Vegetable Pasta Soup

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups | Serves: 8

Ingredients:

• 1 tablespoon oil (canola or vegetable)
• 4 cups vegetables (like onions, carrots, and zucchini) (chopped or sliced)
• 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with green chilies
• 1 can (14.5 ounces) low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
• 2 cups water
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning or dried basil
• 2 cups small whole wheat pasta (shell or macaroni)
• 6 cups fresh spinach leaves (about 1/2 pound)

Instructions:

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add onions and carrots. Cook until they are softened. Stir often. This should take about 3 minutes.
2. Stir in zucchini and canned tomatoes. Cook 3–4 minutes.
3. Stir in the broth, water, salt, and Italian seasoning or dried basil. Bring to a boil.
4. Stir in the pasta and spinach. Return to a boil.
5. Cook until the pasta is tender using the time on the package for a guide.

 

Nutrition information per serving:
130 calories, 16g total fat, 6g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 100mg cholesterol, 210mg sodium, 21g total carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 2g sugar, 35g protein Recipe courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit the Spend Smart. Eat Smart site.

How Dangerous Is Double Dipping?

Salsa in bowlThere’s always one person at holiday gatherings who double dips at the table. They take a bite out of their chip or carrot and then inconspicuously stick it back in the dip again. This habit is gross, but is it actually dangerous? A study conducted recently by Harvard Medical School found that double dipping can add bacteria to dips.

No studies have examined how much disease double dipping causes. However, saliva from a sick person often contains infectious germs. Researchers say your chances of getting sick from a healthy person who double dips are less than from sick people who cough or sneeze without washing their hands. Still, to protect the health of your guests, serve them dip on individual plates or put a spoon in the dip, so they won’t be tempted to double dive into the common dip bowl.

Source: Shmerling RH. “Double dipping” your chip: Dangerous or just…icky?” Harvard Health Publishing. August 4, 2016.

Black Bean Burgers

Black Bean Burger

Serving Size: 1 burger | Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 can low sodium black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Optional: cheese slices, lettuce leaves, mushrooms, onion, tomato, whole wheat bread or hamburger buns

Instructions

  1. Mash beans with a fork.
  2. Stir mashed beans, egg, bread crumbs, onion, pepper, and oil together until combined. Shape into 4-inch patties. Wash hands.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Place patties in the skillet and cover with a lid. Cook patties for 5 minutes on the first side. Flip patties and cook for 4 more minutes on the other side.
  5. Serve with optional ingredients.

Nutrition information per serving:

200 calories, 6g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 45mg cholesterol, 260mg sodium, 28g total carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 2g sugar, 10g protein

Recipe courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu.

Super Cooling for Safety

thermometerSoups, casseroles, and pot roasts are a great way to warm up on a cool autumn day. Super cooling a large quantity of hot leftovers or planned-overs made in advance is a good idea to keep food safe. Do not cool hot food at room temperature or place large quantities of hot food in the refrigerator. Both practices can cause food to be in the temperature danger zone (40°F–140°F) for too long, which may lead to bacterial growth. Options for super cooling include the following:

  • Super cool a large roast or poultry by cutting it into smaller pieces. Refrigerate pieces in a single layer.
  • Reduce large quantities of hot food by putting them in smaller, shallow metal pans. Place shallow pans in refrigerator or freezer to cool.
  • Place a large pot of hot food in an ice bath (sink of ice and cold water). Stir occasionally until food is cool, then refrigerate.

Download Kitchen Companion: Your Safe Food Handbook from the USDA for home food safety guidance.

Mini Salmon Loaves

Serving Size: 1 loaf | Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup canned Alaska salmon, drained (skinless, boneless, flaked)
  • 1 egg, large (slightly beaten)
  • 1 tablespoon milk (fat free)
  • 1 teaspoon minced dried onion
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill weed, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons whole wheat bread crumbs

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Place salmon in a medium bowl.
3. Break apart chunks of salmon using a fork.
4. Add egg, milk, onion, dill weed, lemon pepper, and bread crumbs. Mix well.
5. Divide salmon mixture into 6 even portions.
6. Shape each portion into a mini loaf.
7. Bake for 15 minutes. Heat to 160°F or higher for at least 15 seconds.
8. Serve 1 loaf (about 1 1/2 oz. cooked).

Nutrition information per serving: 82 calories, 3g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 101mg cholesterol, 197mg sodium, 3g total carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 11g protein

Recipe source: USDA What’s Cooking?

Sheet Pan Meal Safety

Sheet pan mealSheet pan meals are a popular trend for those on a busy schedule. These meals often contain a protein source for the main dish and two vegetables for sides—cooked together on a single sheet pan in the oven. Cooking multiple menu items in one pan appeals to those looking for recipes that require little preparation and use minimal dishes. Sheet pan meals can be very convenient and nutritious. However, it is important to keep food safety in mind. Follow these tips for a safe sheet pan meal:

  • Wash the vegetables thoroughly before cooking. This can prevent the introduction of bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.
  • Use separate utensils and cutting boards for produce and raw meats.
  • Cook the protein source to the correct internal temperature:
    • Chicken—165oF
    • Beef (steaks, chops)—145oF
    • Pork—145oF
    • Seafood—145oF

Chicken Fajitas

Serving Size: 2/3 cup | Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons oil (canola or vegetable)
  • 1 red bell pepper (thinly sliced)
  • 1 green bell pepper (thinly sliced)
  • 1 medium onion (thinly sliced)• 6 (8 inch) whole wheat tortillas
  • 6 ounces low fat cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
  • 1 cup tomato, chopped (optional)
  • Cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • Jalapeño, sliced (optional)

Instructions

  1. Freeze chicken 30 minutes until firm and easier to cut. Cut chicken into 1/4” strips. Place in a single layer on a plate.
  2. Wash hands, knife, and cutting board. Sprinkle both sides of strips with chili and garlic powder.
  3. Add oil to a 12-inch skillet. Heat to medium high. Add chicken strips. Cook about 3–5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add bell peppers and onion. Stir and cook until vegetables are tender and chicken is no longer pink. (Heat chicken to at least 165°F.)
  5. Scoop chicken mixture (2/3 cup each) onto tortillas. Top with your favorite toppings.
  6. Serve flat or rolled.

Nutrition information per serving (1 tortilla with 2/3 cup filling): 260 calories, 9g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 50mg cholesterol, 410mg sodium, 4g dietary fiber, 27g carbohydrate, 2g sugar, 22g protein

Recipe courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu

Grilling What’s in Your Garden

Steak kabob

Summer is here, and it’s time to fire up the grill and enjoy fresh foods! Grilling is a healthy, quick, and easy way to
prepare meals. You can use little or no fat when grilling meats and vegetables, without sacrificing flavor. You can even reduce dirty dishes by grilling veggies in foil! Summer squash, like zucchini, tomatoes, corn, and peppers, are all typically ready to harvest in July—and are great on the grill. Here are some fun ways to grill healthy meals:

  • Grill a vegetable pizza (there are many recipes online).
  • Chop two or three veggies (summer squash, onion, tomato) and a lean meat into cubes, layer on a kabob, and grill.
  • For a grilled “stir-fry,” cut up chunks of onion, pepper, and lean beef. Toss together with low sodium soy sauce and spices such as garlic powder and ginger. Grill in foil pan and serve with brown rice.

Chili Popcorn

Serving Size: 1 cup | Serves: 4Popcorn

Ingredients

  • 4 cups popped corn
  • 1 tablespoon margarine, melted
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Dash garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Mix popcorn and margarine in a bowl.
  2. Mix seasonings thoroughly and sprinkle over popcorn. Mix well or shake in a clean bag.
  3. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving: 60 calories, 4g total fat, 1g saturated fat, Xg trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 35mg sodium, 7g total carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 0g sugar, 1g protein

Source: USDA, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Eat Smart, Play Hard™

Hot Dogs and Food Safety

Hot dogs

The same general food safety guidelines apply to hot dogs as to all perishable foods: keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. When you buy hot dogs, refrigerate or freeze them promptly. Never leave hot dogs at room temperature for more than 2 hours or 1 hour if it is 90 degrees or higher.

Although hot dogs are fully cooked, those at higher risk for foodborne illness—including pregnant women, preschoolers, older adults, and anyone with a weakened immune system—should reheat hot dogs until steaming hot because of the risk of listeriosis. Listeria monocytogenes, the bacteria that causes listeriosis, may also be found in other foods like luncheon meat, cold cuts, soft cheese, and unpasteurized milk. Symptoms may include fever, chills, headaches, backache, upset stomach, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. It may also cause miscarriages. Call your health care provider if you have any of these symptoms. If you have Listeriosis, your provider can treat you.

Source: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA

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