(Family Features) If spending additional time in the comfort of your home has you rethinking the family menu and looking for new ways to enjoy nutritional meals, rest assured you can make better-for-you food choices without losing mouthwatering taste.
Easy, efficient at-home recipes like Thai Coconut Lime Freezer Chicken, Burrito Beef and Cauli Mac and Cheese can all be made in less than an hour while reducing the intake of carbs and unnecessary sugars. All are part of a balanced Atkins low-carb lifestyle, a long-term, healthy eating approach focused on high-fiber carbohydrates, optimal protein and healthy fats.
The eating approach, which is a more flexible version of the popular ketogenic diet, offers a balanced mix of foods containing fiber-rich and nutrient-dense carbohydrates while focusing on reduced levels of refined carbohydrates, added sugars and the “hidden sugar effect” – when carbohydrates convert to sugar when digested. You don’t see the sugar, but your body does.
Introducing your family to smarter food choices can also support your immunity. According to research published in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” simply substituting whole grains for refined grains has a modest effect on gut microbiota and immunity. Refined grains have had most of the fiber milled out of them, leaving a refined carbohydrate that impacts your body the way sugar would. Opt for whole grains to get the fiber you need, along with protein and healthy fats.
Thai Coconut Lime Freezer Chicken
Prep time: 8 minutes
Cook time: 22 minutes
- 1 3/4 cups coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons basil
- 1 tablespoon xylitol (sugar substitute)
- 1 ounce cilantro
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic
- 1 teaspoon lime zest (optional)
- 20 ounces boneless, cooked chicken breast
- 20 ounces broccoli flower clusters
- In bowl, mix coconut milk, basil, xylitol, cilantro, lime juice, salt and garlic. For more citrus flavor, add lime zest, if desired.
- Add chicken, broccoli and sauce to 1-gallon zip-top freezer bag. Squeeze out any air and seal bag. Freeze bag flat up to 1 month.
- To cook: Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat oven to 350° F.
- Place in glass 8-by-8-inch pan and bake 20-25 minutes.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 8 hours
- 2 pounds beef arm chuck roast
- 4 tablespoons green taco sauce
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 large scallions or spring onions, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Trim fat from beef. In slow cooker on low heat, cook beef, taco sauce, garlic, onions, jalapeno, chili powder, cumin and salt 8 hours, or until beef is tender.
- Using two forks, remove beef and shred. Mix beef with 1/2 cup cooking juices before serving.
- A Low-Sugar Swap to Satisfy Cravings
- While spending more time at home than normal, those snack cravings can be hard to shake. Rather than relying on easy-to-grab eats from the pantry or freezer, focus on more nutritious choices that don’t sacrifice flavor.
- Turn to a creamy solution to satisfy your hunger such as the Atkins Milk Chocolate Delight Shake, a filling option for chocolate lovers. The drinks are packed with 15 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, 20% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin D and 1 gram of sugar to keep you going throughout the day.
Cauli Mac and Cheese
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 head large (6-7-inch diameter) cauliflower
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper sauce
- Heat oven to 375° F and prepare 9-by-9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Heat large pot of water to boiling and add 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Remove stem and leaves from cauliflower. Cut into small pieces and place in boiling water; cook until crisp-tender; about 5 minutes. Drain well then pat between paper towels to remove moisture.
- In medium saucepan over medium heat, bring cream to simmer. Whisk cream cheese and powdered mustard into simmering cream until smooth. Add 1 cup cheddar cheese, garlic, remaining salt, white pepper and pepper sauce, whisking until cheese melts; about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cauliflower.
- Pour into baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes until browned and bubbly.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images (Thai Coconut Lime Freezer Chicken, Burrito Beef and Cauli Mac and Cheese)
(Family Features) The weeknight dinner meal can be a challenge...it must taste good, appeal to the family and be easy to prepare. Economical would also be a plus.
Sound like a tall order? Not when Salsa Verde Bean Enchiladas are on the menu. Just five ingredients...tortillas, prepared salsa verde, shredded Mexican cheese blend, cumin and canned Southwestern Bean Salad...are all that's needed for an easy Tex-Mex entrée.
The zesty bean salad, straight from the can, has just the right blend of chili powder and spices to provide a hint of heat to the black beans, kidney beans, corn and bell peppers. To make the filling, simply purée one can of the salad, and stir in a second can along with a dash of cumin. Spread onto corn or flour tortillas, roll up, and place in a baking dish. Pour on the salsa, sprinkle with the pre-shredded cheese blend and bake.
How easy is that? Add precooked chopped chicken or cooked ground beef or turkey to the bean filling if you like. Mixed greens and orange segments tossed with a vinaigrette would make a great accompaniment, or assorted favorite fruits would be tasty, too.
Southwestern Bean Salad is great to have in the pantry. It's equally delicious at room temperature or chilled. For a quick accompaniment, serve with grilled meats and poultry, burgers or sandwiches. Use it to top a mixed green salad, or add cooked pasta such as rotini or penne for a quick main dish pasta salad. Or, puree and serve as a zesty bean dip with tortillas.
For other great recipes made with READ salads, visit www.readsalads.com.
Salsa Verde Bean Enchiladas
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 40 minutes
Standing Time: 10 minutes
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) READ Southwestern Bean Salad
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 12 soft corn or flour tortillas (6 to 8 inch diameter)
- 2 cups prepared salsa verde
- 1-1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
Sour cream, chopped avocado, fresh chopped cilantro, lime wedges
- 1. Drain 1 can of salad; discard liquid. Place in food processor. Process until pureed but still slightly chunky.
- 2. In large bowl, stir together pureed salad, second can of salad with liquid, and ground cumin. Spoon mixture evenly down center of tortillas. Roll up and place seam-side down in 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
- 3. Pour salsa verde evenly over enchiladas. Top with cheese. Cover with foil. Bake at 350°F 30 minutes. Remove foil; continue baking 10 to 15 minutes until beginning to brown around edges. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving with optional toppings, if desired.
Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition information per serving (1/6 of recipe): 418 calories; 15 g protein; 53 g carbohydrate; 16 g fat; 1438 mg sodium; 27 mg cholesterol; 9 g dietary fiber; 15 mg iron; 0.06 mg thiamin; 1224 IU vitamin A; 3 mg vitamin C.
(Family Features) For flavor fans, there is nearly no better combo than the complementary tastes in a Cubano sandwich. Complete with layers of roast pork, ham, soft swiss cheese, mustard and topped with tangy pickles, all the flavors and textures play in concert.
For an upgrade on the classic sandwich, try this version from Sammy Hagar, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, who’s known for his riff on the iconic recipe. He takes his favorite sandwich to the next level by adding a smoky kick.
“The Cubano has everything I love in a sandwich: gooey melted cheese and a crispy, crunchy crust on the bread,” Hagar said. “It's great to be able to get all the flavors in each bite. It has pickles and mustard that cut through the rich cheese and pork. When you splash a little Tabasco on it, you get the last perfect ingredients – flavor and heat.”
Find his signature sandwich at Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill locations throughout the country, or try creating Sammy’s Cubano Sandwich at home with this recipe.
For more recipes, visit Tabasco.com/recipe.
Sammy’s Cubano Sandwich
Cook time: 3 hours and 30 minutes
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup cilantro, minced
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
- 3 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
- 2 teaspoons cumin, ground
- kosher salt, to taste
- coarse black pepper, to taste
- 3 1/2 pounds pork shoulder or boneless pork butt
- 2 teaspoons Tabasco Chipotle Sauce
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 6 pieces Cuban bread or baguette (6 inches each), cut lengthwise
- 8 ounces deli ham, thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound swiss cheese, thinly sliced
- 24 dill pickle chips
- 4 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons reserved Mojo Marinade
- To make Mojo Marinade: In bowl, whisk olive oil, cilantro, orange juice, lime juice, garlic, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper until incorporated. Adjust salt and pepper, to taste. Reserve 4 tablespoons marinade in separate bowl, cover and set aside in refrigerator.
- Place pork in large zip-top bag. Cover with Mojo Marinade and close bag. Place in roasting pan and refrigerate overnight.
- Heat oven to 450° F.
- Remove pork and marinade from bag and place in roasting pan. Cover with foil and cook in oven 45 minutes.
- After 45 minutes, reduce heat to 375° F, remove foil and cook 2 hours until internal temperature reaches 175° F and pork is fork tender at thickest part.
- Remove from oven and let rest 20 minutes before slicing.
- In small bowl, mix chipotle sauce and mayonnaise until fully incorporated.
- Spread mixture on bottom bread slice.
- On top bread slice, place two slices deli ham, 3-4 ounces roasted pork, two slices swiss cheese, 4-6 pickles and yellow mustard.
- Over medium-high heat, butter flat surface of griddle and add reserved Mojo Marinade while butter is melting.
- Place assembled sandwiches on griddle, pressing grill weight or heavy skillet on top of sandwiches.
(Family Features) Although you may share a passion for a favorite sports team, not everyone has the same taste when it comes to the tailgating menu. Enter these seven dips: from a yogurt turmeric dip to spicy buffalo chicken dip, you’re sure to please nearly every game-day guest.
There won’t be any trash talk when it comes to this dip. It’s the ultimate ooey, gooey, cheesy dish that’s sure to be all the rage at game-day parties and social gatherings.
Games and wings go hand-in-hand, but you can keep hands mess-free with this alternative that combines all the flavors of savory Buffalo chicken wings in a warm, creamy dip.
Think outside the box this season with a dip that is the perfect blend of salty and sweet. Bacon, Georgia peaches, sweet onions and a brown sugar bourbon marinade are complemented by pecans for a nutty, crunchy finish.
Low-fat yogurt and milk blend with golden turmeric and cinnamon for a tangy dip just waiting for crispy dippers like pita chips and veggies.
Move over cheesy, chili dips – the tangy sweetness of orange juice, carrots and honey make for a simple dip you can feel good about devouring.
Warm up with this crowd-pleasing dip made with fresh spinach, artichoke hearts, cream cheese and Parmesan.
Simply mix together a can of black beans, chopped tomatoes and spices like chili powder and cumin for an easy dip to throw together for last-minute guests.
Cooking with canned foods combines convenience and nutrition
(Family Features) Simple, convenient and versatile, canned foods provide an array of options for families looking to increase nutrition during mealtimes. However, some home chefs may not be aware of the benefits canned foods bring to the table.
Consider these common consumer misnomers cleared up by the Canned Food Alliance:
Myth: Canned foods don’t count toward dietary goals.
Fact: Canned foods provide important nutrients that deliver on the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines, as all forms of fruits, vegetables, beans, meats and seafood – whether fresh, frozen, canned or dried – are recommended to help ensure a proper balance of nutrients. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the Canned Food Alliance, 95 percent of health professionals surveyed agree that all forms of food, including canned, can help consumers meet the USDA’s MyPlate fruit and vegetable recommendations.
Myth: Canned foods aren’t as nutritious as fresh or frozen foods.
Fact: Research published in the “Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture” shows canned foods can be as nutritious, and in some cases more nutritious, than fresh and frozen counterparts.
Myth: Canned foods are filled with preservatives.
Fact: Because canned foods have already been cooked, preservatives aren’t necessary to prevent spoilage. The canning process itself preserves the food.
Myth: Canned foods are highly processed.
Fact: Once canned fruits and vegetables are picked and packed near peak ripeness, they’re cooked quickly at high temperatures to lock in nutrients, similar to the home-canning process.
Myth: Canned foods are high in sodium.
Fact: Salt and sodium aren’t required for preservation of canned foods, and low- and no-sodium canned food options are available. Additionally, draining and rinsing canned foods can further reduce sodium by up to 41 percent.
Find more canned food facts and recipes at mealtime.org.
Chipotle Pumpkin Black Bean Chili
Recipe courtesy of the Canned Food Alliance
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 60-70 minutes
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 can (28 ounces) no-salt added canned diced tomatoes
- 1 cup canned pureed pumpkin
- 1 cup no-salt-added canned chicken broth
- 1 can no-salt-added canned black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (12 1/2 ounces) no-salt-added chicken, drained
- 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- salt, to taste
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- lime wedges, for serving
- In Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions, celery, jalapenos, garlic, cumin, oregano and pepper. Cook, stirring, 5-8 minutes, or until vegetables soften. Add tomato paste and cook 2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, pumpkin puree, chicken broth, black beans, chicken, chipotles and brown sugar. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 hour, or until chili thickens. Add salt, to taste.
- Garnish with green onions and serve with lime wedges.
Tip: Add preferred canned beans, such as white kidney beans, pinto or Romano beans, in place of or in addition to black beans.
Nutritional information per serving: 240 calories; 6 g fat; 35 mg cholesterol; 210 mg sodium; 29 g carbohydrates; 8 g fiber; 8 g sugar; 18 g protein; 7,390 IU vitamin A; 35 mg vitamin C; 98 mg calcium; 3.2 mg iron.
Source: Canned Food Alliance
(Family Features) If getting your kids to embrace healthy eating habits feels like a constant uphill battle, take heart in knowing you’re not alone. However, modeling smart choices in the kitchen and at the grocery store may be just the nudge your kids need.
One of the biggest hurdles many families face when it comes to healthier eating is getting started. These tips show how subtle changes can make it simple to introduce healthier choices the whole family can enjoy.
- Mornings are a busy time for families, and it can be difficult to make a nutritious breakfast and get out the door. Even so, skip the packaged breakfast foods that are loaded with sodium and calories. Instead, make and freeze your own healthy breakfast foods ahead of time. These breakfast burritos are easy for reheating and eating on the go.
- A common misperception is that eating healthfully takes too long. Set a good example for kids to follow by preparing healthy dinners at home. This one-pot turkey skillet is ready in less than 25 minutes to make dinner and cleanup a breeze.
- When kids are empowered to choose what they eat, they’re more likely to enjoy it. One easy way for kids to identify smart choices in the produce department is by looking for foods with the Produce for Kids logo. Not only are these items an important part of a balanced meal, shoppers who support the products are giving back to local organizations that help children and families.
To find additional tips to encourage your family’s healthy eating and more than 300 registered dietitian-approved recipes, visit produceforkids.com.
Make-Ahead Freezable Breakfast Burritos
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 16 ounces lean turkey breakfast sausage
- 1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 small Vidalia onion, finely chopped
- 1 large tomato, finely chopped
- 12 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
- 14 whole-wheat tortillas (8 inches each)
- In nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat 1 teaspoon oil. Add sausage and cook 5-8 minutes, or until cooked through. Transfer to plate and set aside.
- In same skillet, add remaining oil, bell peppers, onions and tomatoes, and cook 3-5 minutes, or until softened. Add tomatoes and cook 2 minutes.
- In large bowl, scramble eggs and pepper. Add to pan and cook, stirring regularly, 3-4 minutes, or until eggs are set. Remove from heat and mix in sausage and cheese. Let cool.
- Fill tortillas with 1/2 cup egg mixture, roll into burrito and lay seam-side down on parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze 1 hour. Transfer to freezer-safe re-sealable bag and return to freezer.
- To reheat burritos, remove from freezer, wrap in paper towel and microwave on high 1-2 minutes.
One-Pot Healthy Turkey Skillet
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 medium green bell pepper
- 1 medium sweet onion
- 3 Roma tomatoes
- 8 ounces whole-wheat elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions
- 1 can (15 1/2 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add turkey and cook 10 minutes, or until no longer pink.
- In food processor, pulse bell pepper, onion and tomatoes until chunky.
- Add vegetable mixture, noodles, beans, cumin, chili powder and salt to skillet and let simmer 15 minutes.
Source: Produce for Kids
(Family Features) It’s true that classics never go out of style, but they can also evolve to keep current while still maintaining their original appeal.
For example, take the iconic tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich duo. Today’s tomato soup might be seasoned with herbs and garlic, and the grilled cheese might swap goat cheese and mozzarella for the traditional American or cheddar. Meatloaf could be prepared with sriracha replacing Worcestershire sauce or other seasonings.
Another updated idea is for stuffed peppers. It’s easy to give them a Tex-Mex spin simply by using a can of READ Southwestern Bean Salad as the base for the filling. The salad already has black and kidney beans, hominy and corn in it, as well as a slightly spicy dressing. Build on that flavorful combination by adding browned ground beef or turkey, cheese and tortilla chips. Poblano peppers could be substituted for bell peppers for an even more authentic south-of-the-border flair.
While this meal in a pepper bakes, make a salad of spinach or other greens topped with avocado slices and orange segments. Dinner is done and on the table in under an hour. For more easy, flavorful dinner ideas, visit READsalads.com.
Southwestern Bean Salad Stuffed Peppers
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
- 1 can (15 ounces) READ Southwestern Bean Salad
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 small jalapeno pepper, minced (optional)
- 1/2 pound ground lean beef (90 percent lean)
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 3 large bell peppers, any color or combination
- nonstick cooking spray
- 1 cup crushed tortilla chips, plus 1/4 cup (optional), divided
- 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided
- Drain bean salad; discard liquid. With fork, mash half of beans until chunky. Combine with remaining beans. Stir in cumin and jalapeno, if desired; set aside.
- In medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook ground beef and onion 8-10 minutes until ground beef is completely cooked, stirring frequently.
- Cut bell peppers in half, lengthwise. Remove membranes and seeds. Line baking pan with aluminum foil. Spray with nonstick cooking spray (or brush lightly with vegetable oil).
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Combine ground beef and onion mixture with bean mixture. Stir in 1 cup tortilla chips and 1/2 cup cheese. Divide evenly among peppers. Arrange peppers cut-side up in prepared pan; peppers should fit snugly. Top with remaining crushed tortilla chips, if desired. Bake, covered, 25 minutes, or until peppers are tender and filling is heated through. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake, uncovered, until cheese melts.
Variation: Ground chicken or turkey breast may be substituted for ground beef. Add 2 teaspoons vegetable oil to skillet and heat until hot before adding ground chicken or turkey and onion to skillet.
Nutritional information per serving: 252 calories; 15 g protein; 20 g carbohydrate;
13 g total fat; 370 mg sodium; 40 mg cholesterol; 5 g dietary fiber; 9 mg iron; 0.07 mg thiamin;
708 IU vitamin A; 34 mg vitamin C.