Bariatric Friendly Skinny Comfort Food Hacks ITALIAN Please Share Your Own!
Air Fried Skinny Eggplant Parmesan
This is a great substitute for freezer pizza. The eggplant and cheeses can be pre made and frozen in small batches and simply defrosted assembled and baked in ten- 15 minutes.
I make it two ways -with fat free ricotta spinach and Kraft fat free mozzarella or with a slice of low or full fat fresh mozzarell. Either way it?s low calorie healthy delicious and very filling .
Slice one small eggplant very thin.
Mix two eggs and enough flour to make a slurry.
Min another bowl have Italian Seasoned breadcrumbs ( panko works too )
Dip eggplant slices first into egg then crumb and place on air fryer at high . Fry till crispy .
Ricotta filling : one pint fat free ricotta ( I buy a dozen of these when I find them and keep them in the freezer- tastes great defrosted) one envelope Knorr Italian Sauce Powder (creamy Garlic Herb is good but Alfredo works too ) 4 Tbs butter buds . One small bag baby spinach cut up .
Dissolve cheese sauce powder in 1 cup skim milk or fat free half n half . Bring to a boil thickening sauce then add ricotta and raw spinach . Take off heat .
Marinara sauce - I start with jarred regular pizza sauce - add several tablespoons of Italian seasoning and either garlic powder or toasted diced garlic . I also slice very thin slices of fresh tomato one for each eggplant round .
Assembly - preheat oven to 400 . assume 2-3 rounds per serving . You don?t want leftovers with this dish because you want the eggplant crispy and the cheese just melted . If you want more later it takes just a minute to assemble the ingredients ( always crisp up the eggplant first in the air fryer obviously )
place one small spoonful of pizza sauce on eggplant round ( I usually put several fresh basil leaves on here place one thin tomato slice on top then top with several spoonfuls of the spinach/ricotta /fat free mozzarell mixture (you can mix in Asiago or Romano cheese if you want makes it even better )
OR top with a thin slice of fresh mozzarell cheese . ( smoked mozzarell is awesome ) Place in oven until cheese melts and is slightly browned on top . Yum!
ricotta recipe makes around 16 servings ( I make it and automatically freeze 2/3 in small batches . Total protein in Ricotta mix -77 grams 28 carbs 0fat divided by sixteen - so one serving of two rounds is 5 grams protein two grams carbs ( including tomato and spinach zero fat )calories total. 200 ( cheese sauce ) 400 ricotta plus milk plus spinach calories one serving - 40
2 eggplant rounds - one gram protein one gram fat ( from egg) three grams carb from breadcrumbs . Calories 40
Mozzarell -total fat 6 grams total protein 6 grams total carbs 0 calories 80
So depending on your choice of fat free or full fat cheese the calories are either 80 with 6 grams protein five grams carbs or full fat version calories are 120 protein is still 6 fat is six grams carbs are still five.
Skinny Arthur Avenue Baked Stuffed Artichoke
This was one of my favorite binge foods pre-op. Traditionally it?s made with literally a cup of olive oil and melted butter per choke . I have been overjoyed to make a fat free low cal version that literally tastes exactly the same or even better . This is a time consuming recipe but fun to make and incredibly worth it . Make plenty because these freeze amazingly well and you?ll crave em once you taste em!
Look for small to med - sized well developed chokes. Wash and steam until petals start feel soft and floppy (but still will hold their shape for stuffing ) ( maybe 20 -25 minutes steaming ) This is not a situation where undercooking the vegetable works but you can?t overcook it either .
Dig out the woody core of the choke using a small spoon and a sharp digger working from the flower side down . The core is about one inch wide once you get in there just keep going until all the fibers are cleaned out on the sides and bottom . On the bottom there will be approx an inch or inch and a half of delicious meat so don?t go too far . This is the best part of the choke to eat :)
Stuffing - mix 1/3 Italian seasoned breadcrumbs with 2/3 regular . I add a little garlic powder too . Mix several bottles of butter buds with warm water and white cooking wine and lemon juice ( you?re going to need a LOT of lemon juice I buy bottles ) moisten the crumbs a bit with this mixture but keep them solid . Place chokes on spray oiled baking sheet and start stuffing in the middle and between the petals . You?ll find each choke accepts an amazing amount of breadcrumbs . Technically you don?t HAVE to fill them up all the way ... but this is a carb- rich meal . It?s non fattening simply because it?s fat free . After filling pour 1/2 cup butter buds and lemon juice and wine mixture on each choke and bake at 350 till crispy ( probably another 20-25 minutes . Make more of the butter buds and lemon juice and cooking mixture and pour into chokes right before serving .
Eat by pulling off each petal starting on the outside and running the bottom through your teeth so the meat in the petal comes out . Discard what?s left . When you get to the bottom of the middle there?s this delicious big button of artichoke flesh you can eat with the breadcrumbs . Usually I can manage 1/3 of a choke !
One choke w two cups breadcrumbs - calories choke - 100 cal crumbs 440 total carb crumbs 46 total cal crumbs 400 total protein crumbs 12 ( that?s surprising ! ) butter lemon sauce 50 carbs calories lemon sauce 200 0 protein .
Totals for one loaded choke ( but you won?t be able to begin to fini**** ) 600 calories 0 fat 96 carbs 12 grams protein . Again these are a treat food but I find them not in the least fattening IF you eat no fat within two hours either before or after you eat them . Lean protein like fish or chicken is fine to eat with this dish just not fatty protein like ribs ... :)
Skinny Low Carb Vegetable Lasagna
This is made with over a crisper drawerful of healthy vegetables less than one box of oven- ready lasagna ( try to get the wavy if you can ( Great Value brand from Walmart is my favorite ) , a TON of yummy high protein zero fat cheeses both Ricotta and Mozzarell and it tastes thoroughly decadent but is amazingly low cal healthy and filling :) Also freezes great ... makes a great microwaveable healthy TV dinner !
Makes one large deep pan lasagna about 2 1/2 inches thick . You can double the recipe if you like your lasagna really tall and then you can include two more layers of yummy vegetables like air fried eggplant slices !
Sauce - two cans nonfat tomato sauce like HUNTS . I like the meat flavor . Two links natures promise chicken sausage ( 70 calories 2.5 grams fat 12 G protein and 1 gram carb per link ) diced fresh garlic about 1/2 cup . 1/2 roll of fat free vegetarian sausage ( you can buy it in the produce section of some grocery stores) browned it tastes JUST like sausage without the fat ! Onion (2) carrots ( 1/2 bag ) fresh ripe tomatoes ( like 4-6 ) sweet red pepper ( 2 big ones)
Toast the diced onion in a tablespoon or two of sesame oil until softened and starting to golden - add garlic and toast together until fragrant and slightly browned . In separate pan toast diced sausage links and crumbled vegetarian sausage also until browned. Mix together in large tall pot with canned sauce and cut up carrots Italian Seasoning Dried Basil Bay Leaves and Butter Buds ( I use a LOT for a buttery rich taste - at least half a bottle in the sauce alone ) and cook for approx twenty minutes - then add fresh tomatoes diced and diced red peppers . ( red peppers taste even better and sweeter if pre roasted under your broiler) Remove from heat . ( sauce will cook through again when baking and again when lasagna is microwaved : you want to keep as much fresh taste as possible .
Ricotta cheese - I usually make two different flavors using Knorr powdered pasta sauce mixes ( no fat low carb) and make it rich tasting with butter buds and fat free half and half . Creamy garlic n herb , creamy pesto , pesto, even Alfredo work well though the last is a bit boring :)
In separate saucepans mix one cup water with one envelope powdered sauce mix to each pan . Add 1/2 bottle butter buds to each pan . Use a whisk to blend thoroughly cook over low heat until sauces thicken . Add one pint of fat free Ricotta to each pan and dilute each with 1/2 cup fat free half and half .
Get your vegetables ready - I like to use at least whole large box of zucchini zoodles ( prefer two ) and one and a half to two bags of baby spinach anc a bunch of fresh basil leaves . The vegetables will seem very thick but they cook down considerably . You can take some of the water out of the zoodles by pre cooking in an air fryer if you're worried you'll have too much liquid . This firms them up considerably too.
Assembly - spray oil bottom and sides of pan . Cover bottom of pan with tomato sauce place lasagna pieces on bottom . Add fresh basil leaves and cover with one pan ricotta . Add layer of lasagna crosswise from bottom layer .Add generous layer of fat free mozzarell ( I usually add freshly grated Asiago/Romano / Parmesan cheese here also for taste ) Add zoodle layer sprinkle with remaking butter buds ( 1/2 bottle ) and more Parmesan cheese.
Add red sauce layer on zoodles ( not too much ) add one more layer lasagna then red sauce , layer of mozzarell then spinach ( sprinkle generously w butter buds ) add one more layer red sauce and lasagna fresh basil leaves and fat free mozzarell cheese ( I've used up two or three whole bags of kraft fat free mozzarell at this point ) layer w Asiago/Romano / Parmesan then cover w remaining Ricotta . Place in 400 degree oven and remove when ricotta starts getting brown and edges are bubbling ( at least twenty minutes) . Allow to cool ten minutes before cutting and serving .
Im tired right now ... I'll figure out the numbers tomorrow
For those early-out, simply cover some ricotta with sauce and cheese and bake. As you can tolerate veggies better, add thin layers of either zucchini or eggplant in place of noodles and add meat for a proper lasagna.
I've had a lasagna where the noodles were replaced with thin sliced chicken breast, but it was awfully chewy. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I prefer the veggie noodle replacements better.
Ricotta has 28g of protein per cup. Find a reason to eat it any way you can.
There is room on this earth for all of God's creatures..
next to the mashed potatoes
Scungilli Fra Diavolo
Sometimes I think some Americans don?t realize the variety of wonderful sauces that are used in Italian cuisine . Up north by say Milan or near the Swiss border buttery cream and cheesy sauces are the norm ... the further south you go the more tomatoey and even spicy. Even in tomato sauces there are significant variations depending on whether its to be used for meat or fish ... please notice in this fra diavolo ( this means a little spicy ) sauce meant for fish there are no onions whatsoever . Fra Diavolo sauce is also great for mussels ( add a little extra wine and sop up the sauce with fresh garlic bread is the traditional way to eat mussels ).
Scungill comes in a can in Italian stores . I prefer La Monica the more expensive brand because it contains more and younger conch but the other is fine too . One can will make four generous servings.
Fra Diavolo sauce - I like to roast about 1/2 package garlic cloves in 350 degree oven ( double that if also making garlic bread by spreading the tender garlic on butter buds spread toasted baguette . ) I usually also roast a large ripe red pepper at the same time cut into strips . This sweetens and caramelizes the pepper and gives the sauce a lovely rich taste.
Open a can of hunts garlic n herb tomato sauce as a base add Italian seasoning very generously a little garlic powder and a lot of dried basil . Also add 1/2 teaspoon or so dried chili flakes depending on how hot you like your food . This amount just gives the sauce a bit of bite but doesn?t make it hot . I also like to add a tablespoon or so sweet Hungarian Paprika and about 1/3 to a 1/2 bag cut up baby carrots for sweetness . I also ( dissolve with a bit of water first ) add at least a half bottle of butter buds and about two cups Chinese cooking wine .
When garlic and peppers are starting to brown cut into small pieces ( I use scissors the garlic is difficult to chop w a knife after it?s softened ) and add to pot : cook say ten minutes covering pot
. Open Scungill can, drain and wash the Scungill in Filtered water . Drain again . This gets rid of any fishy taste . Add to pot . Bring to low boil.
Then cook at least 15 minutes testing the Scungill to make sure it?s firm but don?t let overcook. Straight out of the can the Conch is soft and has a nasty texture - and it becomes soft and nasty again if over cooked . But cooked to firmness ... nothing is more delicious ! Add fresh herbs after taking off heat - I like to use fresh basil , fresh oregano, thyme and rosemary ( taken off their stems )
I usually serve this sauce with one inch pieces roasted winter squash but Penne works well too.
this sauce freezes incredibly well but I recommend making the pasta fresh each time .
Numbers - tomato sauce per can 2.5 grams fat 200 calories 40 g carbs 5 G protein
scungill per can: 360 calories O fat 72 grams protein 8 grams carbs
butter buds 1/2 jar - calories 170 carbs 35 protein 0 fat 0
2 cups cooking wine - carbs 10 calories 108
so per serving - calories 171 protein 28 carbs 46