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Nutrition

Support your immune system with grapes

When looking to guide your family to healthier snacks and meals or simply trying to mix up your at-home menu, success can be as simple as rethinking the ingredients you choose to use, including your favorite produce, such as grapes.

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Boosting immune function through a healthy diet has become an important new focus for many people these days. One key dietary recommendation is to eat more fruits and vegetables each day to improve immune function and prevent heart disease and diabetes.

When looking to guide your family to healthier snacks and meals or simply trying to mix up your at-home menu, success can be as simple as rethinking the ingredients you choose to use, including your favorite produce, such as grapes.

Fresh California grapes, for example, make for an ideal snack because they are tasty, healthy, hydrating and refreshing, but grapes can also be used to make good-for-you dishes that are also satisfying and delicious. Grapes of all colors – red, green and black – are a natural source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols. Plus, they are naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free and contain virtually no sodium.

Try recipes like Moroccan Grape and Grilled Chicken Bowls with Grape Vinaigrette, Spiced Chickpeas and Grapes with Yogurt, and Cauliflower Steaks with Grapes to pair heart-healthy grapes with other nutritious ingredients and add variety and fresh appeal in the kitchen.

Visit GrapesFromCalifornia.com for more nutritious family recipes.

Moroccan Grape and Grilled Chicken Bowls with Grape Vinaigrette
Servings: 4

Couscous:

1          cup Israeli couscous
2          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2       cup carrots, thinly sliced
1/2       cup tomatoes, diced
1/2       cup parsley, leaves only
1 1/2    teaspoons ras el hanout (Moroccan spice blend)
1          teaspoon salt

Chicken:

2          chicken breasts (8 ounces each)
1          tablespoon harissa paste
1          tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1          teaspoon salt

Vinaigrette:

1/4       cup green California grapes
1          lemon, juice only
1          preserved lemon, rind only
1/4       cup extra-virgin olive oil
2          tablespoons cilantro, chopped
            salt, to taste
            ground black pepper, to taste

1          cup red California grapes, halved
1/2       cup sliced almonds, toasted

To make couscous: Cook couscous in boiling salted water. Drain, rinse with cold water and combine with olive oil. Add carrots, tomatoes, parsley leaves, ras el hanout and salt. Mix well and set aside.

To make chicken: Heat grill to medium-high heat.

Rub chicken breasts with harissa paste, olive oil and salt. Grill on both sides until just done. Set aside to cool. Slice into 1/4-inch slices.

To make vinaigrette: In blender, puree green grapes, lemon juice, lemon rind, olive oil and cilantro until smooth. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Toss couscous mixture with vinaigrette and portion into four bowls. Top with sliced chicken, red grapes and almonds.

Nutritional information per serving: 590 calories; 30 g protein; 44 g carbohydrates; 32 g fat (49% calories from fat); 4.5 g saturated fat (7% calories from saturated fat); 65 mg cholesterol; 720 mg sodium; 3 g fiber.

Spiced Chickpeas and Grapes with Yogurt
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4

1          can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry
1          cup California grapes
1          tablespoon peanut oil
1 1/2    teaspoons mustard seeds
1          teaspoon cumin seeds
1          teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4       teaspoon salt, divided
1          pinch red pepper flakes
1          cup low-fat Greek yogurt
1          tablespoon lemon juice
1/2       teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2       garlic clove, grated
2          tablespoons chopped cilantro
2          tablespoons thinly sliced scallions

In large bowl, mix chickpeas and grapes.

In small skillet, warm oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add mustard seeds and cover. Cook until seeds stop popping then add cumin and fennel seeds; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper flakes; pour over chickpeas and grapes. Mix well.

In separate bowl, stir yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic and remaining salt. Spread on serving platter and top with chickpea mixture, cilantro and scallions.

Nutritional information per serving: 220 calories; 11 g protein; 31 g carbohydrates; 6 g fat (25% calories from fat); 1.5 g saturated fat (6% calories from saturated fat); 5 mg cholesterol; 280 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.

Cauliflower Steaks with Grapes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

1          large head cauliflower, leaves trimmed off
3          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2          teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
1/2       teaspoon coarse salt
1/2       teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1          cup halved California grapes
1/4       cup chopped Castelvetrano olives
2          tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
2          tablespoons chopped, toasted pistachios

Heat oven to 450 F.

Cut stem off cauliflower and cut remaining head crosswise into four 1-inch-thick slices, keeping as intact as possible. Place on sheet pan and brush sides with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast until browned and tender, about 25 minutes.

Combine remaining olive oil, remaining pepper, grapes, olives, parsley and pistachios. When cauliflower is roasted, transfer to serving plates and top with grape mixture.

Nutritional information per serving: 210 calories; 5 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 14 g fat (60% calories from fat); 2 g saturated fat (9% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 480 mg sodium; 5 g fiber.

Healthy Eating is Easy with Grapes

Grapes are prized for their taste and crisp, juicy texture, but fresh grapes are also a heart-healthy, hydrating snack choice. Grapes contain more than 1,600 natural plant compounds, including antioxidants and other polyphenols, which help protect the health and function of the body’s cells. Grapes can be paired with other healthy foods to enhance flavor and nutrition, including dark leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, whole grains, legumes and lean proteins.

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Nutrition

Study shows orange peel extract may improve heart health

The orange peel non-polar fraction extract effectively inhibited the production of harmful chemicals. Researchers also identified a compound called feruloylputrescine in the orange peel polar fraction extract that also significantly inhibits the enzyme responsible for TMA production.

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Orange peels may hold a key to better cardiovascular health, new University of Florida-led research shows.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women and people of most racial and ethnic groups, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Recent research has shown that some gut bacteria help develop cardiovascular disease. When they feed on certain nutrients during digestion, gut bacteria produce trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). Levels of TMAO can help predict future cardiovascular disease, according to researchers at the Cleveland Clinic. With help from a $500,000 USDA grant, Yu Wang and her team investigated the potential of orange peel extracts — rich in beneficial phytochemicals — to reduce TMAO and trimethylamine (TMA) production. Scientists tested two types of extracts: a polar fraction and a non-polar fraction.

To get the polar fractions, scientists used polar and non-polar solvents to extract the orange peel, Wang said.

“If you imagine your salad dressing, anything in the water or vinegar part are the polar fraction; anything in the oil away from water is the non-polar fraction,” Wang said. “The solvents we used were not exactly like water and oil, but they possess similar polarity.”

Results from the study showed that the orange peel non-polar fraction extract effectively inhibited the production of harmful chemicals. Researchers also identified a compound called feruloylputrescine in the orange peel polar fraction extract that also significantly inhibits the enzyme responsible for TMA production.

“This is a novel finding that highlights the previously unrecognized health potential of feruloylputrescine in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Wang, a UF/IFAS associate professor of food science and human nutrition.

The orange peel finding is significant because 5 million tons of orange peels are produced each year in orange juice production nationwide. Nearly 95% of Florida oranges are used for juice. About half of the peels go to feed cattle. The rest goes to waste. But the Food and Drug Administration considers natural orange peel extracts safe for human consumption. So, Wang hope to put the peels to better use.

“These findings suggest that orange peels, often discarded as waste in the citrus industry, can be repurposed into valuable health-promoting ingredients, such as diet supplements or food ingredients,” said Wang, a faculty member at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center. “Our research paves the way for developing functional foods enriched with these bioactive compounds, providing new therapeutic strategies for heart health.”

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Nutrition

Dish up protein-packed sweet treats

Choosing health shouldn’t mean restricting yourself; everyone deserves a treat now and again.

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In a world of packed schedules and boring food, it can feel like doing the healthy thing means giving up some of what makes you happy – like treats and flavors you love. Choosing health shouldn’t mean restricting yourself; everyone deserves a treat now and again.

Try incorporating better-for-you ingredients into your favorite indulgences. Look for convenient, ready-to-use products, like Premier Protein High Protein Shakes, to help infuse the nutrition you need with the joy you deserve. With 30 grams of protein, 160 calories and 1 gram of sugar, the shakes make it easy to take the first step and keep that momentum going, adding nutrient-dense protein to nearly any recipe.

In addition to a smooth, creamy texture, each shake delivers 24 vitamins and minerals including vitamins C and E, which help support a healthy immune system as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. With 11 flavors – including strawberries & cream and chocolate – there’s an impossibly indulgent option for everyone to make a healthy life a happy endeavor through recipes like Peanut Butter Jelly Ice Cream and Chocolate Ice Cream with “Caramel” Sauce.

Find more information and recipes at PremierProtein.com or on Instagram.

Peanut Butter Jelly Ice Cream
Servings: 12

1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup Premier Protein Strawberries & Cream Protein Shake
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar-free strawberry jelly

In large, heavy saucepan, heat milk, protein shake, brown sugar and salt until bubbles form around sides of pan. Whisk small amount of hot mixture into egg. Return to pan, whisking constantly.

Cook and stir over low heat until mixture thickens and coats back of spoon. Remove from heat; whisk in peanut butter. Quickly transfer to bowl; place in ice water and stir 2 minutes. Stir in cream and vanilla. Press wax paper onto surface of custard. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Fill cylinder of ice cream freezer 2/3 full; freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

When ice cream is frozen, spoon into freezer container, layering with jelly; freeze 2-4 hours before serving.

Nutritional information per serving: 271 calories; 23 g total fat; 11 g saturated fat; 0 g trans fat; 72 mg cholesterol; 205 mg sodium; 13 g total carbohydrates; 1 g dietary fiber; 8 g total sugars; 6 g protein.

Chocolate Ice Cream with “Caramel” Sauce
Recipe courtesy of “Chelsea’s Messy Apron”
Servings: 8

1 large sweet potato
1 bag (10 ounces) dark chocolate chips, plus additional for topping (optional)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup coconut sugar
Premier Protein Chocolate Protein Shake

“Caramel” Sauce:
3 tablespoons coconut oil (measured when solid)
3 tablespoons real maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons almond butter
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Wash and scrub sweet potato. Pierce with fork several times. Place on microwave-safe plate and microwave 5 minutes; flip and microwave 5 minutes. Allow to cool.

In microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate chips in 20-second increments, stirring between each increment until smooth and melted. Set aside.

Remove sweet potato skin and thoroughly mash. Pack into 3/4 cup measuring cup. Place in large blender.

Add melted chocolate to blender along with vanilla, sea salt, coconut sugar and chocolate protein shake.

Place lid on blender and blend on high at least 1 minute, or until ingredients are smooth and incorporated.

Transfer to ice cream maker and prepare according to manufacturer’s directions then transfer to airtight container and freeze 2-3 hours.

To make “caramel” sauce: In microwave-safe bowl, microwave coconut oil and syrup 30 seconds. Stir and microwave 30 seconds, or until melted and smooth. Stir in almond butter and whisk until smooth. Add sea salt and vanilla extract; whisk to combine.

Set “caramel” sauce aside at room temperature about 30 minutes. Top ice cream with sauce and additional chocolate chips, if desired.

Nutritional information per serving: 346 calories; 18 g total fat; 11 g saturated fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 219 mg sodium; 40 g total carbohydrates; 4 g dietary fiber; 31 g total sugars; 7 g protein.

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Nutrition

Celebrate spring with brunch favorites

From sweet to savory and back again, you can turn your mid-morning meal into a full-blown feast with a menu made up of pleasing dishes.

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Few things go together quite like fresh spring air, warm sunshine and a menu made up of delicious brunch bites. Whether you’re hosting a crowd or simply gathering your loved ones around the family table for quality time together, a menu of morning favorites can appease appetites of all kinds.

From sweet to savory and back again, you can turn your mid-morning meal into a full-blown feast with a menu made up of pleasing dishes such as this French Toast Casserole, which can serve as a make-ahead twist on the breakfast classic; customizable Breakfast Burritos that pack a protein punch; and a bite-sized treat like Double Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins for a sweet finishing touch to any brunch occasion.

Find more recipes to inspire your next brunch menu at Culinary.net.

Warm Up with a Fresh Casserole

An exciting twist on a breakfast classic, it’s hard to beat this French Toast Casserole when putting together your brunch spread. Crisp on top while soft and moist in the middle, it comes fresh out of the oven with the aroma of maple syrup and pecans that will have the whole house eager for a bite. It’s easy enough to make fresh in the morning but can also be prepared the night before so all you have to do is add the topping and pop it in the oven.

French Toast Casserole

1          loaf French bread (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1-inch cubes
5          large eggs
1 1/2    cups unsweetened milk
2          tablespoons brown sugar
2          teaspoons vanilla extract
1          teaspoon cinnamon
1/4       teaspoon nutmeg
1/4       teaspoon sea salt
            maple syrup, for serving

Topping:
2          tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted
2          tablespoons brown sugar
1/2       cup chopped pecans
1          cup frozen strawberries
1          cup frozen blueberries
            confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Grease 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Place bread cubes in baking dish. In large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Pour mixture evenly over bread cubes.

If making casserole ahead, cover baking dish and refrigerate overnight. If baking immediately, let stand 30 minutes at room temperature to allow bread to soak up egg mixture.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

To make topping: Drizzle casserole with melted butter and sprinkle with brown sugar and pecans. Top with strawberries and blueberries.

Cover and bake 35 minutes then uncover and bake 10-20 minutes, or until topping is browned and egg mixture has mostly set.

Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil and let stand 10 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve with maple syrup.

Brunch with a Powerful Punch

When you’re craving something hearty and rich, switch up your brunch habits with wholesome and filling Breakfast Burritos. With protein to keep you full, veggies for a touch of added nutrition and hot sauce to pack a powerful punch of flavor in every bite, this hearty recipe will keep you full and bursting with energy until your next meal. Plus, they’re easy to make in a matter of minutes and totally customizable to accommodate every palate.

Breakfast Burritos
Servings: 4

2          teaspoons canola oil
1          small red onion, diced
1          red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1          can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4       teaspoon red pepper flakes
            salt, to taste
            pepper, to taste
4          eggs
4          egg whites
1/2       cup shredded pepper jack cheese
            nonstick cooking spray
4          flour tortillas
1/4       cup sour cream
1/4       cup salsa
1          large tomato, seeded and diced
1          avocado, sliced
            hot sauce (optional)

In large skillet, heat canola oil over medium heat. Add red onion and red bell pepper; cook 8 minutes. Add black beans and red pepper flakes; cook 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to dish.

In medium bowl, whisk eggs and egg whites. Stir in cheese until combined. Heat large skillet over low heat, add egg mixture and scramble 3 minutes, or until cooked through.

Spread sour cream over tortilla. Spread salsa over sour cream. Spoon 1/4 bean mixture over salsa. Spoon 1/4 scrambled eggs over bean mixture. Top with diced tomatoes and avocado. Drizzle with hot sauce, if desired. Roll-up burrito. Repeat three times with remaining ingredients and serve.

Bite-Sized Chocolate Delights

Flavorful French toast, filling breakfast burritos and favorite fruits make a feast to look forward to, but no brunch spread is complete without a chocolatey bite to cap off the meal. In fact, make it a double.

These Double Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins offer a combination of two kinds of rich chocolate complemented by the caramel notes of C&H Light Brown Sugar for an irresistible dessert in bite-sized form. Tiny, tasty treats are a perfect way to send guests off with one sweet final bite.

Visit chsugar.com to find more delectable dessert recipes.

Double Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

Muffin Batter:
2          cups all-purpose flour
1/2       cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1          teaspoon baking soda
1/2       teaspoon salt
1          package (10 ounces) mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
2          large eggs
1/2       cup C&H Light Brown Sugar, packed
1/2       cup C&H Granulated Sugar
3/4       cup sour cream
1/2       cup vegetable oil
1/2       cup whole milk
1/2       teaspoon instant espresso (optional)
2          teaspoons vanilla extract
2          tablespoons flaked sea salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line mini muffin pan with mini cupcake liners.

In large mixing bowl, use whisk to combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add chocolate chips and stir to ensure chocolate chips are coated in flour mixture.

In separate large mixing bowl, use wire whisk to whisk eggs and sugars until ingredients are combined and sugars are dissolved. Add sour cream, oil and milk. Whisk again to combine. If using espresso powder, add to vanilla then add to wet ingredients. Whisk vanilla espresso mixture into other liquid ingredients.

Pour liquid ingredients on top of dry ingredients. Using rubber spatula, mix until just combined, being careful to not overmix. Batter should be thick and shiny.

Using tablespoon or two spoons, spoon muffin batter into liners. Batter should be filled almost to top of each liner. Top each muffin with flaked sea salt before baking, if desired.

Bake muffins on center rack 6 minutes. Rotate pan and bake 6 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in muffin comes out clean. Once muffins finish baking, place muffin pan on cooling rack to cool completely.

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