Previ Culinary: Red, White, and Blue Memorial Day Parfait

Memorial Day kicks off the summer season and this recipe is the perfect transition. Sweet seasonal berries pair with light and refreshing frozen yogurt for a beautiful and patriotic parfait that comes together in a matter of minutes. Happy Memorial Day and THANK YOU to everyone who has sacrificed for us and this wonderful country that we live in.

Red White and Blue Parfait

Written By: PreviMedica Culinary Advisors

Ingredients:

  • Frozen berries, a blend or your favorites
  • 1 cup of frozen yogurt

Directions:

  1. Layer the frozen berries and the frozen yogurt as desired. Serve immediately.

RedWhiteBlueParfait

 

Megan Huard, Chef RD and Stefanie Gates, chef, are regular contributors to our blog and culinary advisors for PreviMedica. They enjoy developing recipes and creating cooking videos to share with our readers, as well as working one-on-one with our clients to teach them valuable cooking skills. You can learn more about them here and here.

 

 

All Things Blueberry

    Freshly picked selection:

Blueberries

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Round and smooth skinned, blueberries are a blue-black berry that is sweet and juicy. Blueberries can be used in everything from pies to salads.

When it’s in season:

May- October

What to look for when purchasing:

Choose blueberries that are firm, uniform in size and indigo blue with a silvery frost. Discard shriveled or moldy berries.

            How to store:         

Store in a single layer in the moisture-proof container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Do not wash until ready to use.

Varieties:

There are multiple varieties of blueberries with two main types. The high-bush variety can grow up to 15 feet in height and the hardy low-bush blueberry are often only 1 foot high an grow mostly in the United States and Canada.

How to prepare:

Wash blueberries thoroughly before eating. Blueberries are most often eaten raw but can also be prepared in multiple ways. See the recipes below for different preparations.

Nutritional Benefits:
Blueberries

Recipes to try:

For a classic way to enjoy blueberries try our Blueberry Yogurt Parfait. It makes a great on the go breakfast or a healthy snack option.

Blueberry Yogurt Parfait

If you’ve never cooked with blueberries in a savory way you are missing out. Blueberries when cooked make a great sauce with a sweet taste that pairs great with pork chops.

Pork Chops with Lemon Blueberry Thyme Sauce

For a healthy gluten free take on blueberries muffins, we love this easy to make recipe from Making Thyme for Health.

Flourless Blueberry Banana Muffins

Our Nutritionists Say:

“I like to put blueberries in homemade pancakes for an extra dose of nutrition. I also like frozen blueberries in my smoothies”- Brett Talenfeld, MS, RD, LDN

“I eat them topped with whipped coconut cream or as a replacement for jelly on a waffle with nut butter.”- Amy Pieczarka, RD, LDN, CCN, CDE

References:

Herbst, Sharon Tyler. Food lover’s companion: comprehensive definitions of over 3000 food, wine, and culinary terms. 3rd ed. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 1995. Print.

Mateljan, George. The Worlds Healthiest Foods. Seattle: George Mateljan Foundation, 2007. Print.

Why Gluten Free Doesn’t Always Equal Healthy

Many people are under the assumption that leading a gluten free lifestyle is a healthy choice. While this is certainly true for some, leading a gluten free lifestyle takes a lot of research and understanding into what exactly makes any food healthy. The answer isn’t always what you think. Read on to find out why!

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A common misconception many people have is that gluten free equals healthy, but this is very far from the truth.  Think about it in terms of a side dish – which is more nutritious; a side of whole grain wheat berries or a side of white rice?  The wheat berries are of course; they are less processed and are a whole grain food that is high in fiber, protein and B vitamins.  The white rice is extremely processed and full of empty, starchy calories because it has had its husk, bran and germ removed to extend its storage life, minimize cooking times and help prevent spoilage.  Unfortunately, many gluten free products available contain white rice as their primary ingredient.  Rice flour is light and starchy, and combined with other heavier gluten free flours the blend creates a texture in baked goods similar to wheat flour.  Not to mention rice is cheap for manufacturers to get and there is no shortage of it!

So what to do?  If you follow a gluten free way of eating, try to limit eating processed foods as much as you can.  This is beneficial not only because you are eliminating empty calories, but you are also eliminating added sugar since packaged foods typically contain it.  If you do want to have some crackers, pretzels, or baked goods here and there, ALWAYS read the ingredient label!  Try to stay away from items that list white rice flour as the first ingredient.  Instead, opt for the primary ingredients to be whole grain brown rice, whole grain quinoa, sorghum, or millet.  There are also a whole host of foods that contain almond flour, coconut flour, and other grain free flours.

On the flip side, just because a product contains whole grain or grain free flours it does not mean processed foods are appropriate.  These foods are still highly processed and many of their nutrients are lost in the process.  Eating homemade whole grains is always best, but if you find yourself in a bind and you need to consume convenience foods, pay close attention to the labels and opt for the products made from whole grains with no added sugars.  Read about how to recognize sugars and the different forms they come in here.

If you take a walk through the grocery store you will see many products that are labeled, “Now, Gluten Free!”.  Of course, many of these products are newly developed and the labels are correct.  But if you look closer, these types of statements are typically marketing ploys to attract your attention.  Items such as orange juice and bacon are just a few examples. Bacon has never contained gluten and orange juice most certainly hasn’t either.  The best thing you can do is educate yourself so you don’t fall for these claims.  Manufacturers are hoping that you will buy their product because they are “Now, Gluten Free!” when in reality they always have been.

Remember, gluten free does not equal healthy.  The next time you’re at the store pulling a box of crackers off the shelf, read the ingredient label to know what you are purchasing and putting into your body.  You may find yourself making a decision to put it back on the shelf – so congratulations on being an informed consumer!

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Stefanie Gates, chef, is a regular contributor to our blog and a culinary advisor for PreviMedica. She enjoys developing recipes and creating cooking videos to share with our readers, as well as working one-on-one with our clients to teach them valuable cooking skills. You can learn more about her here.

Previ Culinary: Burrito Mason Jar Meal

What to pack for lunch is a conundrum that we all face nowadays. Fortunately, we have a solution! Mason jar meals are easy and keep for the entire week when prepared correctly. This burrito in a jar is sure to get you excited for lunch! Get creative and use different vegetables, dressings, and proteins. Do you have a meal in a jar that you love to have for lunch?

Mexican Burrito Jar

Adapted from: www.realsimple.com

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp. salsa
  • ¼ cup corn
  • ¼ cup black beans
  • ¼ cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2 Tbsp. shredded Mexican cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped tomatoes

Directions:

  1. To put together the jar, layer the ingredients from the bottom up in this order:
  • Salsa
  • Black beans
  • Corn
  • Rice
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Cheese
  1. Seal the jar and place in refrigerator until ready to eat.
  2. When ready to eat, stir or shake, and enjoy!

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Megan Huard, Chef RD and Stefanie Gates, chef, are regular contributors to our blog and culinary advisors for PreviMedica. They enjoy developing recipes and creating cooking videos to share with our readers, as well as working one-on-one with our clients to teach them valuable cooking skills. You can learn more about them here and here.

All Things Corn

Freshly picked selection:

Corn

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Corn is one of the oldest known food staples, and dates back to the ancient Mayan an Aztec civilizations.

Corn is now one of the most genetically modified crops in the U.S., so it is recommended to purchase organic and GMO-free when possible.

When it’s in season:

May-September

What to look for when purchasing:

You want to buy corn as fresh as possible because, once it is picked, the corn’s sugar begins to convert to starch which makes it less sweet. Look for ears with bright green, tight-fitting husks and golden brown silk. The kernels should be plump and milky, and the rows of kernels should be packed tight.

         How to store:         

Fresh corn should be cooked and served the day it is purchased or it can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Corn can also be purchased canned or frozen.

Varieties:

There are a handful of different varieties of corn with the two most popular being white corn called Country Gentleman and yellow corn, called Golden Bantam. White corn kernels tend to be smaller and sweeter than yellow corn.

How to prepare:

Strip off husks and silk just before cooking. Corn can be cooked on the cob, boiled or grilled, or the corn can be removed from the cob and cooked in various other ways.

Nutritional Benefits:

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Recipes to try:

While most people eat corn straight from the cob, it makes a great addition to salads. Check out our recipe for a protein-packed, gluten free option.

Mexican Quinoa Salad

Corn Fritters are another great way to enjoy corn. Making Thyme for Health has a great recipe that also contains zucchini.

Zucchini Corn Fritters

In addition to corn in kernel form, you can also use this versatile ingredient in the form of cornmeal for some tasty cornbread. Make the Best of Everything has a great gluten free recipe. If you are also avoiding dairy, you can easily substitute the yogurt and milk for dairy free options.

Gluten Free Coconut Oil Cornbread

Our Chefs Say:

“For a quick salsa, I throw together a small bag of frozen organic corn, 1 can black beans, chopped tomato, cilantro, and some lime juice. This combo is great for snacking on with corn chips, to add to salads, or on top of chicken or fish.” –Megan Huard, Chef RD

References:

Herbst, Sharon Tyler. Food lover’s companion: comprehensive definitions of over 3000 food, wine, and culinary terms. 3rd ed. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 1995. Print.

Mateljan, George. The Worlds Healthiest Foods. Seattle: George Mateljan Foundation, 2007. Print.

How to Bake With Less Fat & Sugar

How can you make those sweet treats laden with butter and sugar a tad more healthy? Read on to find out the purpose of fat and sugar in a recipe, and how you can replace them with healthier options to keep those treats just as tasty.

Zucchini Bread

We all love a cookie, cupcake, or muffin but unfortunately, these tasty treats can come with a lot of added undesirable fat in the form of butter, sugar, and oil.  Knowing the basics of baking and what certain ingredients do in a recipe can open a wide variety of doors when you are looking to cut down on fat and sugar in a recipe.  Let’s go over the “culprit” ingredients to begin with and then talk about the “replacements”.

  1. Sugar has a few purposes when used in baked goods. It helps create flavor, color, tenderization, serves as a preservative, and helps the baked good rise.
  2. Fat provides flavor, color, moisture, richness, acts as a preservative, and helps to shorten gluten strands making for a more tender product.

Sounds like you really can’t do without either one, right?  Well this is not necessarily true.  When you remove one or the other you do have to replace them with something.  You will have slight changes in the final product but most people don’t mind and certainly feel better about putting healthier ingredients into their recipe for less sugar, fat, and calories.

First let’s start with fat.  When you replace oil and butter you can replace half of it with other ingredients such as applesauce, pumpkin puree, banana, or even avocado.  We don’t recommend COMPLETELY eliminating the fat in your recipe because you do need some.  With that said, opt for a healthy fat replacement such as virgin coconut oil or if you want a more neutral flavor, organic almond or avocado oil.  It will keep your product tender and retain more moisture.

Sugar can be a bit more complicated.  Of course you can always replace cane sugar with agave, honey, or maple syrup.  If you use any one of these sweeteners, you should reduce the amount you use by about a third AT LEAST.  These sweeteners are much more concentrated and you are adding more moisture to the recipe that wasn’t called for than if you were using cane sugar.

If you are looking to replace sugar, some ingredients can do double duty!  Mashed bananas are a favorite due to their inherent sweetness; and they act as a fat substitute as well by adding moisture and color.  Pumpkin and applesauce can also replace sugar due to their natural sweetness.  Banana and pumpkin tend to lend a more specific flavor profile, while applesauce is a little bit more neutral in flavor.

As you can see, fat and sugar replacements go hand in hand or can be interchangeable.  Fat and sugar have similar jobs in baking, so it makes sense that substitutes would be similar in nature.  To wrap things up, let’s look at a real recipe and how we would replace ingredients to cut back on the amount of fat and sugar.

Simple Vanilla Cupcakes·         2 cups flour

·         ½ tsp. salt

·         2 tsp. baking powder

·         ½ cup butter, softened

·         ¾ cup sugar

·         2 eggs

·         1 cup milk

·         1 tsp. vanilla

 

Healthier Vanilla Cupcakes·         2 cups flour or GF cup for cup all-purpose flour blend

·         ½ tsp. salt

·         2 tsp. baking powder

·         ¼ cup virgin coconut oil (melted)

·         ¼ cup applesauce

·         1/3 cup maple syrup

·         2 eggs

·         2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk

·         1 tsp. vanilla

There are a few more ingredients in the revised recipe to the right, but overall it has much less sugar and fat.  We scaled back on the amount of liquid being added due to the liquid sweetener and replaced half of the butter with oil and half with applesauce (more neutral in flavor).

If you find when you mix up your batter that it is too thin or too thick, you can always add a little more flour or liquid to it to achieve the right consistency.  If you are using whole wheat flour, just be careful not to over stir it because this will cause the gluten to develop too much leading to more dense, tough cupcakes.

The next time you make muffins or cupcakes, give it a try.  You may be surprised with how your final product turns out!

IMG_3018Stefanie Gates, chef, is a regular contributor to our blog and is a culinary advisor for PreviMedica. She enjoys developing recipes and creating cooking videos to share with our readers, as well as working one-on-one with our clients to teach them valuable cooking skills. You can learn more about her here.

Nourished Kids: Homemade Chicken Veggie Patties

Think outside of the box to keep things interesting when cooking for your toddler.  We love to sneak in nutrition wherever we can. These homemade chicken veggie patties are extra easy and you can use leftover chicken and whatever vegetables you have on hand to make them. Thank you www.easytoddlermeals.com for the recipe!

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Chicken Veggie Patties

Adapted from: www.easytoddlermeals.com

Makes about 15 patties depending on what size scoop you use

Ingredients:

  • 1 small zucchini, grated
  • 6 florets of broccoli, grated
  • 1 bell pepper, finely chopped (whatever color you’d like, we used green)
  • 1/2 cup cooked chicken, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup gluten free flour (or unbleached wheat flour if not avoiding gluten)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2-4 tbsp. olive oil

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients except for the flour and olive oil in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and gently fold the flour into the mixture.
  3. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet.  Using a small cookie scoop, scoop the mixture into the hot pan and flatten it with the back of the scoop.  Cook until the patties are golden brown and then flip and cook until it is golden brown on the other side.
  4. Remove the patties from the pan and set on a paper towel to cool continuing to cook the remaining mixture.
  5. Serve to your kids warm with sour cream or whatever topping they would like.  These freeze well for up to 3 months.

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Stefanie Gates, chef, is a regular contributor to our blog and a culinary advisor for PreviMedica. She enjoys developing recipes and creating cooking videos to share with our readers, as well as working one-on-one with our clients to teach them valuable cooking skills. Her favorite job, of course, is being a mom and cooking up new recipes for her toddler.  You can learn more about her here.

Previ Culinary: Easy Tofu Pad Thai

Making your own Pad Thai isn’t as hard as it may seem. Instead of pre-mixing the sauce ingredients, we decided to add the individual ingredients straight to the pan and see how it did. It turned out no different than if they had been mixed ahead of time! We think this is easier, faster, and saves a LOT of time making it the perfect weeknight meal. If you’re a more confident cook, you can even skip the measuring. Eyeball the amounts and taste it as you go. You will have a delicious version of Pad Thai before you know it.

Easy Tofu Pad Thai

Written By: PreviMedica Culinary Advisors

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 7 oz. firm silken tofu, drained and diced
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup tamari or soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 1 tbsp. sriracha
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • ¼ cup water or vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 1 ½ cups cooked rice noodles
  • ½ cup grated carrot
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, sliced
  • ¼ cup sliced red onion
  • ¼ cup scallions, sliced
  • A few tablespoons of minced cilantro

Directions:

  1. Heat the sesame oil over medium high heat and add tofu to the oil. Saute until golden brown.
  2. Add in the garlic and ginger and saute for an additional two minutes. Add in tamari, sriracha, brown sugar, water or vegetable broth, and peanut butter.  Stir to combine and let simmer.
  3. Add in cooked rice noodles, grated carrot, red bell pepper, red onion. Heat through.
  4. Adjust seasonings as needed. Stir in cilantro and green onions.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Tofu_Pad_Thai

Megan Huard, Chef RD and Stefanie Gates, chef, are regular contributors to our blog and culinary advisors for PreviMedica. They enjoy developing recipes and creating cooking videos to share with our readers, as well as working one-on-one with our clients to teach them valuable cooking skills. You can learn more about them here and here.

 

All Things Cilantro

Freshly picked selection:

Cilantro

MangoCurryChicken

Cilantro is the leaf of the coriander plant. It is widely used in Asian, Caribbean, and Latin American cooking. Most people are either cilantro lovers or cilantro haters. Those who aren’t a fan of this herb and think it tastes like soap may have genetics to blame for that one.

When it’s in season:

Year round

       What to look for when purchasing:

Choose leaves with a bright green, even color and no sign of wilting.

          How to store:         

Cilantro can be stored up to 1 week in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Try adding a paper towel into the bag to absorb extra moisture. You can also store cilantro by placing the bunch, stems down in a cup of water and then covering with a plastic bag in the fridge. Be sure to change the water every 2-3 days.

Varieties:

The cilantro that most of us are familiar with is leaf cilantro. There is also Vietnamese cilantro and culantro which belongs to the same botanical family and can be used interchangeably in recipes.

How to prepare:

Just before using, be sure to wash cilantro well and pat dry with a paper towel. Both the leaves and stems of cilantro are edible so you can remove the leaves from the stems but it’s not necessary.

Nutritional Benefits:

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Recipes to try:

Cilantro adds a nice fresh flavor to pretty much any dish.

We are big fans of cilantro here at PreviMedica. Here are some of our favorite recipes containing this tasty herb.

Mango Curry Chicken

Mexican Quinoa Salad

This simple salmon recipe from Juliasalbum.com is a great way to enjoy the flavor of cilantro as well. Not a salmon fan? You can easily use the same recipe for chicken or pork.

Cilantro Lime Honey Garlic Salmon

Cilantro is one of the herbs that gives chimichurri it’s fresh taste. Check out the chimichurri recipe from smartlittlecookie.net. Chimichurri is usually eaten on top of steak but you can add it to chicken, fish, shrimp, or veggies for a flavorful sauce or marinade.

Homemade Chimichurri Sauce

Our Chefs Say:

“I’m a big cilantro fan so I put it in a lot of different dishes. I use it most often to make homemade salsa with corn, black beans, red onions, tomatoes, a little bit of lime juice, and a lot of fresh cilantro.” –Megan Huard, Chef RD

 

BBQ Recipe Roundup

Summer is right around the corner and you know what that means… BBQ season is upon us! There is nothing better than the smell of BBQ cooking, complemented with the sweet taste of corn on the cob and a slice of fresh watermelon on the side. We decided it was a perfect excuse to put together a recipe roundup with healthy spins on some BBQ classics and some new dishes to add to your picnic table this summer.

BBQ Recipes

The backbone of every BBQ is a really great barbecue sauce. While there are tons of options out there, most barbecue sauces in stores today are loaded with sugar and high fructose corn syrup, so we suggest making your own. It’s easier than you may think! This recipe from Theprettybee.com uses honey and molasses for a sweet, rich taste, and has a great spice combination for a really flavorful sauce. Best part? You can make it ahead of time and store for up to a week in the fridge. You can add this sauce to chicken, steak, or veggies.

Homemade Barbecue Sauce

If your not a fan of barbecue sauce, check out this easy kabob recipe with a Hawaiian flair from myglutenfree-kitchen.com. While the recipe calls for turkey you could easily substitute it with chicken, or we think this would be really tasty with fish as well.

Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs

And, let’s be honest the sides are really everyone’s favorite part of the BBQ spread. We love our herbed potato salad which is a lower calorie option compared to most mayonnaise-based potato salads.

Herbed Potato Salad

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Our gluten free pesto pasta salad also makes a hearty, flavorful side dish.

Pesto Pasta Salad

For a unique spin on coleslaw, check out this recipe from blackberrybabe.com that is mayo-free and has apples and radishes. We would recommend leaving out the sugar and maybe adding just a touch of honey.

Cabbage, Apple, and Radish Cole Slaw

And let’s not forget the corn, because what’s a BBQ without corn on the cob? Ceara’sKitchen has a great vegan version of Mexican street corn that would make a great addition.

Vegan Mexican Street Corn 

And last but not least, we of course wanted to finish our roundup with some sweet treat options. These are great because they can both be made ahead of time. Our avocado chocolate mousse is great to satisfy all the chocolate lovers!

Avocado Chocolate Mousse 

And we love this simple gluten free shortcake recipe from bushel-and-a-peck.com that just has a handful of ingredients.

Strawberry Shortcake

Happy BBQ’ing!


Megan Huard, Chef RD is a contributor on our blog as well as one of the culinary advisors here at PreviMedica. You can read more about her here.

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