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Video: Delicious meals made easy

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    >>> this morning in "today's kitchen," our hot chef is creating delicious, nutritious and affordable meals your family will devour. "so easy, luscious, healthy recipes for every meal of the week." good morning. i like this. what makes your recipes so easy? that's what a lot of working moms need to hear.

    >> the fewest number of steps, fewest number of ingredients but maximum amount of flavor. it is totally doable to eat well even if you are if a time crunch which most of us are these days.

    >> fast food , what we typically think of is not healthy. how do you incorporate? what do you say when people say i can't eat healthy when i have to make it good?

    >> that's what this is all about, meal solutions for every meal of the week. that's what i'm bringing here today. breakfast, for example. step one, have breakfast at your fingertips. that's fast and easy. this mocha java smoothie. it has protein from milk, banana in it and it is your coffee and breakfast all in one cop.

    >> stick it in a blender.

    >> you can put it in a to-go cup and grab it in the car.

    >> that fills you up.

    >> it fills you up, satisfies you. it has protein from the milk and all that fiber from the banana. rich source of calcium. there you go.

    >> then lunch you have this curried chicken.

    >> this is curried chicken salad . i use yogurt as the dressing base so it lightens it up. there is some mayo in there. the point is that you can make this in advance. this will last in the fridge three to four days. if you make it in advance, then i always -- i am a huge advocate of packing lunch.

    >> that way you don't get stuck eating out which is always going to be unhealthy.

    >> but it doesn't have to be that boring turkey sandwich everyone relies on. put this in your to-go container. few almonds on top, extra satisfaction and crunch and vitamin e. pack along some chips with it, some whole grain pita chips .

    >> not your potato chips .

    >> exactly. then there you go, a beautiful lunch.

    >> you think it is important to pack snacks daily.

    >> it is. those snack attacks come. if you're by that vending machine --

    >> it is going to be a snicker's bar for me, i know.

    >> i pack an ounce of almonds. i like to put them in these little baggies. 23 almonds, perfect size. some dried fruit . these are cranberries. cherries, raisins, whatever you want . just you get that nice kick from the sweet fruit and then you get the crunch and protein from the nuts.

    >> let's talk about dinner. it is smelling really great right now. let's move over to talk about this.

    >> shrimp and garlic.

    >> a binning combination.

    >> the key is to have quick and easy meals, dinners, at your fingertips.

    >> shrimp in two tablespoons of olive oil , shrimp takes two minutes to cook. take it out of the pan, i add some garlic, 15 minutes this recipe. in the time it takes to boil the orzo -- a little chile pepper for heat. some white wine . deglaze this pan so all that beautiful brown is going to make the sauce.

    >> you have some basil, grape tomatoes --

    >> cherry tomatoes or grape.

    >> tomatoes are in season obviously only a certain time of year. can you use canned tomatoes .

    >> you could. but honestly grape tomatoes are pretty much available most of the year. you can absolutely use canned. i put the shrimp back in. let this cook for maybe two minutes more. there it is a 15-minute dinner. and so easy. i actually have a month's worth of rush-our dinners.

    >> what's the nutritional value of this?

    >> it is amazing. you get a great source of protein, vitamin d , iron, magnesium, it is incredible when you cook at home and use great ingredients, it is amazing the nutrition that you get. it doesn't have to take a long time. i love to serve this over whole wheat orzo. the whoa thing is ready literally in less time than it takes to boil the pasta.

    >> i know have you a lot of these recipes in your cookbook. these are all simple with be easy ways. no one has an excuse not to cook healthy. these are all meals kids will eat?

    >> oh, yeah. my 7-year-old daughter loves this. it is all completely family-friendly stuff.

    >> can you mix in chicken instead of the shrimp?

    >> you can even make this vegetarian by putting in beans, white beans, instead of the shrimp and it would be delicious like that, too. then you get that protein from the beans. that's another solution.

    >> we certainly appreciate all these tips. any last-minute advice for folks heading out to the grocery store. what should have you in your kitchen to have things readily available?

    >> you can keep mose of these things in your pantry. keep rozo in your pantry, keep the shrimp in the freezer. it thaws in five minutes. can you have great meals at your fingertips any time of day. it really takes the stress out of it. we're living busy lives and it doesn't have to be stressful to eat really well.

    >> i love it. the book is "so easy, luscious, healthy recipes for every meal." ellie, thank you so much. we appreciate it.

    >>> back with more of "today" on nbc.

    >>> but wait, there's more!

    >> there is more.

    >> so much more. it is amazing that one hour can contain it all.

TODAY recipes
updated 11/9/2009 10:18:31 AM ET 2009-11-09T15:18:31

Recipe: Curried chicken salad

This salad is one of my favorites to bring to a party, so it always puts me in a festive mood when I have it for lunch on a work day. With chunks of chicken in a gorgeous yellow, creamy curry sauce, juicy grapes, and crunchy almonds, it somehow manages to be exotic and comfortably familiar at the same time.

  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 1 cup halved red grapes
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 5 ounces mixed greens (about 5 cups lightly packed)
  • 4 lemon wedges
  • 4 ounces pita chips

Toast the almonds in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and beginning to turn golden, 2 to 3 minutes.

In a large bowl, stir together the yogurt, mayonnaise, and curry powder. Fold in the chicken, grapes and cilantro and season with salt and pepper. This salad will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

To serve, put a scoop of the chicken salad on a bed of greens on a plate or in a to-go container and sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Add a lemon wedge to squeeze over the greens just before eating. Serve with pita chips, stored in a separate container, if packing.

Did you know?
Curry powder is a blend of many different spices like turmeric, ginger, coriander, cumin and peppers, which gives you much more than great flavor and brilliant color. Research shows that curry may help aid digestion, protect against cancer and stimulate the immune system.

Makes 4 servings. Serving size: 1 cup chicken salad, 1 1/4 cups mixed greens, 1 lemon wedge and 1 ounce pita chips.

Per serving:
Calories 400
Total fat 16 g
Sat fat 2 g
Mono fat 4 g
Poly fat 4.5 g
Protein 36 g
Carb 26 g
Fiber 4 g
Cholesterol 80 mg
Sodium 460 mg

Excellent source of: Niacin, phosphorus, protein, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C.

Good source of: Calcium, fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, riboflavin.

Serving Size

Makes 4 servings

Recipe: Mocha java smoothie

This decadent smoothie does double duty: It’s your morning coffee and a filling breakfast, all in one frothy glass. Not to mention that it’s a nice chocolate fix. What a way to rev up the day!

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 rounded teaspoons instant espresso, or 2 shots of espresso
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups nonfat milk
  • 2 ripe bananas, peeled, cut into chunks, frozen
  • 1 cup ice

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, instant espresso, if using, and cocoa powder. Add the boiling water and stir until dissolved. (If using regular espresso, stir the sugar and cocoa into the coffee until dissolved.) Combine the coffee mixture in a blender with the milk, bananas, and ice, and blend on high until smooth.

Eating well tip: To help your morning go more smoothly, put all the smoothie ingredients, except the frozen bananas and ice, in the blender jug the night before. Cover and stash in the refrigerator. In the morning just add the frozen ingredients and whir.

Makes 2 servings. Serving size: 2 1/2 cups

Per serving:
Calories 210
Total fat 1 g
Sat fat 0.5 g
Mono fat 0 g
Poly fat 0 g
Protein 10 g
Carb 44 g
Fiber 4 g
Cholesterol 5 mg
Sodium 130 mg

Excellent source of: Calcium, iodine, phosphorus, potassium, protein, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin C.

Good source of: Fiber, magnesium, manganese, pantothenic acid, vitamin B1.

Serving Size

Makes 2 servings

Recipe: Garlic basil shrimp

This recipe wins hands down in the easy, fast, and delicious category. It takes just 6 minutes to cook, you hardly have to chop a thing, and you get a plateful of garlicky shrimp and warm plump tomatoes in a lovely light sauce.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds large shrimp (20 to 25 per pound), peeled and deveined
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups cooked orzo pasta, preferably whole-wheat

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking, then add the shrimp and cook, turning over once, until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the oil remaining in the skillet and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the wine and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and basil and season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Return the shrimp to the pan and cook just until heated through. Serve with the orzo.

Serves 4. Serving size: 1 cup shrimp mixture and 3/4 cup orzo

Per serving:
Calories 380
Total fat 10 g
Sat fat 1.5 g
Mono fat 5.5 g
Poly fat 2 g
Protein 35 g
Carb 35 g
Fiber 4 g
Cholesterol 215 mg
Sodium 490 mg

Excellent source of: Copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, protein, selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin K.

Good source of: Calcium, fiber, potassium, thiamin, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, zinc.

Serving Size

Makes 4 servings


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