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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!
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A Valentine's Meal at Home

Posted by Jenna Smith - Holidays

Valentine's Day is just around the corner. Historically, it's a day to give your loved one a bouquet of flowers, candy hearts with the words "LUV YOU" on them, and a luscious gourmet dinner eaten at one of the fanciest restaurants in town. But if you don't feel like fighting the crowds or you've forgotten to make reservations and don't want to get stuck at eating at a fast food joint on the most romantic day of the year, don't fret; make dinner at home.

Yes, you can still get a sitter if you'd like. In fact, a dinner for two at the comforts of your own home can still be a fabulous date that is just what you and your significant other need. But who has the time or the know-how to fix a gourmet meal, you ask? Check out these delicious recipes for a 3 course meal that can be prepared in only 20 to 30 minutes! No professionally trained chef needed! Plus, all recipes serves two heaping portions, which means less clean-up and no leftovers! Bon appétit!

Barley-Bean Stew

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

½ cup onion, chopped

¼ cup chopped celery

2 ½ cups low-sodium tomato juice

¼ cup uncooked quick-cooking barley

1 to 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 can (15 to 16-ounce size) great northern or navy beans, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion and celery in oil about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining ingredients except parsley; heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover, simmer 10-12 minutes or until barley is tender & stew is desired thickness. Stir in parsley.

Yield: 2 servings

Nutrients Per Serving: 446 Calories, 25 grams protein, 4 grams fat, 84 grams carbohydrate, 23 grams fiber, 609 milligrams sodium, 0 milligrams cholesterol

Glazed Chicken over Couscous Pilaf (Printable PDF)

2 tablespoon orange juice

1 tablespoon honey

½ teaspoon spicy brown mustard

2 (4-6 ounce) boneless skinless chicken breasts

½ cup frozen peas

¾ cup water

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ginger

½ cup uncooked couscous

In a small bowl combine orange juice, honey, and mustard; mix until well combined. Pour half of mixture (about 2 Tbsp.) into another small dish; reserve for topping. Brush tops of chicken with half of one of the bowls of orange juice glaze; place on broiler pan. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat for 5-7 minutes. Turn chicken. Brush tops with the remaining glaze in the same bowl; discard any remaining glaze that touched raw chicken. Broil additional 5-7 minutes until thermometer reads at least 165°F.

Meanwhile, place peas, water, salt and ginger in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in couscous. Cover; let stand 5 minutes. Stir couscous mixture lightly with fork; divide evenly onto 2 serving plates. Top each with chicken; drizzle with reserved orange juice mixture.

Yield: 2 servings

Nutrients Per Serving: 364 Calories, 35 grams protein, 2 grams fat, 50 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 275 milligrams sodium, 68 milligrams cholesterol

Pumpkin Mousse

4 sugar-free or fat-free vanilla pudding cups

½ cup canned pumpkin puree

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

¼ cup light whipped topping

2 Tablespoons light whipped topping for garnish

Garnishes: ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, gingersnap cookies


In a medium bowl, combine pudding cups, pumpkin, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Fold in ¼ cup whipped topping. Divide into two dessert dishes. Cover and refrigerate immediately. To serve, place 1 Tablespoon whipped topping on each pudding dish. May garnish with cinnamon or nutmeg and a ginger snap cookie.

Yield: 2 servings


Nutrients Per serving: 210 Calories, 1.5 grams fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 280 milligrams sodium,45 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams dietary fiber,3 grams protein

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