Marvelous Meatballs

You may associate red meat with a food that is off limits. Personally, I eat a mostly plant-based diet and keep red meat as an occasional indulgence, but red meat can have its benefits.

Eating red meat has been discouraged because many cuts are high in cholesterol and saturated fat. Red meat does have a place in a healthy diet as long as you choose the right cuts of beef. Eye round roast and steak, round steak, sirloin tip roast and 95 percent ground meat all offer healthy options, or choose bison for lean red meat. Adding one or two servings of fresh or organic lean red meat to your weekly diet will supply your body with many vital nutrients.

Here are three major benefits to red meat:

Benefit 1: Since meat contains a large amount of protein, this could be beneficial to the body as the need for protein is an important one for the body. Since protein is said to improve the overall health and well-being of one’s body, there are other benefits such as the repair and building of body tissues as well as the production of antibodies that will protect the body from infections, thus strengthening the immune system as well. Most importantly, since meat contains all the essential amino acids, it definitely ranks as one of the best sources of protein.

Benefit 2: Red meat is rich in iron, zinc and selenium. While iron helps in forming hemoglobin that transports oxygen to different parts of your body, zinc helps in tissue formation and metabolism as well as selenium breaks down the fat and chemicals in the body.

Benefit 3: Vitamins are a big part of anyone’s diet, and Vitamin A, B and D are commonly found in meat. Not only do these vitamins promote good vision, stronger teeth and bones but they support the central nervous system which promotes mental health. Another big benefit of eating meat is the maintenance of your skin’s health.

Here’s a great melt-in-your-mouth recipe for hearty meatballs to enjoy as party of your next healthy meal.

  
Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef (do not exceed over 86% fat)

1 egg

1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

1/2 tablespoon oregano

salt & pepper to taste

1⁄2 cup Italian style breadcrumbs (my favorite is Progresso)

1/4 cup water

2 lbs pasta sauce

Directions:

Put ground beef in large bowl,

Add the egg and the bread crumbs.

Sprinkle garlic powder, oregano, salt/pepper, there is no measuring for that, just sprinkle.

Mix meat mixture with clean hands or in mixed.

  
Add about 1/4 cup water. The meat mixture will be soft.

In a large cooking pot, put sauce, start heating up the sauce, have it set on medium.

Now take about 2 tablespoons of meat and gently roll in ball, gently put each meatball in the sauce, (yes it will be raw) do not fry the meat balls before the sauce).

  
Do this until all the meatballs are in the sauce, cook for 1- 3 hours max. The longer the better. Delish!

Enjoy!

In health,

Johanna

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Roasted Eggplant Soup

Long prized for its deeply purple, glossy beauty as well as its unique taste and texture, eggplants are now available in markets throughout the year, but they are at their very best from August through October when they are in season.
Here’s what eggplant can do to help you live healthier:
1) The iron, calcium and other minerals in eggplant supply the essential nutrients required by the body. All this, while relishing a highly flavorful veggie, is a good deal, indeed! Stuff, grill, bake, roast, stew your eggplants—they’re delicious in so many ways!
2) Eggplants contain certain essential phyto nutrients which improve blood circulation and nourish the brain. But keep in mind—these nutrients are concentrated in the skin of the eggplant, so don’t throw it away.
3) They provide fiber, which protects the digestive tract. In fact, regular intake of eggplants can protect you from colon cancer.
4) Eggplant is low in calories, with just 35 per cup. It contains no fat and its high fiber content can help you feel full and aids with weight loss.
5) Eggplant is great for controlling and managing diabetes. Research validates this role, thanks to the high fiber and low soluble carbohydrate content of the eggplant.
6) Eggplants have a role in heart care, too. Research studies show they can lower ‘bad’ cholesterol. But you must cook them the right way to get these benefits. Fried eggplant soaks up a lot of fat, making it harmful and heavy. Instead, bake it at 400 degrees, which brings out glorious flavor and gives you all the goodness an eggplant holds!
7) The heart-healthy benefits of eggplant don’t end with limiting cholesterol. Eggplants are high in bioflavonoids, which are known to control high blood pressure and relieve stress.
8) Regular consumption of eggplant helps prevent blood clots—thanks again to Vitamin K and bioflavonoids, which strengthen capillaries.
With the Autumn season here in New England and a trip to my farmers market, I could not resist making a big batch of hearty veggie soup and put my fresh eggplant, zucchini, onions, and tomatoes to good use! I hope you enjoy this beautiful soup and it’s many healthy benefits.

  

Roasted Eggplant Soup
Serves 4

  • 2 medium tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds), cubed
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 2 small onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon diced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup orzo 
  • 3/4 cup (about 3 1/2 ounces) crumbled Parmesan cheese 

Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange tomatoes, zucchini. eggplant, onion and garlic on a large roasting pan and drizzle vegetables with oil then roast them for 40 minutes.

  
Add 2 cups of water and returning the pan to the oven for another 30 to 40 minutes, until the remaining vegetables are tender. 

  
Remove from oven and scoop all contents from the roasting pan into a heavy, large saucepan or soup pot. Add stock or broth, spinach and orzo. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add Parmesan cheese. 

  
Enjoy!

In health,

Johanna