4th Annual Chili Contest: Entry #9 – Harvest Festival Chili

harvestfestivalchili1

Is there anything better suited for the day after Christmas than your most favorite pair of sweatpants? I agree. Comfy sweatpants are an absolute post-holiday must-have. With just a few days before the quickly approaching 2014 and all of the resolutions that come with that first day, first few weeks, and perhaps even the first few months of the year…most people are postponing all things healthy…for just a few more days. Never wise!

Some studies report that over 90% of Americans make new year’s resolutions having to do with health, weight, or getting fit. This probably comes as a surprise to…no one.

harvestfestivalchili2

In the past week, Mr. Prevention and I have slacked on the workouts and indulged in oh-so-good-but-not-good-for-you foods. But it’s not a time to have all healthy habits fall by the wayside. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been on Pinterest and other blogs saving recipes for when the real world resumes and everyone is back in the swing of things.

I doubled up on salad at today’s Christmas meal #3…green vegetables. Amen. Fiber – oh yes! Water, uh huh! I fully anticipate my father-in-law to stride over here, offering me a rare IPA brew before I’m able to hit “publish” on this post…

harvestfestivalchili3

The holiday season has The Prevention’s feeling very blessed. We’re thankful for great family and friends, health and happiness, enjoyable employment that provides, and the memories made in December to last a lifetime — family photos, YouTube videos not appropriate for all ages, white elephant shenanigans, signing cookbooks, endless games of Uno, psychedelic photos of Lily, and Yahtzee games that bring out the competitive side in all.

I’m also thankful for this little pieces of me — my blog. Thank you for reading and following along with our journey of (mostly) healthy eating. Mwwwah!

This Harvest Festival Chili is the 9th and next-to-last recipe in this year’s chili contest. Yes, I’m running a bit behind…but this year’s chili contest has been filled with winning recipes, including this submission from a long-time reader, Athena. Filled with fiber, lean protein, and moderately low in both calories and sodium, this chili recipe is sure to please.

harvestfestivalchili4

Harvest Festival Chili
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Traditional flavors and bumped up nutrition thanks to fiber and vitamin-rich winter squash.
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ to ½ tsp cayenne pepper, more or less to taste
  • 1 lb 96% lean ground beef
  • 1 (15 oz) can no-salt added diced tomatoes
  • ½ medium acorn or butternut squash (about 1 lb), peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 1 (15 oz) can reduced sodium kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can reduced sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 (15 oz) can low-sodium beef broth
  • ¼ tsp salt and black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and green pepper. Stir frequently until vegetables soften, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper, stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add beef and cook, breaking up the meat up until finely crumbled, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, squash, beans, corn, and beef broth. Season with salt and pepper, if desired; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Notes
Recipe developed and submitted by Athena Russell
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1½ cups Calories: 284 Fat: 7.4 Carbohydrates: 37.3 Sugar: 6.6 Sodium: 495 Fiber: 9.5 Protein: 21.8 Cholesterol: 30

 One last holiday brunch and set of family photos and I do believe this holiday season will be a wrap. Happy holidays to you & yours!

Be well,

sig4

RD Q&A vol. 24

Samantha: I don’t know if you have talked about this or not, but can you explain the dangers of high fructose corn syrup and maybe even the difference between that and high maltose corn syrup? What do they do to your body and why does EVERYTHING contain them?!

Prevention RD: Samantha, great questions! There are 3 monosaccharides (single sugars in their most simple form): glucose, fructose, and galactose.  When we combine 2 monosaccharides, we get disaccharides (2 monosaccharides together): sucrose (glucose + fructose), maltose (glucose + glucose), and lactose (galactose + glucose). Fructose being the sweetest monosaccharide makes high fructose corn syrup sweeter than high maltose corn syrup, but both are processed sugars from corn that are used abundantly in processed foods. What do these sugars do to your body? The short answer is that too much sugar in the diet causes an increased insulin response (insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas* to decrease blood glucose levels which rise with the ingestion of carbohydrate or the presence of excess glucose in the blood). Over time, over-secretion of insulin causes the pancreas to work in over-drive while an abundance of calories (in this instance, from processed sugars) cause an increase in weight and thus, decreases the cell’s response to insulin. Over time with obesity paired with high sugar intake, we are asking our bodies and insulin to work harder than designed to do while simultaneously dampening the body’s ability to use insulin effectively. Eventually, we end up with diabetes. Why are these corn sugars in everything? Because they’re cheap and shelf-stable, is the concise and accurate answer. Just for reference, I wrote this post on high fructose corn syrup about 2 years ago. My take home message: it’s how MUCH sugar American’s are eating that’s the real problem.

*this was a typo…sorry! Corrected!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Kelly: What would you recommend to someone transitioning into a vegan diet to make sure they get all the proper nutrients and remain healthy?

Prevention RD: Hi, friend! Great question! My biggest beef (haha…pun intended!) with people blindly choosing the vegan route is that they don’t go into it with a good understanding of what their body requires nutritionally. The biggest nutrients of concerns are vitamin B12 (which exclusively exists in animal products), calcium, and iron. Of these, vitamin B12 requirements are the most difficult to meet and fortified cereals and plant milk (soy, hemp, coconut, rice, etc.) are required to meet B12 requirements without supplementation. That said, a 10 microgram B12 supplement daily is recommended for vegans and strict vegetarians. In short, I would encourage new vegans to 1) read labels, especially in regard to B12, calcium, and iron and 2) be sure they are meeting the DRI for each of those nutrients. I think it’s also wise to be sure that the calorie intake is falling within the macronutrient distribution ranges of 45-65% of calories from carbohydrate, 20-35% of calories from fat, and 10-35% of calories from protein. Including omega 3′s in the diet is important, too – flaxseed and walnuts!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Haley: What do you think is the best pre- and post-workout fuel for an endurance runner? I run cross country for my high school and my coach has also added two cross fit sessions a week prior to our normal workout. I don’t have much time at all between the cross fit sessions and our regular practices to eat something big or elaborate (and I wouldn’t want to anyway considering I’m about to run), but I’m always hungry before our regular training! What’s something I could eat/drink after my cross fit workout that has a good protein to carb ratio?

Prevention RD: I was a cross country runner once upon a time (albeit not so competitively ;) )…so fun! Pre-workout you definitely want a snack that is mostly carbohydrate. Protein, fat, and fiber are not digested as quickly. To ease any discomfort from fullness during exercise, the snack should be consumed 30-40 minutes before exercise. After exercise, it’s important to get in carbohydrate and protein — peanut butter and fruit, nuts and fruit, a sandwich, Greek yogurt and honey, cottage cheese and fruit, etc. This snack (or meal) should ideally be within 30-60 minutes after exercise. The best nutrition practice for optimal fueling and performance is to always stay hydrated and to eat a balanced diet every day. Hope that helps! :)

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Kierstan: Should Kierstan become a dietitian?

Prevention RD: Of course! But seriously, I love my job. Nutrition has been the perfect fit for me, personally, and even in my young career it amazes me all that dietitians can do. I have worked in hospital kitchens and dialysis units, ran a small private practice, performed diabetes education for Native Americans, taught college, started a blog, and am writing a cookbook. What other profession has such a vast scope of practice?! I am so passionate about what I do and would recommend it to anyone with interest in nutrition. :)

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Corey: I just started running again and am currently training for my very first half-marathon.  While I’ve never had a “terrible” diet, I think I need some healthier choices when it comes to meals, especially on my training days. What are some foods that I should add to my diet to help with training?  What foods should I try to cut out (or at least eat less of)?  The only caveat is that I can’t completely cut out any cheeses — I’m a Wisconsin girl and can’t live without my cheese! Also, I’m pretty tired and not very hungry when I get back from my runs in the evening…are there any quick, easy dinners that I can make that will help me recover from my run?

Prevention RD: Hi Corey :) Congrats on your training! There’s no greater feeling than finishing a distance race…and it’s addicting – you’ve been warned! I am never hungry after evening runs, either. What I find to work best is to increase the calories you consume at breakfast and lunch and to eat a lighter dinner. As far as foods to add, I would simply be sure that 50-60% of your calories are coming from carbohydrate. Distance runners needs plenty of quick energy to get the job done. There’s really no foods to include or exclude, but hey…I think it’s challenging enough to limit salt and saturated fat, eat plenty of fiber, and focus on heart-healthy fats and lean protein. If that’s not enough to juggle, I don’t know what is! I think not skipping meals and being sure you’re intaking enough fluid and calories is of top priority…no reason to give up cheese! As for quick meals, I would opt for pastas or grain-based salads that you can have on hand. Omelets, sandwiches, and jazzed up baked potatoes are also great go-to’s. I hope that helps some. Also check out the quick meals recipes I’ve posted for some ideas!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Corey: I know lots of people are big into quinoa and kale.  I’ve only tried each of those in small amounts and don’t really know the benefits of adding them to my diet.  What’s a simple way to make either of them a part of a meal?  Are there any great alternatives if your grocery store doesn’t carry quinoa or kale?

Prevention RD: Kale is high in iron and vitamin K and quinoa is high in protein and is a whole grain (well, it’s a seed, technically). I don’t really believe in “super foods”, as these are touted — no one (or 2!) foods makes for a healthy diet. I would put spinach, collards, and turnip greens as equals to kale and seeing as most Americans intake plenty of protein, quinoa appeals more to those following a lower carbohydrate lifestyle. I would suggest barley, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, wild rice, wheat berries, or farro in place of quinoa. A good substitute for quinoa may also be lentils or beans which are also high in protein, and fiber. Hope that helps!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Kathryn: I was wondering your thoughts on buying organic food? Do you try to eat organic when possible?

Prevention RD: Hi Kathryn! Thanks for your question! I believe in organics, but I don’t personally buy strictly organic. I choose to focus more on local versus organic and sometimes, it’s hard enough to do one, much less both. By participating in a CSA (Community Shared Agriculture), farmer’s markets, and gardening, I try to buy and eat with good intentions in regards to both my health and sustainable agriculture. That said, I’m not willing, personally, to buy everything organic due to cost and availability. I tend to buy the organic version of the Dirty Dozen, when available, and I typically purchase meat, fish, and dairy that has not been grain fed or treated with hormones. I think this is a very personal decision and as an RD I promote eating more fruits and vegetables overall. For those who can find and afford organics, more power to them!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Kathryn: I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I see that you put letter grades next to recipes (under recipe index) you have made. Why not put the letter grade at the end of the post when you critique also? Silly question-I know:)

Prevention RD: Not a silly question at all! I thought about this and even discussed it with Mr. Prevention. My typical routine is to update my recipe index every 6-8 weeks with all the new recipes and at that time, he and I think back to the recipes we enjoyed most. For me, it’s easier to compare them to one another to truly indicate our “favorites” rather than looking at each recipe individually. That probably makes no sense :) I will definitely consider adding a grade to each post and would love to hear others’ feedback on this, as well! Thanks for the question/suggestion…and thanks for reading!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Mandie: I have a healthcare background (I’m an RN), so I understand a little bit about iron metabolism. But I’m still looking for some answers and my PCP was unhelpful. I’ve been having some serious issues with my iron levels. In January my ferritin was 1. At the advice of my PCP, I started taking iron 325 mg 3x/day. We rechecked my levels 6 months later, and my ferritin only rose to 3. To top it off, now my hemoglobin is low as well (now it’s only 10). I tried to take vitamin C to help aid in metabolism, but the excess vitamin C was giving me some serious GI issues, so that’s not an option at the moment. To add to the fun-ness of this problem, I have serious GERD, for which I have to take omeprazole 2x/day. I understand this also hampers my iron metabolism, but this has been an issue for years and I was taking the drug long before I had iron issues. I guess I have 2 questions. 1) what is happening that I am suddenly not absorbing iron? 2) do I have any other options besides IV iron at this point?

Prevention RD: My clinical side immediately thinks to rule out GI bleed, Chron’s, ulcerative colitis, Celiac disease, etc or excessive blood loss during menses. A gastroenterologist appointment, stool sample, and perhaps a scope would be my presumed course of diagnostic work-up. There’s anemia and there’s medication interactions…and then there’s a ferritin of 1. Eek! My gut says that this isn’t nutrition-related but is likely a GI issue (I hope I’m wrong!). In the meantime, I would continue pairing high iron foods with vitamin C from dietary sources to help better tolerate the vitamin. A multi vitamin-mineral supplement would be a good insurance policy, as well. Good luck and if you think of it…please let me know what you find out! Best wishes!

Thanks for all the great Q&A questions! Please send your questions to me at preventionrd at gmail dot com! I will post Q&A’s just as soon as I have a few questions in queue! :)

Be well,

Healthier Zucchini Bread

zucchinibread1

I didn’t get out of bed until 10am this morning. That is unprecedented. Mr. Prevention’s parents are in town and he got up early, so I basked in the glory of being off Lily morning duty and having the bed to myself :-D Glorious!

I stumble down to the kitchen for my morning iced coffee and found donuts littering the kitchen island. And some seedless green grapes (good call, hubby). Apparently Mr. Prevention had also taken a donut run this morning. And you know…me + donuts. Dangerous.

I cut a donut in half and piled some fruit onto my breakfast plate. I took a bite of the donut and immediately thought, 1) I can make better than this…baked, 2) zucchini bread trumps donuts, and 3) tack on another 1/2 mile to your run today, Nicole.

zucchinibread4

Between Mr. Prevention’s work travel and my insane hours and lacking desire to cook, our CSA veggies have been a struggle at times to get through. Even though Mr. Prevention has “expanded his horizons” (per the dinner talk last night, I think my mother-in-law is very happy to see he married someone who got him to the point of eating something outside his staple food groups of pizza, buffalo wings, peanut butter and jelly, and candy), he’s still warming up to things like cabbage and collard greens. If you were to ask him what I make at home it would be “tofu” and “quinoa”…all the time.

*eye roll*

Our CSA has also been bringing zucchini that are HUGE. Several pounds each huge.

zucchinibread2

When found with an abundance of zucchini…make zucchini bread.

I quickly searched my recipe archives for a recipe and this one caught my eye. I love that it uses a 2:1 applesauce to oil ratio, as well as walnuts for the omega 3 fatty acids…and that added crunch! This recipe uses all whole wheat pastry flour (sub in white whole wheat flour if you can’t find the pastry flour), packing in additional fiber and nutrients.

I also love the portion size…1/8th of a loaf vs the standard 1/10th of a loaf. ;)

zucchinibread3

[print_this]

Healthier Zucchini Bread adapted from The Sweets Life and Southern Living Yankee

2 1/2 cups zucchini (~ 2 medium), shredded 1 cup unsweetened applesauce 1/2 cup canola oil 3 eggs, lightly beaten 2 tsp vanilla extract 1 cup sugar 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt 1/4 tsp baking powder 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray two (8-in x 4-in) loaf pans with cooking spray.

Mix zucchini, applesauce, oil, eggs, vanilla, and sugar until well blended. Stir in remaining ingredients except the walnuts until well blended. Fold in walnuts.

Divide batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake 50-60 min until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing loaves and cooling completely on wire racks.

Yield: 2 loaves (8 servings/loaf).

Nutrition Information (per slice, 1/8th loaf): 228 calories; 10.4 g. fat; 35 mg. cholesterol; 242 mg. sodium; 30.5 g. carbohydrate; 2.8 g. fiber; 1.9 g. protein

Result: Just as good as any zucchini bread I’ve had while being whole wheat and full of healthier fats from the canola oil and walnuts. Quick breads like this are easy to make and perfect for a quick on-the-go breakfast or snack. Mr. Prevention devoured a loaf on his own and never questioned if it was “real” zucchini bread. Delicious!

[/print_this]

 It’s a pretty one here in southwest Michigan. I do believe it’ll be off to the beach in just a bit. Outside of that, I haven’t a clue what’s on the agenda, but I do plan to get in a run at some point.

Happy weekend!

Be well,

Spicy Kale-Stuffed Shells

kaleshells1

I talked to a lot of people on the phone yesterday. Somehow, there was time between cleaning every square inch of every room as the movers were loading all the boxes. Who knew you could get a blister from vacuuming? Reason #42,518 I HATE CLEANING. People who like cleaning…I bet you like  going to the dentist, too…huh? Whackjobs.

One of my phone conversations was with Kristen. She has big plans to visit the new pad on the days our belongings will be delivered. In a not-so-slick way she called to figure out if I will be cooking for her.

kaleshells5

My answer was obviously yes, assuming of course that we are able to locate and unpack all my kitchen items. It will likely end up that Kristen will earn her supper. She has been warned and she still wants to come. Bless her heart.

Kristen went on to share that while she was hard at work, she was able to pin FIFTY possible recipes for us to make. 50! She goes into describing them all, I instantaneously growl with hunger, and then slip into a brief moment of depression as every drawer and cabinet in my house is barren. My pantry looks BIG when it’s empty!

kaleshells3

I have no idea what we’ll make, but she tends to settle on all things pasta. I can’t blame her…what’s not to love about pasta? Well, wait. I can think of something. I can’t seem to find jumbo pasta shells in a whole wheat variety, but…that wasn’t going to hold me back from trying these.

It’s no secret that my love for quinoa had a rocky start. I wasn’t too keen on quinoa in the beginning, but I have come to find out that’s because of how I was preparing it. After this recipe (and one more – coming soon!), however, I can now say that kale and I can put our uncertain past behind us. We are bound for greatness now that we have an understanding.

Kale, for me, must be cooked.

kaleshells2

Before you think, “Nicole, this was just one recipe…maybe you really do hate kale.” I’m going to tell you you’re wrong. This recipe has a TON of kale in it and I loved every last bite. I no longer feel like a disgrace to vitamin K and vegetarian iron. I can make, eat, and love kale for the first time ever and that is pretty thrilling given all the nutrition I was missing out on.

I know there have got to be some others out there that are on the fence about kale. I know there are a lot of kale LOVERS out there. I know there’s a lot of CSA boxes and farmer’s markets that are chock full of kale. And now, I offer you this recipe solution for all your kale needs. You’re welcome in advance!

kaleshells4

[print_this]

Spicy Kale-Stuffed Shells adapted from A Couple Cooks by Pink Parsley

8 oz jumbo shells 3/4-1 lb kale, washed, stems removed, and roughly chopped 2 cups low-fat cottage cheese 1/2 cup (2 oz) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated 3/4 cup (3 oz) part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded 2 Tbsp basil, minced 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 2-3 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes 16 oz can crushed tomatoes 1/2 tsp dried oregano Kosher salt Fresh ground pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and lightly spray a 9 x 13-inch dish with olive oil.

Par-boil the shells according to the package directions, boiling about 9 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the kale and a splash of water, stirring the kale until it’s wilted and softened, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and transfer the kale to a large bowl. Add the cottage cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan, mozzarella, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.

Return the pan to the stove, add the oil, and heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and stirring constantly, cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, dried oregano, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To assemble the shells, spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Use a spoon to fill each shell with the kale-cottage cheese mixture, then arrange in a single layer in the dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the pasta, then sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.

Bake, covered with foil, 25-30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese has melted. Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes or so. Let stand about 5-10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 28 shells (7 servings – 4 shells each).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 279 calories; 8.6 g. fat; 22 mg. cholesterol; 602 mg. sodium; 34.9 g. carbohydrate; 4.1 g. fiber; 17.9 g. protein

Result: These shells have a great texture and offer up lots of protein for a vegetarian meal with no meat substitute or beans! This is a great way to enjoy a pasta dish while still getting in tons of nutrition, fiber, and fiber without a boat load of carbohydrate. Tons of flavor and a hint of spicy…mmmm! Enjoy!

[/print_this]

 One of my other phone conversations was with my friend Mary. She said my house echoes it’s so empty!

Off for a run and coffee. Tonight, it’s saying farewell to Donna. I am gonna MISS her :(

Be well,

Mediterranean Salmon Salad + Weekly Menu

MediterraneanSalmonSalad1

Yesterday was the first Saturday I have thoroughly enjoyed in…too long.

I slept in until…almost 8am. Lily and I played soccer in the backyard. Mr. Prevention and I had breakfast and coffee and ventured out to run errands and grocery shop together. I nearly escaped with nothing added to my cart that wasn’t on the list and when I ran back to get quinoa, he took the cart and loaded up on Powerade. Zero. He loves the stuff.

Still, our grocery bill was only $69 for the week. I was pleased!

MediterraneanSalmonSalad2

I came home and made this salad. I loved this salad.

I knew from the second I saw it on Estela’s blog that this was a salad made for me.

I love salads, but a meal of lettuce alone doesn’t sustain me. And most people have the connotation of healthy and “diets” = salads. Boring, flavorless salads. Bleck. This salad packs lots of nutrition — omega 3′s, fiber, vitamin C, you name it. And it’s filling…because it’s not just lettuce. And I feel satisfied because it’s not just lettuce. But it doesn’t skimp on flavor…TONS of flavor. It was incredible. I haven’t enjoyed a salad this much in far too long.

MediterraneanSalmonSalad3

After lunch, I did some blog photography before pounding out a quick (for me) 5K in 30:08. It felt awesome. I should probably knock on wood, but my ankle is feeling back to 100%.

I got ready and met Donna for martinis and appetizers. How two women can jabber on for 3 1/2 hours and it feels like 30 minutes…it always happens. I had promised Mr. Prevention deep dish pizza, so I came home to start that. While the dough did its thing….twice…we caught up with the DVR and watched some Discovery channel. Nerd alert.

A night in was just what I needed. And the pizza, it wasn’t too shabby either. ;)

MediterraneanSalmonSalad4 [print_this]

Mediterranean Salmon Salad slightly adapted from Weekly Bite

1/3 cup olive oil 1/3 cup red wine vinegar 1 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano 1 1/4 teaspoon dried basil 1 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 1 tsp onion powder 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper 1 tsp Dijon mustard

3/4 lb salmon filet pinch of salt pinch of black pepper 1/4 tsp dried oregano 1 cup dry orzo 1/4 cup kalamata olives, halved 1 red bell peppers, chopped 1/2 red onion, chopped 1/2 cup (2 oz) crumbled feta 1 14oz can artichoke hearts (quartered) 5 cups spring mix, lightly packed Dressing (see above)

Directions:

Whisk all ingredients together for the dressing, set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Place salmon on a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with olive oil. Sprinkle salmon with salt, pepper, & oregano.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until center is cooked.

Meanwhile, cook orzo according to package directions.

Drain pasta and place in a deep casserole dish.  Pour 1/4 cup of dressing over pasta and gently toss. To the orzo, add olives, red bell peppers, red onions, feta, artichoke hearts, spring mix lettuce, and the remaining dressing.  Toss to gently combine all ingredients.

Once salmon is cooked, flake salmon using two forks. Top salad with flaked salmon.

Yield: 5 servings (1 cup of lettuces with about 1 cup orzo/veggie mix)

Nutrition Information (per serving): 500 calories; 24.6 g. fat; 48 mg. cholesterol; 614 mg. sodium; 45 g. carbohydrate; 5.4 g. fiber; 25 g. protein

Result: This was my kind of salad! So flavor, full of different textures, and not JUST lettuce. Hands down one of my favorite salads. I didn’t use all the dressing that the original recipe called for, so I adjusted the recipe posted here accordingly. I loved the salmon with the feta and olive balanced out by the spring greens. Unique and delicious…healthy, too!

[/print_this]

Weekly Menu: April 28th – May 3rd

Other than grading…today has no plans! :-D

Be well,