Green & Lean: Eating healthy has never been so easy

As long as I have lived on the farm, I’ve been crazy about making things healthy. When you start growing your own food, it’s amazing how much you really care about what you eat. 


Old favorites can be made healthier and still taste delicious. Check out Chicken Parmesan, recipe provided by Jennifer Welper, executive chef at Mayo Clinic’s Healthy Living Center (this issue’s “Hot Chef,” page 22), and registered dietitians at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program.

Keeping with healthy, try a new kind of chip—Kale Chips (yes, kale). This super-greenis packed with nutrition that puts it high on the list of the world’s healthiest foods. Even spinach cannot come close in comparison to the number of nutrients in kale. And try Kale Salad (recipe courtesy of Tonic Fresh Juice & Local Food) and the Kale Chowder (recipe provided by Whitewater Gardens, Lonnie and Sandy Deitz). 

Chicken Parmesan

Created by the executive wellness chef and registered dietitians at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program

  • 4 chicken breasts (4 oz. each)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp. dry basil
  • 2 tsp. dry oregano
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • ½ cup part-skim mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Pound each chicken breast to ¼-inch thickness; set aside. Place the egg whites in a medium bowl. In another medium bowl, combine the bread crumbs, cheese, basil, oregano, garlic powder and onion powder. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Dip each chicken breast into the egg whites, and then dredge in the breading mixture until evenly coated. Lay fillets on the baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and internal temperature is 165° F. Top chicken with marinara and cheese. Serves four.

Tonic’s Kale Chips

  • 8 oz. organic kale
  • ¼ to ½ cup organic olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. each of kosher salt and cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 300° F. Wash the leaves and stems of the organic kale leaves, being sure to use dark green leaves only. Break off the top of the leaves and break around the stem, forming chip shaped segments. Lay flat on a sheet pan, so the leaves don’t touch. Rub olive oil in your clean hands; then rub the front and back of each leaf, massaging the thin stem. Reposition leaves and sprinkle a mixture of kosher salt and organic cracked pepper from 2 feet above your sheet pan. This ensures your seasoning is evenly distributed and not clumped onto one part of a leaf. Place baking sheet on top rack and bake for 30 minutes or until crispy. Note: High quality salt, pepper and olive” oil make all the difference.  

Tonic’s Kale & Fruit Salad 

  • 8 oz. organic kale
  • 8 oz. seasonal fresh greens
  • ½ cup dried figs, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 granny smith apple, cut into 
  • matchstick-size pieces
  • ½ medium red onion, cut into small slices
  • 4 oz. blue cheese
  • ¼ cup toasted almonds

Wash kale leaves removing the thick stems. Massage each leaf and small stem. Then chop kale in a chiffonade style (roll kale leaves and cut roll sideways) to obtain thin strips. Mix with any type of fresh seasonal lettuce cut the same way, half kale and half lettuce. Add thinly sliced dried figs, dried cranberries, fresh granny smith apple cut into matchstick-sized pieces, red onion, blue cheese and toasted almonds. Toss in balsamic vinaigrette dressing (recipe below).

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup organic olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Kale Chowder 

Courtesy of Whitewater Gardens, Lonnie and Sandy Deitz

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 4 garlic scapes, chopped into small pieces 
  • (or 2 garlic cloves, minced)
  • 4 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 pound potatoes, cubed
  • 1 pound sausage (old-fashioned, mild Italian or breakfast), sliced into ¼-inch thick diagonals
  • 1 quart cream (or milk)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Steam kale. Chop stem into ½-inch pieces; cut leaves into large pieces. Heat olive oil and butter in a soup kettle or Dutch oven. Add garlic, carrots, kale stems and potatoes. Saute for 1 minute; cover and turn down the heat to low. Cook until almost tender. Add chicken broth, kale leaves and sausage. Cook for approximately 10 more minutes. Add cream and salt and pepper to taste. Warm through.