Monthly Archives: March 2011

Mary’s Memo #2207

Sipping a cup of green tea with a meal may help youfeel fuller and less likely to go back for seconds. That’sthe conclusion of Swedish researchers, who compared thepost-meal effects of green tea and plain water. Researchersobserved study participants for two hours after a meal,quizzing them on satiety and how full they felt. Not onlydid participants report feeling fuller when accompanyingthe meal with a cup of green tea, they were also lessinterested in eating another mouthful of the same food.When washing down the food with plain water, participantswere later more likely to go for a second helping.
Source: Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, February 2011.

The benefits of “good” fats versus the dangers of “bad”fat are a hot nutrition topic. Many Americans tend to eat adiet high in “bad fat” which can lead to obesity, heart problemsand even death. But adding more healthy fats to yourdiet can help you live a longer, healthier life.
Now, researchers have found that eating the right kindof fat also can have a significant impact on your bone health,according to a study published in the December 2010 issue ofthe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. More than 137,480participants from the Women’s Health Initiative study wereevaluated for total fractures and, more specifically, hip fractures,in relation to dietary fat intake. The researchers foundthat higher saturated fat consumption was associated with ahigher risk of hip fracture. Saturated fats are typically foundin meat products such as beef and pork, as well as full fatdairy products and palm, palm kernel and coconut oils.
The study also found that women who ate diets high inmonounsaturated fat from foods such as olive oils, avocadosand pecans, and those who ate foods high in polyunsaturatedfat, such as walnuts, sunflower seeds, soybeans and safflower,sunflower and corn oils, had decreased fracture risk.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Food & Fitness Advisor,February 2011.

Sloppy Joe Beef Bake is timelier today than it was in thespring of 1971 when it was featured in Mary’s Memo. Therecipe serves 6 to 8 people with just 1 pound of ground steakor ground chuck (the leaner the meat, the less calories perserving). Ditto if you make it with reduced-fat cheese. Kudosto McCormick for voluntarily reducing the amount ofsodium in their mixes! Since 1971 whole grain pastas are also available. Do try this healthier version soon! 
1 pound ground steak or ground chuck 
1 package McCormick Sloppy Joe Seasoning Mix 
(1) 6-ounce can tomato paste 
1-1/2 cups water 
2 cups whole wheat elbow macaroni, cooked according
to package directions 
(1) 15.25-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained 
2 cups reduced-fat shredded sharp Cheddar cheese 
Cook ground steak or chuck in large skillet over medium
heat, stirring constantly until meat loses its red color. Drain
any fat from meat before proceeding. Return meat to skillet
and add seasoning mix, tomato paste and water. Bring
to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in cooked macaroni and 1 cup cheese. Spoon
into 2-quart casserole; sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese.
Bake, uncovered in preheated 350ºF oven until bubbly, about
35 minutes. Recipe makes 6 to 8 servings. 

But when they’re made with fresh blueberries, there’s
even more reason to eat them. This recipe requires 6 ounces
of blueberries, the size container that is available this time of
year. Zest of lemon adds to total tastiness. Serve them hot. 

1-1/2 cups +1-1/2 teaspoons unsifted all-purpose flour 
1/4 cup sugar 
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
3/4 cup milk 
1 well beaten egg 
1/3 cup canola oil 
6-oz. container fresh blueberries, washed and drained 
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon zest of lemon 
Melted butter and additional sugar for topping 
Mix flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt together in
a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
Whisk together milk, egg and oil. Add all at once to
dry ingredients. Stir quickly until dry ingredients are just
moistened. Mix blueberries with 2 tablespoons sugar and
lemon zest; stir gently into muffin batter. Fill greased muffin
cups 2/3 full. Bake in a preheated 400ºF oven for about 25
minutes. Loosen from muffin cups and while still hot, dip in
melted butter and sugar. Recipe makes 1 dozen muffins.
Download PDF of Memo #2207

Mary’s Memo #2206


Australian researchers asked 1,216 older women how often
they consumed chocolate. Those who said they had at least a
serving a week were 24 percent less likely to experience hospitalization
or death from heart disease or heart failure over
about 10 years, compared with those who said they ate chocolate
less frequently.

Source: Consumer Reports on Health, February 2011.


The "danger zone" in which harmful bacteria are most
likely to grow is 40 to 140 degrees. Food should remain in this
range a maximum of two hours. The safest temperature in your
refrigerator is 34 to 40 degrees. The safest temperature for your
freezer is 0 degrees. To insure that your appliances stay at the
appropriate temperature, your best bet is an appliance thermometer.

Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Food & Fitness Advisor,
February, 2011.


The germ in whole grain contains oil, which may eventually
become rancid if the grain is not stored properly. Store whole
grains in airtight containers in a cool, dry place away from direct
light for up to 2 months. During hot weather or if your
kitchen is warm, store tightly wrapped grains in the refrigerator
or freezer, where they will keep 6 to 12 months.

Cook grains in a heavy pan that distributes heat evenly. This
is especially important for grains like amaranth, cornmeal and
rolled oats that cook into porridge.

Since cooking time for whole grains can be long, it is a
good strategy to cook extra whenever you are cooking a grain.
Also, consider cooking breakfast cereals like steel-cut oats the
night before. Cooked grains will keep for up to 3 days in the
refrigerator or for up to 4 months in the freezer. Thaw if necessary,
add a few tablespoons water and reheat in the microwave.
Alternatively, recycle cooked grains in a soup or grain salad.

Source: Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, February 2011.


Here's another macaroni and cheese recipe with cubes of
ham and frozen peas. Sliced stuffed olives give it additional flavor!
Add a salad and fruit for dessert and your meal is complete.


(1) 8-oz. package whole wheat elbow macaroni, cooked
according to package directions

¼ cup butter

¼ cup flour

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon dry mustard

3½ cups milk (whatever kind you have on hand)

1½ cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

½ cup sliced stuffed olives

1 tablespoon dry minced onion

(1) 10-oz. pkg. frozen peas, thawed enough to separate

2 to 3 cups cubed cooked ham

Cheese Crumb Topping

Melt butter in large saucepan. Stir in flour, salt, pepper and
dry mustard. Gradually add milk, stirring until thickened. Add
cheese, stuffed olives, minced onion, peas, ham and cooked
macaroni. Spoon into 3-quart oblong casserole and sprinkle
with Cheese Crumb Topping. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven until
bubbly. Recipe makes 8 servings.

To make topping, combine ¼ cup shredded sharp Cheddar
cheese, 2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs and 2 tablespoons
melted butter.

When you're looking for more "cheap eats" Potato and
Egg Casserole is right on target. It gets most of its protein from
eggs and cheese with just a bit of bacon.


6 strips lean bacon

4 medium potatoes, cooked and sliced

6 hard-cooked eggs, sliced

1 can Campbell's Healthy Request Cream of Chicken soup

1 cup milk (whatever kind you have on hand)

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

¼ cup finely chopped onion

1½ cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (reduced-fat

kind if available)

Microwave bacon until crisp; crumble. Spray 2-quart casserole
with non-stick spray. Layer potatoes, bacon, eggs and cheese in
prepared dish. Blend soup and milk. Add salt, pepper and chopped
onion. Pour over casserole mixture. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven
for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Recipe makes 6 servings.


I admit to being addicted to chips of any kind. Once the bag
is opened and chips crunch in my mouth I'm a goner! So when I
wrestle with this addiction in the chip aisle of the supermarket,
eating a whole grain "crunchy" makes me feel less guilty. In fact
Cooking Light's What to Eat Guide, published by Oxmoor House
in 2010, suggests corn chips like Lay's Fritos and Scoops because
they fit the crunchy, salty snack bill plus their first ingredient is
whole corn. But regardless of the type chip you choose, portion
control is vital. Download PDF of Memo #2206

Mary’s Memo #2205


Nutrition experts have been warning us to watch added
sugars for at least a decade, but Americans are still struggling
to follow that advice. Rachel Johnson, PhD, MPH, Rd, of the
University of Vermont, incoming chair of the American Heart
Association's nutrition committee, told a recent conference
that Americans average 475 daily calories from added sugars.
That's far more than the AHA's recommended 100 daily
calories from added sugars for women and 150 for men and a
whopping 30 teaspoons a day. "So we have a long way to go,"
Johnson told attendees at the American Dietetic Association
Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. Added sugars and
solid fats total about 35 percent of the calories in the average
diet, she added; the recommended maximum is 5 to 15 percent.
To start scaling back on added sugars, Johnson advised
simply avoiding sugary soft drinks, the source of about 36 percent
of added sugars in the US diet. Check labels to see if sugar
in any form is listed among the ingredients.

Source: Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, February 2011.


The verdict is still out on the health effects of high fructose
corn syrup (HFCS). What we do know is that too much of any
kind of sugar can lead to weight gain, dental cavities, poor nutrition
and increased triglycerides which can boost your heart
attack risk.


People are quick to complain about food prices but it
doesn't stop them from stocking up on carbonated soft drinks
by the case when they're on sale. They buy tea by the jug and
so-called health drinks are also popular. Although I may keep
root beer on hand for a root beer float and occasionally drink
peach tea Snapple in the summertime, water is still my beverage-
of-choice and not the bottled kind.

I keep one case of bottled water around for emergencies
or to drink in the car when I'm traveling but that's it. According
to the Pacific Institute, a nonprofit research organization
based in Oakland, California, producing, packaging and transporting
a liter of bottled water requires between 1,100 and
2,000 times more energy on average than treating and delivering
the same amount of tap water.

From what I've read, 86 percent of over 30 billion plastic
bottles a year are discarded instead of being recycled, even
when recycling facilities are available.


Grace Carr started the school lunch program in Bryan City
Schools. She also catered large banquets held in the high
school gymnasium. Grace was one of Bryan's best cooks and
her recipes are still used by many of us who knew her. Looking
for recipes to share in this week's memo, I came across
her recipe for Delish Cookies, printed in a 1971 memo when
the National School Lunch program was 25 years old. Recipe
makes 12 dozen cookies. If that's more than you care to make
cut the recipe in half.


6 cups granulated sugar

2 cups packed light brown sugar

4 cups butter (2 pounds), softened

8 eggs

8 teaspoons baking soda

4 teaspoons baking powder

3 teaspoons salt

4 teaspoons vanilla

16 cups unsifted, all-purpose flour

6 cups plump raisins

Mix all ingredients together until well blended. Drop by teaspoonfuls
onto parchment-covered cookie sheets. Bake in preheated
350ºF oven for 10 to 12 minutes.


You don't have to be Irish to savor the flavor of Irish Potato
Salad on St. Patrick's Day.


2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 teaspoon celery seed

1 teaspoon mustard seed

3 medium-large potatoes

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups finely shredded cabbage

3/4 pound deli corned beef, cubed

1/4 cup sliced scallions

1/4 cup chopped dill pickles or dill pickle relish

1 cup Hellmann's Light Mayonnaise

Combine vinegar, celery seed and mustard seed; set aside. Scrub
potatoes and cook until done; drain and cube. While potatoes
are still warm, drizzle with vinegar mixture. Sprinkle with sugar
and salt; chill. Before serving, add cabbage, corned beef, scallions
and mayonnaise. Toss lightly. Recipe makes 6 to 8 servings.


A food scientist at Bush Brothers Beans reports that the
company sent samples of their beans to an independent lab,
which found that you can remove 40 percent of the sodium
when you rinse the beans thoroughly.

Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, February 2011. Download PDF of Memo #2205

Mary’s Memo #2204


That morning glass of orange juice might be doing some
good for your cholesterol numbers. In a new study published
in Nutrition Research, Brazilian scientists report that orange
juice made from concentrate reduced unhealthy LDL in patients
with high cholesterol.

"Orange juice is regularly consumed worldwide, but its
effects on plasma lipids have rarely been explored," noted
Thais B. Cesar of Sao Paulo State University and colleagues.
They theorize that orange juice from concentrate, because
of its higher flavonoid levels, can improve LDL levels and
lipid metabolism.

What's in a glass of orange juice? A typical 8-ounce serving
of orange juice from concentrate contains 122 calories,
20.7 grams of total sugars, 83.7 mg of vitamin C and 105 IU
of vitamin A. Some brands may also add calcium, vitamin D
and omega-3s. Opt for real orange juice over juice drinks that
often have added sugar and extra calories. For dietary fiber,
choose whole fruit instead, with about 3 grams per orange.
Source: Tufts University Diet & Nutrition Letter, February 2011.


A shopper at the Bryan Chief asked me about artichokes
recently. She had never cooked an artichoke and needed to
know because she had a recipe for an artichoke dip. I advised
her to use the canned variety to make her dip but she was
still interested in how fresh ones are prepared.

Green globe accounts for nearly all the artichokes grown
in the US and are available year-round in the supermarket.
They cannot be imported. It's a vegetable that isn't served on
a regular basis but at some point in time you should introduce
your family to them as I did when our children were young.
My recommendation is to steam or boil fresh artichokes.
Any good all-purpose cookbook will provide further details
or look on the internet.


There was a time when I bought canned albacore tuna
because I thought it was best kind to buy but today my
choice is regular tuna canned in water because albacore contains
more mercury than I want to eat. Also, the 5-ounce can
of chunk light tuna is often on sale at Chief and Rays. It will
take (2) 5-ounce cans to make this week's Tuna Cheese Casserole.
It's a tasty alternative to tuna-noodle combos.


(2) 5-oz. cans chunk light tuna canned in water, drained

1-1/2 cups cottage cheese (I like Daisy brand)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

(1) 4-ounce can mushroom stems and pieces, drained

2 tablespoons minced onion

2 tablespoons chopped green bell peppers

2 eggs, well beaten

2 cups coarse soft breadcrumbs

(1) 2-ounce jar chopped pimiento, drained

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Stir together all ingredients but cheese. Spoon into a

1-1/2-quart round casserole. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on
top. Set dish in a shallow pan of hot water and bake 1 hour
at 350ºF. Recipe makes 4 to 6 servings.


In addition to trying new recipes on Bryan Chief customers
I get a lot of feedback about their likes and dislikes.
Two things stand out: They like simple, easy recipes and they
don't want to spend an arm and a leg making them! I get
the message loud and clear so Baked Chicken-Macaroni will
surely resonate with them and you, too!


2 cups uncooked whole wheat elbow macaroni

2 cans Campbell's Healthy Request cream of mushroom soup

2 cups milk (whatever kind you buy)

4 hard cooked eggs, chopped

1/2 lb. Velveeta cheese, cubed (reduced fat kind is fine)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 to 3 cups cubed rotisserie chicken

Mix ingredients together and refrigerate overnight. Remove
from refrigerator one hour before baking. Spoon into
3-quart 9x13-inch casserole. Bake in 350ºF oven for I hour or
until macaroni is tender. Recipe makes 8 servings.


Recently I read an article in USA Weekend that eating
tomatoes, whether raw or in naturally processed catsup and
tomato sauces, are excellent sources of lycopene, a hydrator
and antioxidant, useful in preventing premature aging. This
information really interested me because if there is any food
I eat in some form every day it's a tomato. I buy V-8 juice by
the case and it's not unusual for me to have a cup of hot V-8
with a grilled cheese or egg sandwich for lunch during the
wintertime. In the summer I can make a meal on a plate of
tomatoes from my mini salad garden. I'm not saying tomatoes
prevent wrinkles but they might suppress them. Tomatoes
anyone? Download PDF of Memo #2204