Archive | December 2012

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Quinoa

If you are concerned with eating well, but you are not familiar with quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”), then listen up.  This South American grain packs a significant nutritional punch. Unlike wheat or rice, quinoa has a balanced set of essential amino acids, making it an unusual complete source of protein. The World Health Organization recently rated its quality of protein at least the equivalent (if not better) than that of cow’s milk. Not only is this a great alternative for vegetarians and vegans, but it is also gluten free, therefore making it easy to digest for those suffering from Celiac disease and other digestive disorders. In addition to it’s high (12-18%) protein content, quinoa is also an excellent source of calcium, iron, vitamin E, phosphorus, riboflavin, and several B vitamins, along with some omega-3 fatty acids. No wonder the Andean Incas used to refer to it as chisaya mama or “the mother of all grains”.

For this month’s recipe, I combined some Greek and and Italian flavors for this light and refreshing quinoa salad. Adding this “supergrain” to the already heart healthy Mediterranean diet could be even more insurance for furthering one’s longevity. Enjoy this salad either by itself for lunch or as an accompaniment to a main course during dinner. It serves 8.

Ingredients: 

  • Quinoa : 12 oz
  • Red Onion: ¼ cup (finely diced)
  • Grape Tomatoes: 12 each (quartered)
  • Basil: 1 oz (chiffonade into thin strips)
  • Feta Cheese: 4 oz
  • Olive Oil: ¼ cup
  • Balsamic Vinegar: 3 tbsp
  • Salt : 1 tbsp
  • Black Pepper: 1 tsp
  • Granulated Garlic: 1 tsp
  • Dried Oregano: 1/8 tsp

Preparation:

  1. Rinse and strain quinoa if it is not already pre-washed. Place in a medium to large-sized saucepan with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all of the water is absorbed (about 10-15 minutes). When done, the quinoa grain will appear soft and translucent, and the germ ring will be visible along the outside edge of the grain.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool down in the refrigerator. While waiting for it to cool, slice and dice the vegetables, and gather together the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Once the quinoa has cooled down, mix all of the ingredients together. Wait 5-10 minutes before eating, so that all of the flavors can absorb into the grain.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 286 / Fat: 11g / Saturated Fat: 1.5g / Carbohydrates: 34g / Fiber: 5g / Protein: 10g

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Roasted Beets and Sauteed Swiss Chard

Beets and Kale

Eating a variety of clean, fresh foods while preparing for endurance events such as triathlons, can often be as crucial for a successful outcome as actually training for the event itself. I have a great recipe this month that is perfect for the ladies as they work to prepare for Ramblin’ Rose.  Eating a plate of “superfoods” like this should be a daily requirement for everyone, but it is specifically recommended for females since these foods are excellent sources of  vitamins such as C and A and minerals like Iron and Calcium. I always try to buy these vegetables locally and even organic if possible. If you are not familiar with the beets, then don’t let them scare you. These aren’t your grandmother’s canned or pickled beets, and don’t be afraid of the leaves either. They are very similar to the chard, kale or any other green that you might find in the produce isle. These vegetables go great over pasta or rice and they are a wonderful edition to a protein like roasted herb chicken. I’m personally a big fan of them as a side to a light, fluffy fish such as Grouper. Good luck with training and eating well in 2010!

Ingredients

-1 bunch of fresh red beets (Usually about 4-6 each. They will vary in size).

-1 bunch of Swiss chard, roughly chopped with the stems removed

-2 medium sized carrots peeled and diced small

-1 large onion diced small

-3 cloves garlic minced

-1 tbsp olive oil

-3 tbsp salt

-salt and pepper to taste

-1 pinch red pepper flakes

-1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

-1/4 cup of white wine (optional)

Preparation

1Thoroughly wash the beets and then separate them from their leaves. Discard the stems between that hold them together and put the leaves aside to be cooked shortly. Sprinkle the beets liberally with the 3 tbsp of salt and then put them into a 375 degree oven. Check them after 30 minutes by piercing one with a pairing knife. If they do not feel soft enough for the knife to easily penetrate to the middle of the beet, then put them back into the oven for another 15 minutes. Note: A very large beet can take over an hour to cook while a small one can be done in 20-30 minutes. The size of your beets will determine your cook time.

1.Remove the beets from the oven and let them cool for 15 minutes. Once they are cool enough to handle, then peel the skin off with a knife and slice them into 4-6 pieces (again, depending on the size of the beet).

2.Meanwhile, saute the onion and carrots in a large skillet for 5 minutes at medium to high heat. Add the minced garlic and saute for another minute before adding the Swiss chard and the beet leaves. Keep tossing in the pan for about 2 minutes before adding the white wine and the apple cider vinegar.

3.Continue to stir the vegetables in the pan and add the sliced beets, while lowering the heat to medium-low. Toss the vegetable mixture until the beets are just reheated (about 1 minute). Season with salt and pepper and  the red pepper flakes if you enjoy a little bit of heat. This serves 4. 

Nutrition Facts

180 calories / 3.5 g fat / 0.5g saturated fat / 36 carbohydrates / 15 g fiber / 5 g protein

Vitamin A  512%                                             Vitamin C 117%

Calcium     28%                                               Iron            38%

Toasted Couscous with Dried Berries

blog_NUTRITION_MCDEARIS_COUSCOUS_025 copy

Couscous is often overlooked as a grain option in the American diet. While it is associated more with ethnic cuisines, especially that of Morocco, it is easy to find in any supermarket and can be used with a variety of different flavors, making it very versatile in cooking. Surprisingly, it is also one of the healthiest grain-based products available, offering a glycemic load 25% less than of pasta per gram. In addition, it offers at least twice as much niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, folate, vitamin B6, and pantothenic acid as traditional pasta. This month’s recipe of toasted couscous with dried berries is a nice balance of sweet and savory that is also full of nutrients. It makes for a nice addition to hearty dinner, but can be eaten any time of the day, either hot or cold.

  • 2 cups couscous
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper,diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup dried blueberries
  • ¼ cup dried cherries
  • 2 tablespoons sherry wine (optional)
  • 6 small sage leaves, sliced thinly
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons honey or agave
  1. Lightly toast couscous with one tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan over the stove top at medium-high heat, stirring constantly for about one minute. As soon as the couscous begins to lightly brown, remove from heat and add the hot water. Be careful not to burn the couscous during this step.
  2. Set aside couscous and saute the vegetables in a separate pan until they become soft and start to caramelize. Add the dried berries and sherry if you have it, stir for about 25 seconds until most of the liquid evaporates, and then add to the couscous, along with the rest of the remaining ingredients.
  3. Toss well, adjust seasoning to your preference and serve either hot or cold. Serves 8.

Nutritional Info:

Fat: 178g / Fat: 6g / Carbohydrates: 39g /Fiber: 4g / Protein: 6g