Sunday, November 17, 2013

Shrimp and Crab Gumbo Soup

This has always been one of my favorite recipes to make and eat!  It's healthy and easy to make.  If you like seafood and Cajun spice, you'll definitely be adding this to your keeper recipes.  I've taken this from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, but I've have added some of my own touches as well.  In the picture you see below, I have doubled the batch for leftovers for the week at work. :)

1 green bell pepper, diced (can use variety of colors; I used the mini bell peppers to add color and variety)
1 medium onion, diced
1 Tbsp. corn starch
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 14.5 oz. can stewed tomatoes
6 oz. hot tomato sauce (can go Cajun if you'd like-found near the tobasco sauce)
2 cups frozen okra
1 cup frozen corn (this was an add-in for color)
1 8 oz. package of crab (imitation works fine), chopped
8 oz. frozen and cooked shrimp, detailed and chopped
3/4 cup brown rice (it calls for instant, but either works well)
1 1/4 cup water

Sautee pepper and onion in pan with olive oil until tender.  Add corn starch and stir for a minute or two.  Add the canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, okra, and corn and let simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add crab, shrimp, brown rice, and water.  Cook on stove until rice is cooked.  This recipe is approximately 250 calories and is low in fat as well.  A great soup to warm you up for this time of year.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Canadian Beef Stew & Honey Oat Bread

What a perfect time of year for a loaf of fresh bread and homemade soup!  You're getting a two for one deal today with a Canadian Beef Stew and Honey Oat Bread.  I obtained and altered the stew recipe from a healthy cookbook I have and the bread can be found on the following webpage:

Canadian Beef Stew 

1 pound lean beef or bison (cut into chunks)
1/2 cup wheat flour
1 Tbsp. freshly ground rosemary
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. sea salt
1-2 tsp. oregano
1-2 tsp. sweet dried basil

Directions for meat:  Place flour, spices and cut beef into a Tupperware container with lid.  Shake seasoned flour well with your meat and set to the side.

1 large sweet onion (chopped)
2 leeks (washed well and chopped)
4 Tbsp. olive oil
Ground pepper and sea salt to taste

Directions for onions:  In a large dutch oven, put onions, leeks, olive oil, and salt and pepper until onions and leeks are tender or for about 5 minutes.

3 carrots (peeled and cut into chunks)
3 parsnips (peeled and cut into chunks)
4-5 small red potatoes (cut into small chunks)
1 large package mushrooms (washed well and sliced)
2 cans plum tomatoes (chopped-save the juice to add to the stew)
2 cups beef or chicken broth
1 cup dark wine (I used a very inexpensive Cabernet Sauvingnon.)

Directions for rest of stew:  Add vegetables to dutch oven for about 10 minutes.  Add meat, broth, and wine.  Let simmer for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Honey Oat Bread

2 Tbsp. plus 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, divided
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 tsp. salt
8 ounces (scant 1 cup) nonfat or lowfat plain yogurt
1 egg
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey or agave syrup
3/4 cup lowfat or fat free milk

Directions:  Place rack in middle of oven and preheat to 375F.  Generously coat a bread loaf pan with cooking spray.  Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. oats into the pan.  Tip the pan back and forth to coat the sides and bottom with oats.

Thoroughly stir together the flours, baking powder, soda, and salt in a large bowl.  Using a fork, beat the remaining cup of rolled oats, yogurt, egg, oil, and honey into a medium bowl until blended well.

Stir in milk.  Gently stir the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture just until it's incorporated but not over-mixed (otherwise, it will be tough dough and bread).

Spread the dough into bread pan and sprinkle remaining tablespoon of rolled oats on top of bread. Bake the loaf until well-browned on top and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean about 40-50 minutes.  (The top of the bread loaf may crack which is normal.)  Let the bread set for 15 minutes, and then take a table knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread.  

Enjoy together on a nice cold day! :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Stuffed Peppers

I have a new favorite recipe from my mother.  She has given me the basic recipe, but, of course, I have adjusted it to make it my own.  It's a perfect and easy recipe not only for the autumn season but all year long. However, I especially like it when the cool weather has begun, and fresh produce is very inexpensive this time of year.  I was able to purchase three peppers for $1.00 at my local Fareway this week.

Stuffed Peppers
  • 5-7 peppers
  • 1 lb. ground beef or turkey
  • 1 medium onion, chopped/diced
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (fire-roasted is what I like)
  • 1 14 oz. can Manwich
  • 2 cups brown rice, cooked (I use the new instant Minute Rice) (See picture for reference)
  • 1 8 oz. bag mozzerella cheese
  • 2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • Seasonings to taste (fresh rosemary, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning)

Preparation:  Cook ground meat with seasonings and onion.  Add cooked rice and tomatoes and simmer. Cut the top of peppers and de-seed, leaving cavity for filling.  Place peppers in a baking dish (I used bread pans to keep them upright, but be sure to spray the pan!  Add a little cheese to the inside before adding meat mixture. Cool, then stuff mixture in peppers.  Add cheese as topping.  Cook peppers at 350 until peppers are soft.  I usually cook for about 30-45 minutes.  (You could skip the cheese if you want to cut on the calories or cholesterol.)

I had about two extra cups of meat mixture after filling seven medium to large green peppers.  I have decided to freeze that extra meat mixture and will make more stuffed peppers to freeze next week.  It makes quite a bit, and you'll have at least a full week of meals!  It's simple and easy, healthy, and filling! :)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Spanish Pork Burgers

I was "fearless" as one friend put it and put together a new recipe for my bible study group this week.  I should say that they are brave souls for coming and being my guinea pigs.

It was very delicious, and I would definitely make it again!  I may even try it with beef to try something a little different and cut down on the fat content and save a little money since the ground pork is a little more spendy than ground beef. The original recipe called for a few things I couldn't find or didn't want to attempt to search for, so I will paste the link for the original recipe; I like the recipe adaptations I have made.

Spanish Pork Burgers

1-2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 c. thinly sliced Vidalia or sweet onion
3/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper, divided
1/4 tsp. salt, divided (I usually just wing it with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and throw it in.) :) 

Minced Spanish olives and garlic
1 lb. lean ground pork
1 tbsp. finely chopped Spanish green olives, such as Manzanilla  (I probably added a lot more.)
2 tsp. minced garlic (Again, I added a lot more.)
2 tsp. Spanish paprika
1-2 tsp. Penzy Mitchell Street Steak Seasoning (Because the original recipe called for a special kind of paprika that had a smokey flavor, I used this spice to help give the burger this flavor.)

Lemon/Saffron Sauce
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Pinch of saffron (It's a very expensive spice and wouldn't be needed as I know I wouldn't spend that kind of money on it, however, if you know someone going to the Middle East, have them pick you up a small bit of it; it will keep for years if kept in a dry container. I was lucky enough to pick some up myself when I was in Israel.)

Manchego or Monterey Jack cheese, sliced or shredded (1/4 cup shredded)
4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted
2 whole jarred Piquillo peppers or jarred pimientos, halved lengthwise


Sauteed onions

  1. Combine mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice and saffron in a small bowl. ( Cover and refrigerate the lemon-saffron mayonnaise for up to 5 days.)
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Set aside half the onion for topping; finely chop the other half.
  3. Preheat grill to medium.
  4. Place the chopped onion in a large bowl; add pork, olives, garlic, paprika, Penzy seasoning, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Gently combine, without overmixing, until evenly incorporated.
  5. Form into 4 equal patties, about 1/2 inch thick.
    Make the patties nice and thick
  6. Oil the grill rack with cooking spray. Grill the burgers, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 165°F, 10 to 12 minutes total. Top with cheese and cook until it is melted, about 1 minute more.
  7. Pork burgers grilling away!
  8. Assemble the burgers on toasted buns with the lemon-saffron mayonnaise, some of the reserved onions and a half a Piquillo (or pimiento) pepper.  I also added a slice of a fresh Heirloom tomato and chard from the garden.

The finished product...YUMMY! :)

Per serving: 364 calories; 16 g fat ( 5 g sat , 3 g mono ); 71 mg cholesterol; 30 g carbohydrates; 29 gprotein; 5 g fiber; 659 mg sodium; 209 mg potassium.Nutrition Bonus: Selenium (31% daily value).Carbohydrate Servings: 1 1/2Exchanges: 2 starch, 3 1/2 lean meat, 1 fat

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Creamy Peppercorn Salad Dressing

Yes, it has been awhile, my friends, but that doesn't mean I've stopped experimenting in the kitchen.  This new post is a healthy version of a creamy dressing if you can't seem to let go of your ranch dressing on your rabbit food.  It's a perfect substitute for your summer salad!

Creamy Peppercorn Dressing

1 container A&E Greek yogurt (130 calories)
1/2 cup of 1% or 2% milk (70 calories)
2-3 tsp. Penzy's creamy peppercorn mix (30 calories)

Mix and shake yogurt and milk.  Add the creamy peppercorn mix to taste.

Now do the math from above.  The whole jar is 230 calories!  That's pretty amazing!  Now if you don't have the Penzy spice store available to you, someone suggested using a ranch powder dressing mix.