Food for Thought — Healthy Recipes

Courtesy photo Whole Grain Berry Pancakes
Courtesy photo Orzo Salad
Courtesy photo Vegetable Lasagna

SPARTANBURG — Learning new ways to eat is essential to a healthy diet. Reducing the intake of fat, salt and sugar while replacing it with vegetables, fresh fruit and whole grains can prove to be a beneficial dietary change.

Healthier eating habits require a balance of variety and stability.

Variety is the source of the perfect balance of nutrition in a diet. Implementing different food items from each food group can revolutionize your diet, while providing the necessary nutrition.

Stability in a diet allows you to practice moderation without overeating. Having stable eating habits establishes an enjoyable discipline that every healthy eater strives for.

A Healthy Life

Healthy eating and disease prevention go hand in hand. Forming healthy eating habits contributes not only to a longer life, but to a more enjoyable one. The right nutrition provides a healthier quality of life.

Below are some quick and healthy recipes that will keep you satisfied on fewer calories.

Whole Grain Berry Pancakes

Pancakes on a Sunday, or any day for that matter, are a real treat! I’ve loved the flavor of buckwheat flour ever since I lived in Paris, where it is usually used to make cheese and ham crepes. In these Whole Grain Berry Pancakes, it makes for a fabulous blend of sweet and savory. During treatment, if I felt up to making them it was a sure sign that the worst of my chemo fatigue was over and that I felt like myself again. My family could look forward to something delicious and healthy coming out of the kitchen. And as these fruity cakes are super easy to pull together, it was no hardship to make them and certainly put a smile on anyone’s face, including mine. Perfect.


¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour (see Ann’s Tips)

½ cup buckwheat flour

2 tablespoons cane sugar

2½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 large egg

½ cup plain yogurt

2 to 4 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons butter, melted

½ teaspoon lemon zest

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Butter, for cooking

¾ cup frozen or fresh berries


1. In a small bowl, whisk or sift together the whole wheat pastry flour, buckwheat flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl whisk the egg and yogurt together. If using regular yogurt, add in 2 tablespoons of milk, and if using Greek yogurt use 4 tablespoons of milk. Whisk in the melted butter, lemon zest and vanilla extract until smooth.

3. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients just until moistened. The batter will be very thick and a little bit lumpy.

4. Heat a cast iron skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Add a pat of butter to the pan, and once it bubbles and melts, pour about a ¼ cup of batter for each pancake. Work in batches so you do not crowd the pan. Press berries into the pancakes.

5. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until the edges of the pancakes look cooked and bubbles form on the top of the pancakes. Flip and cook for another 3 minutes or until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Ann’s Tips and Tricks

If you cannot find whole wheat pastry flour, substitute ½ whole wheat flour and ½ all-purpose flour.

You can stir the berries into the batter but if you’re using frozen, depending on the berry, they will turn the batter pink or blue, not always appetizing. Also if they’re not slightly thawed, too many frozen berries in the batter can freeze it solid. I managed to do this at a brunch party I was giving. Once done, never forgotten.

Recipe by Ann Ogden of Cook for Your Life (

Orzo Salad


Fine-grained sea salt

1 1/2 cups / 9 oz / 255 g whole wheat orzo

5 cups / 11 oz / 310 g raw broccoli cut into small florets and stems

2 cloves garlic, peeled

2/3 cup / 3.5 oz / 100 g pine nuts, toasted (see page 219)

1/3 cup / .5 oz / 15 g freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup / 60 ml extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup / 2 oz / 60 g creme fraeche (see page 226)

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1 small ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced


Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt generously, add the orzo, and cook according to the package instructions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain well again.

In the meantime, cook the broccoli. Bring 3/4 cup / 180 ml water to a boil in a large pot. Add a big pinch of salt and stir in the broccoli. Cover and cook for 1 minute, just long enough to take off the raw edge. Quickly drain the broccoli in a strainer and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well and set aside.

To make the pesto, combine 2 cups / 7 oz / 200 g of the cooked broccoli, the garlic, most of the pine nuts, the Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice in a food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil and creme fraeche and pulse until smooth.

Just before serving, toss the orzo and remaining cooked broccoli florets with about two-thirds of the broccoli pesto and the lemon zest. Thin with a bit of warm water if you like, then taste and adjust if needed. You might want to add a bit more salt, or an added drizzle of lemon juice, or more pesto. Gently fold in the avocado. Turn out into a bowl or onto a platter and top with the remaining pine nuts.


Vegetable Lasagna


Two 15-ounce containers part-skim ricotta

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper, plus more for seasoning

One 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, excess moisture squeezed out

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan

1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 yellow onion, diced

3/4 cup shredded carrot

1 yellow squash, diced

1 zucchini, diced

6 cups store-bought or homemade marinara sauce

12 no-boil lasagna noodles (8 ounces)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the ricotta, eggs, salt and pepper. Add the spinach and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the mozzarella, Parmesan and basil.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the garlic and onions and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the carrots, yellow squash and zucchini, and cook until the vegetables are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and drain off any excess liquid.

Spread a third of the marinara sauce over the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Arrange a layer of lasagna noodles on top. Spread a third of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, followed by a third of the cooked vegetables. Sprinkle with a third of the shredded cheese mixture. Repeat to make two more layers, ending with the shredded cheese mixture on top. Cover the top of the dish with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the top is golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

Per serving: Calories 573; Total Fat 27 grams; Saturated Fat 13 grams; Protein 35 grams; Total Carbohydrate 48 grams; Sugar: 4 grams; Fiber 6 grams; Cholesterol 143 milligrams; Sodium 1873 milligrams;


Courtesy photo Whole Grain Berry Pancakes photo Whole Grain Berry Pancakes

Courtesy photo Orzo Salad photo Orzo Salad

Courtesy photo Vegetable Lasagna photo Vegetable Lasagna