Under the Influence: Italy

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post, another day of eating 600 calories or less. Eat sensibly the other days of the week. That’s it. Simple way to lose weight and be healthier. Welcome to Dominus O. Markham and bloghealth1 and Youth and Healthy and Scot Henry who are now Following.

Italian cooks are under the influence. No, they are neither drunk nor drugged, so let’s follow a culinary trail…. Central and Southern Italian cuisine involves tomatoes — everyone knows that. And in the North, there’s cornmeal polenta. And that’s been since forever, right? Well, no. Tomatoes and corn are not native to Italy or even to Europe. Spanish colonizers brought those foods from meso-America back to Europe in the early 1500s. The Spanish were not that impressed. From there, tomatoes and corn spread to Italy, where, by the 1600s, they were embraced like long lost relatives and quickly made part of the food culture. Tomato sauces and salads and pizzas abound all over the country, and corn shows up in the iconic polenta of the North — I even ate kernels of corn on a pizza in Rome. Italy owes much of its culinary traditions to the influence of far-away Indigenous Americans. Fancy that!

Our breakfast features tomatoes as part of a famously delicious Italian sauce, while dinner involves cornmeal polenta. You too can be under the influence.

Puttenesca Bake: 127 calories 6 g fat 0.6 g fiber 7.7 g protein 10 g carbs [10 g Complex] 77.7 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beveragesPB GF  Once you have Puttenesca Sauce in the freezer, preparing this breakfast is very easy.

one 2-oz egg 1½ Tbsp Puttenesca sauce, drained of excess liquid   ½ Tbsp Parmesan, grated ¼ cup peaches, fresh or canned in light juice   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water   Optional: 5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 calories]

Set the toaster oven at 350 degrees F. Spritz an oven-proof ramekin or small casserole [if serving 2 or more] with non-stick spray. Whisk the eggs with the sauce and cheese. Pour into the baking dish and heat for 12-15 minutes. Portion the peaches and prepare the beverages. Que bella!

Seafood with Polenta & Vegetables: 291 calories 8.5 g fat 3.5 g fiber 30 g protein 28 g carbs [24 g Complex] 180 mg Calcium  PB GF  Mediterranean Food, anyone? Here it is, a splendid way to eat healthily.

oops! This photo shows 3 logs of polenta when it should have only 2… must be Dear Husband’s plate.

½ cup Mediterranean Vegetables without chickpeas 2 ‘logs’ of home-made polenta, from a batch with 6 ‘logs’ 4 oz fish such as cod or tilapia, raw or cooked ¾ oz mushrooms, sliced 3 Tbsp Parmesan, grated Prepare or thaw the polenta. Prepare or thaw the Mediterranean Vegetables. Stir in the mushrooms and sea food and simmer, covered, until the fish is cooked through. Place the polenta on the side of the plate and spoon the warm mixture on top. Top with the grated cheese and enjoy your taste of Italy.

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