Wish Upon A Dish: March 2014

March 31, 2014

Braised Cabbage & Squash Penne Pasta ♥ Week Two, Day Five - EatingWell Meal Plan

This dish just snuggled it's way into the top 10 favorite winter pasta dishes. OMG, so much flavor, so easy to cook and all in one pot...woohoo!!

This is the perfect dish to use up leftover cabbage from that St. Patty celebration. It's OK if it's already cooked and even better if it was roasted. Loaded with so much flavor, it will still add a cabbage sweetness, and paired with the butternut, this pasta was loaded. I liked the addition of the red pepper flakes, so don't leave it out.

The original recipe called for cauliflower but I was not in the mood and I had the cabbage.

When The Nudge goes in for seconds (which he rarely does) I knew I had a winner. Trust me, even the kids will love this. Except for the sub on the cauliflower, I made this dish as written. If you prefer the original vegetables, I am sure my review on that would also be a 10++.

Braised Cabbage & Butternut Squash Penne Pasta
Makes: 4 servings

EatingWell.com: Here we cook pasta and vegetables in broth rather than water to make this warming vegetarian pasta extra flavorful. The starch from the pasta combines with the broth as it simmers and creates a silky sauce. And you can make the whole dish in just one pot, so cleanup is a breeze (and it was).

* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 3 large cloves garlic, minced
* 1 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* 4 cups "no-chicken" broth or vegetable broth
* 8 ounces whole-wheat penne
* 2 cups 1-inch cauliflower (or cabbage) pieces
* 2 cups 1-inch pieces peeled butternut squash
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1/4 cup finely shredded Romano cheese

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, thyme and red pepper and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add broth, penne, cauliflower and squash. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a lively simmer and cook, uncovered, until the pasta is tender and the liquid is thickened and greatly reduced, 14 to 16 minutes.
2. Remove from heat, stir in pepper and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve topped with cheese.

If the pasta starts to look dry, lower the heat and add a touch of water. Whole wheat pasta absorbs more water than regular.

My Diabetic Recommendation: I recommend no more than 1 cup of cooked pasta (or 2oz dried) for a recommended diabetic portion. The rest of the recipe is very diappropriate.

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March 29, 2014

Horseradish ♥ It's not just for Bloody Mary's

I am currently having a love affair with fresh horseradish. Have you ever eaten anything with freshly grated horseradish in it, like a cocktail sauce or a cream sauce for beef and that ever popular brunch drink, Bloody Mary?

If you have not, you need to buy a nice, ugly root. If you love wasabi you will love horseradish. Did you know the wasabi here in America is really horseradish powder dyed green? Oh, yes. True story. True wasabi is extremely expensive and only a few growers in California currently grow wasabi. The rest is imported from Japan. If you eat sushi you are very familiar with that dab of green at the edge of your plate. The Japanese are so smart, they are so into herbs and spices and I am sure they knew horseradish was a cure all and great with raw fish.

When I showed my prize to the oyster loving man in my life, his eyes lit up and automatically asked me if I was up to shucking a few babies this weekend. How did I know that? Well, I turned him on to fresh horseradish grated over live oysters and he, in turn, got his Swedish people hooked on it.

The problem with horseradish is that once you grate it or apply heat, it looses it's pungent punch almost immediately, so preserving it in the fridge is always a race against time. Best to grate only what you need. The vapors will clean out your nose, toot sweet (sorry, I just had to say that), so try not to stand over freshly grated horseradish. It is not spicy like habaneros, and it's certainly not like vinegar (which has a bite) but imagine a really good mustard, like Dijon, which has a kick to it or that creole mustard, which can clear your sinuses. It is addictive.

Horseradish belongs to the mustard family. This group also includes cauliflower and broccoli. The antioxidant properties of this compound are believed to increase cancer-resistance in humans. It works by helping the liver break down carcinogens that might otherwise lead to malignant tumors. They can even assist in blocking the growth of existing tumors.

The properties in these vegetables also function as natural antibiotics by increasing blood flow, which allows for waste to move out and nutrients to move in more efficiently. The same antibiotic properties kill bacteria that cause urinary tract infections and bronchitis.

People suffering from diabetes, mild circulatory problems, toothaches, water retention and digestive problems could also benefit from the use of horseradish. From what I can ascertain, it does the job that your pancreas would so it helps keep your glucose in check, no spikes no insulin. That means high carb fruits and vegetables could be moved over to the "OK to eat" column. I am going to try to create recipes that use fresh horseradish, mostly with fruits and high sugar vegetables.

Fresh chopped horseradish contains about 100 mg of vitamin C in 100 grams horseradish, so this nutritional status place the horseradish high on the list of foods rich in vitamin C.
Horseradish is really beneficial antibiotic, and except that, it improves circulation, participates in the detoxification of the body and speeds up metabolism.
Also, it contains high levels of calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, glutamine, glucose, acid sulfate and essential oils. Nutritionists are recommending horseradish especially during the winter, and in seasons of flu and colds.
- See more at: http://www.healthyfoodhouse.com/horseradish-a-powerful-keeper-of-your-health/#sthash.fdBQxvPz.dpuf

The nutritional status of horseradish

Young and fresh chopped horseradish contains about 100 mg of vitamin C in 100 grams horseradish, so this nutritional status place the horseradish high on the list of foods rich in vitamin C.
Horseradish is really beneficial antibiotic, and except that, it improves circulation, participates in the detoxification of the body and speeds up metabolism.
Also, it contains high levels of calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, glutamine, glucose, acid sulfate and essential oils. Nutritionists are recommending horseradish especially during the winter, and in seasons of flu and colds.
- See more at: http://www.healthyfoodhouse.com/horseradish-a-powerful-keeper-of-your-health/#sthash.fdBQxvPz.dpuf

The nutritional status of horseradish

Young and fresh chopped horseradish contains about 100 mg of vitamin C in 100 grams horseradish, so this nutritional status place the horseradish high on the list of foods rich in vitamin C.
Horseradish is really beneficial antibiotic, and except that, it improves circulation, participates in the detoxification of the body and speeds up metabolism.
Also, it contains high levels of calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, glutamine, glucose, acid sulfate and essential oils. Nutritionists are recommending horseradish especially during the winter, and in seasons of flu and colds.
- See more at: http://www.healthyfoodhouse.com/horseradish-a-powerful-keeper-of-your-health/#sthash.fdBQxvPz.dpuf

I came across this very informative information on the many ways to store and preserve your horseradish root. Trust me, it will be worth it.

Preserving Your Horseradish Harvest

Drying Horseradish

Horseradish can be dried either sliced or grated, as outlined below:
Food processor with a slicing attachment OR
Cutting board and a good, sharp kitchen knife OR
A strong cheese grater
Vegetable Grater
Trays for drying the Horseradish Outdoors:
Wood with wooden slats placed close together, for outdoors
Indoors in your oven:
Metal cookie sheets lined with parchment paper for your oven
1. Slice the clean, peeled horseradish root, either in the food processor or with the knife and cutting board, into uniform thickness.
NOTE: You can also grate the Horseradish in preparation for drying.
2. Spread out in a single layer on the wooden racks or parchment paper on the cookie sheets and place in either heat source. If using an oven, set the temperature at the lowest temperature, or, in the event of a gas stove, the pilot light heat should be sufficient.
3. Place the trays in the sun or in your oven and check occasionally to turn and check on the dryness of the Horseradish pieces.
4. When the Horseradish pieces are dry the discs will be brittle to the touch. Remove from the heat source and allow to cool. Store in a dark container or in a dark cupboard or pantry in a tightly sealed jar.
NOTE: If you have a vacuum sealer, the dried horseradish can be sealed into a vacuum bag and stored in the freezer, or, if your sealer came with a jar sealer, place the dried horseradish into a jar with the appropriate lid and vacuum seal the jar. Place the screw ring onto the top of the lid and tighten to "finger tight". Store in a dark cupboard or pantry away from direct light.

Freezing Horseradish

The best way to freeze Horseradish is with the use of a vacuum sealer, which will seal out the air and help retain the savory oils that make this root so famous.
Vacuum sealer with appropriate bags material
Fresh, whole Horseradish Root
1. Wash and trim the Horseradish roots in preparation for freezing.
2. Make a bag large enough to hold the roots by sealing one end of a piece of bag material to form the bottom seal and label the bag with the content and date.
3. Place the Horseradish roots into the bag and seal the loose ends of the bag to form a vacuum seal.
4. Store in the freezer until ready to use.

Storing Horseradish Whole

The easiest way to store Horseradish is to stick the roots whole into a box of dry sand and place in a cool, dark place through the winter, using the root fresh throughout the winter season.
Large, strong box of wood or heavy cardboard
Dry Play Sand
1. Fill the box three-quarters of the way to the top with clean, dry sand.
2. Stick the whole Horseradish root, small side down, into the sand, making sure that there is a void of sand in between each root.
3. Slowly pour more sand over the tops of the Horseradish to cover and place the box in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight for the winter.
Large, clean jar with a mouth large enough to fit the roots through
A lid and Screw ring to fit the jar
Fresh, clean Horseradish Root with the tops trimmed off
Vinegar, Usually Apple Cider or White Wine Vinegar
1. Fill the jar half way to the top with vinegar.
2. Place the whole root into the large jar and pour the rest of the vinegar into the jar to within 1 to 1/2 inches from the top and seal.
3. This is an excellent way to store Horseradish, especially if you intend to grate it later. The vinegar can be used to flavor salad dressings and marinades, especially for pork and poultry.

Horseradish Infused Vinegar

Cold Method

This method uses the bottle that the vinegar is purchased in, so be sure to buy a high quality vinegar with an attractive glass bottle.
1 bottle of good quality apple cider or wine vinegar
Small bowl
Food Processor fitted with either a slicing or gating blade OR
Wooden Chopping Board and Sharp Kitchen Knife
Vegetable Peeler
1/2 cup of grated or sliced fresh Horseradish root
1 clove garlic, optional
3 or 4 pepper corns, optional
1. Peel the Horseradish root and prepare the Horseradish by either manually slicing or grating the root with the cheese grater OR slice or grate with the food processor fitted with either a slicing or grating blade and process the root.
2. Pour a small amount (approximately 1/2 cup) of the vinegar into a small clean bowl to reserve for later use after the herb sprigs have been added.
3. Place the fresh grated or sliced horseradish root in the bottle of vinegar.
4. Top off to fill the bottle with the reserved vinegar and seal tightly.
5. Place the bottle on a sunny window sill for two weeks, gently shaking the bottle every day or so to mix the flavors of the herbs.
6. Soak off the manufacturer label and relabel with a decorative label.
STORAGE: These herbed vinegars are quite attractive and can be stored on the counter top, pantry or kitchen cupboard.
USES: This flavored vinegar is great in marinades for meat and poultry, in salad dressings and many other recipes requiring vinegar.
Horseradish root vinegar makes a great natural rinse to lighten and add shine to your hair!

Hot Method

Small Bowl
Wooden Spoon
1/2 cup of freshly grated or sliced Horseradish
Chopping knife and chopping board or heavy cheese grater OR
Food Processor fitted with slicer or grater blade
Vegetable Peeler
Large clean wide mouth jar with tight fitting lid
Sheet of plastic wrap
Medium stainless steel or enamel sauce pan
Good quality apple cider or wine vinegar
Cheese cloth
2 cups of apple cider or wine vinegar
1/3 to 1/2 cup of grated or sliced Horseradish Root
1. Prepare the clean Horseradish Root by peeling the root with the vegetable peeler and either manually slicing or grating the root with a heavy cheese grater or process in a food processor fitted with either a slicing or grating blade.
2. Measure 1/3 to 1/2 cup and place the prepared Horseradish and garlic clove into the bowl.
2. Heat one cup of the vinegar until warm, but do not boil.
3. Pour hot vinegar over the Horseradish in the bowl and stir to mix well.
4. Crush the Horseradish a little to release the oils.
5. When cooled, add the remaining cup of vinegar and pour into a large jar and cap tightly.
6. Place on a sunny window sill and shake every day or so to distribute the flavors for two weeks.
7. Store by pouring the vinegar through a double layer of cheese cloth into a funnel over a clean decorative bottle.
8. Add a few slices of Horseradish and the pepper corns into the bottle for decoration and identification purposes.
9. Label and store in the pantry, cupboard or counter top.

Horseradish Infused Oil

Cold Method

Medium bowl
Wooden spoon
Vegetable Peeler
Large wide mouth jar
Good quality extra virgin olive oil
Freshly grated or sliced Horseradish Root
1/4 or 1/2 dry measuring cups
2 cup liquid measuring cup
Cheese cloth
1/4 to 1/2 cup of grated or sliced Horseradish Root
2 cups of extra virgin olive oil
1. Wash the freshly dug root of Horseradish and dry with Kitchen Towels.
2. Peel the root with the vegetable peeler and process the Horseradish root by either manually slicing or grating the root with a heavy cheese grater OR process in the food processor fitted with either a slicing or grating blade.
3. Place the grated or sliced Horseradish and the garlic clove in the bowl and crush slightly with the back of the wooden spoon to release plant flavors.
4. Pour half (1 cup) of the oil over the bruised Horseradish.
5. Stir and crush again slightly to release more of the plant oils.
6. Add remaining cup of oil and stir well to blend.
7. Pour into the large mouth jar and cap tightly.
8. Set on a sunny window sill for two weeks, shaking gently every day or so to mix the flavors.
9. Strain oil slowly through a double layer of cheese cloth set into a large funnel in the opening of a clean decorative bottle and cap tightly.
10. Add a few fresh slices of the Horseradish into the bottle, along with the pepper corns for decoration and identification purposes and label.
STORE: Keep the flavored oils out of direct sunlight after the seeping process in a kitchen cupboard or pantry. Oils tend to go rancid if left in the sun too long. The shelf life of flavored oils is approximately six months.

Hot method

Medium kitchen bowl
Wooden Spoon
Food Processor OR Wooden Chopping Board and Sharp Kitchen Knife OR
Heavy Cheese Grater
Medium stainless steel or enamel sauce pan
Vegetable Peeler
2 cup or larger liquid measuring cup
1/4 or 1/2 cup dry measuring cup
Large wide mouth jar
Cheese cloth
Decorative bottle
1/4 to 1/2 cup of freshly grated or sliced Horseradish Root
2 cups of extra virgin olive oil
1. Wash the freshly dug Horseradish Root and wipe dry with the kitchen towel to dry.
2. Peel the root with a vegetable peeler and slice or grate the root, either manually or in the food processor, and measure 1/3 to 1/2 cup, depending on the intensity of the flavor desired.
3. Place the prepared Horseradish, along with the garlic clove and pepper corns, if desired, into the bowl.
4. Pour one cup of the oil into the sauce pan and heat, but do not boil.
5. Pour heated oil over the Horseradish in the bowl and stir with the wooden spoon to mix well.
6. Slowly add remaining oil into the bowl and stir to mix.
7. Once cooled, place in the large mouth jar and seal tightly.
8. Place jar on a sunny window sill for two weeks, gently shaking the bottle every day or so to blend the flavors.
9. Slowly pour the liquid a little at a time into a funnel lined with a double layer of cheese cloth set on the top of a clean decorative bottle and cap tightly.
10. Add a few fresh slices for decoration and identification and label, including the date.
USES: Flavored oils can be used in almost every recipe that uses oil, from meat, poultry or fish marinades, sautes, sauces, herb flavored mayonnaise, and salad dressings.
STORAGE: These oils will store up to six months in a dark cupboard or pantry.

Traditional Grated Horseradish

I try to keep a small jar of this in the refrigerator at all times. It keeps well for three or four weeks and is great in everything from Bloody Marys to cocktail sauce for cold seafood dishes.
Food Processor or Heavy cheese grater
Small clean jar (1/2 cup or so) with tight fitting lid
Bamboo skewer
Fresh Horseradish Root
Good quality vinegar, including white or red wine or light balsamic vinegar
1. Peel the Horseradish root and prepare by either grating the root manually with the cheese grater or processing in the food processor fitted with a grating blade.
WARNING: Resist the urge to bend down close and check the progress of the grating as you will experience an intense "cloud" of Horseradish oil and odor that will make your eyes water and your nose run! Use caution when leaning near freshly grated root!
2. Fill the clean jar half way with the vinegar and spoon the grated horseradish into the jar until full. Stir with the bamboo skewer to mix well.
3. Cap tightly and store in the refrigerator.

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March 27, 2014

Panzanella ♥ Week Two, Day Four - EatingWell Meal Plan

Italians love their bread, so much so that the crumbs from the table are stored in a container and fed to the chickens. It is a sin to waste bread.

While bread is a luxury for a Diabetic, throwing a few croutons into a salad is a great way to stretch your daily allotment. I have been testing a bread recipe all this week, so I had lots of stale bread in tow.

Even better would be to make your own and let them soak in a tangy salad dressing. The vinaigrette aids in the digestion of carbohydrates and inhibits the amount of insulin normally needed to break them down. A win-win of huge proportions!

Panzanella is a bread salad. There is no set rule of which vegetables to use but tomatoes, red onion and basil often find their way into the dish. I like to add hardy vegetables like cucumbers, peppers, radishes, olives and cubed fresh mozzarella. This way as the bread soaks in the dressing and the salad sits, the vegetables don't get soggy. Spoon the vegetables over a bed of peppery arugula and dig in.

We ate this a few hours before my Swiss Chard Arrabbiata Lasagna dinner (post to follow), but it can also be part of a roasted chicken dinner.

Makes: 4 servings

* 2 pounds ripe tomatoes
* Quarter cup finely chopped red onion
* 1/2 cup cucumber, cut into half moon slices
* 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, diced
2 radishes, thinly sliced
* Handful chopped walnuts
* Quarter cup chopped flat leaf parsley
* 3 tablespoons finely slivered fresh basil
* 4 cups torn bite-size pieces stale, crusty, whole wheat bread
* 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
* 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Cut larger tomatoes into wedges or chunks, cut any cherry tomatoes into halves or quarters. Add cucumber, radish, cheese and walnuts. Combine in a large bowl with onion, parsley and basil. And bread. Whisk oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour it over the salad and gently toss to coat the bread well.
Let stand for about five minutes before serving.

Per serving: 192 cal, 11 g fat (2 sat fat, 7 mono), 0 mg cholesterol, 21 g carbohydrate, 1 g added sugars, 4 g protein, 3 g fiber, 248 mg sodium, 418 mg potassium.

Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (41% dv), Vitamin A (31% dv), Folate (15% dv)

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March 24, 2014

Creamy Green Chile Chicken Soup ♥ Week Two, Day Three - EatingWell Meal Plan

I know I am all out of sync with posting the dinners as they were published but I assure you, every one of those dishes will be eaten and posted, just not in the order intended. Please be patient and forgiving. The last few weeks have been trying if not impossible to stick to any plan.

I will say, for the ones already consumed, I am happy with the line-up and the creativity of this plan.
Last night I made the Grape Chutney with a grilled pork tenderloin and I will make that many times during the upcoming months (but that is another post).

You will probably notice the original recipe called for chicken breasts but The Nudge defrosted a package of thighs instead so, thighs it was. I also added a can of creamed corn because I forgot to restock my cans of hominy and I could have sworn this soup was screaming at me to add a corn product. Like I said, I am so unorganized.

I am sure the canned version of roasted green chiles was not what was intended when the cook created this recipe but canned whole green chiles was what I had on hand. I know they have less flavor than freshly roasted peppers do but I reinforced the flavor with New Mexico Green Chile Powder I always have on my spice shelf. If you used the chicken breasts called for, this soup could be on the table in under 30 minutes.
I suggest combining two recipes that call for roasted poblanos and do them all at the same time.

EatingWell suggests serving cheese quesadillas with this soup and I thought that was a great idea. I had a single serving of Holy Guacamole in the fridge and a bottle of salsa. We were good to go!!

Creamy Green Chile Chicken Soup
Makes 4 servings, 1 1/2 cups each

* 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed
* 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
* 4 New Mexican green chiles or poblano peppers
* 1 can creamed corn (optional)
* 1/2 cup dry white wine
* 1/2 cup barley flour or white whole wheat flour
* 2 cups reduced-fat milk
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
* 2 tablespoons minced cilantro

1. Preheat grill to medium-high (if grilling chiles) or preheat oven to 400°F (if roasting chiles) or grab a can opener if using canned.
2. Place chicken and broth in a large sauce-pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, turning the chicken halfway through, until no longer pink in the middles, 10-15 minutes, depending on the size. Remove from the heat. Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board, leaving the broth in the pan. When cool enough to handle, shred or chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
3. Meanwhile, grill chiles, turning frequently, until blistered on all sides, about 15 minutes, (Alternatively, roast on a baking sheet, turning once or twice with tongs, until blackened in placed, 14-20 minutes). When cool enough to handle, peel and remove stems and seeds. Finely chop 2 chiles; puree the other 2 in a food processor or blender with 1/4 cup of the hot broth.
4. Whisk 1/2 cup of the broth in a bowl with wine and flour until smooth. Return the pan with the broth to medium heat and whisk in the flour mixture until well combined. Stir in the chopped and pureed chiles and the chicken. Add milk, salt, both peppers and oregano; heat, stirring frequently, until steaming and hot, but not boiling (low-fat milk will curdle), 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.

Per serving: 299 calories; 5g fat (2g sat, 2g mono); 72mg cholesterol; 26g carbohydrate; 0g added sugars' 32g protein; 2g fiber; 687mg sodium; 737mg potassium.

Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (280% dv), Potassium (21% dv), Vitamin A (20% dv), Calcium (18% dv), Iron & Magnesium (15% dv).

My Diabetic Recommendations: The soup is good as written, but I did use barley flour to thicken instead of AP flour. If you do not have barley or quinoa flour use whole wheat flour. I did not serve quesadillas, I made a small garden salad instead.

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March 21, 2014

A Play on Patties ♥ The Recipe Redux Challenge - March 2014 (Week Two, Day Two - EatingWell Meal Plan)

OK, this was supposed to be a healthy challenge for patties, but all I could think about was "Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions – on a sesame seed bun."

We all know that does not qualify for a healthy stack of patties but I know if you change the beef to salmon and mix the ingredients for that special sauce into the ground salmon, you would have a very healthy and tasty patty. This is what I did. I made two thin salmon patties per serving and made my own version of Micky D's iconic sandwich.
Difference is (and this is the reason for this post) double the salmon patty, double the benefits.

My first obstacle was the bun. Did you know the bun can make or break the burger? Oh, yeah. The Nudge is the expert in that area. While brioche buns are buttery and tender, by the time you finish the burger, they have disintegrated, and that's a big 'no-no'. No seeds or flavorings allowed, and it should be crusty on the outside and dense, but soft, on the inside.

The other problem is finding one that can be sliced into thirds. It's that middle slice that scares me. I decided to buy a pre-sliced burger bun, take the bottom from a second one, carefully slice off the crust and that becomes the middle. The leftover top, crust removed will be the middle on the second sandwich. The crusts will feed the birds. Nothing goes to waste, a win-win all around.

OK, so you don't want to go to all that trouble, I won't tell anyone you didn't cut the buns into three slices. Just stack the patties on top of each other with pickled onions and tzatziki in between.

This challenge worked perfectly into my month of meals because this week was the other half of the 'cook one, freeze one'  bonus recipe (the 'cook one' was eaten two weeks ago), that although was originally scheduled for next Thursday, was easily switched out for another "cook one, freeze one' meal.

This turned out to be one of the easiest challenges to date.
While I have to credit EatingWell.com for the inspiration, the preparation was mine. I also have to give a shout-out to Calphalon for my textured slide and sear skillet which made it possible to make patties with crunch using no coating or fats at all (Calphalon did not supply the pan, I did and this is my opinion).

Let's get cooking........

Salmon Patties with Olives, Lemon & Dill
makes 4 (3/4") patties or 8 (1/3") thin patties
* 2 scallions, quartered
* 1/4 cup Kalamata olives (or olive tapenade)
* 1 1/2 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh dill
* Zest of one lemon
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
* 1 1/4 pound wild salmon, skinned and cut into 2" chunks (canned salmon will not work)

* Tzatziki sauce (I used Sabra brand)
* 4 toasted buns (for one patty each) or 6 (for 2 patties), trimmed
* Arugula
* Pickled red onions
* Feta cheese

* Patty maker

1. Place scallions, olives and dill in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in lemon zest, salt & pepper.
2. Working in 3-4 batches, pulse salmon just 2-3 times to finely chop, but not puree. Add the chopped salmon to the bowl; gently mix until combined. Divide mixture into 8 patties, about 3" in diameter. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes (or up to two hours) before cooking.
3. Lightly coat non-stick pan with olive oil spray. Add 4 patties and and cook on high heat until browned on both sides. Repeat with remaining patties.

To assemble: Place the bottom slice of bun on a work surface. Place one salmon patty topped with a teaspoon tzatziki sauce on the bread.
Add the middle slice of bun to the patty, top that slice with a handful of pickled onion and the second salmon patty. Top that patty with another teaspoon tzatziki sauce and then the arugula and the Feta. Place the bun top on the patties and serve with a sliced tomato salad dressed with red wine vinegar and olive oil.
No salad? Add that tomato to the bottom patty.


Per serving (patties only): 214 calories; 10g fat (2g sat, 5g mono); 66mg cholesterol; 2g carbohydrate; 0g added sugars; 29g protein; 1g fiber; 339mg sodium; 551mg potassium.

Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (1%), Vitamin C (12%), Calcium (1%), Iron (3%), Vitamin B-6 (65%), Vitamin B-12 (106%), Magnesium (16%), Potassium (16%).

My Diabetic Recommendations: If you are allowed carbs on your diet, pick the best bread allowed and cut off the crusts using a 4" plate to cut three rounds out of three slices of bread. No carbs, cut a romaine lettuce leaf in half and use that as your bread.

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March 19, 2014

Shrimp Dumplings ♥ Week Two, Day One - EatingWell Meal Plan

I know  it seems like I repeat myself constantly, but dumplings really are one of my top food loves. I could eat them every day. There must be 4 cookbooks devoted to dumplings on my newly organized cookbook shelves (When it snows I clean, so five shelves that were overflowing with cookbooks got reduced to two).
It may seem odd that, while I totally adore dumplings, I rarely blog about them. I have this code that I abide by, unless it is something entirely new, if I don't want to read about repeats why would anyone else?

So, why now? Well, I have never made shrimp dumplings and they are part of my series of 28-days of healthy meals from EatingWell.com. For all the recipes and shopping lists, click here.

One thing I noticed that you need to be aware of. Be sure to note the expiration date on the wonton wrapper packages. I found that even the ones with two weeks to go started to show drying on the edges, so check carefully.

The actual dumpling filling is easy, as is most of them, but if you don't have a food processor you could use a nut chopper to mince the ingredients.

Homemade dumpling dough is usually made with rice flour and for a diabetic, would be the best way to go. I have made the hot water dough many times and while very time consuming to roll into thin disks (can use a pasta maker), it can be done. The other option, although not traditional, would be to use spring roll wrappers.

One 8" wrapper (made from rice flour) has only 8.5g of carbohydrates (yay for us), is gluten-free and makes one very large dumpling, that after cooked, can be sliced into (8) 1" slices, sort of like eating Chinese sushi. May not be traditional but still very tasty.  Now that would be something new to post about.

There are many ways to shape a dumpling. There is the wonton soup style, the half-moon pleated way, the flower pot steamer way and this way (above). I call them pyramids but they are really just a square.
To see hundreds of examples, go here.

I used a small scoop (1 tablespoon) to fill the wrappers and that was the perfect amount. I could just steam them in my Chinese steamer but I am obsessed with pot stickers so I am going with that cooking method.

There are almost as many ways to cook a dumpling as there is forming them.

I steamed these on a basic stainless steel steamer insert for 3 minutes.
When The Nudge walked in the door, I oiled a non-stick pan and fried the bottoms, placing the done ones in the oven to keep them warm.

There are a few things I learned not to do, so yours will be perfect......
1. Do not make and freeze the filling without salting the cabbage and squeezing the water out.(like you would for eggplant).
2. Put enough filling into the wrappers so that there are no air pockets (fill them full).
3. I recommend cooking the shrimp, then process the filling or you will get a little meatball in each dumpling (not a good thing).
4. If you have never made a dumpling before, follow the directions below to make the easiest one you could.

Let's get cooking.......

Shrimp Dumplings
Makes: 24 dumplings

EatingWell.com: Serve with reduced-sodium soy sauce or mix up this quick dipping sauce: 1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce with 2 tablespoons lime juice and 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil. To vary the filling, try ground turkey instead of the shrimp. look for wonton wrapper in a refrigerated case, near the tofu.
We made simple dumplings by folding the wrapper as you would a square burrito.

* 3/4 pound raw shrimp (16-20 per pound) peeled and deveined
* 1 cup chopped napa cabbage, salted & squeezed
* 2 scallions, chopped
* 2 small cloves garlic, chopped
* 3/4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
* 1 1/2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
* 1/8 teaspoons ground white pepper
* 24 wonton wrappers (1/2 package)
* 4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
* 1 cup warm water
* cornstarch for sprinkling

1. Pulse shrimp(cooked), cabbage (salted & rinsed), scallions, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce and pepper in a food processor until finely chopped.
2. Set out wonton wrappers, a small bag of water and a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkled with cornstarch. Place six wrappers at a time on a clean work surface and spoon about 1 tablespoon filling into the center of each. Wet your finger and run it around the edge of the wrapper, fold two opposite corners toward the middle of the filling just until they overlap, then fold the other two corners over the top to form a square. Press to seal in the middle. Place on the prepared baking sheet, not letting them touch. If all the dumplings won't fit in one layer, place parchment paper between layers.
3. To freeze: Freeze uncooked dumplings, uncovered, on the parchment-lined baking sheet until solid, at least eight hours. Once frozen, transfer the dumplings to an airtight container or freezer bag and return to the freezer.
4. To serve: Heat 2 teaspoons canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 12 dumplings in a single layer, seam side down and not touching. Add 1/2 cup warm water to the pan. Cover and cook until starting to brown on the bottom, about eight minutes. Turn them over and cook, uncovered, until browned on the other side, about one minute more. Repeat with the remaining water and dumplings, if desired.

Per serving: 281 calories; 9g fat (1g sat, 4g mono); 129mg cholesterol; 31g carbohydrate; 0g added sugars; 19g protein; 1g fiber; 492mg sodium; 228mg potassium.

Nutrition bonus: Folate (19% dv).

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March 17, 2014

Brussels Sprout and Potato Hash ♥ Week One, Day Seven - EatingWell Meal Plan

I am sorry this post was not finished when it was published, but a small emergency took precedent.
Here is the way it was supposed to be......

Happy St. Pat's Day. I usually make a corned beef hash in honor of this everything green day, but when I saw the recipe the corned beef went straight to the freezer. This one is unique and extremely tasty.
Another version of Bubble n' Squeak that is healthier than the traditional version but with tons of flavor and on the table in under an hour (and that includes the poaching of the eggs).

The key to making this is two things, you must use frozen hash browns. I say this because I tried to use a grated potato and while it would work, unless you have 20 minutes to constantly toss and separate the potatoes (because of their starch, want to stick together), the frozen ones are treated with something that stops them from clumping. It's a good thing in this case, but look for the ones with no added salt (Whole Foods 365, Golden Grill).

The other thing you need to do is to use a non-stick pan on the highest heat you can. That browning, called caramelizing, is so important to the flavor and Brussels sprouts really pop when they are browned and crisped on the edges. It is not an option.

Instead of chopping I added very thin slices of Vidalia onion and a good sprinkling of Adobo instead of the salt & pepper.

If your family shakes their head when they find out no meat, a few slices of bacon or country ham would work well, but the egg provides enough protein.

Let's get cooking.......

Brussels Sprout & Potato Hash
Makes: 4 servings

* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/4 cup chopped onion
* 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
* 5 cups frozen shredded hash browns
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
* 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
* 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
* 4 large eggs

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and rosemary; cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in hash browns, salt and pepper. Spread into an even layer. Cook, undisturbed, for 4 minutes.
2. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in Brussels sprouts, spread back into an even layer and cook, stirring every 2-3 minutes and returning to an even layer, until golden brown, 12-14 minutes total. Remove from heat and stir in cheese.
3. Meanwhile, bring 2 inches of water to a boil in a Dutch oven. Reduce to a gentle simmer. Break an egg into a small bowl, submerge the bowl's lip in the water and slide the egg in. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Cook for 4 minutes for soft set, 5 for medium set and 8 minutes for hard set (can also fry them). Transfer the eggs to a clean dish towel to drain. Serve the eggs over the hash.

Per serving: 377 calories; 18g fat (4g sat, 11g mono); 192mg cholesterol; 41g carbohydrate; 0g added sugars; 14g protein; 7g fiber; 594mg sodium; 489mg potassium.

Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (129% dv), Vitamin A (26% dv), Folate (25% dv), Iron (18% dv), Calcium (15% dv).

For all the recipes and shopping lists, click here.

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March 14, 2014

Cabbage and Potato Pancakes with Horseradish Pear Sauce ♣ St. Patty's Day Inspiration

I completely forgot that St. Patty's Day was this Monday. I did not get the usual hints, like the bins of bagged corned beef that clogs up the meat aisle right about now or the large piles of green cabbage that people crab by the bag-full. What's up with that? 

Even the usual bombardment of St. Patty Day recipes of the many ways to cook a corned beef and cabbage dinner or all the pretty little green iced cupcakes and cookies that appear this time of year seem to be less intrusive than usual.

I like corned beef and cabbage but seems like I am the only one in this house.
Oh, The Nudge will order the corned beef on rye with grainy mustard from our local pub but that seems to be all the Irish spirit that Irishman can muster.

When it comes down to it, if we can eat Spaghetti & Meatballs all year and not just on St. Anthony's Day and there is always a taco or enchilada night in over 75% of the households in America, why is St. Patty's Day dishes only eaten once a year?

Think about it. When was the last time a dish of boiled potatoes and corned beef was center stage on your dinner table?

What I always do, is buy all the leftover bags of corned beef that is marked down after the 17th, that will fit in my freezer so I can enjoy hash and a braised honey mustard brisket and even BBQ'd on the grill in the summer. I enjoy the Irish when it's not splattered all over the Intraweb.

To show I can post an Irish recipe with the best of them, this is my contribution to the "green food" movement (and I don't mean whole food).

Bubble & Squeak Pancakes
makes 10 (2 1/2") fritters

* 1 medium potato, grated and squeezed dry
* 1 cup grated cabbage, salted and drained
* 1/4 onion, grated
* 6 saltine crackers, large grind
* 1 egg, beaten
* 2 tsp prepared horseradish
* 1/4 tsp dry mustard
* 1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
* black pepper
* pinch of nutmeg
* enough dry bread crumbs or matzoh meal to bind
* canola oil

Mix all ingredients and fry up a small sample to test for salt and make any adjustments.
In saute pan, heat oil and use a medium scoop to make as many pancakes as will fit into your largest fry pan.
Saute until browned and flip over, about 3 minutes each side.
Remove to paper towel lined sheet pan and drain.
Can be made ahead and reheated in oven before serving.

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March 12, 2014

Creamy Mustard Chicken ♥ Week One, Day Six - EatingWell Meal Plan

If you have been following my new series on one of EatingWell's 28-day Meal Plans, you probably also noticed I am not posting them in the order in which they were published. There are always many reasons that this happens.
1. The Nudge was traveling so I ate by myself and froze the remains and I just haven't had the time to defrost and take it's proper picture.
2. There were some dishes that did not quite go over well, so have been pushed down further on the list.
3. I had the worst weather that refused to give me ample natural light for a decent picture.
4. I probably buried the leftovers way back in the freezer and now can't find them.
5. The weather finally broke and I just wanted to leave the house, so we ate something I did not have to cook.

All very good reasons, wouldn't you say? The last reason, and this one has been chalked up to life, is
The Nudge wanted a pizza and I wanted a burger, which if you have been following this plan, will notice there is none of either to be found on the menu.

I will say that this dish made it to the top of the list due to outside influences, one being The Nudge. He saw the picture and every day since then has asked me if we are having Creamy Mustard Chicken.

So far, out of the six meals I have eaten, this and the Cowboy Chile have made the 'can make again' list.
It had two things going for it, chicken breasts and angel hair pasta, both being The Nudge's favorite foods. Add in a mustard sauce and he just had to have it for dinner. I waited until he returned from his travels to surprise him, and smiled to be able to eat a homemade comfort meal after eating in way to many sub-par chain store restaurants. I scored a few points that night and you can, too.

Like most of the recipes in this plan, they are all easy to prepare, require minimum inexpensive ingredients, are all things we like and very kid-friendly.

I made a side dish of Asparagus with Sesame-Ginger Sauce (recipe here).

Creamy Mustard Chicken
Makes: 4 servings, 1 cutlet & 1 cup cooked pasta with 1/4 cup sauce each

EatingWell: Thin-sliced chicken breasts (sometimes labeled chicken cutlets) cook up quickly and are delicious smothered in a velvety, light mustard sauce garnished with fresh chopped sage. If you can't find chicken cutlets, cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts into 4 ounce pieces and place between pieces of plastic wrap. Pound with a meat mallet, rolling pin or heavy skillet (I use a rubber mallet from the hardware store) until flattened to about 1/2 inch thick.)

* 1/2 package whole-wheat angel hair pasta (7-8 ounces)
* 4 thin-sliced chicken breasts or cutlets (about 1 pound)
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 3 tablespoons EVOO, divided
* 1 large shallot, finely chopped
* 1/2 cup dry white wine
* 1/2 cup water
* 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
* 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, plus more for garnish (I used dill)

1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to directions. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, sprinkle chicken with garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon each salt & pepper. Place flour in a shallow bowl and coat both sides of chicken, shaking off any excess.
Reserve 2 teaspoons flour (for thickening the sauce); discard the rest.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-heat. Cook the chicken, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer to a clean plate.
4. Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining tablespoon oil to the pan. Add shallot and cook, stirring until beginning to brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. Combine water with the reserved 2 teaspoons flour. Add to the pan and cook, stirring until thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream, mustard, 2 tablespoons sage (dill) and the remaining 1.4 teaspoon each salt & pepper. Return the chicken to the pan and turn to coat with the sauce.
5. Top the pasta with half the sauce, the chicken and then the remaining sauce. Garnish with more sage (dill), if desired.

Per serving: 447 calories; 16g fat (3g sat, 10g mono); 69g cholesterol; 42g carbohydrate; 0g added sugars; 31g protein; 6g fiber; 456mg sodium; 367mg potassium.

Nutition bonus: magnesium (25% dv), Iron (16% dv).

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March 10, 2014

Chiles Rellenos Casserole + an A for Determination ♥ Week One, Day Five - EatingWell Meal Plan

I lasted 6 meals. Yup, no matter how I tried I could not resist messing with a recipe.

First it only included adding some leftovers, which, I reasoned (heavily positive towards my side) isn't all that bad as long as it did not take anything away from the original recipe. Then it all went downhill from there.

I can only explain the facts and let you come to your own conclusion, but I felt it was the only way to go.
See, I completely botched the peppers. Oh, I roasted them fine, I even peeled the skins off like a cosmetic surgeon but when I cut down the side to remove the seeds, I felt like I was once again in biology class (in which I barely passed, thank you) and the knife slipped and I there was no way that pepper would hold a filling (to my defense, the peppers were very slippery with oil).

There was no way I was not making this dish, I had all the ingredients measured and prepped and I was hungry. So I did what any resourceful, hungry, pissed off cook would do. I made a Mexican Lasagna. Without the tortillas and the carbs that go with them.

This was really good and for the record, so tasty in fact, I would make this again and not change a thing.
Yes, you heard me, not change a thing.

For those of you who got an A in biology and can do those peppers justice, the original recipe is here, on page 11.

For those of you who don't want to even try to dissect a pepper but still like the recipe, my preparation follows. This is really an easy dish to prepare. Can be made ahead, refrigerated (or frozen) and baked off just before serving. I placed each half of the casserole, heated in the oven for 15 minutes and added a poached egg, a dollop of sour cream & guacamole and drops of sriracha (omg, so good!!).

Either way, you should make this, if you like Mexican food. Add the egg or not, I felt it made it over the top (and I love huevos rancheros) and ample justification for a bad dissection.

Chiles Rellenos Casserole
Makes: 4 servings

Cooks notes: If you can not or do not want to buy duck, this is the perfect place to use the legs and thighs of a rotisserie chicken. If poblanos are not sold where you live, you can buy 2 cans of whole green chiles where the Tex-Mex foods are sold. I had leftover Spanish rice and added 1/2 cup but it's not necessary. I also used Monterey Jack cheese but any meltable Mexican cheese like chihuahua or a queso blanco is certainly acceptable but totally optional. While baking everything in one pan, I used two gratin dishes and divided each in half. Top with one egg for a brunch, two for a dinner portion. A dollop sour cream on top if not using eggs and along side if topping with eggs.

Chiles Rellenos Casserole
Makes: 4 servings

* 1 pound of cooked leg and thigh meat (duck, chicken or turkey)
* 4 medium poblanos or New Mexican green chiles
* 1 teaspoon canola oil
* 1/2 medium onion, chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 cup chopped fresh tomato
* 1 tablespoon white vinegar
* 1/3 cup chopped Manzanilla olives, or alcaparrado
* 1/4 cup slivered almonds, chopped
* 1 tablespoon raisins, chopped
* 1 cup rice (optional)
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup enchilada sauce
* 1 cup grated cheese
* 1/4 cup reduced sour cream or 4 eggs or both (finishing garnish)

1. Preheat grill or set oven to broil.
2. Rub the peppers with oil and place under the broiler, set to low.
3. Broil the peppers, turning occasionally, until blistered on all sides, about 15 minutes total.
4. Peel the peppers and cut them open on one side to remove the seeds; leave stems intact if possible. Set aside.
5. Preheat oven to 375° if serving immediately. Heat oil in a large skillet and add onion and garlic and cook, stirring until soft, about 2 minutes. Add tomato and vinegar and cook, stirring until the tomato starts to break down, about 3 minutes. Stir in the meat, (optional rice), olives, almonds, raisins and salt. Remove from the heat.
6. Cover the bottom of four individual oven-proof baking gratins with 2 tablespoons of enchilada sauce. If using 1 baking dish, use 1/2 cup sauce.
7. Place 1 pepper in each gratin or two peppers in a baking dish. Spoon 1/4 of the filling into each gratin or all the filing into the baking dish. Top with the remaining peppers, the remaining sauce and the cheese.
8. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes until it bubbles and the cheese is golden brown. Remove and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. Use that time to cook the eggs (optional).

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March 5, 2014

Cowboy Beef & Bean Chili ♥ Week One, Day Four - EatingWell Meal Plan

OMG, this was the best chili I have ever eaten!! I wasn't sure what to expect when I read the recipe, but I do know I was skeptical that there was no tomato. I don't think I have never made a chili without some sort of tomato product.

I love the use of bulgur and mushrooms to bulk up the texture and downplay the fat. You would never know they were in there. This was easy to prepare and the slow cooking coaxed all the flavor out of the ingredients. This is my go to chili now.

You could use ground turkey breast meat but the 90% beef was plenty lean. There was no oil slick after cooking and I like the deep beef flavor you get from both the stock and the ground sirloin.

Only thing I changed was to use small pink beans instead of the red kidney it calls for and I did not make cornbread, I used a tortilla. This was yummy. You need to make this yesterday.

I am already looking forward to nachos.

Cowboy Beef & Bean Chili
Makes: 6 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each

Eating Well: Anything but dainty, the healthy cowboy beef and bean chili recipe is hearty with the addition of mushrooms and beer. To keep the saturated fat low, we use one pound of ground beef and add whole-grain bulgur to boost the volume and fiber in this chili recipe. After all the ingredients are added to the pot, we like to slowly simmer our chili for close to an hour to develop the best flavor, but if you're in a hurry, reduce the liquid by half and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. 

* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
* 1 pound 90% lean ground beef
* 1 large onion, dices
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* 8 ounces mushrooms, diced (about 3 cups)
* 1/2 cup uncooked bulgur
* 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
* 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
* 1 tablespoons chili powder
* 1 tablespoon paprika
* 2 teaspoons ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 cans no-salt added kidney beans, rinsed (I used small pink beans)
* 3 cups reduced sodium beef broth
* 1 bottle lager-style beer

1.Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add ground beef, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat (use a potato masher), until the meat is no longer pink, about 3-5 minutes.
2. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are starting to soften, 5-7 minutes.
3. Add bulgur, Worcestershire sauce, ancho chile, powder, regular chili powder, paprika, cumin and salt and cook, stirring, until aromatic, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
4. Stir in beans, then pour in broth and beer; bring to a boil.
5. Reduce heat to a simmer, partially cover the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced and thickened and the bulgur is tender, about 50 minutes.

Per serving: 393 calories; 14g fat (4g sat, 8g mono); 49mg cholesterol; 38g carbohydrate; 0g added sugars; 27g protein; 15g fiber; 593mg sodium; 1,044mg potassium.

Nutrition bonus: Zinc (37% dv), Vitamin A (36% dv). Potassium (29% dv). Iron (28% dv), Magnesium (21% dv).

To get all the recipes and the shopping lists, click here.

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March 3, 2014

Rosemary Lentils and Greens on Toasted Bread ♥ Week One, Day Three - EatingWell Meal Plan

When I saw this dish I just about loved everything about it, except the bread. Since The Nudge is traveling, I made myself a batch of polenta (or grits) but would have done both if he was joining me. I used the oil that would have been for brushing the bread as a finishing garnish.

I honestly think that 4 slices of bread will not be enough for the amount of lentils that this recipe produces. I would double the amount to 8 thin slices.
I also could not find green lentils, so used the brown, and they didn't break up during the cooking time.

If you do have leftovers (as I had plenty), freeze for another night, add chicken stock and make soup.

Rosemary Lentils and Greens on Toasted Bread
Makes: 4 servings, 1 cup lentils & kale and 1 slice bread each
This rosemary-infused lentil and greens recipe is a perfect topping for toasted bread. Serve as a vegetarian main dish for 4 or a hearty side dish for 8.

Tips: We like French green lentils instead of brown when we want lentils that hold their shape (instead of breaking down) when cooked. Look for them in natural food stores and some supermarkets.
To stale bread naturally, store at room temperature in a paper (not plastic) bag for 2 to 5 days. If you don’t want to wait, bake sliced bread on a large baking sheet at 250°F until crisped and dry, 15 to 20 minutes.

* 3 cloves garlic, divided
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus 4 teaspoons, divided
* 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
* 2 tablespoons tomato paste
* 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
* 4 cups water
* 1 cup French green lentils
* 8 cups chopped kale (1-pound bunch)
* 3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

* 4 slices stale crusty bread (see tips)(I made 4 cups polenta)

1. Mince 2 garlic cloves. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and crushed red pepper and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomato paste and rosemary and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add water; bring to a boil. Add lentils, reduce heat to a simmer, partially cover and cook for 40 minutes.

2. Add kale and salt; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and kale are tender, about 10 minutes more. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F. Brush bread slices with 1/2 teaspoon oil each. Bake until toasted, 8 to 10 minutes. Cut the remaining garlic clove in half and rub the toast with a cut side of the garlic. Serve each toast topped with about 1 cup of the lentil mixture, drizzled with 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining oil.

Per serving: 422 calories; 15g fat (2g sat, 10g mono); 0mg cholesterol; 56g carbohydrate; 3g added sugars; 19g protein; 13g fi- ber; 568mg sodium; 753mg potassium.

Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (164% daily value), Vitamin C (44% dv), Iron (27% dv)

Review: I thought it would be bland but it wasn't. I think the next time I make this I will either blanch the kale or use Swiss Chard or Spinach. I am just not a kale person because it stays firm when cooked in only 10 minutes. I prefer my vegetables on the softer side.

For all the recipes and shopping lists, click here.
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March 1, 2014

Chickpea & Chorizo Fideos ♥ Week One, Day Two - EatingWell Meal Plan

I adore fideos and this recipe does not disappoint. The use of angel hair pasta resulted in a ton of food and I actually used less pasta called for in the recipe.

Angel hair pasta is like orzo, it swells to 5x the dry size and a one pound box could easily feed 8 people. Add a can of chickpeas and you could stretch that to 10. It makes sense to eat pastas whose volume exceeds the recommended serving. Two ounces dried will look like a quarter pound cooked but have the same nutritionals, which is a good thing because you can be satisfied on half the amount. A great idea that is good for a diet.

The Italians love chickpeas (chichi beans) as do most Mediterranean countries (think hummus!!). I am not sure why it is the bean of choice but chichis and cannellinis make their way into meals almost daily. I was happy to see them in a Spanish preparation. This dish had lots of flavor and was ready in under 30 minutes.

I did slightly squish the beans but only to help remove the skins to become more digestible. Make sure you buy the best quality beans you can, if they are one of the main ingredients but if the end has them pureed (like a soup), you can get away with the generic ones. There is a huge difference in the quality of canned beans. Of course, home cooked from the dried is always the best but I would rather you eat canned then not eat any. Chickpeas can be fussy when cooked from scratch and using a pressure cooker is the best way to ensure good results consistently.

I could not find Spanish chorizo so I used Mexican which is soft, not dried, but the flavor is still there and it's OK to use either. If you can not find chorizo they recommend using pepperoni. Bet the kids will love this dish.

Try to make this right before eating as the pasta will soak up all the sauce if it sits too long. I had to add a cup of water because The Nudge was late getting home. There was still plenty of flavor.
I roasted cauliflower for a side dish but a salad would work also.

I packaged the leftovers in quart size freezer bags so that they can be a grab 'n go for lunches. I give this dish a thumbs up and not just because it's a one pot wonder.

Chickpea & Chorizo Fideos
Makes: 4 servings, about 2 cups each
* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
* 1/2 package whole-wheat angel hair pasta, broken into 2" pieces (I used Dreamfields)
* 2 large cloves garlic, minced
* 1/2 cup chopped Spanish chorizo or pepperoni (about 2 ounces)
* 1 (15oz) can chickpeas, rinsed
* 3 scallions (1/2 bunch), sliced

1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add pasta pieces and cook, stirring, until toasted and browned in spots, 1-3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add garlic and chorizo (or pepperoni) and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, water, wine and the toasted pasta to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 8 minutes. Stir in chickpeas and scallions and cook 1 minute more.

Per serving: 474 calories; 18g fat (4g sat, 11g mono); 12mg cholesterol; 62g carbohydrate; 0g added sugars; 16g protein; 11g fiber; 483mg sodium;546mg potassium.
Nutritional bonus: Magnesium (29% dv), Vitamin C (25% dv), Folate & Iron (24% dv), Zinc (18% dv), Potassium (16% dv).

For all the recipes and shopping lists, click here.

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