Hy-Vee at Midday: Get Creative with Citrus

By Christy Frese, Hy-Vee Dietitian

Get Creative with Citrus
This time of year, we find the number of clementines, oranges, lemons and grapefruits (just to name a few) are so abundant that it seems impossible to figure out what to do with them all. The fact is, citrus is versatile. It's a no-brainer when it comes to enlivening the usual applications — vinaigrettes, salads, desserts — but there's more than meets the eye, especially in the case of unique varieties. Your Hy-Vee Registered Dietitian, Christy Frese, will show some fun ways to bring your favorite dishes to another level of flavor.

Add citrus zest and juice to pesto
Blend 2 cups fresh basil, ¼ cup toasted pine nuts, 2 cloves garlic, zest and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon,
½ teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a food processor until the mixture is finely chopped. With the machine running, gradually add the ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Transfer to a bowl and stir in ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese. Serve over your favorite fish.

Brighten up ricotta
Ricotta cheese has a very mild flavor, but with the addition of citrus juice and zest, it comes to life. Stir together 1 cup ricotta cheese, zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, ¼ teaspoon salt and a pinch of nutmeg and freshly ground black pepper. Smear on a whole wheat flatbread or pizza crust and top with trimmed and diced asparagus and ½ cup mozzarella cheese. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Finish with more fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley.

Add color and extra "zip" to your sangria
Sangria is typically served as a summertime beverage, but this winter version is perfect for entertaining. It's perfumed with clementines (or tangelos) and sliced pears, and garnished with fresh pomegranate arils.

Winter Sangria with Citrus & Pomegranate
Makes 10 servings

All you need:
1 pear, washed, seeded and sliced
4 clementines or 2 tangelos, washed and sliced thinly
1 apple, washed, seeded and sliced
1 cup pomegranate arils
1/4 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 bottle red wine
3 cups pomegranate juice
1 cup orange juice, ideally freshly squeezed
Hy-Vee ginger ale or club soda for serving
Ice cubes

All you do:
1. In the bottom of a large glass pitcher or gallon jar, combine sliced fruit and pomegranate.
2. Sprinkle with sugar and toss in the cinnamon stick.
3. Pour the red wine and the fruit juices over the fruit.
4. Stir well, cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 6 hours.
5. To serve, remove cinnamon stick, and pour over ice into glasses. Top with ginger ale or club soda to taste. Garnish with more pomegranate arils if desired.

Nutrition facts per serving: Calories 158, Total fat 0g, Saturated fat 0g, Sodium 7mg, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrate 26g, Fiber 1g, Protein 0g. Adapted from: Simple Bites

Christy Frese represents Hy-Vee as a nutrition expert promoting healthy eating throughout the community. Christy is a member of the American Dietetic Association.
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