Dr. Seuss famously wrote, “I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.” This very well-known quote brings us to question: What is it about the color of green food and vegetables that makes us cringe? The answers to this question may remain unknown, but the health benefits of dark, leafy greens are well established.
Getting enough vitamins and minerals is important for a healthy lifestyle. A general rule of thumb is to consume at least 5 servings of vegetables every day, including 2 ½ cups of dark-leafy greens. Leafy greens are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.
A great way to get more greens is to eat them in the morning in a breakfast smoothie. Blend fresh spinach, kale or arugula with your favorite fruit, almond milk or yogurt for a unique twist. Roll your leafy greens before blending to make them denser and produce a more nutrient-rich juice.
Mac & Cheese with Collards
• 8 ounces whole-wheat elbow noodles (about 2 cups)
• 4 cups chopped collard greens
• 1¾ cups low-fat milk, divided
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon ground pepper
• 1 cup low fat cheddar cheese
• 2 ounces fat-free cream cheese
• 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
• ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs,
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and collards and cook according to the pasta package directions. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1½ cups milk in a large broiler-safe skillet over medium-high heat until just simmering. Whisk the remaining ¼ cup milk, flour, salt and pepper in a small bowl until combined. Add the flour mixture to the simmering milk; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in cheddar, cream cheese and vinegar until the cheese is melted. Stir the pasta and collards into the sauce.
3. Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler to high.
4. Combine breadcrumbs, oil and paprika in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the pasta. Broil until golden brown, 1 to 3 minutes.