b12_recipesAren’t we always looking for healthy, unique additions for our dinners at home?  Finding recipes that are tasty and healthy isn’t easy.

A lot of times, we focus on fruits and vegetables – packing as many vitamins and minerals into our dishes as possible.  By doing so, we neglect one very important nutrient – vitamin B12.

What is Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient.  Without it, the body can’t formulate healthy blood or nervous cells.  In fact, a vitamin B12 deficiency often leads to nasty things like depression, anemia, and even brain damage.

Incorporating Vitamin B12 into Meals

If you are more worried about vegetables than proteins, you’ll miss out on this important nutritional building block.  Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products.  In fact, check out the top 10, vitamin B12 rich foods:

  • Beef
  • Caviar
  • Cheese and Dairy
  • Clams, Mussels, and Oysters
  • Crab and Lobster
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Lamb
  • Liver
  • Octopus

As you can see, some of those ingredients are a bit uncommon – we don’t often include them in our regular meals at home.  However, if you want to naturally boost your body’s vitamin B12 levels – without B12 shots for supplementation – you’ll have to get used to cooking with these less traditional proteins.

Check out these three easy recipes, full of B12, that your family will enjoy.

Greek Lamb Stew

  1. Turn your oven onto 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Measure three tablespoons of olive oil into a large, oven-safe casserole dish.
  3. Cook five and a half pounds of cubed lamb on top of your stove until golden brown.
  4. Use the same pan to sauté five finely sliced onions with a touch of salt.
  5. Remove the lamb, then mince and add two stalks of celery, four cloves of garlic, and four bay leaves. Season with one teaspoon of dry oregano.
  6. After about five minutes of cooking, mix in the browned lamb.
  7. Add three bay leaves, two carrots cut in fourths, three cans of diced tomatoes, and pour in one bottle of dry white wine and one and a fourth cup of lamb or beef stock.
  8. Bring the contents of the dish to a boil and let it boil for about three minutes.
  9. Cover the casserole dish and let bake in the preheated oven for two to two and a half hours.
  10. Remove the dish from the oven and take out the carrots and bay leaves.
  11. Take a separate pot and bring water to a boil so you can cook one pound of ditilini noodles.
  12. While the pasta is still a bit firm, remove it from the heat.  Drain it and add the pasta to the casserole dish.
  13. In a separate bowl, mix two thirds of a pound of feta cheese with two teaspoons of oregano.
  14. Pour the cheese mixture onto the casserole and serve.

Shrimp and Crab Nachos

  1. Turn your oven to broil to preheat.
  2. Heat one teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat on the stove.
  3. Add in one pound ready to eat shrimp, two teaspoons ground toasted cumin, and one minced teaspoon of garlic.
  4. Sauté for three minutes.
  5.  Combine the sautéed mixture in a large bowl with one pound lump crab meat, three fourths of a cup of sour cream, and one bunch of sliced green onions.
  6. Place nine ounces of any colored tortilla chips on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet.
  7. Top the chips with the shrimp and crab mixture, add three cups of grated pepper jack cheese and one half of a cup of sliced jalapeños.
  8. Place the baking sheet on the top shelf and cook until the cheese is melted, then serve.

Mussels in White Wine

  1. Clean three pounds of cultivated mussels in two quarts of water and one third of a cup of all-purpose flour. Let sit for thirty minutes and then remove the “beard” from the outer shell. If a mussel is not closed, throw it away.
  2. Heat two tablespoons of unsalted butter and two tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat in a large pot.
  3. Add one cup of sliced shallots and cook for five minutes.
  4. Add one and a half tablespoon of minced garlic and let this cook for three minutes.
  5. Add four ounces of drained canned tomatoes, a half teaspoon of saffron, a third cup of chopped parsley, a tablespoon of fresh thyme, a cup of white wine, two teaspoons of salt, and one teaspoon of pepper.
  6. Bring the contents of the large pot to a boil.
  7. Add the mussels and cover. Cook for eight to ten minutes.
  8. Serve.

Not only will these recipes bring some new flavors to the table, they’ll also bring a much-needed dose of vitamin B12.  The next time you want to serve your family a healthy meal, reach for the vitamin B12-rich foods to complement your vitamin packed vegetables.

Featured images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/80081757@N00/5670535/in/photolist-v4DR-HRbZ-2H1at-35zKW-5fBjr-8k3Mh-8t2tE-8Vi62-igYeF-moJrH-qtJFg-qtJHJ-qtJKW-DXFE2-GU3TD-HD7ia-39Do5t-39HU8J-3Ky8DA-3Ky8DU-4h6EuE-4h6F19-4kU59p-4mKn1J-4rM4U8-4rRbSq-4Cn1pg-4EYkwd-4FrpSr-4FrpXc-4FvBGE-4FvBNJ-4YXZb7-5kSLtR-5wde8M-5wder2-5whztA-5Uf3jz-5Y7Gum-63wZxU-64rfJy-65x9k8-68tLgw-68xQXo-6bFzkL-6dm72A-6tgWTc-6C9HeT-7pafAQ-8cqEcU-7M8ScT

Leslie Grace is a health and nutrition writer.  She loves unearthing healthy, vitamin-rich meals and sharing them with other busy moms and dads.

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