Tzatziki and Pita Chips

Serving Size: 1/4 cup tzatziki with 6 pita chips | Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 cucumber (cut in half lengthwise)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic (peeled and minced) (about 1–2 cloves)
  • 2 containers (6 ounces each) plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill and/or fresh mint
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Dried basil, parsley, garlic powder (optional)

Directions:

  1. Use a spoon to scrape out seeds from the cucumber. Dice the cucumber into small pieces or shred with a grater.
  2. Spread cucumber on paper towels on top of a clean kitchen towel. Roll up the towels and squeeze to remove excess liquid. Transfer dry cucumber to a large bowl.
  3. Add the garlic, yogurt, dried dill or fresh mint, salt, and olive oil. Mix. Cover and refrigerate until served.
  4. Serve with baked pita chips.

Nutrition information per serving:
210 calories, 7g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 5mg cholesterol, 5mg sodium, 29g total carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 2g sugar, 8g protein. This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu

Dip with pita chip

Fermented Foods Support Your Health

Bread

People have been fermenting foods for nearly 10,000 years. Fermented foods we eat today include sourdough bread, yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha.

  1. In fermentation, Lactobacilli, which are natural bacteria found in fresh vegetables, feed on carbohydrates and excrete lactic acid. The lactic acid helps preserve the vegetables and gives foods a bright color and tangy flavor.
  2. Fermented foods have many health benefits. They give the body needed probiotics. Probiotics are microorganisms that live in the gut. They improve digestion, lower inflammation, and strengthen the immune system.
  3. To add more fermented foods in your diet, consider the following:
    • Eat yogurt for breakfast or a snack. Enjoy it alone, with fruit, or made into a smoothie.
    • You can also use kefir to make a smoothie. This tangy dairy beverage provides a different variety of Lactobacilli than most yogurts do.
    • Toss a little sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) into a sandwich or wrap.
    • Enjoy tempeh or miso, which are fermented soybeans. Tempeh has a nutty, hearty, mushroom-like flavor. Add it to a noodle bowl with vegetables.
    • Have naturally fermented dill pickles as a snack or a hamburger topping. Most pickles at the grocery store have been packed in vinegar and spices, not fermented. Be sure to buy “naturally fermented” pickles. You can also make your own fermented pickles. For recipes, see the ISU canning pickles instructions, https://bit.ly/3i7P4yQ.

Source: Taking a New Look at Fermented Foods, bit.ly/361haJI.

Santa Fe Stuffed Potatoes

Serving Size: 1 potato | Serves: 4

baked potato with toppings

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 cup black beans (drained and rinsed if canned)
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 cup corn (canned or frozen)
  • 1 cup cheese, shredded

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  2. Scrub potatoes and prick with fork. Bake for 1 hour or until cooked through.
  3. Stir together beans, salsa, and corn in a saucepan about 10 minutes before the potatoes are done. Heat over medium heat until simmering.
  4. Remove potatoes from oven. Cut in half lengthwise on plates. Spoon bean mixture over the top of each potato.
  5. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over each potato.

Nutrition information per serving:

380 calories, 10g total fat, 6g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 30mg cholesterol, 730mg sodium, 59g total carbohydrate, 11g fiber, 5g sugar, 17g protein

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

Meatless Meals

Quesadilla

Eating plant-based meals improves your heart health by lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Eating meatless meals may also save you money at the grocery store. According to the American Heart Association, “People who eat less meat tend to consume fewer calories, and foods such as beans are one of the most cost-effective sources of protein available.”

Follow MyPlate, myplate.gov, to plan healthy meatless meals that include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, unsalted nuts, and/or lower fat or fat-free dairy foods. Eating one meatless meal a week is a great way to start. Visit the American Heart Association, www.heart.org, for more tips on keeping your heart healthy.

Easy meatless meal ideas include the following:

  • vegetable quesadillas
  • spaghetti with tomato sauce
  • macaroni and cheese
  • bean burritos
  • vegetable stir-fry with tofu
  • lentil tacos
  • stuffed potatoes

Source: American Heart Association, www.heart.org, and Spend Smart. Eat Smart., spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu.

Put the Freeze on Spoiled Food

food in freezer

Freezing is quick and easy. It helps preserve the nutritive quality more closely to fresh food than any other food preservation method used today. When freezing foods, the goal is to keep ice crystals as small as possible. Large ice crystals can cause an undesirable soft, mushy texture.

Foods to be frozen must be packaged in a way that protects them from the dry freezer climate and excludes as much air as possible. Ideal containers for freezing must be

  • expandable or sealed with sufficient headspace for expansion;
  • moisture-vapor resistant;
  • durable and leak proof;
  • resistant to cracking and brittleness at low temperatures;
  • resistant to oil, grease, and water;
  • protective of foods from absorption of off flavors and odors; and
  • easy to seal and label.

Avoid using waxed paper, paper or cardboard cartons, any rigid carton with cracks or poorly fitting lid, or re-used plastic dairy containers (e.g., cottage cheese or yogurt containers). These do not resist moisture enough to be suitable for long-term freezer storage.

To learn more about freezing and other food preservation methods, register for Preserve the Taste of Summer 101, https://bit.ly/34pVRjQ.

Thai Curry Chicken

Serving Size: 1 cup chicken curry, 1/3 cup rice | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup instant brown rice
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken
  • 1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste*
  • 1 cup light coconut milk (about 1/2 of 13.5 ounce can)
  • 1 cup chopped spinach

Directions:

  1. Cook instant brown rice according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces.
  3. Spray a large frying pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add chicken, onion, carrots, ground black pepper, and salt. Cook over medium high heat for 8 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to medium low. Stir in curry paste and coconut milk. (*This dish is spicy. For less spice, use less curry paste or add a little more coconut milk.)
  5. Simmer for 5–10 minutes until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently.
  6. Stir in spinach. Simmer for 3 minutes more, stirring frequently.
  7. Serve curry over brown rice.

Nutrition information per serving:

290 calories, 7g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 85mg cholesterol, 390mg sodium, 29g total carbohydrates, 3g dietary fiber, 5g total sugars, 28g protein. This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu

Vegetable Soup with Kale and Lentils

Serving Size: 1 1/3 cups | Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons oil (canola or olive)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium carrot (sliced 1/8 inch thick)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic (minced)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup dry yellow or brown lentils
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil or Italian seasoning
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) no-sodium-added diced tomatoes or 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 1 bunch kale (about 7 ounces)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, carrot, garlic. Cook 5 minutes.
  3. Add water to pot. Heat to boiling.
  4. Rinse lentils in colander with water. Add to pot, simmer 20 minutes. Do not drain.
  5. Add chicken broth, dried basil or Italian seasoning, and tomatoes. Cover and cook for 5–10 minutes.
  6. Rinse kale leaves; cut out the main stems and discard. Cut leaves into 1” pieces.
  7. Stir kale, salt, and ground black pepper into lentil mixture. Return to boiling. Reduce heat, cover, simmer for 3 minutes.

Nutrition information per serving:
200 calories, 5g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 170mg sodium, 29g total carbohydrate, 12g fiber, 4g sugar, 11g protein. This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu

Food Safety Mythbusters

Blocks saying Facts and Myths

We all do our best to serve our families food that’s safe and healthy. However, do you know all you should know? A few food safety practices that many people believe and follow are actually myths.

Myth: I don’t need to wash fruits or vegetables if I'm going to peel them.

Fact: Because it’s easy to transfer bacteria from the peel or rind when you’re cutting to the inside of your fruits and veggies, it’s important to wash all produce, even if you plan to peel it.

Myth: To get rid of any bacteria on my meat, poultry, or seafood, I should rinse off the juices with water first.

Fact: Rinsing meat, poultry, or seafood with water can increase your chance of foodborne illness by splashing juices and any bacteria they might contain onto your sink and counters. If you choose to rinse for cultural reasons, make sure to clean and disinfect the sink and counters immediately afterward.

Myth: It is OK to wash bagged greens if I want to. There’s no harm!

Fact: Rinsing leafy greens that are ready to eat (those labeled “washed,” “triple washed,” or “ready to eat”) will not enhance safety. In fact, it could increase the risk for cross-contamination. This means harmful bacteria from your hands or kitchen surfaces could find their way onto the greens while washing them.

Source: Home Food Safety Mythbusters, fightbac.org

Loaded Potato Soup

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Bowl of potato soup
  • 4 medium potatoes(scrubbed, peeled, and cubed) (about 4cups)
  • 1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Optional: sliced green onions, crumbled bacon, diced ham, croutons, soup crackers

Directions:

  1. Combine potatoes, onion, garlic powder, ground black pepper, and broth in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium high heat until boiling.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally (12–15 minutes).
  3. Use a potato masher or fork to slightly mash the potatoes. This will also thicken the soup. There should still be pieces of potato in the soup.
  4. Stir in the peas, milk, and shredded cheddar cheese. Cook and stir until the cheese is melted (3–4 minutes).
  5. Add garnishes and serve right away.

Nutrition information per serving:
340 calories, 8g total fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 20mg cholesterol, 240mg sodium, 53g total carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 9g sugar, 16g protein

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

Potato 101

Potatoes are a staple in many households. While potatoes may have a bad reputation, they’re versatile (baked, mashed, fried, boiled) and nutrient rich. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium.

Potatoes

Keeping an eye on your blood sugar? You can still enjoy potatoes. Compared to many vegetables, potatoes may raise blood sugar quickly. However, the effect on your blood sugar is influenced by the type of potato and cooking method. For example, a white potato can increase blood sugar more quickly than a sweet potato, while a boiled russet potato raises blood sugar more slowly than a baked russet potato.

It’s also important to look at your entire meal versus just one food. When you enjoy potatoes with foods higher in protein and healthy fat, the potato is digested more slowly, which slows the rise of blood sugar.

FUN FACT: Don’t store potatoes with apples. Apples and many other fruits produce ethylene gas, which promotes sprouting.

Sources:
What Potatoes Have the Highest Glycemic Index?, nutritionletter.tufts.edu
7 Health and Nutrition Benefits of Potatoes, healthline.com
Produce Basics – Potatoes, spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/cook/produce-basics/

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