Archive for December, 2012

PENNE PASTA WITH VEGETABLES

Penne Pasta with Vegetables

 This is a great recipe to get a lot of vegetables down the hatch. If you want to be super healthy, substitute the penne with whole-wheat pasta.

ingredients

12 ounces penne pasta

1 T olive oil

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup red onion, chopped

2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 zucchini, sliced

1 t dried oregano

½ t hot red pepper flakes

2 cups of cherry tomatoes, cut in half

2 large handfuls of spinach

salt and pepper to taste

grated Parmesan cheese

directions

In a large frying pan heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, and onion sauté for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes. Then add the sliced zucchini and stir and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the oregano and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium, add tomatoes and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the spinach and stir to wilt.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and add the cooked vegetable mixture to the pasta and toss to coat well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

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WHEN IT COMES TO NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS: LESS IS MORE

I’m a huge believer in LESS IS MORE: Some examples?

  • I think it’s much better to have a small portion of your favorite “fattening” food than a super-sized portion of a lower fat/calorie version.
  • I think the best parties are the ones that are short and sweet so you leave wanting more.
  • I think visitors should stay for no more than 3 days.

I also believe that the “less is more” philosophy should be applied to setting New Year’s resolutions.  And now that we’re a week away from a new year, I thought I should give a few specific examples. More often then not, we never reach our goals because we set completely unrealistic ones. My advice: Start with less.

  • Take “I want to lose x lbs” and cut it in half. Twenty becomes ten and ten becomes five. You will be more likely to reach that goal and feel great. And the beauty is……you can always set  another one when you’ve reached the first milestone.sugar2
  • Take “I’m going to get rid of chocolate, caffeine and sugar out of my diet” and pick ONE. One won’t be so bad. Three will lead to failure.
  • Take “I want to start exercising at least 3 days a week” and chop that, too. Start with one day. Add another day. Live with that in your daily life and see how that works. When you’re successful, you can always increase it.
  • Take “I have to do at least 30-40 minutes of cardio” and slash that down to 20 minutes. Yes, start with 20 minutes. You will be more likely to DO 20 minutes vs. THINKING ABOUT doing 30-40 minutes.

Bottom line: Set a realistic goal that is attainable and that will actually fit into your lifestyle. Less will definitely turn out to be more!

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HEALTHY KFC

Healthy KFC  

ingredients

¼  cup of self-rising flour (or ¼  cup flour + ½ t baking powder)

2 t celery salt

2 t black pepper

2 t paprika

1/8 t cayenne

2 t dried thyme

2 t dried oregano

1 t garlic powder

2 t ground cumin

1 t ground coriander

2/3 cup skim milk

8 chicken drumsticks, skin removed

1 T vegetable oil

directions

Blend the flour with all of the spices. Pre-heat the oven to 4000 F. Dip the chicken into the milk and then into the seasoned flour. Repeat this for a second time.

Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan and brown the chicken on each side for about 1 minute. Transfer the chicken to a roasting pan and cook in the oven for 25-30 min.

(Adapted from a recipe found in The London Sunday Times entitled “Home and Away.”)

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NOT RED, NOT GREEN BUT GRAY

A client of mine just told me that the other night, at a holiday party, she decided to watch what she was eating so she could indulge in a drink or two. A Champagne Cheers!(Ok, maybe three?)

I kind of liked this strategy. Now that we are completely immersed in perpetual festivities, I think the best thing we can do is to aim for weight maintenance. You don’t have to throw in the towel, lose all control and say, “January 1st is only a few weeks away”. Likewise, you certainly don’t have to say, “I’m not going to anymore parties.” In between there is a lot of gray.

So celebrate this holiday season with caution and make choices: Japanese Christmas Cake2  choose , for example, whether you want champagne or a piece of cake. This way, you won’t have a big mess to deal with when it’s all over. Try your best to find the gray.

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GARLIC CHICKEN FRIED BROWN RICE

Garlic Chicken Fried Brown Rice

The key to this recipe to is make sure you cook the brown rice ahead of time. You can even do it a day before. The rice needs to be cooked and cooled so it doesn’t stick together. It makes a huge difference!

ingredients

2 T peanut oil, divided

¾ lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into thin strips

1 ½ cups chopped red and yellow pepper

2/3 cup green onions, chopped

6 cloves of garlic, minced

3 cups cooked brown rice, cooled (1 cup raw)

2 ½ T  low-sodium soy sauce

1 ½ T rice vinegar

1 ¼ cup frozen peas, thawed

directions

Heat 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil in a large skillet or wok. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken strips and stir. Add the chopped pepper and green onions. Cook and stir until the chicken is cooked through, about 4-5 minutes. Remove this mixture to a plate and cover with foil.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of peanut oil to the same skillet or wok. Add the brown rice and cook and stir to heat through. Stir in the soy sauce, the rice vinegar and the peas. Continue to cook for 1 minute. Return the chicken mixture to the skillet and stir to blend with the rice and peas. Heat through before serving.

(Adapted from a recipe found on allrecipes.com)

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HEALTHY MUFFIN RECIPES

Recently, a client of mine asked me if I could start posting “healthy” recipes for muffins and cookies. To me, that seemed like an oxymoron. The reason why I haven’t posted recipes like this is because often, while they have healthy ingredients (unsaturated oils, eggs, dried fruit, dark chocolate, whole wheat flour) together, they add up to a lot of calories for not much quantity. OR, the recipe will produce a low-calorie muffin but with a very low-calorie-muffin-taste.

My feeling is that you should eat the “real mccoy”, as long as you watch the portion size and have it as a special treat. Since muffins and cookies tend to be supersized, it definitely means sharing. But that’s ok………share!

However, if you are dead set on baking “healthy muffins”, check out this link.

http://family.go.com/food/pkg-healthy-recipes/healthy-muffin-recipes-pg/

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QUINOA-RICE PILAF WITH DILL AND ROASTED TOMATOES

Quinoa-Rice Pilaf with Dill and Roasted Tomatoes 

I like this recipe because it can be a great introduction to quinoa for those people who are reluctant to try it. My husband is not a huge fan, so when I made this recipe, instead of using half rice and half quinoa, I used ¾ cup rice and ¼ cup quinoa. It has wonderful flavors.

ingredients

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

olive oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

3 sticks of celery, sliced

½ t cumin

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

½ cup basmati rice

½ cup quinoa

2-3 T fresh dill, chopped

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

3 T toasted pine nuts (see note below)

directions

Pre-heat the oven to 3500F. Put the tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. (You can also spay the tomatoes with olive oil if you have a “misto” bottle.) Season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Heat 1 T of olive oil in a large saucepan (with a lid). Add the onion, celery, cumin and garlic and cook on a medium heat for about 5 minutes. Season to taste. Add the rice and quinoa and coat in the onion mixture. Add the dill and stock. Cover with a lid and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the rice is soft. Add the roasted tomatoes and the pine nuts and gently stir. Serve with white fish or a green salad.

NOTE: To toast the pine nuts, simply place them in a non-stick skillet over medium low heat. Shake the skillet frequently to ensure even browning—the pine nuts are small and full of rich oil, and will burn quickly if you don’t watch carefully. When the nuts are fragrant and browned, take the pan off the heat.

(Adapted from a recipe found on http://www.bbcgoodfood.com)

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