Eat Healthy Monthly Recipes

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As seen in Iredell Informed

February:  

Not a vegetable lover? You’re not alone. Only 10% of people in the U.S. eat the
recommended amount, which is 4½ cups a day. If you don’t like one vegetable, that doesn’t mean you won’t like a different one. The more you try a vegetable, the more chance you have of liking it. So, keep trying.
Here are some creative ways to get more vegetables into your meals and
snacks.

Shred. Vegetables that can be easily shredded, such as zucchini, beets,
carrots or parsnips, can be added to whole-grain muffins, pancakes, soups,
stir-fries, pasta sauce and casseroles. These sneaky vegetables boost flavor,
texture and nutrition, often without anyone knowing they’re there. Use a box
grater, hand grater or food processor to shred vegetables. Or, for
convenience, look for bags of pre-shredded produce in the grocery store.

Swap. Mushrooms add a savory flavor and texture, especially to meats, along
with added nutrients. Replace half the amount of ground beef or turkey for
burgers, meatloaf and meatballs with cooked chopped mushrooms. Here’s
how: First, finely chop the mushrooms. Next, heat a small amount of olive oil
over medium heat and cook the mushrooms for 3 minutes, or until soft. Once
they have cooled, gently mix them with your ground meat. Continue with
your recipe.


Puree. Cook and puree orange vegetables, such as butternut squash, sweet
potatoes and carrots to add to cheesy dishes, such as macaroni and cheese,
lasagna, or baked enchiladas. Simply replace half of the cheese with the
pureed vegetables to help reduce some of the saturated fat and sodium
found in your meal. It’s that easy. To make a smooth, flavorful and filling soup,
process the vegetables with some fat-free, low-sodium broth in a food
processor or a blender until smooth.


Blend. You can load lots of fruit and vegetables into delicious and refreshing
smoothies. Start with adding frozen fruit, such as sliced banana, berries,
cubed melon and chopped mango into a food processor or blender. Next,
add some vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and cooked carrot rounds or
chopped squash. Then, add a few splashes of fat-free/low-fat milk, a few
dollops of plain yogurt and/or a splash of juice or water. Put in some freshly
grated gingerroot or ground ginger, ground cinnamon and ice cubes.
Process until smooth. Experiment with different fruits and vegetables to
make many delicious combinations.

January: Roasted Root Vegetables

These oven roasted root vegetables are a delicious side dish! I top the tender, caramelized veggies with a fragrant sage oil and crispy sage leaves for rich, earthy depth of flavor. We love to serve this recipe as a holiday side dish, but it would be a great addition to any fall or winter meal. Vegan and gluten-free.

roasted root vegetables

Ingredients
 2 beets, preferably 1 red and 1 golden, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks
 1 large carrot, roll cut into 1-inch chunks
 3 parsnips, chopped into 1-inch chunks
 1 medium sweet potato, chopped into 1-inch chunks
 1 turnip, chopped into 1-inch chunks
 Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
 Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Crispy Sage and Sage Oil
 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
 10 fresh sage leaves

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Place the beets and carrots on one baking sheet and the parsnips, sweet potato,
and turnip on the other. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with the rosemary, sage, thyme, pinches of salt, and several grinds of pepper. Toss to coat and spread evenly on the baking sheets. Roast for 25 to 50 minutes, or until tender and browned around the edges. The parsnips, sweet potato, and turnip will bake for less time. The beet and carrot will roast longer.
3. Make the crispy sage: Line a plate with paper towels. Heat the olive oil in a small
saucepan until bubbling, add the sage leaves, stir, and cook until crisp, about 1 minute.
4. Remove the leaves from the oil and transfer to the prepared plate to drain. Reserve the oil for serving with the vegetables.
5. Remove the vegetables from the oven and toss with 1 tablespoon of the sage oil.
6. Transfer to a platter and top with the crispy sage leaves.

December: Holiday Snacking/Appetizer


Ingredients:
 Cauliflower florets
 Cucumber slices
 Bell Pepper slices
 Carrots
 Celery sticks
 Cherry tomatoes halved
 Baby pickles
 Mini mozzarella balls
 Mixed nuts
 Dried fruit
 Hummus
 Fresh herbs for garnish


Instructions:
1. Using 3 small bowls, place hummus in one, baby pickles in another, and the
mini mozzarella balls in the third. Space them out on your serving platter.
2. Arrange the sliced cucumbers in a snake-like pattern around the board.
Place the rest of the veggies and tomatoes in groups around the board. Try
to keep similar colors apart from each other. Fill in spaces with mixed nuts,
dried fruits, and crackers. Garnish with fresh sprigs of rosemary, thyme, or
basil. Enjoy!

November:  The Best Roasted Vegetables for Thanksgiving (or any day really!)

Ingredients:

 1 lb Brussels sprouts (4 cups) trimmed and halved
 3 large carrots (3 cups) peeled and cut into chunks
 2 medium red onions cut into wedges
 2 tablespoons olive oil
 1 tablespoon maple syrup
 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried)
 ½ teaspoon salt
 ¼ teaspoon black pepper
 ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
 ½ cup walnuts or pecans roughly chopped
 ½ cup dried cranberries

Instructions
1. OVEN: Preheat your oven to 400F (200C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease them.
AIR FRYER: Note that this recipe is fairly large, so you may need to do this recipe in batches for the best result, or a very
large air fryer. Preheat your air fryer to 375F (190C).
1. Add the Brussels sprouts, carrots, red onions, olive oil, maple syrup, rosemary, salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Toss well to
combine.
OVEN: Spread the veggies evenly over the two prepared baking sheets. Roast for 20 – 25 minutes, stirring halfway through
until the veggies are fork-tender and beginning to brown. Sprinkle over the walnuts and dried cranberries and continue to bake
another 5 – 10 minutes until the veggies are cooked and the nuts are lightly roasted.
AIR FRYER: add the veggies to the air fryer. Air fry for 16 – 20 minutes, shaking halfway through until the veggies are fork-
tender and beginning to brown. Sprinkle over the walnuts and dried cranberries and continue to bake another 4 – 8 minutes
until the veggies are cooked and the nuts are lightly roasted.
Notes
Oil free: substitute the oil for vegetable broth.
Nuts-free: for nut-free, substitute the nuts with pepitas or omit them.
Cranberries: you can substitute with raisins or chopped dried apricots if preferred.

September:  Autumn Roasted Veggies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sweet potatoes cut into 1½-inch thick pieces
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 cups bell pepper cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 cups zucchini sliced or cubed into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 medium acorn squash seeded, cut into 1 inch slice or cubes
  • 1 cups brussels sprouts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place chopped veggies in an extra-large bowl. Pour oil and spices onto veggies. Toss with hands to combine.
  3. Spread vegetables in an even layer on baking sheet (s) and bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking time.

August:  Eat More Veggies!

Vegetable fritters are an easy way to eat more veggies and use up all that summer produce. They pack up great for lunch, either on their own or in a sandwich, and they even make a nice, light dinner when paired with a simple recipe. But the best part about these fritters is that what you decide to put in them is really just determined by what you already have in your kitchen.

Vegetable fritters

How To Make Fritters Out of Any Vegetable

MAKES 9 (2 1/2-inch) fritters

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 pounds vegetable(s) of choice
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup grated or crumbled cheese
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (or chickpea flour, if gluten-free)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs, or 1 teaspoon ground spices
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Dipping sauce (optional)

EQUIPMENT

  • Box grater or food processor with grating disk attachment
  • Large skillet or frying pan, preferably nonstick
  • Flat spatula
  • Mixing bowl
  • Paper towels
  • Large plate

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Prepare the ingredients: Grate root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, and sweet potato on the large holes of a box grater. Grate and drain zucchini and summer squash. Chop and steam cauliflower and broccoli florets. Cut corn off the cob.
  2. Blanch leafy greens: If using leafy greens like Swiss chard, add the chopped greens and their chopped steams to salted boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge them into the ice bath to stop the cooking process. Once blanched, drain and chop the greens.
  3. Whisk the egg: In a large bowl, whisk the egg thoroughly.
  4. Add the vegetables: Squeeze handfuls of wet vegetables, like blanched leafy greens or grated zucchini, to remove excess liquid before adding them to the bowl
  5. Add the remaining ingredients: Add the cheese, 1/4 cup of flour, herbs, spices, garlic, salt, and pepper to the bowl.
  6. Mix the batter: Use a spatula to mix everything together so that it’s evenly combined.
  7. Test the batter: Check to see if you can form a patty in your hands and it holds together. If not, add a little more flour to the mixture.
  8. Heat the oil and add the batter: Heat the oil in a large skillet or frying pan, preferably cast iron or nonstick, over medium-high heat until shimmering. Drop 1/4 cup of batter into the pan, flatten it slightly with a flat spatula, and continue dropping more batter, leaving about 2 inches of space between the fritters and being careful not to overcrowd the pan.
  9. Fry the fritters: Let the fritters cook undisturbed until browned on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the patties with the spatula and cook until browned on the second side, 2 to 3 minutes more.
  10. Drain the fritters: Remove the fritters to a paper towel-lined large plate. Repeat making the fritters.
  11. Serve the fritters: Transfer the fritters to a plate and serve warm, at room temperature, or cold with a dipping sauce of your choice, if using.

RECIPE NOTES

Storage: Fritters will last in the fridge for about 1 week. They also freeze well. To reheat frozen fritters, place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and heat in a 400°F oven until warmed through and crisp again, 10 to 15 minutes.

July:  Berry Yogurt Parfait

Ingredients
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (if flavored, look for no added sugar variety)
½ cup mixed berries like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries
Optional toppings:
Sliced almonds, dark chocolate shavings
Instructions
Spoon the Greek yogurt into a bowl. Top with berries and your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

Berry Helpful Hints
 Because berries have a short shelf life, an alternative to enjoy them year-round is to  buy them frozen or buy fresh berries and freeze them yourself. To freeze fresh berries: wash, drain well and pat dry with a clean paper towel. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze berries until firm, then package frozen berries in freezer
bags or containers.  When making pancakes and waffles, add the blueberries as
soon as the batter has been poured on the griddle or waffle iron. This will make the pancakes prettier, and they will be easier to flip. If frozen blueberries are used, cooking time will probably have to be increased.  Whole frozen berries destined for your baked goods should be used frozen. Gently fold into pies, cakes, and muffins just prior to baking.

June:  Simple Summer Cucumber Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 2 green onion stalks, washed and trimmed
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ounce Greek cream cheese or 1/3 less fat cream cheese, optional*
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • *For additional thickness, if desired.
  • Instructions
  1. In a food processor (or high-powered blender), puree the cottage cheese, cucumber, green onion, garlic and Worcestershire sauce on low until mostly smooth. Mix in cream cheese, if using, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Serve with fresh cracked black pepper, if desired, and enjoy with fresh veggies, pita or chips, or even as a sauce on sandwiches or burgers.

April:  Plant Part Salad – 

Ingredients
Salad
 6 cups leaves, such as lettuce, spinach, chard
 1 cup roots, such as beets, carrots, radishes
 2 cups flowers, such as broccoli, cauliflower
 1 cup stems, such as celery, broccoli stems, chard stems
 2 cups fruit, such as apple, tomato, cucumber
 1/4 cup seeds, such as sunflower seeds, peas, beans
Dressing
 2 to 4 Tablespoons fruit juice or vinegar, such as lemon juice, orange juice or
apple cider vinegar
 2 to 4 Tablespoons olive oil
 1 clove of garlic, minced or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
 1/4 teaspoon oregano or basil (optional)
 1 teaspoon prepared mustard (optional)
 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper (optional)
Directions
1. Wash hands with soap and water.
2. Rinse tender fruits and vegetables under running water. Scrub firm vegetables
with a clean vegetable brush under running water. Lay on towels and pat dry.
3. Tear leaves into small pieces and place in a large bowl.
4. Cut or grate roots, flowers, stems, and fruit into bite-sized pieces and add to the
bowl. Sprinkle seeds over the top.
5. In a small bowl or jar with a tight-fitting lid, mix or shake together dressing
ingredients.
6. Pour dressing over the salad and toss lightly.
7. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

March:  Oven Roasted Asparagus –

Ingredients

For the Asparagus:
 1 pound asparagus
 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
 Toppings of your choice (optional—see below for suggestions)
Optional Toppings (pick one, two, or your mix of choice):
 Lemon zest and juice
 Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Red Pepper flakes (just a pinch)
 Thyme* (1 teaspoon fresh or a slightly heaping 1/4 teaspoon of dried)
 Basil* (1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried)
 Drizzle balsamic reduction or aged balsamic vinegar

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. For easy cleanup, line a rimmed baking with parchment paper or aluminum foil. You may lightly coat it with non-stick spray too.
 Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus by holding the stem end in one hand and gripping it near the base with the other. Briskly bend and the asparagus will naturally snap in the right place. Discard the stem ends.
 Arrange the asparagus on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and any dried herbs you are using. Toss to coat, then spread into an even layer.
 Bake the asparagus for 9 to 11 minutes (for thin stalks) or 15 to 20 minutes (for thicker stalks), just until it easily pierces with a fork.
 Sprinkle the asparagus with your toppings of choice. My favorite is lemon zest and juice, a sprinkle of Parmesan, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Enjoy hot or at room temperature.

Notes
 *INGREDIENT NOTE: If using dried herbs (see suggested amounts in "toppings"), add them with the salt prior to roasting; if using fresh herbs, sprinkle them on after the asparagus is finished roasting.
 DOUBLE BATCH: If doubling the recipe, divide the asparagus between two baking sheets to ensure it has room to roast in a single layer. Bake in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, switching the pans' positions in the upper and lower racks halfway through.
 TO STORE: Refrigerate asparagus in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
 TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F.
 TO FREEZE: I don't recommend freezing asparagus, as it becomes mushy. If you must, freeze asparagus in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

February:  Cowboy Caviar – 

Ingredients

 15 Oz. Can No-Salt Added Black Beans, drained and rinsed
 15 Oz. Can No-Salt Added Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed
 15 Oz. Can No-Salt Added Whole Kernel Corn, drained and rinsed
 3/4 Cup Pico de Gallo (or salsa)
 1/4 Cup Italian Dressing (with no added sugar)
 2 Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro, chopped (optional)

Instructions

1. Put all ingredients into large bowl and mix well.
2. For best flavor, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
3. Enjoy with whole grain chips.
Notes
Dietitian Tips: Always look for no-salt added versions of canned products. By
draining and rinsing canned vegetables and beans you can reduce the sodium up to 41%.