Posts Categorized: Food

How to make Fast and Frozen Fantastic!

Frozen food doesn’t have to be scary!

After you’ve juggled all of your to-dos for the day, and put out a few “fires” there are times when suppertime suddenly sneaks up on you, and you realize you haven’t prepared a thing. Usually this means panicking-and tossing whatever you have in the pantry and freezer together, shelving your healthy recipes for the night. But wait! Last minute meals can be healthy, even when they come from the freezer. Yes, that’s right…just make sure that your freezer is stocked with the following ingredients for and you can make healthy recipes for dinner in a flash.  Here are some dinner ideas:

Frozen shrimp or other cooked fish

  • Cooks in minutes, great for stir fries.
  • Cook ½ cup whole-wheat pasta per person. Drain. In a skillet sauté for 4 minutes: ½ cup scallops/shrimp per person, 1 cup frozen peas per person, 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil per person, 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese. Add the cooked pasta and mix.

Frozen Brussels sprouts

  • Steam and toss with dill.

Frozen broccoli

  • Simmer 2 cups of broccoli and one potato in one quart of broth. Purée to soup consistency. Stir in 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese.

Frozen soybeans/lima beans

  • Steam for 2 minutes. Add seasoned rice vinegar.
  • Makes a high-protein snack.

Frozen apple or pineapple juice concentrate

  • Use to replace some sugar in baked goods with real fruit sugar (see recipe below for Pantry/Freezer Apple Spice Muffins).

Frozen whole-wheat tortellini

  • Great as a small portion loaded up with veggies (crushed tomatoes, sliced pepper and onions, etc.

Frozen berries

  • Irreplaceable superfoods-smoothies/baking.

Frozen pizza

  • Thin-crust and whole-wheat: add seeds, veggies, etc

Here is one of my quick and easy chicken recipes that will make a healthy dinner in a snap!

 Skillet Chicken

This meal comes together in a flash with barely the basics from the fridge. It is a fool proof, adaptive formula that can be cooked on the stovetop, stuffed into the oven or the whole skillet can go on the BBQ depending upon your gear and energy level. Just about any frozen veg does the trick, mix ‘em up if you have to. Any mustard flavour, and any jam or jelly works, water or broth can sub for wine…you really can’t mess this one up.  It is your go to “cook’s night off” solution.

 

Serving Size: 4     Preparation Time: 20 minutes

  • 4   boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
  • 2 red pepper — sliced
  • 4 cups frozen broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper jelly
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon butter

 

Rub chicken breast with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper as you warm a cast iron skillet.

Add oil and brown chicken breasts on both sides for 2 minutes.

Add red peppers and stir for 2-3 minutes.

Stir in broccoli. Mix in mustard and red pepper jelly, cover and allow to cook through for 10-15 minutes. Pour in wine, add butter and simmer for 1 minute to finish.

 

 

About the Author

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

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Remember the good old days of PB & J?

When we were kids lunches were just peanut butter and jam slapped on bread, a juice box and that was that. Now things are more complicated and you’re probably already sick to death of making your child’s school lunches. With allergies and litter free restrictions and your own kids’ preferences lunches can’t be just a sandwich anymore.  Here are a few brown bag lunch ideas to spruce up the old ho hum ordeal.

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Jennifer Chait

Think outside of the bread box. Here are some lunch options that forgo the bread and some school approved fillings:

  • Romaine, Swiss chard, steamed kale leaves or Boston lettuce as wraps
  • Rice paper wraps (they make great day old salad holders)
  • Grilled Portobello mushrooms stuffed with filling of your choice
  • Apple slices stacked with cheddar cheese
  • Use skewers to layer fruits
  • Baby pita used for dipping; layer bean burrito fillings: refried beans, cheese, salsa…in mini containers.
  • Hollowed out cucumber stuffed with tuna
  • Celery filled with cream cheese
  • Red pepper halves hold everything nicely

Jazz up fillings by turning them into salad toppers. Try:

  • Tuna, olives, grapes chopped celery
  • Cooked potatoes, chick peas, curry powder and yogurt
  • Salmon, dill, chopped kale, honey mustard
  • Feta cheese, chopped peppers steamed Brussels sprouts, oregano
  • Frozen spinach, blue cheese, mayo, dried thyme, chopped garlic

Slap this list on the fridge and take a look at it whenever you want to avoid the brownbag burnout.

Here is a healthy recipe for a delicious sandwich that all can enjoy!

 

Baby Kale Caesar Salad Sandwiches

This mixture is equally good cold or grilled. If you want to take it for lunch, keep the salad filling separate until you are ready to enjoy and pre-scoop the buns.  Keep insides and break up onto a cookie sheet, toast in oven and then blend into breadcrumbs. (If you want to go low carb or paleo, simply swap the bread for rice or lettuce wraps!)

Makes: 4     Takes:15 minutes

4 whole grain Kaisers or Rolls

2 boiled eggs

½ cup silken tofu

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tsp anchovy paste (optional)

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp grainy mustard

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 clove minced garlic

8 cups baby kale leaves or other hearty greens

Mash boiled eggs with tofu, parmesan, anchovy paste, lemon zest, juice, mustard, vinegar, oil and garlic.  Mix well and toss with kale. Scoop out the centre of each roll. Stuff into bread bowls.

If you wish to have a hot sandwich, add a layer of shaved parmesan and grill on a Panini press or in a skillet, pressing to flatten.

 

About the Author

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

Smoothies-Smooth or Stupid Move?

Should you be a smoothie monster? It’s true that you can hide a whole bunch of fruits and vegetables in any blender, even disguising spinach in this trendy drink. But while a few sips of this stuff may be worth a whole serving or two of fruits and vegetables, are they all they are still a healthy food?

It depends upon your goals.  While many weight loss regimes are touting smoothies as the holy grail amongst the myriad of weight loss tips, if you’re using a smoothie diet as your weight loss regime, you may actually be working against yourself.  Most contain 400 + of liquid calories and liquid calories are not processed by the brain as effectively as food that needs to be chewed.  You are made to sit down and work for your fuel, chewing sends the right satiety message to your body and brain.

Another issue with drinking your calories is that even healthy smoothies can be high in sugar.  Many have jumped on the green smoothie as a part of a healthy breakfast but most people put a high serving of fruits in their green drinks to disguise the taste of the veggies. All of that fruit equals sugar-(yes,even if it is all natural and from fruit). And fruit smoothies without veggies, can be high in calories and will spike blood sugar even higher. For healthy smoothie recipes, keep portions small and focus on proteins as well as nutrients from low cal vegetables.  Munch on handful of nuts to engage your brain and help beat the satiety odds, or add them to your smoothie.

If your goal is to smack as much into a kid’s mouth before rushing out the door, then the story is slightly different.  You still want to make sure they are only getting 1 or 2 servings of fruit, but because they can be very high in sugar you also want to focus on protein source.  Whey powder seems to be the most palatable for kids and many brands are now lactose free.  For vegetarian recipes, be sure to choose organic if you are using soy protein otherwise you are likely getting a genetically modified soy. Brown Rice and Pea protein are growing in popularity and are terrific sources too, albeit more expensive. Hemp protein can be gritty and green but it is a very nourishing option. It would be great to rotate your type of protein powder so you don’t get too much of a good thing, just be sure you choose a brand that doesn’t have sugar or other sweeteners since they add empty calories.

Another way to make healthy breakfast smoothies is to sneak in a few leaves of baby spinach, kale or even parsley or mint for some chlorophyll, fibre and phytonutrients. Add cinnamon for its anti-inflammatory properties and plain, unsweetened cocoa powder (great if you need to hide a color- if it looks chocolate, it is more likely to be accepted). Feel free to blend in some yogurt, Greek is best with its high protein count for protein smoothie recipes, but be sure to choose an unsweetened brand.

Here is a list of ingredients to make healthy smoothie recipes. Ask your child to circle their own concoction. You can’t really go wrong with mixing and matching fun and the process gives them some control over the outcome. And you know how I feel about giving the eating power back to the one who will have to manage it for life…right?

Follow these tips and a green smoothie really will be a part of a healthy breakfast. Bottoms up!

Liquid

Protein

Fruit

Veg

Flavourings

Milk Whey powder Berries Spinach Cinnamon
Almond milk Organic soy Banana baby kale Cocoa powder
Rice Milk Pea protein Pineapple parsley Vanilla extract
Greek Yogurt Hemp Protein applesauce carrot juice nutmeg
Coconut water Rice protein Cherries fennel fronds

 

About the Author:

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

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