Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Last Week's Eats And "In Defense of Food"

Going forward with the new year, not only will I be posting my Dinners Under 500 Calories every week, I will also be trying to implement, address and criticize particular "rules" proposed by the James Beard Award winner and highly celebrated Michael Pollan, from his books "In Defense of Food" and "Food Rules".

If you are not familiar with Pollan and his work, he is not just a author and journalist, but is a active critic of the Western diet and lifestyle, corporate farming, and nutritionism. According to Pollan, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, Cancer and Obesity can all be directly link to:

"the rise of highly processed foods and refined grains; the use of chemicals to raise plants and animals in huge monocultures; the superabundance of cheap calories of sugar and fat produced by modern agriculture; and the narrowing of the biological diversity of the human diet to a tiny handful of staple crops, notably wheat, corn, and soy".

Pollan isn't stating anything that we don't already know. But he presents his "food rules" in a simple, clever and direct way that we all can understand, and most of us could benefit from implementing many of these rules.

Though I am a fan of his work, I do believe that at times his elitist attitude and sometimes extreme political stance
stands in the way the practicality of his some of his rules. Not all of us can afford eating all organic or locally grown food, have the time to "do all your eating at a table" (most of us renters don't even own kitchen tables) and certainly many of us don't have the means to buy an extra freezer so that we can store pastured meat or even a "whole hog".

So, while I still HIGHLY recommend reading "In Defense of Food", I suggest taking all of Pollan's rules with a grain of salt. In the end, we all could benefit from eating cleaner: avoiding trans fat, added sweeteners, artificial colorings, flavoring or preservatives, pesticides, and processed foods
; and Pollan certainly didn't invent that idea. So as I continue to post Dinners Under 500 Calories , I will also continue to keep the dinners as "clean" as possible, yet still attainable by us "average" folk.

On to last week's eats:

Spicy Philly Steak (344 calories)

Apple Cinnamon Delight (120 calories)

Buffalo Chicken & Cheese Bake (388 calories)

Apple, Horseradish and Ham Grilled Cheese (260 calories)

Turkey Chili (223 Calories)

Dirty Martini ( I'm fully aware that this is not a meal...or at least it shouldn't be)
(150 calories)

Pear and Bacon Salad (333 calories)

Corned Beef with Roasted Potatoes and Cabbage (382 calories

Recipe of the Week: Chicken Cordon Bleu w/ Bacon and Brie - 377 calories
2 5oz chicken breasts
2 slices bacon
1 1/2 ounce brie
2 slices light ham
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp egg whites
2 tbsp honey mustard
pinch of salt, pepper, and garlic powder

1. Place chicken breasts on cutting board and wrap (loosely) with sarran wrap. Pound chicken breast until thin and flat.
2. Place 1 slice of bacon, 1 slice of ham and 3/4 oz of brie onto each chicken breast. Roll and wrap tightly. Secure with either toothpicks or string.
3. In one small bowl, mix flour and breadcrumbs and all seasonings. In second small bowl, mix egg whites and honey mustard.
4. Dip each wrapped chicken in egg and mustard mix, then coat with flour and breadcrumb mix.
5. Bake the chicken cordon bleu in 350 degrees oven for 20 minutes, or until cooked through.


  1. They all look great... and I'm looking forward to the new recipes under 500 calories, however, I don't know how to get all the recipes??

  2. Because of time constraints, I will only be posting 1 recipe a week. But if anyone wants any particular recipe that I have not posted, email me and I will send it to them!