From The Nutritionist

Alexandria Hast, PhD, RD
Authors:
Campbell Global Nutrition Team

The Flavors We Savor Most

In support of National Nutrition Month® the Campbell Global Nutrition team came together to share the flavors they savor most. The question posed was – “If left with a near-bare pantry or sparse refrigerator shelves, what would be your ‘must have’ food, ingredient or seasoning?” Here’s what the experts chose and why.

Alex’s Top Pick: Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Who knew that olive oil, a standard ingredient in many pantries, comes from one of the oldest known cultivated trees in the world! In our house it has to be Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). Extra Virgin means the olives are cold pressed (no heat or chemicals to extract the oil) which gives the oil a deep green color and intense flavor. This also means the oil retains the good antioxidants found naturally in olives.1 The other end of the spectrum is Extra Light oil. Most people think this this means lower in fat or calories, but in fact it means light in flavor (and also light in color and aroma). While Extra Light oil still has the good heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, because heat and chemicals are used to extract the oil, it loses some of its antioxidant content.

EVOO is best when used in applications where you can really taste its flavor. We use it in salad dressings, for dipping bread, to make pesto, or to season pasta or cooked vegetables. This Basil Pesto Squash with Linguine recipe is a delicious way to use some of this flavorful oil.

Anita’s Top Pick: Onions

Once regarded as a lowly vegetable for commoners, onions are now a popular kitchen staple and an ubiquitous recipe ingredient. Whether sautéed, caramelized, boiled, baked or used raw, onions can turn a bland dish into a savory celebration of flavor.


Centuries ago, onions were considered medicine as well as food, and used to treat various ailments from headaches to snake bites.  Early research suggests that quercetin, part of an antioxidant compound found in onions, may have protective benefits against heart disease and certain cancers.2

When I cook, I use lots of fresh onions and dehydrated onion flakes to boost flavor without adding any fats or a significant amount of sodium.  In our home, a jar of onion powder has even replaced the salt shaker at our family table!

For a delicious, budget-friendly dish that puts the savory flavor of onions front and center, try making Roasted Chicken with Caramelized Onions Soup which combines leftover roasted chicken with caramelized onion, veggies, and pasta in a savory broth.

Jen’s Top Pick: Peanuts & Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is simply delicious, satisfying, and nutritious. It’s popular among all ages! This convenient, nutty treat can be paired with sliced fruit or veggies for a quick, pick-me-up snack or a hold-me-over until dinner option. Enjoy it on whole grain bread, or use it to create a fantastic dish like Szechuan Peanut Chicken.

Peanuts contain a combination of “the good fats”, namely polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. In addition, they contain more protein, niacin, folate and phytosterols than any other nut.3 Be mindful of portion sizes, as calories can add up quickly (1tbsp. of peanut butter provides about 100 calories).

Peanut butter is a versatile, shelf stable pantry must-have (though it probably won’t stay on the shelf for long!). This nut butter is so popular in the US that 94% of households have at least one peanut butter loving consumer. Grab a spoonful and celebrate – March is also National Peanut Month, so cheers to a spoonful of creamy goodness!3

Kate’s Top Pick: Tomatoes

It doesn’t really matter whether you want to call it a veggie or a fruit… just call it awesome! During the summer there is nothing like a fresh-off-the-vine, juicy tomato. They are super-versatile and a family-friendly produce choice. Tomatoes are rich in flavor, color and texture (plus low in calories; provide vitamin A, C and potassium). I can’t imagine my kitchen cabinets or countertop without fresh, canned, or sun-dried tomatoes. As of 2013, tomatoes were the second (potatoes were first) most consumed vegetable in America, per pound!4 Did you know that one can of Campbell’s® Tomato soup is made using five ripe tomatoes?5

Go fresh - Grape tomatoes make a great pop-in-your mouth snack, sliced tomatoes “veggie- up” your sandwich/omelet, or combine tomatoes with a few on-hand delicious ingredients for bruschetta.

Pick canned or jarred - Tomatoes can enhance practically any dish. Always have tomato soup and pasta sauce on hand. Check out the robust flavors in this Umami-Bomb Pizza with Arugula, Heirloom Tomatoes & Goat Cheese recipe. They make it easy to add nutrition
and boost your veggie count for the day!

Lindsay’s Top Pick: Citrus Fruit 

Nothing brightens a dish better than citrus. It complements a wide variety of flavors, is used in cuisines throughout the world, and provides that extra “zing” without the added salt or fat. I often use citrus in my cooking, whether I am grilling, baking, poaching, or just making a fresh salad dressing. 

Not only are citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruits flavorful, but many are also an excellent source of vitamin C, an important antioxidant. While using citrus in your cooking will not necessarily provide much of this nutrient, adding whole citrus fruits, like oranges, to salads or choosing them as snacks can provide up to 100% of your daily vitamin C needs.  

When I am crunched for time, I love Campbell’s® Healthy Request® Homestyle Spicy Vegetable Chili with a fresh wedge of lime. Want something to share with the whole family? This Lemon Chicken Scallopini recipe is delicious, healthy, and ready in less than 30 minutes!  For more information on selecting, preparing, and cooking
with citrus fruits, visit the Fruits & Veggies - More Matters® website.


National Nutrition Month® is a great time for us to celebrate food and share our love for delicious, nutritious and flavorful fare. Food brings people together and its flavors can remind us of a special person or time in our lives. Appreciate the tastes of decades old recipes and explore new flavors this month. Life’s an adventure, so cherish delicious food along the way with family and friends!

Savor your favorite flavors today,

The Campbell Nutrition Team

For authors’ bios please visit Meet the Experts

  1. https://www.cooc.com/health-nutrition/ California Olive Council: Health & Nutrition; Accessed January 26th, 2016.
  2. http://accurateclinic.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Quercetin-University-of-Maryland-Medical-Center.pdf University of Maryland Quercetin Accessed June 11, 2018.
  3. http://nationalpeanutboard.org/the-facts/fun-facts/ National Peanut BoardSM; Accessed January 24th, 2016.
  4. https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/chart-gallery/gallery/chart-detail/?chartId=58340 USDA Economic Research Services: Most commonly consumed vegetables among U.S. consumers, 2013. Accesssed January 20th, 2016.
  5. www.whatsinmyfood.com. Accessed January 20th, 2016.

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En Papillote Technique

1. Prepare the parchment paper
Get a large piece of parchment paper, approximately 2.5 times as large as a single portion of food. Cut the paper into a heart shape, lightly brushing one side with oil. This creates a slight barrier to water, preventing the paper from becoming soaked too quickly. Another option, though not as attractive, is to use tin foil instead of parchment paper.

2. Select the ingredients
This is a very quick-cooking approach, so it works best with tender proteins such as fish and shellfish. The accompanying ingredients, like julienned vegetables (matchstick size), must be small enough to cook at the same rate as the fish. In some cases the vegetables can be blanched, or quickly cooked in boiling water, to ensure proper doneness. Fresh herbs will go a long way in providing flavor.

3. Assemble the packet
Lay the oiled, heart-shaped paper on a baking tray, oiled side up. Season your vegetables with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and half of the herbs. Toss them around for an even coat. Place enough for one portion on half of the paper. Bunch them up to create a bed for your fish, leaving about two inches between the food and the edge of the paper. Place the seasoned fish on the vegetables and sprinkle the remaining herbs. Add a splash of the liquid on top of the fish, just enough to add moisture.

4. Seal the packet
To seal, fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables (so it resembles a teardrop). Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge toward the center. Fold over again to create a seal. Continue along the length of the parchment, folding each section twice. When you get to the point of the heart, twist and fold to finish the seal.

5. Bake your dinner
Bake the packet in a 425°F oven for 10-14 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. The packet will puff and brown while in the oven and as the steam builds. When cooked, remove from the oven and carefully place the packet on a plate. With a knife or scissors cut an "X" on the top and fold back the edges for a dramatic presentation and a delicious, healthy meal.

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Spicy Flounder and Clams with Summer Vegetables

Prep Time: Less than 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-14 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup carrots, finely cut julienne
  • 1/3 cup sugar snap peas, cross cut thinly
  • 1/3 cup zucchini, yellow, finely cut julienne
  • 6 each cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp. shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. parsley, fresh, minced
  • Dash salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • 6 oz. fillet, flounder (2 fillets, 3oz. each)
  • 2 Tbsp. Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice
  • 3/4 lb. clams, in the shell

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine the carrots, sugar snap peas, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, shallot, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, half of the parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss well to combine.
  3. Lightly oil two large heart shaped pieces of parchment paper.
  4. With the parchment paper on a sheet tray, place half of the vegetable mixture in the center of one half of each heart leaving about a 2" border.
  5. Lightly season each fillet with salt and pepper. Fold or roll the fillet to create a uniform thickness and place on top of the vegetables.
  6. Top the fish with the remaining herbs and the Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice.
  7. Place half of the clams around each portion of vegetables and fish.
  8. Fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables so that it resembles a teardrop.
  9. Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge towards the center. Fold over again to create a seal.
  10. Continue with this method along the length of the parchment packet folding each section twice to make an attractive edge.
  11. When you get to the point of the heart twist and fold to finish the seal.
  12. Bake the packets for 10-14 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish).
  13. Remove from the oven and serve by cutting an "X" in the top and folding back the edges.

Nutrition Information (per serving):

Calories 180, Total Fat 9g, Saturated Fat 1g, Monounsaturated Fat 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 50mg, Sodium 450mg, Carbohydrate 10g, Fiber 2g, Sugar 4g, Protein 16g.