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Use marinades and rubs to add an ethnic flair and to tenderize leaner cuts of beef.
When roasting beef, put a rack in the pan to allow fat to drip away from the meat.
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Week of February 27, 2011

Easy Tips for Reducing Sodium in Your Diet

With a few substitutions and smarter strategies, you can drastically reduce the amount of sodium in your diet.
  • Use fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned.
  • Replace bottled salad dressings with homemade dressingss.
  • Make homemade soups instead of using canned soups.
  • Roast your own chicken instead of using deli rotisserie chicken.
  • Replace canned broth with homemade stock (beef, chicken or vegetable)
  • Roast your own chicken instead buying deli rotisserie chicken.
  • Use dried beans instead of canned.
  • Season with herbs and spices instead of salt.
  • Roast or grill vegetables to add flavor instead of adding salt.

 

Week of February 20, 2011

About Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is an ancient food that is just becoming popular in North America. It has long been a food staple of the South American Andes. The ancient Incas called quinoa the "mother grain" and revered it as sacred.

Technically quinoa is not a true grain, but is the seed of the Chenopodium or Goosefoot plant. The "grain" itself is soft and delicate and the tail is crunchy which creates and interesting texture combination and pleasant "crunch" when eating the grain. Quinoa has a fluffy consistency and a mild, delicate, slightly nutty flavor that borders on bland.

The quinoa seed is high in protein, calcium and iron, a relatively good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. The protein in quinoa is considered to be a complete protein due to the presence of all 8 essential amino acids.

Before cooking, the seeds must be rinsed to remove their bitter resin-like coating, which is called saponin. Quinoa is rinsed before it is packaged and sold, but it is best to rinse again at home before use to remove any of the powdery soapy like residue that may remain on the seeds.

Try this delicious quinoa dish and see how really good it is.

Black Beans and Quinoa

Serves 6

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups chopped white onions
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup quinoa, rinsed, drained
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups water
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided

Optional Garnish:
Crumbled Cotija cheese or feta cheese

Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and red pepper; sauté until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in next 4 ingredients. Add water; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until quinoa is almost tender, about 14 minutes. Add beans and 1/4 cup cilantro; cook uncovered until heated through and liquid is fully absorbed, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cilantro and cheese, if desired.

Per Serving (does not include cheese garnish): 216 Calories; 5g Fat (19.6% calories from fat); trace Saturated Fat; 9g Protein; 36g Carbohydrate; 7g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 394mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 1 Fat.

Week of February 13, 2011

Any salad dressing that is processed, packaged, bottled, and purchased at a store is full of stuff you really do not want in your body.

  • HFCS - High Fructose Corn Syrup. Most bottled dressings contain this ingredient even if they state they are low-sugar or low-fat. It is now widely believed that high fructose corn syrup is one of the major culprits that causes diabetes.
  • Processed with Preservatives and Additives - Most processed foods are packed full of additives and preservatives to keep them from spoiling and for other purposes. And salad dressings are at the top of the list. Why would you want to put added impurities and toxins in your body?

The alternative is to use plain olive oil, vinegars, lemon juice or low fat dairy and make your own dressings.

  • Always use olive oil
  • Use natural spices, herbs, garlic and vegetables that are fresh and organic if possible
  • Use low-fat additives, low fat-dairy like yogurt and buttermilk creamy dressings
  • Use citrus juice like lemon, lime and organge juice or apple cider, balsamic, red and white wine vinegars for vinaigrettes. Or add a fruit like raspberry to your vinaigrette.

Fresh Yogurt Dressing

1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons 1% low-fat milk
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (can add more if desired)

Combine 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt, 1% milk, fresh lemon juice, honey, extra-virgin olive oil, dried oregano and minced garlic.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Per Serving (2 tablespoons): 25 Calories; 1g Fat (30.1% calories from fat); trace Saturated Fat; 1g Protein; 3g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 1mg Cholesterol; 17mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 0 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Week of February 6, 2011

Tasty Valentines Dessert

Pretty and pink for valentines day. If you love strawberries, then you will love this Strawberry Buttermilk Ice. It so light, fruity and fresh. You don't even need an ice cream maker.

Strawberry Buttermilk Ice
Serves 8

2 12-ounce baskets strawberries, hulled, halved
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk

Puree strawberries and sugar in processor. Add buttermilk and process until smooth. Pour into 8x8x2-inch glass dish. Place in freezer. Freeze mixture until firm, about 3 hours.

Transfer mixture to processor and process until smooth. Spoon mixture into plastic container. Cover tightly and freeze until firm, about 3 hours (Ice can be prepared 2 days ahead. Keep frozen.) Let ice soften at room temperature about 5 minutes before serving or you will be chiseling it out.

Per Serving: 85 Calories; 1g Fat (5.4% calories from fat); trace Saturated Fat; 1g Protein; 20g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 1mg Cholesterol; 33mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Fruit; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 0 Fat; 1 Other Carbohydrates.

COOKS NOTE: Also works well with Agave syrup or Splenda in place of sugar.

 


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