Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fruit Salad

This is a fantastic salad that packs a real superfood punch. It's great for a breakfast or luncheon.

1 quart strawberries, stems removed and quartered
2 oranges, zested, then peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
3 kiwis, peeled and chunked
1 bunch of red grapes
2 TBL. brown sugar

Wash and mix all the fruits together. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Can adjust proportions based on what you have.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Walnut-Encrusted Pork Loin Stuffed with Apples and Cranberries

Typically, one does not associate pork with super foods, let alone being a healthy choice. But eaten in actual serving sizes of 4-6 ounces (about the size of a deck of cards) of lean pork that has not been fried, it is a good source of protein. This particular recipe incorporates several super foods which makes it now an even healthier meal.

Serves 6

1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup plus 1/2 cup of Riesling (or any sweet white wine)
cooking spray
2 small apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 pieces with the peel saved and set aside
1 carrot, diced
1 small onion, sliced into rings
1 celery stalk, diced
1/2 t of cinnamon

2 lb of center-cut boneless pork loin with all visible fat removed (note, this is NOT tenderloin)
sea salt

1 garlic clove
2 T of fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 cup of walnuts

1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar


Soak the cranberries in 1/4 cup wine for ten minutes. Preheat oven to 325° and coat roasting pan with cooking spray.

Arrange on the bottom of pan the apple peel, carrot, onion and celery.

Add the chopped apple to soaking cranberries as well as the cinnamon.

Cut and open the roast as you would a book. Using a slotted spoon, place the apples and cranberries to the right side of the open pork. Fold the left side over the top of the right side of pork and apples. Carefully place the pork loin on top of the peel mixture. Lightly sprinkle the sea salt all over the roast.

Using a food processor, blend the garlic and rosemary. Then add the chopped walnuts for a pulse or two. Press the nut mixture on top and on the sides of the roast.

Take any wine still left in the cranberry and apple bowl and pour over roast.

Cover the roast in aluminum foil and roast for about 45 minutes to an hour or until pork reaches 140°, removing the foil for last 10 minutes. While meat cooks, in a small sauce pan boil the other half cup of wine and 1/2 cup of vinegar, reducing until thick and syrupy... about 15-20 minutes.

When pork is done, let rest for 10 minutes. Double check sure the temperature reached 150° at some point during this stage.

Slice and drizzle the reduction on each serving.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Kiwi-Pineapple Salsa

This easy to make salsa is great on Trader Joe's Soy Flax-Seed Tortilla Chips or those Trisket crackers for healthier party nosh.

However, it is fabulous when on grilled/broiled salmon, chicken or pork loin. I always save some to use in fish tacos or tuna/chicken salad as well.


2-3 kiwis, peeled and chopped
1 cup of chopped pineapple
2 T of chopped onion
1 seeded and chopped jalapeno pepper
1 t of lime juice
2 T of fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Basic Whole Wheat-Oat Bran Pancakes

Who doesn't love a big batch of pancakes on the weekend? And what an easy way to feed a bunch of people breakfast. But from a nutritional standpoint, the classic white flour recipe is more a dessert product than a healthy meal.

After much experimentation, I now have a whole wheat and oat bran pancake recipe that is not only better for you but is a big hit with kids of all ages.

The trick of getting perfect pancakes is a good griddle that evenly conducts the heat and non-stick cooking spray. I love my reversible stove top griddle and grill from Crate and Barrel. I put it on medium-high and when a drop of water sizzles, it is ready to go. That's when I spray on the cooking spray and immediately pour the pancake batter. You also want a wide spatula for flipping.

Makes Approximately 10 6" pancakes


1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour (King Arthur is my brand.)
1/2 cup of oat bran
3 t of baking powder
1/2 T of baking soda
1 t of cinnamon
1 egg (or 1/4 cup of egg substitute)
1 1/2 cups of skim milk (can use whole or low fat)
3 T of melted butter (you can use applesauce or canola oil but does change the texture and flavor)
1 t of vanilla
1 T of sugar

non-stick cooking spray
topping of choice (fruit/yogurt or syrup)


Combine flour, oat bran, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl lightly beat egg then add the rest of the ingredients, mix well.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones. In 1/4 cup servings, pour batter onto hot griddle. Flip when the batter starts to bubble. If pancakes are burning, turn down the heat a notch.

Martha Stewart Move: When mixing the wet ingredients, set aside the egg whites. Then right before cooking the pancakes, beat the whites until stiff, then fold into the pancake batter.

Super Nutritious Move (that my kids hate so it is just for me): Add to 1/2 cup of batter, two tablespoons of flax seed meal and chopped walnuts. For topping, mix 1/2 cup of yogurt and mix in either 1 T of pure honey or maple syrup. Then stir in 1/2 cup of blueberries, strawberries or raspberries. I like to layer. One pancake, half that topping, then another pancake on top of that, then the remaining yogurt/berries. This makes for a very filling but healthy breakfast. If you're dieting, you're all set for your whole grains for the day.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tuna with Tomato-Basil Sauce

This is based on a Tuscan recipe called "Tonno alla Livornese". Like wild salmon, albacore tuna is a protein source that comes with the "good" kind of fat. This makes it a great alternative for the sake of culinary variety. But it is the tomatoes that are my favorite part. A tasty way to get in that recommended daily serving. I typically serve this on a bed of whole wheat angel hair pasta that has been tossed with olive oil and fresh parsley.

Note, this chunky tomato sauce goes very well on pan-seared or grilled/broiled chicken breast cutlets. So often I'll double it and freeze the other half to make with chicken the following week.

I do recommend using 1 1/2 pounds of fresh plum tomatoes that have been peeled and chopped but only if they are in season. Otherwise, stick to a good quality canned version as those were in season at the time of canning. Whatever you do, don't be tempted to skip the fresh basil, that is the secret.

Serves 4.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes*
1 bay leaf
1 cup fresh basil, torn into bite-size pieces

Four 4-6-ounce tuna steaks (each about 1 inch thick)

Fresh basil sprigs to garnish.


Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, parsley and garlic. Sauté until onion is tender but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms, tomatoes and bay leaf. Cover and cook until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm before continuing.) Discard bay leaf. Mix in torn basil. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle tuna with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in another heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tuna and cook until golden and just opaque in center, about 3 minutes per side.

Transfer tuna to platter. Spoon sauce over tuna. Garnish with basil sprigs.

That "Soup Nazi" Was On to Something

Vegetable based soups are a great way to get one to two servings of vegetables at once. Furthermore, for those watching their weight, studies have shown that cup of soup eaten before your meal means it is far less likely that you'll overeat. If you have the time to make a batch of tasty soup that's great. If you don't... here's a way around it that would make the Soup Nazi jealous.

Stock up on the "boxed" soups then "doctor" them.

These are not your Campbell Soup cans with lots and lots of sodium and often the first two ingredients are not water and a vegetable. Some are even made with organic ingredients for those concerned about pesticides. They come in boxes with pouring spouts so you can store and serve over the course of several days. I've found three brands of these types of soups in the Metro DC area:

Trader Joe's (available at Trader Joe's)
Imagine Soup (in the "healthy" section of Giant)
Pacific Natural Foods (found at Whole Foods)

On a regular basis I stock up on the tomato, carrot, squash, black bean, sweet potato and sweet pea. They are delicious as is but for those who want to add an additional vegetables, a half a cup of frozen chopped spinach for every cup of soup is an easy addition for all of them. A tablespoon or two of flax meal not only makes the soup more filling but even healthier. Remember, flax meal has a slightly nutty taste.

In terms of getting some flavor variety out of that one box of soup try these additions:

1) Curry powder in the squash or carrot soups (half a cup of chickpeas also works in this too)
2) Chili Powder or cumin in the tomato, carrot or squash soups (half a cup of black beans also)
3) Chopped tomatoes (or salsa) in the black bean soup (try topping with chopped avocado)

Stirring in a teaspoon of non-fat sour cream or even greek style yogurt gives these a creamy texture.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Good Friday Bean Soup with Dumplings

This soup is traditionally served on Good Friday in Orthodox churches. It is customary to eat boiled lentil soup, which represents the tears of Virgin Mary under the Cross. The soup also utilizes the sour of vinegar/or lemon juice, because the soldiers offered vinegar on a sponge when He was on the Cross. Traditions aside, the soup is delicious and very satisfying as well as loaded with Superfoods.

Soup Ingredients:

1 c. lentils, washed and picked over
1 16 oz. can, undrained of each: kidney beans, navy beans, butter beans, and baby lima beans
(I substitute a variety of beans, but not black beans, as it makes the soup look an odd color)
4 qts. water or chicken broth
1 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. parsley, chopped
1 clove minced garlic
1 cup lemon juice

Place lentils and broth in large pot. Boil for 30 minutes. Add canned beans (with liquid). In a large skillet saute onions, parsley, and garlic with some of the oil until onions are golden brown. With rest of oil, add to bean mixture. Cover and cook gently for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For Dumplings:

1 c. bulgur wheat, washed and squeezed dry
1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/2 c. water

Mix dumpling ingredients together, adding small amounts of water if dough is too stiff. Add lemon juice to the beans. Add dumplings dropped from the tip of a teaspoon or the small end of a melon ball scooper. Boil until dumplings are done, about 20-25 minutes.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Garlic Mint Rosemary Turkey Cutlets with Yogurt Sauce

This recipe certainly gives you a savory serving of turkey and garlic. The bonus is a quarter serving of daily yogurt. Greek-style yogurt is available in most stores. If you can't find it, simply strain regular yogurt with a cheese cloth overnight.

Serves 4


Four 4 oz Turkey Cutlets

1/4 cup olive oil
2 t of dried mint (or 2 T chopped fresh)
1 t of dried rosemary (or 1 T chopped fresh)
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup of non-fat greek style yogurt
1 t of dried mint
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

For the marinade: Mix all ingredients. Arrange cutlets in a small shallow pan. Spoon marinade on top, then flip over and repeat, using all of it. Set aside for at least one hour.

Then stir together in a small bowl all the sauce ingredients. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Grill or broil turkey cutlets 3-4 minutes per side. Serve the yogurt sauce over chicken.

Suggested side dish: Couscous with sun dried tomatoes. Also, some spinach sauteed with garlic, pine nuts and raisins rounds out the meal with just a touch of sweetness.

Tuna-Kiwi Salad

I have the devil of a time getting kiwi into my diet. Given it is packed with vitamin C and E as well folate, potassium, fiber, carotenoids, polyphenols, chlorophyll, glutathione and pectin, it's a great addition. Especially given all this comes with a very low calorie count.

Serves 2.


1 can of water packed tuna
2 kiwis, peeled (use carrot peeler) and chopped
1 T of finely chopped onion
1 T of olive oil
1 T of fresh cilantro (or 1 t of dried)
2 T of toasted pine nuts (pecans can be substituted)
2 cups of shredded romaine lettuce (or baby spinach leaves) arranged on two plates.

Mix all ingredients except the nuts and greens. Let sit anywhere from 30 minutes to a day so flavors will mingle. Divide into two portions and serve on bed of greens and sprinkle nuts. Salt and pepper as desired.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spinach-Tomato Frittata

On weekends, I love a good savory brunch. And getting some spinach, olive oil, onions and tomatoes is a bonus!

Not only is this dish easily halved and doubled, but you can do all sorts of variations based on what you have on hand or prefer. If cholesterol is an issue, use an egg substitute. There seems to be some debate on whether or not Omega-3 enriched eggs are all that they promise. I've been buying them myself, but am on the fence if I'm wasting money.

Serves 2

2 eggs
2 T of milk
1 T of olive oil
1/8 cup chopped red onion,
1/4 cup chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed (or 1/2 cup raw chopped)
1/4 cup chopped cherry tomatoes (can substitute any kind or use canned)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 t of dried oregano (or 1 T of fresh)
1/2 t of dried basil (or 1 T of fresh)
1/4 cup plus 1 T crumbled feta cheese

Whisk eggs and milk in a small bowl, set aside. Turn on broiler.

In an oven-safe skillet, cook onions in olive oil for two minutes then add mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the eggs and seasonings, stirring constantly.

While eggs are still slightly wet, mix in the feta cheese, pushing the mixture to center of pan with spatula so that it is about an inch or so in height.

Sprinkle the remaining feta cheese and put pan under the broiler. Broil just until the eggs are no longer wet and cheese is slightly brown. Takes about 2-3 minutes, tops. Cut in half and serve.

Note if you don't have an oven safe skillet... spray a small baking dish or cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray and transfer the egg mixture to it, then add the rest of the cheese. And many times, I skip the entire broiling process and just finishing cooking the eggs in the pan.

Great side: Cranberry-Walnut-Oat Bran Muffins

Friday, March 20, 2009

Olive Oil Sauteed Spinach with Garlic

Spinach is truly one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. I think Popeye was the first market the concept of a SuperFood! I've found the challenge in incorporating more vegetables into my diet has been finding recipes that don't really require a recipe to make. Ones that I can do while something else is broiling without much thought at all.

This is one of those recipes that once you've made it for the first time... you can make it a million times. Plus, it incorporates two more additional SuperFoods.

Serves 2.


4 cups of loosely packed baby spinach leaves (typically one bag in the store)
1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed (if garlic lover, add more!)
2 T of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Over medium flame/heat in a large frying pan or wolk, cook the garlic in the olive oil until a very light golden brown. Then toss in the spinach and cook until wilted. Salt and pepper to taste.

Note, you'll think you're making way too much, but it cooks down to only two servings.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Maple-Soy-Chipotle-Glazed Salmon

Wild salmon is the easiest attained source of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fat (the kind your body NEEDS). Getting the 2-3 per week servings of this amazingly good for you food can be tricky for those who crave flavor variety and have hectic schedules.

This smoky, spicy and sweet dish only takes a few minutes to assemble... the longest part is the 30 minute marinade.

Chipotle Chile is smoked dried Jalapeno with a delicious hot smokey/sweet flavor and chocolate tones. Has a subtle, deep, rounded heat. Some varieties are more spicy than others, so ease or crank up according to yours if necessary.

1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon of chipotle powder
4 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets

Whisk syrup, soy sauce, and chipotle in a shallow dish to blend. Add salmon; turn to coat. Let marinate 30 minutes, turning occasionally. Drain marinade into small saucepan.

Heat heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add salmon and cook until slightly charred outside and just opaque in center, about 3 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, boil marinade until reduced to scant 1/4 cup sauce, about 4 minutes. Place 1 salmon fillet on each of 4 plates, drizzle with sauce, and serve. It is good on a bed o brown rice.

Sidedish: Olive Oil Sauteed Spinach with Garlic.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


This Middle Eastern salad is loaded with several superfoods. It is flavorful and satisfying.

1 c. fine grain bulgur wheat
2 bunches parsley
2 stalks celery, cut into large pieces
2 bunches scallions, cut into large pieces
2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh mint
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground pepper
4 med. tomatoes, diced into 1/4 inch pieces

Soak bulgur in 2 cups of cold water for 15 minutes. Squeeze dry. Pick the parsley leaves from the stems. Wash and spin dry in salad spinner. Mix parsley, celery, scallions, and mint and put in food processor with metal blade. Pulse chop until fine and place in large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl mix olive oil, lemon juice, spices and whisk until smooth. Combine with parsley mixture. Gently blend in the tomatoes. Serve immediately.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ten Ways to Get Some Flax Seed Meal

If you haven't already discovered all the health benefits of flax seeds, read this.

Ground flax seed meal can be used in a variety of ways... and two tablespoons a day is all you need to get all the health benefits. Here's a list of 10 different ways I like to "sneak"it in.

1. Anything that has ground beef: burgers, tacos, meat sauce, etc.
2. Mixed into pancake batter (note, it will brown faster and darker.)
3. Stirred into pasta sauce, such as tomato or cream based sauce.
4. Sprinkled into yogurt.
5. Mixed into oatmeal.
6. Stirred into any muffin recipe that also calls for nuts.
7. Bowls of any kind of savory soup that has a pureed vegetable base. (Not so good in broth ones like won-ton or chicken noodle.)
8. Mixed into peanut butter that is used in PBNJs or smeared on celery or crackers.
9. Worked into any breading, whether it be bread crumbs or ground nuts.
10. Sprinkled on pizza... works best if you place on top of the tomato sauce but under the cheese.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Turkey Cutlets with Walnut-Sage Pesto

This "SuperFood" sauce was inspired by a recipe from Wine and Food Magazine. In addition to the turkey, you get a serving of walnuts, garlic and olive oil. The turkey breading also include oat bran and flax meal. Serve on a bed of whole wheat or fiber-enriched pasta, such as Smart Choice by Ronzoni that was tossed with some olive oil, salt and pepper to round out the meal.

Note: Turkey cutlets are boneless, skinless breast meat that has been sliced across the grain. Available in most major supermarket chains.

1 1/4 cups walnuts (4 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/8 cup of oat bran
1/8 cup of flax meal
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
8 medium sage leaves, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 6 tablespoons for frying
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
2 large eggs, beaten
Eight 1/4-inch-thick turkey cutlets (1 1/2 pounds)

In a food processor, pulse 3/4 cup of the walnuts with the bread crumbs, oat bran, flax meal and cheese until the walnuts are finely ground. Transfer to a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Wipe out the bowl of the food processor. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of walnuts along with the sage and garlic and pulse until the nuts are coarsely chopped. Add the butter and 1/3 cup of the olive oil and process until the nuts are finely chopped and the butter is incorporated. Season the pesto generously with salt and pepper and transfer to a small bowl.

Put the flour and eggs in 2 shallow bowls. Season the turkey cutlets with salt and pepper, then dust them with flour, tapping off the excess. Dip the cutlets in the beaten eggs, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Dip the cutlets in the walnut-crumb mixture, pressing to help the crumbs adhere.

In a very large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Add half of the cutlets and fry over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden outside and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer the cutlets to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Repeat with the remaining olive oil and turkey cutlets. Transfer the cutlets to plates, spoon some of the walnut-sage pesto on top and serve at once on bed of pasta. (Pasta can be omitted.)

Recommended side dish: Spinach sauteed in garlic, cranberries and olive oil.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spaghetti with Meat, Soy Sausage and Mushroom Sauce

This is an easy to make and very kid-friendly meal. It incorporates 1 oz per person of lean hamburger meat for a "meat sauce" flavor, but is rounded out with soy protein and mushrooms. What makes this a "SuperFood" type of meal is the high fiber pasta. Whole wheat is one option, but I've been enjoying the Ronzoni, Smart Taste pastas. Each serving has zero fat, only 1 gram of sugar and 6 grams of dietary fiber. If you're trying to lose weight, pay attention to portions. One ONE cup of cooked spaghetti and go easy on the shredded cheese.

You can also sprinkle a teaspoon of flax seed meal on each serving, but note it has a slightly nutty taste.


olive oil
1/2 cup of onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound of leanest hamburger
6 oz (or 2 links) of "Smart Choice" Italian Sausage (this is soy protein product), finely chopped
1 cup of mushrooms, chopped
29 oz size can of tomato sauce (or homemade is even better)
1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
dried Italian herbs to taste

1 package of Ronzoni, Smart Taste Spaghetti
shredded parmesan cheese

Coat large frying pan with olive oil. Then saute the garlic and onions until translucent. Brown the beef. If you don't have the lean kind, drain the fat after. Otherwise, then add the soy sausage and mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in the sauce, sun-dried tomatoes and herbs. Simmer for 30-45 minutes. Then serve on the pasta.

Great side dish is Roasted Lemon-Garlic Broccoli.

Tuna Tomato & Avocado Salad

The tomatoes in this dish are key. Unless it is the middle of the local tomato season, don't mess with any other kind of tomato other than the vine-ripened cherry ones. Pairing this salad with a carrot soup is a divine meal.


1 T of olive oil
1/2 t of dried mustard
2 T of finely chopped red onion
1 t of dried dill (or 1 T of fresh dill)
1 cup of tomatoes, diced
1 ripe avocado, diced
1 t of lemon or lime juice
1 small can of albacore tuna, packed in water
2 cups of fresh baby spinach or romaine lettuce, chopped into bite size pieces
1/4 cup of chopped nuts (walnuts, pine-nuts, pecan, macadamia or almonds all work)

Whisk together the olive oil, mustard, onion and dill. Then stir in the tomato, avocado, lemon/lime juice. After well mixed, add in the tuna.

Arrange the greens on two plates. Spread the avocado-tuna mixture on to each bed. Sprinkle with the nuts and salt/pepper to taste.

Serves Two

Wonder Nut Oatmeal

I love this breakfast as it incorporates so many SuperFoods... with exception of the salt, every item is a nutrient-dense. And on a cold winter morning, it is official comfort food.

½ cup of Quick Cooking Oats (not 1 minute kind)
2 tablespoons of ground flax seed meal
2 tablespoons of oat bran
1/3 cup of dried blueberries or cranberries
2 T of chopped walnuts
1 cup of non-fat milk or soy milk
dash of salt
dash of cinnamon
drizzle of honey to taste

Microwave oats for 2 minutes, let stand for 1 minute then sweeten according to taste.