Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Easing Into It

Over my many years of dieting, I've found that chili recipes lend themselves pretty well to being healthified, because it's easy to fill them out with lots of veg. Some recipes are better than others, but in the end, if you keep adding spices, you'll probably turn out something edible.

This is the serving size. Not too shabby.
To give the WW New Complete Cookbook a fighting chance of making a good impression, I figured I'd start with their Beef and Bean Chili (pg 141), which they say to put on top of some brown rice.

I have to say, it was pretty good. There was a good bean and beef to vegetable ratio, and it was thick instead of watery, which has been a problem with some versions I've made in the past. It stays pretty dry because the only fluid added is a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes. I approve.

For once, I did not tinker with the spices. It could have used a bit more of everything (cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt, pepper), but I thought there was a chance Charlie would eat some, so I left it as it was. As it turns out, he did eat several chunks of beef, and then asked for "more beef" an hour later. Wouldn't touch the beans or the veg, but that's recipe victory, as far as getting any of it in his mouth is concerned. Non-dairy protein is the hardest thing to get him to eat, so I was pleased. Matt remarked, with surprise, "This is good! Needs tabasco, but it's good!"

Conclusion: Liked it. I'd make this again. Especially if I could get Charlie to eat more of it.

Quinoa-Fruit Salad (pg 95) caught my eye when I first flipped through the book. I love quinoa, vanilla yogurt, and fruit, so it sounded like a pretty sure thing. It was disappointing. I thought it would be sweeter and creamier from the yogurt. However, 1/4 cup of yogurt (mixed with oj and mint), created a very thin coating for the fruit and quinoa.

I did have to change a few things, but I don't think they'd have saved the recipe. The biggest is that the recipe calls for 1/3 cup of fresh mint. I just planted my mint two weeks ago, and it's not sturdy enough yet to support that kind of trimming. I cut a few sprigs off, but probably only ended up with a tablespoon, at most. I did not taste mint in the finished product.

Strawberries, kiwi, and canned mandarins are the suggested fruits. I used as many strawberries as I had, which was a lot less than the required 1.5 cups, frozen blueberries and raspberries, canned mandarins, and a banana.

Honestly, the not-sweet-enough nature of the dressing and fruit brought the bland flavor of the quinoa to the forefront, somehow.

Conclusion: Just okay. I like the idea of this recipe, but it needs a lot of playing around before it tastes good.

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