Haddock Piccata Poached in Parmesan Broth

I had been struggling for ways to make fish more interesting. Calories vs Flavor. I went to dinner out, opted for a haddock piccata over linguini. I Told them omit the pasta, and I had a side of veg. A hearty sized bowl of Haddock poached in a lemon Parmesan broth swimming with capers and quartered mushrooms arrived at my table. It was better than terrific, it was perfect.  By taste alone I adapted in to my Weight Watcher regimen. It came out perfect!  The trick is, taste along the way. If the broth isn’t lemony enough. add more lemon, if too lemony add more broth.

Image result for fish in clear broth capersThe ingredients per serving

  • 4-6 ounces of Haddock, Cod or your favorite white fish
  • 1 tablespoon of capers, liquid can be included
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice fresh or bottled
  • 1 1/2 cups of Chicken, or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup of mushrooms quartered or sliced
  • 1/2 cup of cooked pasta, 1 cup gently cooked  zoodles, or spaghetti squash
  • options to add, to simmering broth, are garlic, onions, 1/4 cup of shredded carrots, 1/4 cup of broccoli slaw.

In a  1 quart pan, simmer, do not boil broth, add lemon juice and mushrooms until cooked, add capers, lemon juice.

Taste the broth if it is too lemony add more broth or add more lemon for a more lemon.

Add Fish to the simmering broth and cover for 3 minutes.  After 3 minutes If fish is firm and flaky it is ready to serve.  If not done, cover a minute at a time for your preferred texture. Gently lift haddock out of the pot into a bowl over pasta or cooked veggies, Stir Parmesan into broth until dissolved, pour your broth over fish and enjoy.  7 weight watcher points if served without pasta.

Turkey Crack Slaw, Weight Watcher Friendly

I recently went to my Weight Watcher meeting, and everyone was talking Crack Slaw. Yes! CRACK as in, I  CAN”T STOP EATING I!  And its delicious. The varieties made with ground turkey,  ground turkey breast, ground chicken or ground chicken breast are the lowest in calories. 4 servings per recipe.

Image result for turkey crack slaw

There is also no wrong way to make it, 1 lb of ground meat, Turkey, Beef, Chicken, Pork , Lamb, even Buffalo(Bison). 1 lb. of angel hair slaw or any other slaw including broccoli slaw. Spices, Ginger,  Vinegar, onion and Garlic. Cook in a Wok, a  saute pan or a crock pot. Also, the crack slaw once prepared can be used to make Asian egg rolls, use the Pad Thai Crack Slaw recipe listed second.

Basic low Calorie Turkey Crack Slaw

  • 1 lb of ground turkey breast
  • one medium onion diced fine
  • 1 -2 cloves of garlic minced, or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 bag of fine Angel hair coleslaw, standard coleslaw is acceptable
  • 2 tsp of grated fresh ginger or 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth, chicken broth or water as needed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • optional spices are hot pepper flakes, onion powder, garlic powder
  • Cooking spray, or 2 tsps of your favorite healthy oil

Pre-spray your wok or saute pan or heat oil of your choice. Use a medium heat setting as you saute,  not burn your next ingredients the diced onion and garlic, cook until softened, and ginger, saute about 1 minute

Add Ground turkey, brown and chop fine as sauteing. Once browned,  add the bag of slaw, spices and vinegar. Stir meat and coleslaw until the slaw is well wilted. You may add broth a small amount at a time to keep the contents of the pan not to burn.  If you add too much broth it will cook off. Serve while hot

***** sub any ground meat

Pad Thai Taste Crack Slaw extra low calorie

  • 1 lb of ground Chicken Breast
  • one large onion diced fine
  • 2 scallions, shopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced, or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2  bags of fine Angel hair coleslaw, standard coleslaw is acceptable
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots optional
  • 1 Tbs of grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp of Asian 5 spice powder
  • 2 tablespoon Rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy or teriyaki sauce, **Gluten free are availble
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth, chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • optional spices are hot pepper flakes, onion powder, garlic powder or Sirracha,
  • Chopped cilantro as a garnish optional
  • Cooking spray, or 2 tsps of your favorite healthy oil

Pre-spray your wok or saute pan or heat oil of your choice. Use a medium heat setting as you saute,  not burn your next ingredients the diced onion and garlic, cook until softened, and ginger, saute about 1 minute

Add Ground turkey, brown and chop fine as sauteing. Once browned,  add the bag of slaw, 5 Asian five spice powder and vinegar. Stir meat and coleslaw until the slaw is well wilted. You may add broth a small amount at a time to keep the contents of the pan not to burn.  If you add too much broth it will cook off. Finish by stirring in soy or Teriyaki and serve.

****For not so low call make with ground pork.

Either dish may be cooked in a crock pot, Saute meat, add to crock pot, add all ingredients  plus 1 cup of additional broth. Cook on low. 3 hours

 

 

 

Quickest Best Antipasto EVER! and Easy

Antipasto, Antipasti (plural), translated as “before the meal”.  In Italian cooking it means an appetizer typically consisting of olives, anchovies, cheeses, sliced sausage, peppers, artichoke hearts and various meats.  Many Americans also believed it was the course served before pasta.The most hearty and daring of guests may enjoy Peprocini, anchovies and roasted garlic cloves in their antipasto. For Allergies or dietary preference*****omit meats for vegetarian. *****check all ingredients for wheat/gluten free. A low calorie option, omit meats and add ingredients that are oil free, and fat free. Most items can be purchased water packed.antipasto2

Holidays tend to be complex.  Delicious Appetizers are a treat to give and to serve. Quick appetizers that relieve the load might even taste better. I have received more compliments on this easy recipe than any other.

Quick, Easy, One dish Antipasto, Great for traveling, 5-10 minutes prep time.

Ingredients to mix together in nonmetallic dish. You can assemble in minutes for a quick pull together take along or marinate a day ahead for melding of all the flavors. Preserve cheese if making ahead do not add until just before serving.

  • 1 large jar, 28 ounces of roasted peppers, sliced into strips
  • 1 can or container of olives; Black, Kalamata, green or mixed, pitted  may be prefered
  • 1 Jar marinated mushrooms
  • 1 can of Artichoke hearts cut to bite-size or two jars of marinated
  • Have the supermarket deli cut  a half pound each of provolone and Genoa salami,  into 1/2 inch slices , cube at home into 1/2″
  • 1 dozen cherry tomatoes halved, or 6 shredded and minced sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tsp  dried oregano or basil, or both.
  • dress with premium olive oil. Omit to cut calories

There is no wrong ingredient, add these optional favorites to your audience’s taste, or serve as sides.

  • pepperocini
  • pepperoni
  • mortadella cubes
  • Italian Capicola, shredded or cubed.Various cheeses, Blue, Feta, shredded or flaked Parmesan
  • 1 Cup of your favorite pasta cooked and chilled before adding, penne, rottini, farfalle bows or Orecchietti, **** gluten free options are available
  • anchovies
  • red raw onion
  • roasted garlic
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • shredded prosciutto di parma, sliced and shredded thin
  • hot pepper flakes
  • roasted Asparagus, Zucchini or Eggplant
  • Capers for a salty bite

Serve with Crusty breads, or varried  lettuces to make quick salads

  • a crusty loaf of bread

 

 

Homemade Old Fashion Boston Baked Beans from Scratch

Had a craving for bake beans and natural casing franks the other day.  We opened a can of B&M, the original standard. What a disappointment. That set the stage for a craving that wouldn’t go away until we made a REAL batch from scratch.

Rich Grandma’s Brand Molasses, bacon, brown sugar, hmmm, I could taste them before they were cooked.

There is no wrong way to prepare beans, vegetarian, spicy or extra meaty. Read all ingredient labels to keep it gluten free. Many prepared sauces add wheat including barbecue sauces and soy sauce. baked-beans-2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce or 1/2 cup or ketchup
  • 1 large diced onion
  • 1/2 cup of molasses
  • 3/4 cup of any sugar, brown, white, honey or agave
  • 3-4 cups of favorite broth. Beef, Chicken or vegetable broth to make meat free
  • 1/2 lb salt pork  or bacon, slab bacon works best****omit to keep vegetarian
  • 1/8 cup brown mustard
  • 1 lb of your favorite dried beans for 4 cans of  beans rinsed and drained
  • salt and pepper to taste as you cook

Instructions to Prepare beans

  • For canned beans, rinse and drain, and proceed to cooking
  • Dried beans,  start by rinsing in a colander, pick out any debris. Boil beans for 3/4 of an hour, rinse and drain. Place beans in a dutch oven pot on the stove or a crock pot. An alternate method to reduce the gassiness that beans can display naturally, is to soak overnight.

Cooking

  • Rinse and score salt pork in 1″ cuts add to the bottom of  the pot or crock pot, add beans, or add  1″ pieces of bacon
  • mix well all wet and dry ingredients preserving 1 cup of broth
  • Add mixture and enough broth to cover beans.
  • keep liquid high enough to cover beans at all times.
  • on stove top, bring to a soft boil , turn down to simmer. In a crock-pot start on high, reduce to low when it bubbles.
  • cook until tender and yummy,  8-12 hours*******canned beans reduce time to half.  Dried beans take at least 6-8 hours to become tender.

Adjust seasoning as you go, many variations include; BBQ sauce, maple syrup, garlic,Worcestershire, Soy sauce, Bourbon, sweet or hot peppers and  even diced carrots for sweetness.

Enjoy

Chimichurri Sauce

chimmi steakHaving steak and want to perk things up? Pretend you are just back from Miami, whip up a Miami favorite, an Argentinian Chimichurri sauce over Beef.  The sauce is great also with Pork, lamb and Chicken.

Make this sauce ahead, great for sirloin, ribeye, flank and skirt steaks.

Its a Cilantro/parsley pesto like sauce.  I am going to experiment with the ingredients listed  for the best taste, any suggestions? Steffie prefers straight Cilantro  without the parsley.

Basic Combo of the items below,   add all in a food chopper or  processor

  • 1 bunch approx. 1 cup of either Cilantro or fresh Parsley or a combination, washed and trimmed of stems.  Towel dried before processing
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon  Vinegar, lime or lemon juice, aiding in preserving green color
  • 1/2 cup of your preferred oil, olive, canola or vegetable
  •  1/4 tsp of salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper flakes optional
  • Fresh or jarred garlic to taste, optional.

Spoon over steak right off the grill, add a wedge of lime to each plate

 

Short Rib Chili – Winter Pleaser

This may be the most decadent chilli you will ever taste, Rich, Savory, and you can  make it as spicy as you would like. Great for a holiday party or football tailgating. Serves 6 or more. If you are calorie counting it isn’t for you.  Take multiple opportunities to remove fat, once after roasting, and once after the long cooking. The  rendered fat can be preserved in the freezer as a starting base instead of using oils and other fats. Just remember it will have a spicy kick.srib chili

To cook this delicious, satisfying chili you need  5-10 hours of cooking minimum, but it’s worth every bite.

  • 5 pounds of short ribs, meaty beef back ribs, or combination of 1lb marrow bones and  4 lbs. well marbleized chuck
  • 1 very large onion  sliced
  • 1 large carrot chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Spice mixture, Fajita spice, taco mix, prepacked Chili Spice or make your own blend  with Chili powder, garlic powder, Paprika, cumin
  • 2 whole jalapenos or pablano peppers  ** substitute with a small can of Goya brand chipoltes in sauce
  • 1 can 28oz  kitchen ready tomatoes,  sauce, puree, or 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoon fresh Cilantro optional
  • salt and pepper
  • 4-8 cups  stock, Beef chicken, or vegetable
  • 1 cup mixed green peppers  in 1 inch pieces
  • 2 cups of  cooked mixed beans, black, white,or red,  for an option to an all meat chilli

preheat oven to 350 degrees

in large roasting pan,  place onion, garlic cloves, carrots and whole jalapenos on the bottom,

evenly distribute and coat spice mixture on all sides of meat and bones,  place meat and bones In one layer on top of the  base of sliced onions and carrots.

roast in oven for 1 1/2 hours  turn frequently to brown,  the more the beef and onions are caramelized the richer the flavor.

Remove from oven until cool enough to work with.  Remove all gristle and cartilage. At this time you may want to keep the bones, to increase flavor.

Place all ingredients from the roaster into a large dutch oven/stock pot or crock-pot, except  whole jalapenos/pablanos.  Seed and preserve for final step.

Add crushed tomatoes, Cilantro, green,red and yellow peppers and enough broth to cover the meat. Skim fat before next step. Simmer on low for 1 hour on top of the stove.  If using crock pot 2 hours on high.

Remove from heat, remove all bones and excess fat. Meat should be at a point where it can be easily shred. If you want to have beans in your chili now is the time to add them. Finely chop the jalapeno or pablanos that had been seeded. Simmer an additional 2 hours to 4 hours on top of the stove or 8 hours  in crock pot on low. Add salt and pepper and spices to taste. If mixture is too dry add more broth to reach the consistency of chili, if mixture is too wet, allow to simmer with lid off until liquid is reduced. The longer you cook the better it tastes.  This may be a two day process. **** continue to add spice salt and pepper to taste.

Serve as an entree with Rice, creamy Polenta, taco shells, or crusty rolls, Gluten free eating?  Try Udi’s new line of hotdog and hamburger rolls, they are  the best find! How about Gluten-free Corn bread.

If you have additional time you can chill between steps and skim chilled fat. A pressure cooker can be used  to speed up the first simmering process. instead of 1 hour,  use pressure cooker 30 minutes with 3 cups of beef broth as the liquid.

Grilled Balsamic Sundried Tomato Pesto Chicken

This entire dish is less than 350 calories. Waist line friendly, taste bud joy!

Flecks of basil and sundried tomato cling to the chicken after grilling. The Balsamic vinegar sweetens as it grills. We served it with 3/4-1 cup of Steamfresh Brown & Wild Rice. Undressed heirloom tomatoes on the side, balanced out the meal.

Ingredients for dinner for Four

  • 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breast, Purdue breast slices are best
  • Prepared pesto or  make fresh pesto
  • 4 sundried tomatoes, preferably not packed in oil which increase calories
  • 4 tablespoons sundried tomato

To prepare chicken other than thin slices, butterfly open to flatten, or pound to 1/8 thickness between 2 pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap. The back of a large metal spoon works great. If you substitute other bone in chicken, take into account the longer cooking time.Remember chicken should never be served until it has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees as recommended by the USDA.

The day before or at least one hour before grilling, use one tablespoon of pesto per breast. Due to salmonella concerns do not handle raw chicken unless you wash your hands prior to handling other ingredients. I use a rubber spatula to spread pesto on both sides.If using prepared pesto, mince sundried tomatoes fine, add to pesto and mix. Sundried preserved in oil adds 100s of calories to your dish. Dry-packed sundried tomatoes are  generally stocked in the produce department. Cover and chill one hour or overnight.

While grill is heating, drizzle 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar per breast. All balsamics are not  equal, an aged Balsamic has a sweeter taste. Investing in a good premium bottle is well worth it. You may find a premium balsamic can replace dressings on salads.

Grill and serve. Grilling times vary per BBQs.

The leftover chicken is great served in sandwiches and salads.

 

Glitter’s Miracle Rice with Brussels Sprouts, Brown Rice and other Goodies

From my friend Anna O’Brien the super weight-loss blogger http://www.glitterandlazers.com


Via Glitterandlazers.com

Glitter’s Miracle Rice

  • 1 C Whole Grain Brown Rice
  • 1 C Lima Beans
  • 1.5 C Chopped Mushroom
  • One Half of a Large Spanish Onion
  • 1 Tbsp Brummel and Brown
  • .5 Tsp Cumin
  • A Pinch of Garlic Powder
  • One Cube Chicken Stock
  • 1 lb Brussels Sprouts

Chop mushroom and onion into medium size pieces (there is likely a fancy cooking term for this. Sadly,  I am unbearably unfancy)

Cook whole Grain according to the directions on the package With Broth, substitute chicken Bouillon for Veggie for a Vegetarian option. Add Lima beans, mushroom, onion, Brummel & Brown and seasonings into the rice once it reaches it’s initial simmer.

Halve Brussels sprouts and then cut them into thick slivers. Using a hot skillet and the wonders of Pam, saute the sprouts until they are light brown, set aside.

When the rice mixture is completed cooking, fold in the Brussels sprouts. The resulting yield is 4 servings at 297 calories a pop. Put on your crown and enjoy this rice like the Carb Queen you are.

Summer Harvest Time For Winter Squash

It’s that time of year again, Winter squashes are making their way to Farmer’s Markets, Farm Stands and supermarkets. Acorn, Butternut, Spaghetti, and Delicata. Great baked, boiled or Microwaved. When the weather gets chilly theirs nothing like a Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Summer Harvest Time For Winter Squash

Farmers Market Cornucopia

  • Best way to peel a smooth winter Squash.  prick with a fork on all sides, microwave for 2-3 minutes, remove, easier to peel easier to cut. From here you can
  • cut in half diagonally, and roast whole for 45-50 minutes @350 degrees , skin side down, or up, make sure you  use non stick spray either way
  • cube and roast @ 350 degrees for 30 minutes,  serve mashed or as savory soup see recipe
  • cut in large chunks, boil for 25 minutes, or until fork tender, drain, and mash, use your favorite herbs, and a hint of brown sugar optional if low calorie is not mandatory

Ribbed Small squashes like acorn and delicata, pierce  with fork,  microwave 2 minutes, cut in half and seed

  • microwave 12 minutes on high for 2 halves, face down, remove from microwave, serve 1/2 per person,  for  a  nice presentation,  fork fluff, add a topper of caramelized onions and apples, a  center filled with rice,  the  ideas are endless
  • Roast in oven the same way as above for 45 minutes at 375 to prepare for whole, cut off the stem and 1″ of squash to use as a lid, scoop out seeds. If you are baking a small whole squash per person, cut a little flat spot on the bottom, Serve as a whole baked,  maybe with a surprise under the top, such as rice,  cooked apples, caramelized onions
  • cut in 1″ wedges and oven roast like oven fries. Use cooking spray on top and bottom to brown to save calories or drizzle olive oil  to crisp, 25  minutes at 375.

Large Squashes, like pumpkin and spaghetti

  • A jumbo winter, like Hubbard or pumpkin,  prepare as other squashes above, roasting whole will be an hour or more, due to size. Cutting in half and seeding speeds cooking time. Squash is done when fork is able to penetrate easily
  • Spaghetti squash is an adventure, to microwave whole, pierce deeply all over microwave on high for 20 minutes, steam should be apparent, pierce  to see if tender,  cook another 4 minutes if necessary, let sit  for 10 minutes before cutting. Cut in half, remove seeds,  pull strands into a serving bowl, for a low cal pasta meal, serve  as a pasta replacement or a 50/50 swap. 1/2 seeded squash can be treated the same way,  for oven roasting cook 1 hour at 350. To with Parmesan for a quick side dish

pleas submit your favorite recipe, for Steffie to add!

Spaghetti Squash Guilt Free Pasta Alternative

I just heard a big thunk, I guess I didn’t poke a big enough knife holes in the Spaghetti squash. The microwave will need another cleaning tonight. Puncture a spaghetti squash deeply with a fork or knife. Microwave a very large squash for 20 minutes. Steam should be coming out of the holes at the end of this time. If not, microwave for another 4 to 5 minutes. Let squash sit in the microwave for 10 minutes after cooking. I did an extra small for 8 minutes. Pull threads into a bowl, and dispose of seeds, toss with your favorite sauce or butter 42 calories per cup. You can purchase at farmer’s markets for a pretty low price. Yummy Yummy. For  more quick ideas follow us on facebook!

Gluten Free Cornbread or Muffins

This recipe can  be made with regular flour if Gluten Free is not a necessity. Flours are available at most grocers, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Amazon.com and now Walmart  Online.  I tried this in a Silicone Muffin Pan

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Use nonstick spray on large muffin tins, or 8×10 metal, silicone or foil shallow baking pan.

To make Muffin/bread batter

  • 1 cup Gluten Free cornmeal, all corn meals are not created equal
  • 1 cup alternative Gluten Free Flour, Bob’s Redmill Pancake flour adds a lightness. Rice Flour, Amaranth, Quinoa flour, Chick Pea flour will do. A combo flour like Arrowhead Mills Gluten Free has a better than average outcome.
  • 1/2 cup sugar or alternative, Agave and Honey reduce to 1/3 cup
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder-gluten free
  • 1 cup liquid, Milk, soy, almond or apple juice/cider
  • 2 eggs fork beaten or 1/2 cup substitute of egg beaters or whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt optional
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or vegetable oil, avoid margarine
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • Options can include, Raisins, cinnamon,  dried fruit, pumpkin pie spice,  ginger.
  • Mix all dry ingredients well, for a grainier more hearty muffin  use a 1 1/3 cups corn meal to 2/3 gluten free flour
  • Whisk in wet ingredients, mixture should not be lumpy
  • Add optional spices and fruits

Fill muffin tin equally, or spread into non glass baking pan. Bake 22 minutes, makes 6 large muffins, or one small tray of 12 pieces of cornbread when divided. For small muffins reduce time to 18 minutes

Serve warm, or cool and store. Freezes well.

301 each calories based on using agave method and apple juice.46 carbs  11 fat, 5 protein

******This is a gluten free recipe, not diet friendly

 

 

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pesto

Heirloom tomatoes are my obsession!

There is nothing better on a hot  summer day than a lunch or dinner with a great tomato salad. This particular picture was an entry for a fundraiser cooking contest. The salad was an honorable mention, and is featured in the Rockville Bank 150th anniversary charity cookbook.

White, striped, pink, & green tomatoes are all represented on this plate. Markets  such as Trader Joe’s and Wholefoods carry heirlooms year round. If you are unable to find in your local market, try summer time farmers markets. Not only will you find colorful tomatoes, but purple potatoes, fresh herbs, local melons, unusual squashes and delicious native corn. The flavors of local summer veggies is outstanding compared to super market fare. A red perfect tomato from the supermarket is grown for beauty and durability for transport, The taste and nutrition had been bred out! Scientific American had a recent report on how taste has become diminished.

What you need

  • 1 lb or more various tomatoes, cherry to beefsteak, caution do not refridgerate
  • Fresh log of mozzarella cheese like BelGioioso cut into 1/8″ slices
  • A Bunch of fresh basil about 4 cups of leaves, washed and all stems removed, you can combine Sweet Italian, purple or Thai depending on taste preference. Save  some leaves for garnish.
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Olive oil or other neutral preferred oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional squeeze of lemon to preserve Basil’s color
  • Garlic  cloves optional
  • Pine (pignoli) nuts optional or Walnuts if pine nuts are unavailable
  • Aged balsamic vinegar

Combine fresh basil and optional garlic and nuts with 1/2 of the olive oil and pulse in a food processor. Add oil as needed to create a paste. If leaves do not grind it is an indication you may need more oil, you may need to use a spatula to move all leaves into the blade. If paste is runny add more basil. The paste should be green and smooth. I do not add salt until after adding cheese. When pesto is smooth add Parmesan and pulse gently.  over processing can COOK the cheese. The ratio should be 8:1, Basil to oil.

Slice  Beefsteaks, slice or quarter all your medium tomatoes, leave cherry tomatoes whole or halve. Remember do not refrigerate fresh tomatoes if it can be avoided.

Just before serving, assemble your platter with larger tomato slices at the base, separate slices with mozzarella. I tiered my salad with 3 layers of  beefsteaks and decorated the platter with  alternating colors and sizes. Garnish with basil leaves.

Drizzle pesto on salad or serve on the size. Serve Balsamic as a side as well.

This salad does not need to be dressed, the olive oil in the basil  combined with balsamic to taste, is the perfect dressing.

This is my Favorite summer time meal!

 

What to do with Squash Blossoms?

All those huge beautiful male squash blossoms go to waste on the plant. Only the female blossoms that already have a squash started on the base will develop into a squash.  Summer or Winter,  both are tasty treats if you think outside of the box.

Pick them either at night before they open or first thing in the morning. Picking them at night prevents  surprise guests from your snack, like bees, spiders and other crawlies.

You can store unopened blossoms for several days if stored gently,  I wrap in paper towel in a sandwich bag or plastic container.

My favorite recipes includes

  • Goat cheese, sundried tomatoes & basil
  • Feta, mint & pine nuts or olives
  • Low fat spreadable herb cheese
  • Ricotta, Parmesan, basil and sundried tomato

Pre-mix the cheese with minced additives

Closed Squash blossoms can be gently blown open to fill, check for critters, some prefer to snip the stamen before filling

Fill each blossom with a tablespoon of cheese, and close by running fingers up from the base of flower. you may fix ahead and cook  later in the day

Preheat oven to 325, make a wash of egg or egg substitute , gently coat with  your favorite breadcrumbs, we use gluten free. Spray a baking dish with Pam, bake 15-20 minutes.

Serve on a bed of field greens as an appetizer, or  as the main ingredient of a salad

You can pan fry or deep fry. When calorie counting baking is best.

 

 

 

Tabouli Style Quinoa Cold Salad

Love love love. Quinoa replaces couscous from the traditional recipe. Wheat allergies  can restrict  many from enjoying this delicious cold salad which is usually  made with wheat berries and/or couscous. Those requiring  a Gluten-free lifestyle can enjoy and be satisfied. Quinoa is easy to cook and versatile, it adapts to flavors readily. Quinoa  is great served hot or cold and packs a protein punch. Quinoa is an ancient grain, that is being rediscovered by chefs and home-cooks looking for healthier options.

Like any good salad there is no wrong way to make this dish, its all about your favorite flavors. Experimentation is allowed in cooking. Steffie makes it a little different every time. We often add  tuna to leftover quinoa salad, for a quick heartier lunch.

What you need

  • 1 Cup of uncooked Quinoa, available with rice, ethnic food sections, and specialty food aisles
  • 1 Cup of your favorite stock or bullion cube, chicken or vegetable work best
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice or Real lemon concentrate
  • 1/4 cup of minced mint
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, use enough to desired consistency
  • 1 cup of peeled, seeded, 1/4″ diced cucumber
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional add ins: Olives, capers, minced sun-dried tomatoes, Feta cheese, shallots,  or garlic.
  • Substitutions  or additional herbs to add to the mint are parsley for a milder flavor, or oregano for a Mediterranean flair. Basil in combo with sun-dried tomatoes and grated parm can make it Italian!

Prepare Quinoa as directed on package with broth, lemon and water

Fluff with fork when done, thoroughly chill.

Add remaining ingredients to chilled quinoa. Using olive oil serves two purposes, it dresses the salad in combo with the acid of the lemon, and also keeps the salad from caking.

Salt to taste, occasionally sun-dried tomatoes may be salty when not packed in oil. Capers and Kalamata olives also are naturally salty. If sun-dried tomatoes are oil packed, reduce the amount of olive oil

Chill and enjoy, the taste improves daily. Makes 4 or more servings

Nutrition Data, 1 cup cooked quinoa: 155 cal, 30g carb, 3g fat, 5.5g protein, 3g fiber, estimated glycemic load 18

 

 

Chicken Piccata Meatballs-Gluten Free

I love Chicken Piccata,  Lemony, Salty with Capers, Yummy. With a side of pasta even better. This recipe is Wheat Free, served with my favorite Orecchiette gluten free pasta.

Packed with a double hit of Protein packed Quinoa. You don’t need to be Gluten free to  enjoy this. Quinoa is the binder instead of Breadcrumbs. You can sub breadcrumbs, gluten free or not. You favorite pasta will do too. Serves 4-8 depending upon portion control. Meatballs can be served as an appetizer.

  • 1 lb of ground Chicken, Turkey or Ground Turkey Breast can be substituted
  • 1 cup Quinoa, cooked with lemon and  broth
  • 4 Bullion cubes made with 4 cup water or 4 cups broth divided for Quinoa prep and sauce
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, or Real lemon
  • 1/2 cup capers or chopped salty olives(kalamata type), divided
  • 1 shallot ir 2 cloves garlic
  • 1  fresh green or colored pepper, diced fine
  • 1 tsp Oregano or Italian seasoning
  • 1 egg well beaten optional, or 1/4 Eggbeaters
  • 2 tablespoons Corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons butter or oil optional
  • 1 lb of your favorite pasta prepared at serving time
  • Favorite grated cheese

Spray non-stick pan. Saute shallot, peppers with 1/4 cup of broth until tender. Set aside and cool. Remove veggies which will be mixed into the meat, retain liquid in the saute pan for the sauce.

Prepare 1 Cup quinoa, with 1 3/4 cup Broth, and 1/4 cup lemon, allow to cool. It can be used as you would couscous.  Makes 3 cups.  You can serve it with the meatballs, or save the other 2 cups at another time.

In mixing bowl,  break apart Chicken, add half the capers, cooled veggies and ONE cup of cooled quinoa. Add optional well beaten egg or 1/4 cup eggbeaters. Get down and dirty, mix thoroughly with your hands. Preheat oven to 350 degees. Spray a cookie sheet with gluten free spray. Form walnut sized  meatballs, and place on cookie sheet without touching.

Bake for 25 minutes, 1/2 way thru carefully turn with tongs.

While the meatballs are baking,  add 2 tablespoons of broth or butter into the saute pan on low that the peppers and shallot were cooked in. Sift the cornstarch in slowly while whisking on low heat. As mixture thickens, continually add broth to the desired consistency.

Finally add meatballs and remaining capers and simmer for an additional 20 minutes (very low). Some prefer this sauce to be a thinner broth for a more rustic style. Steffie prefers a clingy thicker sauce, that sticks to your pasta.

Prepare pasta, and serve, sprinkle with your favorite cheese.

Meatballs can be served as an appetizer,  put into soups, or even a meatball grinder.

Weight Watcher and Gluten-free friendly

 

 

Low Calorie-Meat Chili -Super Bowl Perfect

This is made for my gluten free, nitrate free, nearly vegetarian  best guy!!! It’s on the stove right now. Ground Turkey, Chicken or Buffalo can be used to maintain the lo-cal theme.

Ingredients for six servings

  • 1lb ground meat
  • 1 large pepper or 3/4 cup mixed peppers including hot pepper, diced small
  • 1 medium onion chopped fine
  • 1 clove  garlic or more to preferred taste, finely minced
  • 1 carrot chopped fine
  • 1 can  favorite beans, black, pinto, red kidney, you get the idea
  • 1 small can or 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock. 2 cubes bouillon and 2 cups water as a substitute
  • 1 cup kitchen ready crushed tomatoes or 1 cup finely diced fresh tomatoes
  • Chili, taco or fajita spice (watch for wheat ingredients if  need is glutenfree, or homemade spice mix
  • salt, pepper to taste

Saute in a non stick pan, onions, carrots and pepper until onions start to caramelize,   add ground meat. Chop into small bits as you saute,  thoroughly cook and brown, add clove garlic finely chopped, add a few tablespoons at a time of broth if mixture is too dry. Add spice mixture to taste.

Remove from heat.Allow to cool, enough to add to a food processor. I use my Magic Bullet Grinder for processing and do in small batches, add tomatoes and blend, to a rough smoothness. My last batch I did extra smooth.

Place mixture in a crockpot or  2 qt sauce pan, add your favorite beans. Add broth to desired thickness, simmer on low for 1 hour, or crockpot on low for two hours or more. Add more broth if  mixture becomes to thick. the broth will cook off and also be absorbed while cooking.

Serve as entree with rice, as tacos or in rolls. Gluten free eating?  Try Udi’s new line of hotdog and hamburger rolls, they are  the best find! How about Gluten-free Corn bread.

Weight Watcher points is 5 for Ground Chicken. 6 for Buffalo, the lowest is Ground 99% Turkey Breast a 4 points. Regular Ground Turkey  93% is 5 points.  If you are a beef lover and can’t go without it ranges from 4-8 depending on leanness of the meat. Weight Watcher recipe is 8 points posted on twitter  1/29

 

Super Bowl Dishes- Pulled Pork

There are so many ways to build a yummy pulled pork meal or sandwich.This recipe will serve about 10,  reduce the ingredients for smaller portions, or freeze cooked batches into serving size.

You need a big hunk of pork, apple cider vinegar,spices & time and patience, a minimum of 4 hours.  It’s yum. You need 1 pork shoulder about 8 lbs, pork butt or pork roast. Center cut pork roast is too lean. For quicker cooking you can use  pre-cut ‘country style’ ribs.Country style ribs are the blade end of a pork loin, halved crosswise then sawed into 1″ or greater strips. They will appear 1″ x 6″ long and have a good lean to fat ratio to create tenderness.  A piece of pork with a  fatty appearance will make  tender, moist pulled pork. If you can get your butcher to butterfly or bone, a bone in piece is preferred. The first stage of cooking is roasting and caramelizing bone in meats that will develop a richer taste.

  • Pork, bone in preferred, cut into large 6″ chunks or Butterflied
  • 1-2 quarts Chicken Stock or bouillon made from  cubes or powder
  • 2-3 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup each mirapoix- diced Carrots, Onions & Celery
  • 2 tablespoons  vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Green, or Variety Peppers cut into strips.  Jalapeno optional
  • 2 tablespoons Salt, 1 tablespoon Pepper & these spices: 2 tablespoons Chili Powder, 1 tablespoon each Cumin, Oregano, Garlic powder-optional, Pepper flakes-optional.  OR if You have Adobo Brand Spice Mix, Use 4 tablespoons plus Cumin and Chili powder Only
  • 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
  • Condiments optional, BBQ sauce, Bread & Butter Pickles, Spicy mustard.
  • Slider Rolls or Corn Bread

Mix Thoroughly all dry ingredients, Sugar, Salt, pepper and spices. I do taste mixture to see if it needs a little something. DO NOT add extra salt at this time, you can always salt later, chicken broth will also add salt.

Rub mixture into all surfaces of the meat,  The more surface areas exposed and spiced the better the depth of flavor. Let set for an hour or more as a dry marinade in the fridge. Overnight is better.

Preheat oven to 350, If you have a convection use the fan feature. You can also grill in a BBQ on indirect heat. In large open pan roast or indirect BBQ for at least 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Turn frequently to allow all sides to brown. If you want to omit the sugar due to dietary concerns, the fat will still allow the meat to caramelize without it. The roasting and then simmering method with spices and vinegar produces, the savory, sweet, spicy, yummy taste they call Umami.

While meat is roasting saute the mirapoix mixture in the vegetable oil,  allowing a light caramelization,  the vegetables do not need to be cooked until soft.

In a large dutch oven, stock pot or crock pot, place cooked vegetables. Add 3 cups of stock and one cup of cider vinegar. Remove meat from oven, place cooked meat into stock pot. Deglaze the pan (add 1 cup of stock to pan), scrape all bits of browned pieces and spices into the liquid, pour all of the liquid into the pot with the meat. Add Green pepper mixture.

Add a combination of Vinegar &  remaining stock to completely cover the meat. Ratio should be 1 part vinegar to 3 parts stock. 1/4 cup to 3/4 cup ratio.

Stove-top, simmer meat on low for 2-3 hours until fork tender. Set crock pot on low for about 6 hours. You can use a pressure cooker for 30-45 minutes to accomplish the same. Do not completely submerge in liquid. Fill liquid to 1/3 full only. When pressure cooking check  half way through to make sure all liquid has not been dissipated.

After meat is tender, it should shred when touched with a fork. Remove all pork to a platter. Strain leftover liquid, and reserve, this will be your liquid to keep your pork moist. Liquid can also be used on the side as a mopping sauce. The liquid may be fatty, skim fat from top as it rises.

Pull pork apart with two forks to shred. Remove all bones and fat and discard. Place shredded pork into a foil tray for warming or back into crock pot. When pork is finished, add only enough of the reserved liquid to moisten the pork. It should not be soupy. Keep heated until serving, or refrigerate and reheat before serving.  Cooked meat can also be frozen.

Serve as a main meat with cornbread or as sandwich/sliders. Reserved liquid can also be used southern-style as a side mopping sauce. Add your favorite BBQ sauce or spicy mustard as condiments.  Butter pickles also adds a nice twist. For those with needing a gluten free option, serve with Gluten Free Cornbread, or Breads. Udi’s make a great selection of bread and rolls. Homemade Cornbread or muffins is pretty easy.

You can cook with an oven only method without  liquids if you prefer. LEAVE WHOLE. Roast or indirect BBQ for 3 1/2-4  hours as a whole pork shoulder or butt @ 275 degrees. Remove, wrap completely with foil for 1 hour after cooking. Set on counter to cool. After an hour the meat will still be warm to hot, shred and remove all fat and bone before serving. De-glazing the pan with chicken stock and little vingar will give you a bit of liquid to keep the meat moist. It will be a bit drier, but tasty.

 

Super Bowl Event Dishes-Taco Bar

Lets make a Taco Bar. You can prepare and precook all the day before, Gluten Free options are included

Premade taco shells will save you time but you can use fresh toasted corn tortillas to be authentic and to save money. Provide soft flour tortillas for those  that would prefer less of a crunch. Use your favorite salsa, or make a fresh one. Left over shredded pork, chicken of beef or a combo or traditional ground taco meat. You can lighten with Turkey, Buffalo or Ground Chicken instead of Beef. All sorts of fun condiments will make it a hit.

This recipe is for 4 full servings, double for 8, triple for 12 and so on for more.

  • 12 taco shells, pre-made or fresh/toasted, or 6″ flour for soft tacos(non gluten free)
  • 1lb of ground meat, Turkey, Chicken, Beef, pork or Buffalo*** any shredded leftover meat or fish can be used for a refined touch
  • 1 envelope of Seasoning or homemade  seasoning to taste
  • Salsa of fresh made from ingredients below
  • 1lb ripe tomatoes, 1/4 inch dice
  • 1/2 cup red onion small 1/4″ dice
  • 1  seeded jalapeno optional, minced fine
  • 2  tablespoons fresh Cilantro or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1 lime or lime 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 1/2 head of your favorite lettuce, Iceberg, romaine or ‘field’ greens for a gourmet touch
  • Shredded Cheese, Mexican Blend, Mozzarella, Monterrey Jack, Cheddar,  or a real treat a Mexican Cheese suitable for crumbling, Ranchero® Queso Fresco, yummy
  • Condiments: sour cream, chopped black olives, jalapenos-fresh or canned, Guacamole or Avocado Slices

Day before, make the salsa. In large nonmetallic bowl, add all the following ingredients together

  • Core tomatoes, chop into a 1/4 inch dice, strain off  excess tomato liquid,  preserve liquid
  • add chopped red onion to bowl
  • seed jalapeno and minced/or chop into an extra fine dice, or use 1 table spoon canned chilies as a substitute, Jalapeno may be too hot for children and others and is optional
  • Finely mince cilantro removing tough stems, substitute  dry cilantro leaves, parsley can be substituted if cilantro is unavailable
  • squeeze entire lime into the mixture
  • *****for a different twist add fresh kernels of corn, a few table spoons of cooked,black beans, fresh crushed clove of garlic or finely minced cucumber, anything  different can make it your own unique recipe
  • Mix well and store in a glass or plastic bowl, refrigerate for at least 12 hours for best flavor

Saute meat in a nonstick pan, brown well, after draining fat, add preserved tomato water, add taco spice or homemade taco spice blend. For an extra kick, add minced garlic,  onions, shallots while browning.  If meat is cooked day before, reheat just before serving. See homemade spice instructions.

Time to Serve- assemble a counter space with Taco Fixins

Tacos, Warm Taco Meat, fish or shredded meats,  Various Cheeses, Lettuce, Condiments and Salsa,  there is no wrong way to assemble a taco-ENJOY

This recipe is Gluten Free friendlily when you omit flour tortillas and premade taco seasoning and make your own. See make your own