Crab Cakes with Red Curry Dipping Sauce, Pesto Linquine and Citrus Salad

Crab Cakes with Red Curry Dipping SauceAs you know, I love to eat well and that means it has to be easy, nutritious, balanced and most of all appetizing and delicious.  So this meal meets that criteria and I’m going to show you how I break it down in terms of basic nutrient balance.

Protein = Crab Cakes (2 small)

Carbohydrate = Pesto Pasta (1 cup cooked)

Veg/Fruit = Arugula & Grapefruit slices (@1/2 cup ea.)

Now I’m sure some of you see “pasta” and think, “the devil’s food.” But let’s remember portion size is as important as what types of food you’re eating.  Imagine taking your car to the gas station and overfilling your tank until it was running down  the side of your car and pooling in your shoes.  This would be a bad thing, right? So don’t do the same thing to your body.  Pasta does not need to be vilified, just eaten in an appropriate serving and probably not every day. The average restaurant’s entree of pasta is 6-8 servings. That’s an entire box of pasta!  It’s important to read labels on food until you can get a good sense of what is a legitimate serving.

You might be thinking that one cup of pasta would be too small to fill you up or satisfy you. Well, that’s where the other nutrients come in to play.  The protein and veg/fruit complete the meal.  And Happy Fun Fact: the body absorbs nutrients better when all are present in combination than in individual servings.  Translation: the crab is absorbed more effectively when eaten with the pasta than it would be if eaten by itself and you will feel more happy and satiated when you eat in balanced proportions.

I’m not a big fan of measuring and weighing my food and that is also entirely impractical if you’re out to eat in a social setting.  So here’s a stealthy strategy: the palm of your hand excluding the fingers is about a serving size for your body size.  I have relatively small hands; my boyfriend’s hands are three times mine.  Obviously, he will require a higher quantity of calories and nutrients than I will.  If you’re eating breakfast hold a handful of berries and take stock of the amount.  Without getting out a measuring cup, you’ve just naturally selected the right amount of food for you. (For me that’s about 3 large strawberries or 8-10 good-sized blackberries.)  And let’s be honest, we all know the fable of the monkey who gets its fist stuck in a jar because it’s so greedy that it won’t let go of some of the goodies in hand.  So no giant fistfuls – just the size of your palm minus the fingers.

This technique also works when you’re out to eat.  No need to cause a scene by getting the waiter to divide your meal up or to alert everyone at the table that you’re learning how to reset your portion instincts. Fake like you’re reaching for the salt and pepper and hold your palm over each element on your plate (meat, veg, carb) and then feel confident that you can eat the amount that is appropriate for your body.  Ninety percent of the time, you’ll have enough food left over that you can have it for lunch tomorrow, also in the right amount.

We can take away the fear and replace it with  nutrient balanced, properly portioned and economically feasible food based on confident, stress-free choices.

If you’d like the recipe for this dish, please let me know! (Psst, the Pesto sauce is from the Salmon Recipe I posted earlier; it keeps a week or two in the fridge and is great for so many quick dishes.)

Grilled Salmon Pesto with Roasted Red Pepper

Grilled Salmon Pesto and Roasted Red PepperI used to get frustrated at buying fresh herbs at the grocery store because the bunches were so big that I could never use it all up and it felt like a waste.  But then I discovered “Pesto” sauces.  You can essentially modify this with whatever herbs you have and store it in a jar for later use in quick and savory meals.  You can toss it on meats, pasta, potatoes, even sandwiches.

PESTO SAUCE

  • 6 TB Pine Nuts
  • 2 Cups fresh Basil Leaves
  • 2 Cups fresh Parsley Leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1/3-1/2 cup of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup of Freshly grated Parmigiano

1) Combine the pine nuts – salt in a food processor – blend until a paste is formed.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while blending.  Add the Parmigiano 1 TB at a time until a thick paste is formed.

2) If storing (several weeks in the fridge) place in a jar and pour a thin layer of olive oil over the top to seal in freshness.

If you want to make what I just made (about 15-20 minutes total time) follow my lead.

1) Boil the pasta water and heat the grill pan over low-med heat.

2) Coat the flesh of a salmon filet with olive oil and salt of your choice (I used Hibiscus salt.) Chop the red pepper into sizable chunks and brush with olive oil.

3) USE 1/2 THE PACKAGE OF PASTA (typically it’s 4 servings!) Cook pasta according to the package instructions. Place the salmon on the grill and arrange the red pepper around the cooking fish.

4) When the pasta is cooked, drain it and toss with some pesto (not all! Save some for another day.) Plate the grilled salmon on top of a serving of noodles, garnish with a side of grilled red peppers, a crumble of cotija cheese (that’s what I had in the fridge) and drizzle with a taste of balsamic vinegar.