So you’ve been trying to eat healthy but you still cannot resist your favorite Italian foods. I completely understand. I am 100% Italian and grew up learning how to cook from my mother, also named Joanne (after 32 hours of labor, my father insisted my name be after my mother) and my grandmother who lived two blocks away, Michelina (Mickey).
Grandmom would dip her Italian toast with butter in her coffee in the morning and already be planning out the evening meal. “What are we going to have?” she would ask implying dinner. We could usually have pretty much have anything, with a bountiful Italian vegetable garden in the backyard and a smaller herb garden with aromatic fresh basil, parsley, mint, etc.
I remember many of my grandmother’s elaborate meals were usually made with healthy, homegrown vegetables and not preservative laden foods. Now, the trend is to go back to basics and eat natural, organic ingredients. My grandmother was ahead of her time. I like to refer to her as the “Green, Italian Martha Stewart”.
For example you did not throw out vegetable peels, fruit rinds or coffee grounds. You immediately instead, threw it in the rose garden. My grandmother’s roses were the most beautiful, fragrant flowers I have ever seen! I realize now that would be Mickey’s version of compost. You also did not just throw out an empty box. You would have to “tret on it first” before throwing it into the “wastepaper basket.”
My grandmother was an incredible fashion designer, artist, seamstress and cook. While both my sisters can cook, Jennifer can draw anything and Maria can sew, I am the adventurous cook.(I could never sit still long enough to draw or sew.) It is that “little bit of this and little bit of that” Mickey mentality that has allowed me as a Sports Nutritionist, to revamp many Italian favorites into healthy, enjoyable meals made with alternative ingredients. I have three hundred healthy recipes on my website (www.fitnessanswer.com). Below is a copy of my Chicken Parmesan Recipe:
(4) Chicken Breasts
1 cup of Almond Meal (usually found in nut aisle at grocery or health food store)
2 Eggs (70 calories each)