Tag: vegetables

3 Tips for Making Vegetables Taste Great

Getting the necessary 2-3 cups of veggies per day can be difficult to achieve for many people. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) only 10% of American adults actually consume enough vegetables. A common response for people who don’t get enough veggies is that they don’t enjoy the taste.  Some find that eating another salad becomes a bit repetitive. The good news is you can increase your vegetable intake by using a variety of different cooking methods. Fresh herbs, spices, and a good sauce can liven up any entree. Here are three tips for making veggies taste great. 

USE DIFFERENT COOKING METHODS
Boiled or plain steamed vegetables tend to lack flavor. Oven roasting, sautéing, grilling and air frying bring out the best in any given vegetable. Oven roasting can be done year-round. Simply set your oven to 400 degrees, then season your veggies with olive oil, salt & pepper, and roast until golden on the edges. Air frying is a popular new trend. This allows veggies to gain a crisp fried taste without all the calories and fat.  

BRING ON THE SPICES
Chances are any recipe you really love has a lot of seasoning and flavor enhancers like herbs. Natural dried spices and seasonal fresh herbs go a long way in making a dish satisfying and complete. Choose a flavor profile you enjoy like Indian spices, Mexican, Italian, or Greek. Keep your favorites well-stocked at home so you can marinate vegetables and season them while sautéing or roasting. Choosing a cooking oil that has been infused with herbs can also bring a new dimension of flavor.  

ADD VEGGIES TO ANY DISH
Vegetables can be added to a variety of traditional recipes like lasagna, soups, meatloaf, casseroles, smoothies, and egg bakes. Many people even make cauliflower-based pizza crust. When vegetables are cut into small pieces it’s amazing how they can be cooked into a multitude of hot dishes. Adding a generous amount of sautéed spinach to a spaghetti sauce and lasagna can make the recipe more flavorful and filling. Small pieces of broccoli can be added to meatloaf and extra veggies like carrots and cauliflower make a great stew.  

So if you find that you don’t eat enough vegetables because they don’t suit your taste buds try some new seasoning, a new cooking method, or add them to your favorite hot dish. Our bodies need the valuable nutrients and antioxidants offered through vegetables. Finding a new love for natural foods like vegetables is a great way to boost your immune system and take steps towards disease prevention.

Signs Of Spring

As the tulips start to sprout from the ground they cause us to take note of the delightful transition into Spring. It’s refreshing to see all the sights and sounds of Spring budding around us. It’s also refreshing to see a new lineup of fresh fruits and vegetables at your local grocery store. The extra sunshine and warm weather bring in a whole host of new foods to pick from to liven up your meal plan.

My favorite spring veggies are sugar snap peas. They add a nice crisp crunch to a salad and they are sweet and delicious eaten by themselves. Asparagus is also another family favorite, it goes great scrambled with eggs in the morning. Other seasonal foods include arugula, rhubarb, strawberries, radishes and all varieties of sweet peas. Next time you’re at the store take advantage of the quality and freshness of Spring’s seasonal produce.

Colorful Plate

We all know we should eat a balanced diet. However, it’s difficult to know what that looks like on your plate every day. One possible guide to good nutrition is focusing on having a colorful plate at each meal. This mantra has been a guide in many diet programs over the years. Health professionals believe that to reap the most benefits from fruits and vegetables we should consume at least one daily serving from each of the five main color groups: blue/purple, green, white, yellow/orange and red.

Blue and purple foods include nutritious items such as blueberries, grapes, eggplant, blackberries, and prunes. Green foods could be leafy greens, spinach, kiwi and honeydew melon. The white color group includes cauliflower, onions, garlic, banana, pears, and potatoes. Yellow and orange options are carrots, oranges, pineapple, peaches, sweet potato, pumpkin, and cantaloupe. Red foods include tomatoes, raspberries, red apples, and watermelon. Now just imagine a daily meal plan with foods from each of these color groups paired with lean meats and fish. Focusing on having a colorful plate is a great guide for consuming a balanced diet with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Seasonal Foods In February

When you think of what’s in season the month of February your mind might wander to dark chocolate, gummy shaped hearts and red velvet cake. Although these foods are mighty tasty they are not going to provide us the nourishment our bodies need all month long. Surprisingly February offers a wide variety of vegetables that often get forgotten and overlooked in the produce department.

Leeks are at their peak in January and February. Don’t be intimidated by this large green onion looking vegetable. It has a nice mellow flavor that goes great in soups, casseroles and vegetarian dishes. Winter greens such as kale, endive, collards, and chard are perfect options for a unique texture and flavor in salads and wraps. The Clearly Organic blog has a colorful and delicious recipe for a collard green wrap.

https://clearlyorganicbrand.com/news/collard-green-hummus-wrap

Once you try a beet prepared well I promise you’ll go back for more. Beets are also an intimidating vegetable that most people don’t think to purchase on a regular basis. However, February is a great time to try our roasted beet recipe. They are simple and delicious.

https://clearlyorganicbrand.com/news/roasted-beets/

Not Your Ordinary Veggie Tray

When you’re asked to bring an appetizer or specifically a vegetable tray to your next gathering considering adding in a few different bright colored veggies. A typically line up for snack veggies is carrots, celery, cherries tomatoes, and broccoli. While these are very nutritious and great options for a snack, there are also some other colorful foods you could add to the selection.

• Consider thinly sliced beets. Spring beets come in many different varieties. When you cut a raw beet in thin pieces it can provide a crunchy option for dips and hummus.

• Jicama is a slightly sweet unique vegetable that has a celery-like consistency.

• Heirloom cherry tomatoes are a great summer option. They come in different shapes and multiple colors to liven up a vegetable platter.

• Asparagus often gets overlooked when it comes to veggies that can be eaten raw. However thin asparagus stalks are a perfect anytime snack choice.

• Endive leaves are a delightful crunchy option for creamy dips and scooping guacamole.

Don’t limit yourself to a store-bought veggie tray. Selecting your own produce allows your offering to be more nutritious, colorful and fresh.

The Importance of Produce

June is Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) only 1 in 10 Americans consumes the recommended daily requirement for fruit and vegetables. It’s recommended that adults consume 1.5 to 2 cups per day of fruit and 2 to 3 cups per day of vegetables. Multiple studies show that eating a diet rich in produce can significantly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and some cancers. Fruits and veggies also provide lots of fiber, essential vitamins, and minerals plus disease-fighting antioxidants.

Here are three easy ways to start enjoying more produce on a daily basis:

  1. Try to eat a fruit or vegetable at every meal and snack.
  2. Keep yourself well stocked with produce. As you make a grocery list, plan to purchase salad ingredients for the week or buy extra frozen veggies if you won’t be able to grocery shop on a weekly basis.
  3. Look for local fruits and vegetables from your local grocer. The summer months provide a great opportunity to enjoy seasonal favorites.

Search for produce based recipes on our site: memphiscashsaver.com/category/recipes/

Seasonal Foods for December

We often think of eating fresh seasonal foods during the summer months. However, December offers a wide variety of flavorful ripe produce. Holiday meals can be more colorful and nutritious with beets, Brussels sprouts and butternut squash. All of these vegetables are at their peak of freshness in December. Cauliflower, fennel and mushrooms are also seasonal delights late in the year.

When it comes to fruit, oranges, kiwi and grapefruit are just right during the winter months. Pomegranates, pears and persimmons are also excellent choices in December. All of these fruits make delightful additions to any meal or snack. Next time you’re at the store pick up some of your favorite seasonal produce.

Tips For Roasting Vegetables

A roasted vegetable done right can turn any veggie naysayer into a believer. The best part about roasting vegetable is that virtually anything goes, no complex recipes need to be followed. Most people have everything they need (oil, salt and pepper) for roasting already in their pantry. If a few simple rules are heeded, then you can be on your way to cooking up flavor rich vegetables everyone will love.
 
1. Oven Temperature. Be sure you put veggies in a hot oven. I think 400 to 425 degrees is the best roasting temp. Any more than 425 degrees can blacken and burn vegetables on the outside without cooking the middle. Any lower than 400 degrees would extend cooking time and not provided the desired toasty edges that makes roasting so delicious.
2. Give your veggies space. Spread your vegetables out on the baking dish. Leave a generous amount of space between each piece. If the food is stacked on top of each other or to close it will steam and not roast. Don’t be afraid to split up your product. It still works great to roast two pans at a time, just keep them in the middle of the oven and rotate the pans halfway through cooking.
3. Don’t skimp on the oil and spices. Add enough oil for all the veggies to be coated but not so much that oil starts to pool at the bottom of your bowl or on the roasting pan. Same general guide for salt, pepper or any desired spices, add enough so that each piece looks evenly seasoned.

Foods To Fight Inflammation

Recently a Clearly Organic customer wrote in to our Ask the Dietitian section on the Clearly Brand website. Debbie was inquiring about foods and recipes that help with inflammation and arthritis. This is an excellent question because many people struggle with joint pain, inflammation and arthritis. Some food intolerances are even a result of inflammation, bloating and discomfort in your digestive tract. The best way to fight inflammation with your meal plan is to consume a diet rich in produce, healthy oils, nuts, whole grains and fatty fish.

Here are five foods that will help fight inflammation.

• Leafy Greens
• Tomatoes
• Almonds
• Salmon
• Oranges

Here are five foods to limit or avoid when suffering from inflammation.

• Processed Meats (hot dogs, sausage)
• Sugary Beverages (soda)
• Fried Foods
• Refined Bread
• Processed Dairy (margarine)

Here are some great recipes that can help fight inflammation:

Tuna Salad With Avocado

Colorful Summer Salad With Honey Balsamic Dressing

Sweet Corn And Cherry Tomato Salad

Eat More Vegetables

The world of nutrition and fitness has multiple different approaches and opinions, but one thing everyone can agree on is vegetables are a vital part of living well. Veggies can improve your health if you incorporate them into your meal plan on a daily bases. However, that is part of the challenge. Many people find vegetables hard to cook and lacking in flavor. So when you hear that you need to eat vegetables everyday and we need to add more of these super foods to our diet we start to dread what that might involve.

Here are a few easy ways to eat more veggies.

  1. Try a new vegetable based recipe. Scan the web for appealing photos of vegetables, and test out a new way to prepare a veggie you enjoy.
  2. Add extra vegetables to an existing recipe. It’s easy to add extra veggies to a soup or hot dish. Also try adding vegetables to a non traditional recipe like homemade meatballs or meatloaf. You can add minced carrots, cauliflower or broccoli to these recipes.
  3. Try a veggie smoothie. You know you need more greens but the thought of eating another salad is nauseating? Try a spinach, frozen berries and almond milk smoothie.
  4. Make a veggie bag. The prep work for vegetables is usually what keeps people from eating them. If you can set aside one day to wash, chop and prep your veggies you’re far more likely to get your needed 5 plus veggies servings each day.
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