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Video: 3 meals that will change your life

  1. Closed captioning of: 3 meals that will change your life

    >>> how to cook everything "today." mark bittman is a "new york times" columnist. people are making resolutions in the new year, one for many people are to go on a diet.

    >> it's not so much a diet as a way to eat. the way to eat is to cook and the way to cook is to cook simply. these three recipes are recipes that really can change people's lives. cooking, you're using real ingredie ingredients, you know what's going into it, you can control the amount of fat, you can control the amount of fiber, you can control all this stuff and the result is that you're eating a much better diet and save aing a ton of money also.

    >> three things you say will change your life and change the world , first off is a stir fry .

    >> any stir fry can use any vegetable or intense protein food like chicken. you brown the chicken and then you put in some broccoli.

    >> like you said, it could be any veggie you want.

    >> mushrooms, we use some garlic and ginger, a little bit of celery. i mean the idea is you're not going to cook things in a big wok, you cook things in stages.

    >> but you took everything together, which is great.

    >> you cook in two stages, first the chicken and then everything else. the chicken you would like to brown a little bit. the point is any vegetable, any protein, garlic, ginger, a little bit of soy and you wind up with something kind of like this. ten or 15 minutes later. and this is, again, it's about a half a pound of chicken for four people. a lot of broccoli and mushrooms, you serve this over rice.

    >> and you've got a good meal.

    >> and you've got a really nice meal. we'll get to eating it at the end.

    >> let's move on from this. the second recipe that you recommend is lentils and rice?

    >> this is your classic beans and rice combination and this has been east eaten by people all over the world. you can use any beans you want, any grain you want and you can shove in some sausage, as they say in the godfather, right? little bit of garlic. we were getting these ready before.

    >> people are sometimes intimidated by beans, the whole notion of cooking beans.

    >> lentils cook in 40 minutes, you don't really have to pay much attention to them. you've got this basic vegetable combination here, some lentils, we're using brown rice which also takes about 40 minutes, that's pretty much it. but again, any grain, any legume, any combination of vegetables.

    >> and you can turn this into a soup if you want to?

    >> more water and it's a soup. like i said, if you want sausage, bacon, chicken, you've got that and make this look a little bit nicer.

    >> let's move on to the chopped salad. why is chopped salad a meal that will change your life , mark?

    >> well, here you're looking at, again, any vegetable that you want. and the only preparation is to slice the radishes, we have chopped red and yellow pepper, the string beans we cook for two minutes before so that they're tender. and, again, this can have lettuce, this can have any other vegetables you want, precooked vegetables, leftovers, again you can add meet.

    >> pigs to the trough.

    >> you want some dressing?

    >> yes, dressing.

    >> a tiny bit of lemon use and olive oil .

    >> you could put mustard in this.

    >> here's what it looks like.

    >> it took very pretty.

    >> the thing is that each of these can be made in literally thousands of different ways.

    >> change the world .

    >> and actually the next --

    >> change your life and change the world .

    >> you're also working on a book about how to turn back time , as well?

    >> yes.

    >> and again every recipe is 30 minutes or less which is great.

    >> this one's even faster. the lentils and rice.

    >> and again, mark, if you just learn to cook, you can make a better meal, a cheaper meal and a healthier meal.

    >> if you're eating stuff like this, you're obviously in great shape.

    >> and you have in great shape. thank you very much. i don't cook, but i'm going to start. after your

TODAY recipes
updated 1/4/2011 4:39:39 PM ET 2011-01-04T21:39:39

Recipe: Broccoli stir-fry with chicken and mushrooms

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1 pound broccoli, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces with the stems no more than 1/4-inch thick
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
  • Salt
  • 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch chunks or thin slices and blotted dry
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Preparation

Put a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. When it's hot, add half the oil, swirl it around, and immediately add half the garlic and ginger. Cook for 15 seconds, stirring, then add all but a sprinkling of the scallion, and the broccoli and mushrooms. Raise the heat to high, and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms release their water and the broccoli is bright green and beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with salt and add 1 cup water. Stir and continue to cook until almost all the liquid evaporates and the broccoli is almost tender, another minute or 2 more, then transfer everything to a plate.

Turn the heat down to medium, add the remaining oil, then the remaining garlic and ginger. Stir, then add the chicken and turn the heat to high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken has lost its pink color, 3 to 5 minutes.

Turn the heat down to medium, return the broccoli, mushrooms, and juices to the pan, and stir. Add the soy sauce, sprinkle with more salt and some pepper; add a little more water if the mixture is dry. Raise the heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced slightly and you've scraped up all the bits of chicken. Taste and adjust the seasoning, garnish with the remaining scallion, and serve.

Serving Size

Serves 4

Recipe: Lentils and rice, with or without pork

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 4 ounces bacon or sausage, chopped, optional
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 1 cup long-grain brown rice
  • 3 or 4 bay leaves
  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish
Preparation

Put the oil in a large, deep saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the onion, celery, carrot, and meat if you're using it and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to become tender and the meat begins to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and some salt and pepper and cook for another minute or 2.

Add the lentils, rice, bay leaves, and 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the liquid bubbles gently and cover.

Check the rice and lentils after 30 minutes. If both are tender and the liquid is absorbed, the dish is ready. If either is not tender, add enough more liquid to keep the bottom of the pot moist, cover, and cook for a few more minutes. If the rice and lentils are soft and there is much liquid remaining (which is unlikely), raise the heat a bit and cook, uncovered, stirring once or twice until it evaporates. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary and serve, garnished with parsley.

Serving Size

Serves 4

Recipe: Chopped salad

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons or more white or red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic, or more to taste
  • A large pinch of salt and a smaller one of black pepper
  • 2 celery stalks (preferably from the heart), chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 3 or 4 radishes, chopped
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 small cabbage, cored and shredded
Preparation

Combine the vinegar, oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a salad bowl beat with a fork.

Add the vegetables, sprinkle lightly with more salt and pepper, and toss. Taste and adjust the seasoning, and serve immediately.

Serving Size

Serves 6

Gallery: 10 recipes to help you reach your diet goal

Click through our gallery of recipes featuring low-calorie strawberry cream cake, nachos and delicious beef and veggie dishes to help you stay on track.

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