The Hungry Husky

By Anne Baker

Without fail, the beginning of January brings a round of New Year’s resolutions most people find hard to adhere to, like eating healthy and exercising more often. The pressure to lose weight and start fresh is everywhere. Just look to the T, recently plastered with gigantic posters urging riders to lose six pounds in two weeks by eating Special K. And while it may be tempting to jump on the weight loss band wagon, destined only to jump back off after a few weeks of anti-carb dieting, the Hungry Husky urges you to resist. Instead of weight loss, focus on improving your eating habits. Reach for snacks that will leave you satisfied and feeling good (think choosing an apple with almond butter over that bag of Cheetos). To fight the popular belief that healthy food translates to something containing tofu or granola, the Hungry Husky has designed a meal as healthy as it is delicious.

Italian Wedding Soup

Ingredients:

5 ounces lean ground beef 5 ounces lean ground pork 5 cans low-sodium chicken broth 1 package Saltine crackers 1 egg 1/2 cup fresh parmesan 1 small onion, grated 1 teaspoon salt 1 pinch of freshly ground pepper 1/2 package egg noodles 1 package fresh baby spinach 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1/3 cup chopped parsley

Directions: For the meatballs: Break up the package of saltines by putting them in a plastic zip-lock and crushing them. Mix the onion, parsley, egg, garlic, salt and Saltines in a medium-sized bowl. Using your hands, mix in the cheese, pork and beef. Roll mixture into one-inch balls and place them onto a cookie sheet.

For the soup: Bring broth to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and noodles. After 10 minutes, add spinach. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Green Salad with Creamy Mustard Vinaigrette (adapted from “Barefoot Contessa”)

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons Champagne or apple vinegar 1/3 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1/2 cup olive oil salad greens

Directions: In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. While whisking, slowly add olive oil until vinaigrette is mixed well. Toss with salad and serve immediately.

Angel Food Cake with Strawberries (adapted from “Good Eats”)

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup cake flour, sifted 12 egg whites (the closer to room temperature the better) 1/3 cup warm water 1 tsp orange extract, or extract of your choice 1 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar 3 packs fresh strawberries 2 tablespoons Splenda or other sweetener

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spin sugar in a food processor for about two minutes until it is superfine. Sift half of the sugar with the salt and the cake flour, setting the remaining sugar aside.

In a large bowl, whisk egg whites, water, orange extract and cream of tartar. Make sure they are thoroughly combined. After two minutes, switch to a hand mixer. Slowly sift the reserved sugar, beating continuously at medium speed. Once you have achieved medium peaks, sift enough of the flour mixture in to dust the top of the foam. Using a spatula, fold in gently. Continue until all of the flour mixture is mixed.

Carefully spoon mixture into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for 35 minutes before checking if it is done with a wooden toothpick. (When inserted halfway between the inner and outer wall, the toothpick should come out clean.)

Cool upside-down on cooling rack for at least an hour before removing from pan.

For strawberry garnish: Rinse berries in cold water. Halve or quarter berries and put into a medium-sized bowl. Mix two tablespoons sweetener into bowl, making sure to evenly distribute among berries. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in refrigerator for several hours. Garnish with berries around the edge of cake, making sure to use the juice of the berries as well.

Hungry Husky Heath Notes

This version of the classic Italian Wedding Soup is delicious and full of bold flavors. The lean beef in the meatballs lightens the dish considerably and provides protein, but the garlic helps it retain flavor. The parmesan cheese bonds the meatballs together and provides flavor without nearly as much fat as other, creamier cheeses. Low in fat, the egg noodles give another texture to the soup. Wheat noodles could easily substitute. The real star of the dish is the spinach, which is full of rich nutrients and gives a great color. The salad is simple, but the Dijon mustard in the dressing is a real boost in taste. For those who need a bit of a crunch in their salads, toasted almonds are a nice addition and add some protein to the dish. Angel food cake is a traditionally light dessert, and the strawberries add flavor to a more plain cake. Splenda, a calorie-free sweetener, takes the bite out of the berries. It’s important to let the berries sit in the fridge with the Splenda until they have broken down a bit and are softer. There should also be juice at the bottom of the bowl.

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