20 healthy Easter sides? Check the salt and fat content first

Holidays are always difficult when you’re trying to minimize your salt, sugar and bad fat intake. Easter — traditionally a ham or lamb day — is no exception. We’ve posted about trying seafood instead, something we plan. But what about the side dishes? The Food Network recently ran this piece on 20 Healthy Easter Side Dishes which, of course, got my attention.

I regularly use pepper on grilled veggies such as these asparagus and zucchini.

But how healthy are they, really? The first, Provencal Potato Gratin, isn’t if you’re worried about sugar level since it starts with potatoes and also includes cheese, which is salty and fatty.

The steamed artichoke is good, if you leave off the melted butter shown. Try some lemon juice instead. Continue reading “20 healthy Easter sides? Check the salt and fat content first”

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Looking for a low-salt Easter dinner idea? Try fish

Fish is a traditional Friday dish for Catholics on Friday during Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter. Easter Sunday itself is usually reserved for salty main courses, like ham, or fattier ones like lamb. But if you want to avoid high-salt, high-fat meals, why not try fish for an Easter Sunday main course instead?

The New York Times recently ran an easy-to-make recipe for Sheet-Pan Roasted Fish With Sweet Peppers.

You can use hake, cod or flounder as the main ingredient. I’d leave out the salt called for, but include everything else, except look for low-salt olive instead of regular salty ones. Ingredients are: Continue reading “Looking for a low-salt Easter dinner idea? Try fish”

A quick spring salad — radicchio and asparagus give it variety

The trick to keep salads from getting boring for those of us who eat a lot of them is to mix up the variety of items to add to the basic lettuce. This salad, using bibb lettuce along with radicchio, and asparagus, popped up recently in a Cooking Light email I receive and I thought it sounded worth sharing.

Ingredients are simple and easy to prepare (leave out the salt as we usually advise):

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt  (who needs this)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups thinly sliced radicchio
  • 1 cup diagonally sliced asparagus
  • 1 head Bibb lettuce, leaves separated and torn (about 6 oz.)

Continue reading “A quick spring salad — radicchio and asparagus give it variety”

Women may benefit more from low-salt diets than men

Women may benefit more from low-salt diets than will men when it comes to reducing their high blood pressure, a study published in the research journal Hypertension.Salt can lead to stomach cancer, one more reason to get it out of your diet.

As all too often happens, past research has looked primarily at men and their reactions to salt, the study authors note.

The researchers worked with male and female rats and found It all has to do  with levels of a hormone called aldosterone. If you want the scientific specifics, click here.

The point is women need to watch their salt intake, especially if they’re already dealing with high blood pressure. We have plenty of low-salt and salt-free recipes on our recipe page, start your efforts to dump the salt there.

5 Food Trends for 2019 — back to basics

The year may be almost 1.6th over, but we still wanted to report on a prediction for food trends for 2019, so here’s the outlook from the GE Appliances site, of all places. But I suppose who better to predict than a maker of ovens?

A tasty idea, grill fish on a bed of lemon slices.
Pacific Rim Fusion cooking includes lots of seafood.

The first is Pacific Rim fusion which the site defines broadly as cuisines from any country that touches on the Pacific Ocean, from the United States all the way to New Zealand, Japan and their neighbors.

A second trend will be the return of classic cooking techniques while a third is the resurfacing of French cuisine and French cooking techniques (somewhere, Julia Child is smiling.

Another is plant-based eating which has been getting a great deal of press this year.

Sadly, there’s nothing in here about lower-salt, lower-sugar, and healthy fat cooking

A Salt-Free Thanksgiving Side — Roasted Vegetables with Pumpkin Seed Gremolata

If you’re searching for salt-free side dishes to make for Thanksgiving that will amaze and satisfy your guests try this variation on roasted vegetables from Chef Laura Frankel.

I recently met Chef Laura and sampled this wonderfully tasty dish, at a meeting of my local Mended Hearts chapter, a support group for heart disease survivors.

The dish contains things I never eat, like Brussel Sprouts. Somehow, Chef Laura has made them desirable, a miracle in culinary magic if you ask me.

Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy!

Here’s the recipe:

Roasted Vegetables with Pumpkin Seed Gremolata

8+ servings as a side

3 large shallots, sliced thinly
1 pound Brussels sprouts, cut in half
2 Sweet potatoes, not peeled, cut into large dice
1 small Acorn or butternut squash, peeled and cut into thin wedges or large dice
2 raw beets, peeled and cut into large dice
1 small celery root, peeled and sliced thinly
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly cracked black pepper

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, preheat oven to 400F.

1. Toss vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange on lined baking sheet.
2. Roast vegetables in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender.
3. Arrange vegetables on serving platter and sprinkle generously with Gremolata.

Gremolata

½ cup pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
6 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane
Pinch of crushed red chili flakes
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
2 fresh sage leaves
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Toast pumpkin seeds in a dry medium saute pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they pop. Transfer seeds to a food processor.
2. Pulse toasted seeds, parsley, garlic, chili flakes, zest and juice, sage leaves and extra virgin olive oil until a coarse mixture is formed.
3. Sprinkle gremolata on top of roasted vegetables, roasted chicken, fish and turkey.

A low-sodium Thanksgiving’s cooking guide

Traditional Thanksgiving fare is loaded with salt and fat, so double your vigilance when planning your Thanksgiving menu this year.

We have lots of tips on our site, check our recipe page for low-salt sides. We have a recipe for a low-sodium stuffing, as well as an entire low-sodium Thanksgiving menu.

And start by getting a fresh turkey that hasn’t been injected with a salt bath you check salt content on some of the frozen, self-basting turkeys, you’ll see salt content around 200 mgs or more per serving. That’s about three times what is in a serving of fresh turkey.

You can cut the salt and still enjoy Thanksgiving!

 

A fall chicken recipe, modified — chicken braised in two vinegars

I keep on eye on the New York Times for recipe ideas, but usually what they feature has too much salt, fat or sugar for my needs. Such was the case when I recently received a Times email entitled 72 Recipes You Should Make This Fall.

The Times suggests serving this chicken over polenta, I’d do it with a side of green beans or asparagus.

 

Looking through them, I didn’t see many heart-health choices until I came across this chicken braised in two vinegars recipe. The Times uses thighs, high in fat, so I’d substitute breasts and leave off the salt mentioned as something you can add for serving.

The ingredients (with my changes): Continue reading “A fall chicken recipe, modified — chicken braised in two vinegars”

Pasta, swordfish, eggplant — if you like all those, try this

Pasta is always a favorite for me, although these days I eat only multigrain pasta because of my heart issues. I normally make my own tomato sauce to avoid high-salt processed alternatives. But occasionally, I’ll try something without a traditional tomato sauce, like this fun-sounding dish, Sicilian Swordfish Pasta With Eggplant and Tomatoes.

Rigatoni with swordfish, eggplant and tomatoes.
Rigatoni with swordfish, eggplant and tomatoes.

Swordfish is a relatively healthy fish when it comes to the type of fat it contains, but eating large amounts of it could cause other problems since it’s a fish that can contain high levels of mercury (sorry, every food seems to have its ups and downs healthwise doesn’t it).

The recipe is fairly simple to make.

Step 1: Fry the Eggplant
Step 2: Infuse Oil With Garlic
Step 3: Add Swordfish and Cook
Step 4: Add Tomatoes, Wine, and Herbs
Step 5: Add Eggplant, Then Finish

For all the details, simply click here to go to the site where I found this recipe.

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