Friday, August 28, 2009

Quick Lunch or Dinner Tips

Since life has been so hectic lately with family events, I have found a few things in the grocery store to lend a helping hand in the kitchen. I posted about the new pasta sauce by Mario Batali that is low in carbohydrates with a fresh and delicious taste. Now I'd like to tell you what I did with it and about another product I found that goes hand in hand with it. First, the other new product is made by Flatout. They make a nice variety of flatbread style wraps but now I have found something new from them, Artisan Folded Flatbread in rosemary-olive oil flavor. The package contains five pieces of flatbread shaped like the number eight and each large piece has only 24 grams of carbohydrates. I have been cutting the pieces in two and doing some fun things.
The first thing I did was make pizzas with the Artisan Folded Flatbread. I cut each large plank into two and topped them with a tablespoon of low fat ricotta cheese, a tablespoon of low fat mozzarella cheese, a few shrimp and a pinch of Maytag blue cheese. I seasoned it liberally with fresh cracked black pepper and baked them in a 400' oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese was melted and the shrimp were done and no longer translucent. When they came out of the oven I topped them each with a handful of tender, baby spinach, a few drops of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. The warmth of the pizza wilted the spinach just enough. Absolutely delicious! If this blend of cheeses is not your cup of tea then try the Artisan Folded Flatbread the good old fashioned way and make a classic pizza with it. Place 1/4 cup of the Mario Batali Marinara Sauce on each Artisan Folded Flatbread half and top with 1 1/2 tablespoons of low fat mozzarella cheese on each. Add your favorite vegetable toppings like mushrooms, olives, green peppers, etc. Bake until the cheese is melted and enjoy. Since my meal plan allows me to enjoy 45 grams of carbohydrates with each meal I have to admit I ate three halves of the pizza, which totaled 36 grams of carbohydrate for the flatbread and 6 grams of carbohydrate for the sauce. A very filling and satisfying meal, especially with the addition of the spinach salad. If you don't like spinach you can substitute Arugula or any of your favorite greens.
Tonight I found myself with leftover sauce and flatbreads and thought I would try a Pizza Burger. All I did was make a simple hamburger, each weighing 4 ounces before cooking and seasoned with salt and pepper. I sauteed them in just a splash of olive oil or you can use vegetable spray and then added a tablespoon of low fat mozzarella cheese just before they were finished cooking along with a little fresh basil. I covered the pan to melt the cheese. Once again, I cut the flatbread in half but this time I toasted them lightly. I also warmed up 1/2 cup of the Mario Batali Marinara Sauce in the microwave for each burger. To assemble I placed half of the sauce on the toasted flatbread, placed the cheesy burger on top and finished by topping it with the rest of the sauce. You can add a light sprinkle of freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese if you like and cover with the second half of flatbread or leave as an open faced burger and use the remaining carbs for something else. I served it with a salad of fresh baby spinach and fresh sliced mushrooms dressed with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Another very satisfying meal that I could barely finish! Since I had it open faced style and only used half of the flatbread I had a sweet treat for dessert with the remaining 33 carbohydrates.
Even though these quick meal ideas are higher in protein and may contain a little more fat than a strict interpretation of my meal plan allows, the carbohydrates are controlled and half of the fat is the healthy fat from olive oil. Sometimes we all need to push the limits a little and these recipe ideas still keep you on the basic track but just add a few extra calories.
I will be posting many recipes soon, so please don't forget to check back. If you want to find out where you can purchase the Flatout Artisan Folded Flatbread or any other products they make and the Mario Batali sauce in your local area here are the links for information. I hope you enjoy these new items as much as I did. They hold so much potential for a diabetic because of their lower carbohydrate content and the wonderful, full flavors they deliver.
Flatout Folded Artisan Flatbread and their other products:
Mario Batali Pasta Sauce:

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