Tag Archives: cooking

Seasonal Pizza

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).

pizza recipe

Margarita Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil

healthy pizza

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? 

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Chilled Cucumber Soup

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 cupcucumber soup recipe

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Serve the soup garnished with diced cucumber and tomato and the chopped parsley. Enjoy!

cucumber recipes
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? 

Roasted Beets and Spring Onions

The other day I wrote about roasting fennel and mentioned that it made for a great side dish with roasted beets and onions. The truth is, I have yet to find a vegetable that doesn’t taste good roasted! Since beets and spring onions are in season, that’s what I had on hand and they were so easy to cook up.

Many people shy away from cooking with fresh beets because they are afraid it’s too much work (or that their entire kitchen will be stained from them!). But cooking with beets really isn’t difficult, and once you have fresh beets it’s quite hard to go back to the canned variety. The easiest way to cook them is as follows:

  • Rinse beets and scrub to remove any dirt if they came fresh from the farm. (If your beets come attached with beet greens, cut off the greens and save for a salad.)
  • Toss beets with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in a 375 degree F oven for about 20-30 minutes, until they are fork tender.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool. When cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to remove the outside skin. It should come off very easily. (If you’re afraid of staining, you can wear plastic gloves while removing the skin.)
  • Serve roasted beets as a side dish or add to a salad (I especially love the combo of beets and goat cheese!).

Here are before and after shots of spring red onions and farm-fresh beets:

CSA red onions   roasting onions

raw beets  cooking beets

Looking for another beet recipe? Try this Beet and Beet Green Gratin that Nutritioulicious intern Jo made last summer!

FYI: Consumption of beets can turn your urine and stool a red color. So if you start peeing red and you ate beets within a day or two, don’t worry!

Do you like beets? What’s your favorite way to eat them?

What To Do With Fennel?

I have never liked black licorice. Years ago when I tasted fennel, I was immediately turned off because all I tasted was black licorice (the same reason why I never liked anise). Over the years I found that my preference for fennel was based on how it was prepared. My two favorite preparations for fennel are raw in a salad with oranges and red wine vinaigrette (a great combination) and roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Although I will now eat fennel when I am out at a restaurant, it is not a vegetable I ever buy. Until now. As part of my CSA share I have received full stalks of fennel.

fennel nutrition

They weren’t really big enough to use to make a salad, especially once I cut away the fronds and stalks, making a fennel soup (which was recommended by the farmers) just didn’t appeal to me, and while the fennel dip I made a few weeks ago was good, I wanted to do something a little simpler.  So the easiest thing for me to do was roast the bulbs. Since roasting is one of my favorite go-to cooking methods for pretty much anything, I figured this was the easiest solution. I just tossed the cleaned bulbs with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted for about 20 to 30 minutes at 375 degrees F. It made for a great side dish with other roasted vegetables, including red onions and beets.

roasted fennel

Nutrition Note: Fennel has some radical-fighting antioxidant benefits thanks to vitamin C and phytonutrients like quercetin. It is also a good source of fiber, folate, and potassium, which among other things help promote heart health.

Do you like fennel? How do you use it in the kitchen?

Roasted Fennel, Garlic Scape, and Sweet Onion Dip

What do you do when you have a handful of uneaten CSA vegetables and another delivery coming the next day? Roast them up and make them into a dip! At least that’s what I did the other night. I had one fennel bulb, a handful of garlic scapes, and three small sweet red onions. I also had half a dozen farm-fresh eggs to use. I decided to roast the vegetables and make a pesto with them, but in the end it came out more like a dip. A very tasty dip that was used to top the eggs and spread on some leftover challah bread.

roasted fennel recipe

I don’t have a very measured recipe for the dip since I was adding ingredients as I went along, but here’s basically what I did:

Roasted Fennel, Garlic Scape, and Sweet Onion Dip
Serves 4

Ingredients:
  • 1 fennel bulb, cut into chunks
  • 4 garlic scapes
  • 3 small sweet red onions, cut into chunks
  • olive oil (about 1/3 cup plus more for roasting)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, grated, to taste (I used about 1/4-1/3 cup)
Directions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the fennel, garlic scapes, and onions in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes until soft. 
  2. Let vegetables cool slightly and then transfer to a food processor. Pulse for about 30 seconds to 1 minute until big chunks have broken down. Add in the cheese and continue pulsing until combined. Drizzle olive oil slowly and pulse, stopping to scrape the sides, until you get to desired consistency. You may want to add more cheese as you go. Flavor with salt and pepper. 
What do you do with leftover vegetables? 

Recipe Redux: Grilled Salmon Burgers with Cherry Chutney

I am excited to be part of a new recipe challenge that is starting this month, called The Recipe Redux.  Perhaps you have seen other recipe challenges in the blogosphere, but this one is different because it’s founded by registered dietitians like myself! Every month I will post a recipe based on a theme set by the founders of The Recipe Redux and I will share with you links to other Recipe Reduxer blog posts – that means you’ll end up with lots of new recipes to try! This month’s theme is grilling, a topic I have covered before. So I racked my brain for something new I could grill and here is what I came up with: Grilled Salmon Burgers with Cherry Chutney (and a side of snap peas).

healthy grilling recipes

Grilled Salmon Burgers
Serves 4 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound salmon fillet, skinned and chopped
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 serrano pepper, diced (remove seeds before dicing and add based on level of spiciness desired)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1-2 tablespoons whole wheat panko
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Cooking spray for the grill
  • 4 whole wheat hamburger buns
  • Cherry Chutney (see recipe below)

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the first 8 ingredients and mix well.
  2. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping them into burger patties.
  3. Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium-high heat and coat pan or grill grates with cooking spray. When the grill is hot, add the patties and cook about 3 minutes on each side or until cooked to desired degree of doneness. Serve patties on hamburger buns with Cherry Chutney on top.
salmon burger recipe   cherry chutney recipe

Cherry Chutney
Serves ~ 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pitted cherries, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 habanero pepper, minced (remove seeds before dicing and add based on level of spiciness desired)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Directions: 

  1. In a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients except for the cornstarch. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Turn down the heat, cover, and simmer gently for about 30 minutes.
  3. Remove cover and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes. If the mixture is still very liquidy, add cornstarch and stir until it dissolves well. Simmer for another few minutes until the mixture has thickened.
  4. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. If you have time, refrigerate the chutney for about an hour (and up to a week). Chutney will thicken as it cools.

For more grilling inspiration, here are the other great recipes from Recipe Reduxers:

Alexandra Caspero Alexandra made Grilled Summer Fruit Salad
Alysa Bajenaru – Inspired RD Alyssa from InspiredRD made Grilled Romaine Salad
Ann Dunaway Teh – Eat to Nourish, Energize & Flourish!  Grilled Flank Steak with Grilled Corn and Peach Salsa
Cindy Brison – Nutrition Know How
Chef Pandita
Danielle Omar – Food Confidence Grilled Sweet Peppers
Diane Welland – EatWellEatClean Grilled Beet & Onion Salad with Goat Cheese
Dr Barb’s Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad – The Nutrition Budgeteer
EA Stewart – The Spicy RD Grilled Polenta Veggie Stacks with Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes
Emma Stirling – The Scoop on Nutrition Char Siu BBQ Pork
Gretchen – Kumquat Grilled Tandoori Chicken Skewers
Jackie Mills- Delicious Diabetes Cooking Grilled Proscuitto Shrimp with Asian Dipping Sauce
Jessica Fishman Levinson – Nutritioulicious Grilled Salmon Burgers with Cherry Chutney
Kat Lynch – Eating The Week Portobello mushrooms stuffed with spiced couscous
Katie Caputo- East Meats West Succulent Sirloin Kabobs
Kristen – Swanky Dietitian Portabella Mushroom Burgers with Grilled Corn
Lisa – Healthful Sense Grilled Veggie Bean Burgers
Liz Weiss and Janice Newell Bissex – Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen Mushroom Burgers with the Works, Mushroom Cannellini Spread
Marie Spano Italian Grilled Turkey Burgers
Nicole Ferring Holovach – Whole Health RD Grilled Eggs
Rebecca Scritchfield – MeFirst Grilled Plantains: A Sweet Summer Side Dish
Regan – The Professional Palate Grilled Eggplant & Two-Tomato Whole-Wheat Piadina
Serena – Teaspoon of Spice Grilled Watermelon Salad

Quick Quinoa Lunch

The other day I found myself scrounging for ingredients to make lunch at home (clearly I hadn’t planned my food shopping very well!). I didn’t have any lettuce to make a regular salad and I didn’t have any sandwich toppings, but I did have some vegetables, canned beans, and a whole bunch of grains in the pantry.

As you probably know by now, I love quinoa (and if you didn’t know, just check out some of my previous quinoa posts). I especially love how quickly it can be cooked up, which is perfect for a last-minute lunch dish. I ended up with a balanced, satisfying, and delicious lunch that took less than 20 minutes to make (ok – maybe this is longer than it takes to make most lunches, but it was so easy and the active time was only five minutes!).

Vegetable and Chickpea Quinoa Salad
Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup water or low-sodium broth
  • 1/2 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
  • 2-3 scallions, chopped
  • 4-5 roasted asparagus, chopped
  • 4 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
  • 1/2 can no-sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

quinoa salad recipe
Directions:

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions in water or broth. When fully cooked (water is completely absorbed), rinse under cold water and drain. Set aside in a bowl to cool.
  2. When quinoa is at room temperature, add the rest of the ingredients and toss to combine. Divide between two bowls and serve.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 400 calories, 14 g protein, 55 g carbohydrate, 10 g fiber, 14 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 284 mg sodium

What do you make for lunch when you’re home?