One of the best benefits of traveling is getting to try the authentic local foods and fine restaurants that make a destination unique. And like most, we adopt a "diet be darned" philosophy while on vacation.
The more exotic and decadent, the better!
But after a couple of back-to-back family vacations, we're starting to feel a little, oh, let's say puffy. The indulgences were fun while they lasted - well worth every calorie, for sure - but now it's time to get back on track.
I see lots of lean meats, seafood and a ton of fresh veggies in our future. The challenge will be finding new ways to flavor those veggies to keep our taste buds intrigued in the coming weeks.
So I turned to Cooking Light, a magazine I've always admired for its realistic approach to healthy eating. Its pages aren't full of "diet" recipes, but rather delicious dishes sensibly prepared. They still contain real oils, fats, salt and such, just less of them.
One of my favorite features is when it offers multiple ways to prepare a single vegetable, each creation offering a medley of different flavors.
Here are some recent suggestions for enjoying broccoli, green beans and asparagus - four ways for each vegetable, which gives you a dozen new side dishes for upcoming healthy meals...
Broccoli, four ways
Saute florets in a little olive oil, maybe with a hint of garlic, then make:
1. Lemon-Parmesan Broccoli (lemon juice and shaved Parmesan)
2. Spicy Chile-Garlic Broccoli (crushed red pepper flakes and sliced garlic)
3. Broccoli with Dijon, Thyme and Pine Nuts (shallots, Dijon, lemon, fresh thyme and toasted pine nuts)
4. Broccoli with Cheddar-Beer Sauce (Whisk 1/4 cup beer and 1 1/2 tablespoons flour in bowl. Combine 3/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup beer in pan and bring to simmer. Stir in flour mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes. Add chopped chives, grated lemon peel and salt, to taste.)
Green beans, four ways
Steam or saute fresh beans in a little olive oil or butter, then make:
1. Roasted Garlic Green Beans (toasted or roasted garlic)
2. Asian Green Beans (sesame oil, garlic, crushed red pepper, soy sauce, toasted sesame seeds)
3. Nutty Citrus Green Beans (orange rind, minced garlic, parsley and toasted hazelnuts)
4. Peppery Bacon Green Beans (fried bacon crumbles, sauteed shallots and pepper)
Asparagus, four ways