A registered dietician offering ideas for family-friendly immunity boosting meals

Mass Appeal

(Mass Appeal) – Now’s a perfect time to start taking better care of yourself and fortifying your immune system. Registered Dietician Jen Belanger sent us a video highlighting nutritious foods, chock full of vitamin A and C, zinc, and antioxidants.

Belanger showed us how to make a delicious quesadilla with sweet potatoes and black beans, crunchy and nutty granola, delicious fruity popsicles and a shrimp dish.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas

Prep time: 10 minutes           Cook time: 1 hour             Serves 4 (2 quesadillas per person)

Ingredients

1 whole sweet potato, peeled and diced into ¼ inch cubes

1 whole onion, peeled and diced

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 ½ cups shredded Mexican style cheese

8 small (6 inch) flour tortillas

4 Tablespoons olive oil (for drizzling at each step)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Spread sweet potato in an even layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in preheated oven for 30 minutes
  3. Remove sweet potato from oven. Push to one side on the baking sheet and add onion to the other side. Spread into an even layer. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast 15 minutes.
  4. Remove sweet potato and onion from the oven. Push onion to middle of baking sheet. Add black beans to the remaining space. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast 10 minutes.
  5. Pour all roasted vegetables into a large mixing bowl; mix thoroughly.
  6. On a clean baking sheet, lay out 8 tortillas. Drizzle each with olive oil and spread so that each tortilla is covered with olive oil. Flip each tortilla over.
  7. On one side of the tortilla, sprinkle 2 Tablespoons shredded cheese. Spoon about ½ cup of the vegetable mixture on top of the cheese. Sprinkle another 2 Tablespoons cheese over the vegetable mixture. Fold tortilla and half and push down so that it stays folded on its own. Repeat with the remaining 7 tortillas.
  8. Broil on HIGH for about 2 minutes per side or until desired doneness. Serve with salsa and sour cream, or fresh avocado!

Crunchy, Nutty Granola

Prep time: 10 minutes                Cook Time: 30 minutes                       Makes 6 cups

Ingredients

2 ½ cups rolled oats

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

¼ cup flaxseeds

¼ cup pepitas

¼ cup chopped walnuts

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ cup creamy peanut butter

¼ cup water

¼ cup canola oil

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

¼ cup dried cranberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  2. To a large mixing bowl, add rolled oats, brown sugar, coconut, flaxseeds, pepitas, walnuts, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix well.
  3. Melt peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl
  4. Add melted peanut butter to oat mixture. Mix well.
  5. Add water, oil, and vanilla to the oat mixture. Using your hands, mix well until all liquids are well incorporated into the dry ingredients.
  6. Spread granola in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until desired crunch is achieved! Add dried cranberries to granola and mix well.
  7. Cool about 10 minutes before serving. Store in an airtight container.  

Easy Pan Seared Shrimp

Serves 2                                  Prep time: 5 minutes       Cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

2 whole garlic cloves, minced

16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (fresh or frozen)

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 lemon, cut in half (optional)

Directions

  1. If shrimp are frozen, place in a bowl and run under cold running water until thawed.
  2. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat
  3. Add garlic and sauté about 30 seconds or until fragrant (be careful not to burn!)
  4. Add shrimp. Cook about 2 minutes per side or until pink and opaque. Add a squeeze of lemon juice on shrimp if desired. Serve alone as an appetizer or over rice or pasta. Enjoy!

Immune Boosting Fruity Popsicles

Prep time: 15 minutes             Freeze time: 12 hours               Makes 6 popsicles

Ingredients

2 cups fresh strawberries, tops removed and mashed using a potato masher. Any remaining chunks should be no more than 1/2 inch or so

6 orange segments (about 2/3 of a whole orange), membranes removed and diced to the same size as the strawberry chunks

7 oz. orange juice

4 oz. cold water

1 teaspoon sugar

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add mashed strawberries, diced orange sections, orange juice, water, and sugar. Mix well.
  2. Divide mixture between 6 popsicle molds.
  3. Freeze at least 12 hours or overnight. Enjoy a hit of Vitamin C goodness!

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