Registered dietitians (and Smart Moms) Liz Weiss and Janice Newell Bissex suggest adding fun and a bit of whimsy to dinnertime for those of you with kids by using a theme. For example, you can feature: Italian Night, which can include lasagna (regular or vegetarian) and garlic bread or spaghetti, salad with Italian dressing, manicotti or any variety of other Italian meals. And you can make it a picnic by simply spreading a blanket on the living room floor (or carpet). Breakfast for Dinner can feature pancakes, French toast, muffins or waffles, breakfast sausages (regular or low-fat) and a fruit cup. Dessert First or Dinner in Reverse-Start by serving the dessert at the start of the meal (like fruit kababs with yogurt dip), followed by roast chicken, baked potatoes and broccoli, and then a salad. Baseball or Sports Night-Serve hot dogs on buns or rolls, potato chips or fries (regular or sweet potato) and popcorn while watching your favorite team on TV (Source:First Bite section-Smart Mom-Tonight’s Theme: Clean Your Plate!”-Relish, March 2015).
Did You Know That…..
There were 1.7 million pizzas sold by Domino’s during the final four games of 2014’s March Madness (Source: First Bite section-Relish, March 2015).
The average amount of butter consumed per person in the 1930s was18 pounds; 4 pounds per person in 1997; and in 2012, 5.6 pounds per person.
Avoiding Three Common Cheesecake Mistakes
- Did the cheesecake overcook? Place the pan on the lower third rack of the oven when baking and remove the cheesecake when an instant read thermometer inserted into the center reads 165 degrees F.
- Cheesecake sticking to the springform pan? Grease the bottom of your springform pan with butter before pre-baking the crust. Now brush the sides of the pan with butter before adding the filling.
- Cheesecake surface crack? Don’t over beat the batter when you’re creaming the cheese and sugar; the batter should look like whipped cream, with a light and fluffy texture (Source: “Mistake-Proof-Your Cheesecake Recipe” sidebar feature-Relish, March 2015).
For the best flavor, buy Italian parsley with the flat leaves instead of the curly leaf kind.
Freekeh-This is roasted green wheat. it’s a cross between wheat berries and brown rice. It’s also chewy, nutritious and will cook in only 20 minutes.
Broccoli has been and is still one of the best green veggies to eat. Just one cup contains: A lot of the cancer-fighting compound, glucosinolates; 94 milligrams of calcium-a third of that in a glass of milk; 6 grams of fiber-the same as in 2 slices of whole-wheat bread; and 74 milligrams of vitamin C-as much as one orange. Broccoli can also be: Added to stir-fry, steamed or microwaved. Browning broccoli in a skillet brings out a nutty flavor. (when boiled, however, the nutrients are likely to be lost in the water). Broccoli leaves can be chopped and put into soups, pastas and stews (the stems should be cooked first, then add the florets, so that neither will be under or over cooked (Source: This & That section-Relish, March, 2014).
Dumplings can come in all shapes and sizes; there are doughy Southern ones that resemble pasta, Chinese ones with delicate fillings swaddled in wonton wrappers and Midwestern dumplings that are made like biscuits, dropped into hot broth and cooked until fluffy (Source: smart shortcuts sections-“Dumpling Love” by Jill Melton, Relish editor-Relish, March 2014).
No time to cook dinner? Here are a few suggestions for those days when you’re too tired or rushed, whether going for takeout or the freezer: Pizza-Go for thin-crust, veggie or light on the cheese. If home, add low-fat cheese and a lot of veggies to a pre-made super thin, whole wheat crust. Sides-Frozen baked sweet potato or frozen French fries are a good choice. Salad is always a good option, with vinegar and oil (2:1 ratio) or lemon as a dressing. Frozen vegetarian, turkey or chicken lasagna is delicious as well as healthy; if possible, go for single-serving packages; and look for a low-sodium version.
Doing burritos? Hold off on the sauce; get high-fat toppings on the side, or simply try a burrito bowl-there’s 300 fewer calories if there’s no tortilla. Choose turkey, chicken or vegetarian rather than beef. You can add black beans, but go easy on the (high-carb) rice and corn. Eating frozen fish fillets? As long as the fish is baked, breadcrumbs and other coatings are OK. Go for tilapia, salmon and halibut. Frozen chicken nuggets? Bake them instead of frying and make only a single serving. And the larger the nugget, the better, for you’ll get more meat and less coating. And watch the dipping sauce: They can be high in sodium, calories and fat. Dunk with honey mustard or ketchup (Source: All the Answers section-“Best Rest”-Spry Living, March 2015).