Saturday, June 26, 2010

Red, white and blue for July 4th holiday

As seen on Channel 4 KCNC

From backyard barbeques to front porch fireworks, the 4th of July is a cherished acknowledgement of American independence. With celebrations in full swing, the family will be ready for festive dishes to mark the holiday.

Local dietitian Mary Lee Chin has brought a number of red, white and blue food recipes to sample. And being a dietitian, she will also highlight the health benefits of these celebratory dishes.

Focus on nutrient-rich foods which can help children and adults get the vitamins and minerals they need.
• Low-fat or fat-free dairy, whole grains, fruits and vegetables are encouraged for a wholesome diet and are sources of those specific nutrients of which many Americans are not getting enough of.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans identified “nutrients of concern” in the diets of American adults and children – nutrients that adults and children need to eat more of.
• Five nutrients were identified in children’s diets as nutrients of concern, and they include calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium and vitamin E.
• Seven nutrients were identified as “lacking” in the diets of American adults. These include calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, and vitamins A, C and E.

Begin the theme by setting out red, white and blue parfaits at breakfast.
• Dairy foods such as yogurt supply three of the five nutrients of concern for which children have low intakes: calcium, potassium and magnesium.

Salads are an excellent way to deliciously get the recommended daily 4 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables.
• The darker the leaf, the higher the concentration of the anti-oxidant, beta carotene. So spinach, with its deep green leaf is an excellent salad green.
• Pair with strawberries and blueberries for these berries anti-oxidant power –and to provide the red and blue color.
• White jicama adds crunch and fiber
• The California raisins in the salad dressing are fat and cholesterol free and deliver potassium and anti-oxidants.

For an easy and cool appetizer, try red pepper hummus, and serve with blue corn chips and white strips of cucumber.
• Hummus is not only delicious to eat, but also contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids.
• And offer a variety of vegetables and whole grain crackers as dippers.

Pizza may come from Italy, but it is an all-American favorite. Here is Raisin, Ham, Goat Cheese and Pecan Pizza.
• OK—may have stretched the blue color a bit by the rehydrated raisins.
• Nuts like pecans contain healthy monounsaturated fats, protein, fiber and a host of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, selenium and magnesium.

Cannot forget dessert. A fruit based dessert such as All-American Apple Raisin Tartlets can help you reach the recommended two cups of fruit a day.
• Adding raisins to recipes will help you achieve the fruit recommendations. Just ¼ cup of California raisins counts as a fruit serving.
• And this fun recipe may not be red, white and blue, but I included it as the shape reminds me of fireworks.

According to a recent analysis of U.S. food intake data, 80 % of Americans aren't getting enough variety in their diet to provide adequate anti-oxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals that offer a broad range of health benefits for our bodies.
• So when you think of holiday foods, go a bit lighter, choose a variety of colors which provides a variety of nutrients-and for the upcoming Fourth of July, think of red, white and blue.
• Recipes will be on


Berry parfaits – Yogurt, strawberries, blueberries

Spinach, strawberry, Blueberries and Jicama salad with Raisin Citrus dressing
1 (6 oz. package baby spinach
8 oz. (1 ½ cups) fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
½ cup fresh blueberries
½ cup jicama sticks

Raisin Salad dressing
¾ cup reduced-fat sour cream
¼ cup fat-free (skim) milk
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate
Grated peel of 1 medium orange
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup raisins

Combine sour cream, milk, honey, lime juice, orange juice concentrate, orange peel and salt in small bowl. Blend well, add raisins.

Red pepper hummus with blue chips, cucumber strips

Raisin, Ham, Goat Cheese and Pecan Pizza
1-11 oz. canned thin pizza crust
2 tsp. vegetable oil
2/3 cup raisins soaked in 2/3 cup hot water for 15 minutes
3 oz. crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 cup cubed, cooked ham
2 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary or 2 tsp. dried rosemary
1 1/2 Tbs. honey

Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray and unroll the canned pizza crust on it. Bake the crust for 5 minutes at 400°. Remove crust from oven and brush with vegetable oil. Top with drained raisins, cheese, pecans, ham and rosemary. Drizzle with honey. Bake another 5 – 6 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cut into 18 pieces.

2 tablespoons heart-healthy buttery spread
4 medium green apples, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup California raisins
18 sheets phyllo dough
Butter flavor cooking spray
9 tablespoons shredded low-fat sharp Cheddar

Preheat oven to 375°F and spray 12 cupcake tins with nonstick cooking spray. Melt buttery spread in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in apples and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Stir in brown sugar and cinnamon and cook for a minute more; add raisins and set aside. Meanwhile, lay 1 sheet of phyllo on a cutting board; keep remaining covered with a damp towel to prevent drying. Spray sheet with cooking spray. Repeat with 5 more sheets, sprinkling 3 tablespoons cheese in under the last layer; press firmly to keep cheese in dough. Repeat twice more to make 3 rectangles. Cut each in half crosswise, then cut each piece into 6 strips. Press 3 strips into each tin letting the dough fold over the top by about 1/2-inch. Fill with equal amounts of fruit. Bake for 10 minutes; tent loosely with foil and bake for 10 minutes more.

Makes 12 small desserts