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Robinsbite: June 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer Mantra: Cook Once, Eat Twice

Intern Laura Bartee takes the helm of Robinsbite with her Cook One, Eat Twice advice. 

The arrival of summer brings recreation, outdoor activities and vacations. But it also provides less time to prepare healthy meals at home. Using the mentality of cooking once and eating twice, it can be easy to make foods in bulk that can be re-purposed in different meals throughout the week. Since no one wants to eat the same meal twice, try these quick tips to provide unique meals using pre-cooked ingredients.

1. Grilled Chicken: Spend one day a week grilling chicken breasts, tenders, boneless skinless thighs or drumsticks seasoned with your favorite marinade or spice blend. Leftover sliced meat can be used in fajitas, on a salad or as a pizza topping.

2. Crock-pot Chicken: If you don’t own a grill, opt to cook chicken in a crockpot. Use any cut of frozen or fresh chicken including bone-in, boneless or even a whole chicken. Pour water or broth in your crockpot, add meat and cook on low for approximately 8 hours. The chicken will be tender enough to shred and can be added to burritos on whole wheat tortillas, or used for a sandwich night with either barbeque pulled chicken or chicken salad.

3. Prepared Vegetables: Roasted or grilled vegetables are easy, quick and keep for several days in the refrigerator. To roast, slice and toss any vegetable in olive oil, salt and pepper and cook at 425° F until tender. Or throw vegetables onto the grill next to the chicken to save time. Try sweet potatoes, broccoli, butternut squash or mushrooms. Add leftover vegetables to sandwiches, pasta salads or eat plain as a side dish.

4. Ready-to-eat Produce: Once a week wash and pre-cut your produce. This produce will be available to grab for snacks or for lunches throughout the week. Try grape tomatoes, snow peas or celery as dippers for hummus. Shred carrots or squash in your food processor to throw into soups or salads. Slice and refrigerate cantaloupe, kiwi or pineapple so it’s ready to enjoy anytime.

5.Pre-cooked Whole Grains: Instead of making one portion of grains, pre-cook a large batch of brown rice, quinoa or bulgur wheat either on the stove or in a rice cooker. Store grains in the refrigerator and serve on salads or mix in roasted vegetables for a simple side dish. These grains can also be eaten as a substitute for oatmeal in the mornings for breakfast.

Healthy eating can still be made a priority in the busy summers when you batch cook foods once or twice a week.
What are your tips for cooking once, eating twice?

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Small Change Diet author Keri Gans tells all: her love affair.....with Hummus

I couldn't be more thrilled to have author, speaker and media darling Keri Gans, RD, guest blog on Robinsbite today.  Hummus is only one of her loves--she is also a devoted yogi, a lover of dogs and an extreme social media junkie. Check out her new book The Small Change Diet and pick up your copy today!

My Love Affair With Hummus…

Was it love at first site? I don’t think so.  I liked it, initially more as a friend, someone to occasionally hang out with it at parties. Gradually though I became infatuated with it. So many flavors to choose from and so many different ways to eat it, I couldn’t get enough. I started introducing it to my patients, friends and family. Now many years later my infatuation has turned into a solid relationship of which I am happy to report I am never bored.

Funny thing is, I have never made hummus from scratch. I know it can be really easy but I sometimes get rather lazy in the kitchen so I just buy it.  The main ingredient in hummus is chickpeas. Also known as garbanzo beans, chickpeas are full of health benefits. They have no saturated fats or cholesterol and also contain high levels of protein. Some studies have shown that chickpeas may fight the build up of cholesterol in blood vessels and help control blood sugar levels.

Other basic hummus ingredients include garlic, salt, lemon juice and olive oil. Olive oil provides health benefits because it is high in monounsaturated fat and studies have shown that, in moderate amounts, it can help maintain heart health by regulating cholesterol.

With so many different types of hummus available in the stores I sometimes have difficulty choosing which one to buy. I go through stages; lately my favorite is black bean. Over the past years other favorites have been roasted red pepper, edamame, horseradish, and artichoke.

Some of the ways I like to eat it:
o   Instead of mayo in egg salad (I use egg whites only and regular hummus)
o   Instead of cream cheese on toast (whole wheat toast spread with black bean hummus, topped with scrambled egg whites and tomato)
o   Instead of cream cheese for bagels and lox (scoop whole wheat bagel and add hummus and lox and a little avocado)
o   Instead of butter in a baked potato (black bean hummus and a drop of low-fat sour cream)
o   Instead of cheese or mayo on a sandwich (on a turkey burger, veggie burger, or turkey sandwich)
o   Instead of cream in “penne alla vodka” (1 heaping TBSP plain hummus added to tomato sauce)
o   And of course always great with raw veggies and whole grain crackers.

Hummus really is the perfect partner. It’s flexible and adaptable, goes so well with others and yet secure enough to stand on its own. But the more I think about it….so is avocado….hmmmm? J

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