Mary’s Memo – September 16th


Even though Ohio really isn’t in the Midwest, we tend to identify with Midwesterners. Food Network personality Amy Thiele’s first cookbook, The New Midwestern Table, features 200 recipes with focus on local harvest foods and generations of great country cooking. Thielen grew up in rural Minnesota. Her Food Network program, Amy’s Heartland Table, debuted September 14th at 10:30 PM (EDT). To order The New Midwestern Table, call 1-800-565-3663. Food Network price is $27.95 plus postage and handling.


Lisa Massini, a dietetic intern at Tufts’ Frances Stern Nutrition Center, answers: “Whole-grain pasta is naturally darker than refined pasta due to the bran (the hard, fibrous outer layer of a grain) that it contains. This color difference is not due to added colors. Whole-grain pasta contains a significantly larger amount of fiber than white pasta (6 grams per serving versus 2 grams serving). It is also richer in iron and magnesium; however, whole-grain pasta is not typically enriched with B vitamins such as thiamine, niacin, riboflavin and folate, as white pasta is. Those who choose whole grains may obtain these nutrients through a balanced intake of fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products.”
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, September 2013.


Buy beans, potatoes and corn. A recent study from the University of Washington compared 98 vegetables in terms of value and nutrition. While dark green vegetables, such as broccoli, scored highest in nutrient density, the study found that beans and starchy vegetables offer the best nutritional value for the money. Nutrient density was based on fiber, potassium, magnesium and vitamins A, C and K. Fresh, frozen and canned vegetables were found to provide comparable nutritional value. “Affordable nutrition” is especially important for the national school lunch program, according to the study, which appeared in the online journal PLOS ONE.
Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, September 2013.


Cookouts are about other things besides hamburgers and hot dogs; side dishes should also be on the menu. A recipe I’ve used for years is Rice Consommé. Problem is that Campbell’s Beef Consommé contains monosodium glutamate and there is no Campbell’s Healthy Request version which doesn't contain it. So it’s been replaced with the same amount of good beef stock (Chief has several kinds available). Also, to reduce calories I sauté onions in a half stick of butter instead of a whole stick.


• 1/2 stick butter
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 1 cup regular long grain rice
• 1 8-ounce can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
• 21.5-ounces rich canned beef stock

Sauté onions in melted butter. Add rice, mushrooms and beef stock. Spoon into 1.5-quart casserole sprayed with Pam. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven for about 45 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes. Continue baking until liquid is absorbed. Recipe serves 6 and partners well with poultry or beef.

Another side dish is Paula Dean’s Southern Cornbread Salad. Carlene Myres of Bryan, whose Crazy Crunch recipe is in my cookbook, recommends the recipe. To save time, instead of making the corn bread she buys it in the Chief bakery. You can also use a recipe of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix made in an 8x8x2-inch baking dish. Paula Dean’s salad includes her homemade cornbread recipe but we’re making it like Carlene does and with particular brands I prefer.


• 1 batch baked cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes
• 1 (14.5-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 (15-ounce) can niblet corn, drained
• 1 sweet onion, finely chopped
• 1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
• 3 large tomatoes, chopped and drained
• 2 cups reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese
• 8-ounces of Marzetti Simply Dressed Ranch dressing (available in Chief produce department)
• Chopped flat leaf parsley leaves, for garnish

In bottom of a large salad bowl, place cornbread cubes. Layer beans, corn, onion, bell pepper, tomatoes and cheese on top of cornbread. Spread ranch dressing evenly over cheese. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Garnish with parsley. Recipe makes 6 servings.
Source: Adapted from Paula Dean recipe via Carlene Myres and Mary Thaman.


Land O'Lakes now has butter pre-measured in half stick amounts. When recipes call for a half stick of butter it’s a real time-saver and you’re assured of having the exact measurement. I keep a pound carton on hand for this purpose.

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