MUST TRY COURGETTI

courgette-spag-before

COURGETTE IS JUST A FANCY NAME FOR ZUCCHINI AND NOW IS THE TIME OF YEAR THAT WE ARE HARVESTING OUR HOME GROWN ZUCCHINI AND TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO WITH IT ALL!

Courgette spaghetti is a fantastic food for every day! You just shred a courgette with a peeler, quickly fry or microwave and then serve in a sauce of your choice. It’s quicker to cook than pasta and is so tasty.  One large courgette, enough to make a big bowl of spaghetti, has only 36 calories.

The easiest and lowest calorie way to cook it is by steaming the coughetti  in the microwave on high for 2-3 minutes.  You can add a few tablespoons of vegetable broth or chicken broth for a little flavor but I usually just top with my favorite sauce.

1 large courgette (36 cals)

1 tsp olive oil (27 cals)

1 clove garlic, crushed (4 cals)

2 tomatoes, chopped (28 cals)

1 jalapeño pepper, chopped (4 cals)

ULTIMATE LUNCH WORKOUT

For a 20-minute routine, do these moves in order, using weights heavy enough to challenge you without compromising your form (try five pounds to start). Rest for 15 to 30 seconds between moves if needed, and rest for one minute at the end of the set; do two more sets, using heavier weights in each round (e.g., eight pounds, then 10 pounds).

NO SWEAT 1

 

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in your right hand; push your hips back until the weight is just below your knees (a). Push your hips forward and pull the weight to your chest, then quickly rotate your palm away from you and press the weight directly overhead (b). Slowly reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep. Do six, then repeat on the other side.

NO SWEAT 2

Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand on your right leg, bend forward, and raise your left leg behind you, arms straight, palms facing your leg (a). Row the weights to your chest, elbows out (b), then lower. Do six reps, then switch legs and repeat.

NO SWEAT3

Start In a pushup position, with your body in a straight line from head to heels (a). keeping your back flat, bend your elbows and lower your body as slowly as possible (b). Return to start. That’s one rep. Do 12.

NO SWEAT4

Hold a pair of dumbbells above shoulder height, elbows bent and palms facing you; step your right foot forward about two feet and bend both knees. Hold this position (a). Press the weights overhead, rotating your palms away from your body (b). That’s one rep. Do six, then switch sides and repeat.

NO SWEAT5

Lie on your left side, legs and hips stacked, arms straight out at shoulder level; hold a dumbbell with both hands (a). keeping your upper body steady, slowly lift both feet four to six inches off the floor (b). Pause, then lower. That’s one rep. Do 10, then repeat on the other side.

Adapted from http://www.womenshealthmag.com

SAUCY SAUSAGE STUFFED ZUCCHINI

SAUCY SAUSAGE STUFFED ZUCCHINI (8)

4 INGREDIENTS FOR AN EASY SATISFYING DINNER!

1 large zucchini
1# hot Italian sausage (I used patties – use turkey sausage or chicken sausage for a lower fat variety)
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup instant brown rice

tomato basil pasta 009 (570x428)

Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and then quarter.  Scoop flesh from zucchini leaving about 1/4 inch thick shell.

SAUCY SAUSAGE STUFFED ZUCCHINI (3)

Place flesh and sausage in large not stick skillet and cook on medium/high about 5-10 minutes – breaking up sausage as it browns.  Stir in tomatoes and bring to boil.  Add instant brown rice, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes.  Meanwhile,  place the zucchini on the grill grill 3-5 minutes, then turn and grill another 3-5 minutes.  Fill the zucchini shells with sausage mixture and serve.

I LOVE TO SPRINKLE SOME SHREDDED PARMESAN OR ITALIAN BLEND CHEESE ON TOP AND SERVE WITH A BIG SALAD. 

CRABMEAT CRACKER SALAD

GREAT COLD MEAL ON A HOT SUMMER NIGHT

CRABMEAT CRACKER SALAD (3)

14 oz flaked imitation crabmeat, thawed
1 cup mayonnaise**
1 cup plain, nonfat yogurt
1 large tomato, diced
3 sweet peppers (various colors), seeded and sliced
3 green onions, finely chopped
2 hard boiled eggs, finely chopped
1 sleeve multi-grain saltine crackers*
Lettuce Leaves (Romaine, Boston)

Cut crabmeat into bite-sized pieces.  Place in a large mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients.  Serve over a bed of lettuce or as a sandwich!

 

*I ELIMINATED THE CRACKERS AND SERVED WITH WHOLE WHEAT PITA BREAD

**THE RECIPE CALLED FOR 2 CUPS MAYONNAISE BUT I SUBSTITUTED 1 CUP OF PLAIN, NONFAT YOGURT FOR 1 CUP OF MAYO TO CUT FAT AND CALORIES!

EAT YOUR BROCCOLI LEAVES

BROCCOLI-LEAF2

YES YOU CAN EAT BROCCOLI LEAVES!! AS A MATTER OF FACT BROCCOLI LEAVES ARE RICHER IN BETA-CAROTENE THAN THE FLORETS, AND CONTAIN OTHER HEALTHFUL PHYTONUTRIENTS THAT AREN’T FOUND IN THE STEMS AND FLORETS!

THE BROCCOLI FLOWERS OR FLORETS ARE MOST COMMONLY CONSUMED BECAUSE THE BROCCOLI LEAVES AREN’T TYPICALLY SOLD IN STORES.  WHY!?  FARMERS ARE WASTING THIS VALUABLE LEAF!  SO YOU WILL HAVE TO GROW BROCCOLI YOURSELF TO HAVE ACCESS TO THE LEAVES.

broccoli-leaf1

TRY GROWING THEM LIKE BABY SALAD GREENS.  SPRINKLE A HANDFUL OF SEEDS INTO YOUR GARDEN AND LET THEM GROW TO BABY LEAF SIZE TO 4-6 INCHES BEFORE HARVESTING.  A PLANT PRODUCES ONE MAIN HEAD  OF BROCCOLI AS IT’S FLOWER AND OCCASIONALLY A FEW SMALLER HEADS LATER.  THEN YOU CAN HARVEST THE WHOLE PLANT!  EVEN THE STEMS CAN BE SHREDDED FOR BROCCOLI SLAW!

THE BROCCOLI LEAVES ARE SIMILAR TO COLLARD GREENS IN TASTE AND TEXTURE – WITH A SLIGHT BROCCOLI FLAVOR.  YOU CAN ADD THEM DIRECTLY TO A LEAFY FRESH SALAD (MY FAVORITE) OR SAUTE THEM IN GARLIC AND BUTTER.  MY NEXT ENDEAVOR IS TO TRY THE LEAVES AS “CHIPS” LIKE KALE CHIPS.  THE LARGER LEAVES ARE PERFECT FOR STUFFING AS YOU WOULD A CABBAGE LEAF!

BROCCOLI LEAVES ARE VERY VERSATILE:  MAIN DISH, SALAD GREEN, SIDE DISH OR SNACK – TRY THEM ALL WAYS!!

Kale-Chips

BROCCOLI LEAF CHIPS

Ingredients

  • 4 cups BROCCOLI LEAVES, rinsed and chopped if they are large
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F.
  2. Add completely dried, broccoli leaves to a large mixing bowl and drizzle olive oil over the top.
  3. Toss kale with two forks until all pieces are coated in olive oil. Start with 2 tbsp, and if it seems too dry use another tbsp olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle cayenne pepper, chili powder, and sea salt over the top and continue to toss. Repeat once or twice more, but be careful with the cayenne pepper, if you’re serving this to kids!
  5. Lay out piece by piece on an ungreased baking sheet. Make sure each piece is not touching another and has enough room to bake properly. You will need 2 large baking sheets.
  6. Sprinkle more seasonings on top if needed.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes. You can check by trying one chip and if it is very crispy they are done!
  8. For best results, enjoy immediately after removing from the oven.

OTHER GARDEN VEGETABLE LEAVES ARE EDIBLE AS WELL!  SWEET AND HOT PEPPER LEAVES CAN BE USED IN A SALAD AND THE HOT PEPPER LEAVES WILL ADD A LITTLE SPICE!

GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR GARDEN!  ENJOY THE GREENS AS MUCH AS THE VEGGIES!

 

TUNA AND HUMMUS WRAP

TUNA HUMMUS WRAPS 001 (570x428)

CUCUMBER DILL HUMMUS

1 (15oz) can chick peas, drain and rinse
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1 Tbsp dill weed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

I placed the last 6 ingredients in the blender and begin to puree.  Add the chick peas a little at a time and continue to puree until your hummus is a nice smooth consistency.

TUNA MIXTURE

2 (5oz) cans chunk light tuna in water, drained
1/3 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 (15oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp Italian Dressing
4 cups Romaine or mixed lettuce
4 large tortillas (I used Azteca flour tortillas but whole wheat would be a healthier choice!)

Spread one side of a tortilla with hummus, fill with tuna mixture and lettuce and wrap!

I OVER FILLED MY TORTILLA AND MY WRAP SPLIT OPEN SO AVOID OVER FILLING OR SERVE THE TUNA AND HUMMUS OVER A BED OF LETTUCE AND HAVE SOME PITA ROUNDS ON THE SIDE!

 

TOMATO BASIL PASTA 

Tomato Basil pasta

I SAW THIS RECIPE POSTED ON FACEBOOK SEVERAL TIMES BUT NO ONE HAD EVER ACTUALLY TRIED IT.  SO, I TRIED IT AND IT WORKED OUT REALLY WELL – IT WAS SO SIMPLE AND TOOK EXACTLY 20 MINUTES FROM START TO FINISH!

Ingredients

12 ounces pasta (I used 13.5 oz whole wheat rotini)
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes with liquid
1 large sweet onion, cut in julienne strips (I used a package of Birds Eye frozen Pepper and Onion Stir Fry)
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 large sprigs basil, chopped
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese for garnish

Directions

Place pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, in a large stock pot. Pour in vegetable broth. Sprinkle on top the pepper flakes and oregano. Drizzle top with oil.

Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated – I left about an inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot – but you can reduce as desired.

Season to taste with salt and pepper (I did not use any), stirring pasta several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom of the pot. Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese.

QUICK AND EASY VEGETARIAN DISH!

tomato basil pasta 008 (570x428)

PORK AND FRESH VEGETABLE STIR FRY

STIR FRY

THIS RECIPE IS SOOOOO EASY.  YOUR SAUCE IS 1/2 CUP KRAFT LITE ASIAN TOASTED SESAME DRESSING AND A FEW TABLESPOONS OF SOY SAUCE*.

YOU CAN STIR FRY ON THE STOVE OR I LIKE TO LET MY THICK PORK CHOPS OR LOIN ROAST SLOW COOK IN THE CROCK POT ALL DAY (LOW setting 6-8 hours) SO THE PORK MARINATES AND FALLS APART AT THE END OF COOKING.  JUST ADD THE FRESH VEGGIES IN THE LAST FEW HOURS OF COOKING SO THEY REMAIN TENDER CRISP!

I USED FRESH SNAP PEAS, SWEET PEPPERS IN VARIOUS COLORS, BROCCOLI AND ONIONS.  OF COURSE, IF YOU ARE REALLY PRESSED FOR TIME, YOU COULD USE A FROZEN STIR FRY MIX IN THE LAST HOUR OF COOKING – THERE ARE SOME REALLY NICE VARIETIES AVAILABLE.

I SERVE OVER WHOLE GRAIN RICE* OR QUINOA.

*TO KEEP IT GLUTEN FREE, ELIMINATE SOY SAUCE AND USE QUINOA RATHER THAN RICE.

 

THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF COOKING WITH YOGURT

 

YOGURT3

To avoid congealey failure and maximize delicious success, follow these tips when cooking with yogurt:

Don’ts:

  • Don’t bake with it unless it’s thinned out and don’t heat it quickly or the concentrated milk proteins will separate from the remainder of the whey, never to unite again.
  • Don’t use aluminum cook or bake ware when dealing with yogurt, the acidity reacts unpleasantly to the metal.

Do’s:

  • Do bring it to room temperature before you add it to the dish, so that the temperature shock is not too great (otherwise it might curdle and separate), and add it to the dish spoon by spoon and at the very end of cooking.
  • Do substitute yogurt for buttermilk or heavy cream, two things you might not readily have in your fridge (who has buttermilk in their fridge?) Just water it down slightly, if needed to match the consistency.
  • Do put it in your ice cream maker with some fresh fruits, it freezes fast and creamy. Plus the healthy bacteria will even survive a freezing!
  • Do marinate! This is one instance where yogurt’s clinginess is a good thing. You can use less yogurt in a traditional marinade but still get the same tenderizing and moisture and flavor-enhancing effect.

MARINADE TEMPLATE:

2 cups plain yogurt
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper

Once you have all that in the blender, you can choose your own adventure:

Option 1 Lemon-Pepper: “The Classic”
1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
Juice from two lemons
1 really nice squeeze of honey
Even more black pepper (about 10-15 grinds)

tandoori-shrimp

Option 2 Tandoori: “The Crowdpleaser” (from Bon Appetit)
1 cup cilantro leaves (no need to chop since it’s going in the blender)
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon garam masala (McCormick now sells this — it’s an Indian spice blend that’s kind of sweet)
1 2-inch piece ginger
juice of one lime

Option 3 Middle Eastern: “The Middle Easterner”
1/2 cup fresh oregano, stems removed
1 clove garlic
juice from one lemon
2 teaspoons cumin

Option 4 Mustard and Herb: “The Pantry Special”
½ cup Dijon mustard
leaves from a couple sprigs of thyme
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Option 5 Chutney: “The Cheater”
1/2 cup your favorite chutney (these are my favorite)
1/2 cup cilantro

Whichever direction you’ve chosen:

Give the ingredients a good whirl in the blender, then pour into a large freezer bag along with your meat — 2 to 3 pounds chicken thighs or breasts  (pounded flat between two pieces of wax paper), drumsticks, or…here’s some breaking news: SHRIMP! I’ve discovered that a good flavorful yogurt marinade is a great way to kick up the sometimes bland frozen shrimp we pick up in the Northeast. (The photo above was made with the tandoori marinade — the dipping sauce is chutney mixed with lime and…more yogurt!)

Marinate your chicken or shrimp (thawed if frozen) in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight. Build a medium fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Brush grill grates with oil. Scrape excess marinade off chicken or shrimp. If you are making shrimp, thread them onto skewers. Grill chicken turning once, until browned and cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side. The shrimp will take a little less time, about 2-3 minutes a side.

RELATED LINKS:

http://www.dinneralovestory.com/choose-your-own-adventure-yogurt-marinades/

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/glossary/yogurt

http://www.foodrepublic.com/2012/09/18/dos-and-donts-cooking-greek-yogurt

EASY SHRIMP PASTA

EASY SHRIMP PASTA (3)
1/2 cup light balsamic vinaigrette dressing
1 lb frozen shrimp
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 Tbsp fresh basil
8 oz cream cheese, cut up (I used the 1/3 less fat variety)*
12 oz fettuccini, cooked and drained
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Pour dressing over shrimp and marinate 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook fettuccini and set aside. In a large pan, heat shrimp and marinade about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, paste and basil and heat through. Add cream cheese and stir until blended. Serve over fettuccini with Parmesan on top!

*NEXT TIME I WILL TRY 1/2 OF THE CREAM CHEESE WITH 4 OZ OF GREEK YOGURT. REMEMBER THE YOGURT MUST BE TEMPERED AND ADDED AT THE VERY END! LOOK FOR MY POST ON USING GREEK YOGURT IN COOKING AND HOW TO TEMPER IT IN THE NEAR FUTURE!