All Posts In Healthy Recipes

Nuts About Pistachios

by in Healthy Recipes, February 8, 2012
pistachios
Pistachios are wonderful on their own, but they make a great appetizer when drizzled with honey and served with apples and cheese.

No other nut boasts an emerald hue like the pistachio does. Find out what you’re getting when you crack open a pistachio.

Pistachio Basics
Commonly grown in Turkey and Iran, 98 perecent of the American crop of pistachios is grown in California. You can spot these distinctive nuts by their tan outer shell and the small green nut peaking out (the shell splits open when the nuts are ripe). Pistachios are available shelled or unshelled, salted or unsalted. Some research suggests that shelled nuts are a better choice for portion control– having to pop open the shell slows you down when munching.

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Make Your Own Hostess Cupcakes

by in Cookies & Other Desserts, February 7, 2012
hostess cupcakes
Skip the packaged cupcakes in the supermarket and make your own instead.

We had so much fun making homemade Girl Scout Cookies, we just had to try and recreate another childhood classic.

Why Make your own?
Using real ingredients like butter, sugar and chocolate in this recipe means our version won’t be low in calories. BUT, what you will be getting is a super fun and delicious cupcake made without preservatives, fillers, thickeners and hydrogenated oils found in the store-bought version.

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Spice of Month: Peppercorns

by in Healthy Recipes, February 7, 2012
peppercorn
Our February spice of the month: Peppercorns.

This under-appreciated spice is anything but ordinary. Grab your pepper mills – we’re serving up fresh facts and 10 recipes that make pepper the star.

Peppercorn Basics
A prized commodity dating back to ancient Egypt, pepper is more than just a black powder to mindlessly sprinkle. Grown from the Piper nigrum (a.k.a. pepper plant), peppercorns are available in a rainbow of colors.

The most common variety, black peppercorns, are slightly immature berries that have been dried. Malabar and Indian Tellicherry are two popular varieties, bursting with aromatic warmth.

White peppercorns are fully mature berries whose skins have been removed. They have less heat than the black variety and are ground into a white powder typically used to avoid black specks in food.

Green peppercorns are unripened berries, most commonly found preserved in brine and used to liven up sauces with a punch of salty vinegar and spice.

Some peppercorn blends will also feature pink peppercorns. While these pricey berries look and taste similar, they aren’t true peppercorns. Grown from a special variety of rose plant native to Madagascar and imported from France, pink peppercorns are spicy with a hint of extra sweetness.

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Cancer Prevention: Cruciferous Veggies

by in Healthy Recipes, Healthy Tips, February 4, 2012
broccoli
Broccoli is loaded with cancer-fighting plant chemicals.

In honor of World Cancer Day, we’re focusing on cruciferous veggies—those from the cabbage family. Studies show that these vegetables have a special plant chemical that protects against cancer. Here are some ideas on how to incorporate them into your everyday eating plan.

The Power
Cruciferous vegetables include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, kale, and Brussels sprouts. These superstar veggies are packed with so many nutrients it’s tough to keep count. They contain fiber, vitamins A and C, riboflavin, B6, folic acid, magnesium, potassium and omega-3 fats. What’s more, they also have plant chemicals known as glucosinolates that have been shown to help reduce the risk of various types of cancer.

A 2011 study in the International Journal of Urology found that the more veggies that were eaten from the cabbage family, the lower the risk was from prostate cancer. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, studies also link the various components in cruciferous veggies to helping reduce the risk of colorectal, esophageal, stomach, mouth and pancreatic cancer.

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Football Party Appetizer: Baked Buffalo Wings With Blue Cheese-Yogurt Dip

by in Healthy Recipes, February 1, 2012
buffalo wings
Don't skip the game day wings you crave, just bake them instead of deep-drying.

It’s not exactly breaking news that deep-frying is one of the least healthy cooking techniques out there. You won’t find fried chicken wings, mozzarella sticks or French fries at the top of any healthy food lists. But they are tops on every football party menu. Wings, especially, are a must-have for game day, especially The Big Game. We’d never suggest you watch the biggest football game of the year without this favorite football snack, but we will recommend that you bake them instead of deep-frying them. You’ll get that same crispy, hot sauce-covered wing you crave, without the guilt (and without your house smelling like burnt oil).

The wing recipe featured in the latest issue of Food Network Magazine is a healthier twist on the classic bar snack; the wings are first cooked in seasoned chicken broth spiked with hot sauce so they’re extra juicy, then they’re baked in the oven until the skin is crisp and golden. Instead of high-fat blue cheese dressing, make your own blue cheese-yogurt dipping sauce to dip your wings and celery in.

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Bread Pudding, Lightened Up

by in Meal Makeovers, January 26, 2012

bread pudding
Soaked in sugar, eggs and half-and-half, bread pudding is decadent to say the least. Good news – it’s possible to cozy up with a tasty version of this comfort food for less calories.

Nutrition Facts
Classic bread pudding recipes can have over 600 calories and 30 grams of fat per serving. If you’re using doughnuts and buttery croissants instead of bread, you’d be lucky to keep things under 1000 calories.

The basic recipe is simple, combine bread with custard and bake. To lighten things up, use smarter ingredients at each stage of the recipe and keep portions to about ½ cup per person.

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Gluten-Free Meatball-Kale Subs

by in Gluten-Free, January 25, 2012

meatball_oven

Forget everything you’ve ever learned about how to make a good meatball. There’s absolutely no reason meatballs shouldn’t naturally be gluten-free—and dairy-free. Trust me. Even growing up with a Roman father and Neapolitan grandfather didn’t arm me with enough explanation as to why you have to first soak bread in milk before you could even think of forming a meatball.

Why do meatballs have to be so complicated? When you think of what the soaked bread is technically there to do—give the meatball a melt-in-your-mouth tenderness—there are easier, healthier ways.

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It’s National Soup Month!

by in Healthy Recipes, January 22, 2012
Guy's Ginger-Carrot Soup
Happy National Soup Month!

Celebrate National Soup Month by staying warm (and healthy!) with Food Network chefs’ best low-cal soups, from the latest issue of Food Network Magazine.

Guy’s carrot, ginger and potato soup (pictured above) has less than 200 calories per serving. Top with low-fat Greek yogurt and pine nuts for a creamy-crunchy combination.

Add a new soup to your go-to list. Full of chiles, peppers and shrimp, we guarantee you’ll love this Spicy Shrimp Broth from Marcela Valladolid.

Emeril’s take on the classic chicken soup has mint, lemon and red pepper flakes. Don’t forget the cayenne pepper for an extra kick.

Swiss chard, carrots, cannellini beans and spinach come together in Bobby’s hearty Minestrone With Parmigiano-Reggiano for a delicious dish that has less than 300 calories.

Ellie’s lightened-up New! New England Clam Chowder is anything but boring. Canadian bacon gives it subtle smoky tones, while hot sauce takes the flavor to a whole new level.

What’s your favorite soup?

Why We Love Cheese

by in Why We Love, January 20, 2012
cheese
We love this stuff.

From ooey gooey grilled cheese sandwiches to fancy shmancy cheese and crackers, there are so many ways to love cheese. Worried about your waistline? We’ll tell you how you can incorporate all types of cheeses in a healthy and enjoyable way.

Cheese 101
When I was growing up, my parents owned a cheese store on Chambers Street in New York City. There were so many cheeses, I couldn’t keep them straight but it was sure fun sneaking a taste every time I sliced a piece for a customer. Luckily I learned a thing or two while working for my parents about the various cheeses.

Cheese is categorized by their texture as unripened (or fresh) and ripened. Unripened cheeses are usually slightly tangy with a mild and creamy texture. They include cream cheese, mascarpone, mozzarella and ricotta.

Ripened cheeses can be categorized as soft, semi-soft, firm or hard. Soft cheese is characterized by thin skins and creamy centers.  Brie, camembert and boursin are three of the more popular varieties. Semi-soft cheeses include many mild flavored varieties that have a smooth and easily sliceable texture. They include fontina, gorgonzola, Havarti, Roquefort and stilton.

Firm cheeses are usually either similar to the consistency of cheddar or they’re dense and holey like emmenthaler. Some other popular firm varieties are manchego, jarlsberg, monetary jack and provolone. Hard cheeses are carefully aged for a long period of time and are less moist than the other cheeses. Varieties include asiago, parmesan and pecorino romano.

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Make Your Own Mini Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes

by in Cookies & Other Desserts, Healthy Recipes, January 13, 2012
pineapple upside-down cake
Perfectly portioned mini upside-down cakes.

This old-school dessert never goes out of style, but the fat and calories in traditional recipes might force you out of those skinny jeans. Our properly portioned recipe saves the day!

Lightening Things Up
Recipes for typical pineapple upside-down cake call for sticks of butter and cups of sugar just for the pineapple topping! This leads to slices of cake with at least 400 calories and 15 grams of fat.

Making pineapple upside-down cupcakes equals portion control for this culinary classic. You can also make this same recipe in a 9×13 inch cake pan and divide into 12 pieces for the calories to come out the same. While the occasional maraschino cherry (the typical topping), is harmless, we used fresh raspberries instead.

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