Brussels sprouts are the blue cheese of vegetables, in my humble opinion. They’re quite polarizing. You either love them or hate them. Like blue cheese, they have a distinctive smell and taste. But when properly prepared, you’d be surprised how much you may enjoy them.
For starters, Brussels sprouts are fairly low in calories, providing just 62 calories per cup. Once they’re doctored up with a little oil, the calories go up a bit. Like other cabbage family vegetables, Brussels sprouts offer vitamin C, fiber and phytochemicals (plant chemicals) that may protect against heart disease and cancer. Cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts contain a phytochemical called sulforaphane.
A study published in 2020 indicates that sulforaphane found in cruciferous vegetables (including Brussels sprouts) shows promise in reducing the risk for neurogenerative diseases such as MS, Alzheimer’s dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. Researchers believe these vegetables have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties that protect against nerve damage.
How to make them delicious
If your only memory of Brussels sprouts is eating them boiled, you’re missing out on a world of deliciousness. Similar to kale, when Brussels sprouts are roasted or sauteed, they take on a whole new flavor. Roasting the tiny cabbages makes their leaves get crispy and mellows their intense flavor. Adding a few herbs or spices only sweetens the deal.
You can make these Brussels sprouts in your oven, but I used my air fryer to save time. From start to finish, it’s about 10 minutes to delicious sprouts!
Ginger garlic Brussels sprouts
One-pound fresh Brussels sprouts, cleaned and sliced
Juice from 1/2 a lime or 1 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. canola or corn oil
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. ginger paste or grated fresh ginger
- Set your air fryer to 400 degrees and heat for 3 minutes.
- Place the sliced Brussels sprouts in a medium sized bowl.
- In a small measuring cup, whisk together the lime juice, canola oil, garlic salt and ginger.
- Pour the lime juice mixture over the Brussels sprouts and toss to coat them.
- Spray the air fryer with non-stick spray before placing the sprouts in the fryer.
- Air fry the Brussels sprouts for 8 to 9 minutes until crispy.
Makes 3 to 4 servings.
I often hear “I’m too busy to prep meals”. I get it. After a long day of work or being home with your kids, you may not be in the mood to chop a lot of food for dinner. With St. Patrick’s Day coming, I feel that it’s my duty to provide a simple cabbage-based recipe.
Fortunately, there’s lots of healthy short cuts you can take. For example, bagged coleslaw can be used in salads, stir fries or to top tacos. It’s already shredded and ready to go. Coleslaw is made up of two ingredients- cabbage and carrots. Both are a source of vitamin C as well as beta-carotene. Cabbage also provides vitamin K, a necessary nutrient for blood clotting and bone health. Being from the same family as broccoli, it’s also a source of phytochemicals, which help prevent cancer.
Rather than using a super sugary slaw dressing, I like to blend up citrus juice with simple ingredients like Dijon mustard, cumin or in this case, ginger paste. You’re welcome to grate fresh ginger for this slaw if you have it on hand, but I’ve gotten used to the convenience and shelf life of ginger paste. You can find it at most major grocery chains like Kroger or Aldi. If you use ground ginger, you’ll need half of what the recipe calls for as it’s a concentrated source of ginger.
I used canola oil in the recipe, but avocado oil or corn oil would work well, too. Olive oil has a distinct taste, so I don’t recommend it for this particular salad. If you don’t have limes or lime juice on hand, lemon juice or even orange juice would go well in this slaw. I add apples to mine, but if you’re concerned about carbs, you could use chopped cucumbers instead.
If you want to make the salad but have a nut allergy in your house, sunflower or pumpkin seed butter and sunflower seeds may be substituted for peanut butter and chopped peanuts. Pumpkin seeds could also be used.
This salad will last a two to three days in the fridge after making it. The vitamin C in the lime or other citrus juice keeps the apples from browning. Isn’t food science cool?
1 (14 ounce) bag coleslaw mix
1 Honey Crisp, Cosmic crisp or Fuji apple, cored and chopped
2 green onions, chopped (use green and white parts)
Juice of 1 large lime
1/3 cup canola oil
1 Tablespoon ginger paste
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon peanut butter
1/3 cup chopped peanuts
- Place the coleslaw, chopped apples and green onions in a large bowl.
- In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the lime juice, canola oil, ginger paste, honey and peanut butter to make a vinaigrette.
- Drizzle the dressing over the coleslaw mix and toss to coat.
- Top with chopped peanuts, toss and serve.
Makes 6 servings
It’s a very eggciting thyme here in the Queen city! The Cincinnati Bengals are in California as I write to prep for the Super bowl against the LA Rams! We haven’t had the privilege of being in the Super bowl since 1989. The power of Who DEY is palpable here.
Businesses are lit up in beautiful bright orange and most schools and businesses have taken the DEY off to allow for appropriate partying. Cincinnati knows how to party.
The Super bowl will no doubt have your blood pumping! If you’re looking for a tasty, tailgate party appetizer, that’s also kind to your ticker, look no further! This dip is made with creamy avocados and Greek yogurt and can be paired with your favorite veggies, pretzels or baked chips.
Avocados are plentiful right now and a great source of MUFAS (mono-unsaturated fatty acids). This type of fat helps lower your LDL (“lousy” cholesterol) while maintaining your HDL (“healthy” cholesterol). It adds a gorgeous green hue to the dip as well as potassium.
Greek yogurt is a source of calcium, B vitamins and potassium- which are great for your blood pressure in addition to protein, which provides satiety- a scientifically sophisticated word for the feeling of fullness between meals. Toss that word around at your super bowl party and impress your friends!
The dip can be served in one bowl or single cups if you’re feeling fancy! No matter WHO DEY you’re rooting for, enjoy the game with this simple treat!
¾ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1 ripe avocado, pit removed and cut into chunks
¼ tsp. ground cumin
1 clove garlic
¼ cup loose cilantro leaves
¼ tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 tsp. olive oil
- Place the Greek yogurt, avocado, cumin, garlic, cilantro, salt, lime juice and olive oil in a food processor.
- Process the ingredients until smooth.
- Adjust seasonings as desired.
- Serve with pepper strips, baby carrots, grape tomatoes or your favorite chips or pretzels.
Yield: 1 ½ cups dip
Hearty salads are just the ticket for lunch or light dinner these days. Lentils are a quick- cooking dried bean that’s not just for soup. This one includes red lentils, which are closer to orange in color, to be honest.
I made this salad recently for a Saturday, virtual demo for the Home – Cancer Support Community (mycancersupportcommunity.org). I’ve been doing cooking demos for them since I started my business 14 years ago! I’m grateful for the opportunity to cook and chat about nutrition while I do it.
This lentil quinoa salad is a good source of several nutrients, including protein, iron, vitamin C and fiber. If you’re trying to protect your immune system this thyme of year, this salad is your go-to.
Fiber from different food sources (beans, grains, fruits, veggies) helps to keep your gut microbiome (located in your large colon), thriving. Yes- poop has a function! This is why I’m a fan of eating a balanced diet that includes ALL food groups (and doesn’t diss dairy, gluten and the like).
That being said, the salad is gluten free, primarily because it’s made with quinoa. You can certainly sub other whole grains like bulgur, farro, sorghum or even brown rice.I love how quickly quinoa cooks and gives the salad a nutty taste and chewy texture.
The original salad was a recipe used in my Heart Healthy Meal Prep: 6 Weekly Plans for Low-Sodium, High-Flavor Grab-and-Go Meals – Kindle edition by Andrews MEd RD LD, Lisa Cicciarello . Cookbooks, Food & Wine Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. but I added greens to it to boost the volume, color and nutritional value of the salad. I think it’s even better with the addition of fresh spinach! The salad keeps for about 3 days after being dressed.
The dressing is a simple vinaigrette with lemon juice, corn oil and honey. Both the lemon juice and spinach are sources of vitamin C, which enhances the iron absorption from quinoa and lentils in the salad. If you’re going meat-free this year, this is an excellent way to obtain iron in your diet. Make it vegan by leaving out the cheese.
1 cup dry red lentils 3 Tablespoons canola oil
4 cups water, divided ½ cup pecans, chopped
1 cup quinoa ½ cup dried cherries
2 Tablespoons lemon juice ½ cup feta cheese crumbles
1 teaspoon honey 1 green onion (green & white parts), chopped
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar 3 cups ripped spinach leaves
- Boil the lentils in 2 cups of water for about 3 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer on low until the lentils are soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain off extra water and place in a large bowl to cool.
- While lentils are cooking, boil 2 cups of water with 1 cup of quinoa in a small pot for 3 minutes. Cover the pot, reduce heat and continue to simmer quinoa for about 15 minutes until the water has been absorbed. Allow quinoa to cool, then add it to the cooled lentils.
- In a measuring cup, mix the lemon juice, honey, vinegar and canola oil and whisk to make a dressing.
- Pour the lemon juice dressing over lentils and quinoa.
- Add the pecans, dried cherries, feta cheese, green onions and spinach to the lentils and quinoa. Toss the salad to coat. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 400 calories, 15 g protein, 18 g fat, 47 g carbohydrates, 13 g fiber, 7 mg cholesterol, 117 mg sodium
Yes, Thanksgiving is behind us, but some of the leftovers remain. If you’re like my family, you’ve probably enjoyed turkey soup, turkey tacos, ham and bean soup and Western omelets. Or maybe you froze some of the meat or other goodies?
But what about that delicious cranberry relish? Besides adding it as a condiment to your turkey sandwich, what else can you use it for?
If you’ve followed my blog before, you know I hate food waste. My parents grew up in the depression era (many moons ago), so we didn’t waste a pea on our plates. I fully recognize food insecurity in the US, and it kills me to toss out perfectly good food.
The mighty cranberry
Cranberry relish is popular at holiday time because cranberries are in season from September to November. Their festive crimson color also lends itself to beautiful dishes of sauce, compote and dessert. If you’ve never made homemade cranberry sauce, it’s ridiculously easy. Recipe to follow!
Cranberries are a good source of vitamin C as well as antioxidants to help fight disease. Some research suggests they may reduce the risk of UTIs (urinary tract infections) as well. Cranberry Polyphenols and Prevention against Urinary Tract Infections: Relevant Considerations – PubMed (nih.gov)
Using leftover cranberry sauce
Leftover cranberry sauce should be used within 7 to 10 days or can be frozen and used within a month. I’m sure if you used the cranberry sauce a bit after 10 days (say 12 days), you’ll be OK. It’s acidic by nature and likely won’t mold quickly.
Note- you’ll still have some leftover cranberry sauce with this recipe. If you’ve never tried it in yogurt, now is a good ‘thyme’! It’s great in Greek yogurt or you can also add it to cooked oatmeal.
I enjoy using quinoa in various recipes because of its awesome nutritional profile (good source of fiber, iron and protein), ease of cooking and versatility. I had some mixed quinoa on hand and decided to cook some up for breakfast.
Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, making it a great grain for those with Celiac disease or anyone following a gluten-free diet. While it’s often used in grain bowls, salads or side dishes, it can also be used for breakfast. Why not?
Quinoa should be rinsed before cooking to remove tannins that give the grain a metalic taste. A mesh strainer works well for this.
Fresh cranberry sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup orange juice
3/4 cup sugar or honey
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. orange zest
1 Tbsp. ginger paste
1 (12 oz) bag fresh or frozen cranberries
- In a medium saucepan, combine the water, orange juice, sugar, orange zest, cinnamon and ginger paste and boil for 3 minutes.
- Add the fresh or frozen cranberries and stir to combine.
- Reduce the heat and stir the mixture occasionally. Allow it to simmer for 15 minutes. Cranberries will split open as they cook, and the mixture will thicken.
- Cool the sauce for 20 to 30 minutes before storing in the fridge or freezer.
Makes 8 servings. Per serving 111 calories, 0 gm fat, .3 gm protein, 27 carbs, 1.7 fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 15 mg sodium
1 cup dried quinoa
2 cups water
1/4 cup almonds or other nuts, chopped
- Rinse quinoa in a mesh strainer before using.
- Place quinoa and water in a medium pan and boil for 1 minute.
- Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover the pot. Cook quinoa for 13 to 14 minutes until all the water is soaked up.
- Serve 1/2 cup warm quinoa with 1 Tbsp. cranberry sauce.
- Top with 1 Tbsp. chopped almonds or other nuts.
Quiona and cranberry sauce with almonds
Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 300 calories, 6.3 gm fat, 6.3 gm protein, 50 grams carbs,4.5 gm fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 217 mg sodium
Whether you need a fancy salad for Thanksgiving or just something deliciously different this time of year, you’ll love this seasonal salad. It’s colorful, sweet and savory all at once.
I made this salad over the weekend for Homepage | Cancer Support Community in a live cooking demo. I’ve been doing demos for them for about 13 years and love the community.
All about that base:
Spinach makes a great base in this salad and provides beta-carotene, potassium and vitamin C to your diet. Arugula or kale could also be used if you’re out of spinach.
If you use kale as your base, be sure to “massage it” to wilt the texture a bit. The salad can be made a day or two ahead of time when using kale.
I used honey crisp apples in my salad, but Granny Smith apples or even Barlett pears would go well. Apples or pears add soluble fiber to your salad; the type that lowers cholesterol and blood sugar. They also improve the color and texture of the salad.
Dates are technically not a “dried” fruit, but because of their wrinkly texture, people think they are. They paired nicely with the tart apples and tangy balsamic dressing. These Medjool dates were provided by https://www.naturaldelights.com. I’m a paid partner for the brand and stand by its quality. Medjool dates provide potassium and fiber and have a chewy, sweet texture.
Including some form of dried fruit will add a chewy texture to your salads in addition to more color. Raisins, dried cherries, chopped apricots or prunes would go well.
I typically add a small amount of some type of cheese to my salads. This adds a little more dimension to the salad and savory cheese goes well with fruit. You can use blue cheese crumbles, feta cheese or shredded Parmesan. Or, keep the salad vegan and leave the cheese out!
Dress it up:
Making your own dressing is super simple and so much tastier than bottled dressing. I love the richness of balsamic vinegar, but apple cider vinegar would go well, too. This recipe makes 1/3 cup dressing, which is the perfect amount to dress your salad. Don’t drown your salad in dressing!
If you want to add a different twist, substitute ginger paste for Dijon mustard. This may make the dressing a little spicy and less tangy. A few red onion rings would add another layer of flavor to the salad if you have them on hand. Drizzle the dressing right before serving. Enjoy!
1 (10 oz) bag fresh spinach
2 honey crisp or another firm apple
1/3 cup chopped pecans
2 Medjool dates, chopped
2 Tbsp. crumbled feta cheese
3 Tbsp. canola oil
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- Place the fresh spinach (or other greens) in a large salad bowl.
- Add the chopped apples, dates, pecans and feta cheese.
- In a separate small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the canola oil, vinegar, honey and Dijon mustard.
- Drizzle the dressing and toss to coat the salad right before serving.
Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 227 calories, 16.6 grams fat, 18.4 grams carbs, 3.3 grams protein, 4.4 grams fiber, 4.6 mg cholesterol, 97 mg sodium
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