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Preparing a Zucchini

This time of year gardeners tend to have an abundance of zucchini. The challenge is to use it before it goes bad. In our newest video, we show how to prepare a zucchini. The different ways of cutting a zucchini are useful for different recipes. Watch the video today and find out how to slice rounds, cut matchsticks, cube, dice, and grate zucchini.

If you have the time and a zucchini, grate one up this weekend so you have it ready to make our September recipe of the month next week.

Enjoy!

 

 

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

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

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Summer Bounty Salad

We have a new video for you! It is Summer Bounty Salad – a recipe that is easy, delicious, and perfect for this time of year. I do not want to spoil the video for you, so I am not going to tell you how to make this recipe. However, I suggest you go find your favorite summer vegetables and your favorite salad dressing because you are going to want them for this recipe.

Enjoy!

 

 

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

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

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How to Cut a Melon

Have you ever come home from the grocery store, set a great looking melon on the counter, and then wondered what to do now? Well, I have.

Cutting a melon can seem like an overwhelming task. We tried out some different ways to cut a melon and put our favorites in a How to Prepare Melon video. These methods will work for most varieties of melon (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon). Take a look and let us know what you think.

Most of all, enjoy the taste of fresh melon while we have it!

 

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

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

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How to Drain Ground Beef

Growing up on a farm where we raised cattle, ground beef was often part of our meals. Today, I use ground beef about once a week in my family’s meals. Since meat is a more expensive item on my grocery list, I look for ways to help keep the cost down. One way to do this is to buy ground beef that has a higher fat content since it is cheaper. For example, currently at my grocery store 1 pound of 85% lean ground beef is $3.99 while 1 pound of 93% lean ground beef is $5.49. If I’m going to be browning the meat to use in a dish like tacos or spaghetti, I can drain the fat from the meat after I have browned it. That why I’m saving money but still keeping the fat down in my meals.

Watch our new video on How to Drain Ground Beef so you can save money and reduce the fat the next time you use ground beef.

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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Ramen Noodle Skillet

The Spend Smart. Eat Smart. Ramen Noodle Skillet recipe is always a winner at my house. My husband loves it, my children devour it, and even the grandmas and grandpas enjoy it when they come to visit. Ramen noodles are an inexpensive and easy meal, but they do not keep you full for long. Our Ramen Noodle Skillet adds vegetables and meat to give those noodles staying power.

I would enjoy telling you how to make this dish, but I don’t need to. We now have a short Ramen Noodle Skillet video that will show you all you need to know about this delicious recipe. Take a minute to watch our new video and then add the recipe to your menu for this week. Enjoy!

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

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

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Kiwi

My family loves kiwi fruit. One of my favorite stories of my oldest son involves kiwi fruit. One night, my husband had washed two kiwis and set them on a paper towel to air dry. He intended to put them in his lunch the next morning before he headed to work, but he forgot. At lunch that day, I peeled and cut up the kiwis and shared them with my son who was two years old at the time. I told him that these were daddy’s kiwis and, since he forgot them, we were going to eat them. He thought it was so funny that we were eating “daddy’s tiwis”. That night when my husband returned home, my son started laughing so hard that he could hardly speak. Finally, we heard him say, “we ate your tiwis daddy!”.

Each time I eat a kiwi, I think of my two year old son mispronouncing the word kiwi. For a long time, I wondered if I was eating kiwi the right way. I just did not know the best way to get at them. As it turns out, there really is no right or wrong way to eat a kiwi – you can eat the whole thing, you can cut it in half and scoop out the inside, or you can peel it. If you would like to use kiwi slices to decorate a fruit pizza or kiwi dices to put in a fruit salad (or feed a hungry two year old), peeling the kiwi is the way to go. We have a new video that shows the quickest and easiest way to peel a kiwi – the spoon method.

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

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

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Featured Video – Scrambled Egg Muffins

The Spend Smart. Eat Smart. team is very excited to share some new resources with you. This week, we are unveiling the first in a series of short, new videos that teach basic recipes and cooking skills. We hope you love them as much as we do!

This week’s featured videos is for Scrambled Egg Muffins. These are delicious for a weekend breakfast for company or a make-ahead breakfast to eat throughout the week. Each serving has vegetables and protein to get your day started right. In addition, in our part of the country, this recipe costs just $0.59 per serving!

Check out our new video and get the recipe for Scrambled Egg Muffins from our website.

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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Safety with Leftovers

Sometimes those great deals at the pizza place or restaurant are too good to pass up. But, then what do you do with that food after you bring it home? Have you ever wondered about  leftovers once you have them in your refrigerator? How long is too long to keep food?  How can I make another meal from leftovers? View our new video on safety with leftovers. Participate in research on food safety by doing the survey before and after watching the video.

-pointers from Peggy

Zucchini Pie, one of my summer favorites

I love this Zucchini Pie recipe. Sometimes I double the recipe and eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner when zucchini are in season, which in Iowa won’t be long now. The portions are large, but the calories are modest because zucchini is 95% water. One cup of chopped zucchini has only 20 calories, 0 fat, 1 g fiber, almost no sodium, and 35% of the vitamin C you need in a day. If you would like to see Liz making the recipe, tune in to the food prep video on our Spend Smart. Eat Smart. site.

Because summer squash develop very rapidly after pollination and they are hard to see under the plant’s large leaves, they are often picked when they are too large and overmature. They should be harvested when small and tender for best quality. Most elongated varieties are picked when they are 2 inches or less in diameter and 6 to 8 inches long. Patty Pan types are harvested when they are 3 to 4 inches in diameter.

To store summer squash, harvest small squash and place, unwashed in plastic bags in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Wash the squash just before preparation. As with most vegetables, water droplets promote decay during storage. The storage life of summer squash is brief, so use within two to three days.

Zucchini Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 or 2 zucchini, sliced (about 10 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)*
  • 1/4 cup greated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Optional: If you have fresh mushrooms or peppers, you can substitute them for some of the zucchini
    *More cheese tastes great but also adds more calories, fat, and sodium.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a large casserole or 9×13-inch pan; set aside.
  2. Wash zucchini and discard ends. Cut into slices (about 10 cups). If using large zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and remove seeds before slicing.
  3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini and onion slices and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. In bowl, stir together the eggs, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Add undrained tomatoes, and cheeses. Pour over zucchini mixture and stir to mix.
  5. Pour into casserole. Bake uncovered for 60 minutes. Top will be golden brown.
  6. Cut into squares. Serve.

Try our tuna melt…delicious, healthy and economical!

Tuna melt sandwiches sound like they should be low in fat and calories (after all, it is fish and everyone knows fish is low in fat). However, the mayonnaise, cheese and the spread used on the outside to help the sandwich brown add lots of calories. Our easy, but healthy alternative is delicious and costs only $ .88 a sandwich. See the nutrition comparisons in the table below.

 

Name

Calories

Grams of Fat

Mg of Sodium

Dunkin Donuts’ tuna melt

770

30

1560

Quiznos’ tuna melt

1420

118

1535

Jason Deli

959

62

1309

Spend Smart Tuna Melt

340

13

950

One of our recipe testers says, “I love the flavor combination of tuna, green onions and garlic, as well as the textures of the toasted whole wheat bread and melted American cheese. It’s a popular, healthy “comfort” meal at my house. We just add fruit and milk.”

Check out the tuna melt recipe and video on the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. recipe site.

Tuna Meal Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 2 6-ounce cans tuna, canned in water and drained
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped or 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 slices whole wheat bread
  • 4 slices tomato slices (1 medium tomato)
  • 4 slices (3 ounces) American cheese
    *You can use any whole grain bread or split rolls.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. In medium-size bowl, combine tuna, onion, mayonnaise, pepper, and garlic powder. Mix well.
  3. Place bread on baking sheet.
  4. Spoon about one-fourth of the tuna mixture on each piece of bread, spreading nearly to the edges. Add a tomato slice.
  5. Bake 5 minutes.
  6. Add a cheese slice on top of each sandwich and return to oven for another 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bread is toasted. Serve.