Spring into Good Food and Nutrition

Spring is about to be sprung, so why not start celebrating with an outdoor or indoor barbecue. If the temperatures drop at sundown, you can feed your guests inside, but nothing welcomes the warmer weather better than the smell of delicious food being grilled. I have a couple recipes that are all easy, nutrient rich and kid-friendly to get your taste buds ready for spring. Some can be cooked on the grill and others can be made quickly inside.

Apple Brown Betty Smoothie

• 3/4 cup fat-free or low-fat milk
• 2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
• 1/3 cup applesauce
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 tablespoon caramel topping
• 1 tablespoon low-fat whipped topping (optional)
• 1 teaspoon sugar cookie crumbs (optional)
Combine milk, yogurt, applesauce, cinnamon and caramel topping in a blender; blend until very smooth. Top with whipped topping and a few cookie crumbs, if desired.
Calories: 230

Veggie Tostada Towers

• 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
• 1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
• 2 medium zucchinis, chopped
• 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
• 1 medium red onion, chopped
• 1 each green and red bell pepper, chopped
• 2 jalapeno peppers, with seeds, mince
• 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
• 4 scallions, green and white parts, minced
• 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (plus 4 sprigs for garnish)
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/2 cups grated Cabot 50% Light Jalapeño Cheddar cheese
• 1/4 cup Cabot No Fat Sour Cream
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place corn tortillas on baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes or until crisp. Meanwhile, heat a large, nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add oil. Once hot, sauté zucchini, tomatoes, onion, peppers, corn and scallion for 4 minutes. Drain excess liquids through a mesh strainer. Return vegetables to pan. Stir in cilantro and salt. Onto each of 4 baked tortillas, sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the cheese and 1/8 of vegetable mixture. Top each with another baked tortilla. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and vegetable mixture. Top with remaining baked tortillas. Serve each “tower” with 1 tablespoon sour cream, and if desired, fresh cilantro.

Timesaving tip: Chop veggies in advance and refrigerate up to 3 days. Calories: 452

Harvest Stuffed Turkey Burgers with Cranberry Mayo

• 1 pound ground turkey (breast meat only)
• 1/4 cup cranberry sauce
• 4 ounces Cabot 50% Light Cheddar, cut into 4 (1-ounce) slices
• vegetable cooking spray
• salt and ground black pepper to taste
• 4 mixed-grain hamburger buns
• 1 tablespoon cranberry sauce
• 3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
• 8 large arugula leaves, rinsed and patted dry
Shape ground turkey into 8 thin patties. Spread 1 tablespoon of cranberry sauce in center of 4 patties and top with 1 slice cheese; place remaining 4 patties on top, pinching edges together to seal.

Lightly coat large nonstick pan with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Cook burgers for 4 minutes per side, or until well done. (Alternatively, cook on grill.) Season with salt and pepper. Place on buns and top with cranberry mayo* and arugula. *For the cranberry mayo: In a small bowl, stir together cranberry sauce and mayonnaise; cover and refrigerate until serving time. Calories: 392

Also with springtime – Farmers Markets begin to appear. A Farmers Market is a great place to get fresh foods and spend a couple of hours out of your day. It where can you get the season’s best produce at reasonable prices, where you chat up the strawberry grower himself and talk about the crazy winter we just had. You can see and sample food you may have never had. Every community farmer’s market is going to be a bit different, because each market reflects what the local farmers can grow in that particular part of the country. If you haven’t yet made it to your local farmer’s market, make it part of your spring tradition.

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