Friday, September 21, 2012

Turn Rotting Produce into YUM 300-calorie Snacks.

My poor produce. I buy so much of it, that some of it sits neglected at the bottom of the bowl, just waiting to die. I eat as much as I can (TRUST me), but still, sometimes the brown spots beat me to a banana, and often the last avocado sees more action from fruit flies than a fork.

But I waste not. My coworkers think I'm disgusting for bringing "old" fruit and veggies to work to finish 'em off. And though I'm not scared of a little age, I also know how to hide the ripeness to make a palatable snack.

Here are the best ways I can think of to turn stale into STELLAR, and all for around 300 calories!

Don't let this freaky banana keep you from a nutty treat!

Banana with Peanut Butter
Few foods taste as strong as peanut butter; an equal match for a pungent-leaning banana. If you notice your banana browning, stick it in the fridge overnight (it will firm it up and dispel some of the sweetness), then layer it with peanut or almond butter for a protein- and fiber-packed treat.
You can also throw the banana in the freezer, then slice it into chips when its frozen. It's like ice cream! (Especially when you dip them in Nutella!)
Banana: 150 calories 
Peanut Butter (2 tblsp) 180 calories

Drench squash in tomato sauce and you'll think it's pasta!
Squash in Spaghetti Sauce
I had three rapidly ripening squash sitting in my crisper, so I had to think fast. Though they're great raw, dipped in dressing, I needed a way to eat them in their softer state. So I sliced them into chunks, steamed them on the stove, then covered them in Bertolli's garlic and olive oil tomato sauce (my old nutritionist swore by tomato sauce and salsa as dressings of choice). The soft yet substantial texture of the squash made me feel like I was eating pasta (the indulgent-tasting sauce helped, too)! I ate every last bit of the batch in one sitting. (Hey, in my house, you can eat as many fruits and veggies as you want!) 
Squash (3) - 80-100 calories
Spaghetti Sauce (1/4 cup) - 90 calories

Healthy chips & guac!

Baked Tortilla Chips with Guacamole
As I mentioned above, my avocados are my most-wasted piece of produce (I love them, so I usually buy too many). And an aging avocado really wears its taste on its sleeve. So, if it's still in okay condition (hold the avocado, if the skin has only pulled away from the fruit in one small spot - meaning you can press the skin in without mushing the fruit - then you're fine), cover it up by making guacamole. I just peel and pit the avocado, then mush it up with some minced garlic, salt, and lime juice. But I also had some going-stale tortillas in my fridge (the low-carb kind), so I sliced each tortilla into fourths, sprayed with olive oil, and baked on a cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes until crispy. Voila! So gourmet-looking, that you would hardly guess it's all passed its expiration date!
Avocado (1) - 250 <--don't worry, they're good calories!!
Low-carb, whole wheat tortilla (1) - 80 calories

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