Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Package Deal

Blogging is certainly something I love, but I continue to struggle finding the adequate time to commit to it. Therefore, I have come up with this week’s “Package Deal” where you get three recipes for the cost of one blog entry!
Let me preface these entries by saying, I have decided to embark on an experimental variance to my diet: the Mediterranean Diet. I prefer the term “eating pattern” to “diet”, but either way, it is different than the norm. Yet, it is all the more applicable to the health conscious, as well as the money and time conscious people out there. My dinners now take a bit more planning ahead, but cook time is still less than 30 minutes for the most part.
Why I Did It
Heart Healthy: Although I’m still young and reckless, I do realize even I could benefit by cutting down on red meats, high processed foods and sweets. The switch from meat to fish and chicken has not been devastating, and I am by no means swearing off red meat – ha, I love bloody tenderloin, sausage meat sauce and thick cheeseburgers way too much for that.
Currently my meals are still hearty, savory and sometimes even rich [without the fat!]. I am using more fruits and veggies, and trying to figure out the secret to cooking beans. These aren’t canned beans, mind you. I’m working to get the whole “overnight soak, cook tomorrow” method down, but I’ve never done that before, so it’s still a work in progress.
Make Better Use of My Food Funds: a 2lb bag of beans is slightly over $1 at Walmart and a 1.5lbs of catfish was only $7 at Farm Fresh. In total last week, I spent $45 on groceries and I am still eating that food, 9 days later!
Feel Better: Reviews have said that this diet gives you more energy by not planting a belly bomb in you after every dinner. The foods are said to metabolize quicker and help you move on from eating to action. So far, I have been feeling happily satisfied with taste during the meal and less hungry afterwards, which hopefully means I am adjusting well to the switch. I always thought my taste buds were from the Mediterranean…
White Bean and Tomato Soup
This White Bean and Tomato soup brought a savory sweetness to my dinner bowl. The type of tomatoes is the key to the flavor, while the beans and homemade roasted vegetable broth make it heartier than a regular tomato soup.
1 cup white or navy beans, dry
2 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 ½ cups roasted vegetable broth - homemade
1 14.5oz can diced stewed or Italian tomatoes, undrained
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
1. Soak beans overnight, cook according to package instructions. [Basically until desired tenderness. About 30-45 min. That is the time consuming part]
2. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onions, sauté until translucent. Add garlic, cook for about 2 more minutes.
3. Add in beans, broth, tomatoes and bay leaves.
4. Simmer until liquid has reduced and thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Eat!
Makes a WHOLE lot. Leftovers anyone? NOMS: 8
Ginger and Celery over Couscous
This dish is so simple, but we have ginger to thank for the creativity. Add some finely chopped ginger to celery, broccoli, rice, couscous, salads, etc. and you will find your taste buds will experience a bite of pungent flavor, but are then quickly refreshed by its clean aftertaste. You will invite ginger back into your meals again and again.
About 1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and finely diced
4 stalks celery, sliced
1 T lemon juice
1 T olive oil
Salt and pepper
½ c plain couscous
1. Cook couscous according to package instructions.
2. In small frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add celery, cook until fork tender.
3. Add ginger, lemon juice and s&p to taste.
4. Mix with couscous.
Makes about 1 large serving. NOMS: 7
Pesto Pasta
Having a fresh, crisp basil pesto on hand is your ticket to the Land of Tasty Dishes. It’s best, I think, with just pasta and maybe some plump, red tomatoes. But I doubt any veggie would mind being slathered in homemade pesto.
2-3 cups fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
About ½ cup walnuts, chopped
4 T finely grated parmesan cheese
Olive oil – to desired consistency
Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a blender or food processor, blend basil, nuts, garlic and parmesan until finely chopped.
2. Slowly pour in olive oil while the blender is on low. Add to desired consistency.
3. Season with salt and pepper. NOM!
Makes about ¾ cup of pesto, good for a few meals NOM: 9

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