Stuffed Bell Peppers

Serving Size: 1 stuffed pepper | Serves: 5

Ingredients:

  • 5 bell peppers (red, orange, yellow, or green)
  • 1 pound ground beef (90% lean), uncooked
  • 3/4 cup brown rice, uncooked
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes (14 oz), low sodium
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Cut a circular hole in the tops of the bell peppers. Remove seeds and membrane and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients and stir until completely mixed. Fill the bell peppers with meat mixture.
  3. Place the stuffed bell peppers in a large stockpot on the stove with the tops facing up. Add 1 inch of water to the bottom of the pot and cover.
  4. Place heat on medium, keeping covered for 30–40 minutes until rice is done. Serve.

Nutrition information per serving:
277 calories, 8g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 57mg cholesterol, 66mg sodium, 29g total carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 4g sugar, 21g protein

See how to make this recipe and more on USDA’s MyPlate Kitchen YouTube, bit.ly/3s09zjQ.

Source: MyPlate, www.myplate.gov/myplate-kitchen/recipes

Practicing Food Safety Each Day Keeps Foodborne Illness Away

Fruits and vegetables on kitchen counter

One in six people get food poisoning—also known as a foodborne illness—every year in the United States. Young children, pregnant women, and older adults have a higher risk of foodborne illness.

Pregnant women are at high risk for listeriosis, a type of foodborne illness that causes miscarriage. Lower the risk by doing the following:

  • Cook meat, seafood, poultry and eggs thoroughly.
  • Do not eat cold deli meats or hot dogs. Heat sliced deli meats and hot dogs to 165°F or until steaming.
  • Avoid raw bean sprouts, unpasteurized milk, or cheese made from unpasteurized milk.

Adults ages 60 years and older are at higher risk for foodborne illness because the immune system weakens with age. Likewise, young children are at higher risk because their immune systems haven’t fully developed yet.

Keep everyone safe by following these food safety practices.

  1. Clean: Wash your hands thoroughly. Clean and sanitize food preparation surfaces.
  2. Separate: Keep raw meats apart from other foods that may be eaten without cooking, such as fruits and vegetables.
  3. Cook: Cook foods to the correct temperature. Use this handout on food thermometers, bit.ly/2YXooHu, for more information.
  4. Chill: Don’t leave food out of the fridge for more than two hours.

For more information on food safety in the kitchen, visit Ten Steps to a Safe Kitchen, bit.ly/3rh2r24.

Source: Ten Steps to a Safe Kitchen, bit.ly/3rh2r24

Energy Bites

Energy bites on sheet pan with milk

Serving Size: 1 energy bite | Serves: 25

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups oats (old fashioned or quick)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut fakes
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Stir all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Cover a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper. Drop mixture by tablespoonfuls onto the cookie sheet.
  3. Refrigerate 1 hour.
  4. Roll each drop of mixture into a ball. Place in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator.

Nutrition information per serving:

90 calories, 5g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 25mg sodium, 10g total carbohydrate, 2g fber, 5g sugar, 2g 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

Pasta Fagioli Soup

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups | Serves: 5

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound turkey sausage
  • 1 tablespoon oil (canola or olive)
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) white beans (cannellini or great northern) (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, low sodium
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup whole wheat pasta
  • 1 cup fresh spinach (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • Shredded parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook sausage for 6 minutes. Drain grease from sausage. Remove sausage to a plate or bowl. Wipe the remaining grease out of the pan with a paper towel.
  2. Add oil to the pan and heat over medium. Add onion and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes.
  3. Add water, broth, beans, tomatoes, and ground black pepper to the pan. Heat until boiling.
  4. Add pasta, cook until tender (8–10 min).
  5. Reduce heat to low. Add sausage and spinach. Simmer until spinach is wilted (about 3 minutes).
  6. Serve with parmesan cheese, if desired.

Nutrition information per serving:
320 calories, 8g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 35mg cholesterol, 650mg sodium, 43g total carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 5g sugar, 21g 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

Three Reasons to Have Soup for Supper!

Dinner of soup, salad, and bread
  1. People who eat more soup usually have a healthier diet. An Iowa State University study found that soup-eaters consume less fat and more fber and vitamins than nonsoup-eaters. This is probably because most soups contain a variety of vegetables.
  2. Soup is flling. Because most soups are high in water and fber, they help you feel fuller longer. For this reason, soup helps people maintain a healthy weight. To avoid excess calories, enjoy broth- or tomato-based soups, not soups with cream, cheese, or butter.
  3. Soup is easy. It can be as simple as opening a can and turning on the microwave. Even canned soup can be a healthy meal, if it’s low sodium. You can pep up the favor of low-sodium canned soup with onion or garlic powder, oregano, basil, turmeric, or a dash of hot sauce. You can also add your favorite frozen vegetables.

For more reflections on soup and the joys of healthy foods, visit Spend Smart. Eat Smart., blogs.extension.iastate.edu/spendsmart/tag/soup/.

Source: Soup consumption is associated with a lower dietary energy density and a better diet quality in US adults, lib.dr.iastate.edu/fshn_ag_pubs/120/

Time to Spill the Beans

Variety of dry beans

If you have dry or canned beans in your pantry, you have the start to an easy, budget-friendly meal. Beans are high in iron, zinc, potassium, folate, and fiber—nutrients missing in the diet of many Americans. Beans are readily available and an inexpensive source of protein. Adults should eat at least 1 1/2 cups of beans per week. They come in many sizes and varieties, including kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), black-eyed peas, split peas, and lentils. There is a type of bean to please everyone!

One of the easiest ways to prepare dried beans is in the slow cooker. Simply rinse beans and remove any small stones, dirt, or withered beans. Then combine 1 pound of dried beans (2 cups) with 8 cups of water in the slow cooker. Lastly, cook on low for 6–8 hours (or overnight), until beans are soft.

Sources:
USDA, Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020, health.gov
Spend Smart. Eat Smart., spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu

Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Soup

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

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans (15 oz each) diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup dried black beans, rinsed
  • 1 bag (16 ounces) frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound skinless boneless chicken breast, thawed
  • Optional—Baked tortilla chips, chili fakes, chopped cilantro, jalapenos, lime, chopped avocado, light sour cream, salsa, or shredded cheese

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook for 4–6 hours on high heat or 8–10 hours on low.
  2. Remove chicken right before serving. Shred using two forks. Stir shredded chicken into soup.
  3. Serve with choice of optional ingredients.

TIPS: Use Mexican diced tomatoes to add spice.

Nutrition information per serving:
210 calories, 3g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 35mg cholesterol, 270mg sodium, 28g total carbohydrate, 6g fber, 4g sugar, 19g 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

Slow Cooking, Safe Cooking

Pot of vegetable stew

January is National Slow Cooker Month, a perfect time to try out some new recipes or dig out your favorites. But first, here are some safety tips when using your slow cooker:

  • Thaw first. Always thaw meat or poultry, following safe thawing practices, before placing in a slow cooker.
  • Preheat cooker. If possible, preheat the cooker and add hot liquids.
  • Put vegetables on the bottom or sides. Vegetables cook the slowest, so place them near the heat.
  • Don’t cook on warm. Do not use the warm setting to cook food. This setting keeps food warm; it does not cook it.
  • Keep the lid on. Each time you raise the lid, the temperature drops 10–15 degrees and the cooking process slows by 30 minutes.
  • Check the temperature. Before taking a bite, use a food thermometer. Visit Foodsafety.gov for a chart on safe minimum internal cooking temperatures.
  • Cool properly. Do not leave cooked food in the crock to cool. Place leftovers in shallow containers and refrigerate.
  • Do not reheat food or leftovers in a slow cooker. Instead, reheat on stove top or microwave (165°F or above) and transfer to slow cooker to keep warm (140°F or above).

Source: USDA Slow Cookers and Food Safety, fsis.usda.gov

Slow Cooker Lentils

Serving Size: 1/2 cup | Serves: 6

Tacos on plate

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon homemade Taco Seasoning Mix
  • 3 cups water

Directions:

  1. Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Stir all ingredients together in a slow cooker.
  2. Cook on high for 4 hours.
  3. Use cooked lentils as the flling for lentil tacos, burrito bowls, or taco salads.

Tips: Visit Spend Smart. Eat Smart., spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu, for a Taco Seasoning Mix recipe. Use 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder instead of 2 cloves garlic.

Nutrition information per serving:
120 calories, 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 15mg sodium, 23g total carbohydrate, 4g fber, 2g sugar, 0g protein

This recipe 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.

Pulse Flour: A Healthy Baking Alternative

Not all four is grain. “Pulse fours” are becoming more mainstream as plant-based diets gain popularity. These fours provide a good source of protein along with other nutrients. They are also gluten free. Pulse fours are made from pulses or the edible seeds of legumes, including dry beans, chickpeas,
lentils, lupin (lupini) beans, and multiple varieties of peas.

You can buy chickpea four plain or blended with other glutenfree fours. A 1/4-cup serving of chickpea four contains 120 kilocalories, 21 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fber, 1.5 grams fat, and 5 grams protein. Key nutrients include folate, copper, and manganese. This four has a fne texture. The nutty, mild favor works well for sweet products.

Lentil four is the most nutrient-dense pulse four. You can combine it with other fours, such as almond or brown rice, in sweet and savory recipes. A 1/4-cup serving of lentil four contains 170 kilocalories, 29 grams carbohydrate, 14.5 grams fber, 0.5 grams fat, and 12 grams protein. Key nutrients include folate, iron, manganese, and potassium.

Green pea four has a mild, almost sweet favor. It is slightly lower in calories than other fours. A 1/4-cup serving of green pea four contains 100 kilocalories, 18 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams fber, 0 grams fat, and 8 grams protein. Key nutrients include folate, iron, thiamin, and zinc. Be aware that this four will turn baked goods green!

Lupin four is another good source of plant-based protein. A 1/4-cup serving of lupin four contains 110 kilocalories, 12 grams carbohydrate, 11 grams fber, 2.5 grams fat, and 11 grams protein. This four also promotes the “good gut bugs.” Individuals with peanut or soy allergies should be cautious about consuming items prepared with lupin four. This four should be blended with other fours to offset the bitter favor.

Source: The Ultimate Guide to Pulse Flours, www.todaysdietitian.com

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