The Edwards Agency

Home & Garden

Dining In: Five a Day

recipes by Nancy Cotugna, DrPH, RD, Associate Professor, University of Delaware
For the Produce for Better Health Foundation

Only one in five children eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, and nearly one-fourth of all the "vegetables" they consume are French fries, according to a 1996 report in the Archives of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine.
   Fruit and vegetable consumption needs to begin in childhood to become a healthful lifestyle habit, so tots must be provided with an ongoing variety of fruits and vegetables to choose from every day.
   And parents needn't worry about rejections--it's recommended they just reintroduce a refused fruit or vegetable at a later date because a child's tastes tend to develop over time.
   Preschoolers can learn colors, shapes, and textures from fruits and vegetables like fuzzy kiwis, purple eggplants, and starfruit. Children who help out in the kitchen often develop a more active interest in the foods they've helped to prepare.
   For a cool treat, finely dice a variety of berries, melons, and oranges, adding a tablespoon of sugar to each 2 cups of diced fruit. Let stand a few minutes, then spoon into 5-oz. paper cups, inserting a plastic spoon for a handle, and freeze for about three hours.
   No time to spare? Just pop a can of fruit cocktail into the freezer overnight. Open both ends and push through; cut into slices, and top with a fat-free whipped topping!

Roasted Summer Vegetables
   6 medium zucchini (about 1 1/4 lbs.)
   1 large red bell pepper
   1 large green pepper
   1 large onion
   2 c. cubed acorn squash
   4 garlic cloves, chopped
   2 Tbsp. olive oil
   Salt and pepper to taste
   Trim the zucchini and slice them into 1/2-inch rounds. Trim and core the peppers and cut them into pieces about 1 inch square. Cut the onion into large chunks. Cut enough acorn squash into 1/2 inch cubes to fill about 2 cups.
   In a large bowl, mix all these vegetables together with the chopped garlic, olive oil, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables on two baking sheets and roast them in a 425-degree oven for 50 minutes to an hour, or until tender and spotted with dark golden brown here and there. Turn the vegetables once or twice during the roasting time.

Carrot Balls
(A perfect way to serve carrots with no one the wiser. Even kids love these.)
   2 c. cooked carrots, sieved
   1 1/2 c. soft bread crumbs
   1 c. grated sharp cheese
   1 egg white
   Salt and pepper to taste
   Crushed corn flakes
   Sieve the carrots and combine with crumbs and cheese. Season to taste. Beat egg white and fold in. Form into about 10 balls and roll in corn flake crumbs. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until brown. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Italian Pizza
   1 lb. Italian sausage, sliced
   1 Tbsp. olive or vegetable oil
   2 small zucchini, sliced
   1 small eggplant, sliced
   1/2 tsp. garlic powder
   1 jar (4 oz.) sliced pimientos, drained
   2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
   1 round loaf Italian or French bread (10" diameter), split and toasted
   1 jar (14-oz.) prepared quick pizza sauce
   1 c. shredded provolone or mozzarella cheese
   Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large skillet, saute sausage in oil until meat is thoroughly cooked. Add zucchini, eggplant, and garlic powder. Saute until vegetables are almost tender. Drain fat.
   Combine pimientos and Parmesan cheese with sausage mixture; set aside. Cover each piece of bread evenly with half of the pizza sauce, sausage mixture, and cheese. Bake 13-15 minutes or until heated through. Serves 8.

Tortilla Sandwich
   2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
   4 10-inch whole wheat tortillas
   1 Tbsp. black bean dip
   1 Tbsp. fat-free sour cream
   1/2 c. mixed greens
   16 red pepper strips, cut lengthwise
   8 asparagus spears
   8 Belgian endive leaves
   8 slices of tomato
   1 c. sprouts
   Non-stick cooking spray
   Grill chicken breasts in non-stick cooking spray and cut into strips. Set aside. Spoon black bean dip and sour cream on tortillas and spread. Top each tortilla with greens, 4 red pepper strips, 2 tomato slices, 2 asparagus spears, 2 endive leaves, 1/4 c. sprouts, and approximately 1/4 of chicken strips.

Cantaloupe Supreme
   2 cantaloupes
   1 1/2 pints strawberries
   1 pint vanilla ice cream
   2 egg whites
   1/2 c. sugar
   Cut bottoms off melons so they sit easily on a cookie sheet. Cut in half and remove seeds. Use a grapefruit knife and loosen fruit from rind. Cut fruit into fairly small pieces and put back in the rind. Cut strawberries in half and add just enough sugar to sweeten (only if necessary). Make a meringue from egg whites. Beat eggs stiff and add sugar slowly.
   Turn on broiler and put rack on the second rung. Put one scoop of ice cream on each melon and cover well with meringue.
   This can be fixed ahead, all but the meringue, and even that can be done in the afternoon and refrigerated separately, coating after filling with ice cream just before serving.

Melon, Beef and Wild Rice Salad
   8 c. mixed greens
   2 c. cooked wild rice
   1 cantaloupe, thinly sliced and peeled
   4 thin slices of leftover roast beef
   2 tsp. honey
   1 tsp. Dijon mustard
   2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
   1/2 c. olive oil
   1/4 tsp. salt
   In a large bowl, toss greens, wild rice, and half the dressing. Divide on four plates. Arrange beef and cantaloupe on top of the greens and wild rice. Drizzle with dressing.