Archive for March, 2012

What’s For Dinner?

Pizza is usually the Achilles’ heel of anyone trying to eat healthier meals, especially pizza with meat toppings. That’s why the next recipe in my mushroom “swapability” cooking adventure (recipes that swap out a portion of meat to make way for more mushrooms) was particularly exciting—a Mushroom Flatbread from registered dietitian Elizabeth Ward.

Remember, the three-step technique for “swapability” is to chop, cook and combine mushrooms into recipes to add an extra serving of veggies to the plate so your meal is tasty and healthy.

Treat yourself tonight by making this lightened-up simple, flavorful and filling pizza.

Mushroom Flatbread Pizza

Recipe for Mushroom Flatbread (serves two)

  • 6 ounces white button mushrooms
  • 6 ounces cremini mushrooms
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces 93% lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 – 12 inch light whole wheat wraps
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
  2. Chop mushrooms into ¼-inch pieces.
  3. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add meat and cook, breaking meat into very small bits. Drain. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Remove from pan and reserve.
  4. Add olive oil to skillet. Add mushrooms and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain. Add beef back to pan and combine with mushrooms.
  5. In a small bowl, combine ricotta cheese, oregano, and basil. Spread the cheese mixture on two 12-inch light whole wheat wraps, dividing evenly. Layer equal amounts of the beef and mushroom mixture on top of the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with the grated cheese.
  6. Place the pizza directly on the oven rack. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.

 

** Tips: ½ cup cottage cheese blended with 1 tablespoon of milk in blender or food processor is a suitable substitute for ricotta cheese. Use fresh herbs like oregano and basil instead of Parmesan cheese and also use reduced fat cheese for a lighter version with less cholesterol, fat and saturated fat. **

And if this “swapability” technique intrigues you and you’re looking for other ingenious ways to eat healthier, then we have two exciting Twitter parties coming up that you’ll want to join. Both are in celebration of National Nutrition Month and should deliver lots of fun tips! Mark these dates on your calendar:

  • March 8, all day: Center for Nutrition Policy & Promotion (CNPP) Twitter Day. Join the conversation to engage with different communities and organizations in helping to promote the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, using the hashtag #MyPlateYourPlate on Twitter.
  • March 12, 8 p.m. – 9 p.m. EST: Feed Your Family Well Twitter Party. Use the hashtag #Mushrooms on Twitter to join the conversation about how to serve your family more nutritious meals that they’ll love to eat. Beloved blogger Resourceful Mommy will lead the conversation and author of MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better, Elizabeth Ward, will be dishing out expert advice. You’ll even have the chance to win awesome prizes valued up to $150! 

We look forward to chatting with you there!

Quinoa Mushroom Patties from Hey What’s For Dinner Mom?

Who needs beef when you can eat savory, crispy, filling patties chockfull of hearty quinoa and mushrooms? Laura of Hey What’s For Dinner Mom? has put together Quinoa Mushroom Patties that will surely get added to your Meatless Monday recipe repository!


Quinoa Mushrooms Patties are a tasty protein-packed choice for a Meatless Monday (or everyday vegetarian) dinner or lunch. These patties, bursting with sautéed mushrooms and zucchini, crisp up in a pan in a flash. Try topping them with shredded cheese, pizza sauce or salsa to add exciting flavors to these versatile patties. Keep pre-cooked quinoa on hand to make this meal in a matter of minutes! (Besides, they’re so delicious, you’ll want to prepare them whenever the craving strikes!)

Quinoa Mushroom Patties
Makes 10-16 patties, depending on size

What you’ll need:

  • 3 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 zucchini, quartered and slices
  • 8 baby bella mushrooms, cleaned, stem removed and diced
  • 8 white button mushrooms, cleaned, stem removed and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 minced garlic clove or use garlic powder, I do I’m allergic to raw onions and garlic
  • 2 tablespoon minced cilantro
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • oil for frying 1-2 Tablespoons

How to make it:

Heat  butter in a medium skillet until melted, add the zucchini and mushrooms. Saute for 10 minutes, remove from heat and set aside.

Mix the cooled quinoa with the salt, garlic, cilantro, eggs, bread crumbs and the mushrooms and zucchini mixture. Form patties

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2-3 patties to the pan, cook for 6 minutes, or until browned. While cooking, use spatula to press each pattie down.

Flip and brown the other side. Repeat with remaining patties.

Enjoy!

Adventures In Swapability

A true product of the good old Midwest, I find myself relying heavily on meat-centric meals during the cold winter months. But it’s National Nutrition Month – time to start lightening up my favorite meals and eating more vegetables.

Luckily, we are working closely with registered dietitian Elizabeth Ward who shared this healthy Almost Lasagna recipe with us. Here at the Channel, we are no strangers to adding mushrooms to dishes to up the nutritional content and we jump at the chance to ‘shroom up meals that usually don’t get enough mushroom love. Judging by the pantry-friendly ingredient list of this recipe and the fact that it calls for swapping a portion of beef with mushrooms, I thought it might deliver the perfect trifecta of easy, tasty and filling. (And fourth: healthy, but what is that… a quadfecta?)

Traditional lasagna feels so labor-intensive, but this recipe came together with minimal effort.

  • Chop mushrooms to look like meat? Check.
  • Cook ‘em like you would the beef? Easy-peasy (And a bit surprising because they really do look just like ground beef!)
  • Combine the cooked mushrooms and beef and add ‘em to the recipe? 1-2-3 and done.

Is there anything more comforting than freshly-made tomato sauce enveloping tender pasta and morsels of beefy mushrooms? I think not!

This time around, I followed the recipe pretty close to the letter. Granted, I love spicy food, so I added a pinch (or three) of red pepper flakes to punch up the flavors. While I’m partial to ground beef, this dish would be just as tasty with ground turkey or chicken or tofu if that’s more your flavor. You can even use no meat and all mushrooms! We’d love to hear how you adjust a recipe to suit your tastes.

Stay tuned for more “swapability” adventures as we amp up the nutrition of other favorite meals!

Recipe for Almost Lasagna (serves six)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound long fusilli pasta or linguine
  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
  • 8 ounces 93% lean ground beef
  • 1 28-oune can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, or 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons trans-fat free margarine
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook according to package directions.
  2. Chop mushrooms in ¼-inch pieces. Reserve.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, carrot, onion and garlic. Sauté until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and reserve.
  4. Place ground beef in pan and cook over medium-high heat, breaking meat into very small bits. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Add the vegetable mixture to the beef in the skillet. Stir in the tomatoes, broth and basil; simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese and parsley. Toss hot pasta with the margarine and return to skillet. Mix with meat sauce. To serve, scoop equal amounts of the ricotta into shallow bowls, top with pasta/sauce mixture.

Tip: Substitute firm tofu or 100% ground turkey breast meat for ground beef.