Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More is sometimes less

So today I started keeping a food diary to see not only my daily caloric intake, but to figure out if I am getting enough protein and dietary fiber (the answers are maybe and no, by the way). To make sure I looked good on my first day I made a recipe for stuffed peppers I had been eyeing for a while in my old fav Moosewood Low Fat Cookbook. It turned out really well, but what amazed me what the sheer quantity of food you get in so few calories. It was spicy and sweet and when served on a bed of mixed greens and rice is shockingly low in calories. I had one half of a bell pepper served over 1/2 cup of brown rice and a handful of mixed greens, and topped with a very simple tomato sauce and the end balance was a mere 296 calories with 5.5 g of fat, 10.5 g of protein and 5.75 g of dietary fiber.  Jay doubled his (which is the suggested serving size, fyi) and still the meal was only 594 calories. The recipe uses frozen tofu (that has been thawed) to imitate meat.  This worked well but if you are a meat eater you could easily substitute cooked lean ground turkey for about the same calories. My only other recommendation would be to add pine nuts to the mix. I didn't do this, but think it really would have made the dish better and would only add 30 calories per serving (one whole bell pepper).

Tofu-Stuffed Peppers

Serves 6 

2 tsp canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cup carrots, diced
dash of salt
1 cup diced tomatoes
12 oz tofu, frozen then thawed and grated or crumbled (substitute cooked lean ground turkey)
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp dried dill
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup couscous
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup currant or raisins (I used dried cranberries)
6 medium bell peppers
1 cup red wine

In a saute pan heat oil over medium heat and cook onions, garlic, cinnamon and red pepper flakes for 3 minutes until just soft.  Add carrots and a dash of salt and cover.  Cook for 3 more minutes.  Add tomatoes and heat through. Stir in tofu (or ground turkey), soy sauce, dill, lemon juice, couscous and water and cook on medium low for 2 minutes or so.  Take off the heat and cover and allow to sit 5 minutes.  Add dried fruit and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside
Preheat your over to 375 degrees. Cut the peppers in half making sure to cut through the stem. Remove the seeds but leave the stems (they will keep your peppers together. Fill each half with 1/2 cup of the filling and place in a baking dish. Pour wine in the bottom of the baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes or until the peppers are soft but not falling apart.  Serve alone or topped with tomato sauce.

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