Monday, August 9, 2010

Quick Healthy Dinner

For dinner tonight I knew I wanted to make something with mushrooms for their antiproliferative properties. You are shocked I know. ;-) Not knowing exactly what I was going to make I grabbed two cups of dried mushrooms and got them soaking. I tossed a few ideas around and in the end went with a very simple meal that required little attention or time from me. Sometimes you just want an easy dish. It was one of those around here today. Here is what I ended up making tonight:

Lightly cooked Zucchini and Broccoli in Mushroom Tomato Sauce topped with Almond Feta
Serves 2


2 cups dried mushrooms
3 cups water to soak mushrooms
1 red onion, finely diced (allow to stand 10 minutes)
6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely diced (allow to stand 10 minutes)
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (to brighten the flavor since I am not using salt)
1 zucchini, cut into thin half moons
4 cups broccoli, cut into thin bite-sized spears (par cooked to 75% cooked in the microwave to speed the cooking time)
¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
½ tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons almond feta for garnish (or substitute pine nuts)


Combine the mushrooms and water and heat in your microwave until hot (about 2 – 3 minutes). Allow the mushrooms to soak for at least 30 minutes so that they will get tender. Then strain the mushroom soaking liquid to remove any sediment. Save the strained mushroom soaking liquid.

Chop to the onions and garlic and allow them to stand for 10 minutes before adding to the cooking pot. Combine the onions, garlic, mushrooms and mushroom soaking liquid and cook until the onions are tender. Add the remaining ingredients through the broccoli. Cook until the vegetables are heated through but the zucchini is still tender crisp. Add the fresh herbs and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and add pepper and salt (if using) as necessary.

To serve top the dish with a tablespoon of almond feta.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 338.66
Calories From Fat (17%) - 56.53

Total Fat - 6.76g
Saturated Fat - 0.76g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 249.33mg
Potassium - 2153.78mg
Total Carbohydrates - 65.12g
Fiber - 19.91g
Sugar - 13.24g
Protein - 18.89g

This had more calories than I expected. It was also much more filling. I had intended to make us a salad to go with this but we both ran out of room. You know Dan is full when he doesn’t want banana and strawberry soft serve for dessert.

If you are a fan of olives mincing one and adding it to the top of each serving would have been good. If I hadn’t had those two olives earlier today on my soup I would have added one. I am still trying to break my craving for salt. The salt shaker and liquid aminos were easy to give up but olives and miso have been a little more difficult but I am definitely cutting down and I know it is much healthier for me. Darn it! ;-)

Our food the last 24 hours:

It has been another simple food day at our house. I like to intentionally make leftovers so that I am only cooking one or two items a day and then we eat them for a few days. I find we are both happy to eat food for two or three days, but after that we get bored. If I make more than we can eat in 3 days I freeze the leftovers and we eat them in a month or so. Just make sure you label the leftovers or you will forget what you have. I have done that more times than I can remember. *rolls eyes*

Dinner last night:

When our normal dinner time rolled around neither Dan nor I was hungry so we opted for a mini meal instead. It was probably all the food we had previously eaten that day. Of course you know Dan wanted strawberry and banana soft serve (no oats) because he said he needed the calories. That is his favorite excuse for dessert in case you hadn’t noticed by now. I don’t normally have dessert with him but last night I had a little. This is picture of one of the two bowls Dan had. My serving was less than half that size.

Breakfast this morning:

I wasn’t particularly hungry this morning when Dan was having his oats with wild blueberries, ground flaxseeds and walnuts. Instead I opted to wait until I came back from the grocery store to get myself something to eat. As usual I walked to the grocery store for a few items not long after Dan left for his office downtown. I had used the last apples this morning in Dan’s fresh juice so I needed to replenish that supply. The pineapples looked good when I was there so I grabbed one of them too.

When I got home I was craving salad. I swear I could eat salad three times a day. The salad I made this morning was ½ head of shredded romaine, a few marinated artichokes, some salsa and a half serving of the mushroom walnut pate. I discovered that I really like the pate on salad. This makes sense since I also like to use hummus on salad.

To accompany the salad I also cut up two fresh peaches from the farmers’ market this weekend and topped them with sprinkling of almonds for the textural variation.

Lunch today:

For lunch I made myself a quick bowl of cream of tomato soup with a little brown rice and basil topping. I also added two minced olives to change the flavor just a little.

To go with the soup I had a banana and a little reduced fat peanut butter. I find that if I add nuts or seeds to food I stay satisfied longer than without them.

Dried tomatoes for the winter:

Tomatoes are just becoming plentiful and cheap at our local farmers’ market. I bought a small basket to dry in my dehydrator this week. Since I normally make my dried tomatoes in the oven on low heat I had no idea how many were going to fit in the dehydrator. Next week I have more of an idea of the capacity and time required.

To start the process I cleaned the Roma tomatoes well. Then I cut them top to bottom and removed the stem end. I used my fingers to remove the seeds of the tomato and placed them on the dehydrator mesh covered tray.

I found the tomatoes were just a bit too tall to leave all the trays in the machine so I removed every other tray to make room.

I turned the machine to 145 degrees and let it go. You can safely let them dry for 6 hours before checking to see how they are doing. The exact time it will take depends on the temperature you use and the humidity outside. Mine were stilling drying after 7 hours are were fairly damp. I will fill you in on the final details when they are finished which I expect will be tomorrow.  I turned the heat down to 115 to dry overnight.

I choose to start drying mine at 145 since I don’t want to wait for days and expect I will be using them mostly in cooked food there was no reason to dry them at a lower temperature the entire time that should work if you want to try it.

Unrelated notes:

Sorry I have been MIA again today. This is going to be a busy week but I am trying to post at least once a day so I don’t get out of the habit. I have a few things going on at the moment that are taking up a bit of my time that should be less of on a time drain soon.

I hope everyone had a great Monday. If you are on the east coast stay cool tomorrow since the temps are supposed to reach 100. *ugh* Talk to you tomorrow.


  1. Your food always looks so good :-) I think you made a good choice with the mushrooms last night--that dish sounds great!

    I hope everything is going okay and that you are staying cool. It isn't just the east coast that is heating up...we are near 100 every day this week here in the mid-west too :-)


  2. What is it about PB and bananas that is so darn good???? Oh and the mushroom sauce - yum. How could you possibly go wrong with that dish???

  3. Courtney,

    With your nutrition background that means a lot to me. :-) I try to make things healthy but still taste good. ;-)

    I am swamped today! Too many things to do and too little time. I am not looking forward to running errands in this heat. *ugh*

    Try to stay cool!

  4. Heather,

    I have loved peanut and banana for as long as I can remember. I used to make a grilled peanut butter and banana on whole wheat with chocolate chips. One of my favorite things from college, LOL.

    The mushroom dish turned out well. I hope you noticed the protein content on that. I thought of you when I saw it. ;-)


  5. Dinner looks good! :)

    I think I might try my hand at drying some tomatoes too.

    I don't have a dehydrator, but my oven is digital. I tried it out last week for the first time, it works! Our CSA produce is running over with tomatoes. I have been making huge pots of tomato based soups. We are enjoying them but, after 3 weeks of it, I am ready for a change.

    Thanks for the idea. =)

  6. Naina,

    Over roasted tomatoes are good too drizzled with pomegranate molasses or balsamic vinegar. But the dried ones last longer. I always did mine in the oven until this batch. :-)


  7. I'm reading through all of your posts I've missed this past much great stuff! I'm glad to see the pics of you dehydrating tomatoes. I still want to do that - how long do you keep them in the jar? And you just put the jar in the pantry? (I'll look back to see if you answered this already, sorry if you did.)

  8. Jenny,

    I do store the dried tomatoes in a jar in the pantry. They last all winter. The only trick is to make certain they are thoroughly dry. If they are moist then bacteria can grow and they can spoil. I soak them in water to rehydrate them which makes them easier to chop. I hope that helps.



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