Cooking Fresh Veggies

Summer time – a great time for fresh veggies that taste wonderful! When picked in season, they are nutritional bargains! Some people might not know how to cook fresh veggies or know where to begin. Vegetables just need a little prep work and then they will be ready to cook. All fresh produce should be washed thoroughly and ‘bad spots’ should be removed.  Cut into uniform pieces so they cook evenly.

Here are a few ways to get your started!

Roasting:

Roasting vegetables is an easy way to bring out the flavor of the vegetables and is a healthy way to eat them. You can roast vegetables either alone or in combination with others. You won’t need much (or any) seasoning because the flavors are concentrated. After you prepare the vegetables, mix them with a little olive oil. Put vegetables on roasting pan. You want the vegetables to be in one layer (not tightly packed), so make sure your pan is big enough. Cook for 20-25 minutes at 400 F in multiple batches if necessary. Roast until the pieces are tender and are a caramel brown color around the edges.

Microwave:

Place the vegetable pieces into a microwave safe container. Add 2 tablespoons of water. Cover with a tight fitting lid. If the container does not have a lid, use a microwave safe plastic wrap to seal the bowl. Be sure to vent the bowl. Cook on high for 5-7 minutes. Drain water from vegetables and season as desired. My favorite is lemon pepper or garlic salt! Or just add some shredded cheese to ANY vegetable.

Stir Fry:

Use a large non-stick pan to steam pieces of vegetable until they are tender and tasty.

Place uniform pieces of vegetables in a pan with a shallow layer of water across the bottom, about 1/4 of an inch deep. Heat over medium to medium-high heat. Cover the pan with a lid to cook faster. Cook vegetables to crisp-tender. Check at 5 minutes for doneness.

Not sure whether a certain vegetable is a good candidate for stir-frying? It all comes down to the density and moisture level of the vegetable. Zucchini, sweet peppers and spinach are high moisture veggies and can be quickly stir-fried at high heat without the addition of extra liquid. Lower moisture vegetables like broccoli and carrots, require more cooking time. Most recipes call for the vegetables to be stir-fried briefly and then boiled in a liquid such as chicken broth. Another option is to briefly blanch (cooking technique in which food is briefly immersed in boiling water) the vegetables prior to stir-frying.
Also check out this seasonality chart for vegetables and here is more info on cooking vegetables.

Top 10 Memories from 2011

We had another busy year and made many memories.  It’s tough to choose just 10; but here, in no particular order, is my top 10 list:

Celebrating 80 years of nutrition education in Indiana through our Dairy Council.  Indiana dairy farmers are long time supporters of nutrition research and education for the health of Hoosiers.

Dining at the home of Jim Irsay!  We partner with the Colts to bring improved nutrition and fitness experiences to Indiana school students.  That partnership yielded an invitation that I was thrilled to accept and gave me a rare opportunity to chat with Mr. Irsay about our Fuel Up to Play 60 program.

Celebrating 100 years of Indy car racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Indiana dairy farmers and the racing fraternity have a special bond:  milk.  We produce it.  They drink it to celebrate winning the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.  That’s why, in Indiana, we know that Winners drink milk!®

Helping our two dairy farmer milkmen get ready to present the famous bottle of milk in Victory Circle following the Indianapolis 500.  This year I was very close to the action!  How exciting!

Attending our annual Dairy Summit.  More than 250 registered dietitians and school nutrition professionals came to the conference to learn from experts about the new dietary guidelines, the benefits of flavored milk at school and chocolate milk as a sports recovery drink.

Visiting several dairy farms during the Kentuckiana Dairy Exchange in Indiana.  Each year, dairy farmers from Kentucky and Indiana get together to tour farms and swap ideas.  We have a varied and vibrant dairy industry in Indiana and it was great to spend some time on several fascinating farms.

Watching Diane Ruyack receive her 35-year service award at our annual meeting.  I’ve had the privilege to work with Diane for many years and was so grateful to see her be recognized for a long career sharing the good nutrition news about dairy products on behalf of Indiana’s dairy farmers.

Unveiling the cheese sculpture at the Indiana State Fair.  For several years, we’ve brought Sarah Kaufmann, cheese sculptor, to our great state fair to create a work of art from huge blocks of cheese delighting thousands of fair-goers!

Hosting Dairy Day at Victory Field.  We entertained Indiana dairy farmers at the beautiful ball park in June.  It was a great time for visiting and showcasing dairy at the ball game.

Announcing that 2012 is the Year of Dairy Cows at the Indiana State Fair!

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

By DeDe Hausman

In 2010 the American College of Sports Medicine, along with other prominent health-organizations, including the NAACP, the American Society for Nutrition, the Cleveland Clinic, and HealthCorps, began waging a battle against childhood obesity by declaring September as NATIONAL CHILDHOOD OBESITY AWARENESS MONTH.  And to add more credence to that, on September 1, 2010, President Obama issued a PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION declaring SEPTEMBER as NATIONAL CHILDHOOD OBESITY AWARENESS MONTH.

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Pumpkin Recipes Perfect for Halloween!

Here are some Spooktacular pumpkin recipes I found and wanted to share with you! They would be great for Halloween!


Ingredients

For the topping:

  • 2 cups low fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup raisins

For the pancakes:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup 1% low fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup low fat vanilla yogurt

In a small mixing bowl, briskly combine vanilla yogurt and raisins until yogurt becomes looser texture. Reserve. For the pancakes, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine milk, butter, egg, pumpkin, and yogurt, mixing well.

Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and stir until just moist. Do not overmix. Batter may be lumpy. For thinner batter, add milk. Lightly coat a griddle or skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium. Using a quarter-cup measure, pour batter onto hot griddle. Cook until bubbles begin to burst, then flip pancakes and cook until golden.

Serve warm, topped with yogurt-raisin mixture and dusting of cinnamon.

Ingredients
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 (30-ounce) bag frozen cheese ravioli
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

Place a large saucepan of water over high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil, combine the pumpkin, broth, sugar, butter, garlic powder, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts and the mixture is heated through, about 10 minutes.

When the water comes to a boil, add the ravioli and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Just before serving, stir in the sour cream as desired. Serve the ravioli on individual plates, top with pumpkin sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

 


Ingredients
  • 1 can (14 ounces) pumpkin, chilled
  • 3 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1 container (6 ounces) lowfat vanilla yogurt
  • 2 cups lowfat milk
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 6 teaspoons graham cracker crumbs, optional

Place all ingredients (except graham cracker crumbs) in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and top each serving with a teaspoon of graham cracker crumbs, if desired.


Calling All Football Fans!! Pig Skin Potatoes

It’s that time of year again!  Here is a great recipe for all those game day parties! This recipe is sure to be a hit!
Pig Skin Potatoes

Ingredients
  • 8 (8-ounce) medium baking potatoes
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped roasted chicken
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) freshly shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar or
  • Pepper Jack cheese, divided
  • 1-2 canned chipotle peppers, minced plus 1 tablespoon liquid from can
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped chives

Prick potatoes with a fork. Bake for 1 hour at 425°. Let cool slightly.

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp for other desired use, leaving a 1/2-inch shell. Place potato shells on a baking sheet; spray inside of shells with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes or until crisp.

Combine chicken, 1 cup cheese, chipotle pepper and liquid, taco seasoning and sour cream; divide evenly among potato shells. Bake at 425° for 5 minutes. Top with remaining cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Sprinkle with chives.

Note: For fans desiring a less spicy ‘skin, use one chipotle pepper and substitute water for the liquid from the can.

Recipe courtesy of 3-Every-Day™ of Dairy

Makes 8 Servings
Prep Time: 95 min
Cook Time: 10 min

Nutritional Facts
Calories: 270
Total Fat: 9 g
Saturated Fat: 6 g
Cholesterol: 55 mg
Sodium: 430 mg
Calcium: 25% Daily Value
Protein: 21 g
Carbohydrates: 26 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g

Family Day

Family Day

Celebrated September 27, 2010

the 10th Anniversary!

When I was growing up dinner was at 5:00 and if you were not there, you were in trouble!  Dinner was a great time to yell above your other siblings about what happened in your day, your grades, and most importantly what happened on the way home from school!  Didn’t everyone eat as a family?  Sometimes Mom and Dad were not there…but Grandma was and WOW could she cook!  I was quite naïve…every family was like this wasn’t it…..

Last year many of you received or ordered #Back to the Table® DVD from www.winnersdrinkmilk.com and one segment was on the benefits of eating as a family, or group.  Eating together at the same time while talking, laughing, and sometimes arguing… but still learning from each other.

According to CASA eating with family is critical for optimal child growth.  I would have never learned to eat biscuits one layer at a time if it was not for my sister or more importantly; learning to spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious if it was not at the dinner table practicing with my other siblings.

CASA also states: “Whether you’re cooking a gourmet meal, ordering food from your favorite take-out place or eating on the go, rest assured that what your kids really want during dinnertime is YOU! Family meals are the perfect time to talk to your kids and to listen to what’s on their mind.  The more often kids eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs”

I am sure as I was growing up we had many serious conversations about school, eating right, smoking, drinking, driving but it is hard to remember the serious stuff!  Today, with more dangers to our children, more technology and less time to cuddle and protect them isn’t it time to begin having dinner as a family?  Dinner does not have to be at the dining table, it can easily be in the car before a game (not driving, but stopped and able to have Mom involved); or at the picnic site, it can even be in a corner of a auditorium with drive-thru bags before an instrument performance.  Be creative, you never know when your children are really listening….usually when they are laughing…supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Bored with Dinner?

Heather Cupp, a Registered Dietitian working for Riley Hospital, is our guest blogger today. She is a busy mom of two children and knows the stresses of evening meals. We hope that her healthy ideas will inspire your future dinner creations!

Bored with dinner?  Need some easy meal ideas that your family will love?  You’ve come to the right spot! With afterschool practices, games, and other activities finding healthy, creative, and quick dinner ideas can be challenging.  So, here are a few fun ones:

Roll-up:  Tortillas and flat-breads are fun to make dinners with your kids.  Try a flat bread spread with peanut butter then topped with a banana rolled up for a delicious treat. Don’t forget the other food groups!  Adding a glass of milk and some raw veggies with dip completes this delicious meal.

Easy Pizza: 1 whole grain English muffin topped with tomato sauce, turkey pepperoni, mushrooms, bell peppers, and cheese for each person.  Add a side salad and mix some berries with yogurt for a dessert.  You could also have a fun day with the kids by buying some dough (already made or mix), setting out a variety of toppings, and letting them make their own individual pizzas!

Leftover: Be creative with leftovers.  Use chicken to make quesadillas or BBQ chicken sandwiches.  Leftover ground beef or turkey can be made into sloppy joe’s, patty melts, or taco salad the next day.  Use leftover pork roast to make pulled pork sandwiches, quesadillas, or wraps.  You can also be creative by adding these to a salad. 

Shape, Alphabet, or Other Themed Meals: A “c” themed dinner could include a chicken sandwich with cheese, cucumber slices and carrot sticks on the side with fresh cherries for dessert. A circle theme would have crackers, reduced fat cheese cut-outs, melon balls, cherry tomatoes and other circle foods. Or try an ocean theme: tuna salad with goldfish crackers, broccoli trees with dip and blue Jell-O with fruit for dessert.

My family loves when I make these quick, easy, and delicious meals for dinner. I hope yours does, too! Enjoy!