||[Jul. 24th, 2007|08:38 am]
Super Healthy Food for Busy / Low-Energy People
I have fibromyalgia, and I thought I would share some of my favorite recipes in accordance with the ideas behind this community :). Some of these recipes require chopping fruits or veggies. Since I've been sick, excessive chopping of veggies is something I've wanted to avoid, even using a food processor doesn't circumvent the problem for me because of the assembly (I have a small kitchen with limited storage) and clean-up :(. So, I get around this by buying pre-chopped ingredients when I can: canned diced tomatoes (drain the liquid), jars of minced garlic, onion powder instead of chopped onion.
I've also scored the recipes according to ease of preparation on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being as easy as microwaving a TV dinner and 5 being "only attempt this if you're having a good health day." In recipes where it is easy to substitute pre-chopped ingredients, I have not factored the effort of chopping these ingredients into the score (see above). A few recipes have ingredients that aren't 100% ideal, but they are in low enough amounts that I feel it should be okay, but let me know what you think. Anyway, here are some of the recipes (linked to other websites, or directions behind LJ cuts as necessary):
Fruity curry chicken salad. Score: 3.5 due to preparation of chicken and coring/chopping the apple (leave the skin on, it's healthier :) ).
Colorful vegetable fajitas. I use whole wheat tortillas instead of white flour tortillas. Score: 3 due to chopping and multiple steps.
Quinoa and black beans (I like to serve this with the fajitas above) Score: 2.5 due to multiple steps.
Quick pasta and lentils. Recipe calls for ditalini pasta (???), but I use whole wheat rotini instead. Can substitute brown rice pasta. You can throw the block of frozen spinach directly into the pan, no need to thaw and squeeze dry (yay! I hate thawing and draining frozen spinach). Score: 2
Quinoa tabbouleh. Score: 3 due to chopping, but you can buy pre-grated carrots, bottled lemon juice, and use canned diced tomatoes (drained) to reduce some of the effort. Good for people with gluten sensitivity.
Salmon with tomatoes. Get your omega-3 fatty acids. Good for people with gluten sensitivity. Score: 3.
All-Around Good Smoothie. Best.Smoothie.Ever. You don't need a frozen chopped banana, I just break a fresh banana into a few pieces and throw it in the blender :). Score: 1.5.
Ricotta cheese pancakes. Yum, pancakes without lots of flour or sugar :). I use stevia instead of Splenda. Score: 2.5
Dr. Edelberg's Black Bean Soup. Check out the rest of the site, he has a lot of good recipes, but this one has become a staple for me. It's quite versatile, as he notes in the recipe. I omit the fresh cilantro, and I add lean ground turkey so that it's more like a chili. I also mix in fresh spinach. Make sure to use turmeric. Score: 3-4, depending on how you modify it.
Baked sweet potato. Score: 1
This is a good alternative to a regular baked potato, especially since sweet potatoes are crazy-healthy. My neighborhood grocery store actually sells microwave-in-wrap sweet potatoes so look for those, too :). But if you can't find the microwave-in-wrap kind, just take any sweet potato, rinse it and scrub it a little with a damp paper towel, spray with cooking spray and bake in your toaster oven or regular oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes (depending on thickness of the potato). When it's cooked, slice the potato open and add desired condiments. I like adding I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray and a little bit of salt. I know other folks who add cinnamon, a little bit of brown sugar, nutmeg, or honey.
Baked veggie-loaded eggplant parmesan. Score: 5.
2 medium eggplants, cut into 1/4-1/2 inch rounds
1 and 1/2 cups of broccoli florets, finely chopped (optional)
3/4 cup fresh spinach, sauteed in 1 tsp olive oil until softened (optional)
One medium zucchini, cut lengthwise and then sliced into small cross-sections
1/2 a carton of shiitake mushrooms, diced (you can also use white button mushrooms but shiitakes have greater health benefits)
One large jar of spaghetti sauce, your choice, but look for the kind that doesn't have added corn syrup.
One jar diced tomatoes, plain or flavored, drained
3/4 of a carton of egg substitute, or six eggs, beaten
One bag of shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese (approx. - use as much or as little as you want)
1 cup plain bread crumbs (whole wheat if you can find it, alternatively you can use pre-seasoned bread crumbs, see step 2 below))
Seasonings to taste (i.e. dried oregano, basil, garlic powder, black pepper.)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and desired seasonings in a large dish. Alternatively you can use Italian pre-seasoned bread crumbs or no seasonings if you don't like them. Pour your egg substitute into a bowl.
3. Dip eggplant slices in egg, then bread crumb mixture to lightly coat. Place slices on a baking sheet (like the kind for cookies - you'll need 2 baking sheets) sprayed with cooking spray or brushed with olive oil, and bake for 25 minutes.
4. While eggplant is baking, chop your other veggies and saute your spinach (optional) if you haven't already. In a large bowl, combine veggies, spaghetti sauce, and diced tomatoes. Add extra seasonings if you want to. Mix thoroughly.
5. When eggplant is done baking, remove from oven but don't turn off the heat. In a 9x13 inch pan lightly greased with cooking spray, layer eggplant slices, followed by veggie and tomato sauce mixture, and top with mozzarella cheese. Can also add more grated parmesan in addition to the mozzarella, if you wish. Continue layering until you run out of ingredients - I usually wind up with two or three layer "sets" of eggplant, veggie mixture, and cheese, depending on thickness of eggplant slices and sauce.
6. Bake uncovered for 45-50 minutes.
This is a LOT of work for folks with chronic illnesses, but personally I find it is worth it if I'm having a day where I'm feeling okay and am in the mood to play Italian chef, because it makes lunch for a week :). I don't even eat it when I take it out of the oven, I let it cool and then I cut it into 6 servings and put them in Ziploc containers, and refrigerate 2 and freeze 4 to reheat over the course of the week.
WHEW. Sorry for the length of this entry :). Let me know what you think of these recipes, whether you try them or think they aren't chronic illness-friendly enough to attempt.