GROCERY PICK: FROZEN PHYLLO DOUGH & TWO RECIPES: STRUDEL AMD RHUBARB KETCHUP

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The rhubarb is a perennial vegetable that actually pairs well with savory or sweet- with strawberries or apples in pies and strudels or utilized as a a vegetable in lamb stews. It’s great with Salmon as a Rhubarb Ketchup. Recipes below.

Lowest starch content of all vegetables, low in calorie, and when sweetened  with stevia or regular table sugar, the flavors come alive with lemon or orange zest and allspice.

 

Apple Rhubarb Strudel

  • 3 stalks of rhubarb, leaves removed.
  • 1/2 cup muscovado sugar or brown sugar or 2 tablespoons  of stevia
  • 1 /2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon Watkin’s vanilla extract (or other brand)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 4 apples cored peeled and chopped
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter

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Take filo out of box and thaw out for 30 minutes.  Chop and combine all the fruit with spices and sugar and and set aside. Layout 1 package of phyllo (filo) and brush melted  butter on each sheet, sprinkle with bread crumbs and a light sprinkle of sugar. Next, lay out the chopped apples and rhubarb mixture on the filo dough across the width of the dough and roll until at end of dough.

Brush with extra butter and bake until golden for 30 minutes.

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Rhubarb Ketchup

  • 3 stalks of rhubarb chopped with leaves removed.
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until cooked down into a sauce consistency. Serve with salmon or other baked fish.

Since we are going to be on the subject of granolas: I like to have a basic low fat granola type recipe on hand like a Muesli with dried fruit and seeds.  Drying fruit like pears in an oven for 2-3 hours at 250 degrees allows pears to increase natural sugars and is wonderful added to a oat blend muesli. Take 3 pears peel and cut, slice into thin slices and place on a rack over a cookie sheet and  bake at 250 degrees for 2-3 hours. Cool at room temperature  overnight and store in a plastic container for 2-3 days and add them to the cereal when ready. Here is the recipe:

  • 3 cups of quick cook or rolled oats
  • 3 teaspoons of sunflower seeds or pepitas
  • 3 teaspoons of chopped walnuts
  • 3 teaspoons of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon  ground flax seed
  • 2 tablespoons of dried  currants,  raisins or cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon of dried lemon peel
  • one sliced dried pear

Mix together in an airtight container. Serves 2.

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As the cereal aisle is getting bigger, the boxes are getting smaller. There are so many product choices for breakfast cereal so I thought I would choose the ones which are a great choice for your family. These picks are low in sodium and sugars but long on taste.

So get your milk ready or soy and lets explore quickly a few labels which I think are worth noting. First, remember where sugar is on the label.  We like  fourth position. The dietary sugars are the added sugar to the product. Total carbohydrate means the starch in the product like the grain itself.

Quaker Oats seems to get an applause for low sugars and low sodium . In the squares category, looking at your serving size is the first step. In thiscase, 1 cup which is a good serving. is 210 calories per cup , 5 gms of fiber  with 9 gms of sugar.  Sugar is the 4th ingredient (we like that)  with 190 mg of sodium. A good nutritional deal!

Mix together in an airtight container.

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I was really impressed with another oldie but goodie- LIFE cereal.  At 120 calories per 1 cup, 160 mg of sodium,  6 gms of sugar . The fiber was low at 2 grams of fiber but adding some bran or oatmeal to the cereal will boost fiber. Keeping sugar low at our first meal is always a healthier approach.

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Next on the list is Cheerios. We will start with the un-sweet version. Coming in at 190 Kcals with milk and 1 gram of sugar you cannot beat this cereal for healthy eating . Realize you can add fruit and some raisins and still be a great choice for diabetic at 2/3 cup serving. A great pantry staple, this cereal will not raise blood sugars as mush with higher fiber and less sugar. Heart Healthy as they say on the box and very low fat.

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Now for granolas for they come in all shapes and sizes. We will start with a favorite of mine which is Post Great Grains.

A granola with less fat, I like the whole line of Post’s great grains. 250 kcals for 1 cup with 8 gms of sugar per cup . There is a higher fat content inGranola.  Granola  has nutsin the mix which are good monounsaturated fats and contribute to the calories. In Great Grains we have 6 gms of fat or aproximately 50 kcals from fat per serving. This is a good deal.

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Nature Valley Pumpkin and Flax granola has a low sodium content of 45 mg per serving,  lower fat content than most granolas, and 10 grams of sugar per 3/4cup serving. Once again, calories will be higher with granola at 240 kcals per 3/4 cup , 300 calories with milk.

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I was impressed with the taste and content of Honey Bunches of Oats product. At 170 kcals with milk with 20 kcals from fat, 135 mgs of sodium and 6 gms of sugar per serving. I would nominate this cereal as a very good product hitting all bases.

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FlakesRaisin Bran

This is a carbohydrate and sugar landmine and we need to determine the pick for healthy eating  as well as providing enough  for that last spoonful of cereal in the bowl!  So I went with the health food store products now readily available in all supermarkets. Uncle Sam  cup serving at 190 calories , sodium is low at 120 mg, and dietary sugars  8 gms with 6 grams of protein. This is  a tasty cereal with the sugar coming from the raisins and a subtle sweetness from the flakes. A low sugar, sodium and  low fat product.

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Lastly, this would not be a fair review without including the BIG Three in Raisin Brans. We must restrict the serving size to keep sugar intake lower- sorry!   So Kellogg’s Raisin Bran with an abundance of raisins (they  are not kidding -there  are two scoops per serving!)  as  a 6 oz  serving  ( one box serving) adds up to 140 calories, 150 mg of sodium and 13 gms of sugar. So I hope you will try these cereals and love to hear your thoughts!

Next Blog: ICE CREAM

Feeling overwhelmed in the sauces aisle?  In every home there is a jar of sauce or can tomatoes. Do you know what’s in that sauce? Well you need a little lesson in label reading. This is a subject worth talking about for we have the sodium and sugar content to deal with. An old world sauce consisted of tomatoes, basil and olive oil.

If you have hypertension than you must truly watch the sodium levels. A low sodium  diet of 2000 milligrams mg of salt  or (2 gram sodium diet) gets used up pretty quickly on  1/2 cup of tomato sauce yielding 500 gms of sodium, or more.   The next step involves is to see how much sugar is in the sauce. This is called  ” the bliss factor” a term used by a biochemist  Dr. Michael Moss in his  interesting NY Times article “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food“.  He speaks of the level of sugar in all our foods, including chips and tomato sauce.

The tallies are in and here are our top 3 picks for crushed tomatoes! Pomi,  Muir Glen and Cento diced or crushed tomatoes.

Pomi has a great fresh taste, is the box on the shelf that you wonder about. It is aseptic packaged and needs minimal heating to have a truly great tasting sauce  over pasta with very low sodium content (20 mg)   per 1/2 cup with no added sugar.  Muir Glen is also  wonderful fresh tasting and low sodium (20 mg) per serving. Cento has great  tomato flavor especially with San Marzano tomatoes at 20 mg of sodium per serving as well.  There isn’t any added dietary sugar in these canned tomatoes and make excellent healthy sauces for diabetic and low sodium diets.

2014-02-25_14-30-24_60The winner in the prepared  jar tomato sauce category for flavor and a moderate amount of sodium, (due to the sausage)  is Classico Italian Sausage and Peppers. Rich, and flavorful, holds up to hefty dishes like  ravioli or baked ziti with 5  grams of sugar per serving. They got this product right. For non meat eaters, Classico Tomato Basil  is a great basic coming in at 400 mg of sodium per serving with 5 gms of sugar. Remember! 1 teaspoon of sugar =4 grams of sugar. These sauces are coming in at a lower amount of sugar than other brands.

Baked Baby Eggplant

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Now lets start cooking.

Want an easy hors d’oeuvre or snack? Try these little eggplant with some tomato sauce. When baked they develop a great crunchy cheese gratin that contrasts to the roasted eggplant inside.

Baked Baby Eggplant

  • 10 baby eggplant halved
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2  cup parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/4 cup shredded basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup of tomato  sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place halved baby eggplant on a parchment covered baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and spoon tomato sauce over each eggplant. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and oregano and return to oven for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Chop fresh basil and cover each eggplant with a few shredded basil leaves.

EASY CHICKEN PARMESAN WITH SAUCE

I made a chicken parmesan the other night which will be in my upcoming book A Connecticut Kitchen,  with all the pantry ingredients needed.  This is a no – cook no fuss tomato sauce.  A Hint: I like adding a bit of lemon zest and oregano to my breadcrumbs for a greater depth of flavor to my chicken breasts.

NO FUSS TOMATO SAUCE

  • 1 cup of canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves chopped
  • 4 chopped green olives with pimento
  • 1 teaspoon of capers
  • pinch of  crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder or one clove of garlic mashed
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Saute the garlic in the olive oil until slightly golden, Add all the rest of the ingredients together and slightly heat on the stove for one minute at low heat. Take off the heat and  serve with pasta, chicken or anything that loves a good tomato sauce.

Chicken Parmesan

  • 2 whole chicken breasts halved  and pounded thin
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 5-6 basil leaves
  • lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon of oregano

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Dredge chicken in breadcrumbs  with salt and pepper, a pinch of lemon zest and oregano and place in a shallow baking dish  coated with a little olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and remove from oven. Spoon tomato sauce over the breasts and scatter  parmesan cheese over the top. Cover with fresh mozzarella and bake for an additional 15 minutes. or until  the cheese is melted. Chop fresh basil and scatter over the baked chicken breasts.

STAY TUNE FOR  “TOP CEREAL PICKS AND HOW TO READ A LABEL” IN THE  NEXT BLOG

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