Tag Archives: onions


What are they and how do we use them? Let’s check them out.

A shallot is a type of onion but is smaller, more elongated and milder flavored. The flavor has a slight garlic taste as well. The skins can be copper, reddish, or gray skinned. When cut into, rather than rings like an onion, it will have cloves like garlic. Usually there are 2-3 cloves but can have up to 6. They will be flat on one side and rounded on the other. A recipe may call for number of shallots or number of shallot cloves.

Shallots can be substituted for onion. Generally you can use three small shallots for every small onion called for. They cannot be substituted if it is supposed to be raw. Also take into consideration the slight taste of garlic when substituting and maybe cut back on amount of garlic.


Roasting Vegetables

The Victor crew wanted to see what vegetables are best for roasting and how best to roast them. Here is what we found out.

The best vegetables to roast:
Just about anything!
Brussels sprouts
Butternut squash
Green beans
Sweet peppers
Sweet potatoes

How to roast:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut vegetables into equal pieces. Toss with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on parchment-lined or foil-lined baking sheet. Roast until a knife tip or fork easily pierces the vegetables with no resistance. The larger the cuts, the longer it will take to roast.

If you mix different vegetables on the same baking sheet, be aware some vegetables may cook quicker than others.

Steve Victor

The Lowly Onion

Something most likely all have in either our pantry or refrigerator is onions. Onions can come fresh, dried into flakes, dried and ground into powder on its own or with salt. So what about nutrition? Onions are about 44 calories for a medium 2-1/2″ bulb. There really isn’t much nutrition to them. That 44-calorie bulb has no fat, about 4mg sodium, 161mg potassium, 10g carbohytrates, 4.7g sugar and 1.2g protein. It contains 13% of your daily vitamin C. Onions were mentioned in the Old Testament in Numbers 11:5, so they’ve been around for quite a while.

There are different types of onions used a little differently. These are the most common you will see at your grocers:

Yellow – You might see yellow or brown onions most commonly. They are considered for everyday use and are the most familiar. They caramelize very well.
Red – Red onions are used when you want to add color to your dish. They can also be grilled.
White – These are traditionally used in Mexican dishes.

They should be stored at room temperature in a cool, dark, dry area. They last up to three or four weeks. Sweet onions can be stored in the refrigerator but they may draw some moisture from other produce. Use cut onions within a few days.

Onions, even though they have little nutrition, can add a lot of flavor to your diet without adding many calories.

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.

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.

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

Healthy Thanksgiving Cooking: The Turkey

Its time to start planning your Thanksgiving Holiday Feast. There are some simple things you can do to make your traditional Thanksgiving dinner lower in fat and calories, starting with the turkey. I asked Jody Victor to tell us more about it.

Jody Victor: If you are cooking for a small gathering, buy a turkey breast (or two) instead of a whole bird. Breast meat is lower in calories than dark meat. If you buy a whole turkey, stay away from self-basting ones as they contain added fat. Roast or smoke your turkey instead of deep frying it. When eating the turkey, remove the skin (where most of the fat is contained).

Gravy has the highest calorie count of the Thanksgiving dishes. You can make low fat broth-based or vegetarian gravy instead of gravy from turkey drippings. If you do make your gravy from turkey drippings, use a gravy separator to skim off most of the fat before you thicken it.

Another way to cut calories is to make dressing, not stuffing. Stuffing absorbs fat from the turkey as it roasts. Bake your dressing instead in a casserole dish. Avoid dressing recipes that use sausage or bacon. If your recipe calls for eggs, substitute each whole egg with two egg whites to cut calories. Dressing made with wild rice and grains will give you more nutrition than plain bread dressing.

1 10-12 pound turkey
1/4 cup minced fresh herbs (EX: thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, marjoram)
20 whole sprigs of herbs
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups onion, apple, and lemon or orange, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 cups water (plus more if needed)
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Remove giblets and wash turkey inside and out. Drain. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Mix minced herbs, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub mixture all over the turkey, under the skin and onto the breast meat. Place onion, apple, and orange/lemon pieces and half the sprigs in turkey cavity. Tuck wing tips under the turkey. Tie legs together with kitchen string. Add 3 cups of water to the pan and add remaining sprigs to water. Roast the turkey until it is golden brown (about 45 minutes). Remove turkey from oven and make a two-ply cover for the breasts. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Roast for 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours more. Check roasting pan occasionally. If it dries out, tilt pan to let turkey juices out of cavity and add 1 cup of water. Turkey is done when thermometer registers 165 degrees. Transfer turkey to a platter and cover completely with foil. Let turkey rest and re-absorb juices for 20 minutes before carving.

Thanks Jody

All the Best!

Steve Victor