Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Enchiladas Done Light

Gobble Gobble! As Turkey Day nears, we at home have been trying to eat a variety of different foods this week. On Monday, we made Five Spice Scallops with Anchovy & Garlic Asparagus on the side. I think the scallop recipe is technically meant to be used as an appetizer and not a main dish, so we basically each had 2 of what they refer to as a "serving" in the recipe (we cut both of the total recipes in half to come up with 2 servings total). Nice and easy recipes for a quick week-night meal and definitely not anything we plan on eating for Thanksgiving. And the whole meal was only 215 calories (= cookies for dessert, yesssss!)

For last night's dinner, Ryan wanted enchiladas. We've made this recipe from Eat Yourself Skinny a couple of times now and it's a big hit! It's hard to believe each enchilada is only 160 calories, but it's true! And the sauce is the perfect flavor and so easy - no more canned sauce for us! Now if only I could find tomato sauce in something other than a can, I've been hearing little birdies talk about how the acid in the tomatoes breaks down the tin, releasing BPAs in the process... yuck! I even just read that BPA levels tested on humans right after eating a can of soup spiked by over 1000%! Yikes! Moral: avoid canned stuff. Guess I'll need to make my own tomato sauce now! Here's the recipe. Try these soon! You'll want them in your meal-rotation, I promise! If you don't have any leftover chicken, we usually poach ours in chicken stock for about 17 minutes (add chicken to a saucepan and cover with chicken stock or water or a combo of both and let it simmer away for 17 minutes). Top these off with some diced up fresh tomatoes, extra cilantro, avocado slices, and a dollop of fat-free plain greek yogurt - YUM!

Skinny Chicken Enchiladas (159.5 calories per enchilada)

For the sauce:
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can diced green chilis (we use Hot Fire-Roasted Green Chilis)
3/4 cup tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. southwest chipotle seasoning (Mrs. Dash)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth
Salt and fresh pepper to taste

For the chicken:
1/2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. southwest chipotle seasoning (Mrs. Dash)
8 tsp. chicken broth
1/4 cup tomato sauce
4 (6-inch) reduced carb whole wheat flour tortillas
1/2 cup shredded low-fat Mexican cheese
Nonstick cooking spray

In a medium saucepan, spray oil and saute garlic for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add green chilis, chipotle seasoning, cumin, chicken broth, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onions and garlic on low until soft, about 2 minutes. Add chicken, salt, cilantro, cumin, oregano, chipotle seasoning, tomato sauce, chicken broth, and cook 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Spray a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish with non-stick spray. Put 1/3 cup chicken mixture into each tortilla and roll it. Place in baking dish seam side down. Top with sauce and cheese. Cover with foil and bake in the oven on the middle rack for 20-25 minutes. Top with extra cilantro if desired and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Anti-Vampire Soup

When I first took my job up in Santa Rosa, my first few thoughts were:
1. Where exactly is Santa Rosa in relation to the East Bay?
2. Isn't that where Guy Fieri lives?
The answers are:
1. Up above the North Bay
2. Yep!

After realizing that, I was just waiting for the opportunity to check out his restaurant, Johnny Garlic's, in Santa Rosa. As it turns out, the Windsor restaurant is closer, and my boyfriend took me there for lunch on my birthday back in April. I of course had to try the Roasted Garlic soup with my lunch, and was far from disappointed. The soup simply oozes garlic and I could have eaten another bowl or two instead of whatever it was I ended up eating for lunch. The soup was the clear winner of that meal!
I found the recipe on Food Network and we've made it a few times since. The biggest advice I have to make this a quick cooking weeknight meal is to roast the garlic the night before and pop it in the fridge. Then the rest of the soup comes together in around 30 minutes. Here's our version, adapted from
the original on Food Network:

Roasted Garlic Soup (4 servings; 356 calories per serving)

6 large whole heads garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper, divided
6 tablespoons Smart Balance Light spread
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
4 cups 99% fat free chicken stock
2 cups water
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 cup fat free half & half

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cut the tops off the garlic heads just to expose the bulbs and remove any excess papery skins. Place in a large sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Close the foil around them, leaving a space between the tops and the foil, and place on a baking sheet in the oven. Roast until soft and fragrant, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove, cool, and squeeze out the garlic into a bowl.
In a large, heavy soup pot (preferably enameled cast iron) over medium-high heat, melt the Smart Balance, add the roasted garlic, and cook for 5 minutes. Add in the flour and cook until a dark golden roux is achieved, an additional 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1 cup chicken stock, incorporate, and repeat until all the chicken stock had been added. Repeat with the water. Add the Italian seasoning, remaining salt and pepper, and stir to combine well. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Add in the half & half and cook for 10 minutes more at a very low simmer, stirring occasionally.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Clam Chowder, without the nasty side effects

This is a pretty delayed post, since I actually made the Clam Chowder on Monday. I have been putting off making Clam Chowder myself for so long because I just love eating it in a bread bowl by the SF Bay or Ocean when I make it over the bridge. However, my slight lactose intolerance sometimes makes it a less than enjoyable experience an hour or so after scarfing down a huge bowl of the stuff. That said, I decided to try a lightened up version with lactose free milk in place of the cream/half and half/milk option. I went the easy route, and also decided to try a recipe that used canned clams instead of fresh clams, mostly because I've never bought or prepared whole fresh clams myslef (yet). I found this version in my email inbox recently and decided to give it a go. I tend to err on the safe side and only make a small batch of new recipes so I don't have leftovers to throw away when it comes out a horrible mess (which has only happened a few times really). This recipe would have been lovely to have as lunch all week, so next time I will make the whole batch. Since we ate it as a meal in itself, 1 serving is really 2 servings. I cut the recipe in thirds and we ended up with 2 dinner sized servings and 1 lunch sized serving, if that helps put it in perspective. Anyhow, here is my 4-serving adaptation of the recipe I received from Cooking Light:

Simple Clam Chowder; 4 servings (approx 1 cup each):

1 bacon slice
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
Pinch of salt (I used Lawry's Seasoned Salt)
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 (6 1/2-ounce) cans chopped clams, undrained
1/3 pound diced peeled baking potato (I used one Organic Yukon Gold potato)
1-1/2 bottles clam juice (approx 12 oz)
1 bay leaf
1 cup 2% Lactose Free milk
8 teaspoons whole wheat flour
Cracked black pepper, to taste

Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving the drippings in pan. Crumble bacon; set aside.
Add onion, celery, salt, thyme, and garlic to drippings in pan; cook 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Drain clams, reserving liquid. Add clam liquid, potato, clam juice, and bay leaf to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until potato is tender. Discard bay leaf.
Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk until smooth (or shake vigorously in an old jar or yogurt container like I did - works much faster than using a whisk!). Add flour mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 12 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Add clams; cook 2 minutes. Sprinkle with bacon and cracked black pepper.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Unhealthy Snickerdoodles = Happy Me

Halloween is officially over and apparently so is fall on the East Coast. It's still mostly Summer over here in the NorCal area... I actually broke a sweat on my lunchtime walk around the block yesterday! 76 degrees in Santa Rosa. Gotta love Cali! I recently started following How Sweet It Is, a blog which I prolly should have stayed far, far away from. Why? Because I discovered these in my email a few weeks ago and promptly printed out the recipe. In an effort to not royally screw up the goodness that is a Snickerdoodle in any way, shape, or form, the only change I made was to use 1/2 real sugar and 1/2 Stevia In The Raw. You'd never even know it. I was hesitant to do the apple sauce substitution since there is only one egg, but it does take a whole stick of butter too. Maybe next time I'll replace half the butter with apple sauce and see how it goes. Here's my version of the recipe (note that I intentionally did not figure out the nutritional value of each cookie. It's better this way, I promise):

Snicker-Chip-Doodle Cookies

makes approx 20 cookies

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Stevia-in-the-Raw
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons 2% milk
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee chips
2 Tbsp sugar + 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon for dipping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, mixing well until combined, about 2 minutes. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix until dough comes together. Add in milk. If dough is still crumbly, add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until it comes together (I did not need to add more milk). Fold in chocolate and toffee. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In a bowl combine remaining sugar and cinnamon. Remove dough from fridge and roll into big 1 1/2 inch balls. Dip in cinnamon sugar mixture and place on baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.