Sometimes I feel like food is the enemy... and sometimes I feel like it is a loved one I have a strained relationship with and I want us to get along better.
I've been cooking a lot of recipes out of the Cook Yourself Thin books, and I have to say I really like some of their stuff. I recommend their books to anyone looking to cut a few calories out of some favorite meals.
You have to be careful with it though-- I think some of it is simply low cal because it's such small portions. Still, the CYT their veggie lasagna, crispy chicken, fish & chips and low cal fudgy brownies are a lot lower in cal that most recipes would be, but on the down side sometimes they are so damned good that one tiny little serving leaves me wanting more... but 2 servings would be too much.
One of my own favorite recipes that I have been making for what seems like forever is for a Cream of Broccoli Soup. I made it and realize
1) how freaking simple it really is
2) how I can make a huge pot of it and refrigerate or freeze leftovers for other meals (I like that)
3) How good-- creamy, warm and thick-- it is, like comfort food.
4) Oh My Goddess how low-cal, low-fat, low-carb it really is!!! It's practically all-you-can-eat!!!
I ate with it some whole wheat toast-- 100% whole wheat, no corn starch no sugar added. No butter or anything, just tear the toast and dip it into the bread. Normally I wouldn't eat 2 slices in a sitting but I had skipped lunch that day and could spare the carbs.
I took a pic of it; Check it out:
I make 6 qts (actually, almost 7) in one shot. Here's how.
Put a big soup pot on medium-high. Add 2 tbsps (or less if you like) of olive oil.
Open 2 big 2 lb bags of cut plain frozen broccoli. Pick out the nice flourettes and set them aside in a bowl. Throw the rest into the pot and stir.
Give 3 cloves of garlic a "pop" with the flat side of your knife and peel off the paper. Throw it in. You don't have to bother chopping/mincing it because it's going to be pureed.
Throw in a small handful (about 2 to 3 tbsps) of uncooked white rice. Stir it up till the rice & garlic just start browning.
Pour in 2 quarts of 99% fat free chicken broth.
Bring it to a boil. Remove from heat and let it cool down a bit.
Use a stick blender to puree it-- or pour it into a regular blender (in portions if necessary) until it is pureed.
Basically,. that is where it gets it's creamy consistency... the puree broccoli & that little tiny bit of rice starch... no cream, no milk, no cornstarch. If it's too thick, just thin it with water until it is the consistency you like.
So put the heat back on and dump in the bowl of flourets you set aside. Salt & pepper to taste. Bring it to a simmer and it's ready.
I calculate the stats like this for all the ingredients:
4 lbs broccoli: --------617 calories-------------6.7 g fat-------------120.5 g carbs
2 qt. ff chick broth------ 77 cal -----------3.3 g fat-------------2.7 g carbs
2 tbsp olive oil---------- 239 cal --------------27 g fat--------------0 carbs
2 oz white rice---------- 74 cal --------------- 0.2 g fat-------------16 carbs
3 cloves garlic---------- 13 cal----------------0 fat----------------- 3 carbs
So the whole 6.5 quarts comes out to:
Calories: 1019 ------------ 37.2 g of fat---------------- 142.1 g of carbs
There are 26 cups in 6 1/2 quarts... so 1 full cup of this lucious, creamy soup is:
39 calories ------------- 1.4 g of fat ------------------ 5.46 g carbs
So you can literally eat 2, 3 even a whole quart of this soup in a sitting if you want. It's practically all broccoli.
But wait! Want to cut things even further?-- just cut the olive oil down to 1 tbsp; use veggie broth instead of chicken broth, and if you thin it out a little with water it can stretch to 7 or even 8 quarts, which will further reduce the cal/fat/carbs in each serving.
But wait! Wanna be bad?-- If you can afford the extra, have it with the toast like I did, or crackers, or throw a 1/4 cup cooked pasta in it. Throw in 1 oz of shredded cheddar cheese into your hot bowl of soup, or sprinkle with some Romano or parmasean. Add some cooked chopped chicken.
I've actually turned this into a "sauce" for chicken or potatoes by just using less liquid and making it really, really thick when I puree it-- and add a bit more garlic & spices to it like some thyme or basil.
Of course, I don't have to tell you of how high Broccoli is in just about everything good for us-- calcium, vitamin C, copper, etc... but also it has long been used in folk medicine in anti-aging concoctions and garlic is a healing/protection herb, so if you are into magic, go ahead and give this soup a little bit of enchantment when you are cooking it.
I think I am going to make this soup my new "mac & cheese"... freezes & reheats beautifully, too.
Today we are getting our rugs cleaned, I'm waiting on the guy right now... so all the furniture is in disarray and the coffee table is in my small kitchen, the kids are sleeping over grandma's house and my husband and I are going to treat ourselves to a couple of Lean Cuisine microwavable pizza and leftover salad from last night's dinner. I think I got some sugar free jello or ice pops or something in there, too, for a little snack.
Between that and the leftover broccoli soup lunch (no bread this time), it's almost like "cheating."