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Lani blog
Lani Telian, Department of Public Health



This year, I’m basing my diet completely on subs. 

Not footlong subs – I’m focusing on small substitutions. As a girl with strong family ties, and family values that are strongly tied to food, its been hard for me and my family to change recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. Yet I think I’ve reached a point where I can let go of the guilt involved with tweaking some of Nana’s recipes to make slightly healthier versions.

While some special, once-in-awhile treats are okay to leave as is, some foods that we have grown to love on a more regular basis can withstand a few healthy changes. But I love food, and I love good food. I’m looking for small substitutions that will lower the amount of fat, calories or sodium without changing the taste or consistency of the foods I love.

This week, I decided to try out my ‘substitution resolution’ with Dolma, aka stuffed peppers. With Nana’s permission, here is her recipe with just one simple, tiny change.StuffedPeppers small

Scoop out green peppers, tomatoes, and zuchini or summer squashes, and chop up whatever you scooped out into tiny pieces. 

In a large bowl, add the chopped veggies and mix together with: 2 lbs of lean ground beef, 3/4 cup of rice (use ½ cup of brown rice instead!), 3 Tbsp of finely chopped onion, 1 small can tomato paste, 1 cup tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, 6 cloves of garlic minced or crushed (maybe a little less, that’s up to you and whoever you’re kissing later), 2 handfuls of chopped fresh parsley, 2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 3 tsp of allspice, and optional 2 Tbsp of basil.

Stuff mixture into the scooped-out veggies.  Arrange stuffed vegetables in a large, tall pan, cover almost to the top with water that has a little salt, lemon juice and tomato sauce added to it.
Put a plate on top of the veggies to keep them in place. Then, cover the pan and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down to medium and cook until rice is soft (about 45 – 60 minutes).

And there you have it! Same great taste, but with healthy grains instead of refined grains (which is always a good switch to make!). Here’s to many more healthfully-tweaked meals this year!

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