Monday, October 24, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Grilled Gazpacho

Each week we be bring you new recipes for delicious, nutritious meals, which will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. This week's recipe:

Grilled Gazpacho
Makes 8 servings

  • 4 scallions, trimmed 
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled 
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and quartered 
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 5 vine-ripened tomatoes (about 2 ½ pounds) 
  • 1 red bell pepper 
  • 1 green bell pepper 
  • 1 cucumber, peeled 
  • ¼ cup mixed chopped fresh herbs (including basil, oregano, tarragon, flatleaf parsley) 
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar (or to taste) 
  • ½-1 cup cold water, or as needed 
  • Salt 
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Needed for Grilling: 2 cups wood chips (oak or hickory), soaked in water to cover for 1 hour, then drained.

  1. Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat the grill to high.
  2. Finely chop the scallion greens and set aside for garnish.
  3. Skewer the scallion whites on bamboo skewers or toothpicks.
  4. Skewer the garlic cloves the same way. 
  5. Lightly brush the scallion whites, garlic, and onion quarters with olive oil. (Save the bulk of the olive oil for flavoring the soup – see below.) 
  6. If using a gas grill: place the wood chips in the smoker box or a smoker pouch and run the grill on high until you see smoke. 
  7. If using a charcoal grill: toss the chips on the coals. 
  8. Grill the scallions, garlic, and onions until nicely browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. 
  9. Transfer to a plate to cool. 
  10. Grill the tomatoes and bell peppers until the skins are black and charred, 2 minutes per side for the tomatoes, 3 to 4 minutes per side for the peppers. 
  11. Transfer to a plate to cool. 
  12. Scrape the charred skins off the tomatoes and peppers with a paring knife. (Don't worry about removing every last bit.) 
  13. Core and seed the peppers. 
  14. Place the scallion whites, garlic, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber, herbs, vinegar and remaining olive oil in a blender and puree until smooth. 
  15. Thin the gazpacho to pourable consistency with water if needed and season with salt and pepper. 
  16. The gazpacho can be served now, but it will taste even better if you chill it for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend. 
  17. Just before serving, correct the seasoning, adding salt or vinegar to taste. 
  18. To serve, ladle the gazpacho into bowls and sprinkle with the chopped scallion greens.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Baked Avocado Chicken and Vegetables

Each week we be bring you new recipes for delicious, nutritious meals, which will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. This week's recipe:

Baked Avocado Chicken and Vegetables

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
  • 4 Tbsp avocado 
  • ½ cup light cream cheese
  • 3 tsp olive oil 
  • 2 medium zucchinis, sliced 
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 4 cups green beans 
  • 3 cups tomato sauce

  1. Mash up the avocado, then mix it with the cream cheese. 
  2. Slice the chicken to make a pocket. Put the cream cheese/avocado mixture into each chicken pocket and seal with toothpicks. 
  3. Put chicken in a baking tray and drizzle the olive oil over it. 
  4. Bake for 30 minutes at 375° F. 
  5. Sauté vegetables until tender, add tomato sauce and heat through. Serve with the chicken.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Classic Standing Beef Rib Roast

Each week we be bring you new recipes for delicious, nutritious meals, which will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. This week's recipe:

Classic Standing Beef Rib Roast

  • 7-8 pound standing rib roast, (usually a four-rib roast)
  • ¼ - ½ cup Campbell’s Condensed Beef Broth
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt
  • 2-3 Tbsp red wine, optional

  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F.
  2. Season the roast liberally with pepper and put in a roasting pan, rib side down. 
  3. Roast for about 20 minutes per pound for medium-rare meat, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 130-140° F. For well done meat, roast until the thermometer registers 160° F. (For 7-8 pounds of meat, roast the meat for 2 hours and 20 minutes to 2 hours and 40 minutes for medium-rare.)
  4. Remove the roast from the oven when the thermometer registers five degrees lower than desired (125-135° F).
  5. Let it sit on the countertop for 20-30 minutes before carving. The meat will continue to "cook" as it rests, its natural juices will collect in the center, and it will become easier to carve.
  6. Skim or pour off the fat from the roast into a saucepan.
  7. Add the beef broth or water to the defatted pan juices and cook, stirring constantly at medium-high heat. 
  8. Season the juices with salt and pepper and red wine, if desired. 
  9. Cook, stirring, until the jus is slightly reduced, tasty, and hot. 
  10. Stand the roast on a platter and cut downward between the ribs. Alternatively, lay the roast on its side on the platter, cut along the ribs to loosen the meat, and then remove it by making horizontal cuts.
  11. Serve the roast with the jus spooned over it.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Chicken Sausage & Summer Squash

Each week we be bring you new recipes for delicious, nutritious meals, which will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. This week's recipe:

Chicken Sausage &
Summer Squash

Makes 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 8 minutes

  • 1 medium yellow summer squash, cut on diagonal into 1/4" slices
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut on diagonal into 1/4" slices
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 package (12 ounces) fully cooked smoked apple-chicken sausages (like Casual Gourmet)

  1. Preheat grill or broiler.
  2. Toss yellow squash, zucchini, oil, and salt in medium bowl to combine.
  3. Place sausages and squash on grill and cook about 8 minutes, turning once, or until sausages are cooked through and vegetables are tender.
  4. Slice each sausage on diagonal and serve with grilled squash and a tomato-basil salad.

Nutrition Information (Per Serving—without salad)
  • 156 calories
  • 18g protein
  • 3g carbohydrates
  • 1g fiber
  • 7g fat
  • 1.5g saturated fat
  • 70mg cholesterol
  • 773mg sodium

Exercise and the Immune System

Depending on the intensity of exercise, the duration, and your physical condition, exercise can boost your immune system or impair your immune system. Several studies have shown that physical activity may help flush bacteria out from the lungs and may flush out carcinogens by increasing output of wastes, such as urine and sweat. Exercise also allows the body to transport antibodies and white blood cells at a faster rate. This along with a temporary rise in body temperature may prevent or stop bacterial growth. This is similar to a fever when the body is fighting an infection.  Light to moderate exercise also slows the release of cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones are stress-hormones and stress is a major contributor to illness, as it lowers the immune system. Resistance training and cardiovascular training increase your body’s ability to recover from illness, such as colds and flus.

Light to moderate exercise on a daily basis, not only helps your immune system, but also decreases your chances of developing heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer. The immune enhancing effects return to normal after a few hours, but consistent exercise makes these effects last longer. When moderate exercise is repeated on a daily basis, there is an improvement in long-term immune response. The more fit you are, the less likely you are to develop a cold and when you do, it will be less severe. While sick, moderate exercise can actually boost your immune system. Intense exercise, while sick, can make things worse or extend your illness.

Studies have shown than intense exercise (extreme) can lower your immunity for a few hours post exercise. Intense exercise consists of more than 90 minutes of high-intensity, much like marathons or triathlons. Unlike light-moderate exercise, during extreme events, the body increases production of cortisol and adrenaline, temporarily suppressing immunity. These suppressing immune changes can last between three and 72 hours post-exercise.

The most important factors in training are rest and recovery. Recovery not only allows your muscles to recover, but also your immune system. Good immune function can be maintained by regular physical activity, eating a well-balanced diet, keeping life stresses to a minimum, avoiding chronic fatigue, and obtaining adequate sleep.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Benefits of Tea

Revered for centuries, tea is the ultimate elixir. It was so prized in ancient China that the preparation and drinking of it became a symbolic ritual for contemplating the meaning of life.

Its tiny leaves have predicted the future, built empires, and been the catalyst for revolutions. It can pick you up or calm you down. Used to soothe upset stomachs and help recover from a cold or flu, secret blends are credited with curing everything from depression to diabetes. The value of antioxidants in green and black tea for reducing cancer risk, fighting free radicals and lowering cholesterol has long been recognized by medical science.

A number of published studies demonstrate weight loss effects in response to ingesting green tea or specific tea extracts. Key components responsible for green tea's weight loss benefits are the polyphenol compounds that increase metabolic energy expenditure and therefore, calorie consumption.