2 Delicious Low Calorie and Vegetarian Recipes For An Awesome Lunch!

Vegetarian Pastitsio

  • vegetable cooking spray
  • 12oz Morningstar Farms Recipe Crumbles or similar product
  • 1cup chopped onion 8oztomato paste
  • 1/3cupwater up to 1/2 cup
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1cup elbow macaroni
  • 6tbl grated Parmesan cheese divided
  • 1/2tsp cinnamon or more to taste
  • 1/4tsp nutmeg optional
  • 12oz evaporated skim milk 1 can
  • 4tsp light butter or margarine
  • 2x eggs lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9″ x 7″ or similar deep 11 cup casserole dish with vegetable cooking spray. Put a pot of water up to boil.

Spray a 9″ or 10″ nonstick skillet with vegetable cooking spray. Saute onion for 1 or 2 minutes; add the vegetable protein crumbles and saute for another 5 minutes or so. Add the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper and some nutmeg and cinnamon. Cook for another minute or two. Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile cook the elbow macaroni according to package directions for the minimum amount of time to become just *barely* al dente. Drain under cold running water to stop cooking, then drain again. Return to pasta cooking pot and toss with 1 teaspoon of butter and 1 or 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese.

Spray casserole dish with cooking spray. Layer 1/2 of the macaroni evenly in the bottom of the casserole. Spread the vegetable protein crumbles over the macaroni layer. Sprinkle with just a touch more cinnamon and 1 or 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan. Cover with the remaining macaroni.

In a bowl, beat the eggs lightly. In a small saucepan, heat the evaporated skim milk with the remaining tablespoon of butter. Whisk half of the warm milk/butter mixture into the eggs, then return the eggs mixture to the saucepan and whisk with the rest of the milk.

Pour the milk/butter/egg mixture evenly over the entire casserole; it will not lay on top but will sink down – this is just fine. Dust the top of the casserole evenly with the remaining 1 – 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan.

Bake the casserole for 1 hour, or until egg mixture is set and top is crusty and golden. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 – 15 minutes before serving.

Note: I used regular, not fat-free, parmesan; Land O’Lakes light butter; Morningstar Farms brand vegetable protein crumbles (which, by the way, I thought were *much much much* better than the Green Giant Harvest Burgers for Recipes kind).

This recipe was *great* and not too much of a hassle to make, not even on a weeknight. I will definitely make it again; can see it becoming a family standard. It is also something I would make for company – vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

I must say that with a big old mound of spinach and some French bread with roasted red peppers, this made quite a filling and satisfying feast. And it was a *lot* more food for not many more calories than a _Lean Cuisine_ or similar type frozen entree.

NOTES : Serve with French bread and …

Walt Disney World Fine Dining – Jiko The Cooking Place

When you first think of dining at Walt Disney World you would be forgiven for not first thinking of the opportunities for a fine dining experience. In reality Walt Disney World offers some excellent restaurants which are more than worth a visit by tourists and locals alike.

Jiko – The Cooking Place is a particular favorite of mine. It is located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Chef de Cuisine Anette Grecchi Gray presides over this AAA Four Diamond Award winning restaurant. The origins of her creations for the menu were her participation in 1999 in the 25th anniversary of the South African Cook’s Society in Johannesburg. She cooked for African dignitaries and traveled into the bush to learn the cuisines and culture of the South African tribes.

The Jeffrey Beers designed interior is a fabulous mix of warm colors,taking it’s inspiration from The Lion King, and creating an inviting and sophisticated atmosphere. You are warmly greeted by African students who are participating in the Disney one year cultural exchange program. The focus of the restaurant are the twin wood burning ovens in the open kitchen. Diners can choose to sit at the bar and observe the chefs prepare the food for the restaurant.

The style is American cuisine blended with influences from Africa, Europe, the Mediterranean and India. This is an unusual mix, but it works beautifully. There is not anything too challenging here though. I found the originality refreshing. Familiar dishes are offered with a different blend of flavors and ingredients. Appetizer offerings include Green Asparagus Soup, Tikka Marinated Ahi Tuna, and Kalamata Olive Flatbread a particular favorite of mine. The signature dish is the Wood Grilled Filet Mignon with macaroni and cheese and red wine sauce. An unusual combination, but it works wonderfully. Other items include Durban Shrimp Curry,Tamarind Braised Beef Short Rib, and Wood Grilled Pork Tenderloin. I recommend that you order the cheese plate which has selections of goat and sheep’s cheese.

Many of the waiters are sommeliers and will be glad to offer samples of wine before you decide on a bottle. They will expertly guide you through the exclusively South African wine list. With over 1800 wines, Jiko has the largest collection of South African wines of any North American restaurant.

Not forgetting the dessert, my favorite is the Flourless Chocolate Mocha Cake Stack with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. Other current offerings include spiced fruit sorbet and Green Apple Mascapone Trifle.

This fine dining restaurant has an unusual feature. A children’s menu. My young children, who are very familiar with and enjoy dining out in high quality restaurants, appreciated the quality of the food. The menu has the usual kid’s offerings of macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese and pizza but they are cooked from scratch with high quality ingredients. Our family is always very happy at Jiko.…

Types of Digital Meat Thermometers

There are different types and kinds of digital thermometers available in the market today. Meat thermometers are gadgets used to measure the temperature of meat, whether turkey meat, ham, roasts, and even poultry. The types of digital thermometer being sold in the market today have specification depending on the type of use.

Digital meat measuring temperature is helpful to us because by measuring the temperature, we make sure that the meat is ready to eat, the bacteria are destroyed, and the health threats are minimal and manageable. At the same time, if we take a closer look at it, meat thermometers are to our advantage since it will give us an appropriate temperature rate that is conducive for eating. This article will be dealing more about the types of meat measuring temperature and their usage.

The first type of digital thermometer is the regular meat thermometer. These are the typical meat thermometers that are used and inserted toward the meat being processed in the oven. These types of meat measuring temperature are easy to read. They go along with the meat in the beginning of the cooking. There are a lot of models, and brands of regular thermometers. This type is also called oven-proof meat thermometers since it works best inside the oven.

There are particular brands that have several features like a long probe. This probe is inserted to the meat while it is being cooked. This will allow really accurate results. However, what is commendable is you don’t have to open the oven to check if the meat has reached a desirable temperature since the digital display can be seen outside the oven. This type of meat thermometer is the most commonly used meat measuring temperature today.

Another type of digital meat measuring temperature is called the instant-read digital type of meat thermometer. The good thing about this type of thermometer is you don’t have to leave it from the start to the end of the cooking. All you have to do is to let the meat finish cooking, after some time, while the meat is freshly out from any cooking container and it is still hot, you can insert the digital meat thermometer into eat and the gadget will be giving you a quick reading for just a few seconds.

The logic behind it is the ability of this thermometer type to show the reading in split seconds while the meat is still hot. The temperature of the meat allows the reading to be accurate.

Another type of digital meat thermometer is the pop-up type. These types of meat thermometers are commonly used in poultry an seldom use at home. Another type of meat thermometer is the micro-wave safe thermometer wherein it is specifically designed to be used for microwave ovens only.

These are just some of the common types of digital meat measuring temperature being used by many people. For those health-conscious people out there who wanted to make sure that they are eating safe meats …

Taking a New Look at Restaurant Chairs

Nutritionists have been warning people not to go to restaurants and eat because it contributes to weight gain. They instead recommend that people buy groceries and cook their own food. They stress the fact that it is always healthy to eat home-made food. However, people always like to go out and eat in a restaurant. It is a common now a day practice to take your friend or family members to a restaurant. Restaurants have never been a new phenomenon to people. In the olden days, restaurants used to cater to the needs of foreigners who embark on long journeys and also to the needs of people who want a change in their regular food habits.

There are many reasons why the people chose to go to restaurants. For some people, it's always been a time consuming activity to buy the groceries and cook the food by them. Some others can not even find time to cook the food. Other people simply want a change in their regular diet. Here, people always look forward to eating out at restaurants.

There are people who visit another town or country once in a while for various reasons. This is another reason why people chose to eat at restaurants. They actually are away from their homes and so they can not phone home and order the food to be transported over for them. So, the only option for them is just to go to some restaurant and eat.

People are always drawn to variety. Here, need for variety is also one of the important reasons why people love to eat out. They want to taste the food of different countries and cultures around the world. It is interesting to note down the fact that restaurant and culture have become harmonious. For example, it is so common to find American, Japanese, Chinese restaurants in a given city. Most of us know the cooking of only our traditional food. But, we also have to satisfy our taste buds that demand for some exotic foods. So, we all try to taste the inter-cultural food items to know more about other cultures.

Generally, there are many things that make the restaurants memorable. The first and foremost thing is obviously the food items. The food items should properly be cooked and served. But, another important point to take care of is the look of the restaurant. The restaurant 'look can be enhanced by having interior décor by placing beautiful wall paintings, etc. More importantly, restaurants chairs must be properly designed. The look of the restaurants can either be enhanced or decreed by the restaurant chairs. There are some restaurants that offer other social events such as live band. So, people spend more time in restaurants and so restaurant chairs must be properly designed to make them comfortable. This makes the customers to give mouth publicity to the restaurants. …

Fine Dining With Children – What You Need to Know

Dining at a luxury restaurant is a wonderful way to relax and have great wine and food. Many parents have concerns about taking their children to a fine dining restaurant. Below are a number of tips to help make your fine dining experience with children pleasurable and not embarrassing.

1. If you have made a reservation several days or a week before, you can practice good behavior and manners with your children at home. Help them learn to say ‘thank you,’ and ‘please.’ Use positive reinforcement techniques. As well, if they are old enough, you will have to teach them to use cutlery and drink a beverage without spilling it. As well, if they are old enough, you can teach them how to properly order food. When you reserve a table, ask for a corner table for privacy.

2. When you arrive and park at the restaurant, it is time to have one more gentle and positive talk about how the children are to behave. Explain that they cannot yell, scream, and run around at the restaurant. Remind them that they have to consider the other people dining.

3. It can be a real hassle and distraction taking children to the restroom at a fine dining restaurant. Before you arrive, make sure the children have gone to the restroom.

4. When most people attend a fine dining restaurant, it tends to be between 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM. This can be very late for children who may get hungry and cranky. Bring some snacks such as carrots or apple pieces for them to munch on while waiting for the main meal. While you are waiting for your meal, have some activity books such as crossword puzzles or coloring books to keep them occupied. Include the children in the table conversation. You can also ask your server for some bread or crackers for the children. To make ordering faster and easier, make sure you know what your children like and don’t have them experiment with new or spicy foods.

5. Children are curious and love to pick things up and put them in their mouths. Keep candles, sugar packets, cutlery such as knives and forks, and flower displays out of their reach. For very young children, take along a bib, bottles or a child’s special ‘sippy’ cup for drinking. Use high chairs safely.

6. When the meal arrives, look after the children first. Cut the meal up in small pieces for better eating. Make sure you have ordered the beverage to come with the meal. When the children are finished, ask the server to take their plates out of the way. If your children are anxious, skip dessert.

7. Very young children do not like to sit for a long period of time. Once everyone has finished eating, it may be a good time to leave. Older children will be able to sit for a certain period of time before they start getting fidgety and want to leave.

8. Be patient …

Restaurant Trends For 2009

The restaurant industry is one of the industries affected the most by the bad economy. The reason is simple – restaurant face rising costs, while consumers looking to save money cut out discretionary spending. Fuel costs make all prices go up especially food, which must be transported to restaurants, and when trying to trim the budgets, many consumers start cooking at home to save money. Restaurants will need to get pretty creative to entice patrons to part with their cash. Here is a look at some restaurant trends you can expect to see next year.

Locally Grown Food

Expect to see more locally grown food next year. With recent scares from tainted food, especially the salmonella incident which mistakenly figered tomatoes as the culprit, restaurants will need to be extra careful with the food it serves its diners. After all, even though they do not know if they bought tainted food, if it makes a customer sick that customer will always remember them as the restaurant that keep them food poisoning. More restaurants will end up souring their food from local farms and Farmers Markets to ensure fresh ingredients.

More Pasta Please

Pasta is one of the most inexpensive menu items for a restaurant to make. For the most part, sauce ingredients are cheap, so restaurants can get away with charging $ 15 for an entree that probably only cost them $ 1. And they can get away with hardly putting any meat in the dish as patrons fill up quickly on pasta.This, coupled with the fact the pasta is a great comfort food, which is big now, will only add to the menu offerings of pasta dishes .

Super-size Me No More

This is one that both patrons and restaurants can agree on. Restaurants are looking to cut back by offering smaller portions. And Americans are only too happy to go along as they attempt to eat healthier. But this comes with a caveat. Although Americans are willing to pay the same amount of their hard earned money for smaller portions, they expect bold flavor in return. They will expect chefs to use in season vegetables and more of them to pack in loads of flavor to their entree.

Forgo the Foie Gras

Another way restaurants will attempt to cut costs is to get rid of the really expensive items like Foie Gras and expensive cuts of beef. Get ready to be introduced to a whole slew of new cuts you never thought you would eat. Like what? How about chicken livers, tongue, pigs cheeks, etc, etc.

Deals, Deals, Deals

Restaurants are really trying to get creative to get customers in their door. I have seen many more couples and BOGO deals than I have ever seen before. You will probably see more Fixed Price or Prix Fixe deals, which used to be relegated to dining week or those restaurants in the theater district. I think you will start to see more of these in the burbs and some …

How Do You Redeem a Gift Certificate?

When you receive a gift certificate, you may want to wait until you see a sale or when a special occasion comes up to use it. Most certificates can be used a year from the purchase date. This is one way to plan ahead instead of using the card right away.

Depending on what the card is for, you will be able to wait until you are ready to spend the day shopping or when you have time to eat at your favorite restaurant. These gift cards are convenient and a nice present for those who have special tastes or who enjoy different kinds of activities.

Popular gifts cards are usually used for spa treatments, meals, clothing, online shopping, fast food, and coffee at local coffee houses. Bookstores and yoga centers also offer a gift certificate for those who enjoy reading and who are curious about yoga and other forms of exercise. Most businesses offer some type of gift giving option in order to bring in new business or encourage people to return often if they are regulars.

Redeeming one of these certificates or cards is very easy. All you have to do is present it to the cashier at the beginning or end of your transaction and you will not have to pay for whatever you buy. Many cards can also be used again if you want to add some of your own money to them. This is a good way to recycle old cards so they can be used again.

Receiving a gift certificate or gift card for you birthday, holidays, graduation, wedding, and many other occasions will allow you to purchase exactly what you want. You can also redeem a lot of these cards online for added convenience. You will be able to shop online, browse catalogs, and make purchases by entering in the numbers on the card. This is very similar to a credit card transaction. Even if you have to spend a little bit of your own money, it is still worth it. Waiting until summer or fall clothing sales will save you even more money which means you will be able to use the card to buy even more merchandise.

Using a gift card is a good way to boost self confidence when you are depressed and you will enjoy not having to pay for something. If you have always wanted to buy something, buy you were unable to before, you now have the opportunity.

Many people use their gift cards to buy items they would not normally purchase. If you have your eye on an item or want try a new meal at your favorite restaurant, you should take advantage of this opportunity. A gift certificate that can be redeemed at any time is a wonderful gift to give and receive.…

Top 5 Cheesecake Factory Restaurant Menu Item Recommendations

The Cheesecake Factory has some of the best food in the country. According to Wikipedia, they operate over 160 restaurants in the United States. I personally have dined at the there several times, and it is one of my favorite restaurants. They have some of the finest recipes in the country. If you are thinking about making a visit, here are five recipes you should consider ordering on your visit.

My first recommendation is the Louisiana Chicken Pasta. I know that a chicken pasta recipe doesn’t sound like an original idea, but you need to trust me on this one. If you like chicken, and you like pasta, you need to order this delicious entrée. The official website describes this menu item as follows: “Parmesan Crusted Chicken Cutlets Served Over Pasta Tossed with Mushrooms, Peppers and Onions in a Spicy New Orleans Style Sauce.” The spicy New Orleans Style Sauce made all the difference for me. The sauce isn’t as spicy as you might think, so don’t be scared away from this dish if you don’t like spicy food.

My second recommendation is for those of you who love chicken but aren’t in the mood for pasta. You definitely need to try the Orange Chicken. Many of you have probably tried the Orange Chicken at Applebee’s. If you like the Orange Chicken at Applebee’s, you are going to love the Orange Chicken at The Cheesecake Factory Restaurant. This recipe is listed on their specialties menu and includes white rice covered with invigorating Sweet and Sour Orange sauce.

My third recommendation is the Shrimp Scampi. If you’re into shrimp or seafood, this is the choice for you. This recipe is served with Angel Hair Pasta. If you go to the official website, there is a photo of this delectable recipe!

My fourth recommendation is the Pasta Da Vinci. This is one of the most popular menu items at the Cheesecake Factory. Customers are always asking about this recipe for good reason. You can find the recipe for this delicious recipe on various websites across the internet. The menu description for this fine entree states that the Pasta Da Vinci includes “Sauteed Chicken, Mushrooms, Onions and Garlic in a Delicious Madeira Wine Sauce Tossed with Penne Pasta and Parmesan.”

My final recommendation includes another popular entrée. Evelyn’s Favorite Pasta is named after the restaurant founder Evelyn Everton along with her husband Oscar Everton. This recipe is really all about the vegetables. If you like pasta and vegetables, this may be the best choice for you. The dish includes many ingredients including Penne, Garlic, Olive Oil, Roasted Eggplant, Olive oil, Roasted eggplant, Pine nuts, Kalamata olives, Sun-dried tomato, Broccoli, Peppers, and Parmesan cheese.

If you are planning to go to the Cheesecake Factory, be sure to block out a few hours of time. I recently went there on a Saturday afternoon about 5 pm, and there was a 45 minute wait! The wait is surely worth it, but make sure you have plenty …

Type 2 Diabetes – Maintain Stable Blood Sugar With These Thai Food Classics

Thai food is one of the fastest growing cuisines in the West. And with dishes more flavorful and rich than most other countries can offer, it’s no wonder more and more Type 2 diabetics are turning to Thai food to eat healthy without needing to choke down bland salads and sandwiches.

However, not every Thai dish on your local Thai restaurant menu is appropriate for diabetics. A meal with papaya salad, fried noodles and sweetened sticky rice will likely push your blood sugar higher than a kite. Lucky for you there are a few mouth-watering Thai dishes that are ideal for keeping diabetic blood sugar in check.

Spicy Shrimp Soup: Spicy shrimp soup (also known as “tom yom goong”) contains fresh shrimp, Thai spices and coconut milk. Although not as healthy as salmon, shrimp is rich in omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats combat the inflammation that underlies insulin resistance. Research published in the 2009 “FASEB Journal” found that supplementing with omega-3’s from seafood reduced insulin resistance stemming from obesity.

Coconut Curry: Coconut curries such as panang curry are bursting with foods like vegetables and lean meats, which should form the basis of your diabetic diet. Coconut oil is rich in a unique type of fat known as medium chain triglycerides. A paper in the February 2009 “Diabetes Metabolism Research Review” concluded that medium chain triglyceride-rich foods help diabetes manage their blood sugar.

Morning Glory: Stir-fried morning glory is the perfect Thai side dish. Morning glory is a green vegetable that can help you lose weight. Studies show that diabetics that gorge themselves on vegetables tend to weigh less than those that avoid vegetables.

Grilled Chicken: Many Thai restaurants offer grilled or baked chicken. Once you remove the skin, this dish becomes quite low in saturated fat and calories. Research suggests increasing your protein intake from healthy sources like grilled chicken can keep appetite at bay and may even boost your metabolism.

Steamed Vegetables: It doesn’t get much healthier than steamed vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes, onions and carrots. However, Thai people wouldn’t accept a bland dish like steamed vegetables on their own. By adding a dash of salt and a generous amount of coconut milk, a dieting classic turns from boring to mouth-watering.

Fresh Fruit: Thailand offers fruits like pineapple, dragon fruit and mango that are not only flavorful but chock full of important vitamins and minerals. Ask your local Thai restaurants to make a fruit plate consisting of traditional Thai fruits for your dessert. Be sure to limit your fruit intake as certain Thai fruits like mango and pineapple are sugar-rich.…

DHA and Your Skin – Everything You Need to Know About Self-Tanning

Self-tanning has long been a safe and popular alternative to UV tanning. Self-tanning products have come a long way since the days of orange glows, and nasty processing smells! Today’s premium products achieve natural, beautiful color results, nourish your skin, and smell great. The danger of UV tanning has become widely known, and more and more people are turning to self-tanning as a safe and fun way to keep a summer glow without the risks and damage to the skin from sun tanning.

We can thank Ms. Coco Chanel for our addiction to a golden glow and love of all things tweed and tan! In the 1920s she returned from a vacation in St. Tropez sporting a glowing tan, instantly making it “In-Vogue”. Naturally, her admirers followed suite, and from then on, a tan was regarded as a symbol of youth, beauty, and status. Today we still admire her sense of style- we’ve kept the pearls and tweed, but swapped the unsafe sun and UV tanning for healthier alternatives such as self-tanner and spray tans!

So what is a self-tanner and how does it work? Let us give you a brief tutorial on DHA, the main skin-coloring ingredient in self-tanners, how it works and some of the benefits.

DHA stands for Dihydroxyacetone, a sugar derivative from plant sources such as sugar beets and sugar cane. In the 1970s, the Food and Drug Administration permanently added DHA to their list of approved cosmetic ingredients. DHA is NON-TOXIC and approved for external application to the human body.

Through a safe and natural process, the DHA attaches itself to the amino acids in your epidermis, the top layer of the skin, and goes through a chemical change. This process is similar to the browning that occurs when you cut open an apple and leave it exposed to the air. The resulting effect is a gorgeous brown color. It is NON-TOXIC and only affects the upper layers of your skin, which is made up of dead skin cells. Since skin color is unique, tan results will vary from person to person. Our bodies naturally shed dead skin cells daily so unfortunately your tan won’t last forever! However, you can expect the beautiful color to last up to a week or two.

DHA was discover in the 1920s, when a group of German scientists first recognized it as a skin-coloring agent. They noted that when in contact with their skin, the surface would turn brown if not rinsed off! Years later, Eva Wittgenstein, a scientist at The University of Cincinnati in the 1950s, was researching the use of DHA for the treatment of children with the metabolic disease, Glycogen Storage Disease. While working with these children, she made an unanticipated discovery! She found that when her young patients accidentally spit up or spilled the DHA onto their skin, it darkened the area after a few hours. This led her to further experiment with the DHA, testing it out on her own skin by painting various …