Tag Archives: foodie food

Volumetric style Quesadilla

Here is an example of increasing the volume in an otherwise fattening and less healthy dish. Everyone loves Quesadillas, all that melted cheese! However, if you add veggies and other better-for-you items like beans for fiber, you get a very satisfying dish, filling, healthy and still delicious!                                                                              
Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadilla
Can of Black Beans
Sweet Potato or Yam
Poblano Peppers
Can of chopped Green Chilies
Fresh Spinach
Jack Cheese, grated 
Flour Tortillas, plain or flavored
Butter or Butter Substitute 

Roast Poblano pepper under broiler until skin is black, put in paper bag for 10 minutes to sweat. In the meantime roast sweet potato in 365 degree oven until soft (about 30 minutes). Using a paper towel pull blackened skin off of the pepper, core and strip seeds out and slice into strips. You can do these steps earlier in the day or night before for faster dinner prep later. Mash sweet potato in a bowl with salt, pepper, paprika and a little chili powder. Drain black beans and rinse. Heat all these items in the microwave if they are cold. Butter a tortilla on one side and set buttered side down on a plate, on ONE HALF of the UN-buttered side of the tortilla, spread the sweet potato, layer black beans, Poblano pepper strips, green chilies, fresh spinach and Jack cheese. Set buttered side down tortilla in medium heated large frying pan and fold over. Fry until tortilla turns golden brown and then flip over and brown other side, by that time the cheese has melted. Slice into wedges. Serve with your choice of low fat sour cream, salsa or sliced avocado.  

Here is a sample recipe for an easy, healthy, and delicious smoothie but remember: just use the fruit, water and vanilla extract for the lowest calorie count. They are still very good!

Strawberry Mango Smoothie
1 Cup of strawberries
½ C Mango
1 small or a half banana
Vanilla yogurt or soymilk or just water for low calorie
1 tsp Vanilla extract or more
Blend

Whole Food and Food Cravings

Talked to my Aunt and Uncle today and they reminded me of something. When I started to really get serious about eating better food, something odd happened. The more whole grains and vegetables I ate the less junk food I wanted. Although this intuitively makes sense, I don’t know if it’s just me or a medical fact. Whatever the reason it is good to know. To my family I jokingly call our favorite foods (burritos and spaghetti) junk food. When I have those meals though, later on that night, I do feel a lot more like having chocolate, chips or any kind of snack. I blame it on the white flour and cheese but it could be all in my head. The jury is out but the subjects look very guilty and I am suspicious.With that in mind I developed a healthier burrito that is great when the weather is hot because there is very little cooking. It’s very satisfying and in spite of the white tortilla- (and you could certainly use whole wheat) no cravings later.

Fresh Burritos   
Makes 2 fairly fat burritos for 3 or 4 people
This recipe is better and easier if you have the rice cooked and frozen ahead of time. It dries out the rice a little, makes it fall apart when cooked and kinda crisp. Cook desired amount of rice. Freeze in 1 pt or 2 pt containers. I usually use 2 pts total in my recipe. If you cook a bunch of pints ahead of time you always have something ready to make a fast (and practically a no cook) delicious dinner!  
2 Pints brown cooked rice, thawed. If you forgot to take out rinse it in hot water, slide them out into Pyrex bowl and thaw in microwave. (It happens.)
2 Tb Veg Oil or more
1 ½ TBL Sp Chili Powder, 1 ½ TBL Sp Paprika, 1 ½  tsp + Seasoning Salt,
½ tsp Cumin, salt and pepper to taste.  
5 tomatoes (approx) Chopped fine
1 Lrg Sweet Onion chopped fine
Red or yellow peppers Chopped fine or specialty green peppers like Banana peppers
1 jalapeno pepper chopped (optional)
½ Lime squeezed
1 Can Kidney Beans
Pkg Flour Tortillas
Guacamole or Avocado sliced
1/2 lb. Cheddar cheese, shredded fine (optional, doesn’t need it)
Lt. Sour Cream (optional)
Taco sauce (optional)
Lettuce, shredded (optional)
Cilantro (optional)
Heat Oil in Large fry pan. When hot add the Chili powder, Paprika and Cumin. Fry the spices until you can smell them, about a minute. Add more oil if necessary. Add Rice and fry around until they are coated with spice. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. I am GUESSING on the Chili powder and Paprika amounts. I add a lot. Rice should be rusty color. Set aside. Open Kidney beans and rise, set aside.
Make the Salsa: Add all the chopped vegetables to a big bowl and pour lime juice over. Salt a little. I add a little Tabasco or taco sauce sometimes, Cholula brand, etc. It is not necessary but I like things intensely flavored. Put a couple Flour tortillas on a dinner plate, place a clean linen or flour-sack type dishtowel over the tortillas and mist spray with water a couple times. Microwave for 20 to 30 seconds to soften.
To make: Take a tortilla and start with rice, put a thick line on one side and add the beans, fresh made salsa, Avocados, Guacamole, and any of the optional ingredients. Enjoy. Note: This burrito does not need cheese, we leave it off.

Weekday Routines

I found something that I consistently like to eat for breakfast on the weekdays. It’s become my routine. Every morning I have my homemade Granola. Here is another recipe where I deviate from worrying about calories and focus more on health and satisfaction but it seems to be working. Granola is something we are always told to stay away from because it isn’t a diet food. Well, I am not on a diet, I don’t believe in diets, I believe in eating well, being sensible and reducing my portions. The basic recipe for this granola came from a book but I added spices and every nut/grain that I thought would work. The result is very healthy and really delicious. I have 2/3 of a Cup every morning with 2% milk. That doesn’t sound like a lot but the whole grains keep me fine until lunch. The recipe looks overwhelming with all the ingredients but once you have them in the house it’s easy to prepare. I just get out a big bowl and start dumping the dry ingredients in. Then I use a glass measuring cup for the honey, heat it up in the microwave to make it easier to mix and add the vanilla and oil. To me, it’s worth the time to get these grains and nuts in my diet with something that tastes this good and it isn’t adding any weight to me.

Nighthawk’s Granola
Basic recipe from Fred Rohe’s book:
“The Complete Book of Natural Foods”, then embellished by me.
6 cups Oatmeal                       ¾ C Flax Seed
1 ¼ C sunflower seeds            ¾ C Oat Bran
¾ C sesame seeds                   1 ¼ C Almonds chopped
¾ C Wheat Germ                    1 ½ tsp Cinnamon
½ C Wheat Bran (opt.)           1 tsp Coriander
½ tsp Nutmeg                          1 tsp Cardamom
½ tsp Allspice                         1tsp Dried Orange Peel (opt.)    
½ C veg oil                              1 ¼ C Honey, Molasses or Maple Syrup
1 tsp Sesame Oil                       or Combo (I use ALL Honey)
3 tsp Vanilla extract
In a big Bowl combine all the dry ingredients and stir well.
Mix the liquids together and pour over dry, mixing well. 
Spread on cookie sheets sprayed with oil, and roast in over 325 degrees
(no hotter) stirring often (about every 10 minutes or so) to
roast evenly. Remove when a golden brown (about 20 to 30 min.)
Allow to cool before storing. May add raisins or
other dried fruit when cool, I don’t.

The Salad Dressing Switch

On my quest for a lower calorie, whole food diet everything I eat these days has become an experiment. For example, I see how little dressing I can put on my salad and still feel fine about it. Some days I’m okay with a sprinkling and other “what the heck” days I pour it out. Here is something I started doing that helps me on those latter days. If you don’t like vinegar, it may not work for you.
I make the “Good Seasons Zesty Italian Salad Dressing” adding Balsamic Vinegar instead of white AND I reverse the oil and vinegar amounts. Of course oil is the fattening part of the dressing. It ends up being 1/4 Cup of Oil to a 1/2 Cup of Balsamic. I’ve tried those low cal store-bought dressings and they are awful. I am sorry but salad dressing needs some oil to be good. Today was a good day because my vegetables were so fresh I didn’t need a lot of dressing. No one is going to be satisfied with a salad for lunch is the veggies are less than tasty and sweet. It’s one of the reasons I grow a garden. I am lucky that I have the place and time (barely) to do it. Still, I don’t have that kind of culinary perfection all year. So what to do in the dead of winter? Surprisingly (maybe not), organic vegetables in the supermarket come really close to having that garden fresh taste. Especially carrots, once you tried organic you’ll never go back. If we have to eat more veggies it’s essential that they be freshest we can find because the flavor will encourage us to go back for more and we won’t need a gallon of dressing to cover it up. 

Tasty Low Calorie Food Alert

Now that that big speech about whole foods is out of the way, I am going to sound like I am contradicting myself here, but I am a practical person too. Of course whole foods are the best thing to eat but we don’t live by lettuce alone. When I find something at the grocery store that helps me hold the calories down and tastes great I go for it. Here are a couple of items that fit that description. 
The first one is The Laughing Cow Light spreadable cheese wedges. They come in wonderful flavors like Garlic and Herb and Sun Dried Tomato and only 35 calories a Wedge. The Wedges are a generous size and the fat content is also low: 1 gram saturated fat, no trans fats.

The second one is Skinny Cow Low Fat Ice Cream Bars. These are sooo good and only 100 calories per bar. They have several flavors but I highly recommend the Caramel Truffle. Saturated fat only 1.5! These treats will really help with the cravings with a minimum of guilt.
The “cows” have it going on!