Wednesday, April 25, 2012

For the love of asparagus!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE asparagus!  It is possibly my favorite veggie.  A friend of mine has recently started to get an abundance of fresh spring asparagus and has shared it with me!   He actually brought enough for about 4 days of eating, twice now.  I just can't stand to let fresh produce go to waste, so I have been eating it every night. 

Just like anything in life, it is possible to get too much of a good thing.  As much as I like it, I can still get burned out on the same old asparagus.  I tend to saute or roast it in a little butter or olive oil.  That was just getting old, so I found this new recipe for panko crusted asparagus and was instantly intrigued!  I took some photos as I cooked, to help with the explanation, so here we go!

Line a baking dish with parchment paper or foil and spray with cooking spray (I use the olive oil kind).   Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a long dish, whisk 2 eggs.  For the dipping, I use paper plates for less mess to clean up later.  One plate will be flour, the other will be panko breadcrumbs, or cracker crumbs, whichever you may have.  I added a little parsley, Parmesan cheese and season salt to mine because they were plain panko crumbs.  The other plate will be your washed and trimmed asparagus spears.  Like this...

First, dip the clean asparagus in the flour, not much flour will stick, but it does help the egg to stick, which is your next dip.  So now, dip and coat the stalks well in the egg.  Lastly, gently roll them in the panko crumbs until well coated.  Carefully lay each onto the cookie sheet, should be looking something like this...

Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and pop them in the oven.  I cooked mine for about 8 minutes, then carefully turned them.  They should take about 15 minutes total.  Just keep and eye on them and let them get toasty brown, like this...

For the last photo, I grilled a big slab of salmon, which is my favorite fish, so having 2 of my favorites together in one meal made me... one extremely happy girl!  This is definitely a keeper for my plate!
Until next time, always...Love what you eat and eat what you love!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

You don't have to use oil OR butter!

My motto about FOOD...

I like it, I love it, I want some more of it.

That being said, I have found many ways to cut calories here and there, to allow me to eat more of what I love.

One of my most important substitutes is chicken/beef bullion cubes.
If you are going to saute vegetables, you typically use butter or oil.  Either one will add several hundred calories very quickly.  Just a couple of tablespoons, and you just made that broccoli or cabbage have 300 plus calories when it could have had just 125 calories.

I keep a jar of each, chicken and beef bullion base in my cabinet.  Just scoop a little out, add some water, and BAM! you have instant broth.  I add this broth to a nonstick pan and saute just about any veggie you can think of.   I made the purple cabbage below with just that method.   A little garlic powder and some red pepper flakes really made it POP!

The wonderful thing about vegetables is that they are very low calorie and excellent sources of vitamins!   I like some better than others, for example, hominy, this is one veggie that has nothing to fear from me because I don't like hominy at all.   There are plenty others out there, so if there is one that you find you don't like, don't buy him anymore.  :)

Next time, I will get into more of my substitutes but for now, get out there and start cooking without all the fatty added!

Eat what you love and love what you eat!   :)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Black bean burgers to curb the burger craving.

So, you are craving a burger but you don't need the calories and fat??

I present to you, my first black bean burger.  It will satisfy the burger craving until you can or should eat an actual burger.   I has about 1/10th the fat and calories of a regular cheeseburger, and it really ain't all that bad.   Kinda even looks like one.  ;)

Black Bean Burgers
1 (16 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained well
1/2 green bell pepper 
1/2 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 egg
1 tablespoon worchestershire
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon hot sauce
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 dashes of crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon of Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning powder
Burger buns

In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork until thick and pasty.

In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Then stir into mashed beans.

In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, cumin, worchestershire and hot sauce.

Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs and ranch dressing  until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into four patties.

If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 8 minutes on each side.   If frying, use 2 tablespoons of oil and fry for about 6 minutes per side on medium heat.  

To make these your own...add some strong cheese, and pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, mustard, ketchup, light mayo, onion...whatever your favorite toppings are to make these taste as authentic as possible.  These burgers will allow you to have a burger flavor for about one tenth the fat and calories of a normal greasy burger, especially if  you are on a lowfat/low calorie diet.  They can satisfy the burger need.  If you aren't watching your calories....go get you a Whopper, but your heart will love you for choosing this burger instead.    Heck, 10 minutes later, you won't even know the difference.    ;)

So as what you love and love what you eat!  Just keep it healthy.  :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The question is...Will I like crab??

Sometimes it just happens.  You eat the same things over and over, just because.  It is easier to stay in a rut than to jump the ditch and make a new road.  

I felt it was time to experiment with a new-to-me ingredient. To explore.  Be bold.  Venture into the vast ingredients available to me.  Well, maybe not that bold, but new ingredients are intimidating to me.   

I have never purchased crab meat before and to be honest, I didn't even know what it should look like when purchased.  I have had crab stuffed salmon and crab stuffed shrimp at restaurants.  Both were yummy, so I decided to try my hand at crab cakes.   I lightened up a recipe that I found online.

Lightened Up Crabcakes

     2 T mayonnaise
     1 t worchestershire
     1 t mustard
     1 t hot sauce
     1 egg 
     1 t Old Bay seasoning
     sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes
In a medium bowl, whisk all of the above ingredients well.

      10 crackers, finely crushed
      8 oz. lump crab meat

Mix the cracker crumbs and crab meat together, then fold in the mayonnaise mixture.  Refrigerate for one hour.  

Add a couple of tablespoons of oil to a skillet over medium high heat.   Form the crab mixture into 4 patties and place in the skillet.  

Allow patties to brown on first side and flip once.   Cook approximately 3 minutes per side. 

I will have to experiment more to decide my favorite side dish for the crabby cakes.  I tried sauteed green beans with these, and they went well together.  Just about any dish that goes with fish will probably be good for the cakes.  I think the slaw that I had with the tilapia recently may be a good one to try next, or maybe some sauteed zucchini.  mmm.

Ta-Ta for now!  If you have tried a new food lately and liked it, let me know so I can try it too!  And what you love and love what you eat!



Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tilapia again? Oh Yeah!

The fresh tilapia I bought at Kroger came with two nice fillets in the package, so I got to enjoy it two nights in a row.  Since I loved the second dish as much as the first, I'm gonna share it too.  

The side dish was something that I found on  The base of it is a bag of broccoli slaw mix that you will find with the salad mixes at the grocery store.  One whole bag has about 100 calories, and it is a huge serving (which I LOVE).  For this recipe, I used half a bag.  I also had a couple of handfuls of grape tomatoes that I cut in half and added.   The dressing on the slaw is Newman's Own Low Fat Sesame Ginger.  About 3 tablespoons seemed to be about right for my slaw.  You can start with 2 and add more to your taste.  I also added a few red pepper flakes for spice and a sprinkle of Greek seasoning, just because it seems to enhance the flavor of just about anything, except desserts, of course.  Just toss all of that together and let the flavors marry while the fish is cooking. 

For the tilapia, I sprinkled both sides with Old Bay seasoning and sprayed each side with olive oil Pam.  Over a low flame on my gas grill, I grilled the first side for about 3-4 minutes.  Then, carefully flipped it to the other side.  It is a flaky, delicate fish, but it will stay together if you are gentle.  Cook on the 2nd side for about another 3-4 minutes.  The raw fish will have a pink tint, but it will turn white when cooked.

So, here we have a wonderful dish for only about 275 calories that is super low in fat and carbs, but still very very tasty.   So remember, with the right foods, you can always, eat what you love, and love what you eat!


Monday, April 2, 2012

Salmon, Oh Salmon, I must substitute tilapia for you.

So, being a fish lover, I try to read about it and know the good and the bad of it all.  Salmon is one of my favorites fishes but like everything else in the world, it too has good and bad points.  First they tell you to eat salmon, it is good for you.  Then they tell you, don't eat too much salmon, it can be bad for you. 

Wild caught salmon seems to be the way to go.  It comes straight from the ocean.  It doesn't have the red dye in it that the farm raised salmon does.  It doesn't contain toxins from the food and contaminated water it lives in.  It even has more Omega-3 than the farm raised.  So why should there even be a problem choosing?   The answer unfortunately is TASTE.   I just don't like the taste or texture of the wild caught salmon.   It just seems like a completely different fish. 

Therefore, I tend to just buy the farm raised and only eat it once or twice a week.  This week, I bought tilapia instead, just to give my body a break from the toxic salmon.  I don't buy alot of tilapia, but it really is a pretty good fish.  It is a very mild fish, and it grills  similar to salmon.  It can fall apart if you are not careful, so I tend to be a little more gentle with it on the grill. 

To make the tilapia dish, I bought a bag of frozen mixed veggies that contained black beans, corn, red pepper and onion.  I sauteed about half the bag in a little olive oil and added a few red pepper flakes.  After it had cooked for a minute or so, I added 2 cups of diced zucchini.  Cooking it all for a few more minutes.  For the tilapia, sprinkle both sides with your favorite seasoning, such as Greek or Old Bay.  Then spray both sides of the fillet with nonstick cooking spray and grill it for about 3-4 minutes per side over medium heat.  The fish will turn more white than opaque when it is done.  Gently remove it from the grill and plate it with the sauteed veggies on top.   And remember...Eat what you love, love what you eat!