When Food is Your Weight-Loss Friend

By Marsha Fottler –

amazing-weight-loss-programMary Riche and her husband had given up on diets although over the years, this middle-aged-plus couple had tried jointly and separately to lose weight many times. They have a small library of diet books, but none of them helped in the long-term. Then last year, Mary gave up dieting forever. Instead, she told her husband that she was going to reform their kitchen and start to cook differently. “If we couldn’t lose weight, at least we could eat in a way that would contribute to good health,” said Mary, who is an adventurous home cook and baker. “I began to experiment with recipes now found in my book and I never used the words diet or weight loss as I was shopping, cooking or serving these tasty meals to my husband, myself and to our guests.”

But, to the couple’s surprise, they did begin to shed pounds – about 30 in five months. It was slow, systematic and neither of them ever felt they were on a diet or in any way flavor deprived. When the weight stayed off, Mary Riche decided to compile a slight cook book of 40 recipes that have become the basis for her lifestyle. The book is divided into recipes for breakfast, snacks, soups, salads and dressings, fish recipes, main courses (many of these are vegetarian) and desserts.  “I am certain you will achieve the results you wish for,” she said. “If it happened to us, why shouldn’t it happen to you.” The book is called the Amazing Weight Loss Program and here are a few recipes to try. If you’re intrigued and want to cook the Mary Riche way, her nutritionally sound and useful book is available online and in print version for $9.99.


Pasta With Salmon

pastaThis is a lovely dish, even when you do not have enough salmon for four people, you will find that a little bit goes a long way! Serve with a salad and you will have a perfect dinner. You can also use any other leftover fish or even shrimp.


10 ounces pasta, any shape will do

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil

1 pound fresh salmon, skinless

2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (flakes)

2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped or 1 pint of cherry tomatoes (halved)

¼ cup sliced kalamata olives, drained

1 tablespoon capers, drained

Salt and pepper

½ cup shredded basil leaves


In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until it is cooked. Drain, reserving one cup of the cooking water. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown the salmon on both sides in the olive oil, without cooking it through. Transfer the salmon to a plate. Add garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes to the skillet. When the garlic begins to brown, take skillet off heat, add chopped tomatoes, while crushing them with a wooden spoon. Add olives, capers and some pasta water. Bring to a boil. Add the salmon, breaking it up with a wooden spoon and cook till the fish is cooked through. When the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the tomato mixture. Add more pasta water if the sauce is too dry. Mix together well. Top with several leaves of fresh basil, finely shredded, and serve. If you use leftover, cooked salmon, only add it to the sauce after adding the olives and capers, otherwise it will be horribly overcooked.


Eggplant Parmigiano

epThis is quick, light and delicious. If you have left over mushrooms or other vegetables, a couple of fresh tomatoes, which you will need to seed and chop, as well as sweet peppers (which I roast together with the eggplant) coarsely chopped and added to the tomato sauce, you can add whatever else you have to the sauce. This makes it even better and gives the sauce a personal, homemade and unbeatable touch.


2 good size eggplants (aubergines), unblemished

1 1/2 cups organic tomato sauce without preservatives, from a jar, warmed

12 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced

1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano or Adagio cheese

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Fresh basil, shredded


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash and then cut the eggplants in half. Brush the insides with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in the oven. Roast for about 25 to 30 minutes until tender. Preheat the broiler. Lightly oil an ovenproof dish and place the eggplants in the dish, cut side up. Pour the sauce into a small saucepan, add half a cup of water and heat the sauce. Pour the sauce over the eggplant halves. Place the mozzarella cheese slices over the sauce and sprinkle the top with the grated Parmesan cheese. Place dish under the broiler and cook until the top is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve with a salad.


Blackbean Burgers

burgerThese are so good, with or without a bun. We eat burgers most of the time without buns, like a meat patty, with a vegetable and a salad. These are perfect for that, as well. But if you absolutely need a bun, choose a potato roll. They are smaller and have less wheat content. Serve these burgers with tomato salsa.


2 15-ounce cans of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 medium onion, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced

3/4cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper (several turns of the pepper mill)

1/3 cup all-purpose flour, gluten/wheat-free or Garbanzos flour

2 tablespoons coconut oil


Tomato Salsa

salsa2 large or 4 smaller plum tomatoes, washed, seeds removed, and chopped

Half a sweet onion (Vidalia), chopped

¾ cup chopped cilantro

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper


Mash the beans coarsely with a fork and mix with the next eight ingredients. Shape into eight patties, put on a plate and place in the fridge for several hours, if possible. When ready to cook, sift the flour over both sides of the patties and fry them, at medium heat, in the coconut oil for several minutes on each side to brown and heat through. Serve the patties with tomato salsa that is made by mixing all the ingredients listed above together. Allow it to stand for about half an hour so that the flavors mingle.


Low Calorie Chocolate Mousse

chocEveryone will ask you for this recipe once you have served it. It is so fabulous, sumptuous and rich, without any calories (or hardly any) at all, provided you use semisweet chocolate chips. This recipe is meant for four people, but I always make more because people love it and leftovers are wonderful too! You can add chopped walnuts, or pecans or some chocolate chips after adding the chocolate-egg yolk mixture into the egg whites.


4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

4 eggs, separated

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon water

Your choice of liquor

Garnish:chocolate chips, chocolate curls, nuts, raspberries – you choose


In a double boiler, melt the chocolate with a tablespoon of water or whiskey, or brandy or Grand Marnier over medium heat. Then allow it to cool slightly.

scaleMeanwhile, in another double boiler, over low heat, stir the egg yolks together with a tablespoon of water, till thickened, or until the yolks coat a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Cool slightly, as well. In a chilled stainless steel or glass bowl beat the egg whites, together with a pinch of salt, with an electric beater till stiff peaks form. Gently fold the chocolate into the cooled egg yolks and then fold this mixture carefully, two or three times, into the egg whites. Mix well but be careful not to overwork the egg whites otherwise they will become runny again. Pour into a serving bowl, cover and place in the fridge to set. Garnish with chocolate chips, chocolate curls or some nuts. Raspberries also make a delicious garnish.

Do not make this more than four hours before you are going to eat the mousse because the egg whites will thin again and eventually become liquid. Note: If you do not have a double boiler (which I do not) place the yolks into a metal bowl, which you place in a frying pan with one inch of simmering water (it should not be boiling); and place the chocolate in another metal bowl which you stand in a frying pan that is filled with one inch of boiling water. Keep both on a low heat. Adjust the heat if simmers too slowly, or too fast, and take off the heat if the egg yolks start cooking. If this happens, quickly remove the bowl from the hot water, pour a half a tablespoon of ice-cold water whilst beating vigorously, to stop the yolks from cooking. If you have some cooked egg yolk you should pass it through a sieve before adding it to the chocolate. Egg yolks are a bit tricky to do but you should quickly get the knack of it. Stir the chocolate every once in a while, and press on the chips to make them melt faster.


(Amazing Weight Loss Program by Mary Riche. $9.99. amazingweightlossprogram@gmail.com)


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