Caribbean Cooking: Island Style Healthy Snacking

This 4th July will definitely be interesting, with us all now being allowed “out!” I don’t know about you, but being on “home stay” for a few months has incurred a lot of eating!!

July marks the season for summer barbecues and parties. My advice is … eat a healthy snack (preferably with protein and fiber) before going. May seem silly (as you usually go to a party to eat and drink!) but it is actually a great way to cut the edge off your hunger so that you don’t arrive famished and ready to eat everything and anything. 

CHOCOLATE, BANANA, & PEANUT BUTTER MUFFINS

Prep time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 20 minutes. Makes: 12

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium ripe bananas)
¾ cup natural creamy or crunchy drippy peanut butter (just peanuts and salt)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (plus 2-3 Tbsp. for sprinkling on top)
¼ cup pure maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 Tbsp. dairy free milk of choice (I like almond milk)
1 cup gluten free oat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350º F.  Line a 12-cup muffin liner with muffin liners and spray the inside with nonstick cooking spray to prevent muffins from sticking to liners. In a large bowl, mix together the mashed bananas, peanut butter, eggs, pure maple syrup, vanilla extract and milk of choice until smooth. Stir in the oat flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips. Evenly divide batter into muffin liners. Bake 20-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Transfer muffins to wire rack to cool and enjoy! 

Tip: These muffins are naturally sweetened, gluten free, and make a perfect breakfast or  snack. They are also freezer-friendly!

SPAGHETTI WITH BRUSSELS SPROUTS

Prep time: 20 minutes. Cooking time: 20 minutes. Makes: 4

Kosher salt for pasta water plus 1-1/4 tsp., divided
12 oz. whole-wheat spaghetti
1 lb. brussels sprouts
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced\
3 Tbsp. butter, divided
1 tsp. pepper, divided
4 eggs
1 lemon, zested & juiced
3 oz. grated pecorino cheese, divided

In a large pot of salted boiling water* cook pasta until just cooked through 7 to 9 minutes. Meanwhile, trim brussels sprouts and slice very thin. Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add sprouts and 1 tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, 2 Tbsp butter, and ½ tsp. pepper; cook one minute more. Transfer sprouts to a heated bowl. Wipe pan clean with paper towel.  Drain pasta saving 1 cup of pasta water. Return pasta to pot. Add sprouts, 3/4 cup of saved pasta water, lemon zest, and juice. Cook stirring until everything is heated through. Add more cooking water if necessary. Add half of the cheese and stir to combine. Divide pasta mixture among four wide, shallow bowls. Serve with the remaining grated cheese. And serve with a hearty salad!

Hint: Instead of pecorino cheese you can use a good Parmesan (less sharp flavor) OR Asiago cheese (sharp and salty) OR Spanish Manchego.

Tip: Sometimes, I sauté mushrooms with a little butter, black pepper, and oregano and add to the pasta mixture.

COLORFUL KALE AND SPINACH SALAD

Prep time: 20 minutes. Cooking time: 20 minutes. Makes: 4

½ bunch kale, stems removed and discarded, leaves torn into bite size pieces
½ bunch fresh spinach, torn
½ head romain lettuce, torn
1 large carrot, grated
1 large cucumber, diced
½ red bell pepper, diced
Salad dressing of your choice

In a large attractive salad bowl, toss together kale, spinach, lettuce, cucumber, and bell pepper. Serve with your favorite salad dressing.

 

Capt. Jan Robinson
Capt. Jan Robinson’s Ship to Shore Cookbook Collection is available at your local marine or bookstore. Visit www.shiptoshoreINC.com email [email protected] Tel: 704-277-6521. Don’t miss the new cookbook added to Jan’s collection: DINING ON DECK