Stuffed Bell Peppers with a Secret Ingredient (It’s not love!!)

I had been craving stuffed bell peppers for a while so I finally decided to try making them at home. My husband is not a big fan of stuffed bell peppers, so I wanted to make sure he would enjoy it as well. Turns out, they are super easy to make and my husband loved it because I added a secret ingredient!

Whats the secret ingredient?

Garam Masala is a very common Pakistani/Indian ingredient that you find in a number of South Asian recipes! Garam Masala is a combination of 8  ground spices that has a  unique flavor & a distinctive aroma. Read my  post to learn how to make it at home!

stuffed-bell-peppers

Serving Size: 1 Bell Pepper; Calories: 400 – 425 kcals (depending on the size of the bell pepper)

First cook the beef. For that you will need:

  • 1 lb lean beef
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 Tbsp ginger and garlic paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala

Other ingredients:

  • 4 Bell Peppers
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 0.75 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/8 cup Mexican blend cheese

Directions:

  1. Preparing the meat:
    • Place the beef in a non-stick pan on medium heat and put ginger & garlic paste, salt, red-pepper and turmeric powder.
    • Let it cook for 15 minutes until the meat has turned brown and some of the water from the meat has dried
    • Add chopped onions and cook until all the water has dried
    • Add garam masala and stir well. Remove from the heat.
  2. Boil water
  3. Remove the top of the bell pepper and hollow out the bell peppers
  4. Put the bell peppers in boiling water for 5- 7 mins
  5. Mix beef, rice, and sauce in a bowl
  6. Stuff the bell peppers with the beef, rice & sauce mix
  7. Top each bell pepper with cheese
  8. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes
  9. Serve hot

 

Q for Quinoa!

This Quinoa recipe is super easy to make and very delicious in addition to being a good source of protein an fiber — my husband absolutely loves it (well…he has no choice)! It goes well as a side with grilled chicken or even as a meatless entree served with avocado!

Here is the skinny on Quinoaquinoa-3

  • Whole-grain
  • A source of fiber and protein
  • A source of potassium and iron
  • Gluten free

 

 

Serving Size: 1 Cup; Calories per serving: 240 Kcals

Ingredients:

  • Quinoa, 1 cup
  • Water, 2 cups
  • Tomatoes, 1 cup chopped
  • Jalapenos, ½ cup chopped
  • Corn, canned, no-sodium (drained), 1 can (approx 15 oz)
  • Black Beans, canned, low-sodium (drained), 1 can (approx 15 oz) – I prefer to use dry black beans instead of using canned.
  • Cumin powder, 1 tsp
  • Red chili powder, 1 tsp
  • Salt,1 tsp
  • Lime, 1

** once i even added taco seasoning to spice it up 🙂

Directions:quinoa-2

  1. Place all ingredients in a large pot.
  2. Cover and simmer (medium low heat) for approximately 20  minutes or until no water is left.
  3. Top with cilantro and squeeze some fresh lime juice.

P.S. Canned diced tomatoes and jalapenos can be used as well.

One healthy tip at a time!

Tip9
It is very important to include every food group (meats, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains) in our diet. Each food group provides essential nutrients that our body needs for growth and maintenance. Eliminating any specific food group, that many popular diets ask for, may lead to quick weight loss but does not lead to a positive lifestyle change for long term results in weight loss, lower cholesterol, normal blood pressure, etc.

Make healthy choices:

– Eat lean protein (chicken, turkey, fish, and beans) more than red meat such as beef

– Eat more fruits and vegetables. Choose fresh or frozen instead of fruit juice, canned or dried fruit

– Include whole grain foods such as brown rice, whole grain pasta, whole grain bread, oat meal in your diet. Read more about carbohydrates here

– Enjoy skim milk or 1% milk

– Drink more water and less sugary drinks

ENJOY in moderation!

10 Simple Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle

These 10 simple tips will help you and your family live a healthy lifestyle.

1. Start with yourself – be a positive role model for the kids, siblings, and everyone at home.

2. Do not buy “junk food” – If it’s not at home, you are less likely to eat it.photo 2

3. Have healthy snacks readily available– For example, washed and cut fresh fruit in the refrigerator, baby carrots and fat-free ranch dressing, fat-free yogurt, home-made smoothie, whole-grain pretzels, 100% fruit juice popsicle for the kids, etc. When I am hungry, I want something right away and it helps to have veggies and fruits that are ready to eat.

4. Stay hydrated! Many times we feel hungry but we are really thirsty. Drink at least 1500 ml of water a day (that is 3 of these water bottles).

5. On the road? Have healthy snacks (my favorite: a bag of mixed nuts) with you so you don’t have to stop at a convenience store or pickup fast food. Also, never leave your home without a water bottle.3water bottles

6. Don’t skip meals – waiting to eat till you are extremely hunger can cause you to over eat.

7. Avoid or limit sodas – these are empty calories that can easily be avoided. Get in the habit of drinking water, milk or 100% fruit juice.

8. Avoid or limit fast food – if kids insist on fast foods then help them choose the healthy sides from the menu. For example, instead of soda they can order milk and instead of fries they can order apple slices.

9. Park your car farther from the store entrance – every step counts!

10. Do physical activity together as a family – go to the park regularly or play your favorite sport together.
Remember: no one has to be deprived of their favorite chocolate as long as it is in moderation. There is nothing wrong with enjoying these foods once in a while.

Eat Your Way to a Better Holiday: 10 Tips

By Karen Sechowski, RD

Karen Sechowski is a registered dietitian in the Greater Chicago area whose passion is prevention through education. She attended Indiana University in Bloomington, IN, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Health Science. She completed her dietetic internship at Prairie View A&M University in the Houston area. 

Maybe you’ve worked hard all year to be healthy. Maybe you haven’t but you still don’t want to gain too much weight this holiday season. Whatever your situation is, it is possible to have fun and be healthy during the holidays because, let’s face it, you will have to face the New Year once all of the festivities are over and done. Follow these ten tips to keep your holidays bright and light:

  1. Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast. It is a common misconception that skipping meals helps you lose weight, but all it really does is slow down your metabolism and make your body hold onto whatever nutrients you do have because it thinks you are starving. Eat three regular-sized meals or six small meals to keep your metabolism going.
  2. Stay hydrated. Keep a water bottle with you at all times so you don’t mistake your thirst for hunger and indulge when you don’t really need to eat.
  3. Remain physically active. The minimum recommended guideline for adults calls for 150 minutes of physical activity per week. During the holidays, it is even more important to keep up with your exercise because of the increased calorie intake.
  4. Choose smaller plates. Literally. The more reasonably sized (smaller) the plate is, the less food you will eat. Studies have shown that adults will mindlessly pile more on their plates if the plate is bigger than they would if the plate were smaller. They were satisfied with the amount on the small plate but asked for more when given the same amount on a big plate.
  5. Choose reduced-fat cheese from the cheese plate. Any cheese from skim or part-skim milk is going to be lower in fat. Mozzarella cheese is a good example of a cheese that is naturally lower in fat.Limburger cheese
  6. Make your dips with Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.  Greek yogurt is lower in calories and provides a good dose of protein.
  7. Get cooking. Cooking at home can save hundreds of calories because you can control the portion size and what goes into the food.
  8. Eat slowly. Your brain needs about 20 minutes to receive the trigger from the stomach saying it’s full.
  9. Be conscious of your nibbling. It’s hard to resist the extra goodies laying around the house, but those extra calories add up over time.
  10. Everything in moderation. It’s okay to enjoy your favorite food, even if it is high in fat and calories. It is, after all, the holidays. But enjoy one small serving, and jump back on the healthy bandwagon.

Ramadan Nutrition Tips

With only few days left until Ramadan, It is important to know how to eat healthy and meet our body’s needs while fasting for more than 12 hours.

Meals:

Have balanced meals that include carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats that will also provide vitamins and minerals

  1. Carbohydrates: choose “complex” carbs which will provide soluble fiber that will slow stomach emptying and help you feel fuller longer. Good sources are oatmeal, whole wheat bread, brown rice, apples, and kidney beans
  2. Protein: good sources are chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, milk, yogurt, beans, and lentils
  3. Healthy fats: good sources are walnuts, almonds, avocados, and fish
  4. Avoid salty foods: they will make your more thirsty!

Hydration:

Hydration

Between iftaar and suhoor try to drink plenty of water. Stay away from sugary drinks. You don’t have to completely avoid traditional drinks at iftaar, but enjoy them in small portions and limit them to 2-3 times a week. If you are craving a sweet drink, I would recommend these refreshing drinks:

  • 100% fruit juice
  • 100% coconut water
  • 100% homemade smoothie

Read the label to make sure you pick up 100% fruit juice with no added sugar.

How much water should I drink? Aim to drink a minimum of 3 water bottles (1500 ml) between Iftaar and Suhoor. Since it’s summer, it wouldn’t be a stretch to shoot for even 5 bottles!

In my next few posts, I will discuss healthy eats at Suhoor and Iftaar!