Wish Upon A Dish: June 2012

June 30, 2012

Beet and Blue Cheese Garden Salad

Oh the glories of stinky cheese. Took me thirty years to appreciate it, now I can't get enough.

I have enjoyed the 'Big Four'...Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Stilton, Cabrales and while each one is different, each one has a certain place in certain recipes.

If you don't find that you like the really stinky cheese, try a Danish blue, it's a lighter style blue cheese.

When adding to a salad, I find that Gorgonzola works well.

Stilton is wonderful on a cheese board, Roquefort with fruit and Port (think poached pears) and Cabrales is super with a sangria.

The whole idea is to pair the cheese with an opposite. Gorgonzola is my choice to pair with beets, it is so creamy you can spread it 'like butta'. It is the perfect cheese for blue cheese dressing.

I like to buy the new Kifir Yogurt dressings, crumble the cheese in, add a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche, a squeeze of honey and lots of freshly ground black pepper.

Toast up some walnut pieces, throw in some diced tomato, sliced radishes and start to assemble your salad.

I like to slice my greens in 1" strips and make a bed at the bottom of each plate.

I slice my roasted beets in 1/4" slices and shingle them down one side of the plate and top them with the walnut pieces. Arrange some tomato wedges in another corner and a garnish of radish in another. The Nudge loves hard boiled eggs, so that completed the last corner.

Top the whole thing with Gorgonzola crumbles and serve with the dressing on the side.

To roast beets:
Trim the greens to 1" of the beet, reserve for later.
A 12x12" piece of heavy duty foil, place washed beets in the center, sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper and a spritz of olive oil.
Roast in a 350° oven for up to 1 hour, depending on the size of the beets. Small one will take 45 minutes, and large ones 1 hour. Let them cool but still warm, peel the skins off in a bowl of water and refrigerate. Slice right before serving.

Sprinkle plates with sea salt for its great crunch and freshly ground pepper.

A nice light salad for a hot summer meal.

Cook's Note: This was so good the first time, The Nudge asked for a do over, which I agreed it would make a wonderful supper tonight (94° is also a good reason).

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June 24, 2012

Best Fast Convenience Food Choices - Panera's

I certainly am not a food snob. Well, I am a little. I won't eat at any of the well-known fast food establishments. Needless to say, the last time I was in one was over 15 years ago.

Yesterday I found myself in the predicament that I am sure would have driven a less stoic foe of Micky D's right up to the drive in window. I was in the middle of no where, going to no where and I had not eaten breakfast, or lunch and I still had two more hours of appointments to fulfill.

Luckily I remember passing a Panera's and it was possible to backtrack without adding any more additional wasted drive time (ie; it was on my way to the next appointment).

As usual the place was packed and with an empty table not in my foreseen future, I ended up getting it to go and sat in my car to eat. Gees, I hate doing that. You should sit, relax and eat slowly but I had no choice.

What I don't understand is how people who grab burgers to eat in the car can walk away feeling refreshed, satisfied and revived? Food should feed the soul as well as the tummy.

During the summer it is virtually impossible to pack a lunch bag to go and while just sitting in the car for 10 minutes between blasts of AC will turn that bag into a bomb. In a perfect world, I would pack a small cooler with one of those frozen blue containers, but I am not perfect. Usually, I am home by noon, all my chores and appointments done for the day.

To help other diabetics who find themselves in the same situation (or anyone who wants to eat healthier), I have decided to post about the best choices at each of the most popular fast food establishments that won't make us feel guilty. Every Sunday, as you start your week, I will pick a different chain and showcase the most popular items on the menu.

Let us start with Panera's salads since that was what I chose to eat.

Turns out I picked the one with the highest carbohydrates, but the least fat. You need to decide which is more important - fat/calories vs. carbs.
I am just showcasing the important areas for a diabetic, but for more in depth information click here.

Join me next Sunday for another list.

I hope this series of posts will show you that diabetics have lots of healthy, friendly fast food choices that they can eat and enjoy. Just remember to sit down and take that 30 minute break that your body really deserves, to be happy.

Buon Appetito!!!

Panera - Chopped Chicken Cobb with Avocado
Calories 500
Total Fat 36g
Total Carbs 11g
Fiber 2g
Sugars 2g

No. 2
Panera - Classic Cafe salad
Calories 380
Total Fat 36g
Total Carbs. 15g
Fiber 4g
Sugars 10g

No. 3
Panera - Greek salad
Calories 520
Total Fat 48g
Total Carbs. 17g
Fiber 5g
Sugars 4g

No. 4
Panera - Caesar Salad
Calories 400
Total Fat 32g
Total Carbs. 18g
Fiber 3g
Sugars 2g

No. 5
Panera - Grilled Chicken Caesar salad
Calories 500
Total Fat 34g
Total Carbs. 19g
Fiber 3g
Sugars 2g

Panera - Roasted Turkey Fugi Apple
Calories 590
Total Fat 40g
Total Carbs. 32g
Fiber 6g
Sugars 21g

Asian Sesame Salad
Calories 450
Total Fat 24g
Total Carbs. 33g
Fiber 4g
Sugars 7g

Panera - Strawberry Poppyseed
Calories 340
Total Fat 13g
Total Carbs. 34g
Fiber 6g
Sugars 22g

No. 9
Steak and Blue Cheese Chopped
Calories 790
Total Fat 54g
Total Carbs. 35g
Fiber 4g
Sugars 9g

No. 10
Fugi Apple Chicken
Calories 560
Total Fat 34g
Total Carbs. 36g
Fiber 6g
Sugars 21g

No. 11
Thai Chopped Chicken
Calories 470
Total Fat 19g
Total Carbs. 45g
Fiber 5g
Sugars 14g

No. 12
BBQ Chopped Chicken
Calories 500
Total Fat 22g
Total Carbs. 50g
Fiber 6g
Sugars 15g

June 23, 2012

Spicy Stir Fry Pork

Rummaging in the depths of your standup freezer can be hazardous for your sanity.
For years The Nudge has asked me to label the bags that I pack to freeze, and for some unknown reason I don't so when I go down for chicken I find all these interesting looking frozen, ice covered bags with no idea what's in them.

When he's right, he's right but that doesn't mean I will be good and label.

I grabbed a bag, of what looked like chicken thighs only to find it was a bag of cuttings from a whole pork loin I butchered a few months ago.

Unfortunately I did not know that until I defrosted the whole bag. You know the rule, once you defrost something, it must be cooked. That meant some ingenuity on my part because not only was I NOT planning on this surprise, I was not leaving my AC to buy a few ingredients for one dish.

I was knee deep in recipe testing yesterday and my counter looked like my pantry had been transported, so while I was making dressings for other items I made an Asian-inspired marinade for the pork (which I ground in my processor).

I thought about meatballs, then moved on too egg rolls or dumplings but I had no wrappers in the freezer (at least I didn't see a bag that looked like frozen wrappers, because nothing's labeled....sigh) so a stir-fry would have to do.

I do have a bag of frozen spinach (but did not use), some water chestnuts, a red pepper and onions but I am cheating and using a packaged asian sauce mix to finish the dish. Sorry, I am just to uninspired to drag all those bottles back out of the pantry.

I stumbled on a blog that is no longer being maintained but she did have a recipe that fit my criteria and since I am all about the honest, I will give credit where credit is due.

Spicy Asian Pork Stir Fry
Adapted from The Whole Kitchen

* 1 lb ground pork
* 1 tsp oil
* 1 red bell pepper, sliced
* 1/2 onion, sliced
* 1 jalepeno, sliced
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 T grated ginger
* 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
* 1/2 cup chicken stock
* 3 T cooking sherry
* 2 T soy sauce
* grated zest of one orange
* drizzle of toasted sesame oil
* chile sauce to taste
* handful of basil, chopped
* 3 green onions, sliced

1. Combine sherry, stock and ginger in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, crumble the pork into the pan and brown, approximately 2-3 minutes. When pork is cooked through, pour it into a colander in the sink, so any fat can drain off. Set aside.
3. Wipe out pan and return to heat and add 1tsp oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the bell pepper, onion and jalapeno. Saute until veggies begin to soften, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic to pan and stir. Add pork back into the pan, stir, and add the liquid. Stir and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the sauce reduces a bit. Add the peas, chile sauce, orange zest, sesame oil, basil and green onions, and cook for 1 more minute, until peas are heated through. Taste, and adjust seasoning.

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June 22, 2012

Small Bite Desserts - Recipe Redux Challenge June 2012

The Recipe Redux challenge this month was to make a mini-portion sweet treat.
There were a gazillion ways I could go but experiment, not this month.

I think what the girls over at The Recipe Redux had in mind was taking a full sized dessert and deconstructing it (while also keeping it healthy) so that it is reborn as a single bite rendition.

My business pops this time of year so I was at a disadvantage time wise. I bowed out of last months challenge and I did not want a repeat this month. I needed to think of something healthy and tasty, toot sweet.

I was planning on making a Meyer Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake for this weekend, so I simply divided the recipe into 12 portions and baked them in muffin liners but used yogurt instead of sour cream. I learned a few things.
1. You need to drain your yogurt overnight.
2. You need to use no less then 2% fat (I use 4%), anything less will not set up correctly.
3. You need to add an additional egg white.

I assure you, wallflower they ain't. Perfect for large gatherings, double the recipe and make 24.

I always add the egg product last so I can taste the filling for adjustments. I liked the tang of the yogurt (sour cream is sweeter) and with the sweetness of the cracker crumbs and the blueberry compote on top, the filling was not overly sweet. A perfect companion for the yogurt.
You could really use any fruit for the topping, as long as it will go with lemon, these were very lemony.

Meyer Lemon Yogurt Cheesecake
Makes 12 mini cheesecakes

Crumb Crust:
* 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
* 1/4 cup ICBINB, melted
* 2 tablespoons Palm Sugar

* 1 (8oz) brick 1/3 less fat Philadelphia cream cheese, room temp
* 1/3 cup 2% fat Greek yogurt (I used 4% because that is what I buy)
* 2 whole eggs + 1 egg white or 2/3 cup Egg Beaters
* 2 teaspoon flour
* 1/2 cup Meyer Lemon juice (about 3-4 lemons), regular lemons will work also
* 1 tablespoon zest from squeezed lemons
* 1/2 cup honey
* pinch of salt

Blueberry Topping:
* 1 pint fresh or frozen blueberries
* 1/4 cup water and honey
* pinch of salt and cinnamon
* 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Combine crust ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Spoon 1 1/2 teaspoon of mixture into each muffin liner and tamp down with your fingers.
Bake at 325° for 7 minutes. Remove and cool.

Meanwhile, in a processor, blend yogurt, cream cheese, flour, salt, lemon juice and zest until smooth. Remove mixture to a bowl and add honey. Taste for sweetness and adjust to your preference. Every lemon has different levels of tartness and sweetness.

Add eggs and whisk until incorporated. Using a 2oz ice cream scoop fill each liner with one scoop and repeat until all liners are evenly filled.

Turn oven down to 300° and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the filling is set but still moves slightly when shaken. Remove to cool.

Simmer berries, water and honey until the berries pop. Use a slotted spoon to remove berries, add cinnamon, salt and lemon juice and simmer until thick and syrupy, about 20 minutes.

Store compote in a plastic container, refrigerate until ready to serve. Add 1 spoonful to each cheesecake.

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