Almost every night of college my dinner consisted of frozen veggies, noodles, and sauce. Nothing glamorous, but you know the drill – if it’s cheap, quick, and easy to throw together, it’s dinner. Years have passed and surprisingly, I haven’t grown tired of making stir […]
Month: October 2017
Guys, it’s been one of those weeks in the SOC Kitchen. And, it’s only Wednesday. 😯 You know what I’m talking about, right? Those weeks where despite your best attempt at sailing on through, you are getting rocked and tossed around to the point of almost falling off your little boat? Yep. Needless to say, we are really grateful we meal prepped this weekend. If not, we’d probably be eating a lot of popcorn dinners…not that we’d be complaining.
Seeing how crazy this week has been, it is even more fitting that we are featuring our Quick & (Not So) Dirty Turkey Chili! Rich in smoky flavor, hearty, and ridiculously easy to throw together. Heck, if you really don’t feel up to cooking you can just throw it all in the crockpot!
Chili can be the perfect, balanced meal all in bowl. Lean protein, starchy and non-starchy veggies, fiber, and a wide array of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. As dietitians we like to talk about eating a rainbow of color at each meal. This is because every colorful fruit, vegetable, whole grain, bean and legume you eat provides its own unique health promoting properties! This recipe fits the bill for colorful variety.
Have little ones at home? Get them involved in the planning of this recipe! They can pick out the colorful veggies you use:
- Beans – black, pinto, kidney, white, garbanzo, etc.
- Peppers – red, orange, green – or all 3!
- Tomatoes, onions, the list goes on!
One of our favorite ways to eat chili is over oven fries or tots. Read: better-for-you chili cheese fries. This is a real thing and we are all. about. it. When we’ve got the time and the week isn’t crazy, we’ll make them fresh. When we’re in a time crunch we love to use Alexia Foods fries and tots. Alexia is not paying us to say this, we just happen to L-O-V-E their products and we tell everyone we know about them. Simple, pronounceable ingredients, and great products. I mean, look at these fries!!!
Nutrition Notes: This recipe is rich in both animal and plant protein. Don’t do animal? Replace turkey with quinoa. Cooked tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful carotenoid and phytochemical that fights free radicals, premature skin aging, is protective for the heart, and may aid in the prevention of Alzheimer’s. Beans are rich in soluble fiber (supports healthy cholesterol levels) and insoluble fiber (gets the gut moving).
2 tbsp extra vigin olive oil
2 lbs extra lean ground turkey* or beef
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 bell peppers, any color, diced
2 cans roasted tomatoes, drained
4 cups low sodium broth
2 cans beans, any variety, rinsed and drained
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1-1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/8 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp chipotle powder
Cayenne powder (optional)
Alexia Foods fries ot tots
Avocado or cheddar cheese for garnish
*We prefer ground turkey but you can also use ground beef. Opt for extra lean poultry or beef when your creating a soup or sauce. Another wards, you can go lean when you won’t notice a difference. If you’re making something like burgers, go for something that’s lean (93%) but has a little more fat (7%) and won’t dry out as easily.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil on medium in a large pot. Cook ground turkey, breaking into small pieces as it browns. Remove and set aside. Using the same pot, heat other tablespoon olive oil over medium. Sauté onions and bell peppers with salt and pepper for 3-4 minutes or until slightly tender. Add tomatoes and sauté for another 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broth and seasonings and bring heat up to a light simmer; simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until chili thickens and is fragrant. Reduce heat and add beans. Test flavor and adjust seasonings accordingly.
The chili is now done but just like a fine wine, gets better with time. We recommend making a day before you plan on eating it.
Nutrition Facts (Makes approx. 8 servings)
Calories – 360 Fat -18g Carbohydrates-25g Protein – 30g Fiber – 8g
Undoubtedly, one of the most talked about words in the nutrition world, sugar, is a hot topic. And rightly so. We Americans are consuming more added, natural, and artificial sweeteners than ever before and by the looks of it, we aren’t slowing down any time soon. Just take a look around you. From the grocery store, to coffee shops, to your pinned recipes and Instagram feeds. Sugar is everywhere.
Impact on Health
Our obsession with all things sweet has a clear impact on our health; the more we eat, the more we crave. Additionally, overconsumption of calories from added sugars (those not naturally occurring in foods) can lead to overweight and obesity, increased risk for type ll diabetes, heart disease, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease – to name a few!
Coming from two dietitians you’re probably gearing up for a lecture on how you need to eliminate this “nasty” ingredient from your diet as soon as, well, yesterday. But, that’s not the case. In fact, we don’t want you to eliminate sugar or treat it like an evil ingredient. What our hope is that we can encourage you to make smart choices with your “sugar” consumption and teach you how to gradually cut back your every day added sugars for better overall health.
“Sugar” Is Not Created Equally
One of our biggest pet peeves is when clients proclaim that they are eliminating “sugar” from their diet. While most are likely referring to froufrou coffee drinks, candy at work, and ice cream after dinner, the term “sugar” has a much larger span. You see, ALL carbohydrates are broken down into glucose to be metabolized for energy. That means that both carbohydrates coming from your organic, non-gmo, sprouted date nut bread and those coming from a Venti Caramel Frap can both provide essential energy for the body. Now, of course the former option is providing you with far greater nutrients, but even the latter can help sustain human life.
Types of Carbohydrates
There are two primary groups of carbohydrates: simple and complex.
Simple carbohydrates are broken down rapidly to be used by the body for immediate energy. Foods with naturally occurring simple carbs include calcium and protein-rich milk and yogurt products and fruit which contains water, fiber, and potent phytonutrients. They are also found in processed sugars like high fructose corn syrup**, other syrups, honey, agave, organic coconut sugar, table sugar, candy, sweet drinks, refined grains (white bread, crackers, traditional pasta).
Complex carbohydrates are made up of longer sugar molecules that digest more slowly than simple sugars, therefore helping to provide more sustained energy. Rich in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and phytonutrients, they are found in starchy veggies, beans and legumes, and whole grains.
As you can see, we want to include mostly complex carbohydrates in our everyday diet, however, simple carbohydrates including dairy and fruit have health benefits of their own.
**Did you know that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) can be called “natural sweetener” on food labels? Be wary of anything labeled “natural” as this term does not = healthy.
Carbs (ok, and fat and protein too) in one of our favorite forms:
Cutting Back on Added Sugars
Have you ever tried removing added sugars from your diet overnight? If so, you probably 1) hated life and 2) didn’t last very long. Are we close? Rather than going extreme, here are our realistic top tips for reducing added sugar intake.
- Go halvesies – Like sweetened creamer in your morning coffee? Rather than using the sweetened creamer by itself, cut your regular amount in half and replace the other half with an unsweetened creamer. Over time, your tastebuds will adjust to this new level of sweet and you won’t even realize you cut back! This works great with kiddos (or adults) and sweet cereals. Can’t part with those marshmallow charms? Mix 2/3 sweet cereal with 1/3 unsweetened oat cereal or whole wheat flakes. After a few weeks go 1:1. Eventually you may be able to get rid of the sweet stuff altogether and swap marshmallows for fresh fruit!
- Try infused water – Addicted to diet soda, flavored lattes, or other sweet drinks? Give your water an upgrade. Slice fresh fruit like berries and citrus, herbs like mint and basil and place in tap or sparkling water for a refreshing drink that provides natural sweetness for virtually no calories and no added sugars. One of our favorite combos is orange slices and sliced strawberries. Want to take a trip to the spa while at work? Mix mint, lemon, and cucumber slices. Voila!
- Get friendly with spices and natural extracts – Want to sweeten up smoothies, oats, baked goods, coffee/tea, yogurt? Reach in your spice cabinet. Cinnamon, vanilla or almond extracts, and citrus zests are wonderful ways to add sweet and they may offer additional benefits on your health.
Remember, reducing added sugar intake is not likely going to be achieved overnight. Take a look at your regular daily intake and highlight one area where you take in too much sweet. Make that your focus for the next 4 weeks. Once you’ve made an improvement there, move on to the next. Each small improvement can make a major impact on your overall health.
Sweet or savory? How about a bit of both!? Look no further than these Sweet Potato Ranch Rings! Packed full of herby goodness with a touch of natural sweetness, Sweet Potato Ranch Rings are the right bit of all wonderful flavors packed into cute little golden morsels. I mean, take a look at these beauties:
Last week we introduced you to our 2-2-2 Smoky BBQ Chicken. A simple, affordable, and super tasty “Cook Once, Eat Thrice” option for those busy weeks when you don’t have a ton of time to spend in the kitchen. Today we’re showing you a perfect sweet potato side that can also be batch cooked ahead of time to make multiple servings for future meals!
In our post Herbs, Spices, and Vinegars, Oh My!, we talked about the importance of adding flavor to your meals minus added sodium, sugar, and fat. Herbs, spices, and vinegars, or HSVs, add a powerful punch of flavor to any meal, greatly increase meal satisfaction, and may offer additional benefits to your health! This recipes uses one of our favorite herb blends: Homemade Ranch Seasoning. Ranch seasoning is incredibly simple to whip together and can be used on poultry, meat, veggies, salads, and incorporated into a creamy dressing in no time flat. One of our favorite uses is for potatoes – russet, yukon gold, red, sweet, etc. If you ask us, this seasoning was made for sweet potatoes.
(Baby C takes his role of head QC inspector very seriously)
Nutrition Notes: Sweet potatoes are a favorite of ours this time of year because of their immune boosting vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols. Today we’re highlighting the polyphenols anthocyanidins, cyanidins and peonidins, which have been attributed to inhibiting cell cancer growth, reducing heavy metal absorption and impact, and supporting blood cells and heart health. Additionally, sweet potatoes are also a great sources of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber.
6-7 sweet potatoes, washed and peeled
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp dried dill weed
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper
Like a kick of heat? Add 1/4 tsp cayenne powder
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Wash, peel, and slice sweet potatoes into even “rings”. Place rings into a large mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil; toss until olive oil evenly coats potatoes. Add ranch seasoning and toss or stir to evenly coat. Pour potatoes evenly onto a sheet pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, tossing once halfway through. (If you like them a little extra chewy and crunchy like we do, keep them in for an extra 5 minutes until they start to turn golden). Oh yum.
Nutrition Facts (makes approx. 6 servings)
Calories – 155 Fat – 5g Carbohydrates – 27g Protein – 2g Fiber – 4g Vitamin A – 377% DRI
You’ve been asking for it, now you’ve got it: Batch recipes just for your crockpot. Today’s recipe fits the bill and is not only delicious, it requires few (read: TWO) ingredients, is crockpot ready in less than 5 minutes, and makes enough protein for multiple […]