It's Friday so you know what that means: we're featuring four new yummy recipes using fruits and veggies packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals so you can health-ify your weekend! We could all benefit from more fresh foods in our diets, so read up and eat up to get your fruit and veggie fix.
Homer, author of The Odyssey (good times reading that in middle school, high school, AND college), once deemed pears “a gift from the gods.” And they really are, health-wise and flavor-wise. Pears are one of the top fruits that Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator Katie Clark recommends. “They are among the highest fiber fruits per serving,” she explains. “They help satisfy your sweet tooth and fill you up with fiber.” While pears are high in fiber, they are low on the glycemic index. According to Natural Home & Garden,
“the bloodstream slowly absorbs a pear’s carbs (just about 26 grams per pear), preventing a spike in blood sugar and helping to control blood glucose levels.” And don't forget the Vitamin C and K you’ll get with every juicy bite.
Brie, Ham, & Pear Panini
Courtesy of: food-management.com
What may seem like an odd combination of ingredients turns out to be a heavenly mix of flavors. If you’re sans panini press or stove, just forget the grilling steps and enjoy it as a regular (yet anything but plain) sandwich.
- 2 slices sourdough, whole wheat or white bread
- ½ Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 oz. thinly sliced ham
- ½ firm but ripe pear, peeled, halved lengthwise, cored and cut lengthwise into 3 thick slices
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 oz. Brie cheese, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsps. butter, softened
Preheat panini press, grill pan or griddle to medium-high heat. Place 2 slices of bread on work surface and spread half the mustard on each slice. Add ham and 3 slices of pear atop slice of bread and grind a bit of pepper over the pear slices. Top the pears with slices of cheese. Place a slice of bread on top and butter the top slices of bread with half the butter. If using a panini press, butter both sides of the bread before grilling. Place the sandwich in panini press and close the lid. Grill until nicely browned on both sides. For a grill or griddle, place the sandwiches buttered side down on hot grill or griddle. Butter top-side of sandwich. Grill until nicely browned on one side and then flip and grill the other side. Cut in half and serve immediately.
Pear Walnut Salad
Courtesy of: stemilt.com
Pears make a great addition to salads. This recipe is versatile—feel free to substitute the walnut for a different nut, like toasted almonds or glazed pecans, and experiment with your favorite cheeses.
- 1 package mixed baby greens
- 1 large ripe pear
- 3 oz. crumbled blue cheese
- 3 oz. walnuts, chopped
- For Vinaigrette Dressing
- 4 Tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ Tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
Divide the mixed baby greens onto six salad plates. Peel and slice the pear thinly. Top the salad greens with pear slices, dividing the slices among the 6 plates. Top each salad with ½ oz. of the crumbled blue cheese. Next, top the salads with ½ oz. of the chopped walnuts. For the dressing, combine 4 TBSP of extra-virgin olive oil with 2 TBSP of balsamic vinegar. Mix in the Dijon mustard, sugar and salt. Top each salad with the dressing and serve immediately.
“Peppers, super rich in vitamin C, are great for you young women from head to toe,” health author-journalist Cal Orey says. They’re super rich in vitamin C indeed—one cup of raw bell peppers delivers 200% of your daily value. Compare that whopping number to 1%, which is the percent of your daily value of calories that same cup of peppers contains—a.k.a. you can munch and crunch to your heart’s content. According to the World Healthiest Foods foundation, the bell pepper is one of only two vegetables that contain at least two thirds of vitamin C, vitamin E, and six carotenoids. “Bell pepper is not only an excellent source of carotenoids, but also a source of over 30 different members of the carotenoid nutrient family,” the foundation says. Try all the different varieties, cause each color has its own slightly distinct flavor.
Grilled Pepper Salad
Courtesy of: eatingwell.com
This works wonderfully as a side dish or a relish for chicken, steak, fish, tofu—you name it.
- 4 bell peppers, (mixed colors), halved, seeded and stemmed
- 1/4 cup halved and pitted oil-cured black olives
- 1/4 cup rinsed and chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Grill peppers on medium-high, turning once, until soft and charred in spots, about 5 minutes per side. When cool enough to handle, chop the peppers; toss with olives, sun-dried tomatoes, oil, vinegar and salt in a large bowl.
Courtesy of: kraftrecipes.com
By removing the tops of bell peppers, you open a world of opportunities to stuff ‘em with your favorite ingredients. This recipe calls for brown rice, mushrooms, sauce, and cheese—yum!
- 2- 2/3 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 cup spaghetti sauce
- 1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese, divided
- 4 green peppers, tops removed, seeded
Heat oven to 400°F. Combine rice, mushrooms, spaghetti sauce and 3/4 cup cheese. Stand peppers in 2-qt. baking dish. Fill with rice mixture; cover. Bake 30 to 35 min. or until peppers are crisp-tender and filling is heated through. Top with remaining cheese; bake 5 min. or until melted.
Make sure to check out the other recipes from the past three Fridays under the Health section, and let us know your favorite ones- and don't forget to check back next Friday for the last fruit and veggie installation of the summer!