Asian broccoli slaw

Asian broccoli slaw

I’m sure everyone has tried some version of this delicious slaw at a block party or potluck. Every time I have it, I think, “I have got to get that recipe!”.  One day, I decided to just wing it. This recipe is not only pretty to look at it (remember, you eat with your eyes first), it’s also seriously nutritious. Broccoli slaw is made from the woody stalks of broccoli, which are often discarded in favor of broccoli flowerets. Don’t toss them out! They’re an excellent source of vitamin C, folate, potassium and sulforaphane- a powerful phytochemical that helps prevent cancer. Red cabbage and shredded carrots add additional color and nutrients such as vitamin K and beta-carotene. #nutrigirlapproved

I typically keep minced ginger, garlic and sesame seed oil on hand, so I all really needed was the broccoli slaw, cilantro and almonds. This slaw can be made ahead of time or could also be used in a stir fry. If used in stir fry, add the sesame seed oil and cilantro last for flavor. Sesame seed oil has a very low smoke point and should not be used for frying. It will have a rancid, off-taste when heated.

2 cups (1 container) broccoli slaw
Juice from 1 lemon (~2 Tbsp)
1 tsp. sesame seed oil
¼ cup canola oil
1 tsp. low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. minced ginger paste
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup slivered almonds

Place the broccoli slaw and slivered almonds in a medium sized bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together lemon juice, sesame seed oil, canola oil, garlic, soy sauce and ginger paste.
Add the dressing to the broccoli slaw and mix. Add the chopped cilantro at the end, save a few leaves for the top for garnish

Makes 6 servings: Nutrition information per serving: 144 calories, 13.9 grams fat, 2.6 grams protein, 3.8 grams carbohydrate, 1.8 grams fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 40 mg sodium.

Soup Swap!  Italian Wedding Soup

Soup Swap! Italian Wedding Soup

Part of the beauty of being a grantee through People’s Liberty is the great meeting opportunities it provides.  Kate Zaidan is a young woman in my 8 member class that shares my love for cooking, teaching and connecting people.  She took over her dad’s store, Dean’s Mediterranean Imports in Findlay market and is quite the go-getter.

A true foodie, Kate is hosting a soup swap today at People’s Liberty. The point of the swap is to share stories of where your recipe came from, as well as soup!  Each participant brings 6 quarts of soup to share in addition to the recipe.  Brilliant idea Kate!

I was worried about having to make (and eat) soup when this week’s February weather felt more like May.  But alas, the stars have aligned and we’ve got a cool 40 degree day ahead to chat and enjoy soup! Below is a spoiler- my mom’s famous Italian wedding soup.  Mine is a bit simpler.  You can add more greens as desired.

To read more about Kate’s mission, check out the link:


One, 3 # chicken               ¾ cup rice or tiny pasta

½ yellow onion, diced

4 large carrots, peeled & cut into coins

4 stalks celery, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

10 frozen meatballs, quartered

1 box frozen spinach

8 cups water, 1-2 tsp. salt to taste


Boil whole chicken. Remove from pot & skim fat from broth. Cut off visible fat from chicken & return meat to the pot.  Add chopped onions, carrots, celery, garlic, & spinach and simmer until vegetables are soft.  Add meatballs & rice and cook for another 10 minutes until rice is cooked.  Serve with shredded Parmesan cheese.

Makes 8 servings.  Per serving: 216 calories, 8 gm fat, 21.5 gm carb, 1.9 gm fiber, 15 gm protein, 35 mg cholesterol, 400 mg sodium

Pesto pasta with chicken and broccoli

Pesto pasta with chicken and broccoli

I hate to waste food.  Pasta is no exception.  I made this recipe on a whim with leftover chicken and cooked penne.   I keep jarred pesto on hand because of its convenience and delicious taste.  It’s made with olive oil and garlic, so you can’t go wrong here!  If you don’t have chicken, cooked turkey or white beans (Great Northern, Navy) would also work well in this recipe if you want a vegetarian option.  I prefer whole grain penne, ziti or spiral pasta to boost fiber content and color. If needed, you can also use gluten-free pasta made from corn, brown rice or quinoa.  Broccoli adds color, vitamin C, beta carotene and fiber to the dish.  Enjoy!


2 cups cooked chicken, cut into chunks

4 oz. jarred pesto

2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

1 clove garlic, minced

1 lb fresh or frozen broccoli

1 lb whole wheat pasta (penne or other tubed pasta)

½ cup Parmesan cheese


  1. Cook pasta according to directions and set aside.
  2. Steam broccoli for 4 minutes in microwave and set aside.
  3. Sautee garlic in 1 tsp. olive oil.
  4. Add chicken, pesto and broccoli and remaining olive oil and simmer for 2 minutes.
  5. Add pasta to chicken and pesto mixture and blend. Serve with 1 tsp. Parmesan cheese

Makes 8 servings.  Nutrition Facts per serving:  343 calories, 12.6 grams fat, 46.8 grams carbohydrate, 12.2 grams protein, 6.7 grams fiber, 8 mg cholesterol, 181 mg sodium.

Kale salad with coconut ginger dressing

Kale salad with coconut ginger dressing

Be kaleful!  Kale is in season and it’s time to embrace the leafy green.  This nutritional powerhouse is loaded with vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium and vitamin K, nutrients needed to fight cancer, high blood pressure and protect your immune system.  You may ask yourself, “What else can I make besides soup”?

Kale is often dismissed because of its rough texture.  If you massage kale before using it, it softens the texture and sweetens the flavor a bit.  In this recipe, I blended some coconut oil with a few other ingredients to create an Asian type dressing.  To my surprise, the coconut really complimented the kale and tamed the greens nicely.  I added a few chopped almonds for texture and voila- I have a new salad!


8 cups fresh kale, cleaned and ripped

2 Tbsp. coconut oil

4 tsp. rice vinegar (or white vinegar)

4 tsp. low sodium soy sauce

2 ½ tsp. sesame seed oil

2 tsp. minced ginger

1 tsp. fresh lime zest

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp. chopped almonds


  1. Place cleaned kale in a large bowl. “Massage” the kale for 3-5 minutes to soften it up.
  2. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together coconut oil, vinegar, soy sauce and sesame seed oil. Add in ginger and garlic then pour over the salad.  Toss in chopped almonds, lime zest and serve.  The salad may taste better the second or third day after the kale surrenders.


Makes 8 servings.  Per serving: 95 calories, 6.4 grams fat, 2.6 grams protein, 7 grams carbohydrate, 1.3 grams fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 158 mg sodium

Cumin behavior

Cumin behavior

If there’s one spice I never like to run out of, it’s cumin.  It’s one of the least expensive, but most versatile spices around.  Cumin is an herb that originated from Iran and the Mediterranean and comes from the umbelliferae family.  Say that one five times fast!  It is used in a variety of cuisines including Mediterranean, Indian, Middle Eastern and Latin American.  From a nutritional perspective, cumin has been used as an aid for digestive problems, diarrhea and respiratory disorders and touted for its role in promoting menstruation, urinary flow and as an aphrodisiac.

Personally, I just like the taste.  Its savory flavor compliments soups, stews and chili as well as chicken, beef and pork.  I use it frequently to season root vegetables such as sweet potatoes and carrots.  Cumin goes well with sweeter spices such as cinnamon and ginger as well.  Try the recipe below for something deliciously different!


6 regular carrots, peeled with ends cut, sliced into wedges or sticks

Pam or other non-stick spray

Ground cumin

Ground cinnamon

Season salt



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a large baking pan or sheet with non-stick spray.

Spread the carrots out on the baking sheet.

Spray the carrots with non-stick spray.

Shake cumin, cinnamon and season salt over the carrots (using approximately ¼  tsp. of each spice)


Makes 4 servings.  Nutrition facts per serving:  38 calories, 0 gm fat, .8 gm protein, 9 gm carbohydrate, 2.2 gm fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 210 mg sodium

Curried Pumpkin Soup

Curried Pumpkin Soup

Curried Pumpkin Soup

If you want something seasonal and delicious, give this pumpkin soup a try.  Canned pumpkin is not only versatile, it’s a great source of beta-carotene, potassium and fiber.  Using light coconut milk reduces the fat and calories in the soup without compromising taste.  Here’s a little trick with the spices.  Saute’e them early on to enhance the flavor, rather than adding them at the end where they will just “float” in the soup.


  • 1/4 cup canola or olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can 100% pure pumpkin
  • 1 cup light coconut milk


  1. Heat the oil in a deep pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and garlic; cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and other spices.  Mix in the vegetable broth.  Cook and stir until the mixture comes to a gentle boil, about 10 minutes. Cover, and boil 15 to 20 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Whisk in the pumpkin and coconut milk, and cook another 5 minutes.
  2. Pour the soup into a blender, filling only half way and working in batches if necessary.  Process until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, and reheat over medium heat for ~ 3 minutes prior to serving.

Makes 6 servings.  Nutrition facts per serving:  171 calories, 12 grams fat, 2 grams protein, 16 grams carbohydrate, 3.2 grams fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 326 mg sodium.  


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