Today was a pretty exciting day to be a Coloradan! In previous years, Election Day has never really been a big deal to me, since it’s always pretty clear which way the New York votes were going to go. But a lot of the races in Colorado today were pretty hotly contested, and could make a big difference at the national level in determining the swing of the House and Senate. I was in a training session today and so was able to get out of work early at 6pm, at which point I hightailed it out of Denver and up to my county in order to vote. Then I was homeward bound as quickly as possible, so I could watch the returns come in over dinner.
Since I knew it would take a while to count the votes, I figured it was a good opportunity to make a more complicated meal than usual – so I decided on a trio of Indian dishes. I made Inspiralized’s Daikon Chicken Biryani (which is actually two dishes in one: a chicken/onion stir fry and then a curry daikon rice), to which I added some diced tomatoes I wanted to use up, and Aarti Sequeira’s Saag Paneer.
Believe it or not… the entire platter of food clocked in at only 385 calories! How is that possible? Well, Inspiralized is already a really healthy website – Alicia does an amazing job recreating healthy versions of your favorite decadent recipes, so your meals are never boring even when you’re on a diet. As for the saag paneer, instead of all the oil that Aarti calls for, I used a nonstick pan and then just misted it with enough olive oil so the food wouldn’t stick. But for an even healthier twist, I swapped Daisy 2% Lowfat Cottage Cheese for the regular paneer. The result was absolutely delicious! And yet the entire platter had the following healthy nutrition profile:
In general, I love cottage cheese. I use it in all kinds of things for breakfast (smoothies, pancakes, atop bagels), so when Daisy invited me to showcase their cottage cheese in a post, I thought it would be fun to instead show it as part of a savory dinner. A half cup serving of Daisy 2% Lowfat Cottage Cheese has just 90 calories and 13 grams of protein, so I can enjoy low-fat, 100% natural cottage cheese without giving up the creamy, delicious taste. In the case of this Indian dish, my only complaint was that it wasn’t quite as salty as regular paneer – but I could easily remedy that by adding a bit of garlic salt and turmeric to the cheese before topping my spinach with it next time. And usually, I don’t want my cottage cheese to be too salty – it’s more versatile that way!
I really appreciate that Daisy Brand is a 4th generation, family-owned business – and their family values are evident in how they avoid using preservatives and artifical ingredients. In fact, they use just four ingredients in their cottage cheese: culture skim milk, cream, salt, and Vitamin A palmitate. That means I can feel great about eating cottage cheese for multiple meals in a row if I want.
I am already thinking of making blueberry pancakes with some cottage cheese in the batter for tomorrow morning’s breakfast 🙂 I find that putting cottage cheese into my pancakes makes them fluffier and also more protein-packed, so I don’t get end up on a sugar high and bloated but still hungry from such a carb-heavy meal.
How do you use cottage cheese in unconventional pairings/recipes? What are your other favorite “secret ingredients” that make your meals healthier? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!
Disclaimer: Daisy Brand provided me with a free container of their cottage cheese as well as compensation for this post. However, all opinions stated are my own, and I accepted this collaboration in large part because I love cottage cheese and can’t get enough of it 🙂