Tag Archives: recipes

Grilled Chili-Rubbed Pork Kabobs with Peach Salsa

Grilled Chili-Rubbed Pork Kabobs with Peach Salsa

Pork kabobs with peach salsa

Savory pork skewers with a fresh peach salsa are a great way to liven up dinner. You can bring a bit of summer to your plate by using frozen peaches when they’re not in season.

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Pumpkin is the New Black

Jayne VecchioJayne is a graduate of Virginia Tech and is currently a Dietetic Intern through Meredith College, working with REX Nutrition Services and REX Diabetes Education Center.

Pumpkins are nutrition-packed vegetables that seem to be underrated for the majority of the year- until fall rolls around. As you may have noticed, pumpkin is currently taking over grocery stores and coffee shops and the smell of pumpkin spice lingers in the air.  It is high in fiber, low in sugar and fat, and contains many micro-nutrients the body requires to function.

Here are some of the main nutrients pumpkin provides:

  • pile of pumpkinsVitamin A – aids in vision (1 cup mashed pumpkin contains more than 200% RDI)
  • Vitamin C – can help boost immune system
  • Beta carotene – a powerful antioxidant that helps fight disease
  • Fiber – keeps you fuller longer and can aid in weight loss
  • Phytosterols – Can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels
  • Tryptophan – an amino acid that helps calm and relax body

One of my favorite ways to get in the fall spirit is incorporating pumpkin into baking.  Simply adding of a cup of pumpkin puree to recipes is as a more nutritious way to enjoy a sweet treat (in moderation)! Pick up a can of pumpkin (or a pie pumpkin to steam if you prefer the old-fashioned way) at your local grocery store and try this recipe this weekend:

Pumpkin Banana Muffins

pumpkin banana muffinsIngredients:

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  • Preheat oven to 425° and line a muffin tray with liners.
  • In large bowl microwave butter until melted, about 15-20 seconds, then add the bananas and mash. Add the sugar and pumpkin. Stir well.
  • Stir in the egg and vanilla.
  • Mix in pumpkin spice, cinnamon, flour, salt, and baking soda.
  • Spoon evenly into a muffin tin

Bake for 5 minutes at 425°, then reduce the heat to 350° and bake for 15-16 more minutes. Baking them at the higher temperature at first helps them rise and gives a nice rounded top.  Remove from tin and allow to cool then enjoy!

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Chicken, Farro and Kale Tacos with Butternut Squash Pico De Gallo

Last month, Rex On Call featured Ryan Conklin, an executive chef at UNC REX and
Shelly Wegman, a registered dietitian of Rex Nutrition Services to discuss healthy eating habits. In addition to the Q&A session, Chef Ryan Conklin demonstrated a healthy taco and salsa recipe.CWNF30SXAAAVP-n








Chicken, Farro and Kale Tacos with Butternut Squash Pico De Gallo

  • Taco Filling
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 T Diced Onion
  • 1 Clove of garlic
  • ¾ Cup of Shredded Kale
  • ¾ Cup Cooked Farro
  • ¾ Cup of Cooked Chicken Breast (Supermarket rotisserie chicken works great!)
  • 1/2 tsp Ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Ground coriander

Heat up the oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook about 2-3 minutes, or until they turn translucent in color. Add the shredded kale & sauté. When the kale starts to wilt, add cooked farro, and pulled chicken. Season with Cumin, Coriander, and salt & pepper, and cook on low heat for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Butternut Squash Pico De Gallo

  • ¾ Cup Small diced Butternut Squash-
  • 1 T Olive Oil
  • ½ Cup of Diced Fresh Tomatoes
  • 2 T Cilantro
  • 1T Minced Red Onion
  • 1 Fresh Lime (Juiced)
  • 2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt-small pinch
  • Black Pepper- to taste
Toss squash with olive oil, and spread on small sheet tray. Place squash into a preheated oven at 375°, cooking them for about 7 minutes (or until cooked through depending on the cut size.) Remove from the oven, and cool. In a small bowl, mix the squash with the remaining ingredients, and let marinate for at least one hour before serving.

Catch up on the latest Rex On Call segment on healthy eating.

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Chicken Vegetable Soup with Kale

This hearty soup has it all! Nutritious vegetables, grains and protein come together in a high-fiber, low-fat, low-sodium soup.

Number of servings: 3


  • 092815_soup2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup onion (chopped)
  • ½ cup carrot (chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme (ground)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 cups water (or chicken broth)
  • ¾ cup tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 cup chicken, cooked, skinned and cubed
  • ½ cup brown rice, cooked
  • 1 cup kale (chopped, about one large leaf)


  1. Heat oil in a medium sauce pan. Add onion and carrot. Saute until vegetables are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add thyme and garlic. Saute for 1 more minute.
  3. Add water or broth, tomatoes, chicken, cooked rice and kale.
  4. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.

Per serving: 180 calories, 5 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 17 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 3 g dietary fiber, 85 mg sodium.

Recipe courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recipefinder.nal.usda.gov.

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Cucumber Salad

Low-fat yogurt, vinegar and dill give this cucumber salad plenty ofCucumberSalad zip!

Number of servings: 2


  • 1 cucumber (large, peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed (optional)
  • 1 dash pepper (optional)


  1. Peel and thinly slice cucumber.
  2. Mix all other ingredients in the mixing bowl.
  3. Add cucumber slices and stir until coated.
  4. Chill until serving.

Per serving: 90 calories, 7 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 2 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 1 g dietary fiber, 15 mg sodium.

Recipe courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recipefinder.nal.usda.gov.

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Wellness Wednesday: Healthy Chicken Tenders

Susan Ramsay (intern)-1Susan Ramsay is a Dietetic Intern at the Rex Wellness Center. She currently attends North Carolina Central University.

Getting kids to embrace healthy food choices can be a challenge! To start the process, try re-making some of their favorite foods with healthy substitutes. When they recognize the food they’ll be more likely to try it and won’t miss the added sugar, salt and fat that is usually added to fast food. These chicken tenders are crunchy and crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. They’re a delicious guilt free version of the classic. The tenders are coated in panko breadcrumbs and baked, instead of fried, which greatly reduces the overall fat and calorie content found in regular chicken tenders. The fiber in whole wheat slows the digestion of carbohydrate and provides vitamins and minerals not found in refined grains. You can serve them with your favorite condiment and kids and adults alike will love this twist on a classic comfort food.



  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 1/4 lb. (about 8) chicken tenders


  1. Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet lined with foil. Coat with cooking spray.
  2. Place the whole wheat flour in a medium bowl. In a shallow container, whisk together the eggs and Dijon mustard. In a separate shallow container, combine the panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
  3. Working with one chicken tender at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off the excess. Next, dip in the egg mixture until the chicken is coated. Last, roll the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture, completely coating the outside.
  4. Transfer the chicken tenders to the prepared wire rack.
  5. Lightly coat the chicken tenders with cooking spray. Bake until the chicken is just cooked through and the breadcrumbs are starting to brown, 5 to 6 minutes per side.
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Recipe: Avocado Melon Breakfast Smoothie

042714_GreenSmoothieGo green with this refreshing concoction of green fruits and veggies!

Number of servings: 2

1 large, ripe avocado
1 cup honeydew melon chunks (about 1 slice)
Juice from ½ lime (1½ teaspoons lime juice)
1 cup nonfat milk
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
½ cup 100 percent apple juice or white grape juice
1 tablespoon honey

1. Cut avocado in half, remove pit.
2. Scoop out flesh, place in blender.
3. Add remaining ingredients; blend well.
4. Serve cold. (Keeps well in refrigerator up to 24 hours. If made ahead, stir gently before pouring into glasses.)

Per serving: 320 calories, 11 g total fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 170 mg sodium, 46 g carbohydrates, 5 g dietary fiber, 37 g total sugar, 4 g added sugars, 13 g protein, 80 percent vitamin C, 40 percent calcium, 4 percent iron. Percent daily values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Recipe courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recipefinder.nal.usda.gov.

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‘Got To Be NC’ Competition Dining Series (Triangle) Champions

Competition Dining Champs

Congratulations to Chef Ryan Conklin and teammates Chefs Steve Pexton and Collin Jennings for winning the ‘Got To Be NC’ Competition Dining Series (Triangle) competition!

They battled their way through four tough rounds against the talented chefs at Top of the Hill, Midtown Grille, Faire and Curt’s Cucina.

Now they move on to the ‘Battle of Champions’ to cook against the winners of the Competition Dining ‘City’ and ‘Triad’ competitions. Stay tuned for more info on the ‘Battle of Champions’ which will take place later this year.

If you weren’t able to attend the battles, be sure to check out these articles from ABC 11 and WRAL Out and About for a full recap of the action.

Want to try their winning recipes at home? Here’s your chance to try their Bourbon Barrel Smoked Salt & Pepper-Horseradish Rubbed Certified Angus Beef® Brand Strip Loin and Uno Alla Volta Hay-Smoked Mozzarella Logan Turnpike Grits.

Bourbon Barrel Smoked Salt & Pepper-Horseradish Rubbed Certified Angus Beef® Brand Strip Loin


  • 1 ea. Certified Angus Beef® Brand Strip Loin
  • 1 c prepared horse radish
  • Bourbon Barrel Smoked Salt & Pepper to taste


  • Trim all fat and silver skin off the strip loin
  • Cut the strip in half-length wise
  • Season with the smoked salt and pepper
  • Sear the meat on all 4 sides, then run the horseradish thinly over the strip loin.
  • Roast in a 325 degree oven until an internal temperature of 125 degree is reached
  • Let the meat rest for 15 min then slice in to 3oz medallions

Uno Alla Volta Hay-Smoked Mozzarella Logan Turnpike Grits


  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup coarse Logan turnpike grits
  • 2 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 oz UAV hay smoked mozzarella shredded
  •  2 tablespoons diced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic


  • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy sauce pan, add shallots and garlic. Cook 2 minutes or until fragrant.
  • Add chicken stock, 1 1/2 c milk, salt and bring to a boil.
  • Add grits gradually, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
  • Reduce heat and cook at a bare simmer, covered, stirring frequently, until water is absorbed and grits are thickened, about 15 minutes.
  • Stir in 1/2 cup milk and simmer, partially covered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep grits from sticking to bottom of pan.
  • Stir in remaining 1/2 cup milk and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed and grits are thick and tender, about 35 minutes more.
  • Add shredded mozzarella and stir in. (Grits will have a soft, mashed-potato-like consistency.)
  • Stir in pepper and remaining 2 tablespoon butter
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Recipes from the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series

Congratulations to Chef Ryan Conklin and his teammates chefs Steve Pexton and Collin Jennings! They’ve won the Got To Be NC Competition Dining Triangle Series.

Try out some of the wining recipes for yourself! Here are two recipes from the winning battle against Chef Trey Cleveland of Top of the Hill. The secret ingredient was Shiitake Mushrooms.

ColcannonPotatoesColcannon Potatoes
By Chef Ryan Conklin

“These potatoes are what I like to call “Irish Soul Food.” A style of cooking that I learned while working and living in Limerick Ireland as a young chef.” Chef Ryan Conklin


  • 1 pound Shaved Brussels Sprouts or shredded green cabbage
  • 1 pound potatoes (peeled)
  • 1 Cup of thinly sliced scallions
  • ½ Pound of diced bacon
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted butter
  • Salt and White pepper to taste


  • Boil potatoes until tender. Remove from heat and drain.
  • In a sauce pan, render down diced bacon until it is crisp. Remove bacon, and add Brussels sprouts or shredded cabbage and sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Season and mash potatoes well. Stir in cooked Brussels sprouts, scallions and milk.
  • Mix well, adding butter, salt and white pepper.

Serves 4-6

Gorgonzola Cheesecake with Mushroom Brulee
By Chef Steve Pexton


  • 7.6 oz Graham Crackers
  • 3 oz Corn Meal
  • 1 oz Powdered Sugar
  • 2 T Dried Mushroom Powder
  • 2.6 oz Butter (melted)
  • 1 Egg White
  • 10″ Parchment Paper Circle

Mix the graham crumbs, corn meal, 10X and mushroom powder together. Add the melted butter and the egg white and mix together.

Lay the parchment circle in the spring form pan. Press crust mixture into the parchment lined spring form pan and bake in a 350* for 7 minutes. Remove from oven and set on the counter to cool while preparing the batter.


  • 20 oz Cream Cheese
  • 7 oz Gorgonzola Cheese
  • 8 oz Sugar
  • 1 oz Cornstartch
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3 oz Heavy Cream

Combine the sugar and cornstarch together and beat with the cheeses in a mixer until smooth and creamy. Combine the extracts, egg and yolks and add 1 at a time, stopping the mixer and scraping the sides of the bowl and beater after each addition of egg. Repeat until all eggs are used. Add the cream last and beat until smooth.

Pour batter in the spring form pan and bake in a 250* oven until set. About an hour and a half.   To check, open the oven, pull the rack with the cheesecake on it out until it stops and tap the side of the pan. If the cheesecake giggles once, it’s ready.

Mushroom Brulee

  • 1/2 C Sugar
  • 2 T Dried Mushroom Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cracked Pepper

Combine. Sprinkle over the cheesecake prior to serving. Caramelize with a blowtorch, as you would a crème brulee.

Makes 1 10″ Cheesecake


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Garden Turkey Meatloaf


Give meatloaf a makeover with lean ground turkey and two cups of veggies!


For meatloaf:

  • 2 cups assorted vegetables, chopped — such as mushrooms, zucchini, red bell peppers or spinach
  • 12 ounces 99 percent lean ground turkey
  • ½ cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs (or substitute regular breadcrumbs)
  • ¼ cup fat-free evaporated milk
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, rinsed, dried and chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, rinsed, dried and chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • Nonstick cooking spray

For glaze:

  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard


  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Steam or lightly sauté the assortment of vegetables.
  3. Combine the meatloaf ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well.
  4. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and spread meatloaf mixture evenly in the pan.
  5. Combine all ingredients for glaze in a bowl. Brush glaze on top of the meatloaf.
  6. Bake meatloaf in the oven for 45–50 minutes (to a minimum internal temperature of 165ºF).
  7. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting into eight even slices.

Number of servings: 4 (serving size = 2 slices of meatloaf)

Nutrition facts (per serving): 180 calories, 2 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 34 mg cholesterol, 368 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 25 g protein, 17 g carbohydrates, 406 mg potassium, 50 percent vitamin A, 154 percent vitamin C, 10 percent calcium, 15 percent iron.

 Recipe courtesy of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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