Sunday, December 21, 2014

Potluck Dishes Fit for a Celiac Part II

These delicious stuffed squashes made a nice accessory to our pre-finals dinner of turkey, dressing, cooked kale and multitudes of baked goods. And did I mention they're gluten-free?

4 small acorn squash
1 1/2 lbs of sage bulk sausage, crumbled
1 cup onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 Granny Smith apples, cubed
Non-stick cooking spray
Fresh black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat a shallow baking pan with nonstick spray.

Trim a thin slice from both ends of each acorn squash, then cut them in half crosswise and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash, cut side down on the prepared baking sheet and bake until very tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 30 to 35 minutes. Turn the squash halves cut side up and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

While the squash bakes, saute the sausage over medium heat, breaking it up with a spatula as finely as possible as it cooks. Once the sausage is cooked through, transfer it to paper towel-lined platter. Discard most of the fat remaining in the pan, retaining about 1 tablespoon.

Add the onion to the pan and saute over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add the celery and continue cooking until the celery and onion are lightly caramelized. Add the apple, cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer, then return the sausage to the pan and combine well. Taste and season with freshly ground black pepper.

Divide the sausage mixture between the squash halves and return them to the oven. Bake until the apples are tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, 10 to 12 minutes. Plate and serve immediately.

Allergens: None
Nutrition (1/4 recipe): 400 calories, 24 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 72 mg cholesterol, 651 mg sodium, 864 mg potassium, 31 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 17 g protein, 15% vitamin A, 44% vitamin C, 9% iron, 8% calcium, 18% vitamin B-6, 11% folate, 18% magnesium, 20% manganese, 21% thiamine
Cost (1/4 recipe): $3.42

Adapted from:

Potluck Dishes Fit for a Celiac Part I

In a master's program of over 275 people, there is always someone hosting a dinner, a party or a happy hour. I may be a reluctant cook when I'm home by myself, but I love to cook for others when I get the opportunity! And all the better when I can use my dietitian super powers to feed someone special! 
One of my good friends is a celiac, and when I know she is attending, I am sure to bring something gluten-free! This time the theme was Mexican - a great potluck theme for anyone going gluten-free. Corn tortillas can easily replace flour tortillas in any recipe, and the rest of the fixings tend to be naturally gluten-free. For this enchilada recipe, I just made sure to check the ingredients label to make sure the sauce was safe too.

4 Gluten-free Corn tortillas
4 oz Grilled chicken, sliced
1 1/2 cups Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
2-3 Scallions, chopped
1 can black olives, sliced
1 packet Enchilada sauce, Frontera Green Chile Enchilada Sauce

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap tortillas in plastic wrap. Microwave until steamy, about 30 seconds. Roll 1/4 cup cheese into each warm tortilla. Place side-by-side in small baking dish or pie dish, seam-side down. Cover completely with sauce. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, scallions, and olives. Bake 15 minutes.

Allergens: Milk
Nutrition (1 Enchilada): 310 calories, 17 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 64 mg cholesterol, 835 mg sodium, 31 mg potassium, 20 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 19 g protein, 11% vitamin A, 4% vitamin C, 2% iron, 31% calcium
Approximate Cost (1 recipe): $4.87

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Cooking Demo Lessons: Mexican Skillet Rice

I just finished testing this recipe to prepare for my demo tomorrow - it actually turned out really well, I would even say it exceeded my expectations!

I learned about the "Simply Cook" online cookbook from a fellow dietitian, and former classmate. The cookbook is kind of like a dietitian's dream come true - it includes cooking basics, nutrition education, food safety and storage information, and most importantly, recipes! The recipes are even designed to focus on food staples found in many food pantries!

I chose the Mexican Skillet Rice for the demonstration for tomorrow because previous participants asked for one-pot meals that were affordable and easy to make. This recipe was a little vague on some details, so I added amounts for the tomato and cheese. I also recommend cooking the onions prior to adding the turkey if you want them to brown well. I estimated that the recipe would produce four portions, but they are very large portions, and are proportionately higher in calories in fat. A more healthy option may be to decrease the portion size. Additionally, half the portion size means half the cost - it would be only $1.75 for 1/8 recipe. I am still getting the hang of combining education and discussion during the demonstrations, but I hope to talk about:
- Use of beans to replace some or all of meat in a recipe
- Rinsing off canned beans to reduce sodium
- Trying to replace white rice with brown rice in recipes
- Cooking rice and chopping onion the night before to speed up the cooking process 
1 lb ground turkey
1 medium chopped onion
2 Tbsp taco seasoning
3 cups cooked rice (I used Texmati Brown Rice)
16 oz can drained pinto beans
2 4 oz cans of diced green chiles
2 chopped tomatoes
1 cup shredded cheese


In a large skillet cook 1 lb. ground turkey, 1 medium chopped onion and 2 tbsp. taco seasoning for 5 minutes, or until onions are softened. Mix in 3 cups cooked rice, 1 (16-oz.) can drained pinto beans, and 2 (4-oz.) cans diced green chiles. Cook for 5 minutes or until heated through. Top with chopped tomato and shredded cheese.

P.S. After preparing this recipe again, I think it makes closer to six servings, so I included both divisions for the nutrition information below.

Allergens: Milk, Soy? (taco seasoning) 

Nutrition (1/4 recipe): 665 calories, 21 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 130 mg cholesterol, 875 mg sodium, 720 mg potassium, 71 g carbohydrate, 13 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 48 g protein, 32% vitamin A, 22% vitamin C, 33% iron, 28% calcium
Approximate Cost (1/4 recipe): $3.50

Nutrition (1/6 recipe): 445 calories, 14 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 87 mg cholesterol, 584 mg sodium, 481 mg potassium, 48 g carbohydrates, 0 g sugar, 9 g fiber, 32 g protein, 21% vitamin A, 15% vitamin C, 22% iron, 19% calcium
Approximate Cost (1/6 recipe): $2.33

Recipe From