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

Can Foods Fight the Flu?

Vegetables in grocery store

In the last two years, Americans have become more interested in “functional foods” to boost their immune systems. Unfortunately, there is no one magic food that will make you invincible to colds, flu, and COVID. Over the long run, though, two eating habits can cut your risk of catching contagious illnesses.

Limit foods high in sugar, salt, and/or saturated fat. Too much of these can keep your white blood cells from
working as well as they should. Drink water, unsweetened tea, or milk more often instead of pop. Snack on fruits or
vegetables; choose baked chips over regular; enjoy whole grain granola bars over cookies. Eat baked or grilled meats
instead of fried.

Aim for at least 4–5 cups of fruits and vegetables a day. Fruits and vegetables are the main source of the vitamins
and minerals you need to resist illnesses. For example, the tomatoes and kale in this month’s soup recipe give you lots
of the antioxidant vitamins A and C. The lentils are rich in zinc, which is also important to immune health.

Interested in finding out more about foods and health habits that strengthen your immune system? Visit Today’s Dietitian, www.todaysdietitian.com, to read an excerpt from The Family Immunity Cookbook.

Source:
Today’s Dietitian, www.todaysdietitian.com

Vegetable Frittata

Frittata, toast, and fruit on plate

Serving Size: 1 slice | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups vegetables, chopped (mushrooms, onions, peppers, tomatoes)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup nonfat milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat an oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Add vegetables and sauté until tender (3–5 minutes). Reduce heat to medium low.
  3. While vegetables are cooking, beat eggs and milk together in a medium sized bowl.
  4. Stir cheese into eggs.
  5. Turn oven broiler to high.
  6. Pour egg mixture over vegetables. Cover with a lid. Cook until eggs are nearly set—about 6 minutes. Do not stir and do not remove lid.
  7. Remove lid from skillet and place skillet in the oven. Broil until eggs are completely set and lightly browned (2–3 minutes).

Nutrition information per serving:
190 calories, 12g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 295mg cholesterol, 210mg sodium, 5g total carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 3g sugar, 14g 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.

The Mixed-up Plate

Casserole

Fall is the time for mixed dishes—salads, casseroles, stir fries, soups, and stew—in which everything is tossed together. This is how to make mixed dishes healthy and delicious.

First, make sure to include at least three different food groups from MyPlate, myplate.gov/.

Then add color. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables add visual appeal as well as favor and texture to casseroles and stews. Add sautéed vegetables to your grilled cheese sandwich. Toss in dried berries and roasted vegetables to your salad. Or sauté your favorite vegetables (such as bell peppers, mushrooms, or onions), add eggs, and bake.

Mix it up. Look for recipes in which half the ingredients are nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, or beans. Use whole-grain pastas. Have meat play a supporting role.

Change up your protein. Try different types of ground meats in meat loaf and in pasta sauce. Add seafood (like shrimp, tuna, or salmon) to a stir-fry or pasta dish. Mix up your chili with beans and vegetables in place of ground meat.

Source: Adapted from Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter, bit.ly/3mjg0gC.

Craving Comfort Foods

Casserole with meat and potatoes

In the fall, we crave warm, hearty foods like cheesy casseroles and hearty soups. Often, though, these “comfort foods” are high in fat, sodium, and calories.

The next time you make your favorite “comfort foods,” try these tips to make them healthier and even more enjoyable:

  • Add extra vegetables of all types—dark green; red and orange; beans, peas, and lentils; starchy; and other vegetables—without added sauces, fats, or salt. Double the vegetables in a soup or casserole recipe to add extra vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  • Switch up your grains, making at least half of your grains whole grain. Like rice? Try replacing white rice with brown rice in your recipe. This month’s recipe uses brown rice.
  • Choose reduced-fat dairy foods, including fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese, in casseroles and cream soups. Reduced-fat cheeses, for example, have less fat but just as much favor and melt just like full-fat cheese.
  • Use lean protein foods, including lean meats, poultry, and eggs; seafood; beans, peas, and lentils; and nuts, seeds, and soy products. Cooking on a budget? Canned meats are just as nutritious, cheaper, and easier to use in casseroles.

Source: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025, bit.ly/3kf72S4.

Vegetable Safety Tips

Vegetables are part of a healthy diet. However, they can also be a source of bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. Use these food safety tips to protect yourself and your family.

Washing carrots in sink
  1. Always wash hands with soap and water before you start to prepare vegetables.
  2. Use clean equipment, including cutting board and knives.
  3. Wash all produce even if the skin will be peeled. If a produce item is labeled ready to eat, washing is not recommended and could increase risk of illness.
  4. Wash produce under running water. A scrub brush can help in cleaning produce. Soap and vegetable rinses are not necessary. If soaking is required to loosen dirt, make sure to finish by rinsing under cool or warm running water.
  5. Store any washed produce in the refrigerator.

Source: Fresh Vegetable Guide, store.extension.iastate.edu/product/12599

Scrambled Egg Muffins

Serving Size: 1 muffn | Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups vegetables (washed and diced)
  • (broccoli, red or green peppers, onion) • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup low fat cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350oF. Spray muffin tin with nonstick spray.
  2. Add chopped vegetables to muffin tin.
  3. Beat eggs in a bowl. Stir in salt, ground black pepper, and garlic powder.
  4. Pour eggs into the muffin tin and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the tin from the oven during the last 3 minutes of baking. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the muffins and return the tin to the oven.
  5. Bake until the temperature reaches 160oF or a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Tips:
Use other vegetables such as mushrooms, tomato, or spinach instead of broccoli and peppers. Diced means to cut into small pieces (1/4 inch or less).

Nutrition information per serving:
110 calories, 6g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 190mg cholesterol, 200mg sodium, 4g total carbohydrate, 1g fber, 2g sugar, 8g 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.

Scrub by Scrub: The Importance of Washing Your Produce

Strainer of asparagus

As we transition from winter to spring, many fruits and vegetables—like asparagus and strawberries—start to be in season! It is very important to remember to wash fresh produce prior to eating in order to remove any harmful bacteria like E. coli or listeria. The next time you reach for a fruit or vegetable, use these strategies to ensure it’s clean and fresh:

  • Wash your produce immediately before eating. Washing some produce—like berries—before storing actually hastens spoilage.
  • Wash all produce in cold water; do not use detergents or soap to clean the outside of your fruit.
  • Try using a vegetable brush for fruits and vegetables that have a thick skin.
  • Produce that has tiny nooks and crannies—like cauliflower and broccoli—should be soaked in cold, clean water for one to two minutes.
  • You don’t need to rewash products that are labeled “ready to eat” or “triple washed.”

For visual demonstrations of other ways to select, store, and prepare food, check out the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website (spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/videos).

Veggie Bean Wrap

Veggie bean wrap

Serving Size: 1 prepared wrap | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 green or red bell peppers (seeded and chopped)
  • 1 onion (peeled and sliced)
  • 1 can (15 ounce) black beans (no salt added) (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 mangos, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 avocado (peeled and diced)
  • 4 whole wheat tortillas (10 inch)

Instructions:

  1. Use a nonstick pan over medium heat. Sauté bell peppers and onion for 5 minutes. Add beans and stir well. Reduce heat to low. Simmer about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir mangos and lime juice in a small bowl. Add cilantro and avocado. Reserve half the mixture for topping.
  3. Fill warmed tortillas. Use 1/4 bean mixture and 1/4 mango mixture.
  4. Fold over ends of the tortilla. Roll up to make wraps. Top wraps with the rest of the mango mixture.

Nutrition information per serving:

464 calories, 12g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 250mg sodium, 76g total carbohydrate, 19g fiber, 0g added sugar,
17g protein

Adapted from MyPlate Kitchen, www.choosemyplate.gov/recipes/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap/veggie-bean-wrap

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