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Five recipes for healthy and tasty dishes for a working woman


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Studies show that people who follow the so-called Mediterranean diet not only live better and healthier, but also slowly but surely lose excess weight. The main thing in this weight loss is that, unlike other diets, the lost kilograms are not gained back.

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Of course, in addition to eating olives and sea fish, you also need to move, and limit alcohol, again, do not smoke and generally monitor your body, writes Yana Litvinova for Bi-bi-si.

All of the following is the experience of a working woman who has no time, but has interests other than the kitchen and a gluttonous family. And if you're looking for accurate cooking recipes, then look no further.

I won't count the exact number of calories, as well as give you strict guidelines about how many cuts of meat you can eat per week and how many glasses of wine to drink with dinner, I will not either.

Many results are achieved through experimentation and conversations with two acquaintances - an Italian and a Greek woman. They are both excellent cooks, but cookbooks are treated with contempt.

So, how easy and fast to feed the family in a Mediterranean manner.

1. Pesto sauce, or Minimum effort with maximum results

Making pesto is incredibly easy. Moreover, if you are told that the main thing is the strict observance of proportions, then do not believe it!

For him, you need a bunch of basil, a piece of parmesan (the amount is very approximate, somewhere 150 g, but you can and more, and less), 100-200 g pine nuts, garlic and olive oil. Purists will tell you that butter should be only the first spin.

You can use walnuts instead of pine nuts. Instead of Parmesan - Gran Padano. Theoretically, it is probably possible and cheddar, but I'm afraid that everything will stick with it. Someone claims that instead of basil, parsley with arugula will go, but I haven't tried it, I won't lie.

We throw all the solid ingredients into a food processor and whisk quickly, but not until completely homogenized - some pieces should remain there. And then continue to beat and at the same time pour in the oil in a small stream. I do it straight from the bottle so as not to stain extra dishes. The main thing is to stop in time so that the sauce does not turn out to be too liquid, although this is not a problem.

Pesto can elevate any dish to the Mediterranean heights: pasta, aka pasta, zucchini, aka zucchini, risotto, aka rice porridge, minestrone, aka vegetable soup. I strongly advise you to prepare more of this case and store it in the refrigerator. In this case, dinner or lunch is a matter of a few minutes.

2. Risotto, or rice porridge for every taste

For filling in risotto, everything is suitable! In my family, the most popular is the combination of spinach, mushrooms and pumpkin, but you might like something else.

Moreover, last weekend I had a small food crisis in my house (no one bothered to go to the store), so for lunch there was a risotto with the working title “Damn, we’re all over!” The dish consisted of rice, carrots, one stalked leek, and a couple of cubes of frozen spinach. And it was delicious.

There is one very simple rule for making risotto: don't interfere!

To begin with, fry the onions quickly, not too hard, then toss the rice there. Important: rice should be round, not long. Fry this rice for a while, then start pouring broth into the dish in small portions. For this fit any bouillon cubes. Since I do not eat meat myself, vegetable, herbal and mushroom are used in my turn. But nothing should stop you from chicken or beef.

Before, I spent the time trying to dissolve them in boiling water first, and only then poured rice with additives in this form. But pretty soon realized that you can act even easier: throw your cubes right into the rice and pour boiling water on top: sooner or later it will dissolve itself.

At some point, throw in the stuffing. It, however, can be prepared in advance separately or use leftovers from dinners - it's a master's business. And that's all - do not interfere with the rice to calmly pour liquid. The main thing is to add a new portion in time so that it does not burn to the bottom of the pan.

When the rice is done (don't worry if it's too thin, any excess will be absorbed overnight), turn it off, throw a piece of butter into the pan and stir it thoroughly. If you don't want butter, don't, but it tastes better this way.

3. Vegetables, vegetables and vegetables again

Mediterranean cuisine is a paradise for vegetarians! Of course, it is desirable that you always have jars of canned tomatoes in your closet somewhere. A Sicilian friend once told me that the main thing is three things: tomatoes, pine nuts and raisins. Tested by experience: it turns out great!

Suppose you have found a whim to cook Pasta alla Norma. Yes, I have no doubt that classic recipes can be easily found on the Internet. But, if you have no time ...

We take the eggplant and stuff it into the oven as they are, whole. We send a few sweet peppers there and in exactly the same form. While they're out there living their rich inner lives, sauté an onion (or leek) and pour a couple of cans of chopped tomatoes over it.

I prefer those with less liquid, but try it yourself. Next, toss a vegetable or herb cube (if you don't have fresh basil) into the tomatoes and taste it. Well, there's salt or sugar. Yes, sugar for tomato sauces should definitely be put, because it gives softness and sets off their sour taste. As a rule, a couple of incomplete teaspoons is enough.

And let the tomato mass quietly gurgle, evaporating the water. From time to time it should be stirred, again, so that it does not stick to the bottom. By this time the eggplants and peppers should be baked. At first glance, vegetables taken out of the oven look terrible: shriveled, blackened in places, but this is not scary. Peppers immediately grab the tails and quickly stuff them into a plastic bag, or wrap in plastic wrap. Make sure they are wrapped tightly like a mummy in their sheets.

And get some eggplant. Cut them lengthwise (carefully, because they are full of hot steam and can easily burn you), let them cool down a bit. Next, arm yourself with a spoon and scrape out all the flesh, similar to what you do with soft-boiled eggs. Chop the extracted pulp into medium-sized pieces and immediately throw into the saucepan.

If the wrapped pepper has already cooled down enough, untie it, pull out the tail with the seeds (they separate easily and easily) and pour out the accumulated water from its inside.

And now my favorite stage begins. Because if you swaddled it correctly, the thinnest upper skin would come off easily and simply, like a stocking with a foot smeared with moisturizer!

The resulting tender pulp is also cut and sent after the eggplant. You can throw in the same pine nuts, olives or olives and raisins. The last one is up to you - I like it! Stir this thing and let it sit for another five minutes.

At the end of the process, if you have fresh basil, I strongly advise you to throw it there too. The resulting product is ideal as a sauce for hot pasta or as a side dish for something cold. They can cover, for example, cod, or chicken, and send to bake in the oven, sprinkled with cheese. Zucchini and onions also bake well.

If I urgently need some kind of snack, then I quickly turn the baked eggplants, peppers and onions in a food processor, add a spoonful of mayonnaise, and - voila! The food is ready.

4. Linguini, farfalle, raddiator, conchinille, penne, orichiette - in short, pasta

It gets on me from time to time, and I spend a lot of time cooking some exotic pasta. Much more often, pasta sauce is mixed from improvised products. Tomatoes, for example, go well with feta cheese. Mushrooms can be cooked in a white sauce, such as bechamel, or tomato sauce. In general, the principle is exactly the same as with risotto: complete freedom of imagination from the available products!

By the way, the option works great when you just chop some fragrant herbs, garlic, walnuts and mix it all into freshly cooked pasta.

If I were asked to give one single advice, the most important one for cooking pasta with sauces and without, it would be this: do not read cookbooks! If you love to cook, then experience will tell you what foods go well with what. If you don’t like to cook, then ketchup and cheese will do, but only from the Mediterranean you will be left with only pasta!

My main combinations are:

  • Ground beef with tomato sauce (just don't call it bolognese sauce, there is no such dish in nature. The Italians call it pasta al ragu.
  • Feta (brynza) with fresh tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • Zucchini pesto
  • Pumpkin with leek and mushrooms
  • Chicken leftovers in white sauce
  • Those same eggplant
  • Smoked salmon, spinach and cream, but it absolutely does not smell like the Mediterranean! Although delicious.

In general, that is, we throw.

5. Fish, poultry, meat

Here I have to step back from my own words that, they say, Mediterranean food can be fast, and admit: poultry and meat take time. Although it is not at all a fact that time should be accompanied by large labor costs on your part. Proceed from the fact that the southern lifestyle does not imply rush.

Imagine that you accidentally had a kilogram or two of lamb lying around in your refrigerator. Beef will do too. And even a chicken. Then there are two options: go the Greek way with eggplant or the Moroccan way with dried fruits.

In both cases, your first move is to quickly fry the meat in a hot skillet with a minimum of oil. The idea is that you need to close all the pores on the surface so that the juices do not stand out. Then send the meat to a larger pan after chopping a bunch of onions there. Turn up the heat and close the lid. As soon as the allocated juices boil, remove the fire to a complete minimum and go sit for an hour on social networks. It can be longer.

Somewhere in an hour you can add to the meat what you want to cook it with. The sweet version includes spices such as cloves, nutmeg, cardamom seeds, and even cinnamon (especially if you do not have lamb, but chicken).

Well, throw in there everything that you have, again close the lid and leave to languish on the smallest fire. You can add some liquid, if you think that the dish is too dry. The same bouillon cube, diluted with boiling water, perfectly fit.

In this case, the main problem is to drive away the starving family from the pan, which begins to crawl on smells like flies on honey. They will persuade you to move away from the stove and let them finally eat. Stand to the death: the longer this dish stays on the fire, the more tender and juicy it will be!

And do not forget: if you still have eggplant with tomato paste, then you can put them at the very end. True, I personally do not like the combination of eggplant with dried apricots, but you may have a different opinion. It is still much easier with fish: brush a piece with olive oil, sprinkle with lemon juice and send under the grill. You can really serve with anything!

For example, I like the combination of kiwi and avocado. Mango and papaya are also good. Or quite simply - zucchini stewed with tomatoes. Again, experiment and try! It all depends on how orthodox your family's food tastes are. In theory, it can be stubborn and demand potatoes with buckwheat porridge.

Dessert? What dessert?

No, of course, and the Italians, and the Greeks, and the Turks with the Egyptians have sweet and very tasty dishes. However, if your goal is to lose weight, then they will have to be neglected.

As a consolation prize, you can try baking cod with bitter chocolate following the example of the Spaniards, but this is a very specific taste.

So, try to convince yourself and your family: sugar is a terrible poison (but not in tomato sauce), and feel free to put some apples on the table. In extreme cases, they can also be baked!

Bon appetit!

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