All Entries For recipes
In honor of Heart Awareness Month, I've gathered up recipes that have the ultimate superfood: chia seeds. Chia seeds are a great source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and proteins. If you have not heard of chia seeds, read "What Can You Do with Chia Seeds? Plenty!" for more information. Don't let giggles and jokes about the kitschy Chia Pet commercials dissuade you. I add chia to almost all recipes these days. I love that it's gluten and alergy-free. Try these chia recipes today. Read More ›
Why does brown rice get such a bad rap? Sure, rice can be a little bland. And yes, the brown version does take longer to cook. But here’s the thing: In addition to being one of the healthiest foods in the human diet—rich in fiber, cholesterol-lowering fats and nutritious minerals and antioxidants—brown rice has a deep, nutty flavor and hearty texture that’s anything but boring.
White rice is highly processed brown rice that’s been stripped of its bran—and nearly all its nutrients. You’ll find short- and long-grain varieties; short-grain rice tends to be more sticky and compact when it’s cooked, while long-grain rice is fluffier. You may also be able to find quick-cooking brown rice (which is partially cooked and then dried). Brown rice is different from wild rice (which is actually a grass, not a rice), though they’re delicious together. Here are some great ways to enjoy brown rice:
Cooking brown rice.
To make 3 cups of cooked rice, bring 1 cup of brown rice, 2 1/2 cups of water and a pinch of salt to a boil; cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 40 to 50 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Turn off the heat, leave the lid on the pan and let the rice sit for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork before serving. (You can also make brown rice in the slow cooker.)
Oven-Baked Brown Rice.
This SparkRecipes member recipe is dubbed “foolproof”; it’s baked in a foil-covered dish in the oven for an hour.
Prepared And Make-Ahead Brown Rice.
You’ll find already-cooked brown rice on your grocery shelf, and it’s a quick and easy way to enjoy this staple. Too, cooked rice freezes well, so if you plan to cook a batch of brown rice for a recipe, make double what you need and freeze the rest for up to 6 months.
Now, onto those recipes and meal ideas... Read More ›
If you're an avid cook and foodie, you've probably discovered the wonderful (and addictive!) world of Pinterest. This website gives you access to literally millions of recipes, cooking tips and inspiring food ideas, which is great! But we know that you don't always have the time to sift through the countless recipes floating around out there to find the very best ones. Which recipes are going to impress your guests, cause your mouth to water, and make you want to make them again and again? Well, we've taken the time to sift through our most popular SparkRecipes from our Pinterest page. These are the best recipes from our site that keep getting shared and re-pinned time and time again—because they're just that good. And now you can have them all in one handy list! All of these recipes are relatively fast, healthy and easy to make—and are guaranteed to make you want to make them for years to come. Bon appetit! Read More ›
Ground turkey is a staple in my kitchen. I buy in bulk and keep it in my freezer. My favorite use for this versatile item is turkey burgers. It’s fun to experiment with items in my fridge, cupboard, or farm box, aiming for half of the ingredients to be vegetables and whole grains. This creates a complete nutritional meal for my kids that also affords them choice of toppings and condiments. My personal favorite is to enjoy the patty on top of leafy greens with honey mustard dressing. Instead of consuming that full-fat 500 calorie beef burger, opt for one of these juicy turkey burger recipes. Read More ›
My favorite snack of late is air-popped popcorn. A whopping 3 cups of air-popped popcorn is a mighty filling whole-grain snack yet only has 92 calories, plus 19 g carbs, 3 g protein, and 4 g fiber. But have you ever eaten plain air-popped popcorn? It can be rather bland and dry. As the saying goes, the secret's in the sauce. For under 150 calories, you can flavor your popcorn in plenty of ways. Salty or sweet, spicy or savory--it's up to you.
Once you've popped your popcorn, it's time for the seasoning. To get your dry herbs, spices and other seasonings to stick, you'll need a little liquid, usually in the form of a fat. A little goes a long way, but you can even have butter on your popcorn without going over 150 calories!
Wondering how these varieties stack up against the tins of gourmet popcorn we're all bombarded with during the holidays? While these all have 150 calories or less, the cheese, buttered or caramel versions can have up to 300 calories in a little more than a cup, with 18 g fat!
Let's get popping!
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Per your requests, our recipe ideas come in a handy, downloadable calendar packed full of meal ideas that are healthy and delicious. (It's printable, too!) Whether you use this calendar every day or just use it for ideas is up to you. We hope we've inspired you to get into the kitchen and get cooking!
Each week we'll choose a different theme: our favorite no-cook summer recipes, 7 days of meatless meals, or a week of diabetes-friendly dinners, for example. If you have a special dietary request, let us know in the comments, and we'll do our best to devise a recipe plan that might suit your needs.
By posting a weekly calendar, we think it's easier for you to save and even reuse these recipe collections over time.
This week's theme is Gluten-Free Dinners.
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People often ask me what foods they should be eating. I think they expect that as a dietitian, I'll tell them they have to eat pricey, trendy health foods to lose weight. No way! I'm passionate about spreading the word that you can lose weight and get healthy as a family while sticking to a budget. That's why I'm so excited to share today's blog with you! It's a great resource for those of you who are new to healthy cooking or who don't know what to put in your cart at the supermarket.
What a great feeling! You’re driving home from work and automatically know that you have the ingredients in your cupboard, refrigerator and freezer to whip up a meal for your family in mere minutes. No need to waste time or money with another trip to the grocery store or fast food joint. Ah! Sit back, relax and enjoy the music.
The foods picked for this pantry list are ideal choices for weight loss--lower in calories, yet packed with nutrition. They are also commonly available, budget friendly, familiar to most, and liked by many. Their flavors and textures mesh well for tasty food combinations. These "mix and match" marvels will have you making magic in the kitchen in minutes.
I've divided my list into food groups for easier shopping and included serving suggestions, too.
Fajitas are one of those foods that you hear and smell before you see, especially when you order them at a restaurant. The onions and peppers sizzle amongst strips of meat, their intoxicating smells travel through the restaurant, and finally a skillet overflowing with food is presented to you, along with a platter of beans, rice, a stack of flour tortillas and all the trimmings.
Fajitas come from the Spanish word "faja," which means sash, skirt--or girdle. It referred to the type of meat originally used in the dish, skirt steak. When most of us eat fajitas as served, we'll likely need a girdle to get into our pants!
The fajita platter at a popular fast-casual chain has 850 calories, 36 grams of fat, and 2,440 milligrams of sodium (more than a day's worth!). Wow.
At its most basic, a fajita is grilled meat wrapped in a tortilla. The vegetables are a welcome addition, but most restaurants douse them in oil and salt. Read More ›
My love of donuts started on my sixth birthday, when my parents bought me donuts instead of a birthday cake. Ten years later my parents led my family through a pretty amazing lifestyle change that included diet and exercise. I’ll never forget walking into a well-known donut chain where you could watch them come off the line. My Mom and I asked for one without icing. They were shocked at the request, not able to comprehend. After convincing them we were serious about the no icing request, we asked for three. They delivered three dozen to the register.
Apparently, customers order them by the dozen there. This got me thinking how to enjoy the warm soft sweetness of donuts without the fat, calories and sugar of the traditional recipe. Here’s what I learned: start by substituting whole wheat flour, then use plain yogurt instead of oil and butter. Add natural ingredients—like berries, pumpkin, and banana—to add nutritional sweetness. Have fun with toppings too, using lemon zest, orange zest, cinnamon sugar, or add icing in moderation. Try baking instead of frying or make smaller ones to help with portion control. If you don’t own a donut pan, try a muffin pan instead. Donuts are a wonderful treat, but these recipes give you all the flavor, but not wreck your health goals. Read More ›
Have you noticed that cupcakerys are the new hot trend in restaurants? Even in my non-metropolitan home town, our local bakery competed in the 2011 and 2012 Food Network Cupcake Wars and won "Best of the Best" on Cupcake Champions in 2012.
In our home, the month of February is an unofficial cupcake month, with Valentine's Day and nine separate family birthday celebrations to prepare for. However, if I stuck with the standard recipe, my husband and I would surely gain a few pounds and my kids would gain an eternal sugar high. That said, there are some simple modifications that add nutritional value, reduce the processed sugar, fat, and calories too. Substitute whole-grain flours for all purpose flour. Use fruits and vegetables as a natural sweetener and add color and texture; applesauce can be used in place of oil; flaxseed meal or chia seeds mixed with water can be used in place of eggs; and Greek yogurt can be used in place of flour. I also find that when I use natural ingredients, I crave the processed sugar less-and-less. Another health benefit and convenience with cupcakes is that a serving is as simple as one cupcake. Leftovers can go right into the freezer instead of a late night snack. Celebrate something special with these healthier cupcake recipes. Read More ›
Got zucchini? Make the most of this prolific veggie, with easy and healthy main dishes, sides and yes, even dessert.
Cheesy Zucchini Rice
Mix shredded zucchini (2 medium) and 1 cup of part-skim cheddar cheese into just-cooked brown rice; the residual heat will steam the squash and melt the cheese, creating a healthy and tasty side dish.
Zucchini Ribbon Salad
Use a vegetable peeler to shave long, thin strips of zucchini (stop when you reach the seedy inner core). Toss with lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper for a bright-tasting, no-cook salad. Read More ›
Asparagus is delicious when prepared simply: steamed, roasted or grilled. I like to blanch and shock the asparagus before grilling. Boil the asparagus for 1 minute (this is the "blanch" part of the process). Immediately plunge the asparagus into ice water to stop the cooking process (this is the "shock"). The asparagus will turn bright green and retain all its taste and nutrition. Dry it off and then grill it. Serve alone or on a pizza. Or serve it cold with vinaigrette.
How do you prepare it? Easy--Mother Nature gave you a guide. Pick up a spear, hold one end in each hand, and snap it. It will naturally break at the spot where it turns from woody to tender. You can either snap each spear or use the first one as a guide and cut them all off at the same spot.
Don't throw away those tough ends. You can simmer them for stocks or puree and use in soups. If all your spears are thick and woody, use a vegetable peeler to trim the outside and expose the tender interior.
You'll love these easy asparagus recipes:
Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus
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You know the drill – by the time the late afternoon rolls around, you’re starving and the office candy jar starts looking better and better. Save yourself the temptation and try one of these simple, healthy, and satisfying portable snack ideas instead.
A bonus: not driving home starving means much less temptation to hit the drive through!
- Medium-size fruit (or 1 serving dried fruit) with 1 serving unsalted nuts (any kind)
- Greek yogurt (just store a few in the fridge at work!)
- Medium-size fruit (banana) or veggie (celery, carrots) with 2 TBSP nut butter
- Tip: try buying the pre-portioned nut butter packets – easier to bring to work than a whole jar, and then you have portion control built in! They are usually sold in 100 calorie packets at the grocery store.
- 1/4 cup hummus with as many chopped veggies as you want (carrots, celery, peppers, etc.)
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We love bell peppers. Served raw, they're a tangy and low-calorie snack and a great addition to any salad. When cooked, their natural sweetness is highlighted. We've picked a pack of pepper recipes that are both delicious and nutritious!