WCL: Healthy Grains with Chef Christopher Koetke

Host of ''Let's Dish'' on the Live Well Network and the VP of Culinary Arts at Kendall College, Chef Christopher Koetke stopped by the studio today to teach us about all the kinds of healthy grains out there.

He showed us some unique ways to incorporate them into our everyday diets. If you'd like to try out some of these dishes, check out his recipes below:

Oat Risotto
Cooking with different grains is all the rage. We often think of oats as breakfast food, but it also makes a great savory side dish.

Serves: 6
1 cup steel cut oats
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup finely diced celery root or branch celery
1 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup finely diced carrot
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 clove minced garlic
1 pinch dried thyme leaf
3 cups low-sodium, low-fat beef, chicken, or vegetable broth
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese

1. Place oats on a baking sheet and place in a 350° F oven for about 25 minutes or until the oats turn a light brown and smell nutty. Remove from the oven and let cool.

2. In a medium saucepan, sauté celery root/celery branch, onion, carrot, salt, and black pepper in olive oil over moderate heat. Cook until the vegetables are tender (8-10 minutes) stirring often.

3. Add garlic clove and cook for a couple more minutes.

4. Add toasted oats, thyme, and broth. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 50-55 minutes or until the oats are tender.

5. Add cheese and serve.

Asparagus, peas and barley risotto
This recipe is not technically a risotto, but it very much cooks up like one! It is a wonderful lunch or light dinner dish.

Serves: 6
1 bunch asparagus, washed and trimmed of tough ends
2 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup pearl barley
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups low sodium and low fat chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaf
1 cup frozen peas
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
3 Tablespoons chopped green onions
1 Tablespoon minced parsley
1 cup watercress leaves
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1. Boil asparagus in salted water (2 teaspoons salt to 2 quarts of water) until al dente. Remove from boiling water and plunge immediately into ice water. When cold, remove, drain, dice into ½ inch pieces, and reserve.

2. In a large sauce pot over medium heat, saute onion in butter. When the onions are soft and translucent, add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.

3. Add barley, salt, broth, and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the barley is tender and the liquid is absorbed (about 40 minutes).

4. Fold in reserved asparagus and peas. Heat for 3 minutes. Stir-in remaining ingredients and serve.

Bulgur Wheat Salad with Lemon and Feta
Bulgur wheat is a form of cracked wheat. The whole wheat kernels are cooked, dried, and cracked into a coarse grain that is usually used in cooked cereal, pilaf, or a favorite Middle Eastern grain dish, tabbouleh.

Serves 4
1 cup bulgur wheat
11/2 cups water (as hot as possible from the tap)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped mint
1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
1 cup diced cucumber
3 minced green onions
5 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1 small clove finely minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. Combine very hot water and bulgur wheat in a bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.

2. After 30 minutes, the bulgur wheat should be chewy and tender. Drain the bulgur wheat to remove any excess water. (If the bulgur wheat is still too hard, drain, add more hot water, and let sit for another 30 minutes.)

3. Combine remaining ingredients. Let the salad sit for a minimum of 30 minutes. The salad may be prepared 1 day ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator.

4. Garnish with crumbled feta cheese.

Millet Oatmeal Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

1 cups boiling water
1 cup uncooked instant rolled oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup millet
3/4 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 375. Butter 12 muffin cups.

2. Stir the oats into the boiling water, cover, remove form heat and let stand 10 minutes to cool.

3. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.

4. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Slowly add the white and brown sugars, beating until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla and the eggs and beat until well blended.

5. Add the cooled oatmeal to the butter mixture and stir well to blend. Add the flour mixture and stir. Stir in the millet.

6. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full. Place pecans on top of the batter.

7. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a straw inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Gently run a table knife around the edge of each muffin, lift them out and place on a rack to cool. These muffins freeze well.

For more information on Chef Christopher Koetke, you can him out on the Live Well Network website here: http://livewellnetwork.com/Lets-Dish/bio/6747492