April 15, 2012

Cooking Healthy without Sacrificing Taste.

Though I love cooking, I regret that I don't have or make the time to do it as often as I'd like.  Most of the time the meals I make are rather utilitarian - quick, healthy, light, and most of the time pretty boring.  (Read: egg whites and steamed broccoli; poached chicken breast and sweet potato; or steamed fish and salad.)  Most of my meals serve the purpose of being filling and providing fuel, without being too deliciously tempting. 

While this kind of cooking is not necessarily fun, it gets the job done and it keeps me healthy.  When I do cook for fun I like making indulgent meals: cheesy lasagna, meat pies, sole menieure, chicken and dumplings -- you know, comfort food with a gourmet flair.  After all, who doesn't love comfort food?  But the problem with cooking comfort food, even if I'm a big proponent in "everything in moderation" it's much harder for the cook to practice that, especially since she's the one who has to taste-test and serve and then eat the food she makes. 

Lately when I have been making non-utilitarian meals I've been experimenting making fun meals that are also healthy and lean.  Who knew that the two could be combined?  While having friends over for dinner on Saturday night, one of whom is a vegetarian, I faced the challenge by making a dish I've never made before (always a risk when company's coming over), but it turned out to be a hit.  For dinner I made shrimp and tomatoes over soft polenta and steamed green beans (a recipe from Martha Stewart).

And for dessert I made a rendition of a warm mocha pudding (I substituted extra chocolate for the espresso) I found in this month's issue of Cooking Light.  Also a hit.  Only problem was that I should've doubled the batch.

The meal was vegetarian, nutritious and protein-packed, and tasty, and with the exception of a little stress associated with the potential of it not having turned out the way that I had hoped, not too complicated.

So, while it's always fun to cook for friends especially on the weekend, trying out new recipes that have the side benefit of being nutritious and lean are a good reminder that healthy does not always have to be trite and routine, which is something I need to remind myself during the week.

No comments: