Tuesday, February 24, 2015

MY BOUNTIFUL BASKETS MEAL PLAN 2-21-15

Some highlights from this week's basket:

Romanesco    cocktail-grapefruit     red onion  Avocado      JICAMA     pineapple




ROMANESCO - Well, there's been a lot of talk (and singing!) about fractals for the last year or two.  These ones may not be frozen, but they are just as entertaining, if not fascinating. The strikingly beautiful cruciferous vegetable is similar in texture and flavor to cauliflower and broccoli.  When I got mine home, I sat and stared at it.  We just let it sit in the middle of the dining table for a while, being pretty.  If you eat with your eyes, this vegetable is for YOU!  It's also a great source of zinc.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Storing it: You'll want to put it in the fridge in a tightly sealed bag
Preparing it:
  • In any dish that you would use broccoli or cauliflower
  • Veggie platter or salad (Raw)
  • Roasted, Steamed
  • Soups or Stews
  • Tossed in a pasta
The thing to remember is that it doesn't need to cook for that long.  The best thing you can do is choose a quick cooking method such as steaming or a quick roast and then add it to the other ingredients in your dish that may need to cook longer.  Check out our recipe below for roasting it.

EAT FOR A WEEK WITH BOUNTIFUL BASKETS


We've put together a meal plan, with feeding a family of 4 in mind.  However, these ideas would be great no matter how many you're feeding.  This meal plan uses produce from a Utah basket from Bountiful Baskets and is based on MyPlate recommendations.  We'll also use a few simple ingredients from a well stocked kitchen and minimal additional items from the market.  You can click on each recipe name for the recipe.  Everything shown here was included in the basket contribution - $15 plus a small fee ($2.50).  Everything pictured came from my personal Bountiful Basket and all photos are of actual produce from the basket.





MONDAY
Basket items:  1 bunch spinach, 1/4 red onion
This is one of my favorite salads.  The adorable bowtie pastas dress it up a little and it's a great way to repurpose leftover cooked pasta.


TUESDAY
ROASTED ROMANESCO
Basket items:  1/2 - 1 Romanesco
When trying something new, I usually defer to roasting.  Roasting brings out the natural flavor of the vegetable, it's simple, and it's pretty hard to mess up.  You can follow these simple steps to roasting vegetables and tailor the flavor to your tastes.  My good friend Marc prepared this a couple weeks ago and here are his suggestions, "I tossed the Romanesco florets with 1 Tbs olive oil, 1 Tbs curry powder, 1 tsp chopped garlic, a touch of cumin and salt to taste.  Broil at 450 degrees for 25 minutes."


WEDNESDAY
CAJUN GRILLED FISH with JICAMA-PINEAPPLE SLAW
Basket items:  1 jicama, 1/4-1/2 pineapple, 1-2 cocktail grapefruit
Cajun grilled fish and a side of rice with this creative slaw will delight your tastebuds!  I was sitting at dinner last night with some new blogger friends I made from 2dorksinlove.com, and a couple others I'll have to find their cards and put their sits in later, but I told them the list of ingredients that i had and this is what they came up with - A slaw with fish.  After that Kristi and I put our heads together to plan this meal. By the end, we were both craving cajun grilled fish.  Voila.


THURSDAY
VEGGIE-STUFFED MEATLOAF
Basket items:  yellow squash
You might have taken a double take when you read that title.  Our Food & Consumer Science expert Melanie Jewkes tells me that everyone she's made this recipe for - both young and old - has loved it.  I think it's a brilliant idea!


Basket items:  1/4 - 1/2 pineapple, 1/4 - 1/2 red onion
Pizza night!  We suggest adding chicken and barbecue sauce for something extra delicious.


SATURDAY
Basket items:  1 lb potatoes, 1/4 red onion
One of the most inexpensive meals you can make!  It's yummy, too.

Basket items:  1 yellow squash
Another tried and true recipe from Melanie, she loves this quick recipe for an ultimate comfort food!  It calls for Romano cheese, but you could also use Parmesan or I check the small cheese pieces they sell at Sprouts for cheap to get a better deal.  Melanie often makes this towards the end of the summer or when she has a lot of tomatoes and squash, and will make the vegetable part of the recipe and then freeze it in portions.


REMAINING 
Basket items:  Apples, Iceberg lettuce, bananas, avocados and likely some yellow squash, maybe a bit of pineapple, potatoes, red onion, etc.

IDEAS
Saute yellow squash with tomatoes and zucchini
Whole fruits and veggies are best!
Cut apples with dip like peanut butter
Add lettuce and/or avocado to sandwiches
Banana in smoothies
Sliced banana over cereal or on toast/bagel
Guacamole

Bon Appetit!
-Raven & Kristi

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

FEEDING A LARGE FAMILY ON A BUDGET



RESTAURANT FAVORITES FROM THE HOME KITCHEN
Saves loads of dough      Makes it healthier  
The cheapest way to take the entire family "out to eat"

In the spirit of Valentine's day I wanted to share a little about how I discovered this recipe. A few years ago my husband and I decided to make the effort to go out for a Valentines dinner. When you have a lot of kids finding a babysitter or someone to help with your many little ones can be challenging. At this time my sister was living near by and agreed to help with kids. My littlest was still pretty little and we had not left her before. So in other words.... it was a big night out for me.

We decided to go out to an Italian restaurant. I was  looking forward to a romantic night with yummy food. I loved a good lasagna. When we arrived and were seated, it didn't take long for things to do down hill. Our seats were right in the draft of the door. Every time someone walked in I was hit with a gust of February chill. I don't think I ever warmed up, and the lasagna, wasn't all that great. Since that time I have worked to develop a recipe that I love more than going out. In fact, I like my own lasagna so much more than any I have tried in a restaurant.


Today's recipe and budgeting tip is one about preparing restaurant style and quality food at home for much less. It is a very versatile marinara that I use multiple ways. Best part is it is inexpensive and easy to make.


In our house, we love meatball sandwiches.  In a restaurant, for a good sandwich, it costs around $10 or more per sandwich.  For us to feed our crew it would cost $60-$70.  With this recipe I can make a full crock pot of meatballs for around $15-20 depending on if I make the meatballs, too.  (Remember, I cook for at least 12 for every dinner.)

This recipe makes a yummy pasta sauce with or without meat and the lasagna is magnificent, and for a fraction of the cost of going out you can feed the whole family. The best part is, if my kids don't clear their own plate they leave me the tip.

Click here for my Versitile Marinara with instructions for Lasagna and Meatball sandwiches

 Don't forget to play with your food!
Enjoy,
 -Kristi


If you prefer and Asian Cuisine try this recipe for Beef Broccoli

Saturday, February 14, 2015

MY BOUNTIFUL BASKETS WEEKLY MEAL PLAN 2-14-15

Some highlights from this week's basket:

JICAMA     ASPARAGUS     Spinach     CUCUMBERS     KIWI     yellow squash


INFO ON JICAMA
[Hee-kah-mah]
This tuber is packed with many nutrients including fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.  Fun fact:  Jicama roots (The part shown here) are edible, but all of the above-ground portions (pods, seeds, flowers, vines) are toxic.  Jicama has a texture similar to water chestnuts and has a mildly sweet, nutty flavor.  Their skin is thin and can be gray, tan, or brown with a white, juicy flesh.  I saw some decently sized jicama today at my site, and heard a lot of comments like "That's SOME jicama!" (which made me chuckle).  The truth is that the best jicama are often the smaller ones.  Larger jicama will be more fibrous.  They generally weight between 1/2 lb and 6 lbs, but get this - they can weigh up to FIFTY POUNDS!!  I was fortuitous enough to find this heart-shaped jicama in my basket on this Valentine's Day morning and it seemed quite fitting to receive a valentine from the garden.  Food IS one of the great loves of my life, after all!

WAYS TO EAT JICAMA
Steam it; Bake it; Boil it; Mash it; Fry it; Slice it and eat raw; Dip it in guac or other dip; In Fruit Salad; Saute it; Stir fry it; Simmer it in a stew.  In Mexico, jicama is eaten as a spicy snack after sprinkling with chili pepper and lime juice. 

STORING IT

Jicama can be stored up to two weeks in a plastic bag in the refrigerator or stored in a cool, dry place uncovered (before being cut up) for up to three weeks. 


EAT FOR A WEEK WITH BOUNTIFUL BASKETS

We've put together a meal plan, with feeding a family of 4 in mind.  However, these ideas would be great no matter how many you're feeding.  This meal plan uses produce from a Utah basket from Bountiful Baskets and is based on MyPlate recommendations.  We'll also use a few simple ingredients from a well stocked kitchen and minimal additional items from the market.  You can click on each recipe name for the recipe.  Everything shown here was included in the basket contribution - $15 plus a small fee ($2.50).  Everything pictured came from my personal Bountiful Basket and all photos are of actual produce from the basket.


Basket Items:  Asparagus
The truth is I want to eat this asparagus as soon as humanly possible simply because I "crave it fortnightly".  Another reason is to make sure to enjoy it before it loses quality.  I'm going to keep it simple and roast it with some olive oil, kosher salt and freshly chopped garlic.  To complete the meal, I'll add a whole grain and a lean protein.  Other ideas include eggs benedict, stir fry, soup, or even throw it in a salad or over pasta.



TUESDAY 
Basket Items:  1/2 bundle of spinach, 1-2 small yellow squash
Are you kidding me? Two days in a row of absolute comfort foods like roasted asparagus and savory crepes?  This will be an even easier meal than it sounds because I make crepes in bulk and then freeze them.  


WEDNESDAY
Basket Items:  
Wednesday is my busiest day so I want something easy, preferably something I can throw in the crock pot.  I also want to keep the skins from the potatoes in whatever I make, so I get the full nutritional value.  I don't think you can go wrong where potatoes, garlic and cream cheese are involved...


THURSDAY
Basket Items:  1/2-1 bundle of spinach, 1 lemon
I'm told that eating this salad produces the sensation of chowing down on strawberry lemonade.  With the heat wave we've been having lately, my mind is already tricked into thinking that summer is fast approaching!  A little strawberry lemonade flavoring seems like the natural thing to do.



FRIDAY
Basket Items:  yellow squash
Stir fry is the easy answer to having a little bit of everything leftover.  Throw it all in a stir fry with some noodles or rice and you've got a quick, easy meal.  Most of the veggies we got this week would work in a stir fry, including the jicama, avocado, zucchini, and asparagus.


SATURDAY
Basket Items:  

My site coordinator, Shelly, shared that she loves to make black bean salsa with jicama, corn, and avocado and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since.  I love the texture of jicama and I mostly use it in salsas and vegetable or fruit salads or alone with dip.  This salsa could play the role of a side dish, an appetizer, a topping on tacos, tostadas, or meat.


SUNDAY
Basket Items:  1-2 cucumber
When I was a kid, we always had family dinners at grandparents from one side of the family or the other, and often both.  It was one of the best things about life.  Everyone was there, the table was set, and you could feel the love - especially in the food.  It seems like there was always either a plate of cucumbers or a plate of freshly sliced tomato.  My "Mammaw" (grandma) is from the south and at her house we ate our tomatoes and cucumber with salt.  Heck, we even ate our watermelon with salt.  One of the great things about food is that it taps into the senses and into our memories.  It may not seem like much to some, but I'll probably just slice up the cucumber and put it on a plate.  Food traditions not only fill our bellies, but they FEED THE SOUL.  I've also included this fabulous cucumber salad recipe.  Find a way to incorporate your own food traditions in your cooking this week!  I'd love to hear about them, if you're willing to share...




REMAINING ITEMS
Lemons for warm lemon water in the morning
Tangelos for easy snacks
Sliced apple dipped in peanut butter
Kiwi cut in half and eaten with a spoon
Any remaining spinach thrown into a smoothie
Fresh fruit with cottage cheese or yogurt
Fruit salad
Homemade dressing
Fresh squeezed juice
Homemade applesauce

MEAL PREP ITEMS:
slice cucumber and some of the jicama for snacks with hummus or guacamole


Saturday, February 7, 2015

MY BOUNTIFUL BASKETS MEAL PLAN 1-7-15

Some highlights from this week's basket:
GREEN CAULIFLOWER  PURPLE POTATOES  ASPARAGUS  BUTTERNUT SQUASH

EAT FOR A WEEK (or more) WITH BOUNTIFUL BASKETS


We've put together a meal plan, with feeding a family of 4 in mind.  However, these ideas would be great no matter how many you're feeding.  This meal plan uses produce from a Utah basket from Bountiful Baskets and is based on MyPlate recommendations.  We'll also use a few simple ingredients from a well stocked kitchen and minimal additional items from the market.  You can click on each recipe name for the recipe.  Everything shown here was included in the basket contribution - $15 plus a small fee ($2.50).  Everything pictured came from my personal Bountiful Basket.





MONDAY
CAULIFLOWER CEVICHE

Basket Items:  1/2 head of cauliflower, 2-3 tomatoes, 1/2-1 cucumber
This is a recipe that my neighbor Pedro who is from Mexico makes.  I am constantly in a state of hunger when I am at home because of the almost constant stream of culinary aroma that descends into my apartment from his.  He and his wife are both incredible cooks.  I love their Chile Relleno and I trust them completely when it comes to food.  So I can't wait to try this.  I've never made Ceviche so I am thinking maybe serving it with rice and beans.  What would you serve it with?




TUESDAY
PURPLE POTATO, KALE, KIELBASA SKILLET

Basket Items:  several purple potatoes
I love the color of these purple potatoes so much I really want to use them with something else with a nice rich color - like Kale.  Kale and potatoes are a natural combination for me.  Skillet meals make dinner easier because you can do so much much all in one pot.  If you don't have or want to buy kielbasa, you could use any cased sausage.  If you have bell peppers, that would also be good in this.



WEDNESDAY
PASTA RE-DEEMED

Basket Items:  1/2 zucchini, 1/4 butternut squash
My dear friend Camille is quite saucy, but her pasta is not.  She shared this recipe with me and I was practically drooling by the time we got to the "pockets of melted mozzarella".  The olive oil and cheese is what binds this dish together, rather than using a sauce.  I can't wait to try it!








THURSDAY
ROASTED ASPARAGUS W/LEMON & PARMESAN
Basket Items:  Most or all of the asparagus
I'll use this basic recipe for roasting asparagus, and modify it by squeezing some fresh lemon juice over the asparagus before roasting.  I'll also sprinkle some parmesan cheese over it in the last couple minutes of roasting.  I'll serve with baked salmon with bread on the side.






FRIDAY
HOMEMADE PIZZA

Having a pizza night will help use up all the little bits of vegetables that are leftover like zucchini, roasted cauliflower, asparagus, and potatoes.  I'll use simple steps to CREATE A PIZZA.














SATURDAY
CURRIED BUTTERNUT SQUASH & PEAR SOUP

Basket Items:  3/4 butternut Squash, 2 pears
I still have bread bowls from last week that I need to use and they will be perfect for this delicious comfort food.














SUNDAY
SIMPLE ROASTED GARLIC CAULIFLOWER & POTATOES
LEMON CUSTARD BARS for dessert

Basket Items:  1/2 cauliflower, several purple potatoes, 1-3 lemons
I love the look of the green cauliflower with the rich purple of the potatoes.  Admittedly, I want to use them together mostly for this reason.  I also have some cauliflower left from previous weeks of Bountiful Baskets.  Using some white cauliflower with the new green and the purple potatoes will be worthy of serving to company at Sunday Dinner.  If you don't believe me, look at these gorgeous photos I found.


REMAINING

5 ORANGES
5 APPLES
2-3 LEMONS
4 KIWI
1-2 CUCUMBER
1-3 ZUCCHINI

Ideas:
Grab fresh fruit when you're on the go for breakfast or snacks!
Fruit w/cottage cheese or yogurt
Smoothies
Turn leftover smoothie into popsicles
slice and have with your favorite dip!

OTHER MEAL PREP
Make my favorite recipe for ZUCCHINI BREAD for quick breakfasts and snacks
Slice the CUCUMBER and portion into ziplock for snacks with dips like hummus
Slice some LEMON for warm lemon water in the morning

QUICKMEALS
QUICK MICROWAVE ASPARAGUS QUICHE

As always, use what you have on hand!  Happy Eating!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

VALENTINES DAY MEAL IDEAS + FEBRUARY CLASS CALENDAR

I heard the whirl of the very noisy blender again and again. Every single morning, without fail, my mom made green smoothies. She poured herself the tallest glass, and the rest of us managed to choke down smaller portions of the kale-spinach-banana-strawberry-flax seed concoction.




I didn't think it then, but I realize it now. By drinking those green smoothies and choosing other healthy habits, my mom was showing us she loves us. She loves us enough to keep herself healthy.


It’s ironic, but true. One of the best ways to show your family you love them is to keep yourself healthy. Ghandi said, “Health is the greatest gift.” Keeping yourself fit and healthy is one of the greatest gifts you can give to those you love.


That’s why a very loving thing to do around Valentines Day (and always) is to prepare healthy foods for your family. Your family may not think you love them when you prepare vegetable-laden meals and cut back on their meaty-cheesy favorites, but you’ll know that THAT is true love.


Here are some healthy, affordable meal ideas I’ve put together to help us love our families even better. Click on the title to see the whole recipe. See our Pinterest board for many more Valentines Day ideas.


Breakfast
OR
Heart Eggs in a Nest with your favorite smoothie
OR
Whole Wheat Waffles with a Jam-Filled Heart

Photos used with permission from SuperHealthyKids.com


Lunch or Dinner
Spinach Heart Calzones with Christmas Tree Salad
Grilled Pizza (make it in a heart shape!)




Dessert

Scrumptious Strawberry Sherbert or Healthy Chocolate Truffles or a Heart-Shaped Fruit Pizza


Come to one of our upcoming classes to see and taste more delicious, nutritious recipes like these!


Upcoming Food $ense Classes

Family Meals Series
In February, make a smoothie, amazing veggies, and a pizza!
When: Every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m.
Where: South Franklin Community Center (770 South 700 West, Provo)
Instructors: Faith and Raven
*Taught in English and Spanish

Healthy Eating on a Budget 
Heart-healthy dishes: How to reduce sugar, salt, and fat, and use plant-based protein
When: Thursday, February 5 @ 7 p.m.
Where: Lehi Public Library (120 N Center Street, Lehi)
Instructor: Kristi

Create A Skillet Meal/Stock Your Pantry
When: Wednesday, February 11 @ 7 p.m.
Where: Springville Public Library (45 S Main, Springville) 
Instructor: Raven


Creating Healthy Meals on a Budget
When: Tuesday, February 17 @ 4 p.m.
Where: Department of Workforce Services (1185 N  Cappel Dr., Spanish Fork)
Instructor: Melissa



Healthy Eating on a Budget 
Heart-healthy dishes: How to reduce sugar, salt, and fat, and use plant-based protein
When: Friday, February 20 @ 11 a.m.
Where: Macey's Little Theater in Pleasant Grove (931 W State Road, Pleasant Grove)

Instructor: Kristi

Create A Skillet Meal/Stock Your Pantry
When: Wednesday, February 25 @ 11 a.m.
Where: Utah County Health Department (151 S. University Ave, Provo)
Instructor: Raven



Healthy Eating on a Budget
Heart-healthy dishes: How to reduce sugar, salt, and fat, and use plant-based protein
When: Thursday, February 19th @ 7 p.m.
Where: American Fork Library (54 E Main Street, American Fork)
Instructor: Kristi



All classes are FREE

All ages invited.

No registration required, just show up!
For questions, contact us at  utahcountyfoodsense@usu.edu or call 801-851-8460