What’s On Your Plate For Dinner This Week? 

3/9/2012 

If you’re a health-conscious grocery shopper, hopefully you’ve noticed the number of better-for-you foods that have become regular stock in your commissary over the past few years. You’ve told us that’s what you want, and we are happy to oblige.

During the month of March, which is National Nutrition Month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is taking special steps to help folks discover what healthful eating truly means. They even designated March 8 as “What’s on My Plate Day.” If you think you’re putting the Dietary Guidelines for Americans into practice for meals you serve at your table, you’re invited to snap a photo of one of your favorite MyPlate-style breakfasts, lunches or dinners to share with the USDA Flickr Photo Group at http://www.flickr.com/groups/choosemyplate.

The MyPlate icon, unveiled last summer, is designed to be a visual cue to remind consumers to make healthful food choices. It supports the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, features the five food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy), and points users to www.choosemyplate.gov to learn about and apply the guidelines for themselves. Visit the MyPlate website at http://www.choosemyplate.gov/ to see how well you’re doing. While you’re there, use the SuperTracker feature to see if you’re truly on the right track. Entering all the foods you consume in one day, or even one meal, can uncover some important gaps like empty calories in foods you thought were perfectly fine choices, or point out high sodium levels where you’d least expect them to be lurking.

This recipe collection focuses on healthy entrees, meals and desserts that reflect dietary guideline messages, such as make half your plate fruits and vegetables; make half your grains whole; avoid oversized portions; and enjoy your food, but eat less. A little bit of knowledge goes a long way toward making the majority of your typical plates healthy. Remember to purchase all your ingredients at the commissary. Saving an average of 32 percent will keep your budget as healthy as your diet. To see the entire collection, visit Kay’s Kitchen at http://www.commissaries.com/kays_kitchen/healthy_cooking/articles/kays_03_05_12.cfm.

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Sumptuous Steak Stir-Fry (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

1 pound beef top round steak, cut 1 inch thick
1 small yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 cup broccoli florets
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1/2 cup frozen shelled edamame,* thawed
2 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1/4 cup water
Salt
1/3 cup sesame-ginger stir-fry sauce
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 cups hot cooked brown or white rice, prepared without butter or salt

Directions:

1. Cook rice according to package directions, omitting any butter or salt.
2. Combine all vegetables, half the minced garlic and 1/4 cup water in a large nonstick skillet. Cover and cook over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender, adding additional water if pan becomes dry. Remove vegetables; keep warm.
3. Meanwhile, cut beef steak lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/4 inch thick strips. Combine with remaining half of minced garlic.
4. Heat same skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add half of beef mixture; stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes or until outside surface of beef is no longer pink. (Do not overcook.) Remove from skillet; season with salt, as desired. Keep warm. Repeat with remaining beef mixture.
5. Return all beef and vegetables to the skillet. Add stir-fry sauce and crushed red pepper, as desired; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through. Serve over rice.

Nutrient analysis: Per serving – 233 calories; 6g total fat (2g sat. fat); 61mg cholesterol; 779mg sodium; 14g carbohydrate; 3g fiber; 32g protein.

*Edamame (eh-dah-MAH-meh) refers to green soybeans. Find them in your commissary’s frozen foods section.

–       Recipe and photo courtesy of National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

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America’s Favorite Pork Chops (Serves 4)


Ingredients:

4 bone-in pork chops, 3/4 inch thick, about 2 to 2 1/4 pounds
3/4 cup Italian dressing (used reduced fat dressing, if desired)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

1. Combine Italian dressing and Worcestershire sauce in a self-sealing plastic bag; add pork chops and squeeze to evenly distribute marinade evenly over all pork chops.
2. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or as long as overnight.
3. Remove chops from bag, discarding marinade. Grill pork chops over a medium-hot fire, turning once, until just done, about 8 to 9 minutes total cooking time. An instant-read thermometer inserted into center of pork chop should register 145 degrees.
4. Serve with sliced tomatoes, broccoli spears and skinny garlic mashed potatoes.

Nutrient analysis: Per pork chop – 184 calories; 10g total fat (2g sat. fat); 1g carbohydrate; 60mg cholesterol; 140mg sodium; 25g protein.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the National Pork Board – Pork, Be Inspired.

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Mango Yogurt Parfaits (Serves 6)

Ingredients:

2 large ripe mangos, peeled, pitted and cubed, divided
3 cups low-fat vanilla yogurt
6 tablespoons low-fat granola

Directions:

1. In a food processor or blender, puree 1/2 the mango cubes until smooth; spoon equal amounts into 6 clear dessert dishes or stemmed glasses.
2. Top each with 1/4 cup yogurt; spoon mango and remaining mango cubes over the yogurt, saving a few pieces for garnish.
3. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
4. Top each serving with a tablespoon of granola, garnish with remaining mango cubes and serve.