Zippy, Zesty, Super-Saver Salsa

Zesty Strawberry & Mango Salsa

Zesty Strawberry & Mango Salsa

Zippy and zesty because it packs a punch of jalapeno pepper, lime and cilantro.

Super-saver because it features in-season mango and strawberries. And in-season translates to “at their most budget-friendly price right now.”

So it makes perfect cents to take advantage of both antioxidant and nutrient-rich fruits over the coming weeks.

But instead of just enjoying them “as is” for a snack or side dish, or adding them to yogurt, smoothies and cereals, try this easy-to-make salsa. You’ll find yourself scooping up more of the salsa and eating less of the corn tortilla chips – it’s that good and refreshing. You can even make a batch and serve it as an accompaniment to grilled or roasted fish, chicken, pork and beef.

Isn’t it nice to know you’ll be saving money AND giving yourself a dose of phytonutrients to promote heart, brain and skin health, optimal immune function and possibly even help lower cancer risk?

Happy springtime to all!

Zesty Strawberry & Mango Salsa
1 pound strawberries, hulled and diced (roughly 3 heaping cups diced)
1 large mango, peeled, pitted and diced (roughly 1-2/3 cups diced)
1/3 cup diced red onion
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and very finely diced
Zest from 1 lime
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 – 4 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

In a large bowl, gently toss strawberries, mango, red onion and jalapeno pepper together. In a small bowl, whisk together lime zest, lime juice, cilantro, salt and garlic powder. Pour over berry mixture and toss lightly to blend. Serve immediately or refrigerate in tightly covered container.
Makes about 5 cups salsa (10 servings of ½-cup each)
Recipe created by Kim Galeaz, RDN CD

Per serving: 42 calories, 10 g carbohydrate, 0 fat, 0 protein, 112 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 39 mg vitamin C (65% of Daily Value).

Seven Holiday Sides with Dried Cranberries

      

Dried cranberries are so versatile they can be added to practically every side dish typically served at Thanksgiving.

1. Stuffing.

 Add dried cranberries to any favorite stuffing recipe, whether it’s white, whole wheat or corn bread-based. Start with about ¾ cup for every 9×13-inch pan stuffing.

2. Sweet Potatoes.

Stir dried cranberries into sugar-butter-pecan streusel topping for sweet potato soufflé or sprinkle over a dish of candied or oven-roasted sweet potatoes.

3.  Green Beans.

 Dried cranberries complement the almonds, pecans or walnuts often added to sautéed green beans.

4. Dark Leafy Greens.

Eating more dark leafy greens like kale, Swiss chard, collard and mustard greens is easier – and tastier – if you throw in some sweet and delectable dried cranberries!  Get started with this Kale with Garlic and Dried Cranberries recipe below.

5. Mixed Greens Salad.

Sprinkle some fruit – dried cranberries – on that vegetable salad of mixed lettuce greens and spinach leaves.

6. Cranberry Sauce.

Serve a double dose of cranberry health benefits by adding dried cranberries to any homemade fresh cranberry sauce recipe.  Maybe even a sprinkle of roasted Saigon cinnamon, too.

7. Winter Squash.

Cooked butternut, buttercup or acorn squash halves are irresistible with a cinnamon, butter, maple syrup and dried cranberry topping.

8. The Bounty of Health Benefits.

Dried cranberries naturally contain phytonutrients called flavonoids. These powerful antioxidants may help reduce the risk of heart disease, help prevent the adhesion of certain harmful bacteria associated with urinary tract infections and potentially help inhibit bacteria associated with gum disease and stomach ulcers.  Plus, dried cranberries make eating more fruit every day easier because they “count” as one of the nutrient-rich choices just like fresh, frozen, canned and 100% juice do.

Happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving to all!

Kale with Garlic and Cranberries

4 quarts water

1 ½ tablespoons salt

2 pounds kale, stems and center ribs removed and leaves coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

5 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup (2 ounces) dried cranberries

¾ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Combine water, salt and kale in a 6-quart pot. Bring to a boil, uncovered and cook until the kale is almost tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain in a colander, then immediately transfer kale to an ice bath to stop cooking. When kale is cool, drain, but do not squeeze.

2. Cook garlic in olive oil in same pot over medium heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add kale, dried cranberries, salt and pepper, and cook, tossing frequently with tongs, until kale is heated through and tender, about 4 to 6 minutes. Makes 8 servings.  

Recipe from www.uscranberries.com (You’ll find numerous other holiday recipe ideas here as well.)

Nutrition Facts per serving:
150 calories, 3 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, 9 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 485 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber.

Excellent source of: Vitamins A, C and K

Good source of: fiber, potassium, calcium and vitamin B6.

Disclosure: I’m a culinary-nutrition consultant to the food, beverage and agriculture industry, as well as public relations agencies representing one or more of the foods/beverages in this post.

Football Strategy for Winning Weeknight Meals

Game Plan: Create nutrient-rich – and tasty – family meals.

Defensive Strategy:  Tackle tasteless foods before they end up off-sides….and off the plate for Mom, Dad and the kids. From entrees and side-dishes, salads and desserts, nothing can be so low in fat or seasonings that it lacks the MVP of family meals: great flavor!

Offensive Strategy:  Half your Plate Fruits and Vegetables. Increase/add nutrient-rich ingredients in every dish if possible, too. Serve whole grains and lean proteins like the six lean cuts of pork, twenty-nine lean cuts of beef, boneless skinless poultry or seafood. Focus on flavor first and foremost. 

Formation:  Front and center with plenty of fall apples. Apples are in-season right now, which means they’re very budget-friendly and taste best. Let apples shine in entrées, side dishes and even desserts.  All fresh apples add fiber, especially the cholesterol-lowering soluble type, plus lots of disease-fighting antioxidants. One antioxidant in particular, quercetin, is being studied extensively and may help reduce risk of some cancers and possibly even Alzheimer’s disease. 

Touchdown to Victory:  A family-pleasing menu filled with great flavor AND good nutrition: Pork, Apples & Onion entrée, Spice Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Apples side dish and Whole-Wheat Rolls.  Use a trans-fat free soft margarine like Country Crock with 70% less saturated fat and 30% fewer calories than butter to coat the potatoes and apples, then roast in the oven while the Pork Tenderloin, Apples and Onions on the stove-top burner!  Sauté the apples in margarine, too, instead of oil and save a few calories.   

Extra Points:  Score extra points with your family by serving a delicious homemade dessert – especially one filled with nutrient-rich ingredients. Try a simple Apple Crisp made with two whole grains: oats and whole-wheat flour. Or Pumpkin-Spiced Apple Crisp with pecans and dried apricots along with those two whole grains.  Or even Apple ‘N Peanut Butter Bread Pudding made with whole-grain bread! 

 

Spice-Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Apples 

¼ cup Shedd’s Spread Country Crock® Pumpkin Spice Spread

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch wedges

3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch wedges 

Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine Shedd’s Spread Country Crock® Pumpkin Spice Spread*with pepper in a small bowl; set aside. Toss apples with one tablespoon spread mixture in medium bowl; set aside. Toss potatoes with remaining spread mixture on baking sheet and arrange in single layer. Bake 10 minutes. Stir in apple mixture and bake, stirring once halfway through, an additional 25 minutes or until potatoes and apples are tender. Gently toss before serving. *Use regular Country Crock and mix with 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice if you don’t have this variety of margarine available.  Makes 6 servings. Prep Time: 10 minutes    Cook Time: 35 minutes 

Dessert recipes mentioned available at www.countrycrock.com. Nutrition information for this sweet potato/apple recipe there, too.

  

Skillet Pork Medallions with Sautéed Apples & Onions

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons Saigon cinnamon

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

2 pork tenderloins (2 to 2½ pounds total)

2 to 4 tablespoons trans-fat free soft margarine, divided

2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced

1 large garlic clove, finely minced

2 large red apples (Jonagold or Honeycrisp), cored and sliced into wedges

½ to ¾ cup apple juice 

Mix salt, pepper, cinnamon and brown sugar together in a small bowl. Rub over both tenderloins to completely coat, and then slice each tenderloin into eight medallions. Set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon margarine in a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and brown on both sides. Remove pork and set aside on a covered plate. Heat additional 1 to 2 tablespoons margarine in same skillet, then add onions, garlic and apples and sauté until just becoming tender. Add pork medallions along with apple juice, cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook until pork reaches 145°F and apples and onions are tender. Let pork rest 3 minutes before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

(Recipe adapted from and photo courtesy of porkbeinspired.com)

Disclosure: I’m a culinary-nutrition consultant to Kroger Central Division, various restaurants, numerous public relations representing one or more foods/beverages included in this post and several agriculture organizations.