Posts Tagged ‘selenium’

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


  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!

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)


  • 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


  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.

Weekly Links: Mushroom News from Around the Web

The New Superfoods Fitness highlights the common white button mushroom as one of ten lesser-known superfoods that will keep your body healthy and slim – without costing you a fortune at the grocery store. Swapping meat for mushrooms is highlighted as a successful weight-loss strategy, and the most common of all ‘shrooms is recognized as one of few natural food sources of vitamin D.

Vitamin D levels dip San Francisco Chronicle interviews the world’s leading vitamin D expert, Dr. Michael Holick. Lack of vitamin D can lead to heart disease, cancer, depression, insomnia, diabetes and chronic pain so be sure to get adequate amounts of this crucial nutrient. Adequate daily vitamin D intake may be hard to come by as this nutrient is often not found naturally in foods. But, rest assured that all mushroom contain D – they’re the only source in the produce section.

The Trading Post 2009’s Taste of Home “Mushrooms: Every Day, Every Way” recipe contest winner is highlighted. Have you entered this year’s contest? If you’re lacking inspiration, give this winning portabella burger recipe a try.

EAT YOUR VEGGIES: Adding vegetarian dishes to the menu will benefit your health Vegetarian diets are becoming more common these days. They’re not simple though, without a little planning the risk of depriving yourself of key nutrients is high. But if done right, a vegetarian diet can be satisfying and good for your waistline. A tip the Bradenton Herald offers readers is one of our weight-loss favorites – substitute meat with mushrooms. Studies have shown that substituting four ounces of mushrooms for four ounces of meat once a week for one year could save more than 18,000 calories and nearly 3,000 grams of fat – that adds up to more than five pounds!

Chef’s kitchen: Try an Herbed Mushroom Tulip The Olympian’s resident chef admits she used to avoid mushrooms at all costs but now she just can’t get enough. Chocked full of selenium, B vitamins and fiber, mushrooms are not only a nutritional powerhouse but they also add flavor to everyday meals.

Mushroom has a lot to offer Our friends up in Canada agree that there’s no reason to not love mushrooms. No fat, hardly any carbs or calories, low in sodium – mushrooms lack all the bad stuff and provide nothing but the good: vitamins, minerals, fiber and flavor.

Weekly Links: Mushroom News from Around the Web

Dr. Sunshine New York Times Magazine interviews Dr. Michael Holick, MD, PhD, the renowned vitamin D expert, to set the story straight on vitamin D. Many topics are covered, but the fact that mushrooms are the only fruit or vegetable in the produce aisle to contain this important nutrient still makes the cut.

Bruschetta With Wild Mushrooms, Ricotta And Green Garlic Though we’d prefer to see this recipe call for some white buttons or baby bellas in place of wild mushrooms, KGO-TV still covers the gamut of health benefits in our beloved mushrooms. Mushrooms truly have it all: they’re low in fat and calories, but still rich in a variety of nutrients. For example, mushrooms are an excellent source of potassium – one portabella even contains more than a medium banana! Copper, riboflavin, niacin and selenium are among the other nutrients mentioned.

Katy Perry eats mushrooms to stay slim Even though musician Katy Perry is happily engaged, it turns out her fiancé is not the only “fun guy” on her radar: she loves fungi, too! Katy says, “I love mushrooms. I could eat a ton of them. I really love truffles but I hardly ever get them. Mushrooms in general though are so healthy and good for you. I can’t get enough.”

Figure flattering mushrooms If you’re trying shed a few pounds before summer, here’s a tip from nutrition expert Keri Glassman: add more mushrooms to your meals. Not only will your figure benefit but also your health. Mushrooms are chocked full of important nutrients that – because they’re a source of the antioxidant selenium – can help strengthen your immune system. They’re low in calories, fat-free and very low in sodium. Plus mushrooms are the only fruit or vegetable with vitamin D.

Weekly Links: Mushroom News from Around the Web

Best and Worst Foods Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN tells “Early Show” viewers to always “Go for those ‘shrooms!” She makes note of the fact that it’s not always those bright colored veggies that pack a nutritious punch – those that are light in color do too, like mushrooms! Light-colored mushrooms are the leading source of the antioxidant selenium in the produce aisle.

Trend Alert: The ‘Fifth Taste’ Is Coming On Strong, As More People Say I Want My Umami We’ve heard that this is the year for umami and don’t you bet that WE of all people are excited! If you haven’t heard, umami is the savory fifth taste found naturally in mushrooms. Delish.  

How to Order a Healthier Pizza The Baltimore Sun helps readers make healthier pizza choices by advising to load up on the veggies – in particular mushrooms because they are nutrient-packed, high in fiber and low in calories.

Keri Glassman and The O2 Diet Glassman touts her love for mushrooms again in this segment featured on “700 Club.” She highlights mushrooms as the only fruit or veggie with vitamin D, which is very important for immunity. Also discussed are the benefits of swapping meat for mushrooms – if you take away about four ounces of meat a weak and substitute it with mushrooms, you can lose about five pounds over one year!