Monday, June 30, 2008

Vegetarian for a Day

One of my go-to websites for recipes is SELF magazine is one of the publications the website provides recipes from (others include Bon Appetit and Gourmet). All of the recipes in SELF are supposedly health-conscious and provide the nutritional analysis; however, I had a more difficult time finding good, nutritious recipes than I thought I would (some of them looked gross and had poor ratings). There were lots of other recipes that looked yummy, but needed to be "modified" to make more healthful...I end up doing this when I cook all of the time (by switching from butter to oil and using less of it, adding more veggies, cutting back on high fat ingredients, using whole grain products when appropriate, etc).

All of the recipes this week are vegetarian (not vegan though). They all provide (or give a suggestion for) a non-meat form of protein, such as beans, nuts, cheese, eggs, or seafood. It's not a bad idea to have a vegetarian day/dinner/meal at least once a week. It can help keep your saturated fat and cholesterol intake in check (although not the case with the egg and cheese). It also encourages you to eat more beans...something I feel people avoid because they contain "dreaded" carbohydrates. Beans are full of fiber and contain a good source of lean protein. They are also an excellent source of folate, something all women in child-bearing years need to help prevent birth defects. And canned beans are so easy! Just rinse them and they are ready to go. Definitely not something to avoid!

Eating less meat/poultry is also good for the environment!

Anyway...For a treat, I also included a dessert recipe. Of course it is made with fruit, but it looks really good (and served with vanilla frozen yogurt, even better!)

Asian Spinach Salad with Orange and Avocado -
  • Per serving - 152 calories, 11 g fat (1.3 g saturated), 14 g carbohydrates, 6.2 g fiber, 2.5 g protein (exchanges: 2 fats, 2 vegetables)
  • Notes - Complete the meal with some lean protein...salmon, tuna, shrimp...your choice; buy fresh ginger and keep what you don’t use in the freezer; save small glass jars to use when making salad dressings...put all of the ingredients in the jar, put the lid on, and shake; you could substitute canned mandarin oranges in packed in juice or light syrup

Eggplant Cannelloni -

  • Per serving - 259 calories, 10.7 g fat (4.7 g saturated), 32 g carbohydrates, 10.8 g fiber, 10.5 g protein (exchanges: 2 fats, 1.5 protein, 4.5 vegetables)
  • Notes - Complete the meal with roasted asparagus and a side salad; jars of red peppers are usually by the pickles/olives/etc; notice the number of servings (4) will probably get to eat more than one roll!; you could substitute store bought tomato sauce instead of making the roasted red pepper sauce, but make sure you choose a brand that has little/no added sugar and only “expected” ingredients...see my previous post on pasta sauce for more info

Black-bean and Tomato Quinoa -

  • Per serving - 361 calories, 9.4 g fat (0.9 g saturated), 55 g carbohydrate, 10 g fiber, 14 g protein (exchanges: 2 fats, 1 protein, 1 vegetable, 3 starches); I modified this recipe from the original by replacing the 2 T butter and 1 T vegetable oil with only 2 T olive oil
  • Notes - Quinoa is a fast-cooking, protein-packed, whole grain...could it get any better??? you can find it in Whole Foods Market (by the bulk grains and bagged/boxed rice) other grocery stores look for it in the natural/health food should always rise the quinoa first to remove the natural bitter residue; complete the meal by doubling the dressing and using the other 1/2 over a side salad

Roasted Shrimp and Mushrooms with Ginger and Green Onions -

  • Per serving - 179 calories, 11.2 g fat (2 g saturated), 7 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 10 g protein (exchanges: 2 fats, 1.5 protein, 1 vegetable); I modified this recipe for the original by replacing the 1/4 cup canola oil with 4 teaspoons...this saves you 156 calories and 18 grams of fat per serving!
  • Notes - Complete the meal by roast asparagus alongside and serving with brown rice...toss the trimmed asparagus spears with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and place on a separate rimmed baking sheet; although I haven’t tried this, you may be able to use peeled shrimp with similar may need to reduce the cooking time to prevent the shrimp from becoming tough; the recipe calls for oyster mushrooms, but you could use any other variety you like

Veggie Cassoulet -

  • Per serving - 382 calories, 7.8 g fat (1 g saturated), 66 g carbohydrates, 15.5 g fiber, 19.6 g protein (exchanges: 1.5 fats, 2 protein, 3 vegetables, 2 starches)
  • Notes - A cassoulet is a rich, slow-cooked bean stew or casserole originating in the southwest of France, containing meat...this vegetarian version is packed full of fiber

Spinach and Sun-dried Tomato Frittata -

  • Per serving - 289 calories, 13.4 g fat (5.2 g saturated), 27.7 g carbohydrates, 4.3 g fiber, 17.5 g protein (exchanges: 2.5 fats, 2 protein, 1 starch, 1 vegetable)
  • Notes - Breakfast for dinner is always have more time to spend preparing dishes that take too long in the morning; you can substitute any vegetables that you have in the fridge; if you don’t have small baking dishes you could use a pie plate or an oven-proof 6-inch skillet...the cooking time may be a little longer

Poached Rum Raisin Pears -

  • Per serving - 161 calories, 2 g fat (1 g saturated), 35 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber, 1 g protein (exchanges: 1 fat, 2 fruit)
  • Notes - It may be good to add a cinnamon stick (or some ground cinnamon) too; depending on how much alcohol actually cooks out will determine the number of calories and servings of fat...if all of the alcohol cooked out (which it doesn’t, but most will) there would be 143 calories and you would count 0.5 fats...i’ll assume at least two-thirds of it evaporates...that’s how I determined the “per serving” analysis

FYI...Buying juice is getting tricky these days...all sort of new "things" added to help with some health condition (omega-3's, antioxidants, etc.). Here is an article about new juice products and whether or not they are worth the extra money.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Meet Biscotti

My sister (and roommate now that I'm back in Louisiana) is living in NYC this summer doing a fashion internship with Mint. I decided that I needed a temporary Biscotti, aka Scotti, my new kitty (that's Frances, one of my little "sisters", holding the kitty).

He is so cute and very playful! I am enjoying his company (and so is Frances...Scotti has spent quite a bit of time in her baby carriage!).

All of the recipes are from a new cookbook that I bought earlier this year and love. "The Food You Crave" is the title and it's written by Ellie Krieger. As I've mentioned before, she is a dietitian/chef for the Food Network. All of her recipes on the Food Network website have the nutrition information posted. Go to the website and search for "ellie" (which I've done here) and it will show you all of her recipes. You can order the book on Amazon (if you buy it used its only about $16).

Of the following recipes, I've made and love the Thai Beef Salad. If you do nothing else, make the is so good!

I've also been told by other TWL participants that the Balsamic Chicken with Baby Spinach, the Portobello Lasagna Rollups, and the Broccoli with Toasted Garlic are delish.

When I first sent these recipes for TWL it was Super Bowl time, so I included 2 dip recipes and one for chili (being "triple bean" its very high in fiber - 9 grams, 36% of your Daily Value). The Baba Ghanoush is a great dip...starch free and so good (its made with eggplant which when roasted gets really creamy).

Grilled Thai Beef Salad -
  • Per serving - 345 calories, 18.5 g fat (4.5 g saturated), 12 g carbohydrates, 33 g protein, 1 g fiber (exchanges: 3.5 fat, 2 vegetables, 4 protein)
  • Notes - I buy fresh ginger, cut off what I need, and store the rest in the freezer in a Ziploc bag…it will keep forever; you could (and should) add more veggies to this salad…shredded carrots, diced red bell pepper, snow peas...

Three Bean and Beef Chili -

  • Per serving - 295 calories, 8 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 35 g carbohydrates, 22 g protein, 10 g fiber (exchanges: 1.5 fat, 1 vegetable, 2 protein, 2 starch)
  • Notes - Chipotles are dried, smoked jalapenos and you can find them canned in adobo sauce (which is made from dried chiles, herbs, and vinegar) on the Mexican food isle...they are optional and I don't really like them and would probably leave them out; chop left-over chipotles and freeze them in small Ziploc bags with about 2 tablespoons in each bag

Balsamic Chicken with Baby Spinach -

  • Per serving - 353 calories, 6 g fat (0.9 g saturated), 42 g carbohydrates, 34 g protein, 8 g fiber (exchanges: 1 fat, 2 vegetable, 1.5 starch, 4 protein)
  • Notes - This recipe is great for a FAST week night dinner...less than 15 minutes! Look for whole wheat couscous by the rice that comes in clear plastic containers or by the boxed rice mixes (click here for some pictures/brands)

Fish Tacos with Chipotle Cream -

  • Per serving (2 tacos) - 420 calories, 17 g fat (2 g saturated),41 g carbohydrates, 28 g protein, 5 g fiber (exchanges: 3.5 fat, 2 starch, 3 protein)
  • Notes - Buy pre-shredded, bagged cabbage to save time and if you don’t want to make the chipotle cream, substitute store bought salsa

Portobello Lasagna Rollups -

  • Per serving (one roll...not 2 like the link recommends) - 229 calories, 9 g fat (3.2 g saturated),28 g carbohydrates, 13 g protein, 6 g fiber (exchanges: 2 fat, 1 vegetable, 1 starch, 1 protein)
  • Notes - Complete the meal and serve with Broccoli with Toasted Garlic (see recipe below)

Pork Au Poivre -

  • Per serving - 235 calories, 10 g fat (3 g saturated), 2 g carbohydrates, 30 g protein, 0 g fiber (exchanges: 2 fat, 4 protein)
  • Notes - Don’t overcook the pork…it easily will become tough and dry if you do; complete the meal and serve with a baked potato and steamed green beans; just so you know, poivre, pronounced PWAHV-r, is French for pepper

Broccoli with Toasted Garlic -

  • Per serving - 73 calories, 4 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 8 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein, 3 g fiber
    (exchanges: 1 fat, 1.5 vegetable)

Babaganoush -

  • Per serving (1/3 cup) - 75 calories, 4 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 9 g carbohydrates, 2.5 g protein, 4 g fiber (exchanges: 1 vegetable, 1 fat)
  • Notes - Tahini is ground sesame seed paste common in Middle Eastern cooking and can be found on the ethnic foods isle in most grocery could substitute olive oil or unsweetened peanut butter in a pinch; serve with vegetables sticks/slices (red bell pepper, celery, cucumber), baked tortilla chips, or whole wheat pita bread

Five Layer Mexican Dip -

  • Per serving (1/2 cup) - 140 calories, 8 g fat (2 g saturated), 15 g carbohydrates, 5 g protein, 5 g fiber (exchanges: 1 starch, 1.5 fat, 0.5 protein)
  • Notes - The jalapeno and chipotle are optional; each serving has 5 grams of fiber!

Here are some interesting links:

Whole Grains - why you need them, where to get them, and how not to be fooled when shopping

Oatmeal - if you are inspired after reading the previous article, this is a new oatmeal to try...a little less processed than most Quaker instant varieties

Have a great week!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Welcome Home with a Win!

I am back in Louisiana (finally!...the movers were 2 days late - don't use All Distance Movers!) and I just finished watching LSU beat Rice in the bottom of the 9th inning, facing elimination, at the College World Series...needless to say I'm in a great mood!

Growing up, my mom would fix spaghetti and meatballs (or sometimes spaghetti and chicken) for dinner at least once every two weeks. I loved her version even though her pasta sauce was one she "doctored up" from a can. She used Hunt's Traditional Spaghetti Sauce, which is what I also used when I was cooking for myself in college. However, within the last year I happened to glance at the ingredient list and wasn't happy with what I saw:

"tomato puree (water, tomato paste), water, less than 2% of: high fructose corn syrup, salt, corn syrup, soybean oil, dehydrated onions, sugar, carrot fiber, spices (including soy lecithin), citric acid, natural flavor"

There is some form of sugar listed 3 times!

Then I looked around the pasta isle at the grocery store and found more of the same...added sugar in most spaghetti sauces (note, however, that even sauces with no added sugar will have some grams of sugar listed on the label due to the natural sugars in the tomatoes).

Most of the sauces also have added fat (soybean oil in Hunt's case), very few additional veggies (do dehydrated onions and carrot fiber count as a vegetable?), and some unusual ingredients that I don't have in my kitchen (soy lecithin, high fructose corn syrup [HFCS], citric acid).

Take a little time next time you are shopping for pasta sauce and read the ingredient list. Lookout for added fats and sugars. The fat doesn't bother me so much as long as there isn't too much (5 grams or less per serving) and its a healthy oil (such as olive oil). If there is sugar listed, it should be near the end of the list (preferably real sugar and not HFCS) and no more than 5 - 6 grams per 1/2 cup serving.

The store brands of jarred marinara/pasta sauce that I found and approved of (less/no added sugar, only olive oil, and only "expected" ingredients) are:

Mario Cisaro Pasta Sauces
Rao's Homemade Marinara (2 grams sugar per 1/2 cup)
Mom's All Natural Pasta Sauce (4 grams sugar per 1/2 cup)
Muir Glenn Organic Pasta Sauces (4 grams sugar per 1/2 cup)
365 Organic Pasta Sauces (its the brand from Whole Foods, 3 grams sugar per 1/2 cup)
Alessi All Natural Pasta Sauce (4 grams sugar per 1/2 cup)
Amy's Organic Pasta Sauce (5 - 6 grams sugar per 1/2 cup)...they also have a reduced sodium variety

I'm sure there are more! Leave a comment if you use a sauce that would fit these criteria!

Now I usually make my own sauce...its so easy and if you make extra you can freeze it and have it for another dinner. But I do keep a "good" jar in my refrigerator for emergencies! I love making roasted vegetables or spaghetti squash topped with marinara as a side dish, so it helps to keep a jar on hand.

Here is a recipe for an Easy Tomato Sauce or a Quick Marinara from Ellie Krieger (the dietitian on the Food Network).

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Start of Something New

When I first started working as a dietitian at Life Time Fitness (Cinco Ranch, TX) and teaching the TEAM weight loss (TWL) classes, I had a lot of requests for healthy recipes. So in January 2008, I began writing a weekly email to all of my clients and the TWL participants that included nutrition information and recipes.

Each week the recipes included 1 lunch recipe (usually a inspiring one - no iceberg lettuce and ranch here!) and at least 5 dinner recipes (one for each night of the week). Occasionally, I included a dessert/snack/breakfast recipe as well.

Now that I am moving back to Louisiana, my plan is to continue sending recipes through this blog. I LOVE researching recipes, but because I only cook for myself, I don't get to put most of the ones I find to good use. This way I can...through you!

Because some of the recipes I find aren't up to my nutritional standards, I may modify them and make a note of it in each post (and alter the nutritional information accordingly).

And if you read the "notes" listed with each recipe, you will see that I sometimes make suggestions on how to "complete the meal" by adding a couple of servings of vegetables and a whole grain...they are just suggestions, but you should try to add at least one veggie side dish to the meal.

I will also be posting links to websites/articles/food products that I find interesting and think you might too.

The first weeks recipes (from the week of January 21st, '08) come from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food Magazine (one of the most favorite magazines I get! And like the title says, its "everyday food"...nothing too fancy, no crazy ingredients, quick and easy recipes, and it provides the nutrition info for all of the recipes...they aren't always healthy though). Enjoy!

Caesar Salad with Spicy Shrimp -
  • Per serving - 282 calories; 12.6 g fat; 23.6 g protein; 18.6 g carbohydrates; 4.3 g fiber (exchanges: 1 starch, 3 protein, 2 fat, 2 vegetables)
  • Notes - Anchovies are optional...I've made it without them!
Fish Tacos -
  • Per serving - 399 calories; 11.5 g fat; 30.7 g protein; 42.5 g carbohydrates; 3.7 g fiber (exchanges: 4 protein, 2 fat, 2 starches, 1 vegetable)
  • Notes - Make sure you buy tortillas that have between 80 and 100 calories each (or less), and whole wheat or corn tortillas would be the better choice
Lemon Herb Chicken -
  • Per serving - 218 calories; 2.5 g fat; 43.3 g protein; 4.3 g carbohydrates; 1.3 g fiber
    (exchanges: 6 protein, ½ fat)
  • Notes - This is based on an 8 ounce, uncooked, chicken breast… if you eat a smaller portion of chicken, the calories and protein will be less; you can use 2 tsp dried tarragon in place of the fresh
  • Complete with meal with steamed green beans and whole wheat couscous or brown rice

Mushroom Barley Soup -

  • Per serving - 352 calories; 15.7 g fat; 13.5 g protein; 41.7 g carbohydrates; 6.8 g fiber(exchanges: 3 fat, 1 vegetables, 2 starches, ½ protein)
  • Notes - You could omit the bacon completely (or use turkey bacon) and instead start with step 2 adding 1 Tbsp of olive oil...this will cut the fat to around 5 g per serving (1 fat exchange)

Pork Cutlets Parmesan -

  • Per serving - 254 calories; 13.3 g fat; 22.7 g protein; 9.7 g carbohydrates; 0.4 g fiber
    (exchanges: 3 protein, 3 fat, ½ starch)
  • Complete the meal with "Tomatoes and Artichoke Hearts" could serve this with a low-fat marinara sauce, too

Tomatoes and Artichoke Hearts -

  • Per serving - 76 calories; 3.7 g fat; 2.4 g protein; 9.6 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber
    (exchanges: ½ fat, 2 vegetables)

Spaghetti Squash with Garlic -

  • Per serving - 83 calories; 3.9 g fat; 1.3 g protein; 12.7 g carbohydrates; 2.7 g fiber(exchanges: 1 fat, 2 vegetables)
  • Notes - This makes a lot of squash, and I think it really makes 8 servings (not 4 like the recipes says) so the nutrition info posted is for 8...I would also only use 1 Tbsp oil (this will cut the fat to less than 2 g per serving (about 1/2 fat)

Post a comment and let me know what you think about the blog. And if you try any of the recipes, comment about that too!

Here is an interesting article on the importance of eating "whole" fruits and vegetables.

Have a great weekend!