Monday, July 22, 2013

Idea for a quick summer dinner.

It's hot here. And sometimes it's hard to come up with a dinner idea when you're just not that hungry because of the heat. I asked my husband if he wanted to go out and he said he'd rather grill something. But we still didn't know what we wanted so he went with me. We went to the meat counter and the minute I saw the seafood I walked to that section and there it was; catfish. I said to my husband I have my Cajun mix, we can have blackened catfish. And it was decided. Quick, easy, and delicious.

Cajun Catfish
Put fillets in a shallow dish and lightly cover with olive oil (4 fillets about 1 tbsp). Then sprinkle and rub in Cajun Spice (about 1 1/2 tbsp) (recipe below). Then grill. Easy. And low calorie.

I am a big fan of pre-package organic spring mix salad greens. Then I just throw in some golden cherry tomatoes, purple onion, mushrooms, avacado, or whatever else you like.

Rice is always a good side for fish. And because you have cajun spices, you want something light in the seasoning department. So I boil a can of low sodium chicken broth, add about a cup and a half of fast cooking rice. Add pepper and a bit of basil and you're set to go.

Then any kind of bread goes with it. But we like roasted garlic bread.

And because of the spice we usually pair it with a glass of Presecco or Riesling. Calories, a 4 oz fillet of Catfish is about 153 calories, add the bit of oil you used and the spice: approximately 200 calories. A cup or rice 160 calories, throw in about 5 calories for the broth. The salad about 40 calories plus whatever dressing you use, add 150 calories for 2 oz of bread. The wine is about 120 per 5 oz. A fast dinner for about 630 with includes your wine. Enjoy!

Cajun Spice Mix
Mix the following pour into a jar with a tight lid and store in dry place. 1 TBSP servings (13 calories)
1 Tbsp Oregano
1 Tbsp Coriander
1 tsp Cayenne pepper
2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/3 cup Kosher Salt
1/4 cup Chili Powder
1/4 cup Paprika
1 Tbsp Onion Powder
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp basil

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Stuffed Mexican Squash

Welcome to The After Work Cook!
Pre-baked
July 15, 2013 is here! Yeah. Let me introduce myself. I'm Mary Martinez, you probably know me from Mary's Garden. Like most of us out there I'm a working stiff. Yes, I dream of someday making the NY Times Best Seller list and then I can quit, stay home, cook to my hearts content and write. My two favorite things. Well that is other than my grandkids (and all the family too), eating fabulous food, traveling, and wine. Not in any particular order.

That day is a long way off, so meanwhile I cook when I can. Most the time I have to save time. Oh, and a bit of backstory here, I started doing my own recipes so I could control my calories and still have great food. You see, I have all those strikes against me. I'm a woman, plus I'm over 40 (50 but don't tell anyone), I've had the hysterectomy, and to top that off I have had my thyroid removed. When you have no thyroid you have to cut back drastically on the calories. And that is why I compiled a cookbook, I had so many fun recipes and most are low calorie. Now, I do have some guilty pleasure for those special occasions.

I knew I needed to lose weight, most my life actually I've struggled trying to keep those pounds off my butt. So on top of being a woman all the other things came up to strike against me. Until one day I just thought, oh I'll just do the best I can. I have too many things going against me. Then I went to NYC and had a blast. Ordered the 1000 pictures I took (not exaggerating) and that's when it hit me. I wasn't a bit heavy, or even pleasantly plump I was LARGE! I needed to lose 78 lbs. I couldn't believe I'd let myself gain so much weight. I called my doctor and cried. So she agreed to give my blood tests every six weeks to monitor my thyroid and I agreed to eat 1200 calories a day. But I refused to eat what I felt was diet food. So I had my wine and my good food. I just had to adapt my recipes. Soon The After Work Cook will be out with a lot of my recipes. Some are very simple, maybe you've tried something very simple. And maybe you've even seen something similar in a cook book. But what I have placed in the book are ones that I've hand written and cooked on my own. Do I use ones that I've heard about? Yes, but I make them my own.

P.S. it took me almost a year but I lost all of the pounds needed. I reached my goal in 2010. I have kept it off since. Yes there have been some up and downs.

I'm going to share today a recipe that I've made up on the fly. As I do so often I look in my kitchen and go with what I have. We went to the farmer's market yesterday and picked up some Mexican squash and a little round zucchini looking thing. I had never encountered these before but we bought a couple and today I decided to stuff them.

Dinner is served!
Stuffed Mexican Squash 4 servings
2 medium squash split down the middle. Hollow out the middle as you scoop all the seads out.
2 German Brats Grilled to almost done (can substitute ground sausage) slice in thin slices.
1- 14 oz. can diced spicy tomotoes
1/4 small onion chopped
1/2 Jalapeno chopped (seeded if you don't like it too spicy)
2 cups cooked rice.
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Sautee onion and pepper for a few minutes, add 1 cup (some of it can be juice from the tomatoes) bring to boil add 1 cup dry rice. Stir in tomatoes and sliced brats. Salt and pepper. Scoop into the squash. Place on baking pan and cook at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes until squash is tender.

4 Servings
1 Serving: 270 Calories, Total Fat 11 grams, Saturated Fat 4 grams, Cholestoral 38 mg, Sodium 813 mg, Total Carbohydrates 28 grams, Dietary Fiber 3grams, Sugars 5 grams, Protein 14 grams. Vit. A 43%, Vit C 32%, Calcium 3%, and Iron 14%.
Best served with a white crisp wine.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Welcome

Welcome to The After Work Cook!
This is my new adventure. I'm leaving Mary's Garden to the writing side and venturing to my cooking side for The After Work Cook. You'll find all my recipes here beginning
July 8, 2013. I hope you stop by!