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Gifts from the Kitchen

With the holidays quickly approaching I’ve been making a list of who I need gifts for. I have to admit, some years I’m the person who is getting a gift right before I need it. However, this year I’m planning ahead because I’m excited to give my family and friends our Healthy and Homemade cookbook. On my dad’s side of the family we do a gift exchange among the adults. This year, I plan to take the Healthy and Homemade cookbook and tuck a grocery store gift card inside for the gift exchange.

I also like to give gifts of food! For my neighbors I like to bake breads to share with them.  This year I’m planning to make them our Banana Oatmeal Bread or our No Knead Whole Wheat Bread. Prepared foods that can be frozen also make great gifts, especially for those who don’t like to cook or aren’t able to. They can heat up the food and have a homemade dish in no time. Some good recipes for this are Make Ahead Breakfast Burritos or Skillet Lasagna.

Share the gift of good food that’s good for you!

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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Keep your Thanksgiving Dinner out of the Garbage

ThinkstockPhotos-99120786Thanksgiving will soon be upon us! This holiday causes me to reflect and be thankful for what I have. It also gets me thinking about what I take for granted on a daily basis that others would be grateful to have. One example of this is food. I have enough food, and sometimes too much, which can cause me to waste it at times.

The average daily food waste in the United States in 2010 was 1.18 pounds of food per person. This leaves us plenty of room for improvement! I am going to approach Thanksgiving being mindful of how much food my family is preparing. I also plan to use this holiday as an opportunity to reduce the amount of food we are wasting by following the tips below.

My four tips to reduce food waste at Thanksgiving:

1. Consider purchasing a turkey breast rather than an entire turkey. The turkey breast can be cooked in a shorter amount of time, is easier to cut and prepare, and results in fewer leftovers.

2. Keep your sides simple – less is more. Focus on two or three great side dishes rather than the “full spread”. This will save you time and  stress. Three of my favorite side dishes from Spend Smart. Eat Smart.:

•  Zesty Whole Grain Salad: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings/recipes/zesty-whole-grain-salad
  Easy Roasted Veggies: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings/recipes/easy-roasted-veggies
•  No Knead Whole Wheat Bread: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings/recipes/no-knead-whole-wheat-bread

3. Pack up leftovers to eat later. For safety, leftovers should be chilled to below 40 degrees within two hours of when they finish cooking. If your family will eat the leftovers within four days, store them in the refrigerator. If you will not, freeze them. Click here for ideas for using that leftover turkey, pumpkin and chopped veggies.

4. Donate to those in need: Find your local food bank, and donate excess or unused food to those in need. Or even better yet, consider donating a few dollars to your local food bank or pantry.

Have a happy, healthy Thanksgiving and enjoy doing more with less!

Rachel
Rachel Wall is a registered dietitian and Iowa native who enjoys family, friends, food, and the Cyclones!

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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Healthy and Homemade Meals Calendar – Final Quantity Available Now

2016 Chalkboard CoverHow would you like to start each month of 2016 with a tasty new recipe to try?

Whether you’re just learning your way around the kitchen or you’re an experienced cook looking for some fresh recipes, the Healthy and Homemade Meals Calendar is for you!

Each month features an easy, healthy, low-cost recipe as part of a full meal modeled after MyPlate. Here is a taste of some of our featured recipes:

  • Stuffed Peppers
  • Pineapple Snack Cakes
  • Lentil Tacos
  • Simple Apple Dessert
  • Baked Oatmeal Muffins

The recipes and fitness tips in the calendar make it a helpful tool for those hoping to establish healthy habits in the new year and it makes a great holiday gift.

You can purchase the calendar in English or Spanish for just $3.00 from the Extension Online Store. Supplies are limited, so order yours today!

Here’s to a healthy year in 2016!

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

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Butternut Squash Enchiladas

butternut-squash-enchiladasButternut squash is one of my favorite things to grow in my garden. I love the flavor, texture, and smell of a bowl of steaming hot squash. Unfortunately, I was not able to grow butternut squash in my garden this year, but I know I can find an abundance of it (at a good price) at the Farmers Market and grocery store this time of year.

The tricky thing about butternut squash is preparing it. It is hard to cut and even harder to peel. It took me many, many, many tries to finally find the best way for me to prepare it. To find out the easiest way to prepare butternut squash, watch this video with Danielle, one of our student staff members.

If you do not like squash served plain, try our recipe of the month for October – Butternut Squash Enchiladas. This recipe takes typical enchiladas and boosts their nutrition by adding cooked, cubed butternut squash to the filling. These enchiladas are an easy and tasty way to get the vitamin A and fiber our bodies need.

Butternut Squash Enchiladas

Serving Size: 1 enchilada
Serves: 8
Ingredients: Butternut Squash Enchiladas-web
  • 2 1/2 cups butternut squash (or other winter squash), cooked
  • 1 can (15 ounces)  black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup onions, diced (1/2 medium onion)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped or 3 tablespoons dried cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup  2% fat cheese, shredded (like cheddar or Mexican blend), divided
  • 8 tortillas (6″)
  • 1  cup salsa or 1 can (10 ounces) red or green enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
Instructions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 375 ºF.
  2. Mix the squash, beans, onion, cilantro, garlic powder, and cumin in a bowl.
  3. Mix 3/4 cup of the cheese into the squash mixture.
  4. Put a 1/2 cup strip of filling on each tortilla. Roll the tortilla around the filling. Put the tortilla into a greased 9″ x13 ” baking dish with the seam down.
  5. Cover the tortillas with the salsa or enchilada sauce. Put the rest of the cheese (1/4 cup) on the salsa or sauce.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes.
  7. Serve each enchilada with 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt.
Tips: 

  • Use a medium butternut squash (2 to 3 pounds) to make about 2 cups of diced squash.
  • Use spices like onion powder, chili powder, or cayenne pepper instead of the cumin or garlic powder.
  • Put 2 to 3 tortillas at a time in the microwave. Heat for 10 seconds so they do not tear.
Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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Healthy and Homemade Cookbook – Available Now!

cookbook-coverThe Spend Smart. Eat Smart. Team at Iowa State University has been working throughout the past year to produce the newest edition of the Healthy and Homemade Cookbook. The seventy recipes in this collection are tasty, easy and low-cost!

From main dishes and sides to salads, snacks and desserts, this cookbook has everything you need to make healthy cooking easy and fun. It’s like having the best recipes from Spend Smart. Eat Smart. tucked in your kitchen drawer. You can purchase an English or Spanish language copy of the cookbook for just five dollars from the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Online Store.

Happy cooking!

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Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

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Peanut Butter Balls

peanut-butter-ballsMy children are at an age when they need to eat two snacks every day. Just last week I skipped the morning snack one day because we went to the library and on a bike ride. By lunch time both of them were laying on the couch crying. I made a quick lunch, got them fed, and all was good again, but it reminded me how important snack time is for young children. Their bodies are growing, but their stomachs are still small, so they need their food spaced evenly throughout the day.

If you are looking for a new snack for your family, try out our July recipe – Peanut Butter Balls. They have peanut butter, beans, and oatmeal – all of which will give you energy and fill you up until your next meal. After I make this recipe, I lay the peanut butter balls out on a cookie sheet and freeze them for about an hour. Once they are frozen, I put them in a freezer bag and store them in the freezer. When snack time comes around, I grab two out of the freezer for each person, let them thaw for a few minutes, and then we enjoy them.

I hope you enjoy this Peanut Butter Ball recipe too!

-Justine

Peanut Butter Balls

Serving Size: 2 balls | Serves: 25
Ingredients: 
  • 1 can (15 ounces) great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups quick cooking oatspeanut-butter-ball-label
Instructions: 
  1. Mash the great northern beans with a fork in a bowl until smooth.
  2. Add the honey and vanilla. Stir.
  3. Add peanut butter. Stir until blended.
  4. Stir in the oatmeal.
  5. Wash hands. Use a tablespoon to scoop up some of the peanut butter mixture. Shape the mixture into balls (makes 50 balls).
  6. Store leftover balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Tips: 
  •  This recipe is not for children under age 1 because it contains honey and peanut butter.
  • You can use a blender or food processor to mix ingredients before shaping into balls.
  • You can store peanut butter balls in the freezer. Lay them out on a cookie sheet, freeze, and then store in a freezer bag. Thaw for 5 minutes before serving.
  • Make fruit kebabs using a toothpick or kebab stick. Add washed fresh fruit pieces that will not brown such as kiwi slices, grapes, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, and orange slices.
Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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Blackened Tuna Patties

blackened-tuna-pattiesThere are some weeks when I get to shopping day and I realize that it is not going to happen. Maybe someone is sick, maybe we are snowed in, or maybe I am just too tired. The reason does not matter because the result is the same – I have to make lunch for my two children and I plus supper for all four of us with what is left in the pantry and the refrigerator.

On days like these I depend on recipes like our blackened tuna patties because they are made with ingredients that I keep stocked in my pantry and refrigerator. These staples are always available in my kitchen – tuna, salad dressing, garlic powder, eggs, and bread crumbs. Having the fresh vegetables may be tricky, but I usually come up with something. Once I used some leftover shredded cabbage and it worked great.

To make the tuna patties stir the ingredients together, shape them into four patties, and cook in a skillet heated to medium for about three minutes on each side. My children like to eat these plain with fruit and veggies on the side, my husband likes them as a sandwich, and I prefer them with a salad or coleslaw. Please try out this recipe and enjoy!

Blackened Tuna Patties

Serving Size: 1 patty
Serves: 4
Cost Per Serving: $0.51
Ingredients: 
  • 1 can (5 ounces) tuna, packed in water (drained)
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/3 cup shredded or diced vegetables (like carrots, celery, peppers, or zucchini)
  • 2 tablespoons light salad dressing (like ranch)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
  • Nonstick cooking spray
Instructions:
  1. Stir tuna, onion, vegetables, dressing, and garlic powder in a bowl. Mix in the beaten egg.
  2. Stir the bread crumbs into the mixture. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Wash hands. Form the mixture into 4 patties. Each patty should be about 1/3 inch thick and 3 inches wide. Wash hands.
  4. Heat a skillet to medium. Spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray when it is hot. Cook the patties for 2-3 minutes. Turn patties over and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Cook until patties are browned and 145 degrees Fahrenheit inside.*
* Testing Meat
To test thin items—such as hamburger or fish patties, steaks, chops or chicken breast – Insert an instant read thermometer from the side so 2 to 3 inches of the stem is in the center of the food and away from fat or bone.
Justine
Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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Slow Cooker Pork Chili

slow-cooker-pork-chiliHappy New Year from the SpendSmart.EatSmart team!

We would like to start 2015 off with a new chili recipe for you. If you are like me, you have your own special way of making chili and you do not want to make any changes. When I first saw this recipe, I agreed to try it, but at the same time I told myself that I would make this new chili only once and then I would go back to my usual recipe. I was wrong! Since first trying Slow Cooker Pork Chili over a year ago, I have made my old recipe only once.

Here are some reasons why this chili has become my new favorite:

  • It uses pork. My grocery bill has been increasing, so I try to save money any way that I can. Recently, the grocery store where I shop had pork shoulder for $2.99 per pound. A similar cut of beef cost $4.49 per pound.
  • It makes enough pork for two recipes. You cook the pork in the slow cooker and use half of it for the chili and save the other half for our February recipe (or for another batch of Slow Cooker Pork Chili).
  • It is made in my slow cooker. I have a toddler and a preschooler – this means the hour before supper time can get a little crazy. If I have something ready to go in the slow cooker, it cuts down on the stress of making supper. Find out more about making meals in a slow cooker by clicking on our video or tip sheet.
  • It uses ingredients I typically have on hand – green pepper, onion, salsa, beans, and tomatoes. This saves me time and money because I do not have to go to the grocery store and search for and buy an ingredient I will only use once.
  • It tastes great! Serve it with some milk and fruit and you have an easy and great tasting meal.

Resolutions don’t have to be about giving something up, resolve to have some fun in the kitchen and try this new healthy recipe!

-Justine

 

Slow Cooker Pork Chili                

Serves: 6 | Serving Size: 1 ¼ cups | Cost Per Serving: $1.52

slow-cooker-pork-chili-labelIngredients:

  • 2 pounds boneless pork butt, roast, or shoulder
  • 1 cup bell pepper, diced (1 medium pepper)
  • 1 cup onion, diced (1 medium onion)
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa
  • 1 can (15 ounces) low-sodium pinto beans
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) low-sodium diced tomatoes

Directions:

  1. Trim visible fat from the pork. Cut into 2 inch chunks. Place in slow cooker.
  2. Add pepper, onion, and salsa.
  3. Cook on a low setting for 6 hours or a high setting for 3 hours.
  4. Pull the meat apart into shreds with a fork. (You should have about 4 cups.)
  5. Put half (2 cups) of the shredded pork in the refrigerator or freezer. (We’ll post a pork sandwiches recipe in February that will call for shredded pork!).  Freeze pork if it will not be used within 4 days.
  6. Return the rest of the pork to the slow cooker. Add pinto beans and diced tomatoes.
  7. Cook another 30 minutes until hot.

Tips:

  • Pork chops, boneless pork rib, or pork loin can be used. They will be more expensive but have less fat.
  • Trim fat from pork with a clean knife on a clean cutting board.
  • This recipe freezes well.
  •  Other beans can be used.
Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

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Last Minute Gifts

granola jarIf you find yourself racing to find a last-minute gift, look no further! Here is a collection of Spend Smart. Eat Smart. recipes that make great low-cost gifts.

  1. Oatmeal Pancakes – Simply combine the dry pancake mix and oatmeal in a plastic bag or jar and attach a label with the cooking directions.
  2. Chocolate Surprise Cupcakes – Bake a batch and separate them into plastic bags or containers with festive ribbons or tags.
  3. Whole Grain Cereal Treats – These are a twist on everyone’s favorite. Add some sprinkles or top with a bit of colored sugar for a festive look.
  4. Crispy Granola – You can make a big batch of this granola and put it in small jars or bags to share with friends.

People love to receive recipes so make a point of attaching the recipe for each of the “gifts” you give. A healthy and homemade gift is a great way to show you care!

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Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

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Holiday Entertaining- Snacks and Desserts

pumpkinpuddingThe temperatures are dropping, and the holiday season is right around the corner. The holidays are a great time to celebrate and enjoy the company of family and friends. The month is filled with parties and good cheer – and plenty of food! Here are some ideas to keep the holidays delicious without throwing nutrition to the wind.

Flavored popcorn

Popcorn is a perfect healthy whole grain snack to have around when entertaining, but plain popcorn doesn’t always get my mouth watering. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to spruce up an old favorite! Check out all these twists. I recommend Vanilla Corn and Nut Corn (Yum!).

Rhonda’s Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs are one of my favorite snacks to munch on this time of year. They’re easy and relatively inexpensive to make, and they are a fun dish to bring to a holiday potluck. Packed with plenty of protein, an egg is filling enough to keep you from raiding the cookie table all night.

Pumpkin Pudding

There’s nothing wrong with a sweet little treat after dinner, but traditional holiday pies are often packed with sugar and extra calories. This pumpkin pudding is a healthy alternative that doesn’t sacrifice great flavor. It just might become your family’s new favorite!

Maddie

ISU Dietetics Student

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

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