Tag Archive for: Cook and Learn

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.


  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 (4-ounce) can green chiles
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup petite diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 bell peppers, tops cut, stemmed and seeded


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, green chiles, corn, beans, tomatoes, cheeses, cilantro, cumin, garlic, onion and chili powder, salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Spoon the filling into each bell pepper cavity. Place on prepared baking dish, cavity side up, and bake until the peppers are tender and the filling is heated through, about 25-30 minutes. (If you’re running short on time, microwave the empty bell peppers for two minutes before stuffing them, and then bake for 8-10 minutes).

History of Bell Peppers

Bell peppers, also called Capsicum annum, are members of the nightshade family of plants. Originating from South America, a wild variety of bell peppers had seeds that dated back to 5000 BC. Though bell peppers had been widely consumed in South America, Central America, and Mexico, it was Spanish explorers and Christopher Columbus who brought these peppers to Europe where they became popularized. Relatives of bell peppers in the nightshade family include tomatoes, eggplant, and potatoes. Paprika is the ground spice made from dried red bell peppers.

Medical Properties of Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and water. Fresh bell peppers are made up of 92 percent water. Most notably, red bell peppers are especially high in vitamin C and the antioxidant capsanthin. One medium red bell pepper supplies 169 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Bell peppers also supply vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin K1, folate, potassium, lutein, luteolin, quercetin, and violaxanthin. With the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in bell peppers, they are touted as a healthy food that also helps fight cancer and conditions like heart disease. In supplying a combination of both iron and vitamin C, bell peppers help fight iron anemia with vitamin C aiding the body in the absorption of iron. The antioxidant carotenoids of zeaxanthin and lutein found in bell peppers help protect eye health and against oxidative damage to the eyes.

Surprising Facts About Bell Peppers

Yellow, orange, and red bell peppers are really green bell peppers that have ripened and have increased in sweetness during the ripening process. Covering a large part of the color rainbow, bell peppers are available in red, orange, yellow, green, purple, white, and striped varieties. Red bell peppers boast a high vitamin C content – twice the amount contained in green bell peppers. Even with their bitter flavor, green bell peppers are the most popular bell pepper in the United States. Though many think that bell peppers are vegetables, they are actually fruits like others from the nightshade family. Yellow and red bell peppers contains four times the amount of vitamin C compared to oranges, and purple bell peppers have a similar bitter taste like green bell peppers.

See all recipes from the Cook & Learn series here.

Baked Avocado Tacos

Baked Avocado Tacos from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.



  • Oil for spraying pan and avocados
  • 2 large, ripe avocados, seeded and peeled
  • ¾ cup (175 mL) panko bread crumbs
  • ½ tbsp (7 mL) chipotle rub
  • 10-12 corn or flour tortillas

Slaw & Sauce

  • 5 oz (150 g) radishes, trimmed
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into thirds
  • ½ lime
  • ⅓ cup (75 mL) fresh cilantro leaves
  • ½ cup (125 mL) 2% plain low-fat Greek yogurt
  • ⅛ tsp (0.5 mL) salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Spray pan with oil
  2. Cut the avocados into slices. Lay the avocado slices on a cutting board.
  3. Combine the panko and rub in one tray. Lightly spray the avocado slices with oil. Dip 4–5 avocado slices at a time in the panko mixture and coat on both sides.
  4. Place the avocado slices on the pan and bake for 10–12 minutes, or until they’re light golden brown and crispy.
  5. For the slaw, grate the radishes and carrot into a small bowl.
  6. Zest the lime to measure ½ tbsp (7 mL) and set it aside. Juice the lime. Grate the cilantro. Add the lime juice and 1½ tbsp (22 mL) of the cilantro to the mixing bowl. Toss to combine.
  7. For the sauce, combine the Greek yogurt, lime zest, salt, and remaining cilantro in a small bowl.
  8. Transfer the pan from the oven to a cooling rack. Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds, or until warmed.
  9. Spread the sauce onto the tortillas. Place 2 avocado slices on each tortilla and top with slaw.

History of Avocado

Experts believe that avocados – from the Persea americana tree – originated almost 10,000 years ago in the South Central state of Mexico called Puebla. And researchers think that domestication of the avocado tree to grow avocados occurred around 5,000 years ago. Along with its value as a food source, avocados were also prized for their perceived ability to provide mythological powers in ancient Aztec culture. Avocados were later introduced in the 1500s to the people of Europe by Spanish explorers who encountered them in North America, Central America, and South America.

Medical Properties of Avocado

Avocados are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats – including vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin E, potassium, monosaturated fatty acids, lutein, and zeaxanthin. The oleic acid contained in monosaturated fatty acids in avocados are linked to lower inflammation in the body and positive effects on genes associated with cancer, and potassium supplied by avocados is connected with reduced blood pressure. Avocados are touted for being heart-healthy with studies linking them to reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The fiber supplied by avocados – with 75 percent being insoluble fiber – aids in maintaining a healthy digestive system. Even the fat contained in avocados assists in the body’s absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K and with antioxidants like carotenoids. The carotenoids of zeaxanthijn and lutein in avocados have been connected to reduction in degeneration of eyesight and lower rates of cataracts. Avocados also contain glutathione, which aids in function of a healthy immune system.

Surprising Facts About Avocado

An average size avocado contains 9 grams of fiber, which is the most among all fruits. Avocados actually belong to the same plant family as cinnamon – Lauraceae, commonly known as laurels. Avocados contain more potassium than bananas – weighing in at 975 milligrams per avocado compared to 544 milligrams of potassium per banana. Avocados were known as alligator pears in the U.S. until the U.S. Department of Agriculture renamed them as avocados. The summer of 2017 was especially memorable in the history of the avocado when over 3 million avocado toast photos were uploaded daily to Instagram.

See all recipes from the Cook & Learn series here.

Green Monster Frittata Bites

Green Monster Frittata Bites from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Best-selling cookbook author and chef Ryan Scott is a juvenile colorectal cancer survivor whose father and grandfather also battled cancer. Ryan won an Emmy Award for his TV show Food Rush and was on Top Chef in 2007. Watch as he shares some of his cancer story as he demonstrates a healthy frittata recipe along with helpful cooking tips.


  • 1 cup shredded russet potato (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 3 large handfuls finely chopped swiss chard
  • 7 large eggs
  • ¾ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 or 4 large fresh basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • ½ cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup shredded swiss cheese

Check out our Events Calendar so you don’t miss any of the upcoming Cook & Learn sessions.

Hail to Kale: Spicy Sausage, Kale, and Goat Cheese Pizza

Hail to Kale: Spicy Sausage, Kale, and Goat Cheese Pizza from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Recipe: Spicy Sausage, Kale, and Goat Cheese Pizza

  • 1 lb. pizza dough
  • 4 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 large leaves Tuscan kale, ribs removed, leaves torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. chicken broth
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 links spicy sausage, casings removed
  • 1 ripe tomato, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 5 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp. crumbled goat cheese

History of Kale

Enjoying a resurgence in popularity in recent years, kale has some controversy between scientists about its exact origins. Kale is said to have originated in Asia Minor and Europe where it has been eaten for almost 4,000 years. But others claim that kale was grown in Europe, especially in Greek and Roman lands, over 2,000 years ago. Some claim that up until the Middle Ages, kale was the most popular vegetable that was eaten. No matter its origins, kale arrived in the United States in the 1600s.

Medical Properties of Kale

Kale boasts a standing as one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables around. Exceptionally high in vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin C, kale also supplies nutrients like manganese, potassium, copper, calcium, vitamin B6, and magnesium. Kale is a source of antioxidants that help fight cancer. And zeaxanthin and lutein along with vitamin A in kale help fight degeneration of eyesight and against the formation of cataracts. Kale contains the flavonoids kaempferol and quercetin that studies have shown to be helpful in lowering blood pressure, fighting inflammation, protecting the heart, combatting depression, and in fighting viruses and cancer. Studies have also shown that cholesterol can be lowered by substances in kale that bind to bile acids and then prevent their reabsorption by the body. With its high water content and low amount of calories, kale can be a helpful addition to aid in losing weight.

Surprising Facts About Kale

As a winter vegetable, kale grows well while withstanding cold temperatures and even frost. Encountering frost during its growing process is actually known to improve the flavor of kale. Farmers try to harvest kale after the first frost that converts some of the starches into sugars for better flavor. Previously known as pheasant’s cabbage, kale was used by Greeks in ancient times to sober up and to fight hangovers. As a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, kale is related to collard greens, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage.

Check out our Events Calendar so you don’t miss any of the upcoming Cook & Learn sessions

Power-Packed Pumpkin Hummus

Power-Packed Pumpkin Hummus from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Recipe: Delicious Pumpkin Hummus

  • 1 c. pumpkin purée
  • 1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 c. tahini
  • 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika, plus more for garnish
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  • Pita chips, for serving

History of Pumpkin

Known in the U.S. for their uses as jack-o-lanterns and in pumpkin pies for holidays, domesticated pumpkin seeds were first found by archaeologists in the Oaxaca Highlands in Mexico. Though the original variety was different with a bitter flavor and smaller size, historians believe that pumpkins originated over 7,500 years ago in Central America. In North America, pumpkins were among some of the first crops grown for people to eat. The thick flesh of pumpkins was prized for its ease of storage during cold weather when other food sources were scarce. One of the earliest American recipes for pumpkin was for a side dish recipe in the early 1670s, and it later came into use in sweetened holiday dishes in the 1800s.

Medical Properties of Pumpkin

Pumpkin supplies vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber that help support healthy blood pressure and healthy cholesterol levels. The liver can also be protected by eating pumpkin, and the fiber in pumpkin aids in health digestion and in maintaining a healthy weight. Vitamin A, vitamin C, and zinc consumed from pumpkin helps to boost the immune system against colds and other viruses. Antioxidants in pumpkin also fight against free radicals to help in aging healthily, and protein and zinc in pumpkin seeds help with recovery when consumed after a workout.

Surprising Facts About Pumpkin

Pumpkin helps protect the liver by removing harmful substances from the bloodstream. Along with their many health benefits, pumpkins can grow to become massive in size. A pumpkin that weighed in at 2,624.6 pounds was recorded in Belgium in 2016. Indigenous people of North America have grown pumpkins as a crop for thousands of years, even before corn and beans were grown as crops. Members of the gourd family, including pumpkins, watermelons, cucumbers, zucchinis, cantaloupes, and others, grow on all the continents of the world except for Antarctica.

Check out our Events Calendar so you don’t miss any of the upcoming Cook & Learn sessions

Uncovering the Hidden Health Benefits of Garlic

Uncovering the Hidden Health Benefits of Garlic from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Recipe: Hidden Garlic Broccoli and Beef

• 1 1/4 lbs flank steak sliced thin
• 1 TBS vegetable oil
• 2 cups broccoli florets
• 2 TBS minced fresh ginger
• 1/4 cup oyster sauce
• 1/4 cup beef broth or water
• 1 TBS brown sugar
• 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
• 1 tsp soy sauce
• 1 tsp cornstarch
• Salt and pepper to taste

History of Garlic

Though the exact origin of garlic is unknown, historians generally agree that it came from Middle Asia. It most likely means that garlic came from West China around the region of the Tien Shen Mountains to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Ancient Sumerians from the time of 2600 to 2100 BC used garlic for its healing properties, and some believe that they brought the bulb to China. There’s also evidence that garlic was used as a health remedy for its heating and stimulating properties in China as far back as 2700 BC. In the Chinese principles of yin and yang (or that in good there is bad and in bad there is good), garlic falls into the yang category. Also known as the stinking rose, garlic was used in numerous other ancient civilizations including Indian, Egyptian, Tibetan, Greek, Roman, and others.

Medical Properties of Garlic

Has anyone ever told you to eat some garlic when you’re fighting off a cold? Well, it turns out they’re not wrong in giving you that advice after all. Garlic contains the important substances of sulphur and quercetin that help the body in numerous and unexpected ways. It’s been shown to work as an antibiotic, antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, and antihistamine medical agent. And what do all those things mean exactly? They translate to fighting a variety of ailments like the common cold, fungal infections, allergies, and cancer among other things.

Surprising Facts About Garlic

Did you think that was all? No, garlic is touted as a cure-all by many, and the benefits of garlic don’t stop there. Along with these benefits, garlic has also been shown to improve cardiovascular health by turning sulphur into hydrogen sulfide that expands blood vessels and improves the regulation of blood pressure. And if you have skin and hair troubles, garlic can even improve the appearance of your skin and hair. Simply slice a clove of raw garlic and rub it over the affected area of your skin, and the antibacterial properties of garlic help to clear up pimples. Garlic can also help kill bacteria on food like E.coli and salmonella that cause food poisoning, and it is even effective against infections that are resistant to antibiotics like MRSA.



Check out our Events Calendar so you don’t miss any of the upcoming Cook & Learn sessions