Do you ever look back to your childhood and remember those home cooked meals that you loved coming home to? My mom loved filling our house with the fresh aroma of a home cooked meal or a batch of baked goodness! I find it strange how often a smell or thought can trigger a delightful memory of my mothers’ tasty kitchen concoctions.
This week, it’s my pleasure to share with you one of my own family’s recipes! One that used to make me so excited every time I could smell my mother cooking it. It's actually still a weekly favorite in my own house. The key to making this meal so nutritiously beneficial to our bodies is the luscious greens and the tiny little additions we add for flavor - but have a profound effect on our bodies.
Cooking greens is easy, and the nutritional value is plentiful. Some greens have tougher stems: kale, collards, and chard. When cooking these tougher greens, it may be beneficial to remove the stems by ripping off the green leaf and disposing of the stem, or saving them for use in soups or stews.
Other greens like spinach, watercress, and turnip greens will cook tender and do not need to be thrown out. To add a little flavor, don’t hesitate to add a little lemon juice or vinegar to your greens. This will not only increase the flavor but also make the nutrients even more bio-available...
Again and again, research has shown that nutrients found directly in the foods we eat are far more powerful and bioavailable than in supplements. A recent Iowa Women’s Health study showed that the use of daily supplemental vitamins actually increases your risk of cancer and death. Vitamin A from foods is protective against lung cancer in smokers, however, if taken artificially, it increases your risk of developing lung cancer!
Two lessons can be drawn here. Not everything we deem “healthy" or "good for our bodies” really is. Second, nothing is better for you then natural whole foods.
Guess Mom was right when she nagged, "eat your fruits and veggies!".
Alright, now that you have been informed, lets get to the fun stuff…
Momma Scarpuzzi’s Pasta with Greens & Beans:
Time: 30 min
1 package Penne Pasta (preferably whole grain)
1-2 cans Italian stewed tomatoes (I use two cans because I cant get enough of them)
1 can cannelloni or great northern beans
1 onion, chopped
1 whole bunch of red chard, washed (rip leaves off stem into small pieces, can substitute with a bag of spinach)
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped or 1 tbsp. pre-chopped garlic
1 tspn coconut oil (or olive oil)
salt and pepper to taste
Saturated Fat: .08g
Calories from Fat: 6.1
Vitamin C: 103.3 mg
Beta Carotene: 3853 mcg
Vitamin E: 3.7mg
Begin by starting your water for penne noodles, add salt and olive oil if you wish.
In a large skillet, spread coconut oil(or olive oil) and turn up the heat, sauté onion and garlic until onion is transparent.
It's important that we rinse the chard or spinach before adding on top of the onion.
The water helps to wilt the greens, so once onions have finished sauteing, add wet greens on top and drop heat to medium and cover.
Let this cook until greens are a dark green and wilted.
Once wilted, add beans and tomatoes, stirring occasionally on a simmer.
Once pasta is cooked, squeeze lemon on top of sauce, add salt and pepper to taste and serve on top of your penne pasta, which should be cooked al dente.
*Quick Fitness Tip* Don’t be a channel-flicking-couch-potato while you wait prepare this meal! Ask a family member or roommate to hide the remote so that whenever you go to use it, you burn a few searching the house for it. Even better, before or hours after your meal, if you plan on catching your favorite hour show, spend some of that time on a treadmill, stationary bike, or even doing floor exercises/stretches.
There’s no better time then now to get that body moving! We know you can do it!
*Quick Fun Fact* Al dente refers to the desired texture of cooked pasta in traditional Italian cooking. It literally means “to the tooth” meaning there should be a slight resistance in the center of the pasta when you bite into it and should not be soft all the way through. By cooking your pasta, rice, beans, and even vegetables this way, it lowers the glycemic index of the food, therefore lessoning the effect the carbohydrates have on your blood sugar levels!
It about the small things that make a profound effect on our bodies!
Oh, and don’t forget to squirt a little lemon juice when you can!