Kitchen Diva’s “S” Diet
This time of year when most of us faintly remember that resolution to recover our waistlines after the decadence of the past holidays, some of us turn to program diets (Jenny, Weight Watchers, etc.) or supplements (like the new Hoodia). But if you will follow Kitchen Diva’s “S” diet you will have an easy life-long plan of weight control:
1) Select a fiber-rich diet—whole grains, fruits, vegetables (fresh or frozen) and Supplement with a small amount of protein to prevent cravings and keep blood sugar in check.
2) Eat less of the “S’s”—Sugar, Simple Starches, and Salt. All tend to Stimulate the appetite.
3) Snack Healthy—A handful of nuts (almonds or walnuts are best) with a glass of warm water help ease hunger pangs.
4) Step! Get out and move. Exercise, like walking, will help to replace fat with muscle (a minimum of 30-minutes a day). Muscle burns more calories and raises metabolism.
5) Sleep more—A tired body looks for other sources of energy often resulting in over-eating quick energy foods full of fat and sugar. 6) Splurge once a week by treating yourself to a little decadence. Denying yourself desserts makes them more desirable and leads to overindulgence. 7) Simple Cooking—Cook a majority of your meals at home to control ingredients and portions.
The following simple, healthy recipes are delicious and easy to prepare. You’ll be finished preparing and eating this meal before a waiter could bring your drink order!
Pan Seared Shrimp
Total prep and cooking time less than 10 minutes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided (canola or extra virgin olive oil recommended)
1 1/2 pounds raw, large shrimp, peeled and deveined (use 21/25 shrimp per pound—if frozen thaw and dry thoroughly)
1/4 teaspoon salt (Kosher salt recommended)
1/4 teaspoon pepper (freshly ground recommended)
1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large 10 or 12-inch skillet (nonstick recommended for easier cleanup) until very hot over medium-high heat. You need just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. If needed use a basting brush to spread the oil.
2. While pan is heating, toss shrimp with salt, pepper and sugar.
3. Lay half the shrimp in a single layer in the hot pan; cook until edges turn pink, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; with tongs, flip each shrimp over and let sit off the heat until opaque, another half minute. Transfer shrimp to a plate.
4. Return pan to heat and repeat with remaining oil and shrimp.
5. After second batch has been flipped and has stood off the heat, return the first batch and toss to combine; cover skillet and let stand (off the heat) until shrimp are cooked through, 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately.
Warm Spinach Salad with Plum Vinaigrette
Making your own vinaigrette is easy and controls the amount of fat. Canola or extra virgin olive oil is actually healthy for you in small amounts.
Vinaigrette (Can be prepared up to one week ahead)
2 tablespoons plum jam or preserves
1/4 cup Champagne vinegar or white-wine vinegar (or substitute Sherry vinegar; in a pinch use apple cider vinegar)
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots (or substitute green onions or scallions) optional
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup canola vegetable oil (or substitute extra virgin olive oil)
1. Briskly stir (using a whisk or fork) the jam, vinegar, mustard, sugar and shallots until combined; season with salt and pepper to taste. While continue stirring, slowly add the oil until incorporated. Refrigerate in a jar with a lid until needed.
Tip: Keep several different flavored vinegars in your panty. By simply changing the vinegar and jam (use apple or raspberry jelly or omit for a true French Vinaigrette), you can easily make your own healthy salad dressing every day.
4 cups (1/4 pound) prewashed baby spinach leaves
4 cups (1/4 pound) prewashed mesculun or baby greens (or substitute spring mix)
1 tablespoon canola or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnut pieces
1. Mix all the greens in a serving bowl.
2. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a medium skillet; add the nuts. Sauté 2-3min., stirring all the time, until the walnuts are lightly browned. 3. Add one half of the vinaigrette (if separated, shake to combine) to the walnuts in the skillet and heat through (do not boil). Immediately pour over salad and toss. Serve immediately. (Use as much of the vinaigrette as needed to lightly dress the salad).
1 pound fresh asparagus spears*, tough ends removed, rinsed and dried
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil (preferably extra virgin olive oil)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375*.
2. Place asparagus on a lightly greased baking sheet, lined with aluminum foil for easy cleanup (or coat with a nonstick cooking spray).
3. Drizzle vegetable oil over asparagus, rolling the spears to completely coat with the oil.
4. Season with salt and pepper. Bake 5-6 minutes or until crisp-tender.
5. Sprinkle evenly with cheese.
6. Return to oven and bake an additional 1-2 minutes until cheese has melted. Serve hot.
*Asparagus is plentiful during its peak season February through June. Choose fresh, firm stalks, 1/2-inch in diameter with tightly closed caps. For thicker stalks, peel the outer layer to the tender middle. To remove tough ends, bend each spear until it snaps. To store: put 1/4-inch water in a tall, narrow jar or glass. Cut off 1/2-inch from the butt end and stand spears up in the jar. Make a tent with plastic wrap or a plastic bag and refrigerate. Will keep fresh 2-3 days or if the water is changed daily, up to 1 week.