OCTOBER

OCTOBER

May 16, 2011

Mushroom Lasagna.....Eating for Health!

Summer is coming! I know it! It's time to begin our walking program and plan on summer food recipes. Now I know you are thinking that I seem to write about "big ole' fat southern food", and yes, that's pretty much the way I cook! These are food dishes I grew up with from our Grandmothers and Mothers! That's ok, because we do not dine on these recipes all of the time. We do try to eat healthy most days and summer foods are so darn beautiful and delicious, it would be impossible not to delight in the bounty of this season. Here are some smart tips on incorporating these particular foods in your menus for healthy family dining!


A Maine House Mosaic

Eat smart! Happily, there are a host of delicious foods designed by nature to turn up your fat-burning furnace, flatten your belly, and take a big bite out of your appetite.


Mmmm. Creamy and tangy Yogurt is loaded with calcium -- and studies show that calcium may curtail weight gain by hindering the absorption of fat in the small intestine.

 Eggs beat out carbs when it came to helping folks feel full longer and helping them beat back snack attacks later in the day.

 Pistachios offer lots of hunger-curbing protein and fiber. All of these qualities together explain why adding pistachios to the diet helped dieters in a study curb their appetites and lose more weight.

Of all the foods rumored to boost weight loss, grapefruit is likely the most famous. And research confirms that this fruit's get-slim celebrity status is for real. One study in particular revealed that eating half a grapefruit before each meal helped dieters shed more pounds than people who skipped the tart appetizer.

Avocados! This green goddess of heavenly, creamy taste can help you whittle your waist. It's true! Researchers suspect that the unsaturated fat in avocados may ratchet up body levels of the hunger-halting hormone called leptin -- a hormone that lets your brain know that you're full, so you stop eating.

If you want to try an easy and tasty calorie-cutting trick, then replace the meat in your favorite recipes with mushrooms. You'll automatically cut about 420 calories out of a meal, partly because you'll skip all the belly-padding saturated fat contained in meat.

Invest in a good Olive Oil!  Use it in salad dressings and marinades because it contains a hunger-busting monounsaturated fat called oleic acid -- which triggers a complicated process in the gut that ultimately tells your brain you're full and makes you want to stop eating. It's heart healthy!

Ready to trade your belly bulge for a flat tummy? Then toss your refined grains into the garbage, and eat more whole grains instead. Research shows this one move can help whittle your middle. We're talking brown rice, quinoa, steel-cut oats, whole-grain cereal, and 100% whole-wheat bread and pasta.

Red Pepper! I love them! Add some heat to your meals and you'll boost not only the taste but also the effectiveness of your weight loss diet. A dash of cayenne pepper or some diced jalapeno or red peppers will do the trick. They all contain capsaicin -- the heat-inducing compound in red peppers that, according to research, tamps down appetite and curbs food intake later in the day. A similar compound in sweet peppers may hinder fat storage, too.

 PORTOBELLO LASAGNA
Kosher salt
Good olive oil
3/4 pound dried lasagna noodles
4 cups whole milk
12 tablespoons (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms
1 cup freshly ground Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil with 1 tablespoon salt and a splash of oil. Add the lasagna noodles and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside.
For the white sauce, bring the milk to a simmer in a saucepan. Set aside. Melt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of the butter in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture all at once. Add 1 tablespoon salt, the pepper, and nutmeg, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring first with the wooden spoon and then with a whisk, for 3 to 5 minutes, until thick. Set aside off the heat.
Separate the mushroom stems from the caps and discard the stems. Slice the caps 1/4-inch thick. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large (12-inch) saute pan. When the butter melts, add half the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and they release some of their juices. If they become too dry, add a little more oil. Toss occasionally to make sure the mushrooms cook evenly. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms and set all the mushrooms aside.

To assemble the lasagna, spread some of the sauce in the bottom of an 8 by 12 by 2-inch baking dish. Arrange a layer of noodles on top, then more sauce, then 1/3 of the mushrooms, and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan. Repeat 2 more times, layering noodles, sauce, mushrooms, and Parmesan. Top with a final layer of noodles and sauce, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake the lasagna for 45 minutes, or until the top is browned the sauce is bubbly and hot. Allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes and serve hot.






















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