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Spring Dinner Guide
3 weeks ago

Spring Dinner Guide

By  •  Recipes, Health, Dinner

As school drags on and homework, projects, and extracurricular activities continue to pile up, we often find ourselves busy, stressed, and too tired to think about dinner, let alone cook. …
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Family Meals: a Cornucopia of Benefits
3 years ago

Family Meals: a Cornucopia of Benefits

By  •  Health, Nutrition

Sometimes, family meals feel like a daily battle, with busy schedules and varying food preferences. It can be so much easier to have everyone eat what they want, where they …
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Why Spiralize?
4 years ago

Why Spiralize?

As a dietitian, when I first saw a spiralizer, I was sold. I am always on the lookout for fun ways to incorporate more vegetables into my diet. Veggies are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that play important roles in disease prevention and overall health. Unfortunately, most people are not eating enough.

Spiralizer tools are basically vegetable slicers that turn vegetables into beautiful ribbons and strands that resemble colorful pasta. You get the look and texture of pasta, without the extra calories. By using vegetables as your base instead of pasta, you can significantly decrease caloric intake while boosting nutrient intake. For example, you could eat 1 cup of cooked whole wheat spaghetti for 170 calories, or 1 cup of zucchini spiralized for about 20 calories.

Any firm vegetable that holds it’s shape will work well for spiralizing. Popular ones include:

  • Zucchini
  • Butternut Squash
  • Jicama
  • Rutabaga
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Beets

Try our recipes below or replace your favorite pasta dishes with fun, spiralized vegetables!

Megan Ostler MS, RDN
iFit Dietitian

 

Recipes

Noodleless Butternut Squash Lasagna

We’ve substituted squash for noodles for an inventive take on a family favorite.

Makes 8 servings

Serving size: 1 portion

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 15 ounces skim ricotta cheese (or fat-free cottage cheese)
  • ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 pound lean turkey breakfast sausage
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 5 cups kale, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 10 ounces fresh mozzarella slices

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Cut off the large, bulb-like, rounded end of the butternut squash, reserving the neck of the squash. Peel and slice both ends so they are parallel.
  3. Slice the squash halfway to the center using a spiral vegetable slicer fitted with the straight blade to make thin slices. Alternatively, you can slice into long, thin strips with a knife.
  4. In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, Parmesan, egg, and egg white. Set aside.
  5. In a large skillet, cook the sausage and onion over medium heat until the sausage is browned. Add the kale, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook until the kale is slightly wilted, then add the spinach.
  6. Line the bottom of a 9×13” pan with a single layer of squash. Top with half of the the sausage mixture, followed by half the ricotta cheese mixture. Repeat. Finish with a third layer of butternut squash and top with the slices of fresh mozzarella.
  7. Cover the dish with foil and bake at 425°F for 35-40 minutes or until the squash is tender.
  8. Remove the foil for 5 minutes and broil for 3 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbling.
  9. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving to allow it to fully set up.
  10. Cut into 8 portions and enjoy!

Nutrition Info
Per Serving: 300 calories (120 from fat), 13g total fat, 7g saturated fat, 85mg cholesterol, 890mg sodium, 16g carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 5g sugar), 25g protein

 

Kung Pao Chicken and Zoodles

A low-carb, gluten-free way to enjoy this classic Chinese dish!

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Makes 6 servings

Serving size: About 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 5 medium zucchinis
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1½ pounds chicken, sliced into thin strips
  • ⅔ cup soy sauce (gluten-free if needed; coconut aminos for paleo)
  • ⅔ cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (arrowroot for paleo)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 4 green onions, sliced

Directions

  1. Using a spiral vegetable cutter, turn the zucchini into “zoodles” using the large noodle blade. If you don’t have a spiralizer, cut into thin strips.
  2. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and cook the chicken thoroughly. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together soy sauce, broth, vinegar, chili paste, sesame oil, cornstarch, orange juice, and ginger.
  4. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the same skillet and add the garlic. Slowly pour in the sauce mixture and bring to a boil.
  5. Add the zucchini and chicken to the sauce and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
  6. Top with green onion and cashews. Enjoy!

Nutrition Info

Per Serving: 320 calories (130 from fat), 14g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 85mg cholesterol, 1430mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 5g sugar), 32g protein

 

Jicama Fries

Jicama fries are the perfect side dish for burgers and are baked instead of fried.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Makes 4 servings

Serving size: ¼ jicama

Ingredients

  • 1 medium jicama, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Cut the ends of the jicama so that they are even and parallel. Spiralize the jicama using a medium or small noodle blade. If you don’t have a spiralizer, cut into thin straws.
  2. In a plastic bag, toss the jicama with the remaining ingredients and spread out on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes (15 if your fries are larger). Stir then bake for another 10 minutes (15 if larger fries).*

*These fries are amazing with Light Avocado Dip.

Nutrition Info

Per Serving: 90 calories (30 from fat), 3.5g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 300mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate (8g dietary fiber, 3g sugar), 1g protein

 

Pesto Rutabaga Noodles

A flavorful “pasta” dish full of flavor and fiber!

Makes 2 servings

Serving size: About 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 large rutabaga, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup Homemade Pesto
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 4 cups fresh spinach

Homemade Pesto

  • 3 cups basil, loosely packed
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil

Directions

  1. Spiralize the rutabaga using the standard noodle blade.
  2. For the Homemade Pesto, blend basil, pine nuts, garlic, cheese, and salt. Slowly pour in olive oil while blending until everything is well incorporated and smooth.
  3. In a large sauté pan or fry pan, heat the oil. Add the rutabaga noodles and saute for 1 minute. Add water and cook until tender.
  4. Stir in the pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and spinach. Continue to cook for five minutes. Enjoy!

*This is also delicious when topped with grilled chicken!

Nutrition Info

Per Serving: 380 calories (190 from fat), 21g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 5mg cholesterol, 280mg sodium, 44g carbohydrate (12g dietary fiber, 23g sugar), 9g protein

Portion Sizes
4 years ago

Portion Sizes

By  •  Health

All-you-can-eat buffets, super-sized meals, and bottomless starters are popping up everywhere. Plates are getting bigger, pots are getting deeper, and cups are getting taller. With this surplus of food everywhere …
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