Tucson Executive Chef Richard Serna shares more of his favorite Smart Cuisine recipes with The Explorer’s readers. They are part of a summer-long series that provides recipes to help you prepare restaurant-style food that tastes good and is good for you all in the comforts of your own home.
Smart Cuisine is a style of cooking that focuses on using fresh ingredients to not only provide a high level of nourishment, but also add bold, natural flavors, Serna says. “These ingredients, which I call ‘power ingredients,’ also provide a variety of health benefits when used with cooking techniques that retain those natural flavors and nutrients often lost during the cooking process.”
Serna oversees the menus at Cottonwood Tucson, a behavioral health and drug rehab center. He believes in the positive effects food used as medicine can have.
Take, for example, his Blueberry Oat Smoothie, perfect for breakfast or a snack.
“Oats are well-known for lowering cholesterol levels in the body and, in turn, lowering the risk for heart disease,” Serna said. “But oats also have been found to provide a variety of health benefits like reducing hypertension, lowering your risk for cancers, aiding in healthy digestion and metabolic functions, as well as controlling blood sugar levels for diabetics.”
The smoothie is also packed with vitamins.
“Blueberries have the highest amounts of antioxidants of any fruit. They provide a high level of vitamins C and E, as well as anthocyanins and phenloics that act as antioxidants,” Serna explained. “Blueberries promote healthy vision, brain function and digestion. They also help keep the urinary tract healthy.”
Curry and Chive Yogurt
(1/2 Tbsp per serving)
1/8 tsp Curry Powder
3/4 tsp Honey
1/2 tsp Chives
1/4 cup Plain Yogurt
Mix together in a small bowl and place a small amount, roughly a ½-tablespoon, onto the Chicken Apple Hash (at right).
Nutritional Facts for Chicken Apple Hash and Curry Chive Garnish:
Per Serving: Calories: 80; Calories from Fat: 5; Total Fat 1g; Saturated Fat: 0; Trans Fat: 0; Cholesterol 30mg; Sodium 90mg; Total Carbohydrate 6g; Dietary Fiber 0g; Sugars: 2g; Protein 13g
Chicken and Apple Hash
Serves 6; 1-ounce scoop portions)
2 1/2Chicken Breast (rough chop and Cuisinart)
2 1/2Tbsp Egg Whites
1 Tbsp Red Bell Pepper (fine small dice)
2 1/2 Tbsp Yellow Onion (fine small dice)
2 1/2 Tbsp Red Potato (peeled, fine small dice, par cook in boiling water)
2 Tbsp Fresh Granny Smith Apple (peeled and fine small dice)
1 Minced Fresh Garlic Clove
2 1/2 Tbsp Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Coriander
1 tsp Minced Fresh Parsley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. First, peel, dice and par cook the red potato; cool and set aside. Next peel the Granny Smith apple; dice and hold in water until use. Dice remaining vegetables and mince the garlic and parsley.
In a bowl, add the red bell pepper, yellow onion, apple, red potato, garlic, coriander and chicken. Mix well. Slowly add egg whites to the mixture. Once incorporated, add the remaining ingredients. Mix well.
Use a 1-ounce scoop to portion out the hash. Spray a large pan with cooking spray and sear each scoop, pressing down in the center to flatted out. Once the hash is brown on both sides, place on a greased cookie sheet and finish in the oven at 350 degrees for 8 minutes until done.
Top with Curry and Chive Yogurt.
Blueberry Oat Smoothie
(Serves 2; 1 cup portions)
3/4 cup Frozen Blueberries
2/3 cup Ripe Mango (rough chopped)
2/3 tsp Pickled Ginger (minced)
2/3 tsp Pickled Ginger Juice
4 tsp Oatmeal (cooked and cooled)
4 tsp Oatmeal Water (cooled)
4 tsp Rice Milk
2/3 Tbsp Honey
1/8 cup Oatmeal
11/4 cup Water
To make the oatmeal water, add the 1/8-cup of oatmeal and 1¼ cup of water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the liquid starts to thicken, about 12 minutes.
Drain the oatmeal from the liquid and set 1/2 cup of the liquid aside; cool.
In another saucepan, cook the oatmeal as instructed on box; cool. Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until all ingredients are well incorporated.
Nutritional Facts for the Blueberry Oat Smoothie:
Per 8 oz serving: Calories: 110; Calories from Fat: 10; Total Fat 1g; Saturated Fat: 0; Trans Fat: 0; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 15mg; Total Carbohydrate 27g; Dietary Fiber 3g; Sugars: 19g; Protein 2g