Lemon Garlic Lamb


Ingredients

  • ¾ lb (12 oz) raw, boneless lamb chop loin* (should yield two 5-oz cooked servings)
  • 6 cups (1 large bunch) fresh spinach
  • 2 cups portabella mushrooms (3 medium mushroom cups)
  • 1 cup (8 medium) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Dash of salt and/or pepper (optional)

*This recipe can also be made with chicken breast: start with 1 lb raw, boneless, skinless chicken breast to yield two 6-oz cooked servings.

Direction

Lamb: Preheat broiler. Trim all visible fat from lamb. Spray rack in broiler pan with non-stick cooking spray for 3 seconds. In a small bowl, combine garlic, dried rosemary, and black pepper. Place lamb on prepared rack and cover with half of garlic mixture. Broil 4 minutes, 4 inches from heat; turn lamb over. Cover lamb with remaining garlic mixture. Broil 2-4 minutes or until cooked through. Vegetables: Spray medium skillet with non-stick cooking spray for 2 seconds and heat over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté. Once mushrooms are near desired tenderness, add spinach and tomatoes and sauté an additional 2-3 minutes. Serve lamb over vegetables. Salt and pepper to taste if desired.

 

Nutritional Information

My 30 day Challenge

Squash instead of Pasta??


The fibrous flesh of spaghetti squash resembles long noodles after cooking and shredding. Although the squash noodles differ in flavor from traditional flour-based pasta noodles, you can use them in much the same way as pasta. The squash has a mild, nutty flavor that complements lighter pasta sauces, making it a healthful low-carbohydrate replacement for spaghetti in your favorite dishes. Use the squash as the focal point of a light meal or as pasta-like side dish.

Step 1

Cut a washed spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop the seeds out of the center.

Step 2

Lay the squash cut side down on a baking sheet. Poke the rind all over with the tines of a fork. Bake in a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the flesh is tender enough to pierce with a fork.

Step 3

Flip the cooled squash halves over to reveal the flesh. Scrape a fork down the length of each squash half, separating the spaghetti-like strands from the rind.

Step 4

Toss the squash strands in a tomato-based pasta sauce to create a meal similar to spaghetti. Alternatively, coat the strands in melted butter with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and crushed pepper. Most pasta sauces, except heavy cream sauces, complement the squash noodles well.

Sweet and Sour Chicken


INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
3 cups canola oil
2 medium russet potatoes, cut diagonally into 1″ chunks
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, each quartered
¼ cup Asian chile paste
2 tbsp. minced jalapeño or serrano chiles
9 oz. thinly sliced green papaya
6 ribs celery, cut into 2″ pieces
1 4″ piece ginger, unpeeled and cut into ⅛″-thick slices
¼ cup Asian chile oil

Cilantro leaves, to garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

Stir together salt, sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, and 1 cup water in a small bowl; set slurry aside. Heat canola oil in a 14″ flat-bottomed wok or high-sided skillet over high heat. Add potatoes; fry, tossing, until browned, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Add chicken pieces to oil; fry, tossing, until browned, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a plate; discard all but ½ cup oil, and return wok to heat. Add chile paste and minced chiles; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chicken, papaya, celery, and ginger; cook for 1 minute. Add slurry; cook, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens and chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add potatoes and chile oil; cook until potatoes are tender, about 2 minutes. Garnish with cilantro before serving.

Emerald Veggies with Honey-Sesame Dressing


A bamboo steamer is used to lightly cook an assortment of vegetables that are then tossed in a dressing with ground, toasted sesame seeds.

  • 1 medium bok choy, separated into leaves (¾ lb.)
  • ½ lb. green beans, trimmed
  • 1 cup small broccoli florets
  • ⅓ cup hulled sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbs. low-sodium tamari
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1 tsp. rice vinegar

1. Set bamboo steamer over 1 inch simmering water in large skillet. Fill medium bowl with ice water.

2. Arrange bok choy leaves in steamer. Cover, and steam 5 to 6 minutes, or until leaves turn bright green. Plunge bok choy into ice water. Drain, and pat dry. Slice, and transfer to serving bowl.

3. Arrange green beans in steamer. Cover, and steam 5 minutes, or until tender. Remove with slotted spoon, plunge into ice water, then drain, and pat dry. Cut into 1-inch pieces, and add to bok choy.

4. Arrange broccoli florets in steamer. Cover, and steam 3 minutes, or until tender. Plunge into ice water, then drain and pat dry. Add to bok choy mixture.

5. Toast sesame seeds in small skillet over very low heat 5 minutes, or until golden, gently shaking pan often. (Watch closely—seeds can scorch quickly.) Grind toasted seeds with mortar and pestle or in food processor until just flaky, about 12 seconds. Transfer ground seeds to small bowl. Stir in tamari, honey, vinegar, and 1 Tbs. water. Toss vegetables with sesame seed dressing.

If you don’t have a steamer, you can blanche the vegetables for the same length of time for the same effect. 

Nutritional Information:

  • Calories: 127
  • Protein: 7 g
  • Total Fat: 7 g
  • Saturated Fat: <1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 13 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 417 mg
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Sugar: 7 g

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly…. the Banana


Americans like their bananas, eating more than 10 pounds per person a year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Like other fruits, bananas make a healthy addition to your diet. They are a good source of energy and contain nutrients that keep your body healthy.  Bananas are packed with benefits for your body, and they make a convenient snack for any time of day. Bananas may even be good for your brain and help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. They benefit athletes, too, since they can help prevent muscle cramps

Nutritional Highlights…

One medium-sized banana contains 110 calories. Bananas are naturally free of fat, cholesterol and sodium. Each banana holds about 3 grams of fiber, which is 12 percent of your daily requirement. Bananas contain the minerals potassium and manganese. They also contain B vitamins, including folate, riboflavin and niacin. They’re a particularly good source of vitamin B-6, which helps produce antibodies and hemoglobin while maintaining healthy nerve function and blood glucose levels. One medium banana contains 15 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin C. Potassium is required for healthy functioning of your nervous system and muscles. If you’re deficient in potassium, your muscles can get tired and weak, and you may experience painful cramps.

Medicial Highlights…

In a study published in the “Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture” in 2014, scientists investigated the effect of bananas on glucose levels. In an animal study, they induced diabetes — a condition of glucose levels being too high — and then gave the rats banana extract. They concluded the banana extract hindered carbohydrate absorption, which has an anti-diabetic effect. But the effects of eating bananas on diabetes in humans hasn’t been examined. In another study on rats, published in the “Journal of Dietary Supplements” in 2009, scientists found that banana flavonoids lowered levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, phospholipids and fatty acids. This effect hasn’t been tested in humans.

Bonne Annee


Good morning, evening, day

I hope everyone has a great ending to 2014. Yet another year is about to start and with it, new hopes and aspirations – a faint desire that sprouts in every human heart that speaks of happiness, prosperity and goodness to come. The year gone-by might have shown a grim state of affairs around the world with stories of bloodshed, tragedy and human failure never ceasing to seize the headlines. The excitement of the new year brings about an anticipation of a better future. This is one real moment that will touch the fabrics of human emotions that entails not only hope, but a reason to keep smiling and living life as it is.

May 2015 be a year of amazing food and experiences. Thank you for a great 2014.

Remember to always grub wisely

Big love

Creamy Chestnut Soup


INGREDIENTS
4 slices bacon, roughly chopped
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 large shallot, roughly chopped
1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
1 small leek, roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
4½ cups chicken stock
2½ lb. fresh chestnuts, roasted and peeled, or two 15-oz. jars whole roasted chestnuts, drained
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
½ cup heavy cream
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
Heat bacon in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is almost crisp, 3–4 minutes. Add butter, shallot, carrot, leek, and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, 5–7 minutes. Add stock, chestnuts, bay leaf, and thyme; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, slightly covered, until chestnuts are very tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Discard bay leaf and thyme. Working in batches, purée soup in a blender until smooth. Return soup to saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir in cream, nutmeg, salt, and pepper; cook until soup is slightly thick, about 5 minutes more.

Persimmons in the Raw


Chances are you’ve seen them at the farmers’ market lately. Like pomegranates, pumpkins, apples and pears, fall is the season for this somewhat perplexing fruit known as a persimmon. Usually some shade of orange and resembling a tomato with a sort of brown flower bud in leiu of a stem, persimmons are likely conjur a jumble of questions to swirl though the heads of those unfamilar with them. Are they a fruit? Are they a vegetable? What on earth do they taste like? Well, here’s the deal.

You might think the persimmon is an exotic fruit from some far-off land. But the persimmon is actually native to the southeastern United States and grows wild in Indiana. Like other fruit, the persimmon is low in calories and rich in nutrients you need for good health.

The most common type of persimmon typically found in farmers’ markets recently are Fuyu and Hachiya. The Fuyu are a lighter orangish-yellow in color and sort of squat in shape, whereas the Hachiya are a darker orange and are more oblong or conical in shape. Hachiyas are considered to be more flavorful but must be eaten in a very specific level of ripeness (soft and shriveled almost to the point of mushy), otherwise the the flavor will be unpleasantly astringant. Fuyus are popular because they can be consumed when they are still a bit firm.

Persimmon enthusiasts insist the best way to eat a raw Hachiya is to just slice it open and spoon it out. Their delecate, sweet flavor makes them ideal to use in jams, chutneys, sorbets, baked goods and other desserts. Classically they are used in English-style steamed puddings. Fuyus, on the other hand, can peeled and diced, combined with cilantro, red onion and jalepeno pepper making an unusual salsa or sliced and tossed into salad along with other flavors of the fall like pomegranate.

With its bright orange skin, you might think the persimmon is an exotic fruit from some far-off land. But the persimmon is actually native to the southeastern United States and grows wild in Indiana. Like other fruit, the persimmon is low in calories and rich in nutrients you need for good health.

Nutritional Highlights…
A 3.5 ounce portion (1 serving) of persimmon contains 127 calories. With 1.3 calories per gram, the persimmon is considered a low-energy dense food, which means it is low in calories compared to its weight in grams.
The persimmon is high in carbs and contains a negligible amount of fat and protein. A serving has 33.5 grams of carbs, 0.4 grams of fat and 0.8 grams of protein. A serving of persimmon contains 66 milligrams of vitamin C — almost as much as an orange! You might find it a bit surprising, but the persimmon is also a source of iron and calcium, containing 2.5 milligrams of iron and 27 milligrams of calcium.

Carrots


WIld carrots appear throughout Europe and well into Asia. The exact origin of domestic carrots is obscure. They probably originated in the countries of the eastern Mediterranean, possibly even Afghanistan. The original ones were various colors, including white, yellow, purple and red. These colors are slowly being rebred and reintroduced to the culinary world and even some supermarkets. The orange carrots were developed in Holland and France at a much later date.

Although carrots bought in supermarkets are more or less identical, there is a lot of variety available to the Culinarian. Not only are there early carrots (often grown in frames) that are round, almost like radishes, there are others that are long and tapered. Others are just long but are cylindrical, with parallel sides and round ends. Shorter varieties are best for immediate use in the kitchen, while the longer ones store better.

Nutritional Highlights…

As any rabbit knows, carrots are a fun, delicious and nutritious food.
A single serving of carrots is about 1 cup and contains 52 calories. Carrots have no fat and no cholesterol. As a low-calorie, low-fat food, carrots are a good choice for people watching their weight.

Macronutrients
Carrots are mostly carbohydrates, with 12 grams per serving. Of the carbs in carrots, 4 grams are fiber. Carrots contain 1 gram of protein. They are also a low sodium food, containing 88 milligrams of this nutrient in 1 cup, an amount equal to only 4 percent of the recommended daily allowance.

Micronutrients
Where carrots really shine is as a source of vitamin A. Other micronutrients found in carrots include calcium, thiamin, niacin, iron, vitamin B-6, vitamin E, riboflavin, folate, manganese, vitamin C, vitamin K, choline, phosphorus and potassium. A 1-cup serving of raw carrots also provides 4 grams of fiber. Adults need 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day, but the National Institutes of Health reports that most get roughly half that amount.

Research and Health Highlights…

The high levels of antioxidants in carrots, especially vitamin A, help promote good health overall and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Carrots’ big claim to fame in the health department, however, is their effect on vision. The high doses of vitamin A, a type of carotenoid, work synergistically with other components in carrots to improve vision overall, but are especially beneficial to night vision. Another phytonutrient in carrots, falcarinol, has been linked to protection from colon cancer.

Vitamin A
One medium carrot contains 204 percent of your daily recommended value of vitamin A, a vitamin found in animal and plant-based foods. In plant-based foods, this vitamin is produced by your body from the nutritional compound beta-carotene. This vitamin, also known as retinol, is responsible for maintaining the health of your eyes. Vitamin A helps your eyes retain their ability to adjust to changes in light and maintains necessary moisture and mucus levels of your eyes.

Vitamins K and C
Carrots are also a good source of vitamins K and C.

Potassium
If you are hoping to raise your potassium intake, consider eating more carrots. One carrot contains 400 mg of potassium. The Institute of Medicine recommends that all adults consume 4,700 milligrams of potassium a day. According to the health website Organic Facts, potassium is the third-most-abundant mineral in your body. It may help reduce your risk of stroke, high blood pressure and anxiety. It helps to control your metabolism and improves the health of your muscles, heart and nervous system. Potassium also regulates electrolyte absorption and is necessary for proper hydration.

Chinese Cabbage


Chinese cabbage is like a romaine lettuce, with crisp, crunchy leaves that can be eaten either raw or cooked. It is also a conventional name under which to group several other oriental greens such as bok choy.

Chinese cabbage has been developed over centuries, particularly in China, since it was first recorded in the 5th century. It finally reached America by the end of the 19th century but had to wait until the 90s before it arrived in Europe.

The original Chinese cabbages were loose headed. The varieties we grow today are mainly hard headed and raised in Japan. They are tightly packed with dense leaves, which are a pale creamy-yellow and sweet tasting. They last well if kept cool, and one seems to provide an endless helping of salad leaf. It can also be cooked, but its delicate flavor can (and will) be lost or overpowered by stronger flavors if the chef/cook is not careful.

Bok choy is a common variety of Chinese cabbage, and looks more like a small Swiss chard, with dark green leaves and wide white stems. Bok choy has more flavor than the Chinese cabbage, and it can also be eaten raw or cooked.

Mizuna, another variety, is making its way into the culinary scene. It originated in Japan. Unlike other greens, Mizuna has feathery leaves which makes them useful for garnish and decoration as weel as procution. The leaves can also be eaten raw or cooked.

Nutritional highlights …
If you’re seeking a vegetable high in nutrients and absent or low in all of the bad stuff — fat, sodium and sugars, this is your Cabbage.

A 1 cup serving contains a meager 10 calories, according to Produce for Better Health Foundation data. It contains no saturated or trans fats or cholesterol. It gives you 1 gram of protein and 2 grams of total carbohydrates, one of which comes from dietary fiber and the other from sugars. It is high in vitamin A and vitamin C. The Centers for Science in the Public Interest rates ir among other vegetable “superstars,” partly due to the vegetable’s rich vitamin K and beta-carotene content.

When selecting from the market, look for firm stalks without any brown discoloration. Make sure the leaves are crisp and not wilted. It will hold in your refrigerator for about a week