Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lidia Bastianich style-Italian-American lasagna with meat sauce

For lasagna
2 pounds lasagna noodles
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large eggs
Pinch salt
2 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 pound mozzarella cheese, preferably fresh, sliced thin
Meat sauce
Two 35-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, diced (about 2 cups)
6 to 8 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
5 or 6 meaty pork neck bones (about 3/4 pound)
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup tomato paste
4 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably the Sicilian or Greek type, dried on the branch, crumbled
3 to 4 cups hot water
For meat sauce

Pass the tomatoes and their liquid through a food mill fitted with the fine blade. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy 4- to 5-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Make a little room in the center of the pot, dump in the garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the pork bones and cook, turning, until lightly browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef and pork and season lightly with salt. Cook, stirring to break up the meat, until the meat changes color and the water it gives off is boiled away, about 10 minutes. Continue cooking until the meat is browned, about 5 minutes. Add the bay leaves and oregano, then pour in the wine. Bring to a boil and cook, scraping up the brown bits that cling to the pot, until the wine is almost completely evaporated. Pour in the tomatoes, then stir in the tomato paste until it is dissolved. Season lightly with salt. Bring to a boil, adjust the heat to a lively simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until the sauce takes on a deep, brick-red color, 2 to 3 hours. Add the hot water, about ½ cup at a time, as necessary to maintain the level of liquid for the length of time the sauce cooks.

Skim off any fat floating on top and adjust the seasoning as necessary. The sauce can be prepared entirely in advance and refrigerated for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

For lasagna
Line a sieve with a double thickness of cheesecloth or a basket-type coffee filter. Place the ricotta over the cheesecloth and set the sieve over a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to one day. Discard the liquid that drains into the bowl. Make the meat sauce.

Bring 6 quarts of salted water and the olive oil to a boil in an 8-quart pot over high heat. Stir about one third of the lasagna noodles into the boiling water. Return to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, set a large bowl of ice water next to the stove. When the lasagna noodles are al dente, remove them with a wire skimmer and transfer to the ice water. Let them stand until completely chilled. Repeat the cooking and cooling with the remaining two batches of lasagna noodles. When the cooked noodles are chilled, remove them from the ice bath and stack them on a baking sheet, separating each layer with a clean, damp kitchen towel.

While the noodles are cooking, beat the eggs with the salt in a mixing bowl until foamy. Add the ricotta and stir until thoroughly blended. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

To assemble the lasagna, ladle about 3/4 cup of the meat sauce over the bottom of a 15 x 10-inch baking dish. Arrange noodles lengthwise and side by side so as to cover the bottom of the baking dish and overhang the short ends of the dish by about 2 inches. (A little “cut and paste” might be necessary. Also, the noodles will most likely overlap in the center of the dish. That is fine.) Spoon enough meat sauce, about 2 cups, to cover the noodles in an even layer. Sprinkle the sauce with ½ cup of the grated cheese. Arrange a single layer of noodles crosswise over the cheese so they overhang the long sides of the baking dish by about 2 inches, again trimming the noodles and overlapping them as necessary. Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the noodles. Arrange a single layer of noodles lengthwise over the ricotta, trimming the noodles as necessary. Arrange the sliced mozzarella in an even layer over the noodles. Spread 1 cup of the meat sauce over the cheese and sprinkle 1 cup of grated cheese over the sauce. Cover with a layer of noodles, arranged lengthwise. Spoon enough meat sauce, about 2 cups, to cover the noodles in an even layer and sprinkle the sauce with 1 cup grated cheese. Turn the noodles overhanging the sides and ends of the dish over the lasagna, leaving a rectangular uncovered space in the middle. Spread a thin layer of meat sauce over the top layer of noodles. Sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake 45 minutes.

Uncover the lasagna and continue baking until the top is crusty around the edges, about 20 minutes. Let rest at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours before cutting and serving. To rewarm a lasagna that has been standing, cover it loosely with foil and place in a 325-degree F oven until heated through, 15 to 45 minutes, depending on how long it has been standing.

Serving Size
12 servings, plus leftovers

Monday, May 2, 2011


Shrimp Veracruzana - 11g Carbs, 2g Fiber, 0g Added Sugar

Eating Well - May/June 2008

Veracruzana is a dish full of onions, jalapeƱos and tomatoes from the
Mexican state of Veracruz. Here we pair the zesty sauce with shrimp,
but it can be served with any type of fish or chicken. The heat of
fresh jalapenos varies depending on growing conditions. Be sure to
taste yours as you're adding them to the dish and adjust the amount
according to your taste. For pepper flavor without the heat, use a
thinly sliced green bell pepper in place of the jalapenos.

Serve with: Rice or potatoes and an avocado salad.

Nutrition Profile - -
Diabetes appropriate | Low calorie | Low carbohydrate | Low saturated fat
| Low sodium | Heart healthy | Healthy weight | Gluten free

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Serving Size: about 1 cup each

2 tsp canola oil
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and very thinly sliced, or to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb peeled and deveined raw shrimp, (16-20 per lb; see Shopping Tip)
3 medium tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup thinly sliced pitted green olives
1 lime, cut into 4 wedges

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add bay
leaf and cook for 1 minute. Add onion, jalapenos and garlic and
cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in shrimp,
cover and cook until pink and just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes and olives. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to
medium-low, replace cover and cook until the tomatoes are almost
broken down, 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove the bay leaf. Serve with
lime wedges.

* Shopping Tip:
Shrimp is usually sold by the number needed to make one pound.
For example, "21-25 count" means there will be 21 to 25 shrimp
in a pound. Size names, such as "large" or "extra large," are
not standardized, so to be sure you're getting the size you want,
order by the count (or number) per pound. Both wild-caught and
farm-raised shrimp can damage the surrounding ecosystems when
not managed properly. Fortunately, it is possible to buy shrimp
that have been raised or caught with sound environmental practices.
Look for fresh or frozen shrimp certified by an independent
agency, such as Wild American Shrimp or Marine Stewardship
Council. If you can't find certified shrimp, choose wild-caught
shrimp from North America—it's more likely to be sustainably caught.

Servings: 4
Serving Size: about 1 cup each
Nutrition per Serving:
192 Calories, 6g Fat, 1g Sat, 3g Mono, 172mg Cholesterol, 24g Protein,
11g Carbs, 2g Fiber, 0g Added Sugars, 324mg Sodium, 516mg Potassium

Nutrition Bonus: Selenium (61% daily value), Vitamin C (40% dv),
Iron & Vitamin A (20% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 1/2

Exchanges: 1 1/2 vegetable, 3 lean meat, 1 fat

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo

South of the Border Salmon Burgers

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
Servings: 4

1 lb salmon fillet, skin removed, fish cut into 1" chunks
2 tsp PLUS 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (8-oz) head romaine, shredded (4 cups)
1 medium avocado, cubed
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp cayenne

In a food processor, combine salmon, 2 teaspoons of the sour cream,
mustard, chili powder, cumin, 1/8 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon
black pepper; pulse just until mixture comes together, 15 to 20 seconds.
Form mixture into 4 patties, about 3/4 inch thick.

Lightly coat a grill or grill pan with cooking spray and heat to
medium-high. Grill patties until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per

While patties are cooking, in a large bowl combine lettuce, avocado,
oil, 1 teaspoon of the lime juice, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt.
Season with black pepper to taste.

In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 1/4 cup sour cream, remaining
1 teaspoon lime juice, cilantro, and cayenne.

Divide salad among 4 plates and place a burger alongside. Top each
burger with a dollop of cilantro sour cream and serve.

Servings: 4
Nutrition per Serving:
330 Calories, 23g Fat, 5g Sat, 25g Protein, 6g Carbs, 3g Fiber, 260mg Sodium

Saturday, February 5, 2011

YUMMY Almond FUDGE Brownies

I want to share a really nice dessert that you can prepare under an hour. I hope you like this treat.

Almond Fudge Brownies - 19g Carb, 1g Fiber

2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, using an electric beater on medium speed, beat the butter, sugar, applesauce, egg, and vanilla. Slowly beat in the cocoa and flour. Pour the batter into the baking dish and top with the almonds.Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting.

Nutritional Information

Serving size: 1 square
Yield: 16 squares

Nutrition: 108 calories (29 from fat), 19g Carb, 1g Fiber, 13g Protein, 3g Fat

Exchanges: 1-1/2 Carbohydrate, 1/2 Fat

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fettuccini Alfredo with Zuchini Ribbons

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium zucchini (about 8 ounces each)
12 ounces Fettuccini pasta, preferably whole wheat
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup cold 1% low-fat milk
1/2 cup evaporated skim milk (not condensed milk)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Slice the ends off the zucchini and discard. Using a mandolin or carefully with a sharp knife slice the zucchini lengthwise into very thin slices. Stack the slices and cut with a knife lengthwise into 1/4 inch-thick ribbons.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in large non-stick skillet over a medium heat. Add 1 clove of the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the zucchini ribbons, cover and cook until the zucchini is tender, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Transfer the zucchini to a bowl.

Cook the pasta al dente according to the directions on the package. Ladle out a half cup of the pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta and return it to the pasta pot.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Stir the flour into the low-fat milk until it is completely dissolved. Put the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet and heat over a medium-high heat. Add the remaining clove of garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the flour-milk mixture and cook until the mixture begins to boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more. Add the evaporated milk, salt and the cheese and cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted, about 1 minute. Season with additional salt to taste.

Add the sauce, the zucchini and 3 tablespoons of the parsley to the pasta in the pot and toss to combine. Add a little of the reserved pasta water as necessary to loosen.

To serve, place 2 cups of the pasta mixture on each plate and garnish with remaining parsley.

Per Serving: Calories 500; Total Fat 13 g (Sat Fat 4.2 g, Mono Fat 6.6 g, Poly Fat 1.5 g); Protein 24 g; Carb 77 g; Fiber 12 g; Cholesterol 20 mg; Sodium 600 mg

Eat This Not This Sharing Good Information

by David Zinczenko
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Two out of three people in America today are either overweight or obese. That means every time you sit down in an airplane or a packed movie theater, more likely than not you’re going to wind up as the lean center of a fat sandwich. But as you look right and left and see nothing but heft, you can’t help but think, What happened?

How did we all get so darn fat?

Well, the simple answer is that we eat more calories. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that American men eat 7 percent more calories than they did in 1971; American women eat a whopping 18 percent more—an additional 335 calories a day! But the harder question is this: Why do we eat so many more calories? Are we suddenly more gluttonous? Do we have some kind of collective death wish? Is the entire country hellbent on qualifying for the next season of Biggest Loser?

No. There’s an even crazier reason: It’s the food!

We’ve added extra calories to traditional foods, often in cheap, mass-produced vehicles like high fructose corn syrup. These new freak foods are designed not by chefs, but by lab technicians packing every morsel with maximum calories at minimum cost—with little or no regard to dietary impact. Indeed, Eat This, Not That! 2011 has uncovered the truth about some of your favorite fast food and grocery store items and how they're causing you to pack on unnecessary pounds. It’s enough to kill your appetite, which—in these cases, anyway—would be a good thing.
Bonus Tip: Don't miss our year-end walk down The Restaurant Hall of Shame: The 20 Worst Foods of 2010!

The great American staple. Don’t worry, burgers really do come from cows—but have you ever wondered how those giant chains process and distribute so much meat so cheaply? And . . . are you sure you want to know?

The Truth: Most fast-food hamburger patties begin their voyage to your buns in the hands of a company called Beef Products. The company specializes in taking slaughterhouse trimmings—heads and hooves and the like—that are traditionally used only in pet food and cooking oil, and turning them into patties. The challenge is getting this byproduct meat clean enough for human consumption, as both E. coli and salmonella like to concentrate themselves in the fatty deposits.

The company has developed a process for killing beef-based pathogens by forcing the ground meat through pipes and exposing it to ammonia gas—the same chemical you might use to clean your bathroom. Not only has the USDA approved the process, but it's also allowed those who sell the beef to keep it hidden from their customers. At Beef Products’ behest, ammonia gas has been deemed a “processing agent” that need not be identified on nutrition labels. Never mind that if ammonia gets on your skin, it can cause severe burning, and if it gets in your eyes, it can blind you. Add to the gross-out factor the fact that after moving through this lengthy industrial process, a single beef patty can consist of cobbled-together pieces from different cows from all over the world—a practice that only increases the odds of contamination.

Eat This Instead: Losing weight starts in your own kitchen, by using the same ingredients real chefs have relied on since the dawn of the spatula. (Here are the 15 best dishes for quick and easy weight loss.) If you’re set on the challenge of eating fresh, single-source hamburger, pick out a nice hunk of sirloin from the meat case and have your butcher grind it up fresh. Hold the ammonia.
We’ve all been there before: A big bowl of lettuce or a steamy baked potato is set before us and the sudden desire for a bit of smoky, porky goodness pervades. We try to resist, but we grab for the bottle anyway: Mmmmm . . . bacon.

The Truth: Not quite. If it’s Bac-Os you grab for, just know that there’s not the slightest whiff of anything pork-like to be found in the bottle. So what are those little chips you’ve been shaking over your salads? Well, mostly soybeans. The bulk of each Bac-O is formed by tiny clumps of soy flour bound with trans-fatty, partially hydrogenated soybean oil and laced with artificial coloring, salt, and sugar. The result is a product that’s actually less healthy for your heart than the real thing!

Eat This Instead: Hormel makes a product called Real Bacon Bits, and as the name implies, it’s made with real bacon. And gram-for-gram, the real bacon actually has fewer calories than Betty Crocker’s Bac-Os. If Hormel can make a nutritionally superior product using real bacon, then why would you ever choose the artificial one that’s loaded with partially hydrogenated soybean oil?

When you buy bean dip, you expect it to be made from beans. And when you buy guacamole, it seems reasonable to expect it to be made from avocados. But is it?

The Truth: Most guacamoles with the word “dip” attached to the label suffer from a lack of real avocado. Take Dean’s Guacamole, for example. This guacamole dip is composed of less than 2 percent avocado; the rest of the green goo is a cluster of fillers and chemicals, including modified food starch, soybean oils, locust bean gum, and food coloring. Dean’s is not alone in this offense. In fact, this avocado caper was brought to light when a California woman filed a lawsuit against Kraft after she noticed “it just didn’t taste avocadoey.”

Eat This Instead: Avocados are loaded with fiber and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Trading the good stuff in for a bunch of fillers is cheating both your belly and your tastebuds. Either look for the real stuff (Wholly Guacamole makes a great guac), or mash up a bowl yourself. Scoop out the flesh of two avocados, combine with two cloves of minced garlic, a bit of minced onion, the juice of one lemon, chopped cilantro, one medium chopped tomato, and a pinch of salt.
Bonus Tip: Unlike packaged-food manufacturers, fast-food and sit-down restaurants don't typically rely on chemicals to enhance flavor. Instead, they pack in sugar and sodium, calorie counts be damned. Beware of The 10 Worst Fast Food Meals in America!

It seems like the ideal breakfast or snack for a man or woman on the go—a perfect combination of yogurt and antioxidant-packed fruits, pulled together in one convenient little cup. But are these low-calorie dairy aisle staples really so good for you?

The Truth: While the yogurt itself offers stomach-soothing live cultures and a decent serving of protein, the sugar content of these seemingly healthy products is sky-high. The fruit itself is swimming in thick syrup—so much of it, in fact, that high-fructose corn syrup (and other such sweeteners) often shows up on the ingredients list well before the fruit itself. And these low-quality refined carbohydrates are the last thing you want for breakfast—Australian researchers found that people whose diets were high in carbohydrates had lower metabolisms than those who ate proportionally more protein. Not to mention, spikes in your blood sugar can wreck your short-term memory, according to a study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Not what you need just before your urgent 9 a.m. meeting with the boss!

Eat This Instead: Plain Greek-style yogurt, mixed with real blueberries. We like Oikos and Fage brands—they’re jacked with about 15 to 22 grams of belly-filling protein, so they’ll help you feel satisfied for longer. And blueberries are another great morning add—scientists in New Zealand found that when they fed blueberries to mice, the rodents ate 9 percent less at their next meal.

Bonus Tip: Daily e-mails (or tweets) that contain weight-loss advice remind you of your goals and help you drop pounds, according to Canadian researchers. We're partial to our own Eat This, Not That! newsletter, and to the instant weight-loss secrets you'll get when you follow me on Twitter (twitter.com/davezinczenko).

Pork bacon’s got a bad rap for wreaking havoc on your cholesterol. But is turkey bacon really any better?

The Truth: Stick with the pig. As far as calories go, the difference between “healthy” turkey bacon and “fatty” pig is negligible—and depending on the slice, turkey might sometimes tip the scales a touch more. Additionally, while turkey is indeed a leaner meat, turkey bacon isn’t made from 100 percent bird: One look at the ingredients list will show a long line of suspicious additives and extras that can’t possibly add anything of nutritional value. And finally, the sodium content of the turkey bacon is actually higher than what you’ll find in the kind that oinks—so if you’re worried about your blood pressure, opting for the original version is usually the smarter move.

Eat This Instead: Regular bacon. We like Hormel Black Label and Oscar Mayer Center Cut bacon for some low-cal, low-additive options. (I eat Hormel Black Label in moderate amounts)

Nothing makes a PB&J feel less indulgent like a scoop of low-fat Jif. It’s low fat, so it must be better for you . . . right?

The Truth: A tub of reduced-fat peanut butter indeed comes with a fraction less fat than the full-fat variety—they’re not lying about that. But what the food companies don’t tell you is that peanut oil—the fat in peanut butter—is a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat that can actually help fight weight gain, heart disease and diabetes! Instead, they’ve tried to cash in on the “low-fat” craze by replacing that healthy fat with maltodextrin, a carbohydrate used as a filler in many processed foods. This means you’re trading the healthy fat from peanuts for empty carbs, double the sugar, and a savings of a meager 10 calories.

Eat This Instead: The real stuff: no oils, fillers, or added sugars. Just peanuts and salt. Smucker’s Natural fits the bill, as do many other peanut butters out there. We especially like Peanut Butter & Co. Original Smooth Operator and Original Crunch Time.
Bonus Tip: The average American drinks 450 calories a day—a quarter of the calories you're supposed to consume during an entire day! Beware of The 20 Worst Drinks in America, 2010 Edition.