It is well known that when one combines carbs and fat regularly in the diet, one tends to gain girth. Think of the delectable donut…flour and water, fried in grease then glazed with sugar. Probably the worst food ever; bereft of nutrition but oh so tasty!
Think of pork fried rice. It consists of a starch fried in grease like the donut without the sugar coating. Instead, there is some meat and a little vegetation with the carrots, onion. This is a better food than donuts but still that starch and grease combination is a recipe for putting on the pounds.
A friend told me recently you can purchase cauliflower in rice form today. I have never seen it where I shop but I traditionally stick to the perimeter of the store where all the natural foods live. Processed foods can be found by the tons up and down the the aisles. In my friends description she said this cauliflower rice is simply shredded. Well, I happened to have a beautiful head of cauliflower on the counter and I shredded it myself and made a big mixing bowl full of what ended up looking like a fluffy bowl of rice. No cooking, measuring, timing or turning the kitchen into a steam sauna was required.
Cauliflower is very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol, it is also a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Potassium and Manganese; a super food. This is why it is such a great substitute in making a much healthier version of my favorite Chinese delectation. Six ingredients simmered in a skillet about ten minutes and we’re there but without the carbolicious guilt. Here’s what you need:
- 1 head of shredded lightly salted cauliflower
- 2 or so tbsp. Bacon grease
- 1 medium shredded carrot
- 3 fresh sprigs chopped chives
- several strips of bacon, crumbled
- soy sauce to taste
Truly, all you do is heat the first five ingredients until everything is tender. A little splash of water helps if the vegetables need the steam. I add the soy sauce last for that hit of Asian zing.
I hope you get the opportunity to try this healthy version of fried “rice” with tons more nutrition, way less of that horrible carb/fat combination and all the deliciousness you desire. You could make any version you like, either plain or with beef or shrimp too. Have fun!
Sometimes I get a craving for a good old Burger King Whopper with cheese. There’s something about it that tastes so good. It’s just not worth the 760 calories and 47 grams of fat and who knows what else; it’s fast food! Besides, I’d rather make a trip to the refrigerator than to the drive-thru, so I was inspired to make a salad of the whopper ingredients save the bun.
- 1 head iceberg lettuce. (a bag of iceberg mix works fine but pull out as many of those nasty carrot pieces as you can; they never taste good)
- 1 pound lean ground beef, browned in a heavy skillet and cooled
- 1/2 of a small onion, diced well
- 2 dill pickle spears, diced
- 6 or sogrape tomatoes, quartered
- dressing: consisting of ketchup and mayonnaise in equal perportions
- shredded cheddar cheese and salt and pepper to taste
In a salad bowl lay the lettuce in the bottom and layer on the meat, onion pickle tomato and dress it and add cheese and salt and pepper to taste and toss. So easy. So summery. So delicious and, I have just two more words; craving satisfied.
Eureka! I have found a recipe that is brimming with health benefits for mere pocket change. Cabbage casserole, how did I never come across such a delicious AND nutritious casserole?? In one of my late night Pinterest “How to Install a Natural Water Feature” moments I made one more click to a recipe off on the sidelines. I saw a beautiful, colorful, 7 ingredient recipe of pure healthy genius; an I-have-all-the-ingredients-in-the-fridge-and-pantry meal serving up to six. Click! and my life changed.
I don’t remember the pin. I had to go to bed because the recipes can easily turn me into a wee-hour Pinterest zombie. This is what I remember and it worked out fine…so fine:
- 2 Tbsp olive oil in a deep heavy pot
- 1 onion diced
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1/2 head of large red cabbage sliced in thin strips (you will want to make it again with the other half at the end of the week)
- 1/2 bunch collard greens (about 5 leaves stemmed and sliced chiffonade style
- 1 Tsp Steak seasoning plus a couple of pinches
- 6 oz hand shredded pepper jack cheese
- Preheat oven to 375°. Dice your onion, slice the cabbage and chiffonade the greens and keep them in separate piles. Heat the oil until it shimmers on the bottom of the pot. Add your onion and cook on high heat until they are clear and beginning to brown. Brown the ground beef with a teaspoon of the steak seasoning. Add the piles of cabbage and greens and simmer until the mixture softens down to about a third its volume. Give it a good stir.
Empty the pot into a 9″x 9″ casserole dish and spread it evenly. Top with your pepper cheese and sprinkle a pinch or two of the steak seasoning around on top sprinkle a little Parmesan to brown the top nicely, then bake for 20 minutes.
It’s fast, it’s delicious, it’s easy, it’s delicious it’s healthy, it’s delicious, it’s affordable, it’s delicious!
I love eating Chinese food but it’s not the friendliest food when you want to save on calories. Fried rice is often very fattening and usually contains head ache inducing MSG, but I’ve come up with a flavorful way to make fried rice that is MSG free and contains only two tablespoons of butter per pot, instead of enough grease to float The Queen Mary. I use the following ingredients:
- a pot of just about cooked rice (four or five cups when fully prepared)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- a couple of Spring onions thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- one medium carrot sliced thinly using the carrot peeler (yes, that thin)
- a couple of ribs of bok choy roughly chopped
- 1 large fresh egg
- 2/3 cup cooked/smoked/even barbequed beef or pork rib meat in small dice
- a few dashes of black pepper and garlic powder or a fresh clove of minced garlic
In the pot of very hot, nearly cooked rice, add the onions and soy sauce. These ingredients will seep into the rice and really deepen the flavor as it finishes cooking. Stir it in and keep the lid on while you saute the vegetables in the butter or olive oil in a small non-stick skillet. With one tablespoon of butter or oil, cook the carrot slices until they are tender, about 4 or 5 minutes. Scoot them off into the rice, onion, and soy sauce mixture and stir and again cover. With the remaining butter or oil, cook the bok choy greens with their snappy peppery taste in that same skillet until they are nicely wilted but the chopped up pieces of stem are still firm. Crack an egg right into the bok choy season with the pepper and garlic, and stir it vigorously until it is well scrambled and cooked throughout. Toss this too into the pot of rice and onion, stir everything together.
When ever the rice is done, shut off the heat and keep covered. After cutting the meat away from the rib bone, cut it into tiny dice and stir it into the pot as well. As the rice and all its layers of flavor warm the meat, the smokey taste comes out of the meat and gives this dish a balance of flavor that really satisfies.
The best thing is that this meal for three or four costs mere pennies! Rice is about the cheapest food out there. The ribs were left over from an event where my husband works and with a few stray vegetables rolling around in the crisper that might be forgotten until they need to be thrown out, a hunk or two of butter, and an egg from our neighbor worth a few clucks… that’s pretty much all there is to this meal, but the fewer calories without sacrificing taste part, is what really turns this diva on!
I say Don’t do it! You’ve got it so good! You’ll only live to regret it. Don’t eat that luscious raspberry banana ice cream! …Wait a minute…it’s made with only bananas and raspberries… That is to say, it’s made totally from fruit?
The clouds clear. Angels sweep across the sky. An ethereal voice booms out, “You’ve been good my child.”
That is the dream I had while tasting this yummy frozen smoothie. If you have a freezer and a food processor, you can make this yummy treat that looks just like home made ice cream and tastes just like Heaven.
Firstly, freeze two bananas peeled and chopped into chunks (a banana with a few brown speckles on the skin is ideal). The raspberries are also frozen. I purchase them by the bag but you could freeze fresh ones as well.
With a cup of berries and the banana chunks, just whirl them in the processor for a several minutes (you might need to scrape the sides a few times) until it becomes the consistency of soft serve ice cream. You may also put it in a plastic container, freeze it again, and it will be a scoopable mixture you could put in a cone. You could also use frozen strawberries.
As long as I have a freezer full of fruit I will be able to resist the temptation to cheat while trying to reduce. I have my daughter Bonnie to thank for turning me on to this yummy frozen treat idea.
Five words will answer that question…Make a pot of sauce! Actually, I have many more than forty tomatoes, but making sauce is a start to managing such a wealth. I’ve been learning how to can and preserve recently and I find that tomatoes are the easiest thing to put up in the Mason jars. No pressure canner is needed, just the water bath method will be enough to kill off any bacteria.
My friend Gayle planted 150 plants and is having an incredible crop this year. Almost every surface in her kitchen and dining is covered in tomatoes. She’s got a lot to manage as well. Part of her management scheme has been giving me the tomatoes that need immediate attention. Lucky me!
- 40 ripe tomatoes, blanched, cored, and peeled
- 2 ribs of celery sliced thinly
- 2 carrots also sliced thinly
- 2 onions diced
- 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons dried Italian herb mix
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 cans (6oz. cans) of tomato paste
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons salt (I salt on the low side)
- a dash or two each of cayenne pepper and black pepper
I put all of the tomatoes in a big stock pot, and in a skillet with a good coating of extra virgin olive oil, I cooked down the aromatic vegetables. I added the garlic, a bit of salt, then tipped it all into the pot that was getting pretty steamy by this time. Everything continued to cook as I stirred the pot every so often smashing the tomatoes as I went. I even ran the electric mixer through it to further crush the tomatoes. After about an hour and a half of simmering, I added the fresh herbs and dry herbs (not yet with the bay leaf) then I added the two cans of tomato paste. It really started to smell good!
After another half hour of simmering, I turned off the flame and used a big 6 cup measuring cup to scoop out the sauce into batches and run each scoop through the blender to further puree the tomatoes. I dumped the now pureed tomatoes into a large bowl. When I transferred the last scoop of tomatoes to the blender, I poured everything from the bowl and blender back into the stock pot on the stove, added the bay leaves, salt, and sugar, then cranked up the heat to high. Since tomatoes vary in size, this is the time to check the taste and make adjustments to the salt, sugar or spices.
To insure being bacteria free, I brought this smooth and lovely sauce to a good boil and checked that it read 210° on an instant read thermometer for at least 5 minutes. I carefully poured the sauce into sterilized quart jars, wiped the rims, and placed sanitized lids and bands on each one. I got exactly 4 quarts out of this batch, but I really had to scrape down the stock pot to do it…otherwise I would have had to make a batch of spaghetti to go with it at 9:30pm. Thank goodness I didn’t have to do that! I’m still saving myself for after that physical examination to eat pasta again. Anyway, with the lids on and another pot of boiling water waiting, I further heated the jars in the water another 10 minutes just to be sure of sterilization. Out of the water bath and on the counter I heard the lids pop one by one as they cooled. The news was just starting when everything was finally cleaned up again.
Since writing a food blog I’ve run the risk of becoming a bit reubenesque myself. But I don’t want to look like the subject of Sir Peter Paul Rubens’ work. We will soon be “renewing our vows” with the life insurance company and since June, long walks, and leaner meals have become a necessary habit. I’ve had a measure of success getting my weight down to the prime rate zone by cutting waaaay down on sugar and bread. When I do eat bread it is whole wheat and only after a really hearty work out. Now after today’s 5 mile power walk, I decided I want my favorite sandwich of all …a tangy, cheesy, meaty Reuben
I still wanted to stay in the 500 calorie per meal place so this reuben sandwich would require some adjustments. Instead of two slices of marble rye grilled with butter, I used a whole wheat bun of 60 calories. I then sprayed a skillet with canola oil spray, toasted the bun, and browned off the meat. I used deli thin ham that I had on hand, but you could definitely use turkey, ham. Red meats like the traditional pastrami have more calories but this ham had only 70 calories per serving. A slice of swiss cheese is only 60 cal/ serving and I found fat free Thousand Island dressing and sauerkraut combined to finish it off adding only another 25 calories. So the total of calories for this very tasty sandwich came to only 215! That’s so good that I could afford to have another one plus a garden fresh sliced tomato on the side.
My sandwich craving has been completely satisfied with this reubenesque version, and my figure will continue to become less reubenesque as a result…The Three Graces would have loved this. (credit goes to wikipedia for this lovely picture)