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10-Second Recipes: Juice Blends Stretch Meals and Nutrition
(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)

By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate

The new wave of store-bought fruit and vegetable juice blends cleverly hide mixtures of vegetable extracts, like tomato, celery, carrot, sweet potato and beet, behind the more prominent, sweeter flavor of fruits, such as apple, orange, grape, blueberry, strawberry and banana. They are excellent to use over ice as a pre-meal healthful cocktail for both adults and kidlets (especially the light versions available of many brands), but also are a nutrient-dense way to deliciously stretch your meals. Everything from breakfast or dessert smoothies, to innovative salad dressings, sauces and other meal elements show off the innovative ingredient that would be a shame to just get to know as a plain juice.

Food preparation can be easy, nutritious, inexpensive, fun and fast, as the following split-second sensations prove. The dishes are delicious evidence that everyone - including you and your kidlet helpers - has time for tasty home cooking and, more importantly, the healthy family time in the kitchen that goes along with it! Another benefit: You effortlessly become a better cook since there are no right or wrong amounts. These are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations, so whatever you choose to use can't help but draw "wows" at the table.

Tea Tempter
Thought tea couldn't get much more nutritious? Try this blend as a breakfast juice booster, snack or pre-meal cocktail. Using teabags, brew a mixture including caffeine-free versions of black, green and cinnamon- and orange-based teas. Let cool. Sweeten lightly with a calorie-free natural sweetener, like stevia, squeeze in the juice of part of a lemon, and about one half cup fruit-vegetable juice blend and one quarter cup orange juice for each serving, gently mix and serve over ice.

Fruit Salad Soup
Slice bananas, strawberries, apples and pears and place in bowl. Cover with fruit-vegetable juice blend, small amount of grapefruit juice and the juice of part of a lime and gently stir. Serve chilled and eat with spoon as a cold soup.

Dressing Dripping with Goodness
Combine fruit-vegetable juice blend with store-bought or homemade light balsamic vinaigrette and spicy brown mustard. Grind in freshly ground black pepper.

Saucy Dinner Solution
Combine fruit-vegetable juice blend with no sugar-added pure berry fruit spread (sold in jam section of most supermarkets), cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and heat in saucepan over low heat until reduces. Use half as baste for roasted chicken and re-warm other half mixed with finely diced onions and shallots just before serving as a sauce.

Pounds of fun for pound cake recipe
Combine fruit-vegetable juice blend with sweetened coconut milk and bottled caramel ice-cream topping and heat in saucepan over low heat until creamy. Serve warm over sugar-free vanilla ice cream that's atop pound cake or angel food cake.

QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK: Homemade garlic bread and grilled cheese don't have to be one dimensional. If you mix-and-match your favorite spices, they can be comfort food foundations for even healthier meals. Bonus: Because of the added flavors, the results are more delicious than the originals. Try this for a hybrid that is the best of both garlic bread and grilled cheese: Toast one side of whole-grain bread in broiler, carefully remove, turn over, spread on vegan or other margarine or butter and sprinkle with garlic and onion powders, curry powder, turmeric, cayenne and freshly ground black pepper and top with a single layer of pepperjack cheese or, if not, Monterey Jack. Broil until cheese is bubbly, making sure exposed parts of bread don't burn.

Lisa Messinger is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes (Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet (Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on 

Tags: 10 Second Recipes, Budget, Eat Less-Move More, Nutrition, Recipes, Stay-at-Home Mom
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