Monday, January 31, 2011

Turkey Soup with Baby Bok Choy and Spinach and Snowmageddon in Chicago

When The Blizzard of 2011, aptly named, Snowmageddon,  drops 24" snow with 40MPH winds in 12 hours, you make soup to warm your body and your soul. We made Turkey Soup with Baby Spinach and Baby Bok Choy.  It was so good and had a lot of flavor.  Fortunately, last week we had made a turkey breast in the slow cooker, and added chicken stock and a little white wine, which made a wonderful leftover turkey stock, once most of the turkey breast was eaten  We saved enough breast meat for soup, but disposed of the bones. We never imagined that we'd be eating this soup during Snowmageddon. You know that things are bad when you have to shovel a path for your dog on your patio to go outside.  The look on Bailey's face says it all .We have to put on her Winnie The Pooh sweater, so we can find her.   Our herb pot on our patio is peeking out of the snow.  Now back to the soup...
Bailey on the path

Out our Front Door

 If you don't have turkey stock, you can use chicken stock, boxed or home made.To our turkey stock, we added about a cup more of chicken stock, and 1/4 C white wine.  You can also use cooked chicken or pork.Then we sauteed 4 whole carrots, sliced, 1 med. onion, diced, and added to the stock  Then we sauteed 4 whole carrots, sliced, 1 med onion diced, and added to the stock, along with 1c. diced, cooked turkey, and seasonings.  We used Sunny Singapore No-Salt seasoning blend  This seasoning is a blend of Eastern  and Western Spices, coriander, cumin. lemon peel, cardamom, and ginger, just to name a few. We got this seasoning at The Spice House. ** Simmer for about twenty minutes. We just used what we had in our fridge. My husband had wanted green cabbage in the soup, but when I went to the store, the whole green cabbage would have been $3.00!! I ended up getting two Baby Bok Choy for $.50. After the soup has simmered for 20 min. You can add the sliced Baby Bok Choy and Baby the simmered broth, and serve with slices of crunchy, toasted French bread,

Turkey Soup with Baby Bok Choy and Baby Spinach
4C turkey or chicken stock
1/4 C white wine
Additional 1 C. chicken stock, low sodium from Trader Joe's
1 C. diced turkey
Sunny Singapore No Salt Seasoning**
4 whole carrots, sliced thin  We like a lot of carrots.
1 med. onion, diced
2 Baby Bok choy, sliced
Handful of Baby spinach leaves

Saute carrots and onions in 2 tbsp olive oil for about 5 min. Add to soup pot.  Simmer turkey stock, chicken stock, seasoning, diced turkey, diced turkey and wine in soup pot for 20-25 min.

Add sliced Baby Bok Choy and Baby Spinach, and simmer for 2 min. longer.  Serve steaming bowls with slices of crunchy. toasted  French Bread, and thank your lucky stars, that you're inside a warm house, enjoying warm, wonderful bowls of  soup.

** I do not receive any compensation or free products, from The Spice House.  I just like their reasonably priced spices.

  I was fortunate to receive three different  blog awards recently .I treasure these awards, because they are given from my peers, the food blogging community, that read and comment on my blog. Thank you so much, each and everyone of you!  I appreciate each and everyone of the comments and encouragement that I receive, from all of you.

The first award that I received was  the one above from Sandra's Easy Cooking.  If you haven't stopped by her blog, please do so.  She has lots of delicious recipes with gorgeous pictures. She just was one of the Top 9 for January 31st.

My second award comes from  Brandie at The Country Cook   Thank you so much for this "Stylish"  Award  She is just a blogger this month, and has a lovely blog with lots of Southern favorites. Stop by and check out her blog. .I am going to  to pay this award forward to some  bloggers, who have never received an award, as far as I know, or whose blog I admire.
 Katrina' from In Katrina's Kitchen.
Abeer from CakeWhiz
Steph from Steph's Bite by Bite
Brooks fromCakewalker

The third award is From Mateja Indulging Life., who is from Slovenia, but now is Nashville.  She has a lovely blog with recipes from her chidhood, as well as recipes she cooks for her family now. She created and desingned her own award, the Most Deserved Award, to give back to all the wonderful bloggers that she has met, and who read her blog, support her, and inspire her.  I am so honored to receive this award from her. Anybody that creates their own award to pay back their fellow bloggers, deserves to receive that very award.
Mateja embodies all of the qualities, which she chose for her award. So without further ado, I am passing on 

The Most Deserved award to  Mateja, Indulging Life 


Saturday, January 29, 2011

‘Mr. Cub’ Celebrates 80th Birthday On Ernie Banks Day

This little impromptu post is for all my Cubs fans. Today is Ernie Banks 80th Birthday!!!!  Ernie Banks truly "bleeds" Cubbie Blue..  You see the next best thing to food for me is sports.  I guess I can thank my Dad for that.  He loved sports of any kind, and followed them all.  In my next life, I would either want to be Giada or Erin Andrews.  (I don't think that they have any 60 yr old women sports casters now) 

Pitchers and Catchers report for Spring Training and the first Spring Training game is Feb. 27th.  that's less than a month away!  It will be Spring, before we know it.  Hope "Springs" eternal.  So follow this link to see a great article about "Mr. Cub", Ernie Banks! Now I think that I'll go make one of Giada's recipe's:)

 ‘Mr. Cub’ Celebrates Birthday On Ernie Banks Day « CBS Chicago

Friday, January 28, 2011

Peanut Butter Oatmeal M&M Cookies-Frigidaire Make Time For Change

One of the  best gifts that we can give to our children is cooking with them and giving them a love of cooking and healthy food.  These are lessons that they will carry into adult life, that will prove invaluable. Cooking is educational using measurements, and various ingredients, as well as teaching a healthy lifestyle. Cooking also provides precious time to bond with your children, and make them feel grown up and special.  I cooked with my Mom, I cooked with my boys, and I have cooked with my granddaughter, Now  my boys are grown adults, and one  cooks for  his wife ,and the other for his fiancee.

I would like to mention that if you are familiar with Frigidaire, you have to know that they are helping raise the money for children and if you join and visit each day, Frigidaire will donate $1.00 to Save the Children and the website help provide nutritious snacks and promote healthier lifestyles for children living in poverty in the U.S. So visit, join and also help just by clicking on the links below.

On this website "Cooking Academy-Make Time for Change" you will find many great things, healthy recipes, daily tips, videos and along you are helping benefit the cause of this wonderful Frigidaire's Campaign"Save the Children"  I made Peanut Butter Oatmeal M&M Cookies for my submission.  I used to make M&M cookies with my kids and my Granddaughter. Who doesn't love M& M's?  I adapted my recipe from Pillsbury Poppin' Fresh Homemade Cookies, Circa 1989. I added  oatmeal to Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe, and replaced the shortening with peanut butter, and didn't add the sunflower seeds.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal M&M Cookies- Yield 14 large cookies 350 Degree oven

3/4 C firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c butter, softened
3/4 C peanut butter, don't use natural peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 C AP flour
1 C old fashioned  rolled oats
1 Tsp baking soda
1 C M&M's  plus addt'l 1/2 c for tops of dough before baking.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl cream brown sugar, white sugar, peanut butter, and butter until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla, until well combined.  In a medium bowl  combine flour and baking soda. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix well.  Stir in 1 C of M&M's into prepared dough.  Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate, if necessary for easier handling. Shape into 2 " balls  and place four inches apart on an ungreased  cookie sheet. Press an additional1/2 C M&M's into the balls to decorate the tops.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, 15 min for soft cookies, and 18-20 min for crispy 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet and place on rack to cool. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bars for a Cause!

 I made these Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bars for   Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society  One of the causes of my Mom's passing was Multiple Myeloma., and my brother is in remission with a rare, chronic type of Leukemia, so this bake sale piqued my interest for sure..Also, my next door neighbor is a survivor of non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

I signed up to bake some goodies, which will be auctioned off Monday, May 2nd. , and then I send the baked goods to the highest bidder for my Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bars. I had made Raspberry bars before, but decided to add the dark the recipe. Oh Yum!  They are so good.  I chose to make bars, because they ship well.  This is the batch that I made for the picture, and I'll be baking another batch to send to the highest bidder, which might be you,!  If you are interested in being a baker, you better hurry, or if you want more information, just go to my blog .  See you at the Bake Sale.!

Here is my recipe for the Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bars.

2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 c. butter
1 lg. egg, beaten
1 tsp. almond extract, or vanilla
3/4 c. raspberry jam
12 oz. chocolate chips, I used Dark Chocolate chips
1 c. almonds, sliced, didn’t use

Combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter. Stir in beaten egg and extract until just moistened. Save 1 cup dough. Press remaining dough into greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Spread jam over dough. Combine reserved dough and chips. Sprinkle over jam. Press lightly into jam with fork. Bake at 350 degrees 35 to 40 minutes or until top is golden. Let cool in pan. While slightly warm, slice into bars, then let them cool completely in pan. Drizzle glaze on bars, if desired.. Let icing set before serving. Freezes well.

Monday, January 24, 2011

" Rustic" Applesauce Cake Snowflakes and a New Camera!

If you look up the word rustic in the dictionary, it means simple or unsophisticated,  and that what these snowflakes are.  I saw the Applesauce Cake recipe on Cakewhiz's blog, and new that I wanted to make it.  I also had snowflake molds, that I could use , because of all of our snow. I didn't think however that the cake turns out a brownish color, not white like snowflakes, ergo rustic snowflakes.

This applesauce cake is very moist and flavorful with applesauce, cinnamon and vanilla.  I made a few modifications, as I usually do.  I substituted unsweetened apple sauce for the sweetened applesauce, and I used soy milk for the whole milk, and it turned out fine. First you combine the dry ingredients and  then add the wet ingredients to the dry, beat until well combined.  You can also add nuts, if you want. and pour in your pans or molds. Bake for 40-45 min at 350 degrees, depending on the size of the pan.  Now go over to Abeer's blog and check out her recipe.  She's a very good cake decorator and her mini cakes look so much better than my snowflakes:)

Now, I am so excited, because I finally got a new camera. I got a Panasonic DWC-FS6, which is working  out very well for me, so far. I didn't get a D-SLR for two reasons: 1) I couldn't afford one, and 2) I wasn't really ready for one.  I have very little photographic experience, so I need to "grow" into the D-SLR.  First, I have to learn how to use and  my operate my new camera.  I am also going to get the gronies lights from IKEA, and the Satco bulbs as recommended by Marc at No Recipe. I get very little direct sunlight  in my house because, it's surrounded by woods. Chef Dennis has also given me in put, Thanks Chef! My pictures are a work in progress, and  I  I have a lot to learn about photography and food styling. One tip that Stef gave me, was that she buys scrap booking paper for the backgrounds..  I used a paper napkin for the background above for the snowflake.  I also see a photography class in my future. any other suggestions from any of you would be greatly appreciated!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and I met "Stef" from The Cupcake Project!

How would feel if you got to meet your your hero, mentor, or favorite rock star? I got to meet "Stef" the author of the famous, blog, The Cupcake Project. in St. Louis, when I went to see my granddaughter last week, and I was so excited. Even before I started blogging, I began to read her blog, and fell in love with cupcakes. Her blog continues to inspire me and makes we want to  be better  blogger. I had tried to meet Stef before on previous trips, but it never worked out until last week.  We met at a little restaurant in the St. Louis Area, and had a very nice lunch.  Stef is a very busy woman, juggling a photography business with her husband, having a very popular food  blog, and a Mom of a 16 month. old son. I marvel at all of you women out there juggling so many things.
Me & Stef
For all of you "cupcakers" out there you will recognize her from her blog.and her many awards and accomplishments. To name a few, she has been in People magazine, writes cupcake recipes for Paula Deen, On Fox 2 News, mentioned in the NY times, and many others, to numerous  to mention. Her blog is totally cupcakes or cupcake related items 24/7, and the amazing cupcake combinations that she creates. Go on over and check out here blog and the amazing cupcakes that she makes, if you haven't already done so.

In honor of Stef,  I made her Carrot Cake Cupcakes  with Cream Cheese frosting with a few modifications I didn't have any cardamon, so  I just added another 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon.  I also didn't have a coconut to desicate, or coconut oil.  I just used regular coconut in a bag and vegetable oil for the coconut oil., and added raisins.  Otherwise they are just like Stef's:)  You may wonder why I'm making Carrot Cake Cupcakes in the dead of winter. Well,  I got a new food processor for Christmas, so I grated the carrots with the processor,  so easy, These cupcakes are so moist and flavorful with the coconut, carrots, raisins, and cinnamon.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Guest Baker, The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe, and Locks of Love

The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

I would like to introduce you to my Guest Baker, Aria, my granddaughter, who lives near St. Louis.  I went to see her last week,. so she  wanted to make this  Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that she has been making since she was four years old, really. I started making cookies with her, when she was 18 mos. We baked treats for our tea parties, which were a ritual for us, when she came to visit at my house  Her Grandma Ceci has had this recipe since 1993, the year that Aria was born. Aria makes this recipe very often, when she isn't busy with basketball, golf or track.
There are many, many chocolate chip cookie recipes, but this particular one has Butter flavored Crisco of all things.  The Crisco does allow the cookies to bake nice and round.  I have used butter in my chocolate chip cookies, and they flatten out too much, but now I try to refrigerate the dough.  If  you don't want to use the Crisco, you can try and substitute something else, .recipes are fickle as you know. Aria also uses milk chocolate chips, but you could use semisweet, if you want.  Now for Locks of Love.

Aria had 14" cut off of her hair, and donated it to Locks of Love. For those of you who don't know about Locks of Love, it is is a non-profit organization that uses the hair to make hairpieces for children who have long term medical hair loss.  I am so proud of her for making this donation of her hair. Here is a before picture
 before her haircut.
Before the haircut

And after

Finally, Here is the The Ultimate Chcolate Chip Cookie Recipe, that Grandma Ceci cut out of a magazine 17 years ago. These cookies are crispy, chewy, and gooey, all at the same time, everything that you want in a Chocolate Chip Cookie.  Excuse me while I go get a cup of steaming coffee to drink, as I eat this wonderful c cookie!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Peanut Butter Banana Birthday Cake for Bailey's 6th Birthday!

Bailey's 6th Birthday Cake
Yesterday was Bailey's 6th birthday, and I have always made this birthday cake for her,  It is dog friendly recipe, with peanut butter and banana,  two of her two most favorite foods that we give her.  She is definitely a foodie, though.  She tried to steal baked goods cooling on the counter, so now I have to put them in the laundry room, out of her reach.

A little closer.....

Bailey takes a bite of the cake! Do you think that she likes it?
Bailey is also Princess of the Pillows and Blankets.  She loves anything soft and cuddly, because we have hardwood floors, throughout the house.

Is your dog OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?  Mine is! Check her out!  She lines up her buddies on the rug!

Bailey will be sharing her Birthday cake with the Boxer next door, Duncan, who is her buddy.  Even though Duncan is 70 lbs and Bailey is 30 lbs, she gives him a run for his money. and woofs at him all the time. Unfortunately, we don't have a picture of Duncan:(  Woof!

Peanut Butter Banana Cake Adapted from Dog Treat Recipe

1 cup whole wheat flour all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup peanut butter, I used natural peanut butter
1 ripe, mashed banana
1 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
Mix together flour and baking soda. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into a 8X8 pan sprayed with a nonstick spray for 40 minutes. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Champagne Cupcakes-An Engagement Celebration!

 My son and his girlfriend got engaged over the holidays!  Yahoo!! Our family has been anticipating this for some time, and we're very excited to say the least.  We were  having a little engagement dinner with them last week, and I knew that I wanted to make special cupcakes, Champagne Cupcakes.  I  saw  on squirrelbakes  blog, that she had made Pink Champagne Cupcakes and brushed them with additional champagne, before frosting.  Good, I would do that, but I would use Brut champagne, not pink.

So I set to work to  make these wonderful cupcakes. Everything was going fine, the egg whites whipped stiff peaks. but when I went to fold them in the batter, the egg whites de-stabilized or deflated to almost liquid egg whites again.  I wanted to cry.  I kept my composure and I did what anybody web savy does, when they have a question, I googled, "Can I re-whip egg whites?' I promptly found that the egg whites need some type of acidic component to stabilize the egg whites.  Beat in the cream of tartar the recipe calls for, or, if not specified in the recipe, 1/4 teaspoon per 2 egg whites of cream of tartar OR lemon juice OR vinegar, midway through whisking. This is helpful to stabilize them and keep them from liquefying again. I love Google!!! However, now I had to start over bringing 6 eggs to room temperature, very important, separating the whites from the yolks, and whipping these egg whites into stiff peaks, adding the appropriate amount of vinegar, midway. My egg whites were perfect this time and didn't de-stabilize!   So, four hours later I had Champagne Cupcakes.  I'm glad that I made these cupcakes the day before the dinner.  than the next day I had to frost them. I wanted the pretty pink colored cupcakes that I saw on squirrelbakes blog, but, oops, I got too much red food coloring in the frosting, so they are a darker pink.  These cupcakes were definitely a labor of love, and definitley special and delicious..  Here is a picture of the happy couple! 

 Champagne Cupcakes 
3 cups cake flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 and 1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup champagne
6 egg whites, room temperature **
additional champagne for glazing

3 and 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter, softened
3 tbsp  champagne
4-5 drops red food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease or line two cupcake pans and set aside. In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy in a large bowl.. Alternate adding flour mixture and champagne to butter mixture. In a large, clean, bowl beat egg whites**. Midway through beating, add 1/4 teaspoon per 2 egg whites of cream of tartar OR lemon juice OR vinegar.. This is helpful to stabilize the egg whites.  Continue beating egg whites, till stiff peaks form.  Be careful not to over beat, or egg whites will de-stabilize.  Fold in 1/3 of the whipped egg whites and mix thoroughly. Add in remaining egg white mixture till combined. Fill cupcake liners with 1/4 cup of batter and bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove and let cool completely on wire rack. Once cupcakes have cooled, gently poke 8-10 holes in cupcake using a toothpick. Using a pastry brush, glaze the cupcakes with extra champagne.

For frosting, beat butter till creamy. With mixer on low, slowly add in sifted confectioners' sugar. Once all sugar is incorporated beat on high for 3-5 minutes or until smooth and fluffy. Add in champagne and mix till incorporated. Fill a pastry bag with frosting and decorate cooled and champagne glazed cupcakes. Enjoy!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

I Made Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes-The Recipe

Here is my disclaimer.  When I originally published this post, I inadvertently forgot to post the recipe.  I'm so sorry, blame it on a senior moment!   I now  have included the recipe, the mysteries of Foodbuzz.  I just canceled the original post and started over.

When I first started blogging, I wondered how I would  ever have enough recipes and stories to blog about. What I soon discovered is that life happens, and almost every day there is something or someone to blog about. Because we have a blended family, it is very difficult to get everyone together at the same time, so we have many Christmas celebrations.. A few days ago we where having another celebration, so I decided to make Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes for another granddaughter, who is now vegan, and lives in the area.

I had just gotten the Crazy About Cupcakes book by Krystina Castella.  She has a vegan Chocolate Cupcake recipe, which looked very good, and that is the one that I used.  It has applesauce in place of the oil or butter, and vinegar and  baking soda to replace the eggs. The recipe also used cocoa powder for the chocolate.  You can get vegan sugar at a health food store. This recipe makes a a very moist, chocolaty, cupcake.  You should try them, they are good and the are fairly healthy. Here is the recipe.  Hope that you are off to a great start in 2011!

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes from Crazy about Cupcakes by Krystina Castella
Makes 24 cupcakes


6 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
2 1/4  C water
1 Tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp white vinegar
2 1/2 C all purpose flour
2/3 c cocoa powder
2 C unbleached cane sugar.  ½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees oven.   Insert cupcake liners in 2 - 12 cup cupcake pans.
2. In a large bowl mix together the applesauce, water, vanilla, and vinegar.
3. In a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients.
4. Carefully add the dry ingredients to the liquid mixture.  Beat well.
5. Fill cupcake liners ¾ full. Bake 20-25 min, or until pick inserted in center of cupcake, comes out clean.
6. Cool cupcakes on rack, and frost when cooled completely.

Vegan Chocolate Frosting

1 Cup Earth Balance vegan spread, softened, not melted. Available at Trader Joe’s
2C vegan powdered sugar I used regular powdered sugar
2/3 c cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/ c. soy milk

Beat Earth Balance until fluffy. Combine powdered sugar and cocoa in separate bowl.  Gradually add powdered sugar mixture and vanilla to Earth Balance.  Beat with electric mixer.   Add soy milk until desired consistency.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cranberry Orange Nut Bread-Warm your Kitchen & Your Soul!

Even though the holidays are over, there are still times to enjoy Cranberry Orange Nut Bread.  Quick breads are easy and are good for a quick breakfast, snacks with a glass of milk, or time to relax with a steaming cup of coffee or tea, after you come in from shoveling..  Baking is a good way to warm your heart and soul, especially when the weather is snowy and cold.  Today it seems, that is most of the country.  So turn on oven, and bake something, even if you don't bake that often, whether or (weather) it be simple or complex. You can bake breads, muffins, cookies cakes, pies, brownies, etc., and just smell the wonderful flavors wafting from your kitchen.  Just see how warm and wonderful you feel, when you bake with love, and share your creation with the ones that you love, or give away to a friend or neighbor.  
PS Engagement Cupcakes are still coming!

Cranberry Orange Nut Bread
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 egg, well beaten
1 C. dried cranberries, or any dried fruit or raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in orange juice, orange peel, oil and egg. Mix until well blended. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Spread evenly in loaf pan.

Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely. Wrap and store overnight. Makes 1 loaf.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup

We love soup, and I can't believe that I had never made Chicken Tortilla Soup before.  It is so easy and delicious, and healthy. Of course, it also helps that we live in Chicago Land, and the wind chill hovers at -5 below.  Yes, that is a minus sign, so hot soup to me warms my body and my soul.  There are probably as many variations of Tortilla soup, as there are chili recipes:)  I change recipes all the time, or take bits and piieces of several recipes to make it my own.

This particular healthy recipe uses cooked chicken, or you could even use a rotisserie chicken, if you want. Then you have your spices, chili powder, garlic and cumin, but you could add jalapenos, or red pepper flakes.  Surprisingly, my husband didn't add any additional heat. If you wanted additional heat, you could use the diced tomatoes with green chilies.  You also add chicken stock, I used low sodium, and no salt tomatoes.  We also added 1 cup of frozen corn, but you can also add black beans, but we didn't, because I don't like black beans.  Then you just simmer the above ingredients and pour into soup bowls.  How easy is that.  Just add your toppings, as desired, sour cream, I used no-fat, crushed tortilla chips, cilantro, and lime juice, (a must in our house)  and cheese.  You don't see the crushed chips or cheese, because I was in such a hurry to take a picture, before the sun left my dining room.  If I added the cheese and the chips, you wouldn't be able to see the beautiful color of the soup, and the other ingredients. Enjoy!

Here is a tease for my next  post, Engagement Champagne Cupcakes!

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Yield:  4 servings

Cooking spray
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken stock
1 ½ cups cooked , chopped chicken breast
1 c water
1   tbsp chili powder,
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 (14.5-ounce) can dices tomatoes

1 c. frozen corn
¾ c crushed tortilla chips
¼ c shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
4 lime wedges
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Heat a large sauce pan over med- high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray..  Add garlic, saute 1 min.  Add stock and next 5 ingredients, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, simmer 15 min.  Ladle soup into 4 bowls, top each with 2 tbsp chips, 1 tbsp cheese, 1 tbsp cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and avocado slices, if desired.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Turkey Bolognese with Multi-Grain Pasta

Since the holidays are over, we're trying to lighten up our meals. Sometimes meals with pasta and Bolognese sauce aren't really that healthy, but this one is. Instead of the typical ground beef or pork, this one has ground turkey, and my husband loves this sauce, which is the important thing.  We use ground turkey in all our ground meat recipes, even meatloaf. Also, this sauce is made with very low sodium chicken stock from Trader Joe's  no salt canned tomatoes, and grated carrot..  We also added no additional salt, because the herbs give it so much flavor, you don't miss the salt. The cheese on the top is low fat Parmesan cheese, so there is less fat from the cheese. but like I said my husband loves the sauce.  You could add a little red wine or  sauteed mushrooms, if you wanted.

If you read my blog, you know that my hubby has had  single bypass surgery, so having a diet low in sodium and fat is paramount to us, most of the time. It has been a long process to get to this point, where he doesn't add salt to everything or miss the salt so much.. It involves reading a lot of labels, bypassing the processed food aisles in the grocery store, using fresh herbs when possible, lots of spices, adding more whole grains  vegettables, and fruits to our diet.. We make almost all of our meals with fresh or frozen foods, to contol the sodium and fat.. Also, dining out is a challenge, but all things in moderation.  Finally, after almost five years,  we have turned the corner. When he tastes something , and says "That's too salty".  I rasie my hands and say "Yes".  It's an ongoing journey!  Enjoy!

Turkey Bolognese with Multi-Grain Pasta, A Healthy Alternative- Adapted from
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey  
  • 2 Tbsp or so,  olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, grated
  • 1 onions, grated or finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf, fresh or dry
  • 1 cup chicken stock, regular or low sodium stock
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (28 ounces each), regular or low sodium
  • 1 pound whole wheat, or multi-grain spaghetti
  • 1/2-1 cup low fat Parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for pasta.

Pre-heat a large Dutch oven or deep pot over medium-high heat with about  2tbsp olive oil, 1-2 turns of the pan. Add in the turkey and, using the back of a wooden spoon, break up the meat into small pieces. Cook 5-6 minutes to start the browning process, then grate the carrots, onions and garlic into the pot or finely chop and stir in. Season liberally with salt (optional) and pepper, add bay leaf and cook five minutes more; then stir in the stock and the tomatoes. Bring up to a bubble, then drop the heat to low and simmer while you cook another 5-6 minutes more.

Salt water and cook pasta to al dente, with a bite to it. Place the pasta back into the warm pot you cooked it in.. Serve pasta in shallow bowls with an extra ladle of sauce on top. Sprinkle with low fat Parmesan cheese

Cool the leftover sauce and store in refrigerator.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Grilled Pork Chops with Roasted Root Veggies

My husband loves to cook, and usually makes a one pot dish on the weekend, so we have various meals through the week.  He also likes to cook on the grill, even in the winter. He wanted to do a roasting chicken on the rotisserie grill, even though the temperature hovered around 10 degrees.  Does this picture look like a roasted  chicken?  No, It does not, because when I when to the store, the vendor had shorted the store, and they didn't have any roasting chickens.  Bummer!  I had to settle for pork chops.  They actually turned out pretty well.  We gave them a rub of our Sunny Spain no salt seasoning mix from The Spice House.  This is a wonderful blend of Tellicherry black pepper, powdered lemon peel, garlic and onion powder.

Do you or your Grill master make perfect grill marks.?  My husband turns the food he is grilling in quarter get those perfect grill marks. Even though he is a Virgo, he is only a perfectionist about certain things, painting and grilling!  To go with those perfect pork chops, we roasted various root vegetables with olive oil, and garlic powder.  All the veggies caramelize and brown to golden perfection, Yum!  So in the near future you will be seeing a glorious, roasted chicken on our rotisserie grill with golden,  juicy skin.  I got a rain check for the roaster chicken:, which was on sale:)  I know how to shop!

Roasted Root Veggies (amounts vary for the number of people eating) 400 degree oven

Wash the veggies that  you want to roast, cut in chunks or halves.  Leave the skins on. You can use carrots, sweet potatoes, onions, red or white potatoes, and other veggies that aren't root veggies, like zucchini and other squashes, red or green peppers. Place in a roasting pan or cookie sheet lined with foil.  Season, as desired, and drizzle with olive oil.  Place in oven for 40-45 min, until browned. Stir or turn as needed. Enjoy

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Greek-American Slow Cooker Pot Roast

If you're tired of spending hours in the kitchen creating magnificent holiday meals, Slow Cooker pot roast is for you, pure comfort food. My husband wanted to make a Greek pot roast and make it in the slow cooker. We adapted a Greek pot Roast slow cooker recipe by adding carrots and mushrooms because we like them, and voila, the Greek-American slow cooker recipe was born. We do have olives, potatoes, red wine, and lemon juice, but also carrots and mushrooms. If you wanted a more Greek like pot roast you could add zucchini and red peppers, which we didn't have.   All you have to do is brown the meat and mushrooms, and them put the rest of the ingredients in the slow cooker, and cook for low on 8-10 hours.  Then you are free to watch more Bowl football games, take down Christmas decorations,  RELAX,  or just read more blogs!       

Greek- American Slow Cooker Pot RoastAdapted from
Ingredients-Serves 8
2 pounds chuck roast
1/4 cup canola oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
 pepper to taste  we added no salt
1 can 28 oz Crushed tomatoes
1 lb. button mushrooms, browned
1 pound carrots, cut in chunks
4 potatoes, cut in half
8 olives, cut into half, red or white
2 cups red wine
1/2 lemon, juiced
Greek Slow Cooker Pot Roast Ingredients Cont.
Greek Slow Cooker Pot Roast Instructions
1. Heat oil in frying pan over medium-high heat. Season roast with, thyme, basil, and pepper; brown on both sides.  Brown mushrooms in separate pan.
2. Remove roast from pan; put in slow cooker with remaining ingredients, except lemon juice. Cover and cook on low about 8 hours. Stir in lemon juice before serving.

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