Dinner Ideas With Black Rice, Southwest Tacos, Herbs and Spices, and Pumpkin Pie

In This Article For Dinner Ideas:

  • The Power of Black Rice in the Fight Against Health Problems
  • Sweet Potato Pie or Pumpkin Pie Recipe
  • Four Reasons You Should Use Herbs and Spices in Your Cooking
  • Healthy Southwest Taco

A cheap and easy dinner recipes, recipe –  consisting of black rice, southwest tacos, herbs and spices, then topped off with pumpkin pie, will calm any hungry palate.

The Healthy Dinner Ideas Using The Power of Black Rice

Black rice is not common here in the U.S. because major rice processors have focused mainly on white, and then brown rice. But, you may consider black rice for its nutritional value.

Most of us are familiar with white rice because as kids we were more likely to be servedwith white rice. White rice was fast to cook, inexpensive and filling. Fast forward to our adult years we started hearing about the more nutritious brown rice. It has more fiber and nutrients previously stripped from the white rice. Then later came the 10 minute quick white rice, and yet later the 10 minute brown rice, both were diminished nutritionally somewhat in processing for quick cooking. Natural brown rice has more nutrients than quick cooking brown rice.

In processing brown rice, which started as black rice, the outer husks are removed, but maintains “bran”. The white rice is brown rice that is processed to remove the nutrient rich “bran”.

Black rice is where it all started, according to Louisiana State University researchers black rice has tons and tons of nutrients and antioxidants. Top nutrients include iron, zinc, copper, carotene and important vitamins. What makes black rice especially important is the antioxidant called anthocyanin. This is what gives it its black/purplish color. It also has fiber, is low in sugar–hence, great for diabetics, and low cost. The anthocyanin is the powerful antioxidant we find in blueberries and blackberries. Antioxidants are great in helping the fight against heart disease and many cancers.
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Black rice can be used as bran for bread and puddings or as a rice side dish. Put it in soups as a variant of rice soup, or add it to your casseroles.

Black rice can be purchased the cheapest way at Chinese stores, but you can also find it in natural food stores.

Sweet Potato Pie or Pumpkin Pie Recipe as a healthy dinner ideas dessert

This recipe is for either sweet potato or pumpkin pie. You can use regular sugar or splenda 0 calorie sugar for the calorie conscious crowd. Either way it taste great.

4-6 medium sized sweet potatoes (For pumpkin pie use 1 large 20 ounce can of plain natural pumpkin or a pumpkin squash-peeled, and sliced)

1 cup Brown sugar
1/2 cup can milk
2 eggs1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp flour
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 c. butter melted
1/4 c. white sugar
1/4 tsp salt


For Sweet Potato Pie:

Wash sweet potatoes thoroughly with a brush. Boil the sweet potatoes with the skin on. Mix all the ingredients together, EXCEPT for the sweet potatoes in a large bowl.

Puree the sweet potatoes in a blender or food processor. Measure 20 ounces packed tightly.

Mix the sweet potatoes in the large bowl with the other ingredients. Place in a pre-made pie crust (or make your own), and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the pie filling is slightly brown and the crust is light brown.

You should get one deep shell pie or two regular size pies.

Stick a fork in the filling and it should come out clean when the filling is cooked.

For Pumpkin Pie:

For pumpkin pie skip the boiling, you can directly place the pumpkin mix in the large bowl of mixed spice, milk and sugar ingredients.

Low Sugar Sweet Potato or Pumpkin Pie

If you want a low sugar pie, use half of the sugar or use 1 cup of Splenda (no calorie sweetener) instead of the brown sugar, and 1/4 of Splenda instead of the white sugar.

Healthy dinner ideas – 4 Reasons You Should Use Herbs and Spices In Your Cooking

Some cooks can make every single dish he or she cooks taste amazing with herbs and spices. Others do not understand the importance of herbs and spices. Here are a few quick tips for cooking with herbs and spices.

  • Digestion

Many spices help to break up food particles and enable the digestive process to run more efficiently. Ginger is one spice that improves the digestive process.

  • Taste

Food without spices are said to be bland or tasteless. On the other hand food with spices perks up the taste of the food you eat. You can literally take the exact same food; say a piece of meat, and change the combination of spices on the meat or the meat sauce and your taste buds will tell you the food is very different.

  • Feeling of fullness

The better your food taste, the faster you will get a feeling of fullness and the more likely you will eat the amount of food you need to feel full. Bland food, without spices can give you a feeling of emptiness.

  • Types of spices

There are fresh spices you can buy in the form of a plant, bark, buds, fruit, roots or seeds, and there are dried out and ground up spices. Fresh herbs and spices taste far better than the dried and ground variety. Some of the taste is loss when the spice is dried, especially if it is not stored in a cool dark cabinet.

So for better digestion, taste, and fullness try using spices every time you cook. For fresh herbs, add them at the end of cooking, but for dried herbs you add them at the beginning of cooking. The exception is with salsa, dips, and marinades–it is best to add herbs at the beginning so they blend and become a part of the sauce.

A Healthy Dinner Ideas With Southwest Taco

The healthy southwest taco meal is a quick tasty meal that serves about 6 people, this is a popular dish in the southwest area United States.

Meat filling

1 pound ground turkey (or ground beef)
1 packet taco flavoring
1/2 small onion
pinch of salt to taste
pinch of pepper to taste

Vegetable filling

1/2 chopped lettuce
2 chopped tomatoes
8 ounces grated cheese–chedder or colby

Shells To Fill

1 dozen corn tortilla taco shells, flat in bag–12 come in a bag
1/4 cup olive oil


1 bottle of red or green taco sauce, or salsa mix. 

Ground Turkey (Lean)

Place one half to one cup of water in frying pan, place ground turkey in pan with diced onion. Cook until almost done, leave a little water.

Vegetable Filling

While your ground turkey is cooking, dice your lettuce and tomatoes, place in a bowl together, stir. Set aside. Now, return to cooking  your ground turkey, place the salt, pepper, and taco seasoning in the mix, stir until mixed. Grate your cheese, set aside.

Taco Shells

Take out another skillet. Place the olive oil in the skillet, place one taco shell in the skillet. Cook the shell a few minutes on each side, fold over, cook another minute on folded side. Remove, pat out excess oil on paper towel. Place on a plate. Do this until all twelve are cooked. Don’t over cook, you don’t want them hard.

Now it’s time to fill the taco shells. Fill each shell with ground turkey, lettuce and tomato mix on top of that, then place the cheese on top of that.

Place your favorite taco sauce on top of everything. Normal serving is two filled tacos per adult.

Total Preparation time is about 30-45 minutes.

These healthy dinner ideas worked well for me, I use them regularly and hope you enjoy them!

Bon Apetit!

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