Thursday, December 22, 2011

How To Make That Sausage Potato Soup know, that one from the Italian Restaurant chain that you love? I've tried a few different recipes and have sort of combined them to make this version. When we made it last night, I used Food & Wine's version as a guide for how much potato and kale to use, but my version is actually a bit different and includes bacon and cream (which I learned from a different recipe that I can no longer find). Anyhow, I cut Food & Wine's recipe in half to make 2 servings for dinner last night. It turned out to be 3 servings, and I had a nice, hearty lunch leftover for today! Calorie count is based on using real (full fat) whipping cream, which is what I had on hand and figured since it's only a little bit, it's no big deal. I have made this with fat free half and half with excellent results, there will be -18 Cal and -2.6 g fat per serving if you make this substitution.

Kale and Potato Soup with Turkey Sausage (SERVINGS: 3)
328 Cal; 14.4g fat (4.5g sat, 2.6g mono, 1.4g poly); 32.6g carbs; 4.9g fiber; 19.7g protein

1 teaspoon canola oil
2 links turkey sausage, casings removed (I used Jennie-O Hot Turkey Sausage)
½ medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 cups water
1 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth
¾ pound boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
Dried red-pepper flakes, to taste
½ pound kale, stems removed, leaves shredded
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled into pieces

1. In a soup pot or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and onion and cook until the sausage is browned and all liquid has evaporated, about 8-10 minutes.
2. Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute longer.
3. Add the water and broth and bring the soup to a boil. Add the potatoes and red-pepper flakes and bring back to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for 2 minutes. Add the kale and bring the soup back to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, until the potatoes and kale are tender, about 6-8 minutes longer.
4. Add the black pepper, bacon crumbles and cream and remove from heat. Stir to combine and serve.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chicken & Broccoli Stir Fry

In an effort to not gain every last pound that I lost before my calf started twitching, we are trying to eat healthy, low-cal dinners again. I am also trying to keep my evening carb-count to a minimum, since I'm not so active after dinner these days (this stupid cold is hindering my activity level even more than my calf twitching). Enter this recipe! Ryan made some rice to go along with his dinner, but I found the extra broccoli really filled me up! This was quick and easy and we have most of the sauce ingredients on hand, so this would work really well with whatever veggie is still in the fridge and whatever protein you want (shrimp & green beans, perhaps?). Original (4-serving) recipe was from Here's my "healthified" version for two servings:

Chicken and Broccoli Stir-fry
SERVES 2; Calories: 294; Total Fat 13.7 grams; Saturated Fat: 2 grams; Protein: 27 grams; Total carbohydrates: 18 grams; Fiber 4 grams; Cholesterol: 61 milligrams; Sodium: 865 milligrams

Game Plan: Marinate the chicken while you prepare the rest of the ingredients
1/2 pound chicken breast (about 1 breast), cubed
2 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle, whites and greens separate
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons reduced sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons Stevia-In-The-Raw
1-1/2 teaspoons, plus 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons dry sherry
1-1/2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
About 8 teaspoons water
1 tablespoon canola oil
3-4 cups broccoli (2 heads), trimmed sliced stalks and medium florets (keep the 2 cuts separate)
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1-1/2 teaspoons hoisin sauce

In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with the scallion whites, about half the garlic and ginger, the soy sauce, Stevia, 1/2 teaspoon of the cornstarch, half of the salt, the sherry, and the sesame oil. Marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes. Mix the remaining cornstarch with the water.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the oil and heat. Add the broccoli stems, and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the florets and the remaining garlic, ginger, 1 tablespoon of water, and season with the rest of the salt and pepper. Stir-fry until the broccoli is bright green but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Get the skillet good and hot again, and then heat 2 more teaspoons oil. Add the chicken and chili flakes. Stir-fry until the chicken loses its raw color and gets a little brown, about 2 minutes. Add the hoisin sauce, return the broccoli to the pan and toss to heat through. Stir in the reserved cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil to thicken. Add more water if need to thin the sauce, if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, if you like. Divide among 2 plates and garnish with the rest of the sliced green onion greens.

Friday, December 09, 2011

My Default Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

We made cookies! Yes, again. Is is December afterall, and that huge bag of Reese's Miniature Cups we bought after Halloween is officially gone. One of our go-to cookie recipes is Oatmeal cookies. 1-because they're the boy's fave and 2-because we almost always have all the ingredients on hand. Most cookie recipes contain the same basic ingredients anyhow. I start with the recipe on the lid or box of Quaker Oats, cut the recipe in half, and make a few alterations in order to make them a little healthier (mostly so that I don't feel as bad when we want to add toffee or chocolate chips to the mix haha). I use Stevia-In-The-Raw in place of the granulated sugar and I replace half of the butter for applesauce for a lower fat cookie (also adding in 1/4 tsp baking powder per 1/4 cup applesauce is supposed to help when baking things). Then I use my trusty Conventional Toaster Oven and only bake as many as we plan to eat - that way, they're always fresh and hot out of the oven YUM! The rest go into the fridge for tomorrow. Sadly, this batch actually used up all the cinnamon we had on hand (probably all of those Snickerdoodles we made last month teehee), and I'm getting awfuly low on brown sugar and white flour now... but this batch should last us through the weekend, at least! Here's my version (we use things other than raisins in ours):

Vanishing Oatmeal (Raisin) Cookies (72 Cal & 2.5 g fat per cookie, not including *)

1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup Stevia-In-The-Raw
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups Quaker Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
*1/2 cup toffee bits, chocolate chips, raisins, craisins, etc.

Heat oven to 350°F.
In large bowl, beat margarine and sugars (and applesauce and baking powder) until creamy.
Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well.
Add oats and raisins; mix well.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown.
Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

One Pot Curry Shrimp Dinner

I don't know about any of you, but I am still working on getting leftover staples from Thanksgiving out of my pantry and fridge! We still have way too many potatoes, onions, celery, and carrots. The turkey's all gone, but I have a freezer full of containers of the turkey stock I made Thanksgiving night after everyone had gone. So when we decided to make shrimp for dinner last night, I wanted to find a recipe that used a bunch of the stuff we had on hand! This was perfect for just that, and it only dirtied 1 skillet to boot! Here's my 2-serving version, adapted from My Recipes/Oxmoor House:

Curried Rice with Shrimp
(585 Cal per serving; 2 servings total)

1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, thinly sliced
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
1-1/2 cups broth/stock (we used turkey stock but any will do)
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 teaspoon curry powder (we used Spicy Curry Powder)
1/2 cup long-grain brown rice (Brown Basmati rice)
Kosher salt and pepper
10 ounces large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon dried basil (fresh is better but all my Basil has gone too seed now)

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onion, carrots, and potatoes; cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to soften, 6 to 8 minutes. If vegetables begin to stick, add a little slosh of broth to skillet.
2. Add garlic and curry powder; cook, stirring until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add rice, broth, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 35 minutes.
3. Add shrimp; stir, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are opaque and rice is tender, another 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and serve.