You may be having breakfast at the moment, but dinner isn't too far off . . . which brings us to chef and cookbook author Rocco DiSpirito with some supper suggestions.
How would you like to be a better parent? Or even a better citizen? How about finding a cure for cancer?
No -- there's no need to get a Ph.D. or run for public office: all you have to do is cook.
Your grandmother did it every day, but the percentage of Americans who cook dinner every night has been declining for decades. It's no wonder that two-thirds of adult Americans and almost a third of our kids are now overweight or obese.
Think of all the extra fuel our cars and planes consume hauling around those extra pounds. That take-out pizza you call dinner every night is costing us some real dough.
But Rocco -- I don't have time! My kids want fast food! My wife doesn't want me near the kitchen! All I've got in the 'fridge is ketchup and spoiled milk!
I've heard all the excuses, and I don't want to nag, but do you want to do something about runaway healthcare costs? Cook.
You want to reduce our dependency on foreign oil? Cook.
Reduce your carbon footprint? Cook.
OK, maybe I am nagging a bit. But you get the picture -- and how about this one? That's me (left), just a few years ago. So if I can do this, you can, too.
In fact, the sooner you get behind the stove, the sooner you can start eating food that'll make you and your family healthy and happy.
You want some proof? Here it is: Bacon-Wrapped Chicken With Rutabagas. Dinner for four for $10, and under 10 minutes.
Rutabegas are a very good source of fiber, vitamin C, potassium and manganese. Microwave on high for five minutes or until tender.
Bacon-Wrapped Chicken With Sweet Rutabaga Mash
A high-protein dinner with a delicious alternative to mashed potatoes. Low-calorie-density rutabaga is the sweet star in this recipe.
4 servings. Prep time: About 2 mins. Cooking time: About 5 mins.
4 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets (4 ounces each)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices lean turkey bacon (such as Butterball Everyday Thin & Crispy)
4 cups peeled and roughly grated rutabaga
1 tablespoon raw agave nectar
3 packets monk fruit extract (such as Monk Fruit In The Raw)
Place a rack 10 inches under the broiler and preheat. Season each side of the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper. Wrap each cutlet with two strips of bacon lengthwise, folding any excess bacon under the cutlet. Place the wrapped cutlets bacon side up on a sheet tray fitted with a wire rack and place under the broiler to brown the bacon and cook the chicken through, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix the agave nectar and monk fruit extract in a small bowl and stir to combine. Place the rutabaga in a microwave-safe bowl with the agave and monk fruit mixture, cover with wax or parchment paper, and microwave on high until very tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the paper and season with salt. Evenly divide the rutabaga among four plates, place a chicken breast next to each dollop of rutabaga, and serve.
Try adding a pinch of curry powder to the rutabaga while it cooks; it's very good with the sweetness of the vegetable, and the turmeric in the curry is extremely good for you.
232 calories, 4g fat (.925g sat), 80.5mg cholesterol, 288.5mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate, 4.5g fiber, 31g protein.
They say the proof is in the pudding, but for the sake of our waistlines, let's just say it's in the chicken instead, OK? Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
High-Protein Chocolate Breakfast Smoothie
This super-filling, very large smoothie gets your day started with 30 grams of protein delivered in a delicious high-fiber chocolate drink!
Four 16-ounce servings. Prep time: About 3 mins. Processing time: About 2 mins.
6 cups cold water
2 Tablespoons psyllium husk powder
2 scoops fiber powder (such as ReNew Life Triple Fiber)
2 scoops protein powder (such as Daily Benefit)
¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons dark unsweetened coca powder (such as Hershey's Special Dark)
24 packets monk fruit extract (such as Monk Fruit in the Raw) (optional)
4 scoops unflavored egg-white powder (such as Jay Robb)
2 cups crushed ice or small ice cubs
1. Put the water, psyllium husk powder, and fiber powder in a blender and blend on high until smooth and slightly thickened, about 1½ minutes. Turn the blender off and add the protein powder and cocoa (and monk fruit if using); blend until smooth, about 30 seconds, and turn off the blender.
2. Add the egg white powder and blend until smooth, about 10 seconds, then add the ice and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour the smoothie into 4 pint-size glasses.
Add a pinch of salt if your diet can afford the sodium -- it will really draw out the full flavor of the cocoa.
198 calories, 2g fat (.25g sat), 0mg cholesterol, 488mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 30.75g protein
- "The Pound a Day Diet: Lose Up to 5 Pounds in 5 Days by Eating the Foods You Love" by Rocco DiSpirito (Grand Central); Also available in eBook, Audiobook and Audio Download formats
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