Add a Healthy Twist to Your Favorite Foods

Family Features  |  2016-01-27

(Family Features) If you are like most Americans, you might have lapsed a little on your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier. Getting back on track is easy and guilt-free, and can be done with just a few steps.

Celebrity chef and registered dietitian Diane Henderiks offers three simple ways to help you get back on the right track and make sure you are eating the right foods:

  • Eliminate sugary drinks, like soda, as they don’t offer any nutritional value.
  • Identify ways to reduce the amount of food you eat, as we all tend to eat more than we need to.
  • Most importantly, limit the amount of carbohydrates you eat – this means trying to reduce the amounts of pastas, breads and sugars you are consuming – and focus on eating more fiber-rich vegetables, healthy fats and optimal protein.

“It’s easy to transform your favorite meals into healthy, low-carb meals that are rich in flavors and will satisfy you,” Henderiks said.

Henderiks has transformed some of her favorite meals into low-carb deliciousness for each meal of the day, including dessert, because you can still enjoy your favorite sweets and all of their great flavors with a few twists that make them healthier.

Living a low-carb lifestyle can also be effective in helping you lose and keep off unwanted weight – just in time for spring.

Find more recipes that make it easy to eat low-carb all year long at

Waldorf Chicken Salad in Lettuce Cups
Serves: 2

1/4       cup Greek yogurt
1/2       cup mayonnaise
1          teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1/2       teaspoon dry mustard
1          teaspoon dried thyme
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper
2          cups cooked, skinless chicken breast, coarsely chopped
1          rib of celery, diced
1/4       English cucumber, diced
1/4       apple, washed, peeled and diced
1/2       cup toasted, chopped walnuts
4          large Boston lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry
1          tablespoon Parmesan cheese

In medium mixing bowl, whisk together yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, thyme, salt and pepper.

Fold in chicken, celery, cucumber, apple and walnuts.

Place 2 lettuce leaves on each plate and spoon 1/4 of chicken salad into each cup. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Mexican Stuffed Breakfast Portobello Mushroom
Serves: 2

2          large Portobello mushroom caps
1          teaspoon olive oil
10        ounces (about 3 links) sweet Italian turkey sausage, removed from casing
1          cup chopped baby spinach
1/2       cup salsa (jarred or Quick Tomato Salsa recipe)
2          eggs
1/2       avocado, peeled and sliced thinly
1/2       cup shredded cheddar cheese
1          tablespoon finely chopped cilantro

Heat oven to 400 F.

Place mushrooms, smooth side up, on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place mushroom caps smooth side up on platter lined with paper towels to drain some of the water.

In medium frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Brown sausage and break into small pieces with back of wooden spoon while cooking. Stir in spinach and salsa. Transfer mixture to mixing bowl to cool slightly.

Carefully separate egg yolks then place whites in one bowl and yolks in 2 separate small bowls. Beat egg whites with fork.

On baking sheet lined with parchment paper, place mushrooms smooth side down. Place half of avocado slices under mushrooms.

Add egg whites and cheddar cheese to sausage mixture and combine well. Divide mixture in half and stuff into Portobello caps on top of avocado.

For each mushroom, make well in center of sausage mixture large enough for egg yolk.

Bake 10 minutes and carefully pour yolk into each well. Bake until yolks are set, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

Quick Tomato Salsa

1          tomato, cored and diced
1          tablespoon finely chopped onion
1          tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
sprinkle of ground cumin
sprinkle of garlic powder
1          lime wedge, juice only
salt and pepper, to taste

In mixing bowl, combine tomato, onion and cilantro. Season with cumin, garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper, to taste.

Luscious Lemon Squares
Serves: 16

1/2       cup almond or hazelnut meal
1/2       cup coconut flour
1/8       teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1          tablespoon natural sugar replacement
3          tablespoons melted butter
1          tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/4       cup coconut flour
2          tablespoons natural sugar replacement
4          large eggs
1/2       cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice

Heat oven to 350 F. Line 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper.

To make crust, in large bowl, combine almond meal, coconut flour, cinnamon, salt and sweetener. Add melted butter and vanilla extract. Combine all ingredients together and press dough evenly into bottom of baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly golden around edges. Remove from oven and set aside.

To make filling, stir coconut flour and sweetener together. Whisk in eggs and lemon juice.

Pour filling into crust and bake 10-15 minutes, until golden around edges.

Let cool at room temperature then refrigerate a minimum of 2 hours before cutting into squares.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

Source: Atkins

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Perfect Pops for Every Occasion

Family Features  |  2016-01-26

(Family Features) No matter what kind of events you have on your social calendar, you can pop up delicious treats that are sure to be a hit.

Whether hosting a get-together for the guys and tuning into the game or having a night in with the girls, freshly popped popcorn, which is naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO and gluten free, can help you please every palate.

Sweet, spicy, salty or served in more non-traditional ways, the possibilities are endless, and perfect for everything from date night to a family movie night or even a sleepover or kids’ party. And since it’s healthy and whole grain, popcorn is a satisfying snack suitable for every occasion that you can feel good about serving.

Find more versatile, nutritious recipes for your next event at

Cookies ’N Cream Popcorn
Yield: 12 cups
12        cups popped popcorn
1          package (11 ounces) white chocolate chips
2          teaspoons coconut oil
15        Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped

Place popcorn in large bowl; set aside.

In medium saucepan on low heat, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil; stir until blended.

Pour melted chocolate over popcorn, stirring until well-coated. Stir in chopped Oreos.

Spread mixture on baking sheet and chill until chocolate has set. Break into pieces to serve.

Popcorn Party Pizza
Yield: 8 slices
3          tablespoons butter
1          bag (10.5 ounces) mini marshmallows
2          quarts popped popcorn
1          tube (.68 ounces) red piping gel
1          package red raspberry fruit roll-ups
green jelly beans
candy-coated chocolate pieces

Spray 12-inch pizza pan with cooking spray; set aside.

In large saucepan over medium heat, heat butter.

Stir in marshmallows until melted.

Stir in popcorn until well coated.

Spread mixture evenly onto prepared pizza pan.

Drizzle red piping gel over “pizza” to make “sauce.”

Cut small circles (about 1 1/4 inches in diameter) from fruit roll-up and place on pizza for “pepperoni” slices.

Decorate as desired with jelly beans, coconut and candies. Allow to cool completely before cutting into wedges to serve.

Popcorn and Peanut Truffles
Yield: About 30 pieces
6          cups popped popcorn
1          cup roasted and salted peanuts
1          package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2       cup honey

In large bowl, stir popcorn and peanuts together; set aside.

In microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate chips 10 seconds. Stir chips and repeat, stirring after each 10 seconds, until chips are melted. Warm honey in microwave 10 seconds and stir into chocolate until well blended.

Pour chocolate mixture over popcorn mixture and stir until popcorn is evenly coated. With small ice cream scoop, push popcorn mixture into scoop and release onto wax paper to form truffles. Refrigerate until firm.

Note: Truffles can be stored in an airtight container up to 5 days.

Toasted Coconut and Chocolate Popcorn
Yield: 10 cups
10        cups popped popcorn
2          tablespoons butter or margarine
2          tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2       teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
1          cup chocolate chips
1          teaspoon vegetable oil
1          bag (7 ounces) shredded coconut, toasted

Place popcorn in large bowl; set aside.

In small saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar and coconut extract; stir until melted and combined.

Pour over popcorn, coating well. Spread popcorn onto large cookie sheet.

In glass measuring cup, melt chocolate chips and vegetable oil in microwave on low heat until smooth. Drizzle over popcorn. Immediately sprinkle coconut over popcorn mixture; cool.

Break into pieces and serve.

Cheesy Pepperoni Popcorn
Yield: 6-8 cups
1/4       cup nonfat Parmesan cheese
2          teaspoons garlic powder
1/4       teaspoon dried oregano
1/4       teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
1/4       teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/8       teaspoon dried sage
black pepper, to taste
12        cups popped popcorn
3/4       cup turkey pepperoni, cut into bite-size bits
olive oil cooking spray

In small bowl, combine Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, oregano, marjoram, basil, sage and pepper; mix well.

Place cooked popcorn and turkey pepperoni in large bowl; spray lightly with cooking spray.

Sprinkle popcorn and pepperoni with cheese mixture and toss to coat evenly.

Source: Popcorn Board

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5 Reasons to Use Canola Oil

Family Features  |  2016-01-26

(Family Features) Do you know what’s in a bottle of vegetable oil? Well, clearly not lettuce, carrots or tomatoes, but not necessarily a specific oil either. That’s because vegetable oil is made from any number of oils – soybean, sunflower and/or corn, for example – which means its nutritional content and culinary performance are unspecified, too. Here’s why cooking with 100 percent canola oil is your best bet and some delicious ways to do it.

  1. It’s healthy. Canola oil contains the least saturated fat – about half that of olive, soybean, corn and sunflower oils – and the most plant-based omega-3 fat of all common cooking oils.

Stir-fried Pork and Broccoli with Garlic Ginger Sauce – Canola oil’s healthy fat content makes it ideal for lighter dishes and cooking methods, such as stir-frying.

  1. It’s neutral. Canola oil has no taste and a light texture (unlike olive or coconut oils), which is what you want to better showcase the flavors of your ingredients, not your oil.

Roasted Root Vegetable and Winter Squash Salad – Canola oil’s light texture and mild taste are perfect for vinaigrettes and won’t mask the many flavor-packed ingredients in this salad.

  1. It can take the heat. Broil, sear or even deep-fry to your heart’s content. Canola oil has one of the highest heat tolerances (smoke point of 468 F) of any cooking oil.

Maple Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary– Canola oil supports all forms of high-temperature cooking, as in this dish, which starts with browning pork on the stove and then finishes in a 400°F oven.

  1. It’s affordable. Canola oil costs about the same as vegetable oil, but canola is superior nutritionally with trusted performance.

Broiled Trout with Lemon Oil and Oven-Grilled VegetablesCanola oil is a great value for health and versatility, as shown with lemon infusion and other nutritious ingredients in this broiled trout recipe.

  1. It can protect your heart. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a qualified health claim for canola oil on its potential to reduce the risk of heart disease when used in place of saturated fat.

Banana Bread with Chocolate Drizzle – Using canola oil instead of butter significantly reduces saturated fat in baked goods, such as this scrumptious banana bread.

SOURCE: CanolaInfo

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Here's How to Snack Like a Pro on Game Day

Brandpoint  |  2016-01-21

(BPT) - Ted Harper, the team sports dietitian for the New England Patriots, and Bryan Snyder, director of team nutrition for the Denver Broncos, may be rivals on the field, but when it comes to nutrition, they agree on one thing: pistachios are an ideal snack, whether you’re a professional athlete or an armchair spectator.

Harper and Snyder meticulously plan the diets of their teams to maximize each player’s performance and recovery. The hard-hitting impact of weekly games and daily practices takes a toll on the players’ bodies, and their nutrition plan is designed to help them achieve specific performance and recovery goals.

Both agree that, while the “Average Joe or Joann” doesn’t take the same hits as a professional football player, he or she still needs a healthy diet to battle the stresses of everyday life. According to Harper and Snyder, a big part of one’s nutrition plan should be mindful snacking habits. And are those choices helping or hurting your everyday performance?

“One very easy way to improve your overall nutrition is to replace some or all of your not-so-wise snacks like chips, cheese flavored crackers, sugary fruit snacks, pre-made snack cakes, cookies, soda or candy, with something that still tastes good, but is full of healthy nutrients,” says Harper. “Pistachios are one of the best recommendations I can make because they’re packed with many important nutrients and because they are very versatile. They lend themselves to just snack on in a pinch, or can be incorporated into the larger scheme of things like adding them into smoothies, topping off oatmeal or on a salad.”

Pistachios contain important nutrients, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, which can contribute to a lower risk of heart disease. They’re also a great snack to help with weight management, and may help prevent hypertension and lower blood pressure, according to recent studies.

People who eat a handful of nuts (including pistachios) daily have a 20 percent lower death rate, according to a 30-year research project published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the largest study of its kind. In addition, other supporting studies showed people who eat nuts regularly tend to remain leaner due to an association with reduced waist sizes and less weight gain throughout the course of life, compared to individuals who don’t regularly eat nuts.

Snyder adds that pistachios are a great snack for anyone looking to lose a few pounds.

“Not only do pistachios contain fiber and protein, but a study showed people eat 41 percent less when they snack on in-shell pistachios compared to those who consumed shelled pistachios,” he says. “Cracking open each nut slows down your consumption, and the empty shells serve as an unconscious visual reminder of how much you’ve eaten.”

“We’re all concerned about our heart health and living a healthy, active lifestyle,” says Snyder. “It’s important that you make smart choices with your nutrition so you can support these goals.”

Roasted pistachios straight from the store will satisfy and nourish, but for a dazzling game day snack, try this tasty pistachio recipe from Chef Robert Del Grande of Houston, Texas.

Pistachios Roasted with Smoked Chile Tequila and Limes

Recipe by Chef Robert Del Grande of Houston, Texas.

1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 large chipotle chiles canned in adobo, approximately 3 ounces
2 tablespoons adobo sauce from the canned chipotle chiles
6 tablespoons silver tequila
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 pounds pistachio nuts in the shell
Lime wedges


Combine the lime juice, sugar, chipotle, adobo sauce, tequila and salt in a blender. Puree until smooth. Place the shell-on pistachio nuts in a mixing bowl. Add the sauce and toss or stir until the sauce is fully incorporated into the nuts. Transfer the nuts to a sheet pan. Pre-heat an oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Toast the nuts for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the nuts are nicely browned. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.

To serve, place the pistachio nuts in a serving bowl. Sprinkle the nuts with salt and garnish with lime wedges.

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Bring Warmth and Freshness to Your Winter Breakfast

Family Features  |  2016-01-21

(Family Features) During the cold and dark winter months, it’s important to stay warm and well-nourished. Using in-season ingredients and produce is a simple way to brighten your winter blues and introduce authentic vitamin-rich flavor to your meals.

“Florida Grapefruit reaches its best taste during the heart of winter, making it a great source of fresh, nutrient-rich fruit at a time when many others are not available,” said Emily Richards, cookbook author. “I like to add Florida Grapefruit and its juice to salads, savory dishes and snacks.”

Follow this recipe from Richards for Quinoa Grapefruit Blueberry Breakfast to add Florida sunshine and a boost of energy to your blustery mornings. This refreshing breakfast combines hot quinoa with Florida Grapefruit and blueberries for a new twist on breakfast.

To learn more about Florida Grapefruit and find more recipes, visit

Quinoa Grapefruit Blueberry Breakfast
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

3/4       cup Florida Grapefruit Juice
1/2       cup water
3/4       cup quinoa, rinsed
2          tablespoons liquid honey or maple syrup
2          Florida Ruby Red Grapefruit, segmented
1          cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1          cup 0% vanilla or plain yogurt
fresh mint leaves

In small saucepan, combine grapefruit juice, water, quinoa and honey. Bring to boil; cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.

Stir in grapefruit and blueberries; divide into shallow bowls and top with yogurt. Garnish with mint to serve.

Source: Florida Grapefruit

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Swap Up for Big Game Day

Family Features  |  2016-01-21

(Family Features) Chicken wings, guacamole, and cheesy dips are America’s top choices for most Big Game day menus, but the same recipes year after year can get tiring. Forget the same-old spread and surprise your guests with a little more taste and pizazz this year.

Put these tips into play for a winning combination your team can celebrate.

Swap Up with Sausage. Transform typical dishes, by swapping sausage into recipes, such as chili and nachos, which typically incorporate ground beef. The built-in flavor lends great taste and convenience to these dishes. Instead of chips and queso, add brat sausage to your nachos to make brat-chos. Or give this MVP Chili recipe a try!

MVP Chili:

2          packages of Johnsonville Hot Italian Sausage Links (use mild links for less spicy chili)
1          large onion
3          cloves garlic, minced
2          tablespoons chili powder (use mild chili powder for less spicy chili)
1/4       teaspoon cumin
1          bottle (12 ounces) dark beer (OK to substitute light beer or 1 cup beef stock)
1          can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
2          tablespoons tomato paste
1          can (15.5 ounces) red kidney beans
1          can (15.5 ounces) black beans
1-1.5    cups corn (frozen or fresh off the cob)
salt and pepper


  1. De-case sausage and sauté in large pot; use wooden spoon to crumble sausage as it cooks.
  2. Once sausage is nicely browned, stir in onion, garlic, chili powder and cumin and continue cooking until onion softens, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add beer and allow it to simmer for an additional 5 minutes scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  4. Stir in tomatoes and tomato paste and allow it to simmer, uncovered for an additional 10-15 minutes on medium-low, stirring occasionally.
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
  6. Finally, stir in beans and corn.
  7. Let this come to a simmer and it’s ready to serve! (Can be prepared a day ahead.)

Use Unexpected Ingredients. Many dips and sides prominently feature the gooey goodness of cheese. Put a fresh spin on these dishes with high-quality, sophisticated options that feature more robust flavors, such as pungent blue cheese, smoked Gouda or tangy goat cheese.

Sweeten Up Your Spread. To mix in sweet with the savory options, find a spot on the table for some fresh fruit flavor. Favorites such as fruit salad, fruit pizza or fruit kabobs can make for a delectable treat to accompany the rest of your game-day fare.

Mix it Up. Smoky flavors and bourbon are trending upward in kitchens, backyards, bars and restaurants across the country. Combine the two for a creative spin to your beverage spread. Seep Johnsonville Fully Cooked Smoked Brats in bourbon for about a day to extract smoky and savory flavors, and mix the bourbon for a modern twist on the Manhattan cocktail.

Find more creative recipes to spice up your game-day spread at

Smokey Sausage Manhattan:
2          ounces Sausage-Infused Bourbon
1          ounces Sweet Vermouth
1          dash Angostura Bitters
3          Cherries

In ice filled mixing glass, add all ingredients and stir for at least 30 seconds. Strain into martini glass and garnish with 3 cherries on a pick.

Sausage-Infused Bourbon

  1. Cut Johnsonville Fully Cooked Smoked Split Rope Sausage into 1/2-inch slices.
  2. In glass jar with tight lid (canning jar is ideal) add sliced brat with 6 ounces of bourbon and let sit for 24-48 hours.  
  3. Strain through coffee filter into clean container.  
  4. Discard sliced brats.

Source: Johnsonville

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Simple, Satisfying Soup for Supper

Family Features  |  2016-01-21

(Family Features) A hearty, flavorful bowl of soup on a chilly night is hard to beat. But if the thought of preparing soup from scratch makes you think “nice idea, but too time consuming,” it’s time to rethink soup making.

Minimum prep and maximum flavor is what you get with Southwestern Bean and Pasta Soup. It goes together quickly, using both fresh and prepared ingredients. The beans and southwestern seasonings from READ Southwestern Bean Salad jumpstart this soup – both in flavor and sustenance. Sauteed fresh vegetables add extra color and nutrition. The pasta cooks along with the other ingredients to save yet another step. Make it vegetarian or add ground beef or poultry – either way, it’s delicious.

Serve this versatile soup meal to the family, or double the recipe and invite the neighbors over for a simple supper that’s on the table in under an hour. Offer toppings such as avocado, sour cream and cilantro to dress it up for company.

Additional tasty, timesaving recipes can be found at

Southwestern Bean and Pasta Soup
Preparation time: 25 minute
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8

2        cans (15 ounces each) READ Southwestern Bean Salad, divided
1        tablespoon olive or canola oil
3/4     cup chopped bell pepper
1/2     cup sliced green onions
1        small jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1        large clove garlic, minced
1        can (14.5 ounces) no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1        carton (32 ounces) low sodium, reduced-fat vegetable or chicken broth, divided
1        cup water
1/2     cup ditalini pasta, uncooked

Optional toppings:
sour cream
plain yogurt
chopped cilantro

Place contents of one can bean salad in blender or food processor. Process until partially pureed, with small chunks remaining.

In large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add bell pepper and onions; cook and stir about 2 minutes to soften. Add jalapeno; cook and stir 1 minute. Add garlic; cook and stir 30 seconds.

Stir in pureed bean salad; add second can of bean salad and tomatoes. Add 3 cups of broth and water. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes. Add pasta; cook 7-9 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Add additional broth as desired for consistency. Serve with toppings, as desired.

Variations: During step two, cook 1/2 pound lean ground beef, chicken or turkey breast in oil, stirring frequently until cooked through. Add pepper and onions and continue as recipe directs; add additional oil 1 teaspoon at a time if needed for cooking vegetables.

Nutrition information per serving (1/8 of recipe): 180 calories; 6 g protein; 26 g carbohydrate; 5 g total fat; 530 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 6 g dietary fiber; 11 mg iron; 0.06 mg thiamin; 944 IU vitamin A; 13 mg vitamin C.

Source: Seneca Foods

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