Friday, May 9, 2014

More Skinny Eats

A friend and I met for coffee yesterday at the infamous Target Starbucks. This time things went off without a hitch. Except for the part when we sat down at the table, and my three-year-old said to me, 

"Do NOT spill your coffee, okay?"

Thanks. At least she didn't offer me her sippy cup.

Dinners this week have been tasty (my tastebuds say so) and healthy (my poops say so).  

Tuesday night we had roasted chickpeas, avocado, and fresh veggies in collard wraps.

I used some leftover cashew crema (see yesterday's post for the recipe) mixed with lime and a little honey to dress the filling. Collard greens, while a bit unorthodox, make great wraps for cold preparations. Besides the health benefits, they're big and sturdy and hold a lot more than more typical romaine or iceberg lettuce wraps. Their giant stems have troubled me in the past (I've tried removing them completely, but that wrecks the leaf and makes it difficult to wrap up), but this time I found a way around them. I gently folded each leaf in half (dark green side facing in, light green side out) and (holding the collard in one hand and the knife in my dominant hand) used a knife to remove about 3/4 of the thickness of the stem. Then I used a vegetable peeler to shave off most of the remaining thickness until the stem was pretty much level with the rest of the leaf. You could skip the knife step and just use the peeler to shave down the stem, but it will take a little longer.

Shaving down the stem yields an intact leaf that's easy to chew and ready to roll. 

Roasted Chickpea-Veggie Salad Wraps


1 can chickpeas (or other canned bean), rinsed, drained, and dried on paper towels
1 Tbs chili powder
nonstick cooking spray
1/2 bunch collard greens
2 Tbs cashew crema (see link above), or 1 Tbs mayo + 1 Tbs greek yogurt
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 Tbs honey
large pinch of kosher or sea salt
1/2 of a jicama, peeled and chopped
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small Japanese or English cucumber, chopped
1/2 of a bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 small jalapeño, minced (optional)
1 small avocado, chopped
handful of cilantro, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, and line a pan with nonstick foil (for easy cleanup). Add the dried chickpeas to the prepared pan, season with the chili powder, and spray with nonstick spray. When the oven is hot, roast the chickpeas for 20 minutes, shaking the pan after 15 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes.

While the chickpeas roast, prepare the collards by trimming off the protruding stem and shaving down the remaining stem (as described above). In a large bowl, combine the crema (or mayo/yogurt), lime zest and juice, honey, and salt. Add all the veggies to the bowl as you chop them. After you add the avocado, fold the whole mixture together. Add the chickpeas and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Just before serving, stir in the cilantro. 

To fill the collards, spoon about a cup of the filling into the center of the wrap. Fold the top and bottom sections over the filling first, then starting at the wider side, roll the collard up the rest of the way. 

This amount of filling made enough for 4 big collard leaves. Serves 2-4 depending on serving size.

Wednesday night's dinner was not only healthy and delish, 
but also super quick - it was on the table in less than half an hour.

Pan-Seared Moonfish w/ Green Onion-Cilantro Gremolata, Cauliflower-Avocado Puree, and Sauteed Greens

*Cauliflower-Avocado puree... what? Not the usual combo, I know. I'd never had it or even heard of it  prior to that night. (I just looked it up just now on the google, and I'm not the only one to think of it.) But I wanted something mashed-potatoey without wrecking the calories/nutrition of the meal. I had frozen cauliflower on hand that I could puree (frozen cauliflower doesn't mash well - too watery), and I thought, why not use an avocado to richen the flavor (instead of butter or cream)? And it worked! The creamy puree was perfect against the firm fish.*


4 fillets moonfish, salmon, halibut, or other fish
salt and pepper
nonstick cooking spray
1 bag frozen cauliflower
1/2 tsp garlic powder, divided
1 lemon
1 small avocado, roughly chopped
1 large bunch kale or collard greens, stemmed and chopped
pinch of nutmeg
1/3 bunch green onions, chopped
large handful cilantro, chopped
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to its lowest temperature. Steam the cauliflower in the microwave until fully cooked, about 5-6 minutes. While it cooks, preheat  a nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Season the fish with salt and pepper and spray each fillet with nonstick spray. Reserve the fish while you prepare the cauliflower puree. 

Zest the lemon and reserve the zest, then halve the lemon. Add the juice from one half of the lemon to a blender or food processor, then cut the other half in half again. Reserve both quarters for later. Add the cooked cauliflower, a generous pinch of salt, a little pepper, 1/4 tsp of garlic powder, and the avocado to the blender/food processor. Puree until smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Transfer to an oven safe bowl, cover, and keep warm in the oven. 

Steam the greens in a microwave-safe, covered bowl for 2-3 minutes in the microwave to wilt them. While they cook, add the prepared fish to the hot pan and cook until just opaque in the center, about 3 minutes on the first side and 2 on the second (depending on the thickness of your fillets). While the fish cooks, prepare the gremolata. 

In a small bowl, combine the chopped green onion, all of the reserved lemon zest, the cilantro, a pinch of salt, and the olive oil. Reserve.  

When the fish is done cooking, remove it to an oven-safe plate (keep the pan on the hot burner), squeeze the juice from one of the reserved lemon quarters over top of the fillets, then tent the plate with foil and keep warm in the oven.  

Spray the hot pan with a little nonstick cooking spray, add the wilted greens to the hot pan, season with salt, pepper, the remaining garlic powder, and nutmeg, and sauté until tender but still green, about 2 minutes. Squeeze the juice from the remaining lemon quarter over top.

Spoon a little gremolata over each fish fillet and serve with the greens and cauliflower puree.

Serves 4

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