Tag Archives: recipes

Savor Summer with Smart Grilling Tips

Grilled Vegetables

Summer is in full swing. What better time to take advantage of the season than firing up the grill for a summer cookout while taking advantage of the season’s freshest ingredients.

To ensure your summer BBQ is flavorful and healthy, follow these simple tips:

  • Experiment with Marinades: You can add a lot of flavor without adding too many calories, salt, sugar and fat. In fact, spicing up your meat not only helps with flavor but can also make it healthier. Spices and herbs high in antioxidants and ingredients with Vitamin C help get rid of harmful HCAs (heterocyclic amines) formed when meat fat drips on a hot grill. So be sure to add lemon juice , orange juice or pineapple juice to your marinade, as well as great plant seasonings  such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage, garlic or onion. Toss out used marinade. Never add it to a cooked food.
  • Trim Fat: Before firing up your grill, take the time to remove excess fat from m Buying lean beef or pork or lamb cuts will also help eliminate some of the saturated fats consumed. Lean cuts include flank steak, pork or beef tenderloin, skirt steak, fat- trimmed leg of lamb, or lean ground beef.
  • Go for Seafood: The grill is not just for meat. It’s a delicious and healthy way to cook seafood, too. Opt for lighter marinades that won’t overpower the taste of your seafood. Firm fish, such as tuna, salmon or snapper prove to be much better options for grilling as opposed to delicate, flaky fish like cod and tilapia. Firmer fish do much better with the high heat of the grill and smoky flavor. For shellfish, like shrimp or scallops, choose jumbo varieties and consider using a basket or skewers, which handle better on the grill.
  • Add vegetables: Add vegetables to the grill every chance you can. They are delicious and you won’t have to worry about overcooking. Add a little olive or canola oil to your veggies or marinade them. Make kabobs, using half meat and half vegetables . Grill extra veggies on the grill, in foil, or in a grilling basket to enjoy tomorrow as a side, snack or add to a salad or sandwich. Grill ears of corn in their husk (after soaking in water to prevent burning). Get creative. Grill romaine lettuce leaves, whole onions, pineapple or peach slices – all rich in flavor.

For some creative ideas, check out the recipes below for some of my favorite summer grilling recipes:

This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.

 

Fire Up the Father’s Day Grill with Lean Meats

Red meat is a Father’s Day favorite and sure to grace the menus of Father’s Day feasts around the country this weekend. For those looking for healthier options for their family celebrations, remember – not all cuts of meat are equal. Grilling can be one of the lightest ways to entertain, but it all comes down to knowing what cuts to look for how to prepare them and how to complement them with nutrient-rich additions to the menu.

Lean cuts of meat such as sirloin, have up to 34 percent less fat today than a few decades ago, thanks to new breeding, feeding and fat trimming at the grocery store. This is good news, but some still struggle to know how to cook lean beef cuts and keep them tender when the fat content is so low.

Adding lean cuts of beef to cool summer salads is an ideal way to turn up the flavor and certainly makes for a delicious and nutritious way to celebrate this Father’s Day. In time for firing up your grill this weekend, following are a few crowd-pleasing, healthy grilling recipes — each with less than 15 grams of fat.

Champagne Steak Salad with Blue Cheese –– 300 calories, 14 grams of fat

Recipe 1

Recipe courtesy of Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

  • INGREDIENTS
    • 2 beef Ranch Steaks , cut 1 inch thick (about 8 ounces each)
    • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
    • 2 teaspoons crushed mixed peppercorns (black, white, pink and green)
    • 2 medium red and/or yellow bell peppers, cut into quarters
    • 1 package (5 ounces) mixed salad greens
    • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
    • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • Vinaigrette
    • 1/4 cup champagne or white wine vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground mixed peppercorns
  • INSTRUCTIONS
  • Bring 1-inch water to a boil in medium saucepan. Add green beans, cover and cook 4 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain; set aside.
  • Meanwhile, combine vinaigrette ingredients in small bowl; set aside.
  • Press 2 teaspoons peppercorns evenly onto beef steaks. Place steaks in center of grid over medium, ash-covered coals; arrange peppers around steak. Grill steaks, covered, 11 to 14 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 12 to 16 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness. Grill peppers 7 to 11 minutes (gas grill times remain the same) or until crisp-tender, turning steaks and vegetables occasionally.
  • Carve steaks into thin slices. Cut peppers into 1-1/2-inch pieces. Season beef and vegetables with salt, as desired. Divide salad greens among four serving bowls; top evenly with vegetables. Arrange beef on salad. Sprinkle with blue cheese. Drizzle with vinaigrette.

Note: You can use Ranch or Top Sirloin cuts – both approximately 300 calories and 15 grams of fat. 

Tenderloin, Cranberry and Pear Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing — 320 calories, 14 grams of fat   

Recipe 2

Recipe courtesy of the Texas Beef Council and The Healthy Beef Cookbook

  • INGREDIENTS
    • 4 beef tenderloin steaks, cut 3/4 inch thick (approx. 4 oz. each)
    • 1/2 tsp. coarse grind black pepper
    • 1 package (5 oz.) mixed baby salad greens
    • 1 medium red or green pear, cored, cut into 16 wedges
    • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
    • Salt (to taste)
    • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
    • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (optional)
  • Honey Mustard Dressing
    • 1/2 cup prepared honey mustard
    • 2-3 Tbsp. water
    • 1-1/2 tsp. olive oil
    • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
    • 1/4 tsp. coarse grind black pepper
    • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • INSTRUCTIONS
  • Season steaks with 1/2 tsp. pepper. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Place steaks in skillet; cook 7 to 9 minutes for medium rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, whisk Honey Mustard Dressing ingredients in small bowl until well blended. Set aside. Divide greens evenly among 4 plates. Top evenly with pear wedges and dried cranberries.
  • Carve steaks into thin slices; season with salt as desired. Divide steak slices evenly over salads. Top each salad evenly with dressing, pecans and goat cheese, if desired.

Farmer’s Market Vegetable, Beef and Brown Rice Salad; 500 calories, 15 grams of fat

Recipe 3

Recipe courtesy of Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and The Healthy Beef Cookbook

  • INGREDIENTS
    • 1 lb. top round steak, cut 3/4 inch thick
    • 1 tsp. olive oil
    • 2 cups asparagus pieces (2-inch in length)
    • 1 medium yellow squash, cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices
    • 3 cups hot cooked brown rice
    • 1 cup diced, seeded tomatoes
    • 1 cup canned garbanzo beans, rinsed, drained
    • 1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Marinade
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
    • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
    • 1 Tbsp. honey
    • 2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
    • 2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • INSTRUCTIONS
  • Combine marinade ingredients in small bowl. Place beef steak and 1/4 cup marinade in food-safe plastic bag; turn steak to coat. Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator 6 hours or as long as overnight. Reserve remaining marinade in refrigerator for dressing.
  • Remove steak from marinade; discard marinade. Place steak on rack in broiler pan so surface of beef is 2 to 3 inches from heat. Broil 12 to 13 minutes for medium rare doneness, turning once. Remove; keep warm.
  • Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add asparagus and squash; cook and stir 7 to 8 minutes or until tender. Toss with rice, tomatoes, beans, basil, salt and reserved marinade in large bowl.

Note: You can use round or flat-iron cuts for this recipe.

 For more ideas on heart-healthy eating, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips makes healthy eating fun and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia KostasNutrition and visit:http://www.georgiakostas.com.

This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.

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3 Earth-Friendly Recipes

Oatmeal

In honor of Earth Day this week, be good to your body and to Mother Earth. Make an effort to eat  foods “close to the earth” with the least amount of packaging, processing, energy and use of your time. 

Here are a few “go green” recipes to enjoy this weekend and beyond.

SNACK: Pop Your Own Popcorn

Start with a jar of corn kernels. In a large stockpot, heat a healthy oil (canola, corn, etc.) and then add kernels and cover the pot with a lid. Listen for “popping” kernels for the next 1-2 minutes. When the popping stops, remove pot from the stove.  Serve popcorn hot, just straight up, or add a little Parmesan and seasonings (that stick with cheese and heat). Seasonings such as dried oregano, parsley, thyme, or unsalted Italian or Greek seasonings are delicious.

OTHER SNACKS:  unsalted, uncoated nuts, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables dipped in hummus or bean dip

INSTANT OATMEAL:  Yes, even instant counts.

Try the new larger bagged portions of instant oatmeal, prepared in 1 minute in the microwave or on a stovetop.  Convenience and speed are there, but less packaging.  The larger bag contains, in essence, multiple  “instant oatmeal packets”.  You control your portion, as well as the added salt, sugar, or sugar substitutes.  Quaker Perfect Portions comes in two flavors – cinnamon or maple syrup – and the flavors add no additional calories. Great idea!

BEANS WITH GREENS SOUP- How much earthier can you get!

Soak a package of 16-bean mixture overnight in water in a stockpot. The next day, drain the water. In a large stockpot (or slow-cooker), sauté half a pound of extra lean ground beef, chicken or turkey.  Add  unsalted broth to water, in the amount recommended on the bean package. (I like to choose Kitchen Basics broth, with the Heart-Check logo, meaning it meets the saturated fat and sodium criteria of the American Heart Association.) Add in beans and 2 cups each of the following chopped vegetables: carrots (about 5-6 big carrots), celery (ons bunch) and a large onion. You may also substitute a thawed bag of these frozen mixed vegetables.  For speed and convenience: 1) chop all veggies in a food processor, one type at a time or 2) purchase fresh chopped onions and tiny petite carrots at your grocery store; 3) buy celery sticks in water and slice in half; use the water as part of the water added to the beans for cooking.

Bring to a boil and simmer 60-80 minutes. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, add a bag of washed, chopped kale, after you have chopped it more finely into strips for quicker cooking.  Spinach may be substituted or added. Add seasonings such as a tablespoon of vinegar, your favorite unsalted seasoning blend, black pepper and garlic powder. When beans are cooked tender, enjoy a bowl-ful! Refrigerate or freeze left-overs  for a snack or meal the next day This soup tastes better each day, as flavors continue to blend. I even eat it for breakfast!

For more ideas on healthy eating, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips makes healthy eating more enjoyable and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia KostasNutrition and visit:http://www.georgiakostas.com.

This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.

Celebrate Your Red, White and Blue!

Wave your flag and celebrate your All-American spirit by adding a little red, white, and blue to your menu. For a festive and nutritious patriotic celebration, check out the following food inspirations:

  • Top your breakfast cereal, yogurt, ice cream or salads with fresh blueberries, strawberries and white slivered almonds.
  • Add dried cherries or cranberries to salad or coleslaw. Enjoy cherries and watermelon and red, purple and Concord grapes as snacks or dessert.
  • Make two red and blue jello layers filled with cherries and blueberries, and add a thin spread of soft, lower-fat cream cheese mixed with light sour cream between layers.
  • Make a big pizza cookie out of prepared vanilla cookie dough topped with a spread of light cream cheese and powdered sugar blended together as “icing.” Sprinkle red and blueberries on top and consider adding pineapple, peach and mandarin orange slices, too.
  • Make fruit kabobs with several fresh fruit slices. Try red and blue berries and red plums.
  • Make vegetable kabobs with several veggies, including red bell peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower and onions.
  • Make a fruit salad with 5-6 different types of fruit, such as melon, grapes, pineapple, apples, berries and cherries.
  • Add black beans, red beans and white navy beans to your baked bean dish.
  • Make a smoothie with ½ cup Concord grape juice, 1/2 banana, ½ cup non-fat vanilla or Greek yogurt, ½ cup berries or peach slices and 5-6 ice cubes for a refreshing blue smoothie.

Not only are these foods a fun way to honor your American pride, they add great nutrition to your day. Red foods carry Vitamins A and C, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that promote good health, lower cholesterol, and prevent heart disease and clogged arteries. Blueberries contain more valuable antioxidants than most foods, boosting overall health. (ORAC values which measure antioxidant ability, score blueberries at 2400, cherries at 670 and pink grapefruit at 485). Blueberries and grape juice have recently been shown to boost cognition and memory, keep arteries elastic, and promote immunity. White foods, like garlic, onion, potatoes and cauliflower, offer Vitamin C, healthy antioxidants and many other significant nutrients, including Vitamin B, minerals and phyto-nutrients that help fight heart disease and cancer, and promote your overall well-being. Almonds, like other nuts, have been linked to a reduced risk of heart attacks, if consumed in 1 oz. (about 3 Tbsp) servings five or more times a week.

Celebrate your patriotism with a menu that’s both healthy and crowd-pleasing. Good food decisions mixed with physical activity will ensure this holiday is a memorable one.

For more ideas on heart-healthy eating, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips makes healthy eating fun and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia KostasNutrition and visit: http://www.georgiakostas.com.

This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.