Two quick and South Beach Diet-friendly recipes

If there is one thing I now enjoy as I work in an office, it is having more time and choices for lunch.  Of course, there are the hundreds of restaurants to discover all around Makati.   For quicker lunches, there is also the cafeteria at the penthouse of our building.  Let’s not forget the popular “jolly-jeeps” in front of office buildings, which are stalls serving “lutong bahay” dishes (not “taong-bahay, as an officemate once blurted, hihi).  Only last week, I was introduced to Mang Lirio’s stall along C. Palanca St. in Legaspi Village.  I got a hearty serving of laing, rellenong bangus, another vegetable dish, and bottled water for only P115.  Not bad.  Not to mention that Mang Lirio is very customer-oriented.

Then, there are packed lunches, which could also be convenient and friendly to the pocket.  This, I thought of doing today.  But then, why not cook in the office myself?  So I did.

Back in college, when I used to cook my meals daily, I discovered a most convenient way of cooking , which also entailed the fastest clean up.  I wrap my dish in foil with all the ingredients and marinade, and bake it using the oven toaster.  It’s a good way to prevent juices and flavors from escaping the food.

A great hit my friends and I enjoy is ribeye steak, which I put in marinade overnight for the greatest flavor.

I wasn’t able to go to the supermarket beforehand, so I improvised.  Using available ingredients in my kitchen, I came up with two on-the-spot dishes, which even my officemates enjoyed.  And they’re South Beach Diet-friendly recipes too!

Chop suey Italiana (total preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes)

1 eggplant, sliced into thin circles
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 can of mushrooms
2 1/2 tbsp pre-cooked, crunchy garlic (or 2 cloves of chopped fresh garlic)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp basil pesto
parmesan cheese

Lay all the vegetables in an orderly manner on a sheet of foil, making sure there is space for folding the foil later.  You can put the vegetables on top of each other.  Drizzle vegetables with olive oil, then spread pesto evenly on the vegetables.  Sprinkle pepper and garlic, then add parmesan cheese.  Wrap vegetables in foil and put into a sealed plastic container.   Keep refrigerated overnight.

At lunch the following day, bake in the oven toaster for around 15 minutes.

Serves 1 (as a rice substitute), or 3 as a side dish.

Baked Salmon and Bacon Duo (total preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes)

1 slice, salmon fillet or patty
3 slices, (Canadian) bacon
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter (or butter substitute)
2  1/2 tbsp pre-cooked, crunchy garlic (or 2 cloves of chopped fresh garlic)

Line up the three slices of bacon beside each other on the foil.  Put salmon on top.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Spread butter on fish.  Sprinkle pepper and garlic.  Wrap with foil and keep in sealed plastic container.  Keep refrigerated overnight.

On the following day, bake in the oven toaster for 15 minutes.

Serves 1.  You can also add squeezed lemon to the marinade for extra flavor.  The combination of salmon and bacon is very delicious.

The really convenient thing is you can eat straight from the foil, which you can throw after the delicious meal.  I will see if I could post pictures of the dishes next time.  I didn’t exactly plate my dishes since they’re instant lunches.

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