Monday, April 11, 2011

Inside The Box; Begin the new year with fresh, healthy fare for everyone's lunch boxes. These recipes from Healthy Chef Teresa Cutter will keep the whole family happy.(Recipe).

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Back-to-school time is a great opportunity to give your family's weekday lunches a tasty makeover. Make them healthy and tempting, with creative combinations of lean protein, vegetables, essentials fats and fresh fruit to keep them going through the rest of the day.

First, rethink the sandwich. This lunchbox staple can get boring with the same old fillings, so be more adventurous with what goes between the bread - and the bread itself. See the box at right for yummy ideas to get you started.

Another fantastic option is a salad, of course. The recipes here are my all-time favourites. Give them a go and be inspired to ad lib in your own kitchen.

Packed lunches do require some planning and an easy two-for-one is to turn last night's leftovers into the next day's lunch. A healthy frittata or Spanish tortilla is delicious warm or cold.

Lastly, tuck in a treat along with a piece of fruit (they can take turns as dessert and afternoon snack): a piece of dark chocolate or a wholesome biscuit, such as one of my no-bake power cookies.

Summer salad with sweet corn & lime

2 very fresh cobs sweet corn

2 roma tomatoes, diced

1 lebanese cucumber, diced

1 avocado, diced

2 spring onions, thinly sliced

2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley or coriander

Juice of 1 lime

200g grilled or tinned salmon, or grilled chicken

Cut kernels from corn cobs and place in a bowl. Add tomato, cucumber, avocado, spring onion, parsley and lime juice. Season to taste. Divide into two containers and top with salmon or chicken. Serves 2

Mango chicken salad

1 whole roasted free range or organic chicken (skin removed)

250g baby spinach leaves or watercress

1 mango, peeled and sliced

1/4 red onion, finely sliced

Walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)


1/2 cup natural yoghurt

Juice of 1 lime

2 tbsp chopped mint

2 tsp honey

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 To make dressing, whisk together all ingredients until well combined.

2 To make salad, pick meat from chicken and tear into large strips. Divide spinach leaves among 4 containers and top with chicken, mango and onion. Just before eating, drizzle with dressing and sprinkle over walnuts, if liked. Serves 4

Tortilla with sweet potato & watercress

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

500g sweet potato, skin on, scrubbed well and diced

6 organic or free-range eggs

1/2 cup watercress, roughly chopped

1 Place oil, onion, sweet potato and 2 tbsp water in a frypan with lid. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10mins. Remove lid and cook a further 5mins, or until sweet potato is tender and liquid has evaporated. Season well with pepper.

2 Break eggs into a bowl, beat well then stir in watercress. Pour mixture over sweet potato and onion. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 10mins or until set. (Alternatively, place frypan in a preheated oven and bake at 180C/160C fan for 10-15mins or until set. Wrap frypan handle with foil if it is not ovenproof.)

3 Remove from heat. Rest in pan for 5mins, then turn out and slice. Tortilla may be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Serves 4

Vegie balls

2 tsp olive oil

1 cup coarsely grated carrot

3 cups well-cooked brown rice, at room temperature

2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

150g organic firm tofu, grated

1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce

1/2 cup tahini

2 spring onions, finely sliced

1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley or coriander chopped

11/2 cups sesame seeds

Olive oil spray (if baking) or 1/4 cup vegetable oil (if shallow-frying)

Sesame sauce

Juice of 2 limes

1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce

4 tbsp mirin

1 tbsp honey

2 tbsp tahini

1 If baking vegie balls, preheat oven to 180C (160C fan). Place oil and carrot in a saucepan over medium heat and cook for 5mins or until soft. Cool slightly then place in large bowl. Add rice, pumpkin seeds, tofu, tamari, tahini, spring onion and parsley.

2 Mix ingredients, using your hands, until mixture is sticky and holds together. Rinse hands; while they are still damp, form mixture into 8 round balls, roll in sesame seeds, place on a tray and flatten slightly. (If baking, place on a baking tray lined with baking paper, then spray lightly with olive oil.) Refrigerate at least 30mins, then bake for 30mins or until set. If frying, heat vegetable oil in a large heavy-based frypan over medium heat. Cook balls in batches for 3mins each side, or until golden. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.

3 To make sauce: place all ingredients in a screw-top jar. Shake vigorously until well combined (makes 1 cup sauce). Serve as is or with sauce. Vegie balls may be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Makes 8

No-bake power cookies

1 cup organic rolled oats

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla

200g pitted fresh Medjool dates

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup walnuts

Place oats, cinnamon, vanilla, dates and pumpkin seeds in a food processor and pulse to mix well until just combined. Add walnuts and pulse again. Add 1 tbsp water and process until sticky. Roll a heaped 1 tbsp measure into a ball and flatten slightly to form a cookie. Place on a sheet of wax paper or baking paper. Repeat with rest of mixture. Refrigerate cookies in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Makes 18

Source Citation
"Inside The Box; Begin the new year with fresh, healthy fare for everyone's lunch boxes. These recipes from Healthy Chef Teresa Cutter will keep the whole family happy." Australian House & Garden 1 Feb. 2011. General OneFile. Web. 11 Apr. 2011.
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