excess baggage

what's for dinner- cooking for two

Categories: Meat, Dinner for Two, Sources, Posted on November 29, 2011 by Sandy Bergsten

Who thought it was possible for me to OD on unpasteurized cheese, foie gras, wild mushrooms and eggs. A reality check when we returned to US Customs and the only thing I had to declare was approximately seven pounds.

The meals we had (twenty-three in all) have left me satiated. My travel journal bulging with every morsel and sip. Reeling from a self-induced food coma, it's time for a change.

Historically I rarely prepare dishes that are fat and sodium free. A firm believer that most things taste better with a little butter and salt. True confession, I often peruse Cooking Light recipes for ideas then add some fat and a big pinch of kosher salt. During the nine hour and 45 minute flight home I came to the realization that its time for a post-trip resolution.

A few years back I put myself on a strict calorie-intake diet. While I was riding a stationary bike (watching the Food Network) I would count calories. Apps were relatively new to me and Lose It was a constant companion. I found it surprising what had virtually no calories and conversely which activities burned relatively few. For example an egg white has only 16 calories, a half-cup of fresh strawberries 23, walking the dog for thirty minutes burns 79 calories (and for the record thirty minutes of “getting busy” burns a whopping 20- fyi ten minutes only 7.)

This might sound funny but one of the best cookbooks I own is the Flat Belly Diet Cookbook. I personally don't go on "diets" but this book intrigued me and after flipping through its pages I am very happy I bought it. Every recipe I've tried has worked out- a feat few cookbooks can claim. A bonus the dishes are full of flavor, high in MUFAs, and low in calories.

Tonight I’m making a version of beef lettuce wraps. On the side, a tomato cucumber salad- a combo that was partly inspired, believe it or not, by my airplane meal home and a recipe that caught my eye from the Cooking Light in my carry-on.

beef lettuce wraps

The beef lettuce wraps are everything you want from a restaurant version with none of the regret. Plenty of freshly chopped vegetables.

marmalade sauce

For the sauce whisk together marmalade, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, grated ginger, and garlic.

beef lettuce wraps

Sauté lean ground beef, scallions, carrots and peppers until the meat is browned and the vegetables are just tender.

beef lettuce wraps

Stir in the reserved marmalade sauce. Cook for one to two minutes until combined and slightly thickened. (This can be made hours in advance. Gently reheat before assembling.)

beef lettuce wraps

To serve, top each lettuce leaf with a couple tablespoons of the meat mixture.

cucumber salad

The cucumber/tomato/dill salad seemed like the perfect lean accompaniment. Full of flavor, color and crunch with hint of heat.

cucumber salad

I tossed diced English cucumber and chopped pepperocini peppers with a dressing of pepperocini juice, a little mustard and chopped parsley.

cucumber salad

For the yogurt drizzle I combined reduced fat Greek yogurt, chopped fresh dill, lemon juice and minced garlic.

yogurt dill sauce

The result was eye catching. Unfortunately it was a bit bitter. So I’m going to have to tweak this one before I post the recipe.

cucumber tomato salad

Always a winner a fresh fruit finish.

fresh fruit

With a dinner like this go ahead- get lucky (there weren’t that many calories to burn anyway.)

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