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!
By Megan Kian
With these past few sticky and extremely hot days it’s been hard to find a way to cool down. At home in New Jersey my dad has a garden where he loves to grow a variety of different vegetables, fruits, and herbs. One of my favorite herbs that he grows is mint (I also love his basil). It is such a fragrant herb that it had me feeling refreshed with just the smell! Mint was originally used as an air freshener to rid rooms of unpleasant smells. It is a great source of antioxidants including vitamins A and C, and has a long nutritional history for its use in aiding digestion. In cooking, it is not as common to see mint used in main dishes, but it can be used as an accent in sweets. I decided to use the mint from my dad’s garden to make mint chocolate chip ice cream! Here is the recipe that I used from David Lebovitz:
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups packed fresh mint leaves
- 5 large egg yolks
- Bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
You’ll also need an ice cream maker to make this delicious ice cream!
- In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup heavy cream, salt, and mint.
- Once the mixture is hot and steaming, remove from heat, cover, and let stand for an hour to infuse the mint flavor.
- Remove the mint with a strainer, then press down with a spatula firmly to extract as much mint flavor and color as possible. Once the flavor is squeezed out, discard the mint.
- Pour the remaining heavy cream into a large bowl and set the strainer over the top.
- Rewarm the infused milk. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, then slowly pour some of the warm mint mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.
- Cook the custard, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula.
- Immediately strain the mixture into the cream, then stir the mixture over an ice bath until cool.
- Refrigerate the mixture thoroughly, preferably overnight, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Add in as many chocolate chips as you like!
- When finished, cover and freeze until firm.
How do you like to use mint?
As you may know from summer’s past, I love farm-fresh tomatoes. What I love even more is the simple yet nutritious and delicious combination of tomatoes and basil. Lucky for me I have both from my CSA this week, which makes me so happy! This afternoon as I was looking in my fridge and pantry for an afternoon snack, I thought “Why not make a little tomato and basil salad?” In less than three minutes I had this beautiful salad, which paired with some cheese made for a filling and balanced snack!
How good does that look?!
- Handful cherry tomatoes
- 2-3 basil leaves
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Aged balsamic vinegar
- Salt & freshly ground pepper
- Rinse tomatoes and basil in cold water and pat dry. Slice tomatoes in half and add to a small bowl. Tear basil leaves and add to tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil and vinegar on top of tomatoes and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Enjoy the fresh flavors of the summer!
Looking for another tomato recipe? Try the Tomato Jam I made last fall.
Do you like tomatoes? What’s your favorite way to enjoy them?
It’s that time again: the monthly Recipe Redux blog challenge! Last month’s theme was grilling (if you missed my Grilled Salmon Burgers with Cherry Chutney check it out), and in keeping with the spirit of summer, the Recipe Redux founders made this month’s theme Summer Beverages.
Back in April, Nutritioulicious intern Megan posted a refreshing recipe for Strawberry, Lemon, and Basil Soda to get us ready for summer, but I needed something new for this month’s challenge. Inspired by the blueberries I had in my refrigerator and the basil I received from my weekly CSA share, I decided to make a Blueberry Basil Cooler. I made it non-alcoholic, but feel free to add vodka or gin to it for happy hour!
Blueberry Basil Cooler
- 1/2 cup blueberries, plus more for garnish, rinsed and patted dry
- ~10 basil leaves, rinsed and patted dry
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1-2 teaspoons honey
- 12 ounces seltzer or soda water
- Ice cubes
- Muddle blueberries, basil, lime juice, and honey in the base of a shaker glass.
- Add seltzer or soda water and ice cubes and shake to combine.
- Fill two glasses with ice cubes and strain the drink evenly between the two glasses. Garnish with blueberries and a basil leaf. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the summer!
For more summer drinks, here are the other great recipes from Recipe Reduxers:
- Gretchen, Kumquat Ginger Ale
- Dr. Barb, Nutrition Budgeteer Triple Cherry Chiller
- Carlene Helble, Carlene’s Figments Mint Berry Seltzer
- Kara Lydon, Peace, Love, and Food Blueberry Basil Lemonade Fizz
- Deanna Segrave-Daly, Teaspoon of Spice Cantaloupe Basil Aqua Fresca Fizz
- Jessica Fishman Levinson, Nutritioulicious Blueberry Basil Cooler
- Marie Spano, Performance Nutrition Post-Workout Power Smoothie
- Elizabeth Jarrard, Don’t White Sugar-Coat It Southern Blackberry Smash
- Emily Greenfield, The Nutriscientist Apple, pear and strawberry smoothie with Chia
- Kristen Bourque, Swanky Dietitian Fresh Fruit and Club Soda Cooler
- Regan Jones, The Professional Palate Berry-Lime Bubbly
- Kat Lynch, Eating the Week Sparkling melon fizz – nice & naughty
- Lisa, Healthful Sense Berry Refreshing Chia Seed Smoothie
- EA Stewart, The Spicy RD Gingery Peach Float
- Alysa Bajenaru, Inspired RD Blackberry Banana Swirl
- Ann Dunaway Teh, Eat to Nourish, Energize & Flourish Pregnancy Mocktails
- Yuri, Chef Pandita Green Tea Ginger Limeade with Chia Seeds
- Karman Meyer, Nutrition Adventures Orange-Mint Iced Green Tea
- Cherie Schetselaar, Grain Crazy Mango Strawberry Smoothie
- Emma Stirling, The Scoop on Nutrition Recipe Redux Tangelo-ade
- Alexandra Caspero, Delicious Knowledge Strawberry Splash Mojito
- Janel Ovrut Funk, Eat Well with Janel Blog Mango Melon Smoothie
- Liz Weiss & Janice Newell Bissex, Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen Pint-Size Pina Colada
- Danielle Omar, Food Confidence RD Almond Iced-Coffee Latte
- Rebecca Scritchfield, MeFirst Banana Split Smoothie
- Carrie Miller, Nutrition Know How 12 Smoothie Recipes to Beat the Heat
- Diane Welland, Eat Well Eat Clean Watermelon Ginger-Lime Aqua Fresca