Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I had the "luck o' the Irish" to share this recipe on a favorite blog of mine, Ma Nouvelle Mode.  It seems appropriate to share it here today in case you missed the guest post.

This ol' blog world has many green beverages, green snacks, and green desserts this time of year.  I wanted to give you something out of the norm but still delicious.  Please warm up with this soup and have a fantastic St. Patrick's Day!

Green Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 quart vegetable broth or stock
1 large (about 9-ounce) russet potato, peeled and cubed
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 pounds any mixed greens, like spinach, Swiss chard, bok choy, etc., torn into pieces
2 tablespoons dry sherry or dry white wine
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish, optional
Packaged crispy onions for garnish, optional

In large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.  Increase temperature to high, add vegetable broth and potato, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Stir beans and greens into pot.  Continue to simmer 5 to 10 minutes more, until potato is fork-tender and greens are wilted.  Pour soup into blender container, in batches if necessary, and blend until smooth.  Return soup to pot and stir in sherry, salt, and pepper, and warm through.  Serve in bowls with parsley and/or crispy onions sprinkled on top, if desired.  Makes 8 (1-cup) servings, 2 points plus for Weight Watchers or 125 calories each.

Note:  Like many soups and stews, if you have the time to make it a day ahead, the flavors will meld together and the soup will be even tastier.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Secret

It's time to let you in on a little secret.  Time .  is  .  getting  .  away  .  from  .  me.  With a (fairly) new job and an upcoming wedding in our family, my time is filled with a myriad of mind boggling details.  Dinner these days is comprised of old standbys and quick combinations of things laying around the kitchen.  My passion for recipe development is sadly on hold as I put other things first.

I will be sharing with you less often.  Please use the tried and true recipes you have seen on these pages up till now and know that I'll return when time permits.  I have grown to love those of you who loyally come along side me and enjoy my recipes.  Thank you many times over.

I leave you for now with a creamy pudding recipe.  Oranges sat on my patio table, having fallen off our windblown tree. They made me dream of orange for breakfast, orange for lunch, and orange for dinner.  And then for dessert,  I dreamed up this pudding to use orange again.

With this recipe, you will have the richest, sweetest pudding - and you won't need to open a box to make it!  Even better, there will be no guilt in indulging.  Be sure to lick every bit off your spoon.

Chocolate Orange Pudding

2 cups plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk, divided
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest (use a microplane if you have one)
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Fresh berries for garnish, optional

Pour 2 cups almond milk into medium saucepan and place over medium low heat.  In small bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, orange zest, and salt.  Add remaining 3 tablespoons almond milk and vanilla and whisk until smooth.

When bubbles form around edge of saucepan and milk is hot, whisk in sugar mixture.  Raise heat to medium and cook, whisking often, until boiling and thick.  It should take about 20 minutes.  Pour into 5 small bowls and cover with plastic wrap that touches pudding to prevent skin from forming. 

Place in refrigerator to chill and finish thickening.  Before serving, garnish with berries if desired.  Makes 5 servings, 2 points plus for Weight Watchers or 111 calories each.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Peanut Noodles

I want to dive into this pot again and slurp up the yummy noodles.  Only problem is, they're all gone!

To make dinner quickly when I return home from work, it helps if I've made the individual parts of a recipe in the morning.  I boil the noodles, prepare the veggies, and mix up the sauce.  It all goes into the fridge.  Later, it ends up in my trusty nonstick skillet and onto our plates so dinner is ready in no time.

This recipe is rather flexible.  Whatever vegetables you have on hand can go into the mix.  Spice is up as much as you like - and start slurping!

Peanut Noodles

8 ounces brown rice spaghetti noodles
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1 carrot, finely grated
2 cups any other vegetables, chopped (I used baby bok choy and Swiss chard)
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chunky peanut butter
1 tablespoon hot sauce, or to taste (I used Tapatio)
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 (13-ounce) can light coconut milk
Salt to taste, optional

Cook noodles according to package directions; drain and set aside.   Meanwhile, coat large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray.  Heat to medium and add green onions, carrot, other vegetables, and ginger.  Cook until vegetables are soft.  Stir in cilantro.

In small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, hot sauce, soy sauce, and brown sugar.  Add coconut milk and whisk until fully combined.

Place noodles in skillet with vegetables and add sauce.  Toss together and cook until heated through. Taste to see if salt is desired.   Makes 4 servings, 9 points plus for Weight Watchers or 378 calories each.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Asian Bean Burger

It's dinnertime.  There's nothing thawed, nothing planned, and hungry people.  What to do?

Open a few cans of beans and a few minutes later, dinner is served.

Asian Bean Burgers with Spicy Sauce

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans
1/2 cup panko or other dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup fat free liquid egg substitute or 2 egg whites
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce or tamari, divided
1 teaspoon dried ground ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced, divided
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon fresh chili paste, crushed red pepper, or wasabi paste, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Sandwich buns, optional

Rinse and drain beans and place in large mixing bowl.  Mash with fork, leaving some chunkiness.  Add breadcrumbs, green onions, egg substitute, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, ginger, and half the garlic.  Stir with wooden spoon until well combined.

Form bean mixture into 6 even patties.  Place on nonstick griddle over medium heat.  Cook 5 to 7 minutes until first side is golden brown and starting to crisp.  Flip burgers and cook an additional 5 to 7 minutes.

Make sauce by whisking mayonnaise, remaining 1 teaspoon soy sauce, remaining minced garlic, chili paste or other spicy ingredient, and sugar until smooth.  Serve hot burgers topped with sauce on buns or lettuce leaves.  Makes 6 servings, 4 points plus for Weight Watchers or 170 calories each (not including buns, if using).

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chocolate Mini Cupcakes

Uh oh . . . I've bought into the conventional wisdom that one must have chocolate for Valentine's Day.

Chocolate does not have to be bad.  This tiny cupcake gives you enjoyment without  guilt.  You could top it with icing or keep it simple like I did.  It quickly satisfied my "need" and I will not be sorry on Valentine's Day.

Chocolate Mini Cupcakes

3/4 cup unbleached white, whole wheat pastry, or gluten free flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon canola or other mild oil
1 1/2 teaspoons white distilled vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
Whipped topping or powdered sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Coat 2 (12-cup) mini muffin pans with nonstick spray or line with mini cupcake papers; set aside.

In mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking soda. In separate small bowl, stir together milk, applesauce, oil, vinegar, and vanilla.  Add liquid to dry ingredients and stir until just combined, then gently stir in chocolate chips.

Distribute batter evenly between muffin cups.  Bake 17 minutes, or until top of one cupcake springs back when gently touched.  Remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.  Serve with a dollop of whipped topping or a sprinkle of powdered sugar, if desired.  Makes 24 mini cupcakes, 1 point plus for Weight Watchers or 47 calories each.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday Scones

Driving home from work the other night, this is what I saw:

So beautiful, I just had to share.

Now, on to the food.  This past week, my husband ran a few errands when I was a bit "under the weather."  He came home from his trip to Costco with the most lovely carton of fresh raspberries.  These berries went against the produce rule I try to follow: buy local and organic.  But how can one resist when the berries look and taste so good?  So, scones were on the menu for Saturday morning.  What a treat!

Consider these for Valentine's Day morning.  They'd be perfect.

Raspberry Scones

2 cups flour, white, whole wheat, or gluten free
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons canola or other light oil
1/3 cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot water
1 cup fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat liner and set aside.  In mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir in oil, agave, and vanilla, just until combined.  Gently stir in water, then raspberries.  Batter will be thin at first, but will quickly thicken.

Using 1/4-cup measure, scoop batter onto prepared baking sheet, leaving about an inch between them.  Bake 12 minutes or until scones are golden.  Remove immediately from pan and serve.  Makes 10 scones, 4 points plus for Weight Watchers or 143 calories each.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Carrots - It's a Wrap!

If you know me or you follow this blog, you know my absolute favorite food is Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing.  Period.

Unfortunately, my attempt at a healthy diet does not allow me to indulge in my "favorite" very often.  When I saw this idea on a fun blog I follow called Chocolate-Covered Katie, I couldn't wait to come up with my own version. 

Carrot Cake Wrap

2 tablespoons Neufchatel (light) cream cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 low carb or low fat tortillas
2 small carrots, grated
2 tablespoons raisins
Sprinkle of cinnamon
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts, optional (I'm not a fan)

Mix Neufchatel, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  Divide between tortillas and spread evenly.  Cover with carrots and dot with raisins.  Sprinkle with cinnamon, then walnuts, if using.  Roll up and cut in half on the diagonal.  Makes 2 servings, 4 points plus for Weight Watchers or 170 calories each.