Peanut Butter Oat Bars

These Peanut Butter Oat Bars are soft, chewy, and subtly sweet to add to a balanced breakfast or enjoyed as a snack.

homemade oat bars on a black slate

Dear future children, please do not have a peanut allergy. Your future peanut butter addict’s mom will be very sad. Peanut butter is a staple food in my diet. I can confidently say I enjoy peanut butter pretty much every day.

Did you know?

It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter. (source)

Health benefits of peanut butter

Replacing saturated fat with similar amounts of unsaturated fats may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving of dry-roasted peanuts (30 grams) contains 12 grams of unsaturated fat, only two grams of saturated fat, and no trans fat. 

Peanuts are an excellent source of (20% of the Daily Value):

  • Niacin: Niacin is an important B vitamin that helps to convert food to energy, aids with the digestive and nervous system, and helps the skin.
  • Manganese: Manganese is important for processing cholesterol, and nutrients like carbohydrates and protein.
    (source)
homemade snack bars on a black marble slab

Just one bowl, these bars are easy to whip up. Pair with a piece of fruit and/or yogurt for breakfast, or enjoy alone as a snack. If you are peanut butter obsessed like me, I even added a smear of peanut butter on top.

Peanut Butter Oat Bars stacked on top of each other

I kept this Peanut Butter Oat Bars recipe simple, but of course, you can add your own twist. Stir in chocolate chips, some nuts or seeds. I’m even curious to try tahini in place of the peanut butter.

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close up image of peanut butter oat bars

Peanut Butter Oat Bars

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Baked Good
  • Method: Baking

Description

These Peanut Butter Oat Bars are soft, chewy, and subtly sweet to add to a balanced breakfast or enjoyed as a snack.


Scale

Ingredients

1/2 cup natural peanut butter, melted
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 small ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup finely ground flaxseed (see notes)


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat an 8×8 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together peanut butter, coconut oil, banana, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla extract until well combined.
  3. Stir in cinnamon, rolled oats, and flaxseed, until well combined.
  4. Pour into the prepared baking dish and spread in an even layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  5. Cool for 15 minutes before slicing into squares. 

Notes

I used Manitoba Milling Co. Smooth Whole-Milled Flaxseed, which is more of a powdery/flour texture. 

Add chocolate chips or nuts, sprinkled on top or folded into the batter, as desired.

Keywords: peanut butter, oats, bars, breakfast, snack, whole grain,

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Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats (+ Freezer-Friendly Tip)

Make mornings easier by meal prepping a batch of Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats for the week and follow a simple freezer-friendly tip to enjoy steel cut oats in just minutes.

steel cut oats in a small white bowl with blueberries and sliced almonds

Who has time to make a fresh batch of steel-cut oats in the morning? If you do, more power to you, but like many, I prefer extra sleep vs. waking up earlier to make breakfast from scratch.

I previously talked about the differences between steel-cut, rolled, and quick oats. Steel-cut oats take the longest to cook. Why? Because the outside layer of the whole grain, the bran, is fully intact. A longer cook time penetrates through the bran creating tender, yet a chewy texture that retains much of its shape even after cooking.

steel cut oats in a metal measuring cup

Instead of spending time each morning making a serving of steel-cut oats meal prep a large batch for the week. Steel-cut oats can easily be made over the stovetop, but I love using the Instant Pot to make steel-cut oats because just add your ingredients, press a few buttons, and done! You don’t have to keep an eye on them, stirring often, to make sure they are not sticking to the bottom of the pot or bubbling over.

steel cut oats in a white bowl with toppings on a marble slab

I prefer to make the batch of steel-cut oats pretty plain because then there is the flexibility to add different toppings to create different flavor combinations. I do enjoy adding a cinnamon stick to the pot and the cinnamon flavor infuses into the oats. (This can easily be done with a few shakes of ground cinnamon too.)

frozen steel cut oatmeal in a jumbo muffin tin

Sometimes the idea of batch cooking can be too repetitive eating the same thing over and over, but instead, utilize this steel-cut oat freezer-friendly tip that can help continue to make steel-cut oats ready in minutes in the morning.

Freezer-Friendly Tip:

After making a batch of these Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats, spray a jumbo muffin tin with cooking spray and scoop about a cup of oats into each muffin tin well. Then add your favorite topping combinations.

Once hardened, dip the bottom of the muffin tin in warm water to help remove the single-serving steel cut oat portions and freeze in a container or bag for later use.

Then, simply add a single-serving portion of oats to a microwave-safe bowl with a few drops of water, and reheat in the microwave.

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Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats in a white bowl topped with blueberries and almonds

Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 6
  • Total Time: 11 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Instant Pot

Scale

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups steel cut oats
7 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks (or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon)


Instructions

  1. Add steel cut oats, water, and cinnamon sticks to the Instant Pot and stir to combine.
  2. Secure Instant Pot lid and close the vent. Set Instant Pot on the manual setting for 6 minutes.
  3. When Instant Pot beeps, allow the pressure to naturally release for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove lid, discard cinnamon sticks, and stir oats to incorporate any water that has risen to the top.
  5. Serve with your favorite toppings. (Combination recommendation: blueberries, sliced almonds, and honey)

Notes

Leftover oats can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or utilize the freezer-friendly method.

Freezer-Friendly Method:
Spray a jumbo muffin tin with cooking spray and scoop about a cup of oats into each muffin tin well. Then add your favorite topping combinations. Once hardened, dip the bottom of the muffin tin in warm water to help remove the single-serving steel cut oat portions and freeze in a container or bag for later use.

Keywords: oatmeal, Instant Pot, steel cut oats, breakfast, cooking tip, oats

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Sheet Pan Steak and Veggies

Make dinnertime stress-free with this simple Sheet Pan Steak and Veggies recipe.

steak with veggies on a sheet pan

This post is sponsored by the NY Beef Council. Thank you for supporting brands that make this blog possible!

March is an exciting month for dietitians, as it is National Nutrition Month. National Nutrition Month® is an annual nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign, celebrated each year during the month of March, focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. In years past there was a theme to go along with National Nutrition Month’s initiative.

sheet pan with steak, broccoli, and squash

This year, I’ve teamed up with the NY Beef Council for National Nutrition Month to help make dinnertime less stressful with simple strategies and a delicious recipe.

We all seem busier than ever and dinnertime looks different for everyone. Getting home from long days at work, to juggling kids after school activities, or feeling exhausted and grabbing take out; every night the chore of dinner getting on the table can be stressful.

How can you make nourishing meals more manageable? Sheet pan dinners! Simply make a full dinner all on one pan. Sheet pan meals are great fresh out of the oven, but also really great as leftovers. Cook once, eat twice! Repurpose as is, eat over a whole grain, or enjoy over greens for a robust salad. The possibilities are endless!

sheet pan dinner with steak and veggies

When creating a sheet pan dinner, think about ingredients that will provide energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals. To this end, aim to eat a variety of delicious foods that balance the taste you love with good nutrition.

Beef is part of a satisfying heart-healthy lifestyle. All beef is a natural source of 10 essential nutrients such as protein, iron, zinc, and B vitamins. Research shows that lean beef enjoyed as part of a heart-healthy diet and exercises, can help lower cholesterol, lose weight, and lower blood pressure.

What is “lean” beef?

To be considered lean, a 3.5-oz serving of cooked beef must have less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 mg of cholesterol. Look for the word “loin”, “round”, and 95% ground beef in the name when finding a lean cut of beef. A few samples of lean beef cuts are top sirloin steak, strip steak (top loin steak), tenderloin steak, or 95% lean ground beef.

Less stress dinnertime strategies:

Maximize your prep time

What are you more likely to cook with midweek? A head of unwashed broccoli still wrapped from the grocery store or the broccoli that is washed, trimmed, and stored in a produce bag ready to be cooked? I think we all know the answer here.

Create a plan

Look at your week ahead before you go grocery shopping and plan meals for the week. This will alleviate the “what’s for dinner?” question, prevent food waste, which will then in turn save you money.

Acknowledge the chaos

There are days that will just not go according to plan and that’s okay! To really make meals manageable, it’s important to be realistic with what to expect. Unrealistic expectations may set you up for a failed experience before the meal even begins. Plan for sheet pan dinners mid-week when you know you will be short on time.

Enjoy the moment

Whether you are dining solo or with a crowd take that time to enjoy the meal and be in the moment. Enjoy the company or the solidarity without outside distraction. We all need time to disconnect from technology.

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steak & veggies on a sheet pan

Sheet Pan Steak and Veggies

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 16
  • Total Time: 31 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: sheet pan

Description

Make dinnertime stress-free with this simple Sheet Pan Steak and Veggies recipe.


Scale

Ingredients

2 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced
3 cups broccoli florets
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound strip steak


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to broil (500°F). Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot of water, parboil squash for 5 minutes, to slightly soften. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine butternut squash and broccoli. Add 1-tablespoon olive oil, half the garlic, 1-teaspoon of thyme to the vegetables, and salt and pepper, to taste; toss to combine. Add to the baking sheet in an even layer.
  4. Pat steak dry. Add to the baking sheet in between the vegetables. Brush steak with the remaining ½ tablespoon of olive oil and rub with the remaining ½ teaspoon thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper on both sides.
  5. Place in the oven and broil until steak is browned and charred at the edges; about 6-8 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and flip the steak and toss the veggies. Cook for an additional 6-8 minutes for medium-rare, until an inserted thermometer, reads 145°F.

Notes

Cook time may vary due to the thickness of the steak. Use a digital thermometer to determine doneness.

Keywords: sheet pan, steak, beef, one pan meal, dinner

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References:
Sayer RD, et al. Equivalent reductions in body weight during the Beef WISE Study: Beef’s Role in Weight Improvement, Satisfaction, and Energy. Obes Sci Pract 2017. Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/osp4.118/full

Instant Pot Lemon Ginger Salmon

You’ll be soon adding this easy Instant Pot Lemon Ginger Salmon to your weekly dinner menu rotation.

salmon layered with ginger and lemon in an instant pot

A lot of Instant Pot recipes are used for tough cuts of meat. The function of the Instant Pot creates steam under extreme pressure and forces it’s way to the tough fibers of the meat breaking them down to become tender.

But what if you have an already delicate protein like salmon?

hands holding a bowl of quinoa, salmon, and green beans

You can still utilize the Instant Pot for more delicate proteins like salmon, but the Instant Pot is utilized a little differently.

Instead of searing and submerging in liquid, utilize the steaming rack of the Instant Pot. Add a little liquid on the bottom which will steam the salmon and infuse flavors into the final product. For this recipe, I used vegetable broth and a few sprigs of parsley. Utilize different herbs to infuse flavors.

salmon placed in an instant pot

By simply laying the lemon and ginger on top of the salmon fillet, the flavors penetrate into the salmon fillet creating fresh and vibrant flavors.

While the cooking time is only 3 minutes in the Instant Pot, allow an extra 5-10 minutes for the Instant Pot to come to full pressure, then it begins the three minute cook time.

quinoa, salmon, and green beans in a white bowl with white napkin

Research shows eating seafood two to three times per week reduces the risk of death from any health-related cause. Seafood provides unique health benefits as a lean protein and is the best source for omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats essential to human health and development.

Use this simple and flavorful Instant Pot Lemon Ginger Salmon to help you meet the mark for enjoying seafood 2-3 times each week!

#TeamGoodFat

Embrace the unsaturated fats found in foods such as walnuts, seeds, plant oils, avocados, and fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, sardines, mackerel, and herring.

Fats play an essential role in human health from head (brain) to toe (joints). Replacing just 5 percent of your caloric intake from so-called bad fats (like trans and saturated fat found in red meat) with unsaturated fat from seafood and plant-based foods can reduce your risk of death by 27 percent.
(source)

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quinoa, salmon, and green beans in a white bowl

Instant Pot Lemon Ginger Salmon

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 3
  • Total Time: 8 minutes
  • Yield: 34 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot

Description

You’ll be soon adding this easy Instant Pot Lemon Ginger Salmon to your weekly dinner menu rotation.


Scale

Ingredients

1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 small bunch of fresh parsley
1 pound salmon fillet (about 1-inch thick)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 small knob (about 2 tablespoons) fresh ginger, sliced
1 lemon, sliced


Instructions

Pour broth and parsley in the Instant Pot and then put in the steamer rack (coated with cooking spray) at the bottom, making sure the handles are extended up.

Place salmon, skin side down, on the steamer rack. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Layer on pieces of ginger and lemon.

Close the Instant Pot and make sure vent is turned to “Sealing”. Plug it in, press “Steam” and press the + or – buttons to set it to 3 minutes. When the Instant Pot beeps that it’s done, quick release the pressure, being careful to stay out of the way of the steam that will shoot up. Press the “Warm/Cancel” button. Remove lid, and using hot pads, carefully remove rack with salmon and set on a plate.

Serve alongside a whole grain and vegetable for a complete meal. 


Notes

Cooking time may vary. Depending on the thickness of your salmon, 3 minutes is perfect for a fillet that’s about 1 inch at its thickest part.

Keywords: salmon, Instant Pot, dinner, healthy fats, heart healthy

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One-Pan Chicken Sausage & Gnocchi Sauté

This one-pan chicken sausage & gnocchi saute utilizes simple ingredients to create a delicious meal in minutes.

kale with chicken sausage and gnocchi

I never understood the mad rush to the grocery store when there is an inkling of news about the possibility of snow. Previously, working as a retail dietitian, the madness was unreal. The aisles with the bread and milk would be completely wiped out. I guess everyone’s instinct is to survive on bread and milk if they get snowed in? I’ll never understand.

Sausage, gnocchi, and kale in a white bowl

My kitchen isn’t always completely stocked and with news of snow, I’m the last person you will see heading to the grocery store. I don’t want to deal with the craziness!

I think it’s fun to poke around the kitchen utilizing what I have on hand to create new meal ideas. I always say that makes me feel like I am on an episode of “Chopped“. (minus the crazy ingredients like cow’s tongue the contestants get in their mystery baskets)

One Pan Chicken Sausage & Gnocchi Sauté in a white bowl on a marble slab

Each kitchen no matter how big or small has four kitchen zones: the refrigerator, freezer, pantry, and countertops. Don’t just open the fridge and just decide “there’s nothing to eat, let’s grab take out.” Utilize the ingredients in each zone to create a meal. This recipe uses all four kitchen zones to create a delicious and balanced meal.

Refrigerator: chicken sausage, kale
Freezer: gnocchi
Pantry: olive oil, white beans, chicken broth
Countertop: garlic

chicken sausage and gnocchi in a white bowl

No need to rush to the grocery store when there is snow on the forecast. Just utilize what you have in each kitchen zone! And with simply one pan, chicken sausage & gnocchi saute came together in minutes.

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One Pan Chicken Sausage & Gnocchi Sauté in a white bowl

One Pan Chicken Sausage & Gnocchi Sauté

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: one pan

Description

One Pan Chicken Sausage & Gnocchi Sauté making meal time a breeze


Scale

Ingredients

10 oz. gnocchi*, cooked according to package directions
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 links chicken sausage*, sliced on a bias
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15.5 oz.) can white beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups kale, ribs removed and roughly chopped
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth


Instructions

Cook gnocchi according to package directions. 

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken sausages until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the same pan. Add garlic, white beans and gnocchi. Saute until beans and gnocchi are warmed through. (Keep an eye on the garlic. Do not let it burn. Turn down heat if needed.)

Add chicken sausage back into the pan. Then, add kale and chicken broth. Stir to thoroughly combine ingredients. Cover until kale wilts. Remove lid and allow excess moisture to evaporate. 

Serve. Top with parmesan cheese, if desired. 


Notes

  • *Can use cauliflower gnocchi in this recipe, if desired.
    *I used Alfresco chicken sausage.

Keywords: kale, chicken, chicken sausage, one pan, gnocchi, white beans, beans, dinner

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Beef and Barley Soup

Cozy up to a bowl of Beef and Barley Soup. Not only can you add layers and layers of flavors, but they also can be balanced nutritionally.

Beef & Barley Soup in a white bowl

I am on a total soup and stew kick lately. Mainly because I can cook once and eat all week.

I am teaching three cooking classes this week, so cooking all day at work, the last thing I want to do when I get home it to cook again and wash more dishes!

beef and vegetable soup in a white bowl

Soups are great! Not only can you add layers and layers of flavors, but they also can be balanced nutritionally. Any good soup starts with mirepoix. I like to use dry herbs and spices in my soup recipes because you are able to add them during the cooking process, as they can stand up to the heat. 

Aim to add more whole grains in soups and stews when you can. Barley is a fantastic whole grain. I chose to use hull-less barley. This type of barley has an outer hull that’s so loosely attached to the kernel that it generally falls off during harvesting. This cuts down on processing and ensures that all of the bran and germ are retained.

Beef & Barley Soup in bowls with a white and blue striped napkin

This beef and barley soup may take a little longer to prepare, but it’s worth the wait.

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beef and barley soup in a white bowl

Beef and Barley Soup

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 50
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stove Top

Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 lb boneless beef chuck roast, fat trimmed off and cubed
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 3 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 3/4 cup hulless barley
  • 4 cups kale, spines removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

In a shallow dish combine flour, salt, and pepper. Dredge the beef cubes with flour, shaking off excess flour. 

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven (or large pot) over medium-high heat. Add the beef to the pot and cook just until the meat starts to brown, turning as needed. Do this in 2 or 3 batches, to not crowd the pot. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside.

In the same pot, add the chopped onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and oregano. Cook the vegetables until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Deglaze the pan with red wine scraping the fond (the brown bits) from the bottom of the pan. Let simmer and reduce red wine by half. Add tomato paste and stir to coat the vegetables.

Add beef back to the pot with water and beef broth. Stir to combine.

Bring to a boil, add barley and turn down to a simmer for 45-50 minutes, until meat is tender and barley is cooked through. Stir occasionally so the barley won’t stick together. If you find that too much liquid has evaporated or the soup is too thick add more water as necessary until you get the desired consistency.

Remove soup from heat and stir in the kale while the soup is still hot to wilt. Season with salt and pepper, as needed. 

Garnish with parsley, if using.


Notes

If you do not want to use wine, deglaze with additional beef broth.

Keywords: barley, beef, soup, batch cooking, meal prep

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Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin isn’t only for sweet recipes. Try switching things up and use pumpkin in a savory cooking application. Start with this Turkey Pumpkin Chili! 

Turkey Pumpkin Chili with a piece of cornbread in a white bowl

How is October already coming to an end? Fall is a busy time for me with conferences and a lot of work travel. Also during this time of year, I’m sure your Pinterest boards are being saturated with pumpkin everything! I am would say I am a self-proclaimed pumpkin lover, but my RD friend Maggie I would nominate as the president of the pumpkin lover’s club. She just came out with a pumpkin cookbook featuring 50 creative pumpkin flavored, shaped, & spiced recipes.

Turkey Pumpkin Chili with piece of cornbread in a white bowl

Did You Know?

A few years back I was at a conference and an RD from Nestle was there speaking about Libby’s canned pumpkin. That brand is a staple across supermarkets nationally. I’m sure many of you, like myself, stock up on Libby’s canned pumpkin this time of year. I was fascinated to learn they exclusively use Dickinson pumpkins, which are a special strain of pumpkins.

Why Dickinson Pumpkins?

Libby’s acquired the rights to the “Libby’s Select Dickinson” pumpkin in 1929 from the Dickinson family who brought it in the early 1800s from Kentucky. If you ever Google “Dickinson pumpkin” images that appear look like a pale, slightly misshapen butternut squash, not the jack-o-lantern pumpkin you may be thinking of. When Dickinson pumpkins are grown and cultivated just right, they yield a sweet, bright orange flesh that’s amazing in dishes from pies to pasta, and a healthier ingredient to swap into some of your favorite recipes.

Confession: One year I was a little too pumpkin obsessed. I ate it in my oats for breakfast, stirred it in my yogurt, made smoothies, breads, soups every. single. day. I had a tad too much beta-carotene and my palms started turning orange. Lesson learned.

While pumpkin is used in sweet applications the majority of the time, pumpkin works well with savory applications. This chili is perfect for someone who isn’t too crazy about super spicy chili. It’s a mellow flavor with a hint of sweet. I feel like chili isn’t complete without a slice of cornbread. I always crumble up the cornbread right into the chili.

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white bowl with turkey pumpkin chili with a piece of cornbread

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: chili

Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey breast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 (28 oz) can no salt added diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the turkey, and cook until browned, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper, and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add in the diced tomatoes, pumpkin, chicken stock and beans, and stir to combine.
  4. Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
  5. Serve with cornbread.

Notes

This chili freezes well. Make a large batch and freeze half for another time.

Keywords: chili, pumpkin, turkey,

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Make PERFECT Hard Boiled and Soft Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot

Do you have an Instant Pot and don’t know where to start? I am still getting the hang of it, but I’ve mastered how to make PERFECT hard-boiled and soft-boiled eggs in the Instant Pot.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the American Egg Board and the Egg Nutrition Center. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible!

Make PERFECT Hard Boiled and Soft Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot #instantpot #protein #cookingtip #healthy #breakfast #snack #eggs

Did you know?

215,000+ Amazon customers purchased the Instant Pot on Prime Day alone. Now that it’s in everyone’s kitchen they are looking for new recipes to try.

The Instant Pot is a single appliance that does the job of seven (yes, seven!) different kitchen appliances. It can handle the tasks of a slow cooker, electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, sauté/browning pan, and a warming pot. Think of all those appliances taking up space in your kitchen that can be replaced by one.

New to using the Instant Pot? Learn about these seven tips of efficiently using your Instant Pot.

While I am still learning all the functions of the Instant Pot, the first technique I mastered was preparing hard and soft-boiled eggs.

Make PERFECT Hard Boiled and Soft Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot #instantpot #protein #cookingtip #healthy #breakfast #snack #eggs

Don’t fear the yolk!

One large egg has 6 grams of high-quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids. Nearly half the protein is in the yolk so don’t ditch the yolk!

Eggs were once avoided and criticized for their cholesterol content. However, the totality of scientific research has shown no or little effect between dietary cholesterol and cardiac outcomes or markers of heart disease risk in healthy individuals.

Government and health organizations have revised their dietary cholesterol recommendations. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans place no daily limit on dietary cholesterol intake. Foods like egg yolks and some shellfish are higher in dietary cholesterol but not saturated fats making them a healthful choice along with healthy eating patterns.

Make PERFECT Hard Boiled and Soft Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot #instantpot #protein #cookingtip #healthy #breakfast #snack #eggs

Why the Instant Pot method works:

Now, I know making hard-boiled eggs on the stovetop is not too challenging, but this Instant Pot method makes it even simpler and in just 5 minutes, they are ready. Plus, there is a science behind why cooking eggs in the Instant Pot make them easier to peel. The reason according to Alton Brown is:

“Eggs that are quickly heated are easier to peel than eggs that are slowly heated, say in cold water brought to a boil. Fast cooking prevents the white from bonding so epoxy-like to the outer membranes. Since pressure steamers can generate temperatures between 230 and 250 degrees F it is suspected that this is actually why folks think they’re magic egg machines.” Also, thorough cooling eases peeling by allowing the proteins in the albumen to fully set and harden, thus preventing tearing.

Make PERFECT Hard Boiled and Soft Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot #instantpot #protein #cookingtip #healthy #breakfast #snack #eggs

Hard-boiled eggs are something I pretty much meal prep every week for myself. One large egg has varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals, including choline plus the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, all just for 70 calories.

Hard Boiled Eggs will keep up to a week in your refrigerator. Make a few perfect hard-boiled eggs to create into delicious recipes throughout the week.

A few ways I use hard-boiled eggs are:
  • Pair hard-boiled eggs with avocado and tomato. I usually just add a little salt and pepper, but when I’m looking to add an extra pop of flavor, I add everything but the bagel, sesame seasoning blend.
  • For a filling snack, try my version of a “quick deviled egg”. Scoop out the yolk, mix with hummus and fill back in the egg white.

 

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Make PERFECT Hard Boiled and Soft Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot #instantpot #protein #cookingtip #healthy #breakfast #snack #eggs

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Make PERFECT Hard Boiled and Soft Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 3
  • Cook Time: 5
  • Total Time: 8 minutes
  • Yield: 5 1x
  • Method: Instant Pot

Description

Make PERFECT Hard Boiled and Soft Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.


Scale

Ingredients

Ingredients:
Eggs (up to as many that can fit in an even layer in your Instant Pot – do not stack)
1 cup water

Equipment:
Instant Pot with the rack


Instructions

Place the rack in the bottom of the pot. Pour the water in the pot. Place the eggs on the rack.

For soft-boiled:
Set Instant pot on high pressure on manual 3 minutes. Quick release placing a towel over the valve. Quickly add eggs to a bowl with cold water and ice until cool enough to hold. Peel right away.

For hard-boiled:
Set Instant Pot on high pressure on manual 5 minutes. Natural release 5 minutes then use quick release placing a towel over the valve. Quickly add eggs to a bowl with cold water and ice until cool enough to hold. Peel right away.


Keywords: eggs, instant pot, meal prep

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Chef Julie Harrington, RD - Culinary Nutrition Consultant of julieharringtonrd.com

Make PERFECT Hard Boiled and Soft Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot #instantpot #protein #cookingtip #healthy #breakfast #snack #eggs

Want to learn more?

Visit: https://www.eggnutritioncenter.org/
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Make PERFECT Hard Boiled and Soft Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot #instantpot #protein #cookingtip #healthy #breakfast #snack #eggs

 

Make PERFECT Hard Boiled and Soft Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot #instantpot #protein #cookingtip #healthy #breakfast #snack #eggs

Pineapple Beef Stir Fry

Beef stir fry in a white bowl with white rice

This post is sponsored by The Beef Checkoff. Thanks for supporting brands that make this blog possible!

Dietitians are celebrating all month long because March is National Nutrition Month! This year’s theme is “Go Further with Food”. This theme encourages us to achieve the numerous benefits healthy eating habits offer while including a variety of healthful foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis.

Beef Up Nutrition Month - Understanding Beef Labeling + Pineapple Beef Stir Fry Recipe via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #sponsored by The Beef Checkoff

Previously working as a Supermarket RD, I quickly learned that a grocery store is a confusing place, especially in certain areas like the meat section.

It can be challenging grocery shopping for beef if you are unsure of the difference between flank steak and skirt steak. The different costs, categories, or even proper cooking techniques of various cuts of beef can throw off even a savvy home cook.

pineapple beef stir fry in a pan

At the supermarket meat case, each beef package label typically identifies the primal cut and the sub-primal cut name. It also includes the weight, price per pound, total price, sell-by date, and safe handling instructions. It may also include a grade, nutrition and preparation information, and the country of origin.

Understanding Beef Labeling + Pineapple Beef Stir Fry Recipe via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #sponsored by The Beef Checkoff #beef #stirfry #dinner #nutrition

It’s time to “Beef Up Nutrition Month” with decoding what the labels mean in the supermarket meat case.

BEEF QUALITY GRADING

The USDA divides beef into categories by different grades. Prime, Choice, and Select are the ones you will see at the grocery store.  The certain qualifications that determine the quality grade of beef are:

  • Distribution of marbling within the lean muscle at the 12th/13th rib
  • Age/maturity of the carcass
  • Color, texture, & firmness of the lean muscle

Prime-Grade Beef is the USDA’s highest designation. Coming from younger, well-fed cattle, this beef has more marbling with a firmer flesh. Prime-grade beef accounts for less than approximately five percent of the market in the United States, with the vast majority going to steakhouses and fancy hotels. Prime roasts and steaks are excellent for roasting, grilling, or broiling.


Choice-Grade Beef is of high quality and produced in highest quantity. Choice-grade beef has less marbling than Prime.  This is the standard option at supermarkets. Choice roast and steaks, especially from the rib and loin, will be very tender, juicy, and flavorful when roasted, grilled, or broiled. Less tender cuts are great for slow cooking.


Select-Grade Beef is slightly leaner than Prime and Choice because it has less marbling.  It can lack some tenderness, flavor, and juiciness as compared to the higher grades. Select grade beef often benefits from marinating prior to grilling or broiling. 1


Check out this easy to explore chart, outlining the various Grades of Beef.

NATURAL, GRASS-FED, ORGANIC – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Beyond just the quality grade, beef comes along with additional labels. Package labeling can be very confusing.

All cattle spend the majority of their lives eating grass on pastures. But beef can be finished in a variety of ways, giving you choices when at the meat case in your local grocery store or at a restaurant.

“Natural” This label implies the beef has no artificial ingredients or colors added to it an is minimally processed. 2

“Naturally Raised” does have validity. As of 2009, the label ensures that the animals are free of antibiotics, never received growth-promoting hormones, never fed animal by-products, and may spend time at a feed yard. Naturally raised cattle may be either grain- or grass-finished.

“100% Organic Beef” means that the animals must be fed completely organic feed grains and have never received antibiotics and growth-promoting hormones. This is certified and inspected by the government. Organic beef cattle may be either grain- or grass-finished, as long as the USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service certifies the feed is 100% organically grown and can be fed in a feed yard. 3

“Grass Finished” cattle spend their lives eating grass or foraging, but not always necessarily stay on a 100 percent grass-fed diet or finished on grass.  Some “grass-fed” cattle are still fed grain for their last few weeks to help fatten the cattle. Grass-fed cattle may or may not be given FDA-approved antibiotics to treat, prevent, or control disease and/or growth-promoting hormones. 2

Learn how to Decode the Label with this simple infographic.

Need help choosing lean beef or wondering what type of cooking method works best? Use the Beef. It’s what’s for dinner’s cooking guide.

WHY BEEF?

Beef provides you with 10 essential nutrients that support a heart-healthy lifestyle including protein, zinc, iron and B vitamins. The nutrients found in beef provide our bodies with the strength to thrive and grow throughout all the stages of life.

Beef is an excellent source of protein.

One 3-ounce cooked serving of beef provides approximately 50% of your Daily Value (25 grams) of this important nutrient—making it an excellent source! Protein helps maintain a healthy weight, as well as preserve and build muscle.

New research suggests it’s not only important to just get enough protein in at dinner or lunch but to spread it throughout your day for optimal health. Aim for 25-30 grams of protein at each meal. 4,5

What is considered lean?

6 Look for the word “round” or “loin” in its name when choosing lean cuts of beef.

Lean cuts include top sirloin steak, tenderloin steak, strip steak (or top loin steak), or 95% lean ground beef.

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pineapple beef stir fry with white rice in a white bowl

Pineapple Beef Stir Fry Recipe

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: dinner

Description

Whip up this simple and delicious stir-fry for dinner.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 (8-ounce) can pineapple tidbits, 3 tablespoons juice reserved
  • 5 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 lb. flank steak, cut into strips
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 tsp sesame oil, divided
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup snap peas
  • 1 sweet pepper, sliced

Instructions

  1. Whisk the reserved 3 tbsp pineapple juice, vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, and sugar in a small bowl until smooth. Place beef in a medium bowl; toss with 2 tablespoons of the sauce. Let marinate for 20 minutes.
  2. Add cornstarch to the remaining sauce and whisk until smooth.
  3. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Transfer the beef to the pan. Whisk any remaining marinade into the bowl of sauce. Cook the beef, stirring every 1 to 2 minutes, until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer the beef to a plate.
  4. Add the remaining 1 tsp oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add garlic, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms, snap peas and sweet pepper to cook, stirring often, until just tender, about 3 minutes. Pour in the sauce and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 30 seconds. Add the beef and pineapple and cook, until heated through.
  5. Serve over rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice.

Keywords: stir fry, beef, dinner

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Fun Facts About Beef: Nutrients, Recipes, and a Free Printable Placemat! via Mama Teaches
Fresh Homemade Cheesy Beef-a-Roni via Brooklyn Active Mama
Slow Cooker Cuban Shredded Beef via Snacking in Sneakers
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References:
1. Inspection & Grading of Meat and Poultry: What Are the Differences?
2. Meat & Poultry Labeling Terms
3. Organic Labeling Standards
4. Paddon-Jones D, Rasmussen BB. Dietary protein recommendations and the prevention of sarcopenia. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2009;12:86-90
5. Mamerow MM, et al. Dietary protein distribution positively influences 24-h muscle protein synthesis in healthy adults. J Nutr 2014;144:876-80
6. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety, and Inspection Service. Beef from Farm to Table. Available at: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/c33b69fe-7041-4f50-9dd0-d098f11d1f13/Beef_from_Farm_to_Table.pdf?MOD=AJPERES
Grades of Beef
Decode the Label

Instant Pot Sesame Chicken

Skip takeout! It will take you less time to make this Instant Pot Sesame Chicken than it is to make a trip out for takeout.

white bowl with sesame chicken, broccoli, & rice.

There are just some nights where takeout seems like the easier option. Sesame chicken is one of my favorites when ordering takeout but never leaves me feeling the best. What if I told you, I’ve figured out a way to enjoy this signature takeout dish faster than it will take you to hop in the car and grab from a restaurant. Would you believe me?

Instant Pot Sesame Chicken in a white bowl with broccoli and rice

Why the Instant Pot recipe is healthier than takeout

Oh Instant Pot, you continue to amaze me. Cooking the chicken in the Instant Pot creates a crispy texture without a fryer, which how typical take-out restaurants cook this dish.

Simple sauce ingredients

You most likely have the majority of these ingredients already on hand. The soy sauce, ketchup, and red pepper flakes will cook with the chicken helping it stay tender while infusing flavors. The honey and cornstarch will help crisp up the chicken and thicken the sauce.

Easily turn this Instant Pot Sesame Chicken recipe into a full meal

Take it even one step further to make this dinner with ease. Utilize the steamable rice and broccoli found in the frozen aisle. Or keep putting your Instant Pot to work again by cooking rice and the broccoli in there too.

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homemade sesame chicken with white rice and broccoli in a white bowl

Instant Pot Sesame Chicken

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Chinese

Description

Skip takeout! It will take you less time to make this Instant Pot Sesame Chicken than it is to make a trip out for take out.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless, chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sesame oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ketchup
  • pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss chicken to evenly and lightly coat.
  2. Preheat the Instant Pot and set to “saute”. Add 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken and saute for 3-4 minutes, to brown.
  3. Stir in soy sauce, ketchup, and red pepper flakes, if using. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and seal the valve. Set to manual and 3 minutes cook time.
  4. When done, use the quick pressure release. When most of the steam is released, remove the lid. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and honey. Stir to combine.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and water to make a slurry.
  6. Set Instant Pot back to saute, stir in the slurry and continue to stir as the sauce thickens to desired consistency, about 2 minutes.
  7. Top with sesame seeds.
  8. Serve over rice and steam broccoli.

Keywords: instant pot, sesame chicken, dinner

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