Bean spread – Packing a protein punch in an inexpensive and quick way

not hummus, cheap, quick bean dips for a protein punchHummus is available in almost any grocery store, and you can find it in a variety of flavors. However, not everyone is a fan of garbanzo beans or tahini or some of the other common hummus ingredients. Making your own bean spread allows you to customize it to your preferences, and it saves a little money.
You can spread it on pita triangles as a snack; use it in a sandwich for additional protein and flavor; or use it as a dip with raw veggies or tortilla chips.
If you don’t have a food processor, you can do this in a blender by adding more water to the recipe. The result will be a little runnier, which makes for a better dip than a spread.

Basic Ingredients

1 can of beans (such as pinto, kidney, cannellini, black or garbanzo)

1 Tbsp lemon juice

2 Tbsp good quality olive oil water, as needed


Choose one or more of the following ingredients to personalize your bean spread:

  • garlic
  • fresh basil, parsley or cilantro
  • spices, such as cumin, paprika or cayenne pepper
  • baby spinach
  • artichoke hearts
  • sundried tomatoes, soaked in warm water for about 20 minutes and drained
  • roasted red peppers
  • jalapeño  or other hot pepper


1. Rinse and drain beans thoroughly.

2. If using fresh garlic, peel it and process in the food processor until finely chopped.

3. Add beans and lemon juice to the food processor. Drizzle olive oil over the beans.

4. Process until beans are coarsely chopped; then add your special ingredients.

5. Continue processing until the mixture reaches your preferred consistency. You may need to add a few tablespoons of water to make it smoother.

6. Serve or chill immediately.

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Optimize your fruit and vegetable choices with tips from our wellness experts

eating well doesn't have to break the bankIt should come as no surprise that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is part of a healthy diet. The more vegetables and fruit you eat, the less likely you are to develop cardiovascular disease, age-related eye diseases, osteoporosis and some types of cancer. What does seem to be surprising to many is how easy it is to incorporate vegetables and fruit into our diets. We often hear one of these comments as the reason someone is not eating enough vegetables and fruit:

     “Fresh produce is so expensive.”

     “Fresh produce goes bad before I use it.”

     “I don’t know what I should buy, and I don’t know what to do with the stuff I do buy.”

These are legitimate questions and concerns. Here are some things to consider that will hopefully help to address how to incorporate produce more easily into your diet.

Add More Variety

We eat with our eyes. Lots of color and variety is key. We eat with our eyes – color and variety make a plate of food look more enticing. Keep this in mind when you are trying to persuade yourself or your family to eat more vegetables and fruit. Not only does variety prevent boredom, it also ensures that your body gets a full spectrum of nutrients. Different types and colors of foods provide different vitamins, minerals and other plant compounds that enable your body to perform its everyday functions and prevent disease. Add produce that is in season or locally grown is likely to be fresher and more flavorful, and generally it is more cost effective.

TIP: Purchase produce in season, cut it up into smaller pieces and freeze for use throughout the year.

Fresh vs. Frozen vs. Canned

While fresh is always best, it may not always be possible to have fresh produce. Frozen fruits and vegetables are convenient, nutritious, and often less expensive, so they are your next best option. Avoid items with added sugar, butter or sauces, as this adds extra calories and fat. In the case of beans and tomato products, canned versions are far more convenient and can still be relatively healthy. When buying canned vegetables, choose low-sodium or no-salt-added options; otherwise, drain and rinse thoroughly to reduce the sodium.

TIP: Keep some frozen vegetables on hand for a quick and easy addition to soups, pastas or rice dishes.

Think About Organic

Should you buy organic produce? That’s something you have to decide for yourself.

If you would like to eat organic foods to reduce the amount of synthetic chemicals you ingest, but you can’t buy organic every time, here are a few suggestions for prioritizing your purchases:

  • If you frequently eat a lot of certain types of fruits or vegetables, buy organic versions of them to reduce your intake of the particular pesticides commonly used on those crops.
  • Check out “The Dirty Dozen.” It is a list of conventional produce that, according the Environmental Working Group, carries a high pesticide load. Buying organic versions of these foods can reduce your consumption of toxic chemicals.
  • Most pesticide residue exists on the outer surface of produce, so you may want to buy organic if you are planning to eat the skin.

Organic foods are not necessarily more nutritious, and there is no good evidence to show that eating organic produce reduces your risk of cancer. The important thing is that you eat more fruits and veggies, however you manage to do it.

For more tips on making the most of your produce see this TMC for Women post.

Design your personalized nutrition plan or tour the grocery store with help from our registered dietitians

Make summer snacks fun, tasty and healthy

Summer snack 3Summertime brings vacations, warm weather and great food. The TMC and TMCOne Clinical Dietician Kallie Siderewicz offers some tips to make summer food fun, tasty and healthy.

Healthy doesn’t mean boring

Try a peanut butter and low-fat Greek yogurt dip for fruit. Ranch seasoning also gives Greek yogurt the yum factor for dipping veggies.

Other fun dishes include fruit kabobs, apples slices topped with peanut butter, coconut, and chocolate chips. A summertime favorite is fruit coated with frozen yogurt.

Cool off by infusing water or tea with lemon, lime, berries, oranges, mint, or rosemary.

Summer snackFor an adult beverage, try light beer, a glass of red wine or liquor mixed with water or diet soda.

High-calorie pitfalls

Before hot summer days have you reaching for a frozen coffee drink – remember that a small serving can have over 500 calories. Sodas and most sports drinks offer hard-to-burn calories with no nutrition.

For adults, mixed drinks usually combine alcohol and sugar, piling calories on top of calories.

Fruit salads made with fruit canned in heavy syrup can have as many calories as pie and cake, especially if you add marshmallows and whipped cream.

Don’t forget water

Water is the absolute best thing you can give your body. It hydrates, helps cleanse and cool. Another good reason to drink water – it can aid in weight loss.

Kallie Siderewicz.jpg



Kallie Siderewicz is a clinical dietician at the TMCOne Rincon location. She also provides nutrition services at Tucson Medical Center.

Food-safe grilling and picnicking

Food grilling safety tipsFor heat-tolerant Arizonans, and for those visiting slightly cooler destinations, summer is a time for picnics and cookouts. Unfortunately, it can also be a prime time for foodborne illness (“food poisoning”) to hit. Although warm summer temperatures may make humans feel sluggish, bacteria are undeterred. In fact, most harmful bacteria reproduce faster at temperatures of 90° to 100° F. That’s a good reason to be cautious, but there’s no need to give up al fresco dining. You can still have an enjoyable outing by following a few simple food safety guidelines:

Food Safety Basics: Clean,  Separate, Cook, Chill

  1. Clean your hands and anything that is going to touch the food – cutting boards, utensils, cookware and other surfaces. The best cleanser is soap and warm water. However, if they are not available, you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer on your hands. Wipe or rinse off any dirt or grease before applying the hand sanitizer, so it can work better. If you are heading outdoors, bring clean utensils and other items with you. Be sure to pack everything into clean coolers, baskets and bags.
  2. Separate raw meat, poultry, fish or eggs from ready-to-eat foods. Raw meat, etc., should be wrapped in its own container and carried in a separate cooler filled with ice. Once a raw item is cooked, do not put it back into the same container, which may still be contaminated with germs.
  3. Cook that raw meat, poultry, fish and eggs to a safe internal temperature. You cannot rely on color to tell you whether or not the food is safe. Use a food thermometer, and go to to find a chart of safe temperatures for various foods.
  4. Chill perishable food at 40° F or below until you are ready to cook or eat it. When transporting food, carry it in the air-conditioned section of the car, not in the trunk. If you are working with frozen foods, do not defrost them at room temperature. At the end of the meal, chill leftovers as soon as possible. It is normally recommended to put leftovers in the refrigerator within 2 hours. However, if the ambient temperature is above 90° F, you only have 1 hour to get them chilled. If you are picnicking or camping, it would be wise to discard the perishable leftovers rather than risk a foodborne illness.

Healthier Grilling

Cooking meat, poultry or fish at a high temperature – as in pan frying or direct grilling – can create carcinogenic (cancer-causing) compounds. There are steps you can take to minimize the amount of dangerous compounds in your food.

  1. Choose lean cuts of meat and poultry, and cut off visible fat before cooking. Another option is to choose fish or vegetables instead. Less fat produces fewer toxins.
  2. Marinate food before cooking it.
  3. Cook at a lower temperature. If using a gas grill, don’t set it on high. With conventional grills, use hardwood charcoal, which burns at a lower temperature than softer woods like mesquite. Flipping the food frequently will also keep the surface temperature cooler.
  4. Cook indirectly rather than setting food directly over the flame or coals.
  5. Do not eat charred food. Cajun food blackened with spices is not a problem. Food blackened by overcooking or burning is.

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TMC’s executive chef shares his take on traditional holiday feasts

jason-executive-chef-002For many of us, the best part of the holiday season is sharing a special meal with the people we love. Although the planning and preparation can be daunting, the payoff is well worth it.

Jason Ricciardelli, TMC executive chef and manager of retail and food operations is an expert at feeding a crowd, overseeing meals for roughly 3,000 patients, visitors and employees every day, as well as about 75 catering orders a month. Who better to give us a few tips for putting together a memorable meal?

Jason’s tips for successful holiday meal preparation:

  • “I can’t stress this enough: Have lots of foil – aluminum foil is what separates a successful holiday from a stressful one.”
  • “You have to rest your proteins. The turkey should come out of the oven, get covered with foil and left alone for about 30 to 45 minutes so that the juices can redistribute.”
  • “Plan ahead and do as much prep as possible – once that turkey comes out of the oven, everything else should be ready to go in.”
  • “Chafing dishes are the best way to serve a crowd. The best places to find them at a good price are actually Party City or the Dollar Store.”

Jason prepares two traditional holiday meals. The first? A late-night dinner before midnight mass in Mexico with his wife’s family. That is followed by an Italian tradition for his family, the Feast of Seven Fishes, here in Tucson.

The meal in Mexico is served as an Open House style buffet. His menu consists of a leg of pork, mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, a green salad and green beans or broccoli. The final touch is a “very easy berry cobbler that I can throw together on the fly.”

The Feast of Seven Fishes consists of linguine with white clams, calamari – in a salad or lightly fried, grilled shrimp, seared scallops, Baccala (salt cod), halibut with a simple lemon butter and grilled oysters. The seafood is served with a nice pasta – preferably Granoro from Naples, roasted broccolini with lemon and a simple salad of greens, cucumber, onion, tomato, oil and vinegar.


“The main dish for the holiday meal in Mexico varies between roasted leg of pork, traditionally prepared ham and turkey. It really depends on what I find – I arrive on December 23, so I only have one day to gather my ingredients.”

Pierna de Puerco (Roasted Leg of Pork)

1 (15 – 18 pound) pork leg
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 cup lime juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
20 garlic cloves, 10 whole, 10 minced
Roasting pan and rack

Trim any serious fat or thick skin off the roast
Score fat in an “X” pattern, about a 1/4 inch deep
Cut 10 small holes with paring knife evenly in roast, about 2 inches deep
Place whole garlic cloves in holes
Place pork in roasting pan
Combine all other ingredients in a separate bowl, except for salt
Pour over pork and refrigerate overnight, turning once
Remove pork from marinade and set aside
Place rack inside roasting pan
Rub pork with salt, working it into the meat
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Place pierna back on rack inside pan
Roast for roughly 4 1/2 hours, (17 min per pound), until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees
Remove, cover with foil, and let rest 30 – 40 minutes
Carve and enjoy

“Broccolini is not broccoli at all but a cross between broccoli and gai-lan or Chinese broccoli. I find it versatile, tasty and nutritious. Great holiday green!”

Roasted Broccolini
Serves 6

2 bunches broccolini, about 1 1/4 pound
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon, halved
Cooking spray

Pre-heat oven to 475 degrees
Spray sheet pan with cooking spray
Arrange broccolini in a thin even layer
Season with salt and pepper
Roast for six minutes
Remove and add garlic
Roast another five minutes, the broccolini will be a bit charred, this is intentional
Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top
Serve warm or at room temperature

“I don’t consider myself much of a baker, but this one is easy and tasty, and you can dump vanilla ice cream on it. Any vehicle for ice cream is OK in my book.”

Berry Cobbler
Serves 6 – 8

4 cups fresh berries
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Spray the inside of an 8 x 8 glass or metal baking dish with the cooking spray
Sample berries and adjust sugar to taste
Arrange berries on the bottom
Sprinkle with lemon juice and stir to combine
Mix flour, sugar and egg in a separate bowl until a crumbly dough forms, sprinkle over berries
Melt butter, pour over evenly
Bake 35 minutes until crumble is browned and berry mix is bubbly
Serve warm or cold with vanilla ice cream if desired

Looking for healthy holiday options? Chef Janos and TMC can help!

Ibdp31074s that green bean casserole getting a little too tired for the holiday buffet this year?

If you’re looking to swap out the old standbys for healthy cooking options with a little pizzazz, Tucson Medical Center and Chef Janos Wilder can help.

Your community hospital and Chef Wilder have joined forces to share a vision for health and wellness, as well as helping patients and members of the larger community improve their nutritional choices.

How does a watermelon, roasted beet, tomato, peach and chevre salad sound? Or perhaps some refreshing minted honey glazed carrots are in order, or the colorful panzanella tomato salad?

Watch the cooking demonstrations by Chef Janos and download the recipe cards and the nutritional information for each dish as well – all free! Please visit

Mediterranean diet has much to offer


We know that healthy diets can definitely be beneficial in lowering LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, which is a major risk factor in causing heart attacks and strokes. In general, the main principle is to avoid saturated fats.

Cholesterol itself is only found in animal fats, so you would think that avoiding animal products would be sufficient to prevent elevated cholesterol. Certainly, it is important to avoid high-fat meats and cheeses. Lunch meats, bacon and similar products should be totally avoided. At the same time, avoiding animal products is insufficient because vegetable products with saturated fats will stimulate the liver to produce cholesterol. So, the amount of cholesterol that is eaten is only one factor in determining blood levels of cholesterol.

A Mediterranean diet appears to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events. These diets are typically high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and include olive oil as an important source of fat. There are typically low to moderate amounts of fish, poultry, dairy products, and red meat is limited to no more than a few times a month. Herbs and spices are used instead of salt to flavor foods.


There is often red wine in addition to the diet*. Resveratrol is an anti-oxidant especially found in the skin of red grapes. It has not been proven to lower LDL cholesterol but does help prevent cardiovascular disease, probably by other mechanisms (the same is true for dark chocolate). However, even without the wine the Mediterranean diet, particularly including virgin olive oil, seems to be very effective in decreasing heart attacks and strokes.

William Abraham, M.D.


Dr. William Abraham is board-certified in internal medicine and has more than 30 years of experience. He is a TMC One provider who specializes in same-day/next-day appointments at the Wilmot location.

TMC One Med Group your health your team OL

*Please consult your doctor before changing your diet. Red wine should be enjoyed in moderation.

Rachel Tineo- Eating well with the whole family


Last week, readers learned about the incredible wellness journey of Rachel Tineo, a senior systems analyst at TMC. Tineo, overweight and swiftly moving toward health complications that included diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension, was told by her physician that if she didn’t make changes—she might not be around to see her children grown up.

Since then, Tineo has made huge strides in her wellness journey. And a big part of that came down to nutrition. She learned that physical activity wasn’t enough—even if you could dead lift 300 pounds. Another huge challenge was un-learning a lifetime of bad habits and developing new ones that she could sustain.

Just as importantly, Tineo realized that her own health wasn’t the only issue. As she turned her own life around, it was up to her to also teach her husband and kids how to live healthier lives. She worried that her previous bad habits might have had a lasting effect on them.

Tineo wasn’t alone in her concern. Rampant childhood obesity and poor nutrition are major factors placing children at significant risk for a myriad of health problems in adolescence and adulthood. From 1976 to 2002 the prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity has more than doubled. And childhood obesity is one of the main health concerns in Pima County. Children who are overweight are at greater risk for health problems like diabetes, heart disease, depression and sleep apnea—something Tineo could testify to.

In fact, obese children face these health threats while still in adolescence. Sadly, this generation of children may be the first generation to have a life expectancy that is less than their parents!Healthy_Meal_230x230

Despite those sobering facts, keeping up with a nutrition plan over the long haul for a family is no easy task, especially for busy families. Tineo relied on her trainer’s advice, and turned to TMC nutrition experts and friends for help. She was able to pick up some simple guidelines for her menus:

1. limit salt

2. keep bad fats (saturated) to a minimum

3. add more vegetables, fruits and grains

TMC dietitian Laurie Ledford said most adults should aim to restrict salt intake to 1500 mg a day on average, with the Institute of Medicine recommending an upper limit of 2300 mg a day. That upper limit is essentially the equivalent of one teaspoon of salt.

The majority of Americans consume at least twice, and even triple, that amount, she said, and that’s because it’s not just about what comes out of the salt shaker. The bigger culprits are processed food and fast food.

Limiting saturated fats is also important. These are the ones that harden at room temperature and mostly come from animal products – think butter, chicken skin, and fat on steak.

Steer clear, too, of trans fats, which do all the items above, but also lower good cholesterol. There’s less of it around, with a push to eliminate it from cookies, snacks, and other processed foods, but it still lurks in fast food.

On the other hand, nuts and avocadoes are full of what’s considered “good” fat, which may be high in fat and calories, but which can be taken in moderation. A  serving of nuts can be a great substitute for potato chips and crackers.

Luckily, eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring or drab and you don’t have to avoid your family’s favorite foods.

Take the kiddie favorite cheese, for example. It is full of saturated fat and sodium. But you don’t have to pull it out of the lunchbox altogether. Instead, pick a strong-flavored cheese, such as goat cheese, that will allow smaller portions. It’s all about moderation.

Another piece of advice? Don’t try to overhaul your family’s diet all at once.

Pick one area and start there. Once you get a handle on salt, for example, then it might be time to start reducing fat. Even that can come in stages. If you drink whole milk, for example, try 2 percent. Then blend 2 percent with 1 percent. Maybe you can get to 1 percent or even skim at some point.

Gradually, too, build up to the recommended 4 to 5 servings of vegetables and 4 to 5 servings of fruits a day.

“Choose one that will be the easiest to do for you, and then move on the next. None of us can change 100 percent of what we do overnight and then expect to stick with it. It’s all about developing better habits.”

Another resource that is available to other parents sharing Tineo’s concerns is TMC HealthCare’s Recipes for a Healthy Family. The online cookbook helps parents and their children lead healthy lives and have fun cooking. It promotes healthy food choices, at-home meal preparation and family dining—things that pay huge dividends in more than just physical health. Parents and children learn important nutritional information about the food they are eating and helpful safety tips for preparing meals at home.

Visit to access the cookbook.

Recipes were taken from credible sources such as U.S. Department of Agriculture, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Dairy Association, Arizona Beef Council and National Pork Council. All recipes were tested and surveyed before inclusion in the cookbook. The cookbook also has an interactive piece for families, allowing parents to consult a registered dietitian via email for specific questions.





Keeping your food safe while outing…

picnic food safetyThe summer has fully kicked in and trips to the beach, a picnic at your favorite park, and an overnight stay in a campsite sound so exhilarating!

It is certain that food will be involved in any of these trips since we all need to eat. Perhaps your favorite grilled entree paired with vegetable skewers and fresh-squeezed lemonade over ice sound like a perfect culinary experience during an outing.  Wouldn’t you want to finish up this experience without gastrointestinal problems?

To protect you and your trip crew against food borne illnesses and keep a pleasantly healthy gastrointestinal system (mostly made up of your stomach, intestines, and trips to the WC…) when eating outdoors, follow these eight simple guidelines for preparing, transporting and serving your food safely – you can even print this page, take it with you and share it with your trip crew. This can be a teachable moment for your children, family members and friends. We all eat and handle food, so this info is worthwhile to everyone. Happy outing!

Eight Simple Food Safety Steps

  1. Keep everything clean. Always wash and dry your hands before handling food or cooking, and after using the restroom, touching your body, and handling raw animal foods. Make sure all utensils and dishes are cleaned with running water and soap when preparing foods and reusing them.
  2. Fresh fruits and vegetables. Unless they are packaged and labeled “ready-to-eat” or “washed,” rinse and dry them with running water before eating or packaging them. Brush fruits and vegetables with skin.
  3. Don’t cross-contaminate. Don’t let cooked food touch raw foods and keep raw meat, poultry and seafood away from foods that do not require cooking them to a specific internal temperature.
  4. Keep cold food cold (at or below 40°F) and hot food hot (at or above 140°F) during preparation and storing to prevent bacterial growth. A food thermometer comes in handy; make sure to sanitize it with alcohol before each use. Tip: carry coolers inside the cabin of the car as the trunk can get too warm, becoming the perfect environment for bacteria.
  5. Cook food thoroughly. Use a food thermometer to be sure food is cooked to a safe internal temperature – the table below from the website shows food-specific cooking temperatures.
  6. Check for foreign objects in food. For example, body hair or bristles from a brush to clean the grill. Tip: tie your hair back or wear a cap when cooking.
  7. Store leftovers ASAP. Place them in a refrigerator or ice chest to keep them at or below 40°F. Discard food if it has been left out for over 2 hours or over 1 hour if the temperature is above 90°F, and if they have been stored for 2 days or more. Specific food storage times are found here.
  8. Reheating. When reheating cooked food, reheat to 165°F.
Category Food

Temperature (°F) 

Ground Meat & Meat Mixtures Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb


Turkey, Chicken


Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb Steaks, roasts, chops


Poultry Chicken & Turkey, whole, breasts, roasts, thighs, legs, wingsDuck & GooseStuffing (cooked alone or in bird)


Pork and Ham Fresh pork and ham (raw)


Precooked ham (to reheat)


Eggs & Egg Dishes Eggs

Cook until yolk & white are firm

Egg dishes


Leftovers & Casseroles Leftovers & casseroles


Seafood Fin Fish

145 or cook until flesh is opaque & separates easily with a fork.

Shrimp, lobster, and crabs

Cook until flesh is pearly & opaque.

Clams, oysters, and mussels

Cook until shells open during cooking.


Cook until flesh is milky white or opaque & firm.


Blog Courtesy of Martha Mosqueda


The Recipe for Good Family Health Starts in the Kitchen

TMC HealthCare’s Recipes for a Healthy Family helps parents and their children lead healthy lives and have fun cooking. The cookbook promotes healthy food choices, at-home meal preparation and family dining. Parents and children learn important nutritional information about the food they are eating and helpful safety tips for preparing meals at home.

Rampant childhood obesity and poor nutrition are major factors placing children at significant risk for a myriad of health problems in adolescence and adulthood. From 1976 to 2002 the prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity has more than doubled. Children who are overweight are at greater risk for health problems like diabetes, heart disease, depression and sleep apnea. In fact, obese children face these health threats while still in adolescence. Sadly, this generation of children may be the first generation to have a life expectancy less than their parents!

One way to combat this issue is to educate and enable families to improve a child’s nutrition. To that end, TMC has created an online cookbook for families in effort to address this epidemic in Southern Arizona . Recipes for a Healthy Family is more than a collection of recipes; the web site attempts to educate and involve children and families in important nutrition and food decisions. With this, we can improve the nutrition and health of all family members.

Visit to access the cookbook.

Recipes were taken from credible sources such as U.S. Department of Agriculture, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Dairy Association, Arizona Beef Council and National Pork Council. All recipes were tested and surveyed before inclusion in the cookbook. The cookbook also has an interactive piece for families, allowing parents to consult a registered dietitian via email for specific questions.

Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461