• 05Jun

    Today’s blog post in our series “What are your favorite Summer fruits and Veggies?” was contributed by Rachel Stroud, Good Measure Meals Community Wellness Rep, RD, LD

    Headshot_RStroud_2013I like being that dietitian who breaks the “rules.” The one that tells you things are okay that everyone around you is shouting “DO NOT EAT.”

    Here’s why: I love food. When I have to choose, I love food more than nutrition. But the fact is: I rarely have to choose. Food is wonderful. Calories are glorious little morsels of energy that fuel our bodies to do all the things we love to do. They’re not the enemy, they’re not to be avoided – they’re to be enjoyed, and chosen wisely.

    So here’s the food I want to talk about today: Corn.

    People LOVE to hate on corn.

    “It’s SOOOOOO starchy”
    “You feed your kids WHAT?!”
    “Corn is soooo not a vegetable”

    Let’s all take a step back for a minute. Corn is a vegetable, agriculturally speaking. Nutritionally, a medium ear of corn has ¼ the sugar of an apple and ¾ of the total carbohydrates. Corn is a good source of fiber, and provides us with a solid helping of thiamin, niacin, and folate, all tasty B vitamins.

    Yes folks, it does have a higher carb count than leafy greens, but eat it instead of your roll with dinner and you have a glorious, nutritious side dish. Corn should not take the place of your leafy greens, or other non-starchy veggies, but it certainly deserves a chance in place of a grain or bread, on occasion. Especially this time of year, when the ears are falling heavy off of their stalks and all 800 kernels/ear are puffed full of their sugary, creamy, white juice.

    Summer's fruits, veggies, and herbs make for delicious recipes!

    Summer’s fruits, veggies, and herbs make for delicious recipes!

    You know what else I love about corn? You can eat it raw. Enough of those shallow pans of boiling water that ultimately burn my fingers while I try to spin the corn so that each side gets cooked (but not TOO cooked!!). Enough of that.
    Cold, raw, sweet, fresh corn is one of the greatest parts of summer. Just slice it off the cob, and you’re in business.

    Here is one of my favorite recipes:
    2 cups raw, fresh, sweet Corn (3-4 ears)
    1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
    ½ c Fresh Mozzarella (preferably in ½ in cubes)
    ¼ c chopped basil
    1 T Olive Oil
    2T White Balsamic Vinegar
    salt and pepper to taste

    Get ready to take away the emptiest bowl after your next dinner party.

    P.S. Next time, we’ll talk about potatoes.

  • 29Apr

    Today’s post is contributed by Good Measure Meals Research and Development Chef, Catherine Izzo

    When we are planning a new menu, the first place that we look for inspiration is the feedback from our customer surveys. By analyzing the scores and reading all of the open-ended comments, we can clearly see which meals are customer favorites and what they would like to see more of.

    One of the distinct favorites from the menu that most customers wanted to see more of is our oven-fried chicken, which is marinated in buttermilk and herbs, coated in corn flakes and a little bit of Parmesan then baked until brown and crunchy.

    GMM Oven "Fried" Chicken

    GMM Oven “Fried” Chicken


    So, this got me thinking; how can I use the oven fried chicken more often without having the same meal twice in a menu cycle?

    Of course, the first thing that popped into this Italian’s head was one of my favorite comfort food recipes: Chicken Parmesan. So, we got to work on developing a meal that would still be as comforting, but would fit into our strict nutritional profile.

    The result is one my new favorite meals on the menu: the Chicken Parmesan with Whole Wheat Spaghetti and a side of Asparagus (coming up for dinner on Wednesday, May 14)!

    But it is so very hard to pick just one favorite meal from the GMM menus!

    From the Healthy Selection menu, I also love the Moroccan Chicken with Orange Couscous and Baby Spinach Salad (next Tuesday, May 6!), and the Kung Pao Chicken with the Thai Pineapple Rice (Friday, May 30). Of course, the Vegetarian menu also has great new items like the Mexican Vegetarian Rice Bowl (Monday, May 12), and the Sweet Potato Burger with Lemon Basil Spread served with the Cannellini Bean Salad (Monday, May 26).

    I could go on, but we would like to hear from you! Which are your new favorites?

    GMM Moroccan Chicken with Orange Couscous and Baby Spinach Salad with Toasted Almonds, Dates and Cumin Lime Dressing

    GMM Moroccan Chicken with Orange Couscous and Baby Spinach Salad with Toasted Almonds, Dates and Cumin Lime Dressing

  • 10Mar

    Today’s post is contributed by GMM Registered Dietitian and Community Wellness Rep, Rachel Stroud

    It is safe to say that cooking is the most therapeutic thing in the world to me. Except for possibly grocery shopping.

    rachel with juiceAfter a long day of working, juggling schedules, clients, and partners – my mind racing every which way at any possible moment – I ache for my kitchen. Everything feels still there. The colors of fresh fruits and veggies. The sound of sizzling oil in a pan. The feeling of running a sharp knife through an onion and tossing it into a hot pan, the accumulating scent of savory flavor filling the kitchen air. It’s like a warm cozy blanket for my senses.

    I’d love to tell you that I spend hours each night standing over the stove, tossing spices and presenting beautiful meals to my fiancée and closest friends. But let’s be honest, I don’t.
    It might happen once every couple weeks. Twice on a good week.

    Most of the time, I’m dashing into the house, whipping open the refrigerator and hoping that some reheatable gourmet meal is magically waiting for me to toss it in the microwave and save me from having to figure out something quick, healthy, and low maintenance to make in 2 minutes.
    (Side note: Good Measure Meals is perfect in those sorts of situations. See what I did there??)

    But on weeks where I don’t have GMM to be my saving-grace-magic-dinner-fairy, my go-to meals are what I call “bowls,” or at least that’s what they have been dubbed by those I most commonly feed.

    These “bowls” are healthy meals I can whip up in about 10-20 minutes, toss in a bowl, and call it a night. Here’s how the Bowl magic happens:

    1) Starch – Pick a starch, any starch. Rice, quinoa, cous cous, faro, and potatoes are my most frequent go-to’s. My ideal situation is when I happen to make a grain earlier in the week and have the forethought to make a double batch so that I have some handy leftovers.

    2) Protein – Chicken, lean beef, ground turkey, or my very favorite: a poached egg with runny yolk. If you’re low on meat/eggs, go for quinoa, our favorite handy-dandy grain-like starch that contains all your essential amino acids. Or, plop a hefty spoonful of your favorite beans on top. The protein options are plentiful. And don’t forget about cheese! Let’s be honest, cheese makes everything better. Just make sure to think about using cheese as a seasoning rather than a main attraction to keep those portion sizes in check.

    3) Veggie – Veggies, galore! Toss them in a pan with oil to sauté, or spread them on parchment in a 400 degree oven for that roasted flavor. Shoot for a couple colors in your bowl. In a pinch, salsa will work for some of those veggie effects, but opt for freshly prepared when you can. Kale, spinach, onions, peppers, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, broccoli, and avocado are my mainstays.

    4) MISC – sometimes I like toasted nuts or herbs in my bowl as well for a zing. Lest you think I plan these things out with great forethought, typically I just grab whatever I have leftover or is about to spoil: garlic, parsley, cilantro, rosemary, and thyme give a little extra flavor and look like the finishing touch on your mound of delicious and nutritious bowl ingredients.

    Voila! Did you know healthy could be that easy? AND tasty?! “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” is the 2014 theme for National Nutrition Month this March (that’s now!). Healthy meals should taste delicious, and the good news is that you don’t have to take hours of slaving over a stove to prepare them (especially when you order GMM!).

    Some of my go-to bowl combinations are:
    • Quinoa (or brown rice), black beans, feta cheese, salsa, avocado
    • Quinoa, onion, sweet potato, kale, pesto, toasted pecans, avocado, goat cheese (compliments of my own rendition of this Real Simple recipe)
    • Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes, kale, white cheddar, scrambeled eggs, cherry tomatoes, parsley
    • Faro, brussel sprouts, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, dash of balsamic vinegar & maple syrup, avocado, topped with a poached egg (my spin on this Cookie&Kate recipe)

    Bowl1

    Farro, Brussel Sprouts, Cranberries, Avocado, toasted Pecans, Goat Cheese

    Bowl2

    Quinoa, Turkey Sausage, Kale, Cherry Tomatoes, and Avocado topped with a Poached Egg

    Bowl3

    Roasted Yukon Gold & Sweet Potatoes, Kale, Avocado, and White Cheddar topped with a Poached Egg

    Bowl4

    Roasted Yukon Gold Potatos, scrambled Eggs, Spinach, Green Onions, Cherry Tomatoes, Parsley

  • 04Mar

    It’s National Nutrition Month, so naturally, our dietitians are all in a tizzy with ideas and cooking demonstrations and classes and new recipes to share.

    Spoiler alert: I’m not actually a dietitian (although I certainly appreciate the hard work they all do – AND their genius recipe ideas). But I do like to cook, and I love experimenting with healthy recipes.

    To be fair, some of these experiments haven’t been the best ideas. For example, even though avocado is a healthy fat, it does not quite translate to a fat-replacement in a brownie recipe (sorry Gray!).

    kat cook collage

    Memory lane montage from some culinary escapades through the years…

    But then again, some of my experiments have turned out to be real winners. My shining example is my favorite, easiest-to-make, Katherine-Original-Recipe for Garlicky Raw Kale Salad.

    “Oh my gosh, another kale recipe.” – I can hear all those silent judgey voices in your heads right now.

    You’ve had the sautéed kale with raisins and nuts and balsamic; the sautéed kale with soy and garlic. Fair enough. You’ve tried some kale recipes.

    But have you tried this one? Because this one literally only requires 5 minutes of your time and ingredients you probably already have in the house. (And it can be winged without measuring utensils – see below – and tweaked to your tastes.)

    And in case you’re on the fence about another kale recipe (“it’s so bitter” “it’s too tough” “it’s too fad-ish” “just…no” – I still hear your head-voices), let me just tell you that Katherine’s Garlicky Raw Kale Salad has kind of become a “thing” around Atlanta, and it’s converted some pretty tough critics, too.

    Basically, this whole thing started from a rip-off of Whole Foods’ Raw Garlicky Kale Salad, which I love so much.

    “Surely this can’t be too hard to make,” I thought to myself one day, after realizing I’d purchased the salad three days in a row for dinner and needed to have an intervention with myself and my wallet.

    So I tooled around in the kitchen one afternoon, and below is the result. And I must say…I think mine’s better than Whole Foods’. Less dressing-y and way tastier.

    I’ve taken this recipe to multiple potlucks over the course of the last two years (because it is SO easy, but it still sounds gourmet). After each party, at least one person asks for the recipe and then tells me later that they’ve remade the recipe for another party of their own (and had someone from their party ask them for the recipe)! Basically, this salad has started its own pyramid scheme of nutritious delight.

    Here’s how it works…(and keep in mind this is all approximations – Play it loose! Play it by ear!)

    You’ll need:
    Kale: I used one bag of pre-chopped kale, but I’ve also used the leaves off of 1-2 bunches before
    Garlic: I used about 1 Tbs of the pre-minced garlic here, but I’ve also used 2-4 cloves of fresh minced garlic, too.
    Hummus: ¾ of a container of Garlic, Plain, or another flavor of your favorite hummus brand.
    Lemon Juice: I used about 1 Tbs. of the kind in the plastic lemon. But I highly recommend using the equivalent (or more if you like) of fresh-squeezed juice from a real lemon. (If you have the time, that is.)
    Parmesan Cheese: Start with ¼ cup and work up to 1/3 cup if you feel you need a little more.
    Red Pepper Flakes: Adds a hidden surprise kick! Sprinkle to taste. 1 Tsp added a good amount of spice to this mix below.
    Salt/Pepper: to taste. I don’t often add, because the lemon juice takes care of the “zip” I’m looking for.

    photo

    photo_1

    Kale

    photo_2

    Add the hummus in, and stir-stir-stir-stir. Then stir some more. Don’t give up – it takes a good while to incorporate. This is the longest step of the recipe!

    photo_3

    Voila!

    photo_5

    Minced Garlic

    photo_9

    Lemon Juice

    photo_11

    Red Pepper Flakes and Parmesan Cheese

    photo_12

    *This ended up being a spicy batch! Add Red Pepper Flakes to your specific tastes.*

    photo_13

    Parmesan Cheese

    photo_14

    (Added a little extra hummus at the end!)

    photo_2_polaroid

    photo_1_polaroid

  • 15Apr

    Have you evaluated your grocery shopping routine lately? I recently relocated to a new city which forced me to evaluate mine.

    While living in Atlanta, I used to shop for food at the grocery store and farmers market once weekly. Transportation and storage was carefree. I had a car and plenty of space in the refrigerator and pantry for food.

    Sure the old routine had benefits, but it also had some downfalls:

    • Fresh produce has a short shelf life and because I only purchased it once per week, I would either run out of it by the end of the week or it would spoil before I could enjoy it.
    • I often bought items that I didn’t have a plan to use or I would use a small portion for a particular recipe and not use the food again. Sometimes these foods were left forgotten in the back of the pantry or freezer – sauces, cereals, grains, frozen vegetables and frozen berries.
    • The trip to both farmers market and grocery store took almost 2 hours which is a large chunk of my weekend time.

    I’ve had to totally rethink things since moving to New York City for culinary school. I don’t have a car, so I must carry everything I buy. That means I can only fill a few bags, which I have to carry several blocks, sometimes on the subway, AND up 3 flights of stairs. The storage space is very limited which also greatly reduces the quantity that I can buy. This means that I end up going on very short trips to the grocery store and farmers market about 3-4 times/week.

    This shift in mind-set is not necessarily a negative thing. The benefits of the new routine include:

    • Purchasing small quantities – this means all around fresher ingredients. I found that very small quantities are easy to access at stores that have self-service bulk food bins! This section is great for items like rice, nuts, cereal, dry beans, and dried fruit. This allows me to fill a bag with a small amount of product that weighs less then pre-packed foods and is easier to transport and store.
    • AND foods from the self-service bulk food bins tend to be less expensive! They are cheaper to package and market which saves the grocery and manufacturer money. This savings translates to the consumer.
    • I’m eating more variety and quantity of fresh produce all week long – which is healthier and much more satisfying!
    • I’m wasting much less food.
    • I look forward to the short trips to the store – it only takes about 30 minutes to grab what I need for a few days and go.

    I’m happy to have had this new found perspective on my food routine. We shouldn’t have to be forced to evaluate our grocery routine. I challenge you to evaluate yours now. Are you purchasing foods that you don’t really need? Does food often spoil before you can eat it? What behaviors can you shift to save money and reduce waste? Let us know!

  • 10Mar

    photo compliments of TheDarkThing via flickr.com

    What is one tool that is used nearly every time you enter the kitchen?

    Answer: The KNIFE. It is used to slice, dice, peel, core, carve, segment, divide, and cut many different foods used in cooking. This is why I believe it is the most important tool in the kitchen.

    I have been using my knives A LOT in the first week of chef’s training at The Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts. I’m learning French knife skills, Japanese knife skills and I’m using my knives for several hours in every other class too. I’ve found that one week of intense practice and instruction has really improved my confidence. I’m really growing to love my knives!

    Knife skills are a must for chefs, but these skills are also essential for the home cook. Trust me, you can learn to love your knives too!

    Consider these 3 things before you chop another onion:

    1. Start with a sharp knife. Before you start to slice and dice, make sure that you have a well-made knife that is sharp and fits nicely in your hand. If your knife is dull, then you probably dread prepping ingredients. I would too! A sharp, well-made knife is well worth the investment. Remember, this is a tool that you will use nearly every time you enter the kitchen.  I promise that this will make a huge difference in your experience. Most retail cooking stores will let you test knives before you purchase them and offer professional sharpening service. The staff in these stores are usually very knowledgeable and will help guide you in your decision. I highly recommend trying several knives and chopping a few different foods with each knife you test. You’ll want  to see how the knife feels in your hand before making the purchase. A favorite knife for one person may not be a favorite knife for the next person.
    2. Practice by taking a basic knife skills class. Taking a class is well worth the investment of time and money. Learning to use a knife is like learning to do any new skill – practice will make perfect. Learning a few basic cuts will really improve your experience and may even take your food to the next level.  The Cooks Warehouse offers knife skills courses on a regular basis. I also like the book Knife Skills Illustrated by Peter Hertzmann. This book offers a lot of visual aids and gives specific advice for a wide variety of produce, poultry, fish and meats. Another idea is to watch YouTube videos. Learning from these sources will get you thinking in the right direction.
    3. Check your cutting board. The best surfaces on which to chop are wood and plastic. These surfaces are forgiving on the blade of a knife and are easy to sanitize. A wooden board should be hand-washed, whereas a plastic cutting board can be put in the dishwasher. Avoid cutting boards made from glass or hard surfaces. It is also best to avoid cutting directly on granite or other solid-surface countertops. Cutting on such hard surfaces will quickly dull your knife, and the food will slip around making it hard to control. One final tip: Place a damp paper towel or a small non-stick square under your board to ensure that it stays in place while chopping.

    If you have specific questions about knife skills please leave a comment or email me at aritchie@goodmeasuremeals.com

    Happy Chopping!

  • 26Jan

    Have you been wondering how Good Measure Meals are developed? Who comes up with the ideas? And how does GMM make sure that the menus meet those high nutrition standards? Here’s your chance to meet our executive chef and learn more about his extensive culinary background and how he partners with GMM’s dietitians to create healthy, delicious menus. Please watch the video to find out more!

  • 14Apr

    Pad Thai is one of Thailand’s national dishes. It is made with a combination of rice noodles, scrambled eggs, green onion, soy sauce, mung bean sprouts, cilantro, and garlic. Pictured in the slideshow below are some of the steps and ingredients used to make Good Measure Meals vegetarian version of this recipe. The final plating of the meal includes the Pad Thai noodles topped with baby corn ears, cubes of roasted tofu and an Asian peanut sauce. We also serve it with a side of stir fried Basil Sugar Snap Peas.

    First our chef, Kim, weights and measures out all of the ingredients for the recipe. This is an important step because I have carefully balanced the nutrition content for all of the recipes to ensure that they fit within our nutritional targets. Then production begins. Check out the slideshow to get an idea of how this recipe is prepared.

    The non-vegetarian version is a new recipe for the spring summer menu. It is made in a similar way as the vegetarian version, but topped with shrimp instead of tofu.

    This recipe is loaded with healthy ingredients that pack A LOT of flavor when they are all combined. Rice noodles have zero grams of fat and 2 grams of fiber/2oz serving. Scrambled eggs add protein to the dish and are also a good source of Choline, a vitamin that keeps your cell membranes working properly, allows your nerves to communicate with your muscles and reduces chronic inflammation. Onions and garlic are members of the Allium family, and both are rich in powerful sulfur-containing compounds that are responsible for their pungent odors and for many of their health-promoting effects. In addition, onions are very rich in chromium, a trace mineral that helps cells respond to insulin, plus vitamin C, and numerous flavonoids, most notably, quercitin.

    Do you like Good Measure Meal’s version of Pad Thai? Let us know what you think by posting a comment on the blog.