Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. ~Hippocrates

Posts tagged ‘healthy’

The Best Roasted Kale Chips


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I have been experimenting with kale chips for awhile, mostly focussing on the spice factor. I discovered however, that using a different variety of kale is the real secret to improvement. When regular kale is roasted, it becomes so brittle (because it is a thin leaf), that just picking it up causes it to crumble. A variety called Lacinato kale has a thicker leaf, therefore is sturdier when roasted.

So now I have the perfect leaf and spices that will even get your kids to gobble these up. Quantities are loose here, since every head of kale is different, so you have to be a little flexible.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F or 375degrees if using a convection oven. Use a head of Lacinato kale (or a different flatter, thicker leafed kale than the traditional one). For best results, prepare the kale before washing/drying. Cut out the hard spine that runs in the center of the leaves. Break up the pieces of kale into approximately 2-3″ pieces. Soak in cold water, swishing the leaves around to loosen any sandy earth. Remove the leaves by hand, into a strainer (don’t dump it out or you pour the sand onto the leaves again!). Repeat the process one more time. Now drain and dry thoroughly. A salad spinner works wonders if you have one.

Very finely grate a hard cheese such as parmigiana reggiano, so it is snowy fine. 

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Lightly coat a large cookie sheet with good olive oil. I use Lyrika Groves. It’s expensive, but worth it! (Shameless plug: https://www.facebook.com/LyriKaGrovesOrganicExtraVirginOliveOil) Place your kale leaves in a large bowl and lightly coat with oil. Toss well for even distribution.

Lay out your kale pieces, touching, but not overlapping. Spread a dusting of the grated cheese evenly on the leaves, followed by a VERY light dusting of chili pepper. (When the kale shrinks, the chile gets more potent, so unless you like your mouth ON FIRE, use sparingly.) 

Here’s the main potential for kale chip destruction: Place the tray in the preheated oven. DO NOT WALK AWAY. If you must multitask, do it in front of your oven. Leave the oven light on so you can observe the chips. They go from “not ready” to “ready” in seconds!

Figure on about 10 minutes, but since ovens vary, watch your chips. When they appear to have shrunk about a third to a half in size, open the oven gingerly, remove a chip with a small spatula and test it. It should be nice and crisp. If you have distributed the leaves evenly on the sheet, all the chips will be ready when the sample is.

Let cool completely and store in a tight plastic container. I guarantee, they won’t last long!

 

 

Cheesy Cauliflower Patties


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These patties are easy to make and the family will love them.

Ingredients:

1 head Cauliflower
2 Large Eggs
1/2 Cup Grated sharp cheddar cheese
2/3 Cup Grated panko crumbs
1/2 tsp Cayenne papper (more if you like spicy)
Salt
Olive oil for griddle

Directions:

Steam cauliflower florets for 10 minutes (from boiling point)
Drain well and mash. Let cool.
Stir in cheese, eggs, panko, cayenne and salt.
Coat griddle with olive oil over medium heat.
Form cauliflower mixture into 3″ patties.
Cook until golden brown and set; about 3 minutes on each side.

Quick and Healthy Chili


Healthy Chili

Healthy Chili

I don’t often use canned goods and packaged spices, but if you find good ones, there is no reason not to when you are in a hurry. This recipe doesn’t take long to prepare, but you want to plan to be around the house to stir frequently so the beans don’t burn to the bottom of the pot. The healthy beans and tomatoes make this a powerhouse of good nutrition.

This recipe makes 6-7 quarts, enough for a couple of family dinners and some for the freezer. I package it in portion sized containers for fast defrosting and eating.

Ingredients:

  • 2   28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes (choose one without added sugar and salt)
  • 3  15.5 oz. cans of beans, drained and rinsed of the starch. Use any small beans such as navy, pinto, black, etc. I like to mix mine so I get the benefits of the nutrients in the different beans.
  • 1  15 oz. can of corn (no added sugar or salt). This will be added toward the end of the cooking cycle.
  • 2  packages of chili seasoning mix (more if you like it very hot. Two packages gives it a little kick). Note: look for a brand that has no preservatives or other chemicals. The ingredient list should have just spices. I use Sauce Supreme, which I find in the job lot store.
  • 2  lbs. of ground turkey or white meat chicken
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 very large or 2 medium sweet onions, chopped
  • Olive or canola oil for browning onions and chopped poultry

Directions:

Brown the onions in a small amount of oil, in a large, heavy stock pot. Put aside. Brown the chopped turkey/chicken in oil (because there is little fat, it will stick to the pan. If  you want to eliminate the oil, or use less, use a non-stick pan).

Add the crushed tomatoes, rinsed beans, water and chili seasoning. Simmer on a medium to low temperature. You want it to bubble slightly, but not burn on the bottom. Stir every 10 minutes, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot so the beans (which are heavy and settle) won’t burn. Cook for 2 hours to soften the beans and meld the flavors. Add the corn in the final 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately or cool and refrigerate. Leftovers may be frozen.

Bon appétit!

Strategies for Managing Holiday Eating


Pardon my hiatus. No, I haven’t been absent because I went off the healthy eating wagon and started eating junk food (though the impending holiday season is beginning to present many challenges to my commitment to remain sugar-sober).

With this in mind, I began seeking treats that would not compromise my commitment, while allowing me to partake in the eating festivities. Lucky you! My search will deliver some healthy alternatives to the sugar and fat-laden holiday treats. Caution: they will still be on the cusp of healthy, so don’t get too giddy. It will make traditionally VERY unhealthy options into HEALTHIER options. Stay tuned for recipes in upcoming posts.

While you wait, I will offer some pearls of wisdom about eating during the holiday season without feeling deprived. First let me preface this by saying it is OK to indulge a little. Serial overindulgence – not such a good idea.

Focus on the purpose of holiday gatherings. Surely it is about being with family and friends first, and yes, that goes with eating. But, food need not be the focus alone. Plan other activities: walks, movies (hold the high calorie candy), trips to the city, shopping together, etc.

The most common temptation and least healthy choice is the appetizer. Those pretty, flaky little things passed on trays during cocktail hour are laden with fat and calories – more pound for pound than nearly any other food. So how do you dodge this bullet? Try to eat something healthy or have a hot cup of broth or tea before you go to the party. It will curb your appetite. When there, look for shrimp cocktail. The sauce typically is tomato based with spice and nearly fat free. Shrimp has no fat, though it is high in cholesterol, so eat modestly. Vegetable crudities and fruit are often available on a table. Fill up on these so you are less tempted to eat less healthful options.

Avoid anything wrapped in bacon or flaky pastry dough (ie.-cocktail franks), food that is  deep fried or swimming in cream sauce. If you are trying to monitor desserts, look for fruit, sorbet, or just limit yourself to one small pastry or one cookie.

It is possible to survive the onslaught of holiday festivities if you prepare yourself mentally and look for healthier options. If you are going with a partner, ask him or her to help remind you with a gentle signal (or a hammer to the hand if they need more severe assistance).

Happy holidays!

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