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please help with healthy recipes

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hi all. I recently recieved some great pasta sauce advice here, and have come back for some more help. I'm looking for some very healthy recipes.

Specifically, I like to make "one pot" type of meals, so that I can easily cook them in bulk, store as individual portions, and re-heat them through out the week.

Also, these meals should be 400-450 calories a serving and high in protein, at least 35g per serving. I also try to use whole grains instead of any form of refined carbs. Fat content isn't an issue, other then the difficulty of cooking a fatty, 450 calorie meal.

My current "healthy" meal repertoire consists solely of:

Low-carb pasta with veggie/meat tomato sauce
White bean chicken chili
Quinoa with shredded chicken, corn, and black beans
Lentil curry with spinach and chicken (this recipe isn't good, I could use a new one)
post #2 of 20
Beef, chicken or lamb curries would lend themselves to this. They freeze and reheat really well. Add various beans for more protein. Beef sugo like for a lasagne sauce, so you've got lots of protein, onion, tomato, can be prepared really low fat too. Use it for stuffing potatoes, tacos, or layer it with char grilled eggplant or zucchini or sweet potato-( don't add oil, just grill them or with a light spray with Pam or simlar) for a "lasagne", use some fresh ricotta or fetta(more protein) and a sprinkle of grated parmesan on top (strong on flavour so you don't need much, so not much fat added)
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the response.

I could use a good curry recipe, could you share one?

Also, I love the idea of "lasagna" using layered eggplant/zucchini (i'm not a sweet potato fan). I'm not sure how I would pull that off, could you post a detailed recipe?
post #4 of 20
Will be able to post recipe/s later, just playing home cook and "soccer mom" for next few hours....

How complex do you want it? A truly good curry involves a lot of work with the spices, toasting and grinding, but if you're happy with bought curry pastes its quicker. I prefer long version, but it depends on your preferences and requirements, time - wise etc

Let me know and I'll get back with something :)

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

post #5 of 20
A recipe that may help your curry...

Try chana dahl. (Chickpea curry in tomato)

Sweat out onions and garlic until caremilized. Add garam masala, cook for 1-2 minutes to activate flavors. Add chunky tomatoes, cinnamon stick, a touch of fenugreek, (fenugreek leaves if you can get some - called kasori methi)

Wash and drain canned chickpeas (or have some cooked separate)

You will be able to serve that with you spinach sauted, with a chicken breast. Alternatively, you could marinate your chicken breast in yogurt and garam masala, cook it separate, and serve it.

I hope that helps.

Jason Sandeman

Developing Systems So You Can Cook


Jason Sandeman

Developing Systems So You Can Cook

post #6 of 20

Healthy Recipes

Rather than trying to find "healthy recipes", I'd suggest concentrating on perfecting your practice of Basic Cooking Methods. Then, you can make any recipe "healthy".

For example, a basic saute method would go like this:
1) Get pan hot first. You know the saute pan is hot when a few drops of water evaporate immediately.
2) use some kind of fat, any kind, but very sparingly. Say you use canola oil. Put barely 2 Tbsp in the bottom of the pan, swish it around to cover the entire pan.
3) heat the oil until it begins a convection process in the pan and goes from perfectly smooth to striated or getting "legs" like a wine glass.
4) Now, your protein product, whether chicken, beef, shrimp, fish...
5) Cook 75% on the first side to observe the changes. When your proteins coagulate more than 1/2 way up the item, it's time to turn it over
6) Finish the second side and use your thermometer to tell when it's done. (150f)
7) Remove the protein product to a plate
8) Saute any aromatics (onion, garlic, celery, carrot, ginger...) in the resulting pan fond, the caramelized bits left on the bottom of the pan to combine flavors.
9) Add any liquid to deglaze the pan, raising the fond and making a simple sauce.
10) Reduce the pan liquid by half, and now add any pantry or convenience item for your compound sauce. Perhaps you have oyster or hoisin sauce. Maybe it's a jar of Tikka Masala or Salsa or tomato sauce to make it Indian, Mexican, or Italian.
11) Return the protein product to the pan to combine flavors and moisture.

Now, you have power over which ingredients and flavors you desire. Recipes are only one person's opinion of how something should be cooked, it's not the only way. Explore the basics of cooking methods and you'll never need a recipe again. Then, every meal is "healthy" because you created it from your heart and mind.

Chef Todd Mohr
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks, I'd definitely like to try the complex one. :)
post #8 of 20
The posts from Welldone and Cheftodd are good guidelines.....not much I can improve on there, but this is what I do....the amounts of spices can be varied depending on your taste/customer requirements. More heat needed, more chilli etc.

BEEF CURRY (serves 4)

1 tsp black mustard seed
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp cardomon pods (burst them out of their shells with a rolling pin and pick out the seeds)
1/2 tsp whole black pepper

1 Tbsp EVOO
I large or 2 medium brown onions, finely diced
1 stick celery, finely diced
1 large or 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno chillies, minced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1/3 cup tomato concentrate/puree
2 tsp dried ground cumin

2 Tbsp EVOO
1 kg/2lb chuck/stewing steak cut into 3cm dice (weight after trimming most fat off)
salt to taste

Tin of diced tomatoes (400g)
1 stick cinnamon
2 star anise
2 Bay leaves

Beef stock - enough to just come to top of curry

Cornflour mixed with water to thicken


1. Dry frypan, medium heat. Add first 4 ingredients, heat until fragrant. Remove from heat, cool, grind in spice blender/coffee grinder you keep for spices only, or pound till crushed in mortar and pestle.

2. Heat 1 Tbsp EVOO in large pot -medium heat- saute next 6 ingredients until onions are golden, add spice mix, saute until fragrant, add tomoto puree and cumin. Cook stirring for a few minutes till well blended. Remove to a bowl.

3. Heat 2 Tbsp EVOO in same pot - medium high heat. Sear meat in batches -no more than 10 at a time -until nicely browned. Remove from pan, fry remaining beef in batches.

4. Add meat and vegetable mix back into pot over medium heat. Add whole tin of tomatoes including the juice. Stir till well mixed. Add beef stock to just cover, bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Add bay leaves, cinnamon and star anise. Cover, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours until tender.

5. Adjust seasoning, remove bay, anise & cinnamon. If curry is too thin, thicken with a slurry made of cornflour(cornstarch) and water till its as thick as you like it. Serve with rice.

This tastes better if you cool and refrigerate for the next day, even better on the following day.

This recipe could also be used for lamb/mutton, same cooking time. If you use it for chicken joints, your step 4 cooking time would be about half.

I like to add some sultanas, diced apples and sliced bananas about 1/2 hour before the end - but not everyone likes fruit in curry. I love greek yoghurt with this - big splodge on top. Also I add some lemon zest when I'm doing a lamb curry, and a good squeeze of lemon juice, both right at the end, and top with sliced spring onion(scallion)/snipped garlic chive.

Enjoy :)

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks DC! Sounds great! Just a couple of ingredients I'm not familiar with and not sure where to find them:

-2 star anise
-1 tsp black mustard seed

Are these available at most grocery stores?

Also, a couple of questions:

-I've never toasted spices before, any advice to avoid burning them?
-When searing the meat, should I be cooking it much, or just a quick 1 minuteish sear per side?
-For the jalapenos, those should be fresh? Should I leave the seeds?
-This is just out of curiosity/ignorance, don't curries typically have curry powder?
post #10 of 20
Really basic, but full of flavour n healthy. Doesnt have a name.

I brown steak mince (ground steak)really well with onions. No oil theres just enough grease in the mince to do the job. add stock then pile in as much veg as possible. Carrot, swede, celery, sweetcorn, mushrooms Anything you like. Loads of potatoes. Towards the end mush up a couple of potatoes to thicken the gravy and add lots of flat leaf parsley

Rustic and scrummy Serve with lots of good bread to soak up gravy
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
post #11 of 20
You would need to add back a lot of the chicken to get the protein content to where you want it, however the calories are probably somewhere in the area you're looking for.

If you're looking to cut calories, chill the stock overnight and remove the fat before finishing the recipe, and probably skip the ciabatta bread at the end :)


This is satisfying and soul-warming, with the aromas of garlic, olive oil and chicken, contrasted perfectly with the slight bitterness of the escarole

  • 1 Whole Chicken (5 – 6 lbs)
  • 2 Stalks Celery, cut bite-sized, including leafy tops
  • 1 Large Whole Onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 Large Whole Carrots, peeled and sliced into disks or strips
  • 1 Head Garlic
  • 2 Bags Escarole, washed and cut
  • 1/2 Box pastina
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Put the chicken in the pot and add water to just barely cover.
  • Slowly bring to a very gentle simmer (don’t let it boil!)
    and cook for 2 – 3 hours, until the chicken is very soft and almost falling
    apart. Skim off any scum that forms on the surface.
  • Remove chicken, cool in refrgerator and save for other uses (sandwiches, add to soup, etc.)
  • Simmer stock uncovered until reduced by 1/2, or until it tastes like chicken, and not watery. Add salt and pepper to taste. Do not add the salt and pepper until after you have reduced the stock, or it wil be too salty
  • Cook the pastina according to directions on box
  • Add vegetables, including 1/2 head of garlic, smashed, and the bay leaves (excluding the Escarole) to the soup and return to a gentle simmer. Cook uncovered until the veggies are soft
  • Mince 1/2 head of garlic. Coat the bottom of a pot with the Olive Oil, add the garlic and saute on medium until the garlic is soft and fragrent but not brown. Remove the garlic and discard. Add the escarole, increase heat to high and cook until Escarole is wilted, tossing frequently.
  • Pour soup (optionally through a strainer) into pot with Escarole, add cooked pastina and gently simmer
  • Serve with fresh Ciabatta Bread [1]
Serves 6 to 8

post #12 of 20
There are a lot of healthy recipes to choose from. I think choose the ones which have less grease, fats and cholesterol. I can suggest a recipe that is easy to make.



* 1 pound linguini pasta
* 1 pound fresh broccoli, chopped
* 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
* 1 pinch garlic salt
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
2. Steam broccoli with 2 tablespoons water in microwave for 6-7 minutes.
3. In 10-inch skillet, heat olive oil and butter over low heat. Stir in garlic (more or less to suit your tastes) and red pepper slices; saute gently.
4. Drain broccoli and add to skillet. Sprinkle lightly with garlic salt and saute broccoli and peppers until soft.
5. Toss vegetable mixture with hot pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

I hope this helps! Enjoy :)
post #13 of 20
Star Anise and mustard seeds, you should be able to find at most supermarkets, if not, try an asian grocer. Star anise look like little brown stars, about 1/2inch across. Black mustard seeds are tiny black seeds, there's hundreds in a pack.

With toasting the spices, just keep pan on medium heat, toast them until you can smell them, this is where the essential oils give off their lovely aromas and taste, (move the pan around a little so not to burn one side) then empty them out of the pan so they stop cooking.

With the meat you need high heat, get the oil nice and hot so it's smoking, then toss in a batch of meat - leave it! until you can hear and smell it getting nice and caramelised. Pretty much till it starts to smell like meat on a bbq - but it shouldn't take long, one or two minutes Turn it with tongs, till it gets to same stage on other side. Remove onto plate. You may need a bit more oil in between batches, but not too much, and keep the pot hot.

Jalapenos you can use either fresh or from a jar, I like heat so I leave the seeds in, if you like it mild or medium, take them out of the fresh ones. The jarred ones it doesn't matter so much - the taste and heat all mixes together. You gotta try it and see what level you like, what heat you think the customer will like. Try it on family and only very good friends :) ones that won't hate you if you burnt their throats. Start easy, work your way up in degrees of heat. You can add, but bot take away.

Curry powder is not necessary. The mixes of the spices are what basically makes a curry powder anyway. It can be a shortcut, but you did say you wanted the complex version. Curry mixes of spices version from person to person, kitchen to ktchen, even day to day.

Experiment and see what happens... you may like the way I do it, maybe not :)
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
just wanted to try and revive this:

anyone else have any suggestions along the lines of:

mix this protein, with those veggies, with that whole grain, with these seasonings, etc...
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
how should I do this if I wanted to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts?

cube and cook the chicken prior to adding it to the curry?
post #16 of 20
If you want to use the breast of chicken - yes, cube it first, about 1 inch/2.5cm cubes, brown it lightly which will hardly take any time, then you'll probably only need to cook it in the curry sauce for say 15-20 minutes - and of course, change the beef stock to chicken stock :)

I prefer skinned thigh fillets to breast, or skinned thighs on the bone (has more flavour on the bone), but that's just personal preference. You could do the bone-in ones wih about 30 mins cooking.

You could also use any firm white fish, prepare same as chicken meat but do it in 2 inch/5cm cubes, use chicken stock. But don't bother about browning them. Just add into the curry sauce and simmer about 10 mins.

Let us know how it goes.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Just finished, turned out really well. Although, it is a bit heavy on a spice that I can't identify, it might be the cardamon. I was a bit confused as to how to use the caradmon. I got whole pods, but they're dry and in a spice bottle. The container instructed to use the seeds. So I used about 1/2 tsp of seeds.
post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 
Any chance you could post a Beef sugo recipe?

And a recipe for how to use it with layered zucchini/eggplant?

post #19 of 20
InAwe, you could always leave the cardomon out if it doesn't suit your taste. Did you take it out of the pods? Anyhow, adjust the seasoning to what you like.

I made a Sugo (meat sauce) last went like this:

INGREDIENTS (serves 8)
1 Tbsp EVOO
2 medium/1 large onion roughly diced
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, peeled, finely diced
1 stick celery, finely diced
ground black pepper, 6 ish grinds- as much or as little as you like :)
pinch of salt
1 tsp dried oregano leaves

2Tbsp EVOO
500g/1 lb pork mince
500g/1 lb beef mince
2 beef boullion/stock cubes
1 cup red wine
1 can (400g) diced roma tomatoes with their juice
water - just fill tomato can

Gravy powder (yes this is a cheat but it works)

Heat 1 Tbsp EVOO in large saucepan. Saute onions, celery, carrot, garlic, oregano until the onions brown lightly. Season with pepper. Remove to a plate.

Heat 1 Tbsp EVOO in same pan. Brown pork mince over high heat, season with S&P well. Remove to onion plate.

Heat 1 Tbsp EVOO in same pan. Brown beef same way, adding bouliion/stock cubes.

Add pork and onion mix back into pan, still on high heat. Add red wine, reduce for 5 mins. Lower heat to low. Add tomato with juices, plus tinful of water. Stir until mix simmers gently, cover, cook for at least one hour (2 hours is better, about 4 is best :) ), adding a little water if getting too dry - you want it to be fairly liquid.

When you've cooked it as long as you like it, mash it down with a potato masher so the meat is a uniform fine mix, sprinkle surface of sugo with gravy powder, mix in well, till nice and thick (but not like glue!).. Season to taste with S&P.

Serve as liked, with pasta of choice (Penne is good), or use as stuffing for baked potatoes etc etc. Even just on toast is great too.

(Note: This recipe works for me- it's home cooking, not restaurant. But it was really good! I served it with penne, grated tasty cheddar cheese and toasted white bread croutons. If you don't eat pork, try replacing it with lamb mince).
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

post #20 of 20
For the eggplant etc layered dish, just use a griddle pan to cook off thin slice of eggplant(aubeergine) and zucchini(courgette) which have been sprayed with oil and seasoned lightly.

Put layer of meat in bottom of oven pan, top with slices of the vegetables, sprinkle some fetta, ricotta and grated parmesan over veg, keep layering same way until pan is almost full, ending with a cheese layer. Top with a bechamel sauce. Bake uncovered in moderately hot oven about 30 minutes (Cover with a tent of foil if browning too much). Take out of oven, let sit for ten minutes before serving.

(Again, this is a home recipe, it's just how I make it and like it. So ...:) )
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

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