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Arthritis-Friendly Recipes

Fast, Delicious Holiday Feast Recipes

Presenting a fabulous holiday meal is not out of your reach, even with the pain and fatigue that can come with arthritis. Plan ahead, take advantage of prechopped vegetables, and prepare the side dishes in the days prior to the big feast. These recipes will help you put a beautiful meal on the table with only about 20 minutes of active cooking time per day.

To make it even easier to prepare for your feast, we've prepared a handy holiday feast shopping list and preparation schedule to keep you on track and worry-free!

  • Holiday feast shopping list
  • Holiday feast preparation schedule

Crudités with Herb and Garlic Yogurt Dip

Active time: 15 minutes

A splash of color helps make people hungry, and this verdant, simple-to-make dip, which is reminiscent of the herb and garlic cheese spread so ubiquitous at holiday parties, is great with chopped vegetables (or even potato chips, but don’t tell your mother). Use those listed, or branch out and try snap peas, celery, cucumbers or bell peppers. The best part? You don’t have to chop the herbs.

1 pint (16 ounces) 2 percent Greek-style yogurt

1 (3/4-ounce) package fresh dill

1 (3/4-ounce) package fresh chives

2 tsp. prechopped garlic (or 2 cloves, smashed)

½ tsp. kosher salt

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

1 pint cherry tomatoes

2 cups prewashed baby carrots

2 cups precut broccoli florets

2 cups precut cauliflower florets

Scoop the yogurt into the work bowl of a large food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Add the dill, discarding any big stems, and the chives, tearing them into smaller pieces by twisting the whole bunch with your hands, like you’re wringing out a towel. Add the garlic, salt and pepper, and whirl until the mixture is smooth and evenly green, about 90 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula halfway through.

Transfer the dip to a sealable container and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 5 days. (The flavor will improve as it sits.) To serve, stir the dip, then pour some of it into a bowl, and serve with a tray filled with the tomatoes, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower.

Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Bleu Cheese Butter

Active time: 10 minutes

For years, I thought my husband’s family served beef tenderloin at Christmas because it’s fancy. That may be true, but it’s also surprisingly easy. Ask your butcher to do the work for you. (Any good supermarket butcher will know what “trimmed and tied” means.) You’ll just need to smear it with a bit of olive oil, season it and pop it into the oven. An instant-read thermometer is a great way to guarantee a perfect roast.


2 tsp. kosher salt

1 Tbsp. ground pepper

1 (3½-pound) beef tenderloin roast, trimmed and tied

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Bleu cheese butter

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

5 ounces crumbled bleu cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Tenderloin: In a small bowl, blend salt and pepper. Place tenderloin on a rack in a roasting pan or on a high-sided baking sheet lined with foil. Pat meat dry and rub on all sides with the olive oil, then pat seasonings on, taking care to get the bottom and sides of the tenderloin. Let sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes.

Bleu cheese butter: While the meat sits, mash butter and bleu cheese together in a bowl. If you’re making it the day of the meal, serve it from the bowl. If you’re making this in advance, dump the butter onto one end of a 12-inch-square piece of parchment or waxed paper, then roll it up, forming a log, and twist the ends to contain the butter. (It should look like a giant Tootsie Roll.) Wrap in plastic and refrigerate up to one week.

Roast beef for 40 to 50 minutes (timing will depend on the shape of your tenderloin), or until it reaches 130 degrees for medium-rare. Let the roast rest 10 minutes before slicing into inch-thick rounds.

Unwrap bleu cheese butter and slice into ½-inch-thick discs. Serve meat warm, and pass butter as a topping.

Bacon-Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Active time: 15 minutes

There’s an important distinction between liking Brussels sprouts and liking Brussels sprouts made with bacon. Adding pork is a game-changer. Talk your most dubious guests into trying one bite, and you’ll have eager converts on your hands. And for those who like sprouts anyway, this dish makes them that much more loveable.

4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced (or a 4-ounce package of diced pancetta)

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, halved through the stem

2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

¼ tsp. kosher salt

1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread bacon in a large, ovenproof skillet or 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Roast 5 minutes, just until it begins to give off its fat. Stir bacon, then add sprouts, olive oil, salt and pepper (without stirring, so bacon stays on the bottom at first). Roast 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or until bacon is crisp and sprouts are tender and browned in spots.

To serve immediately: Add vinegar, stir to combine, and roast another 2 to 3 minutes, just until vinegar has evaporated.

If making ahead: Let Brussels sprouts cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate overnight. To reheat, add vinegar and roast in a preheated 450-degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until sizzling.

Tip: If you’re serving bread with the meal, heat it while the Brussels sprouts reheat or finish cooking.

Whipped Squash with Honey and Spice

Active time: 10 minutes

The secret to this ultra-smooth squash is the food processor. In goes plain, cooked squash and a dash each of curry, cardamom and ginger, and out comes a silky blend that tastes … well, more difficult to make. Don’t feel stuck with the spices I use here; any combination – plus cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves or cumin – would be delicious.

3 pounds peeled, precut squash

2 Tbsp. honey

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

3/4 tsp. curry powder

3/4 tsp. ground ginger

3/4 tsp. ground cardamom

Pinch salt

Place squash in a large pot, add water to cover, then bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat and cook at a bare simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the biggest pieces fall off a fork.

Drain, then transfer to a large food processor and blend until completely smooth, scraping sides with a rubber spatula, if necessary. Serve immediately, or transfer to an ovenproof, freezer-safe baking dish. Cover with waxed paper, and let cool to room temperature.

Wrap in plastic wrap (right over the waxed paper). Refrigerate up to three days or freeze up to three weeks. To serve, thaw in refrigerator for 48 hours before serving. Bring squash to room temperature about an hour before reheating, then reheat at 450 degrees, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring once or twice, or until piping hot.

Bottom’s Up Green Salad

Active time: 10 minutes

When I throw a party, I reliably make the same mistake: In my effort to avoid soggy lettuce, I forget to bring the vinaigrette to the table. The perfect solution? Put the dressing in the bottom of the bowl, where it can lurk unnoticed (right under the chewy, tart cherries, pumpkin seeds and lettuce) until you’re ready to serve it.

Love cheese? Add 4 ounces of crumbled goat cheese to the bottom of the bowl with the dried cherries and pumpkin seeds.

Balsamic-Dijon vinaigrette

2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

½ tsp. kosher salt

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

2/3 to 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


1 cup dried sour cherries or cranberries

3/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (also sold as pepitas)

2 (5-ounce) bags mixed baby greens

Vinaigrette: In a resealable bowl or jar, stir mustard, salt, pepper and vinegar together. Add oil (less for a tart vinaigrette, more for a milder one), close container and shake until ingredients blend into a smooth, brown liquid. (Vinaigrette can be refrigerated up to a week. Bring to room temperature and shake again before serving.)

Assemble salad up to two hours ahead. Pour ½ cup vinaigrette into salad bowl. Add cherries, then pumpkin seeds and then greens. Just before serving, toss.

Cocoa Recipes: How Sweet It Is

Get the health benefits of chocolate in these four easy, delicious recipes.
| By Matthew Kadey

Study after study reinforces the delicious idea that eating chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is good for you (in moderation, of course). One reason is that cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate, is packed with antioxidants called polyphenols. The higher the percentage of cocoa in a bar, the higher the concentration of polyphenols.

These recipes, made with cocoa powder, will let you reap the health benefits of dark chocolate without its bitter taste or extra fat or sugar.

Cocoa Banana Walnut Bread

1. cup whole-wheat pastry flour

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. allspice

2 large eggs

1/2 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup plain, low-fat yogurt

1/3 cup canola or grapeseed oil

2 Tbs. molasses

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and allspice. In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs, then stir in sugar, yogurt, oil, molasses, bananas and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix gently. Fold in walnuts and pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool several minutes before unmolding.

Cocoa Cherry Oatmeal

2 cups water

2 cups low-fat milk

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup steel-cut oats

2 Tbs. pure maple syrup

2 Tbs. cocoa powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 cup pecan halves

1/2 cup dried cherries

1 cup fresh blueberries

1/3 cup shredded coconut

In a saucepan, bring water, milk and salt to a boil. Stir in oats, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in maple syrup, cocoa powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes more, stirring often, until creamy. Stir in pecans and cherries. Serve in bowls, top with blueberries and, if desired, coconut and additional maple syrup. (Reheat leftovers with a little milk.) Makes 4 servings.

Cocoa-Spiced Chicken Salad

1 Tbs. cocoa powder

1 Tbs. brown sugar

1 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. cayenne

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbs. honey or maple syrup

1 Tbs. red wine vinegar

2 tsp. grainy mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

4 cups baby spinach

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 apple, thinly sliced

1/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together cocoa, sugar, thyme, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper. Coat chicken with cocoa mixture. Place on a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet, and cook for 20 minutes to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, honey, vinegar, mustard, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste for vinaigrette. In a large bowl, toss together spinach, bell pepper and apple. Serve sliced chicken, vinaigrette and sunflower seeds, if desired, over spinach mixture. Makes 4 servings.

Cocoa Sloppy Joes

1 Tbs. canola or grapeseed oil

1 pound extra lean ground beef

1 large onion, diced

1 medium carrot, shredded

2 cups cremini mushrooms, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 cup tomato sauce

2 Tbs. cocoa powder

2 Tbs. cider vinegar

1 Tbs. honey

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. chili powder or cayenne

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (optional)

2 Tbs. tomato paste

2 cups premixed coleslaw

4 whole-grain buns

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook ground beef, onion, carrot and mushrooms until beef is browned and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and bell pepper, cook 2 minutes more. In a bowl, stir together tomato paste and sauce, cocoa powder, vinegar, honey, cumin, salt, chili powder, Worcestershire if desired, and ¼ cup water. Add to beef. Simmer 10 minutes or until thickened. Serve on buns and top with coleslaw. Makes 4 servings.

Healthy Options for a Cookout

Gather round the grill without guilt by swapping traditional barbecue fare with healthier options.
| By Amy Paturel

The classic barbecue menu doesn’t much help your joints – or your waistline. Between high-fat staples like creamy potato salad and greasy burgers, and inflammation-spiking processed foods like white buns and ice cream, you have a recipe for an arthritis diet disaster.

The good news: The grill is a great place to fire up healthy, tasty and joint-smart alternatives. With these simple, healthy swaps, you can transform your barbeque into a hub of health.


Instead of fatty chips and dips, try …
  • Grilled whole-grain bread, accompanied by a tomato-based bruschetta, white bean puree, hummus and other spreads.
  • Grilled summer vegetable skewers like zucchini, yellow squash, Vidalia onion and peppers.


Instead of greasy burgers, brats and hot dogs, try …
  • Meaty mushrooms marinated in equal parts olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. You’ll get immune-boosting nutrients in the mushrooms, vinegar and lemon juice. Plus, studies show that oleocanthal, one of the most concentrated anti-inflammatory compounds in olive oil, dampens the body’s inflammatory process and reduces pain sensitivity with a pharmacological action similar to ibuprofen.
  • Salmon with a splash of lemon and a sprinkling of savory summer herbs. Salmon is rich in omega-3s and vitamin D, both of which enhance joint health, boost immunity and protect against inflammation.


Instead of ketchup (which packs 2 teaspoon of sugar per tablespoon) or mayo (which is relatively high in unhealthy fat), try …
  • Antioxidant-packed salsa or pico de gallo. Weighing in at just four to five calories per tablespoon, and zero fat, salsa boasts plenty of nutrients.
  • Olive oil based pesto or sundried tomato spread. All three ingredients – olive oil, basil and sundried tomatoes – are loaded with anti-inflammatory properties.


Instead of mayo-based salads like coleslaw, potato salad and macaroni salad, try …
  • Bean salad. All beans boast fiber, protein and a bevy of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.
  • Sliced tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and basil drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Choose this tasty summer Caprese salad and you’ll get more oleocanthol and cancer-fighting lycopene.


Instead of ice cream, cookies or cake, try …
  • Frozen bananas dipped in 70 percent chocolate and rolled in coconut flakes. Dark chocolate is loaded with powerful disease-fighting compounds called flavanols, which help protect your cells against damage. Plus, chocolate is rich in magnesium, a critical nutrient for bone and joint health.
  • Grilled fresh fruits, such as peaches, plums and pineapple, are perfect on their own or with frozen yogurt. (For best results, grill only one side of the fruit and use high heat for a quick sear).

Fast, Healthy Black Bean Recipes

Got a can of black beans in your pantry? Here are five great uses for it!
| By Jess Thomson

Packed with fiber, protein, calcium, potassium, and antioxidants, black beans are one of nature’s healthiest ingredients – and they’re not just for Mexican night. Lucky for us, they’re easy to keep on hand in canned form, for almost-instant – and nutritious – gratification.

Healthy tip: Many brands of canned beans contain sodium. To cut back on salt, look for low-sodium varieties, and season your food yourself.

Start with one 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained, and try the following recipes.

Cumin-Scented Black Bean Dip

Serves 4 as an appetizer.

In a food processor, whirl beans, 3 Tbsp. olive oil, 1/2 cup plain, low-fat yogurt, 1/2 tsp. ground cumin, and 1/4 tsp. granulated garlic until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with carrot sticks, cucumber slices, or pita chips. 

Chipotle Black Bean Soup

Makes 2 small servings.

Saute 1/2 small yellow onion (chopped) in 2 tsp. olive oil over medium-low heat until soft. Add beans, 1 smashed garlic clove, 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder (to taste) and a handful of baby carrots. Simmer 10 minutes, or until carrots are soft, and then puree. Season with salt and pepper. 

Black Bean and Corn Tacos

Serves 2. 

Combine beans and 1/2 cup chunky corn salsa in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, and then serve in warmed tortillas, over baby spinach, topped with chopped avocado and a pinch of shredded cheese. 

Maple-Baked Black Beans

Serves 2.

In a small baking dish, stir beans (with liquid) together with 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter (cut into four  pieces) and T Tbsp. real maple syrup. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees F, stirring once halfway. Then serve as a side dish or on toast for breakfast. 

Black Bean Salad With Quinoa, Squash and Lime

Serves 2 for lunch. 

Simmer 1/4 cup dried quinoa, 1 cup chopped butternut squash, and 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. water together for 15 minutes, partially covered, until the squash is cooked through and water is absorbed. Stir in beans, 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese and 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Then drizzle with lime juice and olive oil. 


Breakfast Egg Recipes

Try these 5 protein-packed, nutritious egg recipes.
| By Jess Thomson

Packed with protein and B vitamins, eggs are a great breakfast choice. They keep you feeling full, which studies show may help with weight loss. Give them a crack on a weekday morning with one of these easy, nutritious egg recipes.

Weekday Huevos Rancheros

Serves 2

1 15 ounce can black bans
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
14/cup salsa
2 eggs
2 corn tortillas
2 Tbsp. grated cheese

In a small pan or in the microwave, heat the black beans (with their juices), cumin, and salsa. Cook the eggs your favorite way, and lightly toast the corn tortillas. Place the tortillas on plates, and top each with half the beans, 1 egg, 1 Tbsp. cheese each and a little more salsa if you like. 

Open-Faced Eggs Florentine Sandwiches

Serves 2

2 tsp. olive oil
2 large handfuls of baby spinach
2 slices whole-grain bread
3 eggs
1 Tbsp. milk
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil and baby spinach. Cook and stir until the spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes. Toast the whole-grain bread in the toaster. Beat the eggs with the milk and a bit of salt and pepper. Add the egg mixture to the spinach. Cook, stirring quickly, until the eggs are scrambled and cooked through. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese (optional). Place the toast slices on a plate and top with the hot egg mixture. 

Ham, Swiss and Avocado Scramble

Serves 2

4 eggs
2 Tbsp. milk
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 slice lean Canadian bacon or ham
1 thick slice Swiss cheese
1/2 avocado

Beat eggs with milk; add salt and pepper to taste. Chop the Canadian bacon or ham, Swiss cheese and avocado into 1/2” pieces. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. When hot, spray with nonstick oil, then add the egg mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until eggs are almost done but still just a bit runny. Add the ham, cheese, and avocado, and cook until cheese melts and eggs are cooked through. 

Baked Eggs Provencale

Serves 2

1 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
4 eggs
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Chopped baisl or parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the can of crushed tomatoes in a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with the chopped thyme, and bake for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the pan from the oven, and crack all the eggs directly into the tomato sauce. Sprinkle the eggs with salt and pepper; drizzle the whole dish with olive oil; and bake another 10 minutes or so, until the yolks are done to your liking – the yolks will still look glossy on top when they’re cooked through. When the eggs are done, scoop them onto plates with the sauce, and top with chopped basil or parsley. (Note: Garlic-lovers could stir a teaspoon of finely chopped garlic into the tomato sauce before beginning!) 

Easy Creamy Scrambled Eggs

Serves 2

4 eggs
2 Tbsp. milk
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1/3 cup low-fat cottage cheese

For creamy scrambled eggs without the added fat of cream or cream cheese, beat the eggs with the milk, plus a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook as you would scrambled eggs, in a nonstick pan, stirring over medium-low heat. Just before the eggs are done, stir in the low-fat cottage cheese. 


Three Healthy, High-Protein Dip Recipes

Try these high-protein dips full of good-for-you ingredients.

Share these dips with close friends or a crowd, and they’ll never know they’re filling up on ingredients that are actually good for them. Serve them with your favorite cut-up crispy vegetables, whole-grain crackers or low-fat chips.

Roasted Eggplant Dip

Makes 6 Servings

2 small eggplants
2 (or more) cloves garlic, roasted if desired
2 Tbsp. olive oil
6 black olives, pitted
1/2 cup (packed) chopped fresh parsley
3 pieces sun-dried tomato
2 cups canned cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained
2 anchovy fillets (or 2 teaspoon anchovy paste)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt or to taste

1. Roast the eggplant (and garlic, if desired) in a 400-degree oven for 45 minutes or until tender. Allow to cool briefly.

If you find the raw garlic too sharp in flavor, try roasting the unpeeled garlic cloves in a foil packet along with the eggplant. With a sharp knife, cut off the tips of the roasted cloves, and squeeze to extract the roasted garlic paste.

2. Peel the eggplant and garlic and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add olive oil, olives, parsley, sun-dried tomato, beans, anchovy fillets, lemon juice and salt.

3. Pulse mixture until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve warm or cold.

– Monica Reinagel, a licensed nutritionist and trained chef and author of The Inflammation Free Diet Plan.

Spinach Spread

Makes 6 servings

A microplane grater is the easiest way to grate lemon zest, hard cheeses and fresh nutmeg. Originally designed as woodworking tools, inexpensive microplane graters are sold in kitchen supply stores.

2 tsp. canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 cup water
1 cup low-fat (1 percent) cottage cheese
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
Salt to taste

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender.

2. Add spinach and water and cook until heated through.

3. Transfer mixture to food processor and add cottage cheese, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, pepper, nutmeg and salt. Puree until smooth.

4. Refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours before serving.

– Monica Reinagel 

Easy Homemade Lentil Hummus

Makes 6 to 8 appetizer servings

Middle Eastern-style bean spread is easy to make at home. Scoop it up with chopped fresh vegetables or baby whole wheat pita bread. Tahini, the sesame seed paste used to flavor traditional chickpea hummus, is located near the peanut butter in most large supermarkets.

1 15-ounce can lentils, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup sesame tahini
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup water

1. Mix all ingredients except water in a food processor on high speed until very finely chopped.

2. Scrape the sides of the bowl down with a rubber spatula, add water, and process again until smooth. 

3. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container up to one week.

– Jess Thomson, graduate of The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, awarded the certified culinary professional (CCP) designation by the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

Five Simple Brown Rice Recipes

Make the healthy switch from white to brown rice, starting with these recipes.
| By Jess Thomson

Eating brown rice instead of white rice may help prevent type 2 diabetes, a disease that is also shared by approximately 50 percent of those with arthritis, according to a 2010 study. The research, led by Qi Sun, MD, ScD, research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, found that an increase in white rice consumption was correlated with higher rates of the disease. But when participants replaced some of their white rice intake with brown rice, their diabetes risk decreased.

Make the healthy switch from white to brown rice in your home, starting with these five simple recipes.

Red Thai Chicken Curry With Brown Rice: Simmer sliced vegetables and chicken in coconut milk flavored with red Thai curry paste, and serve over brown rice.

Mexican Brown Rice Bowl: Top brown rice with warm black beans, sliced avocado, chopped lettuce, shredded cheese and salsa.

Spanish-Style Brown Rice With Grilled Chorizo and Peppers: Sauté sliced onions and peppers in olive oil until soft, then serve over brown rice seasoned with Spanish paprika, along with grilled chorizo.

Quick Fried Rice: Stir-fry peas, corn, and carrots with ginger and garlic in sesame oil. Add leftover brown rice, scrambled eggs and chopped leftover pork or ham, and stir-fry until heated through. Season with low-sodium soy sauce.

Brown Rice With Broccoli, Shrimp and Lemon: Mix brown rice with cooked shrimp, broccoli florets, garlic and chopped herbs. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.

Food Duos

Paired with the right partners, certain foods can do a body better. Here are 3 healthy and simple dynamic duo recipes
| By Jess Thomson

Pairing foods is an easy and delicious way to improve your diet and your health. When combined, many nutrients have a synergistic effect, says Joan Salge Blake, a registered dietitian and assistant clinical professor of nutrition at Boston University. The key is to pair the right partners.

In our quick weeknight recipes, salmon and broccoli are roasted together to help the body build strong bones, and salsa and avocado team up to reduce the risk of cancer and increase immunity. For a powerful and special combo packed with phytochemicals that reduce the risk of a variety of diseases (from heart disease to cancer), toss apples and cranberries together and pile them into a country-style tart – no crimping or peeling required! Consuming apples and cranberries together also makes the antioxidants in both more active.

Roasted Soy-Ginger Salmon and Broccoli

Simply steamed, we’ll admit broccoli can get a little boring. But spiked with a mixture of soy sauce, grated ginger, and sesame oil, and roasted in a hot oven, it’s sensational. Add some salmon, and you’ve got a quick, healthy dinner, all baked in the same pan.

Ask your fishmonger to cut your salmon from the head end of the fish; it’s usually more uniformly thick there, so all your pieces will cook at the same rate.

Time: 5 minutes active time

Makes: 2 servings (doubles easily)

3/4 pound salmon (about 1” to 1 1/2” thick, cut into 2 roughly equal pieces)

2 cups big broccoli florets (the bagged kind works well)

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the salmon (skin side down) and broccoli in a small, heavy baking pan or pie dish, snuggling all the pieces close together but not quite touching. Whisk the remaining ingredients to blend in a small bowl, and drizzle evenly over the broccoli and salmon. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the broccoli is tinged with brown and small white beads of fat (that’s the good stuff!) begin to appear on the surface of the fish. Serve immediately.

Easy Black Bean and Goat Cheese Enchiladas

Made faster with jarred salsa, these enchiladas burst with the flavor of tangy goat cheese and creamy avocados – but with no heavy cheese crust, they’re much healthier than the traditional version. Take the time to soften the tortillas, as instructed. It makes the rolling process much easier.

Note: You can use mild, medium, or hot salsa here (your preference), but smoother varieties of salsa work best.

Time: 20 minutes active time

Makes: 4 servings

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

2 (12-ounce) jars salsa

1 ripe avocado, peeled and chopped into 1/2” pieces

8 corn tortillas

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Blend the beans, 3 ounces of the goat cheese, 1/2 cup of the salsa, and about 3/4 of the avocado pieces in a mixing bowl until creamy, and set aside. Wrap the tortillas in a damp cloth and microwave on high for 1 minute (or wrap cloth in foil and heat in the oven for 5 minutes) to make them more pliable.

Pour about a cup of the salsa into a wide, shallow bowl, and spread another cup or so on the bottom of a 7” by 11” (or similar) baking dish. Dip one tortilla into the bowl of salsa on both sides, add about 1/4 cup filling at one end, wrap the tortilla around the filling, and place it in the baking dish, seam side-down. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling. Spread the remaining salsa (what’s left in the jars and in the bowl) over the enchiladas, spreading it to the edges of the tortillas, and bake for 30 minutes, until bubbling. Scatter the remaining goat cheese, avocado, and chopped cilantro on top, and serve hot.

Rustic Apple-Cranberry Galette

This country-style galette – really an open-faced apple-cranberry pie – takes about half the time and effort of a whole pie, with equally satisfying results. There’s no fussy crimping or peeling involved, and the dough is made in a food processor, so it’s a bit easier on sore joints. Try it with a dollop of Greek yogurt!

The mixture of all-purpose and whole-wheat flours makes a great nutty-tasting crust, but you can use all regular flour, if you prefer.

Time: 30 minutes active time

Makes: 6 servings

For the dough:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

Pinch salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces

4 to 5 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:

2 medium tart apples, cored and cut into 1/2” pieces

1 cup cranberries (frozen is OK)

1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse the flours and salt a few times to blend. Break the butter up as you add it to the flour, then pulse about 20 times, until the butter is the size of small peas. Add the water through the top of the machine one tablespoon at a time, pulsing as you go, until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. (The dough is wet enough when it clumps together when you press a bit of it together between your fingers.)

Dump the dough onto a 1’ square of parchment paper or waxed paper, and pat the dough into a roughly 6” disc. Fold the paper over the dough and chill for about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Stir all the filling ingredients together (reserving 1 tablespoon sugar for sprinkling) until blended in a mixing bowl.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside. Fill a small bowl with a few tablespoons of water, and set aside.

Remove the dough from its wrapping, and roll into a roughly 13” round on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin. (You may need to wait a few minutes until the dough is soft enough to roll. And don’t worry – the beauty of a galette is that it doesn’t matter if it’s perfectly round.) Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet, and dump the fruit into the center, patting it a little flatter but leaving a roughly 2” border around the edges.

Working in one direction, fold a 3” or 4” section of the dough up and over the fruit. Fold up the next section, so the two pieces of dough overlap a bit. Dip two fingers into the water, and dab them between the two layers of dough to help them stick together. (You can press them together gently with your fingers, if you’d like.) Repeat all the way around the galette. Sprinkle the crust with the remaining tablespoon of sugar, and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned and the cranberries have started to burst.

Cool the galette on the pan for at least 15 minutes. Transfer to a plate or cutting board to serve: first, slide the galette on the parchment paper to the plate, then pull the par

How to Boost the Flavor of Frozen Vegetables

Nutrition experts tout frozen vegetables as a healthy alternative when fresh veggies are out of season.
| By Linda J. Brown

Try frozen vegetables during winter months. Thanks to commercial greenhouses and global imports, produce bins stay stacked with veggies even in the off-season. Sometimes, however, they lose a lot of nutrition along the way.

“Frozen vegetables might actually have a leg up on fresh veggies, depending on how they were handled, stored and prepared,” says registered dietitian Susan Moores, a nutrition consultant in St. Paul, Minn.

Frozen vegetables are picked at the peak of ripeness, meaning they’re also at their nutritional peak. They’re blanched and flash-frozen to maintain taste and quality. On the other hand, fresh veggies may be picked before they’re fully ripened, and in the winter frequently travel long distances to get to your supermarket, both of which may affect nutrition quality.

In the store, look for bags in which you can feel the individual vegetables. A bag that feels like a block of ice has been thawed and refrozen; it’s safe to eat, but it may not taste very good. To keep frozen vegetables at home, place them in a 0-degree freezer with good air circulation, and they’ll last six months to a year. Just take what you need and tightly rewrap the rest or enclose in a resealable freezer bag to prevent thawing and refreezing.

For best taste, don’t overcook. “Use the shortest cooking time when you steam or microwave and the least amount of water for better taste,” Moores says. “You’ll keep more B and C vitamins, which are susceptible to breaking down when heated.”

Give Life to Frozen Vegetables

Nutrition expert Martin Frei, who is a chef-instructor at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., often cooks with frozen vegetables, but likes to add some flavor boosters. Here are his suggestions:

Frozen Carrots:

Sauté onions with a bit of ginger, add carrots and sprinkle in dill. A splash of orange juice adds some zip.

Frozen Green Beans:

Sauté onions, add beans and fresh thyme.

Frozen Peas:

Add sautéed shallots and mushrooms.

Frozen Broccoli:

Mix in sautéed walnuts or pecans.        

Get creative, and come up with your own add-ins to enjoy the bounty of veggies from the grocery freezer section all winter long.

Recipes for Lean, Nutritious Beans: Stars in an Arthritis Diet

Try three different ways to dish up legumes to reduce inflammation and improve overall health.
| By Anne Krueger

Low-calorie, nutrient-dense peas, beans and other legumes are a perfect addition to an arthritis diet. They are packed with disease-fighting antioxidants, have anti-inflammatory properties, and have even been found to help people with diabetes (about half of whom also have arthritis) manage their blood sugar, according to a 2012 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

“As someone who struggles with fibromyalgia, I love foods that make me feel nourished deep down, while making my body feel good and strong. Beans are that kind of food,” says recipe developer Lia Huber, founder and CEO of nourishnetwork.com. “They’re a great source of fiber, iron and protein, and low in calories and fat.” Huber sometimes replaces meat with beans. “It’s a terrific tactic for reducing inflammation and warding off painful flares,” she says.

Here are three of her favorite ways to prepare healthful beans.

Lia’s Black Beans

Sauté 3 cloves of smashed garlic, and 1 cup each diced onion and poblano pepper in canola oil until caramelized. Season with salt, cumin, oregano and ancho chili powder. Transfer soaked beans to a pressure cooker pot with the onion mixture and cover with 2 parts liquid (water, broth or a mixture of the two) to 1 part beans. (If you started with 2 cups dried beans, use 4 cups liquid.) Secure the lid and bring to high pressure for 25 minutes. Let the pressure ease and test to see if the beans are tender. If they’re still tough at the center, cook longer. Season to taste. Terrific with brown rice, or in a tortilla and topped with sliced avocado and hot sauce.

Cannellini Beans with Shallots and Sage

Sauté 1 diced shallot and 2 cloves crushed garlic in olive oil until the shallot is caramelized. Season with salt and pepper and stir in ¼ cup minced sage and 1 bay leaf. Add presoaked cannellini beans to pot with a 2-to-1 ratio of liquid (water, broth or both) to beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1½ to 2 hours, until beans are tender and creamy. Serve with roasted mushrooms.

Barbecued Beans

Soak and cook pinto beans on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker with water, a bay leaf and three sprigs of thyme, until just tender. Drain beans and reserve 2 cups cooking liquid. On the stovetop, sauté 1 diced onion, 1 diced serrano pepper and 3 cloves minced garlic in canola oil until translucent. Add to slow cooker with cooked beans, 1 small can diced tomatoes, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 tablespoon molasses, 1 tablespoon cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon dry mustard. Season with salt and add enough water to just cover the beans. Turn slow cooker on high for 6 to 8 hours, until beans are tender and sauce clings to them.

How to Soak Beans

Soaking dried beans pulls out some of the sugars that cause gas and helps the beans cook more evenly. Soak beans overnight or try these quick-soak methods: Sort through 2 cups of beans and place them in a pressure cooker. Cover with 2 inches of water, secure the lid and bring to high pressure for 2 minutes. Let pressure release and then drain the beans. Or, on the stovetop, bring 2 cups of dried beans covered with water up to a boil for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave the beans covered for 1 hour.

Easy Appetizer Recipes

These appetizer recipes don't require long hours in the kitchen.
| By Jess Thomson

Rosemary-Roasted Cashews: Stir 1/2 pound of cashews, 2 tsp. dried rosemary and 2 tsp. olive oil in a bowl until the nuts are coated. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F. Serve warm.
Marinated Goat Cheese: Slice a 4-ounce log of goat cheese into 1/2-inch rounds and arrange in a wide shallow bowl. In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 sprigs thyme (or 2 tsp. dried thyme), 2 tsp. chopped garlic and 1 tsp. fennel seeds. Pour the oil over the goat cheese, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve at room temperature with whole wheat crackers.
Indian Vegetable Dip: Season a small container of plain yogurt with cumin, garlic powder, chopped cucumber and a bit of salt. Use as a dip for cucumber rounds, bell peppers or baby carrots.

8 Low-Sodium Recipes

Stir up big flavor with these tasty, low-sodium recipes.
| By Jessica Goldman

Stir it up – Low-Sodium Stir-Fry


  • 2 to 4 boneless chicken thighs, depending on number of guests or how hungry you are (90 mg per 3 oz serving)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (0 mg of sodium)
  • 1 beer with hints of fruit flavor, such as Blue Moon (0 mg of sodium)
  • 2 tablespoons salt-free Chinese Five Spice
  • 1/2 cup of fresh Shitake mushrooms
  • 1 bunch of Chinese broccoli
  • 1/2 cup of diced bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup of green onion
  • handful of sliced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon of chili pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil (0 mg of sodium)


1. Cut chicken thighs into strips – about 1/4 of an inch thick.

2. Put the chicken into a bowl with the Chinese Five Spice, a half can of beer, and cornstarch. Mix with your hands to make sure everything is coated. The cornstarch will help adhere the spices to the chicken.

3. Heat a large wok or pan on the stove. After a minute, add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. To test if the oil is ready for cooking throw in one slice of onion or garlic – if the oil spits, it’s time to get cooking.

4. Put the chicken (leaving most of the sauce in the bowl) into the sizzling pan. Let the chicken cook for 8 to 10 minutes until it is no longer pink.

5. Put chicken back into the bowl with the sauce. It’s OK, no health hazard here.  You’ll be cooking them again in just a few short minutes.

6. Reheat the second tablespoon of sesame oil in the pan. When hot, throw in the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until crisp and light brown.

7. Add Shitake mushrooms, Chinese broccoli, half of your green onions, bell peppers and chili pepper flakes. If the veggies look a little dry, drizzle with sesame oil or orange juice (just a few teaspoons or so) to help them rehydrate.

8. Add chicken and marinating liquid to the rest of the ingredients and stir it up.

9. Before serving, give it a taste. If it needs more flavor, throw in a dash of white or black pepper, some paprika, maybe some ground mustard – give it a try to find your personal favorite. If the sauce has cooked down, add more beer.

10. To serve, ladle the stir fry and sauce into bowls with chop sticks and a spoon – you will want to drink up all that warm, soupy liquid – and sprinkle your leftover green onions on top for flare and flavor.

Faux Miso Marinated Cod


  • 3/4 cup molasses (0 mg of sodium)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (0 mg of sodium)
  • 1/4 cup sake (0 mg of sodium)
  • 6 tablespoon mirin (0mg of sodium – check nutrition label, many Japanese grocery stores have low or no sodium versions)
  • 1 pound boneless black cod or sablefish (46 mg of sodium per 3 oz)


1. Heat sake and mirin in pot over medium flame and simmer for 30 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and add molasses and sugar, and stir until dissolved. Allow the mixture to cool.

3. Cut black cod into 6 equal pieces and place in a shallow dish, large enough so that all of the pieces of cod can lay flat.

4. Pour half of the cooled miso marinade into the dish, add cod, and then pour remaining marinade on top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours to 2 days. Turn the fish every so often so that they get an even coating.

5. Preheat broiler on high.

6. When hot, remove cod from marinade and place on a baking sheet on the bottom rack of oven. Broil until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Turn cod over and broil until fish flakes easily, about 3 minutes more.

7. Serve it up, admire your work and chow on.

Caramelized Fennel Corn Chowda’


  • 1 head of garlic, roasted
  • 1 bulb of fennel, diced or sliced, either way it’s getting blended
  • 1 ½ cups of frozen corn (0 mg of sodium – check nutrition label)
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil (0 mg of sodium)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of heavy cream (0 to 10 mg of sodium depending on brand)
  • fresh herbs, chives and parsley work well, roughly chopped or torn
  • 2 slices of Alvarado or Ezekiel brand low-sodium bread (10 mg of sodium per slice), cut into 1/2 inch squares and toast in oven


1. To roast the garlic, cut off the tops of an entire head of garlic and put it into a little boat made of tinfoil. Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil onto the garlic and throw it into an oven on 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until the garlic is soft. If you’re in a rush, skip the roasted garlic and simply sauté roughly sliced garlic in olive oil in a soup pot on medium heat.

2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add fennel (and garlic if you’re not roasting it). Stir constantly and allow fennel to soften and turn to a nice, brown, caramel color; about 5 minutes.

3. Add the corn and allow it to soften for another 5 minutes.

4. Add the roasted garlic and the cup of water. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes to draw out the flavors.

5. Use an immersion blender or transfer soup to blender. Blend on low to medium for 2 minutes or until the consistency is creamy.

6. Return soup to pot and turn flame to low to reheat. Five minutes before serving, add the cream and stir.

7. Ladle steaming soup into a gigantic bowl or cup and top with fresh herbs, croûtons, and pepper flakes if desired.

Pea Soup


  • 1 shallot

  • 5 cloves of garlic

  • 1 small white onion

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

  • 1 bag of frozen peas (0 mg of sodium – check nutrition label)
  • 1 bag of frozen corn (0 mg of sodium – check nutrition label)
  • Herb-Ox No Sodium Chicken Broth
  • White pepper
  • Crème Fraiche (0 mg of sodium)


1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat.

2. Dice shallot, garlic and half of white onion - no need to dice too finely as everything will be blended later on.

3. When oil is hot, add shallot, garlic, and onion to pot and stir until shallot and onion are soft and translucent.

4. Add bag of peas and half a bag of corn to pot. Stir and heat for about 5 minutes.

5. Mix 2 packets of Herb-Ox Low-Sodium Chicken Broth with 2 cups of water, add to soup pot, and bring to a boil.

6. After it has boiled for a 5 minutes, remove pot from heat.

7. Transfer soup to blender or for an incredibly easy and mess-free means of creaming ingredients, use an immersion blender.

8. Blend until smooth. An optional step is to then sieve the soup which will make it incredibly silky in texture, but this is only if you are going for Michelin star perfection.

9. Reheat soup on low until it has reduced about a third – this thickens the soup. Add the white pepper.

10. Chill soup in fridge.

11. Ladle into small bowls and top soup with a dollop of crème fraiche. Other optional crunch worthy toppers include: a few Unsalted Kettle Chips or a handful of Organic Just Peas or Just Corn.

12. Your soup is now ready to serve and ready to disappear.

Couscous, Sunny Side Up


  • 2 eggs (70 mg of sodium each)
  • 1 orange
  • 1 cup couscous (0 mg of sodium)
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 2 tomatillos
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • a few dashes of chipotle powder


1. To prepare the tomatoes and poblano pepper, first wash and then remove the stems. For the tomatillo, remove the outer leaves and rinse quickly under water. For the poblano, slice off the very top and make another slice down the side. This will give you access to the seeds, which you can simply remove by hand. Place the tomatoes, tomatillos and the poblano in an oven pan.

2. Turn on the oven broiler to low and place ingredients from step one on the top rack directly under the flame. Allow for them to char on one side for 5 minutes. Turn the tomatoes, tomatillos and poblano two more times until all the sides have had a good amount of heat (a total time of 15 minutes).

3. Remove the tomatoes, tomatillos and poblano and allow them to cool.

4. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium flame and add the shallot and garlic. Allow the garlic to brown and shallot to become slightly transparent, stirring constantly.

5. Peel the charred skin from the tomatoes, tomatillos and the poblano. An easy way to do this is to put them in a paper bag and rub.

6. Add the tomatoes, tomatillos, poblano and the roasting juices to the pot. Blend in a blender or with an immersion blender until mostly smooth and allow it to reduce for another 15 minutes over medium heat. Add pepper to taste.

7. In another small pot, heat 1 cup of water and bring to a boil.

8. Add in the couscous and stir for 2 minutes.

9. Remove couscous from the flame and add juice from one small orange, the jalapeños and the parsley. Mix well.

10. In two oven-safe dishes, layer the couscous and roasted tomato/pepper sauce. Crack one egg in each dish and dust with chipotle powder.

11. Place the two dishes under the oven broiler on low for 5 to 10 minutes or until the whites of the eggs have hardened.

12. To serve, sprinkle leftover parsley on top and dig in.

Lamb Ragù


  • 2 lamb chops and 1/2 pound of lamb stew meat
  • 1/2 a pound of pappardelle (or ask the counter attendant for the appropriate amount)
  • 1 bulb of fennel, diced
  • 1 small turnip, diced
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, casually chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 1 wine glass of white wine
  • 3 beefsteak tomatoes (because I find them easier to cut)
  • orange zest from one orange
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ground cumin, red pepper flakes, black or white pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg to taste


1. Set your oven to 350 degrees.

2. In your casserole dish, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat.

3. Once oil is hot, add onion and garlic and stir occasionally until the onion has softened and the garlic has browned. If it begins to stick to or brown your casserole dish, use some white wine or champagne vinegar to deglaze the pot and steal some of that charred flavor for the sauce.

4. Add the turnip and fennel and continue to cook over medium heat until softened and browned.

5. Add the diced tomatoes, rosemary, wine, cumin, pepper flakes and pepper, increasing the heat until the mixture begins to boil.

6. In a pan, heat the second tablespoon of olive oil. When hot, brown your pork chops, about 3 minutes on each side, and add them to the ragù stock.

7. In the same pan, brown the lamb stew meat for about 5 minutes and add it to the ragù stock.

8. Cover casserole and put it in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours until the lamb can fall right off the bone.

9. About 10 minutes before eating, take the lamb ragù from the oven and put back on the stove, low to medium heat. Begin heating a second pot of boiling water for your pasta.

10. In a separate small bowl, mix some of the ragù juice with your flour. Whisk until there are no clumps and add the thickened sauce back to the rest of the pot.

11. Once the pasta water is boiling, put in the pappardelle and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and add a little olive oil if the noodles are sticking together.

12. When you are ready to serve, plate the noodles and ladle the sauce on top. Garnish with the fresh parsley and grated orange zest.

Orange Pickled Fennel


  • 2 bulbs of fennel
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 dried chili peppers
  • zest and juice from 1 large orange
  • 2 cups white wine or champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 a cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of black peppercorn
  • 1 quart sized Mason jar


1. Take two bulbs of fennel, cut off stems and slice in to crescent shaped spears.

2. Stuff fennel slices, some of the soft fennel fronds from the stem (packs extra flavor), three cloves of garlic and two dried chili peppers into a small Mason jar.

3. Zest one orange and place in the Mason jar with fennel.

4. Heat 2 cups of white wine vinegar, 1/2 a cup of sugar, juice from one orange and a teaspoon of black peppercorns in a pot. Remove from heat once it begins boiling.

5. Carefully (it’s hot!) fill the Mason jar with heated pickling liquid (step 4). The heat tends to reduce the size of the fennel almost immediately, so if you have leftover slices, stuff more into the jar.

6. For added punch, slice fresh ginger and put in jar as well. Once lid is closed, shake it up, allow to cool and stick it in the fridge. In two days, it will be ready for munching.

Pickled Grapes


  • 5 to 6 handfuls of seedless black or red grapes
  • 2 teaspoons of yellow mustard seed
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cups of white wine or champagne vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of black peppercorn


1. Pick up some plump, seedless black or red grapes and slice off the belly buttons (the top part where the stem was) of five or six handfuls. By taking off this top piece of the grape, you will allow the pickling juices to seep into the fruit immediately.

2. Fill a small Mason jar with the grapes, 2 teaspoons of yellow mustard seed, and one stick of cinnamon. Or, as in my case, use 3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon if you forget to buy cinnamon sticks.

3. Heat two cups of white wine or champagne vinegar in a pot with 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns. Remove from heat once it boils.

4. Let the pickling liquid (step 3) fully cool before filling the Mason jar. This will keep the fruit from becoming too mushy.

5. Shake and shimmy your Mason jar and put in refrigerator. The grapes will be pickled in two days.

BONUS TIP: On my quest to find a good substitute for olives, I realized that a savory grape pickle could do the trick. I think they could act as a mischievous doppelgänger in tapenade and Mediterranean salads, fooling any palate. I can’t wait to test out this theory in the weeks to come.

*Read how the recipe author, Jessica Goldman, aka "Sodium Girl," changed her diet to revive her failing kidneys and improve her life with lupus.

Three Delicious Pasta Alternatives

Get more fiber and fewer calories with these substitutes for white flour pasta.
| By Jess Thomson

Try these three creative, nutritious alternatives to white flour pasta dishes. You’ll get more fiber and nutrients and fewer calories and refined carbohydrates.

Cold Crunchy Chicken and Snap Pea Soba Salad

Though the ingredient list seems long, this slightly spicy, healthy, lunchbox-friendly soba noodle salad comes together quickly, and lasts 2 or 3 days in the fridge. For a meat-free version, replace the chicken with chopped tofu.

Note: Look for soba noodles, sriracha, rice vinegar and pre-grated ginger in the Asian food aisle of a large grocery store.

TIME: 30 minutes

MAKES: 4 lunch servings

For the salad:

1 (8.8-ounce or similar) package soba noodles

2 cups shredded chicken (use leftovers, or a store-bought rotisserie chicken)

2 cups snap peas, sliced

2 scallions (green and white parts), sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin 1” strips

2 cups roasted (preferably unsalted) cashews

1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

For the sesame dressing:

1/4 cup sesame tahini (well-stirred)

2 tablespoons dark sesame oil

1/2 cup boiling water

1 tablespoon finely grated ginger

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sriracha (or similar Asian chili paste), or to taste (optional)

Cook the soba noodles according to package instructions. Meanwhile, stir the remaining salad ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together until blended. When the noodles are done, rinse them with cold water until they’ve cooled completely. Drain, then add to the bowl with the chicken and vegetables. Drizzle the dressing over the noodles, then use tongs or two spoons to gently combine all the ingredients. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Creamy Rice Fettuccine with Salmon, Kale, Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

Rich with the flavors of salmon, white wine and goat cheese (but no actual cream!), this colorful, nutritious pasta dish comes together in a little less than half an hour. Ask your fishmonger to cut the skin off the salmon for you, if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself.

TIME: 30 minutes

MAKES: 4 servings

8 ounces whole-grain rice fettuccine (or similar pasta)

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

3 cups (tightly packed) chopped kale (from roughly 1 small bunch green, red, or lacinato kale)

1 pint grape tomatoes (or halved cherry tomatoes)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 pound salmon filet, skin removed and cut into bite-sized pieces

4 ounces goat cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the fettuccine according to package directions. Scoop out about 1/2 cup of the pasta’s cooking water after it turns cloudy, and set aside.

After adding the pasta, heat a large skillet over medium heat. (Choose one that has a lid that fits well.) Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, then the kale and tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to burst and the kale has softened.

Add the wine, bring to a simmer, nestle the salmon pieces into the vegetables, cover, and cook for 5 minutes, until the tomatoes start releasing their juices and the salmon just beings to flake apart.

When the pasta is cooked through, rinse thoroughly with cold water, drain, and toss with the salmon, kale, and tomatoes. Cover the pan and let the pasta heat through for a minute or two. Remove from heat, crumble in the goat cheese, stir, and add enough of the reserved pasta water to make a creamy sauce (if needed). Serve immediately.

Tofu Shirataki Bolognese

Traditional spaghetti Bolognese is delicious, but it packs a caloric wallop. This recipe cuts back on the calories without skimping on flavor by relying on extra veggies – pulverized in the food processor, so you can skip some of the chopping – and on extremely low-calorie tofu shirataki noodles, which you’ll find in your grocery store’s refrigerator section.

NOTE: For a spicy sauce, add a pinch or two of red pepper flakes to the pan when you add the vegetables.

TIME: 40 minutes

MAKES: 4 servings

1/2 pound lean ground beef

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup chopped onion (from half a medium onion)

2 ribs celery, roughly chopped

2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

1 cup sliced mushrooms

2 cloves garlic, smashed

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)

1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 (28-ounce) jar store-bought spaghetti sauce

1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)

2 (8-ounce) packages spaghetti-style tofu shirataki noodles

Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking the meat up, until no pink remains. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

Meanwhile, whirl the onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, thyme and oregano in a food processor until very finely chopped. When the meat is done, add the olive oil to the pan, then add the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, then cook and stir until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the meat, the sauce and the cream (if using), and simmer together for another 10 minutes.

(You can make the sauce ahead up to this point, cool, and store in the refrigerator up to 3 days.)

When ready to serve, heat the shirataki spaghetti according to package directions, rinsing well. Toss with the sauce, and serve hot, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

Arthritis-Friendly Recipes from Sandra Lee

These easy-to-prepare meals take less than 10 minutes.

Try these Sandra Lee recipes for quick, easy-to-prepare meals. The celebrity chef created a set of arthritis recipes for the program “I Can with RA in the Kitchen,” sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb and the Arthritis Foundation. Each takes only 10 minutes to prepare – a boon when painful joints limit your time in the kitchen.

Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Time: Prep 10 minutes, bake 20 minutes

Four 6 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt-free lemon-pepper seasoning
1 teaspoon salt-free citrus-herb seasoning, Spice Islands® Salt (optional)
3 organic lemons, thinly sliced
Fresh rosemary sprigs
1 ¼ cup organic chicken broth
½ tsp. crushed garlic

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Brush both sides of chicken pieces with olive oil and sprinkle with lemon-pepper seasoning, citrus-herb seasoning and salt (optional); set aside.

In a baking dish, arrange 2 to 3 slices of lemon and a sprig of rosemary for each chicken piece. Place chicken, smooth sides up, on lemon and rosemary. Top each chicken piece with another sprig of rosemary and 2 to 3 slices of lemon.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink (165 degrees F). Remove chicken to platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

In a small saucepan, combine half of the rosemary from the baking dish and any browned bits from baking dish. Add chicken broth and garlic. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook until mixture is reduced by half. Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain mixture. Discard solids. Serve mixture with chicken. Garnish with additional lemon slices and rosemary sprigs. Servings: 4

Mediterranean Vegetables

Time: 10 minutes

1 package (16 oz.) loose-pack frozen mixed vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots)
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano
1 tablespoon capers, drained

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine frozen mixed vegetables, tomatoes and drained capers. Cover with plastic wrap; microwave on high setting for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time.

NOTE: To give this arthritis recipe a new flavor, use a different package of mixed vegetables. Great mixtures include baby peas, baby carrots, snow peas and baby corn or Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and carrots. If you can't find a mixture with your favorite vegetables, try mixing and matching to create a colorful combination of your own. Servings: 4

Chef Seamus Mullen's Favorite Tapas Recipes

Food Network star chef Seamus Mullen was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis several years ago. Here he shares a few of his favorite tapas recipes.
| By Catherine Winters

Entertaining won’t be a chore if tapas are on the menu. Tapas are small snacks or appetizers. Because they don’t take a lot of skill or effort to whip up, tapas are ideal for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), says celebrity chef Seamus Mullen, who has appeared on a variety of Food Network shows and was also the executive chef and partner at two trendy New York City restaurants, including Boqueria.

The prep work for tapas is sometimes as simple as opening a can of tuna. What’s more, you can prepare tapas in advance, or guests can pitch in.

“Tapas are about being social,” says Mullen, who was diagnosed with RA several years ago and is working on a cookbook about inflammation-fighting foods. “The whole tradition of tapas is to go from one bar to the next, grazing on little bites of food while you socialize.”

Here are a few of his favorite tapas recipes.

Pan con Tomate (traditional Spanish bread)

1 baguette, halved lengthwise and cut into 4-inch pieces
2 beefsteak tomatoes, halved through the center
1 clove of garlic, peeled and halved
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Toast the bread and rub with the cut side of the garlic clove. Then rub with 1/2 half cut tomato to cover. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and serve.

Marinated Cheese

1 pound hard Italian cheese, such as Manchego, Parmesan or Parmigiano Reggiano, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig thyme
1 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns
2 dried guindilla peppers (substitute 1 tsp. red pepper flakes if guindilla are unavailable)

Mix all ingredients together. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Serve with toothpicks.

Marinated Lamb Skewers

1/2 pound lamb top-round, cleaned and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
1/2 cup packed chopped herbs (mint, chives, parsley)
1 pinch saffron
1 Tbsp. toasted coriander, ground
1 Tbsp. toasted fennel seed, ground
1 Tbsp. toasted black cumin seed, ground
1 Tbsp. toasted mustard seed, ground
1 Tbsp. guindilla pepper, ground (1 Tbs. red pepper flakes can be substituted)
4 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Skewer the lamb cubes on 6-inch bamboo skewers. Combine all other ingredients, pour over the skewers and marinate them overnight. Preheat a sauté pan or grill over medium-high heat, and cook two minutes per side, or until desired doneness.

Tuna Finger Sandwich with Black Olives and Egg

1 loaf of sourdough Pullman bread
1 can tuna
1 Tbsp. chopped chives
1 Tbsp. diced shallots
1 Tbsp. capers or chopped caper berries
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Lemon zest
1/4 cup chopped black olives
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
Salt to taste 
Pepper to taste 
2 eggs, ideally free-range, cooked for 6 minutes in simmering water
1/2 pickled guindilla peppers

Slice the loaf into thin slices. Combine all other ingredients except eggs and guindilla peppers. Distribute the tuna mixture evenly on the slices of bread, and layer with slices of hard cooked egg and the guindilla peppers. Cover with the remaining bread and cut each sandwich into quarters.

Shrimp Skewers with Garlic and Guindilla Pepper

3 oz. fresh rock shrimp
2 dried guindilla peppers (substitute 1 tsp. red pepper flakes if guindillas are unavailable)
1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 tsp. chopped parsley
1/4 cup olive oil

Skewer shrimp on four 6-inch bamboo skewers. Combined the remaining ingredients, pour over the skewers and marinate them overnight. Season with salt and pepper, and sear in a hot pan.

Sensational Seed Recipes

Seeds make good nutritional sense.

Seeds are compact storehouses of protein and essential vitamins and minerals. Sprinkled on everything from your morning cereal to your midday yogurt snack to your dinner casserole dessert, they are a healthy addition to just about any diet.

Not sure how to get started? These seed recipes will give you a head start. And you’ll be satisfied with the sensational results.

Fluffy Flax Pancakes

4 servings

1 cup lowfat milk

4 eggs, separated

3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup flax meal

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup whole flaxseeds

1 to 2 tablespoons butter or margarine

In a large bowl, beat together milk and egg yolks. In a separate bowl, combine flour, flax meal, salt, sugar and baking powder. With electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff and medium peaks form. Add dry ingredients to milk and egg yolk mixture and stir to blend completely. Gently fold beaten egg whites into flour-milk mixture until combined (a few streaks of egg white can remain). Heat griddle to medium-low and coat lightly with butter. Spoon batter by heaping spoonfuls onto griddle. Cook pancakes until browned on the underside, about 4 minutes. Flip pancakes and cook about 2 minutes more, until set. Pancakes can be kept on a sheet pan in a 200˚F oven for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Serve with maple syrup or fruit compote.

One serving (1/4 recipe) = 400 calories. Calories from fat, 174; total fat, 20g (sat 4g); cholesterol, 217mg; sodium, 431mg; carbohydrate, 40; fiber, 9; protein, 17g

Seeded Rice

6 servings

1 cup whole grain rice

¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or a combination

2 ¼ cup water or low-sodium vegetable broth

½ teaspoon salt

Rinse rice and drain in colander or sieve. Place in large bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight. Throw off the soaking water. In a pot with tight-fitting lid, combine rice, seeds, water or broth and salt. Cook over high heat until boiling, then reduce to low and simmer 45 to 50 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let sit 5 to 10 minutes, then fluff with wooden spoon. Note: this recipe is excerpted from The Healthiest Meals on Earth by Jonny Bowden, PhD (Fair Winds Press, 2008).

Sesame-Crusted Tofu

4 servings

1 pound firm tofu, drained

1/4 cup nonfat milk

2 egg whites, lightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoon. dried breadcrumbs

2 tablespoon white sesame seeds

1 tablespoon black sesame seeds

1/2 teaspoon sesame or canola oil

12 green onions, ends trimmed, cut in half crosswise, then halved again lengthwise

Cut the tofu crosswise into 12 slices and place in large nonstick frying pan over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes on each side until lightly browned. Transfer to plate to cool.

In a bowl, whisk together milk, egg whites, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and pepper until blended. On a large plate, combine the breadcrumbs, white and black sesame seeds and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and mix well. Dip tofu slices into milk mixture, then dredge in sesame seed mixture. In large nonstick frying pan, heat oil over medium heat and cook tofu slices, turning once, about 3 minutes. Transfer 3 tofu steaks to each of 4 plates. Sauté green onions in pan 3 to 4 minutes to use as garnish. Serve immediately with low-sodium soy sauce.

One serving (1/4 recipe) = 265 calories. Total fat, 14 g (sat 2g); cholesterol, 0; sodium, 391mg; carbohydrate, 17g; fiber, 6g; protein, 24g

Note: this recipe is excerpted from The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook (Oxmoor House, 2004).

Spinach Salad with Strawberry–Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

Enjoy this light, tasty salad.

Nutrient-dense berries do double duty in this summery lunch. They add natural sweetness to the strawberry–poppy seed dressing, and they give the spinach salad a wonderful burst of color and flavor.

Note: The strawberry poppy–seed vinaigrette tastes best if you use only the soft, flavorful red parts of the strawberries, so cut off the stems and the berries’ white matter (hulls) before adding them to the blender. It keeps well in the refrigerator in a sealed container, up to a week.

Serves 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes

1 16 oz. container strawberries (about 20 large), tops removed
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. poppy seeds
4 ounces baby spinach (about 4 big handfuls)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup pickled red onions (recipe follows), optional

Slice half the strawberries and set them aside for the spinach salad. Remove the hulls from the remaining berries so that only the red parts remain, and coarsely chop.

Place the chopped strawberries, shallots, vinegar, salt and a few grindings of pepper in a blender, and blend on high until smooth. Add the oil and poppy seeds, and blend again. Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed and transfer to a serving container.

Place the spinach, feta, walnuts, onions and reserved strawberries in a large bowl. Add strawberry–poppy seed vinaigrette (to taste) and toss the spinach salad just before serving.

Quick Pickled Red Onions

1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and let sit for 1 hour at room temperature, stirring occasionally. Keeps well in a sealed container, up to 2 weeks.