Spaghetti Bolognese (with Greek Yogurt)

This is a lighter version of a Mediterranean classic that’s easy to make and uses Greek yogurt to replace the cream you’d normally find in a Bolognese.  I think it’s much better and tastier than my regular Bolognese and I don’t think I’ll make Bolognese without Greek yogurt again.  Delish! And the kidlets loved this one.

Slimmer Spaghetti Bolognese (recipe from Slimmer: The New Mediterranean Way to Lose Weight by Harry Papas, recipe used with permission, book released in June 2012, to buy the book click here or visit website at www.theslimmerbook.com)  Serves 1.

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced white mushrooms
4 oz lean ground beef
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons dry white wine
One 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 small cinnamon stick (optional)
A pinch of ground allspice (optional)
0 to 2/3 cup water depending on how thick you want the sauce to be (also, if you use more water you may want to cook it down some)
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped parsley leaves
1 Tablespoon non-fat Greek yogurt
2 oz. spaghetti, cooked according to package instructions
1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese to serve

1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat, add the onion, green pepper , mushrooms, and beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook, using a fork to break up the meat, until the beef is browned and the vegetables are softened, 6 to 8 minutes.  Add the wine and cook a further minute.

2. Stir in the tomato sauce and paste and add the cinnamon and allspice if desired.  Cook the mixture while stirring for an additional minute.  Pour in the water, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook over low heat until the mixture is thick and well blended, 10 to 12 minutes.  Add the parsley and yogurt. Stir well to combine, and cook 2 minutes more.  Add the cooked spaghetti to the pan, toss well to coat and heat through.  Serve topped with the Parmesan.

Makes 1 serving.

Slimmer Greek Salad Pizza

This was very easy and a big crowd pleaser.  Fun for guests!  You can also make it on the grill.

Slimmer Greek Salad Pizza (recipe from Slimmer: The New Mediterranean Way to Lose Weight by Harry Papas, recipe used with permission, book to be released in June 2012, to buy the book click here or visit website at www.theslimmerbook.com)  Serves 1.

1 individual pre-baked pizza crust or 1 whole wheat pita
Marinara sauce, about 1-2 Tablespoons (for homemade, see below)
1 cup Mediterranean greens such as arugula, escarole, romaine or radicchio
4 or 5 cherry or grape tomatoes
2 Tablespoons sliced cucumber
2 Tablespoons sliced green bell pepper
1 Tablespoons shaved red onion
2 or 3 Kalamata olives
1 ounce crumbled feta cheese

Method 1
1. Preheat the oven according to pizza crust directions. Place the crust on a baking sheet and spread the sauce over. Chop the olives and sprinkle them with the crumbled feta over the sauce.
2. Bake according to package instructions until the cheese melts and the pizza is well heated and crisp on the edges, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving dish.
3. Toss the salad with the dressing in a medium bowl and pile on top of the cooked pizza.  Serve immediately.

Method 2 (if you like warm salad!)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit.
2. Spread marinara sauce over pita bread or pizza crust.
3. Pile all ingredients on top.
4. Bake for about 12 minutes.

Marinara Sauce (Homemade) (recipe from Slimmer: The New Mediterranean Way to Lose Weight by Harry Papas, recipe used with permission, book to be released in June 2012, to buy the book click here or visit website at www.theslimmerbook.com)

2 cups chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 Tablespooon olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 small garlic clove, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano

1. Combine all the ingredients except the herbs in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring often.
2. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes.  Add the herbs and cook a further 3 to 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and set aside to cool slightly.
3. Blend on low in a blender or food processor or with a handheld blender just until smooth. The sauce can be frozen in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 months.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Baked Fish and Vegetables Aegean Style

Everyone liked this one although kiddies did not touch the onions.  It was terrific and we’ll definitely be making it again.  As usual, Slimmer style, serve with a big salad!

Baked Fish and Vegetables Aegean Style (recipe from Slimmer: The New Mediterranean Way to Lose Weight by Harry Papas, recipe used with permission, book to be released in June 2012, to buy the book click here)
serves 2

2 teaspoons olive oil
8 ounces red snapper (I used grouper instead as Harris Teeter was out of snapper)
1 medium garlic clove, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch circles
3 baby carrots, thinly sliced
2 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
Finely chopped fresh parsley

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Drizzle the olive oil in the bottom of a medium-size casserole with a lid. Place the fish in a single layer on the bottom, sprinkle the garlic, salt, and pepper over, and place the onion, pepper, zucchini, carrots, and tomatoes evenly over and around.  Sprinkle again with salt and pepper, and drizzle the white wine over all.

2. Cover and bake in the oven, occasionally stirring the vegetables to cook evenly, being careful not to break apart the fish, until they are tender and the fish is cooked through, about 1 hour.

3. Before serving sprinkle with the chopped parsley.

Makes 2 servings. Easily doubles. 

Easy Seafood Risotto

Image

This was terrific.  You make the seafood part separately so I fed that to the kids with white rice before mixing the risotto together – the seafood risotto was fantastic but too exotic for them!  The kiddos seem to do well with the rule of 7 – by the time we’ve stuck something in front of them 7 times they love it.  1 down, 6 to go.

Easy Seafood Risotto (recipe from Slimmer: The New Mediterranean Way to Lose Weight by Harry Papas, recipe used with permission, book to be released in June 2012, to buy the book click here)

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small onion or shallot, minced (I used 1 large onion when I doubled it)
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tableespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup crushed tomatoes
A dash of cayenne pepper (this added a great kick to it)
2 cups cooked mixed seafood such as small shrimp, mussels, baby scallops, or calamari (when I doubled it I used 1/2 lb scallops and 1 lb shrimp, not sure how many cups it was but it worked well)
2 cups cooked plain Arborio rice, hot
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.  Add the vinegar and cook a further minute.

2. Stir in the tomatoes and cayenne, bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cook until thickened and somewhat reduced, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the seafood and continue cooking until heated through, about 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat, stir in the rice and parsley, and serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings (I doubled this and were no leftovers)


Shrimp with Lemon Sauce


Fast and Easy

This could easily be titled Shrimp with Broccoli.  Either way, it was fast and easy.  Kids liked it too, although my son varied the recipe a bit by dipping the shrimp in ketchup and coating the broccoli with shredded cheese (even a 6-year-old knows that shredded cheese is good on pretty much everything.  Note that shredded cheese, unfortunately, does not appear to be part of the Slimmer Mediterranean Diet, although I haven’t gotten far enough into the book to confirm this).

Shrimp with Lemon Sauce (serves 1 – I quadrupled for 4 and had plenty)
(recipe from Slimmer: The New Mediterranean Way to Lose Weight by Harry Papas, recipe used with permission, to buy the book click here)

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
4 oz jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup broccoli florets, steamed to crisp yet tender (steam for 6-8 minutes before you start the recipe, take off stove immediately and run under cool water to stop the cooking)
1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
Juice of 1 lemon

1. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a few seconds. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and add to the skillet.

2. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shrimp is pink, about 2 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients, stir well to coat, and cook for 1 minute more. Serve immediately.

Remember to increase the recipe if making for more than one!  And serve with a big tossed salad.

Slimmer Loaded Baked Potato

Slimmer Loaded Baked Potato

This was awesome.  Greek yogurt is practically sour cream – yum! I added a cup of steamed broccoli (swapping for a cup of salad per the Slimmer program FAQs), then followed the rest of the recipe with scallions (added a bit of bite) and chopped hard-boiled egg, which added protein and texture but I didn’t really taste it.  However, my six-year-old LOVED the egg and ate his and his sister’s portion of egg too.  I have never served the kidlets hardboiled eggs before, and I admit I even had to look up how to cook them – I did not grow up in the Deep South here where deviled eggs are a fave.  The little guy called them “rotten eggs” by mistake and it was so funny that hard-boiled eggs will forever be known as rotten eggs at our house, much to his great dismay.  (Why is it that a six-year-old has no shame running around the pool naked in front of company but is embarrassed when words come out wrong?)

I added a big yummy salad with lemon and balsamic dressing.  Per the Slimmer book, the inclusion of an acid such as acetic or citric acid at a meal can reduce the quick effect that highly refined carbohydrate foods can have on digestion, and hence, blood glucose levels. By reducing this impact, dieters feel sated longer and are less likely to submit to snack cravings from hunger or dips in energy.  Also, adding these types of acid to the diet has been shown to help burn one’s intake of fat.

Slimmer Loaded Baked Potato (recipe from Slimmer: The New Mediterranean Way to Lose Weight by Harry Papas, recipe used with permission, to buy the book click here, snarky comments are my own)

1 large baking potato (Idaho, Russet, or Yukon Gold)
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste (I used sea salt)
2 Tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt
1 scallion, trimmed and finely chopped
1 hard-boiled egg, roughly chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Poke a few holes in the potato with a fork.  In case you’re tempted to wrap in foil, don’t, as that will just steam the potato in an unflavorful homage to mediocre steakhouses (according to my Cooks’ Illustrated book on the basics).

2. Bake the potato about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.

3. Transfer potato to a serving dish. Cut down the middle and squeeze the ends together to open. Top with the butter, salt, pepper, and yogurt.  Finish with the scallion and chopped egg and serve immediately.

Serves one.

Don’t forget the tossed salad!