New: Recipe Tuesdays

A friend of mine posted a link to “13 banned foods still allowed in the U.S.” and I was intrigued by a link on that same page was to “50 Seemingly Healthy Foods that are Bad for You”. Fortunately I know to take such lists with a grain of salt, yet as I clicked through all 50 items in the slide show, I was both puzzled and bemused. So many of these foods are packaged or pre-prepared! Since when did fruity gummy snacks start counting as “healthy”? Once again, repeating the observation I made about the lack of vegetarian options in American restaurants, I saw the obsession with calorie counting. I just want to say it here loud and clear: fewer/no calories does NOT equal “healthy”!

Maybe I’m not sympathetic enough to what seems to be the target audience of people trying to lose weight by eating “healthily”. Yes, I am one of those people who always buys full-fat yoghurt and drinks semi-skimmed or whole milk. I just don’t eat junk food; my sweet tooth is picky and limited; I shy away from prepackaged sandwiches and meals; I eat until I’m satisfied and only when I’m hungry. I don’t think about calories at all when I eat or cook —  or, if I do, it’s to make sure I’m getting enough. I choose to eat what I eat because I like it and because, well, it’s healthy.

So, for an experiment, I am going to keep a log of what I eat from today until next Tuesday. And to ensure to my readers that I’m not rigging it by consciously choosing low-calorie foods I will wait to do all the calculating at the very end. I already know that the calculations are going to be tricky because I prepare most of my food.

Until then, I leave with you a recipe I recently made for dinner. This new series also will make up for my lack of book reviews: I may not read as much these days, but I still have to eat! Chosen because it is vegetarian, full of yummy veg, and colourful, F. and I enjoyed this roasted butternut squash with goat’s cheese.

Roasted butternut squash with goat’s cheese
(adapted from BBC Good Food)
Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (or a glob)
  • a pinch dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • half a courgette, cut into chunks
  • half a sweet red pepper, cut into chunks
  • half a carrot, cut into chunks
  • a handful of chestnut mushrooms, cut into chunks
  • 1 small red onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 100g cherry tomatoes
  • 25g pine nuts
  • 50g goat’s cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 tbsp breadcrumbs (made from plain crackers)
  • a dash of dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp grana padano (or parmesan)
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds then cut criss-cross patterns over the cut-side of each one. Mix together the garlic, 2 tbsp olive oil, chilli and thyme and brush this mixture over the flesh. Bake for about 30-40 minutes until the flesh is tender.
  2. Meanwhile, make the filling: put the courgette, pepper and onion in a roasting tin and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil. Season and roast for about 20-25 minutes until tender and starting to brown at the edges. Add the cherry tomatoes and pine nuts and cook for another 10 minutes.
  3. Mix the breadcrumbs, parsley and grana padano. Arrange the roasted vegetables and goat’s cheese in the squash halves, scatter with the breadcrumb mix and bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

It was delicious — and there was enough filling left over to mix with couscous the next day for a yummy lunch. The next time I make this, though, I will also peel the squash to make sure that it cooks all the way through, leaving no hard bits.

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3 thoughts on “New: Recipe Tuesdays

  1. Rebecca says:

    I am trying to lose weight, (and have lost 21 lbs since November). In this way I am the target audience of the article. But I only eat two items on the list (in fact, about 40 of them I’ve never eaten in my life): canned soup (occasionally) and tinned beans (I am British after all!). It’s fairly obvious that things like granola and granola bars aren’t healthy, and I think that *everyone* knows that low-fat foods have hidden sugar and salt by now. The article falls down on one main point: that of comparison. Yes, popcorn isn’t ‘healthy’, but it’s probably a better snack than a massive bar of chocolate or a sausage roll!

    Like

    • Chera says:

      I had noticed the lack of comparison as well. But what just gets me is this association that fewer calories must mean that something is healthier. Instead of commenting on whether the items on the list lacked important nutrients or had no nutritional value, the list focused on calorie count. Focusing just on calories doesn’t seem healthy to me!

      Like

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