Recipes and Tips from SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital – Janesville

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  • Get To Know Your Spice Rack

    By Sharon Saloman, MS, RD for Eatright.org

    And Megan Timm, Community Health Educator, SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital – Janesville

     

    There are many delicious, fresh foods that require little tinkering with flavor. But, when it comes to lightening up recipes, it is important to understand how to keep flavor when reducing fat, sugar or sodium.

    One way is through the addition of spices, herbs or other flavorings such as citrus juice, vinegars, dried fruits and cheeses. Some dishes use chopped or diced aromatic vegetables — onions, garlic, shallots, scallions, leeks, peppers or celery — for a base flavor in soups, stews, sauces and stir-fry recipes. Others add depth by adding seasonings such herbs and spices to layer flavors.

    How to Outfit a Spice Rack

    More intricate or advanced recipes may call for specific herbs and spices, but this list is a good place to start:

    Basil Oregano Garlic Powder Black Pepper Clove
    Sage Parsley Chili Powder Bay Leaf Cinnamon
    Thyme Nutmeg Onion Powder Turmeric Rosemary
    Cumin Paprika Curry Powder Cayenne Pepper Dill

    3 Tips for Storing and Using Spices

    • Dried herbs do not always taste like their fresh counterparts, so they are not necessarily interchangeable in a recipe. But in a pinch, try substituting 1-part dry herb for three parts fresh.
    • Store dried herbs and spices in airtight containers and in a cool, dark cupboard or pantry.
    • Taste and season throughout the cooking process. It’s better to under-season and add more spices, than over-season and be left with a ruined dish. Only add salt at the very end — you may find your dish doesn’t even need it!
  • 5 Powerful Health Benefits of Asparagus

    By Cheryl Forberg, Rd for EatingWell

    And Megan Timm, Community Health Educator, SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital – Janesville

    Asparagus is a spring vegetable that’s packed with nutrition. When you buy asparagus, either fresh from the farmers’ market or grocery store, it’s best to eat it right away. 1 cup of cooked asparagus has 40 calories, 4 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber.

    If you need more reasons to enjoy this yummy vegetable here are the 5 health benefits of asparagus.

    1. Asparagus is a nutrient-packed vegetable. It is a very good source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. That’s good news if you’re watching your blood sugar.
    2. It can help fight cancer. This herbaceous plant-along with avocado, kale and Brussels sprouts-is a particularly rich source of glutathione, a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens and other harmful compounds like free radicals. This is why eating asparagus may help protect against and fight certain forms of cancer, such as bone, breast, colon, larynx and lung cancers.
    3. Asparagus is packed with antioxidants: It’s one of the top ranked fruits and vegetables for its ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. This may help slow the aging process and reduce inflammation.
    4. Asparagus is a brain booster: Like leafy greens, asparagus delivers folate, which works with vitamin B12-found in fish, poultry, meat and dairy-to help prevent cognitive impairment.
    5. It’s a natural diuretic: It contains high levels of the amino acid asparagine, which serves as a natural diuretic, and increased urination not only releases fluid but helps rid the body of excess salts. This is especially beneficial for people who suffer from edema (an accumulation of fluids in the body’s tissues) and those who have high blood pressure or other heart-related diseases.
  • The Spin on Spinach

  • By Megan Timm, NDTR 

    What words come to mind when you hear the word Spinach? Does it make you think “yuck”, “no way” or “disgusting”? I challenge you to get past the negative feelings surrounding this green leafy vegetable and find the strength (as Popeye did) to add it to your kitchen.

    For me, spinach is a welcome sign of summer and one of my favorite under-rated vegetables in the garden. Though we typically only think of Spinach as the foundation to salad building, that is only the beginning for this culinary gem. Here are five ways to incorporate spinach into your daily cooking.

    1. Add it into your soups.
    2. Blend it into your homemade pesto sauce as an additional filler.
    3. Sneak it into your homemade meatloaf or meatball recipe.
    4. Toss it into your omelet or smoothie in the morning.
    5. Mix cooked spinach into your quinoa, rice or other grains for a side dish.

    Outside of its versatility in meal prep, spinach is loaded with nutrients such as vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, folate, magnesium, iron, calcium and potassium. Whew – that is a lot of nutrition to take in with only 7 calories per 1 cup serving! These nutrients assist the body in promoting good vision, supporting immune function, acting as antioxidants that may help prevent certain cancers, and regulating blood pressure and blood sugar.

    Just because you may not love spinach as your salad base, doesn’t mean it won’t absolutely wow you in these other recipes. And remember, you too can be strong to your finish, if you eat your spinach!

  • The Sweetness of Strawberry Season

    By Megan Timm, NDTR 

    It is finally the season of fresh strawberries – the best defense against picky eaters! For years now, studies have been showing that kids are not getting the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables each day. But, sweet and juicy strawberries are the one fruit that you probably won’t have any trouble getting your child to enjoy.

    Strawberries are one of America’s most loved fruits. A 2018 survey found that strawberries were the fourth most consumed fruit in the United States behind apples, bananas and grapes. One cup of strawberries has only 50 calories, making them a healthy treat to satisfy your child’s sweet tooth. And, strawberry desserts (such as strawberry oatmeal bars – this week’s recipe) are packed with powerful nutrients that many traditional desserts lack.

    Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of fiber. Just 1 cup contains around 140% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C for kids. Kids need vitamin C for growth, body tissue repair, and a healthy immune system. It’s important to note that fruits and vegetables lose vitamin C when heated or stored for long periods of time. To get the most nutrients, eat them as soon as possible after shopping.

    For vegetarians, it is good to know that vitamin C helps the body to better absorb the type of iron that comes from plant foods such as beans, spinach, nuts and seeds. To get this benefit, team up vitamin C-rich foods with iron-rich plant foods in the same meal. For example, create a flavorful spinach salad with strawberries.

  • Beginner’s Guide to Cruciferous Veggies

    By Megan Timm, NDTR 

    Let’s start from the beginning, by learning our cruciferous ABCs: A is for arugula, B is for broccoli, C is for cauliflower. Or let’s try this one: A is for added nutrients, B is for battling inflammation and C is for cancer prevention. Either way, these veggies are smart choices in eating healthy and boosting your immune system.

    Cruciferous is an informal classification for members of the mustard family and comes from a Latin word meaning “cross bearing” due to the petals of each plant resembling a cross. These veggies are rich in fiber, vitamin K, phytochemicals and are low in calories which is an excellent combination to feel full and satisfied.

    Adults need at least 2.5 cups of veggies per day and with versatile cruciferous varieties, you can easily achieve this goal. Cauliflower can be eaten as roasted steaks, mashed like a potato, used as your pizza crust or just enjoyed raw on a hot summer day. Brussel sprouts and broccoli can be roasted with a little something sweet such as maple syrup or dried fruit to create a melt-in-your-mouth side dish, or create a savory side by adding a sprinkle of parmesan cheese (see recipe).  Lastly, arugula and kale create a tasty salad base or try arugula in a homemade pesto or kale as a baked chip alternative.

    Don’t let the story of bitter taste or sulfur smell scare you off from enjoying these impressive veggies. Remember you are never too old to try something new – you might just like it!

    • Mushroom Asparagus Quiche Recipe

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    • Roasted Asparagus Recipe

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    • Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

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