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Posts tagged ‘vegetables’

Recipe of the Week: Shrimp and Ginger Vegetable Stir-Fry

shrimp and vegetable stir fry These days I’m all about quick dinners. Besides the usual after work time crunch, who wants to spend extra time in the kitchen on these beautiful (and sometimes hot!) summer evenings? Stir-frys come together fairly quickly and are perfect for using all the veggies in your fridge. This recipe packs a fiber punch from the veggies, and the amount can be increased even more with a high fiber base such as brown rice. For this recipe I chose to use a Jasmine rice instead to add a layer of flavor. On the other hand, the canola oil is a neutral flavor and better for high heat cooking than olive oil, which is why I’m using it here. I’ve found shrimp to be a good, quick-cooking protein (~3 minutes and you’re done!) and makes any meal feel a little more fancy. The shrimp can easily be eliminated for a delicious and nutritionally complete vegetarian or vegan meal.

 

 

 

 

Shrimp and Ginger Vegetable Stir Fry (serves 2 adults and 1-2 pre-schoolers)

Ingredients

1/2 container baby Bella mushrooms, sliced

1-2 stalks of broccoli, cut into small florets

1/4 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 scallions, thinly sliced white and light green parts

2 large carrots, cut into thin rounds or matchsticks

1 inch peeled and minced ginger

1 tablespoon Canola oil (have extra on hand)

1-2 teaspoons sesame oil

1/2lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 cup dry jasmine rice

Salt and pepper to taste, red pepper flakes or hot sauce if you want to spice it up
Directions

1.  Heat the canola oil in a pan. In a separate pot cook the rice according to package directions.

2. Toss the carrots and broccoli into the pan with the oil and add a pinch of salt and pepper. After they begin to soften add the mushrooms and asparagus. Add more oil as needed to ensure the vegetables don’t burn.

3. When all of the vegetables are soft add the scallions, sesame oil, ginger and shrimp and cook until the shrimp are opaque white in the center, ~3 minutes.

4. Place the rice in a bowl, spoon the stir fry on top and enjoy!

Healthy Cooking: Frozen Vegetables

Straightforward frozen vegetables without added sauces can cut meal prep time (think frozen spinach instead of washing, chopping and cooking freshly bought greens) and bring variety to a meal without excess waste. If you don’t routinely use leftovers, everyone in your family likes different veggies, or you want to provide more than one per meal, it doesn’t get easier than cooking frozen vegetables.

To prepare, take a bowl of veggies, add a small amount of water and microwave for 30 seconds to two minutes depending on the amount you have, and before your 5 minute couscous is done your veggies are on the plate. For a child size portion your can pour steaming hot water on them to defrost them, steam them or boil them.

Two benefits to frozen veggies – they keep longer than fresh ones and may be even more nutritious as they’re frozen soon after harvest. Plus, they don’t have any added salt or calories from a sauce and are a blank slate for the flavors of your meal.

In Season: Brussels Sprouts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re thinking of bypassing this post because you don’t like Brussels sprouts you’re making a big mistake! I’m here to change your mind about this (sometimes) hated fall vegetable. I didn’t grow up eating Brussels sprouts, but have tried them in different forms over the past few years and have settled on my favorite tried and true method to get even the haters to admit that they’re good. The secret – roasting. Roasting ups the flavor on almost every vegetable by concentrating the flavor and caramelizing some of the sugars (think roasted carrots).

Roasting Brussels Sprouts is easy:

1. Peel away the outer leaves and rinse

2. Pat dry and toss in olive oil, kosher salt (don’t be too stingy), pepper and any other herbs you like

3. Spread evenly on a sheet tray and roast at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes

Check in the middle of the baking time to flip them and ensure they brown evenly.

 

Brussels sprouts are commonly found individually in large bins or small bowls. However, many farmers markets and some supermarkets carry them on the stalk. Brussels sprouts are members of the cruciferous family (broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage) and confer some of the same cancer fighting protective benefits. These powerful sprouts also provide vitamin K, antioxidants A and C and are a good source of folate and fiber. Look for Brussels sprouts that are firm and green and store them in the vegetable drawer for up to 10 days.

While roasting is a tried and true method of prep, the recipe for Brussels sprouts with Maple Syrup from the Oct 2012 issue of Bon Appetit brings them to the next level. The hint of sweetness from the syrup coupled with the salt and herbs is an irresistible combination that will make many appearances on my dinner table, starting with Thanksgiving. The recipe isn’t available online so I’ll give you the abbreviated version: prep the sprouts as for roasting and and cut them in half lengthwise. Heat oil in a skillet and roast cut side down until brown, approx 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl. Add 2 Tbs of butter and 1/4 cup syrup (per 2 lbs of Brussels sprouts), and 1-2 Tbs each of parsley, chives and sage to the pan on med-low heat. When the butter is melted add back the sprouts and toss to coat. Serve hot.

Another excellent recipe is for Brussels sprouts chips. If you’re like me and think that the browned leaves are the best part, then you’ll also love this recipe from Inspired RD. A word of caution – go easy on the oil or else they’ll come out soggy. And, be a little liberal with the Kosher salt. These were so crunchy and delicious I wasn’t sure there would be any left for my guests by the time dinner rolled around.

I challenge you to try one of these recipes at your next dinner party. Your guests will be pleasantly surprised and you’ll see how many new Brussels sprouts lovers are created!

Did You Know… Kale

Kale is basking in the glow of its more than 15 minutes of fame.  From kale chips to kale salads, this delicious, versatile leafy green will quickly become part of your permanent grocery list.  Kale is one of the best sources of vitamin K, an excellent source of vitamins A and C and home to a host of antioxidants. Some research has shown that kale may help prevent cancer and reduce inflammation. It is also a good source of fiber, which has generally been shown to help lower cholesterol.

Ready to buy this superfood? It’s in season from mid-winter until early spring, though you can usually find it year-round. Look for brightly colored leaves and stems without blemishes, and store in an airtight bag for 5-7 days in the fridge.  When you’re ready to use it simply rinse, remove the stems and chop. Try both varieties, the curly variety and the flat leaf type referred to as Tusacn, lacinto or dinosaur kale.

One of my favorite kale salads is the Weekend Glow Kale Salad from Angela at Oh She Glows. The lemon-tahini dressing is addicting, and quite delicious drizzled over salmon. Another favorite is from my friend Anja at One Bite Rule. It’s also easy to make your own kale salad – remove the stems, chop the kale, use your hands to massage the dressing into the leaves and then let them sit for 10-15 minutes before adding the rest of your ingredients. A knife-less tip to remove the leaves from the curly variety – hold the leaves in one hand, the stem in the other, and pull.

Additional Ideas:

  • Sautee with ginger and sesame oil
  • Steam and serve with mushrooms seasoned with thyme
  • Add to your favorite winter soup

What’s your favorite way to eat kale?

5 Ways to Eat Better in 2012

Most New Year’s resolutions include “lose weight”, but why not change things up this year and write “eat better”? Research has shown that a plant based diet offers numerous health benefits, especially for your heart. While a vegan diet may seem like an extreme lifestyle change, maybe your resolution for this year is to eat less meat, next year it’s to try a vegetarian diet and the following year it’s to try a vegan diet. Or stop somewhere in the middle at a place that makes you happy and feel your best.


1. Think about the vegetarian or vegan dishes that you already love without having labeled them as such (vegetable lasagna, vegetable burritos, guacamole, lentil soup) and start eating them more.

2. Try a lentil or black bean burger. These “Cheese” Stuffed Bean Burgers from Peas and Thank You are especially delicious.

3. Taste test all of the cheese alternatives in your local health food store. From almond to soy to tapioca these “cheeses” provide cheese satisfaction without the added saturated fat.

4. Buy vegetarian cookbooks and magazines. Candle 79, the Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks and Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian are great places to start. The Vegetarian Times magazine has excellent seasonal recipes and a “vegetarian starter kit” that you can download from their homepage.

5. Educate yourself on the benefits of a plant based diet. Knowing this is an important change for your health and not a deprivation diet will keep you motivated.

* Don’t forget to get your friends and family involved! If Mondays aren’t the best day for you to go meatless, pick another day, have a weekly new recipe challenge, and if your kids are old enough to cook have them participate too. If not, they’ll be excellent judges.

Have a happy and healthy 2012!