Healthy Ramen

Healthy Ramen

As we get older, one of the many things that we need to watch is our blood sugar levels. I am always looking for ways to cut down on my refined carbohydrates; but this particularly difficult for me, because I am such a lover of carbs. Growing up I used to eat a lot of Top Ramen—all by itself. It was so tasty and so not healthy for you! I came up with my own healthier version after eating at a noodle restaurant in Ann Arbor, while visiting my daughter.

I decided to replace half the noodles with zucchini pasta and the other half with ½ serving of angel hair pasta. Eating foods with a low glycemic index is key in keeping our blood sugar levels from having large increases. Believe it or not, spaghetti (white) has glycemic index of 44, according to Dummies.com. The Mayo Clinic states a low glycemic index is between 1 and 55. It should be cooked al dente. Overcooking the pasta, surprisingly increases the glycemic index.

My soup base is just five ingredients: organic chicken stock, reduced sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic clove (smashed), and fresh ginger (sliced and smashed). Sliced Chinese barbecue pork and hardboiled egg are my protein ingredients. Then I topped the soup with some bean sprouts and green onions.

What makes this recipe so easy is a lot of the prep work can be done in advance. The Chinese barbecue pork was actually a leftover. The zucchini pasta was spiralized the day before and stored in a zip lock storage bag. The hardboiled eggs can also be cooked ahead of time. The soup base can be made in a few minutes, while cooking the angel hair and zucchini “al dente.” This soup is just perfect for cold fall and winter nights and it’s delicious and healthy too!

Healthy Ramen

Healthy Ramen

Healthy Ramen

 

Healthy Ramen

Ingredients:

Soup Base:

  • 1 (32 ounce) package organic chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 slices fresh ginger (smashed)
  • 1 garlic clove (smashed)

Ramen:

  • 4 ounces “al dente” cooked angel hair pasta
  • 2 medium zucchini, spiralized and cooked “al dente”

Soup Fillings:

  • Chinese barbecue pork slices*
  • 4 hardboiled eggs, halved
  • Bean sprouts
  • 2 green onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal

*Recipe for Chinese barbecue pork is in previous post.

Directions:

  1. Using a medium pot, heat chicken stock, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and garlic. After it boils, let it simmer until you are ready to assemble the soup.
  2. Cook the angel hair pasta until it is “al dente.” At the same time, steam the zucchini pasta until it is “al dente.”
  3. Pour the soup base into individual soup bowls. Add the angel hair and zucchini. Then top with barbecue pork slices, eggs, bean sprouts and green onions. Serve immediately.

 

Healthy Ramen

Healthier Chinese Barbecue Pork

Healthier Chinese Barbecue Pork

When I was growing up, Chinese barbecue pork was known as char siu. We would eat it as a side dish or as an ingredient in won ton soup. My mom never prepared it, so it was always restaurant made. Well, for some unexplainable reason, I haven’t had it in a few years. Since I had a frozen pork tenderloin that needed to be used, I searched the internet for a char siu recipe. After reading several recipes, I decided to try the one by Recipe Tin Eats.

As you know, one of my goals is to prepare dishes with less sugar. The first five ingredients contain considerable amounts of it.  Since I wasn’t using large quantities and they were only used in the marinade (on a large piece of meat), I thought it would be fine. The changes I made to Nagi’s dish were reduction in the amount of honey and elimination of the red food coloring. Even though I cooked a larger piece of tenderloin, not all of the marinade was used. I have to tell you that the meat was so tasty and delicious! My husband, who is my biggest critic, was very happy with this pork dish. You won’t be disappointed!

Healthier Chinese Barbecue Pork

 

Healthier Chinese Barbecue Pork

Ingredients:

Marinade:

  • ¾ tablespoon organic brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon organic honey
  • 1½ tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon five spice powder
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon organic canola oil
  • Sea salt (optional—since I only have reduced sodium soy sauce at home, you may want to add a pinch)

Meat:

  • 1½ pound pork tenderloin

Directions:

  1. Place the marinade ingredients in a small saucepan. Mix together and simmer for 30 seconds. Set aside and cool.
  2. Place the pork and marinade in a ziplock bag and remove as much air as possible. Rub the sauce into the meat. Refrigerate overnight.
  3. Take the tenderloin out of the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
  4. Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a rimmed baking pan with foil. Place roasting rack on top of rimmed pan.
  5. Put tenderloin on top of rack and set aside the reminder of marinade.
  6. Roast the meat until the internal temperature reaches 145º, approximately 40 minutes. (Roasting time will vary depending upon the size of tenderloin). Halfway through the cooking time, baste the pork with the sauce.
  7. After pork reaches 145º, baste the it with remaining marinade, and broil for 2 to 3 minutes, until it is nicely charred and caramelized.
  8. Let the tenderloin rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

 

Healthier Chinese Barbecue Pork

Sautéed Garden Peas with Basil & Pecorino Romano

Sautéed Garden Peas with Basil and Pecorino Cheese

This healthy and delicious vegetable side dish reminds me of summer! It is full of wonderful flavors…tangy lemon juice and zest, salty Pecorino Romano, fresh basil with a subtle buttery taste…not to mention the English peas and sugar snap peas! In just a few minutes you get a wonderful dish that everybody will love! This terrific recipe came from Williams-Sonoma.com.

Sautéed Garden Peas with Basil and Pecorino Cheese

Sautéed Garden Peas with Basil and Pecorino Cheese

Sautéed Garden Peas with Basil and Pecorino Cheese

 

Sautéed Garden Peas with Basil & Pecorino Romano

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon organic butter
  • 1 tablespoon organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1 pound English peas, shelled
  • ¼ cup water
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • Fresh basil, approximately 4 sprigs torn into pieces
  • Freshly grated pecorino romano cheese, approximately 1 ounce

Directions:

  1. Using a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the sugar snap peas and the English peas. Pour in the water. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and cover. Cook for about 2 minutes. Uncover and stir on occasion, until water has evaporated. The peas should be tender crisp and bright green.
  2. Remove pan from heat. Grate 2 teaspoons of lemon zest. Add the juice of ½ lemon and the zest. Then salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Finally, add the grated cheese and the basil.

 

Sautéed Garden Peas with Basil and Pecorino Cheese

Watermelon Popsicles

Watermelon Popsicles

Record temperatures are occurring across the country. Yesterday in Las Vegas, it was 115° F! The temperature at 9:00 p.m. was 107° F. So I was delighted when I received my Norpro Frozen Ice Pop Maker from Amazon.com.

You can find popsicle recipes all over the internet. But it took a recent show on Rachael Ray that made me finally buy the molds. The guest on her show used watermelon and kiwi purees with mini chocolate chips to make them look like “real” slices of watermelon. I bought the chocolate chips, but the chips sank to the bottom. I was lazy and didn’t want to wait for the puree to get partially frozen to add the chips. I loved the taste of the watermelon, which was refreshing and sweet. The kiwi was a nice artistic touch, but it was tangy and tart! My daughter will be coming home in a week from her internship in Washington, D.C. and I know that she will just love the “plain” watermelon popsicles! Needless to say, I look forward to experimenting with different fruits to make naturally sweet, tasty and healthy ice pops!

Norpro Frozen Ice Pop Maker

 

Watermelon Popsicles

Ingredients: 

  • 3 cups watermelon puree
  • ½ cup kiwi puree (approximately 4 kiwis)
  • Sweetener (optional) for kiwi
  • Popsicle mold + popsicle sticks (10 3 ounce individual molds)

Directions:

  1. Using a blender, make the watermelon puree by cutting up the melon into large chunks (1″ x 2″) enough to make 3 cups.
  2. Rinse out the blender and place chopped up pieces of kiwi into it. Puree the kiwi.
  3. Pour the watermelon puree into the mold, leaving ¾” free for the kiwi puree.
  4. Cover the mold and place in the freezer for 1 to 1¼ hours.
  5. Add the kiwi puree to the top of the mold. Cover and place the popsicle sticks in the slots. Freeze until hard.
  6. To remove the popsicles from mold, place the mold container in a large container or a sink filled with warm water for about 20 seconds. Gently remove and eat immediately or cover each popsicle individually with plastic wrap and place in the freezer.

 

Watermelon Popsicles

Frittata Muffins

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I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for quick, easy, and healthy breakfast recipes that can be prepared ahead of time for the busy work week. Well, I just found a delicious one from Health.com! It uses a sautéed mixture of onion, mushrooms, and red bell peppers with chopped parsley and basil; but I substituted it with frozen organic spinach for added nutritional value. It’s one of those recipes that you can change some of the ingredients to suit your tastes. What was really important to me, I found that they can be stored in snack bags (even frozen) and reheated in the microwave! I am so glad to add some tasty variety to my morning breakfast meals!

Frittata Muffins

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Frittata Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ chopped medium onion
  • ¾ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • ½ cup chopped frozen organic spinach, thawed
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 6 large organic eggs
  • 2 tablespoon organic nonfat or whole milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven at 350° F.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large nonstick frying pan. Add onion, bell pepper and mushrooms. Cook until tender. Add the spinach and stir. Finally, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin with oil. Add the vegetable mixture.
  4. Using a 2 cup glass measuring cup with spout, whisk the eggs and milk together. Add salt and pepper. Pour into muffin cups. Bake for approximately 17 minutes.
  5. Using a small spatula, gently remove frittatas from muffin tin. Serve immediately.

 

Frittata Muffins

Salmon with Lemon, Capers, & Rosemary

Salmon with Lemon, Capers, & Rosemary

I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for simple and healthy salmon recipes. A few weeks ago, I came across Giada De Laurentiis’s recipe for “Salmon with Lemon, Capers, and Rosemary” on the Food Network website. I have been dying for the opportunity to try it. So on a recent to Costco trip, I was able to purchased some Atlantic salmon farmed in Norway. It is rated by the Seafood Watch as a “good alternative.” I have their app on my cell and I don’t buy any fish unless it is recommended by them.

As luck would have it, I had all the ingredients at home—even the fresh ones, lemon and rosemary. Apparently, capers don’t go bad, because they are in a brine of vinegar; so I was all set to prepare this delicious dish! What makes this recipe dummy proof is that you cook the fish in foil packets in a pan over the cooktop or just on the grill. It comes out very moist and tasty! I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!
Salmon with Lemon, Capers, & Rosemary

 

Salmon with Lemon, Capers, & Rosemary

Ingredients:

  • 4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets
  • ¼ cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 8 lemon slices (about 2 lemons)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice ( about 1 lemon)
  • ½ cup Marsala wine or white wine
  • 4 teaspoons capers
  • 4 pieces of aluminum foil

Directions:

  1. Brush the tops and bottoms of the fillets with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and rosemary. Place each piece of salmon in the center of the foil—large enough to fold and seal.
  2. Place two slices of lemon on each fillet, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons wine, and finally, add 1 teaspoon capers.
  3. Wrap up the fish tightly in the foil.
  4. Over medium-high heat in a large pan or over the grill, cook the fish for 10 minutes for 1-inch thick salmon. (I cooked my fish for 8 minutes, because it was thinner).
  5. Serve immediately in foil packets or remove from packets, making sure you pour all the juices over the fish.

 

Salmon with Lemon, Capers, & Rosemary

Salmon with Lemon, Capers, & Rosemary

Herbed Garden Mix with Goat Cheese

Herbed Garden Mix with Goat Cheese

I am always looking for deliciously simple fresh salads to prepare. So when I came across this recipe by Maria Helm Sinskey on the Williams Sonoma website, I was excited, because I had some left over goat cheese in the refrigerator. I rarely eat goat cheese, but I had brought it for my daughter, when she came from college.

The Trader Joe’s Organic Herb Salad Mix is a wonderful blend of organic baby red and green romaine, oakleaf, and chard. It also contains organic Mizuna, arugula, frisée, radicchio, parsley, cilantro, dill, and baby spinach. This salad is incredibly easy to make, because there is no chopping or measuring and tastes great with the addition of goat cheese. It’s the perfect healthy side dish to prepare during the busy work week!

Herbed Garden Mix with Goat Cheese

Herbed Garden Mix with Goat Cheese

 

Herbed Garden Mix with Goat Cheese


Ingredients:

  • 1 (5 ounce) package Trader Joe’s Organic Herb Salad Mix
  • Organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Organic sugar
  • White wine vinegar
  • Fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  1. Place salad mix in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil. Gently toss, then drizzle wine vinegar and mix again.
  2. Add salt, pepper and sugar to taste.
  3. Sprinkle with goat cheese and toss. Serve immediately.

 

Herbed Garden Mix with Goat Cheese