Greek Sloppy Joes ~ South Beach Diet

“This is not military issue, airman. What sort of uniform is that?”

“Cretan camouflage sir. If you want to blend in with a bunch of drunken Greeks there’s nothing better.” ~ Good Morning, Vietnam, 1987

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Good Morning, World!

I’ve been cookin’ up a storm from my new SBD cookbook and the latest adventure was Greek Sloppy Joes.  It seemed fairly easy and I had all the ingredients, which of course, is always helpful.

It’s made with plenty of store cupboard ingredients that most of you should have on hand.  The only things you might need to go out and buy are feta cheese and spring onions/scallions.

To make it SBD friendly, instead of the traditional white flour burger bun, the recipe suggests serving it over whole-wheat orzo, but that’s not something I’ve ever seen in the states, let alone here in the UK.  I did have some other whole-wheat pasta, so just used that.  This recipe is for Phase 2, but for Phase 1, just leave out the pasta.

***Greek Sloppy Joes***

Makes 4 servings

5oz/142g/¾C whole-wheat pasta

4 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

12oz/340g lean ground/minced sirloin

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

14.5oz/400g can chopped/diced tomatoes

3 Tbsp tomato paste/puree

1/4 C/60ml water

4 Tbsp feta cheese (reduced fat, if possible)

1 spring onion/scallion, thinly sliced

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and beginning to brown, about 5-10 minutes.

Add the beef and break up with a wooden spoon.  Cook until the beef is almost all browned but still a little pink.  Sprinkle with the oregano, cayenne and cinnamon.

Stir in the can of tomatoes (with juice), tomato paste and water.  Cover and let simmer until the sauce is thickened and flavorful, about 30 minutes.

While the meat mixture is cooking, bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions.  Drain well.

Divide the pasta evenly among 4 bowls and spoon the meat mixture evenly on top.

Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of feta and some spring onion.

Serve and enjoy!

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♥♥  Terri  ♥♥

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Pork and Pepper Stew ~ South Beach Diet

Happy Friday Eve!

As most of you know, I’m back on the wagon again with trying to eat properly and follow SBD.  I have a couple of the books including the original from when the diet first came out, along with a copy of the ‘Supercharged’ and the SBD Cookbook (orange cover).

I decided to get another of the cookbooks as I wanted to get some new recipes, so a couple of weeks ago, I ordered the SBD Super Quick Cookbook (gold cover).  I love it!  It’s got so many great recipes in it.  I’ve only had the book a little over a week and I’ve made eight recipes from it already!

On Tuesday, I made this Pork and Pepper Stew.  I prepped all the meat and veg early in the day to make my life easier when it came time to cook.  I used my heavy cast iron pot with a lid and it filled it about 3/4 full.  I also did a couple of substitutions because I either didn’t have an ingredient or chose to use the variation given in the recipe.  I also added mushrooms to bulk it up a bit more.  I also used Knorr pork cubes instead of chicken broth which gave it a bit of smokiness.  This had a delicious flavor and made the kitchen smell yummy!

I’ve noted my changes in the ingredient list.  It looks like a long list of ingredients, but not too bad.

PORK AND PEPPER STEW

4 tsp olive oil

1¼lbs/568g boneless pork loin chops, well trimmed and cut into 1 inch/2.5cm chunks

1 large green bell pepper (I used an orange one for color)

6 scallions/spring onions, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp whole wheat flour (I used gram/chick pea flour)

3 C/710ml chicken broth (I used pork flavored stock cubes)

1/2 C/8 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro/coriander (I used fresh chives)

1 small pickled jalapeño pepper, finely chopped (I happened to have a jar of these!)

½ tsp ground coriander

½ tsp salt

10oz/283g frozen green peas, thawed (I used black eyed peas/beans and nearly double the amount)

3-4 mushrooms, sliced (my addition so this is an optional ingredient)

1 Tbsp lime juice

4 Tbsp shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese (I just sprinkled on some Parmesan ~ don’t know if Monterey Jack is available here, but you could use reduced-fat cheddar)

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In a nonstick Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the pork in batches and saute just to color it, about 2 minutes total.  Transfer to a bowl.  Don’t put all the meat in at once or you’ll end up steaming the meat instead of browning it.

Add the bell pepper, scallions and garlic to the pan.  Stir until the pepper begins to soften, about 3-4 minutes.

Sprinkle the veggies evenly with the flour and stir to combine.  Gradually stir in the broth.

(recipe instructions) Add the cilantro, jalapeño, coriander and salt.  Return the pork to the pan.  Bring to a low boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat and simmer until the pork is cooked through, about 5 minutes.  Stir the peas and lime juice into the stew.  Divide the stew among 4 bowls and sprinkle each serving with 1 Tbsp of cheese.

(my instructions) Add the cilantro, jalapeño, coriander, salt, beans and mushrooms.  Return the pork to the pan.  Bring to a low boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat, cover and simmer about 60-90 minutes.  Stir in the lime juice.  Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan.

I prefer to cook a stew for a while to allow the flavors to meld together, but the choice is yours.

Pork & Pepper Stew

This is a Phase 2 recipe, but the variant reads that it can be changed into a Phase 1 recipe by substituting beans for the peas and leaving out the flour.

Hope you enjoy!

♥  Terri  ♥

Friday Foodie Word ~ HAGGIS

Ode to the Haggis:

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin’-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak yer place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my airm.

As it’s Burn’s Night, I thought it be fitting to pay tribute to the guest of honor and have today’s foodie be…..

HAGGIS

haggis1

Scotland ~ A sausage made from the minced heart, liver and lungs of a sheep mixed with oatmeal, suet, minced onion, spices, herbs and seasoning, all encased in a sheep’s stomach and boiled prior to being served hot.

Nowadays more commonly stuffed in a plastic casing.  Traditionally served at Burns’ night suppers with tatties (potatoes) and neeps (turnips)*see bottom and washed down with an excess of whiskey, while Burns’ Ode to the Haggis is recited with due ceremony.

I did a post on Burn’s Night last year and you can read more about it here .

Unfortunately, authentic Scottish haggis has been banned in the United States since 1971, when the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) first took a dim view of one of its key ingredients – sheep’s lung.

While millions of people around the world will enjoy a Burns Night helping tonight, those in the US who want to celebrate Scotland’s national bard in the traditional manner are compelled to improvise.

Some choose to stage offal-free Burns suppers, and for most people not raised in Scotland, the absence of the dish might be no great hardship.  But for many expat Scots and Scots-Americans, the notion of Burns Supper without haggis is as unthinkable as Thanksgiving without turkey.

Meanwhile, butchers in the US have tried, and failed, to make their own versions of the pudding without using the vital ingredient: sheep. “It was a silly ban which meant a lot of people have never tasted the real thing,” said Margaret Frost, of the Scottish American Society in Ohio. “We have had to put up with the US version, which is made from beef and is bloody awful.”

So even if you’re not able to tuck into haggis tonight, enjoy your dinner and evening.  After all, you can still enjoy a wee nip of whiskey!

*Chef P just got home and told me he read my blog today…and also corrected me.  Neeps are turnips, not parsnips!  I seem to have a brain fart when it comes to that!

♥  Terri  ♥

Eggplant Lasagna

Happy New Year all!

A few days before Christmas we received a box of foodie goods from my brother and sis-in-law.  We have been receiving a box of goodies from them for three years running now and if you’d like to see a sampling of what we got last year, you can check here.

We got most of the same stuff but a few different things, including a giant eggplant.  On the same day that this box arrived, Chef P and I had been in London at Borough Market and picked up a selection of fresh veg, cheeses and charcuterie.  Needless to say, we were loaded down with lots of food!  We’ve been trying to use as much of it as possible because as you know, we hate to waste food, especially really good, tasty foods as what we have.  We didn’t do pizza last Friday so we did pizza last Sunday…gourmet pizza!  We used the Italian salami we got at the market, including capicola, prosciutto, and fennel salami, smoked garlic (from the market), and fresh mozzarella (from the ‘box’), along with fresh basil and oregano, also from the ‘box’.

Also in the ‘box’ was the huge eggplant I mentioned above.  I had bought some ricotta cheese to use for our Christmas Cheer evening, but I didn’t get around to making what I was going to.  So I was thinking….I had eggplant, ricotta, mozzarella, fresh basil and oregano and all I needed was some homemade tomato sauce for the making of some eggplant lasagna…yum!

This is one of those recipes that you can just throw together without the problem of measuring anything, although I’ve given some to help you out a bit.  If you want to use a jarred sauce, please feel free, but you have to admit, home made is ALWAYS best.  I’ve given the recipe I use for the homemade sauce should you feel inspired to make your own.  It’s easy peasy to do, but does take about 90 minutes to cook, so get this started while you take on the other parts.

EGGPLANT LASAGNA

Sauce:

  • olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3-4 fresh basil leaves, torn or 1 tsp dried
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano or fresh if you have it
  • 28oz/800g canned chopped tomatoes
  • salt, about 1/2 tsp or to taste
  • 1 tsp sugar

In a large saucepan, fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the remaining ingredients, stir to combine, cover and bring to the boil.  Stir and reduce heat to low and simmer for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • olive oil
  • 1 large eggplant, thinly sliced about the thickness of a pound coin or a bit thicker than a quarter)
  • salt
  • 18oz/500g ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp (or more) grated Parmesan
  • 8oz/225g mozzarella, grated or sliced (I used buffalo mozzarella and just tore pieces off)

Preheat oven to 180°c/350°f.

In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, egg and grated Parmesan and set aside.

Drizzle olive oil over two large baking sheets.  Place the slices of eggplant on the baking sheets in a single layer then drizzle over some more olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt.  Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes.
Remove and leave to sit until the sauce is done.

When the sauce is done, taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary and remove from heat.  Put one large ladle of sauce into the ricotta mixture and stir to combine.

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Using a baking dish about 6″X9″ or roughly that size, put a ladle of sauce in the bottom, then a layer of eggplant.  Put about 3-4 spoonfuls of ricotta mix on top and spread over.  Then put another layer of sauce, eggplant and ricotta and repeat until all is used, ending with a layer of sauce.

Spread the mozzarella over the top to cover and place the baking dish on a baking sheet.  I do this in case it bubbles over and it’s better that it bubbles over on the pan rather than on the bottom of your oven!

You can leave it to sit at this point until you’re ready to bake it.  If you start to get some water on the sides of the dish (from the tomatoes), just soak it up with a paper towel.

Preheat oven to 180°c/350°f.  Bake for 45-60 minutes until golden and bubbly.  Remove from oven and leave to rest about 10-15 minutes before serving.

(Sorry, I do not have an ‘after baking’ photo as I forgot to take one!)

Enjoy!

♥  Terri  ♥

Diet not Working?

So you’ve decided to embark on a healthy eating plan.  It starts off quite well, you lose a few pounds and then suddenly you find it’s not working.

Why is it that your diet and exercise plans never seem to work?  Possibly because you’re unwittingly undoing all your best efforts.

The British Nutrition Foundation identified more than 100 factors that influence our weight.  Many of the tips they offered were fairly obvious, such as eating smaller portions or not eating ready-made meals.  Here’s a few habits that might actually surprise you…

What’s that in your shopping cart?

Cereal.  A U.S. study found breakfast cereal sweetened with sugar left overweight participants hungry before lunchtime and they consumed more calories a day than those given an egg as the protein kept them full.  Egg eaters also had significantly lower levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite.

White bread.  Too many refined carbs such as white bread and white rice can lead to weight gain, particularly around the midriff, according to researchers at Tufts University in Boston.  Two groups ate roughly the same number of calories each day, but those who ate mostly refined carbs added a half inch on their waist per year compared with those eating unrefined ‘whole’ foods such as vegetables and wholegrain bread.

Fruit juice.  Fruit juices and other sugary drinks have a stronger impact on weight than calories from solid food.  Cutting out just one sugary drink a day resulted in a weight loss of more than one pound after six months.

Is working out, not working out?

Exercising at a steady pace.  Short sharp bursts are just as effective and less time consuming and you’re more likely to stick to it.  Canadian researchers compared the effects of cycling at a moderate pace for 90-120 minutes with a workout of 20-30 seconds of gut-busting pedalling followed by four minutes rest and repeated four to six times.  After two weeks, both groups had almost identical improvements in fitness despite the fact some had only worked out for six to nine minutes a week but others had put in five hours.

Eating after exercising.  When women exercised hard they ate almost enough calories afterwards to make up for the ones they just burned, according to a U.S. study.

Indoor workouts.  Most studies show that exercising in natural environments is associated with greater boosts to mood, decreased anxiety and an increased likelihood of sticking with the workouts.

Is life in general giving you more curves?

Overweight friends.  If your friends gain weight, chances are you will too.  Why?  A Dutch study found that we tend to mimic each other’s behavior when we eat out, taking a bite at the same time.

Not chewing enough.  The longer food remains in the mouth, the more chance the tongue has to send messages to the brain to release the necessary digestive juices.  Chewing and digesting solid food fills you up.

Getting some shut-eye.  A study published in the journal Sleep suggested too little encourages the genes that cause weight gain.  Longer sleep (nine hours) suppresses the action of these ‘obesity’ genes.

Being stressed.  Stress encourages the body to put on weight around you middle.  This is because it triggers the release of a hormone called cortisol.  Over time, raised cortisol levels cause belly fat to accumulate and also makes individual fat cells enlarge.

A large variety of foods.  Fewer food choices and instilling culinary boredom could be the key to successful weight loss.  Researchers reporting in the American Journal of clinical Nutrition found that when women were offered the same food over and over again, they tended to eat less overall.

It’s all your (body’s) fault.

You’re a woman.  Using brain scans, U.S. researchers have found overweight men could suppress cravings or what they called ‘the conscious desire to eat’ more successfully than women.  It’s thought hormone differences were involved.

You don’t have enough brown fat.  Thin people are known to have higher amounts of beneficial brown fat than the overweight.  Brown fat’s great appeal is that it burns calories faster, like a furnace.  A recent study found that a form of brown fat is turned on when people get cold.

It’s your age.  Basal metabolic rate, which accounts for about 50%-70% of your total energy expenditure is thought to decrease about 1%-2% per decade.  After age 20, daily energy expenditure decreases about 150 calories per decade.  The upshot is that you need to eat less as you get older.

You’re hardwired to yo-yo.  Scientists now think that soon after people lost weight, their metabolism shows and they experience hormonal changes that increase their appetites again.  These effects can be long term.  People who have lost weight need to remain vigilant and understand that once they have lost weight the battle is not over.

Your parents made you fat.  Whether you are fat or thin could be an inherited factor.  A UK study showed only 4% of girls with normal weight mothers were obese compared with 41% with fat mothers.  Research suggests a very strong link between mother and daughter and father and son obesity, but no link across gender divide.

All of us who have dieted know it’s not easy.  If it were, we’d all be fit and healthy….

♥  Terri  ♥

In memory of those who lost their lives 11 years ago…

 

Italian Chicken

Hello Boy and Girls!

I know I haven’t been around for a bit, but we’ve been under a lot of water here in this part of the world and by that I mean we’ve had enough rain over the past couple of weeks to float Noah’s Ark!  Now you’re probably saying to yourself, ‘Self, if it’s been raining, why would that stop her from being on the computer?’  Well you know what, that’s a really good question and I guess I’m just using it as a good starter subject for today’s post!

Even though it’s been a deluge here, I still have been keeping myself busy; I do have a house to keep clean you know!  One day I had to go to the dentist to get a chipped tooth fixed and another day I had a mechanic here to fix the washing machine.  Chef P took off on Friday so we just had a three-day weekend and tried to get things done that needed be, but the rain did put a bit of a ‘damper’ on things!

Amazingly today, it stopped raining about 9:30 this morning and it’s been dry ever since (it’s now after 4:00), but we’re supposed to get a little more rain later.

I made a nice chicken dish the other night that I haven’t made in some time and thought I’d post it here.  Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures again (another brain fart!) so you’ll just have to imagine what it looks like!

It uses chicken legs and thighs with the skin removed, so would be OK for SBD Phase 3 or an occasional meal for Phase 2.  You could probably use boneless, skinless breasts too.  This is also a NO FAT ADDED recipe.

~~ITALIAN CHICKEN~~

Serves 2 ** Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F

SAUCE

1 400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes

1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped

1 tsp chili flakes

1 tsp each basil and parsley

1/2 tsp each oregano and salt

black pepper

1/4 C white wine

VEGETABLES

1 each red and green bell pepper, roughly chopped

1 red onion, chopped

6 mushrooms, roughly chopped

4 chicken legs or thighs, or combination, skin removed

METHOD

Mix the first eight items (sauce ingredients) in a medium bowl.

Combine the vegetables in the roasting pan and pour the sauce over and stir to mix well.

Cover with foil and cook for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven, remove foil.  Give the mixture a stir and lay chicken pieces on top.  Cover again with foil and return to oven for 25 minutes.

Remove from oven, remove foil.  Turn chicken over and return to oven, uncovered.  Cook for an additional 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and veggies are tender.

Serve with brown rice.

Enjoy!

♥ Terri  ♥♥

Whole Wheat Pancakes

Breakfast, the most important meal of the day.  Sometimes it’s a struggle trying to decide what I want to should eat.  Usually I’ll make myself a nice warming bowl of porridge or maybe a veggie filled frittata or even a smoothie. However, every now and then, I want something different, something that I really shouldn’t eat, and today was one of those days.

I wanted pancakes.  Proper pancakes.  Not the crepes that they call pancakes here, but proper, fluffy, hearty American pancakes!

Now I had a choice; do I make then with all the ingredients I shouldn’t really have (white flour, butter and sugar) or do I attempt to make them a bit healthy (whole wheat flour, low fat margarine and fruit sugar/fructose)?  I went with the latter.  Do I get a gold star for that?

Pancakes are really easy to make and it’s 99.9% guaranteed that you have these ingredients in your kitchen cupboard at any time.  I mean really now, who doesn’t have eggs, milk, butter, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in their kitchens??

I’ll give you the white flour recipe and the whole wheat flour recipe…the choice is yours on which ingredients you use, but the method is the same.

The most important thing when making pancakes is that you want your pan to be hot right from the get go.  If the pan isn’t hot enough from the beginning, the batter will stick.  If you have a cast iron fry pan, all the better.

~~AMERICAN PANCAKES~~

Before you even start getting the ingredients together, get that pan on the stove and get it heating up.

(healthy)                                                      (not so healthy)

1 egg                                                            1 egg

3/4 C low-fat milk                                           3/4 C whole milk

2 Tbsp low-fat margarine, melted                    2 Tbsp butter, melted

1 C whole wheat flour                                     1 C white flour

1 Tbsp fructose/fruit sugar                              1 Tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt                                                    1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp baking powder                                    1 Tbsp baking powder

 

Combine the egg, milk and fat and whisk.  If you have an electric mixer, use that to make it more fluffy.  Mix the dry ingredients together and add to the wet ingredients and blend together.  (I like to mix everything together in a 2-Cup Pyrex measuring jug)

Pour the mixture (or use a ladle) into the HOT dry pan in the size of pancake you wish.  It may be easier to make one at a time unless you plan on making silver-dollar pancakes, then you’ll be able to make 2-3 at a time, depending on the size of your pan.

Leave undisturbed for 1-2 minutes or until you start to see bubbles forming on the surface.  Gently lift the pancake with a metal spatula and flip over.  Again leave for 1-2 minutes or until you see the pancake really starting to fluff up.  Remove to a warm dish and continue with the remaining pancakes.

To the batter you can add sliced fruit such as bananas or strawberries or even blueberries. Or try chopped nuts such as walnuts or pecans or perhaps chocolate chips. (I added walnuts and topped with more walnuts and raisins).

The traditional ‘serve with’ items are butter and maple syrup but that is your choice.  I had mine with a bit of maple syrup only.

 

 

Enjoy!

♥ Terri  ♥♥