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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Tag Archives: whole grains

gardenfreshcover

Take a trip to your local farmers’ market and check out all the fresh fruits and vegetables it has to offer. You will quickly see all the possibilities that you can make for dinner. In fact, I have to stop myself from buying more than I can cook in a week – it all looks so good. Here are some easy dinner suggestions to use up what you bring home from the market.

Dinner 1

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Grilled Chicken With Fresh Basil Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

  • 25-30 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 4 boneless chicken cutlets
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 5 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Directions

Preheat the grill to high and oil the grates

Chop basil (will yield about 6 tablespoons) and tomatoes coarsely.

Place tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of the basil in food processor (or blender); process and set aside.

Season both sides of the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper.

Combine in a shallow bowl: 1 tablespoon of the oil, 2 teaspoons of the garlic and remaining 4 tablespoons of basil. Add chicken and turn to coat evenly. Marinate 10 minutes, turning occasionally.

Place chicken on the grill and discard any remaining marinade. Close the lid and grill for about 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F. Use a meat thermometer to accurately ensure doneness.

To the processed tomato-basil mixture add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, vinegar and remaining garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; pulse 2-3 times or until just blended.

Serve sauce with the chicken.

Couscous with Peas, Lemon and Herbs

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup plain couscous
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup cooked fresh peas 
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Directions

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds.

Stir in the broth and lemon zest. Bring to a boil.

Stir in the couscous and peas and remove the pot from the heat. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fold the parsley and lemon juice into the couscous. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve alongside the chicken.

Dinner 2

gardenfresh3

Garden Soup

6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and finely chopped
  • 1 cup small onions, peeled and halved
  • 1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup carrots, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 3 cups homemade vegetable broth or two 14.5-ounce cans vegetable or chicken broth
  • One 14 1/2 ounce can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup shelled peas 
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Directions

In a Dutch Oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add fennel and onions; cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until fragrant and translucent.

Add green beans and carrots; cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add broth, undrained tomatoes, wine and Italian seasoning.

Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes. Add peas and simmer about 5 minutes more or until the vegetables are tender.

Season with salt and pepper. Serve in individual soup bowls.

gardenfresh1

Corn and Ricotta Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 ears fresh corn-on-the-cob, kernels removed from the cob
  • 1/2 bunch fresh basil, chopped fine
  • 4 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup self-rising unbleached flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Low-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt

Directions

In a medium-sized bowl, combine corn, basil, ricotta, eggs, flour and a pinch of black pepper.

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add the olive oil.

Carefully add spoonfuls of the corn mixture to the hot pan.

Cook on both sides until golden brown. Remove cakes to a serving platter when they finish cooking.

Season with Kosher salt.

Serve with low-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt on the side, if desired.

Dinner 3

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Grilled Lamb Chops with Vegetable Bulgur

4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup Bulgar wheat
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 4 lamb loin chops, cut 1 1/2 inches thick
  • 2 teaspoons lemon-pepper seasoning, divided
  • Olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups small spinach leaves 
  • One 7 ounce jar roasted red sweet peppers, drained and coarsely chopped

Directions

In a medium saucepan combine broth, bulgur and onion. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.

Stir 1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning, the spinach and roasted peppers into the bulgur mixture. Cover and keep warm.

Preheat an outdoor grill to high and oil the grill grates. Turn off one side of the grill for indirect cooking.

Trim fat from the meat. Brush the chops with olive oil and sprinkle the meat with 1 teaspoon of the lemon-pepper seasoning.

Start the lamb on the indirect side of the grill. When the meat reaches 110°F for medium-rare on an instant read meat thermometer, moved the chops to the hot side of the grill.

They’ll quickly sear and come up to the desired temperature of 120°—130°F. Let them rest for 10 minutes off the grill on a platter before serving.

To serve: Divide bulgur mixture among 4 dinner plates. Top each with a grilled lamb chop.

gardenfresh4

Cucumber Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 large or 3 medium cucumbers, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt  
  • 1/3 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed black pepper

Directions

Halve cucumbers lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds. Slice crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick pieces.

Place the cucumber slices in a colander set over a bowl and toss with the salt; let stand 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, dill, vinegar and pepper.

Remove cucumbers from the colander and pat dry with paper towels.

Add to the bowl with the yogurt dressing; toss to combine and serve with the grilled lamb chops.

Dinner 4

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Pasta with Shrimp and Seasonal Vegetables

Bread sticks would be great with this dinner.

4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh or frozen medium wild caught shrimp, shelled and de-veined
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil,  divided
  • 8 ounces fresh, small, thin green beans, trimmed
  • 3 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 4 oz linguine pasta

Directions

Cook the pasta according to directions for al dente. Drain.

For the sauce:

In a small bowl whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon peel, lemon juice and capers. Set aside.

In a 12-inch skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the green beans and Italian seasoning to the skillet; cook and stir for 3 minutes.

Add shrimp; cook and stir about 3 minutes or until shrimp are opaque. Add tomatoes; cook for 1 minute more. Add the cooked pasta and the sauce. Toss gently and serve.

Dinner 5

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Grilled Sweet Potato Packets

Ingredients

  • 1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 (24 x 12-inch) sheet nonstick aluminum foil
  • Half of a 10 oz bag of frozen sweet potato fries (such as Alexia brand)
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Directions

Preheat the grill to high and oil the grates. Turn off one of the burners for indirect cooking.

Place peppers and onions in the center of the foil sheet. Top with the sweet potatoes, seasoned salt, pepper and cheese.

Bring up foil sides; double-fold the top and the ends to seal the package.

Place on the grill (seam side up) over indirect heat; grill 30 minutes or until the fries are hot and the cheese is melted.

Grilled Steak with Artichoke Topping

Ingredients

  • 1 (7.5-oz) jar marinated artichokes, undrained and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 lbs sirloin steak, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Combine artichokes, onions and garlic in a small skillet. Heat on low and, then, keep warm until the steaks are cooked.

About 10 minutes before the potatoes are cooked, plan on cooking the steaks on the direct side of the grill.

Season the steaks with salt and pepper.

Place the steaks on the direct side of the grill and cook 5 minutes; turn and cook 3-4 minutes more minutes or until the temperature of the meat reaches 125°F on an instant read meat thermometer for medium rare.

Remove steaks from the grill and place them on a serving platter. Let stand 5 minutes; slice and top with the warm artichoke mixture.

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grains cover

Grains are made up of three parts: the bran, germ and endosperm. The bran is the high-fiber outer coating. The germ is the protein and nutrient dense portion. The endosperm is a source of carbohydrate, along with some protein. A grain is “whole” if these three parts have been left intact. If it’s processed (e.g., cracked, rolled), it’s still considered a whole grain, if it retains its original balance of nutrients. When grains are refined, the bran and germ are removed (taking many nutrients with them), leaving just the endosperm. An example of a refined whole grain is white rice (though usually white rice is enriched to replace some of the nutrients stripped during processing).

grains wheatberries

Wheat berries

The terms “hard” and “soft” refer to the protein and gluten content of wheat. Hard wheat is made into pasta and bread flour, while soft wheat (lower in protein and gluten) is milled into pastry flour. Wheat berries can be cooked whole for a variety of sweet and savory dishes. Once cooked (simmered in boiling water for up to an hour), they are a great addition to soups, stews, salads and desserts.

grains polenta

Polenta

Polenta is made from ground corn, as is cornmeal. They differ in how they’re ground (in both the method and the fineness of the grind). Polenta makes a delicious base for sauces (ragu, mushroom, gorgonzola) and sausages; it’s also good grilled or layered in casserole dishes.

grains short brown

Short Grain Brown Rice

Short Grain Brown Rice has fat kernels that are plump and round. They have a high starch content, which helps keep it moist and sticky. Short grain rice can be used for risotto if soaked overnight or parboiled before making the risotto.

Warm Farro and Mushroom Salad

Farro

Farro is the Italian name for emmer wheat, an ancient strain of hard wheat from the Fertile Crescent in western Asia. Often confused with spelt due to their similar taste and texture, farro comes in perlato (pearled) and semi-perlato (semi-pearled); opt for semi-perlato as it has more of the fiber-and nutrient-rich bran intact (or buy whole farro if you can find it). It comes in three grades: long, medium or cracked. If you purchase long or medium farro, you will need to crack it yourself in a coffee grinder or blender for maximum freshness.

Farro is beloved in Italy – and more recently in North America and other European countries as well – for its roasted, nutty flavor and distinctive chewy texture. Because farro contains a starch similar to that found in Arborio rice, it behaves much like risotto, releasing a creamy, binding liquid when cooked. But unlike risotto, farro doesn’t become gummy; instead, it retains its tender, distinct bite, even if it sits awhile after cooking.

Farro’s tough husk makes it more difficult to process than other commercially produced grains, but that husk also helps protect the grain’s vital nutrients. With a higher fiber and protein content than common wheat, farro is also rich in magnesium and B vitamins. As a type of wheat, farro is unsuitable for those with celiac disease, gluten intolerance or a wheat sensitivity or allergy.

Note: as with all grains, pearled farro will take less time to cook than semi-pearled, which will take less time to cook than whole.

Cooking time: 25-40 minutes. Liquid per cup of grain: 2 cups

How to cook farro: Combine with water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for up to 40 minutes, or until grains are tender and have absorbed all of the liquid.

grain stew

Farro and Chicken Stew

Ingredients

  • 1 cup semi pearled farro
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped onions (2 large)
  • 2 cups chopped zucchini (2 small)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots (2 medium)
  • 2 chopped celery stalks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 14 ½ ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • Parmesan cheese (4 ounces), grated

Directions

Rinse farro. In a medium saucepan bring 2 cups water to boiling. Stir in the farro. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until farro is tender. Drain.

In a large skillet bring the 3 cups of chicken broth to boiling. Add the chicken breasts, salt and pepper. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes or until no longer pink (165 degrees F). Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a cutting board. Cool slightly. Coarsely chop or shred chicken. Set aside. Reserve broth.

In a 4-quart Dutch oven heat the olive oil and add the onions, zucchini, celery and carrots. Cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in oregano and crushed red pepper. Stir in reserved broth, tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir in cooked farro and chopped or shredded chicken. Cook and stir until heated through. Top with grated cheese.

grains casserole

Breakfast Polenta Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup red onion (1 small), diced small
  • 1 1/4 cups unpeeled Yukon gold potatoes (1 large), diced small
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces Italian pork sausage, casings removed
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup coarse polenta
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions

The night before serving:

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet and sauté the onions over medium-low heat until golden brown. While the onions are cooking, steam the potatoes in a small amount of water in a covered pot until they are tender.

Add the steamed potatoes to the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook the potato/onion mixture until the potatoes are browned. Set aside in a covered bowl.

Cook the sausage, breaking it up as it cooks, until it is no longer pink. Drain and cool. Refrigerate the onion-potato mixture and the sausage separately overnight.

The next morning:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

To prepare the polenta,

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Whisk in the polenta, Italian seasoning and a ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thick and smooth (approximately 7 minutes).

Pour the polenta into an ungreased 9×13-inch baking dish. It will firm up as you scramble the eggs.

Beat the eggs in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Pour in the eggs and scramble them until slightly firm but still wet. Remove from the heat. (The eggs will finish cooking in the oven.)

Spread the potato mixture, sausage, Parmesan and cheddar over the polenta. Pour the eggs on top of the entire dish. Bake until heated through and the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 15-20 minutes. Cool slightly and serve.

grains peppers

Farro-Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients

  • 1 (14 ½) ounce can vegetable broth
  • 1 cup farro
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ½ cups corn
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces fontina cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup snipped fresh basil
  • 4 large red sweet peppers

Directions

In a medium saucepan combine broth, farro and water. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 30 minutes or until farro is tender. Drain farro, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid; set both the farro and cooking liquid aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Stir in the Italian seasoning. Add corn and green onions. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in reserved farro, salt and black pepper; cool slightly. Stir in 1/2 of the cheese and 1/2 of the basil.

Cut peppers in half lengthwise. Remove and discard seeds and membranes from the peppers. Fill pepper halves with the farro mixture. Place stuffed peppers in a 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Pour the reserved cooking liquid into the dish around the peppers. Cover dish with foil.

Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 15 minutes more or untilthe  peppers are crisp-tender and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with remaining basil.

grains risotto

Brown Rice Risotto

Add your favorite ingredients, if you wish.

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • 1 cup short-grain brown rice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion or large shallot, chopped
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups any chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, optional
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or parsley

Directions

Bring medium pot of water to a boil and add salt to taste. Stir in brown rice, adjust heat so that water bubbles steadily, and cook without stirring, until rice is swollen and half-tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain. (Alternate, soak rice in water to cover overnight. Drain)

Put oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the onion or shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens, 3 to 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is glossy and coated with oil, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; add the wine. Stir and let liquid come to a boil. Reduce heat slightly.

Begin to add the stock, about ½ cup at a time, stirring after each addition and every minute or so. When the stock is just about evaporated, add more. Keep the heat medium to medium-high and stir frequently.

When rice is just about tender and mixture is creamy, add the Parmesan, then taste and add more salt or pepper (or both) if necessary. Garnish with basil or parsley and serve.

grain oie

Italian Pastiera (Wheat Berry Pie)

Pastry

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons icy water as needed

Directions

Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor bowl fitted with the metal blade. Pulse to mix the dry ingredients.

Cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes and drop them in through the feed tube along with the lemon zest and pulse the machine in short bursts, about 10 times. The mixture should be crumbly.

Put in the eggs and pulse a few times to mix the eggs into the dry ingredients.

Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of water on top of the dough. Pulse 6 times for just a second or two. The dough should resemble cottage cheese. Pick up some dough and press it together. If it doesn’t hold together, add another teaspoon of water until the dough holds together.

Scrape the dough onto a floured board and knead to form a smooth, tight dough.

Press into a flat disc and wrap the dough in plastic. Refrigerate for a few hours before using.

Filling

  • 32 oz. ricotta, drained
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange flower water (or orange flower oil)
  • 1/2 cup minced candied citron, lemon peel and orange peel
  • 1/3 cup hulled wheat berries soaked overnight and boiled in lightly salted water for about 30 minutes or until tender. (Use pearl barley or cooked rice if you can’t get the wheat berries.)

Directions

Put the ricotta, eggs, sugar and orange flower water in a large bowl and mix the ingredients well.

Mix in the candied fruit and wheat berries.

To Assemble the Pastiera

Butter and flour a 9 inch springform pan.

Cut off about 1/3 of dough and set aside.

With a rolling-pin, roll out the remaining pastry dough to about 15 inches in diameter. It should be about 1/8 inch thick. Flour the board and top of the dough to avoid the dough sticking to either the board or the rolling-pin.

Place the dough in the pan to fully cover the bottom and sides.

Cut off any excess dough from the pan rim. If the dough breaks just patch it.

Pour in the ricotta mixture.

Tap the pan on the board to ensure the filling is well settled.

Roll out the reserved dough into a 9×12 inch rectangle (the pastry should be about an 1/8 inch thick) and cut 1/2 inch lattice strips on a diagonal.

Loosely place the lattice on top of the ricotta mixture. (You can brush a beaten egg wash on the lattice and rim crust to get a more golden color.)

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until the ricotta filling is well set and a skewer place in the center comes out dry. Rotate the pastiera once to ensure even baking.

Dust the top with confectioners sugar. Serve at room temperature.


Eat more fiber. You’ve probably heard it before. But do you know why fiber is so good for your health?

Helps Control and Fight Disease

Because fiber clears unwanted material out of your colon, it helps reduce the risk of colon cancer. If this isn’t enough of a benefit, a high fiber diet has also been advocated for people with high cholesterol because it has been shown to lower overall cholesterol levels.

Keeps Your Blood Sugar Steady

Fiber slows the absorption of sugar into the body and reduces the insulin response, keeping our blood sugar at reasonable levels instead of bouncing it up and down throughout the day. High fiber foods are recommended for people with hypoglycemia and diabetes to help steady blood sugar levels.

Helps Control Hunger

In addition to making us store fat, our insulin response leaves us feeling drained, tired, and wanting another sugar pick me up. The more sugar we have, the lower our blood sugar drops, and the faster we get hungry again. Fiber is a great way to stop this cycle in its tracks. It keeps us feeling fuller longer so we end up eating less.

Selecting tasty foods that provide fiber isn’t difficult. Try these suggestions:

Add fiber to your diet slowly: Make the following changes over at least a few weeks.

Start with breakfast: Eat a cereal with 5 or more grams of fiber per serving.

Leave the skin on! Incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet will add fiber, but only if you eat the skin.

Try some split pea soup: Just one cup contains 16.3 grams of protein

 Add crushed bran cereal or unprocessed wheat bran to casseroles, salads, cooked vegetables, and baked products (meatloaf, breads, muffins, casseroles, cakes, cookies)

Eat whole grains: Whole grains are higher in fiber because they haven’t had the outer skin removed through processing.

Eat more beans:. Add them to soup or salads.

Eat more nuts: Peanuts and almonds are especially great sources of fiber.

Which Foods Have Fiber?  

Examples of foods that have fiber include:

Breads, cereals, and beans

  • 1/2 cup of navy beans 9.5 grams
  • 1/2 cup of kidney beans 8.2 grams
  • 1/2 cup of black beans 7.5 grams
  • 1/2 cup of All-Bran 9.6 grams
  • 3/4 cup of Total 2.4 grams
  • 3/4 cup of Post Bran Flakes 5.3 grams
  • 1 packet of whole-grain cereal, hot 3.0 grams (oatmeal, Wheatena)
  • 1 whole-wheat English muffin 4.4 grams

Fruits

  • 1 medium apple, with skin 3.3 grams
  • 1 medium pear, with skin 4.3 grams
  • 1/2 cup of raspberries 4.0 grams
  • 1/2 cup of stewed prunes 3.8 grams

Vegetables

  • 1/2 cup of winter squash 2.9 grams
  • 1 medium sweet potato with skin 4.8 grams
  • 1/2 cup of green peas 4.4 grams
  • 1 medium potato with skin 3.8 grams
  • 1/2 cup of mixed vegetables 4.0 grams
  • 1 cup of cauliflower 2.5 grams
  • 1/2 cup of spinach 3.5 grams
  • 1/2 cup of turnip greens 2.5 grams

Whole Grains

If switching from white rice to brown sounds like a bore, try one of these alternative whole grains:

Wild Rice

It has a nuttier taste and a firmer, chewier texture than white or brown rice. (It’s actually not a true rice—it’s technically a grass!)

Kasha

It’s also called roasted buckwheat groats. Coat it with a little raw egg or a bit of oil before cooking so the grains don’t fall apart. Try mixing it into ground turkey or lean beef instead of bread crumbs when making meatloaf.

Quinoa

Though it’s considered a whole grain, quinoa is actually a protein-rich seed that contains about twice as much protein as other grains. It’s also rich in essential minerals like iron and magnesium. Add sautéed onions or carrots to it for extra flavor and texture.

Bulgur

It’s loaded with fiber and cooks very quickly. People often combine it with lemon juice, mint, parsley, salt and pepper to make tabbouleh (a Middle Eastern grain salad).

Barley

Look for the “hulled” kind (check the label). It contains the same type of fiber found in oatmeal, so it can help lower cholesterol. Try it in stuffings or vegetable soup.

Whole Wheat Couscous

Couscous is a good base that takes on the flavor of your add-ins. Look for the whole-wheat variety (regular couscous is not whole-grain)

Fiber Rich Recipes

Grain-Filled Bell Peppers                                                                                                  

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2/3 cup brown basmati or brown jasmine rice
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup medium grind bulgur
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking barley
  • 1 1/4 cups grated Fontina cheese (about 5 ounces)
  • 6 bell peppers (yellow, orange, green and/or red)

Directions:

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and cook 3 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat with oil, 1 minute. Add salt, pepper, 2 cups chicken broth, water and tomato paste. Stir well to dissolve tomato paste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, 35 minutes.

Add bulgur, quinoa and barley and stir. Simmer, covered, until grains are tender and liquid is absorbed, 15 minutes. Let cool. Stir in cheese.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Slice 1⁄4 inch off the top of each pepper; reserve tops. Using the tip of a paring knife, remove seeds and membranes from peppers, leaving shells intact.

Fill peppers with grain mixture. Place in a deep baking dish close together. Place tops on peppers. Pour remaining chicken broth into bottom of dish. Cover loosely with foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until peppers are almost soft, 20 to 25 minutes.

Beef and Barley Stew                                                                                                                           

8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds extra lean beef stew meat, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed
  • 5 cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks*
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped roma (plum) tomatoes
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup medium barley
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Directions:

Season meat to taste with pepper and thoroughly coat with flour. In a 6-quart nonstick Dutch oven coated with nonstick cooking spray add olive oil and heat. Add meat and cook meat over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes.

Add onion and garlic, sauteing for several more minutes. Add carrots, parsley, and thyme; saute for 3 to 5 minutes. Add broth and water and bring to a boil, scraping bottom of the pan.

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Add sweet potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms, and barley. Return to boiling; reduce heat and continue cooking, covered, over low heat for 30 to 45 minutes or until the meat and vegetables are tender. Add peas, stirring for one minute.

Kamut Pilaf with Cashews and Apricots                                                                                                                                      

Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Kamut, soaked 8 hours or overnight in cold water to cover
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, toasted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced dried apricots

Directions:

Drain Kamut and place in a medium saucepan with broth, onion, bay leaf and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat; stir well, cover, and lower heat until the mixture just simmers. Cook until Kamut is fairly tender, about 1 hour. Discard bay leaf and add cashews and apricots. Remove the pan from the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Toss with a fork and serve hot or room temperature.

Farro with Sausage and Mushrooms

Serves 6

 Ingredients:

  • 1 cup farro
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1/2 pound button mushrooms,cut into small pieces
  • 1-pound Italian pork or turkey sausage, casings removed and meat crumbled
  • 2 1/2 cups low sodium tomato juice
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • Fine sea salt to taste

 Directions:

Place the farro in a 2-quart saucepan and cover with the water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In the same saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the onion until lightly brown. Stir in the mushrooms and cook until they soften. Stir in the sausage and cook it until it loses its pink color.

Return the farro to the pot and stir to combine well.

In separate bowl, combine the tomato juice, tomato paste and red wine. Pour the ingredients into the pot and stir the ingredients well.

Cover the pot, lower the heat to medium low and cook about 20 minutes, or just until the liquid is almost absorbed and the farro is cooked through but still chewy.

Stir in the cheese and salt to taste and serve hot in soup bowls.

Pass extra cheese on the side to sprinkle on top.

 

Whole-Wheat Nut and Fruit Biscotti                                            

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves or sliced almonds or other nuts
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit, such as cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, optional
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover two baking sheets with parchment; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; stir in nuts, chips and dried fruit. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla. Add to flour mixture; stir just until combined.

On a lightly floured surface, with floured hands, divide dough in half and pat one part of dough into a log about 1 inch thick, 2 1/2 inches wide (and about 7 inches long); transfer to one baking sheet. Repeat with second half. Bake until risen and firm, 20 to 25 minutes; cool completely on  baking sheets. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Place logs on a cutting board, and using a serrated knife, cut diagonally into 1/4 inch-thick slices; place slices in a single layer on baking sheets. Bake, turning once after 15 minutes, until dried and slightly golden,  30 minutes; cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 month.



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