Savor the Flavor of Eating Right!

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March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is ‘Savor the Flavor of Eating Right’.  I believe that’s what we do everyday at Myplate2yours and it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Start with real, whole food.
  2. Create a dish that suits your palate.
  3. Slow down to enjoy your meal and the people you are eating with!

What I love about eating right is the array of colors and the sheer beauty of many of these dishes … and this one is no exception!  This is the salad I made for a family birthday celebration this weekend.  I searched for the recipe on my blog, but I was surprised to find I have never shared it with you.  Well, here it is today….enjoy!!

Citrus Salad with Baby Greens, Cucumber and Avocado (serves 6)

4 cups baby arugula, spinach and/or romaine

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup (about 1 large) English cucumber, diced

3 clementine oranges, sectioned

1 pink grapefruit, sectioned with knife

1 ripe avocado, diced

2 tablespoons roasted, salted sunflower seeds

Dressing: Mix together 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons honey. Whisk in 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Season with dash cayenne pepper; salt and pepper to taste.

Spread greens on a serving platter. Top with cucumbers, tomatoes and avocado. Arrange orange and grapefruit sections on top.   When ready to serve, toss salad with dressing and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.

Thanksgiving Sides

Thanksgiving is upon us!  Time with family, a break from work and school, and great food all mean that there is so much to look forward to!  Here are two new sides you may want to try for Thanksgiving:  Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad and Oven Baked Butternut Squash Risotto.  What’s unique about both of these is that they can meet the special dietary needs- gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, and nut free- of anyone coming to dinner. If you are looking for something easy, yummy and good for everyone, try these!

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Lemon Zest (serves 6)IMG_3114

1-1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts

1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds

1/4 cup yellow raisins

2 peeled hard boiled eggs, diced (optional)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Prepare Brussels sprouts by trimming bottoms and removing discolored or tough outer leaves. In a food processor with a grating attachment (or with a box grater), grate sprouts. Collect into a medium bowl (about 10 ounces total). Toss with sunflower seeds, raisins, and eggs (if using). In a separate small bowl, whisk lemon juice, vinegar and mustard. Drizzle in olive oil, whisking to combine. Add zest and shallots. Toss salad with dressing.

This salad can be served immediately or place in fridge for up to an hour. Toss again before serving and season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Adapted from www.chow.com

Oven Baked Butternut Squash Risotto (serves 6)IMG_3115

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup finely chopped shallots

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped

1-1/2 cups Arborio rice

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled and diced (4 cups)

4 cups vegetable stock

1 bunch curly kale (or Lacinato/Tuscan kale), tough stems removed and cut into ½ inch strips (about 4 cups loosely packed)

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium Dutch oven or oven proof pot with a lid, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Sauté shallots until soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add rice and cook, stirring frequently, until edges of rice are translucent, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and add wine. Stir and cook until wine is absorbed. Add squash and stock, bring mixture to a boil. Stir in kale. Cover and transfer to oven. Bake for 20 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Serve hot and garnish with parmesan. Enjoy!

Adapted from Meatless by Martha Stewart

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!

Salade Nicoise

Salade Nicoise

Produce and eggs fresh from the farmer’s market last weekend sparked my desire to make this beloved salad.  Its roots are in Provence and traditionally is made with tomatoes, anchovies, black olives, capers, French beans and lemon juice. I prefer tuna to anchovies in my version and have opted for the olives but not the capers.  It is slightly labor intensive but so worth the effort for this main dish salad. And, because I don’t use lettuce, leftovers of this dressed salad keep nicely in the fridge for a few days.  This salad is one of the many reasons I don’t want summer to end!  Enjoy!

Salade Nicoise (serves 6)

1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed

1 pound tiny new potatoes, scrubbed

1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

2 or 3 medium ripe tomatoes, quartered

2 or 3 baby cucumbers (or 1/2 large English cucumber), sliced

3 scallions, green and white portions sliced

2, 5 ounce cans water-packed albacore tuna, drained

3 eggs, hard cooked and peeled

1/2 cup black olives

Vinaigrette:

3 tablespoons good quality cider vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup flat leaf parsley leaves. chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking the first 3 ingredients in a small bowl.  Slowly whisk in the oil.  Stir in garlic and parsley.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Steam green beans for 5 minutes or until tender crisp.  Rinse cooked beans immediately under cold water to quickly cool.  When drained and dry, combine beans with the bell pepper and toss with a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette to lightly coat.  Set aside.

Cook potatoes in a pot of salted boiling water until tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain and while warm, add a few tablespoons of vinaigrette.  Toss and set aside.

To assemble the salad, use a large platter.  Place potatoes on the platter and top with the beans/peppers.  Flake the tuna on top of the salad and add scallions and olives.  Arrange the cucumbers and tomatoes around the salad and add quartered eggs.  Drizzle the final creation with a few tablespoons of vinaigrette.  Bon Appetit!!

Go for Color!

Go for Color!

The color we see around us in the springtime should remind us of the colors we need to regularly eat as fruits and vegetables: green, orange, yellow, red, and purple. Color is an indicator of the nutritional content, specifically, the phytonutrients that are unique to plant foods.  Phytonutrients offer a variety of health benefits including protection from heart disease and cancer.  Many of these phytonutrients work as antioxidants in the body, protecting cells from damage.

The USDA’s ChooseMyPlate recommends we fill half our plates with fruits and vegetables everyday. Finding easy ways to color our diet is key and having the right ingredients on hand can make a significant nutritional impact. Here are a few tips for adding quick color to your plate (PLEASE NOTE: Colors from artificially colored breakfast cereals, ‘fruit’ gummies, and sports drinks do not count!):

Shredded carrots- Purchase ready-made or shred whole carrots in a food processor and store in the fridge. These add crunch and sweetness to salads, wraps, skillet dishes and tacos.

Baby spinach- These tender leaves are easy to add fresh to any salad, sandwich, and wrap. Throw in a handful at the end of cooking a stir-fry, soup, or egg dish.

Bell peppers- Choose yellow, red, orange or green, cut into strips and store in the fridge. Munch on at snack time, add to a wrap, and use for any stir fry, skillet or salad.

Sugar snap peas- Slice for salads, steam for a side, or enjoy ‘as is’ for snack time. Their crunchy sweetness is hard to resist.

Red and purple grapes- Use in green salads, grain salads and chicken salads. Freeze a bunch to enjoy as a warm weather snack.

Broccoli slaw- Find this slightly nutty and crunchy slaw in a grocer’s salad section. Enjoy the flavor and texture it adds to salads and wraps. Try it on its own with a light dressing as a yummy side.

This list of ideas can continue!  Please share your favorite, easy ways to ‘Go for Color’ with fruits and vegetables.