Category Archives: Eats

Fed Up With School Lunch

Ever wonder what goes into those bellies five days a week (ten, if you include breakfast?)  “Mrs. Q” did and recently finished eating a year’s worth of school lunch (one weekday at a time, of course).  Fed Up With School Lunch explores the unknowns of public school lunch in 162 unhealthy, sometimes mysterious, meals.  Though lunches may vary from school district to district, from personal experience I can tell you there are two themes that seem to prevail:  processed and packaged (canned, frozen, wrapped, etc.).   Her personal challenge has recently ended but Mrs. Q has decided to continue her blog and explores other topics concerning health and kids.

Check it out here: Fed Up With School Lunch Blogspot

Advertisements

Black Bean Burgers

As soon as I tried this Moroccan White-Bean Burger recipe from Redbook I knew that I would be using it to make a black bean burger.  I love black bean burgers but when you order out or buy them frozen you never truly know what’s in them.  Below is a simple and healthy version, a little different from the white bean burgers.

  • 1/2  green bell pepper, cut into 10-12 pieces
  • 1/2 c. of chopped red onion
  • 1/2 c. Italian parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 t no-salt seasoning
  • 1 can (15.5-ounce) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 c. crumbled blue cheese
  • 3/4 c. breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • olive oil
  • Buns
  • Mayo
  • Lettuce leaves and tomato slices

In a food processor, pulse green bell pepper, red onion, Italian parsley, garlic, and seasoning until finely chopped. Add beans and pulse until coarsely mashed.

Transfer mixture to a bowl; add breadcrumbs and egg. Mix until well combined. Fold in blue cheese.  Shape into 8-9 (1/4-cup) burgers. Place on a plate and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add burgers and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Place on a paper towel.

Spread inside of buns with mayo and top with lettuce, tomato, and burger.

Moroccan White-Bean Burgers

Check out these yummy bean burgers from Redbook Magazine.  They’re easy, healthy, and tasty.   The original, plus nutritional info, can be found here. I slightly altered it by adding 1/2 a lemon’s juice, using plain mayo, dropping the salt and a couple spices, and substituting panko breadcrumbs for regular since that was what I had on hand.  I definitely plan on using this recipe as a guide for black bean burgers in the future.

  • 1/2  red bell pepper, quartered
  • 3  scallions, quartered
  • 1/2 c. cilantro leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 can (15.5-ounce) white beans (cannellini), drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 c. breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • olive oil
  • Pita breads
  • Mayo
  • Lettuce leaves and tomato slices

In a food processor, pulse red bell pepper, scallions, cilantro, garlic, and cumin until vegetables are very finely chopped. Add beans; pulse until beans are coarsely mashed.

Transfer mixture to a bowl; add breadcrumbs and egg. Mix until well combined. Shape into 8-9 (1/4-cup) burgers. Place on a plate and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add burgers and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Place on a paper towel.

Cut pitas in half and toast lightly. Spread inside with mayo and stuff with lettuce, tomato, and burger.

Bring the Restaurant Home

Recreating restaurant dishes is easy and less expensive.  Here’s a restaurant salad I modified by using substitutes for what was on hand.  According to the online menu, the original calls for Mixed Greens, Fresh Roasted Beets, Goat Cheese and Toasted Pistachios Tossed with a Hazelnut-Citrus Dressing. My version was made with arugula, beets, ricotta cheese, oranges, red onion, almonds, and a from-scratch oil/vinegar/seasoning dressing.  Cooking at home allows you to utilize portion control, use fresher and healthier ingredients, and you can use less or more of an ingredient if you choose.  Not to mention it’s faster, more relaxing, and you get to choose your background noise : )

Butternut Squash Soup

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving.  Here’s a recipe to help squeeze out those last few days of fall flavor.

Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2 c. vegetable broth
  • 1/2 – 1 c. pureed pumpkin
  • 1 c. water, plus a little more
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 T butter
  • 1/2 c. light cream, half and half, or whatever you have on hand that’s similar
  • 1/2 t powdered ginger
  • 1/2 t allspice
  • 1/2 t curry powder
  • black pepper to garnish
  • sour cream to garnish

*If you want a thicker soup, lose 1 c. vegetable broth.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Cut butternut squash once vertically and place face down in baking pan with water just covering the bottom (about 1/2 an inch).  Bake for approximately 20 minutes.

Finely chop onion and sautee in butter until clear, about 5 minutes.

Remove squash from oven, reduce temperature to 400 degrees.

Let cool for about 5 minutes and with fork and knife slice squash and carefully remove skin.  Cut into chunks and return to pan to bake for 10 minutes more.

Remove from oven, let cool about 10 minutes and put chunks into food processor in batches with onion mixture until pureed, adding a little water as needed.

Put in large pot with vegetable broth, water, pumpkin, and spices and bring to low boil. Turn off and add cream. Serve with garnish.

One large can of pureed pumpkin (29 oz.) will get you pumpkin waffles, two batches of pumpkin muffins, and this soup.  So nothing goes to waste!

Fooducate Yourself

If you’re an iPhone user you no longer have an excuse to not be health conscious.  Fooducate is a great new app that you can use to scan the barcodes of grocery store items to see their “grade” of healthiness as well as warnings, alternatives, and user comments, and best of all it’s FREE.  Click the above link to check out sample scans and a link to connect you to the iTunes store to download.

Fooducate also has a blog here where you can read about interesting topics such as appropriate fat consumption, making your own baby food, and egg-buying info.

Tofu Broccoli Quiche

The thing about quiche is that one can have as many as 4-8 eggs, resulting in a ton of calories, fat, and cholesterol.  The thing about making a quiche without eggs is it’s pretty hard to get it to taste like a quiche and have quiche consistency.  Below is a work in progress.  Adding one egg will help keep it together if you are iffy about the tofu.

  • 1 9″ crust
  • 3 c. chopped broccoli
  • 1 package (14 oz.) firm tofu
  • 1 c. shredded cheese
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t. mustard
  • 1/4 t. black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Bake pie shell for 5 minutes then remove from heat.

Steam chopped broccoli for about five minutes.  In meantime, sautee onion and garlic in 1 T olive oil until golden brown.  Remove from heat.

In a food processor, combine tofu, cheese, onion and garlic, milk, mustard, and pepper until smooth.  Fold into broccoli in a bowl and then pour into pie crust.

Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 20 minutes.