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Healthy Recipe: Shrimp-stuffed Bell Pepper, Tilapia and Guacamole

Football pro-turned-chef delivers meals with a punch.



  Former pro football corner back Kerry Parker turned in his pads for oven mitts and teaches others how to make healthy foods delicious. The New Orleans native played in the Canadian Football League for eight years after graduating from Grambling State University, and he spent two years in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills. He was the chef/owner of Parker's restaurant in the Warehouse District in the 1990s, and now is a personal chef. His company No Small Affairs (430-2697) also caters parties large and small.

  Parker is working on a cookbook, scheduled for release next year, and will market a spice blend he developed several years ago after he acquires a patent.

  Teaching people how to eat healthy without foregoing taste is his goal. "I'm working to develop recipes for a few of my clients who have diabetes, one who is a stroke patient, and others who have high blood pressure," Parker says.

  He also volunteers to work with youngsters in the community, combining his sports talents and knowledge about food and nutrition to make children aware of the importance of combining diet and exercise.

  "It's about developing healthy eating habits and life skills," Parker says. "I try to teach them a different way of eating the foods they like ... [how to prepare them] in a healthy way."

  Part of the secret, he says, is getting children involved in making their favorite foods, discussing the economics of eating at home, how to shop and what to look for in the foods they buy.

  "If you find a way to make it fun, children will learn and enjoy it," he says

  Here Parker shares his recipes for a balanced meal that includes a stuffed bell pepper, tilapia and guacamole.

Chef Kerry Parker's Shrimp-stuffed Bell Pepper, Tilapia and Guacamole

Serves 1

Stuffed bell pepper ingredients:

1 bell pepper, cut in half and cleaned of seeds

1/4 lb. Shrimp, chopped

1 cup stale French bread made into crumbs

4 tablespoons chopped onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon of your favorite seasoning Mix

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/8 teaspoon thyme

1/8 teaspoon basil

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 tablespoon butter

Spinach leaves (for garnish)

  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put butter and oil in a medium pan and bring to medium heat. Add onion and garlic; saute for 3 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until it turns pink, about 3 minutes. Add seasoning mix, thyme and basil, breadcrumbs and cheese (reserve some of the breadcrumbs and cheese to top the stuffed pepper). Stuff both halves of the bell pepper. Pour 1/4 cup water in a baking dish and place the stuffed pepper in the dish, stuffed side up. Top with breadcrumbs and cheese. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes.

Guacamole ingredients:

1 avocado, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 medium tomato, peeled, deseeded and chopped

Lime juice

2 tablespoons onion

1/8 teaspoon jalapeno pepper

1/2 teaspoon chopped cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

  Squeeze lime juice onto avocado to avoid oxidation, which turns the avocado brown. Add onion, jalapeno and cilantro. Salt and pepper to taste. Lightly toss all ingredients. Add more lime juice if needed. Cover and refrigerate.

Pan-fried tilapia:

1 8-oz. fillet of fish

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 tablespoon butter

Spinach leaves

  Clean fish and dry it. Lightly shake your favorite seasoning blend on the fillet. In a medium pan, heat canola oil and butter to medium-high. Place fish in the pan, top side down and cook for 3 minutes. Turn over the fillet and place in a 350-degree oven for 5 minutes.

  To serve, place a handful of spinach on a plate and top with stuffed pepper, fish fillet and 6 ounces of guacamole.

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