Light & Clean Meal: Salmon & Green Beans

Let’s talk and make something healthy, light and nutritious.

It’s definitely getting colder outside, the heat is on and I don’t know if where you live they are putting up Christmas decorations but they definitely are here in Italy. All the shops, city centers, coffee shops and even the grocery stores are decorated and selling all things Christmas. I do love Christmas but I think that it might just be a bit too early for me to start decorating the house.

I feel like we recently just stopped going to the beach; wait actually I was at the beach the last week of October in my bikini, so yeah we did just end summer. Either summer ended late (which actually it did because it started late) but hold-your-horses I still want fall. I have mentioned this before and I will mention it again….I love Fall. With that being said there are some dishes I find to be perfect for both summer & winter. They are not too light or too heavy they are at that perfect in-between that is perfect year round.

Just like I change out my closets, I change my style in the kitchen. I tend to go for lots of salads, grilled veggies and lean proteins (which mainly consist of chicken and lots and lots of fresh seafood of all sorts), frittata’s, white wine, espresso and lots of raw veggies and homemade parfaits in the summer.

I generally cook lots of soups, roasted vegetables and chicken, fish al cartoccio, slower cooked winter stews such as Chicken Cacciatora, Chicken Adobo, all-vegetable stew, stuffed vegetables, cappuccino’s, red wine and lots of steamed vegetables and healthy baked treats in the winter.

Then of course there are those foods (and there  are quite a few) that I eat year round to name a few: risotto, pasta, pizza, cheese (parmigiano, pecorino & mozzarella my favorite), salads, tuna, fruit, nuts, ice-cream (occasionally but sometimes I crave it more in the winter than the summer), nut butters, and in this case Salmon.

Salmon is wonderful. It tastes fantastic both steamed, baked, grilled, smoked and even as a carpaccio. So it really doesn’t matter what the temp is outside your body will always welcome it.

Full of Omega 3, DHA & EPA Salmon has a whole bunch of amazing benefits for your body, mind and being. It boosts brain function, reduces inflammation, supports cardiovascular health, protects your eyes, increases bone density & strength, and about 3-6oz of Salmon can supply you with a days worth of Vitamin D crucial to maintaining optimal health. Plus many more benefits.
It’s so good for you and can be eaten both summer and winter and you won’t mind!

Your best bet is to consume wild or organically farmed fish to avoid any additional pesticides, fungicides and excessive omega-6 consumption (which leads to inflammation) found in conventionally farmed fish.

Here’s my light, healthy, toxic-free dinner to keep you in good health and shape.

Ingredients:

Serves 2

For the Salmon you’ll need:

  • 2 sheets of Aluminum foil
  • 2 6oz Salmon Filets
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt & Peppercorns to taste
  • Chili Flakes (optional)

For the Green Beans you’ll need:

  • 3 cups Green Beans, end cut off
  • 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat your oven @ 350

Place a medium pot half filled of water to boil.

Grab salmon filets and place each on at the center of the aluminum foil sprinkle with salt & peppercorns. Slice your lemon and place 2 slices over each filet. Get your foil and lightly wrap creating sort of a pocket or bag; you don’t want it touching the top of salmon. Make sure no open areas around the filets, place on a baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes.

Your water should be boiling by now so through in your green beans allow to boil until turns bright green about 6 minutes or desired doness. I like mine just a bit crunchy.
Prepare a bowl of cold water with some ice cubes. Drain your green beans and quickly place them in the bowl of cold water. This allows them to stop cooking instantly and preserves the vibrant color of the vegetable. Drain place in a bowl and drizzle the EVOO, Lemon juice, salt and pepper mix thoroughly and set on table.

Your Salmon should be ready remove from oven be careful when you open the pockets as some steam may come out (it burns).
Serve with Green beans and Enjoy!

Cabbage Leaf + Parsley Omelet Stuffed with Brown Rice Wrap

Sometimes you just need to think outside the box. I seem to be enjoying brown rice so much lately; it’s almost like I can’t get enough of it. I got so involved with these new grains, (quinoa, Khorsan Kamut, gluten-free this n’ that, even Couscous) I forgot about one of my favorite grains and that being rice, especially brown, black and whole grain rice.

Well, like many of my inventions this one came from the craving for rice; so I opened up the fridge like many a times before and found that I had cabbage, so I got this curious idea of using it as a wrap for my rice, then I thought why not double-wrap the rice and make a thin parsley omelet, I could possibly bake it for just 15 minutes and let all the aromas get infused. Well, it worked out and I decided to post this recipe.

So, the box I was refereeing to at the beginning of this post was the fact that you can make all types of wraps and you don’t only have to stuff bell peppers; you can invent anything you want and it’s so fun to re-invent healthy food. I think health ingredients are my favorite ones to work with. I guess it’s the fact that not only is healthy a habit or lifestyle it’s truly the person I am. I can’t imagine not eating healthy foods with healthy ingredients.

Healthy for me is the obvious vegetables, fruits, whole-grains and lean proteins; but also foods that come for organic upbringing, foods that are handled with care and love. I think Parmigiano Reggiano, Mozzarella di Bufala, Pecorino, Prosciutto Crudo di Parma or San Daniele, Gelato, or fresh baked Bread all have healthy ingredients in them; they may not be things that you would eat everyday but when you look at the way they make these foods, you can pronounce all the ingredients and they are all natural (atleast here in Italy). If I’m craving something it’s generally these things. So, don’t always assume that healthy has to be strictly, low-fat, low-cal, no fun foods in your diet I think they just need to be made from real ingredients and a good source of nutrition.

Now lets get to cooking a delicious light, meatless Monday meal.

 

Ingredients:
Makes 4 wraps

1 ½ cups Brown Rice, cooked

4 large or 8 medium Cabbage leaves

4 Parsley Omelets, see below

Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Drizzle Soy Sauce

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a pot of boiling salted water you may either add the whole cabbage head for 8 minutes, remove from heat and then pull off the leaves or pull of the leaves first blanch them in the boiling water for 4-5 minutes and then place them in cold water, remove and set aside.

Mix your brown rice with a bit of E.V, O, a tiny splash of soy and pepper.

Preheat the oven at 250°
In a baking tray drizzle just a bit of E.V.O.
Now on a flat surface lay your omelet, then lay your cabbage leaf on top, get a little over ¼ cup of rice and place in the middle of the cabbage leaf and close up kind of like a burrito, place in the baking tray. Continue the steps until you make all the wraps.
Now you may drizzle a little soy and e.v.o over the wraps, place in the oven for 10 minutes and serve. Enjoy

 

How to make the Parsley Omelets:
Makes 4 Parsley Omelets

4 Egg Whites

3 Egg Yolks

1 tbsp E.V.O

2 tbsp Chopped Parsley

Salt and Pepper to taste

Beat all ingredients together. Now with a ladle place one spoonful of egg mixture in a non-stick pan and spread out thinly cook and flip carefully. Place aside and continue with other omelets.

P.S. If you want you can just do cabbage and rice and leave out the Omelet.

 

Stay Thin & get all your Omega-3, Iron & More with this Amazing Dish

I’ve missed you guys these past weeks. I had a wonderful time visiting friends and family in the USA and really enjoyed this much need vacation.
As you all know the USA is trying to start a health revolution (well it has been for awhile) but it’s taking sometime to get people on board with it. Even though it has come long ways it still seems that habits are hard to break. And although they are trying to get people to eat more organic and healthy foods they seem to constantly come up with new healthy products that are supposed to replace the unhealthy products, I like to call them ‘healthy junk food’. That’s what it is. Instead of stopping to produce say potato chips, they come up with a healthier potato chip, made with flax seeds, chia seeds, rice flour, bean flour, natural flavorings, etc…it’s still a freaking chip; albeit healthier still a chip. Why not reach for a handful of almonds, or some fresh fruit, or veggies, some yogurt, an egg or even a piece of parmigiano reggiano cheese?! These are healthy, whole and organic replacements to junk foods. I am not saying that those better for you chips aren’t better for you but why do they have to have a whole aisle and a half in a grocery store full of chips. It’s too much!

I am lucky that I have learned early on in life what eating healthy is all about and that here in Italy it’s so easy to do that. Healthy tastes so good! I am one of those people who will always opt to eat something healthy over something that has no nutritional value but may sound good.
For Me, healthy does sound good. I know people often times relate this word ‘healthy’, to boring, tasteless, unworthy, complicated and uninviting. Total opposite for me. I relate it to delicious, flavorful, easy, worth it, inviting with a wonderful array of options and colors.

I love knowing that what I am putting into my body is helping me stay healthy and I’m not putting crap in my body that is actually going to cost me my health, weak bone density, tooth decay, dull and unhealthy hair, wrinkles and ugly skin, GI problems, illnesses, etc….
Eating healthy is a habit but a good one to form. I have wrote about Healthy Eating habits and the wonderful effects it as on your body from weight-loss to feeling fantastic and how to do it here and here.

This next recipe is super simple and so good for you and trust me you will not be disappointed with the flavor it has. To top it all off it packed of healthy Nutrients, Vitamins and it’s Delicious. Enjoy!

Ingredients:Serves 2

2 6-oz Salmon fillets

1/2 lb of Spinach

1 cup of Lentils

1 1/2 cup of Veggie broth, low sodium

1 Shallot, chopped finely

1-2 dried Chili peppers, whole (optional)

Extra virgin Olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a small pot add 1 drizzle of olive oil, allow to heat and then add 1/2 the chopped shallot. Once shallot has reached cooking time, needs to be translucent you may throw in your lentils, salt and pepper then add your chili’s and broth. Cover and allow to cook at medium low heat for about 15-20 minutes.

In a separate pan add some olive oil place over medium heat and add the shallot, following cooking instructions same as for lentils. Now add your spinach, followed by salt and pepper; lower heat and cover. Cooking time may vary, it needs to wilt so when you see that it has wilted continue to cook for about 5 minutes and then turn off.

For the Salmon you are going to salt and pepper both sides. Place a pan over high heat add a small drizzle of olive oil, allow to heat completely and then carefully add your salmon. Cook for about 5 minutes and then flip over cooking for another 5 minutes.

Everything at this point should be cooked. So you may serve.