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Well, THAT didn't work

Monday, March 04, 2013

I seriously need to get my knees in some kind of working shape so I can take a cooking class. The last few days have me questioning my abilities. To wit:

Yesterday I decided to try to make a grilled cheese sandwich using a light spray of Pam instead of butter on the break. I couldn't find the ultra-thin provolone I know is in there somewhere and shredded some light string cheese to use instead. Okay, that stuff does NOT melt. I've got to make sure I've got the right kind of cheese. Also not sure I'm going to use the Pam trick again and make room in my Points for butter instead. The texture was just plain weird.

Cod fillets are a dinner mainstay for me in this process. I've always been told you can cook fish from solidly frozen, but I'm beginning to doubt it. The fish cooks through but ends up in a puddle of water. Also, the texture is a bit weird, dried and chewy on top. Seasoning ocean fish is kind of tricky for me as well. Do they even NEED salt? These critters spend their lives marinating in salt water, don't they?

I also need to find ways to cook hearty greens like kale and collards without bacon (heartfelt sigh...). I love these veggies but I'm sure there are other flavorful ways of cooking them without the bacon or smoked sausage.

Goodness, I feel like there's so much to learn!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Just steam the kale (or any othe dark leafy greens) for 4 or 5 minutes then season with salt and pepper, fresh squeezed lemon and top it off with good quality extra virgin olive oil. Delicious!
    1853 days ago
    I was going to tell you about the toaster oven for melting cheese on top of a piece of toasted bread,...but I see someone beat me to it. It's yummy anyway...and its good with an English muffin or a half of a bagel too.
    1875 days ago
    I have never had good luck making a palatable presentable fish dish while the fish is still frozen. It defrosts quickly, so no need.
    1876 days ago
    Well here is a couple ideas for you:

    If you are using Kale or Collards, making homemade soup with them is
    great, we also use Bok Choy a lot....all 3 are high in vitamins etc....I also
    use spinach and kale in my morning smoothie....lovely shade of green..(smile)

    We have a pot of homemade chicken/veggie soup cooking in the crock pot
    as we speak. It is low FAT, high FIBER, and tastes FAB....recipe available for
    anyone who is interested.

    As for Grilled Cheese, right now I am on gluten free diet and the more than
    50 pounds I have dropped since Sept. tells me the nutritionist was correct in
    trying this with me....
    HAVING said that, if I were making a Grilled Cheese, I would make allowance
    for the smallest amount of butter you can get by with, and make it, because using
    Pam or whatever did not appeal to me either....

    I have been known to make 2 pieces of toast and slap a piece on cheese on it
    and melt in the microwave when I was in a big rush....but the regular is better,
    and once in awhile, you just have to allow yourself a treat.

    Darn, now I wish I could have bread and cheese.............................

    Good luck,
    1876 days ago
    I agree wholeheartedly with CJ. Sometimes less is more!
    1876 days ago
    The first time I went through Weight Watchers, I went gung ho for all the substitues... however, I have decided that I would rather eat less of real food than try to pretend the substitute tasted as good.
    1877 days ago
    It takes time and practice to learn the tweaks which work best for your favorite dishes.
    Be patient with yourself, you will learn. Sometimes it also takes a little bit of getting used to ( different texture, taste,etc. ) This is why I like the idea of taking small steps one by one. I rarely use added salt as most things already contain some. However, some foods need a bit (I prefer sea salt. It doesn't seem like it takes so much).
    One of the things I like on cod is lemon pepper. I try and experiment with different seasonings, and for me it seems to over-ride the need for some of the ones I am trying to limit. Meanwhile, making room in your plan for things you enjoy such as butter, a little cheese etc. is a good idea. After all, that is the reason for a range which is flexible. This and the 80-20 guideline have made it much easier for me.
    I wish you happy cooking. emoticon emoticon
    1877 days ago
    I think you're onto something with the butter versus Pam when making any toasted sandwich. Pam is great for a lot of things but not toasted sandwiches.

    Any cook questions his or her abilities now and then. In the words of the great philosopher "Don't sweat the small stuff" and "It's all small stuff".

    emoticon emoticon
    1877 days ago
  • LIS193
    Healthy cooking is a learning curve... have fun along the way with the good and not so good :)
    1877 days ago
    I know you will find healthier ways to cook your favorites, it will take time. Too bad Food Network doesn't offer classes online.
    1878 days ago
    I think you are doing great! We all gotta figure out what works for us...I used to skip the butter but now I am with you and just use less and find ways to save calories elsewhere.

    Great blog!
    1878 days ago
    1878 days ago
    I make my grilled cheese in the toaster oven
    slicing a whole wheat english muffin, toasting it 70% of the way and then adding some chopped up ham, thin slice of tomato, and top it with cheddar cheese. then toast it until the cheese melts.
    no PAM or butter needed ....
    1878 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/4/2013 10:05:07 PM
    you will find a way you got some recipes already
    1878 days ago
  • SROUS1340
    My favorite way to cook fish fillets-and I don't normally gravitate to them if given an option is to make a parchment packet and cook them with fresh herbs. You just make an envelope out of the parchment, I tend to put sliced onions or shallots in the bottom, then the fish fillet and then top with fresh parsley or thyme and chives. Cook on bake for 20 min. Cook it frozen, 20 min at 375, it's moist, but done, not smelly and no pan to clean. It is fast, easy and good. Leftovers are good on salad the next day for lunch too. Chard is one of my favorites, saute onions and garlic, place washed chard in pan and let it steam for 15 min. It's great with the fish. I like to sweat onions, I'll cook up 2 or 3 at a time just to have on hand, I use 'em like a condiment. Have you watched Bobby Dean's "Not my Mama's Meals" on cooking channel? I sure like what he does with little fat and lots of flavor-it sure isn't Paula Dean's cooking, but real good.
    1878 days ago
    So much to learn. I know some of my healthy cooking doesn't work out. Keep on trying.
    1878 days ago
    We never stop learning! I have a feeling there are lots of great recipes for greens out there, that don't use bacon. If I come across any, I'll send them your way.
    1878 days ago
  • SHARON10002
    I love Kale Soup. I was first introduced to it when we lived in RI. It’s pretty much like tomato soup up there – meaning you find it everywhere. This would also give you a good heart warming, rib-sticking, winter meal, too. I hope you’ll give it a try.

    Portuguese Chorizo and Kale Soup
    Racheal Ray


    2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
    3 medium white waxy potatoes, like yukon golds, peeled and diced
    2 medium onions, chopped
    4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
    2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
    1 pound kale, coarsely chopped
    Coarse salt and pepper
    1 (15-ounce) can garbanzos (chick peas), drained and rinsed
    1 can diced tomatoes
    1 pound diced chourico, casing removed
    1 quart chicken broth
    Warm, crusty bread


    Heat oil in a deep pot over medium high heat. Add potatoes and onions, cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Add garlic, bay leaves, and kale to the pot. Cover pot and wilt greens 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add beans, tomatoes, chorizo, and broth to the pot and bring soup to a full boil. Reduce heat back to medium and cook 5 to 10 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender.

    Serve soup with hunks of crusty bread and butter.

    Note: You can substitute some Spicy Italian Sausage in this soup. I saute the sausage in a separate fry pan to get much of the fat out, and then add it to the soup. Works fine.

    Good luck and Bon Appetit! emoticon

    1878 days ago
    I'm a lousy cook, but have learned if I cook frozen fish on the broiler, all the water drips off, and it doesn't take very long.

    Actually, string cheese does melt, I know, cause I melted it all over the microwave last night. 20 seconds was WAY too long. 10 was and improvement, but next time, I think I'll try 5 seconds.

    I do love the kale chips, and make them often. I learned to watch them so that I could pull them out before they start to turn brown. Brown really makes them bitter.
    1878 days ago
    I love to make kale chips.....clean the kale and cut leaves away from stalk. Tear into pieces, mix 1 TB oil with the pieces (I use my hands to make sure all the leaves are coated) spread out on a cookie sheet in one layer that I spray Pam on. salt or season with garlic salt, parm, whatever you want, cook at 200 degrees for 40 minutes. Take the place of potato chips when you have that craving for something crisp.
    1878 days ago
    1878 days ago
    I love grilled provolone cheese sandwiches. I find if I cook them with just a touch of butter, I still get the taste, but the fat is in moderation. I always pat my fish dry after it comes to room temperature. I also always season it, and all my recipes suggest salting seafood. As for greens there are a couple of alternatives to bacon which are a bit healthier. There is Canadian Bacon and also proscutto which as not as fatty. You could always try turkey bacon, but I'm not much of a fan of that.
    1878 days ago
    Have you googled kale recipes? LOTS of 'em for sure. I'll get you started.

    Kale, Lentil, and Chicken Soup Recipe

    Nutritional Info (Per serving):

    Calories: 199, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 833mg, Dietary Fiber: 5g, Total Fat: 5g, Carbs: 20g, Sugars: 5g, Cholesterol: 31mg, Protein: 18g
    Exchanges: Vegetable: 2.5, Starch: 0.5, Lean Meat: 2
    Carb Choices: 1

    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    1 cup onion chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    6 cups chicken stock
    1 tablespoon basil, fresh or 1 teaspoon dried basil crushed
    1 cup carrot coarsely chopped
    4 cups kale coarsely chopped (remove from the woody stem)
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1-1/2 cups chicken breast, cooked, cubed
    1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
    1/2 cup red lentils


    In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium low heat. Add onion carrots, and garlic. Cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are nearly tender, stirring occasionally.

    Add stock and basil to vegetable mixture. Bring to boil, reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in kale, salt and pepper. Return to boiling, reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

    Stir in cooked chicken, tomato, red lentils, and fresh basil. Cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more or until kale and lentils are tender.

    1878 days ago
    I added kale to my home made chicken soup. You could add kale to chicken broth & throw in some tortellini. You could make a pasta e fagiloi with greens, ditalini pasta some cannelini beans & tomato sauce. Other ingredients are included; but you can make it any way you like. I make different versions for Friday dinners during Lent, since we can't eat meat! emoticon
    1878 days ago
  • BLONDIE218145
    You made me chuckle about the salt in fish. But it sounded like, yeah...they live in salt? I feel more satisfied just going ahead and using a half pat of butter and not worry so much about my points. Then I'll try to find some elsewhere. Sometimes flavor trumps calories! Funny story. emoticon
    1878 days ago
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