Wish Upon A Dish: April 2014

April 30, 2014

White Turkey Chili ♥ Week Three, Day Five - EatingWell Meal Plan

At the beginning of this meal plan there was a beef & bean chili (excellent), then a chicken-chile soup (tasty) and now we are up to a White Turkey Chili. I am hoping that this version is as good as those were.

I don't think I have ever made a turkey version and like all the other recipes on this meal plan, it was easy and simple using ingredients right in our pantry. The only thing that was different from other recipes of it's kind was the addition of zucchini. I would have thought hominy but I wanted to see how well the zucchini is received, since it is often grated into meatloaf and meatballs, so to hide the vegetables.
While this dish is the last in this meal plan (but not in posts), I was so inspired by EatingWell's line up, I planned another week with random recipes that I got to choose this time around.

As this meal plan came to it's end, I learned a few things. Healthy & lite has nothing to do with blah food. Also, counting carbs may have it's limitations but with some creativity you will never miss them.
I am going to try to keep as many recipes to a maximum of 45-50 carbs per serving but if doing so will compromise the taste and integrity of the original creators recipe, I will recommend substitutions.

I did not change a thing in this recipe, nor did I want to. It was delicious, with bold flavors and lots of body (just like a chili should be) and deemed a 'keeper'. The Nudge said it reheated well and tasted even better the next day (as all chilis do).

White Turkey Chili
Makes: 6 servings

EatingWell: This healthy white turkey chili recipe is gorgeous, with flecks of green zucchini, oregano and green chiles. To keep the saturated fat low, we use one pound of ground turkey 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 93% lean ground turkey
* 1 large onion, diced
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 medium zucchini, diced (about 3/4 cups)
* 1/2 cup bulgur
* 2 tablespoons dried oregano
* 4 teaspoons ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 (15oz) cans no salt added white beans, rinsed
* 2 (4oz) cans green chiles, mild or hot
* 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add ground turkey, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon (I use a potato masher). Cook until it is no longer pink, about 3-5 minutes.
2. Add zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is starting to soften, 5-7 minutes.
3. Add bulgur, oregano, cumin, coriander, white pepper and salt and cook, stirring, until aromatic, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
4. Stir in white beans and chiles, then pour in broth; 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: 356 calories; 14g fat (2g sat, 5g mono); 43 mg cholesterol; 35g carbohydrate; 0g added sugars; 26g protein; 10g fiber; 722mg sodium; 898mg potassium.

Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (48% dv), Iron (28% dv), Potassium (26% dv), magnesium (25% dv), Zinc (15% dv).

My Diabetic Recommendations: If the bulgur is not what you can eat, use 1/4 cup corn or masa flour (not meal) which would lower the carbs to 17g per serving, half the amount. It will act as a thickener.
If you need this to be lower in carbs still again, omit the thickener and reduce the liquid until it is thick, but you will end up with only 4 servings.

Follow Me on Pinterest

April 28, 2014

Grape Chutney ♥ Week Three, Day Four - EatingWell Meal Plan

Yes, another recipe with grapes. Who woulda thunk that a few months ago I never would have thought of cooking with grapes and after I entered a grape contest and submitted a few recipes, I was happy to try the ones on this meal plan.

While one was a salad, this was a chutney, a simple chutney. A very tasty, simple chutney that I paired with pork tenderloin. This was another requested 'keeper'.

Only 110 calories in a 1/4 cup, this is the perfect sweet tart condiment when you are not excited about the meat. Come on, we have all had those nights where we open and close the door of the fridge like 10x, contemplate maybe calling for take-out, those nights when you should know better but there just isn't anything to get excited about. Those nights when you just don't want to chop and drop all those vegetables and aromatics. Throw a chicken in the oven and by the time it is on it's way to the table, this sauce can make the trip with that chicken.

When grapes go down to under $1.00 per pound, buy a ton of the red seedless ones. Make this chutney and freeze it, make it and can it, make it and eat it!!!

I did not change a thing, swear!
To view all the recipes on this meal plan, click here.

Grape Chutney
Makes: 1 1/4 cups

EatingWell: With just a few minutes of prep, you can make a chutney to serve with roast pork or chicken or to use as a sandwich spread. Purple grapes give it the richest color, but red grapes taste great too.

* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/2 cup minced shallots
* 2 cups halved seedless purple or red seedless grapes
* 1/2 cup dry sherry
* 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar or rice vinegar
* 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
* 1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add grapes, sherry, vinegar, mustard seeds and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the grapes have broken down, 10-20 minutes.

Per 1/4 cup serving: 110 calories; 3g fat (0g sat, 2g mono); 0mg cholesterol; 16g carbohydrate; 0g added sugars; 1g protein; 1g fiber; 124mg sodium; 204mg potassium.

My Diabetic Recommendation: Make this yesterday and do not change a thing!!

Follow Me on Pinterest

April 24, 2014

Baked French Toast with Pear-Cranberry Compote ♥ Week Three, Day Three - EatingWell Meal Plan

Please forgive the bad photo, it was taken at the dinner table. This was so good, there was none left to photograph the next morning. Apparently there was a visit from a little leprechaun during the night.

I have wanted to make the perfect version of a baked French toast for many years. Not as easy as you think.
Most recipes I see floating here and there are for different versions of a bread pudding. Not a bad thing, it was not what I was going for.
Years ago when RR did her $40 a Day show, she ate a version of French toast that amounted to layers of old bread & jams that was compressed in a loaf pan, until it reached the top. Then a custard was added, the bread was weighted and then it got an overnight soak. Unmolded, it was sliced into 1-inch pieces, sauteed in butter and served with syrup. It looked delish.

Finally after many unsuccessful tries I was able to get the correct texture.
The secret?
You must tear the bread (not cube) and soak it for at least 6 hours. It came out with the consistency of a freshly baked loaf of bread which I had studded with Virginia ham and flavored with cinnamon, allspice and cardamom.

While this was an excellent way to use up bread, the basic dip and fry method is still acceptable, but if you get the chance to try this technique, you will be very happy and if you make enough, breakfast for dinner will be a hit in your house. Your family will love you for it.
While this post is really about the compote off of this meal plan, it was a great way to showcase the French toast.

It is so easy. Simply place everything in a baking pan, cover & let it do it's thing in the fridge the night before. I imagine this could easily be cooked in a slow cooker while you went about your normal day. Just follow the bread pudding cooking directions from your slow cooker recipes. Since I have a huge slow cooker (it would make enough for a dozen servings), I would have to make a ring of foil to use as a rack, just to elevate a pan (I used a large loaf pan) off the bottom (so it bakes evenly on all sides, almost like a water bath), set the timer for 4 hours, the heat on low and all that's required is to reheat before eating.

Once again I added my own twist to an original meal plan recipe, but I promise, it is not only healthy and flavorful, it is the best baked French toast you will have ever eaten.

So what exactly did I change? I used an egg substitute, fat-free half & half, a sugar sub and ham. I used the standard cinnamon but added cardamom and allspice. No vanilla extract but lite brown sugar & maple syrup. Yummy!

One 2" serving of baked French Toast (two pieces) and 1/4 cup compote is only a little over 300 calories.
I say that is a sweet nice way to end the day.

Baked French Toast Casserole
Makes: 4 servings

* 2 whole eggs
* 1/2 cup egg beaters
* 1 tablespoon Truvia
* 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
* 1 cup fat-free half & half

* Pinch of salt
* 1 tablespoon maple syrup (sugar-free is OK also)
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamon & allspice
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/2 pound ham steak, 1/4" cubes
* 1/2 loaf sourdough bread, hard crust removed, torn into 1 1/2" pieces
* 1/4 cup honey roasted sliced almonds

1. Toast day old torn bread on sheet pan at 250° for 30 minutes. Cool.
2. Mix first 10 ingredients till spices are incorporated.
3. Line a loaf pan or small baking dish with parchment paper that has been sprayed with a release agent. Toss the bread and ham into pan, top with almonds. Pour the egg/milk mixture over the bread, cover with plastic wrap, place a plate on top and place a weight on that. Set it in the refrigerator overnight or up to 8 hours if possible (prepare in the morning).

Pear-Cranberry Compote
Makes: 1 1/2 cups

* 1/2 (14oz) can whole cranberry sauce
* 2 Bosc pears, core removed and chopped
* 1/4 cup water
* 1 tablespoon brandy (optional, the alcohol cooks out)
* 1 tablespoon maple syrup, sugar-free is fine
* 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon & cardamon

1. Place everything in a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the fruit and simmer the sauce for another 20 minutes until it is thick and syrupy.
2. Stir the fruit back into the syrup, cool to room temp and store in a container.

Compote Nutrition - left side
Toast Nutrition - right side

Follow Me on Pinterest

April 21, 2014

Collard Green & Chorizo Frittata ♥ Treasured Cookware - Recipe Redux Challenge April 2014

When you reach my age, my cooking utensils will inevitably become someone else's treasures. I moved into my first place when I was 21 and I started my single life with all new everything. My mom was on her own and took all her cooking implements with her and my Dad, well he was not much of a cook.

There are a few kitchen tools that I bought 35 years ago that I still use every day. My stainless steel pots and pans, my box grater and one (and my only) cast iron fry pan. When you are single and only cook for one or two, the 8" is the perfect size for eggs or an omelet.

What I did discover as I married a man who loved eggs for dinner, a great way to make a really good frittata. That cast iron pan was perfect. Not only did it fit into a toaster oven, it was the perfect size for two servings.

This was probably in the top 3 frittata recipes I have prepared so far, although there is no bad frittata.
I am all about eggs with meat and vegetables with cheese. They are easy, inexpensive, an excellent user of leftovers and a one pot wonder.
What's not to love?

Yes, I added an ingredient and subbed out another. Why? Because I could and it added no extra non-no's and a whole bunch of okays. I had a small container of really good fresh salsa and instead of hash browns I used cut spaghetti for the crust.

So while The Nudge was away, and I needed a quick healthy meal for one, I immediately thought of a frittata.

Not your usual frittata, which can contain a hash brown base, I like to use leftover macaroni and Mac 'n Cheese would be my first pick but this time I had cut spaghetti's.

I took one bite and almost ate the whole frittata, I had to stop myself, I kept cutting a slice and then another and then I realized half was gone, it was that good. The chorizo gives it a spicy feel, not hot spicy, just a full flavored spice and a great counterpart to the creamy eggs and the fresh greens. I will post the recipe as was written but will add the subs at the end. Either way, spaghetti or hash browns, this is one good meal.

While the original recipe calls for 7 whole eggs, I used 3 yolks and 1 cup of egg whites. I mixed in the chopped greens and put the pan on the fire.

Once the pan was hot I added the scallions, the salsa and a splash of water. Press the pasta into the pan and when the liquid has all evaporated, add the chorizo and the Parmesan, cover and lower the heat to melt the cheese. The melted cheese will act as a binder for the crust.

Pour over the egg and greens mixture and place in the oven to set the eggs.
Once the eggs are set, turn the oven to broil and brown the top.
Can be eaten hot or at room temp.
If you are not a collard fan, or just don't have the time to cook them down, the canned version will work, just make sure to squeeze all the water out. Swiss chard was used in the original recipe but spinach makes a great substitute.

Chard & Chorizo Frittata
Inspiration from eatingwell.com with ingredients from my fridge
Makes: 4 servings

EatingWell: Frittatas are the ultimate no-fuss dinner, and that's why we love them for busy weeknights. In this one, we saute earthy chard, chorizo and hash browns in the pan before adding the eggs. The broiler finishes cooking the eggs and turns the top of the frittata a lovely golden brown.

* 7 large eggs
* 3 scallions (1/2 bunch), sliced
* 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 4 cups chopped chard (1 small bunch)
* 1/2 cup finely diced Spanish chorizo or pepperoni (about 2 ounces)
* 3 cups frozen shredded hash browns

1. Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler.
2. Whisk eggs, scallions, cheese, pepper and salt in a large bowl.
3. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet (or broiler-safe nonstick skillet) over medium-high heat. Add chard and chorizo (or pepperoni) and cook, stirring frequently, until the chard is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in hash browns. Pat the mixture into an even layer in the pan.
4. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and evenly spread to the edges. Cook over medium-high heat, lifting around the edges with a heatproof spatula to allow uncooked egg to flow under, until set around the edges, 3 to 4 minutes. Place the skillet under the broiler until the top is cooked and the eggs are slightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.
5. To release the frittata from the pan, run the spatula around the edges, then underneath, until you can slide or lift it out onto a cutting board or serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve.

Per serving: 384 calories; 24g fat (8g sat, 12g mono); 345mg cholesterol; 22g carbohydrate; 0g added sugars; 20g protein; 3g fiber; 683mg sodium; 356 mg potassium.

Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (57% dv), Vitamin C (22% dv), Calcium (20% dv), Iron (17% dv).

My Diabetic Recommendations: Pasta too many carbs?...make a crust using quinoa & Parmesan cheese and bake for 15 minutes to set, then continue with the recipe.

Follow Me on Pinterest

April 17, 2014

Orzo & Grape Salad with Feta & Mint ♥ Week Three, Day Two - EatingWell Meal Plan

I could not wait to make this salad. I had visions of a deconstructed Waldorf, you know, with the grapes and cheese and olives and of course, almonds. Only The Nudge told me, quite authoritatively, that a Waldorf has apples and walnuts and no orzo.

Poo-poo on him. OK, let's just call it a reconstructed Waldorf-style Pasta Salad. He certainly did not go poo-poo after tasting this.

I am enamored with the Mediterranean Orzo side the Macaroni Grill serves with most of their main dishes. It gave me a reason to love orzo as a side and not just in soups. Orzo works so well in salads and supplies the chew that can support a crunch, a salty and a sweet mixture of ingredients and, allows them to shine. Some pasta salads are all pasta and can be starchy, sticky and require a ton of dressing to keep it loose. This is light and refreshing and worked well with grilled chicken breasts.

The next day, I chopped the chicken and made a chicken & orzo salad wrap, yummy! I will be making this many times this summer. It would travel well and be a nice surprise treat for picnickers.

Orzo, Grape and Blue Cheese Salad
Makes: 6 servings

* 3/4 cup orzo
* 2 tablespoons EVOO
* 1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise
* 2 tablespoons lemon juice
* 1 tablespoon honey
* Salt & pepper to taste
* 2 cups quartered green or red grape
* 1 ounce buttermilk blue cheese or, feta cheese
* 2 tablespoons almonds or, walnuts
* 2 tablespoons chopped red onion or shallot
* 2 tablespoons minced Kalamata olives

1. Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Add orzo and cook until just tender, about 8 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water.
2. Whisk oil, mayo, lemon juice, honey, salt & pepper. Add the grapes, onion, almonds to the orzo. Pour over the dressing and toss to combine.

Follow Me on Pinterest

April 15, 2014

Artichoke & Meatball Easter and Passover Appetizers

This year my contribution to our Easter table is a roasted carrot & goat cheese tart & this salmon meatball appetizer dish, but for those looking for a few artichoke dishes, these two hits were from Easter 2011.

Artichoke Fritters and Hearts of Gold with three dipping sauces. These were a hit, and nothing was left over.
Since I usually do stuffed mushrooms, these were a nice change.

Artichoke Fritters
adapted from food52.com
makes about 40 small fritters

* 2 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed well
* 1/2 medium sized onion, skin removed and trimmed
* 3 garlic cloves, peeled
* 1 1/3 cup garbanzo/fava flour
* 1 large egg
* kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon white truffle oil (optional)
* 3 teaspoons salted capers, rinsed and minced
* vegetable oil for frying

1. Add all the ingredients, except the capers, to a food processor and puree until you have a smooth paste. It should still be loose not stiff. Stir in the minced capers. Ask a question about this step.
2. I like to use a wok to fry them but a deep pot would work well here too. Put enough oil into the pot so the fritters will float without touching the bottom of the pan. Just make sure the pot is no more than 1/3 full of oil. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Ask a question about this step.
3. Heat the oil to 350 degree or if you do not have a fry thermometer drop a little dough in and if it pops right back up and bubbles furiously you are good to go. Ask a question about this step.
4. Using a #60 scoop or a tablespoon slip the batter gently into the oil. Do not over crowd and do not let them brown to quickly. Reduce the heat if necessary. Ask a question about this step.
5. When they have finished cooking remove them to a paper towel lined plate or oven proof dish to drain. Slide them into the oven to keep warm while finishing. Repeat the above step until all the batter is gone. Serve immediately.

Lemon-Garlic Mayonnaise
* 1 egg yolk
* 1/2 lemon, juiced
* salt & pepper
* 2 garlic cloves
* 1 tsp Dijon mustard
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil

In a food processor, place first 5 ingredients and process until smooth. With machine running slowly drip the oil into the processor until thick and creamy.
Taste for seasonings.

Savory Grapefruit Sabayon
* 1/4 cup chicken stock
* 1 1/2 tablespoon grapefruit flavored vodka (or vermouth)
* 1/2 cup grapefruit juice
* 2 teaspoons grapefruit zest
* 1 teaspoon honey
* 2 egg yolks
* 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. In a small saucepan, simmer the stock and vodka until reduced by half. Let cool. Ask a question about this step.
2. Combine grapefruit juice, zest and honey in a small bowl. Add to cooled stock mixture. Ask a question about this step.
3. Make a double boiler by bringing some water to boil in a saucepan. Place egg yolks in a small bowl, preferably metal, and place over saucepan. Slowly begin to add the stock mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly. You may need to take the bowl on and off the hot water so as not to overcook the eggs. The sabayon will start off frothy and then become thick and creamy. Ask a question about this step.
4. Cook until an instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees F.

I wanted to make a whole artichoke heart fried with a dipping sauce. This next recipe was perfect.

Artichoke Hearts of Gold
* 2 globe artichokes, preferable with some stalk
* 1/2 lemon
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 egg, beaten
* 1/2 cup Panko and dry bread crumbs, mixed together

1. Prepare the artichokes: Peel all the leaves off the choke. Peel the stalk and with a paring knife neatly trim the bottom where you removed the leaves. Ask a question about this step.
2. Cut the trimmed artichokes in half vertically and with a spoon remove the hairy choke. Be careful when cutting in half to evenly cut the stem, too. Ask a question about this step.
3. Rub immediately with lemon juice so the artichoke doesn't get brown (which happens very quickly!). Steam the hearts until tender. Time will vary depending on the size of the hearts (about 15 minutes). Ask a question about this step.
4. Dip each artichoke half into the egg and then into the bread crumbs. Ask a question about this step.
5. Fry in the olive oil over medium heat until golden.
6. Set on paper towels to absorb the oil. Ask a question about this step.

Creamy Cumin-Lime Dipping Sauce:
* 1/2 cup creme fraiche
* 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
* finely grated zest of a lime
* juice of a lime
* salt

1. Mix all the ingredients together, adding salt to taste. Ask a question about this step.
2. Serve the golden hearts warm with the creamy dipping sauce.

Hope your Easter and Passover was wonderful this year!!

Follow Me on Pinterest

April 14, 2014

Creamy Radish Soup ♥ Week Three, Day One - EatingWell Meal Plan

This was not on the meal plan, but should have been. It was a recipe on EatingWell.com so I added this to replace the day we were suppose to eat the other half of the shrimp dumplings that would have been in my freezer (not gonna happen).

There is always a reason why I replace one dish with another that is already on the menu. In this case it was the bag of radishes not being consumed quickly enough. I have used baked radishes in this side, and knew when roasted or braised they turned from a spicy bite to a sweet earthy flavor. I had to make this soup.
I hoped that The Nudge would embrace this as much as I did.

He proclaimed this soup a keeper (yay!!), and although I served it hot, we both agreed it would be great cold with a finishing swirl of creme fraiche. The perfect warm weather starter and something no one would guess at but would like, very much.

Not only is this low in calories and carbs, it is also low in fat.
Often at 5:00 am, I find myself surfing the TV and there was Dr. Oz talking about the 5 epic diet mistakes smart women are making and why diets fail and that most people are eating the wrong "diet foods". He peaked my interest, so much so that I found myself here and I highly recommend you bookmark it, and download this. It made so much sense that I am ordering a copy of the book that was the basis for the segment I watched, Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Super Immunity Diet.

While eating only those foods on the list would require something of a miracle and only for those training for a huge physical goal, actually including a few in your everyday eating is not all that hard to do and as you read the list, will realize that we were quite familiar that most of the ones at the top are super foods.
The beauty of tucking this list into your pocketbook or on your phone/iPad would be if someone needed to choose grapes or strawberries when shopping. This list will make that decision for you.

I would have loved to discover this list a few weeks ago, while embarking on this meal plan review, because I could see, now, where a sub from this list for one in the original recipe would have really upped the benefits of an already healthy dish.

There is so much information thrown at us that I can see where making a personal meal plan can be a daunting experience. Do I cook for hubby, who loves steak but has high cholesterol or, grandpa's blood pressure problem or Johnny's need for protein during football season? How about my diabetes? My daughter's recent announcement that she's now eating Vegan! OMG.

I do agree that less dairy and meat is a good thing. The Nudge will always eat the meat first, than the vegetables and then the carb. His favorite meal is meatloaf, mashed potatoes and Lima beans and while traveling, will always plan a steak dinner. At least he will get a salad now. I feel like I have to hide the vegetables as you would for a tot.

My advice for multi-health-diet families is to make a dish for each, make them as healthy as you can and let them choose the ones they want or can, eat.

Creamy Radish Soup
Makes: 4 servings

* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 2 cups sliced radishes (I had smaller ones, so two bunches)
* 1/2 cup sweet onion
* 1 medium carrot, chopped
* 2 teaspoons potato flour or, 1 tablespoon potato flakes
* 2 cups low-fat milk (not skim)
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4-1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper
* 1/4 cup lite sour cream
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh radish greens or parsley (optional, I wanted no specks)

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 3/4 cups of the radishes, carrot and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are beginning to brown and the radishes are translucent, about 5 minutes. Mix the potato flour with a little milk to dissolve and add that along with the rest of the milk and stir, until the mixture comes back to a boil. Reduce and cook for 1 minute. Remove to cool. Meanwhile, julienne the remaining 1/4 cup radish slices.
2. Using a stand blender or a stick blender, puree until smooth. Reheat before serving, adjust the seasonings and add the sour cream. Sprinkle julienned radish over soup and serve.

Per serving: 203 calories; 10g fat (3g sat, 6g mono); 12mg cholesterol; 22g carbohydrates; 6g protein; 3g fiber; 395mg sodium; 610mg potassium

1 1/2 carbohydrate serving
Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 low-fat milk, 2 fat

My diabetic recommendation: Omit the potato, add in a carrot and use a mere teaspoon of potato flour as the thickener. This will lower the carbohydrate lower.

Follow Me on Pinterest

April 12, 2014

Corn Tortillas vs Flour Tortillas ♥ Which is healthier?

I am always looking for new inspiration for diabetic-friendly recipes. Lately, I get the impression that even the healthy sites, really have no clue what constitutes diabetic-friendly. I was over at prevention.com today and clicked on their diabetic recipes. Every one of them contained pasta, potatoes, bread and rice and out of 24 recipes none had under 10 carbs per serving.

I know that once you have your diabetes under control (A1C under 5.8), you can eat small portions of those carbohydrate foods, but if you are injecting or have problems relating to diabetes (eyes, nerves, kidneys), carbohydrates are pretty much, for all intensive purposes, forbidden. Yes, our bodies do need certain foods that contain carbohydrates but when I see a recipe with over 30 carbs per serving and no recommendations to sub ingredients that allows the recipient to make the final decision on their own, I imagine no one will tag that as a must try. Even the ADA says that a daily allowable allotment of carbohydrates is over 60 grams per meal or 10% of the calories. I feel that is way too much. I think that a 'no carb day' is just as important as pizza night, and pasta night. Getting people used to eating less carbs can only be a good thing.

There is one thing that my doctor told me that I probably will never forget....
"being pre-diabetic is like being a little bit pregnant."

I am not looking to point fingers at magazines or website, they all want to attract readers and subscribers, but until we educate the younger generation as to what is in store for them if they continue eating french fries and 1/2 a pound of pasta, along with bread 3x a day, in the years to come, I believe diabetes will overtake heart disease related deaths as the No.1 reason in the US.

Over the years I have tried to determine which this vs. that is better for a diabetic or if there was a better ingredient out there that would amount to a magic pill that would allow us to eat pasta every night or have a sandwich for lunch everyday, but all I have been able to do is find a better version for what is already firmly rooted in the American diet.

I limit myself to one tortilla a day, either as part of an egg burrito for breakfast or a turkey roll-up for lunch. If I eat carbs during the day, I don't at dinner. Yes, I do eat pasta once a week (I am Italian, it's my one food addiction) an occasional roll with a burger, never white potatoes and rice once a month. I used to eat rice 3x a week. Now I eat quinoa and millet, amaranth and barley.

Today I am starting a new label and when I finally finish designing my domain website, a new page on that site named "which is healthier". For now I will post a few over the next few weekends when I don't normally post a recipe.

Here goes..........
Since tortillas have surpassed bread, I thought this would be a great place to start.

(picture credit:  prevention.com)

Follow Me on Pinterest

April 10, 2014

Roasted Garlic & Leek Bread Casserole ♥ Week Two, Day Seven - EatingWell Meal Plan

Most times I can tell by reading the ingredient list whether a dish will be something we will like, and I don't always need a picture. I find that most times, the picture they have is nothing like the finished dish on my dinner table. In some cases the picture turns me off and if not for taking the time to read the recipe, many really exceptional dishes would have made the grade.

Such was the case with this dish.

I really don't know anyone who does not like stuffing/dressing with a roast. This was unique because it used leeks, roasted garlic and Swiss cheese. Ingredients that go well together but don't remember ever seeing in a recipe before. Although not your typical stuffing (like in turkey) this is more of a dressing (baked and served in a casserole). It's a southern thing and I actually prefer my stuffing baked separate from the meat. This one had my name all over it.

You can make yours in a large casserole pan but because I halve my recipes, I will bake mine in ramekins that will sit in a bain marie. Right before sliding them into the oven  I will spritz them with my Misto.

Usually made with day-old bread, I had uneaten popovers that I left in a bowl, covered with a napkin for two days. It turned out to be the perfect amount for 4 cups of dressing.
Raclette can be expensive and all you need is 1 cup (about 3") so buy yours where they can cut a 3" piece. If you can't find Swiss raclette cheese, a Gruyére will work well and the German Emmental, while more affordable, has a good strong taste and is also a good choice but, please do not use a Swiss with holes.

While waiting for the bread to soften, roast the garlic.
Instead of water to moisten the bread, I used the last of a can of low-sodium chicken broth and instead of thyme I used ground rosemary. I was pairing this with grilled lamb chops and thought the stronger herb would work with the lamb. (Note: This is a case for powder being better than whole herbs. Throw the hard leaves into an herb grinder until it becomes a powder. No more hard rosemary leaves in your dishes. I also do this with bay leaves.)

As a final garnish and to add crunch, a sprinkle of almonds.

To download all the recipes with their shopping lists, click here.

Roasted Garlic & Leek Bread Casserole
Makes: 6 servings, about 3/4 cup each

EatingWell: This stuffing-like vegetable-and-bread casserole is inspired by the vegetable tians of Provence. The soaked stale bread binds leeks, nutty raclette cheese, abundant roasted garlic and thyme. Serve with roast chicken and a green salad to make a swoon-worthy meal. 

* 1 large head garlic
* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
* 3 cups water plus 2 tablespoons, divided
* 8 slices stale bread, crusts removed
* 4 cups halved and thinly sliced leeks (about 2 large leeks), white and light green parts only
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt, divided
* 1 cup shredded raclette or Gruyére cheese
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Remove the outer skin from the garlic and place the head in a small baking dish. Drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon oil. Add 1/4 inch water to the dish. Roast, uncovered, until tender but still firm, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly, then peel the cloves. Thinly slice and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, bring 3 cups water to a boil. Place bread in a shallow heatproof dish large enough to hold it in a single layer. Pour in enough water to nearly submerge it. Let stand until the bread is saturated, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the bread to a colander in batches and gently press out the liquid. The bread should be somewhat moist, but not dripping. Tear it into irregular pieces. Transfer to a large bowl.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add leeks, 2 tablespoons water and 1/4 teaspoon salt, partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are tender but still bright green, 5 to 7 minutes.
5. Add the leeks to the b owl of bread along with the sliced garlic, 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, cheese, thyme, pepper and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; gently combine with your hands or a spoon. Spread the mixture into a shallow baking dish large enough to hold it in a 1-inch layer, such as a 9x13-inch pan. Drizzle with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil.
6. Bake until crisp and golden in spots, about 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Per serving: 279 calories; 15g fat (5g sat, 8g mono); 21mg cholesterol; 26g carbohydrate; 2g added sugars; 12g protein; 4g fiber; 353mg sodium; 241mg potassium.

Nutrition bonus: Calcium (28% dv), Vitamin A (24% dv), Vitamin C (16% dv).

My Diabetic Recommendations: Use whole grain bread or if you do not like whole grain, the best diabetic bread to eat is rye bread.

Follow Me on Pinterest

April 7, 2014

Brown Rice Risotto With Shrimp, Corn & Edamame ♥ Week Two, Day Six - EatingWell Meal Plan

I have a confession to make. Oh, I could have just posted the recipe with this pic and no one would know better....except me. The recipe used instant brown rice. I dislike instant rice, period.

There is no place in a risotto using anything instant. My Italian just refused to even allow me to think about risotto and instant rice in the same breath.
That rules out an honest opinion on the original recipe from eatingwell.com, but I did make this with brown Basmati rice, using the traditional cooking method and it was excellent. Yup, you heard me, not a short grain rice but long grain rice. The Nudge didn't know there was a difference and I was not going to tell him.

If you would like to know a few fun facts about rice as it pertains to diabetes, read on. if not, skip the next paragraph...............

Let me explain something about rice when it comes to nutrition and starch.
1. A diabetic would be better off eating converted rice because converted means parboiled. The process turns the starch into a resistant starch which does not break down as quickly as regular rice, therefor the Glycemic Index is lower on parboiled (aka; converted) rice.
2. Yes, you can buy converted brown rice but so far I have found it only on Amazon.
3. Rice and pasta are pretty much the same on the GI and the whole grain version of each is the best way to buy them.
4. If you do not like the taste of brown rice or the time it takes to cook it properly, converted is the next best kind to buy. Plus, converted cooks quick so no need for instant.

OK, I am done. So, since risotto takes time to cook, brown rice makes absolutely perfect sense. Oh, btw, they do sell brown Arborio rice if you are a fan of the traditional risotto rice.

I hope I have cleared up all the confusion about rice and diabetes. Now, on to the vegetables.

We do not eat much edamame in this house and I find that if I par-boil them in salted water and squeeze off the outer skin (like fava beans), they cook well and still stay firm. If I don't boil them, they just never get tender enough for my liking. Yes, I can be very fussy when it comes to my vegetables. I like them perfectly cooked.

The last of my confessions are that I used canned shoepeg corn. I like the crunch. Yea, I know. No crunch with the edamame but yes crunch with the corn.

Basically add what type corn or edamame you prefer, it will be wonderful any way you make this, except of course, with instant rice....lol

If you would like to view this recipe as written plus all the other ones and the shopping lists, click here.

Brown Rice Risotto with Shrimp, Corn & Edamame
Makes: 4 servings

* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/2 small sweet onion, chopped or 3 scallions, sliced
* 1 cup Brown Basmati Rice
* 1 cup white wine
* 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
* 1 pound peeled, deveined and sliced horizontally raw shrimp (preferably USA wild caught)
* 1 cup frozen shelled edamame
* 1 cup corn, frozen or canned
* 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, cut into small pieces
* 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1.Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and rice; stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and cook on medium-high heat until most of it is evaporated, 2 minutes. Add broth; return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring every five minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed into the rice. Stir in edamame, corn and cream cheese until the cream cheese is incorporated.
2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet prepared with a release agent (olive oil preferred), heat on high for 3 minutes and saute the shrimp until the edges start to crisp. Remove and add to the rice. Remove from the heat to stir in the cheese and pepper. Top with scallion greens (optional) and serve.

Per serving: 525 calories; 1g fat (6g sat, 5g mono); 173mg cholesterol; 49g carbohydrate; 0g added sugars; 32g protein; 5g fiber; 716mg sodium; 672mg potassium.

Nutrition bonus: Folate (37% dv), Magnesium (34% dv), Calcium (26% dv), Zinc (23% dv), Potassium (19% dv).

My Diabetic Recommendation: If you can find brown Basmati rice I suggest you buy a nice sized bag and sub for every regular rice dish you cook. Not a fan of brown rice, make a batch of 1/2 bulgur, 1/2 converted rice cooked in low-sodium stock.

Follow Me on Pinterest

April 4, 2014

Whipped Feta & Avocado Mayo ♥ A great way to use up guacamole

It's that time of the week, when I check my fridge and pantry to see what needs to be replenished and I noticed a container of feta. I do have an orzo salad on the menu that includes feta cheese but there is more than enough for both recipes.

Yesterday, due to massive cabin fever, I ran to the Big Box hardware store and bought a bag of lump charcoal, wood chips and a new chimney. We finally can get to the grill and I was going to grill lamb chops even if the 50 mile per hour winds tried to blow me away. The wind took the fire to all time highs but they came out perfect, btw.

Now that the grill is all stocked and broken in after a long sleep in the frozen tundra of New Jersey and seems to have come out with all the parts intact, I am adding more grilled meals to the menu.
Yay for me!! I really do love to grill. Yes, I love it more in the summer but I will take any reason to spend time outdoors lately and our budget (and The Nudge) forbids me to buy more clothes.

While The Nudge is a one slice tomato on a hamburger kinda guy, I love all kinds of condiments, which, got me thinking about a whipped feta I saw on Barefoot Contessa and a container of guacamole in the freezer. The combo of the two would make a very interesting topping for a burger and much healthier than sliced cheese or mayo.

Didn't know you could whip feta? It whips light and creamy and by adding a touch of olive oil, it becomes smooth and the oil gives it a richness. By adding guacamole you can eliminate the olive oil and the fat content goes bye-bye but the richness stays.

I had roasted garlic so that went in, and a squeeze of honey to offset the tart of the feta.

Whipped Feta & Avocado Mayo
Makes: 1 cup

* 4 ounces fat-free feta cheese
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* 2 ounces guacamole
* 6 cloves roasted garlic

1. Puree until smooth.

Follow Me on Pinterest

April 2, 2014

Pear-Almond Tart

I am currently trying to remove all the bugs while uploading lost pictures to this site. Please excuse the ongoing construction.

 I originally posted this recipe in November of 2011.
 I thought it deserved a long awaited update. Enjoy!!

I love me a tart. I love to make me a tart. They are easy to prepare and easy to eat. They most always contain less sugar (no icing) and I would say they almost always contain fruit.

What's not to love?

Best thing aout tarts is the press in crusts. I am totally rolled crust deficient so I took a pear filling recipe from Ellie Krieger and created a Diabetic Friendly shortbread crust.

I think a slice of tart is a very nice way to end a meal. Bakery tarts tend to be overly sweet and I like that this recipe is naturally sweet. Serve with a nice dollop of creme fraiche, or even better a creme anglaise (just melt a good quality low fat vanilla ice cream).

Tarts are the perfect dessert for people looking for a slightly sweetened fresh fruit filling to sit on just enough crust, but not too much, to satisfy the carb lover in all of us.

This tart had better come out perfect. I went to a lot of trouble to buy these pears.
Why is it that everytime I get a hankering to bake, it's always during a blizzard?
All the local stores here had no electricity and the Walmart (while it was open for business), their coolers were empty and in the process of being scrubbed and cleaned. I imagine when the electricity went, the food did also.

Determined to find a market I drove to our old stomping grounds in Rockaway where there is not one, but two, Shop-Rites. Their parking lot had hardly any snow.

Pear Almond Tart
serves 8

* 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup almond flour
* 1/4 cup granulated (no sub here, we need the moisture of real sugar but you could use palm sugar)
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
* 1 large egg yolk

* 3 medium very ripe pears
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
* 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 cup thinly sliced almonds

* 1 teaspoon amber agave
* 1/4 teaspoon hot water

1. To prepare the crust, in a processor pulse together all the flours, sugar sub and salt. Add the butter and yolk and process until a dough forms. Pat the dough into a 9" tart pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and prepare the filling. Peel the pears, core them and cut into 1/4-inch slices. In a large bowl toss the pear slices with the lemon juice. Sprinkle in the cornstarch, brown sugar and cinnamon and toss until the pears are evenly coated. Set aside.
3. Arrange the pears evenly in the center of the tart pan. Sprinkle the almonds evenly on top of the pears.
4. Bake the tart for 30 minutes until the almonds and the crust is golden brown.
5. In a small bowl stir together the agave and hot water to make a glaze. When the tart is done remove it from the oven and brush the glaze all over the top of the fruit and crust. Transfer to a plate to cool slightly. Cut into 6 wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Per Serving:
Calories 220 Total Fat 8 g; (Sat Fat 5 g, Mono Fat 2 g, Poly Fat 0 g) ; Protein 3 g; Carb 36 g; Fiber 4 g; Cholesterol 20 mg; Sodium 55 mg
Good source of: Fiber, Thiamin

Follow Me on Pinterest