Have you taken a look at the new “plate” that replaces our “food guide pyramid?” This plate is now the official USDA’s new food guide recommendation. The vegetable spot is now the biggest spot – taking up twice the space of the protein and carb spot!- the spots that typically hold most of our meal.
Visuals are great teachers — and I love this plate, for its immediate visual power in helping me teach the boys define a healthy meal. (Who eats by a pyramid, anyway?)
Country Crock® has invited me to re-create one of our family dinners to take advantage of these new dietary guidelines using one of their products. “Why?” I asked myself. “How could Country Crock Spread fit into my goal to create a healthy meal for my family?”
To find out, I did some checking. Take a look at the latest USDA food guide recommendations. In addition to more vegetables, there is helpful information about fats. Fats and oils are part of a healthful diet, but it is the type of fat makes a difference to health and the total amount of fat is important for balancing calorie intake. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend between 20-35% of daily calories from fat, with most fats coming from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. Experts advise that most Americans need to decrease their intakes of saturated and trans fats so consumers should look for products with reduced levels of saturated fat and zero trans fat per serving – like butter. My “go-to” fat when I want a deep, rich flavor.
Soft spreads are typically made with a blend of vegetable oils like soybean, canola, and olive. These vegetable oils are low in saturated fat, contain no cholesterol and are rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats compared with animal fats, such as butter and lard.
Country Crock Spreads are made with a blend of nutritious oils like soybean and canola, and are a great way to get your daily intake of “better for you” fats.
So, armed with information, I took the kids with me to the grocery store, and explained that I was buying something new from the dairy aisle. I grabbed the tub, and the boys were quick to notice that the same label on the Country Crock Spreadable Butter with Canola Oil sitting in my cart matched a square box of the Country Crock Spreadable Sticks. “Can we try that too?” they asked. So, we had the sticks and the spread. Next, we set to work to re-create one of our family favorite dinners that uses lots of vegetables.
The recipe I decided to try is herbed shrimp pasta, with a side of popped cherry tomatoes, and corn on the cob. Thank goodness for relatives who are loaded with generous relatives who give us vegetables.
Imagine. Grilled Shrimp, without the melted butter.
We are. This time, we’re changing it up a bit with “healthy oils” instead of butter. This recipe is loaded with vitamins, nuts and vegetables, and heart-healthy seafood. The great thing about this recipe is that it takes advantage of all of those vitamin-loaded herbs that are over-abundant in gardens and farmers’ markets right now. (Go get some!)
Here’s the recipe adapted forCountry Crock products:
First step is to create your vegetable “butter,” which is almost like pesto. For this, I used 2 cups of Country Crock® Spreadable Butter with Canola Oil.
Pesto Butter Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup nasturtium leaves (or use arugula as a substitute)
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachios (The kids can do this for you!)
- 8 ounces of bow tie pasta
Instructions: For the Pesto Butter
Getting help, shelling pistachios.
You can either chop by hand, (my method) or place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until mixture is well-blended and nuts are chopped fine. Cover and set in refrigerator to intensify flavors.
Shrimp Marinade Ingredients:
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup Country Crock® Spreadable Butter with Canola Oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 pounds fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
In a large bowl, stir together the garlic, Country Crock Spreadable Butter with Canola Oil, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper. Add shrimp to the bowl, and stir until evenly coated. Cover, and refrigerate, along with the pesto butter, for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring once or twice.
Meanwhile, boil bow-tie pasta until al-dente.
Grilling the Shrimp
The best way to grill shrimp is to thread them onto skewers. Preheat grill for medium heat. Lightly oil grill grate. Cook shrimp on preheated grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until opaque. Toss pasta with pesto and shrimp and serve.
CORN ON THE GRILL
For the corn, simply soak the corn, in the husks, in a bucket of water for at least four hours – -I’ve done it for 15 minutes, and that’s fine too. Then, place corn, still in the husks, on grill grate, beside the shrimp. Cook for 15 minutes. Let the husks cool, and peel off – you’ll probably need oven mitts, and an adult should do this.
The kids grabbed the Country Crock Spreadable Sticks and went to town buttering their corn. They definitely liked the Country Crock Spreadable Sticks… and it is healthier than butter.
POPPED CHERRY TOMATOES
For the popped cherry tomatoes, sauté cherry tomatoes in Country Crock Spreadable Butter with Canola Oil with basil and salt, until tomatoes begin to split.
My husband is the only one who ate the tomatoes, everyone ate the corn (it was so sweet), and the kids loved the pasta. I could only get one son to try the shrimp… something about peeling off the skin. I bit my tongue, and tried not to make a big deal about it. At least they were eating “green pasta” and corn.
NOW YOUR TURN
Try any of these recipes and let me know how good, and easy this is! Each reader who posts a comment will be automatically entered into a random drawing for a chance to win $100 Cooking.com gift card toward the purchase of the cooking utensils needed to make these dishes. Enter between August 24 – September 30th, 2011. More chances to win can be found on the Blogher Roundup Page here.
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