Food & Drink

Pinterest can be a healthy source for good recipes

Greens, sprouts and sweet potato salad with a homemade dressing would be a good choice for a light lunch or as a side dish for dinner.
Greens, sprouts and sweet potato salad with a homemade dressing would be a good choice for a light lunch or as a side dish for dinner.

Unless you have a favorite site, searching blindly for recipes online can be frustrating.

I've found that one of the easiest ways to find recipes on the Web is to search on Pinterest. It's like an index for the largest cookbook ever.

According to business intelligence firm RJMetrics, 10.5 percent of all pinboards on Pinterest are categorized under Food, the website's fastest- growing category. It's also the category that gets the most re-pins, generating on average more than 50 percent re-pins than the second-most reshared category, Style and Fashion.

"Pinterest has proven to be a fun, useful, and, let's admit, addictive space for home cooks and foodies," said editor Allison Long Lowery. Cooking Light is one of the most popular boards to re-pin.

"We're excited about the level of engagement it brings to our recipes. As people create beautiful boards of food photography, they are organizing their favorite recipes. We love the idea of people planning their healthy meals from favorite recipe pin boards. And don't believe what you've heard: We know decadent, not-so-healthy recipes find a home on Pinterest, but we see enormous interest for healthy recipes that feature seasonal ingredients.

"The growth of Pinterest is staggering," Lowery said. "For Cooking Light in 2012, we saw nearly 750 percent growth in traffic referrals from Pinterest to our site, and the numbers continue to trend up."

Because Pinterest is such a popular place to search for recipes, we decided to look for healthy recipes and asked for help from some local pinners.

Hope Arnold of Georgetown is on Pinterest almost daily, she said.

"Every night before I go to sleep, I spend about 15 to 20 minutes on the iPad checking email and on Pinterest."

From what she finds there, Arnold prepares about one new recipe a month.

"I mostly pin things for parties and holiday-themed treats for school," she said. "I am more likely to pin a recipe and adapt it to something that I can pull out of the pantry. I am terrible about remembering ingredients at the market that are not on the usual weekly to-buy list."

Toa Green, chef/owner of Thai Orchid Café in Lexington, said she pins recipes "as a way to keep up with dishes I want to try and make. It's a fun way to get ideas for recipes or new dishes."

Carolyn Gilles of Lexington, chef/instructor at The Wholesome Chef, said she likes Pinterest for recipes because it's so visual.

"I like to get inspired by what a dish may look like, colors or even just presentation ideas," she said. "I don't follow anyone in particular, but I usually like to search by foods that are in season and find recipes based around locally available foods."

Here are some recipes to help you stay focused on your healthier-eating regimen for the new year.

Crab cakes and spicy mustard sauce

1⁄3 cup chopped red bell pepper

4 tablespoons canola mayonnaise, divided

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 green onions, chopped

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

11⁄3 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs), divided

1 pound lump crab meat, drained and shell pieces removed

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream

2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

1⁄8 teaspoon ground red pepper

Combine bell pepper, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, salt, pepper, onion, egg and egg yolk. Add 1⁄3 cup panko and crab; toss gently. Divide crab mixture into 8 equal portions; shape each into a 3/4-inch-thick patty. Place remaining panko in shallow dish. Gently dredge patties in panko.

Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Add 4 crab cakes; cook 4 minutes on each side. Remove from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining oil and crab cakes. Combine 2 tablespoons mayonnaise and remaining ingredients; serve with crab cakes.

From Cooking Light

Greens, sprouts and sweet potato salad

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2- by 1⁄3-inch sticks

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari

1 teaspoon honey

2 cups sprouts

1 romaine heart, coarsely chopped

4 small Japanese or Persian cucumbers, cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 cups packed mesclun

2 large scallions, finely chopped

8 green olives, pitted and chopped

1 avocado, diced

1 tablespoon sesame seeds, white or black

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss sweet potato sticks with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then spread in an even layer on baking sheet. Season with salt. Bake for 12 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are nice and tender.

In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, tamari, honey and remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Season the dressing with salt.

In another small bowl, toss sprouts with 1 tablespoon of the dressing and let stand for 10 minutes to marinate, then toss a few times. In a large bowl, combine romaine, cucumbers, mesclun, scallions, olives and avocado. and toss to combine. Add remaining dressing and toss again. Transfer salad to a large serving bowl or platter, top with roasted sweet potatoes and marinated sprouts. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately.


Cranberry orange Brussels sprouts

1 large bag Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

1 pint fresh cranberries


3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Zest of one orange

1 tablespoon orange juice

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse and drain cranberries, and add to a large mixing bowl with Brussels sprouts. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and pinch of salt.

Spread evenly onto baking sheet and roast for about 40 minutes ( stirring once halfway through cooking).

While Brussels sprouts are cooking, toast walnuts. If you have whole walnuts, do a bit of rough chopping. Add nuts to a small baking dish. With about 5 to 10 minutes left on the Brussels sprouts' cook time, place nuts in oven. Watch carefully to make sure they don't burn. You just want them to darken a bit.

When everything is roasted and toasted, remove from oven and toss together in a large bowl. Using a microplane grater, zest one whole orange over top of the bowl. In a small dish, whisk together remaining olive oil, orange juice and balsamic vinegar. Pour over mixture, and toss with sea salt. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

From the Daily Garnish

Sort of a kale Caesar

2 large bunches kale

2 to 3 large cloves garlic

1⁄3 cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup organic lemon juice ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

10 turns freshly ground black pepper

1⁄3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup whole wheat croutons

Clean kale by removing stems, washing the leaves and drying. Chop them into bite-size pieces and place in a very large bowl. Smash garlic and finely chop. Combine in large bowl with lemon juice, salt, red pepper and black pepper. Whisk to combine and continue whisking, slowly pouring in olive oil to emulsify.

Combine dressing with kale leaves, using your hands to gently massage into the leaves. Let stand 30 minutes. Smash the croutons. Toss dressed salad with crushed croutons and grated Parmesan until well coated. Top with shaved Parmesan, if desired.

From Everydaymaven

Mexican chicken soup in the slow cooker

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

½ teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 cans (15 ounces each) Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed

Cheddar cheese

Sour cream

Fresh cilantro

Scatter onion and garlic about the base of your slow cooker. Arrange chicken breasts evenly over the top. In a medium bowl, whisk chicken broth, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, chili powder and salt. Pour over chicken. Cook on low about 6 hours.

Remove lid and shred chicken using two forks and pulling against the grain of the meat. Stir in beans, cover and continue cooking for 30 minutes to allow beans to warm.

Serve with shredded Cheddar cheese, sour cream, and fresh cilantro.


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