Monday, November 16, 2009

Cafe Rio Knock-off Recipes

Inspired by dinner at my friend Julie's house, my Dad [and I] decided to make a Cafe Rio inspired meal for people coming over to watch the football game this weekend. For those of you unfamiliar with Cafe Rio think Costa Vida or Chipotle + enchiladas. It is found primarily in Utah and is part of Utah culture. In fact, Julie's friend described it as the best food on the Earth. Not sure if I agree with that bold statement but it is good. (Shannon don't worry I'm still completely loyal to Chipotle!! Cafe Rio just offers some things that Chipotle doesn't plus no one understands Chipotle up here the way you & I do!)

Now I definitely wouldn't consider any of these restaurants to be particularly "healthy" BUT the healthy thing about preparing them yourself is you know exactly what you are using or putting in the recipe. And the most important factor that earns a seat on The Healthy Bite is that I believe in everything in moderation and portion control!

These recipes can be used to make burritos, salads, or whatever you want!

Cafe Rio Style Pork
2 pound pork (recipe calls for pork butt or boneless pork ribs, I think pork loin would work just fine)
3 cans Coke
1/4 cup brown sugar
pinch garlic salt
1/4 cup water
1 can sliced green chilies
3/4 can enchilada sauce (recipe did not say red or green, we used green)
1 cup brown sugar

Put the pork in a heavy duty ziplock bag to marinade. Add a can and a half (18oz) of coke and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Marinate for a few hours or overnight.
Drain marinade and put pork, 1/2 can Coke, water, and garlic salt in crock pot on high for about 3-4 hours (or until it shreds easily but is not too dry) or on low for 8 hours. Remove pork from crock pot and drain any liquid left in the pot, shred pork.
In a food processor or blender, blend 1/2 can Coke (6 oz), chilies, enchilada sauce, and remaining brown sugar (more or less to taste*)
Put shredded pork and sauce in crock pot and cook on low for 2 hours.

*I think Cafe Rio pork is too sweet. We actually doubled this recipe and I only used ~3/4 cup sugar in the final sauce so I would recommend being very conservative with the brown sugar at the end. The Coke adds lots of sweet.
-Other thoughts: this recipe specifically says not to use diet Coke but I've seen bloggers say diet works just fine...we used regular Coke but when I make this again I would try diet. Bloggers that used diet Coke also used the Splenda blend of brown sugar and said it came out fine too. Just a personal call on what you want to do!

Cafe Rio Style Chicken
1 (8oz) bottle of zesty Italian dressing
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 lbs chicken breasts

Cook all together in a crock pot of 4 hours on low. Shred meat. Cook 1 additional hour

*Super easy & it was a crowd favorite

Cafe Rio Style Creamy Tomatillo Dressing
1 packet Traditional Hidden Valley Ranch mix (not buttermilk)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
2 large tomatillos (or 3 if they are small), roasted, husked, and diced
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
juice of 1 lime
1 small jalapeno (keep seeds and veins in for spicy, remove for a smaller kick)

Roast the tomatillos with the husk on in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Then mix all the ingredients in the blender. Refrigerate for the flavors to mix.

*I could drink this it is so good! Yum!! Also a crowd favorite. They also make a delicious cilantro-lime vinaigrette which we didn't make but I'll have to try it some other time.
*I don't ever use/buy mayo so I couldn't tell you off the top of my head which mayo is the healthiest but READ YOUR FOOD LABELS. In mayo you're looking for the lowest saturated and trans fat without added sugar. Looking online it looked like Reg mayo had 90 calories, 1.5g sat fat, 0g sugar; Light mayo had 50 calories, 0.8g sat fat, 0.6g sugar; and Olive Oil mayo had 45 calories, 0g sat fat, and 0g sugar. Looks like Olive Oil mayo would be the healthiest choice but always check your food labels! Confused or have any questions - just ask me!

Cafe Rio Style Cilantro Lime Rice
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1 tsp butter/margarine (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp + 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 can (15oz) chicken broth
1 cup water
pinch of sugar (optional)
3 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro

In a saucepan combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 tsp lime juice, chicken broth, and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low for 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender. Remove from heat. In a small bowl combine lime juice, sugar, cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the rice.

*This rice (as with most homemade cilantro lime rice I've had) comes out sticky. I think the lime juice has a chemical reaction with the cooking of the rice. I think next time I might try to just add all the lime juice at the end although that might change the flavor. This rice was still delicious even though it was sticky! If you guys have any tricks or experience please share :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Caramel Pudding Pumpkin Cupcakes

This is a Hungry Girl recipe. I’m not a cake fan but I needed to use up some canned pumpkin and thought these sounded good. I’ll admit the ‘pudding’ in the name drew me in but I’m not really sure why that’s in the name. I basically thought they tasted like spice cake cupcakes. The caramel stayed on the top for the first day but then after that it soaked into the cupcakes (maybe that’s where the ‘pudding’ part comes from??) I think I’ll stick to pumpkin cookies this time of year but if you’re a big cupcake/cake fan you might want to give these a try.

Caramel Pudding Pumpkin Cupcakes

(Makes 12 servings)
Per serving (1 cupcake): 108 calories, 2g fat, 188mg sodium, 21g carbs, 0.5g fiber, 12g sugars, 2g protein

Ingredients for cupcakes

  • 2 cups moist-style yellow cake mix (1/2 of an 18.25-ounce box)
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute
  • 2 tablespoons sugar-free maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for topping

  • 3 cubes (about 1 ounce) chewy caramel
  • 2 teaspoons light vanilla soymilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all cupcake ingredients in a mixing bowl with 1/3 cup of water. Whip with a whisk or fork for 2 minutes until well blended.

Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray or line with baking cups. Evenly spoon batter into muffin cups.

Place pan in the oven and cook for about 12 minutes (until cupcakes have puffed up but still appear a little gooey on top).

Once cupcakes are cool enough to handle, arrange them closely on a plate so that the edges are touching. Place caramel and soymilk in a tall microwave-safe glass or dish (mixture will bubble and rise when heated).

Microwave at medium power for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir mixture vigorously until smooth and thoroughly blended. (Return to microwave for 30 seconds at medium heat if caramel has not fully melted.) Immediately drizzle caramel sauce over cupcakes.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Japanese Cucumber Salad

This is the recipe I make when I'm craving that cucumber salad I get with my sushi. Yumm!! Also referenced here as a great side dish to a yummy recipe!

Japanese Cucumber Salad

2 cups thinly sliced Japanese cucumbers*
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons sesame seeds

* English cucumbers may be substituted. The English cucumbers need to be peeled, cut lengthwise, seeded, and sliced into thin half moons.

In a large bowl, combine cucumbers and salt; mix well. Add sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil; mix well. Sprinkle with sesame seed and mix. Let marinate for 20 minutes before serving. NOTE: If you desire, drain off some of the vinegar mixture before serving.

To serve, divide salad among individual chilled plates.

Makes 4 servings.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Avocado Salsa Verde

I haven't tried this yet but can't wait to! A friend passed it along and said it was wonderful.

8 tomatillos - husked
2 jalapenos
3-4 hatch or anaheim chilies
1 small onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
cumin (approximately - 1/4 tsp or a little more)
cayenne - pinch or two
lime juice a tbls or more
a handful of fresh cilantro chopped
salt & pepper - to taste
1 large avocado - peeled and pitted

Rub the tomatillos, jalapenos, and hatch chilies with olive oil and roast in a 375 degree oven until they start to brown. Let cool. If you have a food processor this is a great time to use it. Or you can chop by hand either way. Chop the garlic and the onion in the processor. Add the roasted peppers and tomatillos and pulse. Add the cumin, cayenne, lime juice and a handful of cilantro and pulse some more. Add the avocado and pulse again. Now you have to taste. Too hot - not enough? If you like it spicy add more cayenne or a fresh jalapeno if you need to cool it off add more avocado or lime juice. It is a beautiful shade of green and just as tasty as it looks. enjoy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Spinach Salad recipe & Pomegranate info

I love when pomegranates are in season (which is now!) and I had some spinach & pine nuts left over from making the salmon Florentine & quinoa so this is the "round two recipe" I made.

Spinach Salad
baby spinach leaves
pomegranate seeds
toasted pine nuts
cut up bits of ripe pear
thin slices of red onion
(I didn't have any feta but if we did I would have added that too)
Ken's Light Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette (or any other light or citrusy vinaigrette would be good too! Find a couple more dressing ideas here)

For those of you not too familiar with pomegranates or have used pomegranates only to get the [horribly staining] juice everywhere I thought I'd share a trick I've learned for getting the seeds out with ease! 1st - cut the pomegranate in half on a paper towel, the towel will absorb the juice that comes out. 2nd - fill a medium sized bowl with water. 3rd - put the pomegranate completely underwater and begin to break about the seeds from the membrane. That way all the excess juice stays in the water instead of spraying on your clothes/kitchen/dog/etc and it also makes it easier to get the seeds away from the membrane. Another good thing is that any stray bits of membrane that come off will float to the top of the water making it easy to strain from the water before you drain the pomegranate seeds.

Superfruits: A Look at the Facts

The term “superfruit” refers to a category of natural plants that are believed to provide great health benefits because of their nutrient and antioxidant levels. The six superfruits are açaí, goji, mangosteen, noni, pomegranate, and seaberry. Blueberries, cranberries, and red grapes are seen as more common “superfruits.”

The more exotic superfruits are mainly available in juice form. Many are available at your local grocery store, and literally hundreds of Web sites sell these fruits in either juice or supplement form.

The main thing to keep in mind is that these fruits do not have scientific validation, sufficient clinical trial evidence, or regulatory approval for their health claim statements. However, they are recognized as exceptional antioxidant sources, and current research is looking at possible antidisease properties. Information specific to each of these fruits follows.

This fruit is an exceptional source of polyunsaturated fats and dietary fiber. Açaí also contains high levels of vitamin E, calcium, copper, potassium, magnesium, and niacin, when compared to other plant foods. Studies have looked at açaí for its vasodilator effect in animals. Açaí probably has the least scientific evidence of all of the superfruits. However, a study from the University of Florida found that compounds in açaí berries could reduce the growth of certain leukemia cells in the lab. This is not yet confirmed through human studies.

This fruit offers high amounts of protein, vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, iron, magnesium, copper, and zinc. Goji also provides high levels of many antioxidants, but especially beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. Research has looked at goji for a wide range of purported health benefits, including immune function, metabolic syndrome, and neurological disorders. In rabbits, goji berry has lowered blood glucose, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, in addition to improving insulin resistance in diabetic rats. However, none of this research is validated through expert-reviewed clinical trials, and all research was completed on either laboratory animals or in vitro work.

Goji is related to the tomato, potato, and eggplant, and offers many of the same antioxidants. If you take warfarin, talk to your doctor before consuming any products containing goji, because this may cause an interaction.

This white fruit does not provide an exceptional amount of nutrients. Medical research on mangosteen is lacking and has included antioxidant properties in vitro, anti-inflammatory effects in vitro, and numerous chemical identity studies. Early animal studies showed a possible reduction in plasma lipid levels.

The American Cancer Society’s Web site states that mangosteen is a source of antioxidants, but that no reliable evidence exists on its use as a cancer treatment. The US Food and Drug Administration has sent warning letters to manufacturers who state that mangosteen is usable to treat illness.

This very pale-colored fruit does not provide many antioxidants and is also low in most vitamins and minerals, with the exception of moderate amounts of vitamin C and potassium. Noni has reports of vague health properties via either animal or in vitro research.

Noni fruits have shown antitumor properties in rats and mice, but clinical evidence is lacking. However, studies of heavy smokers who drank noni juice have shown a reduction in free radicals in the blood, lower levels of total cholesterol, and reduced triglycerides. Other animal studies have shown that noni may combat fatigue and offer some liver protection.

Seaberry is probably one of the plant world’s most nutritious foods. Seaberry contains one of the highest contents of vitamin C and E, compared to other plants. It also contains many healthful fatty acids, carotenoids, and phenolics. Seaberry is the second most studied superfruit, after pomegranate. However, no expert-reviewed clinical trials are published.

Surprisingly, pomegranate has a relatively low nutrient content. However, it provides a moderate amount of antioxidants. Pomegranate is by far the most studied superfruit, with clinical trials and scientific reports completed on several types of cancer, blood cholesterol, infection, obesity, and inflammation, as well as several other topics of research. Several peer-reviewed studies have demonstrated that the antioxidants in pomegranate juice reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation in mice and blood pressure in hypertensive humans.

A 2004 study, which appear in Clinical Nutrition, demonstrated that daily consumption of pomegranate juice for 3 years by patients with carotid artery stenosis reduced the thickening of their arteries. Talk to your doctor if you take any drugs on a regular basis, as pomegranate juice seems to interfere with the metabolism of many medications.

The bottom line
Many other forms of produce not classified as superfruits also contain exceptional levels of antioxidants and nutrients. Most of the studies on superfruits are small and short-term, are conducted on animals, lack adequate control groups, or are funded by industry. These products also are usually very expensive when compared to other fruits, with some juices costing nearly $100 a bottle.

It is important to remember that many of these manufacturers pay a doctor to attest to the fruits’ beneficial properties, claims that are usually not credible. You should also ignore testimonials by “everyday” people who claim that a juice or supplement has cured them of a disease or changed their life. The journal Clinical Cancer Research released the following statement: “Don’t count on açaí or goji berry juice to boost your health, and research on pomegranate and blueberries is still preliminary.”

Many manufacturers claim that these superfruits provide more antioxidants than other fruits, but this often refers to the whole fruit, rather than the juice that is extracted from the fruit. In fact, one study showed that you would need to drink 150 milliliters (mL) of a popular noni juice to match the antioxidant content of a navel orange, 90 mL of a popular mangosteen juice to match the antioxidant content of 1 cup of strawberries, and 300 mL of a well-known goji juice to match the antioxidant content of a Red Delicious apple.

Different labs performing tests to calculate the antioxidant content of the same fruit can garner highly variable results, depending on how much water the fruit contains, how it is harvested and handled, and how much time has passed since harvest. Furthermore, even if fruit A has more antioxidants than fruit B in a test tube, the antioxidants in fruit B sometimes are more easily absorbed in the human body.

References and recommended readings
ACAI Health and Nutrition Resource Center. Pomegranate & cardiovascular. Available at: Accessed April 20, 2009.

Australia.TO. Superfruit juices. Available at:,25197,23040467-202,00,00.html. Accessed April 20, 2009.

Mitchell S. Superfruits: are they worth the money? Available at: Accessed April 20, 2009.

Searby L. The high-flying fruit. Available at: Accessed April 20, 2009.

Sohn E. Superfruits, super powers? Available at:,0,2602519,print.story. Accessed April 20, 2009.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Quinoa Pilaf

The following recipe I got from the Self November 2009 issue. I served it with the Salmon Florentine from the same issue/recipe. Nutritional facts for one 6oz fillet and 1/2 cup quinoa = 470 calories, 20g fat (only 4g saturated), 27g carbs, 6g fiber, and 48g protein.

Quinoa is one of my favorite grains and I think this was one of my favorite recipes I've made using it. I've included the changes I made in parenthasis, I think they made a [flavorful] difference!

Quinoa Pilaf
(makes ~2 cups after cooked)

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup low sodium chicken broth (I used 1/2 cup chicken broth, 1/2 cup orange juice) *Use vegetable brother for vegetarian
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped (I used shallots)
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted in a dry skillet over medium-heat heat until golden brown, 2 minutes
2 tbsp fresh parsely, chopped

Bring quinoa and broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low, cover, simmer until quinoa absorbs liquid, about 15 minutes. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, cook, stirring occasionaly until onion begins to brown (about 6 minutes). When quinoa is done, fluff with a fork, transfer to a serving bowl, and stir in onion/pine nuts/parsley. Season with salt/pepper.

Salmon Florentine

The following recipe I got from the Self November 2009 issue. I served it with the Quinoa Pilaf from the same issue/recipe. Nutritional facts for one 6oz fillet and 1/2 cup quinoa = 470 calories, 20g fat (only 4g saturated), 27g carbs, 6g fiber, 48g protein

The salmon looked beautiful but I totally forgot to take a picture but you can see what it should look like here. The only thing different I did was use fresh spinach that I cooked rather than using frozen spinach. It turned out pretty, yummy, and healthy.

Salmon Florentine
2 packages (10oz each) frozen spinach, thawed
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
2 tsp minced garlic
5 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
4 skinless salmon fillets (6oz each)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Squeeze spinach of all excess liquid. Set aside. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots, cook, stirring, until soft (about 3 minutes). Add garlic, cook 1 minute more. Add spinach, tomatoes, salt, pepper flakes, and pepper; cook, stirring 2 minutes more. Remove from heat, let cool about 15 minutes. Add ricotta, stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Pack about 1/2 cup spinach mixture on top of each fillet, matching the shape of the fillet. Place fillets on unrimmed baking sheet or glass baking dish, bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

7-Grain Bread - Posted by Sheila Donathan

7-grain bread recipe

1. I have a Whisper Mill which makes grinding my own flours from whole grains very easy
2. I also have a Bosch mixer, which does all the mixing & kneading for me.
3. I have adapted this from the recipe that came with my Bosch mixer.
4. Freshly-ground flours are always desirable, but the recipe will work with store-bought flour as well.
5. I don't use any white flour in this recipe.
6. This recipe makes about 6 normal sized loaves of bread (8x4-1/2 loaf pans).

Start with:
3/4 cup each rye, barley, buckwheat, brown rice, quinoa, oat flours (4 cups total)
About 10 cups of whole-wheat flour

Put 6 cups warm water in the bowl of the Bosch; then add 1/2 cup honey, 3/4 cup oil, 2 Tbsp salt, 1/2 cup gluten, and 8 cups of flour ( the 4 cups of mixed grains and 4 cups of whole-wheat). Mix on Speed 2 of the Bosch for a couple of minutes until flours are all incorporated. Stop and add 4 more cups of the whole-wheat flour, along with 4 Tbsp yeast. Continue mixing/kneading on Speed 2 and gradually sprinkle in more flour until the sides of the bowl come clean. After the sides come clean, continue kneading for about 7 minutes until gluten develops. Gluten development is checked by pulling off a little dough with oiled hands and stretching. Gluten is properly developed when you can stretch the dough almost transparent without tearing. It if tears easily, continue kneading (checking every 3-4 minutes).

When gluten is developed, pour dough onto an oiled surface; shape into a circle and divide into 6 equal pieces. This will make 6 loaves of bread (8x4-1/2); or each piece will make 2 mini loaves or 2 pizza crusts; two pieces will make a 9x13 pan of dinner (or cinnamon) rolls.

Shape dough as desired and place in pans; let rise for about 30 minutes, until volume doubles. Bake 25-30 minutes until tops are nicely browned (dinner/cinnamon rolls take only 15-17 minutes to bake). Cool on racks. Don't store in plastic bags until completely cooled. Wrap tightly to freeze.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cow vs Soy Milk

Question from a friend: "Which is better for you? Soy milk or Cow milk??"

My response: Neither one is necessarily "better" for you. They are both complete sources of protein - one animal based, one plant based. Both have different fat contents depending on the type you buy but soy milk has less saturated fat and is cholesterol free. If you drink skim cow milk you don't have to worry about that though. Soy also has more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids in it. Soy milk doesn't naturally have all the nutrients that cow's milk does so in order for it to be equally healthy in that sense of the word it must be a fortified soy milk. However the calcium in soy milk isn't as easily absorbed as the calcium in cows milk which could be a problem if someone's diet was too low in calcium which is pretty common. Soy can be a controversial thing but is beneficial for people with heart or cholesterol problems and should be avoided by women who have had or are at risk for breast cancer. However cow's milk has who knows what hormones, antibiotics, etc in it so dairy is one of the products that is much safer when bought organic. Bottom line is there isn't one milk that is "better" for you. It kind of depends on your goals and life styles. And some people eat soy and soy protein in so many other things that I wouldn't add soy if you are already doing this. And remember - its always the healthiest to get the lowest fat milk possible...preferably fat free!

Asked my fellow Registered Dietitian friend her thoughts and her response was: I think either are ok in moderation (not 4-5 servings a day). All dairy needs to be organic (due to hormones and antibiotics and fertilizers and pesticides) and soy should be organic (due to the fact that most soy is genetically modified). I don't think soy is appropriate for children and menopausal women (due to the estrogenic effects). So if someone is changing to soy, they should watch how much soy they get because it is in EVERYTHING.

Some favorite dressings

Ken's Lite Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette
This is my #1 dressing of choice for my salads at home, I'm absolutely in love with it! Besides green salads I love it on fruit. For a snack I cut up a pear and a green apple then coat with a little of this dressing. For a dish I've used this as the dressing for a fruit salad.

Newman's Own Light Lime Vinaigrette
I love marinating my chicken in this! I marinate it overnight or even for a few hours and it leaves it super flavorful. I also use it to make limey green beans (instead of the traditional lemony green beans) and they're delicious!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Chicken Spaghetti

One of the meals I crave all the time is the chicken spaghetti from Orlando's. Since moving from Lubbock I had been on a mission to find or make a comparable recipe that could help me with my cravings. I'm surprised I've forgotten to share this recipe before but I made it last night for my sister and nephew so I was reminded to post it. I've played around with this and I'll admit this isn't Orlando's chicken spaghetti but it's the best recipe I've made so far. And I do like the fact that I actually know what goes into it so I'd actually bet that my chicken spaghetti has less calories and fat then the drooled about restaurant meal. Vegetarian feel free to omit the chicken and the recipe will still be just as delicious!

Chicken Spaghetti
2 chicken breasts, cut into bit size pieces
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 medium/large onion, diced
1 can Campbells Healthy Request cream of mushroom soup
1 can Campbells Healthy Request cream of chicken soup
3/4 can Ro-tel (tomatoes and green chilies)
splash of tomato sauce
1/2 package of spaghetti noodles
shredded cheddar cheese

Cook spaghetti until al dente, pasta will continue to cook some in the oven and you don't want it too mushy. Meanwhile saute chicken, peppers, and onion until chicken is cooked throughout and vegetables are softened. Add soups, Ro-tel, and tomato sauce. I typically just adjust the Ro-tel and tomato sauce to preferred taste, and I always make sure to get out all of the green chiles from the Ro-tel. (When using Healthy Request you might need to add a touch of salt to the sauce.) Simmer until sauce is completely mixed and warm throughout. Mix sauce and spaghetti together in casserole dish. Or I find it easiest to mix together in the pot I cooked the noodles then transfer to a casserole dish. Sprinkle top with cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I was looking through my Mom's GoodHousekeeping because I always look through all the recipes when she gets them and I came across an article on things to do with applesauce. I thought this dressing sounded super clever with the applesauce!

Autumn Vinaigrette
1/3 cup applesauce
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp tarragon vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt/pepper as needed

Well I didn't have any tarragon vinegar lying around (does anyone???) so I decided to try it with red wine vinegar. I think I used the wrong kind of vinegar because that's really all it tasted like (and I'm a vinegar lover!) I also don't think it mixed wonderful w/ the more summery salad I was eating but I'm still intrigued by this idea and want to try it on a more appropriate autumn salad and possibly play around with the vinegar a little bit. Okay now the word vinegar looks weird because I've typed it so much...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Olive Garden Stuffed Mushrooms (Copycat)

*comments after recipe

Olive Garden Stuffed Mushrooms
8-12 fresh mushrooms
1 (6 ounce) can clams (drained and finely minced, save 1/4 cup of clam juice for stuffing)
1 green onion, finely minced
1 egg (beaten)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon oregano leaves
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon finely grated Romano cheese
2 tablespoons finely grated mozzarella cheese for stuffing
1/4 cup finely grated mozzarella cheese for garnish
1/4 cup melted butter
fresh parsley for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Gently wipe and stem mushrooms; pat dry
3. Combine clams, onions, garlic salt, minced garlic, butter, and oregano into bowl and mix well
4. Add Italian bread crumbs, egg, and clam juice and mix well
5. Add Parmesan, Romano, and mozzarella cheeses to the stuffing and mix well
6. Place approx. 1 1/2 teaspoons of the stuffing mixture into the mushroom cavity and slightly mound
7. Place the stuffed mushrooms in a lightly oiled baking dish. Pour 1/4 cup melted butter over the top of the mushrooms
8. Cover and place in over for about 35-40 minutes
9. Remove cover; sprinkle the 1/4 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese on top and pop back in oven just so the cheese melts slightly
10. Garnish with freshly diced parsley. Serve hot

Makes 4 servings.
1 serving = 297 calories, 12.2g saturated fat, 391mg sodium, 14.6g protein

I wouldn't consider this a "healthy" dish but its not horrible either so if you're okay with the nutritional values or you're making it for a party go ahead! However this is The Healthy Bite so there are some easy suggestions to make this a bit healthier (along with my "two cents" about the recipe).
-First of all this is a great way to get those mushrooms in! Lots of B vitamins (great for metabolism and energy) and selenium (promotes antioxidant activity). My aunt suggested your basic white mushrooms and that is what we used but I personally love the flavor of brown mushrooms (baby portabella or crimini) so use whatever mushrooms you like!
-Don't be scared of the clams or clam juice!! Really even the people who don't like clams like this recipe. And because you mince them you can't even tell they're there.
-We used a bag of mix cheese instead of buying 3 different cheeses so it saved us some money. You might already have all 3 cheeses, in that case go for it. My suggestion if you want to cut back on the saturated fat and calories is to cut the cheese in half. Or even keep the cheese in the stuffing the same but don't sprinkle the 1/4 cup over the top.
-Also to cut back on the saturated fat and calories: spray w/ Pam instead of oiling your baking dish. And you do NOT need to pour 1/4 cup butter over the top...your mushrooms will bake fine if you don't and you'll let go of some of that unneeded stuff
-For all those fellow mushroom lovers out there, these are a great hors d'oeuvres at a party or side dish for dinner

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Strawberry Banana Muffins (Lightened Up)

Hilary sent me a link to this recipe. Although I'm not much of a baker these muffins sounded yummy and we had the ingredients so I thought I'd try them out. I LOVED that the recipe only made 6 muffins which is perfect for smaller households or single people. Plus it can easily be doubled, etc if you need more muffins. I don't really consider 217 calories low for a small muffin so just keep that in mind when you're eating 2 or 3 :) But the taste was great and I thought it was a good way to use overripe bananas if you're tired of banana bread. The pics above were of the muffins I baked.

Strawberry Banana Muffins (Lightened Up): Recipe here

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mandarin Orange Salad with Orange Vinaigrette Dressing

This salad is very similar to the Berry-Madarin salad I posted last year but a different dressing and the salad is slightly different. I think I like parts of one salad with parts of the other! Both are good I just thought I'd give another option! (Plus this one has one of my favorite ingredients - Jicima!)

Mandarin Orange Salad

Red leaf lettuce
Green leaf lettuce
Purple onion - sliced in rings
Jicima - sliced in sticks
Mandarin oranges
Almond slices

Orange Vinaigrette Dressing:
1 Tbsp dry Italian dressing mix
1 tsp orange zest
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup orange juice (from orange)

Fusilli with Shrimp, Orange, and Arugula

This is a Giada De Laurentiis recipe from the Food Network that my Dad made last night. I LOVED how light the vinaigrette was. It was a perfect summer dish! He made it with white pasta but I'd love to try it with wheat pasta. We ate it as a main dish but it could easily be served as a side pasta salad as well. I didn't think it needed the green olives for flavor but I like green olives so I didn't mind them.

Fusilli with Shrimp, Orange, and Arugula

Serves 4-6

1 pound fusili pasta
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
Freshly ground salt & pepper
2 Tbsp white wine (or pasta water)

1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice from lemon (~1 lemon)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground salt & pepper
2 large oranges
5 ounces arugula (or spinich)
15 (5 ounces) large pitted green olives, halved

For the pasta:
Cook pasta as directed until desired tenderness, drain pasta.
In a large saute pan, heat 2 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic. Cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and white wine (or pasta water) to the pan. Saute for 2-3 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.

In a seperate large bowl combine the lemon zest and lemon juice. Slowly add the oil, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth. Use paring knife, remove the peel and white pith from oranges. Over the bowl, cut between the membranes of the oranges to form segments. Allow the juice to drip into serving bowl and squeeze out excess juice from membrane portion of orange into the bowl before discarding. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the arugula and olive to the serving bowl. Toss lightly to combine.

Add the hot pasta and shrimp to the vinaigrette and toss until the arugula is wilted and all the ingredients are combined and lightly coated with vinaigrette.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas - By Cheryl Parham

Last night, I put together green chili chicken enchiladas that came out really good and were so easy. Then, today I had leftover chicken so I made red chili chicken enchiladas and they were also so yummy!!! Enchiladas are really easy, but if you are like me I never really make them even though I love them. Anyway give these a try sometime!!!

First, best trick ever for super easy great recipes is buying a rotisserie chicken. It is cooked and has that great rotisserie taste and you woud be amazed at all the recipes you can do with that chicken!!

What you need:
1 rotisserie chicken- shredded
chopped onion (fresh or frozen)
2-3 cups Pepper jack cheese or another mexican cheese I am sure would be good too!
1/2 - 1 cup sour cream
corn tortillas
1 can or more of green enchilada sauce- Your preference. I used the Albertson's brand, but I have used Old El Paso too.
1 can diced green chile

**I eyed the measurements to fit my taste and only made six so do what works for you!!

Preheat oven to 350F
Spray a casserole pan w/ non-stick spray- mine is fairly small since I only made 6
Set casserole pan aside
Shred/cut up rotisserie chicken- need about 1 1/2 cups to 2 cups in a medium bowl
Add to the bowl of chicken- diced onions about 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup sour cream, diced green chiles(I used canned) and 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese.
Mix together and set aside.
In your sprayed casserole pan pour 1/2 of the green chili enchilada sauce to the bottom of the pan.
Take all the torillas you are going to use. Put on a plate then cover with another plate turned upside down. Microwave for about 30-40 seconds depending on how many.
Now take each tortilla dip into casserole pan, put the filling in it, roll it and repeat with all the tortillas and filling til finished.
Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce on top of the enchiladas.
Spread shredded pepper jack cheese on top and bake in oven for 15 min. longer if more than 6.

* I like red sauce with ground beef, but the chicken was really good with the red sauce. The only thing I didn't use with the red was the diced green chilis.
Also, I am sure you can use ground beef, crab meat, shrimp, pork, ground turkey. Whatever

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Strawberry Salsa - By Hilary Barnett

Strawberry-Avocado Salsa

1 cup finely chopped strawberries
1/4 cup finely chopped avocado
2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp grated lime zest
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp finely chopped, seeded jalapeno
1/4 tsp sugar
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, toss gently. Serve immediately. Yum!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Risotto With Spring Vegetables

I know what you're thinking - Risotto is not healthy. My sister Michelle started watching a show called Cook Yourself Thin. I watched a few episodes with her and as a Dietitian I have to say I appreciate a lot of the things they do and I absolutely hate some of the things they say. But they do have quite a few tasty looking recipes and "healthier" versions of some not so healthy favorites. I loved this recipe because it was a super easy & healthy way to make risotto. I'll critique the turnout afterwards.
Risotto with Spring Vegetables
Serves 4
Calories per serving: 489
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 medium zucchini, trimmed, halved lengthwise, sliced 1/4-1/3 inch thick
4 1/2-5 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 pound medium asparagus, ends trimmed
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons thinly sliced basil
3/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups short grain rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (we didn't use)
1/4 tsp pepper
1. Combine the oil and onion in large saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the zucchini; turn the heat to medium-low, and cook until softened and lightly browned, 18-20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, bring the 5 cups broth to a simmer in a saucepan wide enough to hold asparagus. Add the asparagus and simmer until barely tender, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon or tongs. Cut into bite sized pieces and set aside. Add the peas, parmesean cheese, and 1 Tbsp of the basil; set aside. Put a lid over the broth and reduce the heat to very low so that the stock barely simmers.
3. When the zucchini is cooked, stir in 1/2 tsp salt and the remaining 1 Tbsp of the basil. Add the butter and the rice, increase the heat to medium high and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the rice is translucent. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup simmering broth and cook, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue adding the broth, about 1/2 cup - 1 cup at a time, and cooking, stirring frequently, until the rice is just tender and the mixure is creamy, 17-20 minutes. (You may not use all of the broth). Stir in the reserved contents of the bowl and season with the remaining 1/4 tsp of salt and the pepper.
  • This recipe should be called Basil Risotto. If you're a basil lover make the risotto as is. If you like the basil as more of a background flavor I would decrease the basil in the recipe. The risotto was very good but very basil-y.
  • The zucchini pretty much disintegrated in the risotto so we were left with the end/skin pieces of the zucchini so I'd recommend undercooking your zucchini before you add rice.
  • We followed the amounts of the recipe and I can honestly say I have no idea where they got that it serves 4. Five of us ate this meal and we ate about 1/2 of the amount that was made. And we ate it as a main course not a side dish. Hopefully that means the calories were even less too. :)
  • I didn't like the peas in mine but Michelle did. I think this was a great "basic healthy risotto" recipe that you can really use whatever vegetables/herbs are your favorite in. I'd definitely make it again.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Pineapple Salsa

Pineapple Salsa
(picture shown is not of my actual salsa since it got eaten up before I decided to post this)

As you may remember I typically make up a recipe from my own head based on what I think will taste good. Therefore this recipe is for you to put ratios that will work best for you and your family, I'll try to approximate the amounts I used but do what tastes best to you! I served this on top of teriyaki glazed salmon.

  • Fresh pineapple cut into small chunks (1/4 of a whole pineapple)
  • Tomato cut into small chunks (1 - 1 1/2 tomatoes, I used garden fresh - yum!)
  • Red onion diced small (1/4 med onion)
  • Tomatillo diced small (2 small tomatillos)
  • Jicama shredded (~1/4 cup)
  • Cilantro chopped (handful?)
  • Juice squeezed from a lime (I had a super juicy & large lime so I only used 1/2 lime)
  • Sprinkle of salt (I prefer kosher salt or salt grinder)

Mix together & refrigerate for flavors to mix.

I didn't put jalapeno in my salsa because my mom hates anything spicy but I would definitely add it for those of you who are okay with jalapeno. I thought it was good without but think it would be great with it also! I also wanted to try avocado chunks in it but they did not have one single ripe avocado at the grocery store so maybe next round.

Re-birth of the blog??

So about a week ago I was going to blog that this blog is now dead. I still love to cook and try new recipes and I still like to try to incorporate healthy and flavorful foods into my daily diet so I guess I never wrote the obituary. Unfortunately its been hard the past couple months to try the type of recipes that I usually cook for myself or friends. I haven't had any luck finding a job since moving to Salt Lake City so I am still staying at my parents house. I don't want to sign a lease without having an income first. So in the meantime the blog has died. This and NO ONE sends me recipes anymore (yes this is supposed to make you feel guilty!) :) But my little sister Michelle does love cooking just as much as I do and we have actually been doing lots of cooking together so that should help my little blog. Since I put a status on facebook about the pineapple salsa I made and some blog followers left comments I started to feel guilty...then re-inspired! So here it is (hopefully!) the re-birth of The Healthy Bite! And for those of you who have made some recipes/meals/etc in the past few months while I have been devotedly reading your blogs but not contribute to my own and you would like to share PLEASE DO!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Homemade Bread - Posted by Valerie Barber

Potato Bread


10 cups flour

2 tablespoons dry yeast

¼ cup oil

1 tablespoon salt

½ cup Potato Pearls or flakes

4 cups warm water

¼ cup honey


Mix 6 cups flour with potatoes and dry yeast.  Add water and mix for 1 minutes.  Turn off mixer and let sponge (rest) for 5 minutes.  Add oil, honey and salt and mix well.  Add remaining flour 1 cup at a time until dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides.  Knead 5-7 minutes.


Form into laves and place in tins.  Let rise until doubled in size.  Bake at 350º for 30-35 minutes. Makes 4 loaves.


Quick rise method:  After loaves are formed and placed in tins, place in pre-heated oven set at 150º until doubled in size.  Then turn up to 350º and bake for 30-35 minutes.

This is delicious and REALLY easy! Homemade bread is sooo much better than store bought bread, and now, I can have it more often!
Pictures: AWESOME kitchenaid (I actually used it!!), Place where I shaped the bread into loaves (floured surface), dirty bowl..., the BEST yeast to get, loaves in the oven per the quick rise method, done, and done!  Took me under 2 hours to make. I cut the recipe in half because I didn't need 4 loaves for my family. I then froze the second loaf to use next week when the first one is gone.


Wheat Bread    (Haven't made, but heard it's good)

6 cups fresh ground wheat (3 cups each of white and red wheat) - My aunt puts all white wheat because she doesn't like red wheat, so whatever you like

1/2 cup wheat gluten

1 1/2  Tablespoons yeast

6 cups hot tap water

1/2 cup oil

1/2 cup honey

2 1/2 Tablespoons salt

4-5 cups flour


Mix and blend whole wheat, gluten, yeast, and hot water.  Let sit for 15 minutes.  Then add oil, honey and salt.  Blend together and add flour to pull away from the sides. Divide into 4 large loaves.  Cover and let rise to double.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  (It will continue to rise as it bakes in the oven.)

Sunday, March 1, 2009


I just wanted to give a heads up...

For the months of March & April I will be training for the Team Challenge 1/2 marathon (, 

studying for my CNSC exam, and moving from Texas to Salt Lake City, Utah.   Because of these things I am going to be extremely busy for the next couple months.   In addition to that I have stopped receiving posts from others to put on my website.  If I try a recipe I will be sure to post it but don't expect much activity from me in the next couple months!  And feel free to continue sending in any recipes you try!! :) 

Monday, February 16, 2009

Whole Grains and Beans 101

So a reader pointed out that she wasn't familiar with some of the whole grains I was using and had no idea where to buy whole grains or some beans.  Hopefully this will help some!  Some of the common whole grains and beans, such as pearled barley or kidney beans, can be bought in your average grocery store.  But other varieties can be find in any store that has bulk bins or more specialized foods such as Whole Foods or other "farmers markets" or "health food" stores.  Look in the beans or grains section or look for the bulk bins.  Whole grains and beans are some of the cheapest and healthiest things to cook with!





Cooking Details

Nutritional Facts


Tiny kernels, usually pale yellow. Porridge-like when simmered, making it useful as a food thickener. Can bake or steam, as well. Available as cereal and flour. 

Earthy and sweet. Compared to beets. 

Many people add a strongly flavored liquid to this grain when cooking it—broth and tomato juice are good choices. Good when mixed with other grains and mixed with vegetables as a stir-fry. Can toast similar to popcorn and use as a breading. 

½ cup (C) amaranth flakes:
67 calories
3 grams (g) protein
1 g fat
14 g carbohydrate
2 g fiber
3 milligrams (mg) calcium
0 mg iron


Most of the barley in the US is used in beer production. Barley is chewier than rice. Barley flakes are served as a hot cereal. Grits are toasted and broken into small pieces. 

Earthy flavor. 

Generally simmered or used as an ingredient in casseroles or soups. Cooking time varies from a negligible amount of time for the preparation of grits to about 1¾ hours for hulled barley. Barley and fruit make a pleasing breakfast dish. Substitute barley for rice or pasta in almost any dish.  

½ C cooked barley:
99 calories
2 g protein
0 g fat
23 g carbohydrate
3 g fiber
9 mg calcium
1 mg iron


Kasha consists of buckwheat kernels that are roasted and hulled, and then cracked into granules. Buckwheat grits are finely ground groats.  Buckwheat flour is available in most markets. 

Strong, nutty flavor. 

Pairs well with beef, root vegetables, cabbage, winter squash, and eggplant. Buckwheat flour is commonly used in pancake preparation. Buckwheat is used as an alternative to rice as a side dish or ingredient. Buckwheat grits are served as a hot cereal. Kasha is good as a filling for meat, poultry, or vegetables.  Kasha is also excellent for cold salads. Simmer or bake kasha, whole buckwheat, and buckwheat grits. Cooking buckwheat kernels with a beaten egg prevents the kernels from sticking together. 

½ C cooked buckwheat groats:
77 calories
3 g protein
1 g fat
17 g carbohydrate
2 g fiber
6 mg calcium
1 mg iron


Steamed, dried, and cracked-wheat berries.

Earthy, nutty, and tender.

Cooks like brown rice. Substitute for rice in all dishes. Use the finely ground variety to prepare a hot breakfast cereal. 

½ C cooked bulgur:
56 calories
2 g protein
0 g fat
12 g carbohydrate
3 g fiber
7 mg calcium
1 mg iron


Extremely small, pale yellow or reddish-orange grain. Usually purchased in pearl form. 

Bland.  Absorbs the flavor of any food that it is cooked with it.  Some people say that millet tastes like corn. 

Simmer like rice. To achieve a creamy consistency, stir frequently, adding extra liquid during cooking. Steam cracked millet to make couscous. Cook as a hot cereal and add fruit, yogurt, and spices. Use in a casserole with strong-flavored vegetables. Add millet to stew, chili, and bean dishes. Add to any ground-beef mixtures without adding much flavor. Use millet in baked goods that would benefit from added texture. A good choice for grain when making flatbread. 

½ C cooked millet:
101 calories
3 g protein
1 g fat
21 g carbohydrate
1 g fiber
3 mg calcium
1 mg iron


Oat bran is created from the outer layer of oat groats and is usually sold as a hot cereal. Oat groats are whole-oat kernels, which are cooked like rice. Rolled oats are heated and pressed flat. Steel-cut oats are groats that are vertically sliced and have a chewy texture when cooked. Oats are the main ingredient of granola and muesli.    

Mild flavored.

Oat groats and steel-cut oats take a longer time than most grains to prepare. Old-fashioned oats take about 5 minutes to cook, while quick-cooking oats take only about 1 minute. All forms of oats are good eaten as breakfast cereal. Prepare groats into a pilaf and serve as a side dish. Add steel-cut oats to soups and stews. Use rolled oats as a filling for poultry and vegetables. Add toasted oats to salads, use as a breading for poultry, or add to baked goods. Use rolled oats in place of 20% of the wheat flour in yeast breads, and one part to every two parts of wheat flour in most other baked goods. 

½ C cooked quick oats:
71 calories
2 g protein
1 g fat
13 g carbohydrate
2 g fiber
13 mg calcium
1 mg iron


Quinoa grains are flat, pointed ovals. Quinoa comes in a variety of colors (pale yellow, red, and black). When cooked, the external germ spirals out, creating a “tail.” 

Delicate and light flavor. 

Rinse prior to cooking. Brown in a skillet for 5 minutes prior to simmering or baking. Good when served as a pilaf, in a baked casserole, in vegetable soup, or as a cold salad. Especially good when combined with buckwheat. Add quinoa to puddings. 

½ C cooked quinoa:
111 calories
4 g protein
2 g fat
20 g carbohydrate
5 g fiber
16 mg calcium
1 mg iron


A bluish-gray grain, similar in appearance to wheat, excerpt for the color. Rye flakes are similar to rolled oats. Whole rye berries, groats, and kernels resemble wheat berries. Cracked rye is the quickest-cooking variety. 

Robust flavor. 

Simmer rye berries with milder-tasting grains, such as brown rice or wheat berries. Combine cracked rye with cracked wheat. Combine rye flakes with oatmeal. Rye berries are good when cooked in broth with chopped nuts and raisins. Use cooked rye berries as an ingredient in poultry stuffing. Cracked rye is good when cooked in fruit juice with dried fruit. Add rye flakes to ground-beef mixtures.  

½ C cooked cream of rye cereal:
54 calories
1 g protein
0 g fat
12 g carbohydrate
2 g fiber
6 mg calcium
0 mg iron


A type of wheat.

Mild flavored.

Excellent for making risottos and pilafs. Easily added to hearty soups, stews, and chili. Best with tomato-based dishes. 

½ C cooked spelt:
123 calories
6 g protein
2 g fat
25 g carbohydrate
4 g fiber
9 mg calcium
1 mg iron


Crossbred from wheat and rye. Cracked triticale, triticale berries, and triticale flakes are comparable to their wheat or rye counterparts. Most often used as flour in breads. 

Rich, nutty, flavor. 

Brown with a little oil and then simmer. Substitute for either wheat berries or bulgur in any recipe. Use in cold salads, pilafs, stuffing, soups, or as a ground-beef stretcher. 

1 ounce triticale:
94 calories
4 g protein
1 g fat
20 g carbohydrate
0 g fiber
5 mg calcium
0 mg iron

This pre-cooked whole-grain or milled wheat is light, flavorful and a cinch to prepare. Serve it with spicy vegetables or stews.
Cracked wheat
This one is just as it sounds; it refers to wheat berries that have been cracked into small pieces.
Farro belongs to the wheat family and for good reason. It’s rich in fiber, magnesium, and vitamins A, B, C and E
This ancient Egyptian wheat was recently rediscovered. It’s rich and buttery with a great, chewy texture. Look for Kamut® flakes, too, which you can use like oatmeal.
This is basically corn that has a hard protein outer layer covering its inner starch layers, and we’re betting you probably already know how to eat this one.
Steel cut oats
These are steamed and cut whole oat groats (a.k.a. hulled grains). They’re chewy and make for a particularly rustic and delicious hot cereal.
This ancient grain has a sweet and malty flavor; it’s a rich source of calcium, magnesium, boron, copper, phosphorus and zinc, too. Contains twice as much iron as wheat and barley!

Whole Grains: Cooking Tips
  1. Rinse: Just prior to cooking, rinse whole grains thoroughly in cold water until the water runs clear then strain them to remove any dirt or debris.
  2. Cook: As a general rule, you can cook whole grains by simply boiling the water, then adding the grain, return water to a boil, then simmer, covered, until tender. Cooking hint: Use broth instead of water for even more flavor.
  3. Test: Just like pasta, always test whole grains for doneness before taking them off of the heat; most whole grains should be slightly chewy when cooked.
  4. Fluff: When grains are done cooking, remove them from the heat and gently fluff them with a fork. Then cover them and set aside to let sit for 5 to 10 minutes and serve.


So there you are. You've brought home those lovely dried legumes and pulses and they're staring you down on the kitchen counter. Where do you go from here? Here's a dictionary of our favorite varieties and how to make them do all the work:

Adzuki Beans
These little dark red beans are sweet and easy to digest. Splash them with tamari and barley malt or mix them with brown rice, scallions, mushrooms and celery for dynamite, protein-rich rice patties. 
Anasazi Beans
This burgundy and white heirloom variety is popular in Southwestern recipes — especially soups. It's no surprise since they make an excellent substitute for pinto beans. Make refried beans with these little treasures and you'll never look back.
Black Turtle Beans
Combine these little lovelies with cumin, garlic and orange juice or toss them with olive oil, cilantro and chopped veggies for two incomparable salads.
Black-Eyed Peas
On the search for soft, quick-cooking beans? Look no further. These creamy white, oval-shaped beans are ubiquitous in southeastern US states where they're a traditional New Year's dish. Toss them with yogurt vinaigrette, tomatoes and fresh parsley. 
Cannellini Beans
These smooth-textured beans are packed with nutty flavor. Add them to tomato-based soups like minestrone or toss with olive oil and black pepper for a satisfying side dish.
Garbanzo Beans (a.k.a. Chickpeas)
This prominent ingredient in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and East Indian dishes — think hummus and falafel — has a mild but hearty flavor. Garbanzos are a good foil for strong spices like curry powder, cumin and cayenne pepper, so add them to salads, soups and pasta dishes.
Flageolet Beans
First things first; pronounce these beans "flah-JOH-lay." This creamy heirloom bean is used in French country cuisine as a side dish for lamb and poultry. Their delicate flavor is enhanced by aromatic onions, celery, carrots, garlic, bay leaves and thyme. They're delicious in tomato sauces, too.
Great Northern Beans
Think of these guys as big teddy bears; they're the largest commonly available white bean, but they're all soft and mild on the inside. Great Northerns make for delicious baked beans or add them to soups and stews with longer cooking times.
Green Lentils (a.k.a. French Lentils)
Ooh la la! These lentils hold their shape well and have deep, rich flavor. They're an excellent addition to salads, spicy Indian dal or simple lentils and rice.
Green Split Peas
Give peas a chance! Split peas shine in soups where they're cooked until creamy to bring out their full, sweet flavor. Serve them with a dollop of minted yogurt for an Indian touch.
Kidney Beans
These large, red beans are popular in chili, salads, soups and baked beans. Make sure to cook them until completely tender and cooked through to eliminate the gastric distress-causing toxin Phytohaemagglutinin (Kidney Bean Lectin) that's present in raw and undercooked kidney beans.
Lima Beans
Thankfully, succulent lima beans are shedding their bad rap as the food to force-feed kids. Add them to minestrone and other soups or combine them with corn and green beans for succotash. Who knows? You might even forgive your parents.
Lupini Beans
At Italian fairs and Spanish beer halls these beans are a popular snack. Technically a member of the pea family, these flat, coin-shaped, dull yellow seeds are second only to soybeans in plant protein content. Allow for a long soaking period and extended cooking time to reduce their potential for bitterness.
Mung Beans
You probably know mung beans for their sprouts, but the beans themselves are revered as a healing food. Mung beans range in color from greenish-brown to yellow to black and have delicate, sweet flavor. They need no pre-soaking, cook quickly and are easy to digest; you can't go wrong.
Pinto Beans
A favorite in Southwest and Mexican dishes — "pinto" means "painted" in Spanish — these earthy beans have a delicious, creamy texture ideal for refrying. Combine with onions, chili powder, garlic and tomatoes as a filling for enchiladas or sauté cooked beans with olive oil, garlic and tamari.
Red Beans
These small, dark red beans are subtly sweet and hold their shape when cooked. They make a great choice for soups and chili and as a companion to rice.
Red Lentils
Don't be fooled by the name; this variety of lentil isn't really red. In fact, their soft pink color turns golden when cooked. Note that red lentils cook quickly and don't hold their shape so they're best in soups or purées or cooked until creamy with Italian seasonings.
Split Peas
While green peas are picked while immature and eaten fresh, dried peas are harvested when mature, stripped of their husks, split and dried. Split peas don't require presoaking and their mild flavor and creamy texture make good companions to garlic, onions, dill, curry and ginger.


We know, we know. Cooking dried beans takes more time than opening a can, but you'll be richly rewarded with superior flavor and texture. They're a superb value too! Here's how:
  1. Sort: Arrange dried beans on a sheet pan or clean kitchen towel and sort through them to pick out any shriveled or broken beans, stones or debris. (Take our word for it; running your fingers through the beans in the bag doesn't work the same.)
  2. Rinse: Rinse the sorted beans well in cold, running water.
  3. Soak: Soaking beans before cooking helps to remove some of those indigestible sugars that cause flatulence. There are two simple ways to get the job done:
    • Regular soak: Put beans into a large bowl and cover with 2 to 3 inches of cool, clean water. Set aside at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight; drain well. (If it's really warm in your kitchen, soak the beans in the refrigerator instead to avoid fermentation.)
    • Quick soak: Put beans into a large pot and cover with 2 to 3 inches of cool, clean water. Bring to a boil then boil briskly for 2 to 3 minutes. Cover and set aside off of the heat for 1 hour; drain well.
  4. Cook: Put beans into a large pot and cover with 2 inches of water or stock. (Don't add salt at this point since that slows the beans' softening.) Slowly bring to a boil, skimming off any foam on the surface. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally and adding more liquid if necessary, until beans are tender when mashed or pierced with a fork. Cooking times vary with the variety, age and size of beans; generally you're looking at about 1 to 2 hours.


Sort and rinse dried peas and lentils as you would dried beans (see above). Then simply bring 1½ cups water or stock to a boil for each cup of dried lentils or peas. Once the liquid is boiling add the lentils or peas, return to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until tender, 30 to 45 minutes.

Cooking Tip: Uncooked dried peas and lentils can be added directly to soups and stews, too. Just be sure there's enough liquid in the pot (about 1½ cups of liquid for every 1 cup of lentils or peas).

Info from: and