Heather is a new blogger & has generously made time to share her foodwisdom with the MizFits as well.
Please to read, enjoy, & git on over and say hello!
Growing up as a teenager in a very ‘Meat and Potatoes’ family, it is (isn’t?) surprising that in my adult life, two things I rarely prepare for meals are (a) meat or (b) potatoes. My parents, neither of them with greater than a high school education (dad got his GED the same year I graduated high school), worked very hard to make ends meet. We lived outside of the city, as your typical lower-middle-class Canadian family. That being said, fresh veggies and fruit were considered ‘treats’ and the bulk of our meals were made up of various forms of beef, pork, chicken (again, as a treat), starchy vegetables that they grew and kept all winter in the basement, and canned / boxed goods. (I.e: processed)
Comments from my mother growing up (any of these sound familiar?):
– “There’s nothing wrong with that fat! Fat is good for you!” (whilst trimming fat from my pork chops)
– “There’s something wrong with you – are you turning into one of those anorexics?” (while refusing gravy on my roast beef or turning down the tablespoon of butter for my corn)
The point I’m trying to make, and why I feel compelled to share that particular aspect of my childhood and early adulthood, prior to going into some of my favourite recipes, is that although good (modern, if you will) eating habits were not instilled in me – as they may not have been for many of you – that I have been able, though forums like this one, great friends, cookbooks, television, and experimentation, to learn about how truly satisfying good, clean food can be and how much fun it can be to prepare for yourselves, your loved ones, and your friends.
I’ve thrown together a smattering of my favourite ’30 minute’ meals (Fairly balanced, and all under 400 calories) for two.
So on to the recipes, I’ve literally got hundreds, however here are two of my favourites for summer:
Shrimp, Easy Stuffed Tomatoes and Green Vegetables
Serves: 2 / Calories: 300 / Fat: 8g (not counting mozzarella cheese)
– 16 – 20 large peeled and defrosted raw shrimp. (I like the 21 – 25/lb count size from Costco / Sam’s Club. (8 is a perfect size for a meal at ~ 130g)
– 2 Large Tomatoes
– ¼ cup dry Whole Wheat Couscous
– ½ cup chopped up (fine) vegetables – I like red or yellow pepper, onion, mushroom – whatever’s in the fridge
– 1 cup chopped, washed spinach
– Green Vegetables (Side Dish) – 20 asparagus spears, 2 cups zucchini rounds, 2 cups green or yellow beans – whatever you like!
– 1 clove garlic
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
– 1 oz part-skim mozzarella, feta, or cheddar cheese
– 1 tbsp calorie-wise marinade (if desired)
– ¼ cup water
– A broiler pan
– One saucepan / shallow pot
– Wooden skewers (if desired)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Prepare couscous according to package directions. Generally: boil ¼ cup water, mix in ¼ cup dry couscous, remove from heat and cover 5 minutes until done.
3. Meanwhile, wash your shrimp, lightly marinade with 1 tbsp calorie-wise (under 40 cals/tbsp) marinade and skewer if desired. Reserve for later.
4. Trim asparagus, snap beans, or slice zucchini, lightly coat with ½ tbsp olive oil. Reserve for later.
5. Carefully cut out the core of the tomatoes, and using a spoon, hollow out the interior of each tomato. Reserve any fleshy tomato pieces and discard the seeds.
6. Chop / dice your other vegetables and combine with the reserved tomato pieces.
7. Remove couscous from pot or saucepan – reserve in a bowl until used.
8. Sauté diced vegetables (from step 6) in ½ tbsp olive oil with 1 clove of garlic in the pot used to prepare the couscous. When soft, add the couscous, chopped spinach, and 1 tbsp parmesan cheese. Stir well.
9. Once heated through, stuff each tomato cavity with the couscous/vegetable filling. Top with additional parmesan cheese and/or shredded mozzarella/feta/cheddar.
10. On a broiled pan, line up vegetables, tomatoes and shrimp. Pepper lightly all over.
11. Cook at 350 degrees 10 – 15 minutes or until shrimp are cooked. Broil an additional 2 minutes if desired.
Portobello Mushroom Quesadilla
Portobello’s are a delicious, healthy, and low-calorie replacement for meat in many recipes. My favourite uses are as ‘burger patties’ on the BBQ and as a substitute for chicken in this recipe.
Serves: 2 / Calories: 350
– 1 large Portobello mushroom or 2 medium-sized, sliced into strips.
– 2 Whole Wheat Pita’s, split or 4 soft-shell wheat (reduced cal) tortillas. I use the 5-6″ size.
– Tomato, diced
– Onion, peppers, zucchini pieces (whatever you have available), diced or sliced into thin strips
– 2 oz reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, grated. (approx: 2/3 cup)
– Steak Spice or other spices
– Becel 0 Calorie Spray
– Fresh Salsa and Fat Free Sour Cream
– A frying pan
– BBQ or Oven
- If baking in the oven, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Otherwise, preheat and scrape BBQ.
- Grate cheese, and chop vegetables.
- On the stove top, sauté chopped vegetables (except tomato) and Portobello mushroom slices with steak spice or other seasoning in a few sprays of 0 Calorie Becel Spray. Remove from heat once softened.
- On ½ of each of the tortillas or pita shells sprinkle 1/6 cup of mozzarella cheese. Top with cooked vegetables and mushrooms, and top with diced tomatoes. Diving remaining cheese over the vegetables and place the 2nd half of the pita or 2nd tortilla shell.
- Bake in a 350 oven until cheese bubbles, broil for an additional 2 – 3 minutes.
- Alternatively, cook at medium heat on the BBQ for 8-10 minutes, carefully flipping half way.
- Serve with salsa and fat free sour cream for dipping.
- Serve with fresh salad greens and other fresh, local vegetables for a light summer meal.