Thai Red Curry Vegetable Medley

This qualifies as a nearly instant dinner or fast food all by itself, and makes an ideal side dish to complete a meal with chicken or fish. You can of course do this with just about any fresh vegetables also if you have the time to clean, chop, and cook them.

Thai Red Curried Vegetable Medley

Thai Red Curry Vegetable Medley
1 14 oz package Birds Eye Frozen Vegetable Medley (snap peas, baby carrots, broccoli and cauliflower florets).
3T Thai red, green, or yellow curry sauce from Trader Joe’s – shown here is red
Thai sweet chili oil to taste (not counted in the calories listed below).

Place vegetables in microwaveable bowl. Add half the curry sauce and stir a bit.
Cover and microwave for 6-8 mins – package says to add 2T water, but I don’t bother since the veggies have enough by themselves.
Remove cover carefully, and add remaining Thai sauce and serve.

Serves 1 or 2 – 160 calories for 14 oz package

For fresh vegetable version:

1 onion coarsely chopped
1 green pepper sliced into 1 inch squares
1 large carrot, julienned
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into bite size florets
2 stalks celery, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 chinese eggplant, sliced into crescents
1T olive or canola oil
4T Thai curry sauce, red, green, or yellow

Stir fry onion over medium – high heat in 1T oil until translucent
Add remaining vegetables, stir to coat with oil and cover
After 2 minutes, reduce heat to medium – low and steam for 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp to taste.
Add curry sauce, stir to coat all vegetables and let simmer for 2 minutes longer.

Mackerel Salad

Mackerel is high in omega-3 fatty acids that are good for heart health and is about one-third the price of salmon in this tough economy.

Mackerel Salad Photo

Mackerel Salad
1 15 oz can mackerel fillets – separated into halves and bones removed
1 head romaine lettuce
1 medium tomato
2 oz carrot shreds
2 oz broccoli shreds
lemon juice and/or dressing of choice

Serves 2 as a main course – 310 calories per serving without dressing

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

This is a simple, easy, tasty, and low calorie version of the usual fried-then-baked eggplant parm.
Can eat as is for a main course, or add a helping of chicken or fish for a more substantial meal, or serve with pasta if you can afford the carbs.

Grilled Eggplant Parmesan

Baked Eggplant Parmesan
2 large eggplant, quartered lengthways then sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
3T parmesan cheese
1-2 cloves garlic
3 cups marinara
1 spray Pam or 1t olive oil

Spray a 9×13 dish with PAM to prevent sticking.
Slice the eggplant and place in a 9×13 baking dish.
Crush the garlic and mix with the eggplant.
Then cover with the marinara and mix to coat the eggplant.
Cover with foil and bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.
Remove cover carefully – test eggplant – should be soft/chewy.
sprinkle with parmesan and bake at 425 degrees for 15 mins uncovered.
If it is still not browned, can broil for 2-3 minutes to brown top – take care not to burn it.

Serves 6, 150 calories per serving.

Cauliflower Curry with Crab, Corn, Carrots and Cilantro

It wasn’t until I had all the veggies steaming in the microwave that I noticed the alliteration, honest! Yet another case of steamed veggies plus a little protein transformed by a Thai sauce, in this case a yellow peanut sauce. I have always liked Pollack, a creamy white fish, ever since I grilled a fresh one caught a few hours earlier on a trip to the West of Ireland many years ago. Imitation crabmeat (surimi) is made from Pollack, and although it doesn’t have the same creamy quality of the fresh fish, and doesn’t really improve by being made to do crab impressions, it does make a good addition to a stir-steam like this one.

Cauliflower Curry with Crab, Corn, Carrots and Cilantro

Cauliflower Curry with Crab, Corn, Carrots and Cilantro
1 head cauliflower – any color you like – I used a green one
1 8 oz package flake or lump imitation crabmeat (surimi – tastes way better than it sounds!)
1 16 oz can corn kernels or mini-corn
1 large carrot, julienned
20 stems cilantro, chopped
5-6 oz (or to taste) Thai red, green, or yellow curry sauce – I use Trader Joe’s – shown here is yellow

Cut cauliflower into florets and place in a microwaveable bowl. Cover with shrinkwrap and microwave on high 10 minutes.
While cauliflower is cooking, cut up carrots and cilantro.
After 10 minutes, carefully pull back the shrinkwrap and add the carrots, drained corn, and most of the cilantro. Recover and microwave on high 5 minutes.
Open crab package, separate chunks and slice into bite-size pieces, about half-inch dice/slices.
After veggies finish cooking, again pull back shrinkwrap and add crab and Thai sauce. Mix carefully to coat the veggies with sauce. Recover, and let sit 5 minutes for flavor to permeate and crab to heat.
Drizzle a spoonful more Thai sauce over the top, or if plating, over each plate, and sprinkle with a little chopped cilantro.

Serves 4 – 240 calories per serving

Pumpkin Cloudcakes

Thanksgiving is a day off for the diet and here is one of our family traditions – pumpkin cloudcakes.
We clipped this recipe from the Chicago Tribune in the 1980s and have been making them every fall ever since.

Pumpkin Cloudcakes

Pumpkin Cloudcakes Recipe

Pumpkin Cloudcakes Recipe – click to enlarge.

Cook as above or make up the batter the night before and fry for a filling Thanksgiving breakfast or brunch. Serve hot with maple syrup. The recipe picture could be clearer – it’s 1/4 t baking soda, 1/8t nutmeg (although I use 1t cinnamon instead), 1/8t salt which I omit, and 1/2 cup yogurt. I normally make a double batch that uses a whole pot of yogurt and a whole 16oz can of pumpkin. I also use regular flour not cake flour but cake flour is better if you have it or can find it.

Serves 4 – no calorie counting today.

Carrot Apple Raisin Slaw

I had some leftover apple sauce to use and this is the result which has me raving – truly much better tasting than the sum of the ingredients. Can use this slaw as a colorful side dish on your Thanksgiving table or just eat for dessert or a snack. It has a crunchy-chewy sweetness that I know will be one of my favorites for a long time to come. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Carrot Apple Raisin Slaw

Carrot Apple Raisin Slaw
2 large carrots, shredded (peeled if you insist)
1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup raisins or craisins and/or chopped nuts

Shred carrots and mix ingredients together thoroughly to make sure all the carrots are coated in apple sauce.
Serve at room temperature for best flavor.

Serves 1 as dessert or 2-4 as a side dish – 380 calories for the whole recipe

Rice Cake Bruschetta

I never thought I would like rice cakes, but when they are topped with cottage cheese and bruschetta-style salsa with garlic and olives they are very tasty and make a substantial light snack. You can eat these cold or broil them for a few minutes to char the edges and heat up the toppings a bit. If you do broil them, put a thin slice of ham or turkey or cucumber under the cottage cheese or the rice cake will go a bit soggy in the middle.

Rice Cake bruschetta

Rice Cake Bruschetta
Per rice cake:
1 oz cottage cheese
1T bruschetta mix – can make your own by adding 1 clove crushed garlic, 2T chopped olives and 2T olive oil to normal jar of salsa
small slice of ham, turkey or cucumber slivers optional

65 calories per rice cake as shown with cucumber.

Thai Green Green Curry

Normally I wouldn’t bother with the frivolity of not-normal colored vegetables such as this green cauliflower (note not a broccaflower or whatever they are). But this one was a dollar cheaper than the usual white variety so caught my attention. I also usually go for color contrast in a dish, but I wanted Thai green curry and this cauliflower was the best available vegetable and got drafted. The recipe is simplicity itself, although we do cheat with a jar of Trader Joe’s tasty curry sauce.

Thai Green Green Curry

Thai Green Green Curry
1 cauliflower – green or white – alternately broccaflower or broccoli would work well also
8 oz pre-cooked chicken, e.g. rotisserie chicken
1 jar Trader Joe’s Thai green curry sauce.

Remove the stem and any leaf stalks from the cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower into florets and rinse thoroughly in the sink. Slice the leaf stems into slivers. Place all in a microwavable container and cover with shrink wrap.
Microwave on high for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile cut up the precooked chicken into bites.
When the cauliflower is done (check with a fork), add the chicken and jar of sauce to the cauliflower, recover, and microwave a further 3 minutes at 70% power.
Serve by itself or over another vegetable like spaghetti squash.

Serves 4, approx 425 calories per serving.

Butternut Squash “Fries”

Sweet potato fries have been popular for a while, but I think these taste even better and per pound butternut squash is only 204 calories compared with 345 for sweet potatoes and 469 for ordinary potatoes.

Butternut Squash Fries

Butternut Squash “Fries”
1 butternut squash, about 3 pounds makes 50-60 half-moon fries

Turn on the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the squash in half lengthways, and scoop out the seeds.
Peel the squash with a potato peeler.
Slice each half of the squash into about 30 quarter-inch thick half moon slices.
Place 1t of oil on a baking pan and spread it around with the fries as you lay them out for baking.
For one whole 3 pound squash I needed 2 baking pans. I prefer the non-air-layered baking pans so that the fries brown on the bottom.
Bake for 20 minutes – take out of oven and turn the slices.
Return to oven and turn up to 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until browned.
Alternately broil for about 6-8 minutes watching carefully so they don’t burn.
Season to taste and serve.

Serves 4, each serving of 15 fries is 150 calories

Red Beans And Cauliflower “Rice”

A couple of liberties have been taken here – I used a can of chili beans (pinto beans I think) and the “rice” is just cauliflower florets – I don’t even bother to chop it fine anymore.

Red Beans And Cauliflower Rice

Red Beans And Cauliflower “Rice”
1 cauliflower
1 16oz can chili beans (or use red beans with 1T chili powder)
1 16oz can diced tomatoes or diced fresh ones if available
Extra seasonings to taste – extra chili powder, tabasco, or liquid smoke
Optional garnish – chopped cilantro or parsley

Cut or break the cauliflower into florets or dice into 1/4 inch dice if you want to pretend it’s rice.
Place florets in microwavable bowl and cover tightly with shrinkwrap.
Microwave on high 15mins.
Meanwhile, open cans of beans/tomatoes and heat in a pan with any extra seasonings.
When cauliflower is done, pour beans/tomatoes over cauliflower and serve.

Serves 2, 350 calories for 1/2 caulflower serving.