Friday, August 04, 2006

Sometimes simple works

Cooking Thin With Chef Kathleen Copyright 2002

¾ cup diced onion
1 teaspoon oil
1 tablespoon water
1 pound lean ground beef
2 cups cooked brown rice or long-grain white rice I used brown rice
coarse-grained salt and cracked black pepper
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with juice (or crush canned whole tomatoes yourself)
1 bay leaf

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place onion and oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat and stir until onion is coated with oil. Add water to pan, cover, and cook until onion is completely softened, 15 to 20 minutes. (I skipped all that and just chopped my onion very finely.) Place meat and rice in a mixing bowl; add onion, season with salt and pepper, and mix to combine. Form into 8 sleeping porcupines (round balls) and place in a baking dish just large enough to hold but not squish them. Pour tomatoes with juice over porcupines; season with salt and pepper, and bay leaf. Bake 1 hour. (I cooked them on high for about 3 hours in a crockpot.) Remove bay leaf before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

I've ignored Chef Kathleen's cookbook at the library many, many times. I've seen her show on the Food Network and it's not one that I really enjoy. The setup is that she counsels a person that needs to lose weight, analyzing their eating and offering substitute recipes. Her suggestions always seem unsatisfying to me. The overweight guest will describe gorging on too many rich, but delicious looking, family recipes and Chef Kathleen will counter with a simple 'just chew on a piece of leather and suck on ice cubes all day and the weight will come off'. Okay, she might offer slightly more appetizing suggestions but they usually don't seem comparable to what the guest has to give up.

But something stopped me on my last library visit. Maybe it's because I've been checking out cookbooks faster than they can get new ones in and my choices are getting slimmer but I took a longer look at this cookbook and decided to bring it home. After all, Chef Kathleen is a professional chef who was a chef long before she started cooking healthy - her recipes should be decent, I started to think. She gave up everything to move to Hawaii for a dream chef job but when she got there, they had given it to someone else and she had the choice of being the spa cuisine chef or being jobless. I imagine it's not easy to find good chef jobs in Hawaii so she taught herself a new way to cook and a new way to eat, losing a bunch of weight since she says that she was quite overweight when she arrived in Hawaii.

I was very pleased with this cookbook. Her recipes seem much more appetizing in this book than on her show. Maybe I won't turn the channel next time her show comes on, if Food Network is still airing it - I have no idea. I will say I'd rather sit through her show than most of the other 'healthy' shows they've aired.

When I went to make this recipe, I had second thoughts. This was simple - too simple. How flavorful would these porcupines be? Surprisingly flavorful. Although I have to give credit where I believe credit is due - I think the Glen Muir tomatoes I used made a difference (and at the price I paid, they should have!). Hubby and I both come from families with Eastern European roots and grew up on stuffed cabbage and this is basically what stuffed cabbage is filled with. In fact this mixture can also be used as a filling for stuffed cabbage.

These did cause a big dilema - what to serve with them? They were probably at least half rice so I didn't really want another starch on the side but I ended up with corn and (whole wheat) garlic bread as sides, and a salad so this meal did end up kind of starch heavy but at least it was heavy with brown rice, corn and whole wheat bread and not the white stuff.

I'm so tired, I'm having trouble thinking up a Question of the Day and finishing this post. This week I reverted back to my pre-child schedule of working out in the morning (and getting up just before 4am). It actually suits me a lot better than working out in the evenings (which even after 2 1/2 years on that schedule, was a still a struggle for me) but the first week takes some adjustment. TGIF!

Question of the Day: Do you exercise regularly?


Jennifer said...

Everyday...the alarm goes off at 5:15, I hit the road by 5:20, I'm home about 6:10, in the shower at 6:15, and out the door to work by 7:00. I can't wait for school to start, I'll get to sleep in until 5:45 because I drop my daughter off at school and then I go to work.

Unknown said...

I work out at the LEAST 5 days a week, try for six, and if I feel like it 7. But, too much is just as bad for your body as none, so remember that if your body says rest, LISTEN!!! I do love to work out, however. It's such a stress relief for me!

Wanda said...

GASP! I never expected this question to jump up and confront me this morning! (whispering: as you can guess, the answer is no)
I do have a treadmill right by my computer desk though, if that counts. Unfortunately it requires my active participation rather than just my fond thoughts to actually do some good.

Heather said...

We walk Willie about 5 days a week either in the morning or at night and I am trying to get in some higher impact stuff at least 3-4 days a week through doing the Turbo Jam tapes. It is slow going though. Hang in there!

Annie said...

Yup. 5 days a week. Every weekday my alarm goes off at 5:45am. I exercise at least 30 minutes and upto 45 minutes depending on how many times I hit the snooze that morning. lol!