A Healthful Spread

by Maria on February 7, 2013


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It is Fit February at our local school. To help kick off this month-long focus on health, the teachers held an indoor tailgate after school. The PTO had come up with a suggested menu and then enlisted the help of CooksAid to edit the menu and prepare the food.

Here is what we came up with for the final menu: Smoothie Shots, Lettuce Wraps, Fresh Hummus and Pita Chips, Banana Bread Mini Muffins, and Mini Morning Glory Muffins.

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Smoothie Shots

Since we weren’t going to be at the event to make fresh smoothies, we opted for store-bought smoothies. There are some great products out there these days. We selected a couple of varieties from the Naked brand, which is simply pureed fruits and vegetables without anything added. The options for what to put into a smoothie when you make them at home are virtually limitless. Some of my favorites include berry smoothies and green smoothies. Since a large smoothie can be a meal in itself, for this event portions were kept petite, and fun, by serving them in shot glasses.


Lettuce Wraps with Asian Drizzle Sauce

We kept things fresh and simple by using raw vegetables and pre-grilled Bell and Evans chicken and then topped it off with a tasty sauce. We started with lots of Boston Bibb lettuce—its leaves are perfect for filling with goodies. The fillings included thinly sliced bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots, and grilled chicken, plus some cashews for crunch. We set it up so that the teachers could assemble them the way they wanted. Aside from using fresh vegetables, the key to the delicious simplicity of this dish is the Asian Drizzle Sauce. This sauce is easy to whisk together and will keep covered in the refrigerator like a salad dressing would.

Asian Drizzle Sauce

Makes ½ cup sauce

¼ cup Hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon Soy Sauce

2 teaspoons Toasted Sesame Oil

1 teaspoon Rice Vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

Dash of red pepper flakes

  1. Whisk ingredients together in a bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve.


Fresh Hummus and Pita Chips

We made fresh hummus, which is actually really easy to make if you have a food processor. Traditionally, hummus calls for tahini paste, but to simplify the ingredient list we made it without, and the results were just as delicious. We served the hummus with Stacy’s Multigrain pita chips.

Fresh Hummus

Adapted from the Cuisinart manual

Makes 2 cups

¼ cup Italian Parsley, washed and dried

2 strips lemon zest, 2 x ½ inches

½ teaspoon Kosher salt

 2 small garlic cloves

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained, rinsed and drained again

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

5-6 tablespoons water

1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  1. Add parsley to a large food processor with metal blade. Pulse until chopped, about 15 times. Remove and reserve.
  2. Add lemon zest and kosher salt to food processor and pulse to chop. Add garlic and process about 10 seconds until chopped.
  3. Add the drained chickpeas, lemon juice, water, and cumin. Process for 1 minute and then scrape down the sides of the work bowl. Start the machine back up and slowly add the olive oil down the feed tube. Continue to process for about 3 minutes, or until smooth and creamy. Add additional water and process more if it seems too thick. Add most the parlsey and pulse to incorporate.
  4. Let the hummus sit for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with remaining parsley, and serve.


Mini Muffins

We also baked up two of our favorite muffins: Mini Morning Glory Muffins and Banana Bread Mini Muffins. They are both made with healthy canola oil instead of butter and white whole wheat flour instead of white flour. The mini Morning Glory muffins pack in additional nutrition in the form of finely shredded carrots, grated apple, coconut, and raisins. And the banana bread muffins get an extra flavor boost with a dark chocolate chip. You can find recipes for both in our blog. The banana bread muffins are essentially the same as Elliott’s Banana Bread, but baked in mini muffin pans for about 12-14 minutes.

Let us know what you think!


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