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Cooking Matters Michigan

Empowering families with the skills, confidence and knowledge to prepare healthy and affordable meals

Filtering by Tag: Recipes

Eat Better, Eat Together with your family this October

dorothy hernandez

Editor's note: We welcome popular mom blogger Bree Glenn to our blog today as she writes about national Eat Better, Eat Together month.

The hubs and I make a concerted effort to eat dinner together, with the kid, every night. With both of us working full time, that sometimes doesn’t happen. But, I’d say we hit the mark at least 95% of the time.

Being a mom and wife who works full time sometimes makes it difficult to get a hot, healthy meal on the table. Lucky for me, I have a wonderful husband who is well-versed in the kitchen and often jumps in, when I can’t be there to get it done.

Often times, I’ll have the hubs and/or the kid assist me with food prep. It’s a great way to cut down on the time it takes to prepare a meal, and it brings us all together in a fun activity. Another way I save time is to use the Crockpot.

By cooking a meal for us to eat together, I’m not only ensuring we eat a healthy meal, but I’m also ensuring I get some time with my guys to just sit down together over a meal and talk about our days – about how work was for the grownups and how school was for the kid. It serves as a way for us to connect, in our busy, busy lives. I know this will only become more and more important as the kid gets older.

When I was a kid, eating dinner together as a family was a big deal. I can’t imagine a life of not sitting down, at a table and eating at least one meal a day with my family.

Making time to eat together as a family is not only important to the family unit, but according to Washington State University when families eat together:

· Children do better in school and have fewer behavior problems. · Teenagers are less likely to use alcohol or drugs. · Communication between children and adults improves. · Children understand their family's values and traditions. · Meals are more nutritious and healthful.

October is National Eat Better, Eat Together Month. I encourage you to click here for more information, recipes and ideas on how you and your family can start the tradition!

Bree Glenn blogs on The Mom with Moxie about living life, to the fullest and finding humor, in life’s little – and not so little – messes. She’s a wife, mom and PR exec trying to juggle family, work, life and everything else. As someone who has dealt with health issues, weight issues, financial issues, job issues, etc., she feels she can provide a unique point-of-view, on life – and how to live it to the fullest, despite whatever trials life may throw at you. She’s also an avid supporter of social media and enjoys connecting with online friends and meeting new ones through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Bree and her husband, MenDale, live in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan, with their son, “The Kid.”

Nutrition Quiz

jhartrick

The Detroit Free Press published a great Nutrition Quiz this week about that hard-to-pronounce grain - quinoa. We at Operation Frontline are infatuated with the little pseudocereal, often pairing it with the Ratatouille recipe in our classes.

So why is quinoa so great? According to quinoa.net (is there really a quinoa.net?),

1. It’s a VEGETARIAN solution, a balanced-amino-acid source of high quality protein.

2. It’s a SENIOR solution, a high-iron food that raises the hematocrit, delivers more oxygen to the brain, fights senility.

3. It’s a DIABETIC solution, a very low-glycemic-index cereal type food.

4. It’s a TASTE SOLUTION, quite delicious.

The president of the Quinoa Corporation, named Gorad, raves about the properties of the food, saying,

"Quinoa's most pragmatic quality," observed Gorad, "is that it's a basic food with strong earth energy. People who try it categorically respond, 'This tastes good!"

If you've never tried quinoa, this website has some great recipes. The Closet Cooking blog also has some delicious quiona recipes.

Now to test your knowledge -

1. First, some history: Where is the grain grown, and which ancient civilization first harvested it?

a) The Mayans in Mexico

b) The Incas in the Bolivian Andes

c) The Sudanese in the Sahara

2. How do you pronounce quinoa?

a) "Kwin-oh-ah"

b) "Co-in-ah"

c) "Keen-wa"

3. How much more of the daily value of protein does quinoa contain than whole wheat and rice, respectively?

a) 4.2% and 8.7%

b) 9.6% and 12.3%

c) 19.0% and 22.4%

4. Quinoa is significantly higher than whole wheat in lysine, an amino acid. Among other uses, the nutrient-absorbing lysine has been used for which condition?

a) Warts

b) Psoriasis

c) Herpes

For the answers, click here.

Potluck party, OFL style

jhartrick

Our Eating Right class at Crestwood graduated last week (yay graduates!). On the last day we usually make a sweet treat, such as the Pineapple Carrot Cupcakes or Chocolate Cake. Personally, I (Dorothy) think it's more fun when there's a potluck involved, especially when it involves delicious foods that you normally wouldn't make on your own because you have no clue (ahem, me). Our participants really wanted to have a potluck so they brought authentic Middle Eastern and Indian dishes to the party. What a spread! There was grape leaves and tabbouleh, chicken and rice, pitas with yogurt and zatar. It was amazing. Volunteers Laurie and Chef Dave brought homemade caramel apples and salsa, respectively. Thanks to our Crestwood participants for the following recipes and a great time! spread

Yakni Pulav (baked rice with chicken)

chicken

Chicken or lamb

4 cups of basmati rice, soaked for 1/2 hour

Ginger paste

Garlic paste

3 medium onions, finely sliced

1 tomato, chopped

Black pepper

cloves

cardamom

cinnamon

Use Shaan Yakhni pulav available in Indian store

Oil

2 tablespoons of yogurt

Fry onions till golden in oil then add ginger and garlic pastes. Saute for a few seconds and add tomatoes, yogurt, species and chicken and saute. Add water to make soup. Let it boil until chicken is tender.

Serve the soup and mix with rice. Soup level should be 1-inch above the rice, then bake it in oven on 350 for 40 minutes.

Basboosa (semolina cake)

1 cup of semolina

1 cup dry coconut

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup oil

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 eggs

Mix the eggs, baking powder, oil and sugar in a blender.

Put the semolina and coconut in a large bowl then add the wet mixture. Put in pan.

Put in oven at 375 for 30 minutes or until golden on top.

While that is baking, make the glaze, which is a simple syrup or shera. In a pot, mix 1/2 cup of sugar with 1/2 cup of water over medium heat for five minutes. Top the cake with the shera when it is done.

Recipe Developed by OFL: Detroit Volunteer Appears in The Dallas Morning News

jhartrick

This past week, The Dallas Morning News showcased a recipe in their article "Barley Jambalaya an inexpensive, Creole-flavored way to feed a group" that is nutritious and easy to make. The recipe, developed by our own Chef Sarah McKay (long-time volunteer for Operation Frontline: Detroit) replaces sausage and white rice for turkey ham and barley, kicking up the fiber content and reducing the fat content. This recipe is a favorite amongst OFL participants and appears in almost all of our classes. Congratulations, Sarah!                                                                                                                           Barley Jambalaya

Barley Jambalaya
Serves 6
 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 2 medium celery stalks
  • 1 medium green bell pepper
  • 3 medium onions
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 4 ounces turkey ham
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  1. Place barley in a colander and rinse under cold water. Bring water, bay leaves, and barley to a boil in medium saucepan over high heat.
  2. Reduce heat to low, cover saucepan and cook barley until tender and water is absorbed, about 45 minutes. Place barley in a colander, draining any excess water, and set aside.
  3. Rinse celery and green pepper. Peel onions and garlic and rinse onions.
  4. Dice onions, celery, and green pepper and mince garlic.
  5. Dice turkey ham into 1/4-inch pieces.
  6. Add oil to large soup pot and heat over medium-high heat.
  7. Add meat, onions, celery, peppers, and garlic to the soup pot. Mix well.
  8. Saute 5-10 minutes, scraping bottom of pan periodically.
  9. Add tomatoes. Turn heat to high and bring to boil.
  10. Add the 4 spices and stir to combine.
  11. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  12. Add cooked barley to the meat and vegetable mixture, stir to combine. Add more liquid if necessary.
  13. Cook over low heat for an additional 5-10 minutes to blend flavors together.
  14. Remove bay leaves before serving.

PER SERVING: Calories 363 (16% fat) Fat 7 g (1 g sat) Chol 20 mg

Sodium 1,466 mg Fiber 13 g Carbohydrates 64 g Protein 16 g

Tips:

  • If you only have a limited time to make this recipe, you can use Quick Barley instead of pearl barley. Just add the Quick Barley to the pot after adding the canned tomatoes, using the recommended amount of water on the box (taking into account that there is liquid from the canned tomatoes). You can either finish the jambalaya on the stovetop or put it all into a pan to be baked in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • Try ham, chicken, turkey sausage, or shrimp instead of the turkey ham.
  • This recipe does well in the freezer if you have leftovers.

Recipe: Stuffed Acorn Squash

jhartrick

This recipe was developed by OFL Chef BJ Williams, who has facilitated three classes, including two Eating Right classes and an Eating Well class. BJ, who specializes in vegan, vegetarian, and living or “raw” food, owns his own catering company called H20 Essence of Life. Through his company, he offers workshops, cooking classes, and retreats for those interested in learning more about a healthier lifestyle. When asked why he began volunteering with OFL, BJ said, “I wanted to learn how to become a better teacher.” After three months of teaching classes, BJ says that he has improved, learning that engaging people and making them involved makes for a better experience. If you are interested in learning more about BJ’s catering company, contact him through email at h2oessenceoflife@yahoo.com.

 

Rice-Stuffed Acorn Squash. Photo Credit: Taste of Home

 
Stuffed Acorn Squash
Serves 2

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 average acorn squash
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 Tbs of olive oil

  For Stuffing:

  • 2 cups of cooked short grain brown rice (cooked according to rice package instructions)
  • 1 celery stalk diced finely
  • 1 cup of raisins (golden raisins are best)
  • 1 large Golden Delicious apple diced finely
  • ½ medium red or yellow onion diced finely
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup or to your taste
  • Salt and pepper to your taste (optional), or Braggs Amino Acids to your taste
  1. Heat oven to 350 degree f.
  2. Take acorn squash, wash it off with soapy water and dry.
  3. Cut in half and take out the seeds and set aside.
  4. Mix together: 1 tsp of cinnamon *, 1 tsp of nutmeg *, and 2 ½ Tbs of olive oil
  5. Mix ingredients together and rub into each half of the squash. 
  6. On a non-stick pan or glass dish, place squash face-down and bake in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until you can pierce the squash membrane with a fork.
  7. Remove squash from oven and set aside.
  8. Stuffing is prepared by mixing rice, raisins, vegetables, maple syrup and seasonings together until well mixed.  Mixture is then placed in the squash and is ready for serving.
  9. Optional:  Place stuffed squash back into the oven and cover for about 15 minutes for flavors to savor more.
  10. Serve by cutting in quarters and enjoy!

 

* Narrative of spice nutritional properties:

Cinnamon is said to be a strong stimulant for the glandular system and helpful with stomach upsets, colds and sore throat.

Nutmeg grated is excellent in custards, cakes, biscuits and pumpkin pie.

Recipe: Hearty Minestrone

jhartrick

This recipe was adapted from the Low-Fat, Low-Cost Cookbook, something that has been on my mother's shelf for years and is now on mine. It offers tons of recipes that are nutritious and inexpensive, while showing the calories and fat per serving, as well as the cost per serving. Minestrone is one of my favorite things to make as the weather gets cooler, because it's so versatile and comforting. The recipe below has my own twist to it (with borrowed ingredients from allrecipe.com's Corrigan's Minestrone), but you can add anything that you like.  

Photo Credit: Corrigan's Minestrone from Allrecipes.com (Sorry for the lack of an original picture!)

  
Hearty Minestrone (Diana's Comfort Food)
Serves 12
 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped potatoes
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 (14 ounce) can vegetable broth
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 1/2 quarts water
  • 3 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cooked elbow macaroni or small shell pasta

  1. In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, potatoes, garlic, carrots, and celery into pot. Cook and stir for 5 minutes, or until onions are soft.
  2. Mix in broth, tomato paste, chickpeas, and water. Cook and stir for 5 minutes.
  3. Add Italian seasoning and salt. Cook and stir 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
  4. Mix cooked pasta into pot. Continue cooking 10 minutes, making sure to not overcook pasta.
  
Tips:
  
  • The Low-Fat, Low-Cost Cookbook's version of the recipe costs $0.39 a serving. If you change the ingredients, the price will vary. However, in order to keep costs down, you can:
    • use vegetables that are in season
    • use dried beans and cook them ahead of time
    • use leftover pasta
  • Because this recipe makes a big batch, you can freeze the leftovers and save it for future meals. Soups and stews are great for leftovers, because the flavors become more concentrated after sitting for a day or two.