by Robin Miller in Robin's Healthy Take, August 10, 2013
by Robin Miller in Robin's Healthy Take, August 8, 2013
Call me crazy, but I start thinking about Halloween in August. Not the costumes, the candy. I’m a self-professed candy junkie, and it turns out, I’m not alone. The good news is, some candy choices are a little better than others.
For chocolate lovers, the darker the better (and the higher the percentage of cacao, the better). Dark chocolate has less sugar, is often dairy-free, and is rich in antioxidants that may reduce blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Add a few nuts, and you get an extra boost of protein; a few raisins, and you ramp up fiber and antioxidants. Add a little mint, and you have a refreshing treat with little fat. When choosing milk-chocolate varieties, opt for fillings that are light and airy over those that are thick and dense.
by Robin Miller in Robin's Healthy Take, August 7, 2013
You can find practically any ingredient in bulk bins these days: grains, flours, pasta, beans, cereals, trail mixes, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, teas and coffees. Bulk bins at health-food stores and supermarkets can be a healthy eater’s best resource when shopping, whether buying ingredients for dinner or grabbing a nutritious snack. Here’s why these products makes sense.
by Robin Miller in Robin's Healthy Take, August 3, 2013
I adore salsa, and I’ll take it any color I can find it. Any texture, too: thick, thin, chunky, smooth — it’s all good to me. I use my food processor to puree (or almost-puree) each one, but you can certainly toss together the ingredients by hand for a chunkier version.
Use these recipes as a template to create your own salsas. They’re great not only as dips but also as fresh, colorful and nutritious toppings for chicken, fish, steak, and pork tenderloin. I’ve also used pureed salsas to marinate chicken, steak and pork chops.
A few tips to get you started:
by Robin Miller in Robin's Healthy Take, August 1, 2013
When you think french fries, you think potatoes, right? But who made spuds the king of the fry? Turns out, lots of delicious vegetables make great finger food, and there’s no need to deep-fry!
by Robin Miller in Robin's Healthy Take, July 28, 2013
Did you know that August is National Sandwich Month and National Panini Month?
I’m thrilled that America has embraced panini. They’re not the only sandwiches we’re eating (burgers are still up there), but we’ve grown to love them enough to keep them on the culinary map for a while. The possibilities for these pressed, toasted sandwiches are endless, but creative fillings can turn the simple dish into a sensational meal.
by Robin Miller in Robin's Healthy Take, July 26, 2013
As tomato season picks up, you may be seeing more options out there, like the sweet yellow ones I serve with this smoky mesquite chicken. The technique behind the simple tomato side dish is macerating — a fun and super-cool way to jazz up a recipe. Macerating is similar to marinating, but the term is traditionally used when talking about fruits and vegetables. As fruits and/or veggies soak in acidic ingredients like vinegar, citrus juice, wine or liqueur, they absorb the liquid, soften, and develop a more intense flavor. For the best results, once you combine the fruits/vegetables and their soaking liquid, let them “brew” for at least 30 minutes to develop full flavor.
In this recipe, I partnered the tomatoes with tangy white balsamic vinegar (I used raspberry-seasoned white balsamic vinegar – YUM!). I also added a little sugar (not uncommon) to draw moisture out of the tomatoes and create a syrup. The result is a sweet and flavorful embellishment for grilled chicken. You can also serve the tomatoes with fish, shellfish, pork, and steak.
Mesquite Grilled Chicken with Macerated Yellow Tomatoes
by Robin Miller in Robin's Healthy Take, July 23, 2013
At just 33 calories each, spring roll wrappers deserve a permanent spot on your weekly menu. The ingredient list couldn’t be simpler: flour, water, salt. You can find gluten-free rice paper wrappers that work incredibly well too. Yes, wrappers make great casings for spring and summer rolls (as highlighted below), but check out all of the other ways you can enjoy them!
Soup and Salad Topping: Shred wrappers or cut into very thin strips. Transfer strips to a bowl and add a little olive oil. Toss to coat. Arrange strips on a baking sheet, in a single layer, and bake at 375 degrees for 4-6 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Once cool, sprinkle over soups and salads.
Dessert Tostada: Arrange wrappers on a baking sheet, in a single layer, and sprinkle granulated sugar over top. Bake at 375 degrees for 4 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Arrange on a plate and top with fresh berries and whipped cream.
Huge Ravioli: Top softened wrappers with a mixture of part-skim ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, frozen and thawed chopped spinach, and Italian seasoning. Fold over one side and pinch the edges together to seal. Steam in a colander over simmering water until cheese melts. Serve with pasta sauce and grated parmesan cheese. For toasted ravioli, arrange the filled wrappers on a baking sheet that’s been coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown.
by Robin Miller in Robin's Healthy Take, July 21, 2013
Mahi mahi is a sensational white-fleshed fish with great flavor and hearty texture, making it ideal for this healthy take on fish tacos. The seasoning in this dish is a Tex-Mex-inspired blend of chili powder, cumin, marjoram, thyme, onion and garlic–spiced up with cayenne and then tang-ified with fresh lime. The list might look long, but no doubt you have every single spice in your rack. The herb-crusted fish is partnered perfectly with tender beans, fresh avocado, sweet tomatoes and cilantro, making it the perfect ending to an awesome day.
*Note: You may substitute grouper, cod, monkfish, shrimp, or any firm fish that can hold up to this handheld feast. Heck, chicken even works!
by Robin Miller in Robin's Healthy Take, July 20, 2013
We all know that steamed edamame with a delectable sprinkling of salt make a phenomenal appetizer. Pop those babies in your mouth, strip off the pod with your teeth, discard the carnage and reach for another!
But given that soybeans are nutrient powerhouses, why not get creative and add the precious gems to your regular menu? For just 120 calories per heaping cup of edamame (or 1/2 cup shelled soybeans), you get 11 grams of protein, 9 grams of fiber, 10% of your Daily Value for vitamin C and iron and 8% for vitamin A.
Here are 15 unexpected ways to enjoy cooked and shelled edamame.
1. Green Dip: Puree soybeans with an equal amount of thawed frozen green peas, a little fresh shallot and garlic, and salt and black pepper to taste; fold in chopped fresh parsley. Serve with whole-grain crackers or pita.
2. Rice and (Soy)Beans: Sauté soybeans in a little olive oil with chili powder and cumin; add to brown rice with green onions, cilantro and fresh lime juice; add hot sauce if desired.
3. Strong Salads: Fold into potato, pasta, seafood and egg salads for a blast of protein.
Sometimes getting the family to try something new requires creativity. Maybe it’s not the ingredients; perhaps it’s the presentation. Take these lollipops for example. My son Luke “doesn’t eat pork.” This from a kid who devours all the bacon at every breakfast buffet we encounter. I’d rather he eat pork tenderloin – it’s crammed with protein and devoid of all that visible bacon fat. Enter pork tenderloin on a stick!