Kay Wheeler Moore

Welcome to my blog

Hello. . .

The Newfangled Country Gardener is for anyone who has a garden, would like to have a garden, or who simply enjoys eating the garden-fresh way. I don't claim to be an expert; in this blog I'm simply sharing some of the experiences my husband and I have in preparing food that is home-grown.

About the author

Kay Wheeler Moore is the author of a new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, that features six generations of recipes that call for ingredients that are fresh from the garden. With home gardening surging in popularity as frugal people become more resourceful, this recipe collection and the stories that accompany it ideally will inspire others to cook the garden-fresh way and to preserve their own family food stories as well. The stories in this book center around the Three Red-Haired Miller Girls (Kay's mother and aunts) who grew up in Delta County, TX, with their own backyard garden so lavish that they felt as though they were royalty after their Mama wielded her kitchen magic on all that was homegrown. Introduced in Kay's previous book, Way Back in the Country, the lively Miller Girls again draw readers into their growing-up world, in which a stringent economic era--not unlike today's tight times--saw people turn to the earth to put food on the table for their loved ones. The rollicking yarns (all with recipes attached) have love, family, and faith as common denominators and show how food evocatively bonds us to our life experiences.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Celebrating a great annual physical report with this healthy bean-and-spinach skillet meal

The results are in, and healthy eating won big! Residing in my in-box yesterday were the results of my bloodwork from my physical exam two days ago. My squeals of satisfaction could be heard all the way to downtown Dallas as I read that my triglycerides were down six points from last year, my bad cholesterol also was down six, and my good cholesterol was up eight (UP is good, in this case). All other results (including blood pressure and weight) were excellent throughout, the doctor reported in his email to me. Something truly to be thankful for, since in the gently aging, such as myself, those readings often go the opposite direction. HOORAY! I credit it all to (besides the Good Lord, of course) dietary changes. Maybe I should credit The Newfangled Country Gardener, since writing this blog keeps me honest about my food choices. Fruits, vegetables, fiber—tweaking the diet with a healthy eating plan—does deliver what it promises.

To celebrate I prepared a recipe I’ve been holding onto from HealthMonitor, the little magazine that our local hospital mails out to the community. (Recipes also can be found at www.HealthMonitor.com.) Like the previous night’s, it was another skillet meal; the contents were absolutely scrumptious; one serving amounted to only 327 calories. (HealthMonitor stated that it reprinted the recipe from the book, EatingWell 500-Calorie Dinners by Jessie Price, Nicci Micco, and the editors of EatingWell Magazine.) White beans, tomatoes, and spinach leaves poured in the health on top of the shelf-stable gnocchi (soft dumplings). A mixture of two cheese on top was the crowning touch to this good recipe.

Is bypassing the fast-food lines and taking time to put healthy food on the table worth it all? You betcha, when the Moment of Truth time arrives and the annual-physical report turns up good in the inbox!

Skillet Gnocchi with Spinach and White Beans

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 (16-ounce) package shelf-stable gnocchi
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup water
6 cups spinach, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes (or 2 1/2 cups chopped Roma tomatoes)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 (15-ounce) can white beans, rinsed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely shredded

In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until gnocchi is plumped and starting to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add the remaining teaspoon of oil and chopped onion to the pan; cook over medium heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and water. Cover and cook until the onion is soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until spinach starts to wilt, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans, and pepper and bring to a simmer. Stir in the gnocchi and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 3 minutes more. Makes 6 servings.

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