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A classic summertime drink: iced tea brewed by the sun and flavored with fresh mint and orange slices.

It’s Healthy Kitchen Hacks Wednesday – the day we share our favorite time-saving kitchen tricks and cooking shortcuts to help you make healthy and delicious meals.

You can see all our Healthy Kitchen Hacks here. To get exclusive healthy kitchen hacks – only available to our email subscribers – sign up HERE.

——

How To Make Sun Tea

Sticking with the beverage healthy hacks theme (last week it was Easy Summertime Sangria – 3 Ways), I thought I’d reposted one of my favorite drinks to make in the summer.

Growing up, my mom often made sun tea but I was ho-hum about iced tea in general back then. But around my senior year in high school, I clearly remember having the most amazing iced tea at my best friend’s house.

Her mom would make basic Lipton iced tea and would add a few splashes of orange juice, orange slices and fresh mint from her garden. It was divine.

How To Make Sun Tea via @tspbasil #healthykitchenhacks
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Fast forward to about five years ago: I gave up diet soda for good and started drinking unsweetened iced tea instead when eating out. But for some reason, I didn’t make it at home.

That is until a few years ago when the first hint of warmer weather hit and on a whim, I decided to make some sun tea. With fresh mint and orange slices naturally.

It’s now one of my go-to summer drinks. I even make it when I’m down the shore on vacation (aka East coast talk for going to the beach.)

The hardest part about this recipe? Remembering to bring the tea inside. (Seriously, I set a timer on my phone otherwise that pitcher would be out there all night.)

Print
How To Make Sun Tea

A classic summertime drink: iced tea brewed by the sun and flavored with fresh mint and orange slices.

  • Yield: 16 cups
Ingredients
  • 10 – 12 tea bags (depending on how strong you like your iced tea)
  • 3 medium oranges, sliced
  • Bunch of fresh mint leaves
  • 1 gallon water
Instructions
  1. Place the tea bags, orange slices and mint in bottom of a large pitcher. Slowly fill with water.
  2. Cover pitcher with plastic wrap or lid and place outside for at least 4 hours on a sunny or warm day.
  3. Bring inside and strain tea. Serve with ice.

Here are the next iced tea/tea cooler recipes I want to try to out:

Mango Pineapple Sun Tea – Jen @Nourished Simply

Chocolate Earl Grey Tea Freeze – Nancy @Kindred Kitchen

Citrus Spiked Chai Sun Tea – Anne @Craving Something Healthy

And if you need any more excuses to drink more iced tea, here are 5 healthy reasons (plus more tea recipes like this Lavender Mint Iced Tea) – EA @The Spicy RD

Do you like iced tea? What are your favorite flavors?

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Discover the cooking versatility of California prunes with this tomato cilantro prune salsa from Chef’d.

[Disclosure: I was compensated by California prunes for this post through Kitchen PLAY]

In Part 2 of my cooking adventures with California prunes (here’s Part 1 featuring my 4-ingredient versatile sauce in this Prune Chicken Coconut Rice Bowls post), I got to try out the popular meal kit delivery service Chef’d, which delivers pre-portioned, ready-to-cook meals so we can all cook like the pros at home.

As a registered dietitian, I was thrilled to learn Chef’d has partnered with California prunes on three new recipes created by nationally recognized registered dietitians nutritionists (that I’m honored to know – love these ladies!) Tammy Lakatos Shames and Lyssie Lakatos, The Nutrition Twins®. California prunes is the first Chef’d partner to enlist dietitians to create these type of unique meal kits – to which I say, YAAASSSSS!

But seriously, what I love about having dietitians promote nutrition through food, cooking tips and recipes in collaborations like this is that when you share facts like this…..

California prunes are a good source of polyphenols (antioxidants) which can help protect your body from heart, eye, memory and gut issues (read about more nutrition facts/benefits here.)

…is that those facts aren’t really much help unless you share the HOW TO on preparing and enjoying those foods. And that’s exactly what Chef’d and California prunes are doing with these meal kit recipes.

So, onto those meal kits! I got to select one of these three options (I honestly randomly picked because they all sounded delish):

Moroccan Spiced Shrimp Skewers with Toasted Chickpeas and California Prunes & Quinoa Salad
Asian Chicken and California Prune Lettuce Wraps with Sesame Green Beans
Chicken Tacos with California Prune Salsa and Refried Black Beans

Honestly, I never had thought about using prunes in a salsa but I found myself eating it even before I put it on the tacos which had a TON of different flavors from the sweet, citrus salsa to the spicy chicken all wrapped in warm soft tortillas.

I’m glad I didn’t have to share them with my “I don’t want anything spicy or with speck of green” daughter. (I might have convinced her to try the prune salsa if I had left out the cilantro.)

Next time.

For more information on these meal kits, visit Chef’d California Prune Kits.

Which of the three recipes would have you selected? What’s your favorite recipe/meal/snack featuring prunes?

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Use your microwave and some Mediterranean style pantry staples to make these olive and salmon mini sandwiches in minutes.

Confession: Being on the tail end of getting a cookbook manuscript together, I completely forgot I had this post on the calendar.

I realized yesterday that I needed a sandwich recipe for this month’s Recipe ReDux theme (which I sheepishly knew months in advance being that I am one of the TRR moderators):

“It’s the ReDux birthday month! Birthdays are a time to take stock and upgrade. Show us your healthy upgrades to the simple sandwich.”

Salmon Sliders with Kalamata Olive Yogurt Spread - make in minutes! @tspbasil #thereciperedux #mediterraneandiet
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Here was my thought process as my calendar alert popped up yesterday morning:

Thought #1: Oh drat – I forgot about this! (G-rated version of thought.)

Thought #2: Maybe I can upgrade an old sandwich post – after all, we have over 700 recipes on Teaspoon of Spice. (Turns out we have only THREE sandwich recipes and all of them are sponsored so they can’t really be recycled.)

Thought #3: Oooh, I can showcase that Kalamata yogurt sauce I just created for our Easy Mediterranean Diet Cookbook  (coming out mid-October – #shameless plug.)

Thought #4: It will be a yummy sandwich upgrade to cook up some fresh salmon and use that sauce as a sammie spread. (I run to the store to get some ingredients.)

Thought #5: (After returning home) Oh drat – I forgot that a guy from the township knocked on our door this morning and said they were going to turn off the gas for the day to install the new lines on our street. (We have a gas stove. Again G-rated version of this thought.)

Thought #6: Our new (coming out in October) cookbook to the rescue! Serena has a recipe in there on how to cook fish in the microwave in 3 minutes!

Ok, so seriously, having the gas turned off for the day ended up being the biggest blessing in disguise as I’ve never attempted to cook fish in the microwave before (and I was seriously thinking that I still was going to put in the recipe instructions the basic way how I grill or saute salmon on the stove.)

But after the SUPER success of the microwave salmon – which was perfectly cooked, super moist and not dry at all – I knew I had to share how to do it.

Print
Salmon Sliders with Kalamata Olive Yogurt Spread

Use your microwave and some Mediterranean style pantry staples to make these olive and salmon mini sandwiches in minutes.

  • Author: Deanna Segrave-Daly, RDN
  • Yield: 4 servings (2 sliders each)
Ingredients
  • 1 pound skinless salmon, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup reduced-fat (2%) plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup chopped Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped (saving 2 tablespoons of olive juice)
  • 8 mini hamburger buns, split
  • 1/2 of a (12 ounce) jar roasted red peppers
  • 2 Romaine leaves, ripped into 8 pieces total
Instructions
  1. In a glass pie plate, place the salmon fillets. Sprinkle with black pepper. Cover the dish with plastic wrap leaving a small part open at the edge to vent the steam. Microwave on high power for about 3 minutes. The fish is done when it just begins to separate into flakes (chunks) after being pressed gently with a fork. Cut each fillet in half.
  2. While the fish is cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, olives and olive juice.
  3. To assemble sliders, place a piece of salmon on the half of each bun. Top with a roasted pepper and then a piece of lettuce leaf. Spread the olive yogurt sauce over each top bun and place on the lettuce. Serve immediately.

So, this is truly a sandwich upgrade as far as cutting down on kitchen time while relying on some delish (and Meditteranean) pantry staples  – like jarred roasted red peppers and Kalamata olives – to have a restaurant style sammie on your plate in minutes.

*****HAPPY 7TH BIRTHDAY RECIPE REDUX!******

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Whip up a pitcher of summer sangria in minutes using these three healthy kitchen hacks!


It’s Healthy Kitchen Hacks Wednesday – the day we share our favorite time-saving kitchen tricks and cooking shortcuts to help you make healthy and delicious meals.

You can see all our Healthy Kitchen Hacks here. To get exclusive healthy kitchen hacks – only available to our email subscribers – sign up HERE.

——

Easy Summertime Sangria – 3 Ways

Raise your hand if you love a pitcher of sangria.

If you’ve never made it before, it’s really easy to whip up a pitcher and summertime is prime time to do it with all the fresh fruit on hand. And while I’d never claim sangria or any alcoholic drink is a health drink, I have three tips to make them a little bit better for you AND up the flavor and crowd appeal, too.

Sound good?

Sangria Hack #1 – Add Some Sparkle

Pour a few ounces of sparkling water or club soda in your glass before pouring in your sangria. You’ll add bubbles without adding calories and make each serving a little less sugary and alcoholic.

Sangria Hack #2 – Freeze the Fruit 

Skip the ice cubes and freeze fruit like sliced strawberries, peaches and nectarines; whole blueberries, raspberries or grapes and/or bite-sized chunks of melon. It’s a great way to chill the drink, cut back on the added sugar and get some fruit into your day.

Sangria Hack #3 – Make It Slushie

Last year, all the rage was frosé. This year, let’s make it sangria slushies!

Simply take the sangria to which you added frozen fruit, add about 6 ice cubes and give it a whirl your blender. If it’s not slushy enough to your liking, add in some more frozen fruit or ice cubes.

It can’t get much easier than that for a summer cocktail cooler.

Here’s a basic summer sangria recipes to give you a starting point:

Print
Easy Summertime Sangria

Whip up a pitcher of summer sangria in minutes using these three healthy kitchen hacks!

  • Author: Deanna Segrave-Daly
Ingredients

1 (750-milliliter) bottle white wine
1/2 cup of triple sec, ginger liqueur, brandy or other fruit-flavored liqueur
1/2 cup orange juice or white grape juice
3 1/2-4 cups frozen (not thawed) chopped fruit like strawberries, peaches, nectarines, melon, blueberries, cherries or raspberries
Fresh basil or mint leaves for garnish in each glass
Optional: Sparkling water

Instructions
  1. In a large pitcher, pour in wine, liqueur and fruit juice.
  2. Add 3 cups of frozen fruit to the pitcher. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours.
  3. When ready to serve, mix in the remaining frozen fruit.
  4. If desired, pour 2 ounces of sparkling water into each glass. Pour in 4 ounces of sangria and add a basil or mint leaf. If you’d like to make a sangria slushie, add 6 ice cubes along with frozen fruit and whirl in the blender.

And for all you autumn/winter lovers, pin this Apple Gingersnap Sangria for when cooler weather hits.

Do you ever make sangria? What are your favorite additions/flavors?

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Filled with fresh strawberries, blueberries, nuts, and chocolate – not only are these sweet treats healthier, but they’re also super easy – thanks to these Healthy Kitchen Hacks to Make Better Rice Crispy Treats.

It’s Healthy Kitchen Hacks Wednesday – the day we share our favorite time-saving kitchen tricks and cooking shortcuts to help you make healthy and delicious meals.

You can see all our Healthy Kitchen Hacks here. To get exclusive healthy kitchen hacks – only available to our email subscribers – sign up HERE.

#####

Between Drama Camp and swim lessons and road trips. I’ve been packing a lot of these sweet treats. But these are not the ordinary bar with just marshmallows, cereal, and butter.

This version just more fun to eat. And from kids or adult – these treats are greeted with surprise – and then smiles.

These fruit and nut and chocolate filled rice crispy treats were even a hit on Facebook LIVE. (Thank you for your kind comments!)

So check out this Facebook LIVE for the video version of this week’s Healthy Kitchen Hack:

5 Ways to Make Better Rice Crispy Treats

Spray the pan, the pot and the bowl. Don’t just spray non-stick cooking spray on the 9×13-inch baking dish before pouring in the gooey marshmallows and cereal. Also, spray the bowl in which you mix the treats for easier release, and spray the pot before melting the butter and marshmallows on the stove. Clean up will be much easier.

Make half your cereal whole grains. Use 3 cups rice crispies and 3 cups of a whole grain cereal. Mixing in toasted oat cereal (Cheerios®) with your rice crispies isn’t just delicious, it’s way more interesting. And of course, it’s healthier. Other whole grain favorites here are: Whole Wheat Chex®, Brown Rice Krispies®, even crumbled Frosted Mini Wheats®, or any of the new whole grain Nourish cereals like Nourish Berries and Peaches®.

Heat on the stove for more time to mix everything together. Yes, Americans are cooking less on their stoves and more in their microwaves. Fine! But when making Rice Crispy Treats, just turn on the stove. Melting the butter and marshmallows on the stove will give you a good 3-5 minutes more to stir in mix-ins or just get your Crispy Treats in the pan before it all turns to cement – like what happens when you melt everything in the microwave.  

Add fresh fruit like strawberries and blueberries to Rice Crispy Treats. See other tips in this week's #HealthyKitchenHacks via @TspCurry
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Stir in vanilla to take em’ from good to great. That is all. Use vanilla. It’s the best.

Add fruit and nuts. Actually, go crazy with the fruit and nuts – up to about 2 cups. Yes. You can use fresh fruit! You can even make the Treats a day ahead, just refrigerate overnight. (The marshmallows and butter keep them from getting soggy.) Here are some of my favorite combos I make all year round:

  • Fresh blueberries and strawberries for Fourth of July: red, white (extra marshmallows), and blue!
  • Dried cherries, slivered almonds, and chocolate chips – Since they’re made with a whole grain cereal, they’re what’s for breakfast when traveling in the morning.
  • Fresh banana slices and crunchy peanuts – Also, stir in a tablespoon or two of peanut butter.
  • Frozen fruit (blueberries and cherries are best) – These should be consumed shortly after being made. Otherwise, the frozen fruit will thaw and make the bars a bit soggy. (Do not thaw fruit before mixing it in.)

Do you ever add mix-ins to rice crispy treats? What do you add?

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Bring out the best of fresh strawberries with this simple, healthy pie: Fresh Strawberry Glace Pie. It’s only 3 simple ingredients in a sweet graham cracker crust. 

One of our most popular Pie Recipes, this post was originally posted in June 2014. Sadly the strawberry farm has sold. But we now drive a few more miles to another brand new strawberry farm owned by three farming sisters: Kerns Family Orchard!

Would you like to buy a strawberry farm?

I know of one for sale: George’s Berry Patch outside tiny Litchfield, IL

Relish the thought! You could have this Fresh Strawberry Glace Pie for breakfast every morning of strawberry season.

You’d have to eat dessert a couple times a day to taste all the strawberry desserts at their freshest: Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes, and Strawberries and Cream Crunch Parfaits

Believe me, I really thought this through….as I picked 21 pounds at George’s Berry Patch on Tuesday. I’d have four farm workers right off the bat (my four kids) – and they’d grow up knowing that a hard YEAR of work would result in a few weeks of all the sweet, red, juicy fruit they could pick. We would put up a cute sign: “U-Pick Sweetest Strawberries Around.” And if you or I don’t buy this strawberry farm, I might soon be driving by “Strawberry Fields Housing Development”…and sighing.

I think the auction is June 28. Want to out-bid me?

Until then, I’ll make a few more of these simple (healthy!) pies that highlight the super sweet fresh berries…and if you don’t wait for it to set (which we didn’t) you can make it in about 15 minutes and eat it right then and there.

It's strawberry season! And this FRESH STRAWBERRY PIE will make you smile via @TspCurry
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Print

Fresh Strawberry Glace Pie

THIS is the recipe to bring out the best of fresh strawberries: Only 3 simple ingredients and about 15 minutes to Fresh Strawberry Glace Pie

  • Author: by Serena Ball, RD
  • Yield: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 3-4 pints (2 quarts) of fresh strawberries, stems and leaves removed, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar (add a bit more if your berries aren’t super sweet)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Your favorite recipe for a graham cracker pie crust
Instructions
  1. For the glace (or glaze), puree 1 heaping cup strawberries and 1/2 cup water in a blender or food processor; add water until puree equals 1 1/2 cups.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch; stir in berry puree. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Cook, stirring 2 minutes more. Cool 10 minutes without stirring.
  3. Spread about 1/3 cup glace over bottom of graham cracker crust. Arrange remaining berries, stem side down, in crust. Carefully spoon remaining glaze over fruit covering each piece. Chill 1-2 hours.

Would you ever buy a farm? I probably won’t. Would you ever pick 21 pounds of berries?

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California prunes are the star ingredient in a sweet and savory sauce for this Asian-style chicken, broccoli and rice bowl.

[Disclosure: I was compensated by California Prunes for this post through Kitchen PLAY.]

Prunes are one of those foods that are in my pantry primarily for snacking. And I usually pack them when traveling for a convenient snack and to keep my gut….ahem….regular.

But since working with California Prunes over the past month, I’m now inspired to cook with them more often as they make for a healthy, naturally sweet ingredient in everything from breakfast recipes to entrees to desserts. They really are a very versatile ingredient and easy to keep on hand as they don’t need to be refrigerated and have a decent shelf life.

#sponsored: More than just snacking on! Try @CAdriedplums in these Prune Chicken Coconut Rice Bowls @tspbasil
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And as you may know, Serena and I always like to share where our food comes from so here are some interesting tidbits where the prunes you eat come from – most likely California – as well some nutrition info:

California Prune Agricultural Facts:

  • California boasts 800 prune growers and 29 prune packers – they produce and pack almost all of the U.S. supply and 40% of the world supply of California prunes.
  • California prunes are grown mainly in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys over 45,000 acres.
  • Prunes have been grown and harvested in California for more than 150 years!

California Prune Nutrition Facts:

  • One serving (4-5 prunes) = 3 grams fiber for 100 calories
  • They contain antioxidants called polyphenols, which can help protect your immune system.
  • Research now suggests 5-6 prunes a day may help your bones:
    • Serena mentioned this her 2016 Food Trends post and you can find reference to the research here and here
    • Vitamin K helps to improve calcium balance and promotes bone mineralization – a serving of prunes is considered an excellent source of the Daily Value of Vitamin K

Here’s my new favorite way to eat them – in a sauce! You can whip up this 4-ingredient sauce in minutes – here I used it with chicken but next, I’m going to try it over salmon.

Print
Prune Chicken with Coconut Rice Bowls

California prunes are the star ingredient in a sweet and savory sauce for this Asian-style chicken, broccoli and rice bowl.

  • Author: Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD
  • Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients

For the rice:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown sushi rice
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons sliced scallions (about 3 scallions)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

For the broccoli:

  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the sauce:

  • 8 California prunes, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 cup water

For the chicken:

  • 1/2 pound chicken breasts
  • Cooking spray

For the bowl:

  • 8 California prunes, sliced in half
Instructions
  1. Rinse the rice in a fine-meshed strainer. Add to pot with coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Lower to medium-low, cover and cook for 35-40 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, mix in scallions, salt and pepper.
  2. While rice is cooking, place a baking pan in oven and preheat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, toss broccoli, oil, salt and pepper. Once oven is heated, add broccoli. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until roasted, stirring a few times.
  3. To make the sauce, add 8 chopped California prunes to a small pot with garlic, soy sauce, honey and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium heat. Stir frequently and cook for 3 -5 minutes or until prunes are soft. Puree in blender (add a few more teaspoons of water if need to thin out.) Reserve 3 tablespoons for final bowl presentation and use the rest to coat the chicken (see next instruction.)
  4. To cook chicken, place a skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add chicken breasts to the pan and brush with half of the sauce. Cook for 5 minutes, flip and coat with remaining sauce. Place skillet in oven (with broccoli if still cooking) and bake for another 12-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Slice.
  5. To prepare the bowls, divide the rice evenly into each bowl. Do the same with the broccoli and chicken. Add the sliced California prunes to each of the two bowls. Drizzle with reserved sauce. Serve with chopsticks, if desired.

Easy Ways to Enjoy California prunes:

  • Add to a smoothie for natural sweetness
  • Add to yogurt or oatmeal
  • Add to salads
  • Mix with nuts for an afternoon snack
  • Use to top waffles or pancakes
  • Put on avocado toast
  • Mix into baked good batters

Do you like prunes? How do you like to eat them?

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Make your own ketchup with pantry staples in 10 minutes! Try these flavors: Honey Cinnamon Ketchup and Smoked Sriracha Ketchup for your next cookout. 

It’s Healthy Kitchen Hacks Wednesday – the day we share our favorite time-saving kitchen tricks and cooking shortcuts to help you make healthy and delicious meals.

You can see all our Healthy Kitchen Hacks here. To get exclusive healthy kitchen hacks – only available to our email subscribers – sign up HERE.

———-

UPDATE: Today’s Healthy Kitchen Hack is an updated post that I first posted for a Recipe ReDux theme of “DIY Kitchen Staples” and at the time, my 8-year-old was obsessed with ketchup. She’s toned down her love for it but I’ve been making these ever since I discovered you can make homemade ketchup in 10 minutes!
Equipment: Plastic Squeeze Condiment Bottles (affiliate link)

What are your feelings on ketchup?

Like almost every kid I know, my daughter LOVES it. On turkey burgers, french fries, chicken, scrambled eggs and even on ham or turkey hoagies (<–gah.)

As for me – besides using it on the occasional hamburger or hot dog (sometimes I add mustard too – I’m crazy like that) – I can pretty much take it or leave it.

That was until I whipped up a batch of Honey Cinnamon Ketchup and Smoked Sriracha Ketchup with ingredients I already had on hand.

In 10 minutes.

Make your own ketchup with pantry staples in 10 minutes! #healthykitchenhacks @tspbasil
Click To Tweet

Holy smokes. Both versions were just exploding with flavor – sweet, acidic, smoky and spicy. I started dreaming up the ways I could use both of them because I couldn’t get over how delicious homemade ketchup really is.

Now, admittedly, my 8 year old won’t be giving up her beloved Heinz 57 for Honey Cinnamon Ketchup or Smoked Sriracha Ketchup.

But I think I’ll be saying goodbye to store-bought ketchup for myself as these two versions are made from pantry staples, are low sodium and have less added sugar that store-bought versions.

Oh, did I mention how fantastic they taste?

Print
Homemade Ketchup – Two Ways: Honey Cinnamon Ketchup & Smoked Sriracha Ketchup

Make your own ketchup with pantry staples in 10 minutes! Honey Cinnamon Ketchup and Smoked Sriracha Ketchup would rock your next cookout. 

  • Author: by Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD
Ingredients For Honey Cinnamon Ketchup:
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 12 (ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup water
For Smoked Sriracha Ketchup:
  • 12 (ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, honey, maple syrup or molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce (use a little less or more depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
  • 1/3 cup water
Instructions For Honey Cinnamon Ketchup:
  1. In a small frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together onions, tomato paste, vinegar, honey, cinnamon and salt. Add in 1/4 – 1/3 cup of water, mixing until you get ketchup to the consistency you like.
  3. If you prefer a smoother ketchup, use an immersion blender (or regular blender) to blend in the minced onions. Ketchup can be kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a few weeks.
For Smoked Sriracha Ketchup:
  1. In a large bowl, mix tomato paste, vinegar, brown sugar, Sriracha and smoked paprika. Add in 1/4 – 1/3 cup of water, mixing until you get ketchup to the consistency you like. Ketchup can be kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a few weeks.

So, are you a ketchup lover or can you live without? What foods do you usually put ketchup on?

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In less than 30-minutes, these #healthy family favorites will be on your table. They’re packed with protein, plus lots of veggies. Win. Win!

Disclosure: As co-owner of The Recipe ReDux I was compensated to manage this recipe contest.

Even my kids were impressed with this one.

When they asked, “What’s for dinner?”

I told them, “I’m going make this really quick, yummy chicken taco filling and then stuff a tortilla into a muffin tin cup and then fill it with the chicken and top it all with lots of cheese.”

They were dubious. They raised their eyebrows.

That seems to be happening a lot lately when I try to solve their pre-teen problems. I think I have a great solution. Only to hear, “Mom, I’ve already tried that.” Or the rather crushing, “That’s dumb.”

But the good news is this worked. Really well. Victory for mom! And all the kids’ accolades perked me up after recent less-than-good ideas.

And I think it’s thanks to the hummus. 

Yup, the secret sauce that holds this chicken taco filling together is Sabra’s Roasted Red Pepper Hummus – which is the sponsor of the latest Recipe ReDux recipe contest. Actually, I couldn’t decide whether to use the *new* Sabra flavor Jalapeño Hummus or the Roasted Red Pepper. In the end, it was the fact that my sweet 5-year old (who always thinks I have good ideas) is not a spice girl. So I went for the more mild flavor.

So not only did my kids love this hand-held, fun-to-eat dinner, but I loved that these Quick Chicken Taco Cups were:

  • Packed with veggies – thanks to Sabra Hummus being pure veggies, also there’s tomatoes and corn
  • Packed with protein – there’s chicken and cheese, plus Sabra Hummus is also a yummy plant-based protein
  • Is adaptable – feel free to switch in any of the dozen flavors of Sabra Hummus

And after being nourished by this ‘good idea’ of a dinner, I was even able to contribute one (small) “good point” towards editing my daughter’s essay. Score!

What are your good dinner ideas? What’s your favorite flavor of hummus?  

#ad Whip up this #healthy family favorite in 25 minutes flat: QUICK CHICKEN TACO CUPS #TheRecipeReDux via @TspCurry
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Quick Chicken Taco Cups

In less than 30-minutes, this healthy family favorite will be on your table. It’s packed with protein, plus lots of veggies. 

  • Author: Serena Ball
Ingredients
  • 6 (6-inch) white corn tortillas
  • 1 (10-ounce) container Roasted Red Pepper Sabra Hummus
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup canned tomatoes with green chilies (from a 14.5-ounce can) use the rest for another use
  • 1 (10-ounce) can chicken, drained, rinsed and shredded (6 ounces shredded cooked chicken)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Optional: Fresh chopped cilantro and chives
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Stack up the tortillas and wrap them in about 4 damp paper towels; microwave for about 30 seconds until just warm. (This step will keep the tortillas from breaking when pushing into the muffin tins.
  3. Cut each tortilla into 4 even pieces. Place 2 pieces into each muffin tin to form a cup. Bake for 8 minutes until beginning to harden.
  4. While tortillas bake, in a large bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients, except cheese.
  5. Using a cookie scoop, scoop the chicken mixture into the hot tortilla cups until the muffin cups are full. Evenly sprinkle the cheese over the top of the chicken cups.
  6. Bake 10 minutes until hot and the cheese is melted. Serve with cilantro and chives if desired.

Check out all the Sabra Hummus recipes from our ReDux members:

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In just 15 minutes, this quick and easy Mexican Rice and Beans one-pot meal is served: orange and cumin flavored rice that’s full of whole grains and veggie-packed protein. A new family favorite!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Florida Department of Citrus. The opinions and text are all mine – and as you’ll see I’m (now!) a big fan of OJ.

Pssst.

I have to get something off my chest.

I…

…am a dietitian and I give my kids fruit juice!

Whew. There it is.

It’s something I couldn’t even tell my children’s pediatrician when we were at the doctor’s for their last visits (at first.)

The doctor was scrolling through her normal list of ‘questions for mom,’ when she breezed by the juice one with “…and I’ll just mark down that they don’t drink a lot of fruit juice.”

She knows I’m a dietitian. And truth be told, I haven’t always been a big juice fan. But I have certainly come around. Waaaay around. 

#ad Make ONE-POT MEXICAN RICE AND BEANS WITH AVOCADO – Brown rice cooked in OJ + cumin! @OJfromFlorida via @TspCurry
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For one thing, I learned about the powerful polyphenol, hesperidin found in 100% orange juice. (Polyphenols are components in plants which help the plant fight off diseases and bugs – so when we eat these fruits and vegetables, the polyphenols can also help us fight off disease.)

Three potent polyphenols are:

  • Resveratol in wine
  • Catechins in green tea
  • Hesperidin in 100% orange juice

But, since my kids don’t drink a lot of wine (ok, none) or green tea (very rarely) Florida orange juice is our best – and most delicious option. In fact, 100% orange juice is one of the few foods in which the powerful hesperidin is found. It also contains a variety of nutrients and minerals, including folate, and of course, vitamin C; it’s also a good source of potassium and magnesium, which help with muscle function and replenish and restore electrolytes

How much OJ do my kids drink?

About 4-6 ounces at a time – in these fun mini-Mason jars.

When do my kids drink OJ?

Usually, it’s for an after-school snack. Since 100% orange juice is naturally sweet (it never contains added sugar) and probably because we used to be a non-fruit juice family, Florida OJ is always a treat. And seriously, what could be easier than pouring a glass of 100% juice and hearing, “Yay, orange juice!”?

And seeing big smiles.

Now about this recipe. I’ve mentioned my love for cooking with OJ before – in this Healthy Kitchen Hack. I just swap out water and replace it with 100% orange juice when cooking any whole grain that I really want my family to eat, like sorghum or quinoa.

This recipe was created because honestly, I needed a REALLY quick dinner the other night. It’s perfect for you to serve tonight in honor of National OJ Day or tomorrow on Cinco de Mayo.

This One-Pot Mexican Beans and Rice with Avocado was a big hit with all four kids. The orange and cumin flavored rice was just the right sweet-savory combo. (So much so that I only got a few spoonfuls to taste!) My husband got none – he got home late that night. ):

Oh, and BTW, I did *skool* my kids’ pediatrician in all the benefits of 100% fruit juice – and let her know about potent hesperidin; she was grateful. (:

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One Pot Mexican Rice and Beans with Avocado

In just 15 minutes, dinner is served: orange and cumin flavored rice that’s full of whole grains and veggie-packed protein. A new family favorite!

  • Author: Serena Ball
  • Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 ¾ cup Florida orange juice
  • 2 cups instant brown rice
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 (10 ounce) container cherry/grape tomatoes
  • Optional toppings: Greek yogurt or sour cream, fresh chives
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add cumin and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in orange juice, ¼ cup water and rice. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 7 minutes, or until rice is tender.
  2. Stir in black beans and cook 1 minute or until heated through. Serve with avocado and tomatoes and optional toppings.
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