Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Peak at a Food Researcher's Dinner Table

Have you ever wondered what someone who studies food for a hobby/ career, eats for dinner?  It might surprise you, unless you've been following my previous posts, what healthy really looks like.  What I'm doing most of the time is taking meals I already like and making them healthier by substituting what kind of ingredients I buy.  For example grass-fed beef is much healthier than feed lot beef.

Here's what delicious, and healthy foods have been on the menu lately:



Hamburger, Fries and  Milk Shake
Yes, that is the pan on the table.  LOL

Organic, grass-fed beef hamburgers, whole wheat bun, topped with organic lettuce, garden tomatoes, red onion, raw milk cheddar cheese and organic ketchup.  These substitutions have added extra omega-3's, more CLA, reduced toxin exposure from pesticides, avoided GMO's, and kept the enzymes (that aid in digestion) and nutrients in the cheese that are destroyed in pasteurization.

The fries are cheater fries.  I have made my own before, but they rarely come out great, and I want to keep the troops happy.  They are Trader Joe's fries though, which means nothing artificial and we cook them in the oven not the frier.  They are yummy and still have the health benefits of the potato skins still on, which is where most of the nutrients in a potato come from.

Usually with dinner we just have water, but this was a first day of school celebration.
The milk shake was sooooooooo good!  My kids LOVED it!  I took about 2-3 cups of frozen organic strawberries and put them in the blender.  I added maybe 1 1/2 to 2 cups organic whole milk, and then about 1 to 1 1/2 cups vanilla frozen yogurt.  What amazed me was it tasted just like a milk shake from Burger King or a burger shack.  The frozen yogurt added natural probiotics, and the strawberries added fiber, maganesse, potassium, vitamin K, and antioxidants that included vitamin C.  The milk added protein and calcium.  Did I mention it was sooooo good?!

There were also sliced up raw carrots and celery sticks that didn't get into the picture.  I was a bit focused on the other foods.  ;)

Side note- I don't recommend eating fruit and other foods at the same time.  Fruits digest faster than the other foods, causing digestion problems and bloating.  This was a just for fun meal so we didn't care, but we did feel the difference afterwards. :P


Quiche


I don't know how familiar most of you are with this dish.  It's mostly a breakfast dish, but if I'm putting effort into a meal it is most likely going to be made for dinner.  The kids loved this one which I made tonight!  This is my mom's recipe that she passed on to me:  (This is the single amount, I usually double it.)

2 Tbls. minced onion                                      
1 1/2 cups organic spinach
1/2 cup grated organic carrots                          3 cage-free eggs
2 Tbls. grass-fed butter                                    1 cup organic milk
1/4 grated swiss cheese                                    1 pie crust
Salt (about 1/2 to 1 tsp.) and Pepper (1/4 to 1/2 tsp.) to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cook and drain spinach.  Saute the carrots and onions in butter until tender.  In a large bowl beat the eggs and milk together, then add the cheese.  Mix in the spinach, carrots and onions.
Cook for 30 minutes or until the middle is set (not jiggly).  That's the basic recipe.

When I doubled it I used half butter and half left over bacon fat (from nitrite- nitrate free bacon and uncured) for flavor.  (Don't be afraid of a little fat.  It helps you feel fuller and sends that important signal to your brain :)  I also didn't cook the spinach which was already chopped and still slightly frozen.  I was happy to find that it cooked perfectly in the quiche.  I saved some time by grating the carrots and cheese in my food processor.  In an ideal world I would make the pie crust from scratch every time, however in reality I often do the cheater roll out pie crusts from the store that come 2 in a box.  This time instead of 2 pie pans I laid the roll out crusts in a 9X13 baking pan and poured the doubled mixture in.  It took about 50 minutes to bake, being that it was larger.  Very good!


Veggie Plate

As a side to our quiche I just did a simple veggie plate.  I love adding raw veggies to meals!  They make me physically feel better and the added fiber allows whatever proteins you are eating to digest better.

The fat in what you are eating helps nutrients in the veggies to be absorbed better, so it's a win win!  I drizzled a little Greek salad dressing over the cucumbers for added flavor.




Yogurt Banana Splits

As I said we don't eat much fruit with other foods, but sometimes you just gotta have fun!

We took organic vanilla yogurt and added slices of banana, organic strawberries, pineapple and either blackberries or blue berries.  

To top it off with some homemade whipped cream take one cup of organic heavy whipping cream and beat it with a mixer till it gets light and stiff.  Gradually add in sugar or honey until it's the sweetness you like!  Yummy!


What are your favorite substitutions for making a meal healthier?

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