NEW TWIST ON TACOS

TACOS (7)

SO FAST AND EASY! THESE TACOS WILL SATISFY YOUR TASTE BUDS AND KEEP YOUR CHOLESTEROL AT BAY!

1 lb 96% lean ground beef
1 (15 oz) can lentils, drained slightly
1 pkt taco seasoning
1 jar of your favorite salsa
lettuce, chopped
grape tomatoes, chopped
red onion, chopped
baby peppers, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar or taco cheese
8 large Azteca soft tortilla shells (I would use whole wheat if on hand)
8 oz low fat sour cream, optional
tortilla chips, optional

In a large skillet over medium high heat brown ground beef and add lentils, taco seasoning, 1/4 c water and 1/4 cup salsa.

TACOS (1)

Chop up your lettuce, tomato, onion and peppers.

TACOS (8)

Create your taco!  I like mine open like a taco salad but my husband likes to wrap his.

THESE ARE DELICIOUS AND NO ONE KNOWS THERE ARE LENTILS IN THERE.  THE LENTILS HELP DECREASE TOTAL FAT AND ADD FIBER.  USING 96% LEAN GROUND BEEF AND LOW FAT SOUR CREAM ALSO KEEP THE MEAL HEALTHY – THEN I DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT HAVING A FEW TORTILLA CHIPS WITH IT!

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CASSAULET-STYLE PORK

CASSAULET-STYLE PORK (2)

1  large onion, cut into wedges
1 bag baby carrots
8 stalks celery, sliced
3/4 c dried lentils, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 1/2 cups water
1 (28 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
2 # pork loin roast
1 1/2 tsp rosemary, crushed
1 tsp instant beef bouillon
salt and pepper if needed

Place everything in order into the crock pot and cook on LOW 10-12 hours. In the last hour of cooking take out roast and cut into cubes, then return to slow cooker until ready to serve.

LENTIL SOUP – GREAT FOR LEFT OVER HAM

Lentil soup (3)

8-10 oz chicken broth
16 oz dry lentils
2 potatoes, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
20-30 baby carrots, diced
1 small onion, diced
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed
Left over ham cut into bite size pieces

Add all to large soup kettle.  Bring to boil, then cover and simmer about and hour.  Soup will thicken over time so I usually add the higher end of the broth and don’t worry about draining the spinach!

**THE INGREDIENTS FOR LENTIL AND SPLIT PEA SOUP ARE ALMOST IDENTICAL BUT THEY DEFINITELY EACH HAVE A DISTINCTIVE FLAVOR!  ALSO GREAT WITH A LEFT OVER HAM BONE OR HAM HOCK.

ARE LENTILS GLUTEN FREE?

Lentils are naturally free of gluten but as with other gluten-free legumes and grains, there may be risk of contamination during processing and handling. Always give dried lentils a thorough rinsing before cooking them. To play it safe, seek out packaged brands that are certified gluten free, like those from Arrowhead Mills.

TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH

“A healthy attitude is contagious but don’t wait to catch it from others.  Be a carrier!”  Tom Stoppard

When asked who my “Health Hero” is and why, I immediately thought of my father.  Not only was he a World War II hero, he made sure to bring our family up to be active.

papa

We would go to the beach and swim and build sand castles and he would organize a baseball game if we started lazing around too much.  We played tennis, badminton and horse shoes and always took walks.  The entire family raked leaves and shoveled snow together.  We washed the car and we all had household chores.

Stuart McIntosh, former Olympian said, “When children are exposed to a routine that works, they learn it, understand it, and when done regularly it is locked into their memory.”  It sure worked for our family!

Now it is up to me to continue to make healthy lifestyle choices.

My husband and I really work as a team.  When his cholesterol level inched up to 199, my training as a Registered Dietitian kicked in and we were able to lower that level by 20 points over the last year.  Difficult for a real meat and potatoes man!  We ate more fish (grilled and cooked with a variety of spices), less chuck roast (20gm fat/serving) changed to tender chuck (3gm fat/serving), more beans and lentils added to ground beef dishes and using 96% lean beef (like meatballs, meatloaf, tacos, chili).  Haven’t seen a hotdog bologna, salami, bacon or sausage – but like turkey sausage!  Milk products are all low fat and fresh fruits and vegetables are always “half the plate”!  Whole grains are staples.  A stick of butter lasts months.  I don’t use artificial or “lite” products but use just a little of the real thing.  Most important we EXERCISE DAILY!

We just went through a winter of extreme cold, life threatening wind chills and two blizzards in Buffalo, New York.  But we dressed for the weather and enjoyed cross county skiing and walks/snow shoeing along the frozen Lake Erie shoreline at sunset not to mention we did loads of shoveling.  My husband also likes to kite ski.  We even have cleats for our boots for the typical ice storm.  The treadmill and exercise bike are a last resort to enjoying the great outdoors.

Thinking outside the box and planning this unique garden for Spring:

IT IS IMPORTANT TO HAVE A PLAN FOR HEALTHY EATING!  You need only a very small plot of land to grow enough vegetables and herbs to feed a family.  Join me in this experiment.  Take a 2 cubic feet of potting soil (like Miracle Grow), rumple it around quite a bit to loose the soil, poke quite a few holes in the back side for drainage, then lay the bag on a smooth surface that will allow drainage and not get too hot.  Cut out the top leaving about a 4 or 5 inch border all around.  Lightly rake through the soil to even it out and loosen it even more, then carefully start planting your seeds.  Spray mist the seeds and plantlings when first watering until they are established, then you can water more vigorously.  Keep soil moist, but not sopping wet.  Come Summer, we plan to have loads of fresh vegetables for grilling and salads!

Summer plans also include tennis, biking, swimming, kayaking, windsurfing and paddle boarding.

REMEMBER, YOU DON’T HAVE TO DIET IF YOU LIVE IT!

THANKS FOR THE CHALLENGE: HEALTHY CAMPAIGN

LOADS OF NUTRITION TIPS, FITNESS ROUTINES AND RECIPES AT : FABULOUS FIT FOOD

SECRET MEATBALL RECIPE

MEATBALLS

MUST TRY!  ONE OF THE WAYS I’M FIGHTING HIGH CHOLESTEROL!  Here is my really great recipe for super protein, low fat meatballs (I also make into burgers to cook on the grill)!

1# 96% lean ground beef
1 (15oz) can lentil beans – drained just a bit
1 envelope onion soup mix (I use Lipton or Great Value)
1 tsp instant beef bouillon and seasoning (herb ox)
2-3 Tbsp minced garlic cloves
1/2 cup quinoa prepared according to directions
3 eggs (or egg substitute equivalent to 3 eggs)
1 tsp Italian seasoning

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and let sit in refrigerator for about an hour (the quinoa will absorb extra liquid and make for more solid burgers and meatballs that hold together).  Fashion into 2 good sized burgers (to freeze for later grilling) and 20 large meatballs.

Bake meatballs at 375 degrees 20-25 minutes until browned and firm.  I usually freeze and add to my homemade sauce as needed!

**Sometimes I add a tsp of cumin or chili powder to spice them up, or if I’m thinking of beef stroganoff with Swedish meatballs, I add a tsp of ground all spice!

ENJOY AND BE HEALTHY!

MEAT & POTATOES MAN LOWERS CHOLESTEROL! CELEBRATE WORLD HEART DAY!

WE WERE ABLE TO LOWER MY HUSBAND’S TOTAL CHOLESTEROL BY 20 POINTS OVER THE PAST YEAR AND HE IS A MEAT AND POTATO MAN! Yes, we ate more fish (grilled and cooked with a variety of spices), less chuck roast (20gm fat/serving) changed to tender chuck (3gm fat/serving), more beans and lentils added to ground beef dishes and using 96% lean beef (like meatballs, meatloaf, tacos, chili), haven’t seen a hot dog, bologna, salami, bacon or sausage – but like turkey sausage!  Milk products are all low fat and fresh fruits and vegetables are always “half the plate”! Whole grains are staples. A stick of butter lasts for months.  Sweet treats are not in the house unless we’re having company but I still try for something as healthy as possible.  I don’t use artificial or “lite” products but use just a little of the real thing – seems to work!  I don’t like the idea of cholesterol lowering medicines so give this a shot!  AND DON’T FORGET TO EXERCISE DAILY! 

JUST AN ASIDE:  My Mom had a cholesterol level over 300 for much of her adult life, yet when she was developing dementia and they checked her arteries for plaque, the doctors said “she has the arteries of a 16 year old!”  Not to make light of cholesterol but your gene pool, diet, environment and life style have a strong influence on developing heart disease!  Mom died at the age of 88 and four days of old age!

MEATLOAF, MEATBALL, HAMBURGER PATTY RECIPE:

1 pound 96% lean ground beef
1 (15oz) can organic lentil beans
1 cup cooked quinoa (1/2 cup dry cooked according to directions)
1 pkt (1.25oz) Onion Recipe Soup & Dip Mix

In large bowl combine ingredients. Refrigerate about an hour to allow quinoa to absorb some of the liquid. Then shape into loaf, balls or patties. Cook loaf in 350 degree oven for about 40-45 minutes. Cook balls in 350 degree oven about 20 minutes. Grill patties about 10 minutes a side.

*Sometimes I add worcestershire sauce and/or ketchup for a little different flavor.

FOR TACOS BROWN 96% LEAN GROUND BEEF WITH A CAN OF LENTILS AND ADD YOU FAVORITE TACO SEASONING – NO ONE WILL KNOW THE LENTILS ARE THERE!

 

Choose

Once in a While

Avoid

Meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish—up to 6 ounces/day
  • Lean meats without visible fat
  • Poultry with skin removed
  • All fish
  • Shellfish
  • Fatty meats
  • Duck
  • Liver
  • Sausage
  • Bacon
  • Processed meats
Dairy products—two or more servings/day; three or four servings for pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • Skim and 1% milk
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Low-fat cheese
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • 2%-fat dairy products
  • Part-skim cheese
  • Imitation hard cheese
  • Lite cheese
  • Whole milk
  • Cream
  • Half-and-half
  • Whipped cream
  • Whole-milk dairy products
Eggs
  • Egg whites
  • Cholesterol-free egg substitutes
  • Egg yolks—three or four/week
Fats and oils—5-8 teaspoons/day
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Canola oil for baking
  • Spreads that are trans-fat free
  • Most nuts
  • Seeds
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Peanut oil
  • Trans fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Lard
  • Bacon fat
  • Coconut
  • Palm and palm kernel oil
Breads, cereals, pasta, rice, dried peas, and whole beans—six or more servings/day
  • High-fiber grains—3 grams of fiber or more/serving, including:
  • Cereals
  • Breads
  • Pastas
  • Crackers
  • Rice
  • Starches
  • Commercial baked goods, including:
  • Waffles
  • Muffins
  • Quick breads
  • Pancakes
  • Danish
  • Croissants
  • Doughnuts
  • Products made with saturated/trans fat oils
Fruits and vegetables—five or more servings/day
  • Low-sodium fruits and vegetables:
  • Fresh
  • Frozen
  • Dried
  • Canned
  • Canned fruit in heavy syrup
  • Coconut
  • Creamed vegetables
  • Vegetables with sauces
Sweets and treats—limit to one or fewer servings/day
  • Sorbet
  • Ices
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Hard candy
  • Gummy candy
  • Gingersnaps
  • Plain popcorn
  • Pretzels
  • 100% fruit juice
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Homemade cakes, cookies, and pies
  • Ice milk
  • Pudding
  • Commercial granola bars
  • Ice cream
  • Chocolate
  • Commercial chips and snacks
  • Store-bought desserts
  • Candy

SO EASY STUFFED PEPPERS

Stuffed Peppers (4)

MAKING THESE IN THE CROCK POT KEEPS THE HEAT DOWN ON THESE HOT SUMMER DAYS!

4 green peppers (mine were small so I used 5)
1 pound 96% lean ground beef
1 (15oz) can lentils slightly drained
1/2 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup uncooked instant brown rice
1 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce, divided
4 oz shredded cheddar cheese

Remove tops, core and seed peppers. In medium bowl mix remaining ingredients with 1 cup spaghetti sauce and cheese. Fill peppers with mixture. Pour 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce plus 1/2 cup water into slow cooker. Stand pepper upright in slow cooker and cover. Cook on LOW 5-7 hours (HIGH 2 1/2-3 1/2 hours).

I like them with extra sauce and grated parmesan cheese!