Your favorite foods can be more nutritious with the right preparation and cooking methods. Sometimes changing a couple ingredients – such as the type and amount of oil you use – can make a big difference in the overall nutrition of the dish. Healthy recipes can be quick, simple and affordable to make.

Mexican Chicken Soup

  • 3 pounds chicken pieces, skin removed
  • 2 cups tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 1/2 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup mild chiles (canned and diced)
  • 2 cups pinto or garbanzo beans, canned, drained, or cooked and drained
  • salt and pepper (to taste, optional)

1. Place chicken pieces in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover.
2. Cook until tender, about 25 minutes.
3. Remove chicken pieces from the broth.
4. Add tomatoes, garlic, onion, and chilies.
5. Remove chicken meat from the bones and return meat to broth.
6. Add beans and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 15 minutes.


Brazilian Rice

  • 1 vegetable oil spray (non-stick)
  • 2 cartons spinach (12 ounce, frozen, thawed)
  • 1 cup brown rice (cooked)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup egg-white substitute (liquid)
  • 3/4 cups mozzarella cheese (shredded fat-free)
  • 1 cup milk (fat-free)
  • 1/2 onion (medium, chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (low-sodium)
  • 1/4 teaspoon marjoram (dried)
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme (dried)
  • 1/4 teaspoon rosemary (dried)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with vegetable oil spray.
  3. Place thawed spinach in a colander and press to remove excess water.
  4. Place the spinach in a large mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients. Mix until combined.
  5. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Cut the casserole into eight squares and serve. This casserole can be prepared 1 day in advance and refrigerated.
  7. Stir the onion, tomato sauce and spices together in a small bowl.
  8. Pour the onion-spice mix evenly over the fish pieces.
  9. Bake about 10 to 20 minutes, until the fish flakes easily with a fork.


Summer Vegetable Spaghetti

  • 2 cups onion (small, yellow, cut into eighths)
  • 2 cups tomatoes (chopped, peeled, fresh, ripe, about 1 pound)
  • 2 cups squash (thinly sliced yellow and green, about 1 pound)
  • 1 1/2 cup green beans (cut fresh, about 1/2 pound)
  • 2/3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons parsley (fresh, minced)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can tomato paste (6 oz)
  • 1 pound spaghetti (uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • black pepper (to taste)

1. Combine first 10 ingredients in large saucepan. Cook for 10 minutes, then stir in tomato paste. Cover and cook gently, 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender.
2. Cook spaghetti in unsalted water according to package directions.
3. Spoon sauce over drained hot spaghetti and sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top.


Pumpkin and Bean Soup

  • 1 can white beans
  • 1 onion (small, finely chopped)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can pumpkin (15 ounce)
  • 1 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, allspice, or ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Blend white beans, onion, and water with a potato masher or blender till smooth.
2. In a large pot, add the pumpkin, juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, and salt. Stir.
3. Add the blended bean mix to the pot.
4. Cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes, until warmed through.


Spinach and Meat Cakes

  • 1 pound ground beef, or turkey, 7% fat (93% lean)
  • 2 bunches spinach (washed and cut into pieces may substitute a 1-pound bag of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained)
  • 1/2 onion (small, finely chopped)
  • 2 garlic clove (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups brown rice
  • black pepper (to taste)

1. Preheat frying pan (no oil).
2. Combine all ingredients except brown rice in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
3. Form mixture into 12 small balls. Place in frying pan and flatten into patties using a spatula.
4. Cook over medium heat until cooked on both sides.
5. Serve over brown rice.