Archive for the ‘Cooking to Lose Weight’ Category

Portobello Mushrooms with White Wine

Portobello mushrooms are very popular and readily available in most local grocery stores and supermarkets. They are high in niacin, potassium and selenium. This is a delicious recipe that you can make very quickly and easily. It is cooked with white wine. You can make a non-alcoholic version simply by substituting the juice from 1/2 lime plus about 1 tablespoon of water instead of the white wine. The wine I used in this particular recipe was very inexpensive (Charles Shaw – also known as "Two Buck Chuck").

This is a good side dish and goes well with fish or meat as the main dish. They will make an excellent meal when served with steak, lamb or fish along with a tossed green salad or sliced tomatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Portobello mushrooms
  • 1 lg onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt

Cut Portobello mushrooms into 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch cubes. Chop the onion. Chop garlic cloves and place in frying pan. Sauté over a medium heat until garlic begins to look toasty. Add olive oil and turn heat down. Continue to sauté until garlic is soft and light brown in color, then add chopped vegetables to the pan. Salt to taste, then add white wine. Vegetables will be done when soft and brown.

Alternately: Use juice from 1/2 lime plus about 1 tbsp of water in place of the white wine.

Shown below is a photo of the ingredients: One large yellow onion, four portobello mushrooms and six cloves of garlic.

First, chop the garlic … not too fine and definitely not minced.

Slice each mushroom into 3/4 inch slices.

Cutting crosswise, make additional 3/4 inch slices to make 3/4 inch cubes.

Then chop the onions.

Add the chopped garlic to the pan and sauté the garlic over a medium flame.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil and continue to sauté the garlic until it is soft and light brown in color.

Next, add the cubed mushrooms.

Then add the chopped onions, followed by the white wine.

Continue cooking for about 8 to 10 minutes.

Continue cooking until all the vegetables are soft and brown.

Serve immediately.

Fat Free Refried Beans

This is my recipe for fat free refried beans. There are numerous recipes for refried beans. Most of them use ham and lard or other variations containing a lot of fat. Refried beans are excellent for healthy eating or for losing weight – providing they are prepared without adding fat or fatty meats.

First you will need to cook the pinto beans. You should soak the beans in water overnight, then on the following day it takes about 3-4 hours to cook them. This recipe uses some chili powder, oregano and other seasonings to add spice. You will sauté some chopped onions in water (that’s the fat-free way to cook them), then add crushed or minced garlic, then add seasonings to gradually infuse more and more flavor. At the end of the cooking you will add some fresh squeezed lime juice. You add it at the end to keep from cooking away the flavor.

Note: This recipe calls for 4 1/2 cups of cooked beans (a little more than double the volume of the dried beans). If you cook 4 cups of dried beans it will divide up into about 2 batches of 4 1/2 cups of cooked beans.

Fat Free Refried Beans

Ingredients:

  • 4 1/2 cups cooked beans
  • 1 cup chopped onions (about 1/2 large onion)
  • 1 tbsp minced or crushed garlic
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 juice from fresh squeezed lime (juice from 1/2 lime)

Mash the beans in a bowl with a masher and set aside for now. Add chopped onions to a heavy skillet and cook until soft and beginning to brown a little. Add 1 tbsp of water at a time to keep skillet moist and to keep from burning the onions. Then add garlic and continue cooking until the onions are a light brown color. Add mashed beans to skillet and mix thoroughly, then stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt. Continue to cook the beans in the skillet and stir with a spatula until it is a thick paste. At that time, add the lime juice and thoroughly mix it into the cooked beans. Turn off the heat once the lime juice is mixed in to avoid cooking away the lime flavor.

Shown below is a photo of all the ingredients. Starting in the upper right corner and moving counter-clockwise: crushed garlic, ground cumin, oregano, chili powder, onion, lime and dried pinto beans.

Start by cooking the pinto beans. Please see this post for complete instructions. After cooking the beans, use a masher to mash them while in the pot.

Chop the onions …

Place the chopped onions in a large skillet.

Measure out portions of the other ingredients and set them aside in dishes. Shown below (left to right): all the dry ingredients in the dish on the left (ground cumin, oregano, chili powder and salt), then crushed garlic in the middle dish followed by fresh squeezed lime juice in the last dish.

Sauté the chopped onions in water, gradually adding more water as necessary – about a tablespoon at a time – to keep the onions from sticking to the skillet or burning. After cooking for about 8 minutes, add the crushed garlic.

Continue to cook the vegetables for about 2 minutes more. Just infuse the flavors into the vegetables.

When the onions and garlic are cooked, add the mashed beans.

Use the masher or wooden spoon and continue to cook the vegetables and mashed beans together. After a minute or two, add the dry seasonings (ground cumin, oregano, chili powder and salt).

Continue to cook and stir the mashed beans with a masher or wooden spoon for another minute or two, then add the fresh squeezed lime juice.

Using the masher, thoroughly mix the fresh squeezed lime juice throughout the mashed beans. When everything is all mixed together, the refried beans will be done.

Canned Foods

Canned foods should be avoided wherever possible because the lining of the cans nowadays contains a toxic chemical called Bisphenol A (BPA). BPA has been linked to “birth defects of the male and female reproductive systems in over half of 97 cans of name-brand fruit, vegetables, soda, and other commonly eaten canned goods,” states the Environmental Working Group (the EWG). The EWG also states that “BPA is associated with a number of health problems and diseases that are on the rise in the U.S. population, including breast and prostate cancer and infertility.”

This is a big reason for cooking your own food. Always try to buy fresh fruit and vegetables and prepare them yourself on the spot. Fresh cooked foods will be at their peak of nutritional value and is one of the main working principles of my eating plan to lose weight. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but please, for your own safety and health,  try to avoid canned foods as much as possible.

How the Stars Stay Slim

Here’s a great post I found by Amy Spencer at Health.com called “How the Stars Get And Stay Slim: Private Chefs Dish Up the Goods“. It illustrates my points about the importance of eating natural foods and cooking to lose weight.

In the article Amy Spencer points out these facts:

  • Stars hire private chefs
  • They buy and cook natural foods

“Stars pay to eat right. And they pay big”, says the writer, who also points out,
“A full-time private celebrity chef earns an annual salary of up to $150,000 plus health benefits; the average rate for such chefs in Los Angeles not on salary is about $350 to $500 per day”

The Importance of Natural Foods for Weight Loss

The writer also quotes Suyai Steinhauer former contestant on “Top Chef” and Bethenny Frankel, a finalist on “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart” in 2005. Suyai Steinhauer states, “The higher famous people are on the food chain, the more they spend on the ingredients they eat.” I have found this to be true with our household food bills, but the average person doesn’t require a star’s salary to eat well. We shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. It is true that food is generally more expensive at Whole Foods, but if you plan your meals and shop accordingly it is not out of reach for the average person.

In the article Bethenny Frankel points out: “When losing weight can make or break a shot at a role for a client, Frankel steers the star toward a healthy diet rather than a quick-fix fast.” This backs up my point that it is more important to lose weight slowly than quickly. There is always the danger that if you lose weight too fast you stand a greater chance of re-gaining it.

The Importance of Cooking to Lose Weight

My eating plan stresses the importance of cooking. This has always been a missing fact in my earlier attempts to lose weight. In fact, this is one of the secrets to permanent weight loss. In the article, Amy Spencer points out: “Celebrities already have one thing going for them when it comes to making their diets better and healthier: ‘Just having a chef do the cooking makes things seem better tasting than they are,’ Frankel says. ‘At home, I don’t steam greens and make brown rice plates. It wouldn’t taste as good if I made it myself.’”

Well, that might be true for a celebrity, but believe me, your cooking can taste good. Cooking is not difficult and does not have to be time consuming, either.