Five Ways to Sneak Ginger into Your Menu

If you’re looking to spice up your meal planning, look no further than ginger root. You might be familiar with it as a popular flavor in South and East Asian cuisines, but ginger has an incredibly versatile flavor profile.

Its flavor is bright, zesty and warm. Though it packs a punch on the palate, many people love it for its supposed health benefits. Ginger is a common home remedy for soothing nausea, settling upset stomachs and clearing out sinuses. Whether for flavor or health, if you’re looking for a way to add ginger to your diet, we’ve got you covered with tips and a little inspiration.

Fresh Vs. Ground

There is a big difference between using fresh and ground ginger root. Depending on which you use, the flavor intensity may be impacted. Ground ginger has more concentrated flavor, so you can use less of it when subbing for freshly grated ginger root. If subbing fresh ginger for ground ginger in a recipe, use more.

Don’t fear buying an entire ginger root. You can store fresh ginger in your freezer and grate it as needed for recipes. Conveniently, Homeland Stores regularly carry both fresh ginger root and ground ginger. Pick up both to decide which you prefer using!

Morning Smoothies

Ginger is a surprisingly great way to freshen up your daily smoothie. It’s a great addition to green-based smoothies featuring a base of spinach or kale. Don’t believe us? Try adding 1 tablespoon of fresh-ground ginger with 2 cups kale or spinach, 1 cup frozen pineapple, 1 cup frozen mango, 1 cup ice, a squeeze of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of honey and 2 cups water or almond milk. The vitamin-packed smoothie will help you start your day on the right foot. The zesty taste of ginger and sweet fruit mask the more bitter-tasting, but good for you, greens.

Teas

Ginger tea is believed to have soothing benefits. If you’re looking for something that may help ease nausea or settle an upset stomach, a cup of ginger tea may help alleviate symptoms. Homeland has a wide selection of tea blends, including ginger. Check out brands like Yogi, Twinings and Tazo. Remember to always consult with your doctor before using ginger or any other natural supplement to treat an underlying condition.

Soups, Curries and Stews

If you’re looking for a way to brighten up a bland soup, ginger is a wonderful addition to meat or vegetable broth-based soups. If you’re congested from a stubborn cold, look up recipes for ginger chicken soup. The spice of the ginger may help temporarily alleviate congestion.

If you want to try your hand at international cuisines, try making a spicy green curry at home or vegetable fried rice with fresh grated ginger.

Rubs and Marinades

Throw together a quick marinade perfect for salmon or chicken with 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, 4 cups olive oil, 2 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon maple syrup and 1 teaspoon minced garlic. Want to showcase ginger more predominately? A simple lemon and ginger marinade will bring roasted chicken to life.

If you want to experiment with dry rubs, work ground ginger into a blend with other spices like coriander, cumin, garlic powder and paprika. The flavor can complement steak, pork, chicken and even vegetables.

Sweet Treats

Gingersnaps, anyone? Or maybe it’s gingerbread you’re craving. Ginger is a classic dessert flavor perfect for spicing cakes, pies, cookies and more. Pair ginger with molasses to create crunchy or chewy spice cookies or add a dash to your next pumpkin pie or peach crumble for a zesty element.

Homeland’s Wide Selection of Specialty Spices

Employee-owned and operated, Homeland is here for all your cooking and meal planning needs. We have a wide selection of spices and extracts perfect for flavoring any meal. Need something specific? We’d love to help you find it. Call your local Homeland store to see what is readily available or ask your local Homeland about submitting a special item request!

Oklahoma Get Healthy Guide: Tips to Help You Feel and Look Better

Oklahoma ranks eighth for adult obesity in the United States. Obesity is linked to countless dangerous diseases, like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and some forms of cancer.

Obesity is not only a concern for your health, but also for your overall well-being. Many dietitians have seen how a healthy diet directly affects their clients’ mental and emotional health.

“I have witnessed people relieve so much stress by decreasing their risk for heart disease and diabetes,” INTEGRIS registered dietitian, Meagan Ballard, said. “I have been hugged because grandparents now have enough energy to play with their grandkids. I have seen parents cry because they now feel empowered to lead by example for their children in adopting healthy eating habits.”

Eating well and moving more will not only improve your health, you’ll feel better. Fad diets may promise a quick fix, but it’s important to create a lasting healthy lifestyle you can follow for decades to come.

Quick Helpful Tips to Live a Healthy Life

Eat More Produce

Oklahoma is one of the lowest-ranking states in terms of fruit and vegetable consumption. Getting healthier doesn’t always mean cutting out things from your diet– sometimes adding foods is necessary. Make an effort to eat a vegetable or a piece of fruit as a snack when you are hungry and skip the chips or sugary snack bar.

Exercise and Move Your Body

Kristen Forbes, registered dietitian and nurse, shares how eating healthy can be a challenge, given our environment. “It’s increasingly hard with our sedentary lifestyles, high-fat foods, and the convenience of unhealthy fast food constantly being available,” she said.

Lack of everyday exercise or physical activity also contributes to an unhealthy weight. It is uncommon to see people biking or walking to work in Oklahoma, not to mention the countless advertisements for fast food.

“Transportation is part of Oklahoma’s problems,” Ballard said. “We are landlocked and use our cars to get everywhere.”

Oklahoma has plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation and there are also many different types of gyms, like yoga or cycle studios. If you prefer privacy, you can work out in the comfort of your home with no equipment. You can do body weight exercises like push-ups, or simple cardio exercises like jumping jacks.

“Working out on a regular basis will not only boost your energy throughout the day but also help with muscular strength and endurance,” Ricardo Ibarra, Gold’s Gym fitness manager from Penn Crossing, said. “Incorporating more physical activity into your routine will allow your body to become more efficient at delivering oxygen and nutrients, which will improve your overall health.”

Couple Walking in the Park

Educate Yourself and Seek Accurate Information

Forbes said she recognizes many Oklahomans want to eat healthy but don’t have the tools or knowledge to make the right choices.

“In my experience, about 90 percent of calls I get are in regard to weight loss,” Forbes said. “They are navigating through the nutritional diet dogma online trying to find out what is and isn’t a good strategy. They need help losing weight in a healthful manner.”

It’s important that you find accurate sources to get information about healthy eating.

Helpful Oklahoma-specific nutrition sites and resources:

I On Your Health

Shape Your Future

Oklahoma Nutrition Information and Education Project

Pantry Essentials

Eating healthy starts with stocking your pantry with healthy foods that are ready to grab and go. Below are some common items to include.

Kitchen Spices

Spices

Seasoning is essential when creating healthy, yummy meals full of flavor. Having a wide selection of spices in your pantry helps bring boring dishes to mouthwatering creations. Adding spices to food is a healthier alternative than using sauces, which typically contain high fat and sugar.

Ballard mentions how you can cook the same thing often but change the spice profile hugely by sprinkling on different spices.

Forbes is also a huge proponent to a spice-filled pantry. Dried oregano, cumin, curry powder, Italian herb mix, paprika, and turmeric are a few of her favorites.

“A variety of spices allow you to continuously change the flavor and inspires you to keep cooking and trying new things,” she said.

Mrs. Dash, carried in Homeland stores, has a selection of wonderful spice combinations pre-mixed to make meal preparation even easier. Changing the spice used on your meats can quickly change its taste; our favorites are the barbecue and lemon pepper mix.

Another way to change up staple ingredients and typical flavors is to prep them different ways. Corn, for example, can be boiled, roasted, or grilled.

Grilled Chicken

Canned Goods

While canned goods might not sound as appealing as fresh produce, keeping several on hand can help you stay on track when hunger strikes and you don’t have anything prepped.

Beans are a must-have canned good. Ballard suggests including beans in many of your meals to add fiber and protein.

“They are a cheap option and expand your dish,” Ballard said. “Give the beans a good rinse before preparing and choose the low sodium option.”

Forbes recommends her clients have canned salmon, sardines, and oysters for those busy days. They provide protein and are easy to eat quickly.

If you aren’t used to eating vegetables on a daily basis, incorporate canned vegetables. Canned vegetables provide the same nutritional value and have a longer shelf life than fresh vegetables.

“I suggest having a variety of canned vegetables like artichokes, bell peppers, tomatoes, and pureed pumpkin,” Forbes said.

Grains

Carb-loading every day won’t help anyone reach a weight loss goal, but, like many things, grains are OK in moderation. The ideal amount also depends heavily on the type of grains you are eating.

Ancient grains like barley and quinoa offer a great carb fix that’s healthy to enjoy in moderation. Brown rice and whole wheat pasta are also filling staples to have on hand.

Refrigerator and Freezer Essentials

Just like you need a healthy stock of products in your pantry, you need smart choices in your refrigerator and freezer as well. When you open your refrigerator, you should be greeted by bright colors and lean meats.

Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

Ballard recommends frozen fruits and vegetables to her clients, especially for ones who are new to incorporating more produce in their diets.  Some research has even shown that frozen is more nutritious.

“Look for flash-frozen,” Ballard said. “You don’t want preservatives.”

Flash-frozen vegetables still contain important nutrients found in fresh vegetables. Typically, they are frozen at their peak condition before any nutrients are lost. To prep frozen vegetables, Ballard recommends steaming rather than boiling because the intense heat from boiling may eliminate key nutrients.

Frozen fruits are also convenient to keep in your freezer. They can be thawed and easily thrown into your morning oatmeal or smoothie.

Grapes

 Fresh Produce

While frozen produce may keep longer, there’s nothing quite like fresh produce in season. Learn how to appreciate the beautiful color and texture of produce.

We all know that half of your plate should be filled with vegetables and fruits. However, it can be a challenge to incorporate that many into your diet, especially if you don’t like them. It’s key to find veggies that you like, and learn how to cook them properly.

Dark leafy greens should be kept in the crisper drawer to keep them fresh longer. Combine these greens with other leafy vegetables and a lean protein, or beans, to quickly create a delicious nutrient-packed salad.

Fresh Herbs

Fresh herbs, along with spices, are the keys to enjoying a flavor-packed meal. Try some new herbs this year and challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone. Discover which herbs you like and which you don’t like. If you’re new to using herbs, experiment with these first: rosemary, thyme, basil, sage, and parsley.

Meats

Having sources of lean protein is an important part to staying healthy and supporting your muscles. Forbes recommends meat like chicken and turkey, or fish like wild caught salmon.

Ballard advises if you aren’t going to be eating meat you’ve purchased within the next 24-48 hours, it’s best to freeze it.

Banish these Items from Your Pantry and Fridge

While we believe in moderation, some items are better to just not have in sight. For example, if you can’t buy a bag of chips without eating it in its entirety, consider not keeping them in your home, but rather treating yourself to a side of chips when eating out.

“I recommend people to get rid of trans fat,” Forbes said. She explains how trans fat increases blood levels of bad cholesterol and lowers good cholesterol, which can lead to increased risk of chronic disease. Forbes suggests making healthy swaps like replacing vegetable oil with higher quality oil, like olive oil, macadamia nut oil, grass-fed ghee, or organic coconut oil.

The refrigerator culprits Forbes suggests ditching are soda and sugar-sweetened beverages. If you have a soda habit, try to slowly replace it with water. You can add some fruit to make it more exciting, like lemon or lime.

Quick Healthy Recipes and Meal Prep

Having quick recipes and meal ideas can really help you stay on track.

“The key is meal planning,” Forbes said. “Sit down and write out your meals for the week and prep on the weekends by chopping your vegetables, or measuring ingredients for the meals later in the week.”

Homeland has all the essentials you need to be successful in your healthy eating. Plan out your meals, write out your grocery list, and head to your nearest Homeland.

OK Get Healhty Infographic

Everything You Want to Know About Milk

Chances are that when you think of milk, you might think back to elementary school cafeterias or how you’ll order your next latte at Starbucks.

Milk isn’t only nutritionally beneficial for kids or a tasty addition to your morning coffee. If your diet restrictions allow for the consumption of milk, it’s a fantastic source of nutrients. Rich in calcium and protein and jammed packed with vitamins A and D, it’s no wonder milk is a great addition to a diet.

Long gone are the days of choosing between plain and chocolate. Everyone has a preference. Choices range from whole to skim to soy and beyond.

Homeland’s dairy section carries a wide range of dairy products and brands. We make it easy to find the perfect milk for you. From Hiland to Horizon Organic, our selection offers plenty of milk and other dairy product options.

Learn more about milk with our Everything You Want to Know about Milk!

Shopping for Student Lunches

At most schools, students have many food options when they hit the lunchroom — main dish items, sandwiches, and salad bars. Improved federal standards mean vending machines don’t offer as much junk food, and fast food kiosks have mostly disappeared. Many kids opt to bring their own lunch, and that starts with families grocery shopping effectively.

Students are able to take on the day better if they have the nutrition they need, but that doesn’t always happen. In fact, about 1 in 12 Oklahoma high school students report never eating vegetables. About 1 in 14 report never eating fruit or drinking 100 percent fruit juice, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both these rates are higher than the national averages.

One thing to consider when packing lunches is the season. Fresh produce is cheaper and tastes better when it’s at its peak. As we go into the fall, consider these fresh fruits and vegetables as easy lunchtime additions:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Cranberries
  • Grapes
  • Mushrooms
  • Pears
  • Pineapple

Whether they’re in kindergarten or high school, most students have about half an hour (or less) to eat lunch. Prepare produce ahead of time so it’s easy and quick to eat. If it’s too challenging or time-consuming, it will likely end up in the garbage.

Lunch ideas to keep your kids interested

School’s in session for about nine months a year, and that’s a lot of lunches to plan. Here are some ideas for your lunch planning:

  • Trade sandwich bread for different options, like tortillas or lettuce. Pita bread is another favorite.
  • Swap toppings every now and then. Is your kid tired of peanut butter and jelly? Swap the jelly for bananas. Try a unique cheese or specialty deli meat to put a twist on your child’s favorite sandwich. If she loves plain turkey and cheese, why not try Sun Dried Tomato Turkey Breast and Baby Swiss?
  • Go beyond the basics for dessert. Trade cookies for dried fruit mix or a slice of sweet bread, like pumpkin or gingerbread.
  • Switch your sides. Instead of chips, include snap peas and hummus. Or add a yogurt, some popcorn or mixed nuts.
  • If your child’s school allows it, encourage him or her to carry a water bottle.
  • As the weather cools, consider warm lunches packed in a thermos. Soup or chili leftovers can stay warm until lunchtime when packed in a good container.
  • Most schools provide plastic utensils, but pack them yourself if you have any handy. You don’t want your child to be stranded with soup and no way to eat it.
  • Experiment with salads together. Your child likely already has favorite veggies. Build a salad around those preferences. No favorites just yet? Try some seasonal options and see what stands out. Offer a food several times before you give up.

Don’t forget to join the Homeland Mobile Club. You never know what deals will pop up and what ideas you’ll get.

homeland-16-07-shopping-for-student-lunches

What Can Yogurt Do For You?

June is Dairy Month and we are taking a closer look at a dairy favorite, yogurt! This tangy diet staple has been around since 6000 B.C., but did you know there’s so much more to yogurt than just a nutritious snack? A good source of vitamins and nutrients like B12 and riboflavin, yogurt is made from milk that has been fermented by live cultures, or organisms, known as Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophiles. Today, you can find a variety of yogurt types in the dairy section. What are the differences? Let’s find out.

Regular Yogurt

Always a classic, regular yogurt is typically made from whole milk and has a milk fat content of at least 3.25 percent. Low-fat yogurt is made from – you guessed it – low-fat milk, and must have a milk fat content of less than 2 percent, while non-fat yogurt is usually made from fermented skim milk and has less than half a percent of milk fat. Regular yogurt is a great base for smoothies and is enjoyed with fruit, granola, and a host of other toppings.

Greek Yogurt

Originating in the Mediterranean region, the Greek yogurt variety is made one of two ways: either removing some of the water from milk to make it thicker, or by straining the liquid whey from regular yogurt, which gives it a creamier consistency. Greek yogurt has less sugar and more protein (5.6 percent protein content compared to 2.7 percent in regular yogurt), and because of its thickness, Greek yogurt works well for cooking and as a healthy option for dips.

Icelandic Yogurt

Similarly to Greek yogurt, Icelandic yogurt is either strained to remove the whey or incubated in its non-fat, live-culture form to yield a product that is extra thick and creamy. With ultra-low sugar content, high protein, and no fat, Icelandic yogurt is a smart choice for snacking.

Heat-treated Yogurt

Most yogurts fall into this category. After the milk has been cultured, the resulting yogurt is often heat-treated to kill the active yogurt cultures – the organisms that ferment the milk. At that point, the yogurt is no longer a “live-culture” product, but the taste is just as delicious.

Probiotic Yogurt

Contrary to heat-treated yogurts, some yogurts are chilled after fermentation instead. This prepares the yogurt for consumption while still preserving the active cultures – in this case, good bacteria known as probiotics. Probiotics help balance the intestinal environment and have been shown to promote a variety of health benefits, from digestive regularity to boosting immunity.

Frozen Yogurt

I scream, you scream, we all scream for… fro-yo? Frozen yogurt has become a refreshing dessert favorite for good reason: it packs the flavors and deliciousness of ice cream, without all the sugar and fat. Trying making your own fro-yo pops by inserting a popsicle stick in a yogurt container and freezing overnight. It’s the perfect summer treat!

You’ll find a plethora of yogurt varieties in the dairy section of your local Homeland. Be sure to visit our Savings Center to load coupons for yogurt and more onto your Homeland One Card before you shop.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie Streusel Bars

Alyson Approved Tip: If you’re having guests over for the holidays, be sure to ask in advance about food allergies and intolerances. That way you can prepare and won’t be surprised at the dinner table.

Cooking for guests with food allergies and intolerances can be challenging, especially during the holiday season. Everyone wants to enjoy holiday favorites so try not to go out of your way to come up with new foods to prepare. Most recipes can be altered for your guest with a few simple swaps. These gluten-free bars replace regular white flour (which contains gluten) with oat flour. It takes on all the flavor of pumpkin pie but without hurting any of our guests.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie Streusel Bars

Yield: 16 BARS

Prep time: 20 MINUTES

Cook time: 64 MINUTES

Ingredients:

For the crust and topping:

• 1 1/4 cups certified gluten-free oat flour (learn how to make you own here)Pumpkin-Strusel-Ingredients

• 2 cups certified gluten-free rolled oats

• 1 tablespoon cinnamon

• 1 cup brown sugar

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• 3/4 cup canola oil

For the filling:

• 1 15-ounce can pumpkin pureePumpkin-Streusel-Bar-Ingredients2

• 2 large eggs

• 1/3 cup granulated sugar

• 1/3 cup brown sugar

• 2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 cup evaporated milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350?F. Line an 8″ x 8″ pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Prepare the crust and topping. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oat flour, oats, cinnamon, sugar and salt. Stir in the butter until well combined.
  3. Pat half of the mixture firmly onto the bottom of the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until lightly golden brown. The crust will bubble a little during baking.
  5. Let the crust cool for 5-10 minutes while preparing the filling.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, stir together all the filling ingredients. Pour evenly over the crust and bake for 12 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and add walnut-sized pieces of the remaining oat mixture over the filling. It will be a very thick layer and some of it will sink a little into the filling. Bake for another 30 minutes or until the filling is golden brown and firm and the middle is set.
  8. Let cool for 1 hour and serve with whipped cream or maple caramel sauce.

Cool completely before covering. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Pumpkin Pie Protein Bites

Are you a morning workout person, or an afternoon gym rat? Either way, these protein pumpkin bites are the perfect fuel! With the health benefits of pumpkin and the protein you need to keep you going, these little morsels pack a powerful punch.

Pumpkin-Pie-Protein-Bites-Ingredients

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup Oat Flour
  • ½ cup Pumpkin Purée
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Protein Powder
  • 2 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp Pumpkin Spice
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Ground Cinnamon, to coat
  • Cocoa powder to coat

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pour your oat flour into a medium bowl, mix together with the dry ingredients (protein powder, vanilla & spices).
  2. stir in your wet ingredients.
  3. The “batter” should be firm, with just enough moisture for something to adhere to the outside. Refrigerate for 30 min if batter is soft.
  4. Evenly break into bite-sized pieces, about a 1 inch scoop worth.
  5. Roll till smooth, coating in cocoa and cinnamon as desired.

Watch below to learn how to make these yourself!

Alyson Approved Pumpkin Protein Bites from Homeland Stores on Vimeo.

Skinny Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Packed full of fiber and potassium, pumpkin offers the perfect combination of the nutrients you need and the flavor you are looking for. These skinny pumpkin chocolate chip muffins are sure to be a hit with your family and friends for breakfast or a yummy snack throughout the day. Fun fact, you can make your own oat flour to use in this recipe at home in just a matter of seconds! Found out how in my quick how-to video below.

Alyson Approved Tip – Creating Your Own Oat Flour from Homeland Stores on Vimeo.

Pumpkin-Muffin-Ingredients

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons Splenda brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons of PB2
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, optional
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon oat flour
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray; do not use muffin liners with these.
  2. Combine the pumpkin, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and egg in a bowl. Beat until combined.
  3. In another bowl, stir together the salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, PB2, and oat flour.
  4. Add the dry to the wet mixing until just combined. (Over-mixing will result in dense muffins)
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Separate the mixture evenly among 9 muffin cavities and place a few extra chocolate chips on top if desired
  7. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick when inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool and then remove them from the muffin tin.

Learn how to make these in my video below!

Alyson Approved Skinny Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins from Homeland Stores on Vimeo.

Meal Plan Makeover

If you’re like most individuals you hate the dreaded question of “What’s for dinner?” Even worse is making a meal plan! Eating healthy making better choices starts with a plan, however it can be time consuming. That’s why this one slow cooker recipe is so amazing! You can batch cook these 4 simple ingredients and have food for the entire week. Check out this simple step by step guide too feeding your family for less than $100 for the entire week.

Here’s the plan:

Monday: Tacos

Tuesday: Nachos

Wednesday: Southwest Salad

Thursday: Chicken and Quinoa Bowl

Friday: Taco Soup

Prepare 4 Ingredient Salsa ChickenSalsa Chicken

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 6 hours

Total time: 6 hours 10 mins

  • Serves: 10

Ingredients

  • 6-7 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 jar of salsa
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • Place chicken in the slow cooker and sprinkle with taco seasoning. Pour the salsa and broth on the top. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Remove chicken from the slow cooker and shred with two forks, then return to the slow cooker

Monday: Tacos

Ingredients

1 cup Shredded Taco Chicken

Taco shells, hard or soft, or flour burrito tortillas

Favorite toppings – lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, olives, sour cream, guacamole, fresh lime, cilantro, hot sauce

Tuesday: NachosNachos

Ingredients

  • 1 cup salsa chicken
  • 8 oz shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Bag  Tortilla Chips
  • 2 sliced thin on a bias Scallions
  • Handful minced Cilantro
  • 1 Cup Sour Cream

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with nachos. Top with half your cheese, then top with the shredded chicken. Add the rest of your cheese on top. Cook in the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, top with scallions, tomato and cilantro. Serve with Sour Cream.

Wednesday: Southwest SaladSW Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Salsa Chicken
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • ¼ cup red pepper
  • 1 bunch of green onions
  • 1 – 15 ounce can of corn
  • 1 – 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Combine chicken, black beans, corn, and fresh vegetables.
  • Add salt and pepper according to taste.
  • Place on top of shredded lettuce
  • Garnish with avocados, cilantro, or cheese

Thursday: Chicken and Quinoa Bowl

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped lettuce
  • 1 cup shredded taco chicken
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 package of taco bowls

Assemble

Line bowls with equal amounts of lettuce and quinoa. Spoon chicken over each. Finally, top with favorite toppings like cilantro, tomatoes, and cheese!

Friday: Taco Souptaco soup

Ingredients

  • 1 white onion, chopped finely
  • 1 (16 oz.) can chili beans
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
  • 2 cups shredded Taco chicken

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and set on low for 3-4 hours.

What’s in a Grain?

September is National Whole Grain Month! I’m sure you’ve heard the term “Whole Grains” tossed around these past few years, and may have thought to yourself “what exactly is a whole grain?”

A grain, in its whole form, has three parts to it. It contains:

  1. Bran
  2. Endosperm
  3. Germ

Whole grains are packed with nutrients including protein, fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. Diet containing proper amounts of whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of type two diabetes, heart disease, and even some forms of cancer!

When a grain is processed (such as white flours) it loses almost all of their fiber, along with many healthy proteins, vitamins and minerals.

whole grain

*TIP*- Although the front of a package may advertise Whole Grains in their product, it is important to flip the package over and read the ingredients list to ensure that whole grain is listed as the FIRST ingredient before any other type of flour. This will ensure that the product is indeed a whole grain product.

Here’s a healthy and delicious way to incorporate your daily whole grains. This is recipe for a whole grain bulgur salad has a Middle Eastern flare with the incorporation of dates and cumin, while adding hints of orange and almond. Give it a try this week!

Date and Almond Bulgur Salad with Sofrita

Ingredients

  • 1 cup bulgur (cracked wheat)
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoonMcCormick® Cumin, Ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Gourmet Collection Sicilian Sea Salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped plum tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup pitted dates, quartered, divided
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
Directions
  • Bring 6 cups water to boil in medium saucepan. Meanwhile, heat large skillet on medium heat. Add dry bulgur; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until fragrant. Add toasted bulgur to boiling water. Cook on medium heat 10 to 12 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water. Place bulgur in large bowl. Mix orange peel, juice, cumin and sea salt in small bowl. Pour over bulgur; toss to coat well. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add tomatoes, bell peppers, onion and garlic; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until tender-crisp. Add vegetables, and 1/2 each of the dates, almonds and cilantro to the bulgur; toss to coat well.
  • Serve warm or refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with remaining dates, almonds and cilantro.

Click here to watch as Alyson Approved showcases this yummy recipe on Fox 25!