Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cashew Beef with Broccoli and Snow Peas

By Paul Briand

Here's the last, at least for now, of some recipes from the "Flat Belly Diet! For Men," which I've been using less as a diet regimen and more as a guideline for ways to eat better and, with proper attention to exercise, lose some weight.

So far, so good: I've shed five pounds over a stretch of about two weeks that included several days of fat belly eating and drinking with family during a ski vacation in northern New Hampshire.

One thing you'll notice about these meals is that the serving is supposed to be enough to fill that belly you're trying to flatten. This particular beef recipe has 314 calories in a serving. The idea is to have a so-called MUFA (mono-unsaturated fatty acid) included in the recipe to 1) help you feel more full 2) use the properties of the MUFA (in this case cashews) to work its healthy magic.

1 pound extra-lean top round steak, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons of dry sherry
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons black bean sauce
3 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 cups broccoli florets
1/3 cup water
4 ounces snow peas
1 carrot, sliced
1/2 cup unsalted roasted cashews

1. Combine the sliced steak with 1 tablespoon of the sherry and 1 tablespoon soy sauce in a bowl;
2. Combine the remaining sherry and soy sauce along with the honey and black bean sauce in a separate bowl;
3. Heat a tablespoon of sesame oil over medium-high heat and cook the steak, stirring occasionally until no longer pink. Transfer to a plate and reserve;
4. Add remaining sesame oil to skillet and stir in the onion and cook for one minute;
5. Add the ginger and cook about 15 seconds, until fragrant;
6. Add the broccoli and water, cook 2 minutes, stirring often until broccoli is bright green;
7. Stir in snow peas, carrot and cashews and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often;
8. Stir in the beef and sherry mixtures, and cook until mixture is hot and vegetables are crisp-tender.

Note: When I cooked this, I didn't use the water. There was enough liquid and I was concerned the water would just -- well -- water is all down too much. Also, I added 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms and some sliced carrot for texture and color.
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

By Paul Briand

Italian Sausage Skillet with Caramelized Onions, Tomatoes and Peppers

Here's one more recipe from the "Flat Belly! Diet for Men" that I've been playing with for a couple of weeks, with some success. Without being on the diet, but eating some of what the diet recommends I've managed to lose a few pounds.

I have to confess to a Fat Belly diet the day of the Super Bowl, which impeded some of the downward progress.

What strikes me about some of the recipes in the diet -- this one included -- is that they're actually pretty hearty, and I wonder how there can be so few calories. This particular recipe of pan-seared Italian sweet sausages with vegetables purports to be only 304 calories per serving. The hard part, as I've said earlier, is keeping it to one serving.

12 ounces Italian sweet sausages
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 red bell pepper sliced
1 green bell pepper sliced
3 cloves garlic sliced
3 plum tomatoes cut into 16 pieces each
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Pour the water into a skillet over medium heat and add the sausage;
2. Boil the sausage, turning often, until the water boils away, then brown all sides of sausage until thoroughly cooked through;
3. Transfer sausage to a cutting board and let cool;
4. Cut sausage into half-inch thick slices;
5. Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat;
6. Add the onions, sugar, basil and oregano. Cook until it begins to caramelize with a nice brown color;
7. Add the peppers and cook another 3 to 4 minutes;
8. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute;
9. Add the tomatoes and cook 3 to 4 minutes;
10. Stir in the sausage, vinegar, salt (always optional with me), and pepper;
11. Heat through and serve.

Makes four servings.
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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Shrimp, Mushroom and Onion Quesadillas

By Paul Briand

Continuing from last week's exploration of recipes in a new diet that I'm testing out, this quesadilla recipe caught my interest.

I liked what the new book "Flat Belly Diet! For Men" did with the shrimp in this recipe, draping it with onion, mushroom and cheese -- how can you have a quesadilla recipe without cheese?

Yet it still falls within the Flat Belly parameters of not going overboard with calories (this has 401 calories per serving). And it has a so-called MUFA -- monounsaturated fatty acids -- which the Flat Belly diet champions as being an aid to overall good health and a flat belly. The MUFA in this case is the olive oil.

1/4 cup olive oil
12 ounces peeled and deveined medium shrimp (I bought mine precooked and frozen)
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 8-ounce package of mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 7-inch flour tortillas
2 ounces shredded reduced fat Cheddar cheese

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat;
2. Sprinkle the shrimp with chili powder and 1/8 teaspoon salt and add to the skillet, cooking 2-3 minutes until opaque. Transfer to a plate and reserve;
3. Add remaining oil and cook the onions and oregano until the onions soften;
4. Add the mushrooms and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and cook until the mushrooms start to brown;
5. Stir in the garlic and cook about 2 minutes;
6. Transfer entire mixture to a bowl and reserve;
7. Arrange tortillas on a work surface and build the quesadilla on one half of the tortilla -- add some cheese, then onion/mushroom mixture, then shrimp, then some more cheese;
8. Fold the tortilla over to form a semi-circle;
9. Repeat with three remaining tortillas;
10. Heat tortillas two at a time in the skillet until lightly browned and the cheese is melted;
11. Transfer to a cutting board and cut each tortilla in two.

You end up with eight pieces. The hard part, since it's so good, is not overdo it by two or three of these bad boys at one sitting.
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