Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad

Salads don’t have to be boring! By adding cooked and raw elements like in this Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad can elevate any salad experience.

Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad in wooden bowl with wooden serving spoons

There is nothing worse when trying to enjoy a kale salad and your jaw becomes numb with all the chewing. It’s most likely that the kale wasn’t treated properly. Kale is very fibrous, but the simple technique of massaging kale can change your whole kale salad experience. I’ve talked all about this already here.

Salads don’t have to be boring! Mix and match with various food groups, flavors, and textures. I like to add both raw and cooked elements to add different depths of flavor.

Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad in a white bowl

Perfectly roasted sweet potatoes provide additional sweetness from their caramelization.

Tips to perfectly roast vegetables:

  • Cut vegetables approximately the same size. This will prevent smaller pieces from overcooking and larger pieces not being cooked through.
  • Don’t overdo it on the oil. One tablespoon of olive oil is enough for a full tray of vegetables. Instead of drizzling the oil when the vegetables are already on the sheet pan, toss in a large bowl then place vegetables on the sheet pan. This will ensure all vegetables are evenly coated.
  • Don’t crowd the pan. Vegetables should be an even layer on the sheet pan. Overcrowding can result in the vegetables steaming rather than roasting.
  • Stop stirring. Simply flip vegetables halfway through the cooking process. Constant stirring won’t allow the vegetables to caramelize evenly on each side.
  • Looking for easy cleanup. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad in a wooden bowl with wooden serving utensils

With a little meal prep, this salad can come together in minutes. Roast sweet potatoes in advance, wash and chop kale, batch cook quinoa, and make the dressing. By getting the prep process started earlier on can help put meals together in minutes. With kale being very fibrous, it lasts longer in the refrigerator. I wash and chop kale for the week and store it in a breathable produce bag. Then, I can easily prepare a salad; add it to a smoothie, or sauté for a quick side dish.

Fun Fact:

Have you ever notices kale that has been sitting in the refrigerator for a longer period of time, the edges start to turn an orange/yellow color. Yes, the kale is aging, but it’s not going bad. As kale ages, the deep green chlorophyll color begins to fade and the vitamin A & C colors shine through. Kale is an excellent source of Vitamins A & C.

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Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad in a wooden bowl with wooden utensils

Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Salads don’t have to be boring! By adding cooked and raw elements like in this Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad can elevate any salad experience.


Ingredients

For the salad:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 sweet potatoes, chopped, cut into cubes
8 cups kales, stems removed and chopped
1 cup quinoa, cooked
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup dried cranberries

For the dressing:
1/3 cup golden balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon maple syrup
salt, to taste


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with cooking spray or parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, toss sweet potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add to the baking sheet in an even layer. Roast for 30-40 minutes, flipping halfway through until sweet potatoes have caramelized and are fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool completely. 
  3. In a large bowl, add the kale and massage to become tender. Add the sweet potatoes, quinoa, walnuts, and dried cranberries. Toss to combine.
  4. In a mason jar, combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and maple syrup. Secure lid and shake to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to combine. 

Notes

The addition of feta cheese to this salad is great if desired. 

Keywords: salad, quinoa, sweet potato, kale, walnuts, cranberries, healthy

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Play around with this salad combination. For a more filling meal add protein, like beans, grilled chicken, shrimp, etc. Switch up the dressing. Add fresh fruit, like pears, apples, or pomegranate seeds too.

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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Butternut Squash Apple Cheddar Soup

Butternut Squash Apple Cheddar Soup via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD

There is nothing better then cozying up to a warm bowl of soup on a chilly evening. Soups can pack in a ton of flavor utilizing various food groups creating a balanced meal.

A couple of weeks ago I had a cooking class called “Hearty Soups & Salads” and in the class, we discussed when making soup, the ingredients and steps are well thought out to build and develop depths of flavors.

Butternut Squash Apple Cheddar Soup via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD

You might think, pairing butternut squash and Honeycrisp apples would yield a soup too sweet, but with the addition of sharp cheddar and plain yogurt, adds a balance of salty, with a hint of tart and tangy.

When blended, this creates a silky smooth soup. Batch cook and freeze some for later.

Butternut Squash Apple Cheddar Soup via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD

Properly cool, freeze, and reheat soup:

  1. Refrigerators and freezers cannot cool soups quickly enough for food safety protocols. Speed up the cooling process by placing the pot of soup in a bath of ice water in the sink. Stir soup to help release the heat.
  2. Label and date large ziplock plastic bags. To help pour soup in the bag, place bag in the bowl and cuff the bag over the edges. Ladle soup into each bag, let out excess air and seal.
  3. Lay bags flat in a single layer in the freezer. When completely frozen, stack bags to save space in the freezer.
  4. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
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Butternut Squash Apple Cheddar Soup in a white bowl

Butternut Squash Apple Cheddar Soup

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD

Scale

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter
½ sweet onion, diced
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
2 Honeycrisp apples, peeled and cut into chunks
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
4 ounces sharp cheddar, grated (about 1/2 cup) [I used Cabot’s sharp cheddar]
¼ teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
Salt and ground pepper to taste
Chopped fresh chives, for garnish


Instructions

Saute onions with butter over low medium heat in a large stockpot until translucent.
Add squash, apples, and stock or broth in a large pan; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover pan and simmer squash for 20 minutes or until very tender.
Uncover and let cool. Puree in blender or food processor, in batches, if necessary.
Return puree to saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Stir in yogurt, cheese, and ground red pepper. Add salt and ground pepper to taste.
Whisk soup just until heated through (do not allow to boil). Serve sprinkled with chives.


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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.

 

Looking for more recipe ideas?

 

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

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hard boiled eggs on a gray plate

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/
Follow: Instagram & Twitter

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

Sweet Potato Flax Waffles

Make these Sweet Potato Flax Waffles for a delicious weekend breakfast, and freeze for later to enjoy during a busy week.  

Sweet Potato Flax Waffles via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD Make these Sweet Potato Flax Waffles for a delicious weekend breakfast, and freeze for later to enjoy during a busy week.  #sweetpotato #waffles #breakfast #brunch #flax #flaxseed #freezerfriendly

I go through phases where my waffle iron is always being used daily but then sits there collecting dust. I think it’s because sometimes I get sick of cleaning it. You have to get into all the nooks and crannies to make sure you don’t miss anything.

The good thing about making waffles in the waffle iron is they freeze and reheat well. Just pop them into a toaster like any frozen waffle and it’s ready to go.

Sweet Potato Flax Waffles via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD Make these Sweet Potato Flax Waffles for a delicious weekend breakfast, and freeze for later to enjoy during a busy week.  #sweetpotato #waffles #breakfast #brunch #flax #flaxseed #freezerfriendly

I used to get SO excited when we would stay at a hotel that had a continental breakfast and we could make Belgium waffles for breakfast. It was always an extra little treat!

Sweet Potato Flax Waffles via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD Make these Sweet Potato Flax Waffles for a delicious weekend breakfast, and freeze for later to enjoy during a busy week.  #sweetpotato #waffles #breakfast #brunch #flax #flaxseed #freezerfriendly

Being the foodie as I am, I put it on my holiday wish list one year and was so excited when my secret Santa gifted one to me. I was oddly specific when I put it on my wishlist, that I wanted a circle waffle iron. I guess because those are the ones I remembered as a child at the hotels? Well, thank you secret Santa, because so many waffles have been made since then.

Sweet Potato Flax Waffles via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD Make these Sweet Potato Flax Waffles for a delicious weekend breakfast, and freeze for later to enjoy during a busy week.  #sweetpotato #waffles #breakfast #brunch #flax #flaxseed #freezerfriendly

Team Waffle or Team Pancake?

I’ve mentioned before that I used to be a waffle person over pancake person, only because I used to be terrible at flipping them. I think my skills have improved though.
This batter can easily be used for pancakes as well.
Waffle pros: They freeze and reheat better than pancakes (in my opinion).
Waffle cons: You only can really make one at a time, whereas with a large enough pan, you can easily make a few pancakes at a time.

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sweet potato waffles on a white plate with bananas and walnuts

Sweet Potato Flax Waffles

  • Author: Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: makes 8 waffles 1x
  • Category: breakfast, waffles

Description

Make these Sweet Potato Flax Waffles for a delicious weekend breakfast, and freeze for later to enjoy during a busy week.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sweet potato puree (about 1 medium sweet potato – baked and flesh scooped out)
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup ground flax (I used Manitoba Milling Co.)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • cooking spray
  • toppings: sliced banana, walnuts, maple syrup (optional)

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Let batter sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat waffle iron to medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray.
  3. Pour 1/3 cup of batter into waffle iron. Cook until desired consistency (about 3-4 minutes per side).
  4. Top waffles with sliced bananas, walnuts, and syrup, if desired.

Notes

To make sweet potato puree: Score a sweet potato with a paring knife. Wrap in tin foil and bake until soft. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and puree.

Meal Prep: Make a batch of these waffles ahead of time. They freeze well. Just pop them in the toaster to warm up.

I used Manitoba Milling Co. finely milled flax seed, which is almost like the consistency of flour. If using coarse ground flax, more liquid may be needed. 

Keywords: waffles, breakfast, sweet potato, grain free, gluten free

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

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Sweet Potato Flax Waffles via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD Make these Sweet Potato Flax Waffles for a delicious weekend breakfast, and freeze for later to enjoy during a busy week.  #sweetpotato #waffles #breakfast #brunch #flax #flaxseed #freezerfriendly

Oat Flour Pancakes

These pancakes are whole grain and gluten-free, making them a perfect fit for any pancake enthusiast!

oat flour pancakes stacked on a white plate

Why I love Oat Flour Pancakes

I used to be “anti pancake” because I am the worst at flipping them. Really, it was that I was impatient and tried to flip them too early before they set.

When my sisters and I were little, my dad was the only one who was allowed to cut our pancakes. He would keep them perfectly stacked and cut them into perfect triangles. I was more of a syrup dunker than a drizzler. I would take each triangle and dunk it into the “good syrup”. My aunt lives in Vermont and she would send us delicious locally made maple syrup.

gluten free pancakes on a white plate topped with wild blueberries

Using whole grains for pancakes

The problem with pancakes is that I never felt satisfied after eating them. Adding whole grains as the base of pancakes can help solve that solution.

I used oat flour as the base. You could just buy oat flour, but it’s pretty easy to make. Just take rolled oats or instant oats and pulse them in a food processor until they resemble a light fluffy flour. Oat flour still contains all part of the whole grain, but not as dense as whole wheat flour, yielding a fluffier pancake.

oat flour pancakes with blueberries

The secret to creating fluffy pancakes

Vinegar in pancakes? Yes! It’s the secret to help activate the baking powder and helps the pancakes puff and become fluffy.

I’ve tried some other methods like adding seltzer to the batter or whipping the egg whites separately from the egg yolks before combining them. Both methods do work, but I don’t always have seltzer on hand, and mixing egg whites separately makes more messy bowls. I don’t know about you, but the fewer dishes to clean, the better!

Oat flour pancakes cut with wild blueberries

Syrup dunker or drizzler?

Are you a syrup dunker or drizzler? Most of the time I ditch the syrup and use frozen fruit like wild blueberries. When frozen berries defrost they become all gooey and syrupy. Other times, I’ll spread peanut butter or yogurt between the layers. I really just go with what I’m craving at the time.
How do you top your pancakes?

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stack of oat flour pancakes on a white plate with blueberries

Oat Flour Pancakes

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 23 1x
  • Category: pancakes, breakfast

Description

These oat flour pancakes are whole grain and gluten-free, making them a perfect fit for any pancake enthusiast!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup oat flour (see notes)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine oat flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to combine.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, add milk, vanilla, apple cider vinegar, canola oil, and eggs; whisk together.
  3. Slowly add wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until it just comes together. (do not overmix)
  4. Let batter sit for 5-7 minutes. It will thicken.
  5. Lightly spray a hot griddle with cooking spray.
  6. Use a 1/2 measuring cup to scoop the pancake batter onto the griddle.
  7. Let the pancakes bubble before flipping. Cook until golden brown on both sides.

Notes

Make your own oat flour:
Place either rolled oats or instant oats in a food processor at high speed. Process until it turns into fine oat flour.

Batter makes 6 medium-sized pancakes.

Keywords: pancakes, breakfast, whole grain, brunch

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*This recipe was originally posted in 2014. A new picture has been updated in 2018.

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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other recipes you may enjoy

Learn more about the health benefits of beef via Snacking in Sneakers
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

Squash and Wheat Berry Salad

This Squash & Wheat Berry Salad captures all the different flavors of sweet, savory, tart, and nutty. Batch cook for the week for a satisfying meal or side dish. 
Squash & Wheat Berry Salad via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #wheatberries #wholegrain #squash #sidedish #salad

One of my meal prep strategies is batch cooking at least one whole grain for the week. Then that whole grain is incorporated throughout the week in various ways.
I’ve been utilizing my Instant Pot to quickly batch cook grains for my weekly meal prep. Wheat berries can take up to an hour to cook and require you to keep a constant eye on them. Throw them into the Instant Pot and voila – done in half the time!
Squash & Wheat Berry Salad via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #wheatberries #wholegrain #squash #sidedish #salad
I’ve had a little extra time on my hands this week being completely snowed in the past two days. With an already prepped batch of wheat berries in my fridge, I utilized the ingredients in my kitchen to create this dish.
I feel like many of my recipes are like I am a contestant on Chopped. The items that are in my kitchen are my “mystery basket”. I must say it is a much easier mystery basket than what the contestants end up with. Chopped viewers voted, mashed potatoes candies were voted the weirdest basket ingredient on the show. What even are those?!
Squash & Wheat Berry Salad via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #wheatberries #wholegrain #squash #sidedish #salad
Squash season is not over yet! I love using delicata squash because of its more tender flesh and skin, making this variety easier to work with. No need to even peel the skin!

Make your own vinaigrette:

You know I love making my own dressings. It’s SO easy. Want to create your own signature vinaigrette? Use my guide with your favorite flavor combination!

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wheat berry salad with squash in a white bowl

Squash Wheat Berry Salad

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 8
  • Total Time: 38 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: side dish

Description

This Squash & Wheat Berry Salad captures all the different flavors of sweet, savory, tart, and nutty. Batch cook for the week for a satisfying meal or side dish.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 cups wheat berries, cooked
  • 1 delicata squash (about 2 cups), or your favorite squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • zest of one orange
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 cups kale, stems removed and chopped
  • ½ cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/3 cup sliced almond

Instructions

  1. Cook wheat berries according to package directions (or try my Instant Pot Wheat Berries recipe for a simple method). Let cool once cooked.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Dice delicate squash. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for 20-30 minutes, until squash is tender and caramelized, stirring occasionally.
  3. In a mason jar, combine remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, orange zest, orange juice, and maple syrup. Secure the mason jar lid and vigorously shake. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. In a large bowl, combine wheat berries, squash, kale, dried tart cherries, and sliced almond. Dress with salad dressing. Toss to combine.

Notes

Instant Pot Wheat Berries recipe here

Keywords: side dish, farro, whole grain, squash, salad

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Did you make this recipe? I’d love to see. Tag me on Instagram, Facebook, or comment below!

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

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Squash & Wheat Berry Salad via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #wheatberries #wholegrain #squash #sidedish #salad