I’ve never written a book solely with nutrition facts in mind. I write cookbooks peppered with that good information, but if I was ever to write just a nutrition text, it wouldn’t get pass the first round with a publisher. Why? Because mostly what I’d have to say is this: Eat less, smaller portions. Yep, that’s about it.
While my recipes are certainly healthy and also appropriate for the large diabetes community I serve, I also believe in a certain amount of indulgence every now and then. So keep the portions under wraps, and there will be no reason not to indulge once in awhile.
But keeping portions contained is an easier concept to say rather than to put into practice. Perhaps the Le Creuset company might offer the help you need.
Look at the way you cook. Take casseroles for example. You prepare them in a baking pan, and then it’s really hard to keep from eating the entire thing. Le Creuset has solved that by manufacturing mini versions of their wonderful Dutch ovens, small enough for a 1 person serving. In fact, the idea of eating en cocotte is a French idea; no wonder they keep so slim!
Available in beautiful colors, Le Creuset Individual casserole dishes are available at Sur La Table www.surlatable.com
INDIVIDUAL MAC N CHEESE
makes 6 servings
12 ounces elbow macaroni
2 3/4 cup 1% milk
1/4 cup half and half
½ large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
5 whole peppercorns
3 Tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp dry mustard
2 cups finely shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese (white or yellow)
1 cup shredded Fontina cheese
3 Tbsp fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs ( preferably made from Italian bread, but whole wheat bread is fine too)
3 tsp olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat 6 Le Creuset Individual casserole dishes with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a heavy bottomed 2 quart saucepan, combine 2 cups of the milk , half and half, onion, bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring to a light boil, lower the heat and simmer on medium low for 20 minutes to allow the onion and spices to infuse the milk. Strain the infused milk pressing on the solids and return the strained milk to the saucepan.
3. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the elbow macaroni and cook for about only 4-5 minutes. This is less time than the package directions. You want the macaroni undercooked. This prevents the pasta from becoming too mushy in the casserole. Drain, add to a large bowl and set aside.
4. In a medium bowl, mix the remaining 3/4 cup of milk with the cornstarch. Whisk until well combined. Add half the milk mixture in the saucepan to the milk cornstarch mixture in the bowl and whisk for 1 minute. Add the milk cornstarch mixture back into the saucepan. Bring the entire milk mixture to a boil on medium high heat. Lower the heat to medium and cook until thickened, about 7-8 minutes. Mixture will still be on the thin side. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 4-5 minutes.
5. Remove the pot from the stove. Whisk in the dry mustard, cheeses, salt and pepper. Add the cheese sauce to the pasta and mix well. The mixture should look soupy.
6. Pour the macaroni and cheese mixture into 6 individual Le Creuset Casserole dishes pan. Combine the fresh breadcrumbs and olive oil in a small bowl and mix well. Sprinkle the top of each macaroni and cheese with the bread topping. Bake for 20 minutes until topping is light brown and macaroni and cheese is bubbly.
All photographs courtesy of Olga Berman from Mango & Tomato.