Monday, July 25, 2011

Vegetable Mind Games - Creamy Spinach

Back again with spinach, why? Because it is super healthy. Duh.
When someone first mentioned Creamed Spinach to me, I have to admit that I turned up my nose. It didn't sound appealing in anyway and I honestly have no idea what made me decide to try it.
Perhaps I figured that it wasn't a big loss if it failed. After all a bag of spinach is fairly cheap, so if it bombed I could throw it away guilt free.

Well, we definately did not throw it away. In fact, my husband stole my test version so I made another batch. Plus I picked up more spinach to make it again this week. Let me introduce you to my new comfort food:

Creamy Spinach with Garlic
1 tbs garlic, minced
1 tbs olive oil  
1 bag (10 oz) fresh spinach
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
1 tablespoon garlic power
2 tbs Parmesan
1/8 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large skillet. Saute garlic and add in handfuls of spinach, allowing them to wilt before adding another. Once all the spinach is in the pan, reduce the heat, add in sour cream, seasonings and Parmesan. Remove from heat and let rest a minute before serving.

Compared to classic Creamed Spinach that can cost you as much as 280 points and 23 grams of fat, 15 of that are from saturated fat, this is so much better for you. I do have the benefit of not ever having the calorie laden version, so I'd love to know how they compare and if this really can quench that craving.

This recipe was divided into 3 one cup servings. One cup of cooked spinach is equal to 2 vegetable servings.
A serving of this delicious Creamy Spinach will also cost you 1.5 fat and your free exchange.
Calories     123.5
Total Fat     7.1 g
     Saturated Fat     2.7 g

     Polyunsaturated Fat     0.8 g
     Monounsaturated Fat     3.3 g
Cholesterol     6.7 mg
Sodium     312.4 mg
Potassium     550.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate     9.3 g
     Dietary Fiber     2.9 g
     Sugars     3.1 g
Protein     8.4 g

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Low Fat Chicken Gyros

I love gyros but my favorite restaurant ones are not allowed anymore because of the fat content. I've wanted to make a healthy Chicken Gyro for a very, very long time, and I haven't. That was a mistake. I am sorry.
To make things right you, I will eat these Gyros every day this week. What, you want a bite? No, I'm not sharing with you! Are you nuts?! Make your own!
Ok, fine... just a bite though...

Chicken Gyros - Hypo Style
Tzatziki Sauce
1 large seedless cucumber
1 cup fat free sour cream
2 tablespoons Greek seasoning
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dill

1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 white onion, diced
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons Greek Seasoning
salt and pepper

Other Stuff
3-4 medium tomatoes, sliced
1/2 white onion, sliced
6 whole wheat pita bread circles

Shred cucumber and squeeze all liquid out using a cheese cloth or towel. Mix cucumber and remaining sauce ingredients together. Chill in the fridge at least 30 minutes, overnight is best if you have that sort of planning ability.
Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. Combine the chicken, onion, parsley, Greek seasoning and olive oil in a skillet. Cook on medium heat until the chicken is done.
To serve, warm the pita in the oven or microwave. Slice in half and fill each pocket with chicken, tomatoes and cucumber sauce.  If your pitas fail to open into a nice pocket like mine did, just make them taco style by piling the ingredients on top and folding the pita in half.

As you can see from the picture, I clearly did not follow portion control. Normally (if I behaved) this meal will provide you with 1 carb, 2 protien, 1 veggie, 1/2 fat. Mine looked more like 2 carb, 4 protien, 1 veggie, 1 fat.
I'd feel bad, but at a whopping 353(ish) calories, it didn't break the caloric bank.

When behaving you can round out your dinner with a Spinach and Strawberry salad with light garlic vinaigrette and sunflower seeds to add on the remaining 1 1/2 allowed fat, the 1 fruit serving and another veggie. This meal was so incredibly good and healthy that I had to share the nutrition as calculated by the Spark Recipe Calculator.
(Please note that this makes 12 hypo servings. If you are feeding real people, increase the amount accordingly.)

Nutrition Facts  12 Hypo Sized Servings
  Calories 176.5
  Total Fat 1.9 g
       Saturated Fat  0.5 g
       Polyunsaturated Fat  0.5 g
       Monounsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 34.8 mg
Sodium224.7 mg
Potassium 322.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 22.9 g
     Dietary Fiber  2.9 g
     Sugars  1.9 g
Protein 17.6 g

Vitamin A               6.0 %             Vitamin B-12               3.6 %
Vitamin B-6           21.2 %            Vitamin C                     9.3 %
Vitamin D              0.0 %              Vitamin E                      2.3 %
Calcium                 4.5 %              Copper                         7.4 %
Folate                    5.0 %              Iron                              8.6 %
Magnesium            10.8 %            Manganese                   30.3 %
Niacin                    36.9 %            Phosphorus                  20.3 %   
Riboflavin               5.5 %              Selenium                      34.7 %   
Thiamin                  11.2 %            Zinc                             6.7 %

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Vegetable Mind Games - Zucchini Fries

I've wanted to like zucchini for awhile. Ok, let me rephrase, I've wanted to like zucchini in a form other than Zucchini Bread for awhile. (Note to self: Hurry up and make a whole-wheat, low-fat, sugar-free zucchini bread...or cake.)

Anyway, the first time I tried this method I cut the zucchini into rounds and breaded them shake and bake style by tossing them in a bag. It didn't really work, the coverage was less even and more clumpy. I also tried a higher heat for a shorter time, and I had to force feed myself the mess I made.

I had all but given up on the idea of zucchini chips when my CSA tossed them into my weekly fruit and veggie basket. Not one to waste food, I knew I had to give them another chance. I'm seriously glad I did. Maybe I should start giving all veggies a second chance.

Zucchini Fries
4 zucchini, cut into wedges
3/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 tablespoon Greek seasoning
1/2 tablespoon oregano
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
2 egg whites
Preheat the oven to 425. Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick spray. Mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan and seasonings on a plate. Crack the egg whites into a bowl. Dip zucchini wedges into the egg whites, then dredge through the breadcrumb mixture. Place on a the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip them and bake another 10 minutes.

You can't shouldn't have fries with out a dip, it's just weird.
And speaking of weird, you gotta try this sauce with your zucchini fries.
Zucchini Fry Sauce
1/2 cup Vodka Sauce (or leftover spaghetti sauce)
2 tablespoons Frank's Hot Sauce
Mix. Heat. Dip. Eat. Smile.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Whole Wheat Mango Waffles with Raspberry Sauce

When I first considered making waffles for my friend who was visiting from Kansas, I didn't think I could pull off an egg-free, sugar-free, whole wheat waffle. I was also convinced we'd have to break out the syrup to combat the dry whole wheat texture. I was so very, very wrong. These waffles were amazing!

 Whole Wheat Mango Waffles
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 stevia packet
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 cup vanilla flavored almond milk
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter extract
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 large mango, chopped
Mix dry ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients in another.   Then slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix lightly. (Over mixing the batter leads to tough waffles that can be used to defend against home invaders.) Once everything is combined. Add in half of the chopped mango. Before you pour this delicious batter into your preheated waffle iron, make sure your raspberry sauce is ready and waiting.
    Raspberry Sauce
    1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries
    1 tbsp honey
    1 tbsp butter extract
    2 tbsp water
    Add all ingredients to a small sauce pan.  Bring to a boil. Stir frequently to break apart berries. Remove from heat when it's hot and looks saucy.

    Top each waffle with raspberry sauce and the remaining mango. This same recipe also tastes great with Strawberry Sauce (same ingredients as above, only change the berry). Not to brag or anything, but they are my new favorite waffle. For those of you who love sugar and don't need to part with it...try this recipe served with a light dusting of powdered sugar.

    This recipe makes 4 large waffles with toppings. If you eat the whole thing you'll take in 394 calories, 8.8 grams of fat (of that, only 1.2 are saturated), 253.6mg of Potassium, 7.9g Fiber, 10g Protein and more vitamins than I have time to re-type.

    The MS Badge

    Oye vay! I finally get my head wrapped around the hypoglycemia lifestyle and now it's changing. After a stressful month of doctors and tests and waiting, I get to add the Multiple Sclerosis Badge to my medical sash. Well...technically I don't get the badge yet. You see, the MRI and the spinal tap confirmed MS but I've only had an isolated episode.

    So now I wait and pray the next one isn't bad.  Thankfully I have a great neurologist who isn't pushing me to medicate at this point. If I wanted the medicine, it would involve daily shots of Copaxone. (, not with the estimated 30% success rate. Seriously, would you go to Vegas with those odds?) Instead the doctor suggested that I try the Swank Diet. This is a low saturated fat diet that is backed by a 34-year study of people with MS who followed his diet and how it helped. So I'm thinking, 'Diet? Yeah, I know how to do that, bring it on.'

    Here are the rules:
    1. Saturated fat should not exceed 15 grams per day
    2. Unsaturated fat (oils) should be kept to 20-50 grams per day
    3. No red meat or pork for the first year; after that, a maximum of 3 oz. (85 grams) of red meat per week
    4. Dairy products must contain 1% or less butterfat
    5. No processed foods containing saturated fat
    6. A good source of omega-3 (oily fish, cod liver oil, cod liver oil tablets, etc.) along with a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement are recommended daily
    7. Wheat, gluten or dairy product quantities are not restricted. But foods which cause allergies or reactions to an MS sufferer should be avoided.
    This seemed easy enough at first. However, I quickly learned that I had no idea how much saturated fat was in anything I was eating. The first big change came with my cherished cheese and crackers. They had come to be my safety snack at work, but they can no longer be a regular visitor because of the saturated fat found in most cheeses. That same day my family accidentally tortured me with their dinner of hot dogs and french fries. The meltdown that followed resembled one of a teenager losing her car. "But I LOVE hot dogs, and everyone else gets to eat it. It's not fair!! What am I gonna have nooooow!?"
    Clearly I wasn't taking this well. By no means was this like the meltdowns I had when I was diagnosed with reactive hypoglycemia, but it still made the books.

    In all fairness, I'm sure that anyone wrapping their head around one restrictive diet, and then having to integrate another has probably had one of these moments. It's confusing and frustrating. Hopefully there isn't anyone out there struggling to learn both of these diets, but in case there are, I will share what I learn as I go. Future recipes will still follow the hypo rules but also be lower in saturated fat, and will be beef and pork free for the year. Perhaps I'm being naive, but if this could help me avoid an episode it is worth the struggle. And perhaps, after a year of this I'll have totally earned a Swank/Hypo Badge.

      Tuesday, July 5, 2011

      Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder

      As I'm writing this I can tell you that it isn't really soup weather. The sky is clear of clouds and I sincerely hated the black leather seats as they scorched my skin. That said, I still want this soup. I want this spicy delicious goodness so much that I plan on making another batch, just to freeze and keep on hand.
      Did I mention this is the easiest soup I have ever made, and it is also pretty darn healthy.

      Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder
      1 can fat free cream of chicken soup
      1 can fat free chicken broth 
      1 can diced tomatoes
      1 can yellow, no sugar added, corn
      1 small can diced green chiles
      2 stalks celery, chopped
      1 cup shredded (or chopped) carrots
      1.5 pounds chicken breast, no skin, chopped
      6 oz low fat cheddar cheese, cubed
      1 cup fat free sour cream
      Combine everything but the cheese and sour cream into a crockpot. Cook on low heat for 4 hours or so until the chicken is cooked through.
      Stir in the cheese and sour cream, heat another 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted.
      This version is very mild, I like to add Siracha or hot sauce to my bowl before devouring and licking the bowl clean. 

      This makes a lot of soup, in fact when I first saw how much it made I was a bit nervous we wouldn't be able to finish it.  After sharing with friends I was still able to sneak it for lunch several days in a row before my family had a chance at the leftovers.

      I mentioned it was healthy. Not only did I find this soup filling, it is also low cal, and pretty low fat. Obviously cutting out the cheese would make a difference here, but the Minnesotan in me couldn't do it.
      Here is the nutrition info based on the ingredients I used:
      1 recipe makes 9 servings.

      Calories                          193.6
      Total Fat                         3.2 g
        Saturated Fat                1.4 g
        Polyunsaturated Fat       0.4 g
        Monounsaturated Fat     0.7 g
      Cholesterol                      55.7 mg
      Sodium                            767.6 mg
      Potassium                        326.9 mg
      Total Carbohydrate          14.0 g
      Dietary Fiber                    2.3 g
      Sugars                              3.8 g
      Protein                             24.7 g

      Vitamin A         42.7 %            Vitamin B-12       6.9 %          Vitamin B-6       23.2 %
      Vitamin C         11.4 %            Vitamin D            0.0 %          Vitamin E           1.2 %
      Calcium           15.6 %             Copper               3.0 %           Folate                5.5 %
      Iron                 5.7 %               Magnesium          7.9 %          Manganese         4.3 %
      Niacin             45.0 %             Pantothenic Acid  8.8 %          Phosphorus        26.4 %
      Riboflavin        8.5 %               Selenium               24.0 %       Thiamin              5.2 %
      Zinc                7.3 %
      Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...