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A little herbal inspiration from the burgeoning herb garden inspired to this simple delicious and healthy quickie dinner. Grabbed some chives, basil, thyme, parsley and/or cilantro and pulsed it altogether with s little bit of dijon mustard and a little bit of lime juice with a splash of sesame oil in the mini Cuisinart.

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I had some scallops, not so much fresh as recently purchased in one of those shrink wrap packages from the local Korean grocery store, and maybe hanging out in my fridge just a little too long…They smelled okay though, so onward and upwards.

Made a quick marinade of sesame oil, lime juice, ginger and garlic and let the scallops hang out in there for a few minutes.

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Prior to starting the saute, also cut up some veggies as a nice accompaniment to the scallops. Peppers, onions, zucchinis, nice round circle cuts to imitate a “pasta” side dish.

After a 3-5 minute saute of the scallops, plated with a drizzle of some herbal pesto and side of veggies, totally delicious and satisfying.

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Finished product is high in protein, low in calories and off the charts in taste.

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Red peppers, carrots and green beans make this salad super crunchy

Red peppers, carrots and green beans make this salad super crunchy

One can of “hearts of palms” has 50 calories. The other ingredients are low in calories and carbohydrates, but, together they make a very hearty salad. Blanching the carrots and green beans ensures they will be super crunchy.

Dressed with some red wine vinegar, sesame oil, lime juice and salt and pepper to taste, you can utilize this all week. The finer the chop, the more you can dip/salsaish you can go, the bigger the chop the more you can use it as a base for other toppings. I’ll be using it tomorrow over a bed of romaine lettuce and topped with 4 ounces of leftover chicken.

 

 

 

Light and refreshing summer salad

Inspired by one of my favorite Tyler Florence recipes, Zucchini Carpaccio, I thought I’d try to make my own version using on of my favorite vegetables, the radish. Mr. Florence’s dish is an amazing appetizer salad which is very light, especially in the summer. It also has  nice tangy/savory taste which is somewhat addictive.

My version includes:

1 bunch of radishes (the bigger the radish, the better), thinly sliced by a mandoline

Olive oil

Juice of 1/2 fresh lime (lemon is preferable, but, I was all out)

Fresh chives

Crumbled blue cheese (~1/4 cup)

Arrange radish thins in 1 layer on a plate. Drizzle over the olive oil and lime juice and scatter with chives. I sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt.  Allow the radishes to sit for about 10 minutes in the refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator, sprinkle on blue cheese (or cheese of your choice), and enjoy!

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Easy, high fiber side dish

In an effort to maximize my day off yesterday, I thought I would “make” a side dish for my sister’s BBQ while I was also enjoying some outside activities.

I have been on a bit of a lentil bender lately, so I thought I would use the French Green Lentils I had on hand to make a side dish. French Green Lentils keep their shape and texture a bit better than some of the other lentil options, so I figured they would travel well and pair with whatever BBQ options awaited us.

In a slow cooker I threw:

1 cup of dried french green lentils

2 cups of vegetable stock

I left these on high for awhile (maybe 1 1/2 hours), and then I added:

1 medium red onion (chopped)

1/2 red pepper chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

Dash of salt

Chopped fresh herbs (Savory, thyme, sage, basil, chives)

I stirred these together and let them sit another 45 minutes or so (long enough to take a shower and get ready)

To finish them off, I added a splash of ponzu, red wine vinegar, white pepper, cumin and Spanish smoked paprika.

I did heat them up once we got to the party and they definitely held their shape and the flavors get a chance to mix further.

This dish is a nice alternative to the typical higher fat, low nutrition BBQ dishes. Plus, lentils are loaded with satisfying fiber and protein and low in calories, you can’t go wrong!

19 calories in an entire cup of rashishes

Over this past winter, I may have gotten a little carried a away with Food Should Taste Good – Sweet Potato Chips. While I wholeheartedly endorse these chips (12 chips = 140 calories, 3 grams of fiber), I’m thinking it is time to rein it in a bit now that bathing suit season is fast approaching.

Enter my formerly “forgotten” vegetable, the humble radish. My latest use for radishes is as a replacement for a chip. They are crisp and peppery, and great as a dip for hummus.

1 cup of radish slices for a measly 19 calories!

The key to getting a radish to impersonate a chip is to slice it thinly. I do use a mandoline on the second setting (3mm) so that the radish is thick enough to not wobble and allows it to support a nice amount of hummus. It’s also a good idea to choose pretty hefty size radishes if you can.

But, here’s the really good news about radishes. 1 cup of sliced radishes has about 19 calories! In terms of vitamins and minerals, this amount would give you a nice bump of potassium (270 mg) and a good amount of vitamin C (17 mg), not to mention some serious hits of B vitamins for the day.

These radishes are guilt-free, cheap, and a healthy replacement for our usual dippers.

What are your favorite healthy dippers?

Best hot sauce ever

Best hot sauce ever

There was a time (several years ago) when I thought I was one of the few people who knew about the deliciously spicy chili sauce sriracha. But, lately, I’m thinking it’s becoming decidedly mainstream, at least among the food cognoscenti (and deservedly so).

In fact just a couple of weeks ago it was the focus of an article in the New York Times, and yesterday on Mark Bittman’s blog, Bitten. I’m sure if Martha Steward hasn’t featured it on her show yet, its just a matter of time and I fully expect it to become one of Oprah’s favorite things.

Sriracha has roughly 141,375 fans on Facebook, while mayonnaise has 3,843 fans and mustard has a paltry 3,034 fans. Not sure what this means (market research people?) but, clearly Sriracha has a big following!

I am also a fan of the chili garlic sauce Huy Fong Foods makes, it definitely deliver more in terms of texture and if you are a garlic fan like me (which has a decent

Sriracha's More Complex Brother

Sriracha's More Complex Brother

Facebook following as well) this might be your sauce of choice. But, the squeeze bottle IS super convenient…

In terms of nutrition, both sauces are low calorie. One teaspoon has roughly 5 calories and 100 milligrams of sodium. Even if you are a die hard hot sauce fanatic, you probably would not end up using much more than a teaspoon per serving.

I’ve also mentioned before the potential health benefits of capsaicin (see Huevos Portobellos), which is the active ingredient in chili peppers, and may promote increased metabolism (i.e. weight loss). The jury is not out on whether this effect actually exists or is large enough to produce results, but, I do think there is also something to the fact that when you use something so spicy, you may end up eating less on account of the numbing sensation that occurs.

In any event, Sriracha is a tasty, low calorie condiment, and I personally use it at least one meal per day. I can’t drink soup without it anymore, and it defintely wins hands down over Tabasco (a former favorite).

Have you ever tried Sriracha? If so, what’s your favorite way to use it?

As the temperature rises, I find myself craving fresh chilled soups more than ever. Soups are a great way to get a ton of vegetables into one serving of food. If you a a raw food fan, this recipe is definitely for you, though it is appealing to everyone’s palate.

The recipe that follows is adapted from the book, “100-Calorie Snack Cookbook” by Sally Sampson.

100 calories per serving!

100 calories per serving!

Ingredients (Serves 5, about 2 cups per serving)

2 small English cucumbers, diced

2 beefsteak or other large tomatoes, cored and diced

1 small read onion, coarsely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and finely chopped

1 tablespoon sherry or red wine vinegar

3 1/2 cups low sodium tomato or v8 juice

1 cup water

1/3 cup chopped fresh dill, cilantro or basil

1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Method

  1. Place cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, garlic and peppers in a bowl and toss to combine.
  2. Remove half the mixture and place in bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse 2 to 3 times until chopped and combined. Return to bowl
  3. Add the vinegar, tomato juice and water and stir to combine
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Serve garnished with herbs (optional) and feta.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

Calories: 103

Fat: 2.1 g

Cholesterol: 7mg

Sodium; 110 mg

Carbohydrates: 19.4 g

Fiber: 3.4 g

Protein: 4.5 g

Besides all of those good statistics, you will most definitely get more than a days supply of vitamin C, a big boost of potassium, lots of beta carotene and lycopene, and many other nutrients. This soup will also quench your thirst on account of all the additional water in the vegetables.

Diet Tip:

Having a bowl of soup prior to a meal actually causes you to eat less on account of your stomach being full of all tha fluid and triggering satiety signals to the brain.