A friend of mine had a “Lean and Mean” Party last weekend. The intent of the party was for every guest to bring a healthy dish, complete with recipe and nutritional info. Work has been a bit hectic, so I didn’t really plan my dish or have much time to put it together. I went to an old stand-by that I did some sort of variation of back in my nutrition class in culinary school – carrot soup. It is essentially a low fat version of cream of carrot with a lot less cream and a lot more flavor, attributed from curry powder and ginger. And at 66 calories a cup, a guilt-free option.
I recently ate Shrimp Oreganata at Biggie’s Clam Bar in Carlstadt. Just tasting it I felt I could do something similar to replicate the herbed bread crumb topping, of course using my beloved Ritz Cracker Crumbs.
I thawed some medium sized shrimp that I had in my freezer, and removed the tails. I greased the bottom of a pie dish and arranged the shrimp in a layer kind of near each other.
In a small bowl I mixed cracker crumbs, lemon juice, garlic powder, oregano, pepper, cayenne pepper, Italian seasoning, some nutmeg, and a bit of oil to further wet the mixture. I pressed the crumbs over the shrimp and baked everything at 400 degrees until golden brown, about 12 minutes. My tummy was quite satisfied with the results.
As Lent marches on, I’m cooking more vegetarian meals at home as well as being selective with what I order out. OK, I’m not so selective about ice cream or cheese, but it has been a challenge avoiding meat.
I really enjoy black beans as a side dish and from my culinary nutrition days I know a meal of rice and beans is considered a complete protein and a good meat substitute. So I attempted a simple Mexican style black bean recipe. It was tasty, but I’m not going to be competing with any restaurants soon.
One silver lining in my less than stellar attempt, I used my beloved pilaf recipe for the rice.
Two years ago I took the traditional Greek Orthodox path and gave up eating meat for Lent. It was actually an enjoyable and obviously spiritual time coming up with nutritious meat-free meals instead of just eating pizza, pasta, and prepackaged Morningstar Farm meals every day. I’m going to attempt it again this year, as Greek Orthodox Lent started yesterday. It’s gonna be sad to give up FOS, but I can always make a vegetable broth based version…