500 Calories Set Meal: To Cut Or Not To Cut Vegetables

Someone Cut Vegetables For You

Do you like to cut vegetables? Cutting vegetables is one of the main processes to prepare meals. Actually it takes a lot of your time to cut vegetables. For busy people like you, it is much easier to buy a bag of vegetables instead of bulk vegetables. There are so many different kinds of vegetable bags at the grocery store. Lettuce, cabbage, kale, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli and anything you wish for. They are pre-cut, pre-washed, and ready to use. All you have to do is to place on a plate and eat with your favorite salad dressing. Or microwave in the bags and serve with your favorite sauce. So easy and convenient!

You Cut Vegetables

Ok, you are not one of those people. You buy freshest organic whole vegetables, just like I do. But how about this? The other day I was watching how my husband prepares the broccoli that I bought. It was a whole huge broccoli. First, he trimmed the florets part. Next, he cut them into small chunks. Lastly, he put them into colander and started rinsing with running water. I watched him quietly and thought I wonder how many people cut vegetables like him?

Then I started thinking about what my mom said the other day. “Your sister brings home made dishes. But I cannot tell what they are. Vegetables are cut into so small pieces.” My mom continues “She is so skillful. Maybe, she uses a machine to make it so small.” I got kick out of it. I told my mom maybe she cuts so small so that her family can eat vegetables that they don’t like.

Benefits of Whole Vegetables

When you cut your finger, it starts bleeding. Even whole vegetables have cells and still breathe after harvested. If you cut vegetables more, it bleeds more. It means nutrients such as vitamins and minerals will run away from cut cells. Dietary fiber is the only thing it stays no matter how you cut. However, soluble dietary fiber will escape when you submerge the cells into water. Think about the bottom of lettuce and cabbage. If the vegetable gets older, the color will change to brown. It means that the cut cells were oxidized.

I remember the time I visited my friend who lives in Los Angeles. Her daughter was four or five years old at that time. Her husband cooked a steak dinner and served with large chunks of steamed broccolis. They were almost tall as my hand. He said to her “You have to eat those “trees” (broccoli) so that you can grow tall. Ten years later, she became taller than her mom and dad!

Here are tips for vegetables and even for fruits.

  • Buy whole vegetables. Avoid pre-cut and pre-washed vegetables.
  • Do not cut vegetables before washing.
  • Do not soak vegetables in water.
  • Cook vegetables in whole or larger chunks. For example, steam or boil vegetables in larger pot. It is okay to cut after cooked.
  • Do not cut and leave vegetables too long.

500 Calories Set Meal: Miso Grazed Cod (Misozuke)

Main: Miso Grazed Cod (Misozuke)

Side 1: Edamame Yogurt Salad

Side 2: Kiwi Gold

Soup: Egg Drop Kimchi Soup

Steamed White Rice with Edamame

All recipes are made for 2 servings. This printable recipe box will allow you to change the serving size to adjust the recipe.

miso-grazed-cod-misozuke
Main: Miso Grazed Cod (Misozuke)
175 calories

About Cod

Cod got spot light in the U.S.A. when a Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa created Black Cod Miso. Robert DeNiro fell in love with the dish and convinced him to open a restaurant in Los Angeles. That was a long time ago. Nowadays miso marinated cod is served at many Japanese restaurants. Cod is a white fish available at the grocery store. It is also used to make fish tacos (remember I live in Southern California!). Most of cod here is pacific cod caught in Alaska. If you go to a high end fish market or grocery store, you may able to find black cod. Black cod is the one that is served at the restaurant Nobu.

How To Cook Miso Cod

Cooking method is quite simple. Marinate Marinate Marinate! Preferably marinate in an airtight container like in a Ziploc bag. This way you can marinate fish evenly by massaging with your fingers. You can do this the night before you cook. This will change the texture of cod totally. It becomes kind of dense but moist. The method called Misozuke is a popular cooking method for Japanese people. Miso breaks down fat and tenderize meat. It also removes fish taste. On top of all, it creates Umami (good flavor)!

Add largely cut broccoli as a garnish. Remember? Wash, steam, and then cut vegetables!

miso-grazed-cod-misozuke
Miso Grazed Cod (Misozuke)
Print Recipe
185 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
miso-grazed-cod-misozuke
Miso Grazed Cod (Misozuke)
Print Recipe
185 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Salt & pepper fish. Leave for 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
    miso-grazed-cod-misozuke-step-1
  2. Mix miso, mirin, sake and sugar in Ziploc. Place cod in the bag.
    miso-grazed-cod-misozuke-step-2
  3. Mix well by massaging the bag. Remove all air from the bag and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
    miso-grazed-cod-misozuke-step-3
  4. Preheat oven toaster to 450 F degree, on toast setting.
  5. Place fish on toaster oven tray, on top of aluminum foil. Cook for 10 minutes until it looks flakey. Miso tends to burn. Place a piece of aluminum foil if fish starts getting burned.
    miso-grazed-cod-misozuke-step-4
  6. Add steamed broccoli as a garnish.
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edamame-yogurt-salad
Side 1: Edamame Yogurt Salad
62 calories

Edamame is a young soy bean in the pod. Edamame means beans on branch. However, it is rare to find edamame attached to the branch even in Japan. Edamame brings me a memory of my childhood. I helped my mom (or maybe she made me) to separate pods from branch during summer. It was hard work! Yet it tasted so good.

I am not sure who decided to freeze edamame and sell, but it is cleaver! Edamame is harvested during peak. Then it was blanched. You can eat edamame whenever you want and how much you want. Edamame is so versatile when it comes to cooking. The bright green color goes with any dishes. And here comes the good part, it is available at the grocery store in the United States!

Frozen edamame is easy to use. Although it can defrosted by microware, I like to cook in rapid boiling water in 30 seconds. Then drain. After cooling down, you can push the bean out of the pod with your fingers.

Edamame has so many health benefits. This low calorie food contains protein that can be a substitute for meat. Vitamin B1 helps to burn sugar and fat. The potassium helps to reduce swelling. And dietary fiber makes you feel full and prevents from constipation.

Edamame can be a good healthy snack!

Just a reminder. Do not hand trim lettuce before washing!

edamame-yogurt-salad
Edamame Yogurt Salad
Print Recipe
62 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
edamame-yogurt-salad
Edamame Yogurt Salad
Print Recipe
62 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Prepare edamame per direction.
    edamame-yogurt-salad-step-1
  2. Cut cucumber and tomato.
    edamame-yogurt-salad-step-2
  3. Make dressing by mixing yogurt, oil, salt and pepper in bowl.
    edamame-yogurt-salad-step-3
  4. Add edamame, cucumber into the bowl. Mix well.
    edamame-yogurt-salad-step-4
  5. Place a piece of lettuce on plate and then #4. Place tomatoes to complete.
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kiwi-gold kiwifruit Zespri SungGold
Side 2: Kiwi Gold
55 calories

Fresh fruit is a great side dish option for 500 calories set meals. Read more Cool Cooking Method to learn about low calorie fruit.

About Kiwi Gold

I miss Kiwi Gold… One of my favorite things when I visit my mom in Japan is eating delicious fruits. Kiwi Gold is exceptionally good. I like Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit which are imported from New Zealand. The skin is golden green and inside is golden yellow. They are perfectly ripe and sweet. It melts in my mouth! I often have a craving for it and bought green kiwifruit at the grocery store in the U.S.A. But I was disappointed. It didn’t get ripen well. It was not sweet even if it got soft texture.

Good news! This summer I found Kiwi Gold at a store in the United States! Visit www.zespri.com to find out the availability of the kiwifruit in your area.

Kiwi is a small fruit. It was named after Kiwi Island that is part of New Zealand. Kiwi’s origin country is New Zealand. People in New Zealand love kiwis and even eat whole kiwi including skin! They say that the skin is sweeter and more nutritious than the inside.

Kiwi Gold was produced for the Japanese market where people like to eat sweet fruits. The harvesting time is from May to November. It is perfect timing because Japanese green kiwifruit is off season during those months. This delicious sweet Kiwi Gold quickly became popular in Japan.

Kiwi Gold Health Benefits

Kiwi is a perfect fruit. Kiwifuit is rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, and folic acid. Kiwifruit also contains other vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.

According to Japanese data, Kiwi Gold has vitamin C that is equivalent to 8 lemons. Kiwi Gold has dietary fiber that is equal to 3 bananas. And it has both soluble and insoluble dietary fibers. Lastly, Kiwi Gold has vitamin E that is equivalent to 7 apples.

Kiwifruit has actinidain that is digestive oxygen. It helps to digest protein. Therefore, kiwi is great to be eaten with meat and fish. Furthermore, the antioxidant works for anti-aging and healthy skin. It helps to boost your energy and intestinal function. It also helps to prevent nerve damage, swelling, and constipation. Finally, it helps to lower cholesterol and release toxic chemicals from the body.

Are you impressed? Let’s eat Kiwi Gold every day!


kimchi-egg-drop-soup
Soup: Kimchi Soup
35 calories

I wrote about kimchi on my last post Kimchi Pork Stir Fry. Kimchi has so many health benefits including diet. I don’t know about you. But for me kimchi is very powerful to eat by itself. When I used it for soup, it was perfect. Spices and seasonings in kimchi made soup so rich and flavorful. Egg, which is a complete food, will remove some of the heat from kimchi.

Read more Cabbage and Egg Stir Fry to learn about egg’s health benefit.

kimchi-egg-drop-soup
Egg Drop Kimchi Soup
Print Recipe
35 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
kimchi-egg-drop-soup
Egg Drop Kimchi Soup
Print Recipe
35 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Bring to boil chicken broth in pot.
  2. Add mushroom and kimchi. Cook for a couple of minutes.
    kimchi-edd-drop-soup-step-1
  3. Pour over beaten egg. Wait until it floats on surface. Then stir lightly.
    kimchi-edd-drop-soup-step-2
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steamed-white-rice-edamame
Steamed White Rice with Edamame
160 calories

Just add edamame to steamed rice. You can reduce the amount of rice by one bite. Not only edamame adds a color to rice, but also nutrients. Rice becomes fun to eat!

Each 500 calories set meal comes with 100g of steamed rice. You will need to cook rice in a rice cooker or in a heavy gage pot. And measure cooked rice for 100 grams. I will show you how to make your cooking life easier. Read more How To Cook And Store Japanese Rice.

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