Tunisian peppers: if you like exotic, this could be a dish for you

Grilled peppers and stuffed peppers are among my favorite foods, harkening back to my Italian roots and such familiar Italian-American favorites as grilled peppers and onions.

If you enjoy North African spices, this could be the dish for you.

If you enjoy North African spices, this could be the dish for you.

So I’m intrigued about trying a recipe I saw in the New York Times for Tunisian grilled peppers and couscous. I’d leave out the salt, of course, and am not sure how I’d react to all the other spices included here, but I’m open to trying it sometime.

Among the ingredients are:
1/4 teaspoon ground caraway
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Pinch of cayenne (more to taste)
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
2 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

This recipe comes from the Times Recipes for Health section, which sometimes has recipes I want to try immediately but other times still has too much salt in recipes for my taste. If you try these peppers before me, let me know how it is.
John

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Simple summer side dishes: tomatoes and beans from your garden

I wrote recently about a Sunday dinner I created using chicken skewered on rosemary sprigs as a main dish.

To accompany that and a salmon I made for the same meal, I went with simple side dishes that included grilled zucchini, tomato slices with basil and olive oil, and green beans freshly picked from my garden and cooked in olive oil and spices.

A simple approach, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and wonderful olive oil.

A simple approach, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and wonderful olive oil.

The fresh beans were so flavorful, tasting them reminded me why I plant  a vegetable garden each summer. I went with olive oil on them this time but have also made beans with a a balsamic vinegar glaze that works quite well to add some sweetness to the dish. Continue reading

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Rosemary chicken: a nice way to add flavor to chicken breast

Eating chicken breast can get boring fast given that white meat, while the lowest-fat part of the chicken, also is the driest. I tend to cook it covered with tomato sauce or some other ingredient to add some flavor to it.

Chicken rosemary skewers were wonderfully flavorful and easy to make.

Chicken rosemary skewers are wonderfully flavorful and easy to make.

So, searching for new recipes, I was interested in trying a recipe I saw in People magazine from TV personalities Bill and Guiliana for chicken skewered on sprigs of rosemary. It all tuned out well and seemed to be a hit with Sunday dinner guests recently. The only tricky part of the recipe is finding long rosemary branches. I bought a rosemary plant to get them since packaged rosemary in stores tends to be rather short sprigs. Continue reading

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No sugar no salt fluffy perfect bread machine recipe (toddler friendly)

John N. Frank:

Finding salt-free bread pre-made is so difficult, I may give this a try, substituting whole wheat flour.

Originally posted on little green mum:

For weeks I had been trawling the internet for recipes with low or no salt/sugar bread recipes that produces lovely light fluffy bread. I happened across a very simple recipe after looking at a baby lead weaning forum.

We have a bread machine (bought for £5 off eBay!) that really simplifies the bread making process even more. It’s a Panasonic, after doing some research these were recommended but I think they all seem fairly similar.

For this recipe I used white flour, I’m going to make a brown this week so will report back if any changes are needed.

410g strong bread flour
5g easy bake yeast
260g water
40g olive oil
20g white wine vinegar (any vinegar will be fine, I actually only had cider vinegar so used that)

Set on a basic (3 hour) bake with a modicum sized loaf and whichever crust setting you desire.

Here’s some…

View original 72 more words

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Egg whites: all brands are not the same, read the labels

One of the three nutritionists I saw after my angioplasty in 2012 recommended I eat only egg whites rather than whole eggs to avoid cholesterol in eggs. Other nutritionists disagree about this. Indeed, eggs seem to be making a comeback and I’m sure the Egg Board, which promotes their consumption, is happy that it’s PR work over the years is bearing fruit.

But I prefer to avoid eggs these days and stick to egg whites only. I’ve been buying whatever brand of packaged egg whites is on sale. But then I realized that all egg white are not the same. A store brand I bought, shown here, has lots of additional ingredients, as you can see on my photos here. Another brand I found lists only egg whites as the ingredient in the carton. So that’s the one I’m sticking with these days.It doesn’t scramble yellow like the other does, but now I know that comes from added coloring which I’d rather not have.

Check the ingredients before buying packaged egg whites. All brands are not the same.

Check the ingredients before buying packaged egg whites. All brands are not the same.

Egg whites are its only ingredient.

Egg whites are its only ingredient.

This store brand has a lot in it besides egg whites.

This store brand has a lot in it besides egg whites.


John

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Spinach-Feta Spaghetti Bake

This looks like a great recipe. I’d suggest using fat-free feta to cut the fat down and low-salt tomato sauce to cut the salt.

Spinach-Feta Spaghetti Bake.

via Spinach-Feta Spaghetti Bake.

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Chicken Parmesan: a low-fat, low-salt alternative recipe

Chicken Parmesan is a classic Italian-American dish, served in many an old-school Italian restaurants and once a favorite of mine. But the traditional way of preparing it, breading a chicken breast and smothering it with cheese, is out for me since my angioplasty and my new low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar diet.

So I’ve come up with my own modified version, which I alluded to in a recent post about Trader Joe’s no-salt added marinara sauce. Here’s a step-by-step guide to make this dish. Continue reading

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Steamed vegetables: easy to do with a handy steamer

Steamed vegetables supposedly are healthier for us because important nutrients don’t have as much chance to leach out during steaming as they do during heavy boiling. I also find steaming a relatively quick and easy way to prepare the increased amount of veggies I’ve been eating since my angioplasty-induced low-fat, low-salt, low-sugar diet.

A steamer is a must-have kitchen appliance for doing veggies quick and easily. We have two, a smaller steamer for everyday meals and a larger one when we’re cooking ahead or preparing food for guests.

I bought this steamer at a church rummage sale and it works great. I use it almost nightly.

I bought this steamer at a church rummage sale and it works great. I use it almost nightly.

Steaming is simple as you can see in the photos I’ve posted here. The bottom of the steamer is filled with a small amount of water and a plastic plate goes over it. A see-through plastic basket is where you place the veggies. For broccoli, for example, cut off the stems and trim as you like. Put them in the basket, rinse them off a bit, and then cover and set the timer to whatever cooking time your particular steamer recommends. Continue reading

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Trader Joe’s salt-free marinara sauce: worth a try

I wrote last year about finding a low-salt pre-made tomato sauce for the days when I don’t have any of my home-made version frozen and ready to use or don’t have the time to make some from scratch. I’ve bought Muir Glen and also found some house brand salt-free sauce at my local Jewel. Recently, though, I saw another choice at Trader Joe’s, its private label marinara sauce with no salt added.

Trader Joe's organic low-salt marinara sauce was a bit peppery for my taste but will do in a pinch.

Trader Joe’s organic low-salt marinara sauce was a bit peppery for my taste but will do in a pinch.

The taste was a bit peppery to me when I first tried it. Like many ingredient offerings that go low-salt, the makers here may have thought pepper was a good substitute. I generally just want to taste the tomatoes though. The pepper taste was still there after cooking. If you’re a pepper fan, you should enjoy it. For me it was just ok. Continue reading

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Boltwood: a new restaurant with some interesting offerings

My wife and I recently tried a new restaurant in our suburb of Evanston that has been getting a lot of positive buzz because its owner is a well-known local restaurateur. My top-line review is Boltwood is good, with touches of great but with some work to be done. I, as always, would like to see more low-salt and low-fat options, plus more creative flavoring in what is available.

But I did have some wonderful surprises there, especially when I allowed myself to splurge on a side dish I knew would be salty by its very nature (it includes anchovies).

photo 5

We started with a beet and grapefruit salad that sounded like an interesting combination but basically tasted like beet salad with the grapefruit pickled as well. It also has nuts in it, which is a turn-off for me but not for most people so ignore my personal taste on that. Continue reading

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