Saturday, March 10, 2012

Weekend Dinner - Super Healthy Veggie Chili

Being on a meatless diet means I eat twice as much as I usually do; but at least it's vegetables that I am putting into my system.  Still...I don't like looking @ a great big bowl of food & the feeling of eating that much quantity'wise.  So I came up with the idea to make something hearty so I can feel full without eating like a beach whale.

I found this recipe on Healthy Endeavors & I made some adjustments according to my taste.  Even though the overall cook time was a bit long, the prep was pretty painless & it was mostly just watching over the pot to make sure bad things weren't happening.

The list of ingredients is not too long...
     2 zucchini.  Something non'traditional to make the chili more filling.
     2 red bell peppers.  You can use any color but I like red.
     1 medium yellow onion.  I think 1/2 is enough because the whole one was a bit much.
     2 Beefsteak tomatoes.  Get a few more if you're going to use a Roma.
     1 lemon for its juice.
     1 teaspoon of garlic paste.  No real garlic because they will just sprout in my fridge.
     1 can of diced tomatoes.
     1 can of kidney beans.
     1 can of garbanzo beans.
     1 can of corn kernel.
     1 package of Chili mix.  I got lazy & didn't buying all of the individual spices.
     1 teaspoon of chipotle powder.
     1 tablespoon of Sriracha.  To give this chili a real kick.

And the steps are quite simple...
     Dice the zucchini, bell peppers, onion, & tomatoes.  I cut them kinda big so they wouldn't get cooked down to little itty bitty bits of nothing.
     Heat up some oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add in the garlic paste & after the garlic starts to smell a little, add in the onion, the zucchini, & the bell peppers.  Sautee them for about 7 minutes until the onion turns translucent.
     Reduce the heat to low & add in the tomatoes & the can of diced tomatoes - along with the juice & half a can's worth of water.  Stir everything around & then toss in the package of chili mix.  Stir again to make sure that it's all dissolved into the liquid.
     Cook this over medium-low heat for 30 minutes.
     During this time, drain & rinse your beans & corn kernels.
     Once the time is up, add in the beans, the corn, & juice of the entire lemon.  Season with the chipotle powder, the Sriracha, & some salt/pepper.
     Mix everything together & let this cook over medium-low heat for 15 more minutes.

And you're done!  You can eat this alone or you can have it with a bit of rice.  You can even scoop it up with some bread.  A spicy, delicious, & super filling way of eating healthy yet creative.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Quick & Easy - Tomato Grilled Cheese

To stay the course with a meatless diet, creativity is almost a requirement.

Feeling a little under the weather, I knew I wanted some soup but I also knew that I was going to be hungry an hour.  So I got a little creative with my fridge & came up with the perfectly accompaniment - grilled cheese.

You only need 4 ingredients to get this thing going...
     2 slices of bread.  I use whole wheat or whole grain because they have more nutrition.
     1 Roma tomato.  You can use any kind of tomato you want but the 1 Roma was perfect.  Remember to remove the seeds so the sandwich doesn't get all watery.
     2 slices of cheese.  I used Swiss but any kind of melty cheese will work.
     Sandwich spread.  I had some garlic herb sandwich spread on hand but you can leave this out or you can use anything else like butter, mayo, or mustard.

And it only take 5 minutes to make...
     Put a little bit of sandwich spread on 1 slice of bread.
     Put down 1 slice of cheese; trying to keep it away from the edges.
     Slice the tomato up and place it on top.  Layer on the other slice of cheese & the other slice of bread.
     In a pan, put in 1/2 teaspoon worth of oil.  As the pan is heating up, wipe around the bottom of the pan so a thin layer of oil is covering the entire bottom.  This will help the bread get evenly toasted.
     Once the pan is hot, carefully place your sandwich in and just let it sit there over medium'low heat for 2 minutes.  I put a pan lid on top to apply some pressure for the melting of the cheese.  If you want to get fancy, you can wrap a brick in foil and place that on top.
     After a couple of minutes, flip the sandwich over & repeat the step above.

Depending on your stove & your pan, you might have to adjust the time; but the goal is to toast the bread without burning it.  Another way to do this is to use a George Foreman grill or a pannini machine.  Be aware, however, that the overall cook time should be cut by half since the sandwich would then be heated on both sides @ the same time.

This sandwich is quick, it's easy, it's cheap, & - when paired with a hot bowl of tomato soup - made the perfect Sunday lunch.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lent - Week 1 Update

It's been a week since Ash Wednesday & I've got to say I'm pretty proud of my progress!

The first few days were really tough, especially since I was away @ a work conference where my eating schedule was wacky & the choices for food were sometimes limited.  But since coming home, I've been really good about sticky to my plan.  Of course, it doesn't hurt that my mother cooked me a bunch of food so I can just reheat them mindlessly.  I must confess, however, that I did break lent.  I did it by accident!  It was mid-afternoon & all I had was half a bag of pretzel snacks so when I saw popsicles...I got a little too enthusiastic.  But I had just one Push-up; just one.

The lack of meat consumption is treating me well except I have to eat a larger amount to feel not hungry; but at least I am eating vegetables or egg whites.  The lack of sugar - on the other hand - has been harder to adjust to.  I think my body is starting to get used to it by now but I still rely on sugar'free chocolate mousse & natural apple sauce to satisfy those cravings.  To be honest it was a little shocking to realize how dependent my body was on sugar for it to have such a large withdrawal effect.  I was one grumpy, crabby b***h last week.  On the good side - I lost 2 pounds already!

I am running low my prepared vegetarian meals so I have to think of something to make over the weekend to eat next week.  Vegetarian chili perhaps?