Archive for June, 2014

The Magic of Mushrooms

Our coast to coast travels gave us the chance to meet up with some of our favorite mushroom friends, like NYT bestselling author and nutritionist for NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” Cheryl Forberg, RD. We asked Cheryl for the skinny on why she loves mushrooms, how she cooks with them and her favorite tips for simple swaps to save calories and increase the nutritional value of our meals. Here’s what she told us…

Loaded with nutrients, mushrooms are also very high in water (which makes them filling). A great addition to salads and stir-fries, they’re also delicious when stuffed and baked. Large mushrooms are excellent when grilled and make a great replacement for meat.

 

Included below is one of my favorite (quick and easy!) side dish recipes: Portabellas and Asparagus from Flavor First.

But first, its summertime, and I know lots of us are seeking easy ideas for healthy meals. In the spirit of the Council’s Swap It or Top It recipe contest, here are a few of my favorite simple swaps to cut calories, sodium and carbs; and enhances the nutritional value of your meals:

  1. Mushroom cap instead of pizza crust. This simple swap is not only an easy way to cut the carbs, but mushrooms are very low in calories. An average portabella for example has only 27 calories. Mushrooms have meaty texture, rich flavor and they’re loaded with nutrients and antioxidants.
  2. Next time you pack veggie sticks for a snack, add in red bell pepper slices. They’re loaded with antioxidants and a rich source of vitamin C. One cup of red bell pepper slices has only 20 calories and 120% of your daily supply of vitamin C
  3. Tomato or fruit salsas are also a great swap instead of sour cream on your quesadilla/burrito – a savings of more than 200 calories per ½ cup!
  4. Trying to keep your cravings under control? Spices like ginger, cinnamon, and cloves impart a hint of sweetness without added sugar.
  5. With minimal effort, you can create your own unique seasoning blends, which not only saves you money but also allows you to customize your favorite flavors and control sodium content.

 

Portabellas and Asparagus[1]

Mushrooms add such meaty richness to this vegetable side dish. Try using shiitakes or creminis as well. The earthiness of the vegetables goes especially nicely with grilled steak and a glass of red wine.

Makes 4 (1/2-cup) servings

 

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons grape seed or olive oil

3 cups sliced portabella mushrooms (about 2 large portabellas, stems and black gills removed)

2 tablespoons chopped shallots

3 cups asparagus pieces (1 1/2-inch), from about 1 pound (see note)

1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce

3 (1/2-ounce) slices nitrite-free turkey (or pork) bacon, cooked until crisp, drained well, and crumbled

1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

 

Instructions:

  1. In a nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 3 minutes, or until they just start to soften and release their liquid. Add the shallots and cook for another minute.
  2. Add the asparagus and cook for 3 minutes longer, or until the asparagus is just crisp-tender.
  3. Drizzle the soy sauce over the veggies and sprinkle with the bacon crumbles and cheese. Toss well and serve hot.

Note: Instead of asparagus, you can substitute 1 (9-ounce) bag (12 cups) fresh spinach. Add to the mushrooms, cover for a few minutes until wilted. Stir well and add remaining ingredients.

Per serving: 60 calories, 1 g total fat (<1 g saturated), 20 mg cholesterol, 110 mg sodium, 7 g total carbohydrates (2 g sugars), 2 g fiber, 6 g protein

 

Byline:

One of the nation’s leading advisors on health and nutrition, Cheryl Forberg RD is a NYT bestselling author, James Beard award-winning chef and the nutritionist for NBC’s “The Biggest Loser”. For more tips and recipes visit her website at www.cherylforberg.com or follow her at TWITTERGOOGLE PLUSFACEBOOK and Pinterest 

 


[1] With permission from: FLAVOR FIRST by Cheryl Forberg, RD.  Copyright © 2011 Rodale

Celebrate Fresh Fruit and Veggies Month with Mushrooms

As June heats up, so do summer outings, family gatherings and healthy eating as we celebrate Fruits and Veggies Month! June is the perfect time to start adding, hearty and nutritious mushrooms to your diet!

Mushrooms’ nutritional qualities stand out  as a  source of vitamin D, potassium and riboflavin, but their distinct flavor that pairs well with a variety of spices and preparations puts them in a class all their own. Celebrate fruits and veggies month while sticking to your summer grilling rituals by throwing hefty portabellas on the grill to toss over a salad, or to replace your burger patty. Or bring your celebration indoors and sauté mushrooms and other veggies to serve in summer fajitas! The versatility of mushrooms can inspire endless number of dishes that will make celebrating Fruits and Veggies Month a breeze! Try your hand at one of these summer recipes to get started:

Mushroom Fajitas – Enjoy these meaty portabellas over a bed of zesty peppers and onions for intensely flavorful fajitas!

Caprese Stuffed Mushroom – Portabella mushroom are layered with fresh mozzarella, tomato, and spinach for a fresh new take on the traditional caprese salad that’s light and healthy.

Mushroom and Garlic Sunflower Salad – Simple and delicious. Crunchy romaine lettuce tossed with sautéed mushrooms and a homemade dressing.

Mushroom Stuffed Pears with Gorgonzola – A fun twist on stuffed mushrooms that serves as a flavorful appetizer perfect for celebrating Fruits and Veggies month with family or friends!

Mushroom Egg Salad – This classic American comfort food gets a modern twist with the addition of crispy sautéed mushrooms and shallots – great as a summer cookout side-dish.

Mushroom Mango Salad – Sweet and savory! This delicious blend of mangoes and mushrooms makes for a perfect summer side, or light lunch.

 

Portabella Mushroom BBQ Burger

Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen whips up a tangy, sweet summer treat with this Portabella Mushroom BBQ Burger that swaps the meat on the grill for a hearty portabella. 

Now that grilling season is finally here, it’s time to grill everything. I mean, everything! While I’m usually the first one to request a meaty burger, made using freshly ground beef and pork, there are times when I’m simply in the mood for something lighter, and well, healthier. This is when I turn to mushrooms. I still want a burger, yes, but I’m looking for something that won’t leave me feeling overly full. Portabellas have an awesome meat-like texture and are filling and wholesome. They grill up like a champ (they’re really hard to overcook) and luckily for me, fit perfectly in between two sesame seed burger buns.

I like to make a quick homemade BBQ sauce; they’re really tasty on portabella mushrooms. Of course, if you’re looking for a short-cut, feel free to use store-bought BBQ sauce. The coleslaw, however, is an absolute must. The crispness, when paired with a soft, saucy mushroom, is really delightful. The acidity and crunch make this burger balanced and all around tasty.

Portabella Mushroom BBQ Burger

Cole Slaw: 

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cup red cabbage

1 1/2 cup white cabbage

1 rib of celery, thinly sliced

BBQ Sauce: 

1/2 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon molasses

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon Worcestershire

1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

a few dashes of hot sauce

Portobello Burgers:

4 portabella mushrooms

4 hamburger buns

 

Directions:

1. To a medium bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, red wine vinegar and pepper. Add the red cabbage, white cabbage and celery; toss until evenly coated with the dressing. Place in the refrigerator until you’re ready to assemble the burgers.

2. To a saucepan, add the balsamic vinegar and simmer over medium heat until the vinegar reduces to about 1/4 cup (eyeballing this measurement is fine). Pour in the ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, garlic cloves, Worcestershire, paprika, black pepper, a few dashes of hot sauce and a splash of water. Simmer mixture for about 20 minutes, until it’s thickened and resembles the consistency of barbecue sauce.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. Place the portabellas side by side on the baking sheet and brush liberally with barbecue sauce. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the portabellas are tender when poked with a knife. Alternatively, you could grill the portabellas over low heat for 20 minutes.

4. To assemble the burgers, toast the buns, add the portabella to the bottom half of the bun, top with coleslaw and then top with the burger bun. Repeat process with the other burgers and serve immediately.