Summer!!! It’s finally here! I can, at last, look out my window and see leaves on the trees and grass on the ground. This makes me so incredibly happy! Besides the nicer, warmer weather, I’m also very excited about the plethora of amazing fresh produce practically spilling out of the bins at the supermarket and farmer’s markets. It’s like Christmas every day for me! To honor that excitement, one of my most recent posts on the Cutting Board Blog is for a Green Bean and Corn Salad. It’s a simple salad that highlights the beauty of summer produce. So enjoy and hey, why not bring it your July 4th party? It’s perfect for picnics and potlucks.
As a kid, I loved the fish sandwich from a certain fast-food chain that shall remain nameless. There was something about it that I just really enjoyed…and I’m quite convinced it was the tartar sauce. For some reason, I always felt that tartar sauce was something special, reserved for fast-food meals or vacation fish joints. We never had it at my house, making it even more alluring.
My fascination with tartar sauce continues. To me, there’s nothing better than a little dab of it on a grilled piece of tilapia or smeared on a hearty bun along with a piece of blackened perch and lots of lettuce. It’s the perfect complement to so many great fish dishes.
That’s why I’ve created my own, simplified, healthier tartar sauce recipe. The ingredients are mostly staples in the pantry, and I’ve used granulated and powdered versions of onion and garlic, respectively, for even quicker and easier preparation. Of course I swapped out most of the mayo for low-fat, plain Greek yogurt, saving calories and adding protein and calcium!
Try it as is, or add a splash of hot sauce or sriracha to spice it up. Experiment with fresh herbs like dill and thyme. It’s the perfect condiment compliment to your favorite fish dish!
My grandmother passed away when I was a Freshman in college. It was a sad time for me. I remember packing my bags and making the trek home for her funeral. Like most grandmothers, she meant so much to me. It wasn’t until she passed that I really started to appreciate all that she was.
What I loved most about her was her vibrant personality and unique outlook on life. She lived life to it’s fullest, having a blast doing just about everything. She loved playing cards and Boggle (a game I’m not even sure exists anymore) and she adored hosting parties and cooking fabulous food for holidays. She did it up right, laying out the best china and lighting candles. I don’t think I appreciated it then, but I do remember thinking it was “kind of cool.” She was a spunky, sassy Martha Stewart…a lit cigarette in one hand and a wooden spoon stuck in a pot of something tasty in the other. I can still picture her now at the stove.
While I wish we had more time to spend together, as I’m sure I would totally appreciate her so much more now, I am so grateful for all of my memories. There’s one memory that stands out for me..it’s her famous cherry pie. I’m pretty sure it came from the back of Eagle Brand Milk can, but she didn’t identify the source on her recipe card. Anyway, it was delicious! A crust topped with almonds, then filled with a decadently rich filling and topped with sweetened, tart cherries. It was to die for (and a total calorie bomb!)
This month’s Recipe Redux theme was to “redux” one of our favorite pie recipes. I had no hesitation deciding to honor my grandmother’s cherry pie recipe. While she certainly wouldn’t have deemed it necessary to “lighten-up” a dessert, I still think she would be surprised at how well the modifications to her classic cherry pie turned out. To undo some of the calorie damage, I took out plenty of the sugar and also lightened up the crust, opting for mini-phyllo cups instead. It’s a perfect sweet treat and a lovely addition to any party, picnic or shower.
So, break out the china and light the candles, because you’re in for a treat!
A perfect bite of tart cherries piled on top of a sweet, almond and lemon-infused filling.
For the Phyllo Shells
30 mini phyllo cups (found in the freezer section), thawed
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
For the Filling
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup whipping cream, whipped
For the Cherries
14 1/2 ounce can of water-packed tart cherries
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons cornstarch
To Prepare the Phyllo Shells
Line the shells on a sheet pan and place a few toasted, sliced almonds in each shell. Keep nearby while you make the filling.
To Make the Filling
Combine the sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, vanilla extract and almond extract in a mixing bowl. Fold in the whipped cream. Fill each phyllo cup with a heaping teaspoon of the filling. Cover the pan with plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 1-2 hours.
To Make the Cherry Topping
Drain the cherry water (about 1/2 cup) from the cherries into a sauce pan. Add in the sugar and cornstarch, whisking until combined. Set the mixture over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add the drained cherries to pan and stir.
Remove the phyllo shells from the refrigerator. Top each shell with a spoonful of the cherry mixture. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 1-2 hours.
Let’s face it, your snack is boring. You’re out of ideas, so you always grab the granola bar or your “usual” bag of trail mix when a hunger pang hits. Sure, those things are easy, but if you’re eating the same things all of the time, how are you ever going to get all of those fabulous nutrients you need!? Read about ways to jazz up your snacking to prevent snack boredom and boost nutrition from my newest article on Stack.com.
I love mangoes. They are exquisite in every way. Beautiful to look at and beautiful to eat. As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing better than enjoying the sweet, tropical flavor of a ripe mango. Mangoes have only been a relatively recent discovery for me. Growing up in Indiana, I never once encountered a mango anywhere. That’s not too ironic, I suppose. Now, it seems mangoes are everywhere. Thank goodness! And when they go on sale, I just can’t help myself and buy way more than I (or the rest of my family) can possibly eat. Not wanting to waste their tasty goodness, I needed to find a way to make use of mine before they went from ripe to inedible. I immediately thought of jelly/jam/preserves. Since my breakfast EVERY DAY consists of peanut butter on toast with some kind of jelly, I knew, that if I turned those extra mangoes into preserves, I could enjoy them EVERY DAY! Woo hoo! So, with just a little bit of time (20 minutes max!) and only a little bit of sugar and lemon juice, I had a winning recipe for mango preserves! Now I share the recipe with you! Enjoy and feel good that you made something delicious and perhaps, even better, than some of those store bought preserves.
This mango preserve recipe is simple to make is a delicious treat on toast or as a topping for yogurt or ice cream!
3 large, ripe mangos, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
Place all of the ingredients in a large saucepot and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir, reduce heat and allow mixture to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes or until it has thickened slightly.
Remove from heat and allow preserves to cool before placing in a jar or bowl. Once fully cooled, cover with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Enjoy within 7-10 days.
Jazz it up! You can add other ingredients for a fun twist. Add a cinnamon stick while the mixture simmers (remove before storing) or add the zest of a lime or lemon after the mixture has been taken off of the heat. You could even add flaked coconut or chopped, dried pineapple for a fun tropical version.
In the quest to be the best dietitian I can be, I have been working diligently to incorporate more, “new” whole grains into my (and my family, friends’ and clients’) recipes. I have to admit, for a while I was stuck on quinoa. It’s simple and versatile…it was a love affair for sure. That love affair continues, but I am opening my mind to new, wonderful grains like freekeh. It’s just as easy to cook and just as easy to love. In fact, it’s a lovely platform for this freekeh with black beans and avocado dressing recipe.
Pizza and pasta are staples in my house. You can safely assume then, that I’ve purchased more than my fair share of jarred marinara sauce. Blown away by the cost of a jar of organic pasta sauce, I decided there was no reason I couldn’t make my own. So after some trial and error, I was finally able to come up with one that I really liked and it’s been a staple in my kitchen ever since.
This month’s Recipe Redux theme invited us to share our recipe for something that we once purchased, but now make from scratch. I am happy to share this marinara recipe, a healthy, low-sodium alternative to the jarred stuff. Don’t worry if you can’t eat it all at once, it freezes amazingly and also makes the perfect gift.
Simple ingredients are the key to this marinara.
Peppers, onions and garlic add the right touch of sweetness and complexity.
Bay leaf is a perfect, flavorful addition.
This marinara can be blended right in the pan, but be careful with the hot liquids!
A simple homemade tomato sauce that’s perfect for pizza or tossed with pasta.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 red (or yellow) bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Heat the oil a deep-sided sauté pan set over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and the peppers and cook, stirring frequently until vegetables are slightly tender, about 10-12 minutes. Add the garlic and cook one more minute. Add the tomato paste, stirring constantly, and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the diced tomatoes (entire can with juices), water and vinegar. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to lift off any of the brown bits stuck to the pan. Add the Italian seasoning, bay leaf and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Remove the bay leaf and add the salt. Using an immersion blender, carefully puree the mixture until smooth. Alternatively, work in batches using a blender or food processor for pureeing, exercising caution with the hot mixture (follow manufacturer’s instructions for pureeing hot or warm ingredients).
Use immediately or allow to cool then refrigerate or freeze.
This recipe makes about 4 1/2 to 5 cups of marinara.
Smoothies are a great way to get nutrition when mornings are busy!
Being a personal trainer is no easy job. Demanding schedules and clients can make eating a good breakfast a challenge. Although you may not be a trainer, your busy schedule and desire for results in the gym align you with their needs in the morning.
I reached out to a variety of trainers to ask them about their go-to morning meal. Their answers revealed a unique look at the foods they find worthy of fueling their mornings. Here’s what they had to say along with some easy ways to add nutrition to your breakfast regimen. Click here to read more about it on Stack.com!
When did a sandwich become a wrap and who had that brilliant idea? More importantly, why didn’t I come up with it? Joking aside, I love the idea of wraps. How many times have you picked up a sandwich only to have all the ingredients fall out of it? Or the mustard or pickle juice ends up all over your hands? With a wrap, you never have to worry about those things.
I love when Recipe Redux time rolls around each month. It gives me inspiration for creative time in the kitchen, which I love. This month’s theme is “stop being wasteful and use the stuff that’s been sitting in your pantry!” Ok, that’s just my summation of the theme. It was put more eloquently of course, but that’s basically it. Pick something that’s been in the pantry for awhile and put it to good use. Great idea!
So off I went to my pantry, on the hunt for something inspiring. I opened the door and immediately (and embarrassingly) noted its “fullness.” Ugh, there was plenty of food in there that was simply begging to be used. So I acknowledged my pantry with a quick “noted” comment and promised to cook and use that food before it went to waste. Then it was back to my original task…finding the one thing that’s been in there for far too long. After a quick inventory, it came down to three things: brown rice, canned diced chiles and light coconut milk. A glance at the packages revealed that the light coconut milk would be heading to the trash can soon if I didn’t use it, so the light coconut milk was the winner. Now, just what was I going to do with it?
I immediately thought of Thai food. So many delicious dishes use coconut milk and I had a million (ok, maybe just two or three) ideas running through my head. But then something struck me. Maybe it was the delicious scent coming from the apartment next door, but I swear I smelled waffles. It smelled so amazing, that my thoughts of Thai food were immediately replaced with thoughts of waffles. Then, the light bulb went off and my Vanilla Coconut Whole Wheat Waffles were born.
I adore waffles which made this recipe even more fun to create! They are a great breakfast option, especially when all-purpose white flour gets replaced with whole wheat flour and when a simple topping of fresh fruit is the perfect finishing touch. Coconut milk and a little toasted coconut add a fun tropical twist and the vanilla bean paste add just the right of balance and “sweetness.” These are a perfect treat for breakfast or a handy snack. Try these waffles and I promise you’ll fall in love.
Ok, so my part is done…now it’s time to take a look at what’s in your pantry!