help for foods rich in iron

I’m having a real hard time with being anemic but I cant take iron pills, they make me sick. Could you let me know foods that are rich in iron. Thank you!!!

Hi Shelley!

I, too, am anaemic. I’ve been battling microcytic anaemia for the past 4 years, which is iron-deficiency anaemia. Some people are low in folic acid and vitamin B12…macrocytic anaemia.

I also have rheumatoid arthritis and, therefore, when I take iron pills, they cause more inflammation and more pain. So I don’t take them like I should…I try to get it from foods.

First of all, you need vitamin C to help your body absorb the iron better. Coffee, tea, and pop prevents your body from absorbing iron.

If you have a sweet tooth, like I do, I make date squares by using: fresh orange juice (not concentrate) instead of water, BLACK STRAP molasses instead of brown sugar. The dates, oatmeal, and black strap molasses all have iron. It has to be black strap molasses though. The fresh orange juice has folic acid.

Any vegetable dark in colour are good: dark green, dark red, deep orange, etc.

Asparagus is high in iron.
Fresh nuts such as walnuts and almonds.
Vitamin B12 can be found in red meats and certain veggies like broccoli.
Eggs have iron.

If you like beef liver, it’s the best! I don’t care to eat organ meats but a couple years ago, I had no choice. It was either eat it or get a blood transfusion or worry about kidney shutdown. So I ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 3 days! At every bite, I would say…blood transfusion…kidney shutdown…LOL…this enabled me to it.

Welsh’s white grape juice also is good for you. It helps your body absorb the iron.


Iron Rich Foods for Iron Deficiency Anemia
Written by: Gloria Tsang, RD
last updated: November 2004

For iron deficiency anemia in women, a diet with iron rich foods along with iron supplements is often recommended. Absorption of iron from food is influenced by multiple factors. One important factor being the form of the iron. Heme Iron, found in animal sources, is highly available for absorption. Non-heme iron on the other hand, found in vegetable sources, is less available. Iron rich foods of an iron rich diet are listed below:

IRON RICH FOODS CONTAINING HEME IRON:

Excellent sources are: clams, pork liver, oysters, chicken liver, mussels, and beef liver.

Good sources are: Beef, shrimp, sardines, and turkey

IRON RICH FOODS CONTAINING NON-HEME IRON:

Excellent sources are: enriched breakfast cereals, Cooked beans and lentils, pumpkin seeds, and blackstrap molasses.

Good sources are: canned beans, baked potato with skin, enriched pasta, canned asparagu.

Warning: Pregnant women should not eat liver because of its very high Vitamin A content. Large amounts of Vitamin A can be harmful to the baby.

The absorption of Non-heme iron can be improved when a source of heme iron is consumed in the same meal. In addition, the iron absorption-enhancing foods can also increase the absorption of non-heme iron. While some food items can enhance iron absorption, some can inhibit or interfere iron absorption. Avoid eating them with the iron-rich foods to maximize iron absorption.

IRON ABSORPTION ENHANCERS

Meat/fish/poultry
Fruits: Orange, Orange Juice, cantaloupe, strawberries, grapefruit etc
Vegetables: Broccoli, brussels sprouts, tomato, tomato juice, potato, green & red peppers
White wine

IRON ABSORPTION INHIBITORS

Red Wine, Coffee & Tea
Vegetables: Spinach, chard, beet greens, rhubarb and sweet potato
Whole grains and bran
Soy products


Hope this helps. Remember you need vitamin C (orange juice) to help your body absorb the iron. Good luck!

Let me know if you need anything else.

Aline

Got this from a health article. My doctor prescribed me Ferrous Gluconate and, aside from the inflammation, I have no bad side effect. I make sure I take it with food and orange/grape juice. I also take my iron pill before bedtime. If I take it in the morning…WOW!!.. I suffer all day with inflammation and more pain. Got enough pain with the arthritis, don’t need additional. LOL I’m supposed to take 3 a day, but I take it once a day maybe 2-3 times a week…sometimes 1-2 a week. LOL


Many people may experience various gastrointestinal side effects for taking iron supplements such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, dark colored stools, and stomach distress. Some pharmacists suggested that Ferrous Gluconate may cause fewer symptoms and is milder on stomach. To minimize side effects, start with half the recommended dose, gradually increasing to the full dose. You may also try taking iron supplements with a full stomach instead of an empty stomach.

It is suggested to take iron supplements with Vitamin C-rich foods such as fruits or fruit juice to maximize absorption.

may I post a few iron-rich recipes???

Spinach Caesar With Pine Nuts
Serving(s)
6-8

Any iron in raw spinach is more easily absorbed when combined with vitamin C - found here in fresh lemon juice, which also helps the absorption of iron in pine nuts.

Ingredients

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3 tbsp (45 mL) light mayonnaise

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2 tbsp (30 mL) fresh lemon juice

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2 tsp (10 mL) each Dijon mustard and anchovy paste

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2 cloves garlic, minced

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1/2 tsp (2 mL) each pepper, salt and Worcestershire sauce

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3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil

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1/3 cup (75 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

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8 cups (2 L) baby spinach

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4 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled (optional)

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1/2 cup (125 mL) toasted pine nuts

Preparation
Whisk together mayonnaise, with lemon juice, mustard, anchovy paste, garlic, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Gradually whisk in oil. Stir in cheese.

Taste for seasoning. In a large bowl, toss spinach with half the bacon and half the pine nuts.

Toss with enough dressing to coat spinach (any extra can be kept for several days, covered and refrigerated).

Sprinkle with remaining bacon and pine nuts.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

More Information
Tip: To reduce saturated fat, replace bacon with 1/4 cup (50 mL) finely chopped sundried tomatoes.

Nutritional information
Per serving: 155 cal,14 g fat, 5 g carb, 9 g protein, 3 g fibre, 177 mg sodium. Excellent source vit A and folate. Good source iron.

Fast & Easy: 30 minutes or less (prep and cooking time).

Fibre source
Calories : 155


Red Lentil Curry on Rice

Serving(s)
3-4

Lentils, raisins and nuts are good sources of iron in this easy vegetarian main dish. If you have basmati rice on hand, it would be a perfect choice here. Accompany with steamed broccoli (a good source of vitamin C) and crisp papadums if you have them.

Ingredients

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2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil

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1 onion, chopped

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1 clove garlic, minced

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2 tsp (10 mL) minced fresh ginger

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2 tsp (10 mL) curry paste or powder

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1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin

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1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

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Pinch cayenne

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2/3 cup (150 mL) red lentils

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3 cups (750 mL) water

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2 tbsp (30 mL) tomato paste

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1 large potato, peeled and cubed

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Hot cooked rice

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1/2 lb (250 g) extra-firm tofu, well drained and cut into 1/2-in (1 cm) cubes

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1/3 cup (75 mL) each raisins and slivered almonds

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1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped fresh coriander or parsley

Preparation
Heat oil in a large saucepan or deep skillet set over medium heat; cook onion, garlic and ginger for 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in curry powder, cumin, salt and cayenne; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Pick over lentils, rinse in a sieve and drain. Add to pan with water and tomato paste; bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and gently boil, uncovered, until lentils fall apart, about 10 minutes.

Add potato; cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until tender. Stir in tofu; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in raisins and almonds. Taste for salt and add more if needed. Serve over rice and sprinkle with coriander.

Make-ahead: Can be made at least 8 hrs. ahead.

Makes 3 to 4 servings.

Nutritional information
Per serving (without rice): 406 cal, 18 g fat, 46 g carb, 23 g protein, 7 g fibre, 250 mg sodium. Excellent source iron, folate, calcium.

Meatless

Fast & Easy: 30 minutes or less (prep and cooking time).

High-fibre
Calories : 406


Infant Cereal Cookies

¼ cup (60 mL) blackstrap molasses
¼ cup (60 mL) margarine
1 egg
1 tsp. (5 mL) vanilla

¾ cup (180 mL) all-purpose flour
½ tsp. (2 mL) baking powder
2 cups (500 mL) infant cereal, dry
3 Tbsp. (45 mL) whole milk

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease cookie sheet.
  2. Lightly cream margarine and molasses together. Mix in egg and vanilla.
  3. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and cereal together, and blend into margarine mixture. Mix in whole milk. Combine thoroughly.
  4. Drop onto greased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until lightly brown. Cool on wire rack.

Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies.
Iron Content: 2½ mg. per cookie


Raisins in the Sun

½ cup (125 mL) peanut butter
1 Tbsp. (15 mL) blackstrap molasses
1 Tbsp. (15 mL) orange juice ½ cup (125 mL) cream cheese
¼ cup (60 mL) raisins

  1. Using a fork, mash together the peanut butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the molasses, raisins, and orange juice. Mix well.
  3. Spread on bread or toast.

Iron Content: 9 mg. (whole recipe)


Liver and Vegetables

2 oz. (60 grams ) liver, cut into small pieces (eg. pork, chicken, beef, veal)
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) milk (eg. breast, whole, or formula)
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) vegetables (eg. broccoli, peas or beans)

  1. In a small, tightly-covered pot, poach the liver in milk until tender (about 6 minutes).
  2. Remove and pureé with a little more milk.
  3. Boil or steam the vegetables.
  4. Pureé the vegetables with a little of the water used to boil or steam them.
  5. Serve the vegetables with the liver paste, or mix the liver paste together with the vegetables.

Iron Content: 10 mg. (whole recipe)


Granola

2 cups (500 mL) rolled oats
½ cup (125 mL) wheat germ
½ cup (125 mL) blackstrap molasses
1 tsp.(5 mL) cinnamon
¼ tsp. (1 mL) nutmeg
1 tsp. (5 mL) vanilla ½ cup (125 mL) shredded coconut
½ cup (125 mL) chopped nuts
¼ cup (60 mL) vegetable oil
¼ cup (60 mL) sesame seeds
¼ cup (60 mL) sunflower seeds
½ cup (125 mL) dried fruit

  1. Mix together all of the ingredients, except the dried fruit, in a mixing bowl.
  2. Mix well until the oil and molasses coat the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Pour mixture into a large skillet and place over medium heat.
  4. Stir mixture constantly for about 5 minutes, or until oats turn golden brown.
  5. Remove skillet from heat, and stir in dried fruit.
  6. Cool the granola and store it in a can or jar with a tight fitting lid in the refrigerator.
  7. Serve with or without milk, or serve it topped with yogurt.

Iron Content: 46 mg. (whole recipe)


Liver Meatloaf

1 lb. (500 grams) lean ground beef
1 egg
3 Tbsp. (45 mL) wheat germ
3 Tbsp. prepared mustard 3 oz. (100 grams) liver
1 small potato, raw
½ medium onion, chopped
1 tsp. (5 mL) salt Pinch pepper
1 tsp. (5 mL) worcestershire sauce

  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour.
  3. Mold into loaf pan.
  4. Serve with tomato sauce if desired.

Iron Content: 24 mg. (whole recipe)

Anemia

Consuming iron -rich meals and snacks can help stave off the weakness and pallor of iron deficiency anemia, the most common form of anemia. Though there is controversy over taking iron supplements, foods high in iron, including iron-fortified cereals, provide essential amounts of this vital mineral, which is a critical component of hemoglobin (the blood’s oxygen-carrying pigment).

Two different types of iron?heme and non-heme?are found in food. The body absorbs heme iron at three times the rate of non-heme iron. Highly bioavailable, readily absorbed heme iron is found exclusively in meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish, while less bioavailable non-heme iron is significantly present in such plant foods as beans, grains, nuts, and some fruits and vegetables.

Experts recommend eating food that enhances iron absorption along with iron-rich food, particularly when consuming non-heme iron. Nutrients that improve non-heme iron absorption include vitamin C , an organic acid called citric acid, and the amino acid cysteine. Citrus fruits are good sources of citric acid and cysteine is plentiful in amaranth, cottage cheese, fish, poultry, shellfish, and soy products. Collectively known as the MFP factor, certain animal proteins found in meat, fish, and poultry also enhance absorption of non-heme iron. Cooking foods in iron skillets or steel cookware may improve iron content of foods. Interestingly, because dried peaches and raisins are prepared in iron pans, these fruits contain more iron than their fresh fruit. Experts recommend drinking coffee and tea well before a meal (at least one hour before), as the tannins and other iron-binding substances in these beverages interfere with the absorption of iron.

Consuming a diet high in vitamin B12 is beneficial for pernicious anemia, and eating a folate -rich diet helps to manage folate deficiency anemia, or megaloblastic anemia. Similar to its enhancing effect on iron absorption, vitamin C also improves folate absorption. In rare cases, inadequate vitamin E intake may lead to hemolytic anemia. Note that beta-carotene, protein, and vitamin B6 are also essential blood-nourishing nutrients.

Mega-Recipes
We believe that it’s possible to manage and/or improve certain conditions through what you eat. When we create “Mega-Recipes” for an ailment, we strive to include the maximum number of the nutrients that are shown to have benefit for that ailment. We also expect the Mega-Recipe to contain at least 25% of recommended intakes for those nutrients. See the list of recipes that have met our criteria for this ailment.

What You Should Eat & Why

beta-carotene
This healing carotenoid is converted in our bodies to vitamin A, which may help to mobilize stored iron from the liver.
Leading Food Sources of beta-carotene: Carrots, Spinach, Sweet potatoes, Squash, winter, Apricots, Cantaloupe

folic acid
A diet rich in folate can help to stave off folate deficiency anemia. Note that cooking can destroy folate in food, rendering it unavailable to the body.
Leading Food Sources of folic acid: Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Avocados, Spinach, Brussels sprouts, Beans, dried, Chick-peas, Soybeans, Lentils, Oranges, Peas, fresh, Turkey, Cabbage, Savoy, Bok choy

vitamin B12
By assisting folate, vitamin B12 helps to manufacture red blood cells.
Leading Food Sources of vitamin B12: Beef, Trout, Crab, Oysters, Clams, Tuna, Yogurt, Lamb

vitamin B6
This B-vitamin is required for proper formation of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of our red blood cells.
Leading Food Sources of vitamin B6: Sweet potatoes, Avocados, Bananas, Mangoes, Rice, brown, Chicken, Sunflower seeds, Tuna, Chick-peas, Salmon, Pork, fresh, Potatoes, Turkey, Bok choy, Barley

vitamin C
By enhancing the absorption of iron in the digestive tract and converting folate to its active form, vitamin C can help to reverse anemia.
Leading Food Sources of vitamin C: Cabbage, red, Strawberries, Tangerines & other mandarins, Peppers, bell, red, Oranges, Kiwi fruit, Potatoes

vitamin E
The exact of role of vitamin E in red blood cells is unclear. In rare instances, vitamin E deficiency may lead to hemolytic anemia, where red blood cells rupture.
Leading Food Sources of vitamin E: Broccoli, Sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, Peanuts, Avocados, Almonds, Mangoes

Baked Haddock with Swiss Chard & Tomatoes

To bake fish is often to risk drying it out. In this recipe, however, the problem is solved by layering the fish between a bed of Swiss chard and an aromatic topping of tomatoes and herbs. Serve the fish with creamy mashed potatoes.

* 1 pound Swiss chard
* 1/4 cup chicken broth, canned or homemade
* 1-1/4 pounds haddock fillets, cut into 2-inch chunks
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 2 tomatoes, seeded, cubed, and drained
* 1 large onion, cut into narrow wedges
* 1/2 cup minced parsley
* 2 tablespoons sliced garlic
* 1 teaspoon tarragon
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.

  2. Separate stems from Swiss chard leaves. Slice stems crosswise and set aside. Shred leaves and place in shallow 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle broth on top.

  3. Place fish on top of chard and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper.

  4. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat Add chard stems, tomatoes, onion, parsley, garlic, tarragon, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until onion is crisp-tender, about four minutes.

  5. Spoon sauteed vegetables over fish, cover dish and bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until fish just flakes when tested with a fork.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 222 calories, 5g total fat, 0.7g saturated fat, 2.7g monounsaturated fat, 0.7g polyunsaturated fat, 2.1g dietary fiber, 31g protein, 15g carbohydrate, 81mg cholesterol, 685mg sodium.
Good source of: beta-carotene, iron, lutein & zeaxanthin, magnesium, potassium, selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin C.

Servings
4

Prep Time
35 minutes


Broiled Scallop & Pepper Salad with Mustard Dressing

The rich flavors and silky textures in this salad are totally sensuous. Sweet sea scallops are matched with slices of avocado and roasted red peppers, all topped with a creamy mustard dressing. Remove the small, tough white tendon from the side of the scallops before cooking.

* 2 large red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
* 2-1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 1-1/4 pounds sea scallops, halved crosswise
* 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1/2 teaspoon paprika
* 8 cups (loosely packed) stemmed spinach
* 1 small avocado, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into half-moon slices
* 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
* 2 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt
* 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  1. Preheat broiler. Place peppers in a jelly-roll pan or large baking pan and toss with 1 teaspoon of oil, 1/8 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat, stirring once, six to eight minutes, or until tender. Transfer peppers to a plate. Keep broiler on.

  2. Place scallops on pan, drizzle with remaining 1-1/2 teaspoons oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, the garlic, and paprika. Toss well, then spread out into a single layer. Broil four to five inches from heat for three to four minutes, or until scallops are just opaque in center.

  3. Divide spinach among four dinner plates. Reserving pan juices, place broiled scallops on top of spinach. Add broiled peppers and avocado to salad.

  4. In a small bowl, combine scallop cooking juices with sour cream, yogurt, mustard, and remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Drizzle dressing over salad and serve.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 287 calories, 12g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 6.1g monounsaturated fat, 1.7g polyunsaturated fat, 6.3g dietary fiber, 30g protein, 18g carbohydrate, 52mg cholesterol, 571mg sodium.
Good source of: beta-carotene, folate, fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K.


Broken Vermicelli & Meatballs

One of the best ways to make a meatball moist and juicy without using ground meat that is high in fat, is to cut the amount of meat used and replace it, as here, with spinach, bread crumbs and Parmesan. This mixture is seasoned with basil and black pepper, and then baked to produce an extraordinarily flavorful and tender meatball.

* 1/2 pound lean beef top round, cut into chunks
* Half a 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
* 2 egg whites
* 1/3 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
* 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
* 1-1/2 teaspoons basil
* 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
* 2 teaspoons olive oil
* 2 large red bell peppers, cut lengthwise into slivers and halved
* 1 large green bell pepper, cut lengthwise into slivers and halved
* 4 garlic cloves, minced
* 1/4 cup chicken broth, canned or homemade
* 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes
* 8 ounces vermicelli, broken in half
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a jelly-roll pan with nonstick cooking spray.

  2. In a food processor, finely grind beef. Add spinach, egg whites, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, 3/4 teaspoon of basil, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, and pulse until blended. Shape into 20 meatballs, using about 1 tablespoon of mixture for each.

  3. Place meatballs on prepared jelly-roll pan and bake, turning once, 12 to 15 minutes, or until no longer pink in center.

  4. Meanwhile, in Dutch oven or flameproof casserole, heat oil over high heat. Add red and green bell peppers and garlic, toss to coat well with oil, and saute for one minute.

  5. Add broth, remaining 3/4 teaspoon basil and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and saute eight to 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

  6. Reserving liquid, drain tomatoes. Stir drained tomatoes into casserole, breaking them up with a spoon. Bring to a boil. Add meatballs, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes to blend flavors. If sauce gets too dry, use some of reserved tomato liquid.

  7. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain in a colander and transfer to a serving bowl. Pour meatballs and sauce over pasta and serve hot.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 464 calories, 9g total fat, 2.6g saturated fat, 3.8g monounsaturated fat, 1.2g polyunsaturated fat, 7.4g dietary fiber, 29g protein, 69g carbohydrate, 35mg cholesterol, 582mg sodium.
Good source of: beta-carotene, fiber, folate, iron, lycopene, magnesium, manganese, niacin, potassium, riboflavin, selenium, thiamin vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin C.


Fettuccine with Mussels & Spinach

The small black tuft that protrudes between the shell halves of a mussel is called the beard that needs to be removed before the mussels are cooked. As you scrub the shellfish, pull the beards out with your fingers, then rinse the mussels well.

* 8 ounces fettuccine
* 1/2 cup dry white wine
* 1/2 teaspoon thyme
* 2 dozen mussels, scrubbed and debearded
* 1 tablespoon olive oil, preferably extra-virgin
* 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
* 12 cups (loosely packed) stemmed spinach
* 1/2 teaspoon pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain in a colander.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine wine and thyme. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the mussels, reduce heat to medium-high, cover and cook, tossing and stirring frequently, until mussels have opened, four to six minutes. Remove pan from heat. (Discard any mussels that do not open.)

  3. After draining pasta, add oil and garlic to pasta cooking pot. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until garlic is golden, one to two minutes. Add spinach, pepper and salt, and cook, stirring, until spinach is just wilted, three to four minutes.

  4. Add drained pasta to spinach mixture and toss just until heated through. Remove from heat.

  5. Reserving four mussels in their shells for garnish, shell mussels and add to pasta.

  6. Line a small fine-mesh sieve with a piece of cheesecloth and set over a small bowl or measuring cup. Pour mussel cooking juices through strainer; then add strained juices to pasta and toss to mix well.

  7. To serve, divide pasta mixture among four pasta bowls and top with a mussel in the shell.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 385 calories, 7.1g total fat, 1.1g saturated fat, 3.3g monounsaturated fat, 1.5g polyunsaturated fat, 5.8g dietary fiber, 13g protein, 53g carbohydrate, 27mg cholesterol, 550mg sodium.
Good source of: beta-carotene, folate, iron, lutein & zeaxanthin, magnesium, manganese, potassium, quercetin, selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin C.

Linguine with Red Clam Sauce

A favorite Italian wedding of ingredients, this linguine with red clam sauce calls for fresh littleneck clams in their shells as well as for making your own sauce. More exciting to look at than a standard chopped-clam sauce, you could serve this either as an entree, or in smaller portions as a first course followed by grilled fish and a summer salad. For dessert, stay in the warm-weather mode by serving fresh blueberries with lemon sorbet.

* 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 2 large red bell peppers, diced
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 4 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 teaspoon oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
* 1/4 cup dry white wine or canned chicken broth
* 1 can (16 ounces) crushed tomatoes in puree
* 1 can (8 ounces) no-salt-added tomato sauce
* 8 ounces linguine
* 2 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
  1. In Dutch oven or flameproof casserole, heat oil over medium-high heat. Stir in bell peppers, onion, garlic, oregano, black pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes, and saute until vegetables are tender, 4 to 6 minutes.

  2. Stir in wine and bring to a simmer. Stir in crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain in a colander and transfer to large serving bowl.

  4. Add clams to sauce, cover and cook, stirring frequently, until clams open, 10 to 12 minutes. (Discard any clams that do not open.) Pour sauce and clams over pasta.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 406 calories, 6.7g total fat, 0.8g saturated fat, 3.7g monounsaturated fat, 1g polyunsaturated fat, 6.6g dietary fiber, 22g protein, 63g carbohydrate, 28mg cholesterol, 384mg sodium.
Good source of: beta-carotene, fiber, iron potassium, selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin C.


Manhattan Clam Chowder

The key to making a successful clam chowder using fresh clams is not to overcook them. Add the littlenecks to the soup base and cook them as directed, then serve immediately in wide shallow bowls, preferably with a crusty loaf of bread for soaking up the delicious broth.

* 1 cup canned chicken broth diluted with 1 cup water, or 2 cups homemade chicken broth
* 2-1/2 cups diced carrots
* 1/2 pound peeled all-purpose potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
* 1 medium onion, diced
* 1 medium celery stalk with leaves, diced
* 2 garlic cloves, crushed through a press
* 2 bay leaves
* 3/4 teaspoon thyme
* 1/2 teaspoon pepper
* 1/8 teaspoon celery seed
* 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) no-salt-added stewed tomatoes
* 2 dozen littleneck clams, well scrubbed
* 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, preferably flat-leaf
  1. In Dutch oven or flameproof casserole, combine broth, carrots, potatoes, onion, celery, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, pepper, and celery seed. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes.

  2. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes to blend flavors.

  3. Add clams, cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until clams open, 6 to 8 minutes. Discard bay leaves and any clams that do not open. Stir in parsley and serve.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 225 calories, 1.8g total fat, 0.2g saturated fat, 0.1g monounsaturated fat, 0.5g polyunsaturated fat, 8.8g dietary fiber, 17g protein, 38g carbohydrate, 31mg cholesterol, 372mg sodium.
Good source of: beta-carotene, fiber, iron, lycopene, potassium, vitamin B12, vitamin C


Penne Salad with Steak & Sautéed Spinach

This salad demonstrates that certain Asian cuisines, primarily Chinese, do not have to inevitably appear as the focal point of a meal; but that it can be served in smaller amounts, almost as a superb garnish.

* 1 lemon
* 3/4 pound well-trimmed lean beef sirloin steak
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
* 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
* 8 ounces rice penne pasta
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 8 ounces stemmed spinach
* 1 cup sliced scallions (about 16 medium)
* 2 cups cherry tomatoes
* 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Grate lemon to yield 2 teaspoons zest. Squeeze lemon to yield 2 tablespoons juice.

  2. Preheat broiler. Rub steak on both sides with lemon zest, garlic, 1 tablespoon of fresh oregano (or 1/4 teaspoon of dried) and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Let stand while you cook pasta.

  3. In large pot of boiling water, cook penne according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold running water to prevent sticking. Transfer to salad bowl.

  4. Broil steak about 4 inches from heat 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to plate and let cool to warm.

  5. In large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add spinach, in batches, stirring until spinach is just wilted. Transfer spinach to salad bowl with pasta.

  6. Add scallions and cherry tomatoes to skillet and sauté, shaking skillet often, until cherry tomatoes just begin to split, about 3 minutes. Pour mixture into salad bowl.

  7. Pour any beef juices that have collected on plate into salad bowl. Add remaining 1 tablespoon fresh oregano (or 1/4 teaspoon dried), 1/2 teaspoon pepper, balsamic vinegar and salt, and toss to mix.

  8. Divide pasta salad among 4 dinner plates. Carve steak into thin slices, arrange on top of salad and serve.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 441 calories, 13g total fat, 2.9g saturated fat, 7.1g monounsaturated fat, 1g polyunsaturated fat, 4.1g dietary fiber, 26g protein, 56g carbohydrate, 57mg cholesterol, 402mg sodium.
Good source of: beta-carotene, folate, iron, potassium, vitamin B12, vitamin C, zinc


Roasted Salmon with Lentils & Lemon-Cilantro Dressing

Perfect for company, this truly impressive main-course salad has a variety of colors, textures, and tastes. Make the lentils and greens combination and the dressing ahead of time, then roast the salmon just before serving it warm.

* 2 cups chicken broth, canned or homemade
* 1 cup lentils, rinsed and picked over
* 1 cup sliced carrots
* 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 pound skinned salmon fillet, cut into four pieces
* 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup (packed) cilantro sprigs
* 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 garlic clove, peeled
* 1 bunch of watercress, tough stems removed
* 2 cups (loosely packed) stemmed spinach
* 1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
* 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  1. In medium nonstick saucepan, combine chicken broth with lentils, carrots, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until lentils are tender, about 45 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside to cool to lukewarm.

  2. Preheat oven to 450°F. Spray 7- x 11-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

  3. Place salmon in pan and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Roast 10 to 12 minutes, or until fish is just opaque in thickest part. Remove from oven.

  4. Meanwhile, in food processor, combine 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of water, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt with cilantro and olive oil. With machine running, drop garlic clove through feed tube and process until pureed.

  5. Add watercress, spinach, bell pepper and red onion to lentils, and toss to combine. Add all but about 1 tablespoon of dressing and toss to coat well.

  6. Divide salad among 4 plates. Top each with a piece of salmon and drizzle salmon with reserved dressing.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 434 calories, 16g total fat, 2.8g saturated fat, 8.6g monounsaturated fat, 3.1g polyunsaturated fat, 18g dietary fiber, 37g protein, 37g carbohydrate, 71mg cholesterol, 744mg sodium.
Good source of: beta-carotene, fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, niacin, omega-3s, potassium, selenium, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin C


Spaghetti with Sauce Bolognese

The long, slow cooking of the sauce gives it a silky texture and rich flavor. One of the flavor secrets is the addition of nutmeg. Lots of Italian cooks will also add a teaspoon of instant espresso powder, another “secret ingredient”.

* 3/4 pound lean top round, cut into cubes
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
* 1/3 cup chopped carrot
* 1/3 cup chopped celery
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup dry white wine
* 1 cup milk
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 2-1/4 cups canned plum tomatoes, chopped with their juice
* 12 ounces spaghetti
  1. In food processor, grind beef until coarsely ground (it should still have some texture, and not be pasty).

  2. In large nonstick skillet, heat oil over low heat. Add onion and cook 7 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add carrot and celery and cook 2 minutes.

  3. Stir in beef. Sprinkle with salt, increase heat to medium, and cook 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Add wine and cook 7 minutes or until almost evaporated Add milk, 2 tablespoons at a time, until it has all been absorbed.

  4. Stir in tomatoes, reduce heat to a very gentle simmer, partially cover and cook 1 hour, stirring frequently and adding a little more milk if mixture is becoming too dry.

  5. Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Transfer to large bowl, toss with sauce and serve.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 663 calories, 20.9g total fat, 5.6g saturated fat, 11.2g monounsaturated fat, 1.9g polyunsaturated fat, 4.1g dietary fiber, 33g protein, 75g carbohydrate, 59mg cholesterol, 730mg sodium.
Good source of: iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, vitamin B6, vitamin B12


Shrimp Louis Salad with Tomato-Tarragon Dressing

Lightly brush thin firm slices of bread with olive oil, sprinkle with tarragon, and briefly bake until crispy to serve with this elegant and colorful salad. For dessert, serve fresh raspberries over lime sherbet.

* 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
* 1 tablespoon no-salt-added tomato paste
* 1 teaspoon capers, drained
* 2 teaspoons tarragon vinegar
* 1 teaspoon prepared white horseradish
* 1/4 teaspoon tarragon
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
* 3 cups mesclun (mixed baby greens)
* 1 pound cooked, peeled shrimp
* 1 yellow or red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
* Half a medium avocado, thinly sliced
* 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  1. In small bowl, whisk together sour cream, 2 tablespoons of water, tomato paste, capers, vinegar, horseradish, tarragon, salt and pepper. Transfer to small serving bowl.

  2. Spread mesclun on large platter. Scatter shrimp, bell pepper strips, avocado and cherry tomatoes over greens. Serve with dressing on side.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 202 calories, 6.6g total fat, 1.9g saturated fat, 2.7g monounsaturated fat, 1.1g polyunsaturated fat, 2.8g dietary fiber, 27g protein, 9g carbohydrate, 226mg cholesterol, 513mg sodium.
Good source of: iron, selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin C

Southeast Asian Beef Salad

A fresh green chili pepper enlivens the dressing of this Southeast Asian beef salad served on a bed of watercress and spinach. Use Thai chili peppers here, if available, for an authoritative note of authenticity. The beef should be pink in the center for the very best texture, flavor, and color.

* Dressing: 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
* 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
* 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
* 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dry sherry
* 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
* 3/4 teaspoon minced fresh green chili pepper
* 3/4 teaspoon minced garlic

* Salad: 4 cups (loosely packed) mixed greens, such as watercress and torn spinach
* 3 cups (loosely packed) shredded napa cabbage
* 2 medium carrots, coarsely grated
* 1-1/2 cups bean sprouts
* 3/4 pound well-trimmed lean beef sirloin, cut into narrow strips
* 1 tablespoon cornstarch blended with 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce and 1 tablespoon water
* 2 teaspoons olive oil
* 3/4 cup diagonally sliced scallion pieces (3/4-inch long)
  1. Make the dressing: In small bowl or cup, blend soy sauce, honey, vinegar, sherry, sesame oil, chili pepper and garlic.

  2. Make the salad: Line a platter with greens. At one end, arrange piles of napa cabbage, carrots and bean sprouts.

  3. Place beef in a medium bowl, add cornstarch-soy sauce mixture and toss to coat well.

  4. In medium nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add beef and stir-fry until medium-rare, 2 to 3 minutes. Add scallions and stir-fry just until slightly softened, about 30 seconds. Arrange beef mixture at one end of platter.

  5. Drizzle dressing over greens and vegetables and serve.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 327 calories, 13g total fat, 3.6g saturated fat, 6g monounsaturated fat, 2g polyunsaturated fat, 4.6g dietary fiber, 33g protein, 19g carbohydrate, 83mg cholesterol, 835mg sodium.
Good source of: beta-carotene, folate, iron, niacin, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, zinc


Steak with Burgundy Sauce

To make a French Burgundy-style sauce in the classic manner requires a considerable investment in time and effort (including having homemade brown stock on hand) and uses a copious amount of butter. This streamlined version demands much less time, uses olive oil in place of butter and adds colorful and healthful vegetables to accompany the traditional mushrooms. Serve with delicious Yukon Gold mashed potatoes.

* 2 teaspoons olive oil
* 1/2 cup minced shallots
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1/2 teaspoon thyme
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
* 1 large red bell pepper, diced
* 1 cup diced carrots
* 1/2 cup beef broth
* 1 cup dry red wine
* 1 pound lean boneless sirloin steak
* 12 large mushroom caps, stems trimmed flat (about 1 pound)
* 1 tablespoon cornstarch blended with 2 tablespoons water
* 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  1. In medium nonstick saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Stir in shallots, garlic, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper, and saute until shallots start to brown and become tender, 1 to 2 minutes.

  2. Add bell pepper and carrots, and toss to coat well with shallots. Saute, stirring often, just until vegetables start to soften, about 2 minutes. Add beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring once or twice, until vegetables are tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

  3. Preheat the broiler.

  4. Meanwhile, stir wine into vegetables, increase heat to medium and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring once or twice, 10 minutes to blend flavors and remove raw taste from wine.

  5. While sauce simmers, season steak with remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Place on broiler pan and arrange mushrooms around steak. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat, turning steak and mushrooms once, 10 minutes, or until steak is medium-rare and mushrooms are tender. Transfer mushrooms and steak to a platter and let stand 5 minutes.

  6. Uncover sauce and increase heat to medium-high. Stir in cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Cover and remove from heat.

  7. Pour any juices from platter into sauce. Carve steak into thin slices and spoon sauce over steak and mushrooms; sprinkle with parsley.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 304 calories, 9.1g total fat, 2.7g saturated fat, 4.3g monounsaturated fat, 0.6g polyunsaturated fat, 3.1g dietary fiber, 30g protein, 17g carbohydrate, 76mg cholesterol, 454mg sodium.
Good source of: beta-carotene, iron, potassium, vitamin B12, vitamin C, zinc


Mex-Tex Unstuffed Peppers

Several bell peppers contribute flavor and vitamin C to this spirited dish. The chili-style mixture that usually is used to stuff whole peppers is here cooked along with strips of pepper and served over rice. If you make this in advance and add hot pepper sauce, remember that the longer it sits the spicier it will get.

* 1 cup converted rice
* 2 cups water
* 1/2 pound well-trimmed boneless beef top round, cut into chunks
* 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chili powder
* 2 teaspoons olive oil
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons beef broth
* 3 large red bell peppers, cut into 3/4-inch-wide strips
* 1/2 teaspoon oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) no-salt-added stewed tomatoes
* 1 can (8 ounces) no-salt-added tomato sauce
* 1 can (10-1/2 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
* Several drops of hot pepper sauce (optional)
* 1-1/2 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  1. Place rice and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until rice is tender and water absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. (Covered, rice will stay warm for quite a while.)

  2. Meanwhile, place beef in food processor and process just until ground. Add 1 teaspoon of chili powder and pulse just until mixed.

  3. In Dutch oven or flameproof casserole, warm 1 teaspoon of oil over medium-high heat. Crumble in beef; stir in garlic and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of broth. Cook, stirring, just until lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a plate.

  4. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan. Stir in bell peppers, remaining 1 tablespoon chili powder, oregano, black pepper and salt. Add remaining 1/4 cup beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender, 6 to 8 minutes.

  5. Return beef to pan along with stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce and beans; increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, to blend flavors. Add hot pepper sauce (if using).

  6. Spoon rice into bowls, top with chili and sprinkle with cheese.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 439 calories, 9.3g total fat, 3.3g saturated fat, 3.5g monounsaturated fat, .6g polyunsaturated fat, 9.1g dietary fiber, 26g protein, 64g carbohydrate, 43mg cholesterol, 460mg sodium.
Good source of: beta-carotene, fiber, iron, lycopene, vitamin B12, vitamin C

Pasta with Sardines & Fennel

Although sardines are a superb source of omega-3 fatty acids, you could use tuna instead. Use 1-1/2 cans (6 ounces each) of well-drained tuna, separated into flakes.

* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 2 cloves garlic, sliced
* 1 bulb fennel--trimmed, quartered lengthwise, and thinly sliced (2-1/2 cups)
* 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch squares
* 1 can (28 ounces) no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
* 1/4 cup golden raisins
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
* 3 cans (3-3/4 ounces each) sardines, drained
* 12 ounces linguine or fettuccine
* 1/4 cup orange juice
  1. In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute until tender. Stir in fennel and bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, 10 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.

  2. Stir in tomatoes, raisins, salt, and fennel seeds, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 10 minutes or until sauce is lightly thickened. Stir in sardines and cook 5 minutes longer or until well combined.

  3. Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Transfer pasta and sauce to large bowl. Add orange juice and toss well to coat.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 618 calories, 14g total fat, 1.8g saturated fat, 5.4g monounsaturated fat, 4.7g polyunsaturated fat, 8.7g dietary fiber, 33g protein, 94g carbohydrate, 98mg cholesterol, 938mg sodium.
Good source of: calcium, fiber, iron, magnesium omega-3s, potassium selenium, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C


Asian Crab Cakes

Tofu replaces some of the crabmeat in these mildly flavored crab cakes. If you’d like a spicier version, try adding 1 tablespoon of jalape?o pepper sauce and increase the ginger to 1 tablespoon.

* 4 ounces firm tofu
* 1 egg white
* 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
* 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
* 1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 8 ounces lump crabmeat, picked over to remove cartilage
* 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
* 1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
* 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
* 1 tablespoon plain dry bread crumbs
* 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
* 2 teaspoons olive oil
* lemon wedges
  1. In mini-food processor, puree tofu. Add egg white, soy sauce, mustard, sesame oil, salt, and black pepper and pulse until just blended.

  2. In medium bowl, combine crabmeat, bell pepper, scallions, cilantro, bread crumbs, ginger, and tofu mixture; stir to combine. Divide into eight 2-inch-wide patties.

  3. In large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add crab cakes and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side until golden brown and heated through. Serve hot with lemon wedges.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 146 calories, 6.6g total fat, 0.9g saturated fat, 2.7g monounsaturated fat, 2.3g polyunsaturated fat, 1.4g dietary fiber, 18g protein, 5g carbohydrate, 57mg cholesterol, 415mg sodium.
Good source of: calcium, folate, iron, selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin C, zinc


Spicy Clams in White Wine

When buying clams, inspect each one to see that the shells are tightly closed. Serve the clams in bowls with warm crusty bread for sopping up the sauce. For a main course, remove the clams from their shells and toss with a bowl of spaghetti or linguine.

* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* 3 shallots, finely chopped
* 3/4 cup dry white wine
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 24 littleneck clams
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots and cook 2 minutes stirring frequently, until the shallots are tender. Add wine, oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute.

  2. Add clams to the skillet, cover, and cook 4 minutes just until the clams open up. With a slotted spoon, transfer the clams to 4 shallow soup bowls, discarding any clams that have not opened. Stir the parsley into the skillet and spoon the sauce over the clams.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 116 calories, 4g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 2.5g monounsaturated fat, 0.5g polyunsaturated fat, 0.4g dietary fiber, 8g protein, 5g carbohydrate, 18mg cholesterol, 36mg sodium.
Good source of: iron, manganese, selenium, vitamin B12

Black Bean Chili Con Carne

Serve with plain yogurt or reduced-fat sour cream, additional sliced scallions, and bowls of rice.

* 1/2 pound well-trimmed top round of beef, cut into large chunks
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 large green bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
* 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
* 6 scallions, thinly sliced
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 tablespoon chili powder
* 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) no salt added stewed tomatoes, chopped with their juice
* 1 can (19 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
* 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  1. In a food processor, process the meat until coarsely ground, about 30 seconds.

  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the peppers, scallions, and garlic and cook 7 minutes stirring frequently until peppers are crisp-tender. Add meat, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and salt and cook 2 minutes until meat is no longer pink.

  3. Add tomatoes and their juice and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 7 minutes until flavors are blended and sauce is slightly thickened. Stir in cilantro.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 343 calories,10.2g total fat, 2.8g saturated fat, 5g monounsaturated fat, 1g polyunsaturated fat, 11.8g dietary fiber, 29g protein, 34g carbohydrate, 51mg cholesterol, 500mg sodium.
Good source of: beta-carotene, fiber, folate, iron, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C


Quick Shellfish Stew

For an even heartier stew, cook chunks of firm-fleshed white fish along with the shrimp in step 3. Have thick slices of toasted country bread to absorb the herbed tomato sauce.

* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch squares
* 2 carrots, thinly sliced
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 cup dry white wine
* 2 cups canned tomatoes, chopped with their juice
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* 12 littleneck clams, well scrubbed
* 1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  1. In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add bell peppers, carrots, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes or until peppers are tender. Add wine, bring to a boil, and cook 4 minutes.

  2. Stir in tomatoes, 2 cups of water, oregano, salt, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, add clams and cover. After 3 minutes, check clams and remove them as they open, transferring them to 4 soup bowls. Continue cooking until all the clams have opened (about 5 minutes). Discard any clams that have not opened.

  3. Add shrimp, cover, and cook for 3 minutes until shrimp are opaque. Add shrimp, vegetables and broth to clams in the bowls.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 218 calories, 4.8g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 2.7g monounsaturated fat, 0.8g polyunsaturated fat, 4g dietary fiber, 20g protein, 15g carbohydrate, 144mg cholesterol, 655mg sodium.
Good source of: beta-carotene, iron, selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin C


Lentil, Goat Cheese & Beet Salad

Substitute watercress and/or fresh spinach for the mixed greens.

* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1-1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
* 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1-1/2 cups lentils, rinsed and picked over
* 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
* 4 teaspoons olive oil
* 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
* 1 red bell pepper, diced
* 1-1/2 cups diced cooked beets
* 6 cups mixed greens
* 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese (2 ounces)
* 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pecans
  1. In medium saucepan, combine 3 cups of water, the garlic, lemon zest, tarragon, and salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add lentils, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 25 minutes, or until lentils are firm-tender. Drain any liquid remaining.

  2. In medium bowl, combine lemon juice, oil, and mustard. Add lentil mixture, bell pepper, and beets, tossing until well coated.

  3. Serve lentil mixture on a bed of greens and sprinkle with goat cheese and pecans.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 402 calories, 12g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 5.9g monounsaturated fat, 1.7g polyunsaturated fat, 26g dietary fiber, 26g protein, 54g carbohydrate, 7mg cholesterol, 758mg sodium.
Good source of: beta-carotene, copper, fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin C

Potato Pancakes with Yogurt-Dill Topping

For a change of pace, replace the shredded carrots with shredded parsnips.

* 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
* 8 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
* 1 scallion, thinly sliced
* 1-1/4 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and shredded
* 2 medium carrots, shredded
* 1 medium onion, shredded
* 1 egg, lightly beaten
* 2 tablespoons flour
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* 4 teaspoons olive oil
  1. In medium bowl, stir together yogurt, 6 tablespoons of dill, and scallion. Refrigerate.

  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. In large bowl, combine remaining 2 tablespoons dill, potatoes, carrots, onion, egg, flour, salt, and pepper, and stir well.

  3. Spray large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray, add 2 teaspoons of oil, and heat over medium heat. Scoop potato mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, into pan and flatten slightly to make one pancake. Add as many more pancakes as will fit into pan without crowding and cook 3 minutes per side or until browned. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining 2 teaspoons oil and potato mixture.

  4. Bake pancakes for 5 minutes, or until cooked through and crisp. Serve pancakes with yogurt-dill sauce.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 218 calories, 6g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 3.8g monounsaturated fat, .7g polyunsaturated fat, 3g dietary fiber, 7g protein, 36g carbohydrate, 54mg cholesterol, 502mg sodium.
Good source of: beta-carotene, calcium, copper, niacin, potassium, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin C


Herbed Lentils & Vegetables

High in folate and fiber, this is a very satisfying side dish. If you like, add some crumbled goat cheese or feta to make this a main course.

* 1 cup lentils, rinsed and picked over
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
* 1 red bell pepper, diced
* 3 scallions, thinly sliced
* 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
* 3 cups broccoli florets
* 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  1. In medium saucepan, bring 2-1/4 cups of water to a boil. Add lentils, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, black pepper, and oregano. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until lentils are just tender, about 25 minutes. Drain any remaining liquid.

  2. Meanwhile, in large bowl, whisk together remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, lemon juice, oil, and mustard. Add drained lentils, bell pepper, scallions, and mint; toss to combine.

  3. In a vegetable steamer, steam broccoli and carrots until broccoli is crisp-tender. Add to bowl with lentils and toss again. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 278 calories, 8g total fat, 1.1g saturated fat, 5.2g monounsaturated fat, 1.1g polyunsaturated fat, 19g dietary fiber, 17g protein, 39g carbohydrate, 0mg cholesterol, 578mg sodium.
Good source of: beta-carotene, copper, fiber, folate, iron, manganese, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C.


Spicy Tortilla-Vegetable Casserole

For a milder dish, substitute a regular Monterey jack for the jalapeno jack and omit the cayenne pepper.

* 2 cups low-fat (1%) milk
* 3 tablespoons flour
* 2 teaspoons chili powder
* 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 2 cups broccoli florets
* 1 red bell pepper, diced
* 1-1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
* 1 cup shredded jalapeno jack cheese (about 4 ounces)
* Eight 6-inch corn tortillas
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 11- x 7-inch glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In large saucepan, whisk milk into flour until smooth. Whisk in chili powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne. Cook over low heat, whisking frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture is slightly thickened.

  2. Stir in broccoli and bell pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until broccoli and pepper are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in corn and 3/4 cup of cheese.

  3. Place 2 tortillas in prepared baking dish and spoon one-fourth of vegetable-cheese mixture on top. Repeat 3 more times with remaining tortillas and vegetable mixture.

  4. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese on top, cover with foil, and bake for 10 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes or until casserole is piping hot.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 375 calories, 13g total fat, 7.2 saturated fat, 0.9g monounsaturated fat, 1g polyunsaturated fat, 7g dietary fiber, 18g protein, 53g carbohydrate, 35mg cholesterol, 577mg sodium.
Good source of: beta-carotene, calcium, folate, riboflavin, vitamin C.

Beef & Black Bean Chili

This mildly seasoned chili not only has beef, but black beans and corn as well. If you like your chili hot, look for a hot chili powder, or add a fair amount of red pepper sauce.

* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 large onion, finely chopped
* 1 green bell pepper, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 3/4 pound extra-lean ground beef
* 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon mild chili powder
* 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
* 1 teaspoon ground coriander
* 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
* 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) no-salt-added stewed tomatoes, chopped with their juices
* 2 tablespoons no-salt-added tomato paste
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
* 1-3/4 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
  1. In Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

  2. Stir in beef, chili powder, cumin, coriander, and oregano and cook 3 minutes, until beef is no longer pink. Stir in tomatoes with their juices, tomato paste, and salt and cook, stirring frequently, for 7 minutes or until chili is thick.

  3. Stir in beans and corn and cook 3 minutes, until vegetables are heated through.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 495 calories, 13g total fat, 3.8g saturated fat, 6.2g monounsaturated fat, 1.3g polyunsaturated fat, 15g dietary fiber, 33g protein, 66g carbohydrate, 31mg cholesterol, 850mg sodium.
Good source of: copper, fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, niacin, potassium, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, zinc.


Corn & Carrot Chowder

Carrot juice gives this soup a slightly sweet flavor that is offset by smoky green peppers and a touch of cayenne.

* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 large onion, diced
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 green bell peppers, diced
* 12 ounces small red-skinned potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice
* 2 cups carrot juice
* 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn kernels, thawed
* 1 cup low-fat (1%) milk
* 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch blended with 1 tablespoon water
  1. In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden brown. Add bell peppers and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until peppers are crisp-tender.

  2. Add potatoes, stirring to coat. Add carrot juice, tarragon, salt, cayenne, and 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 5 to 7 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

  3. Stir in corn, and milk and return to a simmer. Add cornstarch mixture, and cook 1 minute stirring constantly, until slightly thickened.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 247 calories, 5.1g total fat, 1.0g saturated fat, 2.9g monounsaturated fat, 0.8g polyunsaturated fat, 5g dietary fiber, 8g protein, 47g carbohydrate, 2.0mg cholesterol, 536mg sodium.
Good source of: beta-carotene, fiber, selenium, vitamin B6, vitamin C.


Tomato-Orange Braised Leeks

Sweet and spicy, these are great as part of buffet or on a vegetable platter.

* 4 medium leeks
* 1 cup reduced-sodium spicy tomato-vegetable juice
* 3 strips (3- x 1/2-inch) orange zest
* 2/3 cup orange juice
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon thyme
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
  1. Trim root ends off each leek. Trim tough dark green tops off, then quarter each leek lengthwise up to but not through the root. Swish leeks in a bowl of lukewarm water, easing leaves apart to remove grit. Lift out leeks, leaving grit behind; repeat as needed with clean water until no grit remains.

  2. In large skillet, combine tomato-vegetable juice, orange zest, orange juice, garlic, salt, thyme, and cayenne. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and add leeks. Cover and cook until leeks are tender, about 30 minutes.

  3. With slotted spoon, transfer leeks to serving platter. Add oil to sauce in skillet, return to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Spoon sauce over leeks and serve hot, warm, or chilled.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 121 calories, 3.8g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 2.5g monounsaturated fat, 0.5g polyunsaturated fat, 2g dietary fiber, 2g protein, 20g carbohydrate, 0mg cholesterol, 394mg sodium.
Good source of: folate, iron, manganese, vitamin B6

Greek-Style Beef & Pasta Salad

Mint and lemon give this dish a decidedly Greek flavor. If you like, add some fresh dill too. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

* 8 ounces ziti
* 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
* 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
* 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
* 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 green bell pepper, diced
* 2 medium tomatoes, diced
* 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
* 3/4 pound well-trimmed beef sirloin
* 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  1. In large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

  2. Meanwhile, in large bowl, whisk together yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir in green pepper, tomato, and mint. Add warm pasta, tossing to combine.

  3. Preheat broiler. Rub beef with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and oregano. Broil 4 inches from heat for 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into bite-size pieces. Add to bowl with pasta and toss to combine.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 380 calories, 8.6g total fat, 2.1g saturated fat, 2.6g monounsaturated fat, 2.2g polyunsaturated fat, 4g dietary fiber, 29g protein, 47g carbohydrate, 61mg cholesterol, 417mg sodium.
Good source of: niacin, selenium, thiamin, vitamin B12, vitamin C, zinc


Chicken Divan

You could call this recipe a chicken divine. For a complete meal, serve over a bowl of yolkless egg noodles. If you’ve got leftover turkey, by all means use it in place of the chicken.

* 6 cups broccoli florets
* 1 cup chicken broth
* 1/3 cup flour
* 1 cup low-fat (1%) milk
* 3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
* 2 tablespoons dry sherry
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* 10 ounces cooked chicken breast, shredded
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 7- x 11-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a steamer set over a pan of simmering water, cook broccoli 4 to 5 minutes, or until tender.

  2. In medium saucepan, whisk broth into flour until smooth. Add milk and nonfat dry milk, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sauce is lightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in sherry, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and Parmesan.

  3. Arrange broccoli in pan. Scatter chicken over broccoli. Spoon sauce over chicken. Bake 25 minutes, or until bubbling hot.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 295 calories, 6.7g total fat, 2.7g saturated fat, 2.1g monounsaturated fat, 1.1g polyunsaturated fat, 3g dietary fiber, 35g protein, 23g carbohydrate, 71mg cholesterol, 830mg sodium.
Good source of: folate, niacin, potassium, selenium, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C.


Shrimp & Pasta Salad with Orange-Parsley Sauce

You can substitute scallops or chicken for the shrimp in this dish.

* 4 ounces (about 1 cup) ditalini or small pasta shells
* 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
* 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup parsley leaves
* 1/2 cup jarred red pepper, rinsed and drained
* 1/2 cup orange juice
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
* 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

  2. Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Toss shrimp with oregano and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Broil 4 inches from heat for 2 minutes per side until cooked through.

  3. In food processor, combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, parsley, red pepper, orange juice, and oil and process until smooth. Transfer to large bowl, add pasta, shrimp, cucumbers, and capers; toss to combine. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 242 calories, 4.9g total fat, 0.8g saturated fat, 2.7g monounsaturated fat, 0.9g polyunsaturated fat, 2g dietary fiber, 22g protein, 26g carbohydrate, 161mg cholesterol, 844mg sodium.
Good source of: iron, selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin C

Penne Salad with Pecan Pesto

If sugar snaps aren’t available, substitute snow peas or green beans. For an even more substantial dish, add diced part-skim mozzarella cheese.

* 3 cloves garlic, peeled
* 1/3 cup (not oil-paked) sun-dried tomatoes
* 8 ounces penne pasta
* 1-1/2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 tablespoons pecan halves
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch squares
* 1/2 pound mushrooms, thickly sliced
* 8 ounces sugar snap peas, strings removed
  1. In large pot of boiling water, cook garlic for 2 minutes to blanch. With slotted spoon, remove garlic. Add sun-dried tomatoes and cook 2 minutes, or until softened. Remove with slotted spoon and when cool enough to handle, thinly sliver.

  2. Add penne to pot and cook according to package directions; drain and transfer to large bowl.

  3. Meanwhile, in food processor, combine garlic, basil, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon of oil, pecans, and salt and process to a smooth puree. Add 1/3 cup of water and process until creamy. Pour dressing over pasta, tossing to combine.

  4. In large nonstick skillet, heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat. Add peppers and cook, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Add mushrooms and sugar snaps and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes or until sugar snaps are crisp-tender.

  5. Add sugar snaps to bowl with pasta. Add sun-dried tomatoes and toss to combine. Serve at room temperature or chill for up to 8 hours.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 331 calories, 7.7g total fat, 1.9g saturated fat, 3.9g monounsaturated fat, 1.2g polyunsaturated fat, 7g dietary fiber, 14g protein, 53g carbohydrate, 5mg cholesterol, 506mg sodium.
Good source of: beta-carotene, folate, iron, selenium, thiamin, vitamin C


Herbed Mushroom & White Bean Stew

This satisfying vegetarian entree gets a depth of flavor from the imported porcini mushrooms. However, since porcini can be quite pricey, you could also make this with the simple nonspecific dried wild mushrooms sold in small plastic tubs in most supermarkets.

* 1 ounce dried mushrooms, such as porcini (1/2 cup)
* 1/2 cup sun-dried (not oil-packed) tomato halves
* 2 cups boiling water
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 large red onion, finely chopped
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 medium parsnips or carrots, cut into matchsticks
* 1/2 pound fresh cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced
* 2 cans (19 ounces each) white kidney beans (cannellini), rinsed and drained
* 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) no-salt-added stewed tomatoes, chopped with their juices
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon rosemary, minced
* 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  1. In medium heatproof bowl, combine dried mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and boiling water and let stand until softened, about 15 minutes. Scoop mushrooms and tomatoes from the soaking liquid. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve or a paper towel-lined sieve and set aside. Coarsely chop mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes.

  2. In medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened, about 7 minutes. Add parsnips and fresh mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the carrots are tender, about 4 minutes.

  3. Stir in beans, stewed tomatoes, salt, rosemary, pepper, reconstituted mushrooms and tomatoes, and reserved soaking liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until rich and flavorful, about 10 minutes.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 368 calories, 4.8g total fat (.7g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 16g dietary fiber (4.6g soluble), 66g carbohydrate, 19g protein, 758mg sodium.
Good source of: fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin C

Re Spinach:

As a lot of people may not know, spinach is an iron absorption INHIBITOR. Most people assume that it’s high in iron, but it’s not as good a choice. Asparagus is a better choice because spinach has too much rancid acid. I’ve been advised of this by my general practitioner and my naturopathic doctor. If you are going to eat spinach, make sure you consume it with an iron absorption enhancer…examples were posted in my first reply. And if you have arthritis, don’t eat it because of the rancid acid. Nuts have to be fresh and kept in the refrigerator because, over time, they become rancid.

IRON ABSORPTION INHIBITORS

Red Wine, Coffee & Tea
Vegetables: Spinach, chard, beet greens, rhubarb and sweet potato
Whole grains and bran
Soy products