Island Cooking: Three Healthy Meals a Day – Island Free Press

Photo by Lynne Foster

Recently, I have found myself in the personally strange position of having to prepare three meals a day! Not only do they need to be healthy, but they also need to boost weight loss following major surgery.

For breakfast, I can always revert to an old standby. Good granola loaded with dried fruit and nuts becomes a parfait when topped with low-fat yogurt rather than milk. A friend recently brought over her favorite, Baked Oatmeal, and I look forward to that recipe. There is always another easy favorite, “Overnight Oats.” I like something I can prepare in advance, so I don’t have to mess with it in the morning.

I usually have an egg muffin in the fridge ready for a quick zap in the microwave. Sometimes I beat eggs and mix in diced fresh veggies and herbs. Other times I make them with lean Canadian bacon.

Photo by Lynne Foster

CANADIAN BACON AND EGG MUFFIN

12 slices Canadian Bacon
12 fresh eggs, preferably from a friend’s hens!
12 small, thin slices of cheddar, just enough for flavor
A sprinkling of a favorite spice/herb blend
Line a muffin tin with the Canadian bacon. Crack an egg and slip it onto the bacon round. Sprinkle flavoring and top with cheddar.
Bake in a 350 oven for about 15-20 minutes. Just keep an eye for when the eggs set.
Store in fridge in a parchment-lined sealed container and individually reheat as needed, usually, 1 minute is enough.
Serve with fresh fruit and a piece of rye toast flavored with just a touch of Christmas Jam from Ashe County Cheese, or any of your favorites, of course.

Lunchtime is often leftovers from the previous dinner, but I am trying to cut those quantities down and limit the clutter in the fridge. It accumulates quickly!

A new favorite is Turkish Chickpea Salad. It, too, is best made in advance. In Turkish and other Middle Eastern traditions, salads and meze food are most flavorful at room temp.

I always have a supply of chickpeas in my pantry, dried …….

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Photo by Lynne Foster

Recently, I have found myself in the personally strange position of having to prepare three meals a day! Not only do they need to be healthy, but they also need to boost weight loss following major surgery.

For breakfast, I can always revert to an old standby. Good granola loaded with dried fruit and nuts becomes a parfait when topped with low-fat yogurt rather than milk. A friend recently brought over her favorite, Baked Oatmeal, and I look forward to that recipe. There is always another easy favorite, “Overnight Oats.” I like something I can prepare in advance, so I don’t have to mess with it in the morning.

I usually have an egg muffin in the fridge ready for a quick zap in the microwave. Sometimes I beat eggs and mix in diced fresh veggies and herbs. Other times I make them with lean Canadian bacon.

Photo by Lynne Foster

CANADIAN BACON AND EGG MUFFIN

  • 12 slices Canadian Bacon
  • 12 fresh eggs, preferably from a friend’s hens!
  • 12 small, thin slices of cheddar, just enough for flavor
  • A sprinkling of a favorite spice/herb blend
  1. Line a muffin tin with the Canadian bacon. Crack an egg and slip it onto the bacon round. Sprinkle flavoring and top with cheddar.
  2. Bake in a 350 oven for about 15-20 minutes. Just keep an eye for when the eggs set.
  3. Store in fridge in a parchment-lined sealed container and individually reheat as needed, usually, 1 minute is enough.
  4. Serve with fresh fruit and a piece of rye toast flavored with just a touch of Christmas Jam from Ashe County Cheese, or any of your favorites, of course.

Lunchtime is often leftovers from the previous dinner, but I am trying to cut those quantities down and limit the clutter in the fridge. It accumulates quickly!

A new favorite is Turkish Chickpea Salad. It, too, is best made in advance. In Turkish and other Middle Eastern traditions, salads and meze food are most flavorful at room temp.

I always have a supply of chickpeas in my pantry, dried and canned. For this, I use canned to avoid the extra step of soaking and boiling them. (It is worth doing that for hummus, but not when eating them as whole chickpeas.) I am especially fond of Navarrico Garbanzo Beans, (another name for chickpeas), which I order from www.tienda.com.

The best tip for this salad is to microwave the chickpeas. It seems that beans of all kinds better absorb flavors when heated.

This dish is filled with flavor and is a meal in itself, but can be served as a side dish with a kebob or grilled fish or meat.

Serve with pita or flatbread, now readily available in most supermarkets. Again, I opt to order my pita online because the type I like is smaller and thinner than what you may be used to, but it is a matter of personal choice. If you would like to try the smaller version it is now available on Amazon. Search for Baklava Bakery Small Lebanese Thin Pita Bread.

While you are ordering, take a look at www.spicehouse.com for two spices you may not find in your local store. Aleppo pepper is a coarsely ground Turkish hot pepper that is milder than you are used to, with Italian hot peppers, and it has a hint of dried fruit flavor. It is a seasoning I use in a lot of dishes, not just Middle Eastern food. I also like the dark Urfa pepper.

Substitution: 3/4 teaspoon sweet paprika plus 1/4 cayenne.

Sumac is ground dried berries of the sumac bush, native to most of the Mediterranean area, the Arabian Peninsula, and Western Asia. It imparts a sour, lemony flavor that adds zing to many dishes, especially to hummus and to salads.

Omit this if you cannot get it.

Photo by Lynne Foster

TURKISH CHICKPEA SALAD
With thanks to Shaula Clark, Milk Street Magazine

  • Two 15 1/2 ounce cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more to serve
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper plus more to serve
  • 1 teaspoon ground sumac
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium garlic clove, finely grated
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley., chopped 
  1. Stir together, in a medium microwave-safe dish, the chickpeas, oil, cumin, Aleppo pepper, sumac,1/3 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  2. Cover and microwave on high for 1 1/2 – 2 minutes, until hot.
  3. Uncover, stir, and let the mixture cool to room temp.
  4. Meanwhile in another medium bowl, stir together the onion, garlic, and lemon juice.
  5. Let stand for at least 10 minutes, or until the chickpeas have cooled.
  6. Add the cooled chickpea mixture to the onion mixture.
  7. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and parsley.
  8. Stir, taste, and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with additional oil, and sprinkle with additional Aleppo pepper.

When flounder was available for a ridiculously brief time, I purchased some from Risky Business that was already expertly cleaned and vacuum packed.

It was in great condition, so I decided to bake it in parchment. It is almost impossible to overcook or dry out fish cooked that way, and flounder takes very little time.

The temptation is to cook with bacon or bacon grease, but that is a no-no!

Instead, I gave it fresh flavors from a selection of fresh herbs and vegetables, sun-dried tomatoes for some oomph, lemon-extra virgin olive oil, and a grating of Parmesan. It is actually a way I often prepare fresh fish in the summer, so it was not the result of great creativity, but it was scrumptious!

Photo by Lynne Foster

FLOUNDER EN PAPILOTTE

  • 1 medium flounder
  • 6 small red potatoes, thinly sliced,
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 5 grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • Finely chopped celery, about 1/2 stalk
  • Finely chopped small carrot, about 1/2
  • Fresh herbs, what is available. I had flat-leaf parsley, coriander, thyme
  • 2 sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  1. Place the fish in the parchment.
  2. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the garlic, chili, and other veggies on top of the flounder.
  4. Sprinkle with the herbs.
  5. Sprinkle a little more lemon-olive oil.
  6. Grate the cheese over all.
  7. Close and seal the parchment.
  8. Place on a half-sheet pan and put into a pre-heated 400 oven.
  9. Bake for about 15 minutes.
  10. Carefully open the package to avoid the steam.
  11. You can serve it in the package or plate it.

Here is my opportunity to express my gratitude to our community for all the prayers, all the help they have offered, and all the wonderful food they have been bringing over. It certainly made life easier for me doing the first stage of recovery.

Now I am ready for the captain to get back to normal! Maybe by mid-March!

 

 

Source: https://islandfreepress.org/hatteras-island-features/island-cooking-3-healthy-meals-a-day/