- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 2 TBSP butter
- 2 cups diced potatoes
- 2 cups diced carrots
- 1 14-oz can chicken broth
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 2 large tomatoes, peeled and diced (or you can use 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes, not drained)
- 1 14-oz can corn (not drained)
- 1/2 tsp rubbed sage
- 1/2 tsp all-purpose seasoning
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 2 TBSP cornstarch
- 1 cup diced chicken or ham, optional
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, to top bowls of stew with
- In a large stockpot, heat butter over medium heat. Add in onions, garlic, potatoes and carrots. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until onions are translucent.
- Add in chicken broth. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, until potatoes and carrots are soft.
- Add in zucchini, tomatoes, corn, chicken or ham (if desired) and seasonings (except cornstarch.) Heat for another 10-15 minutes or so, until mixture is hot and beginning to boil.
- Reduce heat and add all but 2-3 TBSP of the evaporated milk. Mix remaining evaporated milk with the cornstarch and stir until combined. Stir it into the stew. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Salt & pepper to taste. Top with fresh diced cherry tomatoes & a little shredded Parmesan cheese once stew is ladled into each bowl.
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 lb. portobello or cremini mushrooms, stemmed and coarsely chopped
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 lb. red potatoes, chopped into 1-2 inch chunks
- 3 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp. liquid smoke
- 1-2 tsp. Marmite (optional, but highly recommended for savory flavor)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Coat the bottom of a large pot with oil and place over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Add onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook until veggies begin to tenderize, about 5 minutes more, flipping occasionally with a spatula. Add red wine and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer until wine is reduced by about half, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, a bit at a time, until fully incorporated.
- Add broth, tomato paste, potatoes, thyme and rosemary. Stir to fully incorporate ingredients. Raise heat and bring to a simmer. Lower heat and allow to simmer, uncovered, until potatoes and veggies are soft, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a bit more water to the pot if mixture becomes too thick and starts to sputter.
- Season with liquid smoke, Marmite if using, salt and pepper. Serve.
- 7 ounces ground pork (Feel free to sub ground chicken like I did or 93% lean ground turkey.)
- 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- ½ small onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½-1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (depending on your ginger love)
- 2½ cups finely sliced napa or green cabbage
- 2 cups finely sliced baby bok choy
- ½ cup shredded carrots
- 2½ ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1-2 medium scallions, sliced, for garnish
- 2 tablespoons chopped peanuts (optional)
- Set a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the pork and 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and cook, using a wooden spoon to break the meat into small pieces as it browns, about 3 minutes.
- Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook stirring, until the vegetables are soft, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the cabbage, bok choy, carrots, and mushrooms. Pour in the remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, the rice wine, and sesame oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage and bok choy are wilted but still crunchy, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve hot, garnished with scallions and peanuts (if using).
Living with multiple chronic illnesses can made daily tasks difficult to accomplish. One thing that is challenging is having to cook after a long day at work. Due to my illnesses it is best to cook from scratch because whole foods are better than processed foods since they can help decrease inflammation in the body. Preparing whole foods can be time consuming and tiresome. I have discovered some kitchen hacks that make cooking more manageable.
There are three factors in creating a nutritious meal: time, effort and cost. Cooking from scratch normally takes more time and effort since everything needs to be chopped and prepped. On the other hand, buying pre-cut items save time and effort but cost more. So it is a matter of what do you want to save more of, energy or money. Usually for me it depends on how I am feeling on that particular day. When I have more energy I enjoy taking time to prepare the meal. On other days, I just want to get something half way healthy on the table. Here are some strategies I use to handle the cooking task:
- Make a bulk meal: I will cook a soup, stew or chili that will last a couple of days. Add a bagged salad and some bread to complete the meal. This is more time consuming but I don’t have to cook the next day.
- Make a skillet meal: Add vegetables, meat and quinoa or rice to a skillet and cook.
- Wrap it in a tortilla: Brown the meat and add your favorite veggies for tacos; spread with hummus, add cucumbers, tomato, olives and feta cheese for a wrap; or fill with tuna fish, celery, onion, and lettuce.
- Use the broiler: Fish cooks quickly under a broiler. Steam veggies in the microwave and add a packet of microwavable precooked rice (I like Seeds Of Change Quinoa with Brown Rice) to finish the meal. Another idea is broiling portabella mushrooms and put it in a bun topped with tomato, basil and mozzarella cheese.
- Use the freezer: I try to always keep some healthy freezer options on hand like salmon burgers and chopped microwavable vegetables. Use frozen fruit to make quick smoothies.
- Buy part of the meal precooked: Stop at the grocery store deli to pick up a rotisserie chicken. Add some steamed vegetables, salad and a roll.
- Have breakfast: A quick meal is an English muffin with peanut butter and a banana. Or, make an omelet filled with your favorite veggies such as spinach and mushrooms. Have a side of roasted potatoes and a yogurt parfait for dessert.
- Eat salad: Make a chef salad with hard-boiled eggs, deli turkey, cheese and tomatoes. Another option, add shrimp or salmon instead of turkey. Make your own dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pair it with a bowl of low-sodium prepared soup.
There are many ways to make healthy quick dinners. Happy cooking to you!
This month is National Nutrition Month. To spread awareness, I am going to talk about the My Plate method of eating. Since I am Diabetic, my body does not secrete insulin which causes my blood sugar to rise when I eat carbohydrates, an energy compound found in plant foods. The My Plate method helps me control my carbohydrate intake thus keeping my blood sugar more balanced. It is also an easy process to use to regulate portion sizes.
The way the My Plate Method works is easy. Just divide up your plate into sections: half of the plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables, a quarter of the plate is for protein, and the other quarter of the plate is for grains. Dairy is added on the side. Here is photo representation:
Some additional tips:
- Choose whole fruits in a variety of colors.
- Vary your vegetables choosing a variety of colors. Increase veggie consumption by adding them to soups, stir-fries, wraps and sandwiches.
- Make half your grains whole grains. Eat brown instead of white rice. Try oatmeal for breakfast and popcorn for snacks.
- Choose low-fat milk or yogurt.
- Vary your proteins by including eggs, beans, and seafood.
- Limit sodium and saturated fats. Choose vegetable oils instead of butter and oil-based sauces instead of butter or cream sauce.
- Enjoy the process of cooking! Make it a challenge to see how colorful you can make your plate!
Visit the My Plate website, www.choosemyplate.gov, for more information.
Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 3/4 cup shredded carrots
- 3/4 cup shredded cabbage
- 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles, plus more for garnish
- 4 green onions chopped, save half for garnish
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup hot sauce (I recommend Franks)
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
In a fine-mesh strainer, rinse quinoa well and drain. In a medium pot, combine quinoa and water. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat to low. Cook until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, fluff the quinoa with a fork.
While the quinoa is cooking make the buffalo sauce dressing and cook the chicken and broccoli. In a measuring cup or small bowl combine the olive oil, hot sauce, and seasoned salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
Heat a medium size skillet over medium high heat Add a tablespoon of olive oil and saute the broccoli for about 5 minutes. You want it to just start to soften, but still be crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the chicken to the same pan and cook the chicken for about 5 minutes or until cooked through. Add 1/4 cup or so of the buffalo sauce and cook until the chicken absorbs the sauce.
When the quinoa is ready add the chicken, broccoli, carrots, shredded cabbage and as much of the dressing as desired (I ended up using all of the dressing, but we like things extra saucy) toss well. Add the blue cheese and half of the green onions. Toss again and serve warm with extra blue cheese crumbles and green onions.
- 15 oz (from 3 medium hass) pitted and halved avocados
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/3 cup red onion, minced
- 1 small clove garlic, mashed
- 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
- kosher salt and fresh pepper, to taste
- Place the pulp from the avocados in a medium bowl and slightly mash with a fork or a potato masher leaving some large chunks. Add lime juice, salt, pepper, cilantro, red onion, garlic and mix thoroughly.
- If you are serving this at a later time, a great tip to keep the guacamole from turning brown is to cover tightly with plastic wrap so no air gets on it. Makes 2 cups.
I added some diced red pepper to add color.