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

Posts tagged ‘olive oil’

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!

 

 

The Simple Salad


A salad can be a feast for the eyes, which comes before the desire to eat it! We often enjoy a salad as dinner, or with dinner. Variety in color enhances the nutritional value of the meal. Salads are versatile: you can use what’s left in the fridge. It’s fast, easy and economical. This salad has only green leaf lettuce, red cabbage and yellow peppers. It is tossed simply with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a dried spice consisting of garlic, chili pepper and a little salt. While delicious on its own, you can make it dinner by throwing in small blocks of cheese, leftover roasted chicken, tuna, canned salmon, avocado, or sunflower seeds. You can make it a little sweet by adding dried cranberries, orange slices (fresh or mandarin), apples, gorgonzola (Waldorf style). You can add other greens or red lettuce, radicchio, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. A salad is really whatever you choose to put in it!

Just stay away from the creamy dressings, caesar dressing (VERY high in fat/calories) and bacon, and your meal will be very healthy.

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Parmesan Crusted Chicken Tenders


While this recipe is not ultra low in calories and fat, it is considerably healthier than the standard preparation. Therefore, you can enjoy the old standard with less guilt. The recipe is easy to prepare, satisfying , and heart healthy. It is also suitable for diabetics.

Ingredients:

2 large eggs, beaten
1 lb. chicken tenders
1 C whole wheat breadcrumbs, coarse
1/2 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
1 Tbs Italian seasoning (unless breadcrumbs are seasoned)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 C whole wheat flour (preferred)
Olive oil cooking spray
Marinara sauce for dipping

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Put an oil sprayed wire rack on a baking sheet.

Put flour in one shallow dish and eggs in another. Mix parmesan cheese, garlic powder , Italian seasoning and breadcrumbs and place in another shallow dish.  Coat each tender in flour. Shake off excess and coat each tender with the beaten eggs, then roll in breadcrumb/parmesan cheese mixture to coat thoroughly.

Place the tenders on the wire rack, spray with cooking spray and bake for 10 minutes. turn them over, spray the tenders and put back in oven for about 10 minutes more, until crisp.

Serve with marinara sauce or offer a variety of sauces like sweet and sour, teriyaki, etc.

Serving size=4oz. 335 calories per serving; 12 grams of fat (4 saturated); 132 mg cholesterol; 23 grams carbohydrate; 31 grams protein; 3 grams fiber; 607 grams sodium; 466 mg potassium.

Diabetic exchange equivalents: 3 lean meats, 1 starch, 1 vegetable

Makes 4 servings; 30 minutes prep/cook time

Crunchy Baked Zucchini Sticks


Frying is a cooking method that tastes great, but is the least healthy and adds the most fat. Make it lighter by baking instead. The fat from a cooking spray is a fraction of the fat that would be absorbed in frying. Go ahead. Enjoy guilt free!

Ingredients

Olive oil cooking spray
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 1/2 pounds zucchini, (about 3 medium), cut into 1/2-by-3-inch sticks

Preheat oven to 475°F.

Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Combine dry ingredients in a large ziplock bag. Dip zucchini sticks in egg white, place in bag and shake to coat. Put on cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray.

Bake on the center rack for 10 minutes. Turn and spray any dry spots with cooking spray. Bake until golden brown and and just tender, about 8 to 10 minutes more. Serve hot plain or with tomato sauce.

Serves 4. Preparation/cooking takes 40 minutes

Adapted from Eating Well.com

Lemon-Marinated Shrimp


 

  • Serves 12. Nutrition info per serving: 73 calories; 3 g fat ( 0 g sat , 2 g mono ); 92 mg cholesterol; 1 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 10 g protein; 0 g fiber; 154 mg sodium; 108 mg potassium
  • Ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/4 pounds cooked shrimp
  • Brown garlic in oil in a small frypan on medium heat for 1 min. Add lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper. Toss with shrimp in large bowl. Refrigerate. Give it at least 2 hours to marinate before serving

 

Pesto Stuffed Tilapia


Ready for the oven

What a meal it was last night! I never practice my menu before subjecting my friends to my experiments, nor do I do a lot of tasting as I cook. I feel that if you use good ingredients, you can’t go that wrong! Fortunately, my worst outcomes are always palatable, if not just right. This dish is a winner and versatile enough to use on other kinds of fish. With tilapia being a reasonably-priced and sustainable variety however, this recipe is sure to make every fish eater and host happy. This recipe serves 6.

6 pieces of tilapia fillets, cut down the center

6 scallion stalks, blanched

Pesto (use my recipe in the last post, but halve the olive oil to 1/4 cup for a pastier consistency)

Method: Lightly oil the bottom of a baking dish. Place the scallion pieces horizontally under each fillet Put the wider halves of the fillets in the baking dish Spread  a 1.5 inch “strip” of pesto down the center lengthwise. Top with the narrower half of the fillet. “Tie” the scallion around the bundles. If they are a bit short or too brittle, use a toothpick to hold the scallion tie through cooking and remove prior to serving. Sprinkle with paprika for color.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve with roasted tomatoes and a grain.

Pesto Sauce: easy and delicious!


Pesto ready for pasta

Pesto sauce is a great accompaniment to pasta of course, but yesterday I used it in a baked fish recipe. It was scrumptious! I altered the usual recipe, halving the olive oil, so there would be less “oozing” when the fish was cooked. Why waste this precious extra virgin olive oil?

Here is the standard recipe. In a later post, I will note the changes to this recipe as incorporated into the fish dish.

PESTO SAUCE

2 cups of basil (I prefer to replace 1 cup with parsley for a less potent taste)

3 cloves of garlic

1/3 cup shelled pignoli (pine) nuts

1/2 cup grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Chop basil/parsley, garlic and pine nuts briefly in food processor. Scrape bowl. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until blended. Add cheese, blend and serve with whole wheat pasta. Remember it goes a long way, so don’t drown the pasta in the sauce. It is used more like a butter. Put a tablespoon on the pasta. It will melt and coat the pasta. It is hard to find a good tasting whole wheat pasta with a good “bite.” I like Trader Joes’ brand best, especially their thin spaghetti in the cellophane wrapper.

Roasted Tomatoes


Roasted Tomatoes

Technically a fruit, we use tomatoes more like a vegetable. Tomatoes are SO healthy! They have no fat or cholesterol, very few calories, sugar and sodium, yet pack a lot of flavor and nutrients. They have a good dose of Vitamins A, C, K, folate and choline, and minerals calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Their high antioxidant content makes them good cancer fighters as well, sweeping up all those free radicals we accumulate from other “bad” foods, particularly those with nitrates and nitrites, grilled foods, etc.

Roasting tomatoes brings out the intense tomato flavor that is delicious with the right herbs and spices. I find the best complement to tomatoes are spices used frequently in Italian cooking: parsley, oregano and basil. Because they will bake and absorb the seasonings, you can happily use dried herbs, but feel free to use fresh if you want to.

I use many kinds of tomatoes, but the juicier varieties are the best. Roma tomatoes are nice, but tricky to stand in the baking dish due to their shape. Slice lengthwise if using this variety. Here is the simple recipe. Enjoy.

Discard the stem. Slice tomatoes in half and line up on a lightly oiled baking dish. Sprinkle the tomatoes with dried oregano, basil and parsley (equal amounts of each) and a dusting of salt if you like, though it is not necessary if you are minding your sodium intake.

You can also sprinkle with grated parmesan or romano cheese (then don’t use the salt) and bake at 350 degrees. The length of time depends on the size of your tomatoes. For cherry tomatoes, 20 minutes will do. For medium to larger ones you will need at least 30 minutes, and up to 45 minutes. Remove and serve!

Also good at room temperature, so you can make it a little ahead if you need the oven for other dishes.

Cous Cous for a Sweet New Year


New Year Couscous

cups of whole wheat Israeli couscous

1 cup orange juice

2 1/4 cups water

4 teaspoons light olive oil

½ cup slivered almonds

¾ cup craisins

Green leaves of mint or basil for garnish

Bring water and orange juice to a boil. Add couscous, stir and simmer for 8 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Remove couscous to a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. Add oil, almonds and craisins. Stir well and garnish.

Recipe: Middle Eastern Couscous and Tomato Salad


3 cups of middle eastern couscous

1 bunch of fresh curly parsley, chopped

2 large beefsteak or other juicy tomatoes, chopped.

1 small-medium red or sweet onion, chopped

3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Boil 3 1/4 cups of water. Add couscous and lower heat. Cover pot and simmer about 8 minutes. Taste to see if done and continue cooking if too hard. Remove from heat and put in bowl to cool. Add balance of ingredients, stir and chill. Enjoy!

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