Combining Good Taste and Healthy Food

I have commented to my family more than once that it’s a good thing I truly love cooking. With so many different dietary needs in our family, we’d be hard pressed to have a good celebratory menu without that. We have one person with high blood pressure, one with serious coronary artery disease, one with severe kidney disease and a vegetarian.

In my effort to make sure everyone gets something that tastes special but won’t kill them, I end up serving several fairly small courses. Otherwise, there would be no room on the table for our plates ;).

Course One: A raw vegetable and cheese platter works well here. Sometimes I’ll buy a dressing and sometimes I’ll make one. My favorite is balsamic vinaigrette, but that is usually best in a lettuce/tomato/strawberry salad.

You can buy these kits ready made, or you can make them yourself. Which I do depends on how much prep time I’ll have and what is in the kit. As an example, nobody in the family will eat the raw broccoli, but the rest is generally acceptable. It’s cheaper to put it together yourself as well.

Course Two: I make French Onion Soup, and it is one of my signature dishes. It takes a long time to make, because I use at least in part home made stock. While most beef bones will make an adequate stock, the best is from ox tails. After you’ve made the broth, stick it in the fridge overnight so you can take the fat off before working with it. By using homemade stock, you’re cutting fat, cholesterol and sodium down, and the taste cannot be beat.

Course Three: This is the main course, and it usually has at least two protein sources. For the vegetarian (the correct term for him is actually pescavegetarian as he will eat seafood), there is usually some form of fish. Shrimp cocktail (homemade cocktail sauce) or a seafood salad will be available.

Chicken or turkey is often chosen for the rest of us, though we have been known to use lean beef, particularly if I’ve managed to find some that are grass fed and affordable. Grass fed beef has as much Omega-3 fatty acids as a piece of salmon. Grilling it adds to the flavor and keeps the fat content low, without losing the juiciness or flavor. I end up making two different barbecue sauces, however. One family member cannot handle any form of chili pepper or powder.

Chicken can be stuffed with herbs and roasted, or, like the beef go on the barbecue. Personally, we prefer the latter.

Course Four: I don’t usually get to pick our dessert. Someone else does and it is usually a storebought cake. The biggest problem here is that there is usually more icing than cake. Were I to pick, I’d probably go for a fruit platter with nondairy whipped cream and caramel sauce…yum.

This feast does run four courses, but as you can see, that there is plenty of flavor but there isn’t a lot of fat, sodium, etc. It may take a little bit of work, but the end results are so worth it. A good feeling from the cooking and the appreciation of those around the table with you.