Island Cooking: Three Healthy Meals a Day – Island Free Press

Recently, I have found myself in the personally strange position of having to prepare three meals a day! Not only do they need to be healthy, but they also need to boost weight loss following major surgery.
For breakfast, I can always revert to an old standby. Good granola loaded with dried fruit and nuts becomes a parfait when topped with low-fat yogurt rather than milk. A friend recently brought over her favorite, Baked Oatmeal, and I look forward to that recipe. There is always another easy favorite, “Overnight Oats.” I like something I can prepare in advance, so I don’t have to mess with it in the morning.
I usually have an egg muffin in the fridge ready for a quick zap in the microwave. Sometimes I beat eggs and mix in diced fresh veggies and herbs. Other times I make them with lean Canadian bacon.
Lunchtime is often leftovers from the previous dinner, but I am trying to cut those quantities down and limit the clutter in the fridge. It accumulates quickly!
A new favorite is Turkish Chickpea Salad. It, too, is best made in advance. In Turkish and other Middle Eastern traditions, salads and meze food are most flavorful at room temp.
I always have a supply of chickpeas in my pantry, dried and canned. For this, I use canned to avoid the extra step of soaking and boiling them. (It is worth doing that for hummus, but not when eating them as whole chickpeas.) I am especially fond of Navarrico Garbanzo Beans, (another name for chickpeas), which I order from
The best tip for this salad is to microwave the chickpeas. It seems that beans of all kinds better absorb flavors when heated.
This dish is filled with flavor and is a meal in itself, but can be served as a side dish with a kebob or grilled fish or meat.
Serve with pita or flatbread, now readily available in most supermarkets. Again, I opt to order my pita online because the type I like is smaller and thinner than what you may be used to, but it is a matter of personal choice. If you would like to try the smaller version it is now available on Amazon. Search for Baklava Bakery Small Lebanese Thin Pita Bread.
While you are ordering, take a look at for two spices you may not find in your local store. Aleppo pepper is a coarsely ground Turkish hot pepper that is milder than you are used to, with Italian hot peppers, and it has a hint of dried fruit flavor. It is a seasoning I use in a lot of dishes, not just Middle Eastern food. I also like the dark Urfa pepper.
Substitution: 3/4 teaspoon sweet paprika plus 1/4 cayenne.
Sumac is ground dried berries of the sumac bush, native to most of the Mediterranean area, the Arabian Peninsula, and Western Asia. It imparts a sour, lemony flavor that adds zing to many dishes, especially to hummus and to salads.
Omit this if you cannot get it.
With thanks to Shaula Clark, Milk Street Magazine
When flounder was available for a ridiculously brief time, I purchased some from Risky Business that was already expertly cleaned and vacuum packed.
It was in great condition, so I decided to bake it in parchment. It is almost impossible to overcook or dry out fish cooked that way, and flounder takes very little time.
The temptation is to cook with bacon or bacon grease, but that is a no-no!
Instead, I gave it fresh flavors from a selection of fresh herbs and vegetables, sun-dried tomatoes for some oomph, lemon-extra virgin olive oil, and a grating of Parmesan. It is actually a way I often prepare fresh fish in the summer, so it was not the result of great creativity, but it was scrumptious!
Here is my opportunity to express my gratitude to our community for all the prayers, all the help they have offered, and all the wonderful food they have been bringing over. It certainly made life easier for me doing the first stage of recovery.
Now I am ready for the captain to get back to normal! Maybe by mid-March!
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