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Healthy Home Cooking Winter 2008

Hi! Thanks for joining us in the kitchen again, where we are giving you food for thought as well as food recipes that are easy, healthy and tasty! Enjoy!

Winter root vegetables are often overlooked but they are versatile, good for you and can be used in everything from the Sunday roast to soups. They are stuffed with vitamins and minerals, too. On our list you’ll find the most common (potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes) and some that you may never even have heard of—each with its own unique flavor and texture.

Carrot: They are a member of the parsley family and are related to the parsnip, celery and fennel. They have a strong, sweet flavor and are a good source of vitamin A, beta-carotene and potassium. Always choose firm, young carrots if possible as they’re more tender. Carrots are delicious steamed as a side vegetable and tossed with butter and a pinch of ground cumin, or roasted with other root vegetables.

Beets: Choose smooth, deeply colored beets without ridges and blemishes; soft spots indicate decay. Buy evenly sized beets for uniform cooking. In addition to the familiar crimson-colored beets, golden beets and striped beets are often available at specialty food stores and farmer’s markets. Refrigerate in the crisper drawer up to one week without their leafy tops. Beets can be boiled, but roasting enhances their natural sweetness. Cook beets unpeeled and uncut to retain their color.

Sweet Potato: They’re best known as a key ingredient to the Thanksgiving meal where they’re baked into many different dishes and served with your turkey. But they are incredibly versatile and can be made into soup, fritters, or served simply on their own.

Turnip: They vary considerably in shape, size and color; you may find them in yellow or white, with or without a green or purple zone near the top. Small young turnips have a delicate, slightly sweet taste. As they age, they become stronger in taste and texture. They may be boiled or steamed, then mashed or pureed. Young ones can also be used in stir-fry or raw in salads.

Parsnip: The parsnip is another member of the parsley family, and the cold winter weather is partly responsible for its delicious flavor as the cold helps to turn the starches into sugars. They are high in potassium, calcium and vitamin A. Look for the small to medium size. They can be refrigerated in a plastic bag for up to two weeks. Don’t store them near apples, pears, and other fruits because the ethylene gas produced from these fruits can make parsnips bitter. They can be used as you would use carrots.

Rutabaga: Also called Swede, this great tasting vegetable with a delicate sweetness and flavor that hints of the light freshness of cabbage and turnip can be stored up to one month in the refrigerator. They too can be mashed, stewed or used in casseroles.

Now the less common of the winter root vegetables are Beetroot, closely related to the sugar beet and commonly used as a side dish to traditional roast dinners; Celeriac, another member of the parsley family closely related to celery and and very similar in taste which is often used in soups, stews or grated in salads; Jerusalem artichoke, a member of the daisy family which is quite sweet and can be baked or made into soup. Salsify is another member of the daisy family that tastes slightly of oysters. Also used in soups and stews or mashed. For something different try them boiled in a salad to add a crisp, delicate flavor.



2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup unpeeled apples, cored and chopped (2 small)
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
1/3 cup Kraft fat-free mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Splenda
1/2 teaspoon apple-pie spice
1 teaspoon lemon juice

In a medium bowl, combine carrots, apples, raisins, and pecans. Add mayonnaise, Splenda, apple-pie spice, and lemon juice. Toss lightly to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Hint: You can use 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon ginger instead of apple-pie spice. To plump up raisins without “cooking,” place in glass measuring cup and microwave on HIGH for 15 seconds.

Serves 4 – (3/4 cup) Each serving equals:
124 Calories, 3gm Fat, 1gm Protein, 24gm Carb, 186mg Sodium, 3gm Fiber Diabetic Exchanges: 1 Vegetable, 1 Fruit, 1 Fat
Carb Choices: 1 1/2



2 tablespoons thawed orange juice concentrate
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch sticks

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a large baking pan with butter-flavored cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine orange juice concentrate, onion powder, salt, and cayenne pepper. Add potato sticks. Mix well to coat. Arrange coated potato sticks on prepared baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes; turn carefully and continue baking for 10 minutes more or until tender. Divide into 4 servings.

Serves 4 – Each serving equals:
80 Calories, 0g Fat, 1g Protein, 19g Carbs, 322mg Sodium, 36mg Calcium, 3g Fiber Diabetic Exchanges: 1 Starch Carb Choices: 1

If you see some of these at your grocery or local farmers market, experiment and try something different!

We hope you enjoyed our time together in the kitchen. Remember, if you’d like us to revise one of your family favorites so it’s healthier, send your request to: Healthy Exchanges P.O. Box 80, DeWitt, IA 52742. Also, be sure to visit our Web site at for more “common folk” healthy recipes
to try.

Until next time . . .