Thursday, March 6, 2014

Balance Your Life's Chopped Greek Salad, Chicken Florentine Pasta, and Turkey Black Bean Chili

Earlier this week I led my second Balance Your Life cooking class at Tufts. This cooking class was the final session of a workshop series geared towards students living with kitchens but without meal plans. Therefore the focus this time was on how to make one pot meals and tips for putting together quick bites. I took popular easy to make recipes and altered them here and there to make them healthier. For example, using ground turkey instead of ground beef reduces the amount of saturated fat in the chili, as does using low fat yogurt instead of sour cream for a topping. Small switches like these can help you easily transition to a healthier lifestyle. 

In addition to learning about healthy cooking, the participants also got a visit from an Eco-Rep. The Eco-Rep taught us about choosing sustainable foods, how vegetarianism can positively impact the environment, and how to compost on campus. Everyone learned a lot about how to choose foods based on health, ethics, and sustainability. 

Enjoy the recipes! 

Chopped Greek Salad (serves 6-10)
·         3 cucumbers
·         2 boxes plum tomatoes
·         1 red onion
·         1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives
·         ½ cup feta cheese
·         2 tbs olive oil
1.      Slice cucumber into small quarters, plum tomatoes into half, and onion into small pieces.
2.      Combine in a bowl with olives and olive oil. Top with feta cheese, salt, and black pepper to taste. 

✓ vegetables
✓ monounsaturated fat
✓ calcium

Chicken Florentine Pasta (serves 10-12)
·         2lb chicken breast, cut into small chunks
·         1 bag baby spinach
·         2/3 cup parmesan cheese
·         1 cup low fat plain yogurt
·         Salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian medley spices
·         1 lb (1 box) whole grain penne
·         6 tbs olive oil
·         1 can low sodium chicken broth

1.      Preheat oven to 375F.
2.      Cook pasta in a large pot following package instructions.
3.      In a pan, sear chicken in olive oil. Season with Italian spices, a dash of salt, and black pepper. Mix in spinach. Stir lightly and remove from heat.
4.      Oil a 9”x13” baking tray, then line it with the drained pasta. Mix in the yogurt, half the parmesan, and the chicken broth.
5.      Fold in the chicken and spinach. Top with a layer of parmesan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly. 

✓ lean protein
✓ vegetables
✓ calcium
✓ whole grains

Turkey Black Bean Chili (serves 10-12)
·         1lb ground turkey
·         1 onion
·         3 large green bell peppers
·         3 large yellow bell peppers
·         1 can black beans
·         1 can sweet corn
·         1 32oz can diced tomatoes
·         3 tbs chili powder
·         1 tbs ground cumin
·         1 tbs garlic powder
·         1 tsp salt
·         shredded low fat cheddar cheese
·         2-3 limes
·         16oz low fat Greek yogurt

1.      Wash and chop onions and bell peppers.
2.      In a colander, drain and rinse beans and corn.
3.      In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and peppers and brown.
4.      Once browned, add the turkey with spices and cook until browned.
5.      Add beans, tomatoes, corn, a cup of water, and seasonings to the pot.
6.      Lower heat to medium and cook until all the flavors are blended (15min – 2hr).
7.      Add salt to taste. Serve with lime, shredded cheese, and yogurt in place of sour cream. 

✓ lean protein
✓ vegetables
✓ calcium
✓ fiber
✓ low sodium

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