Healthy snack #2 – Sardine su pane tostato

Dopo l’ esperimento (fallito) della mia Parmigiana di melanzaneAubergine pie  Parmigiana di melanzane ho deciso di ascoltare i numerosi inviti ricevuti, a cimentarmi con piatti piu’ alla mia portata…ebbene si’, lo ammetto, la mia parmigiana era bruciata, e non sapeva neanche’ di un granche’ io do’ la colpa alle melanzane ma e’ anche vero che invece di usare il sughetto mi sono confusa e ho usato la passata non cotta…ecco lo scheletro nell’ armadio….ed ora che e’ uscito, ricomincio il mio apprendistato dagli snack…ragazzi se sbaglio anche questi non ho proprio speranze. Allora iniziamo con delle belle sardine in scatola cosi’ non devo neanche lavarle…piu’ facile di cosi’….E’ anche uno spuntino dietetico ed economico! Vi  lascio alla “ricetta”.

Ingredienti serve 1
- una scatoletta di sardine al naturale
- pane (io una mini baguette)
- 2 pomodori maturi affettati
- olio d'oliva
- origano 
- sale, pepe e un ciuffo di basilico.

Metodo:
1) mettere sotto il grill le fette di pane
2) adagiare le sardine intere sul pane, aggiungere pomodori e condimento
3) Enjoy

 

Learning….to make healthy snacks: beginners Mackerel Salad

So after last week’s flop, with my Aubergine pie (yes I know it wasn’t supposed to be burned….but it really didn’t taste that….burned…), I’ ve decided to go back to the beginning, and to try healthy snacks first. With summer almost here it’s good to reduce the calories intake. I am starting with a mackerel salad. Although ….I find it is rather challenging to write about a salad…what do you say: wash the leaves?…. Well it might be a good point actually, I knew somebody in Australia during my student days, who never washed their vegetables…actually everybody I knew wasn’t :-)). I know why not use prewashed salad in a bag….well if you are into healthy organic than bagged salad won’t do it for you. Anyhow this is my low calories budget friendly tinned mackerel salad. It’s delicious, it helps if you are hungry…I  leave you to it. Next I’ ll share bruschetta. Enjoy!

  • Ingredients serves 2:
    – a tin of mackerel or any other fish
    – Half a lettuce head ( or a bag of mixed salad)
    – a handful of cherry tomatoes halved
    – a third of cucumber, peeled
    – one carrot sliced
    – a few radishes
    – Olive oil
    – salt and pepper

  • Method:
    1) in a bowl add all the ingredients, season and mix well
    2) eat with crackers or bread.

Aubergine pie – Parmigiana di melanzane

I have to admit for someone who is learning to cook, an aubergine pie might sound very ambitious….but that’s the beauty of this dish, it is fairly simple, it uses basic ingredients: sliced aubergines, flour, eggs, tomato sauce, cheese. In the south of Italy they sprinkle salt on the slices of aubergines, which is supposed to help drain the water naturally present in this vegetable…..no need to say that I totally skip this step, I don’t have the time, and at least with the aubergines we find here, I can’t tell the difference.

I have already shared step 1 of this dish: toss the aubergines in flour then dip it in whisked egg and cheese and fry it (Golden fried Aubergines).

Step 2 is to prepare a quick tomato sauce and to then layer the fried slices with sauce and cheese: delicious!! It’s great for guests: you can fry the slices ahead and assemble it just before eating, serving it with a mixed salad or roast potatoes/ chips.

I leave you to this traditional Italian dish, let me know if you like it. I want to try a “diet” version, so I’ll keep you informed if I do (well, if it comes out nice that is)

INGREDIENTS:
- 3 sliced and fried aubergines
- tomato sauce
- olive oil
- grated parmesan enough to sprinkle on the layers
- 1 fresh mozzarella sliced or grated mozzarella
- fresh basil
- salt

METHOD:
1) make a quick tomato sauce by heating some olive oil and adding a jar of tomato sauce, season and  let it cook for approx. 20 mins on low heat.
2) take a large frying pan and start layering: olive oil, tomato sauce, salt, aubergines, sprinkle of parmesan cheese


3) I like to cover the last layer with tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil
4) cover with a lid and let it simmer on low heat just until it is piping hot and the mozzarella is melted
5) slice it and serve with a green salad, chips or roast potatoes
Buon appetito!

Quick Pasta with Aubergine and Ham

After making fried aubergines the other day, I still had one left in the fridge and I also kept the peeled skin from the 3 aubergines for the fried recipe, they are an excellent source of fibre. With some prosciutto in the fridge I needed to finish, I came up with this dish, we could call it pasta with leftovers really. It’s budget friendly as well, certainly under 5 euros, but most important it’s very tasty AND so quick and easy. I don’t have enough time to be able to spend hours in the kitchen, so my recipes need to be easy and simple but still be healthy, tasty and filling. If you are short of time but have a hungry crowd to feed then this  is the right recipe for you: an added bonus is that you don’t really recognize the vegetables, so with a little luck even the children will enjoy it. I leave you now to this easy pasta let me know if you’ll make it.

INGREDIENTS for 4 people:
- 500gr bow pasta (farfalle)
- 1 large aubergine cut in cubes (or use leftovers from other recipes)
- 200 gr of ham or prosciutto, chopped
- salt
- olive oil
- parsley washed and chopped

METHOD:
1) bring to the boil a pot of water, add the pasta and salt, and cook according to the instructions

2) while the pasta cooks, in a frying pan heat some oil, when it's hot add the aubergine and ham and season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid.


3) when the aubergine is soft turn off the heat

4) once the pasta is al dente reserve some of the cooking water and drain the pasta. Add it to the frying pan together with some of the reserved water but not too much you don't want it "wet"

5) finally add parsley and some more olive oil, stir well and serve

Enjoy!

Golden fried Aubergines – Eggplants

This recipe is so simple and cheap, and yet so yummy. In the South of Italy it’s called “Indorate e fritte”, my aunts  make them every other day.
It’s very versatile: you can eat the fried aubergines on their own with a mixed salad, or in a bun, as vegetarian Burgers. They are great used to make “parmigiana” – aubergine pie. Finally, you can cut them small and serve them as nibbles on a little cracker. We like to give them to the children as a snack, as a healthy option instead of  bought chips. The choice is yours, so I leave you to this great recipe. Do let me know if you like it!
INGREDIENTS:
3 aubergines
3 eggs
2 spoonful of grated parmesan cheese
a bowl of plain flour
salt
Olive oil
METHOD:
1) peel the aubergines and slice them thinly (keep the skin and use it for pasta)
3) gently squeeze the aubergines, toss them in flour
4) beat the eggs and season with the cheese and dip in the egg mixture
5) heat abundant oil in a large frying pan, and fry the aubergine slices on both sides, they cook really quickly, so make sure u take them out when they are just golden and put them on a plate covered with kitchen paper for excess oil.
The quickest way to do this is to prepare all the slices in flour first, and put them in egg, before starting frying. Eat them really hot.
Enjoy!

Pappa d’Avena – Porridge

AmarenaTree Porridge

La colazione e’ sicuramente il pasto piu’ importante della giornata, ma se ti alzi presto la mattina chi ha voglia, e tempo, di preparare qualcosa di sano? Alle 7 del mattino il mondo e’ ancora in ordine..Ma alle 7.30 no, quindi via con brioche, merendine o cereali zuccherati…
Cercando alternative sane e a prova di colesterolo ho scoperto I fiocchi d’ avena, e mi sono ricordata di Fiona e Brenda, delle ragazze scozzesi che conoscevo anni fa che il porridge lo mangiavano anche di sera se avevano il frigo vuoto.
Loro lo facevano col latte e zucchero di canna, io lo cucino con l’acqua, voi pero’ potete sostituirla con la stessa quantita’ di latte. Se sono in ritardo la mattina, lo preparo e lo metto in un termos, me lo porto in ufficio e lo mangio’ li’, allontanando le tentazioni dei dolci del bar! Provatelo e fatemi sapere se vi e’ piaciuto.

INGREDIENTI (serve 1 persona): – 50 gr. di fiocchi d’Avena – 300 ml di acqua o latte – a piacere: frutta fresca – noci – miele – cannella – latte freddo

PROCEDIMENTO:

1) versare I fiocchi d’avena in una ciotola adatta al forno microonde

2) versare l’acqua o il latte sui fiocchi e far cuocere nel microonde alla massima temperatura per 1.5 minuti. Far riposare in forno per qualche minute poi cuocere per altri 1.5 minuti. Lasciate riposare ancora per qualche minute poi fate molta attenzione quando maneggiate la scodella perche’ sara’ bollente.

3) aggiungete la frutta fresca che piu’ preferite. Io avevo mela rossa, mirtilli e pera in frigo ,ma di questo periodo aggiungere le fragole e’ una delizia, specialmente se usate il latte, rende il porridge cremoso- fragoloso. Yum

4) se vi piace potete aggiungere miele, noci (io ho usato I semi di zucca) e cannella e potete anche versare latte freddo sul vostro porridge. Buona colazione!

Quick Pasta with beans (Pasta e fagioli)

Pasta with beans is a very old and traditional Italian recipe. It’s a rustic, peasant dish, poor but incredibly tasty. There are many variations of this dish, depending on the geographic area: the recipe I am sharing now is originally from Campania, in the South of Italy.

The traditional recipe requires the use of dry beans, left to soak overnight, and then cooked on the stove for an hour and a half. Unfortunately, I find it very hard to be so organized as to actually prepare the beans the night before, so this is my shortcut for those times in which I feel like eating a rustic, fulfilling, healthy pasta, but I am short on time: I use tinned beans, and I cut out the veggies!

This pasta makes also a great soup, especially if you use smaller pasta shape, it’s very budget friendly, AND it only uses one pot, a win/win really!

I will soon post also the traditional recipe of this dish, but for the moment I leave you to this super quick pasta with beans. If you try it let me know if you like it.

Enjoy!

Tip: if you use rosemary, it’s worth buying fresh, better even if you have it in your garden. You can always freeze what you don’t’ use. I find dry rosemary doesn’t have much flavour, you end up using more of it.

Ingredients for 4 people:

350 gr Pasta Shell

1 tin cooked beans

Salt

A good dash of olive oil

A sprig of rosemary (optional)

chilli or pepper (optional)

Method . Cooking time 10 mins.

1) Empty the content of the tin of beans in a large pot, add some boiling water, salt, chilli and rosemary if using.

2)  When the water is back to the boil add the pasta, make sure the water covers all the pasta

3) When the pasta is cooked, drain excess water if you prefer it more “dry”, or leave it as it is for a soup version.

4) Add a very generous dash of olive oil, better if extra virgin

Pasta with beans soup

5) Dish out and enjoy.