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Diet and Nutrition

Healthy Recipes




Asian Sesame Chicken with Mandarin Oranges and Pineapples

As the exciting summer months draw to a close, autumn becomes the time to fall back into healthy routines and give your body the attention it deserves.  Fall also means exposing the body to illnesses it became unfamiliar with over the summer. By combining chicken with vitamin c-rich fruit, crunchy sesame seeds loaded with zinc, and an array of oriental spices, you can give your immune system the tasty boost it has been craving.



Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Place chicken into skillet, and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken, and set aside. Stir onion wedges and bell pepper slices into skillet; cook until slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Remove, and set aside. Return chicken to skillet, and reduce heat to low. Mix in teriyaki sauce, sesame seeds, black pepper, Chinese five-spice powder, red pepper flakes, and honey; stir until sauce thickens. Return onion and bell pepper to the skillet and add the pineapple and mandarin chunks. Warm through, and serve with steamed brown rice.

Total: 4 servings, 1 serving w/o rice: 30.4 g of fat, 15 g of protein, 435.5 calories, 7.85 g of fiber, 30 g of carbohydrate

Turkey Lasagna

What you eat affects how you sleep. One of the keys to a restful night's sleep is to be calm, rather than energized. Some foods contribute to restful sleep; other foods may keep you awake. Foods that promote sleep are tryptophan-containing foods, such as turkey; tryptophan is the amino acid that the body uses to make serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes satiation (feeling full) and sleep. Tryptophan containing foods include dairy, nuts, meats such as turkey and carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates also help you relax in the evening. High-fat meals and large servings prolong the work your digestive system needs to do, and all the gas production and rumblings may keep you awake. Some people find that highly-seasoned foods (e.g., hot peppers and garlic) interfere with sleep, especially if you suffer from heartburn (due to acid reflux).

Eating a large meal right before bed does not, for most people, promote a restful night's sleep. While you may fall asleep faster, all the intestinal work required to digest a big meal is likely to cause frequent waking and a poorer quality of sleep. The turkey lasagna presented here, provided it is eaten early evening in reasonable portions, provides the perfect mix of protein, carbohydrate, and diary to offer those with sleep problems a good night's rest.


1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound lasagna noodles
15 ounces ricotta cheese
3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil


Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the sausage and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Soak lasagna pasta in hot water for 20 minutes. Drain.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg, the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one third of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling slightly.

Amount per Serving serving= 2 square inch lasagna slice, Calories 252 Calories from Fat 39, Total Fat 4.31g, Cholesterol 36.94mg 12%, Sodium 637.18mg 27%, Carbohydrate 26.75g, Dietary Fiber 3.56g, Protein 26.91g


Macaroni and Cheese with Chicken and Broccoli

Chicken, cheese, milk and vegetables have all been shown to contain nutrients that are beneficial for dental health. The calcium in this recipe can protect tooth enamel and help remineralize teeth. A crunchy vegetable, such as broccoli, has high water content and will increase the flow of saliva in the mouth, helping to wash away the food particles that can cause tooth decay. Moreover, this recipe is a healthy play on a classic comfort dish with whole wheat pasta, low-fat cheese and fat-free milk, making it a go-to dish for lunch or dinner!



Heat a medium pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil and chicken and season with salt and pepper. Sauté a couple of minutes then add onion and cook another 5 to 7 minutes until onions are tender and chicken is cooked through. Turn off heat and reserve.

To boiling water, add pasta and salt to season the cooking water. Cook 5 minutes, then add broccoli and cook 3 minutes more or until pasta is cooked to al dente and florets are just tender.

While pasta cooks, heat a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Add butter and melt, then add flour, cayenne and paprika and whisk together over heat until roux bubbles then cook a minute more. Whisk in milk and stock and raise heat to bring the sauce to a quick boil. Simmer until the sauce thickens about 5 minutes.

Drain macaroni or pasta and broccoli florets. Add back to the pot and add chicken to the pasta and broccoli.

Add cheese to milk sauce and stir to melt it in, a minute or so. Stir in mustard and season sauce with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken and broccoli and cooked pasta and stir to combine. Adjust seasonings and transfer to a large serving platter and serve.

10 servings per recipe, 1 serving: 383 calories, 39.4 g of carbohydrates, 4.2 g of Fiber, 13.8 g of fat, 25.5 g of protein

Orecchiette and Broccoli Rabe Pesto Con Il Pollo

Orecchiette (pronounced OR-REK-I-ETTE) is a type of home-made pasta, reflective the charm of Apulia, a region of Southern Italy from where it originated. Its name comes from its shape, which is reminiscent of a small ear. In Italian, orecchio, means ear, the ette means small. One serving of this ear shaped pasta comes in at 200 calories with zero grams of fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, making this a low-fat, heart healthy pasta. However, as we all know, it is often the sauce and 'toppings' that add significant fat and sodium to pasta dishes.

The pesto sauce, which is mixed into this pasta dish, consists of broccoli rabe, skim-milk based cheese, and olive oil. Broccoli rabe is a member of the brassica genus of plants and is related to cabbage, kale, cauliflower and mustard. Even though the word broccoli is commonly used in its name, it's not the same plant as the floret-headed vegetable that is most familiar to Western (North American) cuisine.

Broccoli rabe is highly nutritious and contains many of the same beneficial cancer-fighting elements as its cruciferous relatives. It is high in phytochemicals, such as sulforaphane and indoles, which are believed to help the body defend itself against certain cancers. It has a mere 20 calories per one cup raw, 3 grams of protein, 72 mg of vitamin C, and 7.6 mg of beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. It is also a good source of vitamin K, as well as potassium, essential to blood and heart health. When combined with pistachio nuts, a blend of skim cheeses, and olive oil, the broccoli rabe is made into a light pesto that will have diet conscious pasta lovers wanting more!

Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 12 min
4 servings



Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Set up a bowl of well-salted ice water. Cook the broccoli rabe in the boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes and then immediately plunge in the salted ice water. This will prevent the broccoli rabe from being overcooked and will set the lovely green color.

Drain the broccoli rabe and squeeze out any excess water; coarsely chop. Place the broccoli rabe in the bowl of a food processor and puree until it is a coarse paste. Add the pistachios and Parmigiano and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add the ricotta and pulse until combined. Taste for seasoning once again. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. (If you are making the pasta right after the pesto, just use the broccoli rabe blanching water.) Cook the pasta 1 minute less than the cooking time on the package.

While the pasta is cooking, place the pesto in a large skillet and add about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water; place over medium-high heat. When the pasta is ready, drain and add to the skillet with the pesto. Stir vigorously to combine and cook until the sauce is creamy and heated through, 1 to 2 minutes; add salt to taste. Remove from the heat, add 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, if desired, and stir vigorously. Garnish as desired.

Adding grilled, sliced, skinless chicken ('pollo') breast or thigh meat increases the protein content greatly. For added color and a slightly tangy flavor, one may add diced sun-dried tomatoes to the garnish.

Per serving: Calories 388; Fat 10 g (Sat. 2 g; Mono. 5 g; Poly. 3 g); Cholesterol 18 mg; Sodium ~100-200 mg (depending on seasoning preference); Carbohydrate 54 g; Fiber 3.5 g; Protein 22 g


Baby Spinach Navy Bean Tomato Spring Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

Be kind to your spine!  A diet rich in calcium is essential for proper bone maintenance and muscle function - two key components of good posture.

Many salad greens, such as spinach, are rich sources of calcium. Spinach contains, on average, about 150-200 mg calcium per cup. An impressive showing indeed - and mostly absorbed, despite the naturally occurring oxalic acid often present in leafy green vegetables.

Many spring salads use spinach, especially baby or 'early' spinach, since the leaves are tender, yet possess a subtle crunch. When combined with tomatoes, purple onions, and navy beans, then drizzled with a tastefully thoughtful dressing this salad is high in calcium, folate, vitamin C, and fiber and has an excellent profile of beneficial vegetable oils. 



1 8-oz (250-mL) bag baby spinach
1 cup (250 mL) navy beans, cooked and rinsed
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 small purple onion, thinly sliced or chopped
Red wine vinaigrette (added to preference)


1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey     
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup olive oil

Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender. With the machine running, gradually blend in the oil.



On a large dinner plate, arrange spinach and top with navy beans, tomatoes, and onion. Pour dressing over salad and serve immediately. If you plan to use leftover salad later, keep salad dressing separate and apply just before serving.  Above recipe serves 2. Calories (and fat kcals) depend on amount of dressing used.

Grilled Vegetable Panini

Vegetables promote overall health and help maintain optimal antioxidant status, important in preventing skin damage due to environmental exposures. What better way to get your antioxidants than by eating delicious roasted vegetables, combined with mozzarella cheese in a basil pesto?

When it comes to skin health and sun exposure, it is important to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants. Researchers have found that premature aging of the skin and skin cancer involves an interplay between sun damage from ultraviolet (UV) light, nutrition and antioxidant status. UV light promotes formation of highly reactive substances called "free radicals," which damage cell proteins and DNA. Theoretically, antioxidants such as beta-carotene and other carotenoids can stabilize free radicals and end the damaging chain reactions that they start. Get your antioxidants the tasty way by trying this Grilled Vegetable Panini!


Basil Pesto:

In a blender, pulse the basil, pine nuts, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until finely chopped. With the blender still running, gradually add enough oil to form a smooth and thick consistency. Transfer the pesto to a medium bowl and stir in 1/2 cup of cheese. Season the pesto with more salt and pepper, to taste. (The pesto can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)


Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle the oil over the eggplant, zucchini, and onion slices, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Working in batches, grill the eggplant, zucchini, and onions until they are tender and grill marks appear, about 4 minutes per side. Cool completely. Cut each baguette into 6 pieces. Working with one baguette piece at a time, slice in half and spread both sides with the pesto. Working with the bottom slice of the baguette, stack 2 slices of eggplant, 2 slices zucchini, 1 slice onion, 1 slice tomato, 1 slice mozzarella, and 1 slice of roasted pepper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place top half of baguette on top and continue with remaining baguette. (The sandwiches can be made 4 hours ahead. Wrap well with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)

Amount per serving= 1/2 slice of Panini, Calories 119.8, Calories from Fat 80; 67%, Total Fat 8.9 g, Cholesterol 14.9 mg, Sodium 203.8 mg, Total Carbohydrate 5.7 g, Dietary Fiber 2.3 g, Protein 5.3 g


Rice and Black Bean Pilaf

It is frequently difficult to eat a healthy, nutritious meal at the workplace, especially one that is low in fat and heart-healthy. Each work day we are faced with this challenging task, and too often we settle for meals high in fat and calories, which seem appealing even when we are not that hungry. Therefore, it is of upmost importance that we think about the types of foods we are consuming before we consume them.

Rice and Black Bean Pilaf is a great way to incorporate many different nutrients for the working individual in one, heart- healthy dish. This recipe provides a tasteful combination of black beans, which are an excellent source of protein, and fiber-rich rice pilaf. When added to an array of vegetables that provide additional nutrients and antioxidants, this healthy, delicious meal will make you the envy of the breakroom!



Place rice and chicken broth in a saucepot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook rice, covered, until tender and all the liquid is absorbed, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat, uncover, and fluff with a fork. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, celery, carrot, cumin and chili flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender but not mushy, about 6 minutes. Stir in black beans and cook until just warmed through, about 1-2 minutes. Combine onion-black bean mixture and hot rice in a serving bowl and toss to combine.

Garnish with parsley.

(1 serving equals 1 1/2 cups pilaf). Total Calories 310; Total Fat 6 g; (Sat Fat 1 g, Mono Fat 3.5 g, Poly Fat 1 g) ; Protein 11 g; Carb 57 g; Fiber 8 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 290 mg

Verdura y Frijol con Arroz Jambalaya

A diet high in fiber and low in saturated fat is key to a healthy colon.

Jambalaya (pronounced JUM-ba-LY-a) is a Louisiana Creole dish of Spanish and French influence. The vegetables, beans and brown rice in this festive Jambalaya recipe contribute beneficial fibers, which will aid peristalsis - a.k.a involuntary contractions - in the colon, which promote regular bowel movements and, in turn, colonic health, thereby minimizing the risk for colon cancer. With an array of savory spices, this delicious recipe is low in sodium and fat, but full in flavor. The beans are high in protein. However, unlike animal sources, beans have no saturated fat. The vegetables are high in fiber and contain antioxidants, such as beta carotene and vitamin E. Whether eaten as a side or the main event, this Jambalaya recipe will have you dancing to the tune of a healthy colon. 


1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup red or yellow bell pepper
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
2 cups water
1 cup uncooked long grain brown rice
1 can black beans
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper

(Note: Spice to preference)


1. In a large nonstick skillet, sauté the onion, celery, bell peppers, mushrooms and garlic in oil until tender. Stir in the tomatoes, water, rice, parsley, black beans, salt, paprika, cayenne, chili powder and pepper.

2. Transfer to a 2-1/2-qt. baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 65-70 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.


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Last Reviewed: Mar 20, 2014