My husband and I just moved to Saipan from the mainland, where we kept trying to get into a natural living style. We want to eat real food, cut out the junk and caffeine, and get outdoors!
The first few weeks have been hectic as we get settled in, and so we have been eating out far too much, and relying on a lot of simple, fake foods. Peanut butter and jelly has been a common dinner, as have Pop Tarts. I keep wondering why we eat that way when we’ve already been giving bundles and bundles of bananas, and a box of Pop Tarts ($4) is far less filling than a large salad made from local produce from the market! I can get a bag of Kang Kong for $1, a huge mound of mung beans and an onion for less than $1, and I can just squeeze some fresh lemon juice over it for about fifty cents.
So we finally got around to prepping our first home-cooked meal! It’s nothing fancy AT ALL – we’re still in temporary housing, so we have a very limited kitchen with few utensils to work with.
We went to the Tuesday night market and bought a bag of chopped veggies, which we washed and then chopped even smaller:
This had squash, long beans, eggplant, okra, and bitter melon. Healthy healthy healthy!
Then we put about 1/2 cup of water and 1/4 cup of Italian dressing into a pot (just enough water to cover the bottom of the pot):
Added the veggies, with some baby carrots we had:
Stir it, and let it simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes. Stir every few minutes:
Then, voila! Once the veggies are soft but not too mushy, spoon it out into a bowl! Or, if you have access to wheat flour or another thickener, you can add a little bit of that to make this more creamy and heavy.
Season with pepper or Italian herbs as needed.
This is a great side dish, or you could add some cooked beans to make it a hearty meal. Kidney beans would add a nice bold red color, or the rich flavor of lentils could be a great touch. (Or, if you’re a meat eater, perhaps a little fresh fish or skinned chicken.) We enjoyed it simply as the vegetables, as we found the starchy squash and carrots in there to be filling enough for a light dinner.
Italian Island Veggie Dish
Serves 2; Time: 30 minutes
1 bag local vegetables ($1)
1/4c Italian dressing (bottle was $6, serving in this recipe costs $0.50)
10 baby carrots (approx $0.10 or less)
Total Cost: $0.80 per serving.
Nutritional Information here.
This is our first try with bitter melon. Wow, does it have a strong taste!! I am not sure how much I like that vegetable, but I definitely want to find ways to enjoy eating it! It is one Splendid veggie! This little guy is great for reducing the aging process in our body. Too much sugar in the system leads to damage and inflammation in our bodies, which leads to wrinkles, pain, and disease. Bitter melon helps with blood sugar control, thanks to the powerful compounds charantin and polypeptide-P! Supposedly, bitter melon will also help lessen your urge to eat sweets. So double awesome – helps you not want sugar, and then, helps control any sugar you do have!
Maybe we can try slicing it thinly into salads, or juicing it. Knowing it’s for good health makes me excited to experiment with it!