Friday, January 22, 2010

Lasgna Soup

Sometimes all I want is hearty comfort food but not the mess. This was a great compromise.... I got both the comfort of great food, plus the comfort of ease. Perfect rainy day soup!

1 lb extra lean ground beef/turkey or sausage
1/2 C grated onion
1 heaping tsp fresh garlic
1 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1 1/2 Tlb dried basil (you can use fresh also just not as much)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp oregano
pinch of nutmeg
1 - 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 - 14.5 can diced tomatoes
1 - 6 oz can tomato paste
1 C apple juice
4 beef bouillon cubes
1 1/2 C water
1-2 C sliced or cubed zucchini

12 oz package Armoniche noodles - itty bitty lasagna noodles but any small pasta would really work fine.

2-3 C mozzarella and parmesan cheese for garnish - I usually do equal parts of each and mix it together

Cook meat and onion together until cooked, drain then combine in a crock pot all other ingredients. Let simmer on low minimum 3 hours. Boil noodles until tender but do not overcook, add to soup within 30 minutes of serving. Do not let it keep cooking or the noodles will overcook and get mushy. Serve with lots of cheese on top and fresh asiago cheese bread. 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Quinoa Black Bean Salad

Quinoa Black Bean Salad

After my " Kill Me Now Pound Cake" posted a couple of days ago, I nearly died, literally. I could feel my arteries getting smaller and smaller and the seems on my jeans were looking a bit taught.... so.... This is what I am eating for the next few days and trying oh so hard to stay clear of those darn girl scout cookies.

This is really delish and makes me feel so alive!! My sweet and oh so health conscious friend Liz shared this Yummy Fun with me and I totally love it!

1 C uncooked quinoa (see below)
1 Can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 C roma tomato diced
1 large cucumber sliced (I used the mini cucumbers at Costco)
1 red bell pepper diced
1/4 purple onion diced
2 + limes (for juice) to taste
1 C frozen corn
1 avocado diced (optional)
1/2 bunch cilantro - rinsed and finely chopped

I added these few things for dressing
red wine vinegar/apple cider vinegar (to taste)
olive oil (2 tlb)
pinch of pepper
pinch of course salt

Cook quinoa according to directions. While quinoa is cooking dice your vegetables. Once quinoa is cooked add frozen corn 1st to start the immediate cooling process for the quinoa, then add all the remaining veggies and dressing (lime, vinager, oil s&p) :) and place in fridge until chilled. Serve alone or with healthy tortilla chips.

This is Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah). It might not be new to you but it is relatively new to me and I think I have found my new favorite thing. It is high in protein, high in fiber, contains all 8 essential amino acids and high in iron, calcium, magnesium and B vitamins.

It can be used as a substitute for rice or pasta, put in soups, breakfast cereals and I even put it in my morning shake today raw (but rinsed). ONE HELPFUL hint, make sure you rinse thoroughly, there is a very bitter outer coating that must be rinsed before boiling. Apparently you can cook it and freeze it as well though I have not tried it. Anyway, I am sure you will see more of this little goodie from me in the future.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Kill Me Now Pound Cake

This recipe came from my good friend Stacy Chen, who is an amazing baker and cook. She made me this cake a couple of times and I just made it myself and oh my goodness..... just kill me know. WARNING... not conducive for new year diets! It is rich, soft, creamy, with a delectable chewy crust... oh my! Oh so good and oh so dangerous.

1 ½ c butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3 c sugar
6 eggs
2 t vanilla
3 c flour
1 t salt

Combine butter and cream cheese, beat until smooth.  Add sugar and beat on high speed until light and airy (about 5 minutes).  Add the eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition.  Add the vanilla, then the flour and salt together.  Beat until combined (don’t over beat).  Pour batter into a well buttered and sugared tube or bundt pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hr. 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

o    Do not take this cake out early.  If the cake comes out of the oven before a toothpick comes out completely clean it is not done.  This cake gains its’ flavor as it bakes, especially during those last ten minutes-so NO under-baking.

Here is a great tip for the cake. I buttered and sugared my pan and I LOVED it!
• Sugar your pans instead of flouring them. There are two ways to do this depending on the results you are looking for. If you use shortening and sugar you will get a soft, pale crust (almost crustless). If you use butter and sugar you will get a crispy, darker crust. Butter will not dissolve the sugar, so you have little crystals on the crust.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Chicken Curry Sloppy Joes

This is a recipe (a bit modified) my sister gave to me. I loved it but changed it to chicken rather than beef and added a few ingredients I thought make it superb. You can also do this in a crock pot in the morning with frozen chicken and it will be falling apart by the end of the day! Easy and tasty!

3-4 chicken breasts boiled, shredded and seasoned 

SAUCE - bring to a simmer the following ingredients
1/2 - 1 sweet onion finely chopped
1/2 C Water
1 T sugar
1/4 tsp sage
1 tsp salt
1/2  + tsp chili powder
1/2 + tsp curry
1 tsp garlic
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp peper
2 bay leaves or a pinch of bay leaf flakes
1 C ketchup
1/2 C diced green bell pepper (I personally refer red)

Once simmering add shredded chicken (or ground beef/turkey) and serve hot over toasted hoggie rolls. 

Monday, January 4, 2010

Chicken Basil Heaps on Pita Bread

Seasoned pita bread - rosemary/Italian/mulitgrain cut into wedges or squares
3-4 Chicken breasts - boiled, shredded and seasoned
1/3 C. sun dried tomatoes
3 sprigs fresh basil - washed and finely snipped
3/4 C lite mayo
1 C swiss cheese
1 tea garlic salt (to taste)
1/2 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp garlic
2 Tbl seasoned rice vinegar
1 + 1/4 tsp sugar
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Prepare chicken and set aside to cool. Chop up fresh basil and sun dried tomatoes and combine with chicken, set aside. Mix together in a bowl mayo, cheese, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, sugar and mix well then combine with chicken mixture. Dollop chicken heaps on cut flat breads and top with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake 400 for 5-8 minutes until golden and bubbly. Great as an appetizer or served with fresh salad for main course. YUM!

Chicken Salad with Red Bell Peppers (alternative to above)
3-4 Chicken
1 tsp rosemary blend spice
fresh parsley if available 
1 tsp garlic
garlic salt - to taste
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 C celery - finely chopped
1/2 C red bell pepper - finely chopped
3/4 C lite mayo
1/4 sour cream
1/2 C fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 C fresh sweet onion (or 1 1/2 Tbl dried onion flakes)

You can totally play with this method. Just make you chicken base then throw in whatever excites you. I have done spinach and artichoke, cream cheese with green onion and mushroom, apple and celery with cheese. etc... this has so much latitude to be creative.