Sunday, October 24, 2010

Beef Stew & Dumplings!

Sometimes you just need a hearty stew. Whether it's stressful at work, rainy and full of drab outside, or maybe you're just starving; a beef stew will do the trick.
I've never made chicken and dumplings before, but I have made beef stew a few times. It's full of protein and vegetables just like chicken and dumplings, so I thought to myself, why do you never hear of beef and dumplings? Well, after I tried this recipe out, I figured it was tasty enough to share with you all.
What you need for the Stew:
  •  About 15 ounces of beef chuck for stew, dredged in flour that has been seasoned with salt & pepper.
  • 1 cup of onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 russet potatoes, diced in large chunks
  • About 1.5 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups of low sodium beef broth
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2.5 cups of diced tomatoes in a can
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
How to do it:
Heat the oil in a large dutch oven.Add the meat and brown on all sides. 
Lower the heat to medium and add the onions and garlic to the meat and let them sweat out for a few minutes. 
Add the worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, salt, sugar, paprika, pepper, cloves, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, and broth. Cover the pot and let the mixture simmer for about 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove the bay leaves. Add the carrots, celery, and potatoes. Season to taste at this point. Cover again and let simmer for about another 2 hours.

About 20 minutes before you're ready to eat, start the dumplings. 
What you need for the dumplings:
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp dill weed (dried)
  • 1/8 tsp parsley (dried)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup fat free half and half (you could substitute skim or 1% milk)
Mix the dry ingredients together (flour, baking powder, salt, dried dill weed, dried parsley). Beat the egg & half and half together.  Add the wet to the dry mixture. Form into little dumplings (about 10).
Add the dumplings for the final 10 minutes of cooking.

And now you have, Beef Stew and Dumplings!
Approximate facts for the Dumplings:

Amount per Serving

Calories 101
Calories from Fat 13.1 
Total Fat 1.46g
Saturated Fat 0.38g
Cholesterol 53.75mg
Sodium 146.17mg
Total Carbohydrate 15.76g
Dietary Fiber 2.68g
Sugars 1.65g
Protein 4.67g
Approximate facts for the Stew:

Amount per Serving

Calories 307
Calories from Fat 101.6

Total Fat 11.29g
Saturated Fat 4.62g
Cholesterol 50mg
Sodium 750.33mg
Total Carbohydrate 25.25g
Dietary Fiber 4.09g
Sugars 8.29g
Protein 4.36g
Stay warm out there!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

This soup is easy, delicious, and filling. Let me tell you something. I've played around quite a bit with squash soup recipes; to the point I make it probably 3-4 times a fall season, on every holiday during the fall and winter, and every party my husband and I host- I do this just to determine the perfect recipe. I've tried adding cream or half and half or even milk to add a creamier flavor; maybe some brown sugar to sweetened it up, and you know what? You just don't need it. I've finally found the one that is worthy of sharing with you- and also isn't necessary to add nutritional information because quite frankly, nothing in this recipe is bad for you.

I love fall, and I love a good thick, hearty, flavorful soup. This one does the trick.
Let's just cut to the chase and get to it:

What you need:
For roasting:
1, 2 pound butternut squash; split in half lengthwise, seeds removed (keep the seeds, wash them, you'll need them for roasting)
3 small gala apples
3 small cloves of garlic, unpeeled
1/2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to spread
Kosher salt & pepper
Ground cinnamon
For the base of the soup:
2 medium yellow onions, diced
Another 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Up to 4 cups of water
How you do it:
Oven to 375.
Season the squash with oil, salt, pepper, and cinnamon. A healthy dose will do the trick. No need to really measure (but if I were going to, try 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper, and 1 tsp of cinnamon. Put the squash on the sheet pan flat side down; but place the garlic cloves underneath the squash (in the crevice of the squash). Next, using an apple corer, slice the apples and place them on the pan as well, drizzle a touch of oil and about 1/2-1 tsp more of cinnamon over the apples. Roast the squash, apples, and garlic for about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, place another 1/2 tbsp of oil in a small soup pot. Toss the onions in the pot and let them sweat until transparent, about 15 minutes. 
When the roasting is complete, let everything cool so it's easy to handle. Scoop out the squash and place the squash in the soup pot. Throw the roasted apples in the pot, as well as the garlic cloves (this time, take the peel off!). Note, you do not need to remove the peel from the apples!
When all the veggies are in, throw the nutmeg, ginger, salt, cinnamon, and about 3 cups of water. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Then, get your immersion blender our (or blender, or food processor), and puree the soup so it is very smooth and velvety. Season to taste.
For the seeds; 
In a small fry pan, place a tiny bit of butter or oil and then add the seeds and a touch of salt; let them toast for about 5-7 minutes until they change to be golden in color.
Serve these seeds on top of your bowl of soup.
Enjoy- You'll find that this is a naturally sweet and hearty soup; perfect for a fall day.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Lose the guilt: Burger & Mashed

But where are my fries, you ask?
I decided to toss the taters and substitute for a healthier, less carb alternative that I've been wanting to try for a while; mashed cauliflower.
Don't run away. It's good. I promise.
And the turkey burger is pretty tasty as well; Mr. Not Your Bubbe's Kitchen is in charge of the beef burgers; I find myself in charge of the turkey burgers. It works.
Here we go:
What you need:

  • About 20 ounces of 99% lean ground turkey breast
  • 1/4 cup of yellow onion chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp (about) of worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8-1/4 cup of egg beaters
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp grill mates montreal steak seasoning with reduced sodium
  • 50% light cheddar cheese slices (like Cabot, Trader Joe's, Kraft)
  • 1/2 Tbsp of oil
  • whole wheat burger buns (4)
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • some kosher salt & black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp fat free cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup of 2% shredded cheddar
  • 1 Tbsp light style butter
  • 1/4 cup of fat free half and half (you could use skim also, but I suggest adding 1-2 tsp of cornstarch in the milk before adding to the mashed cauliflower
  • Fry pan, food processor or immersion blender
How to do it:
Assemble the burger patties-
In a bowl, add the meat, onion, garlic, worcestershire sauce, egg beaters, spices together.
Mixture will be very wet. Mold 4 burgers of equal size.
Heat oil in a non stick pan.
Place burgers on pan, do not squeeze them; allow the juice to stay in the burger. Cook on each side for about 7 minutes. Burgers should be golden brown.
Add cheddar to each burger, place a cover on the pan and let cheese melt for about 1-2 minutes.
Arrange with your favorite fixin's; lettuce, tomato, avocado is what I made mind with.
Now for the cauliflower-
Chop the cauliflower roughly and add to salted water. Boil for about 20 minutes.
Next drain the vegetable in a colander and take a bowl or a plate and lightly press all the liquid out of the cauliflower. 
Place cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add cream cheese, half and half, butter, cheese. Pulse again. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

It's good eats, folks. Hungry yet?
Serving Size: 1 burger patty

Amount per Serving

Calories 254
Calories from Fat 62.4

Total Fat 6.93g
Saturated Fat 3.25g
Cholesterol 91.25mg
Sodium 793.63mg
Total Carbohydrate 3.77g
Dietary Fiber 0.28g
Sugars 0.38g
Protein 42.42g

Serving Size: 1 cup

Amount per Serving

Calories 69
Calories from Fat 27.7

Total Fat 3.08g
Saturated Fat 1.88g
Cholesterol 6.25mg
Sodium 159.79mg
Total Carbohydrate 5.95g
Dietary Fiber 1.88g
Sugars 3.04g
Protein 4.74g

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Less Processed Pop Tarts!

Once in a blue moon, my parents would purchase pop tarts as a kid. As an adult, I have never, ever, ever purchased them.

Recently, Meghann from The Flour Pile and I were discussing homemade pop tarts. Now, I must preface, she knows her baked goods. Me, I can bake, but I often find myself experimenting too much on how to cut corners and make it healthier; which is very difficult to do with baking. Baking, unlike cooking, is very exact. If a recipe calls for unsalted butter, you really should use unsalted butter. Me, well, I break the rules. While, these aren't the lowest calorie treats, it could be worse!

Here is my journey at attempting to recreate the childhood treat in two varieties; Pumpkin Spice & Cinnamon & Brown Sugar. 

Recipe adapted from this one, over at King Arthur flour.
For the pastry dough:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 packets of truvia no-calorie sweetener (I wouldn't try this with splenda, sweet and lo or that other stuff; too sweet)
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 sticks of any light, non-full fat butter, like Land O Lakes Light, Smart Balance Light, etc.
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp of fat free half and half
  • Another egg, lightly beaten, and set aside.
For the filling-
Pumpkin Spice:
  • 4.5 Tbsp canned pumpkin
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar (or 1-2 packets of Truvia)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1 tsp nutmeg, ground
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, ground
  • How to: Just mix all ingredients in small bowl, set aside. Fills about 6-9 pastries.You should have extra.

For the filling-
Cinnamon Brown Sugar:
  • Approx. 1/4C dark brown sugar
  • 2-3 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • How to: Just mix all ingredients in small bowl, set aside. Fills about 6-9 pastries.You should have extra.
How to: The pastry dough
  1. In a stand mixer (or a large bowl), whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. 
  2. In the mixer (or likewise, with your best tools, your hands) add the butter until it is the size of peas and the mixture holds together easily when you squeeze it together.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and half and half and then add this mixture to the dough- only mix until everything is moistened.
  4. Flour a pastry board, and knead dough.  This dough is messy; you may need to add what seems to be a good amount of flour. 
  5. At this point, divide the dough in half. 
  6. Roll out one piece of dough to about 1/8-inch thick, in a 10 x11 rectangle. 
  7. Trim the rectangle to 9×10 inches with a pizza cutter.
  8. Cut the sheet of dough into nine 3×4 (ish) rectangles. 
  9. Next, move the rectangles to a baking sheet (using a spatula will help greatly) that has been lined with aluminum foil that has been sprayed with non stick cooking spray. 
  10. Brush the lightly beaten egg on each of the rectangles. Spoon approximately a tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, leaving a ½-inch of space around the edges.
  11. Follow the same steps as 6-9, only place each rectangle on top of one which has filling in it.
  12. Lightly press the seems of the dough with your fingers to close them tightly & then press a fork along all of the edges.
  13. Poke some fork holes on the top of the pastries.
  14. Glaze the pastries with more egg wash
  15. Refrigerate for 30-40 minutes.
  16. Preheat oven at 350.
  17. Bake for 25-27 minutes until golden brown

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Oh My, It's Shepherd's Pie!

Creative title, no?
The weather this week has been nothing less than sucktastic; rainy and cold.
When it's rainy and cold, I crave something warm and comforting, as many of us do.
This recipe I have adapted slightly from Rachel Ray's cookbook, Cooking 'round the clock.
I've eliminated some items (e.g. egg yolk), swapped out full fat for less fat items (cream cheese, less oil, less butter) and added some more veggies. 

  • 4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp fat free cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp light butter, like Land O Lakes Light
  • 1/2 cup fat free half and half
  • 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 20 ounces 93% lean ground beef
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped.
  • 2 tbsp light butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup low sodium beef broth
  • 2-3 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup mixed frozen vegetables (corn, peas, carrots)
  • Sprinkles of paprika
For the Mashed Potatoes-
Bring potatoes to boil in salted water; boil about 15 minutes.
Drain potatoes and mix them with light butter, softened cream cheese, and half and half (you've now used the first 4 ingredients).
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the Meat and Vegetable mixture-
Heat a saute pan with the olive oil.
Add the ground beef, brown for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.
Add the chopped onion and raw chopped carrot to the meat mix. Cook for another 5 minutes.

In a smaller saute pan, make a roux with the 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp flour. Cook for 3-4 minutes.

Add the cup of beef broth and the worcestershire sauce to the roux, and whisk until the gravy thickens.
Add the gravy to the beef, onions, and carrots.
Now add about a cup of the frozen carrots, peas, and corn mixture.

In a small rectangular pyrex (or pan), layer the meat mixture in the pan.
Carefully layer the mashed potatoes over the meat.
Sprinkle with paprika
Broil for about 5 minutes (give or take) on high.

The factos: Serves 5

Amount per Serving

Calories 387
Calories from Fat 135.0
Total Fat 15g
Saturated Fat 5.3g
Cholesterol 75mg
Sodium 321.2mg
Total Carbohydrate 34.38g
Dietary Fiber 4.14g
Sugars 7.96g
Protein 29.81g

Serve with a nice pint...I mean, you saved some calories in the recipe; you could splurge a little...couldn't you?


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cheesy Potato Leek Soup

This Potato Leek soup recipe is adapted from the Williams & Sonoma Bride and Groom cookbook that I received as part of a shower gift from my lovely friends Laura and Vickie. I've made some changes to it, but I will say, there's nothing warmer to me on a cold, rainy night than a hearty bowl of soup.
The original recipe does not call for any cheese- I added 2% cheddar, a little grated parmesan, and a touch of cream cheese. I also opted to make the soup have a creamier texture, so added a little fat free half and half that was pre thickened with a touch of cornstarch. 
This is a meal that is made in 45 minutes- including prep time.


2 large russet potatoes, diced very small
5 medium leeks, remove the leafy greens & ends so you are only using the tender portion. Quarter lengthwise and than dice 1/4" thick. Rinse and Drain.
4 cups of low sodium vegetable broth
4 cups of water
1 tsp kosher salt, to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp (maybe a little less) dried thyme- NOTE: If you do not like thyme, omit!!!
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp fat free cream cheese
1 cup of 2% cheddar cheese (shredded would work best)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (I used the Kraft Parmesan/Romano blend)
1/2 cup fat free half and half, thickened with 1 tsp of cornstarch

Bring the broth & the water to a boil. Once boiling, add the potatoes, salt, thyme, pepper, and garlic. 
Lightly boil for 5 minutes.
Then add in the leeks. Cook for 10 minutes.
Add in all of the cheeses to the pot of awesome.
With an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth (you could also just use a blender, it will be messier though!)
Last, add in the half and half, and let thicken for about 5 more minutes.
Serves about 6, makes about 48 ounces, give or take.

The facts:

Serving Size: 8 oz

Amount per Serving

Calories 175
Calories from Fat 42.1
Total Fat 4.68g
Saturated Fat 2.67g
Cholesterol 14.17mg
Sodium 530.54mg
Total Carbohydrate 25g
Dietary Fiber 3.02g
Sugars 5.67g
Protein 8.57g

Voila. Wasn't that easy?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Faked Out Take Out- Peanut Sesame Noodles with Chicken

I love peanut butter.

A long time ago, I watched a Rachel Ray episode where she made take out peanut noodles. I wanted to try it out. But I didn't want to try it out with a cup of peanut butter or whatever amount the recipe called for.
This stuff called PB2 was brought to my attention about a year ago; and I've been waiting to cook with it. The out come ove this dish was peanut butter, salty, crunchy, and full of yum.
I hope you try it out. PB2 can be ordered on the Bell Plantation website.

This recipe is slightly adapted from this one, here
For the peanut noodles;
4 servings Whole wheat pasta; we used thin spaghetti barilla plus brand
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
4.5 tbsp PB2 powder
1/8 cup white wine vinegar
2 tsp roasted peanut oil
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup scallions, chopped
1 cup red bell peppers, chopped
1 cup green bell peppers, chopped
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 can of water chestnuts

Rinse cooked pasta in cold water and drain. 
Toss noodles with the roasted peanut oil. 
Place the ginger, soy, garlic, sugar, and scallions in a food processor. Puree till smooth. Toss with pasta, chestnuts, sesame seeds, and peppers- Refrigerate.

Amount per Serving (4 ounces)

Calories 229
Calories from Fat 42.3

Total Fat 4.7g
Saturated Fat 0.76g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 571.95mg
Total Carbohydrate 32.92g
Dietary Fiber 5.14g
Sugars 5.24g
Protein 10.34g

For the Chicken adapted from this recipe

2 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp ground ginger
4 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 cup water
1 tbsp dijon style mustard
1 tsp hot chili sauce, like sriacha
1 cup low fat buttermilk
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
5 tbsp PB2
20 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 3.5 6 ounce breasts

Mix together all ingredients except chicken, salt, pepper, and buttermilk.
Place the chicken, salt, pepper, buttermilk and a third of the dipping sauce into a resealable bag and shake to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours. Also place the remainder of the dipping sauce in the fridge as well.

When the chicken is ready, heat up a saute pan. Cook the chicken breast for about 7 minutes each side depending on thickness. Cut the chicken up and toss it with the noodles.
Sauce facts:

Serving Size: 1/2 cup (Makes about 2 cups)

Amount per Serving

Calories 76
Calories from Fat 22.5

Total Fat 2.5g
Saturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 2.5mg
Sodium 817.78mg
Total Carbohydrate 6.79g
Dietary Fiber 0.02g
Sugars 3.63g
Protein 5.51g
Chicken facts:

Amount per Serving (4 ounces)

Calories 110
Calories from Fat 0

Total Fat 2.5g
Saturated Fat .5g
Cholesterol 65mg
Sodium 120mg
Total Carbohydrate 0g
Dietary Fiber 0.02g
Protein 23g
Now my dearies, you have faked out take out..