While the grain-avoiders are eating cauliflower rice, you can be enjoying delicious risotto! My family and I love this Italian favorite, but it was not a recipe I relished making. Traditional risotto requires a lot of “babysitting” at the stove. You have to stir the stuff constantly to get the creamy, distinctive texture. But, I found a work around!
If you’ve got an Instant Pot, it’s the perfect way to cook risotto. You can sautee your veggies and rice in it, then set it to do its work without having to hang out by your stove for 30 minutes. Here’s how I made this:
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup Arborio rice
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground pepper
- Place the butter, olive oil and rice in the instant pot and turn the setting to sautee. Add the onions, garlic and rice.
- With the lid open, sautee the onions, garlic and rice until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).
- Add the chicken broth and stir. Close the lid and set the instant pot on high for 5 minutes.
- Once the pot beeps, exhaust the steam and open the pot. Flush the rice with a wooden spoon.
- Serve the risotto with freshly ground pepper and Parmesan cheese.
Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a simple gal with simple taste. Basically, I want healthy food that tastes good, but doesn’t take forever to create. I came across some frozen shrimp while grabbing ice earlier and it put me in the mood for seafood. I’m a fan of trying new new flavors, but almost always include my standbys of garlic, salt and pepper.
On a nutritional note, I have a personal mission of eating at minimum- 1 cup of leafy greens a day. Regular intake of leafy greens has been found to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and dementia. Today I combined shrimp with spinach, anise seed and leftover rice. Anise has a lovely licorice-like flavor that really complimented the shrimp and spinach. Let me tell you- it was delightful! Below is the recipe:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. anise seeds
15-20 baby shrimp
2 cups frozen spinach
1 cup cooked rice
salt & pepper to taste
Shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Using a medium sized skillet, heat olive oil to medium heat.
- Add shrimp, garlic and anise seeds and sautee for 5 to 7 minutes until shrimp is opaque.
- Add cooked rice and frozen spinach. Cook for another 3 minutes until spinach is bright green.
- Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with shredded Parmesan cheese.
Makes 2 servings. Recipe can be doubled or tripled to feed a bigger crowd.
I haven’t posted a recipe in a while, but I have an excuse! I’ve been writing a cookbook about gout! It’s been a lot of fun to find recipes that are low in purines (a compound that increases uric acid in the body, which can precipitate a gout attack), in addition to being anti-inflammatory (meaning, the recipes are high in anti-oxidants and healthy fats). If all goes well, it should be published by late March. More on that later.
My family has gotten used to me being behind my laptop, but we still need to eat! I’ve always been a fan of quick, healthy recipes that taste good. The biggest reason we eat at all is TASTE. We tend to eat a lot of “next-overs” here. Being raised by parents that lived through the Great Depression, wasting food was not an option in our house. I am thankful that they brought me up to appreciate good food and have learned to embrace leftovers.Thankfully, my family does, too.
Seeing a wrinkled pepper on my counter and knowing I had a few grilled chicken breasts in the frig about to expire, I was inspired to try something in the instant pot. Honestly, any veggies or protein will do. My goal is to make the meal colorful and edible. Here’s what transpired:
2 Tbsp. corn oil
1 cup brown rice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 cup frozen chopped spinach or chopped fresh spinach
2 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
3 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp. ginger paste
1 Tbsp. chili garlic sauce
1 1/4 cups water
- Turn your Instant Pot setting to sautee.
- Add corn oil, brown rice, garlic, peppers, and onions to the pot.
- Sautee for 5 minutes with the lid open until onions are translucent.
- Add chicken, spinach, soy sauce, ginger paste, and chili garlic sauce and 1 cup water.
- Switch Instant pot setting to “rice”. Close the lid and turn the pot on.
- Once the pot “beeps”, exhaust the steam and open the pot.
- Add additional soy sauce, ginger or chili garlic paste to taste.
- Serve hot!
Makes 4-6 servings.
I had the opportunity earlier to talk with Dan Wells of Fox 19 about cancer prevention. It’s awfully hard to cover all the foods you should eat to prevent cancer (and why) in 3 minutes. So, below is a list of anti-oxidants in commonly eaten foods and why you should eat (or drink) them: Link to earlier segment: https://www.fox19.com/video/2019/09/19/healthy-foods-cancer-prevention/
- Green tea- contains catechins that have been found to reduce the risk of breast and other cancers.
- Coffee- contains polyphenols, compounds found to reduce the risk of liver and other gastrointestinal cancers. Take it black or with skim or 1% milk. Limit use of sugar and cream.
- Canned tomatoes, salsa or sauce- processed tomatoes have more bioavabilable (absorbable) lycopene- a phytochemical found to reduce prostate, ovarian and uterine cancer.
- Broccoli, kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts- contain indoles and sulfuraphane- two nutrients found to fight cancer. Leafy vegetable intake may reduce risk for lung cancer (so does smoking cessation)!
- Berries- blue and blackberries contain anthocyanin- a phyochemical that reduces risk for Alzheimers disease and cancer.
- Whole grains- go for farro, quinoa, barley, rolled oats, bulgur and other whole grains. These contain more selenium and vitamin E, which are known anti-oxidants. Get these nutrients from foods, not pills. Selenium supplements have been found to raise risk for diabetes.
- Be moderate with alcohol- alcohol is a known toxin in our diets. Moderate drinking means 1 drink/day for women, 2/day for men. To reduce breast cancer risk, cut the amount down further to 3 drinks/week.
- Yogurt and low-fat dairy products- yogurt contains pro-biotics to keep gut bacteria thriving. Dairy products are good sources of calcium, which helps reduce risk for colon cancer. Avoid excessive calcium intake from supplements or too much full-fat dairy. There is a link between high dairy intake (4 or more servings/day) and prostate cancer risk.
- Get moving- weight control and regular physical activity may help prevent cancer and cancer recurrence. You don’t have to be a gym rat, but regular walking, biking or other activity makes a difference.
Step aside hot chocolate. There’s a new brew!
Do you ever get that mid-afternoon craving for something sweet, but don’t want to eat junk food or grab more coffee? There’s a new brew in store for you! I recently partnered with Cacao tea to try this delicious, nutritious tea.
Cacao tea (also known as chocolate or cocoa tea) is a 100% natural tea which is brewed from cacao husks (known as cacao shells). It is a loose-leaf style tea which, when steeped in boiling water, results in a delicious tea that tastes like chocolate.
Cacao husks have been used to brew cacao tea for thousands of years, starting with the ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations up until recent time. In fact, as discussed in their article regarding the history of cacao, tea made from cacao husks was a favorite of George Washington’s wife Martha Washington, the First Lady of the United States hundreds of years ago.
Cacao tea has a delicious chocolate flavor and natural sweetness without added sugar or calories. In addition, cacao tea is gluten and dairy free. As a result, cacao tea is an excellent replacement for caffeinated tea and coffee and a great way to satisfy your chocolate cravings.
As described in detail in their article about the health benefits of cacao, cacao husks are rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, which studies have shown have a number of health benefits. In addition, cacao husks are rich in the compound theobromine, which is a mild, naturally occurring stimulant similar to caffeine with a gentle, slow-release effect.
Cacao tea can be made in a variety of ways depending on your preference!
To ensure that the full flavor of the cacao husks is released into your tea, we recommend using boiling water and a longer steep time. We recommend using a French press to brew 2 teaspoons of cacao tea per 250ml of boiling water. Allow the tea to steep for 6 to 8 minutes, or longer if you prefer a stronger brew.
If you don’t have a French press, it is recommended that you use a tea ball strainer or infuser. If you use this method, please ensure that the top of your cup is covered with a lid or other cover during the steeping process. For best results, the water needs to stay as hot as possible during the steeping in order to extract the best flavor from the cacao husks.
For those who enjoy very strong brews, boil 2 teaspoons of cacao tea per 250ml of boiling water on a stove for 7 to 10 minutes, or longer if you prefer an even stronger brew.
While Cacao tea has a natural delicate sweetness, you can increase the sweetness by adding your preferred sweetener to further enhance the chocolate flavors of the tea. Honey or cocoanut sugar provides an excellent complement to the flavors of cacao tea.
Cacao tea can be enjoyed either black or with any milk of your choice. Almond milk makes a delicious addition to cacao tea.
Finally, another reason I love this tea is that Cacao tea has a beautiful social mission. They donate 15% of profits to charities that supply healthy meals to families in developing countries. Support their charitable mission by mentioning them on social media! @cacaoteaco #cacaoteaco For more information, or to purchase cacao tea,check out: http://www.cacaotea.com
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