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Karen Stutzman RD's blog

Recipe: Roasted Curry Garbanzo Beans

Curry garbanzo beans

When it comes to garbanzo beans, many people know them simply as the pureed main ingredient in hummus dip. In fact, garbanzo beans and other members of the legume family are so versatile and nutritious that they can be counted in two food groups – both protein and vegetable.

Legumes include peas, beans, lentils, peanuts and other podded plants. High-quality protein, iron, zinc, folate, potassium and fiber make legumes nutritional powerhouses.

Recipe: Turkey Cranberry Meatballs

Cranberries are a versatile and easy-to-use fruit with year-round appeal for a variety of meals. You can find dried and frozen cranberries, along with cranberry juice and sauce year-round.

Cranberries offer big health benefits in a little package, including unique polyphenols not commonly found in other fruits. A serving of fresh cranberries is a good source of vitamin C and fiber; provides antioxidant polyphenols; and contains only 1 mg of sodium.

Recipe: Penne Pasta with Basil Pesto, Tomatoes, Asparagus, Chicken and Pine Nuts

Tomato penne

We Americans eat an average of 23 pounds of tomatoes per person each year. Despite the fact that half of that quantity is typically consumed in the form of ketchup and tomato sauce, many people say nothing compares to the taste of a vine-ripened tomatoes fresh from the garden.

Tomatoes belong to the nightshade family of vegetables which include chili peppers, potatoes and eggplant. They are both delicious and nutritious, with numerous health properties to motivate you to enjoy even more in your diet.

Recipe: Cherry Bread Pudding

Cherry bread pudding

Have you ever tried a stone fruit? Of course you have!

Stone fruits get their name from their large, hard inner seed surrounded by a succulent, pulpy layer of fruit. Stone fruits include cherries, plums, peaches, mangos, apricots, nectarines and pluots — a plum-apricot hybrid.

Peak months for stone fruits are June to September. Juicy stone fruits are low in calories and are packed with antioxidants, nutrients, vitamins and minerals. They are a great source of dietary fiber and most are perfect for grab-and-go snacking.

Recipe: Sweet and Sour Watermelon-Cucumber Salad

Cucumber watermelon salad

During the summer months, cool and crisp melons are the most abundant, flavorful and inexpensive.

Melons are great sources of potassium, fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins C and A.

And when the summer heat is bearing down, watermelon is a deliciously smart choice to enjoy. At more than 94 percent water, watermelon can quench your thirst and help with hydration. In addition, this sweet treat is only 80 calories for a two-cup serving.

Recipe: Spicy Cumin Chicken with Strawberry Coulis

Spicy cumin chicken

Coulis (pronounced coo-lee) is a French term for a thick sauce made from blended fruit or vegetables

In this recipe, a spicy mix of fresh strawberries, green onion, cilantro, cayenne pepper and a tiny bit of sugar makes a tasty sauce that perfectly complements chicken.

It has the added bonus of being made with low-calorie strawberries, which are packed with antioxidants, fiber, more vitamin C than an orange, folate and other nutrients.

Recipe: Avocado Hummus

Avocado hummus

You already know that avocados are an essential part of one of your favorite dips – guacamole – but did you know this nutrient-dense and heart-healthy fruit (yes, it’s a fruit, not a vegetable) can also be used to make hummus, one of your other favorite dips?

That popular Mediterranean dip of mashed garbanzo beans traditionally includes tahini (sesame butter), which gives it a rich, nutty flavor. But tahini also is a bit pricey.

Recipe: Curried Chicken with Raisins and Mushrooms

Curry chicken with raisins and mushrooms

Mushrooms are an important ingredient in this tasty recipe, which combines the savory taste of chicken and mushrooms with the sweetness of raisins and bell pepper.

Mushrooms – which are a fungi, not a vegetable – bring a special savory, rich, almost meaty flavor to foods. They’re also naturally low in calories and fat-free. A serving – of about five button mushrooms or one portobello – has just 20 calories.

Recipe: Citrus Salsa

Citrus salsa

There are more than a thousand varieties of citrus-related fruits, ranging from the common orange to the exotic kumquat.

And they all have something important in common: They’re packed with vitamin C and other nutrients, including vitamin A, folate, potassium, phytochemicals and fiber that may help prevent the development of kidney stones, cardiovascular disease, cancer, anemia, cataracts and neural tube defects in developing fetuses.

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