The Meal Makeover Moms http://mealmakeovermoms.com healthy meals with kid appeal Wed, 17 Dec 2014 01:22:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Our Blog has Moved! http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/02/our-blog-has-moved/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/02/our-blog-has-moved/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2009 17:28:54 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=4147 Today we’re happy to announce the launch of our new Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen blog.   We’ve added lots of new features so please visit us there!   We will no longer be posting to this blog so be sure to leave comments on our new-and-improved site. All the best, Janice & Liz Aka, The Meal Makeover Moms

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Today we’re happy to announce the launch of our new Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen blog.   We’ve added lots of new features so please visit us there!   We will no longer be posting to this blog so be sure to leave comments on our new-and-improved site.

All the best,
Janice & Liz
Aka, The Meal Makeover Moms

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Pressure Cooker Winner! http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/02/pressure-cooker-winner/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/02/pressure-cooker-winner/#comments Sat, 21 Feb 2009 18:42:02 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=4013 We’re delighted to announce the winner of our latest giveaway for a Fagor Duo Pressure Cooker.  With close to 250 entries, Lorene S., a mom of two little boys from Marietta, GA was selected as our winner using Random.org.  In her comment to our blog, Lorene wrote:  “I’ve never used a pressure cooker but have only heard good […]

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We’re delighted to announce the winner of our latest giveaway for a Fagor Duo Pressure Cooker.  With close to 250 entries, Lorene S., a mom of two little boys from Marietta, GA was selected as our winner using Random.org.  In her comment to our blog, Lorene wrote:  “I’ve never used a pressure cooker but have only heard good things from my siblings who have. At this point in my life (and, due to the state of the economy, ALL our lives), anything that reduces stress is welcome. Healthy meals prepared quickly definitely meets that requirement. Risotto in 12 minutes? A whole chicken entree in 25 minutes? Sign me up!”  Congratulations Lorene!

We enjoyed reading all of your comments and will post some of our favorites to the blog early next week.  We are scheduled to launch our new blog design on Monday (if all goes according to plan) — we’re calling it Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen, so stay tuned for a fun new look and a bunch of cool new features.

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Podcast 43: Seafood Kids will Eat http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/02/podcast-43-seafood-kids-will-eat/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/02/podcast-43-seafood-kids-will-eat/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2009 15:18:01 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=3808 In this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast, we share tips for getting your entire family hooked on seafood!  We’ve no doubt all heard the recommendation to eat two fish meals per week.  After all, seafood – salmon, shrimp, tilapia, catfish – is a great source of high-quality protein, rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fats and […]

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In this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast, we share tips for getting your entire family hooked on seafood!  We’ve no doubt all heard the recommendation to eat two fish meals per week.  After all, seafood – salmon, shrimp, tilapia, catfish – is a great source of high-quality protein, rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fats and contains nutrients that promote good health.  Translating that advice into simple recipes that the whole family will love can be a challenge.  Our two recipes, Almond-Crusted Tilapia and Shells with Shrimp & Edamame will make it a whole lot easier and are sure to appeal to your kids, even if they’re picky!

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Bento Box Lunch in New York http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/02/bento-box-lunch-in-new-york/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/02/bento-box-lunch-in-new-york/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2009 13:27:10 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=3777 From Liz Last week, I had the pleasure of dining at Morimoto in New York – run by famed Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto.  I’m not sure said mom of two from the Boston burbs would ever be hip or chic enough to fit in with the restaurant’s usual dinner crowd, but since I went there […]

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From Liz

Last week, I had the pleasure of dining at Morimoto in New York – run by famed Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto.  I’m not sure said mom of two from the Boston burbs would ever be hip or chic enough to fit in with the restaurant’s usual dinner crowd, but since I went there for lunch, I blended right in.

Morimoto restaurant

Morimoto restaurant

I have several reasons for sharing my lunch experience with you. First and foremost was the food. It was simply spectacular. I ordered a Bento Box lunch with miso soup, salad greens with kabosu vinaigrette, vegetable and shrimp tempura, sushi, and roasted black cod.  This colorful sampling gave me a real taste for Morimoto’s cuisine (if you ever went to lunch or dinner with me, you would soon discover that I love to have a bite of everything).  If you’re not familiar with bento boxes, here’s a short description from epicurious.com:

Bento Box
[BEHN-toh]

A thin metal or lacquered wooden box divided into compartments. The bento box is used in Japan for storing separate small dishes that comprise an individual meal (most often lunch). In Japan, the bento lunch, which is commonly available at train stations, represents fast food elevated to high culinary art and design. Each of the country’s 5,000 stations sells a unique box lunch that reflects the cooking of the region. The beautifully designed bento boxes can take on myriad shapes including masks, tennis rackets, nuts, golf balls or other objects both traditional and whimsical. More than twelve million bento-box meals are sold to hungry travelers and commuters in Japan each day.

The second reason for telling you about my meal was what happened after I left the restaurant.  As I walked into the adjacent Chelsea Market, I ran into the chef himself!  Talk about an unexpected celebrity sighting.  While I had the opportunity to tell Morimoto how much I loved the meal, I regret not having my picture taken with him – not because I’m shy but because I didn’t have my camera with me! Oh well…

Chef Morimoto

Chef Morimoto

As a Meal Makeover Mom, the whole fun, small portion bento box thing hit me over the head like a giant wok; it’s perfect if you have a picky eater at home and are looking for creative ways to introduce a broader array of colorful and nutritious foods.  After surfing the web, it turns out I’m not the only one who has had that same epiphany.  At the blog, Lunch in a Box, Biggie, a mom from San Francisco who formerly lived in Japan, shares an endless number of lunch combinations in the bento box – not just Japanese but Mexican, Thai, and Italian to name just a few.  And then there’s Laptop Lunches, a website featuring products, cookbooks, a blog, recipes ideas and more.

Photo courtesy of laptoplunches.com

Bento box photo courtesy of laptoplunches.com

I’m amazed how one lunch in New York opened my eyes to a whole new style of eating.  Janice and I can’t wait to invest in a few bento boxes of our own.  The plastic boxes seem like a natural for packing school lunches, but we also plan to shop around for slightly fancier ones for serving family dinners.  If you have any favorites, please share them here on our blog. And certainly, the next time you’re in NYC or happen to be in the neighborhood of Morimoto, I highly suggest you step inside for lunch. The price for a NY restaurant was quite reasonable and the atmosphere warm and welcoming.  And hey, you just may have a celebrity sighting of your own while you’re there!

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Podcast 42: Valentine’s Without the Guilt http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/02/podcast-42-valentines-without-the-guilt/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/02/podcast-42-valentines-without-the-guilt/#comments Wed, 11 Feb 2009 16:28:44 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=3755 On this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast show, we let our hair down with two dessert recipes that feature one of our favorite foods: chocolate! Chocolate is one of those foods that says, “I love you.” (It’s too bad Brussels sprouts and broccoli don’t elicit that same warm & fuzzy feeling). To show all […]

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On this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast show, we let our hair down with two dessert recipes that feature one of our favorite foods: chocolate! Chocolate is one of those foods that says, “I love you.” (It’s too bad Brussels sprouts and broccoli don’t elicit that same warm & fuzzy feeling). To show all the special people in your life how much you love them, try our Chocolaty Coconut Party Torte and our Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries – two recipes with some surprising and healthy ingredients.

But clearly, chocolate isn’t the only food you can share on Valentine’s Day.  Consider an array of red foods to keep your loved ones healthy all year round.  Today’s Washington Post does a nice job outlining some of those foods — red grapes, watermelon, red bell peppers, red quinoa, beets — and the health powers associated with them.

 

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Recipe Rescue: Chicken Casserole with a Healthier Twist http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/02/recipe-rescue-chicken-casserole-with-a-healthier-twist/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/02/recipe-rescue-chicken-casserole-with-a-healthier-twist/#comments Sat, 07 Feb 2009 15:44:45 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=3648 For a few years now, we’ve had our eye on chicken casserole – that quintessential stick-to-your-ribs comfort food made with rich ingredients like cream of chicken soup – longing to give it a healthy makeover.  Why we didn’t get our dietitian paws on this recipe until now is a mystery, but when Jennifer C. a […]

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For a few years now, we’ve had our eye on chicken casserole – that quintessential stick-to-your-ribs comfort food made with rich ingredients like cream of chicken soup – longing to give it a healthy makeover.  Why we didn’t get our dietitian paws on this recipe until now is a mystery, but when Jennifer C. a mom of two from Jackson, MI sent us her grandmother’s recipe for Chicken & Almond Casserole and asked us to make it over, we were suddenly motivated into Recipe Rescue action.

Laurie mixing topping

Laurie mixing topping

The original recipe called for chicken, celery, mayonnaise, a can of cream of chicken soup, hard boiled eggs, slivered almonds, minced onions, cracker crumbs, and yes, you guessed it, potato chips.  “I didn’t love the combination of the mayo, soup, eggs, cracker crumbs, and chips,” Jennifer told us.  “And besides, the kids and I don’t like cooked celery.”  What Jennifer did like were the almonds and the fact that this recipe was something she found in her grandmother’s old recipe box.

Jennifer assembling ingredients

Jennifer assembling ingredients

Sean grinding the flaxseeds

Sean grinding the flaxseeds

Jennifer’s New Year’s resolution was to feed her family a healthier diet.  “We’re busy and crazy and I was falling into the pattern of eating out or making convenience foods for the family.  I decided that I had to do better for my kids.”  To help Jennifer meet her goal of eating out less and cooking more budget-minded meals at home, we turned her old-time recipe into a dish any modern-day mom would rave about.

For our Recipe Rescue, we switched from celery to broccoli – definitely more kid friendly, used a light canola mayonnaise for some heart-healthy omega-3 fats, and chose an all-natural cream of chicken soup to cut some of the sodium and fat from the original recipe. We also created a super-yummy topping (we’re not kidding, this topping rocks) with fluffy, flaky Japanese panko breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, ground flaxseed, and finely chopped almonds. By adding the almonds to the topping vs. mixing in a handful of slivered or sliced, we kept the great nutrition (almonds are rich in cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated fat) without freaking the kids out (let’s face it, some kids can’t handle “lumps”).

Ready to enjoy the Recipe Rescue!

Ready to enjoy the Recipe Rescue!

The entire family loved mom’s dinner.  When Jennifer asked ten-year old Laurie if she liked it, she replied, “Mom, did you think I wouldn’t?!”  Even eight-year old Sean, known to be picky at times, ate it, though he preferred the broccoli and crunchy topping over the actual chicken.  Jennifer told us that she loves to cook and plans on making our Recipe Rescue again and again. Now that’s what we call success!

Chicken & Broccoli Casserole with Crunchy Almond Topping

Makes 5 to 6 Servings

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, baked and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 ½ cups) *
  • 2 ½ to 3 cups small broccoli florets
  • One 14.5-ounce can ready-to-serve all-natural cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup (we like Health Valley)
  • 1/3 cup light canola mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup almonds, very finely chopped (in a food processor or on a cutting board)
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Place the broccoli florets in a steamer basket and steam until crisp tender, about 3 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the soup and the mayonnaise until well combined.  Add the chicken and broccoli and stir gently to combine.  Place in a 2-quart baking dish and set aside.
  3. To make the topping, mix together the almonds, breadcrumbs, flaxseed and Parmesan cheese.  Spread evenly over the chicken mixture.
  4. Bake until the mixture bubbles and the topping turns golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Serve over rice, pasta, or noodles.

* To cook the chicken, place in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 350°F until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink in the center, 35 minutes.

Nutrition Information per Serving:   240 calories, 12g fat (2g saturated, 1.2g omega-3), 430mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 21g protein, 25% vitamin A, 60% vitamin C

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Podcast 41: Pressure Cooking 101 http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/02/podcast-41-pressure-cooking-101/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/02/podcast-41-pressure-cooking-101/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2009 15:26:56 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=3553 In today’s Cooking with the Moms podcast show, we turn the dinner hour into the dinner minutes. Recently, we discovered the amazing ease, health benefits, and convenience of cooking in a pressure cooker (not the one your grandmother used but the modern-day style that won’t explode!). To help busy families get nutritious meals on the […]

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In today’s Cooking with the Moms podcast show, we turn the dinner hour into the dinner minutes. Recently, we discovered the amazing ease, health benefits, and convenience of cooking in a pressure cooker (not the one your grandmother used but the modern-day style that won’t explode!). To help busy families get nutritious meals on the table quickly, we have two recipes: Butternut Squash Risotto, bursting with great flavor and immune-boosting vitamin A, and Shane’s Fabulous Lentil Soup, a kid-friendly recipe we got from pressure cooker guru, Jill Nussinow (AKA The Veggie Queen).  If you havn’t entered our giveaway yet for a Fagor Duo Pressure Cooker, be sure to scroll down to our January 23rd blog entry to learn more.

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Podcast 40: Super Bowl Light http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/01/podcast-40-super-bowl-light/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/01/podcast-40-super-bowl-light/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2009 16:37:19 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=3482 In this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast, we celebrate the Super Bowl with two deliciously healthy recipes that we hope you’ll share with your family and friends.  The first recipe for Tailgate Chili is made with two types of beans – Great Northern and red kidney – and is perfect for the vegetarians in your […]

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In this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast, we celebrate the Super Bowl with two deliciously healthy recipes that we hope you’ll share with your family and friends.  The first recipe for Tailgate Chili is made with two types of beans – Great Northern and red kidney – and is perfect for the vegetarians in your life. Our other recipe for Post-Season Pesto Pizza is bursting with flavor thanks to two of our favorite ingredients: caramelized onions and basil pesto. This recipe is also versatile — you can use the ingredients and layer them on two 16-ounce Italian bread loaves versus the two pizza crusts.  As for who we are rooting for in this year’s Super Bowl … The Patriots of course (ooops, they didn’t even make it into the playoffs this year)!

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Pressure Cooker GIVEAWAY! Mom’s Best Friend http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/01/pressure-cooker-giveaway-moms-best-friend/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/01/pressure-cooker-giveaway-moms-best-friend/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2009 15:52:38 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=3353 For the past few weeks, we’ve been experimenting with our new Fagor Duo Pressure Cooker.  Like many people, our comfort level with the pressure cooker had been less than cozy.  After all, we’re old enough to remember the stories about exploding pressure cookers — though perhaps they were nothing more than urban legends.  The new, modern-day pressure cookers […]

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For the past few weeks, we’ve been experimenting with our new Fagor Duo Pressure Cooker.  Like many people, our comfort level with the pressure cooker had been less than cozy.  After all, we’re old enough to remember the stories about exploding pressure cookers — though perhaps they were nothing more than urban legends.  The new, modern-day pressure cookers are safe to use and turn the dinner hour in to the dinner minutes. 

Recently, after speaking with pressure cooker guru, Jill Nussinow, we decided to give this handy kitchen tool a  try.  We’ve been so impressed with our dinner results that we decidedto give away a fabulous Fagor Duo Pressure Cooker to one  randomly selected winner.  That’s a $100 value!  To enter, all you have to do is post a comment below sharing your favorite pressure cooker recipe or why you want one.  The giveaway ends at 5:00 PM on Friday, February 20th. 

Now, for more tips on using your pressure cooker, please enjoy the following guest post from Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, The Veggie QueenTM

I began using a pressure cooker when my son was three. I say that it changed my cooking life, and probably the rest of it, too. I felt like the best mom in the world because my then-vegetarian son loved lentil soup.  (My omnivore husband will eat just about anything.) I could make the soup in 20 minutes, from start to finish. Thus began my love affair with the pressure cooker.

Shane's Fabulous Lentil Soup

My son had a biweekly play date when he was almost four. His friend would ask me every week, “Do you have any risotto?” I would always answer slyly, “I don’t but I can make  you some.” About 12 minutes later, he’d have his “plain” risotto which included only onions or leeks and vegetable broth. It became his favorite risotto. His mom wanted to know my secret so I told her about my pressure cooker. She bought a pressure cooker, and then her risotto became the best in the world. I could go on about why you might want to pressure cook but I will just share five of the many reasons.

Cook Healthier Foods More Easily and Quickly:  Legumes, whole grains and vegetables are a snap to cook. Beans become soup or chili, seasoned to your liking, in less than an hour. Barley, brown or wild rice cook in less than 25 minutes. Instead of microwaving, pressure cook fresh vegetables and get flavorful one-minute broccoli or carrots in two. No added fat needed in these triple-ply bottom stainless steel pots.

Boost Nutrition and Cook Big:  A Journal of Food Science study revealed more nutrition in pressure-cooked broccoli compared to other cooking methods. Colors stay bright and food stays firm. Batch cooking is easy; freezing leftovers such as 3-minute steel cut oats or lentil soup is a breeze.

Save Money:  One hundred dollars or less buys a pot that lasts a lifetime.  Home cooking pressure-perfect soup, stew, chili and pot roast is fast and inexpensive. Pressure cooked beans beat the canned version for cost and taste.

Save Energy and Time:  Cooking temperature rises to 240 degrees+ versus 212° F, reducing cooking time by 50% to 70% over stovetop cooking. Cook on gas, electric, glass top or induction. Energy saving for you and the planet.

Clean-Up is a Breeze with One Pot Cooking:  Start by sautéing or browning, then add the remaining ingredients at once, or in stages, with the modern pressure cooker quick-release feature. Clean the pot, rinse the gasket, and you’re done.

Cooking meat is easy. A whole chicken takes about 25 minutes at pressure and a 3-pound pork roast comes out fork tender in just 45 minutes at pressure (plus release time). I’ve also successfully made meat loaf, beef stew, Asian beef tips with vegetables and fajita chicken and rice. The modern pressure cooker is safe, quiet and efficient, relieving you of the nighttime pressure involved with making dinner.

You may be wondering, though, why you’d want to use this instead of the crockpot.  For the answers take a look at my November 24th  blog post. For more information about pressure cooking you can check out my website where you can see me in action with the modern pressure cooker.

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Podcast 39: Winter Vegetables http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/01/podcast-39-winter-vegetables/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/01/podcast-39-winter-vegetables/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2009 18:48:11 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=3289 Just because it’s cold outside (especially here in New England where we live) doesn’t mean vegetables are out of season. Cruise the supermarket produce section and you’ll see an array of colorful winter veggies – everything from broccoli and Brussels sprouts to snow peas and squash. In this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast, we […]

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Just because it’s cold outside (especially here in New England where we live) doesn’t mean vegetables are out of season. Cruise the supermarket produce section and you’ll see an array of colorful winter veggies – everything from broccoli and Brussels sprouts to snow peas and squash. In this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast, we tempt your family’s taste buds with two vegetable side dishes: Saucy Spaghetti Squash and Mashed Potatoes & Turnips.

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Culinary Adventures from Mexico http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/01/3275/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/01/3275/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2009 15:44:13 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=3275 From Liz: Last week, I spent seven magical days at Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico.  Just an hour’s drive from San Diego and a world away from my hectic, on-the-go life as a mom, I took advantage of all the amazing activities spa had to offer.  My days were filled with a wide variety […]

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From Liz:

Last week, I spent seven magical days at Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico.  Just an hour’s drive from San Diego and a world away from my hectic, on-the-go life as a mom, I took advantage of all the amazing activities spa had to offer.  My days were filled with a wide variety of classes – yoga, body bar, dance, strength training, hiking, and even sculpting (I actually sculpted a head out of clay).  I also indulged in a few spa treatments and savored delicious meals featuring just-picked organic produce grown right at the Ranch.

One of the highlights of the trip was the two cooking classes I took at La Cucina Que Canta, Rancho La Puerta’s culinary center. The first was taught by dietitian pal, Carolyn O’Neil, my companion on the trip, and the second by La Cucina’s resident teaching chef, Ana Lorena Najar.  Anna’s recipes reflected her style of modern Mexican cuisine using locally-grown, seasonal and organic ingredients.  I prepared Arrozo a la Mexicana – brown rice with carrots, corn, onion and other ingredients picked from the garden — and watched as guests prepared Sopa de Tortilla, Shrimp a la Diabla and Ricotta Cheese Cake.

Carolyn O'Neil (center) and Chef Anna Lorena Najar (right)

Carolyn O'Neil (center) and Chef Anna Lorena Najar (right)

Of all the recipes I tried at La Cucina, the one that jumped out as the most family friendly was the Ricotta Cheesecake with Seasonal Fruit.  It actually reminded me of our Mini Mango Cheesecake recipe.  If you try the cheesecake, let me know what you think of it!

Cheesecake with Seasonal Fruit

Makes 12 Servings

Crust:

  • 3 cups corn or wheat flakes cereal
  • 1/4 cup agave or maple syrup

Cheesecake:

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups cottage cheese*
  • 8 ounces cream cheese*
  • 1/2 cup sour cream*
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 3/4 cup agave or maple syrup, divided
  • 2 cups ripe seasonal fruit, diced
  • Lavender blooms (optional)

*I think you could easily switch to lowfat and reduced fat cottage cheese, sour cream, and cream cheese.

  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF.
  2. In a food processor, combine the corn flakes and agave or maple syrup. Pulse until coarsely ground. Firmly press the crust into the bottom of an oiled 9-inch springform pan or a cake pan with a removable bottom.
  3. Cut a piece of parchment paper to line the sides of the pan, and fit the paper snugly around the edge. Brush the paper lightly with oil (this helps release the cheesecake from the pan).
  4. In a food processor or blender, combine the eggs, cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla, zest, and ½ cup agave or maple syrup. Process until completely smooth. Pour the cheese mix over the crust.
  5. Bake 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a rack for 30 minutes, then release the cheesecake and remove the paper. Chill, uncovered, until completely firm.

To serve: Set the cake on a serving plate and top with the fruit. Drizzle the remaining 1/3 agave or maple syrup over the fruit and decorate with lavender flowers or other edible flowers.
ranchcheesecakecropped

For more recipes from the Ranch, be sure to check out Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta: Recipes from the World-Famous Spa, written by spa founder, Deborah Szekely.

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Podcast 38: Host a Cooking Party http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/01/podcast-38-host-a-cooking-party/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/01/podcast-38-host-a-cooking-party/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2009 13:07:25 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=3268 When our cookbook was released in 2004, we wanted to share our recipes and tips with fellow moms and dads, so we started a series of cooking demonstrations called Meal Makeover Mom Cooking Parties.  We traveled the country and met amazing people along the way.  Since we couldn’t keep up with the travel, we created […]

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When our cookbook was released in 2004, we wanted to share our recipes and tips with fellow moms and dads, so we started a series of cooking demonstrations called Meal Makeover Mom Cooking Parties.  We traveled the country and met amazing people along the way.  Since we couldn’t keep up with the travel, we created a do-it-yourself guide – complete with a sample invitation, suggested recipes, and an FAQ — on our website.  The parties are perfect for mother’s groups, PTAs, or a bunch of friends who want to get together to learn and laugh!  Some of the recipes we suggest are Corny Salmon Cakes and B.L.T. in a Bowl.  In this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast we share stories from some of our most memorable cooking parties and encourage listeners to gather up some friends and host their own event.  We’ll even call in during your party to answer any questions you may have!

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Recipe Rescue: Graham Cracker Pie Crust http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/01/recipe-rescue-graham-cracker-pie-crust/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/01/recipe-rescue-graham-cracker-pie-crust/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2009 19:52:59 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=3252 If you look at the back of a Graham cracker box, chances are you’ll see their tried-and-true recipe for pie crust. It’s made with five tablespoons of butter – that’s over half a stick — and it tastes pretty darn good. But all that butter bothered Jennifer S., a mom of two from Greensburg, PA […]

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If you look at the back of a Graham cracker box, chances are you’ll see their tried-and-true recipe for pie crust. It’s made with five tablespoons of butter – that’s over half a stick — and it tastes pretty darn good. But all that butter bothered Jennifer S., a mom of two from Greensburg, PA which is why she sent it to us for a Recipe Rescue.

“When I was younger, without kids, I didn’t think as much about what I put on the table.  Now, as a mom, I want to make sure every little bite counts especially because I have two picky eaters at home.  A child’s number one job in life is to grow and develop. You need to give them good nutrition to grow in a healthy manner,” Jennifer told us. 

Ah, picky eaters. We hear it all the time.  So when we sat down to “rescue” Jennifer’s pie crust, we too wanted to make every bite count.  As overachievers we also decided to create a super healthy strawberry filling for Jennifer’s new pie crust so she could treat her family to a complete (and nutritious) dessert.

For the crust, we cut the butter from five tablespoons down to just one, added one egg white (the yolk made the crust too dense and gummy so we stuck with the white only), one tablespoon of sugar versus the original four, and two tablespoons of ground flaxseed for a boost of heart-healthy omega-3 fat. 

Double Strawberry Smoothie Pie

Makes 8 Servings

Pie Crust:

  • 1 ¼ cups Graham Cracker crumbs (or enough crushed Graham crackers to equal 1 ¼ cups)
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Pie Filling:

  • 1 ½ cups frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 cup cranberry strawberry juice, divided
  • 2 envelopes unflavored gelatine
  • 3/4 cup strawberry lowfat yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, stir together the Graham cracker crumbs, flaxseed, sugar, egg white, butter, and canola oil until well combined.
  2. Using the back of a large spoon, press the crumb mixture firmly on the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes. Cool before filling.
  3. Meanwhile, in a blender, blend together the strawberries and ½ cup of the juice until smooth. Pour into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally to break up any frothy bubbles
  4. Place the remaining ½ cup juice in a large bowl. Sprinkle the gelatine over the juice and let stand 1 minute. Add the hot juice mixture and stir or gently whisk until the gelatine completely dissolves, about 5 minutes. Stir in the yogurt and sugar
  5. Pour the mixture into the pie plate. Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours. Serve with whipped cream as desired.
Nutrition Information per Serving: 180 calories, 6g fat (1.5g saturated, 0.5g omega-3), 130mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 4g protein, 20% vitamin C

Jennifer, her family (minus 7-year old Max … but we’ll get to that in a minute), and the friends she invited for dinner the night she tried our Recipe Rescue all gave the pie two thumbs up.  “It didn’t taste like the one on the box because the ingredients changed.  It was actually better. It had a nice flavor and texture and it wasn’t greasy like it can sometimes be given all the butter,” said Jennifer. 

Five-year old Ainsley said, “Oh my gosh, this is amazing mom,” while husband Chris asked for seconds.  As for Max … “He took a tiny mouthful but I’m not sure a single molecule passed his lips,” said Jennifer.  Given that it takes a lot of perseverance to get Max to try new foods, The Meal Makeover Moms promise not to take it personally.

All in all, our Double Strawberry Smoothie Pie was a smashing success.  “It was an amazing pie and will become a dessert staple around here,” promised Jennifer.

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Podcast 37: Recipe Rescue http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/01/podcast-37-recipe-rescue/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/01/podcast-37-recipe-rescue/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2009 19:43:31 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=3245 For years now, we’ve been giving your favorite recipes a healthy makeover.  In this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast, we share our best-kept secrets for rescuing recipes – everything from replacing the saturated fat from butter and shortening with healthier oils like canola and increasing the fiber and nutrients by using whole wheat flour, […]

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For years now, we’ve been giving your favorite recipes a healthy makeover.  In this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast, we share our best-kept secrets for rescuing recipes – everything from replacing the saturated fat from butter and shortening with healthier oils like canola and increasing the fiber and nutrients by using whole wheat flour, oats, and ground flax seed in our baked goods.  If you think healthy means bland and boring, you’ll love our tips and tricks for making your tried-and-true recipes fast, flavorful and more nutritious than ever.

The two recipes we rescue in this show are Cheesy Spinach Bites — a healthier version of spinach balls — and Double Strawberry Smoothie Pie, with a better-for-you Graham cracker crust.

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Prune Recipes for the New Year! http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/01/prune-recipes-for-2006/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2009/01/prune-recipes-for-2006/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2009 19:08:32 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=3214 You know you’re getting old when prune recipes start looking really good!  Even though Liz was up in New Hampshire skiing with friends and Janice was back in Boston celebrating with a crowd of 20, we each prepared recipes featuring prunes (AKA dried plums) over the New Year break.  We hadn’t spoken in over a […]

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You know you’re getting old when prune recipes start looking really good!  Even though Liz was up in New Hampshire skiing with friends and Janice was back in Boston celebrating with a crowd of 20, we each prepared recipes featuring prunes (AKA dried plums) over the New Year break.  We hadn’t spoken in over a week so clearly there was some sort of warped mental telepathy going on!

Liz was at Loon Mountain visiting her friend Wendy. For New Year’s Eve dinner, they prepared Chicken Marbella from The Silver Palate Cookbook.  Instead of a whole chicken cut into pieces, they used boneless, skinless chicken breast halves.  The recipe was intended more for the seven couples at the party than the kids (though a few did try it) given its somewhat sophisticated ingredient combination: capers, pitted prunes, Spanish green olives, dried oregano, and white wine.  The prunes added a delicious sweetness to the dish, not to mention a nice burst of fiber and health-promoting antioxidants.

For New Year’s day, Liz created a simple, hearty slow cooker recipe using two pounds lean stew beef, one medium onion (diced), one cup of the leftover pitted prunes (that’s about 24), and one cup of all-natural BBQ sauce.  It cooked for about seven hours on low. When it was done, Liz pulled the meat and prunes apart using two forks and then served the savory mixture on whole grain burger buns.  This was without a doubt one of the most family-friendly recipes ever!

Now for Janice’s prune story.  On New Year’s Eve, she took about 25 pitted prunes, wrapped each one with a small slice of Prosciutto, secured it with a tooth pick and then baked them at 400 degrees for 10 minutes on a foil-lined baking sheet.  The combo of sweet and salty made this easy-does-it appetizer a real crowd pleaser.

Besides tasting great, we’re pleased to report that our recipes helped to ring in 2009 with an extra dash of good nutrition!

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Podcast 36: New Year’s Resolutions http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/12/new-years-resolutions-3/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/12/new-years-resolutions-3/#comments Wed, 31 Dec 2008 21:03:30 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=3199 It’s that time of year again when most of us ring in the New Year with some sort of resolution stating what we’d like to change in the coming year. What’s yours this year? Some of the most popular resolutions we hear about are getting fit, losing weight, managing debt, eating right, quitting smoking, and volunteering more […]

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It’s that time of year again when most of us ring in the New Year with some sort of resolution stating what we’d like to change in the coming year. What’s yours this year? Some of the most popular resolutions we hear about are getting fit, losing weight, managing debt, eating right, quitting smoking, and volunteering more in order to help others.

On this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast, we share our resolutions – can you believe we’ve both resolved to get more organized? – along with tips for helping you and your family stick to yours.

We also have two recipes to make eating right in 2009 easier than ever. The first is an easy-does-it recipe for Confetti Chicken Wraps, a makeover of fast food Mexican fare. Why drive into the drive through with your kids when you can make this yummy meal instead? Our second recipe for Smooshed Sweet Potatoes is a kid-friendly side dish that’s sure to help everyone get more veggies on the table.

Tell us about your New Year’s resolutions and how you plan to stick with them. We welcome any and all ideas. Most important of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

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Gingerbread House Traditions http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/12/gingerbread-house-traditions/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/12/gingerbread-house-traditions/#comments Tue, 30 Dec 2008 03:12:12 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=3188 For nearly ten years now, Janice’s daughters have joined a few special neighborhood friends the week before Christmas for a fun-filled morning decorating gingerbread houses. Whoever hosts this annual event gets to mix up gobs of frosting, assemble the houses and prepare the work surface. The girls then spend a couple of hours sipping hot […]

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For nearly ten years now, Janice’s daughters have joined a few special neighborhood friends the week before Christmas for a fun-filled morning decorating gingerbread houses. Whoever hosts this annual event gets to mix up gobs of frosting, assemble the houses and prepare the work surface. The girls then spend a couple of hours sipping hot cocoa and attaching a rainbow of colorful candies to their houses as well as the “grounds.” After all, without walkways, snowmen and trees the houses wouldn’t be complete! Must-have confections for the rowdy candy crew: gum drops, nonpareils, Necco wafers, licorice, and candy canes of various sizes.

Courtney, Merri, Leah and Carolyn

Courtney, Merri, Leah and Carolyn

Since there are always three sets of sisters working on three sets of houses, each girl gets two sides to decorate. After a decade of practice, the houses can get pretty elaborate, and there’s always a bit of competition to see who can create the most unique and whimsical look which may explain why Leah’s godmother Merri, added cool palm trees! This year’s gathering also included three wonderfully rambunctious boys from the neighborhood who added a whole new level of fun and frenzy to the event.

Liam, Brendan, and Ryan

Liam, Brendan, and Ryan

And speaking of boys, though decorating gingerbread houses was never a tradition for Liz or her two sons, she recently decided to keep up with the Joneses — or shall we say, the Bissexes — and bought each of her boys a gingerbread house as a Hanukkah gift! Simon and Josh ate more candy than they stuck to their houses, and the mess was so bad it took Liz an hour to clean it up (notice how the oh-so-experienced Janice placed a tablecloth below her girls’ houses), but it was well worth the effort. Decorating gingerbread houses turned out to be a lot of laughs and a great hands-on activity for the boys — and wow, aren’t those houses beautiful? Next year, Liz will be ready with a plastic tablecloth … and the vacuum.

Simon and Josh

Simon and Josh

Feel free to share your stories of decorating gingerbread houses!

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Podcast 35: Food Reflections 2008 http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/12/podcast-35-food-reflections-2008/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/12/podcast-35-food-reflections-2008/#comments Wed, 24 Dec 2008 15:21:41 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=3163 In today’s Cooking with the Moms radio podcast, we take a reflective look back at 2008 and dish about our favorite recipe makeovers, restaurant meals including Neo at The Mansion on Peachtree in Atlanta and Xinh’s in Shelton, WA, and new food products as well as our most exciting food adventures – can you believe […]

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In today’s Cooking with the Moms radio podcast, we take a reflective look back at 2008 and dish about our favorite recipe makeovers, restaurant meals including Neo at The Mansion on Peachtree in Atlanta and Xinh’s in Shelton, WA, and new food products as well as our most exciting food adventures – can you believe Liz’s son Josh caught a 7-pound lobster in Maine? We also share our predictions for the top 2009 food & nutrition trends including omega-3 fats, vitamin D, sodium, and sustainability.

During the show, Janice had an opportunity to talk about our trip to Chicago for the annual meeting of the American Dietetic Association. During the conference, she met up with former college professor, Katherine Musgrave, for dinner.

Janice & Katherine

Janice & Katherine

Janice told our listeners, “Katherine, now 88 years young, is the reason I became a dietitian. I was a microbiology major at the University of Maine when I took Intro to Food and Nutrition as an elective my sophomore year. After the first class I asked her to be my advisor since I knew that food and nutrition was the major for me. Katherine’s enthusiasm, passion and energy inspired me then and inspires me today. She has been retired for over 20 years yet she still teaches and counsels patients and remains active in the dietetic association. I feel blessed to have her as my mentor.”

To watch a video of this amazing woman, visit the University of Maine’s website.  Who are the mentors in your life?  We’d love to hear about them.

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Cookbook Winner! http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/12/cookbook-winner/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/12/cookbook-winner/#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2008 19:05:17 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=3137 We are pleased to announce that Lori L., mom of two from Boxborough, MA, is the winner of our latest giveaway for Quick Flip to Delicious Dinners and the Veggie Quick Flip Pocket Guide, written by dietitian Eileen Faughey.  Our winner was selected randomly from more than three dozen blog entries.  When asked to share […]

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We are pleased to announce that Lori L., mom of two from Boxborough, MA, is the winner of our latest giveaway for Quick Flip to Delicious Dinners and the Veggie Quick Flip Pocket Guide, written by dietitian Eileen Faughey.  Our winner was selected randomly from more than three dozen blog entries.  When asked to share the recipe her family “flips” over, Lori posted the following comment:  My son devours my homemade fat free salsa. It is made with mostly fresh vegetables. He piles it with tortilla chips and cheese or dips his carrots in it for a yummy treat!

We loved hearing about everyone’s favorite family recipes and were happy to see so many from our website and cookbook!  There were more ideas than we could possibly share here (so feel free to look back over the posts to read them), but here are a few to whet your appetite.

Nicole B had a unique recipe: My family flips over my chicken and pineapple sandwich on sourdough bread! You either grill or saute’ the chicken breasts, and then do the same with the pineapple slices until they are browned and soft. Serve on sourdough bread with light mayo, shredded lettuce, and top with pineapple slices. Very satisfying and filling!!

Kathy M. had a great suggestion for families with food allergies:  My family flips over my chicken and broccoli. My son has a peanut and tree nut allergy so we can’t go to a Chinese restaurant. Before he was diagnosed, he used to love eating this take-out meal. Now I make homemade chicken and broccoli over brown rice at home. I’m sure it’s much healthier because I can control the amount of sauce mixed in and there’s no MSG!

Jen, a soon-to-be dietitian from Miss Organic’s Kitchen blog wrote: My family flips for chicken asparagus bake. It has rice, chicken, asparagus, covered in homemade cream of chicken soup and a little bit of cheese. Yum!

And another fellow food blogger, Lisa from Jersey Girl Cooks, shared this delicious dinner: My family loves when we have fajitas. I like to use whole wheat tortillas and offer a variety of healthy toppings including grilled chicken, grilled veggies, low fat cheese and low fat sour cream.

Thanks to everyone for entering.  Stay tuned for our next giveaway coming up in January for a top-of-the-line pressure cooker!

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Recipe Rescue: Spinach Balls get a Makeover http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/12/recipe-rescue-spinach-balls-get-a-makeover/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/12/recipe-rescue-spinach-balls-get-a-makeover/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2008 15:45:25 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=3103 Spinach balls are one of those quintessential holiday favorites that seem healthy – after all, they’re made with spinach – but are typically loaded with artery-clogging saturated fat. When Jen M., a mom of three from Overland Park, Kansas sent us her recipe for Spinach Balls and asked us to give it a healthy makeover, […]

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Spinach balls are one of those quintessential holiday favorites that seem healthy – after all, they’re made with spinach – but are typically loaded with artery-clogging saturated fat.

When Jen M., a mom of three from Overland Park, Kansas sent us her recipe for Spinach Balls and asked us to give it a healthy makeover, we couldn’t resist the challenge. “Spinach Balls are a special treat for the kids and a great party food,” said Jen, “but they’re so greasy.” After looking at Jen’s recipe, made with a stick and a half of butter (that’s 12 tablespoons!), we had to agree.

Athena, age 7, loves her mom's new recipe

Athena, age 7, loves her mom's new recipe

3-year old Orion eats with gusto

3-year old Orion eats with gusto

The Rescue:

Hmmm. What to do with those 12 tablespoons of butter? While we’re not opposed to butter all together, the 7 grams of saturated fat in just three of the spinach balls pushed us over the edge. For our rescue, we used four tablespoons of butter plus four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat). We also cut the Parmesan cheese from one cup down to a half.

When made with less fat and Parm, the spinach balls turned out a bit dry. Jen had the same problem when she initially tweaked this recipe at home. “I experimented with less butter and I even used some olive oil but it didn’t work – they were too dry.”

Our final fix was the addition of half a cup of shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese. This did the trick and we were happy with the results of our recipe rescue. More importantly, Jen and her family were happy too. “They stayed moist without that greasy quality of the original, and we liked the new flavor,” Jen told us when we spoke on the phone recently. At first, 7-year-old Athena said, “Never make this again,” but then proceeded to devour them! Jen made a batch and froze half. She plans to serve them to friends over New Year’s. We hope she’ll report back and tell us what her friends think of the Recipe Rescue.

Cheesy Spinach Bites

Makes 16 servings (about 48 “bites”)

  • Two 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 2 cups crushed herb-seasoned stuffing mix (we like Pepperidge Farm made with white & whole wheat bread)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
  • 5 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray two large, rimmed baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Drain the spinach well by pressing in a colander and using paper towels to remove excess moisture.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, stuffing mix, Parmesan cheese, Cheddar cheese, eggs, flaxseed, oil, butter, onion powder, thyme, and pepper and mix very well.
  4. Roll the mixture into 48 balls (about 1 to 1 ¼-inches in diameter) and place on the prepared sheets. Bake until golden brown on the bottom, about 10 minutes.
Nutrition Information per Serving (3 “bites”): 150 calories, 10g fat (3.5g saturated, 0.5g omega-3), 210mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 6g protein, 90% vitamin A, 10% calcium

For comparison sake, the original recipe had 160 calories, 12g fat (7g saturated), and 300mg sodium in three “bites.”

If you want us to give your favorite family recipe a healthy “rescue,” send it to moms@mealmakeovermoms.com.

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Podcast 34: Hearty Winter Dinners http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/12/podcast-34-hearty-winter-dinners/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/12/podcast-34-hearty-winter-dinners/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2008 02:22:24 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=3095 If recipes like “Mom, the House Smells Great” Roasted Chicken and Lazy-Day Beef & Vegetable Soup sound like they would hit the spot on a cold winter’s day, then be sure to tune into this week’s Cooking with the Moms radio podcast show on Hearty Winter Dinners. The roasted chicken was featured in our cookbook, […]

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If recipes like “Mom, the House Smells Great” Roasted Chicken and Lazy-Day Beef & Vegetable Soup sound like they would hit the spot on a cold winter’s day, then be sure to tune into this week’s Cooking with the Moms radio podcast show on Hearty Winter Dinners.

The roasted chicken was featured in our cookbook, The Moms’ Guide to Meal Makeovers, and is surprisingly easy. Your house will definitely smell great when you make this dish, and your kids will definitely ask for seconds. Our simple beef and veggie soup is chock-full of great nutrition and is brimming with rich flavors. The stew meat — which cooks for hours in the slow cooker — melts in your mouth, and as Liz likes to say, “it’s like butt-ah.”  She’s from New York, so she can get away with that!

We hope you enjoy listing to the show as much as we enjoyed recording it.

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Recipe Rescue – New Feature Starting this Friday http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/12/recipe-rescue-new-feature-starting-this-friday/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/12/recipe-rescue-new-feature-starting-this-friday/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2008 01:26:48 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=3083 Since the launch of our website and the release of our cookbook in 2004 (can you believe it’s been that long?) we’ve been taking your favorite family recipes and giving them a healthy makeover. Unlike many of the so-called “healthy” recipes out there that are sugar and fat free, our makeovers – rescues if you […]

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Since the launch of our website and the release of our cookbook in 2004 (can you believe it’s been that long?) we’ve been taking your favorite family recipes and giving them a healthy makeover. Unlike many of the so-called “healthy” recipes out there that are sugar and fat free, our makeovers – rescues if you will – are lower in sodium and the bad saturated fat, but they’re bursting with great nutrition and flavor.

Our mission has always been to weave good-for-you ingredients into everything we make … things like whole grains, nuts, vegetables, beans, and healthy oils. That said, we never sacrifice the great familiar flavors that you and your family love.

Starting this Friday, we’ll post a regular Recipe Rescue article to the blog. Here’s how the new feature will work:

  • If you have a recipe you’d like us to rescue, send us a copy at moms@mealmakeovermoms.com. From cookies and casseroles to pasta and pies, we’ll consider them all.
  • Every few weeks, we’ll pick one recipe for the official rescue. We’ll add a dash (or two) of our makeover magic and then return the made-over recipe to the person who sent it.
  • To make sure our Recipe Rescue is a hit, we’ll ask that person to make the dish at home and then try it out on his or her family.

We’re so excited to feature your recipes and your family’s reaction to the changes. Stay tuned for our first installment of Recipe Rescue this Friday when we spotlight a family from Kansas and their favorite holiday recipe for spinach balls. Cutting the recipe’s 12 tablespoons of butter down to just four seemed like mission impossible but … (come back on Friday to see what happened)!

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Cookbook Giveaway http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/12/cookbook-giveaway/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/12/cookbook-giveaway/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2008 19:42:09 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=3076 Do you and your family ever get tired of the same old pasta, chicken, soup, and vegetables?  To the rescue is a new book called Quick Flip to Delicious Dinners written by dietitian Eileen Faughey.  We met Eileen in October at a nutrition conference and have wanted to offer her book as a giveaway ever […]

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Do you and your family ever get tired of the same old pasta, chicken, soup, and vegetables?  To the rescue is a new book called Quick Flip to Delicious Dinners written by dietitian Eileen Faughey.  We met Eileen in October at a nutrition conference and have wanted to offer her book as a giveaway ever since! 

Here’s how the book works: Say you’re having pasta for dinner but want something different from the usual red sauce on top.  Eileen shows you how to shake things up with five international variations — Asian, French, Italian, Mexican, or Spanish.  She does the same thing for pizza, stir fries, soups, grains, desserts, and more.  

One luck winner will receive a copy of Quick Flip to Delicious Dinners plus Eileen’s Veggie Quick Flip Pocket Guide which features buying, storing, preparing, and cooking tips for dozens of vegetables.   If you have ever wondered what to do with collard greens or rutabagas, this is the giveaway for you!

To enter, simply post a comment and tell us about a favorite recipe (preferably a healthy one!) that you and your family flip over.  The deadline for entering is noon on Monday, December 22nd.  We’ll announce our randomly-selected winner on the blog that day.  Be sure to include your email address so we can let you know if you win.

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Podcast 33: Holiday Cookie Swap http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/12/podcast-33-holiday-cookie-swap/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/12/podcast-33-holiday-cookie-swap/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2008 15:40:43 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=3061 It’s that time of year again when cookie jars overflow with holiday goodies and family and friends get together to swap their favorite cookies.  Whether you’re attending a cookie swap or not, we hope you’ll tune into this week’s Cooking with the Moms Cookie Swap podcast as we dish about our best-ever holiday treats. First […]

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It’s that time of year again when cookie jars overflow with holiday goodies and family and friends get together to swap their favorite cookies.  Whether you’re attending a cookie swap or not, we hope you’ll tune into this week’s Cooking with the Moms Cookie Swap podcast as we dish about our best-ever holiday treats.

First up in the show is a recipe makeover for Ginger Drizzle Cookies.  We received the original recipe from Jenni K., a mom of three boys from New Castle, Ohio.  Jennie asked us to cook up a healthier alternative to the shortening-based frosting in her recipe which we did by creating a simple sugar glaze.  While we were at it, we also used canola oil instead of butter and tossed in some whole wheat flour and ground flaxseed for extra nutrition.

Our second recipe on Cooking with the Moms features Peppermint Meringue Snowballs.  They’re delicious and easy to make and are perfect for people with celiac disease who follow a gluten free diet.

Feel free to share your favorite holiday cookie recipes right here on our blog or tell us about your cookie swap adventures this season.  And by all means, if you have a super-rich recipe that needs a makeover send it along.

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Black Bean & Beef Tortilla Pie http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/12/black-bean-beef-tortilla-pie/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/12/black-bean-beef-tortilla-pie/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2008 22:40:45 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=3036 Don’t you just love it when you cook up a healthy recipe that makes everyone at your dinner table happy? Tacos are one of those tried-and-true favorites that elicit nothing but compliments from our kids. So last week, we took the ingredients from our Have-It-Your-Way Tacos – lean ground beef, black beans, cheese, and salsa […]

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Don’t you just love it when you cook up a healthy recipe that makes everyone at your dinner table happy? Tacos are one of those tried-and-true favorites that elicit nothing but compliments from our kids. So last week, we took the ingredients from our Have-It-Your-Way Tacos – lean ground beef, black beans, cheese, and salsa – and used them in a new recipe for Black Bean & Beef Tortilla Pie. The inspiration for the recipe came from Everyday Food, so we can’t take all the credit for the idea!

So here’s the back story: Initially, when we tested the recipe, we decided to make it vegetarian by using meat-free grounds (they’re made from soy). But after making the pie not once but twice, we decided we weren’t crazy about the flavor of the grounds in this dish. Maybe it was one too many bites that put us over the edge, so we decided to use lean ground beef instead. If you’re a vegetarian, by all means, substitute the beef with the soy grounds (don’t let our little “issue” dissuade you).

Black Bean & Beef Tortilla Pie

Makes 6 Servings

  • Four 10-inch flour tortillas
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% or higher)
  • One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup salsa (we like mild)
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (canned, frozen or fresh)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Trim the tortillas with kitchen scissors or a paring knife to fit a 9-inch springform pan (use the removable bottom of the pan as a guide). Assemble pan with the bottom upside down. Lightly coat the bottom and sides with nonstick cooking spray and set aside
  2. Cook the beef in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up the large pieces, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain excess fat.
  3. Add the beans, salsa, corn, cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder and stir to combine.
  4. Place one tortilla in the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread with a third of the beef mixture, then 1/2 cup cheese. Repeat with two more layers. Top with the last tortilla, and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and the olives as desired.
  5. Bake until the top is lightly browned and the cheese melts, about 15 minutes. Run knife around edge of pan and remove sides. Cut into wedges using a serrated knife (we like to serve with reduced-fat sour cream and/or guacamole).

Nutrition Information per Serving 360 calories, 12g fat (6g saturated), 770mg sodium, 35g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 32g protein, 10% vitamin A, 35% calcium, 20% iron

If you like to use beans in your recipes (which, by the way, are technically a vegetable), you may like some of these:

Black Bean Vegetarian Burgers from Super Healthy Kids.

Gnocchi with White Beans and Pesto from The Toddler Cafe

Polenta Bean Pies from What’s Cooking

If you try our fun Tortilla Pie for dinner, let us know what you and your kids think of it.

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Podcast 32: Eat the Mediterranean Way http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/12/podcast-32-eat-the-mediterranean-way/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/12/podcast-32-eat-the-mediterranean-way/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2008 19:27:22 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=3020 If we could click our heels and be in Spain or Italy right now, we’d be the happiest dietitians in the world.  That’s because the foods of the Mediterranean — olive oil, nuts, legumes, seafood, vegetables, whole grains — are some of the healthiest and most delicious on the planet.  Recently, we attended a Mediterranean diet […]

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If we could click our heels and be in Spain or Italy right now, we’d be the happiest dietitians in the world.  That’s because the foods of the Mediterranean — olive oil, nuts, legumes, seafood, vegetables, whole grains — are some of the healthiest and most delicious on the planet.  Recently, we attended a Mediterranean diet conference sponsored by Boston-based group called Oldways.  At the meeting, we hobnobbed with scientists, chefs and fellow health professionals and sampled everything from artisinal olive oils to French cheeses. 

For this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast, we share two of our favorite Mediterranean-inspired recipes:  Potato Ole Omelet and Walnut Cannellini Wraps.  We promise your kids will like the recipes as much as the adults do!  Tune in and let us know what you think of the show, and feel free to share your family’s favorite Mediterranean recipes right here on our blog.

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Nalgene Water Bottle Giveaway http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/12/nalgene-water-bottle-giveaway/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/12/nalgene-water-bottle-giveaway/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2008 18:48:25 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=2978 It’s not too late to enter our latest Nalgene water bottle giveaway.  Five lucky winners will each receive four reusable, eco friendly, BPA-free bottles.  We announced the giveaway in our November newsletter, asking readers to forward it to a friend in order to toss their name into the giveaway hat.  If you have not entered yet, simply […]

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It’s not too late to enter our latest Nalgene water bottle giveaway.  Five lucky winners will each receive four reusable, eco friendly, BPA-free bottles.  We announced the giveaway in our November newsletter, asking readers to forward it to a friend in order to toss their name into the giveaway hat.  If you have not entered yet, simply post a comment right here on our blog and tell us what you are doing to be “green. ”  Whether it’s recycling, walking to work or school, or shutting off your car engine while waiting to pick up the kids, we’d love to hear from you.  Winners will be picked randomly next week!

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Podcast 31: Healthy Holiday Party Nibbles http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/11/podcast-31-healthy-holiday-party-nibbles/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/11/podcast-31-healthy-holiday-party-nibbles/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2008 15:38:11 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=2968 On today’s Cooking with the Moms radio podcast, we hit the holiday party scene with recipes for Sugar & Spice Pecans and Mini Mango Cheesecakes. The great thing about these easy recipes is that they taste great and they’re not dripping in sugar, saturated fat and calories.  In other words, your friends and family can […]

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On today’s Cooking with the Moms radio podcast, we hit the holiday party scene with recipes for Sugar & Spice Pecans and Mini Mango Cheesecakes.

Mini Mango Cheesecakes

Mini Mango Cheesecakes

The great thing about these easy recipes is that they taste great and they’re not dripping in sugar, saturated fat and calories.  In other words, your friends and family can feel good about eating them.  To make the spiced pecans, we use less sugar than most spiced nut recipes — but they’re still sweet enough for our taste — and there is less bad fat in our yummy mango cheesecakes thanks to the 1/3-less-fat cream cheese and light sour cream.  We hope you’ll tune in, and by all means, if you get a chance to try the recipes, let us know what you think of them.

Sugar & Spice Pecans

Sugar & Spice Pecans

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Thanksgiving: Bring on the Kid-Friendly Vegetables http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/11/thanksgiving-bring-on-the-kid-friendly-vegetables/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/11/thanksgiving-bring-on-the-kid-friendly-vegetables/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2008 16:13:13 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=2951 With Thanksgiving just around the corner, consider the abundance of vegetables that will undoubtedly appear on your holiday table. It’s an ideal time to introduce kids to old favorites – green bean casserole anyone? — and some new ones too. If you’ve never cooked Brussels sprouts before, we have a recipe for Finally-Edible Brussels Sprouts […]

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With Thanksgiving just around the corner, consider the abundance of vegetables that will undoubtedly appear on your holiday table. It’s an ideal time to introduce kids to old favorites – green bean casserole anyone? — and some new ones too. If you’ve never cooked Brussels sprouts before, we have a recipe for Finally-Edible Brussels Sprouts on page 317 of The Moms’ Guide to Meal Makeovers that you and your family may like. We also have a new recipe for Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts, featured earlier this year in an article we wrote for Kiwi magazine called Veggie Love! While we see Brussels sprouts as the Rodney Dangerfield of veggies (they get “no respect”), you’ll be surprised how much kids like them.

Sweet potato casserole is another vegetable side dish kids seem to want to eat. Years ago — 1996 to be exact — Liz found a recipe for Streusel Topped Sweet Potato Casserole in Cooking Light Magazine. She’s been making a version of that recipe ever since. Coincidentally, Janice found that same scrumptious side dish, and made her own recipe revisions for Thanksgiving (instead of folding in three beaten egg whites, she simply adds two whole eggs). Even though there are no marshmallows on top, we guarantee your guests – kids included – will gobble it up.

Streusel Topped Sweet Potato Casserole

Makes 12 Servings

Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine

  • 3 pounds unpeeled sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups finely chopped, unpeeled Granny Smith apple
  • 1/2 to 1 cup toasted, chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Cook sweet potatoes in boiling water for 20 minutes or until tender. Let cool; peel and mash. Combine potatoes, orange juice, and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl and stir (orange zest, optional)
  2. Beat egg whites (at room temperature) until soft peaks form. Add ¼ cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Gently stir one-fourth egg white mixture into sweet potato mixture. Gently fold remaining egg white mixture into sweet potato mixture. Spoon mixture into 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. To make the topping, combine apples, pecans, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a bowl and stir well. Spoon evenly over the sweet potato mixture. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until puffed. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving side dish? Feel free to share your ideas and recipes right here on our blog!

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Mediterranean Foods for the Whole Family http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/11/mediterranean-foods-for-the-whole-family/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/11/mediterranean-foods-for-the-whole-family/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2008 19:06:05 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=2906 This week, Janice and I are attending the Mediterranean Diet Conference in Cambridge, MA sponsored by a group called Oldways. Fifteen years ago, I covered Oldways’ first Mediterranean Diet Conference for CNN (in my pre-Meal Makeover Mom life, I was a nutrition producer and reporter for CNN). Back in 1993 the group got together to […]

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This week, Janice and I are attending the Mediterranean Diet Conference in Cambridge, MA sponsored by a group called Oldways. Fifteen years ago, I covered Oldways’ first Mediterranean Diet Conference for CNN (in my pre-Meal Makeover Mom life, I was a nutrition producer and reporter for CNN). Back in 1993 the group got together to talk about the taste and health benefits of eating the Mediterranean way – a lifestyle approach to healthful eating filled with fruits, vegetables, fish, beans, nuts and whole grains as well as olive oil, rich in good-for-you fats.

Some of the same people who spoke 15 years ago are at the meeting this week including cookbook author, Nancy Harmon Jenkins. I was excited to see Nancy because I’ve been cooking from her book, The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook, since before Josh was born! One of my favorite recipes in the book is Risotto Alla Zucca (Risotto with Pumpkin or Squash).

Whether you’re a huge fan of risotto – a rich and creamy, traditional northern Italian rice dish — or have never made it before, I think you and your kids will love Nancy’s recipe. Sometimes I use sweet potato instead of the squash.

Risotto Alla Zucca

Makes 6 to 8 Servings

(Adapted from The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook)

  • 6 cups all-natural chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and coarsely chopped, 2 to 3 cups
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
  1. Heat the broth to a bare simmer and keep simmering very gently while you prepare the risotto.
  2. In a large Dutch oven or saucepan, gently sauté the onions in the oil over medium-low heat until the onions are thoroughly softened but not browned, about 15 minutes. Add the squash and stir well to coat the pieces with the oil. Cover and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until the squash is soft enough to be broken up with a spoon. If the squash starts to scorch, add a little water or broth. The squash should be very soft, almost a puree.
  3. When the squash is soft, add the rice and stir to mix well. Add a ladle or two of the simmering broth and stir. As soon as the rice has absorbed the liquid, add more, and continue adding simmering liquid, ladle by ladle stirring constantly. There should always be liquid visible in the pan. Do not add all the liquid at once; this will produce boiled rice or pilaf instead of risotto. The rice is done when it is al dente, with a bit of a bite in the center. Each grain should be well coated with brilliant yellow sauce, which should be dense and rather syrupy looking. When it is done, the risotto should be thick enough to eat with a fork. You might not need to use all the liquid. Total cooking time varies from 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. When the rice is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in about ¼ cup of the cheese and the pepper. Let stand for 5 minutes or so, to settle the flavors, then taste and adjust the seasoning, adding salt as needed. Serve immediately and pass more cheese at the table.

By the way, the reason I’m at home right now posting to the blog rather than hanging out with Janice tasting olive oil is because Simon woke up sick today. Luckily Tim was able to come home from work this morning while I spoke at the conference (more on my talk as well as Janice’s when we post again later this week). In the meantime, if you have a traditional Mediterranean dish you and your family love – something from Greece, Morocco, Italy, Spain, etc – feel free to add it to the comments section of this post, and by all means, let us know if you try this recipe.

~ Liz

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Three New Family-Friendly Snacks http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/11/three-new-family-friendly-snacks/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/11/three-new-family-friendly-snacks/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2008 19:24:01 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=2886 Every year, we attend the annual meeting of the American Dietetic Association. This year’s conference was in Chicago (and yes, it was windy there).  As part of the show, we had an opportunity to try an array of new and nutritious food products for kids and families.  Here’s a sampling of what we found: Clif […]

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Every year, we attend the annual meeting of the American Dietetic Association. This year’s conference was in Chicago (and yes, it was windy there).  As part of the show, we had an opportunity to try an array of new and nutritious food products for kids and families.  Here’s a sampling of what we found:

Clif Kid Organic Twisted Fruit:  Looking for a fun new snack to pack in your child’s lunchbox or backpack?  Your search is over.  Clif Bar is out with a new line of Twisted Fruit snacks.  They take real fruit – strawberry, pineapple, grape — and twist it into a rope shape.  It looks like licorice but is all natural and has no added sugar.

Food Should Taste Good:  Multigrain, sweet potato, olive, and even chocolate. Those are a few of our favorite Food Should Taste Good snack chip flavors.  The sweet potato chips were a big hit with our kids – something we appreciate given their 3 grams of fiber and 20% vitamin A per serving. 

PlumSweet:  Sunsweet is at it again with a new dried plum snack your whole family will love.  PlumSweets are scrumptious, bite-sized pieces of dried plums coated in rich, dark chocolate.  Yum!

Read more about some of the other healthy new food products at the show in the Chicago Tribune, and let us know what new kid-friendly snacks you have found at your local market.

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Muddy Mushroom Soup http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/11/muddy-mushroom-soup/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/11/muddy-mushroom-soup/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2008 17:42:58 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=2853 Sometimes the craziest recipes make the biggest impression on kids. A few weeks back, Simon joined me on my weekly trip to the supermarket. I’m sure he would have preferred staying home with his soccer ball, but he tagged along anyway without complaint (probably because he knew he could play his favorite sneak-as-many-boxes-of-cookies-into-Mom’s-shopping-cart-without-being-noticed game). On […]

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Sometimes the craziest recipes make the biggest impression on kids. A few weeks back, Simon joined me on my weekly trip to the supermarket. I’m sure he would have preferred staying home with his soccer ball, but he tagged along anyway without complaint (probably because he knew he could play his favorite sneak-as-many-boxes-of-cookies-into-Mom’s-shopping-cart-without-being-noticed game).

On this particular trip, Simon had his sights set on soup (and cookies, of course). It seemed bizarre but he insisted on a Creamy Portobello Mushroom Soup – one of the all-natural soups from Imagine. I kid you not.

So that night, I took the soup, added a few nutritious ingredients to jazz it up, and presented “mud” with dinner to the delight of everyone.

Muddy Mushroom Soup

Makes About 5 Servings

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • One pound mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • One 32-ounce carton Creamy Portobello Mushroom Soup
  • 1 cup oyster crackers
  1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Add the soup and bring to a low boil, stirring occasionally. Serve in individual bowls and top with oyster crackers (look for trans-fat free oyster crackers from companies like Westminster Cracker Company or Trader Joe’s).

Nutrition Information per Serving: 160 calories, 7g fat (0g saturated), 360mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 6g protein, 10% iron

While Simon ate it happily, Josh was a bit skeptical. That’s when I came up with the name, Muddy Mushroom Soup. In the end, Josh also gave it two thumbs up and said he really loved it. The only complaint from the boys and hubby Tim was that the soup needed more mushrooms — can you imagine kids actually asking for MORE vegetables!? (I originally made it with 10 ounces of mushrooms, but have since increased it to a pound — use the 10 ounces if you think your troops would prefer a bit less).

For more soup ideas, tune into this week’s Soups that Satisfy podcast. But before you leave our blog, feel free to share any of your own silly recipe success stories.

~ Liz

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“Adult Food” Can Be Kid Friendly http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/11/adult-food-can-be-kid-friendly/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/11/adult-food-can-be-kid-friendly/#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2008 18:50:44 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=2845 Just because a recipe may look sophisticated or fancy doesn’t mean kids — even the chicken nugget, mac & cheese-loving ones out there — won’t want to eat it.  Last week while surfing a blog called ChocolateAndZucchini, I found a recipe for Orange and Rosemary Pork Tenderloin, posted on October 7th.  Since pork tenderloin is […]

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Just because a recipe may look sophisticated or fancy doesn’t mean kids — even the chicken nugget, mac & cheese-loving ones out there — won’t want to eat it.  Last week while surfing a blog called ChocolateAndZucchini, I found a recipe for Orange and Rosemary Pork Tenderloin, posted on October 7th.  Since pork tenderloin is my absolute favorite cut of pork (it’s lean, tender, mild in flavor and easy to cook) I was drawn to this particular dish.  My initial thought when scanning the ingredients was:  “Carolyn’s gonna love it but Leah, no way!”  Well, I’m happy to report that my opinioned 9-year old with her unpredictable palate devoured every bite.  In fact, after her first helping she replied enthusiastically “More steak please!”   

Though this recipe definitely featured what some might consider “adult” flavors — white wine vinegar, garlic, rosemary — Leah still loved it.  I did make a few minor tweaks to this recipe.  Instead of the juice of two oranges (which I did not have), I used about 3/4 cup orange juice.  And since I didn’t have any crème fraîche on hand, I used light sour cream.  By the way, on the side, we enjoyed mashed potatoes and roasted acorn squash. All around, I’d consider this a successful — and nutritious — family meal. 

We would love to hear some of your “adult food” success stories.  Have your kids ever surprised you by gobbling up a food you thought they would reject?  Do they routinely request a recipe that you thought was for “adults only?  We’re always on the lookout for new ideas so post your recipes and stories now!

~Janice

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Halloween Candy Overload http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/10/halloween-candy-overload/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/10/halloween-candy-overload/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2008 20:01:00 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=2838 Tonight, we face one of the biggest nutrition challenges of the year: candy overload. Liz’s 13-year old son Josh has been scheming all week to collect as much candy as is humanly possible. His goal: to amass 200 pieces. Janice faces the same scenario, though Leah (AKA Hannah Montana) has slightly lower candy aspirations. Clearly, […]

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Tonight, we face one of the biggest nutrition challenges of the year: candy overload. Liz’s 13-year old son Josh has been scheming all week to collect as much candy as is humanly possible. His goal: to amass 200 pieces. Janice faces the same scenario, though Leah (AKA Hannah Montana) has slightly lower candy aspirations. Clearly, we’ll both have to set some limits (because after all, a diet of sugary candy is more than most dietitians can cope with)!

While surfing the blogisphere today, we came across an uber-clever post on AlphaMom.com to create an advent calendar designed to portion out Halloween candy over a month or more. Check it out! We’d love to hear how you tame the candy beasts in your house!

It’s not too late to listen to our recent Healthier Halloween podcast or read our Halloween tip sheet. Have a ghoulishly fun-filled evening.

Liz & Janice

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Halloween Muffins for Your Little Goblins http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/10/halloween-muffins-for-your-little-goblins/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/10/halloween-muffins-for-your-little-goblins/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2008 12:05:07 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=2827 Late Tuesday, we returned from Chicago after several action-packed days at the annual meeting of the American Dietetic Association (ADA).  We saw many old friends (by old we mean, “we’ve known them for a while” vs. they’re old), sat in on interesting lectures (we’ll share some of what we learned in future posts) and got to […]

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Late Tuesday, we returned from Chicago after several action-packed days at the annual meeting of the American Dietetic Association (ADA).  We saw many old friends (by old we mean, “we’ve known them for a while” vs. they’re old), sat in on interesting lectures (we’ll share some of what we learned in future posts) and got to cruise the exhibit hall to sample new family-friendly food products and to peak at recipe booklets and cookbooks.

We have so many cool things to share with you, but decided to start with a recipe for Cocoa Raisin Muffins.  We tasted this recipe at the California Raisin booth after meeting fitness trainer, Valerie Waters (if you go to the raisin website, you’ll find lots of Valerie’s easy-to-follow healthy living tips).  Anyway, despite the fact that we just got back to reality land, we tested & tweaked the recipe and infused some of our Meal Makeover Mom magic. 

These double-chocolate muffins are perfect for Halloween – whether you’re hosting a neighborhood party or just looking for a new muffin recipe to keep your little ghosts and goblins happy. 

Cocoa Raisin Muffins

Makes 24 Muffins

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup 1% lowfat milk
  • 1 cup California raisins
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil or coat 24 mini muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl.
  3. Combine the applesauce, egg, oil, and milk in a medium bowl and stir until well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened.  Stir in the raisins and chocolate chips. The batter will be thick and “fudgy.”
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups (fill them generously).  Bake about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes.  Remove the muffins and cool an additional 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Information per Serving (2 mini muffins):   210 calories, 8g fat (1.5g saturated, 0.6g omega-3), 260mg sodium, 33g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 4g protein, 10% iron

As you may know, we’re huge fans of chocolate – which is why this recipe caught our attention.  What also caught our attention were the raisins.  They offer an easy way to get more fruit into the family diet:  They’re portable, available year round, and kids naturally love them.

More news from our ADA adventures in upcoming posts this month!

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One-Pot Pasta Dinner http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/10/skillet-pasta-beef-dinner/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/10/skillet-pasta-beef-dinner/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2008 21:14:36 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=2800 Imagine a hearty, nutritious, kid-friendly dinner entree that costs just $2.50 per serving. If a recipe with all those attributes sounds too good to be true, then read this blog post! Recently, we found a website called www.MakingLifeBetter.com featuring budget-conscious recipes. There, we noticed a dish for skillet pasta & beef dinner which we decided […]

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Imagine a hearty, nutritious, kid-friendly dinner entree that costs just $2.50 per serving. If a recipe with all those attributes sounds too good to be true, then read this blog post! Recently, we found a website called www.MakingLifeBetter.com featuring budget-conscious recipes. There, we noticed a dish for skillet pasta & beef dinner which we decided to cook for lunch today. Since Leah (Janice’s 9-year old) was home from school, she offered to be our official taste tester. Thanks Leah!

In the spirit of full disclosure, we must admit that we couldn’t resist the urge to tweak the recipe just a tad. We added a finely diced red bell pepper, used lean ground beef (look for 90% lean or higher), a whole wheat blend pasta (whole wheat can be a bit of an overachievement so we compromise with the whole wheat blends from Barilla Plus … plus they’re really delish), and switched to part skim mozzarella.

The dish was incredibly easy to make and a definite winner as far as Leah was concerned. She actually gave us a really cool idea: For kids who pick out and eat the pasta first, you can use the savory meat sauce like a sloppy Joe and add it to a whole wheat hot dog or hamburger bun.

Skillet Pasta & Beef Dinner

Makes 5 Servings

  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% or higher)
  • One 26-ounce jar pasta sauce (we like Light Ragu Tomato & Basil)
  • 2 cups water
  • 8 ounces dried whole wheat blend rotini (we like Barilla Plus)
  • 1 cup preshredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional
  1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 minutes
  2. Add the meat and cook, breaking up the large pieces, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain excess fat.
  3. Stir in the pasta sauce and water, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Stir in the pasta and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. Cover and let stand until the cheese melts, 5 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese as desired.

Nutrition Information per Serving: 410 calories, 10g fat (4g saturated, 0.3g omega-3), 620mg sodium, 46g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 34g protein, 35% vitamin A, 70% vitamin C, 25% calcium, 15% iron

On a final note, our November 12 Cooking with the Moms radio podcast will feature the topic of Healthy Eating on a Budget so stay tuned.

Liz & Janice

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Starbucks for Breakfast http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/10/starbucks-for-breakfast/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/10/starbucks-for-breakfast/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2008 13:49:47 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=2759 We’ve said it a thousand times before: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” but surprisingly, one recent survey found that 70% of Americans skip it. To entice people to eat their breakfast, Starbucks recently introduced a new line up of nutritious breakfast items. Happily, rather than add low fat, low carb and […]

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We’ve said it a thousand times before: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” but surprisingly, one recent survey found that 70% of Americans skip it. To entice people to eat their breakfast, Starbucks recently introduced a new line up of nutritious breakfast items. Happily, rather than add low fat, low carb and sugar free foods to their menu, they responded to their customer’s growing appetite for whole grains, healthy fats from nuts and seeds, and high-quality protein foods by “adding” good-for-you ingredients to every recipe (a food philosophy near and dear to our hearts).
We had the pleasure of sampling the new menu items on a recent visit to the Starbucks in Medford, MA. First up in our taste test was their Oatmeal, complete with a packet of dried fruit, nuts and brown sugar. It was — and we’re not making this up – the best oatmeal we’ve ever had. We also loved the Chewy Fruit and Nut Bar, made with oats, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds and the Protein Plate with a hard-boiled egg, peanut butter, sliced apples, cheese, and a whole wheat bagel (to learn about the other new items, visit the Starbucks‘ website).

Though we haven’t taken our kids to Starbucks yet to sample the new offerings, we suspect they’d like everything on the menu. In the meantime, we’ll continue to serve up breakfast every morning to our kids … and if either one of us happens to be too busy to sit down to a bowl of cereal, a waffle, or a smoothie, we’ll keep Starbucks in mind.

A final thought: If you try the Chewy Fruit and Nut Bar at Starbucks and are inspired to make your own nutrient-packed bar at home, be sure to try our Grab-and-Go Granola Bar, or if you have your own bar recipe you’d like to share, please post it here.

Liz & Janice

Janice, Liz, and Chrissy Redmond from Cone, who set up our tasting

Janice, Liz, and Chrissy Redmond from Cone, who set up our tasting

We were so impressed that we decided to call Starbucks’ very own registered dietitian, Katie Thomson, to find out what she thinks of the new menu. “Consumers are looking for positive nutrition from wholesome ingredients like nuts, seeds and dried fruit,” she told us. “For me, this menu is a dream come true. We’ve made these products delicious and indulgent, delivering on health, convenience and taste.”

 

 

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A Tasty All-Natural Cake & Frosting Mix http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/10/a-tasty-all-natural-cake-frosting-mix-2/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/10/a-tasty-all-natural-cake-frosting-mix-2/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2008 20:36:24 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=2678 By Liz:  As some of you may know, we tend to raise an eyebrow (or two) when we see ingredients like partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, artifi cial flavor, and artificial colors — Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 6 – on food product labels.  Those ingredients are often the norm in cake and frosting mixes, which […]

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By Liz: 

As some of you may know, we tend to raise an eyebrow (or two) when we see ingredients like partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, artifi cial flavor, and artificial colors — Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 6 – on food product labels.  Those ingredients are often the norm in cake and frosting mixes, which busy moms and dads (and yes, even The Meal Makeover Moms) rely on from time to time.  Now, to the rescue, is a new line of oh-so-tasty all-natural cake and frosting mixes from a company called Naturally Nora

 

When Nora herself called me two weeks ago and sent along some samples, I donned my apron and got cooking.  With two party invitations and a promise to bring dessert, I first tried Nora’s Cookie Cookie Yellow Cake Mix with Bits of Chocolate Cookie and the Cheerful Chocolate frosting.  For party-number two, I baked Alot’a Dots Yellow Cake Mix with Bits of Color and the Alot’a Dots frosting.  The response from over a dozen kid taste testers a alot’a adults was overwhelmingly positive.  Not a crumb was left.  If you get a chance to try one of Nora’s mixes or any other all-natural products, let us know what you think it them.

 

 

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Roasted Squash Side Dish http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/10/roasted-squash-side-dish/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/10/roasted-squash-side-dish/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2008 15:31:30 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=2615 There are more squash varieties out there than acorn and butternut and one in particular that has huge kid appeal.  For the past week, we’ve been testing a new side dish recipe using delicata squash.  On the outside, this long, oblong-shaped squash is creamy in color with stripes running down the sides, and on the […]

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There are more squash varieties out there than acorn and butternut and one in particular that has huge kid appeal.  For the past week, we’ve been testing a new side dish recipe using delicata squash.  On the outside, this long, oblong-shaped squash is creamy in color with stripes running down the sides, and on the inside it has a beautiful golden color.  Delicata squash is also called sweet potato squash because it tastes a bit like sweet potatoes, and it has a similar creamy texture.

We’re confident your kids – even if they’re averse to vegetables – will gobble up this naturally sweet side dish.  All of our children – Janice’s daughter’s Leah and Carolyn and Liz’s sons Simon and Josh – gave the new recipe two thumbs up.  That’s what we call “veggie success.”

Delicious Delicata Squash

Makes 4 Servings

  • Two 1-pound delicata squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Generous pinch ground cloves
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, cut into four small pieces
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Place the squash halves, cut side up, in a glass baking dish.
  2. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a small bowl.  Top each squash half with the butter, and sprinkle with the brown sugar mixture.  Bake, uncovered, until the squash is very tender when tested with a fork, about 1 hour.
Nutrition Information per Serving: 70 calories, 2g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 75mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 2g protein, 130% vitamin A, 25% iron

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Pretty in Pink http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/10/pretty-in-pink/ http://mealmakeovermoms.com/2008/10/pretty-in-pink/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2008 20:38:12 +0000 http://www.mealmakeovermoms.com/?p=2556 Although we typically blog about healthy family recipes, tips for feeding kids, and our dietitian/mom opinions on new food products, we’re switching gears today in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To celebrate all the great strides in breast cancer research and the progress yet to come, we have added three pink items to our […]

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Although we typically blog about healthy family recipes, tips for feeding kids, and our dietitian/mom opinions on new food products, we’re switching gears today in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To celebrate all the great strides in breast cancer research and the progress yet to come, we have added three pink items to our current line-up of “bling” now available at our new Meal Makeover Moms’ Store (located at Cafepress.com).  All the proceeds from the October/November sales of our pink Meal Makeover Moms’ hat, t-shirt and long-sleeve shirt will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

There are many creative ways to raise money for cancer. Last weekend, Janice walked in her fifth annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. There, she met James Hilton — he’s the zany guy in the photo wearing a giant pink hairdryer — who founded www.myhairdryerforcancer.org. Through his organization, he gets celebrities to donate an autographed hairdryer and then auctions them off. Proceeds go to cancer research. How cool is that?!

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