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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tasty can be healthy

Not a fine photo but it was a fine dinner. Maybe I'll get a better shot next time.

I don't recall how I discovered Elena Paravantes' blog Olive Tomato but as someone who regularly enjoys Mediterranean cooking I have found her blog inspirational. A recent post encouraged readers to quickly fry sliced zucchini and serve it warm with sprinkles of parsley and feta cheese. The picture that Paravantes posted made her zucchini look quite appealing. Inspired, I decided to use a both yellow and green zucchini as a side dish.

My wife and I are trying to adhere to the diet advised by my heart and stroke doctor while also trying to adhere to a Weight Watchers-friendly diet. This dinner met both requirements: low in fat, low in cholesterol as there's neither meat nor eggs but lots of fresh vegetables. This dinner delivered a Weight Watchers low point total.

The star of this dinner was potato gnocchi. At a little over 100gms per portion, the gnocchi contained only four points. It was boiled until it rose to the top of the bubbling water. After a minute it was removed using a slotted spoon.

Meanwhile the small tomatoes were fried in a little olive oil seasoned with finely diced garlic . The zucchini was fried in the same pan at the same time. Two minutes on each side in a very hot fry pan was enough for the zucchini. The tomatoes were removed when the skins began to split. Both vegetables were placed on waiting dinner dishes.

The chopped asparagus was tossed into the hot fry pan with a little more finely diced garlic. After a minute the gnocchi was added to the pan with the asparagus. At this point about 90 gms of Alfredo sauce diluted with an ounce of the gnocchi water was added. The sauce immediately began bubbling, thickened, and coated everything in the pan. A couple of tablespoons of chopped dill were stirred in and the mixture spooned onto the dishes with the zucchini.

While I cooked the gnocchi and asparagus my wife sprinkled parsley and feta cheese on the hot zucchini and tomato. Next, she sprinkled a little grated Parmesan onto the still hot food. With a small glass of wine, this dinner came in at only 15 points. It may have been even less. The only cholesterol was in the small amount of cheese and the light cream used in the sauce.

I have been eating like this for a little more than a year. I had my arteries checked a couple of months ago and the plaque has diminished. Of course, I am also taking some powerful drugs and so it is impossible to say to what extent the Mediterranean diet has been responsible for the improvement.

There is one improvement that I can credit to my new eating habits: My weight. I've lost some 45 pounds.

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