All Posts By Michelle Buffardi

Recipe Spotlight: Lightened-Up Banana Pudding

by in Cookies & Other Desserts, Healthy Recipes, June 21, 2013

banana pudding

Banana pudding is a classic dessert made by layering vanilla pudding with wafer cookies, loads of fluffy whipped cream and of course, bananas. After a few hours (or a night) in the refrigerator, the pudding and whipped cream soften the cookies and they become cake-like and infused with banana flavor. Banana pudding is creamy, cool, comforting and indulgent — maybe a little too indulgent. If you love the flavors of banana pudding but don’t want a calorie overload, you can still enjoy this dessert classic with this Food Network Kitchen’s lighter banana pudding. It’s made with homemade vanilla pudding made with low-fat milk, that has all the creaminess you expect thanks to a few tablespoons of sour cream stirred in at the end. Use reduced-fat vanilla wafer cookies, and be sure your bananas are very ripe so they’ll impart the strongest banana flavor possible.

Try it This Weekend: Lightened Up Banana Pudding

More Healthy Banana Desserts:

Chocolate-Covered Banana Pops
Banana Cream Pie
Banana Splits With Pineapple-Brown Sugar Topping
Marbled Banana Bread
Broiled Banana Splits

15 Mediterranean Diet-Inspired Recipes

by in Healthy Recipes, March 1, 2013

mediterranean salmon

The Mediterranean Diet made headlines recently; a study by the New England Journal of Medicine claims that this way of eating may help reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. The Mediterranean diet encourages replacing high-fat meats with fish and plant proteins like nuts and legumes. Whole grains, olive oil, fruits and vegetables, using herbs and spices in lieu of salt to flavor recipes, the elimination of processed foods, plus plenty of exercise are also called for.

Dinner in 20 Minutes or Less

by in Healthy Recipes, February 26, 2013

shrimp with couscous

Think you’re too busy to make dinner a healthy dinner at home? Think again. These recipes are all ready in under 20 minutes; they’re simple enough to throw together on a busy weeknight, but fancy enough to serve to company.

20-Minute Shrimp and Couscous With Hummus-Yogurt Sauce: This speedy shrimp dish gets you whole grains, protein, vegetables and fruit all ready to go in 5 minutes. Pro tip: Prep the couscous while the shrimp broils.

Pasta Puttanesca: While the whole-wheat spaghetti is boiling, put together a quick tomato sauce and get this classic Italian-style pasta dish on the table in less time than it takes to watch the evening news.

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti With Lemon, Basil and Salmon: Giada makes a complete meal — whole-wheat pasta with salmon and spinach — in just a few minutes by multi-tasking in the kitchen: the salmon cooks while the pasta is boiling.

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Talking With the First Lady: How to Eat Better As a Family

by in Food News, MyPlate, February 26, 2013

michelle obama

Family dinners can be a challenge, more so when the food is healthy–even at the White House. “Yes, I’m the First Lady,” Mrs. Obama said. “But, yes, my kids make dinnertime miserable because they like three things: pasta, pasta with cheese and pizza.” So, to mark the third birthday of Let’s Move!, her initiative to fight childhood obesity, and today’s announcement of a massive virtual recipe swap with FoodNetwork.com and other media outlets on Pinterest, the First Lady shared her strategies as a mother for eating well as a family. Along with the Partnership for a Healthier America and Let’s Move!, the First Lady’s office is partnering to pin hundreds of family-friendly recipes from favorite Food Network chefs and others that fit the USDA’s MyPlate guidelines. The goal for the partnership is to help lower obesity rates, and to bring together food brands and recipe websites with a common theme: to make it easier for families to make the healthiest choices. “We’re all busy parents,” said the First Lady. “I’m busy in a different way, but before being a First Lady, I was one of those moms out there trying to figure out how to feed my kids, hold down a job, get to the grocery store, then what to buy, how to cook it, how to get through a week and how to make lunch that the kids won’t whine about.”

Mrs. Obama talked through the challenges of getting a healthy meal on the table each night, described ways to convince kids that vegetables are important parts of everyone’s diet, explained how to keep dinner simple (and delicious), and shared her own go-to baked chicken dish.

Make healthy changes early and they’ll stick:

Mrs. Obama: “The sooner you start this stuff, the more it will be their norm. They just won’t know any different. So if you start out by making your macaroni and cheese with a little cauliflower puree, so they get the taste of the cauliflower, the taste of too much cheese will be too much for them. If you start out diluting their juices so that they’re never getting that 100 percent concentrated stuff, then once you put it in, it will be too sweet for them. Kids’ palates are just so adaptable, and I think that’s the point we’re trying to make to parents — it just doesn’t take much, and the sooner you start, the easier it will be to transition. You can still transition. I mean, my kids were 10 and 8 when I started making the changes, and then complained for a while; they still do. But they make the changes themselves now because they can’t drink purely concentrated juices, and it’s too sweet. It doesn’t taste good to them.”

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8 Healthy Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

by in Thanksgiving, November 19, 2012

squash pudding

Turkey Day by name doesn’t sound like the most enticing holiday for vegetarians. Luckily, this meal is all about the side dishes, many of which are meatless, or can be easily adjusted into vegetarian recipes. These healthy recipes are all meatless so will please vegetarian guests, but are so delicious they’ll be favored by meat-lovers as well.

Corn and Squash Pudding (above) This tasty side dish gets a twist with the added bonus of squash. Not only does the squash add a vibrant color and tons of vitamins to the dish, it provides a creamy texture that plays well off the crisp corn kernels.

Quinoa With Garlic, Pine Nuts and Raisins This flavorful, protein-packed quinoa side dish will please everyone at your Thanksgiving feast: It’s gluten-free, vegan and delicious enough that everyone will be asking for seconds.

Curried Spaghetti Squash The secret to this quick-cooking spaghetti squash is the microwave: spaghetti squash cooks in under 20 minutes when you zap it, so this Indian-flavored dish won’t take up any precious oven or stove-top space on Thanksgiving day.

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Product Review: Omega “Vert” Juicer

by in Product Reviews, July 7, 2012

juicer
I’m a juicer from way back. My first juicer was a Jack LaLanne Power Juicer that I bought at the mall for about $60 because I saw an infomercial featuring the 80-something-year-old gent clad in a velour fitness suit who had managed to age in reverse by juicing fresh fruits and vegetables daily. The Power Juicer worked fine and lasted a couple of years, but I’ve tried many others since that one fizzled out. I’m not looking to age back to my teens or convert to a raw diet; I make fresh juice several times per week to get an extra dose of vegetables, and because I like fresh juice. If I start my morning with spinach-apple-kale-lemon-beet juice, I feel like a champ. And if I get home after a busy day and realize that I didn’t eat any greens, in ten minutes I can clean out the veggie drawer and set myself straight.

Omega juicers are definitely the gold standard of juicers, what KitchenAid is to mixers. I was pretty excited for the opportunity to try the new Omega Vert 350 juicer. The other juicers I’ve used were centrifugal juicers which grind up vegetables and send them through a chute at high speed, separating the juice from the pulp. The Omega Vert is a masticating juicer, which “chews” up the vegetables slowly, releasing the juice; this works especially well for greens which are usually shot right through a centrifugal juicer.

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11 Light and Lemony Desserts

by in Cookies & Other Desserts, May 12, 2012
lemon meringue pies
Little Lemon Meringue Pies: the perfect ending to a spring meal.

Surprise mom this weekend with a lemon cake, cookie or no-bake bar. Each of these sweet, tart treats is Healthy Eats-approved, and are sure to meet mom’s standards, too.

Little Lemon Meringue Pies

Lemon Thyme Bars

Basil-Lemon Ice

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Weekend Cooking: Chicken Pot Pie

by in Healthy Recipes, April 20, 2012
chicken pot pie
Food Network Magazine's Light Chicken Pot Pie

Pot pie is one of those comfort foods that sounds like it would be really unhealthy, but it’s actually not at all. Chicken pot pie is basically a chicken stew that has a crust on top. Some recipes call for heavy cream or cream of chicken soup, but if you use low-fat milk and pack your pie with herbs and savory vegetables, you won’t miss that stuff at all.

Food Network Magazine’s Light Chicken Pot Pie calls for low-fat milk and fat-free Greek yogurt to make a creamy gravy for the chicken-and-vegetable filling. The top crust needs to chill for at least an hour, so start the dish in the morning and bake it before dinner.

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Join Us for a Healthy May Challenge

by in Uncategorized, April 13, 2012

healthy every week
It’s almost summer — are you ready for beach season? How many of you have kept your January resolutions? Spring is a good time to reevaluate your 2012 health goals and get back on track if you’ve gone off course.

To help everyone get back on track and be fit for summer, we’ve set up a get-healthy challenge for the month of May. This challenge will be similar to our January Challenge, with small, weekly goals that when practiced, can turn into lifetime healthy habits.

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Cookies for Breakfast

by in Healthy Recipes, March 25, 2012
breakfast cookies
Go ahead, break the rules -- bake cookies for breakfast.

Cookies for breakfast? We’re not talking about breaking open a pack of Oreos; Ellie’s breakfast cookies are loaded with whole grains, fruit, nuts cereal and even vegetables. They’re hand-held and portable, so great for when you’re on-the-run. If you do have some time to sit and relax though, give them a dunk in your morning coffee or a glass of milk.
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