Frozen vs Fresh Veggies & How to Cook Them

We already know veggies are good for us. First, vegetables are packed with fiber, which helps us stay regular and shuttle cholesterol out of our system. Secondly, veggies offer an array of essential vitamins and minerals; sweet potatoes have potassium, necessary for electrolyte balance while beets are rich in antioxidants, hence their purple color. Thirdly, eating vegetables is associated with decreased risk for chronic diseases. For example, increased intake of cruciferous veggies, like brussel sprouts and cauliflower, may be inversely related to the risk for lung cancer (Lam, et al 2009).

Okay, so what about frozen veggies- are they better than fresh? Ask Michael Pollan, author of the popular Omnivore’s Dilemma, and he’ll tell you that: “Frozen vegetables and fruits are a terrific and economical option when fresh is unavailable or too expensive. The nutritional quality is just as good — and sometimes even better, because the produce is often picked and frozen at its peak of quality.” (Pollan, 2011)

Eating veggies in college is hard. Those of us who live on campus only have a microwave or access to campus eateries. Sometimes, we don’t have options we enjoy, or we get tired of the offerings on campus. That is why learning to cook veggies in the microwave is a great idea. If you get one trip to the grocery store each month, you can stock up on some frozen veggies. Steam, and then enjoy with hummus or white bean dip for a snack. And, if you have a kitchen in an off-campus apartment, you still may not have the time to steam veggies on the stove or have adequate pots and pans. By using the microwave method for steaming, you can save time, money, and lock in the nutrients available from the veggies!

Spice up your vegetables with these easy tips:

  • Add cinnamon, cloves and ginger to vegetables. While these spices are  typically reserved for sweet foods, these spices can enhance the flavor of carrots, squash and sweet potatoes.

  • Spice up steamed broccoli with lemon, olive  oil and a pinch of salt. If you prefer eating broccoli raw, add paprika, yogurt,  garlic and chives to enhance its flavor.
  • Add a little olive oil, garlic powder and lemon to asparagus, peas or spinach to add some flavor.
  • Looking for some real spice? Try adding hot sauce or cayenne pepper to the mix!



By: Kate Sweeney

Editor: Toby Beckelman


Lam, T.K., Gallachio, L., Lindsley, K., Sheils, M., Hammond, E., Tao, X., Chen, L., Robinson, K., Caulfield, L., Herman, J., Guallar, E., and Alberg, A. 2009. Cruciferous Vegetable Consumption and Lung Cancer Risk: A Systematic Review. 2009. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 18; 184

Pollan, Michael. Oct 2, 2011. The Food and Drink Issue: Mysteries Solved, Riddles Explained and Readers’ Questions Answered. New York Times. New York, NY.

October 30th, 2012

Poaching Eggs in the Microwave

Do you know how to cook an egg in the microwave? Believe it or not, it is actually pretty easy and requires little time and money for ingredients. You can make them in your dorm room! Check out the video below to learn about eggs and how to cook them in the microwave.


Video done by: Maxine Builder and Kate Sweeney

1 comment November 18th, 2011

Recipe Spotlight: Thai Peanut Curry Noodles

Article Source: The Friedman Sprout

I love Thai food.  It is flavorful, spicy, and unique.  But, it can sometimes be a bit too greasy for my stomach and a bit too expensive for my student budget.  So instead of getting take-out, I have been making homemade Thai food. Both vegetarians’ and meat-lovers’ palates are appeased because the proteins are cooked separately.  All of my favorite Thai flavors: garlic, ginger, peanut butter, basil and curry make up the sauce.  I used a blend of late summer vegetables, but any that you have on hand would work well.  The curried vegetables are mixed with brown rice noodles and served with your protein of choice—tofu or chicken.

Thai Peanut Curry Noodles

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 8 oz brown rice noodles (may substitute spaghetti)
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 medium/large red onion, diced
  • 2 oz fresh ginger*, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced **
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste (can buy at any local grocery store)
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup reserved pasta cooking water-the starchy water helps thicken the sauce
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 cup snap peas
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 TBSP dried Thai Basil (may sub 1 TBSP regular dried basil, or ¼ cup chopped fresh basil)
  • Salt and Pepper-to taste
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin-for garnish
  • 1 lime-sliced for garnish

*I keep fresh ginger in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer and remove as needed.

** if you are a crazy heat-seeker feel free to add 2 or 3

For tofu:

  • 1 package tofu (pre-cubed, or cut slab into ~1/2” cubes)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp Thai Basil
  • For chicken:
  • 1 lb bonless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp Thai Basil

Bring large pot of water to boil for noodles. When water is boiling, add in noodles and cook according to package directions.

Pre-heat skilled over medium heat.  Prepare tofu by draining excess water and cutting in cubes (if not using pre-cubed).  To skillet, add 1 TBSP of olive oil and drained tofu with seasonings. Cook 3 minutes on one side and flip in pan; cook 3 more minutes and gently move cubes around pan ensuring that each piece is browned.  Remove tofu from pan and set aside on plate.

In the same pan, add the ingredients for curry sauce: 1 TBSP olive oil, diced onions, garlic, ginger, jalapeño, and carrots.  Sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the onions have become translucent.

In a separate pan, heat 1 TBSP olive oil over medium heat. Season chicken breasts with half of Thai basil, and salt and pepper.  Place in pre-heated pan seasoned side down, and season the other side. Cook for about 7-10 minutes per side, depending on how thick your breasts are, or until the inside of the chicken is no longer pink.

In separate bowl mix together peanut butter, curry paste, ¼ cup reserved pasta water and Thai basil.  Add to veggie mix making sure and stir to evenly coat.  If needed, add a bit more water to thin the sauce.

Drain pasta and combine with curry veggies.  Serve with protein of your choice.  Garnish with chopped scallions and limes.


By Lisa D’Agrosa, RD

November 4th, 2011

Spotlight Recipe: PB & B

For all of you late-morning sleepers out there, it’s time to get up and make some breakfast!! And, you can have it on the go. What’s better than that? Click HERE: PB & B for our Peanut Butter & Banana sandwich recipe.

Peanut Butter and Banana sandwiches may sound extremely simple to you, but there are a lot of benefits to eating one for breakfast or a snack. In addition, the ingredients are easy to source on campus, inexpensive, require little/no equipment, the recipe is very quick to make, and the meal is a healthful one.

First, having breakfast is the best way to start your day. (This does not have to be eaten at breakfast. It also makes for a great alternative to a sports/energy bar, as ingredients are natural and less expensive.)

  • Breakfast eaters have been shown to have better overall diets, with more vitamins and minerals in their diets, than non-breakfast eaters.
  • Breakfast eaters have been shown to have lower body weights than their non-breakfast counterparts.

Second, lets talk nutrition benefits.

  • Whole grain or whole wheat toast has fiber needed to keep you full, as you’re rushing around to class, work, and other appointments. You can grab whole wheat bread at Jumbo Express or the dining halls.
  • Peanut butter is a great source of poly-saturated fatty acids, which are healthy and essential in your diet, and a good source of protein. When looking for peanut butter, choose the one with peanuts and salt as the ONLY ingredients. Jumbo Express sells Teddie peanut butter, which you can get chunky or creamy. If you have a peanut allergy, can substitute the peanut butter for soy butter or Sun Butter. If you’re are allergic to peanuts, but not other tree nuts, almond butter is a healthy alternative. Barney Butter is almond butter guaranteed to be peanut free.
    • For more information on peanut and tree nut allergies, please see the Food Allergy Network. Contact your doctor if you’re unsure if you have a tree nut allergy, as well as a peanut allergy.
  • Bananas are a great source of vitamin C, potassium, and B-vitamins. You can grab one at any campus eatery. If you’re not a fan of bananas, apples are a great alternative for this recipe.
  • Overall, this recipes provides a great balance of carbohydrates, fat, and protein.

Third, lets talk storing ingredients for PB & B.

  • If you live in a dorm or apartment, you can store bread in your refrigerator or freezer. This way, it will stay fresh longer and not mold. If you put it in your freezer, you can pop it right into a toaster to defrost and toast. Or, you can leave it out for 10 minutes and it will defrost quickly.
  • Peanut butter (or other nut butters) should be mixed if there are oils found at the top of the jar when you buy it. This way, the oils are well-distributed. Mix the oil with the peanuts by using a knife and pushing all the way to the bottom while moving the knife in circles. Store peanut butter in your cabinet or on top of your fridge.
  • Always leave bananas outside of drawers- that way they won’t brown easily. Bananas will keep for a few days, before turning brown.


By: Kate Sweeney

September 7th, 2011

Spring Smoothies

As the weather gets warmer, you may want to replace that hot tea or hot chocolate for a more summer-inspired drink that is cool and refreshing. A chilled smoothie is a great option because they are easy and fast to make in the dorms or at your apartment, you can take them on-the-go, can be a complete meal or made with specific purposes in mind (recovery from a workout), and can be made with healthful ingredients. There are many different foods you can put into a smoothie- from carrots, to pineapple, to yogurt. Below, we’ll talk about some different smoothies and the nutritional benefits in each one.


Yesterday, BYL did a free smoothie tasting outside the library, where over 130 students tried our carrot/fruit smoothie. While veggies smoothie are sometimes gross-looking (that green, superfood Odwalla drink, anyone?), this one was delicious and everyone was pleased with the taste and texture. The smoothie was made following this recipe:

4 carrots, chopped
1/2 banana
1/2-3/4 orange, peeled
1 cup ice
1/2 cup water
Makes 3-4 servings.

This recipe is good for a small snack, as it does not have any fat or protein in it. The smoothie is packed with fiber,   potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and other antioxidants.

Fruit & Yogurt

This smoothie is a great post-workout snack or a sweet snack in between meals to keep you full and satiated. It has plain yogurt, which really adds a good amount of protein and calcium to the smoothie. And, the fruit contributes lots of fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, and potassium.

  • 1 banana
  • 2-3 cups frozen strawberries, raspberries, and/or blueberries
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1/2 cup orange juice or 1/2 orange

Peanut Butter (& Chocolate)

For those elite athletes out there, this may be right up your alley. Recently, research has shown that chocolate milk has a beneficial effect on restoring glycogen stores because it has about the same ratio of carbs and protein as some common carbohydrate replacement drinks (Karpet al 2006). While this smoothie isn’t just milk and chocolate, it does have these two components. But, you don’t have to add the chocolate if you’re more apt to just stick with the peanut butter and yogurt. Or, you could leave out the peanut butter if you like it more chocolate-y.

  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • Drizzle of chocolate syrup (optional)
  • Few cubes of ice

The peanut butter in this recipe gives you mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, which are healthful (they help you absorb fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E, and K). The yogurt and milk has vitamin D, calcium, and protein.

Lastly, don’t forget there are a MILLION different combinations out there in smoothie-land. There are lots of frozen fruits (mangos, berries, etc) you can use, you can replace nonfat milk with soy milk, and you can put flax seeds into your smoothie for added omega-3s.


Karp, J., Johnston, J., Teckelnburg, s., Mickleborough, T., Fly, A. and Stager, J. Chocolate Milk as a Post-Workout Recovery Aid. International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 2006;16:78-91.

May 5th, 2011

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