Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

4 cups cooked butternut squash
2 cups chicken stock or broth
1 cup fat free half & half
1/2 cup applesauce
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in blender and pulse until smooth. Pour mixture into pan and heat soup until hot, but not boiling. Top with sour cream, if desired.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Zucchini and Corn Pancakes

Zucchini and Corn Pancakes

2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup cooked corn
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated colby or cheddar cheese
2 large eggs
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
dash salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Using a heaping  tablespoon, form the mixture into 8 patties. Spray a skillet or griddle with non-stick spray and heat to medium/high. Once heated, add patties and cook until golden brown. Serve with a bit of yogurt or sour cream.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pasta and Fresh Tomato Sauce with Tuna and Feta

1 pound vine-ripe tomatoes, cut into a small dice
12 ounces bite-sized pasta
2 cans (5 ounces each) tuna packed in oil, not drained
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup capers, drained
4 ounces (about 1 cup) crumbled feta, plus extra for topping
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Prepare tomatoes and transfer to a medium bowl; sprinkle lightly with salt.

Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts of water and a generous sprinkling of salt to boil in a large soup kettle. Add pasta and cook as directed on the box, until just tender. Drain and return to pot.

Add tuna, garlic, oregano, capers, feta and parsley to tomatoes; toss to coat. Add tomato sauce to pasta; toss to coat again.

Serve, sprinkling each portion with additional feta.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Almond Chocolate-Chip Cookies (Gluten Free Recipe)

This recipe is from the January/February 2011 issue of Weight Watchers magazine. I used almond meal which was not as finely ground as flour. I think you could use either almond meal or almond flour. The recipe was written to make 30 cookies. I divided the dough into 12 cookies. This is not a low-calorie recipe, but the cookies are made with healthy ingredients and they are delicious!

Almond Chocolate-Chip Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix 1 cup almond flour, 1/4 tsp. baking soda, and a pinch of salt in medium bowl. Whisk 2 Tbl. canola oil, 2 Tbl. amber agave nectar (I used honey as a substitute), and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract in small bowl. Stir honey mixture into almond flour mixture until blended. Stir in 1/4 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips and 1/4 cup sliced almonds. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet, dividing into 12. (NOTE: my lumps of dough did not stick together very well. However, after baking they melted together and made a nice, cohesive, crunchy cookie. So don't be concerned if they don't seem like a typical cookie before baking.) Bake until golden, about 9 minutes. Let cool on sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks and let cool completely.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Crunchy Chicken Strips

I have never used panko bread crumbs before. After trying this recipe, I'm sold! They give a nice crunch to the chicken strips. Look for them in the international section of your supermarket.

You might like to experiment with the spices. Try substituting curry powder. Garlic powder would be tasty, too. 

Crunchy Chicken Strips

3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 Tbl. water
1 heaping cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
3/4 tsp. ground sage
1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Cut chicken into strips. Place in a ziplock plastic bag set in a bowl. Pour buttermilk over chicken. Seal bag. Turn bag to evenly coat chicken. Place in refrigerator overnight or as long as 24 hours.

Line a 15x10x1 baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. In a shallow dish, mix egg and water. In another dish, mix panko, sage, thyme, and pepper. Take each piece of chicken out of buttermilk, then dip first in egg and then coat it with the crumb mixture. 

On prepared pan, arrange chicken so pieces are not touching. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture.

Bake, uncovered in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes. 
It is not necessary to turn chicken during baking.

Enjoy with barbecue sauce or do as we did: dip them in ranch dressing. So good!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Salmon Salad

Why open a can when it is so easy to make salmon salad from fresh or frozen salmon?

Quick and easy for a busy night's meal, this recipe will soon become a favorite. The ingredient measurements are not at all rigid and easily adjusted to your taste. Notice how I didn't give any measurements? That's how flexible it is. You really can't do it wrong. Enjoy!

Salmon Salad

10-16 ounces of salmon filets, thawed if frozen
Celery, finely chopped
Onion, regular or green onions, chopped fine
Dill Pickle Relish
Old Bay Seasoning
Grated cheese, any kind, optional
Bread, bagels, buns, crackers (whole wheat preferred)

Cook salmon as directed on package. I have a seafood setting on our microwave that works well. Basically, place filets in a microwave safe dish and cover with plastic wrap, pulling the plastic wrap back just a bit to vent at one of the corners. Microwave at full power for about 6 to 8 minutes for 10 oz. salmon. Monitor the cooking until you get used to how long your microwave oven takes. It should flake when it is done but you don't want it to dry out.

Combine the cooked and flaked salmon, about 1-2 ribs chopped celery, and 3 chopped green onions, greens and all.

Add three heaping spoonfuls of mayo, one heaping spoonful of dill pickle relish, a teaspoon or so of mustard (I used a German hot mustard), two sprinkles of Old Bay Seasoning, and stir until well blended. Don't put the mayo away because you might need more. I needed about another spoonful. You want it moist but not drowning in dressing. You can stir in about 1/2 cup grated cheese if you like.

Serve with your choice of bread, toast, bagels, buns, crackers, you name it. We love Whole Wheat Bagel Thins, toasted. (package pictured above)


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Butterscotch Pudding

There is nothing like homemade pudding from scratch. There is much satisfaction in taking a few simple ingredients and producing such a decadent tasting treat. The recipe below makes a pudding that tastes rich and creamy, even though it is made with healthy ingredients.

I have a subscription to Prevention magazine (highly recommended) and that's where this recipe was published. My only change was to use real brown sugar instead of splenda brown sugar blend. There isn't much sugar in 4 servings so I went with the real thing. Oh, and I added 1 whole teaspoon vanilla instead of 1/2. Enjoy!

Butterscotch Pudding

2 Tbl. nonfat dry milk
1.5 Tbl. cornstarch
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 can (12 ounces) fat-free evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla 
fat-free whipped topping

Whisk the dry milk, cornstarch, and brown sugar in a saucepan. While whisking constantly, gradually add the evaporated milk and egg. Set the pan over medium-high heat. Cook, whisking constantly, for 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat.

Whisk in the vanilla. Cool to room temperature and then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Just before serving, top each serving with a dollop of whipped topping.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Loaded Potato Soup

I found this recipe in Cooking Light magazine. I made a few changes, one of which was exchanging the baking potatoes for small new potatoes. Also, in the recipe they gave instructions to peel the potatoes and I left the skins on. It would work either way. And, I used fat free chicken broth and skim milk.

Loaded Potato Soup

1.5 pounds small new potatoes (I used both red and gold potatoes)
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion 
One can (14.5 ounce) reduced sodium, fat free chicken broth
3 Tbl. all-purpose flour
2 cups skim milk, divided
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 bacon slices
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 tsp. thinly sliced green onions

Cut potatoes in half and place in a microwave safe bowl with a few tablespoons water. (My microwave has a baked potato automatic setting.) If you don't have a setting available, cook covered for about 10-12 minutes on high.

While potatoes cook, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; saute 3 minutes. Add broth.

Combine flour and 1/2 cup milk; add to pan with 1.5 cups milk. Bring to a boil; stir often. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream, salt, and pepper.

Arrange bacon on a paper towel on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with a paper towel; microwave on high for 4 minutes. Crumble bacon.

Carefully add potatoes to soup. Coursely mash potatoes into soup. Top with cheese, green onions and bacon. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups).

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Best Pancakes Ever!

Sorry, no pictures (I'll add some next time I make them) but I had to share this recipe. I combined what I love about pancake recipes -- I've tried quite a few -- and came up with a winner. 

Very simple to make. Enjoy!

The Best Pancakes Ever

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 heaping Tbl. low fat sour cream

Mix flours, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center. Pour milk, eggs, vanilla, and sour cream into the well. Mix gently until just combined.

Coat a nonstick griddle with butter (preheated to medium-high, 375 degrees on an electric skillet). I just lightly rub a stick of butter over the surface of the pan.

Spoon a skant 1/4 cup of batter on to prepared pan. When the bubbles pop, flip the pancakes over. Cook just a minute or two more. Makes about 8-12 pancakes.

Serve with a drizzle of real maple syrup.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cooking Dried Beans

Why have I never done this before? It might be food science, but it certainly isn't rocket science.

I did some research online and ended up using a combination of cooking methods. It worked for me and I was very happy with the outcome. One pound of dried beans makes approximately the equivalent of three cans of beans. 

My motivation: reducing the sodium in our diets, cutting down on the use of prepared foods in my cooking, and saving money.

I didn't get photos of the process, but it was simple. 

After rinsing and sorting a pound of dried beans, place them in a large oven-safe pot with 6-8 cups water. Don't measure, just run water in until it is a good inch or more over the beans. Soak overnight.

The next day, drain and rinse the beans. Cover with fresh water, again a good inch or more over the top of the beans. No salt, no seasonings. 

Cover the pot and place it in a 325 degree oven. Bake for about 90 minutes. Start checking at about 1.25 hours. To check, take a bean out with a spoon, let it cool, and taste it to see if it is tender. 

When the beans are done to your liking, drain again and package into freezer containers. I simply used a slotted spoon to transfer them from the pot into plastic containers.

No more canned beans for us!

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