Tag Archives: milk

Healthy Thanksgiving Cooking: The Sides

The main side for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner is mashed potatoes. There are ways to reduce the calories in this side dish. I asked Jody Victor to tell us more about it.

Jody Victor: Instead of using butter and milk or cream to mash your potatoes, reserve some of the cooking water. The starchy water will actually make your mashed potatoes creamier than if you use plain water as a substitute for milk or cream. If you prefer to use milk, try evaporated skim milk, fat-free milk, or fat-free sour cream. To boost the flavor of your mashed potatoes, you can add turkey or chicken broth or stir in some garlic and herbs.

Sweet potatoes are another Thanksgiving side dish staple. Rather than using maple syrup or brown sugar to liven them up, try spices such as ginger and cinnamon when making mashed sweet potatoes. Try roasting or baking raw sweet potatoes instead of using canned sweet potatoes, which are packed in sugar or corn syrup.

Vegetable casseroles are also traditional side dishes at Thanksgiving. Look for low calorie substitutes for your casserole recipes. Substitute ricotta cheese for cream cheese. Light butter or margarine for butter. Plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream for sour cream. Evaporated skim milk or low-fat milk for whole milk. Broth based soups for cream based soups. Use fresh vegetables (or frozen) as much as possible instead of canned vegetables, which are high in sodium and low in nutrients.

ROASTED SWEET POTATOES
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
(You can precook sweet potatoes in microwave to decrease roasting time.)
2 medium onions cut into 1 inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking pan with olive oil cooking spray. Put potatoes and onions in baking dish and spray them lightly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven and stir mixture every 15 minutes or so. Spray them a little every time you stir. Bake 35/45 minutes (if precooked) to 60/80 minutes (if raw) until tender. For variations, you can add cayenne pepper for heat or cinnamon for sweet or chopped rosemary for savory tastes.

FRESH GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE
4 cups fresh green beans cut into 1 inch pieces
2 shallots or 8 green onions, sliced
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms (or any fresh mushroom), sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups + 2 tablespoons rice milk (or low-fat milk), divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
10 wonton wrappers
Bring water to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan. Place green beans in boiling water and cook until just soft (about 10 minutes). Drain and set aside. Heat large saucepan on medium heat. Spritz with cooking spray. Sauté shallots/green onions until translucent and starting to brown. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are soft and slightly browned. Use more cooking spray if necessary. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add 2 cups of the milk to the pan and bring to a boil. While milk is heating up, combine cornstarch and the 2 tablespoons of milk in a small bowl. Add cornstarch mixture to boiling milk mixture. Whisk constantly until mixture is thickened. Reduce heat to simmer then remove from heat after 5 minutes. Cut wontons into thin strips. Spread strips evenly on a baking sheet. Season to taste, if desired. Bake for five minutes. Stir and bake until golden brown (another 2 to 3 minutes). Set aside to cool. Add green beans to milk mixture. Stir to coat evenly. Pour coated beans mixture into a greased casserole dish. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until beans are hot and bubbly. Remove from oven. Top with toasted wontons.

Thanks Jody

All the Best
Steve Victor

Great Green Tomatoes

We are nearing the last harvest for summer fruits and vegetables. Tomato vines are loaded with green tomatoes that may not ripen. It’s time to enjoy tomatoes green! I asked Jody Victor®   to tell us some of his favorite recipes.

Jody Victor®: Here you go, Steve, a few of my favorites.

Quick Fried Green Tomatoes

2 green tomatoes, sliced 1/2 to 1/3 inch thick

Prepare egg wash with one egg and 2 tablespoons of water

Mix panko bread crumbs with seasonings of choice.

Heat oil in skillet at medium-high heat.

Dip slices in egg washm then breading, then the skillet.

Cook about 2 minutes per side. Turn when edges begin to brown.

Remove slices and place on paper towel-lined plate.

Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with ranch dressing.

Fried Green Tomatoes

1 pound green tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup plain dry breadcrumbs

1/3 cup cornmeal

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and black pepper

Generous sprinkling of white pepper

2 large eggs, beaten

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

In medium bowl, season flour with salt and black and white pepper. Mis well with fork. In a second bowl, place eggs and beat well. In third bowl, mix bread crumbs, cornmeal, and Parmesan cheese. Dredge tomato slices in seasoned flour. Dip them in egg, letting excess drip back into bowl. Press slices in the breadcrumb/cornmeal/Parmesan mixture. In large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil until it shimmers. Add tomatoe slices (single layer) and cook over medium-high heat, turning once, until golden and crisp (2 1/2 to 3 minutes per side). Transfer to paper towel-lined plate. Drizzle with favorite salad dressing.

Grilled Green Tomatoes

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

4 medium-size green tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices

1 16-oz package fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup fresh basil, sliced thin

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag. Add tomatoes, seal, and shake gently to coat. Chill for one hour. Preheat grill to 350-400 degrees. Remove tomatoes from marinade, reserving marinade. Grill tomatoes, grill lid down, 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until tender and grill marks appear. Arrange alternating slices of tomato and mozzarella on a large shallow platter. Drizzle with reserved marinade. Salt and pepper to taste ans sprinkle with basil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1                                                                                                                                           3 Thanks, Jody! We’ll be sure to try these.

All the Best!

Steve Victor

 

IT’S TOMATO TIME!

We’re in the middle of summer and all the great garden veggies are coming our way. I asked Jody Victor®  to give us some of his favorite recipes for tomatoes and other good stuff.

Jody Victor®: Hey, Steve, great time to ask! Here are some of my faves.

Cherry Tomato Bruschetta

3 pints cherry tomatoes

1 Tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup sliced fresh basil

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 baguette, cut into 14 slices and toasted

Kalamata olives or fresh basil for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Toss tomatoes with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet and roast until broken down, 45 to 55 minutes. Combine roasted tomatoes with basil and vinegar in a bowl. Top each baguette slice with the mixture and garnish.

Caprese Melts

8 slices buttermilk or sourdough sandwich bread

1 Tbsp olive oil

Fresh basil leaves

2-3 ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick

4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced 1/4 inch thick

Salt and Pepper

Brush one side of each bread slice with olive oil. Place 4 slices, oil side down, on baking sheet. Layer evenly with basil leaves, tomato slices, and mozzarella slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and to with remaining slices of bread. Broil sandwiches 6 inches from heat, turning once until golden brown and cheese is melted (2-3 minutes).

Red Potato and Tomato Salad

1 pound baby red potatoes, halved

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1/3 cup pitted black olives, halved

3 scallions, sliced thin

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and drained

1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Add the potatoes to a medium saucpan with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Set over medium heat. Bring water to a boil and continue boiling until tender (15-20 m9inutes). Dreain in a colander and allow themti dry for 5 minutes. In serving bowl, add potatoes to the remaining ingredients. Toss gently until everything is coated. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for one hour and gently toss again before serving.

Tomato Chickpea Casserole

4 cups cooked elbow macaroni

1 can chickpeas, drained

4 cups diced tomatoes, drained

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup skim milk

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 tsp dried basil

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

2 Tbsp olive oil

Spray 9×13 casserole dish with non-stick spray. In large bowl, combine pasta, chickpeas, and tomatoes. Stir in flour, milk, basil and salt and pepper. Transfer to baking dish and spread evenly. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle on tip of casserole. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake for 10-15 minutes more, until the top is evenly browned and crunchy.

Thanks, Jody! We’ll be sure to try these!

All the Best!

Steve Victor

Summer Tips for Car Travel

The hot days of summer are upon us. Weather conditions are favorable for ground-level ozone formation. I asked Jody Victor® to tell us more about this phenomenon.

Jody Victor®: Heat and sunlight are important factors in ozone formation and the emissions from motor vehicles are the primary source of ozone-causing pollution. Try to reduce your driving during the summer months and especially during heat advisories. Don’t make unnecessary trips. When you have to run errands, choose to go in the morning or evening and map your route to avoid zigzagging. Use public transportation, walk, ride a bike if possible.

This is great advice but it doesn’t always fit our busy lifestyles. What about when you have to drive or have a car vacation planned for your family? Here are some summer tips for car efficiency, reduced emissions, and passenger safety:

  1. Keep your car maintained and in tip-top shape. Keep an eye on your dashboard lights. If your “Check Engine” light comes on and stays on, don’t panic. Usually there is no immediate danger. First check to make sure your gas cap is tight. If it was loose, the light should go off after tightening.  If the light is flashing on and off, it usually indicates engine misfire. When your “Check Engine” light comes on, minimize driving time and get to a repair shop as soon as you can. Avoid driving at high speeds or carrying excess weight until you can get your car serviced. Servicing your car when the “Check Engine” light comes on cannot only prevent costly repairs but can also improve your car’s fuel economy and reduce emissions.
  2. During the summer months gasoline vapor production increases. Toxic gasoline vapor contributes to ozone formation.  Avoid refueling on ozone action days. Refuel in the early morning or evening if you must.  Secure your gas cap immediately after refueling.
  3. Park in the shade if possible even if you have to walk a little further. If you can’t find shade, try to park in the direction where the sun will be shining on your rear window or passenger side for most of the time it will be parked. Get a cloth steering wheel cover and a windshield sunshade. Keep a couple of towels in your car to place on your car seats (especially if you have leather seats) for when you have to park in the sun.
  4. During the summers months you may want to carry certain items in your car besides the common sense spare tire and first aid/emergency kit. Keep an extra pair or two of sunglasses in your car to protect your eyes while driving in the summer sun. Carry extra water for drinking and for your car. Carry snacks that will not melt such as granola bars and crackers. Keep a cooler or insulated bag in your car for times when you can’t go straight home after purchasing refrigerated food items. When you get home with food items, check your trunk thoroughly just in case something fell out of the shopping bags and rolled or slid away.
  5. During the summer months there may be certain items you don’t want to have in your car such as milk and dairy products, anything packaged under pressure (hair spray, soda pop), sunscreen in a bottle (carry little packets or towelettes instead), credit cards or other cards with magnetic strips on plastic, CDs and DVDs, cleaning solutions with alcohol or ammonia, crayons, candy, or gum.

Thanks, Jody! We’ll be sure to use your suggestions.

Steve Victor

Food For Sleep

We all have a sleepless night from time to time. I asked Jody Victor® to tell us about some natural foods we can use to help lull us to sleep.

Jody Victor®: Hey, Steve, you are right. Some of us need more help getting to sleep than others. For a better night’s rest, try any of these easy, healthy foods right out of your kitchen cupboard.

1. ALMONDS are rich in magnesium, which is helpful in muscle relaxation. They are rich in protein, which is helpful in keeping your blood sugar level steady. Almonds convert your alert adrenaline cycle with your rest and digestive cycle.

2. BANANAS supply you with potassium and magnesium, which relieve stressed muscles. Bananas also contain tryptophan, which aids in the production of the natural hormone melatonin.

3. CEREAL (whole grain) is a complex carb, which can enhance the access of tryptophan in your bloodstream.

4. CHAMOMILE TEA is good for relaxing muscles and has a mild sedative effect. Decaf green tea is helpful as well as it is rich in theanine, which helps boost sleep. Other herbal and decaf teas can be helpful, too.

5. CHERRY JUICE (especially tart cherries) has been shown to help people suffering from insomnia.

6. DAIRY products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are high in calcium. Calcium has been found to be helpful in lowering your stress level and stabilizing nerve fibers. Milk also contains tryptophan.

7. HONEY helps stimulate your brain to turn off a chemical substance known as orexin. Orexin is an excitatory neuropeptide hormone. A spoonful of honey in your warm milk or decaf tea prior to sleeping can reduce the effect of this hormone and help you sleep.

8. EGGS are rich suppliers of protein and help keep your blood sugar level steady.

9. MISO SOUP is a good choice when you are suffering from insufficient sleep. It is a rich supplier of amino acid, which enhances the production of melatonin.

10. HOT OATMEAL is believed to give you a good night’s sleep. It is a rich supplier of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium, which will fulfill your nutritional desire. It is rich in melatonin. Stay away from sweetened/flavored oatmeal. Instead of adding sugar to plain oatmeal, try fruits for toppings.

11. WHOLE BREADS, like oatmeal and other whole grain cereals, are rich in melatonin. They are healthy carbs that help your body release insulin, which is essential for assimilation and blood clearance of amino acids.

All the Best!

Steve Victor