RecipesVeggie-Lover Dinners

Lemon Asparagus Alfredo

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This quick fix has become another favorite dinner at the Andersen household. It’s flavorful, filling, and chocked full of vegetables, so I consider that a win, win, win. I hope your family loves it too. Enjoy!

 

Lemon Asparagus Alfredo

1 Boneless, skinless Chicken Breast (about 12 oz.)
8 oz. Whole Wheat Penne
8 oz. White Penne
1 Large Yellow Squash, cubed (about 1 1/2 Cups)
1/2 bundle Asparagus, cut into 2 inch sticks
2 teaspoons Olive Oil
1 Recipe Guiltless Alfredo Sauce
Zest of 1 Lemon
Salt and Pepper for seasoning

Directions:
1. Sprinkle chicken breast with salt and paper. Bake thawed chicken breast at 300 degrees for 35 minutes or until juices run clear. (I seasoned a frozen chicken breast and baked it at 275 degrees for 55 minutes.) Use a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
2. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the penne until al dente. Drain and return to large pot. Set aside.
3. In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté yellow squash and asparagus until vegetables are crisp tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
4. In a large saucepan, prepare Guiltless Alfredo Sauce. (You will also need a blender for this step.) When finished, zest the lemon into the Alfredo sauce
5. Once chicken is done baking, let it cool for 5 minutes. Cut it into 1/2 inch cubes and add it to the pot of drained pasta. Add vegetables to pasta and pour the Alfredo sauce over the pasta mixture.
6. Stir mixture to evenly coat the pasta and vegetables with sauce. Serve immediately. Season with salt to taste.

Serves 6 to 8.

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CasserolesRecipesVeggie-Lover Dinners

Butternut Mac and Cheese

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I believe there is nothing wrong with sneaking a little extra nutrition into classic dishes. The butternut squash in this Mac and Cheese goes almost undetected. Best of all, it adds a good dose of vitamin A, carotene, fiber, folate and antioxidants to an otherwise not-so-nutritionally-dense food. Also, the bright orange squash provides a beautiful natural food coloring. Enjoy!

 

Butternut Mac and Cheese

2 1/4 Cups Dry Elbow Macaroni Noodles
1/2 Large Butternut Squash
1 Recipe Hearty Cheese Sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of PepperDirections:
1. Slice butternut squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Roast in a shallow pan filled with water, cut side down, at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until the skin can be punctured easily with a fork.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the macaroni noodles until soft and tender, about 10 minutes. Drain noodles and return to large pot.
3. Prepare 1 Recipe Hearty Cheese Sauce.
4. Once the squash is cooked, scoop the meat out of the skin and add to the pan of cheese sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Using an immersion blender, puree the squash and cheese mixture until smooth and creamy. (You may also scoop the squash into a counter-top blender and puree it for about 2 minutes before adding it to the cheese sauce.)
6. Pour the butternut cheese sauce over the pot of macaroni and stir well to combine.
7. Serve immediately. Devour.Makes 6 servings.
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RecipesSoups

Carrot Apple Bisque

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This recipe is my modified version of the original from the Lion House Pantry Cook Book. I made this soup for a children’s tea party which I hosted for my 7-year-old son’s First Grade class. I assumed the children would all take a courtesy bite and leave the rest. Boy, was I surprised when they ate every last bite and continued to ask for second and third helpings! A healthy, kid-approved recipe like this MUST be shared, so here goes. Enjoy!

Carrot Apple Bisque

7 large carrots, peeled
1 Tablespoon Butter
4 Cups Chicken Broth
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
1/2 Cup Half-n-Half
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 Cup Green Onion, minced (including tops) 

Directions:

1. Cut carrots into 1/2-inch chunks.

2. Combine carrots in large pot with butter and 1 Cup Chicken Broth. Cook, covered, over medium-high heat until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes.

3. Add applesauce for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Remove from heat, uncover, and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

4. Puree carrot mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. You may also put the carrots through a counter-top blender. Stir in half-n-half and nutmeg, then remaining chicken broth, until soup is desired consistency.

5. Serve hot. Garnish with minced green onion.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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CasserolesRecipesSunday Dinners

Mormon Funeral Potatoes

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Growing up, our family always ate what we called, “Cheesy Potatoes” on Easter Sunday as a side dish to our Easter ham. Since moving to Utah years ago, I have learned that people here call them “Funeral Potatoes.”  I have actually been asked to make these for several funeral dinners while I have lived here, so I guess the name is an accurate description for the use of these potatoes! Regardless of their name, these potatoes are a delicious comfort food. As always, I have “healthified” my recipe and there are no canned soups or creams involved, but there is still PLENTY of flavor. Enjoy!

 

Mormon Funeral Potatoes

7 Cups Potatoes, cubed
2 Recipes Hearty Cheese Sauce
1/4 Cup Bacon Pieces
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
1/4 Cup Green Onions

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Boil potatoes for about 10 minutes. They should still hold their shape but not be crunchy when removed from heat and drained.

3. Prepare a double recipe of my Hearty Cheese Sauce.
Mix Bacon pieces into the Cheese Sauce.

4. Pour bacon and cheese sauce over the boiled potatoes and mix well to incorporate. Add salt and pepper.

5. Pour cheesy potatoes into a greased, 9 x 13 pan and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

6. Increase the heat to a high broil and bake for another 2 minutes. Watch the potatoes closely—don’t let them scorch!

7. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with green onions, and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 12 side servings or 6 main dish servings.

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Meals for OneRecipesSandwiches & Wraps

No Mayo Chicken Salad Sandwich

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Although there is nothing wrong with a tablespoon of mayonnaise in your sandwich, some people just can’t stomach the flavor. I’ve made this recipe for those people. You may use canned tuna or cooked chicken—either one is delicious. Enjoy!

 

Chicken Salad Sandwich (No Mayonnaise)

1 Cup Shredded Chicken or 15 oz. Canned Tuna
1 Cup Celery, chopped
1 Cup Red Grapes, sliced
3 Tablespoons Green Onions
1 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley, chopped fine

Dressing:
1 Avocado
1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper

Directions:
1. Combine chicken, celery, grapes, onions and parsley in a large bowl and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, mash the avocado with a pastry blender or fork. Stir in the yogurt, lemon juice, salt and pepper and mix until smooth.

3. Pour the dressing over the chicken mixture and stir to incorporate well.

4. Serve chicken salad atop a bed of spinach or romaine lettuce on a whole wheat bagel or inside a wrap.

Makes 4 Sandwiches or Wraps.

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RecipesSalads

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

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This is a refreshing Spring salad for when berries and spinach come into season. After a long winter, this salad tastes so good! Enjoy!

 

Strawberry Spinach Salad

4 Cups Fresh Spinach
1 Cup Fresh Strawberries, sliced
1/2 Raw Almonds
1/3 Cup Feta Cheese CrumblesRed Wine Vinaigrette:
1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1 clove Garlic, minced fine
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Toast whole almonds at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes. Watch closely and be careful not to burn. Let cool before chopping.

2. Meanwhile, combine all vinaigrette ingredients into a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake the dressing until the honey is totally dissolved.

3. Assemble salad ingredients in a large bowl. Pour half of the dressing over the salad mixture. Serve immediately. This salad does not store well, so plan to eat it all within the same meal.

Makes 6 side dish servings.

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RecipesVeggie-Lover Dinners

Vegetable Teriyaki Chicken

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It’s final. I can never make a single batch of this dish again. Between my husband, me and our four children, one batch of this delicious dish is just not enough anymore. Last time I made it, every last bite was gone. Gone, gone. Not even leftovers for lunch the next day. Enjoy this family favorite dish from our home to yours!

Teriyaki Chicken and Vegetables

16 oz. Dry Farfalle (bow ties)
3 Carrots (about 2 Cups), julienne
1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1 1/2 Cups Frozen peas
1 Cup Chicken, cooked and chopped (see cooking tip)
1/2 Cup Almonds, whole
1/4 Cup Green onions, chopped fine
1/4 Cup Cilantro, chopped fine
3 Cups Loose Leaf Spinach (optional)

Teriyaki Sauce
1/3 Cup Rice Vinegar
1/3 Cup Soy Sauce
1/2 Cup Canola Oil
1 teaspoon ground Ginger
1 1/2 Tablespoons Sugar
1/4 Cup Sesame Seeds

Directions:
Add all Teriyaki Sauce ingredients to a pint-sized mason jar and screw on a tight-fitting lid. Shake the jar until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

In a large pot, bring to boil 4 quarts of water and cook the pasta until al dente.

Strain pasta from pan and use the same hot water to steam the bell peppers, carrots and peas about 5 minutes.

Once the vegetables are crisp tender, remove steamer from pot and drain water. Return pasta, vegetables, chicken, herbs and teriyaki sauce to the large pot. Stir to combine.

Serve warm over 1/2 cup loose leaf spinach (optional).

Makes 5 servings.

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Baked GoodsRecipesTreats

Hearty Mrs. Field’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

heartysmarty

I like to help people understand that a balanced diet includes a few treats now and then. However, because I eat so little refined sugar and flour, treats aren’t as enjoyable to me when I follow the original recipe. Thus, I usually cut out half the sugar and use whole wheat in most of my baked goods.  These cookies still belong in the “Sometimes Foods” category, but they do have a good dose of fiber at 1 gram per cookie. Enjoy!

Hearty Mrs. Fields Cookies

1 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 Cup White Sugar
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
2 1/2 Cups Old Fashion Oats
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
6 ounces Mini Chocolate Chips
1 1/2 Cups Walnuts or Pecans, chopped

Directions:

1. Cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until fluffy and smooth.
2. Put small amounts of oats in a blender and grind until it turns into a powder.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, ground oats, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
4. Mix one cup of dry ingredients at a time into the creamed wet ingredients.
5. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
6. On an ungreased cookie sheet, spoon a tablespoon of dough for each cookie and place 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes, until tops are lightly golden. Let cool on the sheet for about 2 minutes before removing with a spatula.

Makes Approximately 4 Dozen, 2-inch Cookies

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BreakfastRecipesSmoothies

Mango Kefir Smoothie

heartysmarty

 

Start your day with a dose of healthy fats, probiotics and antioxidants. This smoothie will kick-start your immune system to power you through the day. Enjoy!

Mango Kefir Smoothie

1 Cup Kefir
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Banana
1 Whole Mango or 3/4 Cup
1 Tablespoon Ground Flaxseed

 

Add all ingredients to blender in the order listed. Blend on high speed for 60 seconds. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 Servings.

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Food Group TourFood is MedicineNutrition Education

“Feeling Good” With Kefir

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After learning that its health benefits range from cancer prevention to stomach flu cure, we have recently added Kefir to our diet. The word, Kefir, is derived from the Turkish word, Keyif, which translates to “feeling good” after it is eaten. After drinking it for the last three months, I commend the Turks for giving these lovely grains such a fitting name! Much of the information below comes from a scholarly article from the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Production of Kefir

Kefir is a natural probiotic dairy beverage. To make the drink, Kefir grains acting as a culture starter are added to cow’s milk at room temperature and soaked for 18 to 24 hours. The yeasts and bacteria contained in the grains ferment the milk and create probiotics (healthy bacteria). At the end of fermentation, the grains are removed and the beverage is refrigerated. Kefir grains can be dried and reused repeatedly for up to 18 months. When soaking in milk, Kefir grains will multiply in size and number, and that is how you know that they are still working. After the grains multiply, they can be dried and shared as a culture starter for a friend. If you want to make your own Kefir beverage, Mel’s Kitchen Café has a wonderful tutorial.

Health Benefits
  • The probiotics contained in Kefir can treat and prevent gastroenteritis (stomach flu) and yeast infections. In our home, I use Kefir after someone in the house has battled a case of the stomach bug or has been taking an antibiotic. It helps to replace the “good” bacteria that was lost during illness.
  • In Russia, researchers are using Kefir to treat ulcers in both the stomach and large intestine.
  • Kefir and other fermented dairy beverages have anticarcinogenic properties, preventing cancer and early-stage tumor growth. The probiotics in Kefir do this in two ways: 1. by blocking the enzymes which turn pre-carcinogenic compounds into carcinogens and 2. by activating the immune system to attack the cancer on its own.
  • The active ingredients formed in the fermentation of Kefir act as immunity boosters which stimulate the immune system and decrease inflammation.
  • Research is finding cholesterol-lowering effects of Kefir with the theory that some of its bacteria binds to cholesterol and removes it from the blood system through waste.
  • There’s good news for those who suffer from lactose intolerance and still want to enjoy the health benefits of Kefir. Because it contains the active enzyme, β-galactosidase, which stays active when consumed, Kefir is easily digested. Also, many batches and brands are up to 99% lactose free.
Flavor

To describe the flavor of Kefir I would say it has a tangy and tart—similar to plain, unsweetened yogurt. It’s not a beverage I would drink on its own, but mixed with fruit it tastes wonderful.

Uses

When first starting my family on Kefir, I added 2 Tablespoons per serving in all our smoothies. Thus, I used 12 Tablespoons (or 3/4 cup) when I made a 6-cup smoothie for the 6 members of our family. It’s important to ease into drinking Kefir. Not only is it a bit of an acquired taste, but too much too soon can cause diarrhea. As our bodies got more used to Kefir, I worked our way up to half almond milk and half Kefir in all our smoothies.  At some point, we will be able to drink 1/2 cup of Kefir per person, 2 to 3 times per week. Two of my favorite smoothies to put Kefir in are my Mango Kefir Smoothie and my Blueberry Sinus Remedy Smoothie.

Kefir also acts as a really good sour milk in pancakes and waffles. However, when heated at a high temperature, it deactivates some of the good enzymes and bacteria.

I still consider myself a rookie in Kefir recipes. What are your favorite ways to incorporate this lovely food into your diet? I would love to learn more ways to enjoy it.

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