Falafelly Good for You-Baked Falafels

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“Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart, the more you eat, the more you…”, um get healthy?

Yes!  Did you know garbanzo beans are one of the most healthiest foods on the planet?  (Yes, I said most healthiest-because they are that good!). Yup, this heart healthy and versatile food is at the top of our bean chain!  And they are delicious!
One of my favorite meals that feature garbanzo beans as their star are falafels!  Falafels are fried little fritters comprised of dried garbanzo beans that have been soaked in water for 12-24 hours and are then mixed with garlic and fresh herbs and spices. They are traditionally served with a tahini sauce, which is sesame butter, in a pita, flatbread, on a salad, or as a side dish. I like mine in pitas.  And they can be rolled into any shape. I make mine into logs so they are like dippers for my kids-like fish sticks!
I like to stick to the healthy theme here of these falafels and bypass the three inches of frying oil. I bake mine!
Baked Falafels
2 cups dried garbanzo beans, covered with two inches of water for 12-24 hours, then rinsed and drained
1 tsp baking powder
1 small onion, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic (Finicky Shark says if too spicy-use less garlic)
1 Tb coriander
1 Tb cumin
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 handfuls fresh flat leaf parsley
1 handful fresh cilantro
Zest AND juice of one lime
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooking spray for baking or canola oil for frying
Serve with:
Warm pitas or Greek salad
Various veggies for pita pockets-sliced cucumbers, red onions, lettuce, tomatoes, bell peppers, etc.
Tahini Yogurt Sauce (recipe under Dips)
Preheat oven to 425*F.
Place garbanzo beans in food processor and pulse until broken down. Add remaining ingredients except for S&P and combine well. Add S&P to taste.
Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence.  Everything is better with lime.  I love my microplane!  Every passionate cook should own one of these!
Scoop mixture by tablespoons and form into small balls-1 Tb, or roll carefully into logs-2 Tb. Transfer to cooking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Spray falafels again with cooking spray and bake for 15 minutes. Rotate falafels, spray again and bake for another 15 minutes until browned evenly.
Alternatively drop carefully into hot oil and fry about 5 min each, turning to brown evenly, being careful they don’t stick to the pan.
Serve in warm pitas (pictured above) or over Greek salad.
Serves 4, makes 16 logs or 32 balls
To make a quick Greek Salad, chop some lettuce, and add sliced tomato, red onions, cucumbers, bell peppers, kalamata olives, pepperoncinis and feta cheese.  Toss with EVOO, balsamic vinegar and Greek seasoning.
These are amazing with Tahini Yogurt Sauce. And the sauce is so delicious and good for you, my husband enjoyed half the bowl!  See recipe for Tahini Yogurt Sauce under dips.
And we can’t finish this out without a Finicky Shark version. My kids like these with ranch. Or ketchup. I also give them the Tahini option.
Served with a side of carrot fries!
*Slice peeled carrots into French fry size pieces, toss in olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and ground pepper.  Then bake on  cookie sheet at 450*F for 20-25 minutes.
Sharky reviews:
My oldest shark inhaled these with ranch dressing and requested seconds.
My most finicky super sensitive shark prefers less garlic, but did attempt to eat these. He said they were spicy-less garlic would fix that, as I do recall him eating these in the past.
My youngest shark ate a few bites with ranch dressing. The carrot fries were also enjoyed. And they really liked the flatbread circles.  I found preservative free whole wheat pita flatbreads for myself and hubby at Fresh and Easy. For the boys I chose smaller 100 calorie circle flatbreads.
Enjoy!  And don’t forget to add the Tahini Yogurt Sauce!

Baked Falafels

Prep Time: 23 hours, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 24 hours

Number of servings: 4

Per Serving 398 calories

Fat 7 g

Carbs 68 g

Protein 21 g

4

Baked Falafels

Weight Watchers PointsPlus®:

*Nutritional value may vary depending upon which ingredients are used.

*PointsPlus® calculated by Famished Fish and in no way endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried garbanzo beans
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic (Finicky Shark says if too spicy-use less garlic)
  • 1 Tb coriander
  • 1 Tb cumin
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 handfuls fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro
  • Zest AND juice of one lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooking spray for baking

Instructions

  1. 12-24 hours before hand, cover the dried garbanzo beans with two inches of water and let soak, then rinse and drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 425*F.
  3. Place garbanzo beans in food processor and pulse until broken down.
  4. Add remaining ingredients except for S&P and combine well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Scoop mixture by tablespoons and form into small balls-1 Tb, or roll carefully into logs-2 Tb. Transfer to cooking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Spray falafels again with cooking spray and bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Rotate falafels, spray again and bake for another 15 minutes until browned evenly.

Notes

Alternatively drop carefully into hot oil and fry about 5 min each, turning to brown evenly, being careful they don’t stick to the pan. Serve in warm pitas (pictured above) or over Greek salad. Serve with Tahini Yogurt Sauce.

How will serve your falafels?
 
 

Tahini Yogurt Sauce

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Sauce so delicious and good for you, you’ll try to see what else you can dip in it.

 

Tahini Yogurt Sauce
 
1/2 cup tahini (sesame butter)
3/4 cup Fage Total 0% Plain Greek yogurt or other plain yogurt (for a vegan version of this sauce, you may substitute 1/2 cup water or almond milk and omit the 1/4 cup water; this will change the consistency slightly)
1/4 cup water
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
Zest of one lime
Juice of two limes
Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender until smooth. Serve immediately or chill in refrigerator to marry flavors.

 

Serve with Baked Falafels (recipe in Meals and Vegan) on warm pita bread or flatbread, or with fresh veggie sticks.
Serves 4, about 3 Tb per serving.

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Baba Ganoush

Double Chocolate, Doubly Delicious, and Seriously Guilt Free

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I’ve been on a serious, and I mean serious, clean eating kick for the past three weeks.  I love it!  I have more energy to make it through my 18-hour day, I feel great and I’m gaining a new body and healthy image!  Processed junk foods no longer have the same appeal it once did. I go to a buffet and long for the colorful salad bar!  And I find it challenging to see what clean eating sweet treats I can create without tearing open a bag of Chips Ahoy.
I’d like to thank Chris Freytag for a lo-ot of that.  I’ve been committed to her circuit workouts for nearly two years now and just recently purchased her new eBook about clean eating.  I thought I was doing well before and I have several Eat Clean cookbooks, too.  I was way off kilter.  I was doing it wrong!  I was inconsistent.  I purchased Chris’s eBook which uses recipes from Slender Kitchen and the menu suggested a Cookie Pie recipe.

Omg it sounded heavenly. And I made the cookie dough dip before, too-also sinfully delicious. But I didn’t want a Cookie Pie. I wanted more chocolate. More goodness. More.  I honestly don’t think any other decadent food can top the health benefits of sweet and sinful chocolate.  Yup, this dessert packs in healthy yumminess!

 

This recipe calls for garbanzo beans in place of flour.  Yes, this is a Gluten Free dessert!  I’m sure you may have heard of this substitution, if you are familiar with gluten free subs. Even black beans are common substitutes. But did you know garbanzo are super good for you?  I mean, top notch, get your blood moving good!  Like, the healthiest bean out there!  Not to mention the chocolate!!!  That’s my kind of MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acid) right there.
Okay so I had to do it; I added more chocolate!  And yes, I kept the calories way down.
Double Chocolate Brownie Cookies-Gluten Free
 
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup PB2 peanut butter chocolate flavor [if you can’t find the PB2 (I ordered mine online), you may use 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter and omit the 1 Tb]
1/4 skim milk (I used soy)
3 Tb uncooked oatmeal
1 Tb cocoa powder
1 Tb creamy peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/6 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350*F.
Grease 8″ square baking pan lightly with   cooking spray. Set aside.
Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips in food processor or blender until smooth.  Fold in chocolate chips.
Spread into prepared pan and bake for 35 min or until set about 2 inches from edge.  Cool slightly and cut evenly into 16 bars.  Dust with powdered sugar if desired.
I served these up immediately because my 9-year old couldn’t wait to try the cookies, since he had to suffer smelling them while they baked. I didn’t tell him they were healthy. And he ate two!
These are surprisingly satisfyingly filling!  I came home from work tonight famished.  You know when you can’t wait for dinner to be ready and you are serving your kids their afternoon snack and you so want to stick your hand into their bag of chips or cookies?  And I’d had plenty a fill of fruits and veggies today.  So I had a square of gooey Double Chocolate Brownie Cookie with a glass of water and I felt content not to nibble on dinner while cooking.  Every bite-guilt free goodness.  Yep. You’ll love it. No picky shark version needed here!  This one is especially good for them.

It’s Thai(m) for Tacos

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We are finally home from camping and I can’t wait to get in my kitchen and make something fresh.  After packing up our tent trailer in 90 degree weather, all I can think about is crisp lettuce and fresh vegetables.

 

I knew I already had some leftover grilled chicken breast from our trip, and after a quick run to grocery store for more produce, I could whip up some Thai chicken lettuce wraps.  These are one of my favorite quick meals!  And even better for a sack lunch at work.  But what’s totally awesome is that’s it’s clean eating.  You can also save time by purchasing cooked chicken breast strips or a rotisserie chicken and using the breasts and packaged crudite or julienned veggies.
Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps
 
2 1/2 cups sliced chicken breast
4 carrots, peeled and julienned
1 cucumber, peeled and julienned
1/2 small jicama, peeled and julienned
12 leaves lettuce, iceberg or butter
cilantro or parsley for garnish
1 cup Thai peanut sauce (recipe to follow)
Prepare the Thai peanut sauce and set aside.
Arrange 3 lettuce leaves on each of 4 plates and divide chicken strips, carrot, cucumber, and jicama evenly among lettuce leaves to resemble tacos. Drizzle each taco with 3/4 Tb peanut sauce and garnish with cilantro or parsley. Serve with a side of fresh fruit.
Serves 4
Finicky Shark Thai Lettuce Chicken and Veggie Cups
 
Now for the picky sharks, I had to think of a creative way for my kids to gobble this meal up.
Their own personal crudite with chicken strips. I gave them the ranch dressing option in addition to the peanut sauce.
Arrange as pictured divided evenly among small Dixie cups, shot glasses or ramekins.
Mommy got two thumbs up!
Thai Peanut Sauce
 
This is my own variation of Thai peanut sauce.  I could just eat this stuff out of the bowl!  It’s finger licking delicious and full of the beneficial MUFAs in the peanut butter.
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 Tb granulated sugar
2 Tb low sodium soy sauce
1 Tb fish sauce
1 Tb rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, pressed
juice of one lime
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth and serve with chicken lettuce wraps.
Enjoy!  The pickiest of my boys (my shark with autism) really loved it. Even with a side of spinach 😉
 
 

Scavenge the Icebox-Cucumber Tomato Salad with Panela and Steak and Peppers

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I love cooking outdoors.  And camping.  A lot.  The fresh air, green trees and rustic environment just beckon fresh food to be made.
So I pack our icebox with as much produce that I can cram in-with the ice of course.
But by the end of our camping trips the fruits and veggies are floating in water and I have to find creative ways to use them up.  And that takes us to here.
Look at this beautiful bounty!  I see marinated grilled round steak, sautéed bell peppers and onions with zucchini, a cucumber, tomato and panela salad, grilled baby nectarines and baked potatoes.
Let’s get grilling!

 

Grilled Round Steak
2 pounds round beef
Lawry’s Garlic and Herb 30 minute marinade [the rest of my bottle from yesterday’s chicken ;-)]
Steak seasoning of choice
Marinate 30-60 minutes.
Grill 5-8 minutes on each side depending on liking
Serves 5-6

 

Wrap potatoes in foil and grill 30 minutes or until tender.
Place nectarines on grill with steak.
Meanwhile get this beautiful mix of veggies started.  You can actually see the steam coming off this one!

 

Grilled Peppers and Onions with Zucchini
 
While waiting for the food to cook, slice about half an onion and a zucchini, julienned.
Sauté the onion in 1 Tb of canola oil with desired seasonings (I used the steak seasoning). When the onion is almost caramelized, add one bag of frozen (now thawed) mixed bell peppers. Sauté another minute more then add the zucchini.  Cook three minute more.
Makes 6 – 1/2 cup servings
And while that’s cooking, chop up this colorful salad with a kick.

 

Spiced Up Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Panela
 
2 cucumbers peeled and chopped
2 Roma tomatoes chopped
1 oz Panela cheese
Dash Tabasco (I use Cholula hot sauce at home-even better!)
Toss together and serve.
Makes 6 – 1/3 cup servings

 

Finally, for your finicky shark, reheat last night’s corn cobs for 2 minutes on the grill.
Rub with butter, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and top with steak strips to create a spider. Yum yum!
I’d like to mention my little shark requested a baked potato!  And he tasted a nectarine and loved it. All on separate plates of course. With a side of Panela cheese.  Mommy aimed for protein and healthy carbs and he got dairy and fruit too!
And this one is for the big kids 🙂

I lost my natural lighting with the setting sun by the time I served myself.  The perks of motherhood-always last to eat.

Camp on healthy ones. There’s always a rainbow of nutrition in that icebox.

 

Cucumber Tomato Salad with Panela

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Number of servings: 6

Per Serving 38 calories

Fat 2 g

Carbs 5 g

Protein 2 g

6

Cucumber Tomato Salad with Panela

Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 1

*Nutritional value may vary depending upon which ingredients are used.

*PointsPlus® calculated by Famished Fish and in no way endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

Ingredients

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 oz Panela cheese
  • Dash Hot Sauce

Instructions

  1. Peel and chop the cucumbers.
  2. Dice the tomatoes.
  3. Crumble the cheese.
  4. Mix all ingredients together and serve.

What is your favorite camping salad?

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Sometimes it’s All in the Presentation-Tike Face Plate, Melon and Chicken with Sweet Potato

It’s 4th of July weekend and my family and I decided to take a local camping trip to the Pomona Kampgrounds Of America.  The Pomona KOA is right across the street from the Pomona Fairplex where my family and I were entertained by “Kaboom!” a monster truck, dirt bike and firework show. We discovered the Kaboom show when we went tent camping at the KOA one year and watched the fireworks from our campsite.  So we decided to go to the show this year.  The presentation was spectacular!  My boys loved every minute of the daredevil stunts and extreme tricks and were amazed by the fireworks.  I’ll admit I was fully entertained too.  I recorded several stunts and all I can hear is my hoot and hollering over the monstrous engines.

Just look at that dirt track and red, white and blue set up!

This particular KOA in Pomona is no peach.  The RV spots are close together and there are no fire-pits or playgrounds, but they have a pool, game room and store.

Which all appeals to my family.

So when I’m cooking and eating which I love to do both, [pause to bite into my lettuce wrapped turkey burger and roasted poblano with panela cheese] I like to make the food present as good as it tastes.
Even when camping.  Because we all know a hot dog is just a hot dog and a burger is just a burger, until you add the grilled onions, muenster cheese and fat juicy tomato slices.
This was our delicious clean eating lunch today.  Grilled chicken breast halves marinated in Lawry’s Herb and Garlic 30 minute marinade, French cut greens beans tossed in olive oil and black pepper (love my electric skillet for camping), baked white sweet potatoes dashed with cinnamon-everything is better with cinnamon-and sliced cantaloupe.

Now there’s not too much I can do with this dish to entice my kids. Especially my pickiest shark Jesse, who was blessed with autism, which gives him the most distinct of senses.

So here comes the Tiki Face Plate!  The same healthy dish is carefully arranged to appeal to my kiddos.  I added a dollop of cinnamon maple butter for the sweet potato.

With just a bit of creativity and sugar and spice, any basic heathy meal can be made kid friendly.

And that’s the theme of my blog-Famished Fish, Finicky Shark.
Cinnamon Maple Butter
3 Tb Smart Balance Butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp maple syrup
Cream together and serve.  Serves 3-4
Great on sweet potatoes, toast, biscuits, pancakes, etc.