Tag Archives: #vegetarian

Whole Wheat Broccoli Cheese Hand Pies

Broccoli cheese calzone is a regular on the dinner menu in my house because it’s easy to make, takes just three ingredients, and everyone likes it. Check, check and check! In fact, I make the large calzone so often that I thought it was high time to shake it up. The result: Whole Wheat Broccoli Cheese Hand Pies. More fun, and even better for you.  They’re perfect for a Meatless Monday meal, and are fun the next day for lunch, too!

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The recipe is really not a recipe at all.

All you need is 10 cups chopped, cooked 1-inch broccoli florets, 1 pound of whole wheat pizza dough, 16 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese (you can use pre-shredded cheese, block cheese cut into thin slices, or a mixture), and 3 teaspoons olive oil, which is optional.

That’s it!

Heat the oven to 400˚F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into 8, 7-inch circles.  I use an inverted bowl to do this. You may need to gather up the dough and roll it out again to make eight circles.

Place half the cheese on the rounds to within a half inch of the edge of the dough. The cheese forms a barrier between the dough and the broccoli to keep the hand pie from getting soggy.

Don’t worry about the cheese. Use whatever type you have on hand.

Top with the remaining cheese.

Fold the dough in half over the broccoli and cheese filling, and seal the edges with the tines of a fork. They’re messy, so no need to be super neat about the filling!

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Get your kids involved in assembling the hand pies. 

Gently place the hand pies on to the baking sheet. Brush with olive oil for a more golden glow, if desired.

Whole Wheat Broccoli Cheese Hand Pies are cute, a bit messy, and delicious!

Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Pair the hand pies with fruit and milk for an easy lunch for kids and adults!

Easy Black Bean Brownie Recipe

Warning: Rave ahead. As in I can’t stop raving about this easy black bean brownie recipe that’s flourless and gluten-free!

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How to make healthier brownies

Fruits and vegetables can make indulgences like brownies healthier, even when treats have added sugar.

Beans, which are a vegetable, are brimming with good nutrition.

Beans supply protein, fiber, and potassium, and beans also contain phytonutrients, compounds that protect cells.

Beans are useful for replacing some fat in baked goods, and black beans enhance the fudge-like texture of baked goods.

In this recipe, pureed black beans stand in for flour.

In addition, along with the raspberries, black beans bump up the fiber to 8 grams per serving – about 25% of the Daily Value for fiber! And, black beans and eggs team up to supply 7 grams of protein per serving.

I can’t get enough raspberries. They’re delicious, beautiful, and powerful little orbs that supply vitamin C, fiber, phytonutrients, and so much more. And, raspberries provide natural sweetness so you can use less added sugar in baked goods.

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Simple black bean brownies to brag about 

I told you I was going to brag.

These easy black bean brownies take about 40 minutes from start to finish. While they look special enough for a celebration, they’re also easy enough to make any time.

We are crazy about this easy black bean brownie recipe at our house. I hope you like it as much as we do!

Easy Black Bean Brownie Recipe 

Makes 8 servings.

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon canola oil

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup + 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (or 1/3 cup white chocolate chips for the topping)

1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries, washed and dried

Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

Place the beans and 3 tablespoons of oil in a food processor. Process on high until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the eggs, sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract and blend well.  Add the baking powder and salt and blend for 10 seconds more. Stir in 1/2 cup of the dark chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Allow the brownies to cool for 30 minutes.

Top the brownies with the raspberries.  Combine the remaining teaspoon of canola oil and the remaining 1/3 cup dark or white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave until chips are melted, about 20 to 30 seconds, stopping to stir once.  Immediately drizzle the chocolate mixture on top of the raspberries. Allow the chocolate to harden for at least 10 minutes before serving.

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Per serving: 
316 calories; 14 grams fat (5 grams saturated fat); 54 milligrams cholesterol; 271 milligrams sodium; 45 grams carbohydrate; 8 grams fiber; 7 grams protein

Matcha Avocado Smoothie

Matcha is popular for making hot tea, but there are other ways to enjoy this nutritious ground green tea powder.  Try it in a creamy vegan matcha avocado smoothie with no added-sugar. 

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This delicious drink supplies one and a half servings of fruits and vegetables, nine grams of fiber, calcium, heart-healthy fat, and much more.

Why matcha is good for you

Matcha and other green tea contains antioxidants that may fight cancer.  And, drinking green tea is linked to lower blood pressure and lower levels of LDL, or bad, cholesterol in the blood.

However, there’s not much research on matcha itself. Even though matcha is a type of green tea, experts aren’t sure that it has the same effects on health. Even so, matcha is good for you. 

Matcha contains caffeine

Matcha has caffeine, but relatively low levels. As a result, this matcha avocado smoothie provides a gentle energy lift, rather than a jolt. 

I like to use McCormick Gourmet Organic Matcha Green Tea with Ginger Seasonings*.  When you use it in the smoothie, it supplies about four milligrams of caffeine. That’s the same as 12 ounces of decaffeinated coffee.

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When you make the smoothie with regular matcha, the caffeine content is about 50 milligrams, far less than coffee. For instance, 16 ounces of Starbucks coffee has 330 milligrams caffeine.

The bottom line on matcha 

Matcha is not a magic bullet for preventing chronic conditions, but it may help as part of a balanced diet. And, it’s delicious and fun to use! 

No need to overdo it with matcha. It’s potent, so a little goes a long way. 

Enjoy!

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Matcha Avocado Smoothie

Makes 1 serving.

1/2 cup chopped kale or spinach

1/2 medium frozen ripe banana, sliced

1/2 pitted ripe avocado, sliced

1/2 cup unsweetened fortified soy beverage (or 1% low-fat milk)

1/2 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Organic Matcha Green Tea with Ginger Seasoning, or regular matcha

Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Blend on high speed for 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth. Pour into a glass and drink immediately.

Per serving:
281 calories; 16 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat); 6 milligrams cholesterol; 76 milligrams sodium; 32 grams carbohydrate; 9 grams fiber; 8 grams protein

*McCormick and Organic Living Superfoods are not clients.

Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter “Ice Cream”

Eating a more plant-based diet doesn’t mean you have to give up dessert.  Indulge in this Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter “Ice Cream.” It’s satisfying, heart-healthy, vegan, and it’s even gluten-free!

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Ripe bananas are the silent partner in this frozen delight, and they make it unnecessary to add sugary sweeteners.  Keep chunks of frozen banana in the freezer to use on a moment’s notice, or freeze chopped bananas for at least two hours before making this, or other recipes, such as smoothies.

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I use unsweetened cocoa powder in my “ice cream” because it’s the part of chocolate with the most health benefits, and none of the sugar.  You can also add cocoa powder to savory dishes, such as chili, to amp up flavor and nutrition.

Natural peanut butter is typically free of added sugar, and, along with chopped peanuts, contributes heart-healthy fat, an intense peanut flavor, and creaminess. Learn how to make homemade peanut butter from Sally Kuzemchak over at Real Mom Nutrition. (Hint: It’s easy!)

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Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter “Ice Cream”

Makes 2 servings

2 medium ripe bananas, cut into chunks and frozen*

2 tablespoons natural peanut butter (with no added sugar)

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons chopped peanuts

Place bananas in a large food processor. Add the peanut butter, cocoa powder, and vanilla.  Blend until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with peanuts. Serve immediately.

*Freeze for at least 2 hours.

Per serving:
252 calories; 12 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat); 0 cholesterol; 132 milligrams sodium; 29 grams carbohydrate; 5 grams fiber; 7 grams protein

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Better for You Chili

Chili is the perfect meal for cooler days. My version is better for you because it’s light on the beef, packed with vegetables, and features a secret ingredient that boosts flavor and nutrition without overpowering the dish. It’s a good idea to make a double batch of this easy, nutritious dish. It tastes great the next day, too!

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More Beans, Please

I like more beans (technically, legumes) and less meat in my chili to improve nutrition and cut food cost.  Beans supply protein, fiber, potassium, and many other vitamins and minerals, and, as part of a balanced diet, they can help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood that lead to clogged arteries and heart disease. Beans are rich in prebiotics that feed the good bacteria in your gut, which benefits your health in several ways.

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I choose canned, drained beans for the sake of convenience and because I lack the forethought to buy dried beans and soak them! Rinse canned beans to reduce their sodium content by as much as 40%.

Have it Your Way

This recipe is flexible.  You can use turkey instead of beef, eliminate the meat and add even more beans to make a vegetarian chili, or use different types of beans, such as white kidney beans and garbanzo beans. Also, I’m a wimp, so I keep the heat to a minimum. Add chili powder, jalapeño peppers, more cumin, or any other spice you like. It’s your choice!

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The Secret Ingredient, Revealed

So, what’s the big secret? A little bit of cocoa powder.  Unsweetened cocoa powder upgrades chili by intensifying the flavor of the meat, and you won’t even know it’s there. Cocoa powder is also good for you.

Cocoa contains antioxidants called flavonoids. While it’s still unclear exactly how flavonoids benefit health, they may help to lower blood pressure, which protects the heart and the brain.

Buy unsweetened cocoa powder that hasn’t been treated with alkaline, which reduces flavonoid content. Avoid Dutch-process cocoa.

Better for You Chili

Makes 6 servings.

8 ounces 95% lean ground beef or 100% ground skinless turkey breast

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

2 tablespoons canola or olive oil

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 16-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 28-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, not drained

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Place a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the meat, breaking it up into very small pieces as it cooks.  Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Remove the meat from the pan. Set the meat aside.

Return the pan to the burner. Add the oil and heat over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute for two minutes or until clear. Add the garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook, stirring constantly, for another minute.  Add peppers, and continue to cook until peppers are soft, about 2 minutes.

Add the beans, tomatoes, cocoa powder, and meat to the pan. Combine thoroughly. Cover, and simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Per serving:

Calories: 291
Total fat: 9 grams
Saturated fat: 2 grams
Cholesterol: 33 milligrams
Sodium: 586 milligrams
Carbohydrate: 35 grams
Dietary fiber: 10 grams
Protein: 21 grams

 

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No Added Sugar Fruit and Nut Bread

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No Added Sugar Fruit and Nut Bread 

Baking without sugar and gluten

I love to bake, but the last thing I need is more sugar in my life. Sugary foods are my downfall, especially muffins, quick breads, and other baked goods that are often as sweet as cake! This no-added sugar fruit and nut bread satisfies my sweet tooth. What’s more, it’s perfect for nutritious meals and snacks, especially if you’re following a no added sugar diet.

Baking with ripe bananas is a great way to cut down on added sugar without sacrificing great taste. I use raisins to provide even more natural sweetness so there’s no need for sugar, honey, or other sweeteners. And, almonds and walnuts supply protein, heart-healthy fat, fiber, and some serious crunch!

Why carbohydrates are important

I don’t have a problem with gluten, but I know others may. I use oat flour, which is really easy to make at home, instead of wheat flour in this recipe. As a result, this moist and delicious gluten-free bread is packed with whole grain goodness.

The beauty of this bread is that it’s flexible. You can mix and match the types of nuts and dried fruits you use in any combination. And, you can make 12 muffins out of the batter instead of a single loaf of bread.

There are so many ways to enjoy a slice of this tasty quick bread. For instance, top a slice with peanut butter, almond butter, or cottage cheese. Pair a slice with an egg or two or a carton of Greek yogurt for a quick meal or snack. Add a piece of fruit for a balanced meal or snack.

I hope you enjoy this bread as much as we do in our house!

No Added Sugar Fruit and Nut Bread

This gluten-free quick bread gets its sweetness from ripe bananas and dried fruit – no added sugar required! 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Resting Time15 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: banana, glutenfree, no added sugar, quickbread
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 253kcal
Author: ewardrd

Ingredients

  • 2 medium ripe bananas
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups oat flour*
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened dried apricots, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries**

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350˚F. 
    Coat a 1 ½-quart loaf pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
    In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas until no longer chunky. Using a whisk, add the eggs and canola oil and combine well. Add the oat flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine.
    Add almonds, walnuts, apricots, and raisins, and blend well.
    Pour the batter into the loaf pan and spread it evenly. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
    Cool for 15-20 minutes out of the pan before cutting.
    * To make oat flour, place 2 cups of gluten-free one-minute or old fashioned oats in a food processor and process on high speed until oats achieve a powder-like consistency, about 1 minute.
    ** Most dried sweetened cranberries have some added sugar.

Calories: 253, Total fat: 14 grams, Saturated fat: 1 gram, Cholesterol: 35 milligrams, Sodium: 135 milligrams, Carbohydrate: 29 grams, Dietary fiber: 4 grams, Protein: 6 grams, Calcium: 64 milligrams, Iron: 2 milligrams


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    Mix and match the nuts and dried fruit to your liking!

    Peanut Butter Cereal Bars

    I love energy bars, but most store-bought varieties are expensive and they don’t always taste great. I thought I could do better, so I came up with these no-bake Peanut Butter Cereal Bars.

    No-bake Peanut Butter Cereal Bars

    How to Create a Lower-Cost Energy Bar

    To keep this recipe cost-effective, I used store brand ingredients whenever possible. Here are some tips:

    • I chose peanut butter because it’s the least expensive of nut butter. Chunky peanut butter provides extra crunch in this recipe. If you don’t have chunky peanut butter, use creamy and add 1/3 cup chopped peanuts.

    • Honey is often less expensive than pure maple syrup, but it’s not vegan. Maple syrup works just as well as a sweetener and to hold the other ingredients together.

    • Store-brand raisins supply sweetness without added sugar, and they are likely to be the least expensive dried fruit. (Learn how to cut back on sugar here.)

    • If you substitute a higher-fiber whole grain ready-to-eat cereal for what I use in the recipe, the cost may go up, and it could increase the calorie count.

    • Use certified gluten-free oats for a gluten-free bar.

    Using parchment paper makes clean up a snap!

    No-Bake Peanut Butter Cereal Bars

    These delicious bars supply 10 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, use 5 ingredients and take 5 minutes to put together! 
    Prep Time5 mins
    Total Time49 mins
    Course: Breakfast, Snack
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: peanut butter cereal bars
    Servings: 12
    Calories: 302kcal
    Author: ewardrd

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 cups crunchy peanut butter Use no added sugar peanut butter, if desired.
    • 1/2 cup California raisins
    • 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
    • 2 cups quick oats, uncooked
    • 2 cups plain Cheerios, or store-brand equivalent

    Instructions

    • Coat a 8″ x 8″ baking pan with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
      Combine all the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
      Press the bar mixture evenly into the pan. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
      Cut into 12 squares. Keep refrigerated.

    Nutrition Information: Per serving: 302 calories; 17 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat); 0 cholesterol; 191 milligrams sodium; 31 grams carbohydrate; 5 grams fiber; 10 grams protein.

      Need a chocolate fix? Toss 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips into the bar mixture. Using mini chips better distributes the chocolate flavor, so you use less and it costs less!

      Serving suggestion: Pair with eight ounces of dairy milk or a carton of Greek yogurt and a banana. You’ll get a serving each of fruit, dairy, and whole grains, as well as at least 20 grams of protein, the minimum amount of protein you should have at every meal.

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