Simple Fava Bean Recipe

Fava beans have a rich, buttery taste, and chefs love to incorporate them into their first spring dishes. Fava beans are a staple of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. Young favas can be cooked and used unpeeled, but as they mature, their tough outer skins need to be removed.  But it’s well worth the effort because their rich flavor is delicious in everything from salads to stews. They might take some time to shell and peel, but putting the tender green beans into any dish makes it sodelicious! Since they are so fresh, and have a naturally good taste, it is best to create dishes with them that use simple ingredients and highlight the taste of the beans themselves. Here is a simple recipe that does just that and also comes together in under half an hour.

Fava Beans with Olive Oil and Lemon

Ingredients

4 lb. fresh fava beans

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest

3/4 cup shaved aged hard cheese, such as Pecorino

 

Method

  • First, shell the fava beans from the fava pods. If you're new to fava beans, an easy method is to open the pods as you run the edge of a knife along the seam, cutting away the tough edge so that the pod halves come apart. Discard the pods.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes (the amount of time required will depend on the freshness of the beans).
  • Using a slotted spoon, drain the beans and then immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice water. This “shocks” the beans and stops the cooking process. This step ensures that the beans do not get overcooked and mushy.
  • When cool enough to handle, slip off the outer skins of the beans and discard. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  • In another small bowl, combine the extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, and lemon zest. Whisk until blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the mixture on top of the beans and toss. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and toss gently again. Serve right away.

This is an easy recipe that takes hardly any time to put together. Not only is it packed with nutrients, it looks very appetizing with a bright green color. It can be served as an appetizer, a healthy snack, or as a side dish with a main entrée. The initial prep time aside, these make for a quick dish anytime. The light vinaigrette and a bit of shaved cheese is all it takes to create this tasty dish. You can eat these on their own, or you can even add pasta to turn it into a nice pasta salad. Add a protein like grilled chicken or pork, and you have a complete meal.

Try this simple fava bean recipe and let the buttery taste of these beans shine through. Just dress these beans with a light vinaigrette and shaved cheese to create a simple yet delicious dish.

 

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Are Fast Food Salads Really Healthy for You?

Fast Food Salads

In our busy lives where we may or may not have the time to cook healthy and fresh food, fast food offers a good option of grab-and-go meals. But we all know that fast food is generally considered unhealthy because of too many calories and little nutritional content. So what do you do? You come up with a smart idea- or so you think. Eating salad is always healthy, right? So for every visit to a fast food restaurant you stick with one of their salad offerings, avoiding the greasy burgers, fries, nuggets or other unhealthy stuff. You think you are eating healthy by ordering a salad, but odds are you aren’t. Especially if it is a salad from a fast food chain, it can be quite unhealthy for you.

Low Nutritional Value

Many fast food salad offerings fall short of what you would expect in a healthy salad- baby spinach or spring mix, broccoli, carrots, onions, snap peas, and a lean protein such as egg whites, chicken, or tuna. You can also add chickpeas, kidney beans, or other legumes. But many fast food restaurants offer supposedly “healthy” salads such as a BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad (with chicken breast, grapes, bacon bits, iceberg lettuce, and cheese all laden with preservatives, coloring agents, and additives, and with 440calories and 24 grams of fat) or a Chicken BLT Salad (with deep fried chicken, strips of bacon, and cheddar cheese that comes to 790 calories and 67 grams of total fat). While some or many of the ingredients in such salads may seem healthy and fresh, unfortunately they can have more calories than a Big Mac or a side of fries. They include minimal amounts of fiber and lean proteins.

Choose Wisely

The sad reality is that many fast food salads are saturated with fats and sodium. The good news is that not all fast food salads are laden with mind-boggling amounts of calories. Some restaurants do offer healthy salad options, and if you switch to a fat-free dressing and take a pass on heavier ingredients such as bacon bits and croutons, you will make the calorie count go down even further. So the important thing to remember is to see the ingredients carefully and find out the total fats and calories in the salad. Go for a salad that contains ingredients with more nutritional value. Iceberg or romaine lettuce, for instance, have very few nutrients, while their greener counterparts such as kale, spinach, or arugula pack more of a nutritional punch. Look for nutrition information on the menu or restaurant website. Once you know that what you are getting from the drive-thru window is actually good for you, it will be easy to make it a regular part of your diet.

So as you can see, all fast food salads are not healthy for you, but by arming yourself with information about the ingredients, you can pick the healthy ones and avoid those that lead to a diet disaster.

Sadly, fast food salads can be unhealthy for you. Look for healthy ingredients and a low calorie count. Salads with spinach, lean proteins, and legumes are healthier and have higher nutritional value.

 

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Perfect Salads for a Light Lunch on a Hectic Day

2208Perfect Salads for a Light Lunch on a Hectic Day

 

On busy days lunch offers a refreshing break while providing energy for the afternoon’s events. Salad as a canvas for lunch allows you to eat a variety of nutrients, and fills you up without weighing you down. Here are a few salads to try out.

 

ASIAN INSPIRED

For an Asian inspired salad begin with a soft lettuce like Bibb. Sprinkle in some grated carrots, sliced cucumbers, chopped peanuts or cashews, and some thinly sliced grilled chicken or pork (Maybe make stir fry the night before and reserve some meat for this salad). Then top off with bean sprouts, edamame, fresh cilantro and mint.

Add a soy ginger dressing: 1/3 cup olive oil or sesame oil, 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon grated ginger, 1 minced clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon of honey; combine well, then add additional components as desired.

If you’re afraid the salad won’t fill you up, serve over rice noodles.

 

SOUTHWESTERN STYLE

South western style salad is a great meal after taco night. Simply toss the leftover topping ingredients over a bed of sturdy lettuce like romaine. Use chopped up tomato, onion, bell pepper, corn, and whatever beans or meat you’d like. For crunch, slice leftover tortillas into strips, rub with oil, then bake at 400 for 5-8 minutes until crispy, keeping an eye out for burning.

Try a lime dressing on top: combine 1 cup of cilantro (or parsley if you’re not a fan), 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup lime juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add more olive oil to thin the dressing out or more greek yogurt to thicken.

 

HEALTHY TURKEY

This salad is great for leftover roasted chicken or turkey. If you don’t have any on hand, deli turkey works fine. Sauté the chopped meat with onions that have begun to caramelize for a little extra sweetness. On a bed of spinach or mixed greens add dried cranberries, slivered almonds, and blue cheese crumbles (swiss cheese works well too). Add the meat and onion mixture then top with a balsamic vinaigrette.

For the vinaigrette mix 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, splash of Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon honey, salt and pepper.

 

NICOISE SALAD

A Nicoise salad makes use of leftover or canned tuna and salmon. This protein packed salad involves a bit more preparation in regards to cooked vegetables than the other salads listed, but is well worth the time. On a bed of Bibb lettuce, add a sliced hardboiled egg, sliced cooked potatoes, cooked green beans, sliced tomatoes, and olives. Top with canned or cooked tuna or salmon.

For the Nicise dressing whisk together 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons chopped shallot, 2 tablespoons dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, 3/4 cup olive oil, and salt and pepper.

 

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Spicing Up Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving Leftovers

You've just enjoyed a delicious Thanksgiving meal with friends and family. As you open the fridge the next day, you're overwhelmed with leftovers: roast turkey slices, sweet potato casserole, bowls of cranberry sauce, and rolls of fresh bread. It seems like there's enough food for your family for the next week. So how do you create new dishes out of leftover food?

Thanksgiving Sandwich

Many families make rolls of fresh bread for Thanksgiving, which can quickly go stale in a day. We recommend using the bread first so it doesn't go to waste.

  • Slice a roll in half. Spread some cranberry sauce, turkey slices, and stuffing on the roll. A little cheese can also work, too.
  • You can experiment with what goes into the sandwich. You can also put leftover sweet potato or green beans in there, too.

Thanksgiving Casserole

You can add many of your Thanksgiving leftovers to this casserole that puts a fresh twist on the holiday feast. You'll need leftover roast turkey, a cup of frozen green beans, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cheese- all items that you've either cooked recently for Thanksgiving dinner or have around the house.

  • Spread leftover stuffing on the bottom of a baking pan.
  • Layer turkey, green beans, and half a cup of mayonnaise over the stuffing.
  • Combine a cup of cheese with some leftover mashed potatoes in a separate bowl, then layer over the existing mixture in the pan.
  • Cook at 375 F for 30-40 minutes until done.

Turkey and Potato Pot Pies

You've probably got a significant amount of turkey left over, and maybe some mashed potatoes as well. Here's a delicious pot pie recipe using those leftovers.

  • In a skillet, cook four slices of bacon until crispy. Remove and set aside.
  • In the skillet, cook four cups of sliced mushrooms and three cups of leeks for about 12 minutes, seasoned with thyme, salt, and pepper.
  • Add three tablespoons of flour over the vegetables and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add two cups of chicken broth and simmer for 4 minutes.
  • Add three cups of turkey and the bacon, then cook for a minute.
  • Pour the mixture into eight ramekins for individual pot pies, then spread mashed potatoes over each ramekin.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
  • You can also add a golden touch to the potatoes on top by putting them in the broiler for a few minutes after the ramekins have finished baking.

Thanksgiving Salad

Leftovers are also ideal for sprinkling on top of salads. If you have leftover green beans, cranberry sauce, or turkey, you can create a delicious salad from your holiday feast.

  • You can turn cranberry sauce into a dressing by blending it up and adding a little olive oil.
  • Chop turkey up into tiny bits and layer on top of a salad.
  • If you have cheese left over from appetizer dishes, you can also cut it up into small pieces for a good salad accompaniment.
  • Green beans also work very well in salads.

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The Incredible Health Benefits of Collard Greens

Benefits of Collard Greens

Collard greens have long been a staple of Southern cooking. A cruciferous vegetable similar to kale and Brussels sprouts, collard greens are commonly placed on plates next to fried chicken, potatoes, and gravy. While other vegetables like kale and spinach have long held the limelight, new studies are indicating that collard greens are just as healthy.

Collard Greens Lower Cholesterol

Steamed collard greens easily bind to bile acids in the digestive tract, helping to excrete them from the body. Bile acids are formed from cholesterol, so collard greens essentially bind to and remove these acids. This effect was found primarily with steamed collard greens as opposed to raw, and had the greatest cholesterol-lowering benefit of any cruciferous vegetable.

Collard Greens Protect Against Cancer

There are four specific anti-cancer agents found in collard greens: glucosinolates called glucoraphanin, sinigrin, gluconasturtian, and glucotropaeolin. These words may sound like science fiction characters, but they're actually agents that can support our anti-inflammatory systems. This can help prevent cancer through aiding the body in fighting off rogue cells.

Collard Greens Are High in Vitamin K

A cup of cooked, chopped collard greens has almost 400% of your daily recommended Vitamin K. Vitamin K is critical for blood clotting; a deficiency can lead to uncontrolled bleeding. It's also important to prevent osteoporosis and coronary artery disease. Certain populations, such as patients suffering from liver damage, bulimia, cystic fibrosis, or inflammatory bowel disease, can be prone to Vitamin K deficiency.

Collard Greens Contain A Whopping Amount of Vitamin C

Oranges, move over: a cup of cooked collard greens has half your daily recommended amount of Vitamin C. Though Vitamin C is frequently taken to ward off colds, there are additional benefits such as protection against cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and stroke.

Collard Greens Can Protect Your Eyesight

Collard greens are also high in Vitamin A, the same vitamin that's found in carrots. Vitamin A is a retinoid and is critically important in maintaining eye health. Vitamin C also helps protect your eyes as well. For healthy eyesight, eat a cup of steamed collard greens with dinner.

Collard Greens Are High in Fiber

There's a good reason to have a high-fiber diet: it helps excrete damaging LDL cholesterol out of the body and keeps your digestive tract regular. If you've been feeling a little blocked, try some collard greens to get everything going again. Fiber also provides protection against colon cancer and hemorrhoids.

Collard Greens Can Keep Your Immune System Healthy

The greens contain a phyto-nutrient called di-indolyl-methane, which has been found to have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. If you're looking to stay healthy through cold and flu season, cook a batch of collard greens and serve them for dinner. Di-indolyl-methane also has anti-cancer properties as well, potentiating Interferon-gamma receptors.

Collard Greens Contain Valuable Minerals

The leaves and stems of this wondrous vegetable contain calcium, iron, zinc, and manganese- all minerals important for the bloodstream and bones. Considering this vegetable only has 30 calories per serving, it's a great side dish for dinner.

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