Lil Miss Fitness Freak

"And though she be but little, she is fierce"

Clam and Turkey Kielbasa Paella

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Friends, a new recipe a new recipe!

Okay so as I typically do when I have downtime and my housemates are busy is I do some meal prepping for them…. You may think that’s lame but I enjoy the creative time spent in the kitchen. This is especially true in situations like now when no one has come back to Guelph yet, it’s freezing outside and I have lil stressed birdies to feed. Rita has been trekkin through the first week of her co-op in TO and unfortunately is stuck commuting for a short while before figuring out better arrangements. That means 5am wake-up calls and 7:30 arrivals at home. So, as you can imagine, if left to her own ways, food would be bought every day…

Of course, Mama can not let that happen, so here we are.

Before you call me out on being judgey, she doesn’t feel good when she eats out too much but she just doesn’t want to cook…

My challenge (yes I even make challenges to myself to make it more exciting…) was to make sure that everything she got was high in iron as she suffers with chronic anemia. I have succeeded thus far with making each of her 3 square meals per day contain at least 15% or more of her daily iron. Also a positive, she loved every meal and because I’m making them, they are not loaded with crap.

Win win if I do say so myself.

So I do have a recipe to show you BUT first I figured I would give a bit of insight into her meals to show you how I got her iron intake up in tasty meals that took no more than 30-40 minutes to make.

Breakfast.

Oats, wheat bran and maybe some cream of rice thrown in too.

Okay, so I did the whole oat’s thing thang because I can stuff them in a glass jar and she can heat them and eat them on the train. I also used oats because 1 serving contains 8% of your daily iron! I also did a blend of oats and wheat bran because the bran contains a wee bit more iron per serving.

Okay so that’s only 8% iron…

Wait a minute, you know my oats ain’t no plain jane oats. Let me continue.

She loves savoury oats, so I threw this lil number together and she adored it. So much so that I had to make it again the next day..

Awful picture I’m sorry. I swear it tastes good. Rita vouches for it!

Sundried Tomato and Mushroom OIAJ

~Serving of sundried tomatoes, not packed in oil (8% iron)

~Cremini mushrooms 

~ about 1-1.5 ounces of a homemade sausage of sorts that she picked up during Xmas when all the farmers came into the mall (iron..I have no idea..)

~1 large egg that was roughly scrambled (6% iron)

~1 green onion

~Pepper to taste 

Directions: Sauté all of the vegetables and sausage (or other meat) together in a saucepan that has a lid. Once they are caramelized, add your oats and recommended water. Top with the lid and bring to a boil. Once most of the water has been absorbed, crack the egg in there and let it cook mostly before breaking it up. Put in a jar and voila, donzo.

Something else to consider when thinking about plant based iron sources is that they have primarily non-heme iron and are therefore the iron is not as well absorbed as animal products that contain heme iron. Never fear, if your food also has a good dose of vitamin C, you are better able to absorb iron. So in the case of oats, the sundried tomatoes help the body absorb more of the iron in the meal.

You know what else is high in vitamin C?

unknown-pineapple

And so I rotated sweet and savoury oats by making her a pineapple and coconut oats in a jar one morning as well. The cooking is the same BUT obviously you’re using fruit and not vegetables (although if you want to grate some zucchini in there I wouldn’t oppose…and you can’t taste it) AND the egg is whipped in there such that it dissolves completely.

So even forgetting the iron amount in the sausage, I racked in about 18% iron to start off her day.

Lunches/Dinners

So here was where I got to be more creative. I’m going to apologize in advance that I have no pictures…

The first dish was an Italian/Mediterranean style penne dish but it has a twist!

It used these noodles..

Do you see that iron friends! Oh and check how short the ingredient list is! Score one for Mama and her foodie finds.

Beans, legumes and lentils are a vegetarian staple for more than just protein needs. Iron is huge in these guys so now the are coming up with interesting ways to incorporate beans/lentils into more dishes.

Sundried Tomato, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Pasta with Basil Pesto.

For one serving:

~1 serving bean pasta (15% iron)

~1 serving sundried tomatoes, not packed in oil (8% iron + vitamin C)

~a few cremini mushrooms 

~onion

~2 tbsp goat cheese (2% iron)

~2 tbsp basil pesto

~Black pepper and chili flakes to taste 

***I chose not to add garlic here because her goat cheese was a garlic infused one

Directions: Cook up your pasta to the doneness you prefer, rinse and drain. Salute your vegetables until caramelized. Add your pasta and your pesto and stir around to coat all of the ingredients with the pesto. Let it cool for a few minutes before adding the goat cheese in small chunks.

Iron count: 25% DV

***Vegetarian friendly with tons of good protein. Also gluten free. ***

Finally, I made a Cajun seasoned dish of sorts with a turkey kielbasa I picked up from GoodnessMe!

turkey-kielbasa

Cajun Turkey Kielbasa and Pepper Quinoa

For one serving:

~1 serving Kielbasa (6% iron)

~ serving quinoa (cooked from package directions. I used low sodium beef broth for more flavour) (8% iron) 

~1/4 each green and red pepper (Vitamin C!)

~serving of corn (I used salt free, canned) (little bit of Vitamin C)

~1/8 cup onion, chopped

~1/2 tsp (or more) minced garlic

~1 tsp salt-free Cajun seasoning (or to taste)

Directions: Cook Quinoa, fluff and set aside. Saute vegetables with kielbasa until caramelized. Add your garlic and cook for a minute or two more. Add your quinoa and cajun and combine well. Done.

Total iron: 14%

So her total for those three meals alone (approximately as absorption differs, blah blah blah…) was around 57%!

I say I didn’t do too bad eh?

Oh and all of that (plus the recipe to come) was maybe 40 bucks. Cha-ching! or rather, lack of cha-ching…#StudentBudgetWin.

Okay okay, now that I have sufficiently babbled on and on, here’s the actual recipe for the post.

img_9713

Clam and Turkey Kielbasa Paella

Serves 3-4

~2 servings Kielbasa (12% iron)

~2lbs clams in shell or about 6-8 ounces of meat (~130% iron in one serving!!)

~1 cup rice (I used white jasmine) (8% iron)

~1/2 each green and red pepper

~1/2 a small-medium zucchini

~1/2 can of corn (no salt)

~1/2 can tomato paste (no salt) (4% iron)

~1-2 tsp spanish paprika

~1 tsp oregano

~2 bay leaves

~ pinch of saffron threads (I happen to have this on hand, I don’t know an alternative to this for taste, but you can just make it ‘spicy tomato rice’ without it)

~chili flakes or cayenne pepper AND black pepper to taste

Directions: Saute your vegetables with the kielbasa in a large pan with a lid for a few minutes until they are browned. Add your tomato paste, spices, rice and liquid (as required for your rice to cook) and stir. Place the bay leaves in the rice and pop a lid on dish and bring it up to a boil. Once it begins to boil, turn it down to a simmer and allow the rice to cook with the lid on. Once the rice has absorbed most of the water, wash and scrub your clams and add them to the pan and put the lid back on. The dish is done when the shells open up. You can than remove the shells and any clams that didn’t open up. Also make sure to remove the bay leaves. Than enjoy!

Iron Count per serving (4): just under 40% DV iron 🙂

What have we learned?

If you’re iron deficient, eat your mussels, clams and/or oysters friends.

That is all. I hope you enjoy it and perhaps add a lil iron in your diet. Good for them energy gainz ya feel me?

-Chelsea

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