Monday, January 09, 2012

A slew of healthy food...

After eating nonstop all through the holidays (thanks to the fabulous cooking at my inlaws' house plus all the great food in Vegas) I returned determined to "be good."  And so far I have been, mostly.  Lost 3 pounds since December 31, even though I have only trained once and gone to the gym once.  My new year's resolutions included the vow to eat 5 vegetables a day... sometimes I cheat by eating 5 servings a day instead of 5 different vegetables, but it's a start.  Anyway, here's some of the yummy things I've been making lately.

Italian Grain Soup

1/3 cup whole grain bulgur wheat
1/3 cup barley
1/4 cup lentils (I used green and yellow but whatever you have is fine)
1/4 cup split peas (I don't care for these much but needed to use up what I had)
4 slices bacon, sliced into pieces 1" wide.
28 oz can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano (or plain, and add your own spices)
1/2 yellow or sweet onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
garlic powder, salt, pepper
2-3 cups chicken stock

1. Sort lentils to remove any stones.  Rinse in colander with running water.
2. Boil 3 cups water in large pot or chef's pan.  Add grains, return to boil, then lower heat and simmer, uncovered, 25 min or until tender.  Do not add salt (adding salt at the beginning makes your lentils stay tough.)
3.  Drain grains in colander and set aside.  Return pan to med-high heat and fry bacon until fat begins to render but meat is still uncooked.  Add chopped onion and rosemary, lower heat to medium, and stir frequently, cooking until onions and bacon are browning but not hard and crunchy.
4.  Stir in canned tomatoes and cooked grains.  Add chicken stock to desired consistency (some like it more brothy, some like it thicker like a stew.  The photo above was pretty stew-like and thick; I used just 1.5 cups of stock.)  Heat over medium heat and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste.

Pork Chop with Tomato, Onion and Feta

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
4 pork loin chops, 1 inch thick, brined for 30 min in solution of 1.5 qts water and 6 Tbsp salt
salt, black pepper, garlic powder to taste
1/2 pint red grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 pint yellow grape tomatoes, halved (or can just use all red.)
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1.  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook until golden brown. Set aside.
2.  Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in the skillet. Season pork chops with pepper and garlic powder, and place in the skillet. Cook over med low heat to desired doneness. Set aside and keep warm on plate tented with foil.
3.  Heat remaining oil in the skillet. Return onions to skillet, and stir in tomatoes, garlic, and basil. Cook and stir about 3 minutes, until tomatoes are tender.  Stir in balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Top chops with the onion and tomato mixture, and sprinkle with feta cheese to serve. 
Italian Style Swiss Chard (sorry, didn't take a picture.)
1 bunch Swiss chard (feeds two people.  It cooks down a lot!)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt to taste
1.  Wash the Swiss chard leaf by leaf, and cut into 1 inch strips. Separate the thick and tough stalk sections from the upper leafy strips. Bring the water and 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil in a large saucepan.
2.  Cook the stalk sections in the salted boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the leafy strips and cook until the leaves are wilted and the stalks are fork tender, about 2 more minutes. Drain and set aside.
3.  Heat the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large skillet over medium heat until aromatic, about 2-3 minutes. Add the drained Swiss chard, cook and stir for 2 minutes; season with salt to taste. 
Killer Kale Salad (again sorry no photo)

Red kale (green kale works too) washed and sliced into 1/2" wide strips
Baby spinach, washed
Chopped bell pepper (I like the yellow version in this)
Sprouts-- any variety, I used radish and broccoli
Dried cranberries

Dressing:  shake together till blended, in a dressing cruet or jar--
2-3 Tbsp habanero pepper jelly, melted in microwave 15-30 seconds
2-3 Tbsp whole grain or brown mustard
a glug or two of white wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
salt/pepper to taste
2-3 Tbsp olive oil

Hope your make-weight and healthy-eating plans are going well! :)


Brendan @ BJJ Gi Reviews said...

I am all over that pork chop recipe. Great idea!

Megan said...

Props on the 3 lbs!

...and you know I added your site to the search engine before I even put it up:)

A.D. McClish said...

Oh man, G. Your food posts always make me so hungry! Thanks for the recipes!