Simple ways to use salsa

We have been told over and over again that half our plates should be filled with fruits and vegetables. Have you ever considered using salsas as a way to get more fruits and vegetables? Whether you make your own or purchase an already prepared version, salsa can incorporate some of those fruits and vegetables our diets are missing.

Salsas are a great addition to your meal. They are virtually fat-free, and are typically low in calories and carbohydrates. Salsas have grown from being simply an appetizer served with chips, to a condiment as popular as ketchup. Here are a few ways I like to use salsa:

1. Breakfast Burritos. By serving up scrambled eggs in a whole wheat tortilla with salsa and cheese, I have four of the food groups covered. Serve with a side of fruit and you have a perfectly balanced meal.

2. Baked Potato Topping. I never was a fan of baked potatoes, until a few years ago when I was at a meeting that served a baked potato bar, with salsa as one of the toppings. It’s a great combination.

3. Salsa Chicken. I often cook chicken in the slow-cooker with a jar of salsa. Sometimes I’ll add black beans, corn and other vegetables and serve with brown rice for a complete meal in minutes.

4. Delicious Dips. Add a little more nutrition to your appetizers by mixing your favorite salsa with hummus and black beans. Serve this dip hot or cold with baked tortilla chips. The hummus and beans will add a boost of protein, keeping you full longer.

5. Sweet Salsa. Don’t forget fruits make great salsas too! The recipe below is one of my favorites and goes over great at get-togethers.

Fruit Salsa

All you need:

1 lb. fresh strawberries, stems removed and quartered

2 kiwi, peeled and diced

1 Granny Smith apple, chopped

Juice of one orange

1 tbsp. strawberry preserves

6 whole wheat flour tortillas

Olive oil pan spray

cup cinnamon sugar (1/4 cup sugar plus 1 tbsp cinnamon)

All you do:

1. In a large bowl, combine strawberries, kiwi, apple, orange juice and strawberry preserves. Cover and chill for 15-30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Spray one side of each tortilla with olive oil spray to coat lightly. Transfer sprayed tortilla to cutting board and cut into wedges with a pizza cutter, then arrange in a single layer on baking sheet(s). Sprinkle wedges lightly with cinnamon sugar mixture. Spray lightly again to help the sugar stick.

4. Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until crispy but not overly brown. Remove baking sheet(s) from the oven and allow chips to cool, about 15 minutes.

5. Serve with salsa.

This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

Katie Wilhelmi is a registered dietitian with the New Ulm Hy-Vee.

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