The recipe for this week is a salad that is easy to prepare. It will make a great summertime salad—pretty and healthy. It’s sure to be a recipe that everyone will ask you for when you serve it.
The original recipe was pretty healthy just as written. I just did a few tweaks to make it easier and a bit more healthy. It’s a very satisfying side dish and is a fun variation on the traditional five-bean salad.
The recipe uses quinoa, which is considered a superfood because of its benefits. It’s actually a member of the spinach family, and it’s been eaten for centuries. It contains more vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants than any other grain. This superfood is also a rich source of complete protein and promotes healthy blood sugar levels, which reduces your chances of developing type 2 diabetes and helps keep glucose levels balanced if you already have diabetes. This grain is gluten free, and best of all, it tastes great.
*Be sure to rinse the quinoa well before you cook it to remove its natural coating, called saponin, which can make it taste bitter or soapy. Sometimes boxed quinoa is already rinsed, but it doesn’t hurt to give it a second rinse.
**This recipe also uses chipotle chilies in adobo sauce. If you haven’t used this ingredient before, you can find it in a small can in the Mexican/ethnic food section, close to the refried beans. It’s a little spicy, so if your family doesn’t like spicy, use less than the recipe calls for. Put what you don’t use in a small jar and keep it in the fridge for another recipe.
Black Bean-and-Quinoa Salad
1 can organic black beans, rinsed and drained
1 c. quinoa, rinsed well (*see note above)
3 T sherry vinegar
1 T coconut aminos
1 T fresh lime juice
1 chipotle in adobo, minced (**see note above)
¼ cup plus 2 T extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
6 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
¼ cup chopped cilantro (or parsley, if your family doesn’t like cilantro)
In a medium saucepan, combine the rinsed quinoa with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer the quinoa over low heat until the water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Spread the quinoa on a plate and let it cool.
In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar, coconut aminos, lime juice and chipotle. Add the olive or avocado oil in a thin stream, whisking until blended. Or you could put these ingredients into a jar, cover it and shake vigorously until it’s blended.
Add the black beans, quinoa, scallions, red onion, yellow pepper and cilantro/parsley to the dressing. Season with salt, toss to combine, and serve.
Spam & Quail Eggs Onigiri
I laughed when Dr. Jen sent this recipe to update. I grew up with Spam, and I’ve always loved it, although I haven’t eaten it for many years. It was fun to tweak this recipe to make it healthier. The re-done version isn’t quite as “cute” as the original, but it’s really tasty.
The recipe calls for quail eggs, which are really teeny tiny eggs that are fun because they are so unique. If you want to use them instead of regular eggs, you can buy them at the Viet Tien Store, which is in the little shopping mall behind Crossroads in St. Cloud. If you haven’t been in this store yet, you are in for a treat—they have a good selection of interesting ethnic foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, and frozen meats and seafood.
*For the veggies called for in the recipe, you can use fresh veggies or frozen veggies. It’s a great way to use up the odds and ends in your fridge.
**The recipe also calls for cooked rice, but you can make this recipe Paleo/Whole 30 by replacing the rice with cauliflower rice. You can use either a box grater with medium-sized holes or a food processor with the grater blade to blitz the cauliflower into small pieces. You’re aiming for little pieces the size of rice. Transfer the cauliflower to a clean towel and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Then you can use it just as you would use cooked rice. It just needs to be sautéed in a bit of oil for a few minutes.
Ham and Eggs Onigiri
4 slices of turkey ham or uncured ham, cut ½” thick
2 T avocado oil, divided
8 quail eggs or 4 organic eggs
2 cups mixed veggies, either fresh or frozen (*see note above)
4 cups cooked rice or grated cauliflower (**see note above)
2 scallions, white and light green parts, sliced thinly
Cut a hole in the center of each slice of ham, about 1 ½ “ round. Save the pieces you cut out and dice them up.
Put 1 T oil in a large frypan, add the diced ham and the 2 cups of veggies and cook until the veggies are done. Add the rice or cauliflower and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Stir in sliced scallions.
Lay a piece of saran wrap inside of 4 empty tuna cans or small ramekins or other small, round containers. Fill each container with ¼ of the fried rice and veggies and press down firmly. Pull the saran wrap to take out the shaped rice and put one rice “cake” on each plate.
Meanwhile, fry the ham slices on both sides. If you like your ham crispy, fry it longer. Crack either 2 quail eggs or 1 regular egg into the center of each ham slice. Cover with a lid for 1 minute—less or more, depending on how soft you like the yolk.
Place a fried ham and egg on each rice/cauliflower “cake.”
Serve with a fresh salad.
Are you looking for a healthy, tasty meal that comes together in about 20 minutes? Then egg roll in a bowl is the answer. We love egg rolls at our house, but we aren’t fond of the idea of eating so much fried food.
Meals in a bowl have been all the rage in cooking magazines for many months now, and there are many really good recipes out there. This recipe basically removes the wrapper from the egg roll and serves the wonderful insides in a bowl.
This recipe is quick, low carb, easy clean-up and delicious—a no-brainer recipe.
You can, of course, serve the dish over cauliflower rice or in lettuce leaves, but we usually just have it in a bowl. And it makes great leftovers.
PREP TIME: 2 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 15 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME: 17 MINUTES
Nobody loves pickles like Dr. Jen loves pickles, so this blog is going to take a pickle-forward recipe and rework it to make it healthier. I’ve eliminated the wheat, dairy, and sugar but kept all the flavor and crunch of the original recipe.
The first change I made was to substitute either brown rice pasta or quinoa pasta for the wheat pasta. The gluten in the wheat pasta does nasty things to our bodies; it causes the body to react with an inflammatory response and primes us for all kinds of diseases and digestive problems.
My two favorite brown rice pastas are Tinkyada and Jovial. Both have a decent texture, as long as you don’t overcook them. I have also been experimenting with quinoa pasta. Be sure to read labels. You don’t want to be eating pasta made with GMO corn, for example—it’s bad for you.
The second tweak on this recipe is eliminating the dairy. Depending on how the animal is raised and the methods used to process the dairy, it can be either a healthy food or one of the worst foods you can eat. If you’re eating milk, yogurt, butter, and cheese that is made from conventionally raised cows, you’re eating a steady stream of antibiotics and toxins. If you eat dairy, it’s much healthier to eat organic products. I’ve chosen to replace the cheese with a product called DAIYA. It’s gluten free, soy free and tastes pretty good. It does melt, although it doesn’t brown in the oven like regular cheese. It works perfectly in this recipe.
I’ve replaced the sour cream with organic Greek yogurt. If you choose to keep the sour cream, be sure it’s organic.
This recipe calls for mayonnaise. That doesn’t mean the Kraft salad dressing that most of us grew up with and is made from sugar, soybean oil and lots of chemicals. Please buy real mayonnaise that’s made with avocado oil, sunflower or olive oil. But be sure to read the label. For example, Hellman’s mayo advertises itself as an olive oil mayo, but if you read the label, it also includes soybean oil, which is a definite no-no.
Always read labels—if you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t be eating it. And that goes for the pickles in this recipe! If the label has ingredients that you don’t recognize, they don’t belong in your body. The best pickles are the ones you can yourself, but if you don’t have any, the best place in the store for pickles is the cold food’s case. Those pickles are usually just a combo of cucumbers, salt, vinegar, (and garlic, if you’re lucky). Oh, just in case—we are talking DILL pickles here, not their sugary sweet cousins.
So, here’s the recipe. Enjoy!
DILL PICKLE LOVERS’ PASTA SALAD
½ lb (about 3 cups) dry brown rice or quinoa pasta. Tinkyada shells work especially well in this recipe.
¾ cup dill pickles, sliced if they are small, or chunked if they are larger
2/3 c Daiya cheddar style cheese, diced
3 T finely diced yellow onion (it’s milder than white onion)
2 T fresh dill
½ c. dill pickle juice
2/3 c mayonnaise, made with avocado oil, sunflower oil, or olive oil (be sure to read the label)
1/3 c organic Greek yogurt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
4 T dill pickle juice
S & P to taste
Boil the pasta according to the directions on the package, being sure not to overcook. Run under cold water to stop cooking.
Toss the cool pasta with ½ cup of dill pickle juice and set aside for 5 minutes. Then drain and discard the pickle juice.
Combine the dressing ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Add all the rest of the ingredients and toss.
Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
Today we’re going to look at a recipe for stir fried vegetables. This came across my Facebook feed and if you click on the image you will be linked to the original blogger's recipe.
Stir frying veggies with a tasty sauce is a great way to get your family to eat more healthy foods. If you serve it over rice or a bed of kale, you can have a great supper on the table in no time at all.
One of the great things about this recipe is that you can really use any fresh veggies you have available. It’s a great way to clean out the veggie drawer in your frig!
The recipe is adapted from a blog titled Averie Cooks. This came across my Facebook feed, like so many recipes do, and it is already pretty healthy to begin with because it includes so many veggies but, but there are a few tweaks I made to ensure your family gets the most nutritious meal possible. The substitutions I’ve made are
1. Be sure the sweet red pepper is organic. Bell peppers are one of the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables that the
Environmental Working Group (EWG) has found to contain the most pesticides and should only be eaten when they are organic.
2. If you use kale, rather than rice as the bed for this tasty dish, then be sure it is also organic, as it’s one of the top 14 fruits and veggies with an overload of pesticides.
3. Use avocado oil or olive oil in your cooking. Avoid soy oil and canola in everything. It’s a good idea to read labels on all the foods you buy so that you can avoid soy and canola.
4. I’ve replaced the miso (soybean) paste that the original recipe called for with a combo of anchovy paste and tahini (sesame paste). None of us should be eating soy, but it’s really hard to replace the flavor of miso in this dish because it has so much umami, or savory taste. The anchovy and sesame are a really good substitute. You can find the anchovy paste and the tahini in most large grocery stores. Another substitute (but with lots less flavor) is coconut aminos, which many people use as a healthier substitute for soy sauce. Like I said, none of us should be eating soy, even though the large food conglomerates have been marketing it to vegetarians as a good way to get their protein. Here are some of the many reasons to avoid this food:
-Soy is one of the most sprayed crops in the US; it has one of the highest percentages of contamination by pesticides of any of our foods.
-99% of the soybean crop in the US is genetically modified.
-Soy has one of the highest levels of phytic acid of any grain or legume that has been studied. Phytates are known to inhibit the absorption of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. High phytate diets have caused growth problems in children.
Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women.
To add to the point above, soy phytoestrogens are potent antithyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may cause thyroid cancer. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.
Try this easy-to- make recipe that your family is sure to love!
BROCCOLI MIXED VEGETABLE STIR FRY
YIELD: serves 2 generously, 4 modestly
PREP TIME: 20 minutes
COOK TIME: 20 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 40 minutes
-1 cup thinly sliced onion. It can be yellow, white or sweet
-4 cloves garlic, minced finely
-3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
-3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil.
-1 1/2 to 2 cups lightly steamed broccoli (from about 1 small/medium stalk of broccoli; I use florets and stalk)
-1 cup sliced baby portobello or white mushrooms
-1/2 cup organic red pepper, diced small (from about 1/2 large red pepper)
-up to 1 cup additional vegetables, optional (such as sugar snap peas, snow peas, carrots, baby corn, bamboo shoots, or water chestnuts)
-up to 1 cup cooked protein. This is a good place to use the leftover chicken from last night’s supper.
-bed of fresh kale or cooked rice for serving, optional
-1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
-1/4 cup honey or agave
-2 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
-2 teaspoons anchovy paste
-1 teaspoon sesame tahini (coconut aminos can be used to replace the anchovy and tahini, but the flavor will not be as rich) generous pinch cayenne pepper, optional and to taste (add more if you prefer a spicier stir fry)
-salt, to taste
1. If you are serving this stir fry over rice, be sure to have your rice cooked and ready to go.
2. Please note the recipe requires you to have moderately fast knife and chopping skills because you'll be chopping and slicing most of the ingredients while the onions caramelize, including stirring together the sauce. If you're newer or slower in the kitchen, I recommend chopping everything and making the sauce before beginning to caramelize the onions so you're not scrambling or stressed.
3. Stir Fry - To a large non-stick skillet, well-seasoned cast iron skillet, or wok, add the onions, garlic, sprinkle with salt, drizzle with olive oil or avocado oil, and cook covered over high heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until onions are caramelized and as browned, soft, and tender as desired. Stir mixture intermittently, especially towards the end of cooking, to ensure nothing burns.
4. While onions continue to caramelize, slice the mushrooms, peppers, prep any optional vegetables or protein you're using; set aside.
5. Sauce - To a small bowl, add all ingredients and stir to combine; set aside.
6. After onions are caramelized, remove them from the skillet and place in a medium bowl; set aside.
7. To the skillet (no need to wash it), add the broccoli, mushrooms, peppers, optional additional vegetables, optional protein, the sauce, and allow mixture to simmer uncovered over high heat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until slightly reduced.
8. Add the onions, stir to combine, and cook for about 1 minute, just enough to rewarm the onions and coat with sauce.
9. Taste and if you think it needs a splash of apple cider vinegar, honey, salt, pepper, etc., add to taste.
10. Serve over a large handful of fresh kale (placing the hot stir fry on the kale allows it to wilt perfectly) or over a bed of rice. Stir fry is best warm and fresh, but leftovers will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 3 days and make good leftovers.
Have you ever seen a recipe on Facebook or Pinterest and thought, “YUM!”? Me too! This blog is dedicated to taking those mouthwatering recipes and exchanging the bad ingredients with health alternatives. Along the way, you will be educated on the “why’s”. Enjoy! ~Dr. Jen