Sunday, July 10, 2011

Simple Healthy Italian and Benvenuti Cafe

Whether we are entertaining or eating a weeknight meal, we cook using a lot of Italian influence. Coming from a home growing up where my Italian father was the primary Chef Boyardee, I learned a lot and also developed a taste for those flavors.

Garlic, rosemary, oregano, and more garlic…you know; think about the food at your local Italian Restaurant (Eggplant Parmesan, Fried Calamari, Spaghetti and Meatballs and the list goes on) In this list are foods that are tasty and comforting, but also loaded with calories and fat!  The traditional foods that you love don’t have to be loaded with calories or fat. With some small changes and different preparation techniques we can do a lot of good.

Skip the breading – Think about eggplant or chicken parm, when you cut into in, and you see the layers of eggplant or chicken, can you really notice whether or not it is breaded? I can’t…why not try it out next time without the breading. By simply roasting the chicken or eggplant or grilling it you are cutting carbs and calories (no frying necessary).

Use your Broiler – Your stove came with a broiler so use it!! I think that the broiler is a very underutilized way to prepare our food. Recipes that called for something to be fried ask it to be done that way for a reason, because it is going to make the outside really crunchy and yummy, but guess what you can do the same inside the oven. Bake the food until it is just fully cooked and then set it under a hot broiler for a minute or two to crisp up the outside, you wont even know the difference.

Make your own take out food – pizza dough is available at every supermarket I have even been to. Buy a few, keep them in your fridge or freezer and make your own pizza or calzones. By being able to control the ingredients you use this puts you in change of the calories you are taking in.

Read the ingredient labels – when food shopping and buying your favorite jarred sauces take a look at the ingredient label, in my option if it has something on it that you cant pronounce, don’t buy it! Making your own red sauce is so easy but if you really need to buy it, I recommend “Victoria All Natural Tomato Sauces”. 

Your eyes are always bigger than your stomach - basically this saying means that when you put food on your plate, your mind is telling you that you want a lot, when in reality you probably only need half of the portion you chose to take. Now, because it is on your plate, of course you’re going to eat it...isn’t that what mama always taught us?

Spaghetti and Meatballs
 Homemade Broccoli and Cheese Calzone
 Homemade Potato Gnocci
Grilled Bread..Make simply with Pizza Crust, salt and rosemary, yummy
Fresh Basil Pesto...Basil, Olive oil, Romano cheese, S+P
Roasted Garlic...amazing :)

Sometimes as a joke when inviting family or friends to dinner we refer to our house as "Benvenuti Cafe", Benvenuti in Italian means Welcome and there is no better way to welcome your family and friends to your home than to feed them something yummy...

Bon Appetit!   

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