Tuesday, October 11, 2011

South Beach Phase One

My friend Naomi asked me about my blog yesterday and she gave me the inspiration to write a post. Actually, I have been cooking a little more and taking pictures as I go along. Today I will post a bunch of recipes, because really, who knows when inspiration will strike again? And that would mean you might miss out on some great ideas!

The following recipes are all South Beach Phase 1 friendly, which means no sugar, bread, pasta, rice, starchy veggies, fatty meats or fruit. What's left, you say? That's what I said too...then I started searching on the internet for recipes and came up with these winners.

I've found that chick peas (garbanzo beans) are a great snack when you roast them up with some spices. They almost taste like corn nuts. Who woulda thunk?

Garam Masala Roasted Chickpeas

Feel free to use any spice you like, or a blend of spices. Indian curry powders are great here, as are all kinds of paprika or chili powder. Experiment!

2 15-oz cans chickpeas
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. Garam Masala
1 tsp. fine-grain sea salt

Preheat the oven to 375°. Drain the chickpeas in a colander and rinse very well. Let them dry for 5 minutes or so, then place them in a big bowl. Add the olive oil, Garam Masala and sea salt. Toss until the chickpeas are evenly coated.

Spread them out on a rimmed cookie sheet so that they’re not overlapping, then bake for 40 – 45 minutes, tossing the pan occasionally. They’re done when they’re crisp and crunchy.

Let them cool completely, then store in an airtight container for up to a week (as if they’d last that long).

I know some people gag when they think of eggplant, but personally I love the flavor when roasted in the oven. I found this cute recipe for Eggplant Pizzettes, which is a fine alternative when you're craving a big pie from Skipolini's

Eggplant Pizzettes

Eggplant, skin left on and sliced
Spaghetti Sauce (no sugar)
Mozzarella Cheese
Black Olives, sliced

Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 425 degrees F. Season eggplants with the salt and pepper. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake until browned and almost tender, 6 to 8 minutes, turning once. Spread 1 tablespoon of pasta sauce on each eggplant slice. Top it off with shredded cheese and black olive slices. Bake until the cheese melts, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Who says you can't have a hearty low carb meal? We had this last night and it was great! The house smelled like a veggie pizza with onion, pepper and mushroom aromas filling the air. (Can you tell I have pizza on the brain?) Okay, so I don't ever remember ever having Chicken Cacciatore, so not sure how the flavors should have been, but this was delicious and filling. We served it on top of steamed spaghetti squash and roasted brussel sprouts.

Chicken Cacciatore

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup sliced mushrooms

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Add chicken; cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until browned, about 4 minutes. Remove from skillet.

In same skillet, heat oil, until hot but not smoking. Add garlic, onion, green pepper, and yellow pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 4 minutes. Add tomato sauce, stock, and oregano. Bring mixture to a boil. Return chicken to skillet.

Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until chicken is tender, about 25 minutes. Place chicken on a serving platter; cover with foil to keep warm.

Add mushrooms to skillet; increase heat to high; cook until mushrooms are tender and sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Spoon sauce over chicken. Serve immediately.

If you've never done South Beach diet before, trust me when I say that breakfast is the hardest meal. You really have to tweak your brain that it's okay to have leftover chicken and veggies for breakfast. Or eggs. Or more eggs. This here is the best breakfast we've had in the past 3 weeks. We have tried it with a couple times, once with black beans and another with Fat free refried. While both were great, we preferred creaminess of the refried. Also, adding a piece of chopped up Canadian Bacon in there helped bring out that salty bacon flavor. Overall, a great recipe that we can whip up in about 10 minutes.

Huevo Ranchero - almost

1/2 cup black beans (or fat-free refried black beans)
dash cumin, if desired
1/2 thin slice red onion
1/2 oz. shredded reduced-fat cheese
1 egg
2 Tbsp. sugar-free salsa
chopped cilantro

Poach egg in simmering water. While egg is poaching, put beans in a microwave-safe bowl, and mash slightly with a dash of cumin, if desired. Top with onion and cheese, and microwave for about 30-45 seconds, until cheese is melted. Top with egg and then salsa and cilantro.

This is a very satisfying side dish to a simple grilled chicken or fish. The spices are flavorful but not overpowering. I was concerned that the whole cloves of garlic would be too sharp, but they were creamy and almost sweet. Once you get all that chopping out of the way, it is a very easy dish to cook!

Roasted Veggies with Chickpeas

1 large red onion sliced thinly
1 green pepper sliced thinly
1 red pepper slice thinly
2 cups whole button mushrooms
1 bulb of garlic separated and de papered
1 can drained chickpeas or 1 and 1/2 cups of dried chickpeas that have been prepared
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp chili powder (I like new mexico chili powder found in bags in the Hispanic food isle)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or more if you like it spicy
juice of one small lime

Pre Heat oven to 450
Slice peppers and onions very thin. In a big bowl place veggies, garlic and chickpeas. Drizzle with olive oil and then add spices. Mix with hands or cover and shake until veggies and spices are well mixed.
Spread veggies on a large greased pan. Bake for 25-45 minutes (depending on your oven) until veggies begin to brown to your liking. Drizzle with lime juice and garnish with cilantro or parsley.


Okay, so that's it for now. Hope you enjoyed seeing what I've been doing (food wise) and just maybe it will give you some inspiration to go find some new recipes to try out for yourself. Try a spice you've never used. Find a new veggie or meat and look up some new way to cook it....but whatever you do, embrace the therapy of cooking and enjoy nourishing your family and friends!

PS. Tonight will be Meditteranean Turkey Meatballs with a Feta Yogurt Sauce. Not sure the kids will eat it, but I might let them have a PB&J if they promise to take one bite!


Cathy said...

Okay. Weirdest thing. I was pruning my Google Reader subscriptions - something I haven't done in ages. Anyway, I saw "foodstuff" and there said there was no way I could unsubscribe. I knew you'd be back.

And I haven't been reading blogs in ages which is why I have 436 posts left to read.

Deanna S. said...

I'm so glad you didn't delete me!! I know blog reading can get intense but I promise I won't post often LOL