After that thoroughly depressing post about diet food, I'm back. This time, I'm bringing with me some ideas for foods that are diet-friendly AND satisfying.
Because I love to cook and bake, I've been on the prowl for dishes to add to my repertoire. I consider it a bonus when it is something that not only I will enjoy, but the rest of my family as well. I'm not going to drag them, kicking and screaming and clutching their bags of M&Ms, into my diet world. However, if it's nutritious AND tastes good, I think it's a win-win! Okay, so there was that ugly situation with a Weight Watchers chocolate cake recipe I was able to PEEL out of the pan and actually FOLD, without breaking it. But let's be honest, where else can they go to get three squares a day for FREE? Other than prison.
The problem, I find, is that often low-fat or fat-free often also means flavor-free. I frankly don't care if it is a magic concoction that will allow me to be a skinny supermodel that lives to be 127, if it has no taste, I'm outta there. In order to stay with this gig, Mamma's gotta have some good eats.
So, here they are. Some of the "staples" in my dieting desk drawer. Even if you aren't looking to drop a few hundred pounds, you might want to give them a try! After all, with the state of America's arteries, I think most of us could use a few more healthy meals in our lives. So, without further ado, and before I launch into my "Fiber Is Your Friend!" speech, let's enjoy some food porn.
You'll look forward to breakfast when it's this fast, easy, and good! If you haven't tried the sandwich rounds, you should. They are super low in fat, high in fiber (and we all know why that's good), and much more nutritious than that lousy white bread. I fry an egg, sometimes add a piece of Canadian bacon or low-fat ham, and put it on the sandwich rounds that have been slathered in:
Laughing Cow Cheese. My fridge ALWAYS has at least three boxes of this cheese. I'm not really sure why the cow is laughing, and it's quite possible she's laughing all the way to the bank with the price they charge for this stuff, but when it's on sale and I have a coupon, I'm laughing right along with her. I also use it to make omelets, baked potatoes, and on pasta.
And speaking of pasta, here's another one of my favorites:
This is super easy and very filling. Just boil some whole-wheat pasta (which I think is much more satisfying than the traditional pasta). While that's cooking, spare yourself from folding yet another load of laundry and, instead, saute some mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and fresh spinach in a pan with a splash of whatever red wine you have lying around, left over from breakfast. I mean leftover from the last time your mother-in-law came over. When the pasta is done, toss it together with the veggies and add a tablespoon of Alouette Light Garlic & Herb cheese. Another one of my stand-bys. This stuff is SO good and melts into a much creamier sauce than the Cow. I make this for lunch for my nanny (or, as I call her, my mom) and she gobbles it up. It's delish!
Something else that will have you saying, "Oishii" (and no, that's not short for "Oh, Shi----". It's Japanese for delicious, you bunch of sailors).
A steaming bowl of udon! It is just a basic beef broth, toss in some mushrooms, thinly-sliced carrots, some lean slivers of beef, and some green onions. Ladle it on top of cooked udon noodles, throw your meat cleaver up in the air, and you're one of them there Japanese chefs!
Another stick-to-your-ribs lunch or dinner, which is crazy easy, is black bean soup.
Now, if you're not a fan of the black bean (Hi, Stacey!) then you'll want to pass this up. If you are, this is a great recipe from my dear friend, Kathy. And take it from me, she KNOWS what's good! Just throw two cans of beans into a crockpot, a cup of chicken broth, one cup of salsa, and the juice from a lime. THAT. IS. IT. Seems too good to be true, I know, but when you smell this simmering away, you'll have to put a combination lock on the lid of your crockpot until it's finished (I know of what I speak). You can put a dollop of sour cream on top and some shredded cheese, if you're feeling daring. If you live in a home with a high census, as I do, you'll need to double this. In addition, make sure your sheets, blankets, and upholstery are not flammable before you take a seat after soup consumption.
And last, but certainly not least, dessert.
I guess this would be a good time to emphasize my INTENSE love of chocolate. I can't remember a day in the last 30 years that I haven't digested chocolate in some form. If you are shocked and horrified, that's a shame. I knew if I was going to be even minimally successful, I'd have to find some alternatives to the triple chocolate cake, dark chocolate truffles, and chocolate peanut butter cookies that served as the base of my food pyramid in the past.
I can't pretend that these are out of this world magnificent. They're not. I can think of probably 50 other forms of chocolate I'd RATHER have. But apparently this whole dieting thing isn't all about ME. There's some greater good I'm supposed to be keeping in mind...something about cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension, erectile dysfunction...oh, wait. Never mind the last one. Anyway, I've had to settle for these chocolate muffins in an effort to stave off those not so attractive maladies that come along with packin' on the pounds.
If you are willing to give these babies a try, just stir together a box of low-fat brownie mix and one 14.5 ounce can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix, but just PUMPKIN). Spoon them into cupcake liners (I usually get about 16 per batch) and bake for approximately 15 minutes at 350. That's it! If the mention of pumpkin made you recoil, I'll say that you really don't taste it that much. There are definitely hints of it, but it isn't overwhelming.
So that wraps up the latest dispatch from my little corner of the planet. I'm working on my next post, where we'll leave diet-land (you're welcome) and enter the hobby graveyard, a.k.a. my basement "studio". Before joining me, you might want to make sure your affairs are in order and your immunizations are up-to-date.