Wednesday, February 13, 2008

How to change recipes to make them healthier

Every so often my google ads will throw a really strange recipe at me. Here was the most interesting one I saw today. Since a good deal of the emails I send in my personal and business accounts are about cooking and recipes, it makes sense...but this one was particularly shall we say not Sobel Wellness recommended.

Here is the recipe:

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 6 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Casseroles Main dish

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 Baking potatoes, cut into
-1/8″ slices
1 cn SPAM Luncheon Meat, cubed
-(12 oz)
1 c Thinly sliced carrots
1 c Thinly sliced onions
1/2 c Thinly sliced celery
2 Garlic cloves, minced
2 tb Flour
1 t Coarsely ground pepper
3/4 t Dried whole thyme
1 cn No-salt-added green beans,
-drained (16 oz)
1 cn No-salt-added whole
-tomatoes, drained and
-chopped (16 oz)
1 cn No-salt-added vegetable
-juice cocktail (5 1/2 oz)
Butter-flavor vegetable
-cooking spray

Cook potatoes in boiling water 3 minutes or until crisp-tender.
Drain. In skillet, cook SPAM until browned; remove from skillet. Add
carrots to skillet and saute 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add
onion, celery, and garlic; saute until vegetables are tender. Combine
flour, pepper, and thyme. Stir flour mixture into vegetable mixture;
cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add SPAM, green beans, tomato,
and vegetable juice cocktail. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer
5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove skillet from heat; arrange
potato slices over SPAM mixture to cover completely. Spray potato
slices with vegetable cooking spray. Broil 6″ from heat source 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Uh, so first issue. What the hell is spam? Its the subject of a Broadway musical. It makes it into just about every
breakfast meal in Hawaii, doesn't mean its fit for human consumption.
Its scary. Its of unknown pork origin and well
it certainly has more than 5 ingredients.
However, there will be those attempting to defend spam. According to, spam contains just a little

sodium nitrate to keep its "color" and also contains ham, pork, sugar, a little salt and a few other ingredients...
not exactly "natural", but the web marketing certainly tries.

So perhaps one could find some nice organic pastured pork and braise that in a bit of stock until it was a
nice juicy consistency. Substitute the white potatoes for sweet potatoes or parsnips. Just use regular butter or
olive oil instead of the cooking spray (which face it folks contains sodium lechitin and grain alcohol!)

Might want to try a soy, amaranth or almond flour instead of the white flour and see how this dish comes out.
Also cubed white meat free range chicken or turkey or even salmon braised in broth might also work better
than the pork in this dish. Otherwise, this casserole could be perfectly healthy.
I like that the recipe authors are so aware of the negative effects of over
consumption of salt.

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