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adding veggies and fruits to dishes when cooking



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IAMLOVEDBYYOU
IAMLOVEDBYYOU's Photo Posts: 369
10/13/13 9:07 A

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I eat a LOT of veggies. Sometimes I like to mix them with my main dish, and sometimes I have them on the side. My dinner "rule" is that if veggies are not a main part of it, I have to eat a salad with it. I am also vegetarian, but I don't eat tofu. I do eat a lot of beans.

Make Mexican dishes but replace the meat with canned black beans or refried beans. One of my go-to easy meals is a quesadilla with two corn tortillas, 1/4 cup of refried beans, and 1 oz of shredded cheese. I eat this with a side of cooked or raw vegetables.

Make a veggie stirfry with no meat. Sauté vegetables with a couple of tablespoons of store ought stirfry sauce. You can add peanuts to it to add some bulk. Serve it over brown rice.

I make vegetable purée soups all the time. Some people think they look gross but I think they are delicious. Spinach soup, butternut squash soup, roasted red pepper soup, and split pea soup are my favorites.

I suggest you just start experimenting with the vegetables and see what happens!



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SARAHMO4
SARAHMO4's Photo SparkPoints: (1,118)
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10/13/13 6:43 A

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I am looking to add and more nutrition and veggies to dishes such as, hamburgers, pasta dishes, casserole type ones and when I am cooking meat in the crockpot or on the stovetop. I want to cut back on the meat I use, and add more vitamins, etc. that come from vegetables. For me adding them with meat or protein dishes would be helpful since a. meat is expensive. and b. I cant always afford a lower fat choice. I do what I can to make the best choices but I cant go broke on anything. I use ground beef and its the 85/15. 90/10 is great but at nearly $4.00 a pound, that's a lot and eats through my budget for food pretty fast. Alternatives to those such as beans or tofu would be great. Both I have eaten but don't know a lot about for the most part. I know what I eat isn't always great and I do what I can to make the best choices reasonably for time, money, and whats doable.

I cant always do a lot money wise for better food choices and am trying to compensate for choices that come from the food I can buy. I know what I like, and want to eat that's better, its just combining what I can reasonably get and what I need or like to mesh together well.

I tend to shop with about 20-30 for groceries and keep a lot of staples for dishes in my house that are versatile and something, like chicken, pasta, or can be used in multiple ways.



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HEALTHYJ29
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10/13/13 6:25 A

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What about the microwave steamfresh veggies? They come with no sauce and steam in the bag.
I add veggies especially to other foods such as broccoli to eggs. Also if you add a sprinkle of cheese or a little dip it can help if you have issues with the taste.



COOKIE_AT_51
COOKIE_AT_51's Photo Posts: 1,685
10/12/13 7:57 P

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Lots of great ideas for freggies on here. I am learning to love my freggies too. Thanks for the ideas! I would post something but the things I have tried, some of you already posted.

Spark on ~ Cookie

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SYLVANELI
SYLVANELI's Photo Posts: 60
10/12/13 7:25 P

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Bunnykicks, I pinned the recipe on Pinterest and just got notice that six people repinned it!



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SYLVANELI
SYLVANELI's Photo Posts: 60
10/12/13 7:20 P

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Bunnykicks, thank you. Hot and simple...I love it! Can't wait to try it tomorrow.



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BUNNYKICKS
BUNNYKICKS's Photo Posts: 2,268
10/12/13 6:51 P

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Sylvaneli, here's a very simple recipe idea for pasta with white kidney beans (aka cannelini beans). So easy! You could also use meat *and* beans... like say you want the rich flavour of italian sausage or chorizo in your dish, you use just a small amount (because it's calorie-dense!) and then bulk out the dish with white beans.

www.food.com/recipe/pasta-and-white-beans-
in-light-tomato-sauce-102331


Goal 1 - break 200 (46 pounds lost)**DONE**
Goal 2 - leave obesity behind (BMI 29.9, at 185#) **DONE**
Goal 3 - BMI = Normal (154# or less)


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SKINNYROBIN100
SKINNYROBIN100's Photo Posts: 6,987
10/12/13 5:04 P

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SARAHMO4...I have started looking at foods and meals with new eyes since Feb.of this past year and weigh 65 lbs. less since then!! Yeah ME!! Anyway...Fruit and veggies are the star of EVERY meal. They take up most the plate or bowl and then comes lean protein, and whole grains. Or 40% veggies/fruits, 40% lean protein, 20% fats. I mix it up...one month with fruit and veggies the star, then the next month 40-40-20%. I snack every 2-3 hrs. and I drink only water, tea, and coconut/almond milks, unsweetened. I detox diet once a monthwith Dr. oz. and it could be a 24 hr. one or a 48 hr., or a 30 day cleanse diet depending on my mood that month. Here is one of my fav new recipes: Garlic/ Parm Cheese Spaghetti Squash with Ground Turkey Sausage and Fresh Tomato Sauce. Bake halved squash in 375 oven for 35 min. Prepare meat by saute'ing in 2 tsp. olive oil till brown, add minced garlic for 1 more min. Remove from heat, add diced tomatoes and herbs if desired. Season with black and red pepper flakes. Remove squash from oven. Use one half per person. Scoop out seeds, shred inside of squash shell with a fork. Place on plate and top with meat/tomato mixture and garnish with fresh parmesan cheese. I'm having this tonight and am cooking a tomato sauce on the stove cause I don't have fresh ones right now. I am adding mushrooms and zucchini to the sauce with the sausage as well. This is just so yummy and doesn't have any pasta or bread. Just good veggies and lean protein. Add a fresh fruit of choice for dessert with a handful of nuts and a cup of tea. emoticon emoticon

Edited by: SKINNYROBIN100 at: 10/12/2013 (17:06)

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SYLVANELI
SYLVANELI's Photo Posts: 60
10/12/13 3:22 P

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How do you make a vegetarian pasta with beans? Is it a hot or cold dish? I'm intrigued and would like to try this, but I don't enjoy cold pasta.



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LOTUS737
LOTUS737's Photo Posts: 2,004
10/12/13 3:07 P

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you can add shredded or minced veggies to burgers and meatballs- i love adding sauteed mushrooms, onions, and garlic in the meat.

i think pasta is one of the easiest places to add in more veggies- i love mushrooms, sauteed kale, sundried tomatoes, onions, even broccoli and romanesco. sometimes i'll do a vegetarian pasta and add beans- i like black beans or white beans in pasta the best. i also like jarred artichokes (in water) rinsed & drained in pasta.

pizza is a great place for veggies, obviously, but in addition to pureeing veggies into sauce (carrots, bell peppers, onions work so well!) grated zucchini basically disappears and you don't even notice it on there!

mexican food is another place i love to add veggies- bell peppers, onions, poblanos, squashes, etc are great, and beans help stretch the meat and boost fiber! i almost always use black or pinto beans in mexican food.

also, when in doubt- roast veggies! they're so delicious that way. i usually do mine about 425 for 15-20 minutes. you can eat them plain, add them to salad, make sandwiches, puree with soup, and make frittatas!

Current goal:
- 32 by end of April.

Next goals: -
39 total by end of May.
-46 by end of June.

Healthy choices and actions have positive impacts, even if the scale doesn't move!


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ICEDEMETER
ICEDEMETER's Photo Posts: 681
10/12/13 11:35 A

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A couple of things that we love that you might want to consider:

- Cauliflower crust pizza (we usually top with pure tomato paste, onions, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, spinach, and roasted chicken thigh). There are lots of recipes for it, and a couple of good YouTube videos showing exactly how to do it.

- Using a "bruschetta" mix: chopped tomatoes, onions, spritz of olive oil, basil, oregano, and sage as a base or topping for meats. Our favourite is to throw a few cups of the mix in to a skillet, add a splash of red wine vinegar, and cook white fish (cod or haddock) on top of it. Total chopping/cooking time is about 15 minutes and it tastes great. I'll often throw in a couple of cups of spinach with it, too.

I'm not a huge fan of kale, but use spinach almost every day. Fresh baby spinach can be eaten raw in a salad, or can easily be sauteed for a couple of minutes (just until wilted) and added to just about anything. I've even thrown a couple of cups in to the steamer while doing other veggies that way. One of my personal favourites is to do a quick saute of onions, mushrooms, and spinach and mixing it in to quinoa or brown rice (which is good hot, and also makes a great cold "salad" for future days).

As has been mentioned, roasting veggies is one of the easiest and tastiest ways to have them. We generally cube up potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, pearl onions, garlic heads, and various types of squash (butternut / zucchini / acorn) - spritz them with olive oil, sprinkle on a few spices (dill / nutmeg / garlic powder / onion powder / paprika / cumin / oregano / basil --- whatever we're in the mood for), place them in a single layer on parchment paper and roast in a 375 degree oven for an hour or so (flipping once). We do huge batches at once, as they reheat easily or even taste good cold.

Kudos on wanting to increase your veggie intake, and have fun in figuring out what your new favourites are!

Start weight: 240 lbs
Goal weight: 155 lbs (reached March 7, 2014)

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BUNNYKICKS
BUNNYKICKS's Photo Posts: 2,268
10/11/13 5:25 P

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and this... THIS is hands down my husband's favorite recipe - tastes JUST like meatloaf outta taste, but is actually about half veggie... we eat this often... and have also used it to stuff cabbage rolls and green peppers.

simple-nourished-living.com/2012/11/weight
-watchers-meatloaf-recipe/


Goal 1 - break 200 (46 pounds lost)**DONE**
Goal 2 - leave obesity behind (BMI 29.9, at 185#) **DONE**
Goal 3 - BMI = Normal (154# or less)


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BUNNYKICKS
BUNNYKICKS's Photo Posts: 2,268
10/11/13 5:22 P

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well... i don't know about pureeing just for the sake of "adding veggies".... i like my veggies to look like veggies....

what kind of foods do you like to cook, that you are hoping to add veggies to? knowing what it is that you prefer to eat, would help with the suggestions I might make for "what veggie would go good in that."

I find that I end up sauteeing or oven-roasting just about any kind of veggie i can get my hands on, and the resulting cooked veg I will eat alone as a side dish *or* will toss into a soup, stew, casserole, pasta sauce or even cold into a salad.

Oh, if you want to have fun with a cauliflower, i tried this Jamie Oliver concoction a couple weeks ago and darn, was it ever good.... you need a deep pot that you can fit the whole head into, and then you just let it burble along...
www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/vegetables-rec
ipes/whole-baked-cauliflower-with-toma
to-and-olive-sauce


Goal 1 - break 200 (46 pounds lost)**DONE**
Goal 2 - leave obesity behind (BMI 29.9, at 185#) **DONE**
Goal 3 - BMI = Normal (154# or less)


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AZULVIOLETA6
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10/11/13 5:09 P

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I think that I might need a specific example of what you are doing. You can't just add random vegetables to random sauces and get something edible...and of course adding a vegetable puree to something isn't going to make an unhealthy food healthy. I love to add pureed zucchini to brownies, but that doesn't exactly make them a diet food, you know?

I've just started playing around with kale myself. The easiest things to do with it are chips and salad. For chips, wash it and dry it well, then tear into small pieces. Toss about 3 C kale with 1 t olive oil and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Then you can dust it with salt...less than a teaspoon, and some seasoning--smoked paprika, taco seasoning, etc.

An easy kale salad is just shredded kale, a sharp cheese (romano, feta...something strong) plus a bit of dried fruit (crasins are good...especially plumped up a bit), and maybe some nuts plus a balsamic vinegar. I use a fig balsamic that is really nice on kale. If you google you can find 1000 recipes for kale salad I'm sure.

Dances: salsa (standard/LA), casino, rueda de casino, cumbia Colombiana, bachata, mambo, cha-cha-chá, merengue, reggaetón.

Currently learning: Mexican cumbia, danzón, Cuban rumba

Dances to Learn in the future: flamenco, tango Argentino, samba, belly dancing, bhangra, ballroom rumba


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NIRERIN
Posts: 11,756
10/11/13 5:00 P

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if it doesn't come naturally then use a recipe til you get the hang of it. start by going to your local library and looking through cookbooks. looks for ones that already have the nutrition info, have ingredients that you keep on hand, clearly have a good amount of vegetables in them, or what simply looks good to you. then make the recipes. once you start seeing how other people do it, you can branch out once you get the basic idea of how to do it.
you cal also check sparkrecipes.com or sites like vegweb.com or eatingwell.com for more ideas. but until you know what you like and what you are doing, stick to what someone else laid down. and if you find you dislike something, keep notes about what you dislike so that you know what to try [or not try] in the future.

-google first. ask questions later.



LGANDAB
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10/11/13 4:26 P

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I eat a lot of different vegetables but I don't think that randomly pureeing vegetables and tossing them into a dish is an effective long-term plan. I sit down on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning and plan out my meals for the upcoming week, buying the fruits and vegetables I'll need for those meals.

One thing that works well for me is combining a grain, a legume, vegetables and a sauce. For example today I had brown rice topped with www.thekitchn.com/recipe-braised-coconut-s
pinach-chickpeas-with-lemon-164551
for lunch. Made with light coconut milk (and subbing the rice for the sweet potato) one serving clocked in under 300 calories. My dinner is salad of leafy greens topped with quinoa, sauteed fennel and apple, and a dressing made from soaked raw almonds blended with water and a few different curry-inspired spices. This is another "veggie" bowl I'm looking forward to making: smittenkitchen.com/blog/2013/10/miso-sweet
-potato-and-broccoli-bowl/
. These are purposeful choices... I don't look in my fridge and then decide what to make, I decide what to make and then buy the food for those recipes.

The internet has more recipes than you'll ever be able to make. If your eyes are bigger than your stomach here's one great place to start looking: foodgawker.com/post/category/vegetables/


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I've lost the weight- and kept it off- using Spark in the past. Lost my nutrition and fitness groove after a car accident and re-gained... but not for long!

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DIDS70
DIDS70's Photo Posts: 5,070
10/11/13 3:33 P

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personally, i do not like cooked veggies. I chose to go raw three years ago. If appears you don't mind raw veggies. Why don't you look at some raw cookbooks and get some really cool side dishes. It will tell you how to use kale, spinach, and lots of other choices. I am in no way suggesting you go raw as it is a lifestyle that is not super easy, but why not use the cookbooks to "bulk" up your other meals.

:)


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SARAHMO4
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10/11/13 3:05 P

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I have been trying to make a goal of eating more fruits and veggies daily and so far I have done will with raw fruits or veggies as snacks or with meals. When I try to cook with them by adding them to a dish directly or pureeing and using in a sauce, I get lost. My main goals by doing this are 1.To add more health and nutrition, and 2. bulk up the meal by using more veggies/fruits as a swap for meat ingredients or higher calorie choices I don't want to add a lot of.

This just doesn't seem to come naturally to me, why I am not for sure. The main things are what are versatile foods that will just blend in or can stand out depending upon what I am making. Also just making effort to remind myself that this could go in there and make the food healthy. I had a very much meat and potatoes diet growing up and most dishes were starch, and meat, with no veggies added in usually. Veggies were always a side dish. So changing my thought process can be interesting too.

If anyone can help or has a few good go to foods that you add in or puree let me know. Fyi: Yes I eat vegetable's but kale, spinach, artichokes, and other veggies I dont know a lot about how to cook or really anything about the food. I am kind of a newbie in some ways to cooking with veggies and not just eating them. What I use is pretty basic I guess (peppers, carrots, cauliflower, tomatoes, to name a few)



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