• Cindi

Keep your Fat Tuesday Fit!

Four Healthy, Quick, and Delicious Recipes to Celebrate Fat Tuesday!


Who doesn't love celebrating Fat Tuesday? For many, this is the last chance to indulge before the fasting of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday; that one last binge before giving up something for 40 days. For others, it's just another reason to celebrate.


Large celebrations include parades, brightly colored costumes, beads (no judgment here!), great food and plenty to drink. But if your celebration is not quite so elaborate, you can enjoy some awesome food with a New Orleans twist - and it is actually healthy!



Shrimp Creole

Shrimp Creole is a flavorful combination of spices, tomato sauce, and shrimp. Though recipes vary according to region and tastes, most begin with a combination of chopped onions, celery, and bell pepper; also known as the trinity.


It tends to be a fairly heathy dish as is, but might contain a large amount of butter depending on the cook and the recipe. The trinity is often cooked in butter until softened and some add a roux (butter and flour) to thicken the dish.


A mound of rice is scooped on top along with some extra hot sauce. It is a quick and easy one-pot meal that can be prepared quickly.





Due to a shrimp allergy, my recipe uses bay scallops. I have also kept the calories low by using a little olive oil to start the trinity and thicken the sauce with a bit with added tomato paste.



1 tblsp olive oil

2 cups chopped onions

1 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 cup chopped celery

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 bay leaves

1-14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

1 teaspoon hot sauce,or to taste

1 tblsp creole seasoning

1 tblsp tomato paste

1 cup water

1 cup low-sodium chicken stock


2.5 lbs bay scallops


Garnish:

1/2 cup chopped green onions

2 tablespoons chopped parsley


4 cups cooked cauliflower rice


Directions: Gently saute onion, bell pepper, and celery in olive oil until softened. Add remaining ingredients through chicken stock and bring mixture to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste to adjust seasonings. Add bay scallops; cook for 5 minutes.


Serve in a bowl with a scoop of cauliflower rice and garnish with green onions and parsley.


Gumbo


Gumbo is a creole stew popular in Louisiana. It is often a combination of meat, sausage, and/or shellfish in a base thickened with a dark roux and file' powder. Delicious - yes! Healthy - nope! But, other than the roux of butter and flour, the dish is based on mostly healthy ingredients.



I make a Chicken "Gumbo" that is simple, healthy, and tasty. Okra is a necessity here as it has a strange (slimy) consistency that will help thicken the gumbo.



Ingredients:

1 tblsp olive oil

1 cup chopped sweet onion

1 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 cup chopped celery

1 1/2 to 3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (depending on taste)

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 (14-oz.) cans low-sodium chicken broth

1 can low-sodium diced tomatoes

2 cups frozen, sliced okra

4 cups chopped cooked chicken


Cauliflower rice or regular rice


Directions:

Gently saute onion, bell pepper and celery in 1 tblsp olive oil until softened. Add creole seasoning and garlic and heat for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, and okra. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add chicken and continue to simmer for 5 more minutes.


Serve in bowl with rice


I have used file' powder before and it is a traditional ingredient in many gumbo recipes. However, because I haven't found much use for it in other recipes I make, I have decided to leave it out.


Cajun Blackened Catfish


This simple recipe is great on most types of fish. I love Cajun blackened salmon and often use the seasoning to cook sea scallops.


A simple blend of spices are rubbed on to the fish, which is then quickly cooked in a skillet. I use a cast iron skillet and heat it until it is super hot. Then I add a small bit of oil and let that heat briefly before adding the fish. A couple minutes on each side and dinner is served!


4-1/2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt


4 catfish fillets (6 ounces each) - you can use any firm fish, as well as shrimp or scallops. This seasoning blend is also delicious on chicken.


Mix seasonings in a small bowl to combine. Lightly spray fish filets with olive oil cooking spray. Coat generously with seasoning. Cook in heated skillet for 3-4 minutes (depending on thickness of fish). Flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until cooked through.

(this recipe is adapted from one found on Taste of Home https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/cajun-style-catfish/)


Dessert?

Of course! But, I put off the paczki and opt instead for bananas foster. Bananas foster is a favorite New Orleans dessert that was created by the Brennan family in the 1950s when they opened a restaurant in the French Quarter. A combination of butter, brown sugar, bananas, and rum are ignited (often tableside if you order from a restaurant) to create a buttery, indulgent dessert that is often served with ice cream.


Well, when I am treating myself to a special treat, I might order this, but generally I enjoy it in a healthier (though certainly not authentic) manner. Yes, I use a bit of butter and it is sweetened with honey so it is still not an every day indulgence. But, once in a while when I need dessert, I make my bananas foster and spoon it over plain yogurt or on top of coconut flour pancakes. A treat - definitely! And it doesn't throw my meal plan completely off track!


As I value my kitchen and my hair, I do not ignite this dish. Sure, that's part of the fun, but I will leave that for the restaurant to do. Instead, I stick to some rum extract and save the flames for someone else.



For this version, I used warmed about 1/2 tablespoon of butter and 1/2 tablespoon of honey in a skillet until just melted together. Then I sliced up a banana (choose one that is not too ripe) and added it to the skillet. I let it cook, stirring occasionally, until the bananas were warm and well coated. A quick splash of rum extract (1/4 teaspoon) and another minute of cooking and Done!


Here I topped them with some strained Greek yogurt, a dash of cinnamon, and some walnuts. Delicious, but not too indulgent.




There you have it. Four quick, delicious, and healthy recipes to keep your Fat Tuesday a Fit Tuesday. Enjoy!


#HealthyEating #FatTuesday #Gumbo #Creole

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