Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Eating Smart

  The first in my "Eating Smart" Series ~ Warm Mushroom Salad

 We really make an effort to eat light and healthy as often as possible when we are at home.  Because, when we travel, which is frequently, we are pretty indulgent, fully enjoying the culinary customs of our destinations.  

 So one of my best "tricks" is to find and make exceptional side dishes  ~  and just call that "dinner".   It still feels like we are eating elegantly, but it helps trim those calories waaaaay back.

This is the start of my "Eating Smart" series.  It doesn't have to be a diet.  It doesn't have to feel like you are cheating yourself of something wonderful.  You should never feel deprived.  It should never ever feel like punishment to sit down to a health-promoting life-extending fabulous (lite!) dinner!   You are just Eating Smart. You want to be able to climb to the top, to ride the elephants, to kayak to the island, to celebrate many more dozens of holidays with your loved ones.  You want to live long and well.  So you want to enjoy Eating Smart!   It is a cornerstone for all of that!

My recipe of the week is a warm mushroom salad.  It's from Ina Garten ~ she's one of my favorite Food Network cooks, for precisely this reason.  Most of the time you'll find that she uses simple, healthy ingredients with results that make you feel like you're being indulgent, even when you're not.   And this is super fast, so it's a great week-night meal when you need to get something on the table in a hurry.

So here we go:

Warm Mushroom Salad
Prep Time:  10 min
Cook Time: 10 min 
Serves:  4 Servings

1 pound cremini mushrooms
2 T unsalted butter **
4 T good olive oil, divided
1 t kosher salt
1/2 freshly ground black pepper
4 bunches of fresh arugula, washed and spun dry
8 slices good Italian prosciutto **
2 T sherry wine vinegar **
Chunk of Parmesan cheese
8 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and julienned
Fresh flat-leaf parsley

Clean the mushrooms by brushing the tops with a clean sponge.  Do Not Ever Wash Them!   Remove and discard the stems and slice the caps 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.

In a large saute pan, heat the butter and 2 T of the olive oil until bubbly.  Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper to the pan, and saute for 3 minutes over medium heat, tossing frequently.  Reduce the heat to low and saute for another 2 - 3 minutes, until cooked through.

The aroma is wonderful!   
Can't you just smell them???

Meanwhile, arrange the arugula on 4 lunch plates, or on a platter, and cover each portion with 2 slices of prosciutto.  

When the mushrooms are cooked, add the sherry vinegar and the remaining 2 T of olive oil to the pan.   

Spoon the mushrooms and sauce on top of the prosciutto.  

With a vegetable peeler, make large shavings of Parmesan cheese and place on top of the hot mushrooms.  Sprinkle with the sun-dried tomatoes, parsley leaves, salt and pepper, and serve warm.

***MY NOTES:  

DO NOT skimp on the ingredients!  I had to hunt for the sherry wine vinegar, but it is essential for the flavor profile.   

Costco has excellent prosciutto, albeit more than you will need for this recipe.  I will post another couple of recipes in my "Eating Smart" series to help you use up the balance.  

And I never have unsalted butter lying about; so if you're using salted butter, like I do, just watch how much extra salt you're adding, you can cut it way back.

 This recipe delivers a tremendous amount of flavor for just these few simple ingredients.  Of course, it was merely a side dish in Ina's dinner menu, but it can also be a really special dinner all by itself.  

If you feel like you need to, you can always add another protein source to fill out the plate ~ a simple chicken breast perhaps.  Here I am serving it with another super-quick-y ~~ my Gorgonzola crusted grilled lamb chops (they take a total of 15 minutes to make!)  

Very elegant, but very Smart Eating!


  1. I am excited that you are doing a series on your Easting Smart recipes!

    I’ve always been a huge fan of your entrees and this just sounds fab. Elegant; not like a “diet” which always makes me feel deprived and hungry!

    Your photos help entice me to want to try this and I look forward to your recipes! The lamb just looks wonderful too!

    Gorgeous kitchen – maybe a cooking show one day!!!

    1. Well, I don't know about the cooking show, KS ~ cooking classes, perhaps? The kitchen is a fun place for me to share from the heart. It makes sense at this stage of life to be taking the very best care that we can, adding instead of subtracting years from our lives. In retirement I have time to experiment a bit, and am only passing on the "winners" to ya'll ~ the recipes I just can't wait to make again ~ like this one! Bon appetite!


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