Saturday, August 7, 2010

Food August 8 to 15, 2010

So, this is not quite the "back to school" favorites week menu - that's next week - you know, the week we divert dinner-time conversation from back to school to "mmm, mom, this is so good".  Anyway, like I said, that's next week ... we're still trying some new stuff this week!

Sunday:  Taco Soup (more garbanzo beans!)
Monday:  Farfalle with Saged Squash
Tuesday:  Tequila Citrus marinaded shrimp - skewers
Wednesday:  Simple summer salad with Avocados, Chicken, Tomato & Onions
Thursday:  Breaded Pesto Whitefish with roasted veggies
Friday:  Pasta Salad with Fresh mozarella cheese, cherry tomaotes & pesto
Saturday:  Fresh Homemade Salsa with Cheese Quesadillas

Better quit reading and go to the farmers market right now (well, after I compile the grocery list for you - check that entry first!)

Turkey Krisps $3.10

Now presenting...
a REALLY easy open face sandwich on a cracker. Revolutionary.
But really folks, around this time of the year there is so much going on, and dinner or lunch has to be simple some days - this is just that, and something that my kids will eat because it has swiss cheese. We can do these open facers for lunch during the week and I feel like I gave them something good.

I have not tried this with tomato under the cheese - on top of the meat - but I KNOW that the tomato lovers out there would find it fantastic. This also can be used at a party for a fast app. remember, cooking doesn't have to be hard, or fancy, just from the heart!

Turkey Swiss Rye Krisps
8 Rye Krisp Lite Toasts .80
8 ounces thinly sliced turkey breast $1.30
6 ounces sliced swiss cheese .60
8 thin slices Tomato (optional) .40

Preheat broiler
lay 8 slices of toast side by side on broiler pan
top with piles of turkey breast
(optional tomato)
"rip" swiss into smaller pieces and cover as much of the turkey and tomato as possible.
Broil until the cheese is beautifully melted.

Serve - two krisps per person with a small pile of veggies of choice - cauliflower works best for me - and you've got a nice quick summer meal. (serve with veggie soup in the winter!)

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp and Spinach $ 8.70

Around here Fridays become PASTA carb loading night each year around this time! Joe is running the Chicago Marathon again in about 8 weeks or so, and it has become extremely important for him to eat a dinner with about the same number of carbs as any one of Michael's meals (oh to have the metabolism of an 11 year old boy!). Michael eats anything he wants and stays slim, Joe eats as many plain pasta carbs as he can on Fridays and runs like 15 miles the next day to take care of any "overages". I eat six noodles and gain six pounds - Barbara eats six plain noodles and gets stomach pains for a week. Life is fair that way. As Jacob screams frequently fair ... THAT'S UNFAIR ... then outta nowhere last night Jacob comes up with this "Jenna, Life isn't fair". WOW, who are you?

Anyway, this pasta dish does have some nurishment mixed in - you can get some really powerful iron between the shrimp and the spinach (the six ounces of shrimp actually gives you four times more iron than the one and a half cups of spinach ... shoulda told PopEye that along time ago! - imagine PopEye running around eating Shrimp Coctail instead of those gross cans of spinach). So many of us do not get enough iron - and that is something that can really catch up with you. Additionally, there's great protein in this meal, which is actually really important to an endurance athlete, because once the body runs out of quick carbs (like this meal packs in), the body turns to other energy sources stored in the muscle. Eating protein before and especially after a run is essential for muscle recovery. Lighter meats like this shrimp are easier for the body than heavy beef.

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp and Spinach
8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta (unless you're feeding Joe or Michael, then use more!).99
1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp $3.99
1/4 tsp salt.02
1/4 tsp black pepper.02
2 Tbsp olive oil .40
1/4 cup finely chopped onion .20
1/2 cup fat free, reduced sodium chicken broth .20
2 Tbsp lemon juice.40
1 lb frozen chopped spinach $1.09 or 1 lb fresh spinch $2.08
2 Tbsp capers .40

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain
While pasta is cooking, sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; saute 30 seconds or so. Add shrimp; saute for three minutes. Remove shrimp/onions from pan. Add chicken broth and lemon juice to pan and scrape pan to loosen any browned bits. Add cooked pasta, spinach, shrimp and capers. Heat 1 minute or until spinach wilts slightly. Stir frequently.

Serves 4
450 calories
Fat 10 grams
42.3 g carbs (with plain angel hair pasta)
47 grams Protein

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Vs Frozen or Canned Debate

think fresh fruits and vegetables are always most nutritious? Think again. If you cant grow your own produce and eat it within hours of harvesting, canned and frozen vegetables can be every bit as nutritious as fresh ones, and in some cases even better. The American Diabetic Association weighed in on the fresh vs canned debate and released a statement in 2006, noting that canned fruits and vegetables are a good substitute for fresh produce and may sometimes be healthier. Fresh produce is nutritionally better when it is consumed within a few days of picking, canned produce and fruits is picked and canned at its peak, so even though the heating process destroys some vitamins, the majority of nutrients remain.
Fewer then 1/3 of adults consume the daily recommended amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, there is a misconception if it isnt fresh, it doesnt count, and that simply isnt true. People living in Food Deserts need to be encouraged to eat more fruits and vegetables, and if they only have access to canned vegetables, they need to be purchaed and consumed.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Oatmeal Cherry Dark Chocolate Breakfast Bar$4.00

Here is a recipe for a cookie/bar. We took a recipe and cut out some of the butter and egg yokes and added liquid(apple juice or water) The liquid helped to mix the dough together since we eliminated a lot of the moisture with cutting fat calories from butter and egg yokes. yeah!! The opinion was unamimously thumbs up!!

Preheat oven 375
1/2 cup butter .69
1 tablespoon water, apple or cranberry juice.10
1 1/2 cups sugar.50
1 1/2 tsp vanilla 40
2 egg whites .20
1 3/4 flour .25
1 tsp baking soda.05
1/2 salt .02
1 1/2 cup rolled oats.30
8 ounces dark chocolate(any dark chocolate candy bar, cut into very small pieces)$1.49
dried fruit- choose between dried cherries, cranberries, blueberries

cream butter, liquid, sugar, vanilla, egg whites, combine with all the dried ingredients in a large mixing bowl, mix well
add chocolate chips and dried fruit

drop soup spoon dolups onto a baking pan(9 per tray) bake fro 7-9 minutes

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Shrimp Stir Fry $8.65

This was actually a lunch I whipped up, and it required not much knowledge or skill in the stir fry department. When cooking sometimes, improvising is a must. I had a taste for stir fry, and thumbing through some recipes, I decided I had enough ingredients to make it happen, just not all the ingredients. In this stirfry the first Item I was missing was a wok, but ok, I just used a fry pan. It worked. Some recipes I found called for fish sauce, so that was ommited. I actually made my sauce with chicken broth and soy sauce. A bunch of recipes called for sugar to be added to that combo, but I just didnt add it. Who needs the extra carbs? I used instant rice, and the whole meal took less then 20 minutes.
2 cups rice .85
2 tablespoons soy sauce .10
1 cup chicken broth .50
1 tablespoon olive oil .15
1 cup canned peas $1.10
1/4 cup canned mushrooms .49
20 shrimp $1.40
2 tsp garlic powder .05
1 egg(beaten) .10
prepare instant rice according to directions
heat skillet and add olive oil peas and mushrooms, saute for 5 minutes on medium, add egg and saute until egg is fully cooked
lower heat and add soy sauce, chicken broth, garlic powder and saute 5 more minutes
add shrimp for a few minutes
serve over rice, add water chestnuts if desired or sold at our local convenient store

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Garden Black Bean Burger $2.92

Ok, top ten of our recipes is definitely our black bean burger, infact, Kim and I like it so much, this is the third time it has made an appearence. True to our word, though it is a "no repeat" year, therefore, we bring you Black Bean Burger, but a different variety then the previous two recipes. This burger cant get fresher then produce from my garden, and that is exactly where our produce came from, My lovely, massive garden. My dad was the huge gardner in our family, infact he died on Earth day, which was very apropos because he LOVED to garden. He never thought of it as work, and looked forward to spending a few hours in his garden everynight, even after a 12 hour work day. This year my brother planted 80 tomato plants in my garden, so tomatos are starting to be part of every meal for us. I also have a huge basil plant that is growing like a weed. I took a handful for our burgers, and a large tomato. I havent found a black bean burger I havent liked, so I am sure I am not going to start now. This one is going to be oh so good, I just know it.
1 16 ounce can black beans(drained) .69
1 egg .10
1/2 cup bread crumbs.20
1 clove garlic(quartered) .08
1 medium onion (quartered).30
1 large tomato diced .80
1/4 cup firmly packed fresh basil.75

in a bowl mix egg, bread crumbs, garlic, onion, basil
in food processor mix black beans until fully mashed approx 30 seconds
add bread crumb/egg combo, mix in food processor for 30 more seconds
add tomatos for 10 seconds
remove mix from food processor
form into 4 burgers
bake on cookie sheet for 20 minutes on 325, or cook over open flame in skillet, or grill
serve with bun, lettuce as a wrap or alone(this burger can stand alone)

Corn, Avocado & Tomato Salad $6.71

As you know, Barbara and I are just not that into organics...we don't spend the money required on organics - but, yes, we certainly are concerned about pesticides in our foods. There are two ways of looking at this situation - one is to avoid the dirty dozen (the 12 most pesticide laden foods) - spending your money on organic here whenever possible or make more meals with the clean 15 - the fifteen foods found to be lowest in pesticides in their conventionally-grown state. Tonight's meal brings you the top three off the clean 15 list ... Onions, Avocado, & Sweet Corn. A perfect dish then for us non-organic shoppers or advocates.

The Corn, Avocado, & Tomato Salad

2 Tbsp olive oil .60
1 tbsp fresh lime juice .20
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro.20
1/4 tsp salt .02
1/4 tsp pepper .02
2 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels, (freshly removed from the corn cobs that went uneaten a few meals ago :-).) $1.80
2 avocados cut into 1/2 inch pieces $1.58
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered $1.99
1/2 cup finely diced red onion .30

in a large bowl, whisk together oil, lim, cilantro, salt & pepper. Add the other ingredients and toss to mix.
Serve immediately or refrigerate until later.

1/4 recipe = 318 calories, 33 grams carbs, 21 grams fat, 7 grams protein

Barbara and I served it over chicken, and it made a wonderful, power packed meal. Those mono-unsaturated fat particles combined with the healthy protein of chicken and the "clean" foods from the veggies make this A-Maz-ing!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

wholly guacamoley!

 As I reviewed my food intake for the day ( I commented ... i think I've had alot of avocado today - is that bad.  THEN I LOGGED OUT OF and went to my MSN homepage... article of the hour for me... health benefits of avocado - funny how sometimes God sends you messages in the funniest ways :-).  Anyway, here's a fun article I just read.  (if you click on the title wholly guacamoley you will go to the original article ... give credit where credit is due!).

10 Health Benefits of Avocados

Here are ten reasons to do just like I do and eat an avocado a day:

Prostate Cancer Prevention
Avocados have been shown to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer. (reference)

Oral Cancer Defense
Research has shown that certain compounds in avocados are able to seek out pre-cancerous and cancerous oral cancer cells and destroy them without harming healthy cells. (ref)

Breast Cancer Protection
Avocado, like olive oil, is high in oleic acid, which has been shown to prevent breast cancer in numerous studies. (ref)

Eye Health
Avocados have more of the carotenoid lutein than any other commonly consumed fruit. Lutein protects against macular degeneration and cataracts, two disabling age-related eye diseases. (ref)

Lower Cholesterol
Avocados are high in beta-sitosterol, a compound that has been shown to lower cholesterol levels. In one study, 45 volunteers experienced an average drop in cholesterol of 17% after eating avocados for only one week. (ref)

Heart Health
One cup of avocado has 23% of the recommended daily value of folate. Studies show that people who eat diets rich in folate have a much lower incidence of heart disease than those who don't. The vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, and glutathione in avocado are also great for your heart. (ref)

Stroke Prevention
The high levels of folate in avocado are also protective against strokes. People who eat diets rich in folate have a much lower risk of stroke than those who don't. (ref)

Better Nutrient Absorption
Research has found that certain nutrients are absorbed better when eaten with avocado. In one study, when participants ate a salad containing avocados, they absorbed five times the amount of carotenoids (a group of nutrients that includes lycopene and beta carotene) than those who didn't include avocados. (ref)

Glutathione Source
Avocados are an excellent source of glutathione, an important antioxidant that researchers say is important in preventing aging, cancer, and heart disease. (ref)

Vitamin E Powerhouse
Avocados are the best fruit source of vitamin E, an essential vitamin that protects against many diseases and helps maintains overall health. (ref)

WOW... who (other than this author) knew!


For those counting, yes, the Herons have cooked every meal on the grill so far this week. 
Our grill does have a side burner on it, so theoretically, I could even boil the pasta for Friday night's pasta dish outside.  Likely I won't, but I'm doing my part to keep my Air Conditioning bill below that of my first tuition payment!!

Tequila Citrus Salmon with summer Veggies $6.21

I found this recipe a while ago while trying to find a way to mask the flavor of salmon for Joe - he just doesn't like it at all. This marinade, after only about 15 minutes, was strong enough to do the job - BUT, it was also really yummy too! I'm glad the recipe I had for the marinade made enough to have it again...maybe on chicken next week. mmm, mmm, good!

Tequila Citrus Marinade:
1/4 cup olive oil .30
1/4 cup tequila .60
3/4 cup orange juice .20
1/4 cup lime juice .40
1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped .30
1 tsp crushed red pepper .05
1/2 tsp cumin .10
zest of one lime .20
pinch of salt .05
twist of ground pepper.02

4 peices Salmon $3.99
combine - shake or stir vigorously - and pour on top of meat. Marinade for about 15-30 minutes. This is NOT an overnight marinade! This makes about 1 1/2 cups of marinade - you probably only need 1/2 to 3/4 cup of marinade for 4 pieces of meat, so refrigerate the remaining immediately, and reuse another night with a different kind of meat!

I threw together some yellow (summer) squash that my sister had grown and left for me with some mushrooms that looked really yummy, and got the meal together in next to no time!
I grilled the fish in my "fish grill basket" and put the veggies in my big grill basket - i think the veggies take about 10 to 13 minutes (depending on the veggie - yellow squash tends to cook fast!), and the fish needed five minutes per side.

Monday, August 2, 2010

4 ingredient 3 Layer Salsa and Cheese Dip $5.00

Heres a timeless appetizer- how can anyone go wrong when serving this at a party. Layers of cream cheese, salsa and cheese baked, and served with chips? I especially think this goes over very well at a sport related party like a Sunday football game. there aer lots of ways to health this up. I added corn to the salsa, but blackbeans could be added or shredded chicken. Baked chips or crackers could be served instead of the alternative. This appetizer never goes uneaten!

OK, heres the not so complicated recipe:
1 block of cream cheese $1.29
1 jar salsa $1.59
1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese shredded $1.59
1 cup corn(canned or frozen) .60
9x9 or some pan with similar dimensions

combine half the jar of salsa and corn
spread cream cheese in a thin layer on bottom of the pan
pour salsa mixture over creamcheese
top with shredded cheese
bake at 300 for 20 minutes until cheese is completely melted (I like my top layer of cheese kinda crispy)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Flank Steak Tacos with (grilled) Pineapple Salsa

This idea came directly from my Jillian Michaels e-mail - but, the original has chipotle, and I do not like that flavor.  You might have noticed I like cumin, chili powder and maybe even cayenne pepper - but not the smokey chipotle. SO...of course I'll change it.  Otherwise, it sounds DANG good! 

I am so into pineapple on the grill.  It's just so sweet when heated over the flames.  (and for those of you who've read ahead where I talk about the "clean 15", pineapple is the 4th "cleanest" food in terms of pesticide avoidance.)  We've made several pineapple salsa recipes this year on this blog ... this is the first with grilled pineapple.  Don't think for a second it will be the last.  The grilled sweetness is beyond compare in the salsa!

Flank Steak Tacos With Pineapple Salsa


• 12 soft corn tortillas
• 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 teaspoon chili powder
• 1 teaspoon cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
• 1 pound flank steak beef, trimmed of fat

• 1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick rings
• 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
• 1/2 cup minced red onion
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
• 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar


1. Preheat grill to high. Stack tortillas and wrap in heavy-duty foil. Combine chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper, and salt in a small dish - remove about one and one half teaspoons, add the teaspoon of olive oil and make a "rub" or paste. Rub mixture into both sides of steak. Place the tortilla stack on the coolest part of the grill or upper warming rack, if possible, and heat, flipping once, until warmed through and very pliable.

2. Meanwhile, grill the steak for 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium, or until desired doneness. Grill pineapple rings 2 to 4 minutes per side (okay to blacken then a bit). Remove the tortillas, steak, and pineapple from the grill. Let the steak rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing very thinly crosswise into strips.

3. Meanwhile, dice the pineapple and transfer to a medium bowl. Add bell pepper, onion, cilantro, vinegar, the remaining teaspoon of spices; toss to combine. Serve the sliced steak in the warm tortillas with the pineapple salsa.

Makes 6 servings.

Pita Pizzas!

Pita Pizzas
Made by Joe! 

YUM.  I think the made by Joe makes anything taste better.

Pita crust
layer with whatever you want on your pizza
  Ellie's was three cheese- with jarred pizza sauce
  Jacob & Jenna both had sausage, bacon, and cheese - with jarred pizza sauce
  Joe and I had bbq sauce with chicken, onion, blue cheese, mozzarella and YUM!
COOK ON THE GRILL! he turned on the furthest left burner and put the pizzas on the right side - closed the cover and waited patiently for them to be done.  I think it took about 7 minutes on the grill.  The kids LOVED that their pizzas had grill marks on the bottom.  Now, these kids won't eat a hot dog that has grill marks on it, but on their pizza, YEAP, they loved it.  Go try to figure them out!