I teach cooking classes on a regular basis and I always try to include a soup as it’s an easy way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet. Served as a starter or eaten as a meal, soups are warming and nutritious this time of year. Roasted beets add a mellow sweetness and beautiful magenta color to this dish. It’s perfect for any day but would be a great way to express your admiration for a loved one as Valentine’s Day approaches.
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Chips and salsa are the perfect, traditional game-day combination. Invite all your buddies to gather around the coffee table to watch the game and munch on freshly made salsa. Forget about the canned varieties sitting on the shelves at the grocery store — they are often filled with preservatives and extra sodium. This salsa uses fresh tomatoes, buttery avocados and zesty cilantro with a touch of salt. Serve it with crudités or corn tortilla chips for the ultimate gluten-free game day appetizer.
As I was driving home yesterday, my car thermometer showed an outside temperature of 17 degrees F. In these frigid temperatures, comfort foods make you feel warm and cozy. But they don’t have to be over-the-top indulgent; here are 12 comfort food classics with fewer than 500 calories per serving.
Ellie’s super-simple spin on fried chicken uses crushed corn cereal flakes plus a blend of spices for a very crunchy dish. It’s a staple in my busy house with only about 10 minutes of prep time!
Recipe: Oven-Fried Chicken
A touch of sweet Italian turkey sausage makes this pasta dish hearty, yet sensible. The cheese layer’s filled with part-skim ricotta and low fat cottage cheese along with some part-skim mozzarella, which helps keep the calories in check at 350 per serving.
Twinkies had a last hurrah recently when its manufacturer, Hostess, declared bankruptcy. Along with stories of store shelves being emptied, were articles exploring the laundry list of highly processed ingredients including trans fats, processed sweeteners, preservatives and artificial colors. You know what we say to that —- avoid all the junk and make your own!
The Coveted Baking Pan
“Canoe” baking pans have been selling for as much as 100 bucks online. Instead of paying those inflated prices, I hit up a local kitchen supply store. My trusty shopkeeper had quite a few left in stock. If you’re unable to find this type of a pan, the cupcake version of this recipe isn’t quite as nostalgic, but just as tasty.
One cup of chopped kale contains 33 calories, 2 grams of protein, and 1 gram of fiber. It has more than twice the recommended daily dose of vitamin A and almost seven times the vitamin K. It’s an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese and a good source of copper.
This green leafy is also a member of the cruciferous veggie (AKA cabbage) family, which has been shown to help protect against various types of cancer.
Creamy blue cheese, artichoke and other cheesy dips can sabotage your waistline long before the main course even begins. Lighten up these bad boys with a few quick tricks—they’ll still taste fantastic.
Folks LOVE to take their veggies, pita, and chips for a dip—actually, let’s call it a plunge. Creamy dips aren’t the only culprit out there but those are the ones highest in artery-clogging saturated fat and cholesterol. Here are the nutrition facts for ¼ cup of commercially-prepared popular dips. (Keep in mind that many folks down 2 to 4 times that amount in one sitting.)
- Blue Cheese: 220 calories, 24 grams total fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 500 milligrams sodium, 0 grams sugar
- Artichoke: 200 calories, 16 grams total Fat, 9 grams saturated fat, 360 milligrams sodium, 2 grams sugar
- Ranch: 240 calories, 24 grams total fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 740 milligrams sodium, 4 grams sugar
- Onion: 120 calories, 9 grams total fat, 6 grams saturated fat, 420 milligrams sodium, 2 grams sugar
Other dips like hummus and guacamole aren’t shy in calories either, but at least there’s more healthy fat in them. Here are the average numbers you’ll see on ¼ cup of popular commercial varieties:
- Hummus: 140 calories, 12 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 260 milligrams sodium, 0 grams sugar
- Guacamole: 120 calories, 10 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 180 milligrams sodium, 0 grams sugar
Commercial varieties of dips typically add a bunch of additives and preservatives, which is one of the biggest reasons we suggest making your own.
For the burst of flavor lemons provide, the calories are pretty minimal at a mere 12 for the juice of one. Lemons are also an excellent source of the antioxidant vitamin C, providing over one third of your daily dose. It’ll also give you a splash of folate, vitamin B6, thiamin, magnesium and potassium.
Lemon juice isn’t the only way to add flavor to dishes. These waffles use grated lemon zest for an extra special burst of flavor.
Recipe: Lemon and Walnut Waffles
Dazzle guests with this easy appetizer made with a few simple ingredients: toasted bread, lemon juice, parsley, garlic and olive oil.
Recipe: Lemon-Parsley Bruschetta
Paprika is made from grinding the dried pods of sweet red peppers. The various types demonstrate different flavor profiles – some are sweet and mild, others are deeper with more heat. The majority of these spices originate from Spain and Hungary, but paprika is also produced domestically in California.
One teaspoon of paprika contains 6 calories and a pretty staggering dose of vitamin A – 21-perecent of the daily recommendation! You’ll also find small amounts of minerals like iron, copper and zinc.
To celebrate National Hot Tea Month we thought we’d highlight some of the more unique things you can do with brewed tea. Steep a pot of green tea and save the leftovers for this amazing smoothie. Perfect for breakfast or post-workout, tea perks up this refreshing smoothie, adding flavor and antioxidants for virtually no additional calories.
The numbers are in for the top recipes of 2012 and the results reveal that chicken continues to be a winning lean protein choice — with fish not far behind — plus a few comfort food favorites made the list, like macaroni and cheese and breakfast burritos. What will the new year bring? Can we expect to see more kale and chard on our plates alongside the chicken?
10. Apple Muffins: Ellie Krieger replaces butter with applesauce in these muffins which doesn’t just make them more nutritious, it also makes them extra moist.
9. Fish Tacos With Chipotle Cream: Pile marinated fish, cabbage, corn and chipotle-spiked yogurt sauce into corn tortillas for an instant fiesta.
8. Herbed Quinoa: Giada DeLaurentiis dresses this quick-cooking, protein-packed grain with a simple herb-and-lemon vinaigrette for a super simple, pairs-with-anything side dish.
7. Three-Cheese Macaroni: This comfort food classic is made with muenster, cheddar and Parmesan cheeses, plus steamed cauliflower for an extra serving of veggies.
6. Chicken Saltimbocca (above): Giada’s stuffed chicken sounds decadent, but the calories in this classic Italian chicken dish are kept low by using small amounts of boldly-flavored ingredients like prosciutto and Parmesan cheese.