A Cooking Demonstration at Athleta Chicago

Mark your calendars! On January 15, 2015 from 6-8pm I will be at the Athleta store on Southport Avenue in Chicago. Come and be a part of this special cooking demo designed to inspire awesome women athletes to get cooking.

I’ll be making the soup below and you can enter for the chance to win an awesome gift basket and other athletic-inspired prizes! Cheers to a healthy 2015!

 

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Red Lentil and Curry Soup

Red lentil soup made with warm spices and fresh ginger.

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Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 1/2 cup red lentils (pick over to ensure no debris or rocks)
  • 8 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Sriracha, to taste

Instructions

  1. Place a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until they are soft and slightly translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, curry and cumin and sauté another 5 minutes.
  2. Add the cinnamon stick, lentils and chicken broth to the pot and stir. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and allow the soup to simmer, partially covered for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked.
  3. Take the soup off of the heat. Remove half of the soup and allow to cool slightly* or until warm to the touch. Keep the other half warm on the stove. Place the cooled soup in a blender (or process with a hand mixer) and pulse until pureed. Stir pureed mixture back into pot of soup and turn the flame back to medium. Add the lemon juice and stir well until hot.
  4. To serve, place the soup in bowls and garnish with cilantro and sriracha.servings

Notes

  • *It is not advised to puree hot items in a blender due to the pressure generated from the steam. Be safe and allow your soup to cool slightly to prevent injuring yourself.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 6
  • Calories: 557
  • Sugar: 1
  • Sodium: 189
  • Fat: 17
  • Saturated Fat: 4
  • Unsaturated Fat: 11
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 32
  • Protein: 67
  • Cholesterol: 166

Recipe Redux: English Muffin Bread

I absolutely love bread. I don’t think I could possibly live without it, nor would I like to try. Bread finds its way into almost every one of my meals. Too much you say? Yes, perhaps, but you know I am a dietitian, so of course I am careful to always balance it with other healthful foods and try to choose whole grain versions.

My love of bread started at a young age, but that love grew even more once I attended culinary school. After my first baking class I realized that I could make bread! I had seen my grandmother do it, but never thought I was capable of such a daunting task. All of that yeast and kneading? Looked like a puzzling science project to me! But there I was, in class, making bread. Sure, it wasn’t the best looking bread, but I made it myself. I was hooked and I wanted more! Well, you can imagine the joy in my heart then, the day I learned that the school had a monthly gathering of bread enthusiasts. This monthly gathering, fondly known as the Bread Guild, was where bread lovers got together and made bread under the careful direction of one passionate bread-baker-instructor named Chef Tom Beckman. So I went and I made bread and I failed more often than succeeded, but in that failure I learned. I learned that making bread is an art form. It requires patience for precisely measuring ingredients. It requires insight to know just when you’re bread is properly proofed. It requires love to properly handle and knead it to perfectly work the gluten. And finally, it requires skill! And that skill comes from making bread over and over again.
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This month’s Recipe Redux challenge was for us to open a cookbook and turn to page 42 or page 142 and make the recipe from either of those pages healthier. I went immediately to The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook that was a wonderful gift from my in-law’s for Christmas one year. I turned to page 42 and ironically, it was a page about reading the Nutrition Facts Panel. So, I turned to page 142 and I drew a sigh of relief because it was the bread section! English Muffin Bread lives on this page and boy do I love English Muffins, so I decided to Redux this recipe.

The original recipe is pretty simple, not requiring too many ingredients. Looking at it, I knew it could be amped-up nutritionally. So, I swapped out some all-purpose flour and replaced it with whole wheat pastry flour. Then I subbed honey for the sugar and added some ground flax seed. I felt like it was lacking a little salt, so I increased that to boost flavor. I love the results and am going to keep playing with this recipe to incorporate even more nutritious ingredients.

So, to make a long story, longer, I am so happy that this redux involved one of my favorite foods and one of my favorite cooking techniques. This bread recipe is a keeper and one I will be serving to friends and family. Heads-up, this is a fantastic bread for toast! Smear it with peanut butter and some slices of strawberry for a delicious breakfast or snack.
 

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A Nutritious Redux of English Muffin Bread

A more nutritious version of the original. Whole grain flour and flax seed is a perfect complement to this delicious hearty bread.

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  • Yield: 1

Ingredients

  • Cornmeal, as needed
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground flax seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Spray one 8x4x2-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Lightly sprinkle pan with enough cornmeal to coat the bottom and sides; set pan aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour, 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, yeast, flax seed and baking soda. In a medium saucepan heat and stir milk, water, honey and salt until just warm (120’F to 130’F). Using a wooden spoon, stir milk mixture into flour mixture. Stir in remaining flour.
  3. Place dough in prepared pan. Sprinkle top with cornmeal. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size (about 45-60 minutes).
  4. Bake in a 400’F oven about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove bread from the pan. Cool on a wire rack.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 16
  • Calories: 118
  • Sugar: 2
  • Sodium: 176
  • Fat: 1
  • Saturated Fat: 0
  • Unsaturated Fat: 1
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 23
  • Protein: 3
  • Cholesterol: 1

 

 


A Simple Turkey Recipe

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Can you believe that Thanksgiving is less than a week away? Me neither! It’s seems to have shown up unexpectedly like it always seems to do. If you’re anything like me, you always try to do way too much during the holiday season. Cramming every moment of free time with some kind of activity. With all of the things you have to do, why not make the cooking of the Thanksgiving turkey just a little bit easier and a lot less stressful? Sound good to you? Then follow this link to my Whole Roasted Turkey with Lemon and Fresh Herbs found on TheCuttingBoard.org blog.

Red Lentil Soup with Toasted Cumin and Coriander

As a newly minted member of the Recipe Redux, I was overjoyed that my first recipe theme was “spooky” spices. “Great!” I thought, “I love Halloween and I love spices!” I had a million ideas, that was until I saw the complete description of the October theme. As I read on, it became clear that they were going with a different angle. It turns out that I had to find a spice that I was afraid of or one that I had used that turned out to be a total failure.

Embarrassingly, I have had plenty of total disasters involving spices. Let’s see, there was the curried chicken dish that I served my husband that tasted like glue. Or the pot of 9 bean soup that had a flavor profile that likely resembled fresh dirt. How could I choose? I settled on cumin seed. Years ago I had made a recipe that called for toasting cumin seed. I was young and just out of college, trying to impress my friends. Thinking that I knew what I was doing, I set the cumin seed in the pan, turned the heat to high and walked away. Anyone who has toasted spices knows this is a huge mistake. Those cumin seeds went from smelling wonderful to smelling like a 5-alarm fire. It was a mess and without any back-up seeds, I had to serve a sub-par dish. So here I am, many years later, ready and willing to tackle the cumin seed again. This time, I would make soup and being older and wiser, I would stand-by, keeping an eye on those precious seeds so that they wouldn’t burn.

Ironically, I now love toasting spices. It adds so much complexity and warmth to a dish. In this recipe I decided to use red lentils as a hearty neutral base because they accept spices so well. I included a trimmed and lightly macerated stalk of lemongrass to the cooking liquid to provide a refreshing hint of citrus. And to finish, I added light coconut milk which gives the soup a delightful creamy sweetness.

Fearful no more of toasting spices, I am instead grateful for the learning experience I got from those cooking disasters. I will continue to make mistakes, but from mistakes sometimes come the best results! Bon Appetit!

 

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Red Lentil Soup with Toasted Cumin and Coriander

Earthy red lentils cooked with toasted spices and lemongrass-infused broth then finished with a touch of light coconut milk.

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Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup chopped onion)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced (about 3/4 cup chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3/4 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and smashed*
  • 3/4 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Set a pot over medium heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot add the celery, onion and carrots and cook vegetables until softened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the cumin seed, coriander and cayenne to the pot and cook, stirring frequently to toast the spices, about 1-2 minutes. Add lentils, broth and lemongrass and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until lentils are cooked and tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the coconut milk and cook 5 minutes more. Add lemon juice, then remove pot from the heat.
  4. Using a stick blender or regular blender, puree the soup to a smooth consistency. (Note: If using a regular blender, stay safe and prevent unwanted burns by blending in batches and allowing soup to cool slightly before pureeing.
  5. Serve warm topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Notes

  • To prepare the lemongrass for the soup, first remove the outer leaves from the stalk. Take off a few layers until you get to the more tender inner leaves. Trim off the root end and also cut off the top of the stalk, leaving about 5 inches of lemongrass. Gently smash the stalk using a meat mallet, the back of a large knife or rolling pin to release the oils and then add to the soup pot.
  • Portion is a generous 1/2 cup.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 6
  • Calories: 282
  • Sugar: 1
  • Sodium: 71
  • Fat: 13
  • Saturated Fat: 7
  • Unsaturated Fat: 5
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 18
  • Protein: 24
  • Cholesterol: 52

 


Upgrade Your Breakfast Sandwich

I love a good egg breakfast sandwich. Note that I said a “good” breakfast sandwich, which ahem, means one that has good-quality eggs, whole grain bread and lots of yummy veggies. Those fast food places have a knack for making something that could be such a nutritious start to your day, a complete disaster! Sure they can be quite delicious, but that flavor comes at a nutritional cost since they are loaded with sodium, saturated fat and calories.

My idea you ask? Make your own and take it up a notch! My version is prepared using harissa, a popular spicy condiment used in North African cooking. Harissa is low in calories, but is amazingly flavorful and packed with nutrition thanks to the olive oil, red peppers and spices. My version also uses a whole wheat English muffin to replace the processed white muffin and is topped with refreshing lettuce greens for added nutrition.

The trick in getting people to appreciate and enjoy healthier cooking is to provide recipes loaded with flavor. My family loves this sandwich and doesn’t seem to miss those fast food breakfast sandwiches loaded with processed meats and cheeses.

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Egg Breakfast Sandwich with Harissa

A flavorful twist on a delicious breakfast sandwich.

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Ingredients

Harissa

  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • ½ cup roasted red bell pepper, drained
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Eggs

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 large eggs, whole
  • 4 large eggs, whites only
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 4 English muffins (preferably whole wheat), toasted
  • 2 cups arugula or mixed lettuce greens, cleaned

Instructions

To Prepare the Harissa

  1. Place a small skillet over medium heat. Add the caraway and cumin seeds and toast until aromatic, about 1-2 minutes. Swirl the pan while toasting to prevent burning. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chili powder and stir for one more minute. Remove the seeds and chili powder from the pan, transfer to a clean coffee or spice grinder (a mortar and pestle will work too) and grind into a fine powder.
  2. Add the ground spices to a food processor, followed by the garlic, roasted red bell pepper, olive oil, and sugar. Purée, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until the paste is smooth, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

To Make the Breakfast Sandwich

  1. Heat the remaining oil a non-stick pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the onion and sauté for 5-7 minutes or until onion is softened.
  2. While the onion is cooking, whip together the eggs, salt and pepper.
  3. Add the egg mixture all at once to the pan with the onions and cook for one minute. Do not stir. Using a spatula, gently fold and lift the egg mixture, allowing the uncooked portions to flow under and cook. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until eggs are cooked, but still moist.
  4. Spread 1 tablespoon of harissa on each half of the English muffins. Divide the egg mixture evenly among the muffin bottoms and top with ½ cup of greens. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Note: This recipe will yield approximately 1 cup of harissa. Leftover harissa can be used as a condiment for burgers, sandwiches and wraps. It can also be mixed with olive oil or yogurt and used as a marinade. Refrigerate in a sealed container and use within 2-4 days.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4
  • Calories: 387
  • Sugar: 1
  • Sodium: 604
  • Fat: 21
  • Saturated Fat: 5
  • Unsaturated Fat: 15
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 31
  • Protein: 18
  • Cholesterol: 372

Simply Roasted Sweet Potatoes

 

Are you looking for simple, roasted sweet potato recipes and ideas for what to do with them? This recipe for roasted sweet potatoes is a breeze to pull together and is sure to become a household favorite. It requires very little kitchen prowess and is packed with nutrition and flavor.

Follow this link to Stack.com for the recipe!

A Recipe for Baked Ziti

 

Athletes love pasta. And why not? It’s tasty, filling and relatively easy to prepare. However, not every pasta dish is up to an athlete’s nutritional standards. Follow this link to my article and recipe for a delicious baked ziti that will fill you up without bringing down your nutritional standards.

 

Slow Cooked Oats with Roasted Pumpkin and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Slow cooked oats! Slow cooked oats with roasted pumpkin!!! I know, I know, it’s only September and yes, I suppose it’s a bit early to be publishing recipes highlighting pumpkin. To be honest though, I feel like I’m the one behind here considering Starbucks is already selling their Pumpkin Spice Lattes and the grocery has filled the “holiday aisle” with Halloween candy.

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Grilled Citrus-Scented Bananas

It’s almost Labor Day and you need a dessert recipe ASAP. It’s time to prep the grill and make this recipe for Grilled Citrus-Scented Bananas.

This recipe makes use of bananas, a delicious and relatively inexpensive fruit, that also packs a nutritious punch. Once grilled, bananas turn even sweeter, thanks to the caramelization happening from the heat. Sprinkle the bananas with a touch of cinnamon and orange zest and you’ve turned the basic banana into a sophisticated dessert.

Bon Appetit!

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Grilled Citrus-Scented Bananas

A simple, grilled dessert that will please any palate!

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Ingredients

  • 4 large bananas, no speckles on skin, washed with skin-on
  • 1 tsp butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • ground cinnamon, for dusting
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 2 tbsp toasted, sliced almonds

Instructions

  1. Cut the bananas in half length-wise (leaving the skin on), then in half width-wise. You will have 4 quarter-pieces of banana.
  2. Combine the butter, honey and orange juice in a small bowl. Brush mixture onto the exposed banana halves and top with a little dash of ground cinnamon.
  3. Place the bananas on the grill cut-side down and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until bananas have grill marks. Flip over and cook until the bananas are warmed through. The bananas are done when the skin starts to pull away from the fruit.
  4. Serve in the peel and garnish with orange zest and almonds.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 8
  • Calories: 88
  • Sugar: 11
  • Sodium: 1
  • Fat: 2
  • Saturated Fat: 0
  • Unsaturated Fat: 1
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 19
  • Protein: 1
  • Cholesterol: 1
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