Monday, January 28th, 2008
Zucchini is one of those veggies that gets little attention. It’s not as nutrient packed as say sweet potatoes or as sexy as asparagus, but it does, in fact, contain a healthy helping of good nutrition. Zucchini is a good source of vitamins A and C as well as potassium and fiber (both good for the heart). Interestingly, zucchini contains two antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, both important for good vision. We use zucchini, plus a few other convenient ingredients — onion, canned beans, salsa, cheese and tortillas — for this fast weeknight meal. When Liz recently made it for her family, both her boys, Josh and Simon, happily ate every last bite.
Beany, Cheesy, Zucchini Quesadillas
Makes 6 Servings
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 1/2 to 2 cups)
1 small onion, finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
3/4 teaspoon dried cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
One 15 ½-ounce can canellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup salsa (we like mild)
1 1/2 cups preshredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
Six 8-inch flour tortillas
Lightly oil or coat a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, onion, cumin, and chili powder and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Stir in the beans, salsa, and 1 cup of the cheese to the skillet and cook until the mixture is heated through and the cheese melts, about 2 minutes. To assemble the quesadillas, arrange the bean mixture evenly over half of each tortilla. Fold over, press down gently, and place each on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the tortillas. Bake until the cheese melts and the tortillas become crisp on the outside, about 10 minutes. Cut into quarters and serve.
Nutrition Information per Serving: 320 calories,11 g fat (4g saturated, 0.3g omega-3), 580mg sodium, 39g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 15g protein, 15% vitamin C, 30% calcium, 15% iron
Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008
Unfortunately, when teens are thirsty, they often grab for sweetened beverages — soft drinks, juice drinks, and sports drinks — guzzling lots of calories … but little to no nutrients. Now, a new pilot program in Boston called, the Boston Corner Store Iniative, aimes to change all that. Through the project, eight convenience stores located near six Boston middle schools will market healthier beverages such as lowfat milk, plain water, and 100% fruit juices to the kids who frequent corner stores before or after school. The goal is to get kids to nix the nutritionally lackluster, sugary drinks in favor of other nutrient-packed options. According to Mayor Thomas Menino, “The increased consumption of soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages is directly linked to rising obesity and diabetes rates among children and youth. This is an effort to get students to think about what they drink before they make their purchases.” We applaud this initiative and hope other communities will follow suit. What efforts are underway in your community to promote better health and nutrition among children and teens? We’d love to hear from you!
Wednesday, January 16th, 2008
Have you ever wondered which has more vitamin C: an orange or a kiwifruit? Did you know that oysters have almost a half day’s worth of iron? Suprised to learn that a serving of broccoli or potato has more potassium than a banana? For more fun facts and nutrition information on some of the most commonly consumed fruits, vegetables, and seafood, click here to check out the new online tool from the Food & Drug Administration.
Wednesday, January 9th, 2008
Okay. It’s 60 degrees in Boston today — admittedly a bit bizzare — but that hasn’t stopped us from cooking up some hearty winter pies. For this month’s issue of Kiwi magazine, we took two of our favorites, chicken pot pie and shepherd’s pie, and gave them a makeover. We lightened them up and then added a few good-for-you ingredients to make them more nutritious. Click here to read the article and sample our stick-to-your-ribs dishes. What’s your favorite winter comfort food recipe? Please share!
Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008
What is your resolution for 2008? Ours is to start a weekly audio podcast, redesign our website, and get serious about writing our second book. We’re counting on our club members to hold us to it! If one of your resolutions is to cook healthier meals for your family, here’s a recipe for beef stew to get you started. Click here to see how easy it is to make it.
Sweet & Hearty Beef Stew
Makes 6 Servings
8 ounces presliced mushrooms
2 pounds lean stew meat
One 16-ounce bag baby carrots
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons cold water
6 whole wheat rolls
Place the mushrooms in the bottom of a slow cooker. Top with the stew meat and carrots.
Pour the tomato sauce, maple syrup, and vinegar over the top and sprinkle with the salt.
Cover and cook for 6 to 7 hours on low. When done, whisk the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl until well blended and then stir into the beef mixture along with the peas.
Allow the mixture to thicken, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with the whole wheat rolls.
Tip: Take your peas out of the freezer when you start your slow cooker and allow them to thaw on the counter until you’re ready to add them to the stew.
Nutrition Information per Serving: 340 calories, 11g fat (4g saturated), 520mg sodium, 29g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 32g protein, 220% vitamin A, 20% vitamin C, 30% iron