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Take cabbage beyond St. Patrick’s Day {#HealthyRecipes for the cabbage lover)

(Guest Post from Bonnie Brost, licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health}

St. Patrick’s Day brings out the cabbage. It’s the biggest holiday for fresh green cabbage consumption in America, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


The Irish found cabbage a sustainable vegetable during the Great Potato Famine that began in 1845. Cabbage grew well in Ireland and when the potato crops failed, cabbage was the main course in many meals. The Irish ate a lot of it – about 65 pounds per person each year based on crop production at that time.

Cabbage is a green leafy vegetable that is known as a cruciferous vegetable. It’s related to broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts. High in vitamin C, cabbage also contains vitamin K that’s good for bone health and contains phytochemicals called indoles that may help prevent cancer. The inexpensive vegetable is easy to grow and stores well through the winter.

Varieties include green cabbage, which is known as the king of cabbage, and red cabbage, which is similar but has dark red or purple leaves. Then there’s Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage, which is oblong shaped and has thick yellow-green leaves. Savoy cabbage has the round shape similar to green cabbage but has crinkly dark green leaves. Bok choy is another loose-leaf variety with dark green leaves and tender stems.

Cabbage can be prepared in a variety of ways. It can be eaten raw, steamed, stir-fried, sautéed, stewed or pickled. Pickling or fermenting is one of the favorite ways to preserve cabbage, such as creating sauerkraut or kimichi. Kimichi, which is often made with Chinese cabbage, is a spicy condiment often found in Korean recipes.

Avoid overcooking cabbage. Its characteristic flavor comes from glucosinolates, which contain sulfur. Overcooking cabbage produces a hydrogen sulfide gas that releases its unpleasant odor.

Expand your menus beyond corn beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day. Here are some tasty recipes that use the budget-friendly and healthy vegetable.

Here’s a great low-sodium alternative to corned beef and cabbage.

Cabbage and Beef Hot Dish
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound 90 percent lean ground beef or ground turkey breast
1½ cups onion, thinly sliced
4 medium carrots (about 2 cups), grated
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic (3 cloves)
3 cups green cabbage, shredded
3 cups red cabbage, shredded
2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger or 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon hot pepper flakes or hot sauce (optional)

Add olive oil to large skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and brown. Add onions, carrots and garlic. Cook until vegetables are starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add ginger, salt, pepper and hot pepper. Cook until cabbage is soft, about 15 minutes. Yield: 6 servings.

Nutrition facts
Serving size, 2 cups; calories, 215; total fat, 10 grams; saturated fat, 3 grams; cholesterol, 50 milligrams; sodium, 200 milligrams; potassium, 640 milligrams; carbohydrates, 15 grams; fiber, 4 grams; protein, 17 grams.

Celery Seed Coleslaw
14-ounce package classic coleslaw mix (or 4 ½ cups shredded fresh cabbage and 1 cup shredded carrots)healthy coleslaw recipe
2 stalks (¾ cup) celery, diced
1 small (¾-cup) green pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons distilled vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon celery seed
⅓ cup olive oil mayonnaise

Combine all vegetables in a large bowl. In separate small bowl, combine sugar, vinegar, olive oil, celery seed and mayonnaise. Mix well with a wire whip. Add dressing to vegetables and mix well. Yield 10 servings.

Nutrition facts
Servings size, ½ cup; calories, 55; total fat, 3.5 grams; saturated fat, 0 grams; cholesterol, 0 milligrams; sodium, 65 milligrams; potassium, 110 milligrams; carbohydrates, 5 grams; fiber, 2 grams; protein, 1 gram; and calcium, 25 milligrams.

This recipe is a lower sodium alternative to sauerkraut. Sauerkraut has about 750 milligrams of sodium in one-half cup.

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage
2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
1 small head (8 cups) red cabbage, shredded
1 large (1 1/2 cups) Granny Smith apple, chopped
1 small onion, sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Put oil, cabbage, apples, onion and sugar into a large pot. Pour in the vinegar and water. Add salt, pepper and cloves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until cabbage is tender, about 20 minutes. If you want it thicker, mix 2 teaspoons cornstarch and 2 teaspoons cold water in a cup until smooth. Add to cabbage mixture and simmer on medium heat for 2-3 minutes until liquid thickens. Yield: 8 servings.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size, ½ cup; calories, 120; total fat, 3.5 grams; saturated fat, 0 grams; cholesterol, 0 milligrams; sodium, 90 milligrams (if you added optional salt); potassium, 200 milligrams; carbohydrates, 22 grams; fiber, 2.5 grams; protein, 1 gram.

This soup is a great low-calorie, low-sodium vegan option.

Cabbage Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced (2 teaspoons)
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
½ pound carrots, sliced
½ bunch celery, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
½ pound frozen green beans
28-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
8-ounce can no-salt-added tomato sauce
½ head green cabbage
6 cups unsalted vegetable broth
¼ bunch fresh parsley, chopped
1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice

Add garlic and onion to a large soup pot along with the olive oil and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and transparent. Add carrots, celery, bell pepper and frozen green beans. Add diced tomatoes (and their juices) and tomato sauce. Stir to combine. Allow the vegetables in the pot to heat while you chop the cabbage. Chop the cabbage into 1-inch strips or squares, then add to the pot. Add the vegetable broth, chopped parsley, paprika, oregano and thyme. Stir to combine. Place a lid on the pot and bring it up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and allow the pot to simmer until the cabbage is tender (about 20 minutes). Finish the soup with lemon juice. Start by stirring in one tablespoon of lemon juice and add more to your liking. Yield: 8 servings.

Nutrition facts
Serving size, 2 cups; calories, 120; total fat, 2 grams; saturated fat, 0 grams; cholesterol, 0 milligrams; sodium, 200 milligrams; potassium, 730 milligrams; carbohydrates, 22 grams; fiber, 6 grams; protein, 3 grams.

Bonnie Brost of Essentia Health

Bonnie Brost is a licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health

Adapting Your Favorite Recipes for the Slow Cooker

crockpot cooking

“I wonder if I could cook that in the crockpot…”

Have you asked yourself this before? Many of us with slow cookers have eyeballed recipes and wondered if we could cook them in our crockpot. Often, you can. But before you just throw everything into the slow cooker and hope for the best, there are some general principles you should consider as you adapt your favorite recipes for the slow cooker.

Side note: My crockpot is my BFF. I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful  I am to be able to throw together our supper during my lunch break and have supper DONE and READY by the time 5:30 rolls around. Check out my Crockpot Magic Pinterest Board for all sort of yummy recipes and ideas.



The 411 on Crockpot Cooking

1. Temperature

In most slow cookers, “Low” is around 200 degrees F, and “High” is about 300. Cooking takes about twice as long on Low as it does on High.

If the recipe you want to convert calls for a quick baking time, then you can probably get away with a few hours on Low or one to two hours on High. If your recipe calls for long oven baking or stovetop simmering, then you can probably get away with 8-10 hours on Low (a standard cook temperature and time for roasts and red meats).

2. Liquid

Slow cookers produce very moist heat. This means your recipe will retain more moisture than it would if it were baked in the oven. So a good rule of thumb is to reduce the amount of liquid in your recipe by about half. However, if you’re cooking rice or some other grain, then you should use an amount of liquid that is just shy of the standard amount.

3. Oven versusSlow Cooker

Here is a handy guide for oven times converted to slow cooker times:

Oven: 20-30 minutes
Slow cooker: 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours on High; 4 to 6 hours on Low

Oven: 35-45 minutes
Slow cooker: 2 to 3 hours on High; 6 to 8 hours on Low

Oven: 50 minutes to 3 hours
Slow cooker: 4 to 5 hours on High; 8 to 18 hours on Low

4. Know What Holds Up

Roasts, brisket, and flat steak stand up well to long cooking, usually requiring 10 to 12 hours on Low or 6 to 8 on High. But vegetables don’t usually hold up so well, especially ones like snow peas and broccoli.

If you want to adapt a meat recipe that has vegetables in it, you can add them toward the end of cooking time. However, if you combine meat and chopped vegetables that are more dense, like chunked carrots and potatoes, then you can usually cook the whole dish for 8 to 10 hours on Low.

Poultry cooks more quickly than red meat, and fish cooks faster than both.

I also found this awesome batch of 20 Crock Pot Soup Ideas over at I Should Be Mopping The Floor. Check it out HERE.


The scoop on Cooking Times for Your Crockpot

crockpot cooking

So how’s it going so far? Rocking your crockpot?

The more I delve into this subject, the more intrigued I get! If you remember, this all started one day when I was rooting around in a cupboard and came across this…this… contraption (my crockpot that I have had for around 10 years).

It was a “”oohhhhh yyeaaahhhh. I remember this thing….” moment for sure.

Since then I have been cooking and experimenting with recipes and ideas. I have found however, not everything is a “quick an easy meal.” Certain foods take longer and these are things to be mindful of unless you want mushy veggies and tough-as-nails-meat. Here’s some tips:

Cooking Times for Your Slow Cooker

As you have probably noticed, not every food or dish has the same cooking time in your slow cooker. Not everything is intended to cook all day, nor is everything finished in just a few hours. Here are some general guidelines for cooking times for your slow cooker.

1. Roasts and Meats

For large pieces of meat like brisket, pot roast, or pork shoulder, you can count on a cooking time that’s going to be pretty long. Most recipes call for 8 to 12 hours of cooking time.

For pieces of meat like stew meat cubes, sliced round steak, pork chops, or other smaller cuts and cut-up meat, you can expect cooking times of around 6 to 8 hours.

2. Vegetables

Vegetables vary quite a bit. For hearty vegetables like onions, all-day cooking on High will still allow them to keep their shape. Chopped root vegetables like potatoes and carrots take about 4 to 6 hours on High and 6 to 8 hours on Low. Depending on how tender you like them, green beans take 6 to 8 hours on Low and 3 to 4 hours on High to be soft. Winter vegetables like squash can be cooked whole on High for 8 to 10 hours, while cubed squash takes only 3 hours or so on High.

3. Pasta and Grains

Pasta dishes are pretty fast if you use pre-cooked pasta – usually about 3 to 4 hours on Low. Whole grains like brown rice will take about 3 hours, while white rice takes about 2.

4. Fish

Fish cooks quickly in a slow cooker. Thawed fillets can be thoroughly cooked in as little as 1 hour on Low; if you place them in the cooker frozen, then it takes about 2 to 3 hours.

5. Fruits

Sliced apples will take about 3 to 4 hours on High, while whole apples take anywhere from 3 to 6 hours to be tender. Some fruits are much quicker, like peaches and pears, which can be cooked in about 2 hours on Low.

6. Poultry

A whole chicken will take 3 to 5 hours on High, and 8 to 10 hours on Low. Chicken breasts are much faster, taking about 4 hours on Low. Like fish, you can use frozen chicken breasts if you need to leave the slow cooker for longer – frozen pieces of chicken can cook 6 to 8 hours on Low.

7. Beans

For dried beans like lima, navy, black, and pinto beans, you’ll need to soak them overnight and expect 8 to 10 hours of cooking time on High once they’re drained and placed in the slow cooker with the other ingredients.

Dried red lentils are much faster, cooking thoroughly on High for 2 to 4 hours (brown or green lentils take a bit longer – 4 to 6 hours on High). Canned beans are much faster, with some bean dishes finishing on Low in 4 hours. Others may take longer depending on what else is in the dish.

Want more cool crockpot ideas? I found another cool website called The Crock-Pot Ladies and there’s a slew of awesome recipes on their including this one called Cowboy Casserole. Can’t wait to try it 🙂

crockpot cowboy casserole

Do you have any good crockpot recipesto share?

Don’t forget to check out my Crockpot Magic Pinterest Board. It’s filled with some awesome tried-n-true crockpot recipes!



Healthy Summer Grillers! Chicken Skewers Sizzle

By Shellie Cibuzar, licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center.

 On a summer day, spicy chicken skewers sizzling on the grill are one of my mouth-watering favorites.

Grilling often focuses on meats, especially beef and pork. Opting for chicken or turkey instead gives you a meal that’s lower in fat and calories, which is ideal for managing your weight. Poultry is also a good source of protein as well as essential nutrients and vitamins.

A spice rub or marinade can add high-impact flavor to chicken. I recommend blending your spices with grapeseed oil, which keeps the flavor in and also helps prevent the chicken from sticking to the grill. Remember to give your grill plenty of time to preheat so the chicken gets safely and evenly cooked.

This recipe is from chef and television host Ainsley Harriott. It’s low in fat and a breeze to prepare. If you’re entertaining, make the marinade the night before and you’ll have more time to spend with guests.

Sticky Garlic Chicken Skewers

Chicken Skewers


  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 4 Tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • 4 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce, or you can use mild
  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Soak twelve,10-inch bamboo skewers in water for at least 20 minutes. Mix together garlic, honey, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and hot pepper sauce; season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss in chicken and stir until well combined. Transfer to a non-metallic dish, cover and marinate for 20-30 minutes or overnight. Prepare grill, or preheat broiler to high. Thread marinated chicken on to skewers. Grill for 5-6 minutes. Or, arrange on foil-lined baking sheet and broil for 6 to 7 minutes, turning occasionally until well browned and cooked through. Serve with mixed salad and baby new potatoes.

Nutrition information

  • Servings: 4
  • Calorie: 221
  • Protein: 28 gr
  • Carbohydrates: 21 gr
  • Total fat: 4 gr
  • Saturated fat: 1 gr
  • Fiber: 1 gr
  • Sodium: 636 mg

Essentia Health


Shellie Cibuzar, licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center.

Learn more about Essentia Health of Brainerd and Duluth HERE

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