• 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

  • 02Apr

    Today’s post is contributed by GMM Senior Vice President, Jess White.

    I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a writer. I can talk all day long, but when it comes to putting pen to paper, or rather fingers to the keyboard, I can’t ever seem to think of the right way to kick start the conversation!

    That being said, give me the opportunity to write about food, and I could pen a short novella in a matter of minutes.

    I should start off by dedicating this blog entry to the launch of our 2014 Spring/Summer Good Measure Meals Menu. In all honesty, it inspired me to write, to share, and to introduce you all to the things I love about our food. Yes, I may be a bit biased… after all, I live for this organization, our food and most of all, our mission to serve.

    If you’ve ever been to the Open Hand website, you’ll see our tagline front and center…“It’s About More.” Everything we do here has a deeper meaning, and so I thought I would share some of the new menu items and provide you with the insight behind why we’re excited to bring them to your table!

    Jess’ Top Three New GMM Dishes:

    1. Turkey Barley Stuffed Pepper- If you’ve ever been on our vegetarian meal plan, you might have had our lentil stuffed pepper, an old favorite of mine. This season, we’re introducing a new Healthy Selection version combining a lean ground turkey with barley, a grain that when consumed whole can help regulate blood sugar for up to 10 hours. As a bonus, barley contains 8 of the 13 essential amino acids! Not only is this is tastiest stuffed pepper that I have ever tasted, it will do your body good!

    peppers barley turkey stuffed pepp

    2. I didn’t think that I could possibly enjoy our Crab Cake lunch any more, but then our amazing menu development team decided to add in a fresh summertime salad to add some seasonal flare. Instead of your normal greens, we’re using Kale as our base, which is high in Vitamin A, C and K, and shown to be essential (along with other leafy greens) for preventing age-related macular degeneration. Tossed in a light vinaigrette and sprinkled with almonds and dried apricots, you have a tasty treat that is also easy on the eyes!

    almonds kale apricots

    3. Speaking of salads, our RD/Chefs put together another spring sensation, our New GMM Asian Chicken Salad with baby spinach, mandarin oranges, carrots, toasted almonds and a sesame vinaigrette. This salad is already a crowd pleaser. Not only is it packed full of taste and color, but it also contains Folate, vitamin C, K, and A. Add a little lean protein from the chicken and nuts, and you’ve got yourself a perfectly balanced meal that is simply scrum-diddily-YUMcious!

    chick salad up close

    Well, there you have it folks, a little behind-the-scenes tour of what to expect from the new Spring/Summer menu from Good Measure Meals. There are many more healthy and delectable entrees, so be sure to check out our menus online at www.goodmeasuremeals.com. Remember, you are the reason that we do what we do, so let us know what you like, what you want to see more of, and how we can continue to impress you!

    Bon appetit!

  • 20Mar

    Today’s post is contributed by GMM Marketing and Tradeshow Coordinator, Camille Johnson

    Let’s face it. Most of us are creatures of habit.

    I plead the fifth.

    I happen to be one of those people who doesn’t mind eating the same lunch five days in a row. When you find healthy recipes that are affordable to make and don’t take much time, it’s easy to repeat!

    But working at Good Measure Meals has allowed me the opportunity to try different types of food while simultaneously eliminating that “intimidating factor” attached to some health-promoting foods.

    One of those amazing discoveries is Farro, a hearty ancient grain with a nutty flavor.

    After I tried Farro on GMM’s menu, I decided I wanted to try and cook it on my own. I bought some of my favorite chicken stock (I always purchase reduced sodium), a bundle of kale, fresh garlic, & a huge onion.

    After cooking the Farro in the chicken stock and then sautéing the kale, onion, and garlic separately (using Extra Virgin Olive Oil), I thought “why not combine these together?” I’m glad I did! It was delicious, and it has even become one of my meals of habit lately, since it’s easy and satisfying.

    GMM isn’t only a great tool for weight-loss or convenience, but also a great way to inspire people to put on that apron and try something new!

    What new foods have you incorporated into your cooking routine lately? Share in the comments, and let’s inspire each other!

    Kale Farro Salad

    photo via a similar recipe on Bon Apetit Magazine

  • 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

  • 05Aug

    Contributed by Good Measure Meals Registered Dietitian, Joy Goetz

    1363010941_peaches_fruit_wallpaperAugust is National Peach Month. As a huge fan of this fruit and a resident of the Peach State, I think it’s fitting to devote at least a blog post to this decadent summer treat.

    Every summer, when my family made our annual trip to North Georgia from South Florida, my mom insisted on stopping at the peach orchards and loading down the car with bushels of peaches. We all thought she was crazy, but no one complained when we were enjoying sweet, juicy peaches for weeks after we returned. My appreciation for this fruit has only deepened with time, as I become a more adventurous cook and eater. Sweet, savory, fresh or cooked…the peach is a wonderfully versatile fruit, and an easy way to jazz up just about anything. Some of my favorite quick and easy peach recipe ideas:

    • Peach salsa (peaches + tomatoes + Vidalia onion + bell pepper + cilantro = a low-calorie summertime favorite)
    • Peaches and cream (by cream, I mean yogurt or fro-yo). My current favorite breakfast is Atlanta Fresh ginger peach Greek yogurt, sliced fresh peaches and ginger granola. Now that’s a way to start the day!
    • Grilled peach slices on arugula salad with goat cheese, pecans and white balsamic vinaigrette. (My own creation based on this recipe.)
    • Peach cobbler. For a quick, easy and healthy version of this summer favorite, simply slice a few peaches, drizzle with a touch of honey, top with your favorite granola and bake at 350 until warm and bubbly. There’s really no set recipe-it comes out great whether you’re making a single serving or enough for a family reunion.)

    When shopping for fresh peaches, choose peaches that are on the firmer side-they travel better- and allow them to ripen in a paper bag at room temperature. Peaches are ripe when they are fragrant and yield to gentle pressure.

    I hope you’re enjoying peach season as much as I am. Check out GMM meals featuring peaches: Peaches and Cream Oatmeal topped with Walnuts, served with Turkey Sausage, and a Fresh Orange; Zucchini Frittata, with Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes, and Peach Crisp;  and Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes with Peach Sauce and a side of Scrambled Eggs and Egg Whites.

    georgiagrownlogo

  • 10Jun

    Contributed by Good Measure Meals Chef and Registered Dietitian, Catherine Izzo

    When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait for summer to start. Because school was out, I got an opportunity to spend most of my days outside riding my bike, swimming, and playing in my grandmother’s garden. My grandmother knew all the secrets to a successful garden. She could tell you which plants needed coffee grounds or egg shells and how much water each plant needed and how often. Her hard work and dedication paid off, because not only was her garden always lush and beautiful, the flavor of her produce was so delicious that every meal seemed gourmet.

    Cherry TomatoesAs both a dietitian and chef, I have carried my respect and love for seasonal and local produce into the meals that I create for Good Measure Meals and Open Hand. When we are planning the menus, we always think of what foods will be in season; when we are considering vendors, we prefer those who are local. The end result is nutritionally packed healthy fresh meals.

    This week is no exception, keep an eye out for these meals that include produce that is in season right now. This week’s breakfast is packed with seasonal fruit including Strawberry Compote and Blueberry Pancakes. Every week of the cycle, we feature different fresh salads at lunch. This week features roasted turkey over mixed greens, carrots, cherry tomatoes and onion with house-made Greek dressing. One of my personal favorite sauces that we make is in this Sunday’s lunch: Arugula Pesto, which is a flavorful blending of arugula, basil, walnuts, lemon and olive oil. Mixed Berries

    We are so happy and proud to present all of our customers with the best possible benefits of the season’s produce. Bon Appétit!

  • 28Dec

    Contributed by Atlanta-based Registered Dietitian Joanna Skinner

     

    I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season!

    I’m back to talk about the nutrition highlights of two meals I recently had the pleasure of sampling.  This week, I tried the cinnamon sweet potato pancakes with primavera egg whites and vanilla Greek yogurt with strawberry compote, and the lentil stuffed pepper with a mixture of vegetables, brown
    rice, and cheese with a side of mashed cauliflower.

    Both meals have an assortment of flavors, and they pack a serious nutritional punch.  In addition to the excellent nutrient profile, both meals feature ingredients (sweet potatoes and cauliflower, respectively) that are in season in Georgia now.  As you could probably tell from my last post about greens, eating in season is a priority for me.

    Seasonal or not, one way you can tell whether a meal offers you a wide range of vitamins and minerals is by looking at the variety of colors.  The more colorful your meal (artificial colors not included, of course), the more vitamins and minerals you’ll get.  That’s what I love about both of the meals I tried:  they each had an array of colors, so I knew I was getting a lot of different nutrients.  I’ll break down the main nutrition highlights of each meal.

    Sweet Potato Pancakes, Greek Yogurt, and Eggs:

    Sweet potatoes are very high in beta carotene (the orange color gives this away), which is converted to vitamin A in your body.  Vitamin A helps protect your eyes, skin, and immune system.  Sweet potatoes also contain vitamin C (which is good for the collagen in your skin and may boost immunity), iron (an important part of red blood cells) and calcium (to keep your bones strong and help your nervous system work properly).

    Greek yogurt, as you’re probably aware, is known for being a good source of protein.  Though it’s not as high in calcium as non-Greek yogurt, it’s still a good source.  It also contains potassium (which helps keep your blood pressure normal and is necessary for muscle contractions) and vitamin B12 (to keep your brain functioning well and your blood cells healthy).

     

    Egg whites are high in protein and free of saturated fat and cholesterol, making them heart healthy.  Mixing them with vegetables like spinach and mushrooms adds some fiber and small amounts of a few extra nutrients, such as vitamins A and D.

    Stuffed Peppers with Cauliflower:

    Have you ever doubted that white vegetables, such as cauliflower and onions, contain many nutrients?  If so, put your doubts away.  A cup of cauliflower, for example, contains more than half the vitamin C you need in a day, and it also has potassium, folate (needed by everyone for healthy red blood cells and DNA, but especially by women of child-bearing age), and vitamin K (needed for normal blood clotting as well as for bone health).

    Bell peppers of all colors are high in vitamin C, folate, vitamin A, and potassium.  In addition to providing a meaty texture, the lentils in the pepper’s filling contribute protein, iron, folate,  phosphorus (which is mostly found in bones and teeth, but also assists with kidney function and tissue repair), potassium, and large amounts of trace minerals that keep your body working.

     

    On top of providing an assortment of vitamins and minerals, vegetables in general are high in fiber and low in calories.  Though we often associate holiday eating with endless sugary and high-fat foods, it’s a great time of year to chow down on veggies, too.

    Happy (and healthy) eating!

  • 22Oct

    Happy almost-Food Day, everyone! That’s right, Food Day 2012 falls on Wednesday, October 24th this year – a mere three days from now – and we’re gearing up around GMM headquarters for a big party.

     

    But hold up a second. Food Day? Food Day? Like we really need to throw a party for the culprit behind America’s huge obesity crisis?

    Yep, we do, and here’s why:

     

    1. Real food is never the culprit. Think of real food as just that – “real.” Natural ingredients like unprocessed fruits and vegetables, whole grains (instead of processed grains), natural sweeteners (instead of refined or artificial sugars), and locally/humanely raised and slaughtered meats.

    Eating “real food” strips away all chance for encountering the preservatives and additives for prolonged shelf life, all of the hard-to-pronounce ingredients that trail down so many nutrition labels in our supermarkets. “Real food” hearkens back to the kind of food and cooking that our great-great grandparents probably knew. Imagine loaves of bread with just four ingredients! Imagine vegetables plucked and washed right around the corner before you pick them up to purchase! Imagine milk and yogurt made in dairies with your same zip code and not shipped across multiple states or over-sweetened and over-pasteurized to disguise their true, full flavors.

    No, real food isn’t the culprit behind obesity. There are many culprits, and one of them is the quick, mindless consumption of highly processed foods. Eating “real food” forces us to look at our food labels and find out what actual ingredients we’re putting into our bodies. It prompts us to seek out the places in our neighborhoods we can purchase the most freshly made products – breads, cheeses, juices, vegetables, fruits, dairy – and take notice of our seasonal farmers markets. Consuming “real food” implies valuing the quality and source of what we eat.

    GMM's Customer Service Manager loves beets!

    2. Food Day is more than a celebration of just food. As stated on the National Food Day website (yes, there is such a thing!), “Food Day is a nationwide celebration and a movement toward more healthy, affordable and sustainable food….Food Day takes place annually on October 24 to address issues as varied as health and nutrition, hunger, agricultural policy, animal welfare, and farm worker justice. The ultimate goal of Food Day is to strengthen and unify the food movement in order to improve our nation’s food policies.”

    Celebrating Food Day helps lift all of our eyes out of the ruts of our daily dietary routines and take a glance at this country’s food systems and their direct effects on our lives.

    Now, to be fair, our prosperous country is uniquely blessed with systems of food production that stock our supermarket shelves with overflowing abundance. Food Day doesn’t necessitate a moral stance on how we receive our food, but perhaps it will urge us to ponder how these systems affect the farmers, animals, products, and people involved. Perhaps it will prompt us to investigate the Slow Food Movement, our area farms, and what it means to eat seasonally, locally, and organically. Hopefully so.

    Harmony shops at the farmers markets for her real foods!

     

    So what are we doing at Good Measure Meals? Something very basic, but also quite Food Day appropriate: We’re throwing a big Food Day potluck lunch for with our staff! Every meal contribution must feature at least one local ingredient, and judging by last year’s potluck, we’re in for some creative and delicious eating!

    The picnic table spread from GMM's Food Day 2011 potluck party.

  • 22Apr

    It’s officially salad season – the time of year when the weather is warm and fresh produce is in bounty. Salads can be simple, consisting of a few ingredients, or complex and composed. The characteristics of a salad can vary depending on what’s in season, the personality of the cook, and the style of the meal. We had Salad 1 Course and Practicum this week in the chef’s training program at The Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts. During this class, we prepared a huge variety of fabulous salads.

    Here are some ideas to consider when making salads at home:

    The base (or body) of the salad. The first thing that comes to my mind when someone says salad is lettuce, but the bulk of your salad doesn’t have to be limited to traditional salad greens. Here is a list of unique salad greens and ideas for other ingredients that can be the star in your salad:

    • Salad greens: spinach, romaine, mache, green or red leaf, mesclun mix, frisee, arugula, endive, radicchio, mizuna, escarole, baby beet greens, watercress, tatsoi…
    • Grains: whole wheat pasta, wild rice, couscous, quinoa, wheatberries, bulgur, brown rice, red rice, forbidden rice…
    • Beans and Legumes: black beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, lentils, adzuki beans, cannellini beans, cranberry beans, navy beans, red kidney beans, Lima beans, pinto beans…
    • Vegetables: carrots, potatoes, cabbage, peas, broccoli, corn, tomato, beets, green beans, cucumber, zucchini…
    • Fruit: berries, apples, pears, mango, pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, oranges, grapefruit…
    • Meat and Seafood: egg, chicken, lobster, tuna, shrimp, salmon, crab, turkey…

    Add flavor and interest with a dressing or vinaigrette:

    Do you want added ingredients?

    • You don’t have to have any additional ingredients – your salad could simply contain only a base, but it’s nice to add some interest with additional ingredients.
    • Try vegetables (onions, scallions, carrots, mushrooms, jicama…), fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, mint, basil, tarragon…), toasted nuts (pistachios, almonds, pine nuts, pecans, peanuts…) or cheese (Parmesan, goat, Gorgonzola, feta…).

    Hopefully, you can see how the options for different types of salads can become endless!

    My favorite salads are simple – usually fresh greens from the farmers market (such as watercress, frisee or arugula) tossed with a vinaigrette of extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

    Need some inspiration? Check out Mark Bittman’s article from The New York Times titled ‘101 Simple Salads for the Season’.

    What is your favorite salad?

  • 07Jun

    If you’re looking for healthy and delicious foods to supplement your Good Measure meals – extra snacks, food for entertaining friends and family or for any reason at all - consider buying produce grown right here in Georgia. You don’t have to go to a farm to find fresh fruits and vegetables, though—local farmers bring their colorful, fresh-picked crops to farmers markets throughout the metro area. 

    In the summertime, I think of farmers markets as relaxing and inspiring places—people taking their time, strolling around, looking at the huge variety of vegetables and flowers.  I love to cook, but it’s easy to fall into a rut, and I’ve realized that shopping locally gives me a chance to try new foods at their best.  Just the other day, I bought some kohlrabi and a couple bunches of rainbow chard and turned them into a curry with the help of a recipe from the Internet.  And last year, I discovered that I actually really love beets—as long as I buy them fresh and roast them for salads or a stand-alone snack. 

    Some beautiful beets at the Morningside Farms Market in Virginia Highland.

    Besides, have you ever compared a California-grown strawberry from the supermarket to a big, juicy berry straight from a Georgia farm?  The difference in appearance and taste is incredible.  That’s because the California berry was picked before it was completely ripe, and while it might have ripened a little more on the journey east, it wasn’t allowed to naturally ripen like the local, fresh-picked berry.  Freshness and flavor are two compelling reasons to shop at farmers markets.

    Atlanta-area markets don’t just offer seasonal fruits and vegetables.  They’re good places to find artisanal bread, honey, jams & jellies, fresh eggs, meat, and even locally hand-crafted items like soap and jewelry.  Some, like the Morningside Market and Green Market at Piedmont Park, also feature weekly cooking demonstrations by local chefs.  You might even get a chance to taste food made with ingredients sold at the market.   

    If you’re interested in exploring some of the markets around town, visit Local Harvest for a list of the markets near you.  

    Wondering how to choose the best beets, or what to do with that strange-looking kohlrabi?  There are some great websites with shopping tips and recipes galore.  Here are a few:

    10 Farmers Market Shopping Tips

    Guide to seasonal fruit and vegetables in Georgia

    Recipes for specific fruits and vegetables

    Happy shopping!