Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Holiday Cooking, No Need to Gorge on Unhealthy Food!

In the Jewish world it's Holiday Time. We're in the midst of a three plus weeks of Jewish Holidays, from Rosh Hashannah to Simchat Torah.

My husband and I both lost a bit of weight a few years ago, and we don't want it to return. One of our tricks is to eat lots of cooked vegetables. They fill the plates, our stomachs but don't contain a lot of calories.  I've developed a few basic recipes which are very easy to prepare and impressive to serve. Some are almost, or can be entire meals. They are all healthy and diet friendly.

This is as simple as it looks and tasty, too. In a baking dish, bake and serve, I placed a squash, carrots, eggplant, pumpkin, a potato, onion and a tomato on the eggplant. All I added besides those ingrediants were granulated garlic and some oil on top.  I baked it in a hot oven until I could see that it was ready. Yes, it's that simple. When you cook like this, the flavor stays in.

Here's another dish made with the same technique but a different selection of vegetables. We brought it to the family who hosted us for a meal. It was a popular success.

I layered onions, eggplant, sweet potato, pumpkin and mushrooms. Because of the delicate mushrooms, it's recommended to cover with foil for some of the baking.

There's a limit to the amount of meat and poultry I'm willing to eat over six large meals in just three days or barely 72 hours, One meal that I prepared for just me and my husband was this salmon and vegetable bake.

As you can see, there are two pieces of salmon, sweet potato, onion, pumpkin and carrots. Yes, we polished off every single piece. It was accompanied by more vegetables and a salad, too.

A few months ago, I had bought some giant turkey wings, each packed separately and each large enough to satisfy two hearty appetites. That is especially if they are cooked and served with lots of vegetables. I cooked the last one for a meal my husband and I ate alone.

For a sweet "sauce" I used a small bottle of sweet Purim wine. This dish was our "tzimmis," a traditional sweet vegetable concoction served by many families on Rosh Hashannah. Besides the usual vegetables, carrots, sweet potato, pepper and mushrooms, I also added prunes, raisins and cinnamon. There was also water so it wouldn't burn.

Cook on a low heat in a covered pan until you're sure it's done. A trick to make sure the vegetables don't overcook and "disappear" is to leave them as whole or large as possible. Personally I can't stand overcooked vegetables. They loose their flavor and bulk. You can also add the vegetables later on during the cooking process, but this was very successful and absolutely delicious.

Try these cooking methods, and let me know how the food came out, thanks.

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