AND fall for these seasonal super veggies!
Do the items in your grocery cart look the same week after week? Do you have a case of “produce predictability?” If so, you are not alone! According to consumer purchasing research, the top four vegetables Americans choose most frequently are potatoes, broccoli, tomatoes, and corn.
If menu planning always falls onto your plate, enlist support and round the troops! Ask each family member to “research” a new vegetable, and “pinterest” that veggie for recipe ideas! Involve your family in meal planning and engage them in age-appropriate tasks such as washing produce, seeding a squash or tossing cut vegetables in olive oil. Letting them participate increases the likelhood that your child will try new foods (plus you equip them with priceless lifelong skills!)
The Pay Off:
Choosing a variety of colorful, plant-based foods is the most efficient way of obtaining vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that supplement companies promise can be acquired in their “miracle capsules.” For those seeking weight loss, research has shown that filling 1/2 your plate with vegetables can help you feel full, without filling you out! Eating vegetables which are low in calories, yet high in water and fiber, is the ideal combination for weight loss.
Hopefully this newsletter will inspire you to fall out of your comfort zone and fall for these seasonal superfoods!
What it is: An oblong, yellow squash, mild in flavor. If you don’t care for squash, don’t cross this one off your list! Its mellow flavor is the perfect base for spaghetti sauce. Once cooked, you will quickly see how the squash got its name. The stringy squash looks just like spaghetti noodles as you fork it out of the shell (let your kids try this!)
1 cooked spaghetti squash
3 Tbsp. parmesan cheese
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1⁄2 cup sliced fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients while spaghetti squash is hot. Enjoy!
How to store: Store in your produce drawer. It should keep fresh for about 4 days.
Yield: 4 servings
2 large fennel bulbs, trimmed and sliced
1 cup chicken stock
4 Tbsp. butter
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 Tbsp. fennel seeds
3 Tbsp. olive oil
4 pork chops
2 large red onions, peeled and finely sliced
In a small skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-low heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sweet and caramelized, about 25 minutes.
In the meantime, combine the fennel, stock, butter, garlic, fennel seeds, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a large shallow pan. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove the cover and continue cooking until the fennel is mostly soft but not mushy and the liquid is mostly evaporated. Adjust for seasoning to taste. To finish cooking, turn the heat to medium-high and cook off the remaining liquid, allowing the fennel to brown a little bit.
In a third skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil. Season the pork chops and cook to desired doneness, depending on thickness, 3 to 5 minutes per side on medium-high. Remove the chops to rest, and add a splash of water to deglaze the pan. Pour the pan drippings into the fennel mixture. Serve the chops on a bed of fennel, topped with the onions.
What it is: A cruciferous vegetable related to broccoli & cabbage.
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with all ingredients. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly.
Nutritional resume: Parsnips shine as a source of soluble fiber which helps lower cholesterol and keep blood sugars even. They’re also a good source of folic acid, which reduces the risk of birth defects.
Yield: 6 servings
2 1/2 pounds parsnips, peeled, cut into about 3×1/2-inch strips
3 Tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
What they are: Chickpeas (or garbanzo) beans are legume superstars. You have most likely enjoyed them as a salad topping off the salad bar or pureed as the main ingredient in hummus.
Nutritional resume: One cup of chickpeas contains 270 calories, 13 grams of fiber, and 15 grams of protein. Canned will be the easiest way to implement these into your everyday diet. Look for no salt added brands or rinse under water to reduce sodium by 40%.
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
1/2 cup plain yogurt or Greek yogurt
4 chicken breast halves with bones
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
Roast until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cilantro. Transfer chicken to plates. Spoon bean mixture over. Serve with yogurt sauce.