I've been extra busy today and needed a really quick lunch for me and my 2-yr-old. I didn't have time to cook or prep any fresh produce. We also didn't have any leftovers to reheat. Thankfully, I keep a variety of healthy canned ingredients in my cupboard for days like today.
I was inspired to make something with marinated artichokes because they came in their own "dressing". From there I looked to see what else would taste good with Italian flavors and would be visually appealing. I love when a really good recipe comes from having to scrounge the cupboards or fridge for scraps!
Here is what I found:
Canned, sliced, black olives
Marinated artichokes (missing from photo)
Beets, in water, no salt added
I almost always buy organic canned beans because they are usually lower, sometimes more than half as much, in sodium. Organic canned beans usually don't have unnecessary additives either and as a bonus, they're organic too.
National Nutrition Month® is coming to an end but that doesn't mean we should stop celebrating with delicious, nutritious foods. I hope this recipe has proved to you that good nutrition can come from a can. You don't have to slave over a hot stove for hours to come up with something you feel really good about feeding your family!
1 small can sliced black olives, rinsed and drained
1 jar marinated artichokes, chopped
1 can beets, in water, no salt added, drained and chopped
1 can chickpeas or garbanzo beans, preferably organic, drained
Combine all ingredients and serve immediately or refrigerate and let flavors mingle a little longer before serving.
Disclaimer: No toddlers were harmed in the feeding of this recipe. I promise he enjoyed every bit of it and even served himself a second helping.
P.S. I don't write about the foods my toddler eats to brag, but to show that, when offered (never forced) a variety of foods on a regular basis, kids enjoy eating all sorts of foods typically thought of as not being "kid friendly".
Taste Matters! I don't know anyone who enjoys or is willing to eat food they dislike on a regular basis. However, I know that many foods that people think they don't like may become more accessible to their taste buds if the offensive foods are paired with highly flavorful foods that are more enjoyable. March is National Nutrition Month® and the slogan is "Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right". This fits right along with my everyday mission which is teaching people to eat healthfully by eating the foods they enjoy and avoiding foods with the flavor palate and texture of cardboard at all costs!
Tonight for dinner I concocted some sort of skillet meal or casserole style dish that was mighty good. My fridge is getting bare and I had a limited variety of items to work with. I had some chorizo in my fridge which I had planned to use for a different recipe but then changed my mind and didn't make it. So, I needed a way to make a healthy meal around my chorizo.
The chorizo by the way was from Polly's Country Market in Chelsea, MI. I'm so happy to have access to freshly ground sausage which happens to be made right in the store. Thanks Polly's CM!
My husband "doesn't like" onion or kale or spaghetti squash but these happened to be the other items that needed using up this week. Plus, they are all highly nutritious and he needs to eat his veggies anyway! Even though my husband isn't a fan of these foods, I know if I mix them with strong flavors he really likes that he'll eat them anyway without complaint. Our meal tonight was rich in vegetables of different colors, quinoa which is very nutritious and high in fiber and some protein from the chorizo. I don't mind that chorizo tends to be relatively high in saturated fat because the rest of our foods have virtually no fat in them. I also believe meat should be more of a side dish as it is in this recipe than a main dish.
There wasn't much leftover and my 2 year old asked for seconds. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!
Chorizo veggie skillet/casserole
Yield: approx. 8 servings
1 spaghetti squash
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 whole bunch of kale, chopped, remove and discard stems
1 onion, diced
1 lb chorizo (bulk sausage, remove from casing if in links)
Salsa (I highly recommend this recipe: http://www.mountainmamacooks.com/2012/01/quick-and-easy-blender-salsa/)
1. Cut spaghetti squash in half and roast cut side down in 350 degree oven until soft, approx. 30 minutes.
2. Cook quinoa according to directions, 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water.
3. Brown the chorizo over medium-high heat. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
4. Add diced onion and chopped kale (a little olive oil if needed) to skillet and saute over medium heat until cooked (onions will appear translucent).
5. Add cooked squash (use spoon to scrape out of shell), quinoa, and sausage back to the pan with onion and kale. Mix together to create casserole and serve with your favorite salsa!
Add a side of your favorite fresh fruit and you've got one heck of a meal!
This is a great Meatless Monday recipe! It's super filling, full of awesome nutrition, warm flavors, and it's really good comfort food too. This is my go-to recipe on cold nights when cuddling up with a bowl of soup for a dinner + movie + fireplace dinner is mandatory.
Spicy Vegetarian Quinoa and Peanut Stew
1-3 tbsp. Canola or olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 large sweet potato, diced
2-4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. cumin
4 cups chicken or veggie broth
1-2 cups cooked quinoa (you can use cooked brown rice instead if you'd like)
2 14-oz cans Mexican style diced, crushed or stewed tomatoes
1 14-oz cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
3 medium zucchini, cut into ¼ inch pieces
½ cup of chunky or creamy peanut butter
I hope I didn't forget any ingredients or steps in the recipe. It's a bad habit of mine. Please let me know how you like it. Also let me know if I missed a step.
If you're a breastfeeding mom chances are you've worried at one point or another that you may not make enough milk to adequately feed your baby. Maybe you're back to work full time and you must pump to save milk for your baby while you're away. Whatever the reason you are looking to increase your milk supply here are a few things that may help:
This pancake recipe by Nurture Normally is a great basic recipe to start with. I like the idea of making pancakes better than cookies (which seem to be most prevalent) because they are lower in sugar and fat and they are very versatile. The author gives you ideas to alter the recipe to fit your dietary needs and preferences also. When I whip up pancakes at home I make a large batch (like this recipe) and be sure they are toaster sized. I freeze the pancakes in freezer ziploc bags and to reheat I let the pancakes sit out for about 5 minutes at room temperature to thaw and then I pop them in the toaster. You can top your pancakes with applesauce, fresh fruit, syrup or even spread them with peanut butter or other nut butters.
If you're talented in the kitchen or even have some basic baking knowledge it's easy to add some lactogenic foods to some of your favorite, go-to recipes. Find a recipe for oatmeal bread, oatmeal muffins, oatmeal cookies etc. and add 2 tablespoons each of flaxseed meal and brewer's yeast to the your dry ingredients before mixing wet and dry ingredients together.
For more information you can check out Kelly Mom.com which is a great resource itself. She has compiled a list of where you can find help too. If you live locally The Breastfeeding Center of Ann Arbor is a good resource too. It's important to get help early if you think you actually have low milk supply or other breastfeeding/lactation problems.
What is your favorite lactation support recipe? Please share!
I love making my own salad dressing for several reasons. I like to have control of what ingredients are in my food so I tend to buy single ingredient foods/products so I can make my own recipes and meals. I also like variety. If I had all the variety in salad dressings that I wanted, my refrigerator door would be nothing but salad dressings. That's just not gonna work. So, I keep a variety of oils, vinegars, herbs and spices on hand along with my favorite dijon mustard which is great in dressings. With a decent variety of these main ingredients the possibilities are almost endless. Below I've provided a list of must-have-at-all-times ingredients and one of my favorite summer salad dressing recipes.
variety of vinegars (balsamic, rice, flavored, wine, etc.)
variety of sweeteners (sugar, honey, maple syrup, jams, etc.)
variety of oils (walnut, almond, olive, canola, sesame, etc.)
fresh onion (I prefer sweet for using raw)
cupboard full of herbs and spices
fresh ground black pepper
glass jars (reused jam jars are great) to shake and store dressings in
Tart Cherry Vinaigrette
Recipe by Courtney Stinson
1 tablespoons red tart cherry juice concentrate
1 tablespoon fig infused white balsamic vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons honey
6 tablespoons almond oil
½ teaspoon dried marjoram
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons minced sweet onion
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of ground black pepper
Pinch of salt
Slivered roasted almonds
These peppers are stuffed with ingredients that are typically found on a pizza and mixed with quinoa for a great nutritious meal that everyone will love!
4 large bell peppers
1 cup quiona
1 1/2 cup water or broth
1 can pizza sauce (approx. 14 oz. can)
1 small cooking onion
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (canned or fresh)
4 basil pesto or italian style chicken sausages, (pre-cooked), diced
2 cups shredded, part-skim mozzarella cheese
1. saute onion and mushrooms in saucepan until onion is cooked through
2. add quinoa, water or broth, pizza sauce and bring to boil
3. cover and simmer 10-15 minutes until quinoa is cooked through
4. while quinoa is cooking, slice through top of peppers to make a lid then scoop out ribs and insides of peppers and discard, put tops aside
5. place peppers in a square baking dish
6. once quinoa is cooked add sausage and cheese, stir mixture together
7. fill peppers with quinoa mixture and put tops back on peppers
8. cover and bake at 375 degrees F until peppers are cooked through (about 30-45 minutes)
Taking a healthy lunch to work is one of the simplest ways to get the recommended amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein during the day. Most meals packed at home are healthier than foods at restaurants. When we eat out, we're often faced with large portions and fattening foods, but when you pack lunch at home, you can control your portions and choose healthier ingredients.
To start, make sure your lunch is balanced. Lunches that include some lean or low-fat protein along with carbohydrates will keep your body fueled for the afternoon and stave off hunger. The combination of protein and fiber from whole grains, beans, nuts, vegetables and fruit will give you the most satisfying and nutritious combination of foods that will keep you feeling full until dinner. However, be aware of cues your body sends to warn you of being full. This will prevent overeating and the mid afternoon slump that follows.
Use a variety of whole-grain breads, pitas, and wraps for your sandwiches. Choose lean fillings like sliced eggs, tuna fish, reduced-fat cheeses or lean meats. Then fill your sandwich with assorted greens, fresh herbs, sprouts, sliced cucumbers, onions, and tomatoes.
Leftovers are great to pack and take for lunch because you can control the portions and calories in the meal to ensure it will be nutritious, filling and delicious. Try cooking in bulk. On the weekend, make a large pot of chili, soup, or rice and beans and freeze into individual portions that are ready to take to work in a flash.
10 Easy Lunch Ideas Planning ahead is a must for quick lunch assembly. A week of planned meals with all the ingredients in the kitchen will make it easy to put together tomorrow's lunch after dinner.
This grocery list is a week's worth of lunches costing $5 or less a day (assuming you already have salad dressings on hand):