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Posts tagged ‘dukan diet vegetable’

Spinach with Chickpeas

I know spinach doesn’t get a lot of people truly excited but this recipe is too good not to share! Also, I figured the “chick” in the chickpeas is a tie-in to Easter? Anyway, I’ve mentioned before this cookbook by Anya von Bremzen called “The New Spanish Table” and I highly highly recommend you buy it for your self, for a friend who likes to cook or for the both of you. The digital age has seen so many advances that make life easier it is hard to imagine life before but there are some things that just need to be tangible and I firmly believe cookbooks are one of those things. Even this blog, my recipe collection here, is not ideal sometimes for my own use! Cooking is a physical, creative expression of love and care for others and for me, being able to notate, cross out, circle and edit a recipe in the book itself is priceless, or at least well worth the $25.00 or so. Plus there are so many asides about where she got the recipe and the cultural significance of certain regional dishes that enhances the value of her book.

Moving on to the recipe. “Esinacas con garbanzos”, this tangy spinach paired with creamy garbanzo beans is easy and healthy and we have liked it so much that I have made it three or four times in double batches. Some of the flavors also go well with Indian spices so this dish has paired well with many other meals of mine. Enough of the chatter, let’s get to it!

Messy Ingredients

  • 20 oz fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 3 TBS EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 4 plum or Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) chickpeas, drained (leave a little of their juice)
  • 1 medium pinch saffron, pulverized in a mortar and steeped in 2 TBS hot water
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • kosher salt and fresh black pepper
  • 2-3 tsp red wine vinegar

Rinse the spinach over a colander and put directly in a deep, large pan. Do not allow to drain, the water on the leaves will be used to cook them. Cook on medium until the spinach is wilted and then return the wilted leaves back to the colander. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil on medium-low and throw in half the chopped garlic. Stir for one minute then add the paprika, pepper flakes, cumin, oregano, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir to mix then add the tomatoes. Cook for about 5- 8 minutes until the tomatoes and juices become thickened with the spices. While these cook, go back to the spinach and press out any excess water that is in them then spread them on a chopping mat and give them a rough chop, add them and the chickpeas to the pot. Mix the spinach and beans in well, add the saffron, sugar, salt and pepper and cook another 8 – 10 minutes. While this is cooking, macerate the last half of the garlic with a mortar and pestle until it is pasty. Add the vinegar then scoop it into the pot. Allow to cook another 2 minutes before serving.  The recipe says to allow it to cool for 15 minutes which if you’re preparing another part of a meal then I would just turn off the heat on the stove and let the pot sit, uncovered, while you finish up.

Really very easy, Dukan Diet Worthy, and it got an “A+” tasty-rating here. Go buy the book! (*I receive no compensation for recommending any products or cook-books, this is totally just me saying this is a good book and worth the buy!)

Mushrooms in Garlic Sauce

As promised, here is my first experiment with a tapas dish from my new cookbook, “Tapas: the little dishes of Spain” by Penelope Casas.      Champinoñes al Ajillo is a simple and hugely flavorful vegetable dish that I made twice  - Daniel insisted on an encore.  We had this alone one time as it’s own side-dish and ate it as a topping for a steak-night the second time and we thought it worked equally well each way.   Mushrooms are not super filling so don’t lean on this as the centerpiece of your meal, unless you’re making up a full tapas course!  I had to buy a new spice for this meal that I am now enamored by, smoked paprika.

I never was a fan of paprika and always thought of it as a color-additive or general “bulk-adding” item in say “Bam!”.  Not very flavorful but throw a pinch on a bland looking casserole to give some visual contrast kind of option.  Often left out of dishes as a useless additive otherwise.  Come to find out, there is supposed to be a flavor to paprika!  To make sure that I wasn’t dreaming up my  notion I went and did a taste-test of my own paprika.  On a scale from 0 (no valuable flavor added) to 10 (jam-packed can’t miss it flavor) I gave my regular paprika a 3.  Just to be nice but really only deserved a 2.  I could taste a flavor raw and I read the flavor is supposed to increase with heat. The flavor I tasted was well…you know those “Garden Vegetable” flavored chips?  Yeah, that’s the closest identifiable flavor I could come up with.  A sort of vegetable, earthy aftertaste, after the chalky texture went away.  Not impressive.  I may never buy regular paprika again after tasting the smoked variety.  Ten+ on my scale, can’t miss, instant POP to whatever, even in small amounts.   Why haven’t I heard of this sooner?   Paprika is made from the powdering of bell or chili peppers, depending on the type of pepper used, the flavor should could range from mild to spicy.  When the pepper is smoked as part of the drying process then a smoky flavor is present.  Heavily used in Hungarian cooking, high in vitamin C and a beautiful red color, paprika has been around a long time.   At the grocery here, all I have seen is the regular or smoked variety but at a specialty market like Dorn’s in Gainesville, they import more varieties from Spain and other places.  (I should do a whole post on Dorn’s in Gainesville, they are awesome)  In fact, I will give them a little plug here – Dorn’s Liquors is located in the Thornbrooke Plaza on 16th in Gainesville.  While they have a large and impressive selection of wine, beer and liquor, they also have a collection of imported and specialty foods.  Locally roasted coffee beans, a large selection of cheeses, dried meats and pate, imported olive oil, balsamic vinegar, spices and indulgent chocolates plus a knowledgable staff to help you along make this my favorite shopping stop.  Support the local small business that offers more genuine, quality products in one shelf than all of the “ethnic” aisle of Publix.   OK.  Enough of the shop-talk, let’s get to it!

Messy Ingredients:

  • 3 TBS fruity olive oil (I reduced by half)
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms, cleaned and cut to 1/4″  (I used “Baby Bella” mushrooms) * remove large stems if using large mushrooms
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 TBS dry Spanish sherry
  • 1/4 cup veal or chicken broth (I used chicken)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1/2 medium-hot dried chile pepper, seeded and crumbled or 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher or sea salt to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 TBS parsley

Heat the oil until very hot and fry the mushrooms and garlic on high heat for 2 minutes. Lower the heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients (except the parsley).  Simmer 2 minutes until the mushrooms are soft, sprinkle with parsley and serve.  (is this easy or what!)  Remember, this is a tapa dish, so it is small.  If you want leftovers double this recipe, it reheats well.

The olive oil may be more than Dr. Dukan would prefer but other than that I say it’s Dukan Diet Worthy Phase 2 or higher.  Very good both alone or topping a good filet of beef, but I’m sure you can’t go wrong on chicken or pork here either.  Enjoy!

Tasty French Fries – on the Dukan Diet!

Who doesn’t like french fries?  All hot and soft and salty mmmm.  Then again there is that saying about french fries…”a minute on the lips a lifetime on the hips”.  I guess that really could apply to most snacky junk foods.  The problem with the french fry for health reasons is that really, once they’re fried they go from a mostly starchy, calorie dense food to a mostly starchy, calorie dense food that’s full of fat.  For example, one small serving of a McDonald’s French Fry gives 203 calories from the fat and carbohydrates and only 10 calories from the protein. That works out to 88 calories an ounce and 5 grams of fat! The nutrients are scarce as well with vitamin C being about the only real player.  This doesn’t take into account the added salt from well, the salt shaker and then more salt with the ketchup which all will lead to water retention and bloating.  Really, I’d rather just lick ketchup out of the bottle.  My most favorite fry is the sweet-potato fry.  Commercially prepared – aka fried – the sweet potato fry is a better choice out of the two because ounce per ounce, the sweet potato fry cuts the fat in half, cuts the calories and carbs and adds in more vitamins like Vitamin A and Potassium.  One ounce of the sweet potato fry will give you 60 calories and 2.7 grams of fat.  Best option for getting in a french fry?  Baking or Oven Roasting (if you wanna get fancy with the name).  One ounce of baked sweet potato fry has around 40 calories and 1 gram of fat.  If you like your fries crunchy, this will take a little more time and effort not to burn them but since I like my fries soft and I LOVE the contrast between the sweet and salty flavors meaning I have no problem eating my veggies! The best most super-duper option for your very own french fry addiction?  Baked Butternut Squash fries!  THIRTEEN CALORIES AN OUNCE.  13.  An ounce.  Fat is around .5 grams/ounce but even that is negotiable depending on the kind and how much oil you use to bake it with.  You can even bake them without the oil and make them fat free – a completely “no guilt” junk food substitute and now I don’t have to lick my ketchup straight from the bottle.  Win- Win!

Messy bits: 

  • 1- 2 large sweet potatoes or 1/2 a butternut squash, peeled and cut into french fry sticks.  If you have a crinkle-cutter go for it!
  • 1/2 – 1 TBS vegetable oil *optional
  • Kosher Salt to sprinkle
  • Ground pepper to sprinkle

Preheat your oven to 425°.  Have a baking sheet lined with tinfoil ready, but first toss all the sticks in a bowl with the oil, salt and pepper.  Get a good coating on all the sticks and spread out evenly in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Bake about 40 minutes total, flipping them as best you can after 20 minutes. (I always end up squashing some and ripping the tin foil)  Depending on your portion size, keep an eye on the tips.  If they start burning then your fries are either done or your oven is too hot and you may need to cover them with tinfoil to finish. If you want a drier/crunchier fry, definitely leave off the oil.  Enjoy your tasty treat – 100% Dukan Diet worthy on Cruise Phase/Phase 2 (vegetable + protein days) or higher!  **the sweet potato version is probably better to have for Dukan Diet Phase 3 (Transition)

Sauteed Spinach

Some people say your taste-buds change throughout your life and foods you never liked at one point are on your top 10 list at another point in your life.  They also say that sometimes it takes a few tries at a new food in order to really decide if you like it or not.  Or sometimes it’s just BOOM!  (that’s what I say)  I have said it before and will say it again….I was not a stranger to green things on my plate growing up!  My Mom made sure that our meals were well balanced and would throw something new on the plate sometimes that wouldn’t go over well.  I remember HATING asparagus as a kid…even as a teenager and trying it multiple times….now I’ll eat it any way it’s cooked as long as it is fresh.  Spinach for me went from a “no I don’t like that” to “MORE PLEASE!” in one day.   I’d pick it out of stuffed chicken, wouldn’t touch the creamed stuff and forget about it just on a plate.   Then one day my Dad (who loves to cook) made some wilted spinach for dinner with garlic and suddenly I’m sitting there asking for seconds!  Spinach has a long list of vitamins and minerals packed in them, most notably iron, calcium and vitamin A,C,E and K among others.  According to this website, they say  “In fact, when compared calorie for calorie to other vegetables, nothing is as nutrient dense as spinach”.   The one thing to watch when cooking spinach is that it naturally has sodium in it so cooking it doesn’t require a lot of added salt.

The Mess of Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 10 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 to 2 lbs baby spinach leaves (you need a big pot….at first)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Lemon juice to sprinkle

The sheer volume of 2 pounds of spinach leaf is impressive…and also daunting if you haven’t got a big, deep pan or pot.  Get the biggest one out you have, worst case either cut the recipe in half or just have a little more patience when adding the spinach….spinach’s shrinkage factor is shocking!  Heat up the olive oil on medium and cook the garlic for a minute or two.  Make sure it doesn’t brown!  Put everything else in the pan except the lemon juice and stir/flip the whole mess until the spinach is wilted – 2 -3 minutes.  Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and enjoy!  Dukan Diet worthy for protein + veggie days, Cruise Phase – Phase 2 or higher!

Spaghetti Squash: Our New Noodle

I think I’m one of the last people to know anything about the squash family in general, spaghetti squash being the newest addition in my diet.  During all of my low carb/no carb diets not one single person said “hey, do you  want to know a great substitute for noodles?” Not one!  I’ve sadly lamented the delicious sauces that are lost to the bottom of my bowl with nothing to sop them up with many a meal.  I’ve eaten meals over salad greens in an attempt to have something to catch the juices and gravy’s, but it wasn’t near the same as hot noodles.  Do you want to make a guess where I’m going with this spaghetti squash thing?  If you have ever seen or eaten a squash before, the names don’t always portray the food.  Goose-neck or yellow squash do NOT taste like goose-necks(I’m guessing).  Butternut squash while maybe nut-colored doesn’t really taste “buttery” to me…creamy possibly if cooked long enough but not buttery.  Most squashes I am familiar with (and that’s a whopping 3 different kinds) are either potato – like when cooked or well…squishy.  Spaghetti squash looks a bit like the inside of a pumpkin after you use all your muscle strength to cut it in half.  Stringy goop with seeds in a hollow spot inside.  Other than that, it’s just yellow. I’m not kidding about the muscle behind cutting this squash up, or the butternut…be careful, it take good leverage and a sharp knife!  But if you bake that oversized football for an hour at 350°F you get this:  That’s right people – a stringy, fibrous, crunchy noodle shaped bit of vegetable matter. Slightly larger than an American football, light yellow to bright yellow in color, one cup of this vegetable goodness is only 42 calories and full of vitamins like folic acid and beta carotene.  There isn’t too much flavor to speak of but the sauce-sopping power is off the charts!  There is a texture difference of course from actual noodles, this being full of fiber gives it more of a crunch than a squish, but if you add in the low calories and fullness you’ll feel from the fiber, this is a WIN!  Cook this up and serve it under any dish that calls for a noodle or rice bed to add some volume and nobody will leave the table hungry.  I’m not saying that I will never eat a noodle or rice again, but clearly, substituting for a spaghetti squash more of the time will certainly help me keep my waistline where I want it.  Personally, after being on so many different no carb/low carb diets, I have almost stopped eating bread and noodles altogether and only miss them when I’m  looking at a sad puddle of sauce at the bottom of my bowl.  I will be sad no longer….as long as spaghetti squash are in season.  Dukan Diet worthy on protein + vegetable days, phase 2 and higher.  Eat up!

*Specific instructions: Cut spaghetti squash in half length-wise and scoop out the guts (seeds, slimy stringy goop).  Bake in the oven at 350°F, cut side down, for 1 hour.  Once cool enough to handle, take a fork and scrape with the tines the flesh of the squash.  The fibers will come loose easily and you can keep scraping until all that is left is a thin rind.  Refrigerate once cool and it will keep for a week.  One spaghetti squash will make about 6-8 cups of volume so one is usually more than enough for dinner + leftovers.

Butternut Home-fries

I was brought up eating a lot of vegetables or so I thought.  My Mom didn’t cook some vegetables I knew about (like lima beans) because she didn’t like them but I never thought I was missing anything.  Until I started cooking for my farm-raised husband, I had no idea of the variety of peas, beans and squashes there are….or how to cook them or well, even what they looked like to start with!  I also didn’t know that girl cows can have horns too which has amused my in-laws.  That and U-nails….anyway back to food!  I was given a recipe for these butternut squash home-fries or country hash browns that really sounded great and is on our diet.  So we found the butternut squash at the grocery store and I’m pretty sure we found the right kind because the little sticker there says so.  We got a really big one because the only gourd I am familiar with is pumpkin and most of the pumpkin is nothing but hollow and goop!  I expected this one to be similar but boy was I wrong (and boy do we have a lot of butternut squash in the fridge!).  As it turns out, butternut squash has a very small area of “goop” and seeds in the base of it – about the size of a softball and ALL the rest is edible.  The skin is thin and only needs to be peeled with a vegetable peeler once or twice over and that’s it.   It is very orange inside and firm, you could even say potato-like.  Rich in fiber, iron, vitamin A, C and potassium, butternut squash will keep for months in a cool, dry place as long as the skin is undamaged.  I was expecting it to be sweet, like a sweet potato but again, I was wrong.  Soft, creamy texture and only a little sweetness, the squash cooked like a potato and had the texture of one too.  The chopping took most of the prep for this, which I did the night before and once things got going in the pan I’d say it took 15-20 minutes tops.  With a little head start, by  the time Daniel got the coffee on and our eggs fried, I had this on the plate, hot and fresh!

The hot mess of ingredients:

  • 2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 1/2 medium red or green bell pepper – chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion – chopped
  • 1/2 cup fat-free chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 TBS olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin spice (or a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg and ground ginger)
  • cayenne pepper, salt and/or black pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil on medium-high heat and saute the onions for 2 minutes, add the bell pepper and cook another 1-2 minutes.  Add the squash and all spices and mix well, cook for 7-8 minutes more.  Pour in the broth, put the heat to high and bring to a boil.  Once boiling for 30 seconds, reduce to a simmer until broth evaporates, stir occasionally to keep anything from sticking to the pan.  After most of the broth is evaporated, cover the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the squash is tender.  I expect that over-cooking will reduce the squash to be…well squashy so keep an eye on it.  Ours was easily cut with a fork or butter-knife but was not mushy at all.  I’d say at the very least, we are having more pleasant breakfast’s since starting the Dukan Diet.  We used to just grab a protein shake or some toast and peanut butter but look at this!  Daniel had an oat-bran gillette, turkey sausage, butternut home-fries and a fried egg (+2 egg whites) with garlic and yellow bell pepper, finished off with a fresh espresso.  Pretty good for a “diet” right?!  Fried egg with garlic and bell pepper, turkey sausage, an oat-bran pancake and butternut home-fries.  Finished off with espresso and we're ready to go!!

I’m going to be playing around with more butternut squash recipes since I happen to have a few pounds of it on hand so more to come!!  I hope you like it – it’s 100% Dukan Diet worthy on protein + veggie days Phase 2 (Cruise phase) and higher.

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