Friday, March 27, 2009

Fear Should Never Stop Us From Eating Our Greens & Three Recipes!!

First I want to share with you some pictures of my baby girl on her birthday!

Cearle with Crissy & Scott, her SL & BL

Cearle, her husband Greg and her brother John...

Cearle & her horse riding friend Garry Ann


Eat your greens. Good advice, sure. But there's something scary about those Jurassic leaves at the market. You come home with a big bouquet and then what?

Fear should never stop us from eating something so healthful, so flavorful. The benefits of vitamin- and antioxidant-rich greens are well known. And don't just think spinach. Kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, escarole—there's a world of good tastes that can dress up any plate.

Just follow these simple steps:

Look for whole leaves, supple but still firm, like the healthy leaves on any plant, with no gooey or brown spots. The stems should be taut, the leaves fanning out from them.

Remember the rule: the firmer the leaf, the longer it must cook. Chard cooks more quickly than escarole, which cooks more quickly than collard greens, which cook more quickly than kale.

When you're home from the market, wash your sink out, stopper it, and fill it with cold water. Immerse the leaves in the water, shake them around a little to loosen any sand and grit, then leave in the water, undisturbed, for 5 minutes. Gently scoop them up from the sink without unstoppering it and shake dry over the water, thereby leaving any dirt to go down the drain. Blot dry with paper towels, or take the greens for a spin in a salad spinner. Be sure the leaves are thoroughly dry before you store them. Do not stem the leaves—doing so will encourage rot.

Using a knife or scissors, poke 8 to 10 small holes on each side of a large supermarket plastic bag or a large zip-closed bag. Place the washed and dried greens in the bag, seal the top and place it in the vegetable bin for 3 to 5 days.

Just before cooking, lay the leaves flat on a cutting board and cut the stem off at the bottom of each leaf. Discard this fibrous piece. Then carefully cut out the thick, stiff stem that runs most of the way up the center of the leaf, as well as any other thick, stiff veins. (Unless you're going to be braising or stewing the greens for a long time, these parts would be tough and unpleasant to chew.)

About the Swiss Chard and Garlic with Balsamic Vinegar
A little sweet balsamic tames the chard—and creates a healthful side dish for fish, chicken or beef. If all the greens don't fit in the pan in one bunch, add them in batches, wilting one heaping handful in the pan before adding the next.

Swiss Chard and Garlic with Balsamic Vinegar
Makes 4 servings....WW Points 1 per serving
2 tsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 pounds Swiss chard leaves, stemmed and chopped
1/4 cup no-salt vegetable broth
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a deep 12-inch, sauté pan or wok over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes; cook 20 seconds.
Add the greens, toss well, and pour in the broth. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are tender and wilted, about 7 minutes. Season with vinegar, salt and pepper before serving.
Serving size: 1 cup.

About the Chicken and Winter Squash Baked on Greens
Here's a well-rounded dish: a bed of healthful greens topped with winter squash and a baked chicken. Look for cut-up butternut squash in the produce section, then cut those pieces down to 1/2-inch cubes.

Chicken and Winter Squash Baked on Greens
Makes 4 servings....WW Points 3 per serving
Nonstick spray
1 medium yellow onion, minced
2 cups peeled and seeded butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 pound turnip or mustard greens, stemmed and roughly chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 pound whole, bone-in chicken breast (both lobes), skinned (leaving you with 12 to 14 oz. meat)
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Spray a large skillet with nonstick spray and heat over medium heat.
Add the onion and squash; cook, stirring often, until lightly softened, about 4 minutes.
Add the greens; toss well. Pour in the wine; cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the greens wilt, about 4 minutes, stirring once or twice.
Stir in the maple syrup, sage, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Raise the heat to high; cook, uncovered, stirring often, until the liquid has reduced to a glaze, about 4 minutes. Mound in the center of a pie plate or a small roasting pan.
Place the chicken—bone side down—on top of the vegetable mixture. Spray the chicken with nonstick spray; sprinkle with poultry seasoning. Bake until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 165ºF, about 45 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes at room temperature before slicing the breast in half down the breast bone and then each lobe in half the short way.
Serving size: 1 piece chicken and 1/2 cup vegetables.

About the Barbecued Spinach Enchiladas
Don't stand on tradition! These enchiladas may not win the authenticity award, but they're a fantastic way to get everyone eating their greens.

Barbecued Spinach Enchiladas
Makes 4 servings....WW Points 5 per serving
Nonstick spray
1 medium onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound large-leaf spinach, stemmed and chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
4 Mission 96% fat-free whole-wheat tortillas
1/2 cup shredded low-fat Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup barbecue sauce
1 cup no-salt vegetable broth
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano leaves
1 medium shallot, minced
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray.
Spray a deep, 12-inch sauté pan or wok with nonstick spray and heat over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes.
Add the spinach leaves; toss well. Stir in the wine, cinnamon, cumin and salt. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is tender, about 10 minutes.
Uncover, raise the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring almost constantly, until all the liquid has evaporated from the pan, about 2 minutes.
Lay the tortillas on your work surface; divide the spinach mixture between them, creating a line down the center of each tortilla. Top each with 2 tablespoons cheese. Roll closed and place seam side down in the prepared baking pan.
Whisk the barbecue sauce, broth, chili powder, oregano and shallot in a medium bowl. Pour evenly over the rolled enchiladas in the pan.
Bake until bubbling and heated through, about 25 minutes.
Serving size: 1 enchilada.

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