Friday, January 6, 2012

Italian Style Health Tips for Eating (plus a recipe)

I came across this blog and thought I'd share it with you all.  Visit the site, it has a great deal of recipes and valuable information.

Cooking Italy: Spicy Shrimp and Ten Tips for Eating Healthy Italian

(from spinachtiger.com)

Fast food can be good for you. If you are like millions of Americans who eat fast food a few times a week because of work and crazy schedules, please take note: THIS shrimp IS FAST FOOD. This is even the kind of fast food that you could sit in front of the television and watch the state of the union address eating. (Of course, there’s not enough to eat for 100 minutes, but then that’s another topic).
Getting home at 6:15, we were eating delicious, spicy, wild shrimp in a fresh tomato sauce at 6:45. One pot, a few baked slices of Italian bread, and we were happy. It’s not easy to be a food blogger and be easily satisfied, because we are eating  ossobuco on a Monday night and we eating homemade ravioli for a Tuesday lunch. Our kitchen is in constant activity, and the quality of the food (just by sheer practice) gets better and better. Take out meals and drive-through food bags now taste like prison food. Okay, I am being harsh, as there are maybe one or two take out places we will entertain, but, alas, we live in the suburbs and the chain food take out places are never going to give us wild spicy shrimp made in a fresh twenty minute sauce.
This is exactly what Ten in 2010 means to me. Good food for dinner that doesn’t mean cottage cheese, dry fish, or a meal substitute protein shake. It means food that anyone would choose to eat no matter how thin or healthy they already are. See the list below for some good food ideas.

Good food that is just good food. Now, the sauce nearly screams for a date with a big hunk of crusty bread. And, if you are eating a french baguette, you could still eat two pieces, a bowl of shrimp and come in at about 500 calories. Not bad for screaming good food. Of course, if you skip the bread, you are barely at 200 calories. I am getting all calorie counting on you because I want to make a point about healthy low-calorie meals.
I haven’t lost any weight in a year of food blogging, but i haven’t gained any either. For all the desserts that get baked, and pasta that gets rolled, there are many in between nights where a good bowl of soup or a hearty dish of spicy shrimp is dinner. But, I love food, so it still has to be a good meal. And, it can be. People trying to fight the obesity statistics do not have to suffer. I think this must be the twinkie-type companies that convince people that if they are not shoveling fake baked goods and mcburgers down their throats, somehow life is less satisfying.
Less satisfying are all the problems of obesity, and they are different for everyone. But, Spinach Tiger knows and understands the love for food, and is here to tell you, it’s okay to love food, as long as it’s the food that can love you back.

Ten Tips for Eating Delicious Italian Food with No Weight Gain
1. Eat like an Italian: Pasta is but an appetizer, followed by a small serving of protein and a green salad or green vegetable.
2. Split up your meals. Eat your pasta for lunch, protein and greens for dinner.
3. Go easy with cream sauces. Tomato-based sauces can be made in twenty minutes and have tons of nutrition and are much lower in calories.
4. Do prepare sauces with olive oil and garlic. The fat is satisfying and you will eat less; the olive oil has health benefits, as does the garlic.
5. Shrimp and  scallops are low in calories, high in flavor, and you can make a FAST, delicious dinner for LESS than your drive through cost. Yes, you can.**
6. Italian soups are hearty, satisfying, healthy and even with a hunk of bread, will not break the calorie bank. See a list of Spinach Tiger soups below.
7. If you are eating pasta, don’t add a second carb. Save bread for another meal.
8. Try small amounts of alternate starch choices to up the heartiness of a dish, as this
ossobuco with grits. There is really only a smattering of starch in this dish.
9. Save wine for weekends; too often wine lowers resistance and oops, you ate too much.
10. Roast vegetables with olive oil, sea salt and enjoy Italian inspired lighter fare, possibly with a piece of bread. A half cup of pasta with 2 cups of veggies and you have a great mid-week supper.

**If you are purchasing a $.99 burger, you have to ask yourself why it’s so cheap. A good farmer can’t even sell you that burger at cost for $.99.

Spicy Shrimp Recipe adapted from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classical Italian Cooking(Shrimp with Tomatoes and Chili Pepper)

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or chopped hot red chili pepper)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 large can Italian plum tomatoes, chopped w juice (I used San Marzano from Fresh Market)
  • Sea salt
  • 1 pound wild shrimp, shelled, cleaned, deveined
  • Grilled or oven browned slices of bread
Saute shallot and garlic in olive oil. Add pepper flakes and parsley.add tomatoes. Cook at a simmer for twenty minutes to reduce the juice.
Rinse shrimp several times in cold water. Pat dry and add to sauce when it’s ready. Cook just until shrimp are cooked (about 3 minutes).
Grill thick slices of bread in cast iron pan on top of stove that has a little swipe of olive oil or bake in oven to brown.
Serve immediately.

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