizza dough from Trader Joe’s, divided it in two to make two pizzas, topped each crust with tomato sauce, part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese, and veggies, and watched it cook. Ten minutes later we had two Nutritioulicious pizzas (plus enough for lunch leftovers).
Margarita Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil
Summer Squash and Broccoli Pizza
If you’re going out for pizza, be sure to check out my tips for how to make it a healthy slice!
Have you ever made pizza at home? What are your favorite pizza toppings?
Posted in Cooking, Dinner, Lunch, Recipes, Seasonal Eating
Tagged basil, cherry tomatoes, cooking, CSA, healthy pizza, healthy recipes, homemade pizza, margarita pizza, Recipes, Seasonal Eating, Summer Squash
It’s that time of year again – lots of cucumbers available fresh from the farm. A couple of summers ago I shared a recipe for a new twist on traditional cucumber salad. With the plethora of CSA cucumbers that have piled up I decided to try another new recipe showcasing this nutritioulicious vegetable.
My cucumber soup recipe was inspired by the one from Eating Well, with just a few modifications. It was really easy to make, and quick too!
Chilled Cucumber Soup
Serves 4; Serving Size: ~1 cup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
- 4 cups peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced cucumbers, plus 1/4 cup chopped cucumber for garnish
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Pinch of chili powder
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- Diced tomatoes for garnish
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, shallots, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 1 to 4 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and cook for 1 minute. Add the 4 cups of cucumber slices, broth, salt, pepper, and chili powder and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and cook at a gentle simmer until the cucumbers are soft, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Transfer the soup to a blender. Add avocado and parsley and blend on low speed until smooth. Add the second tablespoon of lemon juice to taste and blend. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Pour soup into a serving bowl and stir in the yogurt. Refrigerate until chilled.
- Serve the soup garnished with diced cucumber and tomato and the chopped parsley. Enjoy!
Nutrition Note: Cucumbers are in the same family of fruit and vegetables as squash, watermelon, and cantaloupe. Nutritionally, cucumbers are a good source of phytonutrients that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. They are also a good source of the antioxidants vitamin C and beta-carotene. Because they are water-rich, cucumbers are excellent low-calorie vegetables.
What are your favorite ways to enjoy cucumbers?
Posted in Cooking, Dinner, Lunch, Recipes, Seasonal Eating
Tagged cooking, CSA, cucumber recipes, farm-fresh vegetables, healthy eating, healthy recipes, Recipes
When I first found out this month’s Recipe ReDux theme, frozen desserts, I was a little worried. First of all, I don’t make dessert very often – don’t get me wrong, I eat plenty of it, I just buy it instead! Second, I don’t have an ice cream maker or popsicle molds, so all the ideas that originally came to mind wouldn’t work. But as I continued to think about what I would make, I realized simplicity was the way to go. Plus, I wanted to make something that most people could easily whip up without having special gadgets taking up room in their kitchens.
Watermelon sorbet sounds like it would be a lot more complex to make than it actually was. This recipe is so quick and easy, only requires a blender and ramekins, and the result is a refreshing treat that the whole family can enjoy. An added bonus: it’s low in calories and a great source of the antioxidants vitamin A and lycopene too! (Find out more of the nutritional benefits of watermelon.)
Ready to serve!
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 cups watermelon cubes
- 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved. (Since there is very little sugar, this will happen quickly. Keep an eye on it to make sure the water doesn’t evaporate.) Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a blender, combine the watermelon cubes, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Blend until no watermelon chunks remain.
- Divide the mixture evenly among four ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least three hours. Enjoy!
Watermelon sorbet before freezing
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 35 calories, 9 g carbohydrate, 8 g sugar (only 3 g added sugar), .5 g protein, 0 g fat
For more delicious frozen desserts, check out these great recipes from my fellow ReDuxers!
This past weekend I had a handful of heirloom tomatoes and some summer squash from my CSA share, so I did a quick search online for something different to make using the produce.
I found a great recipe for Moroccan Chicken on Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food website. The recipe was for one, but I more than doubled it so that Andy and I would both be able to enjoy it (and have leftovers too!) and I made it with quinoa instead of couscous for the additional nutrition benefits.
We liked the recipe, but I think it needed some more spices to make it more traditional Moroccan cuisine. It was certainly quick and easy to make and a great use for our fresh veggies.
How do you like to cook with summer squash and tomatoes?
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I occasionally write about childhood nutrition issues: childhood obesity, children’s menus, cooking with kids, etc. One thing I am very passionate about is feeding children real food. What I mean by this, is that it is best to introduce children to the same foods you and other adults eat.
Kid favorites like mac ‘n’ cheese and chicken fingers are pretty much always available to kids at restaurants, but no child needs to eat those calorie-laden meals every time he eats out (or even when eating at home). If you knew me as a child you’d be saying “Who are you to talk?!” because I was what many parents would call a picky eater. Staples of my diet were chicken nuggets, pizza bagels, and mac ‘n’ cheese, and the only vegetables I liked were peas and carrots (especially carrots). Looking back at my diet, it’s a good question how I became a dietitian (and I didn’t even tell you about all the desserts I used to eat)! Lucky for me I didn’t have a weight issue, which may be why no one thought twice about what I ate. But from a nutrition standpoint, I would not want my children eating the same way.
My interest in childhood nutrition and making sure children learn about all varieties of foods is what excited me to write my first kid’s cookbook, We Can Cook: Introduce Your Child to the Joy of Cooking with 75 Simple Recipes and Activities.
The book is full of recipes that I developed using a variety of foods including ones that children may not be familiar with. Every recipe is designed to have children help in the preparation, this way they get to know the foods they are going to be eating and they will learn how to cook at the same time. While the book is geared to children ages three to six, children of all ages can take part in making these recipes — the older the child, the more he or she can do in the kitchen! There are also a handful of food-related activities written by Maja Pitamic.
You can read a review of the book at MomTrends.com and taste a sample of the recipes in this post by my friend and fellow dietitian Elisa Zied.
And don’t fret — there are recipes for Mac ‘n’ Cheese and Chicken Fingers included!