Archive for the ‘Cooking for One’ Category

Summer Squash Pasta Substitute

November 10, 2015
Squash slices in Tomato Sauce

Squash slices in Tomato Sauce

I woke up Sunday at 203 pounds, only 23 pounds more to lose in 52 days. Should be OK, if I don’t have too many failures. Todays meal takes the carbohydrates out of Italian food by substituting thin sliced zucchini or summer squash for pasta in tomato sauce.

This recipe is more visual than wordy. I always have tomato sauce in my refrigerator so it is easy to put the sauce on early in the day and let it heat up in my coffeepot.

Prepping the Squash

Prepping the Squash

The squash is pealed and both ends cut off. Then thin slices are cut from the squash.Notice the seed core is not used in this recipe. There is nothing wrong with the core. The resulting meal is just prettier if you ship it.

Summer Squash Slices

Summer Squash Slices

I use a cheese slicer but there are other tools that can do the same.  I love both Summer Squash and Zucchini and previously made this meal out of the latter. The meal is Vegan before the cheese is added and vegetarian after.

Served with Parmesan Cheese

Served with Parmesan Cheese

BTW, the two soursop’s I bought are not ripe but a friend of mine gave me a fully ripe one today and if your not familiar with the fruit, you might think it looks rotten. That is when they are at their sweetest best.

Soursop, Ripe and Green

Soursop, Ripe and Green

Notice the ripe one is bigger than both of the one pound fruits. Therefore, I am looking at a 1000 calories. When I start to eat it, I will have to program myself to make a very light dinner or soup to offset it. Of course it is a sedative so maybe I will offset some of the calories by cutting back on wine. What ever happens, will happen and I will track it.

Losing 25 pounds by New Years -Back to Basics

November 6, 2015
Hard Boiled Eggs - Coffee pot method.

Hard Boiled Eggs – Coffee pot method.

It appears that I am permanently 60 pounds lighter than I was 5 years ago, but at 205, I am still classified as obese. Unfortunately, loosing 100 pounds was a full time job and I am simply not sure I want to work that hard everyday of my life to keep off the last 40 pounds that I regained.

After I recommitted to coffeepot cooking on September 5, I have been somewhat careful about making portion controlled meals, snacking on rabbit food – cucumbers, celery, carrots, lettuce and radishes. I have also cut back slightly on wine but will have to quit drinking entirely if I really want to shed a great deal of weight before the first of the year.

Since September 5th, I am back down to 205 from 212 which really isn’t spectacular for a man who is close to 5′ 8” tall when barefoot. I still walk about 3 to 5 miles a day when it doesn’t rain and everybody tells me I am in great shape, but that is a rather low standard when it comes from a group of old people who eat and drink too much and never exercise. I also checked my last few posts and it seems I get excited about coffeepot cooking and portion controlled meals when I reach 212 to 215 and get bored when I reach 205 pounds.

On the positive side, I am again starting to focus on what I will cook for the day and then prepare portion controlled meals by what ever means necessary. I still use my coffeepot but not as religiously as when I dropped 100 pounds down to 165. I think this foray into the diet world may be more lasting than the last few times as I set a definite goal to lose 25 pounds by the first of the year and keep it off. BTW at 180 pounds I am still classified as overweight but I know at 165 I look terrible and am still considered overweight.

One indication that I am on the right path is I started out by reviewing all the different recipes on my coffeepot cooking blog and preparing portion controlled meals. I am starting to get fixated on portion controlled healthy meals and am searching out full flavored new recipes and have reverted back to vegetarian and even an occasional vegan meal.

Perhaps the biggest change is my breakfast routine. I would pick up my paper along with a grapefruit soda and a bag of nuts. Everybody knows that grapefruit is good for you and nuts are good for your heart. So that was 500 calories whether or not I walked, worked in my yard or spent the day at my desk. Of course, I had toast before I left my house. and cream in my coffee just to round out my morning to about 1000 calories. Now it is just bush tea for breakfast; a blend of cinnamon, lemon-grass and basil.

My plan for the future is to post recipes for portion controlled meals for one person using recipes I have previously posted or new recipes I found and adapted to a portion controlled meal for one person. So what does this diatribe about dieting have to do with hard boiled eggs.

Truthfully, not much except that it reminds me of when I started. I was afraid of safety issues and of course willpower was always a concern. I used an engineering approach to resolve all safety issues and it has not been a concern even when my granddaughters insisted on helping. My safety discussion is here.

I resolves issues with my insatiable appetite by recognizing that if I don’t cook it, I wont eat it. Also, if there are no leftovers in the refrigerator, there will be no temptation to eat between meals. So when it takes all day to cook a meal and there is only one small portion in the pot, I cannot over eat. The complete recipe is here for both cooking the eggs and making egg salad. For the most part, future recipes will stand alone and be complete in ingredients and directions.

Back Again!

September 5, 2015

Well it is sort of official. I am 3 pounds more than when I had my stroke six years ago. Yes, I am still fifty-five pounds lighter than I was at my peak but I once again am officially obese. I live alone with a four burner gas stove and a 36 inch oven. It is far easier to cook three meals at a time than to cook one small meal. Unfortunately, since I lack will power, three meals of 2000 calories only last a day and 1/2. Even worse, when I get into manual labor, I believe I deserve the extra calories and a few beers to wash it down.

The only way I know to break this trend is Coffee Pot Cooking so here I am recycling this blog for the third to fifth time with a twist. I will prepare one portioned controlled meal a day by any means necessary. Tomorrow, I will post on cooking sauteed spicy potatoes and tilapia using my microwave and coffee pot.

I saw Don Bailey from the University tilapia program and swore I was going to get serious about aqua phonics while growing my own fish and greens. Oh well, good intentions pave the way to hell but I did have coffeepot tilapia and sauteed spicy potatoes tonight so the recipe should follow tomorrow. I got lazy and used both my microwave and coffeepot but it was definitely portioned controlled which is my real issue. I have also cooked the same meal in my electric fondue pot set at 275 degrees in a portioned controlled manner but you have to use what you have available.

BTW, I tend to prepare full flavored meals with flexible cooking times that would serve college students, myself as a writer. and other dingy people who are temporally challenged.  The joy of this meal from the coffee pot is you don’t have to watch it as closely as an electric fondue pot.

Also my starting and perhaps final weight if I do not succeed is now 212.

I’m Back with Redneck Calamari and More

February 7, 2014
Redneck Calamari

Redneck Calamari

Half the reason I’m back to coffeepot cooking is that I love to cook with my Granddaughters; especially totally ridiculous meals like the one shown above. Of course this meal pretty much comes without a recipe but most people will figure it out. For those fathers who never cook and occasionally get stuck making a meal for children, the recipe is below with a little warning. Perhaps I should have left a link to my grandfathers and hotdog post.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

Water, Enough

Hotdogs, Enough

Gold Fish Crackers, Enough

Garnish to make it look like seaweed, Optional, I used Cilantro

Method:P1000502a

Cut bottom 2/3 of hotdog into six legs so it looks like a squid.

Hotdogs in Pot

Hotdogs in Pot

Place in coffeepot

Run water throw the coffeemaker.

Let cook on hotplate for an hour.

Arrange on plates and serve.

Warning!

I used good all beef Hebrew National Hotdogs and “Frankly” they were too dry. If I ever do this again, I will intentionally buy the Brand X greasy cheap hotdogs made from pork and chicken so they have flavor at the end of the cooking process.

The other reason, I am returning to portion controlled coffeepot cooking is because I am becoming a “fat slob”. My daughter and niece were the bearers of the negative assessment this time. I first heard this as a medical assessment in Florida after I suffered a stroke in 2010. I was complaining to the doctor that it didn’t make sense as I had already lost 57 pounds which was morbid obesity at my height.

At the time of the stroke, I was at 210 and still medically classified as obese. Frustrated the doctor explained that he really didn’t care how much I had lost in the past, I was still officially obese and a fat slob.

Over the past 18 months, I have written two books, I never stopped exercising. But as I slid out of my comfort zone of 172 to 178, I never really noticed that there was a dramatic change in my cooking, eating and drinking.

Because  I was researching and writing about history, I stopped my passion for reading and writing about food. I quit cooking in my coffeepot and started grilling double portions on the grill and eating it all or cooking the food in my cute small crockpot which is still bigger than my coffeepot. When I am researching and writing about anything other than food and dieting, I sort of pace around the house and mindlessly eat. At night, I have a few extra glasses of wine so I can kill my brain activity and go to sleep.

Big Belly Man

Big Belly Man

So in 2014 just 2 pounds short of where I had my stroke, I have come to accept that I must split my time between doing what I want and doing what I need to do. I will start becoming food and diet focused again spending some time finding recipes and preparing meals based on quality not quantity. The next time I post a picture, I am sure it will be better than the one above or I must begin to accept that their may not be a next time if I don’t take care of myself.

Crockpot Stuffed Peppers

April 25, 2013
Stuffed Peppers and Broccoli Side

Stuffed Peppers and Broccoli Side

In January last year, I published two posts about stuffed peppers on my blog as this is one of the foods from my youth that I really liked. I am glad that I was publishing recipes while I dropped my 100 pounds, because it allows me to see how much my tastes have changed over time. In the post fifteen months ago, I was still favoring ground beef and in transition over white rice.

When I decided to make the stuffed peppers in my new Crockpot, there were several changes. First, it is much easier to get the stuffed pepper out of a Crockpot rather than a coffeepot because of the wider lid. But the really big change has been my evolution of ingredients. I no longer cook with salt. Yes, I have it on hand and use it occasionally but it is no longer a mindlessly included ingredient. I make up the lack of salt by using more spices.

I now use ground turkey instead of ground beef. Also, I no longer have any white rice in the house but favor brown rice or barley. Except for the cutting back on salt, the rest were not really conscious decisions and I don’t make a big deal out of them when my family is doing the cooking. I pretty much eat what is served and enjoy it. Without salt, I prefer the richer flavors of brown rice and barley over white rice. The original recipe which used ground beef, white rice and salt is here and my latest effort is below:

Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:
Stuffing Ingredients:
5 oz. (1/3 pound) ground turkey
1 small onion diced
½ cup cooked barley or brown rice
4 oz. Tomato sauce (canned or Italian)
1 tsp garlic
¼ tsp pepper
1 egg

Additional Ingredients:
2 medium bell peppers (Red or Green Look Best when cooked)
4-8 oz. Tomato sauce

Directions:
1.Combine all the stuffing ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix until uniform.
2.Cut tops off of peppers, remove seeds and stuff with mixture.
3.Place in Crockpot
4.Add additional sauce until just completely covered.


Stuffed Pepper in Crockpot

Stuffed Peppers in the Crockpot

5.Cook covered 4-6 hours.
6.Serve with coleslaw or Broccoli

Best part no leftovers to tempt me!

Kidney Stew, I Am My Mother’s Son!

July 8, 2012

Kidney Stew

I like Kidney Stew because my mother liked Kidney Stew. My brother and sister hated it and when we were poor under fed kids which was the last time I was underfed in my life until I adapted my new lifestyle of portion controlled meals, this was the only meal where I actually got enough meat to eat.

Seems, my sister and brother hated kidneys so bad that I could trade one piece of carrot or one potato for a couple of pieces of their kidneys. So I ended up with all their meat and still retained some of my potatoes and carrots. When I mention that I still make kidney stew, and have actually ordered kidneys in mustard sauce as an appetizer, it just confirmed to them that I am still nuts. Well, Mom lived to be 93 years old with her mind still functioning so she must have been doing something right with her diet.

The recipe is a standard stew recipe with a few adaptations to make allow for cooking in my coffeepot. The single biggest one being to stew the kidneys n olive oil and rum for a couple of hours to tenderize them and avoid that rubbery texture you can get when you cook kidneys too fast at high temperatures.

Ingredients:

1 T Butter
1 T flour

2 Potatoes cut into bite sized pieces
2 Carrots coined
1 tsp salt
6 cups water

1 pound kidneys (trim off all the fat and cut into bite sized pieces)
1 T crushed garlic or 3 cloves minced
1 onion rough cut
1 oz Rum
2 T olive oil
2 stalks of celery cut into small pieces
1 bay leaf
1 beef bullion cube
12 oz of water

Method:

1. Let the butter come to room temperature then mix in the flour until a smooth paste. Let sit at room temperature until needed.

2. Wash then peal the potatoes or not, it’s your choice. Cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces.

3. Wash then slice carrots into coined pieces.

4. Add carrots and potatoes to coffeepot with salt and pass about 6-8 cups of clean water through the coffeemaker.

5. When done, cover with foil and cook covered for about 2 hours until soft.

6. While waiting, all of the fat has to be cut off the kidneys prior to cooking. This is a tedious process so go slowly until you get the knack of it. Cut the kidneys into bite sized pieces

7. When done drain the potatoes and carrots and set aside.

8. Add the kidneys,onions, garlic, olive oil, rum, bay and celery to the pot.

9. Cook covered for 2-4 hours, until tender.

10. Add bullion to the pot and then pass the 12 ounces of water through the coffeemaker.

12. When water is done steaming mix it into the flour and water mixture in the bowl until you get a smooth gravy.

13. Add the carrots and potatoes to the pot and return the gravy to the coffeepot. Cook covered for a couple more hours.

If you like kidneys, you will love kidney stew. If you have never tried it, they are very inexpensive to cook and you just may like them. They are in the same texture and flavor range as beef liver. For me, they also bring back fond memories of my Mother.

Coffeepot Lasagna: Oxymoron or Good Eating?

June 23, 2012

Rolled Lasagna: Coffeepot Style

When my parents started getting older, it seemed that all they wanted to talk about was the weather and their grandchildren. Now the first topic is boring and there is not much I can do about it, but I must admit that I spend a lot of time talking to my children about their wonderful and sometimes not quite so wonderful children. I also spend a significant amount of time talking to my children about business, exercise (their’s and mine) and cooking.

My daughter discovered a recipe for rolled lasagna in early April and was concerned that it was not quite perfect. We talked about it and it sounded like something that could be done in my coffeepot but I didn’t get around to it until just before Memorial Day and have been too busy since then with my anti-inflammatory diet to worry about publishing new recipes.

However, I get two of my three Granddaughters for the first three weeks in August and this is another one of those fun meals that shouldn’t be possible to make. Even the name Coffeepot Lasagna sounds like an oxymoron. One of the most important things I learned with his meal is that you can cook the whole box of lasagna noodles and the ones that you don’t use can be frozen between layers of wax-paper and are perfectly fine for another day.

Naturally, my daughter and I never cook anything exactly the same way. She tends to be aware and adapt to the contemporary interpretations of old recipes and I tend to do it the old-fashioned way. It’s all good. When I cook, she loves it. When she cooks, I love it. The biggest difference in this recipe is that she included crumbled cooked sausage in her cheese mix for the filling, I sliced cooked meatballs and made it a layer on top of the filling. If I were including sausage, which I have in the past, I slice it and include it with the meatball slices or in a separate layer. Oh well, to each their own.

Rolled Lasagna

Ingredients:

1 cup Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan
1 egg
4 oz shredded Mozzarella
handful fresh parsley minced

3 Lasagna noodles cooked as per box directions.

Method:

1. Cook all the noodles and freeze the ones you don’t use between sheets of wax paper.

2. Microwave one portion of frozen meatballs for the appropriate amount of time.

3. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.

Spread the Cheese Mix on the Lasagna Noodles

4. Spread the cheese mix on the noodles.

5. Place the sliced cooked meatballs on top of the noodles and dab a little sauce on top of everything.

6. Roll and spike with toothpick to hold.

7. Put a little sauce in bottom of coffeepot so nothing sticks.

Cooked Rolled Lasagna

8. Place meatballs inside and cook for two to four hours.

9. Enjoy

I haven’t made this in the three years since Dolores died but I am definite I will make it when my granddaughters are here. Truth be told, I forgot to dab the sauce on top of the cheese and meatball layer before rolling because it’s been too long, but that is the traditional way to do it.

Ah, I remember it well!

Fish is Brain Food – Fact or Fiction??

May 19, 2012


Salt Fish Marinara (Baccala alla Marinara)

My mother always said fish was brain food and ate a lot of fish. She snacked on sardines and tuna and loved any fish we caught and cooked it for herself if no one else wanted fish. She died at the age of 93 with her brain still functioning and her wit and wisdom intact. I eat a lot of Fish because I like it.

When I first started my lifestyle change, I went to a nutritionist who also supported the consumption of large amounts of fish and the use of a fish oil supplement for improved cardiovascular health and this was definitely not a problem for me. Now that I have been living my new life style for two and a half years I am satisfied with my weight and excercise program so I have started to focus on what I eat. Unfortunately, fish has a tendency to concentrate the highly toxic environmental pollutant methyl mercury. Methyl Mercury is so toxic that a few drops on the outside of a scientist’s protective rubber glove which was cleaned and disposed of instantly still caused death within five days by skin adsorption.

Around 2000, the FDA and EPA put out a joint advisory that women who wanted to get pregnant, were pregnant or lactating should stop eating fish. Many did and the results proved my mom knew what she was talking about. Seems that scientist found a benifit for children of women who ignored the warning and continued to consume ocean fish. Their children had advanced cognitive and motor skill development compared to the children of women who skipped fish in the diet. Moreover, resent research reports from the University of California at Berkley document that eating fish can play a positive role in mental health. Some interesting preliminary studies suggest that fish oil, usually in the form of supplements because they are easy to use in research, may be of some help in treating bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) and schizophrenia.

I never stopped eating fish as the probability of me being pregnant or lactating is remote and at least two (anchovies and tilapia) of the four fish that I regularly eat are low in mercury. I am not too worried about the high mercury level in ahi tuna as I can’t afford to eat it very often. The other fish I love has been worshiped in a bawdy calypso song by the Mighty Sparrow.

Saltfish,
Nothing in the world sweeter than
Saltfish
English, colloquial, Bajans
Saltfish,
It’s sweeter than meat
When you want to eat
All saltfish sweet

If you look up the health benefits of saltfish, people who are not familiar with cooking or eating this fish condemn it for it’s high salt content. If you check Mediterranean or Caribbean Recipes, you find the salt is extracted from the meat over 24 hours with multiple water washes and you sometimes have to add flavor to the pot because all the salt has been removed.

The meal pictured above was actually closer to my Perfect Puttanesca because after washing the saltfish, it had very little flavor. You don’t lose the protein or oil by soaking the fish just the salt. Since I was just starting the meal, I used the following ingredients to build more flavor.

Ingredients:

Tablespoon extra virgin Olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
1 large yellow onion -diced
Thin slice scotch bonnet hot pepper or crushed red pepper to taste
3-4 thin pieces of anchovies the size you get on pizza -diced
1 sprig basil with leaves
1 fresh bay leaf
T capers
Can of diced tomatoes.
4 to 6 ounces of well washed saltfish

Method:

1. The oil, garlic, onion, anchovies pepper, bay and basil are placed together in the coffee pot and and sautéed for about two hours
2. The capers are added to the pot along with the can of tomatoes. Stir and let cook 2-4 hours
3. About 1 hour before dinner, add the saltfish.
Serve with Pasta

A final thought is that all saltfish is not created equal. The three main variety of fish are Ling, Cod and Alaskan Pollock. Ling and Cod have high mercury levels so Alaskan Pollock is the preferred choice. Even at that, the recommended amount of Ling and Cod is no more than 12 ounces of fish per week I eat 4 to 6 ounces of saltfish about once a month so I guess it really wouldn’t matter which one I chose. Given that they are all available and all about the same price, I guess I’ll stick with Alaskan Pollock.

Even Better Bok Choy

April 24, 2012

Good, better, best.
Never let it rest.
Until your good is better
and your better is best.

Cooked Bok Choy

With all the Bok Choy in my garden, I had to keep searching for a low sodium way to prepare it or else keep giving it away. I found this recipe over at allrecipes.com and there are a few differences other than it calls for no salt at all. With a cooking time of 15 minutes, it is a lot longer than any of the other stir fry recipes I had seen. It also includes capers, vinegar and lemon juice to essentially give this bland vegetable some more flavor beyond the ginger and garlic. Well of course I wasn’t going to buy red wine vinegar just to test the recipe and with a lime tree outside my kitchen door, I thought it senseless to buy a lemon when I use lime for every recipe that calls for lemon and like the taste. So with these very minor changes, the Bok Choi turned out excellent and I will be eating more of it and testing other low sodium recipes with a little longer cooking time.

Ingredients:

6 big leaves bok choy
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 T capers
1 T minced garlic
1 T minced fresh ginger root
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 dash fresh lime juice, or to taste

Method:

1. Remove the leaves from the stems of the bok choy. Cut the stems into bite-sized chunks and shred the leaves.

2. Heat the olive oil in large skillet over medium heat and add the stems to the pan

3. Cook the bok choy stems in the oil until slightly tender, about 3 minutes.

4. Add the water and chopped leaves and cook until the water is gone or about 10 more minutes.

5. Stir in the capers, garlic, and ginger and cook 1 minute more.

6. Sprinkle the vinegar and lime juice over the bok choy and remove from heat;

7. Serve immediately.

I used this as a substitute for my mid day salad and am planning a smoked turkey and Bok Choy dinner now that I find I prefer the taste of well cooked bok choy.

Pollo en Escabeche – A Zesty Chicken Dinner

April 23, 2012

Pollo en Escabeche - A Zesty Chicken Dinner

In my last post on Pollo en Escabeche, I mentioned a Goya recipe that looked attractive and for the most part, I followed their recipe with only a few minor changes. What attracted my attention was that their meal was definitely served as a dinner and not just an appetizer. Well I just had to give it a try to see how their presentation compared to mine.

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast, skinned and deboned.
1 packets Sazón GOYA con Azafrán
1/2 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium onions, thinly sliced and separated into rings
2 carrots, coined
2 T crushed garlic
1/2 tsp. Paprika
1 bay leaves
½ tsp thyme
3 whole cloves
1 thin slice scotch bonnet pepper
1 T Spanish olives
1 oz dark rum
2 oz Lime or Lemon Juice
2 oz Balsamic Vinegar

Method:

  1. Wash chicken with lime and sprinkle evenly with Sazón.
  2. Add oil to the coffeepot and add all ingredients except rum, vinegar and chicken.
  3. Cook about 1 hour until onions are glazed add rum and chicken. Cook covered until done. Minimum of 2 hours but can be up to 8 hrs.
  4. Add vinegar, stir and serve.
  5. I served the chicken hot with brown rice and used the oil blend as gravy for the rice.

Actually, I think I like this better than the appetizer Pollo en Escabeche that I previously published. Even though it used the same ingredients, it just looks more like a dinner.