Great Greens!

Did you know that you are supposed to eat 3 cups of green veggies every day?  (And no – iceberg lettuce does not count!)  Some people go nuts over salad, so this isn’t a problem for them.  If you’re like me, the thought of salad EVERY DAY gets old after a while.  I like to change it up a bit.  Here are a few tasty ways to prepare greens that I serve at my house, and you may just want to try.  For all of you knowledge junkies, click on each picture to learn about the nutritional value of each of these “Great Greens”!

Spinach                                                       

Grab a bag of fresh spinach and throw it in a saute pan on medium low heat with some butter, fresh minced garlic, and salt and pepper.  Use the whole bag (about 4 servings) because it will cook down considerably.  Saute, stirring frequently for about 4 to 5 min.  It tastes GREAT when you serve it up fresh – NOTHING like the canned stuff. Yuck!

Bok Choy

Chop a head of Bok choy and throw it in the saute pan with some butter or olive oil and salt and pepper as well.  Saute on medium heat for about 5 min.  This is a tasty green that not a lot of people think to use.

Swiss Chard or Green Chard

Chop the chard and add to saute pan with about a tbsp of olive oil.  Add shiitake mushrooms and fresh minced garlic, a touch of lemon pepper and a pinch of cayenne pepper.  DO NOT SALT this green as it tastes salty enough with the olive oil – even for salt lovers!  You can also swap the Chard for Kale, which is very rich in nutrients.

These are a few of my ideas for easy ways to get your servings of greens in.  Now let’s hear from you.  What are the ways your family does greens?  Do you get creative, or is your family good with the basic green beans, etc.?

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Your Turn to Talk: Snacks on the Go

Hi Everyone!  Today I want to talk about great ideas for snacks on the go, but I want to hear your ideas.  My friend and co-worker approached me the other day wanting some ideas for healthy, satisfying, and easy snacks for her kids for those occasions when they have to grab a bite and run.  We have all been there!  So let’s hear what works for your family.  Here is Sarah’s idea:

Easy Breakfast Burrito

I make scrambled eggs with salt, pepper, garlic powder or salt, season all, and whatever else I’m in the mood for: creole, chili powder, etc. Keep in mind that you want them a little overseasoned because they are going inside this somewhat bland wrap. Then I take one of those spinach flavored tortilla shells and put a thick strip of cream cheese down the middle and the eggs on top. That’s it, very easy and fast. It’s pretty healthy and quick for mom’s on the go or whoever. Now, you can change this by using a different flavored tortilla shell (jalapeno cheese, sun-dried tomato, garlic herb, etc.) and also adding or swapping ingredients (bacon, sausage, veggies, etc.)

Tomato Soup With a Facelift

I am going to let you in on a little secret.  I hate tomato soup.  I have always disliked it.  There is something, I don’t know, maybe a little too sweet about it for me.  A couple of nights ago I decided to try the classic grilled cheese and tomato soup dinner, but I wanted to try making the soup my own way.  Guess what?  It was a HUGE success!  Before I knew it, the pan was empty.  So here it is with my spin on it.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Tomato Soup with a Facelift

(1) can Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup

(1/2) can Water (Optional)

(1/2) can Milk (Optional)

(1) tsp Parsley

(1) tsp Basil

dash of Season All Seasoned Salt

dash Garlic Salt

dash Garlic Pepper

dash Lemon Pepper

salt & pepper to taste

Some people prefer to add 1 can of water to their condensed tomato soup and some people prefer 1 can of milk.  I decided to go middle of the road, and I thought it had a nice balanced texture.  The choice of milk, water, or both is yours; I recommend trying it with at least a little milk (unless you have a food allergy) because it adds a bit of creaminess to your soup.  Combine all ingredients in the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

It is quick, it is easy, and it goes great with a crispy grilled cheese sandwich.  Enjoy!

Welcome to The Ripe Banana

I love food.  I always have. There is just something wonderful about walking into the kitchen, following your instincts and your palate, and creating a dish that not just fills your empty stomach but comforts you to the core.  I love hearing the silence around our dinner table of four – you know, that beautiful silence that says everyone is too busy enjoying my masterpiece to talk.  There are the occasional times when I hear, “Mom, this tastes yuck!” Yes, yuck; not yucky.  Yuck.  Those are the times to laugh it off, toss that idea out the window, and break out the peanut butter and jelly.  A true foodie never lets that hamper his spirit either.  I invite you to follow me on my road of what I hope is a creative yet practical approach to food and all things cooking.  No topics are off limits.  I hope to share recipes, tips and tricks, and dining experiences for all my curious followers.  I expect to have a lot of fun with this, and I hope you do too as you follow me at The Ripe Banana.