Tag Archives: healthy cooking

Cabbage, Potatoes and Cheese Skillet Casserole

Cabbage, potatoes and cheese skillet casserole recipe

Photo by Alice Henneman

I was intrigued by this recipe I found on USDA’s “What’s cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl“. And, decided to try it with the local, seasonal foods I had on hand this week: Cabbage, potatoes and onions. The recipe said it made 5 servings; however, there were just two of us. We ended up eating every bit of it at one meal … there was something about the flavor that was tasty yet a comfort food type of feeling. Maybe it was the melted cheese and walnuts on top?

Try it and see what you think … the recipe follows.

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Everything but the Kitchen Sink Chopped Salad

chop-salad

Chopped salad made with fresh veggies left in my fridge (Photo by Alice Henneman)

Sometimes you’re left with a “bit of this” and a “little of that” of fresh produce in your fridge. What to do?

To the rescue … a chopped salad! I made mine with tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage and green bell peppers. Here’s what I did plus some more ideas for chopped salads …

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4-Ingredient Guacamole with Tomato

guacamole

Fresh from the farm or garden, tomatoes are one of my favorite summer foods. My husband and I especially enjoy them in this 4-ingredient guacamole recipe I created. I’m always smiling when I get some tomatoes in my CSA Box from my farmer, Pekarek’s Produce!

(NOTE: If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll have noticed I reduce recipes to the simplest procedures and shortest list of ingredients that still yield delicious, nutritious results to help you eat healthy every day. You’ll see in my photos how these recipes look when served in everyday dishes without any fancy trimmings.)

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Cabbage, Tomato and Corn Salad

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Cabbage, Tomato and Corn Salad (Photo by Alice Henneman)

Cabbage, Tomato and Corn Salad is a recipe inspiration that came to me when I looked at the foods in this week’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box from my farmer, Pekarek’s Produce that included these foods. Though this recipe makes 4 side-salad servings, my husband and I liked it so well, we ate the whole thing for lunch.(These foods would also be currently growing in gardens and available at farmers markets.)

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Cooking Local, Seasonal Foods – Week 3

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Week 3 CSA basket (Photo by Alice Henneman)

What shall I cook this coming week from my Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box?

Check my blog through the coming days to discover what my husband and I will be eating! The recipes I offer are made with as few ingredients as possible and ones you probably have in your home. Plus, I’ll give you tips for making tastier recipes and how to care for your produce.  For starters, here’s a video showing how to make Roasted Tomatoes from my Extension College Joanne Kinsey, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, followed by a link for downloading the recipe. Continue reading

Tasty Microwave Potato Chunks

potatoes

No peeling or oven required when making these tasty potato chunks.

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The foods I’m cooking with this week. 

Yesterday, I made the kale in my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box from my farmer, Pekarek’s Produce into Kale Banana Smoothies and smoothie cubes. In this post, I’ll tell you what I did with the new red potatoes.

I created a potato recipe that could make in the microwave as I didn’t want to heat up my stove. The really convenient thing about new potatoes is you don’t need to peel them. This recipe for “Tasty Microwave Potato Chunks” is quick to make and microwaves in about 10 minutes. I think you’ll also like my quick method for making “Toasty Potato Chunks” from any leftovers.

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Kale Banana Smoothie

kale banana smoothie

Sipping a refreshing kale banana smoothie on my back porch

csa-week-3I just received a third box of food from my farmer, Pekarek’s Produce. Here’s a photo of what I got this week.

I’ll be sharing throughout the week what I’m making. My first recipe is a refreshing Kale Banana Smoothie. My husband and I liked it so well  I plan to make all the rest of my kale into smoothie cubes for quick smoothies in the future. Following is my recipe for Kale Banana Smoothie.

Kale Banana Smoothie

  • Servings: 1 large or 2 small
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 large kale leaf, torn into pieces and without thick pieces of the rib (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • Approximately 4 to 6 cubes (smaller ice cubes work better)

Directions

  1. Add milk, then yogurt to blender.
  2. Next, toss in the kale.
  3. Break banana into chunks and add to mixture.
  4. Place the ice cubes on top. NOTE: If you’ve never made a smoothie with ice in your blender, check your blender instruction book or look for your manual online on the manufacturer’s website to determine if there are specific guidelines for adding ice to your blender. Some blenders may not be strong enough to break down ice cubes.
  5. Begin blending, starting out on a lower speed and then increasing speed. Puree until smooth.
  6. Enjoy immediately.

Alice’s tips:

  • Place liquids in a blender first. It makes it easier to start the blending process.
  • To facilitate the mixing process, start at a lower speed and work your way to a higher speed as the bigger pieces get broken up. 

Source: Recipe created by Alice Henneman, MS, RDN, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Educator. For more recipes and tips for fast, healthy and delicious foods, visit cookitquick.org

Related link:

Cooking Local Seasonal Foods – Week 2

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What my farmer brought me in my Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share this week.

Follow along as I show you what I made with these local, seasonal foods I received from my farmer this week:

  • Radish
  • Tomatoes
  • Small green onions
  • Radish
  • Cucumber
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Sugar snap peas

Radish Mouse

Radish Mouse

radish-mouse

Directions

These little creatures are a whimsical way to eat radishes. Cut the tip off the stem end and you have a white nose. Cut a very thin slice from the bottom to help stabilize the mice; proceed to cut the slice in half for the ears. Make a small notch in the radishes near the nose and insert the ears.

TIP: The ears can fall off rather easily. I placed a spoon in the dip so any displaced ears ended up on plates instead of in the dip bowl. Added benefit: People can double-dip from their plate!

Source: Recipe developed by Alice Henneman, MS, RND

Relishes with Onion Yogurt Dip

Make a quick dip by mixing 1 part mayonnaise to 3 parts Greek-style yogurt (for example, I used 1/3 cup mayonnaise and 1 cup yogurt). Mix in some finely sliced green onion. Since the onions were small, I added two of them. A bit of the stem served as a garnish for the dip.

I like using yogurt in dips as it adds extra calcium and protein to snacks. Let the dip refrigerate at least one hour so the flavors can blend. This dip was mixed the night before I used it and made the perfect accompaniment to the kohlrabi, cucumbers and radishes.

raddish-mouse-dip

Tuna and Lettuce Salad

I tossed lettuce, tomatoes, radish, cucumbers and kohlrabi with an oil and vinegar salad dressing. Tuna mixed with mayonnaise and chopped green onion topped the salad.

tuna-salad

Egg Salad Sandwiches

For the perfect hard-boiled eggs for my sandwiches, I used these directions for Classic Hard-Boiled Eggs from the American Egg Board. Since there are just two of us in our household, I usually buy only a 6-pack of eggs at a time. If you’re wondering how long to keep eggs, check out Cracking the Date Code on Egg Cartons.

I chopped the eggs, mixed them with some mayonnaise and thinly sliced one of the green onions into the mixture. Served on toasted whole grain bread with a bit of the lettuce, this was the perfect light sandwich for a noon meal.

TIP: Hard-boil extra eggs when cooking eggs for this recipe. Hard-boiled eggs in the shell can be refrigerated up to one week; store in a clean container, not the original carton.

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Tomato Topped with Egg Salad

Remember those extra eggs I recommended hard-boiling? I made some more egg salad and served a scoop of it on a tomato on a plate lined with lettuce. Tuna salad also makes a good topper for tomatoes.

tomato-egg-salad

Pasta Salad with Fresh Veggies and Eggs

Here’s another way I used some of the eggs I hard-boiled earlier during the week. Cook pasta according to package directions. Use about 2 ounces of dry pasta per person, which equals about 1 cup cooked pasta. The amount need not be exact … if you don’t have a kitchen scale, check the total ounces of pasta in the package and and use proportionally an amount equal to two ounces. For example, if there are 16 ounces of dry pasta, you would need 4 ounces for two people or about 4/16 or 1/4 of the total amount of pasta in the box.

Run cooked pasta under cold water to stop the cooking process.

Next, I mixed the pasta with all the remaining veggies from my CSA share (radish, kohlrabi and cucumber) and some cubed cheese together with an oil and vinegar type salad dressing. I chopped two eggs for my husband and me into wedges, saving the best-looking wedges to place on top of the salad. The rest were mixed in with the salad.

Refrigerating the salad (covered with some plastic wrap) for about an hour before serving helped meld the flavors.

pasta-salad

Foods in my CSA share are courtesy of Pekarek’s Produce. 

Mashed Cauliflower

mashed cauliflower

I’m just finishing my first CSA box of foods  and decided to make mashed cauliflower accompanied by a salad of my remaining salad greens.

The wonderful thing about cooking with fresh, local foods is you don’t need to do much to make them taste good … they’re at their peak of freshness.

Mixing the lettuce with a dab of your favorite salad dressing is all it takes to make a delicious salad. I used a vinaigrette on this salad. If you’d like to make your own dressing, here’s a quick recipe for an olive oil and vinegar salad dressing.

The mashed cauliflower was also super simple. As I was cooking for just my husband and me, I used only half the cauliflower. Just double the following recipe to use the whole head.

yogurt salsa dip

Yogurt Salsa Dip

I cleaned and separated the total cauliflower into florets and stored the remaining half in a plastic bag in the fridge. It should keep well for at least four days; use by adding to salads, eat as is, or serve with a dip.If you have some salsa and yogurt in your fridge, try combining two parts plain yogurt with one part salsa for quick, flavorful dip (for example, mix 1 cup plain yogurt with 1/2 cup salsa). Or, roast the cauliflower; directions follow below the Mashed Cauliflower recipe. 

Mashed Cauliflower

Mashed Cauliflower

  • Servings: 2 generous servings; double the ingredients to use the whole head
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 head cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced OR 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Salt (if desired), to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese (you can use any cheese)

Directions

  1. In a large sauce pan (use a Dutch oven if cooking the entire cauliflower), bring an inch of water to boil.
  2. Add cauliflower; cover and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until tender. (Test by sticking a fork into the cauliflower.)
  3. Drain the cauliflower and return to the pan. Add the milk, butter or margarine, garlic, pepper and salt. Mash with a potato masher until combined. OR, place the cauliflower and other ingredients (except the cheese) in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer. (NOTE: I prefer to stop mixing while the mixture still contains some small chunks of cauliflower than until it is perfectly smooth. This is a matter of personal preference, however.)
  4. Stir in the cheese.

Credit: Recipe developed by Alice Henneman, MS, RDN

Roasted Cauliflower

roasted-cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower

Roasting adds flavor to the cauliflower and reduces the volume slightly. You may be surprised by how much you and family members eat when you roast cauliflower. (NOTE: Just halve the following ingredients if only using half a head.

Ingredients

  • 1 cauliflower head
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Remove outer leaves of cauliflower. Cut florets off the stem. Wash and drain.
  3. Combine oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss the cauliflower florets in the oil mixture.
  4. Spread cauliflower on a large rimmed baking sheet.
  5. Roast in the oven at 450 degrees 15-20 minutes until the cauliflower starts to soften and begins to brown.
  6. Sprinkle with cheese. Continue to roast for 5-10 minutes.

Recipe source: University of Maryland Extension. Food Supplement Nutrition Education Program at USDA’s What’s Cooking.

Foods in my CSA share are courtesy of Pekarek’s Produce. 

Salad in a Jar

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Foods received in my Week 1 CSA box

“Salad in a Jar” seemed perfect for my second recipe this year using local, seasonal foods. My first share of foods for the summer in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box from a local farmer included the cauliflower, radish and lettuce used in this recipe.

Local, seasonal fruits and vegetables are at the peak of freshness when purchased either directly from a farm, at a farmers’ market or in a grocery store. Or harvested from your garden.

In my first post, I gave a recipe for a simple lettuce and radish salad dressed with olive oil and vinegar. So none of these fresh, tasty foods goes to waste, I made two Salads in a Jar to enjoy at work this Thursday and Friday.

These salads are so easy to make! You don’t have to use all the ingredients; however, it is very important to put the salad dressing on the bottom followed with a layer of hard, moisture-resistant vegetables to protect the remaining layers from getting soggy.

My salad includes:

  • Salad dressing (I used a vinaigrette)
  • Chopped cauliflower
  • Sliced radishes
  • Black beans (as a source of protein)
  • Shredded cheese
  • Lettuce

Here are the basic ingredients …

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