Category Archives: Food

Green Beans with Garlic and Lemon

Easy Fresh Green Beans with Garlic and Lemon

Fresh green beans can be found in most grocery stores, often year-round. Yet, as easy as they are to cook, many people are uncomfortable dealing with them. Here’s an easy recipe using green beans and flavoring them with garlic and lemon. They can be cooked to any degree of crispness that you want. It only takes about 7 minutes to bring them to crisp-tender. Give it a try! The recipe is below the video link. Enjoy!

I hope this helps!
Judi

Easy Fresh Green Beans with Garlic and Lemon
Makes About 5 Servings

½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb fresh green beans, washed and cut into desired size pieces
Water
Salt and pepper, to taste
A wedge or two of fresh lemon

Heat a large skillet (that has a lid) on medium heat. Add the oil and butter and allow the butter to melt. Add the minced garlic and sauté it briefly, just until aromatic. Add the green beans and sauté briefly to coat with the oil and butter. Salt and pepper (to your taste) can be added at this time. Add a small amount of water (about 3 tablespoons) then cover the pan. Allow the beans to cook to your desired degree of tenderness. Important! Stir and monitor the water level often. Do not allow it to go completely dry to avoid burning the beans. If more water is needed, add 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time, then cover the pan again, allowing the beans to cook more. It takes about 7 minutes cooking time to bring them to crisp-tender. When cooked, remove from heat and adjust seasonings, if desired. Drizzle with fresh lemon juice and serve.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms 101 – The Basics

Mushrooms have been enjoyed for eons and are gaining in popularity since we’ve discovered the health benefits of including them in our diet. If you’re not sure what to do with them, the following information should help! In this article, I cover the basics from what they are to how to select and store them, to how to cook them including suggested recipes. I hope this helps!
Judi

Mushrooms 101 – The Basics

About Mushrooms
Mushrooms are reproductive structures (containing seeds) of some fungi. The seeds of the fungi are microscopic and are housed in the gills underneath the mushroom cap. There are literally thousands of varieties of mushrooms varying in size, shape, and color, ranging from edible and highly nutritious to deadly when eaten. Unless you are truly an expert, it’s best to eat only those mushrooms found in your local grocery store. Mushrooms are consumed for their culinary, nutritional and medicinal values.

The white button mushroom that we commonly find in American grocery stores is named Agaricus bisporus and is the immature variety of the fungi. The Portobello mushroom is the mature variety of the same fungi.

Nutrition Tidbits
Mushrooms supply an array of B-vitamins and minerals including selenium, with only about 15 to 20 calories in one cup of raw pieces. They also supply fiber and are low in sodium. Their nutrition profile helps to support healthy blood (preventing anemia), build strong bones, support the immune system, support our gut microbes with their prebiotic fiber, maintain healthy skin and hair, manage blood pressure, lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation throughout the body, manage diabetes, ward off cancer, and even supply some plant-based Vitamin D (if they’ve been exposed to the sun or UV light).

Also, even white button and Portobello mushrooms contain an aromatase enzyme inhibitor, found to fight hormone-related cancers, such as breast cancer. Mushrooms have also been found to inhibit cancer cells from growing and dividing. Research is growing, uncovering the medicinal effects of mushrooms regarding their anti-cancer effects on numerous types of cancer.

How to Select Mushrooms
Look for mushrooms that are fresh, firm, and even shaped with no bruises or visible moisture on them. Obviously avoid any that are moldy or slimy in appearance.

How to Store Mushrooms
Mushrooms can be stored in their original packaging from the grocery store if there are air holes in the plastic. They need air flow to keep moisture from accumulating. Mushrooms can also be stored loosely wrapped in paper bags in the refrigerator. This allows them to breathe and stay firm longer without water accumulating around them. They are best when used within a few days of purchase, but stored like this, they might keep for up to a week, depending upon how long since their harvest.

Fresh vs Frozen vs Canned
Mushrooms can be purchased fresh, dried, frozen or canned. When comparing these forms of mushrooms, fresh is usually best, with frozen and dried being close seconds, and canned being a third choice. There are advantages of each option and which is best will depend on your needs at the time. Fresh will be the most versatile, since mushrooms can be eaten raw or cooked, while frozen mushrooms are best when cooked. Canned mushrooms usually have added salt, so if that’s a concern for you, you may want to choose a no-salt-added option. The texture will vary between all options.

How to Freeze Mushrooms
If mushrooms will be used within three months, simply clean and slice them, and then place them carefully in a freezer bag and freeze. If you plan to keep mushrooms for a longer period, they can be water blanched for one or two minutes, cooled down, and then frozen. Or they can be placed in a lemon juice solution (1 teaspoon of lemon juice to 2 cups of water) for five minutes, then steamed for three to five minutes before being frozen. Note that 1-1/2 teaspoons of citric acid may be used in place of the lemon juice. Cooked or blanched mushrooms will keep in the freezer for up to a year. Add them to recipes while still frozen.

How to Prepare Mushrooms
Brush the dirt off with a paper towel or a soft brush. If desired, rinse them briefly and pat them dry when you’re ready to use them. Shiitake mushrooms have a tough stem, so it should be removed and discarded. The stems of other mushrooms are tender and can be used. Cut them into desired size pieces or leave whole.

Here are a couple quick tips when preparing fresh mushrooms:
* An egg slicer is a quick way to slice mushrooms and it cuts the work in half when you have a lot to slice.

* If a recipe calls for finely chopped mushrooms, try grating them instead. Use this technique to incorporate the great flavor of mushrooms into dishes like meatloaf and pasta sauce. This is an easy way to serve mushrooms to fussy eaters since it’s almost impossible to know that they are there.

Cooking/Serving Ideas
Mushrooms can be eaten raw or roasted, steamed, boiled, sautéed, grilled, added to soups, salads, casseroles, sandwiches, tacos, burritos, and wraps, packed into burgers, served as “steaks”, creamed, stuffed, stir-fried, and more. Mushrooms are very versatile and their use is only limited to your imagination!

Mushrooms go especially well in casseroles, crepes, Czech cuisine, egg dishes, gravies, meatloaf, pastas, pizza, salads, sauces, soups, stuffings, veggie burgers, and won tons.

Tip when cooking mushrooms:
Mushrooms contain a lot of water. If you are browning mushrooms, don’t overcrowd the pan or they will release a lot of water and end up boiling or steaming in the pan instead of sautéing. Sautéing them in smaller amounts at one time allows the released water to evaporate rather than accumulate. If you have a lot of mushrooms to cook, try this method… Cook mushrooms over medium heat until they begin to release their liquid, then turn the heat to high until the liquid has evaporated. At this point the mushrooms will sizzle and begin to brown. Be careful not to burn them.

Here are some excellent cooking tips from https://ProduceMadeSimple.ca

To Saute: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add 8 ounces of mushrooms, and stir until all of their juices have evaporated.

To Butter Steam: Cut mushrooms lengthwise into ¼ inch slices. Butter-steam up to 5 cups of mushrooms at a time by using 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes over medium high heat, stirring occasionally to allow the mushrooms to steam and cook off their moisture and to acquire even browning.

To Grill: Use button, brown, or shiitake mushrooms. Cut off tough stem ends. Thread smaller mushrooms on skewers. Brush with oil, butter or margarine. Grill for about 10 minutes.

To Microwave: Cut 1 pound of mushrooms lengthwise into ¼ inch slices, or into halves or quarters. Place in a microwave-safe dish. Dot with 6 tsp of butter or margarine. Cover and microwave on high for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 2 minutes.

To Stir-fry: Cut mushrooms lengthwise into ¼ inch slices, or into halves or quarters. Stir-fry up to 5 cups at a time, using 1 tablespoon of oil, for 3 to 4 minutes.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well with Mushrooms
With their earthy flavor, mushrooms go well with many herbs and spices. Some examples include: Basil, bay leaf, cardamom, cayenne, cilantro, coriander, cumin, dill, garlic, ginger, marjoram, mint, mustard, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, pepper, red pepper flakes, tarragon, thyme, rosemary, sage, salt, soy sauce, and turmeric.

Other Foods That Go Well with Mushrooms
Proteins, Nuts, Seeds: Beans, beef, chicken, chickpeas, eggs, fish and other seafood, ham (including bacon), meat stocks, nuts (especially almonds and walnuts), tahini, veal

Vegetables: Arugula, asparagus, avocado, carrots, celery, chives, eggplant, fennel, kale, leeks, olives, onions, peas, potatoes, salads, scallions, shallots, spinach, tomatoes

Fruit: Lemon, orange

Grains: Barley, bread crumbs, millet, noodles, pasta, polenta, quinoa, rice, wild rice

Dairy: Butter, cheese (ie. Blue, feta, goat, Gruyere, Parmesan, ricotta), cream, mascarpone, milk (animal and coconut)

Other: Oil (peanut, sesame, truffle, walnut, olive), pizza, sauces, soups, vegetable and meat broths, vinegar, wine

Some suggested combos:
Mushrooms + arugula + pasta + peas
Mushrooms + breadcrumbs + chives + garlic + olive oil
Mushrooms + garlic + ginger + scallions
Mushrooms + garlic + leeks + lemon + walnuts
Mushrooms + garlic + olive oil + parsley + rosemary + thyme
Mushrooms + lemon + mustard
Mushrooms + lemon juice + olive oil + Parmesan cheese + thyme

Recipe Links
Vegan Mushroom Risotto https://www.cearaskitchen.com/vegan-mushroom-risotto-healthy-glutenfree/

Creamy Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms http://sliceofkitchenlife.com/creamy-spinach-stuffed-mushrooms/

Italian Roasted Mushrooms and Veggies https://www.jocooks.com/recipes/italian-roasted-mushrooms-and-veggies/

Baked Portobello Mushrooms https://feastingnotfasting.com/baked-portobello-mushrooms-the-best/#wprm-recipe-container-5740

Vegan Mushroom Lentil Salad https://www.deliciouseveryday.com/mushroom-lemon-lentil-salad/

Mushroom Soup (scroll half way down the page to find this recipe) https://foodrevolution.org/blog/how-to-fight-prevent-cancer-with-mushrooms/

Gouda Grilled Cheese with Sautéed Mushrooms https://producemadesimple.ca/gouda-grilled-cheese-with-sauteed-ontario-mushrooms/

Tuscan Stuffed Ontario Mushrooms https://producemadesimple.ca/tuscan-stuffed-ontario-mushrooms/

Mushroom Meatball Subs https://producemadesimple.ca/mushroom-meatball-subs/

Cheesy Mushroom and Beef Skillet https://producemadesimple.ca/cheesy-mushroom-and-beef-skillet/

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Resources
https://nutritionfacts.org/video/toxins-in-raw-mushrooms/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2132000

https://anh-usa.org/supermarket-mushrooms-dangerous-to-eat-raw/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12396396

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7737599

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agaricus_bisporus

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20347942

http://justfunfacts.com/interesting-facts-about-mushrooms/

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/are-mushrooms-good-for-you#1

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/are-mushrooms-good-for-you#5

https://www.naturalfoodseries.com/13-benefits-mushrooms/

https://foodrevolution.org/blog/how-to-fight-prevent-cancer-with-mushrooms/

https://happyherbivore.com/2017/05/mushroom-substitute-safe-eat-raw-mushroom-toxic/

https://www.leaf.tv/articles/spices-that-go-well-with-mushrooms/

https://producemadesimple.ca/what-goes-well-with-mushrooms/

https://producemadesimple.ca/mushrooms/

https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search/a?dbs+hsdb:@term+@DOCNO+4202

http://www.food-info.net/uk/qa/qa-saf86.htm

https://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/surprising-health-benefits-mushrooms

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28885559

https://www.vegetariantimes.com/skills/4-plant-foods-you-should-cook-before-eating

https://www.thespruceeats.com/how-to-store-mushrooms-1389342

https://www.mushroom-appreciation.com/freezing-mushrooms.html

Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464610000241

Cranberry Orange Acorn Squash

Here’s a delicious recipe to try! See the video demo below. The recipe is following the video link. Enjoy!
Judi

Cranberry Orange Acorn Squash Makes
Makes 4 Servings

1 acorn squash
Extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
2 Tbsp orange juice concentrate, thawed
Ground cinnamon

Roast squash: Wash squash and cut it in half from end to end. Remove seeds. Coat both pieces entirely (inside and outside) with a light coating of oil. Place on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet, or oiled baking sheet. Bake at 400°F for 30 to 45 minutes, until fork tender.

Prepare dish: Carefully remove squash from each shell, preserving the shells to be used as bowls. Place the removed squash flesh in a bowl. Add the butter, cranberries and orange juice concentrate. Mix well, then spoon back into one or both reserved squash shells. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon and serve.

Simple Honey Mustard Salad Dressing

Here’s a really easy recipe for Honey Mustard Salad Dressing. The recipe is below the video demonstration. Enjoy!

I hope this helps!
Judi

Simple Honey Mustard Salad Dressing
Makes 1 to 2 Servings

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp honey*
1 Tbsp prepared Dijon-style mustard
1 Tbsp vinegar of choice or lemon juice

For 2 to 4 Servings:
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp honey*
2 Tbsp prepared Dijon-style mustard
2 Tbsp vinegar of choice or lemon juice

Measure and place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk with a fork until blended. Or pour ingredients in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake well. Store in the refrigerator.
This recipe can easily be increased according to how much you need or want to make at one time.

* Reduce the honey to half what the recipe calls for if you want a less sweet dressing.

Fennel

Fennel 101 – The Basics

Fennel is a vegetable that many Americans aren’t familiar with since it’s not commonly called for in American cuisine. Yet, it’s often used in Italian and even French foods. If you like licorice or anise flavor, chances are that you’ll like fennel. In the video below, I cover a lot of basic information about fennel including its amazing medicinal properties, for which it has been used since antiquity. So, if you’re not sure what to do with fennel, check this out…it should help!

My notes about fennel are below the video for your personal use. I hope this helps!

Enjoy!
Judi

Fennel 101 – The Basics

About Fennel
Fennel belongs to the Umbellifereae family, along with parsley, carrots, dill and coriander. It is native to the Mediterranean region. It has a white to pale green bulb with stalks extending upward, topped with feathery green leaves, all of which are edible. Fennel is crunchy and slightly sweet with somewhat of a licorice or anise flavor. Fennel is most often used in Italian, but also in French cooking. The use of fennel stems back to Greek mythology. Fennel was prized by ancient Greeks and Romans for its medicinal and culinary properties.

Nutrition Tidbits
Fennel is an excellent source of Vitamin C, and a good source of fiber, potassium, molybdenum, manganese, copper, phosphorus, and folate. It also contains other nutrients as well. One cup of sliced raw fennel has a mere 27 calories.

Fennel seeds are an effective digestive aid, reducing cramping, gas and bloating. Fennel seed tea has been useful in treating irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, leaky gut syndrome, Celiac disease, and intestinal candidiasis. Fennel’s properties pass into breast milk, so nursing mothers can help reduce colic in their infants by drinking fennel seed tea. Fennel seed can also reduce nausea from stomach flu, food poisoning, digestive infections, and hangovers. It can also help relieve pain from hiatal hernia and indigestion. The medicinal properties of fennel seed do not stop there! More can be read on this subject at http://www.herbaleducation.net/fennel

How to Select Fennel
Look for bulbs that are clean, firm, and solid without signs of bruising, splitting or spotting. The stalks should be relatively straight and the stalks and leaves should be green. There should be no signs of flowering buds, which indicates the vegetable is old. It should have a slight licorice or anise aroma.

How to Store Fennel
First, trim the stalks to two or three inches above the bulb. Wrap loosely in a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator. Use it as soon as possible, since it ages quickly.

How to Preserve Fennel
Fennel is best when fresh. It can be frozen after being blanched, but loses a lot of its flavor in the process. However, frozen fennel will have a very soft texture, so it can still be used in soups. To freeze fennel bulb, cut it into small pieces and blanch in boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Drain thoroughly, then place in a freezer plastic bag before freezing.

The fronds and stalks freeze well and easily. Simply wash them, cut them into desired pieces and place them in freezer bags before freezing.

Dried fennel seeds should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry location. They will stay fresh for about six months. Storing the seeds in the refrigerator will prolong their shelf life.

How to Prepare Fennel
First, cut the stalks off the bulb. Wash the bulb. If the bulb isn’t going to be used whole in a recipe, the root core is often removed (it is edible, but can be fibrous and tough when not thoroughly cooked). To do this, slice it in half from top to bottom. Using the tip of your knife, cut an upside down “V” over the root end from the inside of a bulb half. Remove the core after cutting. Repeat with the other half of the bulb. After removing the root core, the bulb halves can be cut as needed. Here’s a video on how to cut a fennel bulb… https://youtu.be/z26Ei9b5Pu0

Fennel can dry out quickly when cut. If you need to cut it in advance, store it wrapped in damp paper towels in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until needed.

Save the leaves (or fronds) for use as an herb. They can be sprinkled on salads or used as a garnish in a dish where fennel was used. The stalks can be used in cooking or making stock. Also, the flavor of fennel goes well with fish. Whether you’re grilling, poaching, or steaming fish, lay fennel stalks and fronds beside the fish and the sweet fennel flavor will be infused into your fish. Yum!

Cooking/Serving Methods
Fennel can be eaten raw or cooked. Many Italians finish a meal with a slice of raw fennel bulb, as they believe it aids digestion. When using it raw, slice it thinly since thick slices can be somewhat fibrous.

The fennel bulb can be sliced thinly and added to salads. The fronds are often used as an herb, flavoring cooked dishes or raw salads.

The bulb can be cooked in just about any way you want…roasted, sautéed, braised, fried, boiled, steamed, baked in casseroles, and added to soups.

Here are some quick serving tips for fennel supplied by http://www.whfoods.com

* Healthy sautéed fennel and onions make a wonderful side dish.

* Combine sliced fennel with avocados, and oranges for a delightful salad.

* Braised fennel is a wonderful complement to scallops.

* Next time you are looking for a new way to adorn your sandwiches, consider adding sliced fennel in addition to the traditional toppings of lettuce and tomato.

* Top thinly sliced fennel with plain yogurt and mint leaves.

* Fennel is a match made in Heaven when served with salmon.

* Try adding shaved fennel bulb to coleslaw.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Fennel
Basil, cilantro, chives, garlic, oregano, parsley, sage, shallots, tarragon, and thyme all go well with fennel.

Foods That Go Well With Fennel
Fennel goes well with apples, beets, butter, cheese, cream, mussels, olive, orange, sausage, potatoes, tomatoes, fish, lemon, chicken, Parmesan cheese, in sauces, soups, stuffings, and salads.

Recipe Links
Grilled Fennel Salad with Fresh Herbs and Parmesan https://www.prouditaliancook.com/2013/06/grilled-fennel-salad-with-fresh-herbs-and-parmesan.html?m

Roasted Fennel with Parmesan https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/roasted-fennel-with-parmesan-recipe-1943604

53 Fresh Fennel Recipes That Make Us Fall For It All Over Again https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/fennel-recipes

25 Truly Fabulous Fennel Recipes https://www.marthastewart.com/286398/fennel-recipes

Basic Roasted Fennel https://www.finecooking.com/recipe/basic-roasted-fennel

Fennel al Forno https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/12301-fennel-al-forno

22 Fresh Fennel Recipes That Everyone Will Love https://www.seriouseats.com/2016/09/fennel-recipes.html

Sautéed Fennel With Garlic https://www.tastingtable.com/cook/recipes/sauteed-fennel-garlic-recipe

Roasted Fennel and Fingerling Potatoes https://producemadesimple.ca/roasted-fennel-and-fingerling-potatoes/

Pear Fennel Salad https://producemadesimple.ca/honey-glazed-pork-chops-with-pear-chutney-pear-fennel-salad/

White Bean Fennel Soup https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/white-bean-fennel-soup/

Carrot Fennel Soup https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/carrot-fennel-soup-350600

Fennel Soup https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/84847/fennel-soup/

Caramelized Fennel: The Best Fennel You’ll Ever Eat https://www.freshcityfarms.com/recipes/caramelized-fennel-the-best-fennel-you-ll-ever-eat

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Resources
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=23

http://www.gettystewart.com/fennel-what-is-it-and-how-do-i-select-store-and-use-it/

https://www.thekitchn.com/top-5-ways-to-use-fennel-stalks-and-fronds-ingredient-spotlight-183057

https://www.finecooking.com/article/fennel-the-raw-and-the-cooked

https://www.farmersdaughterherbs.com/info/cooking-herb-chart

https://www.leaf.tv/articles/what-flavors-go-with-fennel/

https://producemadesimple.ca/?s=fennel

https://producemadesimple.ca/fennel/

http://www.herbaleducation.net/fennel

Chayote Squash

Chayote Squash 101 – The Basics

Chayote squash have been around for a long time, yet they are growing in popularity in America. If you’re interesting in learning what they are, how to buy and store them, and what to do with them, you’re in the right place! I have a lot of information below that should help. Enjoy!
Judi

Chayote Squash 101 – The Basics

About Chayote Squash
The chayote (pronounced cha-oh-tee or cha-oh-tay) is also called a Mexican pear squash, a chayote squash, and a mirliton. Chayotes are members of the gourd family and are native to Mexico. Now they are grown in warm climates around the world.

It is a light green pear-shaped fruit with a single large pit. The entire thing, including the pit, is edible. They may be eaten raw or cooked. The flavor is described as mild with a hint of cucumber and zucchini. The texture is crisp but softer than a potato. The edible seed has been described as a cross between an almond and a lima bean. It is technically a fruit, but is used more like a vegetable in many cuisines.

Nutrition Tidbits
Chayotes are high in water and fiber, and low in sugar. They are fairly low in calories when compared with other fruit. One squash has about 39 calories, almost half our daily need of folate, and about one-fourth our daily need for Vitamin C. They have an array of other nutrients including fiber, manganese, copper, zinc, Vitamin K and more.

Chayotes contain powerful antioxidants that can reduce inflammation and help to protect us from cancer and diabetes. The antioxidants in chayotes have been shown to lower cholesterol, improve blood flow, and lower blood pressure in animal studies.

Chayotes are high in soluble fiber, which not only helps to improve digestion and lower cholesterol, but research has shown that eating chayotes may help to control blood sugar thereby helping to manage diabetes and insulin resistance.

How to Select Chayotes
Choose chayotes that are firm with smooth, bright skin. Deep furrows are normal, but the skin should not be excessively wrinkled or loose.

How to Store Chayotes
Store chayote lightly wrapped in the refrigerator. Fresh ones will keep for up to 4 weeks. Cut chayotes should be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator and used within 3 to 5 days.

How to Preserve Chayotes
Chayotes can be frozen. Wash the squash and do not peel it. Cut off both ends. Cut the squash into slices or cubes and discard the seed. Water blanch for 2 minutes or until just tender. Cool pieces in an ice water bath, drain, then pack into freezer containers. They will keep frozen for 6 to 8 months. Frozen chayote pieces can be added directly to dishes when cooking.

How is it usually eaten…raw or cooked?
Although chayotes can be enjoyed raw, they are more often cooked. They are popular in Cajun, Caribbean, Hispanic, Indian, Filipino, and Southern (USA) cuisines.

How to Prepare Chayotes
The entire chayote is edible. The peel of younger squash will be more tender and comfortably edible. Test the skin before cooking. If it is tough, it may be best to cut it off. It may be peeled before or after cooking. However, if peeling before cooking, wear gloves because it will release a sticky juice when peeled that may irritate your skin. Alternatively, it could be peeled under running water or after being cooked.

Cooking/Serving Ideas
Chayotes may be eaten raw (with the peel) or cooked. They are often served raw with a little citrus juice and salt. Raw chayotes can be added to salads and salsas to provide an apple-like crunch. They can also be added to smoothies and juices.

The mild flavor of chayotes allows them to blend well in both sweet and savory dishes. Chayotes can be boiled, mashed, steamed, roasted, stir-fried, baked, pickled, fried, stuffed, added to soups, stews, and casseroles, and made into an au gratin. Some suggested dishes where you might fine chayotes include: curries, enchiladas, salads (fruit, green, and potato), salsas, slaws, stir-fries, stuffed chayotes, sushi, and tostadas.

When cooked, chayotes are often used like a summer squash and can often be used as a substitute.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Chayotes
Cilantro, cinnamon, creole, curry, fennel seeds, garlic, ginger, oregano, parsley, tarragon, thyme, turmeric, vanilla

Foods That Go Well With Chayotes
Fruit and Sweets: Apples, honey, lemon, lime, mango, orange

Vegetables: Bell peppers, chilies, corn, fennel, onions, scallions, acorn squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, watercress

Grains: Bread crumbs, tortillas

Dairy (and non-dairy): Butter, cheese, coconut milk, cream, sour cream

Proteins: Almonds, beef, chicken, pulled pork, pumpkin seeds, seafood, tofu

Other: Olive oil, vegetable stock, vanilla

Suggested Flavor Combinations:
Chayote + almonds + cinnamon + honey
Chayote + garlic + onions + tomatoes

Recipe Links
10 Ways to Eat Chayote Squash https://www.mnn.com/food/recipes/blogs/ways-eat-chayote-squash

Chayote Squash Side Dish https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/140449/chayote-squash-side-dish/

Sautéed Chayote Squash and Potatoes with Shallots and Mint https://philosokitchen.com/sauteed-chayote-squash-potatoes/

Braised Chicken and Chayote https://www.chowhound.com/recipes/braised-chicken-and-chayote-27664

Shrimp Stuffed Mirliton https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/shrimp-stuffed-mirliton-recipe-1946335

Mirliton https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/56398/mirliton/

Mirliton Stuffing https://www.emerils.com/124452/mirliton-stuffing

Roasted Chayotes https://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/roasted-chayotes-348748

Seaside Stuffed Mirlitons (Chayote) https://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2007/04/seaside-stuffed-mirlitons.html

Stuffed Mirlitons https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/stuffed-mirlitons-recipe-1915464

Mirliton Slaw https://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipes/mirliton-slaw

Chayote with Tomato and Green Chile https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/chayote_with_tomato_and_green_chile/

Sautéed Chayote with Garlic and Herbs https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sauteed-chayote-with-garlic-and-herbs-234814

Chayote Salad https://www.mexicoinmykitchen.com/chayote-salad-recipe/#wprm-recipe-container-4941

Chayotes Relleno https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/chayotes-relleno-recipe-1969737

Chayote Salad https://www.sunset.com/recipe/chayote-salad

Top Rated Chayote Recipes https://www.thedailymeal.com/best-recipes/chayote

Sautéed Chayote with Garlic and Herbs https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/saut-ed-chayote-with-garlic-and-herbs

Chayote-Orange Salad https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/chayote-orange-salad

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Resources
https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-are-chayotes-1328441

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/chayote-squash#section1

https://www.mnn.com/food/recipes/blogs/ways-eat-chayote-squash

https://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/a27030188/what-is-chayote-squash/

https://www.thriftyfun.com/Freezing-Chayote.html

Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Stuffed Roasted Acorn Squash (Sweet and Savory)

This recipe for stuffed acorn squash is not only attractive, but it’s delicious too. It makes a wonderful side dish that would go with many types of meals. It can also make a nice main dish, perhaps with more nuts or seeds, or even beans added to it. Give it a try! The recipe is below the video links.

To see how to roast acorn squash (with no added oil), watch this video!

To see a video demonstration of this recipe, watch here…

Enjoy the recipe below!

I hope this helps!
Judi

Sweet and Savory Stuffed Roasted Acorn Squash
Makes 6 Servings

3 acorn squash

Filling
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped bell pepper (green or red)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium apple, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
¼ cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
½ tsp salt, or to taste
3 cups cooked rice of choice
Optional garnish, fresh or dried parsley flakes

Roast squash
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash and cut the squash in half from stem end to point. Scoop out the seeds and place the halves, cut side down on the parchment paper lined baking sheet (it is not necessary to oil the squash halves). Place baking sheet on oven rack in the middle of the oven and roast the squash for about 30 minutes, or until a knife easily pierces the squash. Remove from oven. [See note below]

Cook rice
You will need cooked rice for this dish. The rice may be cooked while the squash is roasting. Or, the rice may be cooked in advance and held in the refrigerator. If cooking it in advance, see the note below.

Prepare the stuffing
While the squash are roasting, prepare the stuffing. Heat the oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion and bell pepper until they begin to soften; add garlic. Sauté briefly, then stir in the chopped apple, cranberries, chopped pecans and salt. Allow the added ingredients to briefly heat through. Remove from heat and stir in the cooked rice. Cover and set aside until the squash are done.

Fill the squash halves (when everything is hot and freshly cooked)
After the squash are roasted, remove them from the baking sheet and fill them with the hot, prepared filling. Top with optional garnish. Serve any extra filling on the side. Enjoy!

Fill the squash halves (when the squash and/or rice were precooked and are cold)
If the squash and/or rice were precooked and need to be reheated, place the filled roasted squash halves on a clean dry baking sheet or pan (parchment paper is not needed). Scoop filling into the squash halves. Follow reheating instructions in the note below. Top with optional garnish and serve.

If any filling is left and needs to be reheated, place it in a greased oven-safe bowl and cover it with foil. Place in oven at 375F or 400F for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until everything is heated through. Sprinkle with fresh or dried parsley flakes for optional garnish, if desired.

Reheating Note: The squash and/or rice may be cooked ahead of time and held in a covered container in the refrigerator. If doing this, stuff the cold squash with the prepared filling. Place the filled squash halves in a clean, dry baking dish and cover the dish with foil to help retain moisture. Place in oven at either 375F or 400F until heated through. The time will depend upon how cold the squash is and if the rice was also cooked in advance and is still cold.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Guava

Guava 101 – The Basics

If you’re new to guava and are just not sure what to do with it, check out the info below. It should help!
Judi

Guava 101 – The Basics

About Guava
Guava is the fruit of a relatively small tree that appears to have originated in southern Mexico through Central America. There is historical data about guava dating back to the 1500’s but the tree probably originated earlier than that. It is now grown around the world in warm climates.

The fruit can be round, oval, or pear-shaped, and 2 to 4 inches long. There are as many as 150 varieties, differing in color, seediness, and flavor. The flesh can be white, pink, yellow or red. The entire fruit is edible–seeds, peel and all. However, the seeds are very hard and many people cook the fruit then strain out the seeds. The better varieties are soft when ripe, with creamy flesh, and a rind that softens to be fully edible. The flavor of the pulp may be sweet or sour, depending on its ripeness. It has been described as sweet-tart, like that of a strawberry, pear, and pineapple combined.

Nutrition Tidbits
Guava is known for being rich in Vitamin C, which is found mostly in the rind, but also to a lesser degree in the flesh. It has a good amount of fiber and is low in sugar.

Immature fruits are astringent. That property has been used in the tropics to aid gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea and dysentery.

How to Select Guava
Look for guavas that are free of bruises, blemishes, and soft spots. Avoid fruit that is spotted, mushy, or very green. A just ripe guava will give to gentle pressure like an avocado, and will have a floral aroma. Firm guavas should be ripened before being eaten. An unripe guava will be astringent.

How to Store Guava
If the guavas you purchase are hard and not ripe, keep them at room temperature out of direct sun until they begin to soften, like an avocado. Once they are ripe, place them in the refrigerator in a plastic or paper bag and use as soon as possible within 2 to 4 days. Ripe guavas bruise easily and are highly perishable.

To store cut guava, wrap it tightly in plastic and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. If you need to keep it beyond that, it would be best to wrap it tightly and store it in the freezer.

How to Preserve Guava
Ripe guava can be pureed and frozen in an air-tight container. Frozen guava will keep for about 8 months.

How to Prepare Guava
Wash the entire guava under cold water. Pat it dry with a towel. Place it on a cutting board and cut it in half. The seeds can be scooped out if desired, but they are completely edible, although they are hard to chew. The pulp can be scooped out and used, or it can simply be sliced and eaten, or cooked as needed. If you cut into a guava and the flesh is brown, it is spoiled; discard it.

Cooking/Serving Methods
Raw guava is often sliced or cubed and served in desserts like you would use pears, simply eaten out of hand, or added to a tropical salad.

They can be puréed and strained to flavor poultry or pork sauces or as flavoring for mousses, ice cream bases, whipped cream or custards.

In cultures where guava is eaten on a regular basis, the fruit is more often cooked or stewed. The seeds are usually removed, strained, then the pulp and rinds are stewed in a sugar syrup and served with cream cheese.

Rich guava paste, guava cheese, and guava syrup are sweet staples in cultures where guava are common. Guavas are also often used in pies, cakes, puddings, sauces, ice cream, jam, butter, marmalade, chutney, relish, catsup, and other products.

Dehydrated guavas may be ground to a powder and used to flavor ice cream, confections and fruit juices, or boiled with sugar to make jelly, or utilized as pectin to make jelly of low-pectin fruits.

Other ideas for using guava:
* Add to juices or smoothies

* Poach guava in wine or a spice syrup in place of pears

* Add sliced guava on top of cakes or meringues

* Cook guava into a compote or sauce and use it to top pancakes, desserts, or oatmeal

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Guava
Basil, chili peppers, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, juniper, lavender, mint, poppy seeds

Other Foods That Go Well With Guava
Fruits: Apples, bananas, citrus fruits, coconut, huckleberries, kiwi, lemon, lime, mango, papaya, pear, pineapple, plum, star fruit, strawberries

Proteins: Cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts

Vegetables: Onion, salad greens

Dairy: Cream, cream cheese, goat cheese, yogurt

Sweets and Other: Honey, olive oil, phyllo dough, rum, sugar, vanilla, white chocolate

Recipe Links
Agua de Guayaba (Guava Drink) https://mexicanfoodjournal.com/agua-de-guayaba/

Guava Recipes https://www.foodnetwork.com/topics/guava

How to Eat and Cook with Guava (4 Recipes) https://www.laweekly.com/restaurants/how-to-eat-and-cook-with-guava-4-recipes-5122914

Guava-Stuffed Chicken with Caramelized Mango https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/guava-stuffed-chicken-with-caramelized-mango-234806

Roast Pork Loin with Pickled Caramelized Guava https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roast-pork-loin-with-pickled-caramelized-guavas-234804

Guava Recipes (268) https://cookpad.com/us/search/guava

For the Love of Guava: Easy Guava Oatmeal Bars https://parade.com/276672/vianneyrodriguez/for-the-love-of-guava-easy-guava-oatmeal-bars/

Banana Guava Smoothie http://www.dole.com/recipes/b/banana-guava-smoothie

Strawberry, Mango, Guava Smoothie https://www.spoonfulofflavor.com/strawberry-guava-smoothie-2/

Guava Pineapple Smoothie https://www.runningtothekitchen.com/guava-pineapple-smoothie/

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Resources
https://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/guava.html

https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/guava.html

https://harvesttotable.com/guava_serve_guava_slices_on/

http://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Cooking-Food-Preparation/How-to-store-fruit-to-keep-them-fresh.aspx

http://www.halfyourplate.ca/fruits/guava/

https://www.foodsforbetterhealth.com/what-does-guava-taste-like-35734

https://www.wikihow.com/Eat-Guava

https://producemadesimple.ca/what-goes-well-with-guava/

Bell Peppers

How to Pick a Sweeter Green Bell Pepper

Most of us know that red, orange and yellow bell peppers are truly ripe and much sweeter than green bell peppers. However, they are about twice the cost of the green peppers. Hence, money talks and most of us opt for the green variety. But, have you noticed that sometimes they taste pretty good, where other times they’re bitter and not sweet at all? I’ve discovered a really easy way to select sweeter green bell peppers. Learn this simple trick in the video below!

I hope this helps!!
Judi

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Yellow Squash

Yellow Squash 101 – The Basics

Yellow squash is a very popular summer vegetable that most of us enjoy. Through the wonders of our modern-day food supply system, many of us can find it in our local grocery store year-round. If you’re not sure what to do with yellow squash, the video below is for you. I cover the basics from what it is, to nutritional aspects, to how to select, store, prepare and preserve the squash. Links to many recipes are also included. So enjoy!

My video notes are available for your personal use. See below the video link.

I hope this helps!
Judi

Yellow Squash 101 – The Basics

About Yellow Squash
Yellow squash is a member of the gourd family or Cucurbitaceae, sometimes called “cucurbits.” Winter squashes and melons are also members of this same family. Yellow squash are close cousins with zucchini and the two are easily interchangeable in recipes. There are both straight neck as well as crookneck varieties of yellow squash. Summer squash is native to North America, specifically to what is now the central and southern regions of the United States. Cultivation quickly spread, and is now available worldwide.

Nutrition Tidbits
Yellow squash contains an array of important nutrients: copper, manganese, vitamin C, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, potassium, B-vitamins and more. It also contains the important antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which help to ward off eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts. Although it contains very little fat, what fat it has includes omega-3 and monounsaturated fats. There are only about 20 calories in 1 cup of sliced, raw yellow squash, yet that amount has 1.62 grams of protein. Yellow squash is humble, yet packs a good nutritional punch!

How to Select Yellow Squash
Choose ones that are heavy for their size, and have shiny, unblemished skins or rinds. Also, the rinds/skins should be tender, not tough, which would indicate they are over-mature with hard seeds and stringy flesh. Opt for medium-size squash, as the larger ones will be tough to eat. Very small squash may not be developed enough and may have an inferior flavor.

How to Store Yellow Squash
Store unwashed squash in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

How to Preserve Yellow Squash
Yellow squash is best when used fresh. It may be frozen, but it will be very soft when cooked. To freeze yellow squash, it is preferable to steam it rather than boil it, to help preserve its texture. Steam blanch squash slices for three minutes, then allow it to cool before placing it in freezer bags or containers. Avoid the usual ice bath as this will add more water and make it mushier when being used later.

Fresh vs Frozen
Fresh yellow squash is tender, but versatile, since it can be used raw or cooked in a number of ways. Frozen yellow squash will become very soft once thawed. It should be cooked in a quick method that involves the least amount of water possible to maintain texture and prevent mushiness.

How is it usually eaten…raw or cooked?
Yellow squash can be eaten raw or cooked, although it is likely to be cooked more often than eaten raw.

How to Prepare Yellow Squash
Wash yellow squash well under cool running water. Remove both ends, but do not peel it. Then cut it into desired size pieces.

Cooking/Serving Methods
Yellow squash may be enjoyed raw in salads, spiralized into noodles, grilled, sautéed, steamed, boiled (briefly), roasted, stir-fried, stuffed, added to casseroles, added to egg dishes, and baked into breads or muffins. It may be used interchangeably with zucchini in just about any recipe. Uses for summer squash abound and are only limited to your imagination!

Here are some easy serving ideas for yellow squash, provided by http://www.whfoods.com:

* Sprinkle grated summer squash on top of salads and sandwiches.

* To Healthy Sauté summer squash, heat 3 TBS of broth (vegetable or chicken) or water in a stainless steel skillet. Once bubbles begin to form add sliced squash, cover, and Healthy Sauté for 3 minutes (1-1/2 minutes on one side, and then 1-1/2 minutes on the other side) on medium heat. Remove from heat and use as desired. Here’s a suggested recipe using either zucchini or yellow squash with this sauté method: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=318

* Enjoy an easy to make ratatouille by sautéing summer squash, onions, bell peppers, eggplant and tomatoes and then simmering the mixture in tomato sauce. Season to taste.

* Serve raw summer squash with your favorite dips.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Yellow Squash
Garlic and olive oil, chives, dill, basil, oregano, Italian seasoning, rosemary, parsley, mint, thyme

Other Foods That Go Well With Yellow Squash
Pasta, tomatoes, onion, roasted or grilled meat, chicken, seafood, lemon, eggs, bacon, cheese, mushrooms, bell pepper, corn, and more!

Recipe Links
Primavera Verde http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=166

5-Minute Healthy Sautéed Summer Squash http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=318

Anytime Frittata http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=124

Sautéed Yellow Squash with Fresh Herbs https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/sauteed-yellow-squash-fresh-herbs

100+ Ways to Use Zucchini and Yellow Squash https://www.cookinglight.com/cooking-101/essential-ingredients/healthy-squash-zucchini-recipes

Summer Squash Casserole https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/summer-squash-casserole

Roasted Vegetable Gnocchi with Spinach-Herb Pesto https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/roasted-vegetable-gnocchi-spinach-pesto

Baked Summer Squash https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/sauteed-baby-squash

41 Sensational Summer Squash Recipes https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/our-best-summer-squash-recipes-gallery

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Resources
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=62#descr

https://www.livestrong.com/article/439004-seasonings-for-squash-zucchini/

https://www.livestrong.com/article/349229-the-nutritional-value-of-yellow-squash/

https://www.livestrong.com/article/349229-the-nutritional-value-of-yellow-squash/

https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2632/2