Healthy Recipes

Okay, they aren't all healthy, but they are delicious
(aka how to cook mostly veggie and like the taste)
(from Makani)  Revised day after Thanksgiving, 2012

INDEX Healthy and Delicious Recipes

  • Comments for Healthy Eating
  • Mindfulness, Drinking Water, Easy Chopping Tools + Cast-Iron Frying Pans
  • Healthy Substitutions (for eggs, butter, dairy)
  • Sprouted Foods (Seeds and Nuts) (low fat, high protein)
  • Juice it – Feel Great concoctions
  • The Best Cesar Salad Dressing
  • Garlic Bread
  • Any Fish Etouffée (New Orleans taste, great fish nutrition)
  • Curried Chicken or Tofu and Veggies 
  • Homemade Chutneys
  • Cucumber Yogurt
  • Vegetarian 3 Bean Chili 
  • Italian Chicken Bake
  • Tofu Tacos (Make Tofu taste yummy)
  • Mushroom Cutlets (EXCELLENT veggie burger- sorry not gluten-free, but could be)
  • Vegetarian Yet Fulfilling Dishes
  • Mushroom Nutbake
  • Stuffed Tofu
  • Tofu Mayonaise
  • Easiest and Very Tasty Cranberry Sauce
  • Three Homemade Gravies
  • Really Easy, Pretty Darn Low-Fat, Rich Gravy
  • Cashew Gravy
  • Onion Gravy
  • Comments on Weight Loss
  • Cranberry-Water flushes  

Mindfulness and Eating
Okay, okay, most of us at one time or another shovel the food down at the fastest speed possible. I tell people it's because I had siblings who would nab the good stuff off my plate. I think I made that up. Every book on nutrition and weight loss says slow down. Sure, easier said than done, though. So here is a little task I invite you to try. It's called mindfulness eating. I learned about it at a "stress reduction" mindfulness seminar that I took with Dr. Bob Stahl. Here is how you can try it out for starters. Pop a raisin in your mouth (if you hate raisins, chose another fruit!). Now suck on it. Feel it with your tongue. Taste it. I don't want to spoil the fun and tell you what will happen, but if you take a minute (or so) to mindfully eat that raisin, you will discover tastes, sensations, textures, and thoughts you never would have expected.
Drinking water
My sister, Bonnie, told me a great story about drinking water that comes from Kathleen DesMaisons' book The Sugar Addict's Total Recovery Program. Again, drinking water is something that we should all do more of. But water can be a little dull sometimes. So Kathleen says to make drinking lots of water easier, spruce it up with a lemon wedge for more flavor without any sugar. If someone dares to give you grief about your water and lemons, throw the lemon at him! Supposedly we should be drinking half our body's weight in ounces every day. So a person who weighs 160 pounds should drink 80 ounces, that's 10 cups per day! Heck, that's not that much. If the drink has no sweeteners or caffeine in it, such as a cup of lemon water or herbal tea, then it can count toward your daily water intake.
Easier Vegetable Chopping
We have one of those Zyliss food choppers. Everyone should have one. No electricity. Easy to clean up. Pulverizes veggies. No need for a garlic press (that loses way too much garlic anyway). Costs $7 at Ross and $20 at kitchen stores. I have tried other brands, they work okay. The Zyliss is great. Worth every penny. And mostly, the reason why everyone should have one of these is the drastic reduction in emergency room visits for stitches on your non-chopping hand!
Cast-Iron Frying Pans
We have 2 cast-iron 10 inch wide frying pans, one cast-iron 6 inch wide frying pan, and a cast-iron wok. We picked them up at our local camping store and at the flea market. Using the non-stick frying pans isn't that good for you and yes it does save on the fats, but it still is cooking on plastic. I suggest you get a cast-iron pan and use 1 teaspoon light olive oil. Get the pan hot enough so that if you sprinkle a couple of water droplets on it, the water dances.  (If the oil starts smoking, toss the oil and start again- it's rancid now.) I generally cook on a medium to high flame. To care for your cast-iron pan. Wash it with hot soapy water. Rinse. And to prevent any rust, dry it with a towel before putting it away. In the old hippie days, people would say no soap, and to cook it dry. Not necessary and a bit disgusting if you ask me. On a side note, it is said that you can increase you iron intake by eating foods cooked in cast-iron pans. Cool, strong blood cells too.

Make your snacks/recipes even more healthy with substitutions:
Instead of frying in oils or fats:
Start your sauté with 1T light olive oil. Toss in your veggies or whatever. Then add small amounts of water to cook them with out more oil or burning them. Cover to get the steam to help cook as well.
Supplement some protein:
Nuts and seeds (sprout the nuts and seeds for less fat and more protein)
Rice milk or soy milk (unsweetened)
Soy protein powder (unsweetened)

Instead of eggs:
    1/2 mushed ripe banana = 1 egg
    1/4 c. apple sauce = 1 egg
Instead of butter:
    1/4 c. light olive oil (or safflower oil) = 1/c butter
Instead of dairy:
    Instead of cream cheese:
        Blend tofu in the blender and season (There are lots of ways to make tofu blends)
            Sweet bagel spread: sweeten with honey and add apple pie spices
           Tofu mayonaise: add lemon, salt, oil, and seasonings
Instead of milk:
    Rice dream or soy milk for milk in recipes or as a drink

Sprouted seeds and nuts:
This will lower the fat content by 40% and keep the protein.
 It will also increase the vitamin and mineral content tremendously.
For garbanzos, green peas, lentils, unshelled sunflower seeds, flax seed:
    • Soak nuts and seeds for 6 to 12 hours.
    • Drain and leave in jar (covered by mesh or cheese cloth to allow air but not flies).
    • Rinse and drain twice a day.
    • They are ready in 1 to 2 days
For juicy, chewy nuts but not sprouted:
    • Soak for 6 hours.
    • Drain and leave in jar (covered by mesh).
    • Ready to eat in 6-12 hours.
For Almond Cream (delicious, creamy substance that can be seasoned in many different ways.)
(from the Ann Wigmore Foundation)
    • Soak almonds in water for 24 hours.
    • Rinse.
    • Blanch: put in boiling water for 20-30 seconds.
    • Drain.
    • “Pop” off the brown covering.
    • Put in blender.
    • Add water just over almond line.
    • Blend until smooth
    • season to your taste likes
Be sure to use "better-for-you" chips:
    • Look on the package and make sure there is no MSG or monosodium glutamate or fake fats.
    • Baked chips are better than oily or fried chips
    • Natural cheese krinkles (Trader Joes brand are great)
    • Natural corn chips
    • Natural corn tortilla chips
    • Sesame chips
    • Pita bread triangles
    • Ground wheat crackers
    • Pretzels (sticks or regular)
    • Make your own chips in a dehydrator (flax ones are pretty easy)
Juice it – Feel Great concoctions

  • In the juicer, combine veggies to taste- get innovative and try different blends
  • The basics: carrots, celery, beets
  • The spicy ones: a finger of ginger root, parsley, cilantro
  • The good for you but sometimes intense greens: kale, chard, spinach greens/stems
I like my juices pink and orange (not really too green) and I love a slight hint of a spice here and there. So my fav juiced concoction is a few carrots, a beet, a celery stalk, some ginger, a leaf or two of one of the big greens.

Healthy Recipes- for happy, healthy eating
Kevin Criss'  Cesar Salad (Kevin is my brother in law)
So here is the recipe for the best salad dressing in the world.
It is a Cesar Salad dressing and is intended for a Cesar Salad...
but I have added some extra "good-for-you" ingredients and tips...
The Dressing: (for about six servings of salad) (mix in a jar with a lid)
(I have made a quadruple recipe of this and saved it in the fridge for weeks.)
   1/2 c olive oil (I use the light Olive Oil by Bertolli)
   4 T tarragon vinegar (or any fancy vinegar that you have on hand)
   1 t mayonnaise (I am partial to the Safflower mayo or Soy Mayonnaise or a light Mayo)
   1 t dijon mustard (or any fancy mustard in your fridge)
   2 t fresh lemon juice (if you don't have it, don't sweat it, it will taste okay without it)
   3/4 to 1 t salt
   1/2 t sugar (I actually use granulated fructose and I am sure honey would work)
   3/4 t black pepper
   3/4 t white pepper (this is really funny, because I have never bought white pepper,
                               just use 1 1/2 t black pepper)
   1 medium clove chopped garlic
The Cesar Salad:
    Crush 1 clove garlic with a little olive oil onto the salad bowl sides and bottom.
     (Chop the  remnants of this smushed garlic to the dressing as extra garlic.)
    Put in salad makings:
       Romaine lettuce
       1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese (definitely use fresh and grate it yourself-
                                                       the dried stuff really ruins the salad)
       Other colorful and tasty veggies: (whatever is around and you like... add it)
          Orange/ Red/ Yellow/ or Green bell peppers
          chopped up fresh string beans
          grated carrots
          grated zucchini or other squash
          cherry tomatoes
          sprouted anything: (click here to read about sprouting)
                garbanzos, peas, alfalfas, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, buckwheat, etc.
          etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.
       Croutons (I never really add these... don't like buying them and don't find
                      myself  making them... a nice alternative is serve the salad with
                      freshly made garlic bread.)
Mix the salad together in your big salad bowl and then pour on the dressing.
If you make extra dressing (ie. double your recipe) save it in the fridge for another day.

Fresh Garlic Bread
    Sourdough bread cut into slices either lengthwise or in slices
    spoon on a dash of light olive oil
    sprinkle on chopped up fresh garlic
    sprinkle on salt
  Cook for a short time (3 min?) in broiler but with oven set on 450 F or so. Warning! Don't leave the room or you will have charcoal instead of bread.... the broiler part goes very fast. :)

AnyFish Etouffée
(Fish in a red sauce served over rice.)
AnyFish means- catfish, salmon, steelhead trout, etc. Hey, deep sea fishes are good for the essential fatty acids... so pick one of those.
Etouffée (pronounced ay too fay) is a French word that we first encountered at the best New Orleans food booth at a Strawberry Music Festival in years gone past. They served a terrific Crayfish Etouffée over rice. The recipes I have seen on the web include 1/2 cup of oil and deep frying. Not for me.
Here is our variation:
First, start your brown rice cooking:
1 cup rice to 2 cups water. Turn down once boil has begun. Cook 35-45 minutes.
Oven 350 degrees F
Estimated prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Sauté (in a cast-iron pan if possible): 
1 T light olive oil
1 small onion, sliced into half rings or chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery sliced into thin 2 inch strips or chopped
1/2 to 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
(I use McCormick taco seasoning, no MSG. It basically has some chilli pepper, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt, oregano)
1 cup spaghetti sauce (we use Classico Tomato and Basil)
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon (or more/less to taste) tobasco sauce
Cook down for 10 minutes or so. Stir occasionally.
Put fish in a casserole dish.
Cover with sauce.
Cover the casserole dish.
Cook for 20 minutes (or until fish is done)
Serve over 1cup of brown rice
Serve with steamed green beans or broccoli or perhaps with a nice salad.

Curried Chicken or Tofu and Veggies
We love Curried foods. Not too spicy. Just enough cumin and tumeric to make it tasty. My kid likes the make it yourself style of this food. We look at this meal as an Indian burrito. The fun is in having lots of little bowls of extras to pick and choose from on the table. Enjoy!
Estimated prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20-30 minutes
(Remember to start your Basmati rice and chutneys cooking simultaneously)
For Tofu variation:
Chop tofu into 3/4 inch cubes.
Spritz with Bragg's Aminos or tamari
Set aside.
For Chicken variation: (you can prepare this simultaneously with your veggies)
Chop chicken (I prefer skinless chicken breasts) into 1- 1 1/2 inch strips.
Cook in 1 T light olive oil in a cast-iron pan.
When the insides of the biggest chicken pieces are no longer pink, it's done.
Set aside.
Curried Veggies:
Sauté (in a cast-iron wok or fying pan if possible):
1 T light olive oil
1 small onion, sliced into quarter rings or chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
After the onions are clear, add
1 cup chopped (fine) brocolli
1 red bell pepper
2 leaves chard (or any green leafy in the fridge)
and any other veggies you like
After the veggies are all sautéd, add
2 T Patak's Mild Curry Paste (Get it at Cost Plus or a natural food store)
1/4-1/2 cup of water (to a saucy consistency you like)
Put the cooked chicken or tofu chunks on top, stir in gently and serve when tofu and chicken is same temperature as veggies.
Serve over Basmati rice.
Serve with homemade chutneys (see below).
Serve with cucumber yogurt (see below) or low fat, small curd cottage cheese (for the non-yogurt, creamy food lovers).
Serve with warmed flour tortillas (or chapatis) (toss them in the oven at low for a few minutes).

Homemade Chutneys
Estimated prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Chop fruits into little chunks: (you pick and chose your fruits)
Here are some combinations I have made (often based on having a different color chutney):
Sweet apples + Raisins
Mango + pickled or crystalized ginger
Blueberries + Apples
1/2 t- 1t fresh ginger, grated
1/2-1t vinegar (rice vinegar is nice) (to taste)
1t-3t maple syrup or honey (to taste)
1/4-1/2 c water- depends on amount and water content of fruits
Cook (simmer) for about 10 minutes- until fruits are soft.
You can store the extra chutney in a jelly jar in the fridge for quite a while.
I like it when I have some old chutneys on hand to go with the current new one.
It makes the table have more variety to pick and chose from.
Cucumber Yogurt
1c plain yogurt
Lightly pickled cucumber
    (Soak chopped cuke pieces in a light vinegar/ water/ salt mixture for about 15-30 minutes.)
Purée the pickled cukes in a blender and mix with the yogurt.
Serve with a mint leaf on top (if you feel fancy).

Vegetarian 3 Bean Chili
Estimated prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Sauté (in a cast-iron wok if possible):
1 T light olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
After the onions are clear, add
1 cup chopped (fine) brocolli
1 red bell pepper
2 leaves chard (or any green leafy in the fridge)
After the veggies are all sautéd, add
1 can pimento beans (drained)
1 can kidney beans (drained)
1 can black beans (drained)
1 can tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce (optional) or use water
Stir in spices:
1 T taco seasoning (McCormick has no MSG)
1 t maple syrup
1/2 t cinnamon
Cook (simmer) for a shile to get the juices just right.
Serve with plain or with grated Monterey jack cheese on top.

Italian Chicken Bake
This was created after a wonderful dinner at Ciao Bella! in Ben Lomand. A place that really was worth it. Sadly it is no longer open. One would go for the excellent food but end up laughing at the atmosphere: Kermit the Frog, Marilyn Monroe, and plenty of glow in the dark absurdities hang from everywhere on the walls and ceilings. Stage performances nightly. Children were welcome but therapy may have been necessary as a result of going. PS, they of course used prosciutto not turkey bacon.
Oven 350 degrees F
Estimated prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4
In a caserole dish:
Put 2 chicken breasts (no bones) that you have cut open an area in the middle (like a sandwich)
Put in 1 slice of Monterey Jack Cheese
Put in 1 slice of Turkey Bacon, folded (we like Louis Rich Turkey Bacon)
Smear the top of the chicken breast with a good mustard (Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Mustard is yummy)
Cover the dish.
Cook for 20 minutes (or until chicken is done)
Serve with veggies, salad, you know- something green and good for you.

Tofu Tacos  
(Make tofu taste yummy)
Estimated prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4
Cook on a hot cast-iron frying pan (if possible) in a little bit of light olive oil.
1 cube of firm tofu, crumbled
1/2 to 1 tablespoon taco seasoning (I use McCormick taco seasoning, no MSG.)
1/2 cup of water.
Simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
Serve on hard shell tacos
Serve with little bowls to allow people to make their own tacos of the following:
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped lettuce
Grated Monterey Jack Cheese
Avocado slices

Mushroom Cutlets  
(EXCELLENT veggie burger)
Estimated prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4
Mix in a big bowl:
1 cup of mushrooms, chopped (Any mushrooms are great, if you want the added value of nutritional support, use the shitake mushrooms or for more flavor, try the portobellos.)
2 pieces of whole wheat bread, crumbled (or whatever you have on hand, even gluten-free bread works)
2 eggs
3/4 cup of Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Form into patties
Cook on a hot cast-iron frying pan (if possible) in a little bit of light olive oil.
Don't flip them too early. Wait for it... wait... wait... wait until you think it will stick together...
Okay, flip- the bottom should be a dark golden brown (is it?) (If not, let the others cook some more)
Serve alone (better) or on bread.
Serve with veggies/ salad and brown rice.

Vegetarian Dishes- not necessarily low fat, just no meat.
Thank you Staff of Life, Santa Cruz, CA, where I worked back in 1986-1987, for these old standbys.
Mushroom Nutbake (thanks Staff of Life for this one)
Oven 350 degrees F
Estimated prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
2 cups chopped mushrooms
3 stalks chopped celery
1 chopped medium onion
2 pieces crumbled whole wheat bread
(and 1 more piece crumbled whole wheat bread for topping later)
4 eggs
¾ cup Monterey jack cheese
10 shakes Spike seasonings
Mix wet and dry ingredients
Pack into casserole
Sprinkle crumbled bread on top.
Cover to bake for 35 minutes.
Uncover and bake for remaining 5 minutes.
Serve with Cashew Gravy (or Really Easy Gravy) (see below)
Stuffed Tofu (thanks Staff of Life for this one)
Oven at 325 degrees F
Estimated prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
1 c flour
3 c cooked brown rice
2-3 stalks celery
1 c chopped cabbage (about ½ med cabbage)
1 c chopped zucchini (2 small zukes)
2 medium onions, chopped
¼ lb butter (1 stick) (or substitute 1/8-1/4 light olive oil)
1- 2 slices whole grain bread, crumbled
1t salt
½ t pepper
1t oregano
1t basil
1t poultry seasoning
Mix spices then mix them with stuffing ingredients
On bottom of casserole dish:  Grate 1 lb of tofu
Middle: Stuffing
Top: Tofu mayo (see below)
Serve with Onion Gravy (or Really Easy Gravy) (see below)
Cook for 45 minutes (covered for first 40 minutes)

Tofu mayonaise: add lemon, salt, oil, and seasonings 
·        Tofu- silken or soft works best, but I've used the firm as well.
·        Add to taste and consistency: light olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and seasonings (as a seasoning, Spike is great)

Easiest and Very Tasty Cranberry Sauce
1 bag of cranberries- rinse and put in pan
1/2 c of water
cook down- it will bubble and get smooshy- about 10 minutes
smash the berries- potato masher or tail end of a coffee cup works
add 1/3 to 1/2 c honey
add thickener mixture: either arrowroot or cornstarch powder- 1 t powder in 1 t water
cook a minute or so more
remove from heat, pour in bowl, cover and chill, and relax!

Three Homemade Gravies...
o        Really Easy, Pretty Darn Low-Fat, Rich Gravy
o        Cashew Gravy
o        Onion Gravy

Really Easy, Pretty Darn Low-Fat, Rich Gravy
Estimated prep time: 2 minutes
Cooking Time: 4 minutes
2-3 T Light Olive Oil
1/2 cup white flour
2 cups boiling water
1 bouillon cube (veggie, chicken, beef, your choice) (get a natural, non MSG containing brand)

Put the bouillon cube in the hot water.
Smash the bouillon cube in the water until it's dissolved.
In a cast iron frying pan, warm the oil.
Stir in (whisk in) the flour into the warm oil. (It should fry a little, but not too much, take off fire if too hot)
Stir in (whisk in) the bouillon-water into the oil/flour mix.
Just don't burn it, stir it lots to avoid lumps, add more flour if too thin, add more hot water if too thick.

Enjoy over your favorite gravy coverable dish!
Cashew Gravy (thanks Staff of Life for this one)
Estimated prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
1 cup cashews (raw)
2 cups water
1t onion powder
1t salt
2t garlic powder
Cook in double boiler- 2 hours or until thicker
Add Arrowroot mixture (mix 2 T Arrowroot with 1/8 cup cold water)
    (to thicken more) (on my recipe it says to add the Arrowroot at the end…
     but I am not sure if that means at the end of the whole cooking or at the
     end of the other ingredients.)
Make into smooth texture in blender.
Add Tamari to taste (about 1T) (I bet Bragg’s would be good too)
Add water to thin.

Onion Gravy (thanks Staff of Life for this one)
Estimated prep/ cooking time: 5-10 minutes
1 onion, chopped
3 T light olive oil
1-2 T Bragg’s Amino’s
2-4 T Tamari
1/2-1 T garlic powder
1 t white pepper
1 T light olive oil
Chopped onions
Add seasonings.
Cook until glazed and flavorful
Add 1/2- 1 cup water
Use arrowroot or cornstarch to thicken.
Cook until delicious.

My comments on Weight Loss Programs and realistic eating styles
I think the Ann Louise Gittleman concepts are by far the best out there. Her book is called Your Body Knows Best. It supports eating good fats, low glycemic carbohydrates and a moderation of meats. She covers the blood type info, the heritage info as well as the reality of who we are and what we like. The book costs only $8 or so on Amazon or in any bookstore. Her other books are good. But this one is the best.
The other book to get by Ann Louise Gittleman is The Fat Flush Plan. It's a great explanation of how the body needs a liver cleansing regularly as well as what our body goes through when consuming carbohydrates. It has a handful of good recipes that I've used and modified to my tastes. I did this for 2 weeks in the December of 2004 and felt so amazing. I felt a mental clarity you wouldn't believe, a fog was lifted. I lost 10 pounds. Her plan helps us sugar addicts realize how addicted we really are. A piece of bread becomes a diamond toward the end. It was worth it. It made me again more conscious than ever of what I consume and how it affects me.
Weight management is about better food choices, increased activity, and journaling everything we eat (and drink!) daily. It's not about eating non-fat. It's about eating low to moderate fat along the way. Try making or supplementing salad dressings and other foods with essential fatty acid oils. An easy, healthy vinaigrette is flax oil, apple cider vinegar, dash of salt and a dash of pepper.
What about Supplements? Everyone needs to take vitamins and minerals (good quality ones- hopefully food form in some manner). Everyone should be taking Omega 3 supplementation.... it's the KEY to keeping our immune systems healthy and not in an inflamed state. What else? A cleanse support is essential as well. I use Anne Louise Gittleman's long life cocktail every day, sometimes twice a day.
Recipe for Long Life Cocktail:
  • 1 cup of cranberry water (water and unsweetened cranberry juice- best price is Trader Joes, sweetened with a dash of stevia)
  • 1 Tablespoon of pysllium husks OR 1 Tablespoon of ground flax seed meal
  • Slug it down every morning and every night.... and to be blunt, you will be regular and feel lighter.
So that's it... enjoy   ~Makani

Initially put on the web in 1999, moved to this blog address and revised December 18, 2010. Last revision November 21, 2012