dinner

Summer Vegetable Curry

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When you’re in a hurry, cook a curry!

Despite what you may be thinking, making a curry for dinner can actually be accomplished in very little time. Curry sauces used to intimidate the heck out of me. I had thought it was required to make this elaborate, involved sauce from scratch and that the whole process would take sooo long in order for the flavors to deepen and develop. Sure, some recipes may walk you through how to create a curry from a mixture of 8 spices and have you simmer a pot for upwards of an hour, but really, who has time for that on a weekday after work?

Delicious food does not need to take so much time or be so darn complicated! By taking a few smart short cuts you can easily recreate an authentic tasting curry dish while keeping your sanity.

I have been all about cooking short cuts these days as the temperatures have been hot- like curry spice hot!- and I haven’t been wanting to slave over the stove or crank up the oven to heat up the apartment. The other night I was feeling like a veggie stir fry, but wanting to mix up the traditional Asian flavor profile, so I decided to get my QUICK curry on for dinner.

How do I speed up the process? I utilize a jarred curry paste that brings pleny of flavor! I happened to still have some red curry paste in the fridge, but you can certainly use a yellow or green paste too. If you don’t have a curry paste, a dried curry powder mix can work just as well.

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Not only is curry mighty tasty, but it has plenty of good nutrition amongst all the spices. My curry paste contains a few superstars:

  • Turmeric- contains curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight inflammation and free radical damage throughout the body

  • Lemongrass- may be helpful in preventing and fighting infection and relieving bloating

  • Galangal-also known as Thai ginger, it is rich in vitamins A and C and flavanoids that may have anti-inflammatory effects and may combat cancer

Aside from the quick curry paste, this recipe uses other time-savers as well, so keep reading to find out how this summer hurry dinner comes together!

Summer Vegetable Curry- serves 2

Prep time: 5 minutes/Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quick cooking rice (I use Trader Joe’s 10 Minute Rice)

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil

  • 2 medium, boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

  • pinch of salt and ground black pepper

  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

  • 2 cups 1 inch-chopped green beans

  • 1 cup coconut milk

  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste

  • basil to garnish

Instructions

  1. Cook the rice according to the package instructions. Set aside once finished.

  2. Season the chicken on both sides with the ground coriander and some salt and pepper. Heat the avocado oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add seasoned chicken. Cook chicken for about 4 minutes per side until an internal temperature of 165 degrees is reached. Remove and let cool before cutting into strips or cubes.

  3. Heat the same skillet again and add a touch more avocado oil. Transfer the sliced peppers and green beans to the skillet and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the coconut milk, add the curry paste, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 7 to 8 minutes until the sauce has thickened a bit.

  4. Prepare the curry bowls by adding 1 cup of rice to each bowl, 1 chicken breast sliced, and equal amounts of the curry vegetables and sauce. Garnish with torn fresh basil.

* *If one person prefers a vegetarian version, simply substitute the chicken for pan seared tempeh (shown below), tofu, or cooked lentils.

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Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

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With the low-carb craze these days, one of the most frequently asked questions I get is about potatoes. Many people see potatoes as one of the worst “carbs that turn to sugar” offenders and so have pushed all types of potatoes aside and off their plates. Quite honestly this just makes me sad! Because usually, when people toss white potatoes out the window, they also toss sweet potatoes too, which I see as a huge nutritional mistake.

Sweet potatoes are one of our favorite starchy root vegetables and are eaten in our house at least once per week. As a dietitian, I love sweet potatoes because they are…

  • High in fiber and resistant starch- this means they cause less dramatic blood sugar spikes, slow digestion and help us feel fuller, and help feed beneficial gut microbes

  • Rich in vitamins A and C- which helps boost our immune system and reduces inflammation, which we know plays a role in heart disease, diabetes, and cancer

  • Loaded with potassium- to help lower blood pressure (because it’s not all about lowering your salt intake!)

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Sweet potatoes are also very versatile ingredients in the kitchen! If you’re looking to switch your carbohydrate intake from one of white, processed grains, to more whole grain and high fiber choices, then sweet potatoes have got your back in so many ways. They are great prepared by…

  • Roasting as cubes or fry shapes

  • Steaming then mashing

  • Sauteing and then simmering in a soup or stew

  • Baking them whole in the classic way

While all of these cooking methods are great, you maaaay notice that they all require some time over the stove or with the oven on. If you’re also going through a heatwave, you may be saying, “Thank you, next.” Which is why I’ve lately been cooking mine in the microwave! Don’t worry, cooking a tater for 8 minutes in the microwave will NOT kill the nutrients, and in fact may actually retain more of the vitamins and minerals this way than if you boiled it in a large pot of water for 15 minutes. Microwaving also saves me time and allows a perfectly tasty and nutritious meal to come together all that more quickly. Hmm, something to think about…

This brings me to this super duper easy stuffed sweet potato recipe that I’ve been enjoying for a meal prepped lunch. Take 1 microwaved sweet potato, stuff it with some sauteed goodies, drizzle on a sauce, and you’ve got lunch packed in about 10 minutes.

The stuffing options are literally endless and you can really let your culinary creativity shine with sweet potatoes as your blank canvas! I hope you all enjoy this simple and totally nutritious lunch.

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Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potato- makes 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil

  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped

  • 2 bell peppers (any color), sliced into thin strips

  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

  • 1 [14.5 oz] can black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt or sour cream

  • 1/2 cup cilantro

  • juice of 1 lime

  • avocado oil, as needed

  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Using a fork, poke holes in the sweet potatoes. Place them on a microwave-safe plate and microwave for 10 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat the avocado oil until shimmering. Then add the poblano and bell peppers and cook, stirring occassionaly, until they begin to soften and brown, about 8 minutes. Add in the red onion and black beans, stir and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from heat.

  3. Carefully remove the potatoes from the microwave and once cool enough to handle, use a knife to cut each open, careful not to cut them completely in half. Spoon the pepper and bean mixture evenly into the two potatoes.

  4. To make the cream, combine the yogurt, cilantro, lime, and a tablespoon of avocado oil in a blender or food processor. Process on high, adding in more oil or a splash of water as needed to thin to your desired crema consistency. Taste and adjust salt and lime (or even heat with some jalapeno) to your liking. Drizzle this over your stuffed potato.

  5. Serve immediately, or once cooled package into food storage containers for meal prepped lunches.

BBQ Broccolini Salad

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Disclosure: This recipe and blog post were created in partnership with Mann’s Fresh Vegetables (Mann Packing Company). I was compensated for my time and provided with product from Mann’s. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Casey Seiden Nutrition!


The Fourth of July has come and gone, so we are firmly into summer now, which means it’s barbeque season! Sadly, living in New York City affords me limited access to an outdoor grill, so I take a more liberal view of what barbeque means throughout the months of July and August. By traditional definition, barbeque is “a meal at which meat, fish, or other food is cooked out of doors, on a rack over an open fire”. When I get the chance to do some grilling at my in-law’s house in the country I take full advantage, but in our city apartment, barbeque means cranking up the oven’s broiler to quickly get a nice crisp and char on some salmon or chicken, and also getting creative with “grilling” vegetables!

Have you ever thrown vegetables on the grill before?

Grilling can transform a vegetable side dish or salad into something truly spectacular! Heating them in such a way brings out their natural sweetness, while also lending a smoky flavor. It also has the nice effect of creating a more crisped, yet still soft texture, which many people don’t associate with veggies.

 However, not all vegetables are well-suited for tossing straight onto the grill. Many are small and oddly shaped, but I’ve happily found a new favorite that can get grilled up with minimal fuss- BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli! I’ve teamed up with Mann’s Fresh Vegetables to showcase their baby broccoli in a barbeque-style summer salad.

 BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli is actually a cross between two vegetables- gai lan and broccoli- and has a sweeter, milder flavor compared to regular broccoli. Plus, since it can be eaten from flower to stem, these larger pieces of BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli are easy grillers whereas broccoli florets may be a bit small and annoying to turn. But do you want to know the best part? My husband, who reeeally dislikes broccoli, will gladly down some charred BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli!

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 Tossing some vegetables onto grill helps boosts the fiber content of your summer barbeque spread. Animal proteins that you may be grilling up- like chicken, ribs, and fish- contain zero dietary fiber, but in just three stalks of BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli there is about 5 grams of fiber. Most of us could stand to get more fiber in our diets for improved gut health, blood sugar balance, and heart health, so why not include it in the form of deliciously grilled vegetables!

 And even though we associate winter with cold season, that doesn’t mean keeping up with micronutrients like vitamin C isn’t important in the summer. The good news if that BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli contains 130% of your daily vitamin C needs, alongside other nutrients like vitamin A, calcium, vitamin E, folate, iron, and potassium.

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 I don’t know about you, but I’ve got my tongs ready to get this BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli “grilling” and put together this summertime BBQ salad! If you have access to an outdoor grill, replace the broiling steps in this recipe with your outdoor flame.

 BBQ BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli Salad- serves 2

 For the salad:

  • 1 package Mann’s BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli

  • Olive oil spray

  • 2 small ears of corn, kernels cut from the cob

  • 1 tablespoon diced jalapeno

  • ¼ cup chopped red onion

  • Juice of 1 small lime

  • Salt, to taste

  • 4 cups mixed greens

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa

  • ½ lb. shredded chicken breast (I used a rotisserie chicken)

 For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt

  • 1 tablespoon barbeque sauce

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil

 Instructions

  1. Heat the oven’s broiler to high. Spray the BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli with some olive oil and transfer it to a baking sheet. Broil for about 15 minutes or until the BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli stars to brown and crisp. Once cooked, remove from the oven and let cool.

  2. While the BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli is cooking, prepare the dressing by whisking together the yogurt, barbeque sauce, and avocado oil in a small bowl. You want the texture to be thin and pourable, so add a tad more oil or a small dash of water as needed.

  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the corn kernels, diced jalapeno, and red onion. Drizzle the lime juice over the mixture and season with salt to taste.

  4. When the broccoli is cool enough to handle, roughly chop the stems into 1 inch pieces.

  5. Plate the salad by layering 2 cups of greens onto each plate, then top each bed of greens with ½ cup cooked quinoa, equal amounts of chicken, BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli, and corn salad. Drizzle with the barbeque dressing and toss to coat and combine flavors.

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