by Robin Miller in Robin's Healthy Take, November 19, 2012
by Robin Miller in Robin's Healthy Take, November 12, 2012
Whenever we celebrate something huge in our family, we often include Molten Lava Cake for dessert. You know the one – insanely-rich chocolate cake filled with fierce, semi-sweet chocolate lava. As you cut into the warm cake, melted chocolatey goodness comes bubbling out. My boys often fight for the gooey center.
If you’ve read my blog long enough, you clearly realize that I feel compelled to recreate our favorite restaurant dishes in the comfort of my own home. But, as a nutritionist, I also feel obligated to make these winners healthier and suitable for Healthy Eats. Check out my recipe below. I had a blast testing it! I lightened up the molten cake by using fat-free sweetened condensed milk, egg whites and light butter. I also baked the cakes in ramekins so I could fill each one with semi-sweet chocolate morsels without the chocolate sneaking out of the batter.
by Robin Miller in Robin's Healthy Take, November 6, 2012
Basil pesto is excellent on practically anything – chicken, fish, beef, pork, vegetables. And it’s so easy to find prepared, if you don’t have time to make it from scratch you can still enjoy it. But what about other pesto varieties? Wouldn’t a dollop of Sage-Walnut Pesto on pork chops be nice in the fall? Or Cilantro-Almond Pesto with steak or chicken? How about refreshing Parsley-Lemon Pesto with fish or shellfish?
Check out my three recipes for pesto. The base for all three is the same (1 cup leaves, 1/2 cup nuts, 1/2 cup broth, 1 tablespoon oil, garlic, salt and pepper). The broth keeps the pesto nice and light. Once the basic ingredients are blended, I adjusted to create unique and sublime concoctions. I added ginger to the cilantro and almonds, Parmesan to the sage and walnuts, and lemon to the parsley and pine nuts. Take note, you’ll want to make big batches – these pestos last for at least one week in the refrigerator and they’re not just great for main dishes, they make excellent sandwich spreads and dips for crackers and vegetables.
by Robin Miller in Robin's Healthy Take, October 29, 2012
In the fall, I utilize fresh and canned pumpkin as much as physically and culinarily possible. I adore filling my house with this gourd’s sweet and nutty aroma and autumn in my house wouldn’t be the same without it. That said, I’m curious why chefs don’t combine pumpkin and chocolate more often. I got creative recently and made pumpkin muffins laced with semi-sweet chocolate morsels. Before you try them, I must warn you: They’re wonderfully unique and incredibly addictive. In fact, my family devoured all 36 mini muffins MUCH sooner than I anticipated, leaving everyone hankering for more. Once the muffin pan was empty, my son Kyle looked at me with his big green eyes and asked, “Mom, can you make these before you go to bed tonight so I have something to look forward to in the morning?” Who can say no to that?
by Robin Miller in Robin's Healthy Take, October 22, 2012
So what’s the deal with miso? Readily known as the base flavor for the popular Japanese soup, miso is a thick paste made with fermented soybeans and barley or rice malt. It’s used heavily in Japanese sauces and soups because the salty, tangy flavor adds depth and complexity to a wide variety of dishes. I add miso to salad dressings, marinades and glazes because it’s a one-stop-shop for tons of flavor. Typically, the type of grain used determines how dark the miso is and, the darker the color, the more intense the flavor. If you’re a bit shy at first, opt for the white or yellow miso. If you’re ready to knock it out of the park, use the brown miso (often made with barley malt). When shopping, look for miso with the other Asian ingredients or in the produce section of the grocery store. Any variety is amazing on the salmon below. I blended tangy miso with sweet honey, mirin, salty soy sauce and refreshing orange juice. The glaze caramelizes on the salmon as it bakes in the oven (I add the glaze in two steps so it truly sticks to the salmon).
Enjoy, and then send me YOUR favorite uses for miso!
by Robin Miller in Robin's Healthy Take, October 15, 2012
I never make slaw the same way twice. It’s fun to get creative and make the salad seasonal. Bagged slaw mixes are so convenient, why not? Plus, cabbage is low in calories, rich in phytonutrients and a very good source of fiber, vitamins A, C, K, B-6, folate and the minerals magnesium and potassium.
In this recipe, I quickly spruced-up bagged slaw with fresh apple cider and autumn apples. This is the perfect fall side dish (why do we always focus on the main dish?). It’s so refreshingly good, it instantly becomes the star attraction; just add grilled pork chops and you’ve got a feast the whole family will adore.
by Robin Miller in Robin's Healthy Take, October 8, 2012
Risotto is a classic Italian dish known for its creamy texture and rich flavor. But eaters beware, that’s surely not an innocent bowl of rice you’re dealing with. I looked up the nutrition stats from some popular restaurants and check this out: One popular shrimp risotto had 620 calories, 30 grams of fat and 2,530 milligrams of sodium. A lobster risotto at a different restaurant had 1,103 calories and 25 grams of fat. Yet another joint served a cheese risotto with 1,280 calories and 110 grams of fat. Jeez, what kind of cheese are they using? Or is it the whole cow? The vegetable and lemon risottos scored a little better, but not much.
I found a way to lighten up shrimp risotto without taking away its creamy goodness. The key is quality ingredients and lots of stirring. I replace most of the fat with flavorful broth – beef broth. That might sound odd, but it gives the risotto a “surf and turf” quality. I add roasted garlic for depth of flavor and I stir frequently for the entire 20-25 minute cooking time (stirring encourages the starch and broth to create a creamy sauce).
by Robin Miller in Robin's Healthy Take, October 1, 2012
Bet you didn’t think you’d see a hearty beef sandwich on Healthy Eats! Fact is, it belongs here. Lean red meat (i.e., sirloin, tenderloin), is a great source of protein, zinc, B vitamins and iron. Tell me more, you say? Protein not only keeps you satisfied for hours, it provides all the amino acids you need to build muscle and burn fat. Zinc helps build muscle, plus it strengthens your immune system and promotes a healthy brain. B vitamins do a lot: B-12 promotes a healthy nervous system, B-6 builds a strong immune system, niacin aids digestion and riboflavin maintains healthy skin and eyes. Lastly, iron helps transport oxygen all over the body, which keeps your energy levels up.
by Robin Miller in Robin's Healthy Take, September 24, 2012
Balsamic syrups and glazes are amazing and you can drizzle them over practically anything. I say “drizzle” because they’re thick and rich, a little goes a long way. The bottled varieties are pretty good but since they sometimes contain maple syrup, garlic, mustard and additional seasonings, they might add more flavor than you’re actually looking for (beyond that fabulous sweet and tangy balsamic flavor).
It’s very easy to make your own balsamic syrup – it’s basically a simple reduction of the vinegar. I like to add a little brown sugar for sweetness, but you can leave it out or use granulated sugar if you prefer. In this recipe, I serve the syrup over chicken and add salty feta cheese and chives. The dish also works great with crumbled blue cheese instead of the feta.
by Robin Miller in Robin's Healthy Take, September 17, 2012
When I think of college fast-food runs, no memory is complete without including the Double R Bar Burger from Roy Rogers: a char-grilled beef burger with melted cheddar and thinly-sliced deli ham. For greater perfection, I always added tons of pickles. Just writing about it makes me salivate.
These days, when the craving for the Double R Bar strikes, two problems occur. One, the burger isn’t available nationwide. Two, when you DO find it, you’re faced with a sandwich that has 549 calories, 27 grams of fat (11 of which are saturated) and 1349 milligrams of sodium. The calories might not seem horrific, but that explains my unquenchable thirst. And as if that’s not enough, there’s even a Double Double R Bar Burger with 876 calories, 49 grams of fat (20 saturated) and 1997 milligrams of sodium (a good year, not a good number for salt).
Happily, I created a similarly fabulous burger in the comfort of my own home. I used ground turkey instead of beef and cut the sodium in the ham and the fat in the cheese. Here’s the best part: I tested the recipe on a bunch of 10 year old boys (at my house for a sleepover). They all demanded seconds!
You must admit, Brussels sprouts are cute. They resemble baby cabbages and their flavor is reminiscent of their popular cousin, broccoli. But they’re often snubbed. Why? My guess is, Brussels sprout-haters have, at some point, eaten them when they weren’t cooked correctly. Brussels sprouts taste horrible when they’re over-cooked. When cooked properly, the sprouts are bright green, fork-tender and wonderful. Especially the way I make them, roasted with Parmesan cheese and smoked paprika. Read on…