Tag Archives: healthy meals

Superfood of the Month: Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a popular winter squash. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, including ivory, yellow and orange. Orange has the highest amount of carotene. Spaghetti squash stands out from other varieties for its thick, pasta-like fibers and is often referred to as “vegetable-spaghetti.” Its low-carbohydrate, nutrient-rich strands are a suitable alternative to cereal noodles, especially for people with gluten sensitivity.

Spaghetti Squash

•Like other winter squashes, spaghetti squash is a low-calorie vegetable. A 100g serving provides just 31 calories, contains no saturated fats or cholesterol, and is rich in dietary fiber, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Dietitians recommend spaghetti squash to help control cholesterol and lose weight.
•Its flesh, along with its strands, contains a good amount of dietary fiber. This roughage binds to cancer-causing toxins and chemicals in the colon to protect against inflammatory bowel disease, cancers and diverticulitis.
•Spaghetti squash carries antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin A, vitamin C and carotenes. Vitamin A is a powerful, natural antioxidant, and the body needs it to maintain the integrity of skin and mucosa. It is also an essential vitamin for healthy eyesight. Research suggests that natural foods rich in vitamin A may help the human body protect against lung and oral cavity cancers.
•Spaghetti squash boasts higher B-complex vitamins, such as folates, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), than in those found in pumpkins.
•It is a modest source of minerals, such as zinc, copper, calcium and phosphorus.
•Spaghetti squash seeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber and monounsaturated fatty acids, protein, minerals and vitamins.

Turkey Bolognese & Roasted Spaghetti Squash
•2 carrots cut in chunks
•2 celery stalks cut in chunks
•1 large onion cut in chunks
•2 T cloves garlic minced
•2 lb ground turkey
•1 cup dry white wine
•4 fresh bay leaves
•3-4 cups quality stock (chicken, beef, turkey, veal)
•1 cup milk
•1 26-28 oz carton or can tomatoes
•Salt and pepper to taste
•Parmesan (for garnish)
•Italian parsley chopped (for garnish)
•4-5 lb spaghetti squash
•2 T olive oil divided
•3 cloves garlic minced
•1 T fresh herbs finely chopped (oregano, basil, thyme)
•Salt and pepper to taste

1. Add carrots, celery and onion to bowl of full-sized food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.
2. In a heavy Dutch oven, heat olive oil to medium high heat. Add minced vegetables. Sauté until onions are translucent. Add garlic. Stir to combine.
3. Add ground meat. Using a potato masher or wooden spoon, break the meat and stir until it begins to brown, and caramelization appears in the pot.
4. Deglaze with white wine. Add bay leaves. Simmer until most of the liquid is gone.
5. Add stock. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook until liquid reduces by half.
6. Add milk and tomatoes. Cover 3/4 of the pot with the lid. Simmer on low for 1-2 hours. Add additional stock as needed.
7. Sauce should be thick, but not dry.
8. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
9. Garnish with shaved Parmesan and chopped parsley.

Spaghetti Squash
1. Preheat oven to 400° (375° for convection).
2. Carefully slice spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.
3. Scoop seeds from the center of both halves.
4. Place cut side up on a cookie sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil.
5. Roast until tender and barely beginning to brown, approximately 45-60 minutes depending on size (20 percent less in convection ovens).
6. Cool until the squash can be handled. Using a fork, remove the flesh from the skin to a large bowl. Set aside.
7. Ten minutes before dinner, heat a bit of olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add garlic. Stir until fragrant.
8. Add the strands of spaghetti squash. Stir 5-6 minutes.
9. Add fresh herbs, salt and pepper. Check for seasoning.

To Serve
Top spaghetti squash with a generous scoop of Bolognese. Garnish with shaved Parmesan and chopped parsley.

Superfood of the Month: Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are a low-glycemic nutritious vegetable that should be considered in weight-reduction programs. A 100g serving of sprouts provides just 45 calories, 3.38g of protein, 3.8g of dietary fiber (10 percent of the recommended daily allowance) and no cholesterol.

Brussels sprouts are a storehouse of several flavonoid antioxidants, which protect from prostate, colon and endometrial cancers. They are also excellent sources of vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin K. And, brussels sprouts protect against vitamin A deficiency, bone loss, iron-deficiency anemia, cardiovascular diseases, and colon and prostate cancers.

Brussels sprouts are cool season vegetables. They are harvested when their lower buds reach maturity and achieve about an inch in diameter. Fresh sprouts should be firm and compact with dark green heads. Avoid sprouts with loose leaves, and those that are yellowish and light in weight.

Fresh sprouts keep well in the refrigerator for a day or two. Remove any damaged or discolored outer leaves, and store fresh unwashed sprouts in plastic zipper bags in the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator.


    Chicken with Brussels Sprouts and Mustard Sauce, and Rosemary Potatoes

    Ingredients (Serves 4)
    2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
    4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
    3/8 teaspoon salt, divided
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    3/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth, divided
    1/4 cup unfiltered apple cider
    2 tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
    2 tablespoons butter, divided
    1 tablespoon chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley
    12 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

    Step 1
    Preheat oven to 450°.

    Step 2
    Heat a large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper; add to pan. Cook 3 minutes or until browned. Turn chicken; place pan in oven. Bake at 450° for 9 minutes or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Heat pan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup of broth and cider; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 4 minutes or until thickened. Whisk in mustard, 1 tablespoon of butter and parsley.

    Step 3
    Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add Brussels sprouts; sauté 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Add remaining 1/8 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 cup of broth to pan; cover and cook 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Serve.

    Rosemary Potatoes (Serves 4)
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
    1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    12 ounces quartered red potatoes

    Preheat oven to 450°. Combine olive oil, thyme, rosemary, salt, black pepper and potatoes in a bowl. Spread potatoes on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 450° for 25 minutes or until golden brown and tender.