One of My many Low Calorie Meals: Spinach and White Bass

We all have go-to dishes that we cook when we feel like we need to get back on track from a weekend or holiday of eating a little too much. I for instance; when away on vacation for a week or so can’t wait to get home and cook my own meals. Although I try not to overdo it, I still don’t know the exact ingredients on my plate and can’t always get it cooked exactly how I like. I almost feel like a need a palate refresher.

My Husband without fail always says “I can’t wait to get home and have one of your salads or meals”. That always makes me feel good because I know that my meals are things he looks forward to even when away enjoying other things he can’t wait to get back to my cooking. I love cooking. I mean I truly enjoy it. So, to know that I can create and put meals together that not only are delicious but also make you feel healthy is so rewarding. Really!

I love fish. My favorites being Salmon, Branzino (Sea Bass), Tilapia, Sole, Cod, Tuna, Grouper, Mahi-Mahi, etc… It’s so good for you and easy to make. The health benefits are so many that you just feel good knowing that you are going to eat it, most of all it is delicious, delicate and light.

I used European White Bass in this recipe but you can use really just about any fish that you have. This is any easy and quick meal with so many benefits. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 lb. Fresh Spinach

400 gr. White Bass (cut into 2 slices)

3 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 Lemon

Red Chili Flakes (optional)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Place a large non-stick sauce pan over medium heat, add the rinsed Spinach and cover allowing to wilt for about 5-7 minutes.

Grab a medium pan place over high heat and add 1 tbsp. of Olive oil along with some Chili flakes (if using), allow the oil to heat and in the mean time salt and pepper both sides of your fish. Once the oil is hot place the fish and allow to cook for 2 minutes and then lower the flame to medium low and cook for another 3 minutes.

Check on your spinach, mix around and if wilted turn off add salt, pepper, 2 tbsp. of Extra Virgin Olive oil and squeeze half the lemon, mix well until all ingredients are incorporated. Set aside.

Return to your fish flip over and cook for about another 3 minutes. Turn off and Serve.I served the fish over the spinach, but you do what you like. Ciao

Advertisements

Sesame Crusted Grilled Tuna Steak

There is something just so delicious to me about Tuna Steak! My husband and I both love seafood and seem to never be able to get enough of it.
For starters there is so many different types of fish and/or seafood; from tuna steak to sea bass, tilapia to salmon, lobster to shrimp, clams to scallops and the list can go on forever, it’s simple, fresh and delicious. It’s healthy and easy to digest, perfect for a light meal anytime of the year.

We both have fallen in love with tuna on the grill, we basically make in about 10 minutes and that’s including marinating, grilling and serving…HA!
My husband is amazing with the grill, you might think that’s not that hard but it is; you need to know how and when to flip the food, what temperature and most of all how to keep it tender without leaving it raw or burnt. However, he is great at it and seeing as though I like most of my meals grilled, I am truly appreciative that he does the grilling as it gives me a break from doing all the work myself.

Tuna is figure friendly; with very little fat and just 80 calories per 6 ounce steak.
Tuna is an excellent source of protein. It’s full of omega-3’s and contains Vitamin E and K which help prevent heart disease, cancer and blood coagulation. It has essential minerals such as potassium, niacin, selenium, iron and iodine.
You can see why there are so many health benefits associated with tuna. So; consume tuna regularly as part of a healthy diet and reap all of these health benefits.

We like to grill it, but there are many, many ways of prepping it. In this recipe I use only 4 ingredients; be creative and see what you can create or how you want to marinate it. I accompanied it with a light leafy, green salad. Avocado is excellent as well, and I also like asparagus or green beans; so see what you have or like and use it! Enjoy.

Ingredients:

2 6 oz. Fresh Tuna steaks

2 tbsp. of Habanero hot sauce (Crystal is great)

2 tbsp. of Sesame seeds

Grinded Peppercorns

drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat you grill. Get your tuna steaks and evenly spread 1 tbsp of hot sauce on one side of the steaks, grind peppercorns and sprinkle add 1 tbsp of sesame seeds on top; flip steaks over and repeat procedure using the remaining ingredients.
Drizzle the Olive oil and put steaks on the grill cook for about 4 minutes on each side; the steaks should be a little pink in the center*.
Remove from heat and serve. That’s it!

* If you like it cooked thoroughly then leave it on longer.

 

 

Light Summer – Bavette alle Vongole (Linguine with Clams)

So, alright you all know how much I love to eat healthy and still enjoy life. This is the perfect dish for just that! You get anything better than this, I love this meal it’s one of my favorite dishes; I honestly could eat it every week. It’s light, gourmet and perfect for summer!

So, my Brother came over for a few days and I knew that he was really good at making this dish so we went to the fish market on the canal here in Cervia, Italy (where I live); we bought some live clams and decided that this was our dinner dish. It was a lovely spring day the sun was out but there was still a little breeze and so it was perfect weather for this dish. We accompanied it with a nice glass of Pinot Grigio and an evening walk after the delicious dinner. This is a dish I would suggest anyone to try if you haven’t yet, you’ll love it.

Here I explain how to clean the clams. http://mythineats.com/2012/03/04/low-fat-has-never-tasted-so-delicious-vongole-con-vino-bianco-clams/ In this recipe we actually removed the shells before making the sauce so that you don’t have to get your hands dirty while enjoying this dish but you can skip this step if you wish, I’ll explain in the recipe.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

500 gr. of Linguine

500 gr. of Clams (cleaned)

2 Garlic Cloves

Handful Parsley, fresh leaves (chopped finely)

4 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 cup Clam water (How to in recipe)

Chili flakes, optional

Put your cleaned Clams in a small pot, fill with water and boil until the clams all open up; approx 10 minutes. Remove from heat and leave in pot. (Do not drain you will use this water in recipe)

Place a pot a water to boil for your Linguine and pour in about 2 tbsp. of salt.

Now get your clams and remove the meat from the clam shell with either a pairing knife or even a small teaspoon and place in a bowl, throw out the shells and save the juice.

Pour your olive oil in a medium saucepan, mince your garlic and add to oil allow to get golden, add the Clam meat and allow to cook for about 3 minutes, start adding your clam juice gradually. Add your parsley and chili flakes and continue to cook for about 5-8 minutes until sauce starts to thicken.

In the meantime your water should be boiling so throw in your linguine and follow cooking instructions on box. Drain and add your clams mix all ingredients together well and you can begin to serve. Buon Apettito

 

 

 

Definitely A Low Fat Meal – Roasted Asparagus and Shrimp

My husband and I love both asparagus and shrimp. When we lived in the USA it was easy to find asparagus all the time, I don’t recall ever going to the grocery store and there not being asparagus, so it pretty much was a staple in our meals. However, since we’ve moved to Italy it has been tough to find asparagus, the grocery stores here only carry fruits and veggies that are in season, so you can’t find asparagus year round as you can in the USA.

Asparagus 101: Spring is the best season for fresh asparagus. Crops are harvested from late February to June, with April being the prime month. High in vitamins B6 and C, plus fiber, folate and glutathione, an anti-carcinogen and antioxidant, asparagus is an excellent nutritional choice. It comes in three colors: white, green or purple, although the green variety is the most common. White asparagus is popular in much of Europe and is produced by keeping the growing shoots hidden from light under soil.

All this to say that we finally went to the market this weekend and found asparagus, my heart skipped a beat I was so happy to finally be able to buy some asparagus (that wasn’t over priced like $10 for a quarter lb.) so we bought the asparagus and decided we would make one of our favorite simple delicious dishes we used to make in the USA ‘Roasted Asparagus and Shrimp”. It turned out delicious as always and we wanted to share it with you.

This dish doesn’t take long at all, it’s very simple and yes you can make it in 20 minutes, so if you are running home late for work don’t give into something on the go, make this dish and feel like a million bucks. Trust me it’s worth it. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. Asparagus

1/2 lb. Shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 garlic clove, chopped

2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat your oven at 350°.  Grab a large roasting pan, line it up with parchment paper lay out your asparagus evenly on one side and then on the other side pour your shrimp evenly. (I used the big black oven roasting pan, or you could use 2 separate baking trays, it’s up to you)

Slice your garlic and pour some over the asparagus and some over the shrimp, now pour the olive oil evenly over both as well and then season with the salt and pepper.
Put in the oven and roast for 20 minutes and then serve. Buon apettito!

 

 

Low Fat Cooking – Simple Steps to Follow

Cooking and eating is the topic of most of my days, but the thing that I like to share with you today is how to manage cooking in a healthier manner that doesn’t require you to give up on flavor and still help you stay healthy and fit. I know that the word low-fat is not so attractive to some of you; and then again to some of you it might be just what you are looking for. I love that you can actually cook and eat low-fat and all you are giving up is the extra fat that your body doesn’t need. Now, I think that your body does need fats, but there is a difference between good fats and unnecessary fats. Let’s discuss this.

For instance, I think that grilled fish and chicken is more tastier than it cooked in a pan with oil, you give up on the fat because when you grill it the fat drains, hence making it less fat and the taste is delicious.
I also love lactose-free non fat or low-fat milk vs. the whole regular milk, the flavor is pretty much the same and all I am giving up on is fat.
Also I like to make my own buttermilk at home, by using the low-fat milk and lemon, it works exactly the same way but way less fat.

This is what I mean by giving up on fat but not on flavor. Things are yummy cooked the right way, we don’t have to get scared of fat, but we can learn to select it.
For example, I love almonds and walnuts, they are high in fat but all extremely good for you, so I eat them.
I love avocados, also fat. I love to use olive oil, also fat and I do like some good old Parmigiano Reggiano and will never eat any fake low-fat version, the real one is good for you and there is no substitute in my book.

So to follow are some tips on how to cook low-fat. Enjoy!

1) Grill, broil, bake, braise, steam, poach, slow-cook, and microwave foods instead of frying them. Sautéing is ok with minimal amounts of oil (preferably extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil), or use nonstick spray.

2) Choose chicken or turkey sausages or burgers instead of pork or beef sausages or burgers.

3) Choose extra-lean meat and skinless chicken breasts, and remember to trim all visible fat from meats.

4) Substitute most meat dishes each week with fish or vegetarian meals.

5) Use one egg and two egg whites per person in your favorite egg dishes or cakes; or cut fat and cholesterol completely by using egg substitute. Or also substitute 2 egg whites for one whole egg or 3 egg whites for 2 eggs.

6) Substitute whole milk for non fat or low-fat milk.

7) Oven-fry, bake or boil potatoes instead of making or buying French fries.

8) Choose reduced fat sour cream or yogurt instead of full-fat versions for stews, dips, spreads, and dressings.

9) Replace some of the fat in baked goods with applesauce, plain nonfat yogurt or low-fat buttermilk. (to make your own buttermilk: 1 cup low-fat milk mixed with 1 tbsp. lemon juice fresh).

10) Use reduced fat or fat-free cream cheese instead of the regular version for cheesecakes.

11) Use evaporated skim milk in place of light or heavy cream in soups and sauces.

12) Use fat-free chicken broth or fat-free milk in mashed potatoes, soups, gravies and stews

13) As a healthy alternative to frying, coat meat or veggies in egg whites then use bread crumbs and bake in the oven.

14) Cook fish in parchment paper or foil to seal in the flavor and juices.

15) Instead of eating potato chips, substitute pretzels, pita chips, or raw fruits and vegetables.

16) Rinse canned foods such as tuna, beans, and vegetables before using to wash away excess sodium or oil.

17) Thickening the sauce with cornstarch instead of a traditional butter-flour mixture.

18) Season vegetables with herbs and spices rather than sauces, butter or margarine.

19) Cook with lemon juice or herbs — these add flavors to food such as vegetables without adding fat.

20) Use mustard as a sandwich spread in place of margarine or mayonnaise. Or use healthy fats such as nut butters on your toast.

 

Low Fat has Never Tasted So Delicious: Vongole con Vino Bianco (White Wine Clams)

Oh, yes I love Clams! They are the perfect low-fat and low-calorie food. They are so delicious and it’s always an enjoyment to eat them.
Here in Italy it is a very common and delicate dish. They are fresh everyday from the fisherman that go out in the middle of the night and then sell them or at the fish markets or the fish stores. They are a very summer thing to eat and as soon as Spring comes it’s one of the first thing Italians are out to eat. The more common and known way to eat them would be “Spaghetti or Tagliolini alle Vongole” which means “Spaghetti or Tagliolini with Clams”, but here in Italy it is also very common to have them served in a light wine sauce with toasted bread on the side to dip in and do the “Scarpetta”.  Clams are one of the simplest things to cook and require basically no time at all.

I’ll explain the way to clean them so that you too at home can make them.

First of you want to buy them fresh. Rinse them real quick under cold water. Grab a tray that has edges, I normally use one of my larger baking trays (like the one I use for Lasagna), lay the clams evenly (don’t worry if they are a bit over layered) and fill with cold water just about 1/2 an inch above your clams. Sprinkle with abundant sea salt, shake the tray around a bit and let sit for about 3-4 hours. (You can let sit over night as well, just remember the longer the better).

What the salt water does is help the clams spit out the sand that they might have inside. They basically clean themselves, this is the only way to get rid of any sand they might have in them. If you look at them during this process you will see them open and spit out the sand or move around; it’s quite interesting.

Once the time has passed you can grab a handful of the clams and throw them in a plate, shake up and down a few times, and then put in a bowl or colander. This method helps them spit out anything left. (don’t worry if they don’t spit out anything) that means that they are perfectly clean. Rinse once more real quick under cold water and they are ready for cooking.
Here’s the recipe. I hope that you enjoy.

Ingredients:

1 lb Vongole Veraci (Clams), cleaned

1 Garlic Clove, Minced or Whole

1/4 cup White Wine

Red Chili Flakes (optional)

3 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Handful chopped Parsley

Grab a nice large sauté pan put over medium heat with the olive oil (I like the garlic whole, but if you are mincing it that’s delicious also), once the oil is heated add you garlic and chili flakes allow to get just golden and throw in your Vongole (Clams) with the wine. Cover and let them cook about 10 minutes. You will know once they are ready because they will all be open. Turn off heat and throw in your parsley mix gently and serve*. Tata, Buon Appetito!

* I serve in bowls or deep plates I put the vongole first and then I add all the remaining sauce.

Okay, now this dish I accompany with toasted bread or bruschetta. The other night I made bruschetta to go along. But do what you wish. Enjoy

Get your Omega-3 with this amazing Pasta dish

Here in Italy it’s very common to use canned Tuna, it usually is in Olive Oil it renders the tuna more tasty and tender. You can always find either a salad or pasta dish with tuna. It’s quite delicious and healthy. This is a recipe that I developed a while back, I think I was about 18 I lived alone and I used to make it especially in the summer because it was light and easy to make. My friends would come over and we used to sit around and eat this and then get on with our day. They used to say that they loved this dish just as much as I did.

Everyone here in Italy has a version of this dish and they make it however they like, some add tomato sauce, some forfeit the olives, some add capers, and some just get the can and throw it on top of the cooked pasta without anything else; so as you can see it’s really optional and you can do however you like. I like it this version but in general I think that this dish is a fantastic way to eat something nutritional and light. Omega-3’s are very important in our diet and this is a simple way of getting them. I hope that you enjoy this dish and remember let’s be creative. I love spicy foods, so as you’ve probably noticed just about now there is always something spicy in my dishes, feel free to leave that out, it will taste just as good…that is one thing that I can’t seem to give up: my capsaicin. I love it!

Enjoy

 

Serves 2 – 3

Ingredients:

250 gr. Mezzemaniche*

2 cans Light Tuna (in Olive oil if possible), drained

6 Cherry tomatoes

5-6 Black olives (sliced)

½ Garlic clove

Chilies (optional)

Handful Parsley (chopped)

Olive oil

Salt to taste

 

Place a medium-sized pot of salted water to boil.

In a separate small pot put some water to boil, toss in your cherry tomatoes and allow to boil for about 2-3 minutes, just enough to get the sherry tomato skin off, drain and start to peel. Place on a cutting board and slice in half, over your kitchen sink squirt out the seeds and place the tomatoes aside.

In a pan over medium heat pour in some olive oil, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan, put your garlic (do not slice, you just want the aroma); allow 2 minutes to go by and join the tomatoes, allow to simmer for about 5 minutes and then add the rest of your ingredients, tuna, olives, chilies, parsley and salt; allow to cook at low heat for about another 5 minutes and then turn off heat and allow to rest.

In the meantime your pot of water should be boiling, throw in your pasta and cook for the time mentioned on the box generally 9 -11 minutes, drain and join with your tuna sauce, mix well and serve.

* I like Mezzemaniche, they are larger than Ditalini but you can use any pasta you like.