Sorry, dieters, but a life without cheesy pizza and the occasional burger and fries is not what I would consider truly living.
However. One of my many freelance jobs is recipe development. Sometimes these recipes are incredibly fattening, like the feature I am working on right now involving not one but five baked pasta and cheese dishes. Given that I am no Olympic athlete and I don't believe in wasting food, there is no way I could ever do enough exercise to burn off all those carbs without breaking something.
And so I've been giving the 5:2 Diet a whirl. If you haven't heard of it, it's simply this: for 2 days a week, women restrict their calories to 500/day, men to 600/day. The other five days? You eat whatever you want. What I like about this intermittent fasting is that it doesn't eliminate an entire food group, and you're only counting calories two days a week.
That said, it isn't always easy. Some days I get so hungry I could chew off my arm; other days I cheat and have a glass of wine or whiskey, thus blowing my calories for the day. But I have learned that I am most successful when I plan ahead and make relatively filling and intensely flavorful dishes like this one with white beans, rosemary, tomato candy, and roasted garlic. One cup of beans has about 250 calories, and if you go easy on the olive oil for the tomato candy you can have a fairly filling 5:2 day dinner for around 300 calories. And if it's not a diet day? Eat the whole skillet! This stuff is really good, and would work either as a main course or a side for chicken or fish.
The roasted garlic gives this depth, while the sweet roasted tomatoes - tomato candy - give brightnes.
For the tomato candy:
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
several sprigs fresh rosemary
5 cloves garlic
pinch of salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 whole garlic bulb* (to roast simultaneously)
Preheat the oven to 300 F. Toss everything (except the whole garlic bulb) together and spread on a shallow baking sheet that's been lined with parchment paper. Cut the top off of the garlic bulb, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap in foil. Roast everything for 1 hour 45 minutes, shaking the tomato pan once.
When the tomatoes are finished, drain 2 cans of white beans, such as Great Northern. Spray a sautoir with a light cooking spray and cook the beans over medium heat until warm. Squish the roasted garlic into the beans and stir to combine. Carefully fold in the tomato candy and add salt and pepper to taste.
This truly doesn't taste like a diet dinner!