Teresa Hatchell 2005

Perhaps like most Americans who have enjoyed staying warm in the house, watching television and nibbling on snacks a bit too much, you have some extra pounds to shed. You may even have tried a fad diet or two, but found yourself right back where you started. 

If you improve your eating habits -- notice I didn’t say “go on a diet” -- and you increase your amount of regular physical activity, you can lose weight, build an overall healthy lifestyle and, in turn, boost your energy level and enjoyment of life. Behavior change focuses on eating and physical activity behaviors that will help you lose weight and keep it off. The first step is to look at your eating and physical activity habits. Next you'll need to learn how to change those behaviors.

Getting involved in new hobbies and activities and getting support from others are good ways to help you maintain your new goals. For additional information on behavior change, you may wish to ask a weight-loss counselor or refer to books or websites on this topic. In the meantime, I am offering these easy recipes. These are healthful dishes to help you as we move toward what we hope will be a beautiful spring.

Sausage and cabbage

2 tablespoons olive oil to grease the skillet

1 pound or more of your favorite brand of mild link sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 small yellow onion, diced (optional)

1 large, leafy head of cabbage

1 teaspoon of sugar 

Salt and black pepper to taste

Distribute the olive oil evenly on the bottom of a large cast iron or other heavy skillet. Brown the sliced sausage and diced onion for about 15 minutes, tossing occasionally so that everything cooks evenly. While the sausage and onion are sautéing, core your cabbage and cut it into pieces. Rinse it and drain it well. Add the sausage to the skillet and season the dish with sugar, salt and pepper. Stir well, cover and cook on low heat until the cabbage is tender, but not mushy.

Cabbage casserole

1 large, leafy head of cabbage, cored and shredded

2 large carrots, grated

1 can cream of onion soup

1 can cream of mushroom soup

2 cups medium Cheddar cheese, grated

1 stick Land O’ Lakes sweet cream ‘n salted butter, melted

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1 package Pepperidge farm herb dressing mix

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Steam the cabbage and carrots until slightly tender. Drain well. In a large bowl, combine the steamed vegetables with onion soup, mushroom soup, cheese and half of the melted butter. In a separate bowl, combine half of the dressing mix and the other half of the melted butter. Add this dressing/butter mixture to the cabbage/carrot mixture and stir until combined. Put this mixture into a lightly buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle the other half of the dry dressing mix over the top. Bake this mouthwatering casserole at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Ham, cabbage, 'n rice skillet

1 small green cabbage coarsely chopped

2 cups water

7 ounces yellow rice mix with seasoning package

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

3 medium scallions, sliced (reserve sliced green tops)

2 cups of 1/2-inch cubed ham

In a large, deep -- preferably nonstick -- skillet, mix water, cabbage, yellow rice and the contents of the seasoning packet, red bell pepper and sliced white part of scallions. Bring these ingredients to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir in the ham, cover and simmer for three to five minutes longer until liquid is absorbed and rice and vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with the reserved scallion tops (optional). This recipe makes four servings. 

Contact writer at tgmhatchell@yahoo.com.

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