Looking for some comfort food to take the edge off of a tiring day? This recipe from the new fifth edition of my Sports Nutrition Guidebook will give you a “food hug” within the boundries of a healthy meal. Enjoy!
Light-yet-lively Mac & Cheese
I’ve lightened up his family favorite meal by adding diced cauliflower. No one will notice the difference, especially if you use small shells for the pasta. The cauliflower hides inside the shell.
Becausethis recipe includes chopping and grating, invite a friend or family member to help you cook. While you make the sauce, someone can grate the cheese, and another person can dice the cauliflower. The final result is a meal made with love.
If you don’t have time to bake the Mac & Cheese, skip those instructions. It tastes good right off the stove top!
2 cups (about half a box) of uncooked small pasta, such as small elbows or small shells
2 cups finely diced cauliflower
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons flour
¼ tsp dry mustard
¼ tsp garlic powder
salt, pepper to taste
5 ounces shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
Optional: 2 tablespoons lowfat cream cheese
1.Fill a pasta pot with water and to a boil. While the water is heating, dice the cauliflower into small pieces.
2.Add the pasta to the boiling water, cook for about five minutes, and then add the diced cauliflower. Drain when the pasta and cauliflower are tender, in about 4 or 5 minutes.
3. In a large saucepan, wisk together the flour and milk, place over medium-high heatand bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
4.Add the mustard, garlic powder, cayenne, (lowfat cream cheese), salt and pepper; mix well.
5.Add the grated cheddar cheese, stirring until melted.
6.Add the pasta and cauliflower.
7.Enjoy eating it as is, or pour the mixture into an 8 x 8 baking pan that has been treated with cooking spray and bake for 20 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly.
Here’s a recipe that’s sure to please the whole family. (Older kids might even enjoy helping you by filling the shells!) The recipe includes protein- and calcium-rich Greek yogurt. The yogurt adds a lighter texture to the ricotta filling, without any change in taste.
As with many pasta recipes, only one-third of the calories are from carbohydrates. Hence, if you are carbo-loading, be sure to round out the meal with crusty whole grain bread, steamed green beans, and fruit salad.
1 box (16 oz) jumbo pasta shells 2 C part-skim ricotta cheese 1 C Plain 0% fat Greek Yogurt 2 C shredded mozzarella 1/2 C grated Parmigiano-Reggiano 1 to 1.5 26-ounce jars spaghetti sauce (depending on how much you like) 1-2 tsp dried oregano
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add shells and cook according to directions. Drain the shells and cool on a baking sheet (so the shells so not stick together).
2. Combine the ricotta, Greek yogurt, 1 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and oregano in a bowl. Set aside.
3. Pour 1 cup sauce into bottom of shallow baking dish large enough to hold shells in single layer. Spoon cheese mixture into shells and arrange seam side up in baking dish.
4. Top shells with the remaining sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until cheese melts and sauce bubbles.
I recently received a rave review for these muffins. (“Yummy!!!) They are remarkably sweet and moist, despite having no added fat. The 3 grams of fat per muffin are from the health-protective fats in the ground flaxseed meal.
Flax is a source of anti-inflammatory fats that have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and cancer. Flax has a very mild taste and tastes good when mixed into muffins and breads, as well as sprinkled on cereal. This muffin recipe is one way to add the recommended daily one tablespoon of flaxseed to your breakfast and snacks.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, you might be looking for a tasty munchie to bring to the festivities. This snack has everything your taste buds could possibly want: sweet, spicy, salty, and crunchy. Plus, nuts are very health-protective. The fat in nuts has an anti-inflammatory effect; it helps heal the tiny injuries that occur during exercise.
Despite popular belief, nuts are not inherently fattening. That is, nut eaters are not fatter than people who avoid nuts. I happen to consider nuts to be a good snack for dieters because nuts are satiating and keep you feeling full for a while. Better than yet-another pretzel!
If you are thinking about making some food gifts for the holidays, this recipe works well. Toast up a batch, put them in jars, tie on ribbons. Voila, a gift worth fighting over!
The recipe is reprinted with permission from: No WhineWith Dinner bythe Meal Makeover Moms, aka Janice Bissex RD and Liz Weiss RD. (www.MealMakeoverMoms.com). Enjoy!
Sugar and Spice Pecans
1 egg white
1 teaspoon water
1 pound pecan halves (about 4 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt, preferably kosher
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Whisk together the egg white and water in a large bowl until well blended. Add the pecans and toss to coat evenly.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and spices, then sprinkle it over the nuts. Toss until well coated.
4. Spread the pecans in a single layer on the baking sheet, and bake until the glaze is crisp and golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.
16 servings (1/4 cup) Total calories: 3,500
220 calories per serving, 10 g Carb, 3 g Pro, 20 g (healthy) fat
When a dietitian volunteers to bring dessert to a dinner party, what does she bring? Here’s what I offered … and folks loved it! Peach & Gingersnap Sundaes are not only yummy, but also enjoyably “light” after a hearty meal and deliciously different. Give ‘em a try?
Delightfully different and yummy-good, this is a welcomed snack for kids as well as an easy dessert for company dinner.
You can prepare the yogurt and gingersnaps ahead of time, and then add the warm peaches at the last minute.
The recipe can be easily adapted using different fruits and flavors of yogurt.
You can also easily cut the recipe and make a single serving just for yourself.
1 tablespoon margarine or butter
1 15-ounce can diced peaches, or 2 cups fresh or frozen peaches, diced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
12 gingersnap cookies
4 6-ounce containers vanilla or peach yogurt, lowfat or fatfree
1. Melt butter or margarine in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the diced peaches, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cook, stirring occassionally, for 2 to 5 minutes, or until the peaches are hot. Remove from heat.
2. Meanwhile, place the gingersnaps in a sturdy plastic bag; seal the bag. Crush the cookies to course crumbs with a mallet or rolling pin.
3. To serve, spon the yogurt into the bottom of 4 dessert dishes. Sprinkle with gingersnap crumbs, dividing evenly. Top with the warm peaches, and enjoy.
Are you looking for a useful gift for your friends or relatives who are also parents? Look no more!
The Meal Makeover Moms (www.mealmakeovermoms.com) have created "No Whine with DInner", a cookbook filled with 150 family-friendly recipes that are healthful, kid-approved, and easy to prepare. What more could any busy Mom want to help resolve the “what’s for dinner” crisis?
Here’s a recipe that will both boost your sports diet and please your palate:
Potato Carrot Soup with Goldfish Croutons
Your family might ask “Is this soup healthy? It tastes too good.”
1-tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced celery
½ cup diced onion
1 32-ounce carton chicken broth
2 pounds (5 cups) diced potato (1”cubes)
1 cup shredded carrot
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup frozen corn
½ cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
Salt, pepper as desired
½ cup whole grain Goldfish crackers
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the celery and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened, about 7 minutes.
2. Stir in the broth, potatoes, carrot and thyme. Cover, raise the heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook at a low boil, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Remove the thyme, and let the mixture cool slightly. Transfer to a blender and puree in batches until very smooth and creamy. You can also use an immersion blender to puree the soup.
4. Place the soup back in the saucepan over low heat. Add the corn and cheese and stir until the cheese melts. Season with salt and pepper. Top each serving with about 9 Goldfish crackers.
Yield: 6 servings (as a side dish)
210 calories per serving
35 grams carbohydrate
8 grams protein
5 grams fat
Reprinted with permission from Janice Bissex and Liz Weiss, "No Whine with DInner: 150 kid-tested recipes from the Meal Makeover Moms.
For athletes on the go, the best breakfast is something that’s fast, easy, nutritious and delicious. Here’s a super sports breakfast idea from Nina Marinello, PhD, Coordinator of Sports Nutrition at the University at Albany. So good, you might want to enjoy two of ‘em! Thanks, Nina, for the tasty idea.
Whey to Go English Muffins
• Toast a whole wheat English muffin.
• Top each half with part-skim ricotta cheese.
• Sprinkle on cinnamon and add sliced bananas, your favorite fruit or fruit spread.
This breakfast has just what the sports nutritionist ordered: carbohydrates for energy and protein to repair and build muscle. As a matter of fact, ricotta is a good source of whey protein which is essential for repairing and building muscle.
To add more energy-providing carbohydrates, muscle-building whey protein, and health-enhancing vitamins and minerals, top this breakfast off with a glass of low-fat chocolate milk. You’ll have a breakfast that’s a real winner!
Deep fat fried chicken is popular with many athletes, but fails to be the healthiest of sports foods. This recipe, from my Sports Nutrition Guidebook, offers a yummy alternative that will get “thumbs up” from even fussy eaters.
The recipe is reprinted with permission from the May/June 1999 issue of Cook’s Illustrated, a cooking magazine that I highly recommend if you want to learn more about the what’s, how’s, and why’s of cooking (www.cooksillustrated.com).
1 box (5 ounces) Melba toast
2 to 4 tablespoons olive or canola oil
2 egg whites or 1 egg
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Optional: 1 tablespoon dijon mustard; salt and pepper
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Set a wire rack in a shallow baking pan. If desired, line the pan with foil for ease with clean-up. Cooking the chicken on a rack allows air to circulate on all sides, resulting in a crisper chicken without turning.
2. Put the Melba toast into a heavy-duty plastic bag, seal, and pound with a rolling pin or other hard object (wine bottle, can, fist). Leave some crumbs the size of small pebbles to add crunchiness.
3. Put the crumbs in a shallow dish and drizzle the oil over them, tossing well to distribute the oil evenly.
4. Beat the egg in a medium bowl. Add optional seasonings as desired.
5. One piece of chicken at a time, coat the chicken with the egg mixture, then place in the crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs over the flesh and press them in.
6. Gently shake off excess crumbs and place the chicken on the rack.
7. Bake about 40 minutes, or until the coating is a deep brown and the juices run clear when the meat is slit with a knife.
With a blizzard blanketing the East Coast, snow shovelers will welcome a warm and hearty dinner. Here’s one of my family’s favorite winter meals: Enchilada Casserole (one of 70 sports recipes in my Sports Nutrition Guidebook). If you keep the ingredients stocked (keep meat in the freezer), you can easily create the casserole with little effort.
This particular recipe is made with hamburger, but you could just as easily make it with ground turkey, diced tofu, or kidney beans. For color and crunch, top the casserole with diced peppers.
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained (or fresh tomatoes, chopped)
10-ounce can enchilada sauce
16-ounce can refried beans, preferably low fat
6 ounces baked corn chips
4 ounces cheddar cheese, preferably reduced fat
Optional: 1 medium onion, chopped; 1 teaspoon chili powder; 1/2 teaspoon dried basil; 1 green pepper, diced
1. Brown the ground beef (and onion) in a large nonstick skillet.
2. Drain any fat, then add the diced tomatoes, enchilada sauce, and refried beans (and chili and basil, as desired). Heat until bubbly.
3. Preheat the oven to 350F. Crumble the corn chips and spread all but 1 cup in the bottom of a 9” x 13” baking pan.
4. Pour the enchilada-beef sauce over the chips.
5. Grate the cheese and sprinkle it over the enchilada-beef sauce. Sprinkle with 1 cup corn chips (and diced green pepper, if desired).
6. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
A sports diet need not be a “perfect diet” to be “good diet” I tell my clients to aim for a food plan that includes 85-90% quality foods and 10-15% “treats.”
Here’s a recipe that fits into the “treat” category and adds a nice ending for a special holiday meal.
Enjoy the season,
This brownie pudding is a low-fat yet tasty treat for those who want a chocolate-fix. It forms its own sauce during baking. If you need to rationalize eating chocolate, remember it does contain some health-protective phytochemicals...
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, many "cooking challenged" athletes are trying to figure out how to make an apple pie. Here is a simple alternative—Apple Crisp! The recipe is far easier than making a pie, and just as tasty. Enjoy it!
Some active moms were talking about this recipe on Twitter, and wondering where to find it. Rumor is, its one of the many tasty recipes in my Sports Nutrition Guidebook! (http://www.nancyclarkrd.com). Perhaps you would like to enjoy it as well.
Pasta with Turkey Sausage and White Beans
The recipe is versatile and allows for being creative: you can make it without the turkey sausage, without the beans, or with different protein sources, such as ground beef, diced chicken, tofu, or seafood.
When I make this, I remove the casing from the sausage by cutting it with a sharp knife and then scrambling the sausage meat. The alternative is to cook the sausage whole, then cut it into coins.
1 pound turkey sausage, casing removed
12 ounces uncooked pasta, such as shells, ziti, or rotini.
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 15-ounce can white canellini beans, drained
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed into
1 1/2 cups milk, low-fat
1/4 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
Optional: 1 small onion, diced; 1-2 cloves garlic, minced; 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes; salt and pepper
1. Heat a large nonstick skillet and add the turkey sausage (and onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes) and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until done.
2. While the sausage is cooking, cook the pasta according to package directions; drain.
3. To the scrambled sausage, add the drained diced tomatoes and canellini beans. Heat through, then add the cornstarch-milk mixture. Stir until thickened, then add the parmesan cheese.
4. Add the cooked pasta; toss well and let set for a few minutes for the flavors to blend. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.