March is National Nutrition Month
Every March we take note of health and wellness by celebrating National Nutrition month. In 2022, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is dedicating the month to “Celebrate the World of Flavors”, which is the perfect theme for our beautiful foody island.
In the US Virgin Islands, we are fortunate to have so many Caribbean and world influences on our cooking from recipes passed down for generations to utilizing ancestorial cooking methods.
Healthy Caribbean Fruits and Vegetables
Avocado, mango, papaya, lemongrass, cashew, soursop, green banana, breadfruit, and so many more amazing nutritious fruits and vegetables grow right in our own yards. Fresh fish from the sea and local chicken eggs can be sourced at our abundant farmers’ markets. You may even catch them yourself. There are so many tasty local flavors to create delicious meals and memories.
The only nutritional downfall to some of our favorite Caribbean dishes is that they are fried, which adds excess calories and saturated (bad) fat. Both of which influence weight gain and can increase one’s risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes.
Air fryers have become extremely popular and are a healthy alternative that comes close to frying. Baking foods that are traditionally fried is another healthy option. Below is a baked chicken pate recipe from www.tasteefulrecipes.com that not only bakes the delicious pates but also utilizes less shortening in the dough.
You can also use your favorite pate recipe and instead of frying them follow the baking instructions in this recipe.
Baked Caribbean Chicken Pate
PREP TIME 15 mins
COOK TIME 30 mins
Ingredients for the chicken filling:
- 2-3 Chicken breast
- 2 medium Pimento peppers Sliced with seeds removed
- 2 medium Garlic cloves minced
- 1 medium Onion diced
- 1/2 cup Water
- 1 tbsp Curry powder
- 1 tbsp Tomato paste
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 2 tsp Paprika
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Black pepper
Ingredients for the dough:
- 2 cups All-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup Water
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 1 tbsp Vegetable shortening
- 1 tbsp Granulated sugar
- 2 & 1/2 tsp Baking powder
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F.
Making the dough:
- In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, butter and shortening.
- Once the butter is blended into the flour, gradually mix in the water.
- The dough should be slightly sticky.
- Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is smooth. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 20-30 minutes.
Making the filling:
- Season the chicken with 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper and 2 tsp paprika on each side.
- On a baking tray lined with parchment paper, place the chicken on the tray and bake for 20-30 minutes.
- Once the chicken is done cooking, shred them using forks. When they are shredded, set them aside.
- Place a skillet over medium-high heat and warm the olive oil.
- Cook the onion, pimento peppers and garlic for 2-3 minutes before adding the chicken, curry powder, water, tomato paste, salt and black pepper.
- Let it simmer for 7-10 minutes then take it off the heat.
- Preheat your oven once again to 350°F/180°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Shape the dough into a log and cut 10-12 pieces.
- Roll each piece with a rolling pin, be careful not to roll them out too thin.
- Spoon about 1-2 tbsp of the filling into the middle of each piece.
- Taking one piece at a time, use one edge to fold it over and press the edges together. It should look like a half circle.
- Place each pate/paté on the baking tray.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes then enjoy!
More Healthy Eating Tips
Enjoy a few more simple tips to up the nutritional power in your favorite Caribbean recipes:
- Always add more vegetables and think colorfully!
- In almost all recipes you can cut the salt in half.
- Use less sugar than a recipe calls for.
- Deep fry less and bake more.