mercredi 12 décembre 2012

Daily Objective: getting started, now

Daily Objective: getting started, now

I started this writing a bunch of over explained nonsense :) As per usual haha. I think this is pretty self-explanatory. I love, love bloggers who record their daily food intake because I am completely nosy and curious as to what people are eating.

This is why I love blogs so much, I know a lot of people like blogs that are about someone's opinions, but I truly love the mundain little bits of every day life. The little stuff that usually goes unseen.

I finally tried out my netflixed DVD, Amy Bento: Hi-Lo Extreme Workout. I only made it to 40 minutes before I collapsed on the couch. This workout is not for the faint of heart. One of the things that appealed to me about this DVD was its advertised lack in "overly complicated moves" which was mentioned on the website and on the actual DVD.

Uh, I don't know what her definition of overly complicated moves, but I felt like I was trying to follow the energizer bunny on speed. I think my kick boxing experience helped me to keep up, but I'm really curious to see if a really fit person could have kept up better. Its not that I didn't have the stamina to do the workout, I just couldn't keep up with the crazy moves.

If there was a move that was hard, I just filled it in with kick boxing/cardio moves from my former class to keep moving.

I loved the DVD for the challenge and the great sweat that I got. As much as I love the elliptical, nothing compares to a high intensity cardio class where I'm dripping in sweat and pushing myself. To me, that is the best workout. I know I will be sore tomorrow. I'm sore now.

I also loved that you don't need a ton of room to exercise or any extra equipment.

I'll probably do another workout with Amy Bento before I find another one on netflix to rent. I'm look for a challenging kickboxing dvd that has relatively uncomplicated moves.

Sorry for the crappy last picture, it was dark out making it really hard to get a decent shot. This was a last minute concoction of onions, green peppers and lean ground turkey (cooked on the skillet with olive oil) mixed with tomato sauce and spices (garlic, basil, cinnamon,salt, pepper etc) and sauces (worchestshire, hot sauce) and then tossed with whole wheat ziti, topped with mozzarella and baked at 400 for 25 minutes.
I need to go to the store! We are having guests next week and I have some baking to do this weekend so I'm just getting by until then. I definantly need some fresh vegetables.

I'm setting goals and getting more organized lately. 2009 is going to be a busy year, I have a lot that I want to accomplish and I know that the more direction I have the better off I'll be. The more organization I have the more I can get done.

I want to lose 100 lbs, (more like 150, but I'll get to the last 50 when I get there) which is a little over 8 lbs a month for a year. I don't want to set time frame goals, but I like the direction and the motivation I get from weighing in and recording my food. Non-weight related goals are coming, but basically involve exercise and eating better.

Vegetarian Curried Brown Rice and Broccoli Casserole with Creamy Curry Sauce

Vegetarian Curried Brown Rice and Broccoli Casserole with Creamy Curry Sauce

Vegetarian Curried Brown Rice and Broccoli Casserole with Creamy Curry Sauce
A layered casserole with curried brown rice, broccoli, a creamy curry sauce, and just enough low-fat cheese!

Now that I have officially been given the title of Casserole Queen, it seemed fun to challenge myself with creating more meatless casseroles.  This Vegetarian Curried Brown Rice and Broccoli Casserole with Creamy Curry Sauce is an idea that just popped into my head one day, although it's definitely a riff on the Better-than-Mom's Chicken, Broccoli, and Quinoa Casserole with Creamy Curry Sauce that I made nearly two years ago.  Once I had the idea in mind, it actually took Jake and I three tries to get this one just right (although we happily gobbled up the first  two tries as well.) 

If you're looking for a new dinner idea for Meatless Monday, I think most family members will like this one, as long as they like broccoli.  I kept the curry flavor mild with the idea that kids could enjoy this, but if you like spicy curries you can increase the heat, or even use all hot curry powder.  I did use light sour cream, partly light mayo, and low-fat cheese to keep this relatively low in fat, although for South Beach Dieters this should maybe be a "once-in-a-while treat."  (You can find more meatless recipes by using the label Meatless Monday or checking Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index, and I'm also doing a meatless slow cooker recipe each Monday on Slow Cooker from Scratch.  For more Meatless Monday ideas from other bloggers checkMeatless Monday at BlogHer, where I write a weekly post spotlighting one of the fabulous meatless recipe ideas I find around the web or visit my Meatless Monday Pinterest board.)

We increased the amount of broccoli each time we tested the recipe, and the final version calls for 8 cups of small broccoli flowerets.  (Love this huge glass measuring cup I got from my late stepmother, Norma.)

Cook the broccoli in boiling salted water for exactly two minutes, and then drain it into a colander placed in the sink.

While the broccoli cooks, saute the onion in a little olive oil until it starts to brown; then add the sweet and hot curry powder and cook 2-3 minutes more.

Mix in the cooked brown rice and stir to get the curry flavor distributed and cook long enough to heat the rice.

Whisk together the light sour cream, light mayo, mayo, lemon juice, and sweet curry powder.

In an 8" x 8" casserole dish with high sides, start with a layer of half the rice.

Then put half the blanched broccoli.

Spread over half the curry sauce.

Top with half the cheese.

Then make another layer of each of rice, broccoli, sauce, and cheese.

Bake at 375F/190C for about 30 minutes, or until casserole is slightly bubbling and lightly browned on top.

Vegetarian Curried Brown Rice and Broccoli Casserole with Creamy Curry Sauce
(Makes 8 servings; recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from Better-than-Mom's Chicken, Broccoli, and Quinoa Casserole with Creamy Curry Sauce.)

4 cups cooked brown rice (I use Uncle Ben's Brown Rice)
8 cups fresh broccoli, cut into small flowerets (about 20 oz. broccoli)
1 medium onion, chopped small
2 tsp. olive
1 tsp. sweet curry powder (any curry powder that's not labeled hot will probably work for this)
1/2 tsp hot curry powder (sometimes called Madras curry powder; you can skip this if cooking for kids or increase for a spicier dish)
1/2 tsp. sea salt salt
1/2 tsp. Spike Seasoning (optional, but good)
1 1/2 cups grated low-fat mozzarella

Sauce Ingredients: 
1 1/2 cups reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup light mayo
(or use all regular or all light mayo)
3 T fresh squeezed lemon juice (I used my frozen lemon juice)
1 1/2 tsp. sweet curry powder

Cook brown rice according to package directions or using a rice cooker to get 4 cups cooked brown rice. 

When rice is nearly done, cut broccoli into small flowerets to get 8 cups broccoli.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add about 1 tsp. salt, and cook the broccoli exactly 2 minutes.  Drain broccoli into a colander placed in the sink.  Preheat oven to 375F/190C.

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the onion, and saute over medium-high heat until onion is starting to brown, about 5 minutes.   Add the sweet and hot curry powder and cook 1-2 minutes more.  Add the cooked rice and stir to coat with the oil and curry powder, then cook a couple of minutes to to heat the rice (if needed.)

Spray an 8" x 8" glass casserole dish with non-stick spray.  (I used my new favorite casserole dish; if you don't have a dish that's this deep, use a slightly larger one.)  Make layers with half the rice mixture, half the broccoli, half the curry sauce, and half the cheese, spreading out to make an even layer with each ingredient.  Make a second layer each of rice mixture, broccoli, curry sauce, and cheese.

Bake the casserole about 30 minutes, or until casserole is starting to bubble and the cheese is lightly browned on top.  Serve hot. I am guessing this freezes well, although I haven't tried freezing it yet. 

How to Make Pot Roast in a Crockpot and Recipe for Balsamic and Onion Pot Roast

How to Make Pot Roast in a Crockpot and Recipe for Balsamic and Onion Pot Roast

Balsamic and Onion Pot Roast
This Balsamic and Onion Pot Roast is a great Phase One Recipe made in the Crockpot

(Here's a popular pot roast recipe that seems perfect to feature for our Month of Daily Phase One recipes.  If you think pot roast made in the crockpot is going to be a little ho-hum without the potatoes and carrots, you simply must try this recipe!)
When my friend Bonnie told me she had made this recipe and liked it, I immediately realized I wanted to make it again just so I could take better photos! Bonnie was kind enough to say that she didn't think the old photos were that bad, but trust me, these updated photos give you a much better idea of what a tasty recipe this is! This pot roast is just the thing to cook on low all day in the slow cooker while you're at work, and dinner will be ready when you get home.

I'm not a pot roast expert, but I've made pot roast in the Crockpot enough times to have strong opinions about how it should be done. There are three things I think are important to remember. First, Brown the meat well before you put it in the Crockpot because browning creates flavor. Second, don't use too much liquid for any crockpot cooking, but especially for pot roast. Third, be sure there is plenty of flavor in the liquids you're using. All day cooking can make foods bland if there isn't a flavorful liquid.

I'm using all those tricks in this pot roast recipe. If there are others reading this who use a slow cooker to make pot roast, chime in with some comments about good tips for making pot roast in the Crockpot.

I used a very thick chuck roast from Costco. If you know anything about the South Beach Diet, you know that most of that fat has got to go. (South Beach guidelines specify not more than 10% fat.)

Here's how my roast looked after I trimmed it. There's still a big pocket of fat on one piece, but keep reading to see how I got rid of it. (I had to cut it in half to get it to fit in my Crockpot.)

Of course, I save all the scraps in a container which goes in the freezer, and then use them to make beef stock.

Rub meat on both sides with steak seasoning and black pepper, then brown the roast very well on both sides. Depending on your pan, you may need to use a little olive oil. In a small saucepan, reduce 1 cup beef stock to 1/2 cup.

While the meat browns, cut the onions and put them in the Crockpot. In this recipe, the onions are partly to hold the meat up out of the sauce for most of the cooking time, so you want them to be quite thick.

When the meat is brown put it in slow cooker on top of the onions, then deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup water, scraping off all browned bits, and add to reduced beef stock.

Add balsamic vinegar and tomato sauce to beef stock and pour over pot roast. Cook on low 6-8 hours, until meat is tender.

I drained all the liquid from the Crockpot and used a fat separator like this to remove the fat. (This is too much liquid from my first attempt at the recipe; I reduced the amount in the recipe I'm giving you.) After the fat is removed, reduce the liquid by about 1/3 to make a sauce. You could thicken it, but I didn't think it needed it. You might think they'd be too done from being in the Crockpot all that time, but the onions were delicious as well as the meat.

Balsamic and Onion Pot Roast in the Crockpot
(Makes about 6 servings, recipe created by Kalyn.)

I used a standard 3 1/2 quart Crockpot for this recipe.

3-4 pound boneless chuck roast
1-2 T steak rub (I used Szeged Steak Rub.)
black pepper to taste
1-2 T olive oil (depends on your pan)
1/4 cup water to deglaze pan
2-3 large onions, peeled and thickly sliced
1 cup beef stock, reduced to 1/2 cup (can use a can of beef broth, but be sure to reduce it)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (I used Fini Balsamic Vinegar)
1/2 cup tomato sauce (You can substitute one can diced tomatoes, drained well. I might puree the tomatoes.)

Trim as much fat as you can from roast, and cut if necessary to fit into Crockpot. Rub meat well with steak seasoning and black pepper. Heat heavy pan with small amount of olive oil and brown roast well on both sides. This will take a few minutes; don't rush the browning step.

While roast browns put 1 cup beef stock in saucepan, bring to a boil and cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, then let cool slightly and mix in balsamic vinegar and tomato sauce. Peel onions and cut into thick slices. Deglaze pan with 1/4 cup water and add to sauce mixture.

(You can stop at this point and refrigerate browned roast, cut onions and mixed sauce ingredients and then put them in the Crockpot when you go to work in the morning. Don't refrigerate them in the crockery liner. Having the meat start out cold will add several hours to the cooking time, which will be good if you're cooking it all day while you're away.)

Place onions in bottom of Crockpot. Put meat on top of onions and pour beef stock mixture over. Set Crockpot to low and cook 6-8 hours, until beef is tender. The meat might be partly submerged in liquid after this much time. (If I am home, I might turn the meat once or twice.

Remove meat from crockpot and cover with foil to keep warm. Drain liquid from Crockpot and remove as much of the fat as you can with fat separator or skimmer. Cook down liquid by about 1/3, and serve sauce with meat and onions.

Note: If I wasn't making this for phase one, I might put some carrots in the bottom of the crockpot with the onions.

Parmesan Chicken

Parmesan Chicken

Parmesan Chicken(Updated September 2008) I've been working my way through the recipe archives, updating my earliest recipes with better photos and sometimes better instructions too. What I remember about this version of Parmesan chicken is how the chicken is marinated in olive oil, garlic, and a little dried poultry seasoning all day before it's coated with whole wheat bread crumbs and Parmesan and baked. I got this recipe from a blog that no longer exists, and when I made it again recently to take these photos, I still liked the way the chicken turned out. If you're a South Beach Dieter, maybe the hardest thing about the recipe will be finding 100% whole wheat bread crumbs, but you can make your own bread crumbs from 100% whole wheat bread. If you're someone like me who doesn't use a lot of bread crumbs, store leftovers in the freezer until you're ready to make this again.

Chicken is trimmed and small slits are made the length of the chicken to help the marinade penetrate. Then it's marinated all day in olive oil, garlic, and poultry seasoning.

When you're ready to cook, let the chicken come to room temperature while the oven heats. Then dip each chicken piece in a mixture of 100% whole wheat bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.

My original instructions said to bake this 30-40 minutes, but when I made it recently I just baked it until the chicken felt firm (about 25 minutes), and then browned the top of the chicken under the broiler for a few minutes. Don't overcook or the chicken will be too dry.

Parmesan Chicken with Garlic and Herbs
(Makes 4 servings; recipe slightly adapted by Kalyn from a blog that no longer exists)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp. crushed garlic (garlic puree from a jar is perfect here)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning (I used Penzeys)
1/4 cup whole wheat Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Combine crushed garlic, olive oil, and poultry seasoning in small pan and heat 1 minute, until just warm.

Trim all visible fat and membranes from chicken breasts, then make small crosswise slits about 1/2 inch apart down the length of each chicken breast, being careful not to cut too far into the chicken. (This helps the garlic and herb flavor penetrate the chicken more.) Put chicken into zip loc bag, pour heated oil over, and marinate all day in refrigerator.

To cook, take chicken out of refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for a few minutes while you preheat oven to 425.

Mix bread crumbs and Parmesan (pulse a few times in food processor if the mixture isn't fine enough.) Place cheese/breadcrumb mixture in flat dish and dip each chicken breast into it, pressing on as much of the coating as you can.

Place each chicken piece in casserole dish which has been sprayed with nonstick spray. or olive oil. Bake until chicken is firm and cooked through, about 25 minutes, then put under the broiler to brown more if desired. (Original directions said to bake 30-40 minutes, but I wouldn't cook it that long. Actual cooking time will depend on the thickness of your chicken breasts, but chicken should feel firm but not hard when it's cooked.)

Recipe Favorites: Twice-Baked Cauliflower

Recipe Favorites: Twice-Baked Cauliflower

I have fond memories of Twice-Baked Potatoes, but now this Twice-Baked Cauliflower would suit me better!

(Updated with better photos and a slightly lightened recipe, November 2011.) I'm one of those people who really like cauliflower, and I especially like this dish, possibly in memory of all those twice baked potatoes I ate before I started eating the lower glycemic index way. I remember my mother making them for special occasions, and I'd help scoop out the potato insides and mix them with sour cream, cheese and butter, and lots of cheese sprinkled on top when the potatoes went back in the oven for the second baking. In those days all the Denny siblings considered twice baked potatoes to be the ultimate gourmet treat, something my mother didn't make very often for the twelve (12!) people she was cooking for.

Don't think of the cauliflower in this recipe as just a replacement for potatoes though. This is a great way to prepare cauliflower, whether or not you're a potato eater. I've been re-discovering The Low Carb gourmet by Karen Barnaby and that's where I found this recipe. I did eliminate the butter, reduce the amount of bacon, and used low fat cheddar, cream cheese, and sour cream to make it more South Beach Dietfriendly.  I made this last night for my brother Mark, his wife Lisa, and two of my nephews and their wives, and it was a hit with everyone (even those who thought they didn't like cauliflower!)

And yes, if you want to be picky, the cauliflower is really boiled, then baked, but I agree with Karen Barnaby that Twice-Baked Cauliflower is a title that really captures the spirit of this dish. Give it a try if you like cauliflower.

Cut up the cauliflower into small pieces and cook in boiling salted water until it's barely soft, then drain and mash the cauliflower, leaving some chunks.  (I mash it a few times in the colander and then transfer to a bowl and mash a bit more.)

I know that bacon isn't recommended for the South Beach Diet, but I do use it occasionally in small amounts.   This recipe called for 8 pieces, which I cut down to six.  I buy the pre-cooked bacon at Costco, and cook it so it's very crisp, then blot well with paper towels, so I get rid of as much of the fat as I can. I think Canadian Bacon would taste great in this if you don't want to use bacon, and it would also be fine with no bacon at all.

Combine the mashed cauliflower, light cream cheese, light sour cream, green onion, Parmesan, and 3/4 of the crumbled bacon.

Put the mixture into a glass casserole dish with a lid that you've sprayed with olive oil or non-stick spray, and top with the low-fat sharp cheddar and the rest of the bacon.

Bake with the lid on at 350F/180C until the mixture is bubbling and all the cheese has melted, about 30-35 minutes.  (I take the lid off for the last 5-10 minutes to brown the top a little.

Twice-Baked Cauliflower
And here's the photo from 2008 when I first updated this recipe with a photo (and obviously I was a lot more into the macro photography look in those days!)

Twice Baked Cauliflower
(Makes 6-8 servings; recipe adapted slightly from The Low Carb Gourmet.)

1 large head cauliflower
4 oz. low fat cream cheese (do not use fat free)
1/2 cup low fat sour cream (do not use fat free)
1/4 cup minced green onions
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (If you only have finely grated Parmesan, use a bit less)
6 slices bacon, cooked until very crisp, fat blotted with paper towel and then crumbled
1 cup reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese
(I used Kraft 2% milk sharp cheddar)

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Cut out stem and core from cauliflower, and cut into small pieces. Cook in large pot of boiling salted water until cauliflower is tender, but not overly soft. Drain well and mash with potato masher, leaving some chunks. Mix in light cream cheese, light sour cream, green onion, Parmesan, and 3/4 of the crumbled bacon.

Spread evenly in a medium-sized glass casserole dish. Sprinkle with low-fat cheddar cheese and reserved bacon. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

World's Best Tzatziki Sauce Recipe - Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Sauce

World's Best Tzatziki Sauce Recipe - Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Sauce

(First posted in 2007, updated with step-by-step photos and printer-friendly recipe and added to Recipe Favorites August 2009) Tzatziki is one of the classic sauces in Greek cuisine, with as many versions as there are cooks who make it. I can get away with calling this the World's Best Tzatziki Sauce Recipe because it was made by my friend Georgette, who's not only 100% Greek, but also one of the best cooks I know. In the archives I also have Georgette's Really Lemony Greek Pilafi and Georgette's Greek Zucchini. I keep telling Georgette that someday she'll have her own page in the recipe archives, and when she does, this Tzatziki Sauce recipe will be at the top of the list.

Georgette brought this sauce to my house when I cooked some lamb. If you've had a Gyro (pronounced yeero), Tzatziki is the type of white sauce that's often served with it. I love Tzatziki on grilled meats like SalmonKubidehSouvlakichicken, and of course lamb. I've never had a version of Tzatziki sauce I didn't like, but this was hands-down the best I've tasted. Try it if you've never made Tzatziki yourself!

The sauce is made with Greek Yogurt, and there are many good brands, some of which are fat free or low fat. If you can't find Greek yogurt, you can make something similar by straining regular plain yogurt for several hours to remove the liquid and thicken the yogurt. I use the yogurt strainer you see in this photo, but if you don't have one Georgette recommends using two coffee filters inside a colander, placed inside a bowl to catch the liquid. This photo shows the yogurt starting to drain.

Let the yogurt drain on the counter for 2 hours, or until it reaches the thickness you want. This photo shows how much liquid had drained out after 2 hours, when the yogurt was nice and thick.

Since Tzatziki contains finely-chopped cucumber, it's best to remove the seeds of the cucumber so the sauce doesn't get too watery. Use a sharp pointed spoon to scrape out seeds as shown in this photo.

Then cut cucumbers into thick slices and put in a colander placed in the sink. Sprinkle on salt and let cucumbers release water and drain for at least 30 minutes or more. (The water released rinses off most of the salt, but if you're limiting salt in your diet you can rinse them and pat dry with paper towels.)

Tzatziki traditionally contains fresh dill, which makes me glad I have this lovely dill from my garden. Use the fine dips of the dill leaves and discard the thick stems. Some versions of Tzatziki use mint, and I'm thinking dried dill weed would also work in a pinch.

Put the cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, dill, and black pepper into food processor and process with the steel blade until cucumbers are finely chopped. When you see the liquid in this photo you can tell why it's important to drain the cucumbers first.

Then stir the pureed cucumber mixture into the Greek yogurt (or yogurt you've drained.) Let this refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using to give flavors a chance to develop.

Tzatziki (Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Sauce)
(Makes about 3 1/2 cups. You can cut the recipe in half, but it's so good, you really shouldn't. Recipe courtesy of Georgette.)

3 cups Greek Yogurt (or regular plain yogurt, strained as described above)
juice of one lemon (about 3 T)
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 medium cucumbers, seeded and diced
about 1 T kosher salt for salting cucumbers
1 T finely chopped fresh dill (can substitute mint leaves for a slightly different version)
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

If you don't have Greek yogurt, strain plain yogurt as described above. Peel cucumbers, then cut in half lengthwise and take a small spoon and scrape out seeds. Discard seeds. (If you use the small seedless or European cucumbers with few seeds, you can skip this step.) Slice cucumbers, then put in a colander, sprinkle on 1 T salt, and let stand for 30 minutes to draw out water. Drain well and wipe dry with paper towel.

In food processor with steel blade, add cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, dill, and a few grinds of black pepper. Process until well blended, then stir this mixture into the yogurt. Taste before adding any extra salt, then salt if needed. Place in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving so flavors can blend. (This resting time is very important.)

This will keep for a few days or more in the refrigerator, but you will need to drain off any water and stir each time you use it.

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South Beach Suggestions:Yogurt is one dairy product where the South Beach Diet recommends always choosing non-fat or low-fat and there is a huge variation in the amount of fat in various brands of yogurt. I would check the label and choose the lowest fat and lowest sugar brand I could find when choosing yogurt. That said, Tzatziki is a condiment, and you won't be eating enormous amounts of it.

Recipe for Roasted Green Beans with Mushrooms, Balsamic, and Parmesan

Recipe for Roasted Green Beans with Mushrooms, Balsamic, and Parmesan

Roasted Green Beans and Mushrooms
Roasting brings out amazing flavors in fresh green beans and mushrooms!

Back in the days when most of my exposure to green beans meant the ones that came from a can, I wasn't too much of a green bean fan. Then Costco started carrying these lovely thin French beans, and I fell in love with green beans. They're expensive compared to most vegetables, so this is definitely something to make for a special dinner at my house, although the day I roasted the beans for this recipe I ate a big plate of green beans for lunch!

I do think that roasting vegetables is the greatest trick to add to your cooking repertoire, because nothing concentrates and sweetens the flavor of vegetables more than roasting. If you make these beans, promise that you won't crowd your beans on the pan, which I did because I was feeling stubborn and wanted to use the toaster oven. I ended up cooking these nearly 30 minutes, and at least 10 minutes of that time was the evaporate the moisture from the mushrooms, which wouldn't have been a problem if they'd been on a larger cookie sheet. If you spread them out better to roast, your beans will be a little crisper and greener than the ones in my photo (but my beans were still quite delicious and disappeared in no time!)

Cut mushrooms into slices that are about 1/2 inch thick. It's fairly important that mushrooms are the same thickness so they'll all cook the same. I removed the stems to use for something else, but in the end it didn't matter at all, and next time I'd just slice the mushrooms stem and all.

These are the beloved Costco beans that I love so much. They come in a two pound package. I cook about a pound at a time, and use my FoodSaver Vacuum Food Sealer to seal the bag and keep the rest fresh.

I put the beans and mushrooms into a Ziploc bag, then whisked together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, poured it into the bag, and squeezed the veggies around until they were all coated with the oil-balsamic mixture.

And here is the evidence of how I crowded the beans and mushrooms way too much on the pan. Do Not Do This! Use a big cookie sheet and spread them around as much as possible, and you'll save some cooking time and get crisper and greener beans.

Roasted Green Beans with Mushrooms, Balsamic, and Parmesan
(Makes 4-6 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

8 oz. mushrooms, sliced in 1/2 inch slices (I used brown crimini mushrooms, but any mushrooms will work)
1 lb. fresh green beans, preferably thin French style beans
1 1/2 T olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 T finely grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450F/230C. Wash mushrooms and let drain (or spin dry in salad spinner, which is what I did.) While mushrooms are drying, trim ends of beans and cut beans in half so you have bite-sized pieces. (An easy way to trim them is to gather a small handful of beans, stand them up on cutting board, holding loosely so they will fall down and have ends ends aligned, then trim. Repeat with other end.) Cut mushrooms into slices 1/2 inch thick.

Put cut beans and mushrooms into a Ziploc bag or plastic bowl. Whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar and pour over, then squeeze bag or stir so all the beans and mushrooms are lightly coated with the mixture. Arrange on large cookie sheet, spreading them out well so beans and mushrooms are not crowded. Roast 20-30 minutes, starting to check for doneness after 20 minutes. Cook until beans are tender-crisp, mushrooms are cooked, and all liquid on the pan from mushrooms has evaporated. Season beans to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper, then sprinkle with finely grated Parmesan. Serve hot.

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South Beach Suggestions:
This is a perfect side dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet, or any other type oflow-glycemic eating plan.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.