January 21, 2019

Escarole, Kale and Sweet Potato Crock-Pot Soup by Helen Agresti, R.D.

Escarole, Kale, and Sweet Potato Crock-Pot Soup

This time of year brings cooler weather and warm comfort food.

This hearty soup recipe is just that.  I took traditional escarole and bean soup and increased its nutrient power by adding kale and sweet potatoes.  Sweet potatoes add fiber, calcium, and iron.  They also give us a boost of vitamins A and C, which is much needed during flu season.   Sweet potatoes may even help regulate blood sugar levels.  Kale is a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals that make this soup even more nutritious.  For those that like a little more protein in their meals, I also added lean Italian turkey sausage.  The turkey sausage provides a nice balance of flavors and satiety to an easy family meal.

 

Ingredients

(10-12 servings)

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Parmigiano reggiano rind
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, chopped
  • sea salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 (32 oz.) boxes organic chicken broth, low-sodium
  • 4 cups escarole, chopped
  • 4 cups kale, chopped
  • 1 (15.5 oz.) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pound Italian turkey sausage (optional)

 

Directions

1. Drizzle olive oil on the bottom of a warm crock-pot.  Add the parm rind and garlic.

2. Place the sweet potatoes in the crock-pot, season with salt and pepper.

3. Add the remaining ingredients.

4. Set crock-pot on high heat for 4 hours or low heat for 6+ hours.

5. Ladle soup into bowls and top with whole grain crostini.

 

Helen is the founder of Professional Nutrition Consulting and The 24_7 Dietitian app. She’s a mom of 5, contributor for the Huffington Post, triathlete, and chocolate lover. Helen is passionate about educating families on how to cook healthy meals and snacks at home. You can now receive Helen’s Personal Nutrition Coaching thru her 24_7 dietitian app-available on iOS and android. Go to www.pronutritionconsulting.com for more info.

 

Energy Boosting Smoothie by Helen Agresti, R.D.

Energy Boosting Smoothie: Avocado+Kiwi+Pineapple

This sweet and tangy smoothie recipe contains avocado, kiwi, and pineapple — a nutritious trio that delivers a healthy dose of fiber and vitamin C. Avocado provides energy, which comes from its monounsaturated ‘healthy’ fat content. It is also a good source vitamin E, known for its ability to help our skin retain its natural moisturizers. Vitamins C & E work as antioxidants to block cell damaging free radicals. Over time, these free radicals may contribute to the aging process and the development of cancer, heart disease, and arthritis. Enjoy looking and feeling younger with this energy boosting smoothie.

Ingredients
(2 servings)
•    2 cups ice, crushed
•    1/2 avocado
•    2 kiwi, peeled and sliced
•    1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
•    ½ cup almond milk
•    2 teaspoons honey

Directions
1. Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.
2. Pour and garnish with a slice of kiwi.

COMING SOON! Helen’s new app: The 24_7 Dietitian app download is FREE, and is iOS and Android friendly.  It is a healthy extension of Pro Nutrition’s passion of helping people achieve their weight loss goals by living a more nutritious and healthy lifestyle.  The 24_7 Dietitian app will allow users to journal and track  their nutrition and fitness goals, post questions and pictures, and most importantly have the ability to have personal nutrition coaching anytime of the day (for a monthly fee of $20). Follow her on Twitter @24_7dietitian and check out her site www.pronutritionconsulting.com for more information.

Marinated Grilled Asparagus by Helen Agresti, R.D.

Marinated Grilled Asparagus

Asparagus is a powerhouse vegetable that makes any dish look and taste elegantly delicious.  It is nutrient dense in fiber, folate, and iron.  Asparagus is also a natural diuretic and a wonderful detoxifier for the body.  Many people are surprised to learn that asparagus is a prebiotic that supports the healthy bacteria in our digestive tract.  This heart healthy vegetable is also a good source of vitamins A, C, E, and K.  Asparagus is easy to cook on the grill.  And it is incredibly flavorful after it is marinated.  Feeling bloated?  Chew on this!

Ingredients
•    10-12 asparagus spears, washed and bases trimmed
•    ½ c low sodium soy sauce
•    1 tablespoon extra virgin oil
•    2 teaspoons honey
•    ½ teaspoon garlic, minced
•     ¼ teaspoon sea salt
•    6 skewers

Directions
1. Marinate the asparagus in a ziploc bag for 1 hour or longer.
2. Soak skewers in cold water for 15 minutes.
3. Thread together 4 asparagus spears (top and bottom portions of the vegetable) using two skewers.
4. Spray grill generously with no-stick cooking spray.
5. Grill on medium-high heat for 6-7 minutes or until tender. Rotate using tongs to ensure they are evenly cooked.
6. Serve warm with your favorite entree

Recipe courtesy of Helen Agresti, RD. Helen Agresti is a Registered Dietitian with Professional Nutrition Consulting, LLC, www.pronutritionconsulting.com. 

NEW! Check out Helen’s new app: The 24_7 Dietitian app will be launched mid-June, download is free, and it will be iOS and Android friendly.  It is a healthy extension of Pro Nutrition’s passion of helping people achieve their weight loss goals by living a more nutritious and healthy lifestyle.  The 24_7 Dietitian app will allow users to journal and track  their nutrition and fitness goals, post questions and pictures, and most importantly have the ability to have personal nutrition coaching anytime of the day (for a monthly fee of $20). Follow her on Twitter @24_7dietitian and on Instagram.

 

Baked Salmon Avocado Cup by Helen Agresti, R.D.

Baked Salmon Avocado Cup

Here’s a filling and nutrient dense meal that’s full of waist slimming healthy fats and immune boosting Omega-3 fatty acids.  And yes, it tastes delicious!

 

 

Ingredients
(serves 2)
2 salmon filets, skinned
orange ginger seasoning, to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 ripe avocado
1 fresh lemon
2 pinches sea salt
1/4 c fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Directions
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking pan with foil and lightly coat with olive oil.
2. Lightly season salmon with orange ginger seasoning.  Bake for 25 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees.
3. While salmon is baking, slice avocado in half and remove pit.
4. Squeeze fresh lemon over each halve and drain excess juice.  Lightly season with sea salt.
5. Allow salmon to cool. Then slice into small pieces.
6. Fill avocado cup with salmon and garnish with cilantro.

 

Recipe courtesy of Helen Agresti, RD. Helen Agresti is a Registered Dietitian with Professional Nutrition Consulting, LLC.  She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and 5 children.  For more Nutrition advice and healthy recipes follow her on twitter @HelenAgresti. For more information and recipes, go to www.pronutritionconsulting.com

Double Berry Crisp by Helen Agresti, R.D.

Double Berry Crisp

This recipe is so delicious and easy.  Feel free to use any type of berry that is in season.  Remember to always wash and dry the berries before you use them.  I’m always modifying my recipes.  You may want to add more butter or sugar depending on your taste buds.

 

Ingredients:
2 ½ cups blackberries
2 ½ cups raspberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1-teaspoon brown sugar

Crisp topping:
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 pinch of sea salt
1-teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch Pyrex pie plate.
2. Gently combine the berries with the sugar, flour and cinnamon; place in the prepared pie plate.
3. Prepare the topping: Combine the oats, flour, sugars, salt, and vanilla in a bowl. Use a pastry blender or 2 knives to work in the butter until topping resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle evenly over the berries.
4. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet. Bake in the center of the oven until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown, baking time may vary- at least 1 hr.  Remove the crisp to a rack to cool slightly.

Serve in dessert bowls with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Recipe courtesy of Helen Agresti, RD. Helen Agresti is a Registered Dietitian with Professional Nutrition Consulting, LLC.  She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and 5 children.  For more Nutrition advice and healthy recipes follow her on twitter @HelenAgresti. For more information and recipes, go to www.pronutritionconsulting.com

Stuffed Peppers by Shirley Plant

Stuffed Peppers

2/3 cup wild rice mix
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
½ cup chopped walnuts or pine nuts
1/3 cup olives, chopped
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes ( soak in hot water to plump up)
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds ( optional)
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
Lemon zest
Juice of ½ lemon
4 red peppers or a mix of colored peppers
¼ cup dairy free cheese ( Daiya Cheese is a tasty gluten, dairy free cheese alternative )

Cook rice with herbs. Once done add in nuts, sun dried tomatoes, olives, parsley, green onion and pomegranate seeds. In a bowl whisk oil, lemon zest and juice. Add to rice. Preheat oven broiler. Slice peppers in half and discard seeds and stem. Place peppers face down on cookie sheet and brush with oil. Broil for about 5-8 minutes, watch closely. Turn peppers over, stuff with rice mixture and sprinkle cheese on top.

Recipe by Shirley Plant- Nutrition Coach and Author of Finally Food I Can Eat
www.deliciousalternatives.com. Follow her on Twitter via @sherrecipes
Did you know that 3 foods may be playing a role in your health? Take Shirley’s 21 Day Gluten, Dairy, Sugar Free Online Challenge and find out if these 3 foods are playing a role in your health. Learn how to make tasty, healthy recipes like this one.

Herbs: Benefits Beyond Flavor by Laura Maydak

Herbs have long been used to add flavor to dishes, but research is starting to show that their benefits reach further than our taste buds.

These flavor-boosters are packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients, which may help to protect our bodies against inflammation, infection, cancer, and other chronic diseases.  Intrigued? Then read on! Your taste buds (and body) will thank you.

Herb Spotlight: 5 to Try

Rosemary
- Food pairings: Meat, poultry, beans, potatoes, mushrooms, apples
- Complimentary flavors: Parsley, thyme, oregano, marjoram, fennel, bay leaf
Bonus: Research suggests that marinating meats with rosemary before grilling may reduce the creation of carcinogenic compounds

Oregano
- Food pairings: Cheese, vegetables, tomato sauce
- Complimentary flavors: Garlic, parsley, thyme, basil, tarragon, marjoram
Bonus: Oregano has been shown to have the highest antioxidant activity among 27 culinary herbs

Thyme
- Food pairings: Seafood, poultry, lamb, tomatoes, mushrooms, artichokes
- Complimentary flavors: Sage, basil, bay leaf, oregano, parsley, rosemary
Bonus: Thyme contains a variety of health-promoting antioxidants

Sage
- Food pairings: Poultry, sausage, pork, rice, apples
- Complimentary flavors: Thyme, paprika, garlic, savory, parsley, ginger, marjoram
Bonus: Sage tea has been used reduce intestinal gas and promote digestion

Mint
- Food pairings: Beans, lamb, cucumber, peas, grains, fruits, beverages
- Complimentary flavors: Basil, oregano, citrus, cayenne, dill, thyme, parsley
Bonus: Peppermint has antioxidant, antitumor, antimicrobial, and antiviral activities

Get the Most Flavor From your Herbs:
- For dishes that have a long cook time, add herbs near the end.  This will ensure that their flavors aren’t cooked out and lost.
- For cold dishes, add the herbs several hours before serving.  This will allow for the flavors to blend – which takes longer in the absence of heat.
- Finely chop fresh herbs.  This will allow for more flavor and aroma to be released.

Now, it’s Thyme to Experiment!
- Skip the salt! Season dishes with dried herbs and spices instead
- Sprinkle fresh/dried herbs into salads (fruit- or vegetable-based)
- Make your own marinade or salad dressing
- Give breads, muffins, and biscuits a savory twist by incorporating herbs
- Mix herbs into plain, fat-free Greek yogurt to make a flavorful, high-protein dip

Laura is currently a graduate student in the University of Pittsburgh’s Coordinated Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics program on her way to become a registered dietitian.  Connect with Laura on twitter (@lmaydak) for motivation and tips to live your healthiest, happiest life – all given with a healthy dose of humor.

Healthy Chicken Tacos by Helen Agresti, R.D.

Healthy Shredded Chicken Tacos
Who doesn’t love a fiesta at home?  It’s easy, quick, and never disappoints.  The already cooked rotisserie chicken saves so much time in the kitchen.  I usually remove the skin and white meat in advance.  Then, the chicken is prepped and ready to be reheated.  The salsa can also be prepared ahead of time.

 

Ingredients (serves 8-10)
•    2 rotisserie chickens, skin removed, white meat only, shredded
•    4 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
•    1 c sour light sour cream
•    ½ c fresh cilantro, chopped
•    ¼ c red onion, finely chopped
•    4 scallions, finely chopped
•    1 tablespoon hot sauce
•    ½ teaspoon garlic, minced
•    ¼ cumin, ground
•    ½ fresh lime, juiced
•    1teaspoon sea salt
•    ½ teaspoon black pepper, ground
•    16-18 (6 in) tortilla shells
•    1 c lettuce, shredded
•    ½ c goat cheese, crumbled
•    ½ c Mexican cheese, shredded

Directions:
1. Salsa-combine the tomatoes, sour cream, cilantro, red onion, scallion, hot sauce, garlic, cumin, and lime juice in a medium bowl.
2. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and season with salt and pepper before serving.
3. Warm shredded chicken and taco shells in oven or microwave.
4. Fill tortillas with chicken, top with lettuce, salsa, and cheeses.

Recipe courtesy of Helen Agresti, RD. Helen Agresti is a Registered Dietitian with Professional Nutrition Consulting, LLC.  She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and 5 children.  For more Nutrition advice and healthy recipes follow her on twitter @HelenAgresti. For more information and recipes, go to www.pronutritionconsulting.com

Blueberry Jam by Shirley Plant

If you’re looking for a low-fuss and healthy way to add nutrition into your snacking, food prep doesn’t get much easier than this recipe. Make one batch or several and give away as gifts!

Blueberry Jam

 

Ingredients
•    2 cups fresh blueberries
•    1/4 cup chia seeds
•    1 tbsp honey
•    pinch cinnamon

Directions
1.    Mix all ingredients in a food processor until well combined. Spoon into a glass dish and put in the fridge to gel
2.    Serve a top your favorite toasted bread

Recipe by Shirley Plant- Nutrition Coach and Author of Finally Food I Can Eat
www.deliciousalternatives.com. Follow her on Twitter via @sherrecipes

 

Does eating healthy take more time?

Get Fit Quick Tip

Want to save time during your week? Consider implementing Weekly Meal Prep on the weekend! 1. Plan your meals. 2. Make a shopping list. 3. Shop, wash, chop and store all ingredients in portioned containers. Then all you’ll need to do during the week is assemble and cook!

Find everyday, easy and practical healthy living and fitness tips in our Get Fit Quick column.