Posted by: willi49 | November 29, 2010

More Turkey Recipes

I received a number of comments from others requesting more ways to use those turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving. Luckily, my mother is the queen of using leftovers so I have several ideas to share from her! But keep in mind that finding ways to use leftover turkey is easy! You can substitute turkey for just about any kind of protein. So gather some of your own favorite recipes and see what you can create! Here are a few more of my personal favorites.

Turkey Pasta Soup
Instead of the normal chicken noodle soup, try a turkey pasta soup with leftover turkey! With this particular soup you’re able to attain a slow-simmered flavor in just thirteen minutes! For a quick tip, cook the pasta in boiling broth. This saves time and also makes for flavorful noodles. Get the recipe here!

Turkey Alfredo Pizza
To be a great use of Thanksgiving leftovers, a recipe needs to reuse more than one left over item. This dish does just that, topping a pizza with turkey and greens. You can use creamed spinach, collards, or really just about any green side. You could even go really crazy and spread leftover cranberry sauces on the crust, though the Alfredo in this recipe works very nicely. Use whatever you have and have fun! Find this recipe here!

Turkey Reuben Sandwiches
Swapping roasted turkey for fatty corned beef makes these sandwiches healthier than usual, and because the assertive flavors of the dressing and Swiss cheese take center stage anyway, you’ll hardly notice. Top with sauerkraut and place on rye bread, and this sandwich is a sure hit! And each sandwich is just 255 calories. We use Thousand Island which is popular on Reuben’s, but the true traditional Reuben dressing is the slightly harder to find Russian. Though I find that Thousand Island is just as good! Find the recipe here!

Turkey Burgers with Special Sauce
Let’s be honest, even with orange, ginger, and soy mixed in to the patties, turkey burgers can be a little bland. That’s why they need a great zesty sauce or lots of cheese to match up the hamburgers. This particular recipe for turkey burgers fits the bill and then some! The creamy, pungent, sweet, slightly Asian-tinged sauce may well become a staple in your kitchen. Try it on deli sandwiches, as a dip for raw veggies, or as a salad dressing. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Get the recipe here!

Posted by: willi49 | November 29, 2010

What To Do With Those Turkey Leftovers

Thanksgiving dinner is nearly as treasured for it’s leftovers as for the feast itself. But sometimes the standard turkey dinner and mashed potatoes can get old. Instead of the usual, try something new! Here you’ll find a few different options for those Turkey leftovers!

Jack Quesadillas with Cranberry Salsa
Bored of turkey sandwiches? Be creative with your turkey leftovers! This recipe truly transforms them, pairing turkey with jack cheese in a quesadilla, and creating a sweet-spicy Mexican salsa based on cranberry sauce. For an extra flavor jolt, use pepper jack cheese. Best of all, it’s super quick to make! Find the recipe here!

Roast Turkey and Prosciutto Pizza
Pizza is an absolute favorite in my family. We’ll put just about anything on our pizzas, so why not try turkey! This recipe is delicious and easy to make! Leftover turkey provides the meaty backbone for this pizza, while prosciutto adds it’s salty savoriness and arugula contributes a slight bitterness and crunch. Though it’s not a traditional pizza cheese, Fontina cheese adds a mild and nutty flavor to the pizza, though you can substitute mozzarella if you want. Try using a pre-baked pizza crust for an effortless way to a quick pizza, or make the dough from scratch. Find the recipe here! And if you need a good pizza dough recipe, I recommend this one!

Romaine and Turkey Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
In need of a light dinner after all the heavy Thanksgiving festivities? Try this delicious salad with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. This is a very simply, yet unique salad. Avocado is blended into the already creamy dressing, adding heart-healthy unsaturated fats, nice sweet flavor, and luxuriously velvety texture. Add easy cheese toasts for a nice crunchy addition, or try garlic bread for a nice change of pace. Just add a clove or two of chopped garlic to Parmesan before sprinkling on the bread. This salad is a delicious and light change from the normal turkey leftover. Find the recipe here!

Turkey Chili
In need of a chili recipe that only takes thirty minutes to make? Try this delicious Turkey Chili. This dish has all the characteristics of a recipe you’ll make often. It’s warm and satisfying, it’s quick and easy, and you can serve it in lots of different ways. Poring the chili over rices make for a full and healthy means, but you can also try it my favorite way: over cooked spaghetti for a Cincinnati-style meal. You can stuff it in a baked potato, or soon it over tortilla chips and top with cheese to make nachos. Need a breakfast fix? You can even try it with scrambled eggs! Get this hearty chili recipe here!

Posted by: willi49 | November 13, 2010

The Best and Worst of Thanksgiving: Part 2!

Here are a few more bests and worsts of the holidays!

Best: Cranberries
Cranberries have always been a crowd pleaser around my house at the holidays! And luckily, they are one of the healthiest options for you! These tart berries are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and potassium, and are low in calories. In addition, these pretty little berries contain unique compounds with antibacterial properties that may help prevent urinary tract infections. There are so many different variations that you can do with cranberries when it comes times for the holidays! Get creative! You can try anything from cranberry scones to cranberry relishes! But if you’re looking for a great, home-made cranberry sauce, look no further! Click here for a great recipe for a traditional cranberry sauce that is a family favorite! (And it’s easy too!)

Worst: Mashed Potatoes
This holiday favorite can go either way, so don’t worry, there is hope! In their natural state, potatoes offer plenty of nutrients such as vitamin C and potassium, and have relatively few calories. But beware of potatoes prepared with too much butter, whole milk, heavy cream, or other fatty ingredients. The very ingredients that can make them creamy can wreck a perfectly nutritious choice by adding hundreds of calories and many grams of saturated fat. So instead of diving into that standard potato recipe of yours, try something new this year! Or attempt to make that favorite recipe of yours a little healthier by leaving out a few of the unhealthy ingredients. If you are adventurous enough to try something new, I recommend this lightened up version of a delicious mashed potato! I promise you wont be disappointed!

Best: Turkey
Eating any high-quality protein helps to trigger satiety so you’re less likely to over-indluge on less healthy foods. And turkey – dark meat or white meat – is one fo the lowest-calories protein sources you can eat. A three-ounce serving of skinless turkey breast has about 120 calories and only one gram of fat! But beware of that skin! Be sure to trim off the skin before eating. That’s where most of the fat and calories lurk!

Worst: Pecan Pie
A typical slice of this nutty dessert can cost you over 600 calories! Top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and you may be pushing 750 calories and 8g saturated fat! Of course I of all people understand that sometimes you just have to indulge, so I’m not saying never have pecan pie, but save this for a special occasion and use moderation as your guide. If you can stray away from the pecan pie, choose a pumpkin pie or a sweet potato pie for a lower-calorie option. Or try to lighten up your recipe for pecan pie. If all else fails, try this lightened version of pecan pie that has only 311 calories plus the benefits of a whole grain: oats! Sure beats that 600 calorie slice!

Posted by: willi49 | November 13, 2010

The Best and Worst of Thanksgiving

With the holidays just around the corner, its only natural that we start thinking about all the delicious treats we can soon enjoy! However the holidays also come with a downside; most of these treats are not the best for you and will add on a few extra calories to your diet. Studies show that those extra calories add up to an average weight gain of about 3 to 5 pounds during the festivities  between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. That may not sound like much, but if it becomes a yearly tradition, the years can pack on the pounds.

But don’t lose hope! Though the holidays are somewhat of a nutritional minefield, there are plenty of “good for you” foods lurking between those calories bombs. Here are a few “good for you” holiday dishes, and a few foods you’ll want to avoid!

Best: Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse! They are a powerful antioxidant, and also a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, and potassium. And best of all, they taste like a dessert because they are so sweet! This is one holiday favorite worth adding to your meals! For a delicious Sweet Potato Casserole, click here!

Worst: Eggnog
Before you fill up that tall glass with eggnog, consider this: an 8-oz serving can easily exceed 250 calories and 5g saturated fat! Wouldn’t you rather have a dessert? Instead of choosing eggnog to toast the holiday season with, try some different holiday drinks. For example, mix seltzer water with a bit of 100 percent fruit juice. Or for more of a holiday drink, try heating up a mixture of half apple juice, half cranberry juice, and add a dash of cinnamon to give it that real holiday taste! Although if you just can’t seem to make it through the festivities without that eggnog, try a lightened version shown here. It has only 90 calories and 1g saturated fat!

Best: Cocoa
Here is another alternative to that holiday eggnog. This sweet treat (in moderation, of course) is connected with health benefits. Clinical studies show that eating small amounts of chocolate lower systolic blood pressure by 2.9 mm/Hg. That in turn may lower your risk of stroke or coronary heart disease. Along with the health benefits, it is a fairly low calorie drink and could be one of your better options. Try to go with a low calorie kind, and don’t fatten it up with high calorie add ins like whole milk or whipped topping.

Worst: Dips
Dips are one of the more insidious choices on the appetizer table. You don’t know what’s in them, and it’s easy to just keep dipping away. The calories, saturated fat, and sodium lurking in creamy dips (not to mention the crackers or chips dipped in them) really adds up. Beware of healthy-sounding dips like “spinach and artichoke dip” which may be loaded heavily with cheese and cream.  Choose hummus or salsa instead, and use fresh veggies as dippers. Or better yet, make a lightened version of some of your favorite dips, like this recipe for a spinach and artichoke dip!

Hope this helps you on your way through the holidays! Stay tuned for more Holiday: Bests and Worsts!

Posted by: willi49 | November 11, 2010

MORE Healthy Lunch Ideas

In need of more great lunch ideas? Here are a few more of my favorites!

Southwestern Chicken Pasta Salad

Spice things up for lunch by using intense flavors in otherwise bland dishes! There’s nothing boring about this pasta salad, packed with sharp Cheddar, sweet corn, and smoky chipotle. This salad is guaranteed to fill you up, and like the pitas, it makes a lot, so you’re sure to feed off of it for days! Sound good? Get the recipe here!

Nutrition Tip: If you’re craving chocolate, eating an apple isn’t likely to satisfy you. Instead, enjoy what you really want, but in moderation. Research shows that each subsequent taste of a food, is rated less enjoyable then the previous state. So the first bite is always the best; the second bit, second best. If you eat what you’d normally want, you satisfaction rating will still be very high, and it might keep you from overdoing it later!

Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, and Pecan Cookies
Of course I couldn’t mention chocolate without putting something chocolate in here! These easy drop cookies are crisp on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside. I love that they suggest using chocolate minichips rather than regular chips, because they disperse better in the batter. I’ve made these cookies before and trust me, you would have never guessed that they are only 81 CALORIES EACH!! They are delicious and are a great add in to that tasty brown bag lunch! Get the recipe here!

Nutrition Tip: Practice portion control with sides. It’s easy to overeat if you munch straight from the bag. Portion servings into zip-loc plastic bags so you won’t go overboard with your sides and snacks.

Beef and Barley Soup
Homemade soups and stews are a great option for to-go lunches! They tend to get better with time, so when making ahead, it buys you time AND flavor! This a delicious and hearty soup that’s sure to leave you feeling satisfied. And with all this cold weather and snow, I know I’d love nothing more than a hot soup to warm my body. Get the full recipe here!

Posted by: willi49 | November 11, 2010

Healthy Lunch Ideas

I’m sure that because you are a busy college student on the go, you find yourself not always eating the most nutritional and delicious lunches. But sometimes a quick stop at the vending machine, or that one granola bar you found at the bottom of your backpack, will just have to suffice. But on those days that you do have a few extra minutes, try a few of these ideas and recipes for the next time you brown-bag it! I promise you wont regret the way it makes you feel, nor the way it tastes!

Little Italy Chicken Pitas
These pitas have chicken, tomatoes, asiago cheese, baby greens, and tons of flavor! My roommates and I made these the other week and it has now become an apartment favorite. A whole chicken pita is only 340 calories, and trust me, these are big enough and filling enough to last you through those last afternoon classes. I like to prepare the filling ahead of time, like the night before, then it is just a few minutes of easy assembly in the morning and I’m off to class. Also, the chicken filling makes enough for several pitas, so store the extras in an air-tight container in the fridge and use it for a few days lunch. Get the full recipe here! I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

Nutrition Tip: Fresh, whole fruit is your best option for sides and snacks during the day. Change things up by selecting fruit that’s in season. And always choose wisely! Of course no fruit is bad, but think about foods that are nutrient-rich that can benefit you in different ways. For example, an apple, chilled grapes, or mango slices offer a great source of fiber, which will keep you feeling fuller longer!

Blueberry Orange Parfaits
This is a delicious and nutritious snack, and it’s quick and easy to make. Perfect for that busy college student! This snack comes together in a few minutes, and if you prepare it the night before, it turns into one of those grab-and-go snacks we all love so much. With all the yogurt, blueberries, and oranges, you’re sure to get those vitamins in! Blueberries are often deemed the “brain berry”, since they’re known to improve memory and protect against short-term memory loss. What more could college students want in a food then something that helps them retain information better??? Blueberries are also one of the most potent sources of antioxidants, which help counteract heart disease, cancers, and illnesses. Along with everything else, they are also full of fiber and high in vitamin C! Get the recipe here!

Prep Tip: Put leftovers to good use when preparing your lunches. Consider incorporating some of tonight’s dinner into tomorrow’s lunch. Slice a piece of leftover chicken or beef and serve it on top of pasta or salad greens, mic it into a grain salad, or make it into a sandwich. Using those resources and ingredients from other meals will make lunch preparation time even less!

Posted by: willi49 | November 11, 2010

5 Nutritional Myths

As I was reading this article on nutritional myths, I was shocked to find that I too believed so many of these myths! My eyes were opened to so many different ideas and possibilities now that I know the truth about certain foods! Hopefully you too will gain an insight on some of the top nutritional myths! For more information on these 5 nutritional myths and others, click here!

Myth #1: Added sugar is always bad for you
Truth: Use the sweet stuff to ensure that sugar calories are far from “empty” calories.
Sugar is essential in the kitchen so there is no way we could go without. Sugar balances the flavors in healthy foods that might not taste so good on their own. But of course, don’t go overboard! Most health experts suggest that added sugar supply no more than 10 percent of your total calories. But  there is good news: A little sugar can go a long way! Adding a little bit of sugar to balance a too-tart tomato sauce is a good thing, so is a teaspoon of honey on a tart grapefruit. It’s a smart idea to add a little bit of sugar to help boost your intake of nutrient-rich foods by making them tastier! For a great (and tasty!) example of a sugar myth busting recipe try Pink Grapefruit Sorbet!

Myth #2: Adding salt to the pot adds sodium to the food
Truth: Salt added to boiling water may actually make vegetables more nutritious!
Harold McGee, the author of On Food & Cooking says, “salt in the cooking water reduces the leaching of nutrients from vegetables into water”. That means your blanched broccoli, green beans, or asparagus likely retains more nutrients. Adding salt to the water will also speed up the cooking process so you don’t lose as many nutrients from overcooking. Harold McGee recommends using about 1 teaspoon of salt per cup of water. The amount of sodium absorbed by the food is minuscule.

Myth #3: Fried foods are always too fatty
Truth: Healthy deep-fried food is not an oxymoron!
When food is exposed to hot oil, the moisture inside boils and pushes to the surface. As the moisture leaves, it creates a barrier, which minimized the oil absorption. But this is only when frying is done right and at the correct temperatures. For most foods, 375 degrees fahrenheit is optimal. So, watch the oil temperature, and drain the cooked foods on a paper towel for a minute or two before digging in!

Myth#4: Organic foods are more nutritious than conventional
Truth: Studies show no significant nutritional difference!Researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine provided the most comprehensive review of organic foods to date. Their conclusion: No nutritional difference exists between conventional and organic crops and livestock. There is, of course, still the issue of trace amounts of pesticides, so always be sure to wash conventional produce carefully!

Buying organic? Learn how to save!

Myth #5: The more fiber you eat, the better
Truth: Not all fibers are equally beneficial. Always consider the source!
Fiber is known as a fad-food component right now. You’ll notice as you walk the aisles of a grocery store, that shelves are lined with boast fiber-supplemented yogurt, cereals, energy bars, and even water! Many experts are skeptical that the so called “faux” fiber foods offer the same beneficial effect as naturally fiber-rich ones like grains, fruits, and legumes. So when in doubt, go with the natural stuff!

Posted by: willi49 | September 24, 2010

Healthy Eating Tips

The other day I came across an article titled Healthy Eating; Easy Tips For Planning A Healthy Diet And Sticking To It, which laid out 10 helpful tips for healthy eating. I am only going to share a summarized version of the article, but for more information, click here!

Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day—the brighter the better.

Tip #1: Set yourself up for success
Instead of thinking about planning a healthy diet as one drastic change, set yourself up for success by breaking it down into a number of manageable steps. You can do this by simplifying, starting slow and making changes to your eating habits over time, and understanding that every change you make to improve your diet does matter.

Tip #2: Moderation is key
Try not to think of certain foods as “off limits”. Allow yourself to have those foods that you crave, but start by reducing your portion sizes and not eating them as often. Later, you may find yourself craving these foods less and less.

Tip #3: It’s not just what you eat, it’s how you eat
Eat with others whenever possible. This will provide social and emotional benefits, whereas when eating in front of the TV or computer often leads to mindless overeating. Take time to chew your food and enjoy the meal times. Also, listen to your body and always ask yourself if your are really hungry. And don’t forget to always eat breakfast, and eat smaller meals through out the day.

Tip #4: Fill up on colorful fruits and vegetables
Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day; the brighter, the better! Also, try to avoid fruit juices which can contain up to 10 teaspoons of sugar per cup!

Tip #5: Eat more healthy carbs and whole grains
Choose healthy carbohydrates and fiber sources, especially whole grains, for long lasting energy. Include a variety of whole grains in your diet, and experiment with different kinds to find your favorite. If you are a little apprehensive about completely switching over to whole grains, try mixing grains as a first step to switching. Try to avoid refined grains such as breads, pastas, and breakfast cereals that are not whole grain.

Tip #6: Enjoy healthy fats and avoid unhealthy fats
Add monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats to your diet. These are  things like olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, and fish. Reduce saturate fats and trans fats from your diets. These fats are primarily found in animal sources and in vegetable shortenings, candies, cookies, snack foods and other processed foods.

Tip #7: Put protein in perspective
Try different types of protein. For example, incorporate beans, nuts, and soy products into your diet. Downsize your portions of protein, and try to focus on the quality sources of protein like fish, chicken, turkey, and eggs.

Tip #8: Add calcium and vitamin D for strong bones
Great sources of calcium include dairy products, dark greens, leafy vegetables, and dried beans and legumes. For more information on the benefits of calcium and Vitamin D, click here!

Tip # 9: Limit sugar, salt, and refined grains
It is ok to enjoy sweets in moderation, but try to cut down on sugar. You can do this by avoiding sugary drinks, eliminating processed foods, and giving recipes a makeover.

Tip #10: Plan quick and easy meals ahead
Plan your meals by the week or even the month. Having an emergency dinner ready to go can act as your go-to meal when you’re just too busy to shop and cook, instead of just going to the closest fast food restaurant.