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Cooking healthy, quickly

Holly Froning is all about sneaking nutrition into everyday favorites.

“For the longest time, my kids didn’t realize that Kraft Macaroni and Cheese didn’t come with lima beans,” notes Froning, a University of Illinois Extension educator.

Three years ago, this mom/nutritionist began piling her wisdom on the residents of Kankakee County at the Extension center in Bourbonnais. Her hands-on seminars have included healthy tailgating, low-fat cooking for two and healthy barbecue.

Froning’s version of 30-minute meals has been a crowd-pleaser. These recipes are from a session that was part of Tasty Tuesdays for Seniors.

In the summer, Froning uses a host of fruits and vegetables from the Extension garden in her recipes.

Mexican Corn


2 cups fresh or canned whole-kernel corn, drained

2 cups diced onion

¼ cup chopped green bell pepper

¼ cup chopped sweet red bell pepper

2 tablespoons margarine, melted

¼ teaspoon dried, ground oregano

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

1 cup peeled, diced tomato

Combine first seven ingredients in large, nonstick skillet. Cook and cover over medium heat for seven minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomato. Cook uncovered for two minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Nutrition facts (per serving): calories, 100; fat, 4g; calories from fat, 35; sodium, 200mg; total carb, 17g

Tropical Chicken Fried Rice


2 cups dry brown rice

1 small bag of frozen mixed vegetables

½ cup chicken broth, low sodium

1 cup diced chicken breast

1 clove garlic, crushed Vegetable cooking spray

½ cup red, yellow or green bell pepper, seeded

8 ounces (6 cups loosely packed) fresh baby spinach

1 can (8-ounce) pineapple chunks, drained

1 tablespoon onion, minced

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

Cook rice according to package directions. Chill for 15 to 20 minutes. Cook mixed vegetables; drain water. Heat chicken broth in saucepan. Add chicken and garlic; cook until tender. Remove from saucepan and set aside.

Spray saucepan with cooking spray. Add bell peppers, mixed vegetables, baby spinach, pineapple and onion. Heat until tender. Remove from pan.

Spray skillet with cooking spray and cook beaten egg. Crumble egg. Add rice and soy sauce and mix together.

Combine rice mixture, vegetables and cooked chicken. Warm over low heat and serve.

Nutrition facts (per serving): calories, 110; fat, 1g; calories from fat, 10; sodium, 160mg; total carb, 18 g


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HEALTHY AMOUNT: Extension educator Holly Froning measures a cup of whole-wheat flour. Not big on whole-wheat flour? Ease into it by substituting half the recipe’s bleached flour for whole wheat.

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CROWD-PLEASING: Many of Holly Froning’s programs are tailored to teaching seniors how to be healthier in the kitchen. As such, her recipes are typically meant for two people.

This article published in the April, 2010 edition of PRAIRIE FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.