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

Sweet Potato Fries

Serving Size: 2/3 cup fries and 1 tablespoon dip | Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 4 medium)
  • 1 tablespoon oil (canola or vegetable)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Dip:

  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, chili powder, or paprika

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Rinse potatoes under running water. Scrub potatoes well.
  3. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Lay each potato half fat and slice into half-round shapes about ¼” thick.
  4. Combine potatoes, oil, and salt in a bowl. Stir so potatoes are covered with oil.
  5. Grease cookie sheet with oil and lay potato slices in a single layer.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes, turning after 15 minutes.
  7. Mix the dip ingredients together while potatoes are baking.
  8. Serve immediately. These are best when served hot.

Nutrition information per serving: 150 calories, 4g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 5mg cholesterol, 220mg sodium, 26g total carbohydrate, 3g fber, 6g 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

Sweet Potatoes: Not Just for Thanksgiving!

Baked sweet potato

November is Sweet Potato Awareness Month! Sweet potatoes are often a part of Thanksgiving dinner, but why not enjoy them all winter long? These nutritious tubers are very versatile.

Sweet potatoes come in a variety of colors, including orange, white, and purple. Orange and purple sweet potatoes are high in antioxidants, which help fght infammation and may protect against cancer. All sweet potatoes give you vitamins A and C, fber, and potassium.

One cup of cooked sweet potato with skin provides 6.6 g of fber, about one-fourth of your daily fber recommendation. The fber in sweet potatoes feeds the “good gut bugs” that are important for gut health and keep you regular. The vitamin A prevents vision loss and improves eye health. The vitamin C promotes healthy skin, helps heals wounds, and enhances immune function. Potassium helps maintain healthy blood pressure.

You can enjoy sweet potatoes in many ways—mashed, grilled, steamed, microwaved, even in pancakes. Try today’s Sweet Potato Fries recipe!

Source: Produce for Better Health Foundation, fruitsandveggies.org

Lunch and Learn!

Working and homeschooling at home this fall? The structure of school and work can help limit our eating to designated meal times. When we’re all at home all day, though, we may graze on less-than-healthy choices. What to do?

  • Involve the whole family in planning meals and menus. Family members can suggest weekly menu items, including something new. The ISU Extension and Outreach Spend Smart. Eat Smart. (spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/) website has planning tips and a Five Day Meal Planning Worksheet (tinyurl.com/yyhaf3w2).
  • Get the family involved in preparation and cooking. They may be more inclined to help if the menu was their suggestion. Children will learn colors, shapes, reading, math, and science as they cook, without realizing they are “learning.”
  • Prep meals in advance. View this video to learn how to Cook Now, Enjoy Later (vimeo.com/419747928).
  • Make snack bins in your fridge and on your kitchen table for both perishable and nonperishable snacks.
    – Nonrefrigerated Snacks: peanut butter; washed fresh fruit such as pears or bananas; individual bags of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, whole-grain crackers, or trail mix; individual applesauce or fruit cups; or Apple Cinnamon Bread (see featured recipe).
    – Refrigerated Snacks: low-fat yogurt; precut vegetables and fruits such as apples, carrots, and celery; or high-protein foods such as cottage cheese, cheese sticks, hummus, or hard-cooked eggs.
  • Keep sweet and salty snacks out of sight.
  • Everyone “starving” right before a meal? Set cut-up raw vegetables out while the meal is being prepared. Watch Veg Out! (vimeo.com/419742344) for more on vegetables.
  • Remember you don’t have to be perfect at this. Do your best as a family and have fun.

Sources:
Adapted from American Institute for Cancer Research (aicr.org).
For more snack ideas see the ISU Extension and Outreach publication Snacks for Healthy Kids (store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/4605).

Apple Cinnamon Bread

Serving Size: 1 slice | Serves: 16

slices of apple cinnamon bread

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 apple, unpeeled, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together white sugar, applesauce, oil, and eggs until well combined.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together flours, baking powder, and the 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
  4. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir together just until combined.
  5. Gently stir in diced apple.
  6. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Spread batter evenly through the pan.
  7. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and the 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Sprinkle over the top of the batter.
  8. Bake for 45–50 minutes until a tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Nutrition information per serving:
150 calories, 2.5 total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 25mg cholesterol, 40mg sodium, 24g total carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 12g sugar, 3g protein

Recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website (spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/)

Home Food Preservation: Apples and Tomatoes

The gardening and preserving season is winding down, but it is never too late to learn about safe home food preservation. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is offering two online food preservation classes in October.

  • Preserve the Taste of Summer: Totally Tomatoes – Learn about canning and freezing tomatoes, salsa, and other tomato products. Canning includes both water bath and pressure canning.
    – Thursday, October 8, 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
    – Monday, October 12, 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Preserve the Taste of Summer: All About Apples – Learn about canning applesauce and apple pie filling, as well as freezing and drying apples.
    – Thursday, October 22, 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
    – Wednesday, October 28, 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.

These fun and interactive classes will benefit both newbies and experienced home preservers. All sessions are one hour and free of charge. Register on the Preserve the Taste of Summer website (extension.iastate.edu/humansciences/preserve-taste-summer).

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