Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkin Bean Soup and some thoughts...

I've commented before on the convenience of recipes that use "1 can of corn" or "1 can of beans" or "1 can of pumpkin" rather than 4 oz, 1/4 cup or 1 lb. But of course, no one is ever worried about being convenient, or using what is left over. Well,  between pumpkin risotto and enchiladas, I had a lot of perfectly good canned veggies that were left unused. I used my search engine, and found this great soup recipe with all three of those ingredients, plus some staple foods I always carry. Suddenly, I have a hearty winter soup that is only 147 calories, 29 g of carbohydrates and 9 g of fiber per cup. 
I am getting practice counting carbs and monitoring my blood sugar at the diabetes outpatient center this week, and all of a sudden finding low calorie, high carbohydrate foods that are satiating has become a big problem. However, in this case, I am going to have to go for seconds, or get some extra dessert to fulfill my goal. Extra dessert? Darn. Hand over the diabetic ice cream! 

1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 tsp cumin
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 can pureed pumpkin
1/2 can black beans
1/2 can corn
1 cup broth
1 cup tomato sauce
fresh cilantro

1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Mix in the garlic and cumin and cook, stirring, for an additional 2 minutes.
2. Pour in the pumpkin puree, black beans, corn, chicken broth, tomato sauce, and 1 teaspoon cilantro; season to taste with salt andpepper. Bring the soup to a gentle boil; reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.

Allergens: Soy (from the broth)
Nutrition (1 cup): 147 calories, 2.5 g fat, .5 g saturated fat, .5 g polyunsaturated fat, 1 g monounsaturated fat, 1 mg cholesterol, 490 mg sodium, 306 mg potassium, 29 g carbohydrates,  9 g  fiber, 6 g sugar,  7 g protein, 11% vitamin A, 14% vitamin C, 4% calcium, 10% iron, 17% folate, 17% manganese, 10% niacin, 11% phosphorous,  5% riboflavin, 7% thiamin

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Adventures of Spaghetti, Butternut and Acorn Squash - Part 2

In my excitement over the beginning of the squash season, I decided to buy a pound and a half of pre-cut butternut squash. I definitely overestimated my squash needs, but now I get to make Lauren and Mary's Pumpkin-Butternut Squash Risotto! They served it at their fall-themed theme meal, along with roasted acorn squash and a pork stew. Everything was delicious, and since I only got to try a bite of the risotto, I was excited to make it for my self with the scaled-down version of the recipe. Unfortunately, mass-produced meals don't scale down well, so there was some guess work involved. It definitely tasted different from the original meal, but I thought it benefited from a dash of salt. 
How can you beat this 300 calorie lunch with 8 grams of fiber?
1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled and cubed
5 fl oz pumpkin, pureed
2/3 cup, onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup arborio rice
4 3/4 cups water
1 Tbsp vegetable broth
2 Tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
2 Tbsp basil leaves
1/2 oz cream cheese
black pepper, to taste
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Combine broth, rice, water, butternut squash, pumpkin puree, and onion in a baking dish. Add pepper, stir.
3. Cover with foil and bake, stirring occasionally especially towards the end, until water is absorbed and rice is puffed, about 45-50 minutes. (My oven took over an hour, but it is cheap and old).
4. Remove from oven, stir in parmesan cheese, cream cheese and basil. Serve.
Allergens: Milk
Nutrition: 293 calories, 3 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 8 mg cholesterol, 103 mg sodium, 394 mg potassium, 65 g carbohydrates, 8 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 7 g protein, 267% vitamin A, 26% vitamin C, 10% calcium, 8% iron

9:30 pm Update: We finally found the original recipe this was based on from Aida Mollenkamp. The biggest difference is that she uses only broth, and I used mostly water. Oops. http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/aida-mollenkamp/creamy-baked-pumpkin-risotto-recipe/index.html

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Weeknight Splurge

It was not my idea, but it was a delicious one! Pumpkin cookies are a great way to welcome fall! My roommate thought these would be great with cream cheese frosting, and I'm inclined to agree. One reviewer on allrecipes.com even recommended sandwiching two of these cake-like cookies together with frosting in between. Now I just need a cream cheese frosting recipe...

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies, then drizzle glaze with fork.
To Make Glaze: Combine confectioners' sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add milk as needed, to achieve drizzling consistency.

Allergens: Wheat, gluten, egg, milk
Nutrition (1/53 batter): 75 calories, 2 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 9 cholesterol, 36 sodium, 10 potassium, 13 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 1 g protein, 24% vitamin A, 0% vitamin C, 1% calcium, 2% iron

Weeknight Enchiladas

Remember that menu I made for the week? It went out the window tonight in favor of enchiladas. I walked to the grocery store just to get sauce and taco shells, even after buying all my groceries for the week based on my "planned" menu. Oh well. 
Sandra Lee has a recipe that uses the leftover components of black bean burgers to make black bean enchiladas. Well, I didn't want black bean burgers, but I have to give Sandy Lee some credit for the idea.

1/4 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
1/4 cup canned corn
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (10-ounce) can enchilada sauce
4 soft taco shells
1/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute onions in a small pan until browned. Turn stove to low and add garlic, beans and corn. Cook until heated through. Stir in cilantro and red pepper flakes. Pour half of the enchilada sauce in a small casserole dish. Heat taco shells in microwave until soft and pliable. Fill shells with filling, fold and place in dish. Repeat 3 times more. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Allergens: Wheat, gluten, milk
Nutrition (2 Enchiladas): 398 calories, 13 g fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 623 mg sodium, 881 mg potassium, 56 g carbohydrate, 13 g fiber, 18 g protein, 15% vitamin A, 21% vitamin C, 31% calcium, 25% iron, 19% vitamin B-6, 21% copper, 54% folate, 33% magnesium, 44% manganese, 13% niacin, 28% phosphorous, 27% thiamine, 13% zinc

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Getting my Greens!

After all my pledges to eat better, I sat down last night and made a list of recipes and ordered groceries so I am able to cook healthy food every night this week. My partner at my internship gave me a kitchen-tested recipe for Brussels sprouts that was too easy to pass up. But I thought it would be a little easier on the palate  if I mixed it with some whole wheat pasta, chicken breast and Parmesan cheese. Here's the original recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts:
Preheat oven at 400 degrees. Clean and trim Brussels sprouts and spread them out on a baking sheet (I went ahead and pre-chopped them so I could toss them directly into the pasta when they were done cooking).  Brush them with olive oil, and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Roast Brussels sprouts in the oven until they begin to brown. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The End of Eagerly Eating Endless Eggs

I'm on my third carton of eggs in six weeks, and today I began to wonder if this is a healthy trend. Between 2 quiches, a batch of lemon bars and some scrambled eggs here and there, I have used gone through 21 eggs. Not to mention the hard boiled eggs I eat at work, the egg whites in my favorite spinach feta wraps at Starbucks and the fried eggs going into my Au Bon Pain breakfast sandwiches. I have given myself a little too much wiggle room these past couple weeks, and my scale knows it. So after I finish the quiche that is baking in my oven right now, I am going to switch to egg whites and re-focus on lowering the fat and cholesterol in all parts of my diet. It also means that I am going to work hard to curb my cravings for cookies and sweets, and go for the fruit instead.
Just this week, I decided to slice up some very ripe bananas and freeze them and they were such a great snack. I am stocked up on my favorite Greek yogurt, and my pantry is stocked with healthy options. Now, I just have to put in the effort and make it happen! 
Oh, but if you wanted that spinach quiche recipe, here it is. It's really just for special occasions, but it is a nice treat and makes for great leftovers! It is pretty similar to the recipe from two weeks ago with a few modifications.

1 1/2 cups frozen chopped spinach, thawed and blotted
1/2 cups Swiss cheese, grated
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups 1% milk
4 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1-9" pastry shell (I used a frozen shell from whole foods by wholly wholesome naturally wholicious)

Bake frozen pie shell in 375°F oven for six minutes and allow to cool. Saute garlic in 1/2 Tbsp olive oil until it starts to brown. Add spinach and cook until heated through. Sprinkle cheese on spinach, stir until melted and spread spinach mixture over pie crust. Beat together eggs, milk, lemon juice, salt and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over spinach mixture. Bake 35-45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Allergens: Wheat, egg, dairy
Nutrition info (1/6 slice): 280 calories, 17 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat, 2 g monounsaturated fat, 135 mg cholesterol, 250 mg sodium, 295 mg potassium, 19 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 11 g protein, 70% vitamin A, 12% vitamin B-12, 16% vitamin D, 21% calcium, 16% folate, 20% phosphorous, 20% riboflavin

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Recent Fascination with Melted Cheese

I learned recently that Americans eat an average of 28 pounds of cheese every year. I think I am giving America a run for its money this week with all my cheesy nachos, cheese-filled quiche and cheesy zucchini. I just need to make cheesy grits and I'll have covered breakfast, lunch and dinner with delicious cheese. 
This recipe is what I would call and "fiber and fat" recipe, because if I was making this for food service class, 70% of the calories would come from fat and I would be in trouble. Luckily. I am not in class, and I can drizzle olive oil and sprinkle cheese to my heart's content!

Slice up pre-cooked polenta and zucchini. Get the polenta slices nice and crispy, cooking it on medium with olive oil, Italian seasonings, and garlic powder. Cook the zucchini separately in the same way, until soft. Place the crispy polenta slices on the bottom of a casserole dish. Layer zucchini on top. Sprinkle Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses on top. Bake at 375 degrees until the cheese browns on top.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Easy, Healthy, Quick Meals Part V

This past Sunday, I fully intended on running the 3 miles to the nearby Safeway and taking the bus back with groceries in hand. Well turns out, I forgot my knee brace, I was dehydrated and tired, and it was already starting  to get dark when I finally set out at 6:30 pm. Darn, I had to go to Whole Foods. 
I was hungry by the time I got there, and ravenous by the time I got home. So this was a good compromise. I bought the beef and bean chili from the hot salad bar, and the chips and Mexican cheese from Whole Foods, but I had Safeway "salsa fresca" at home. It is so easy to make, and really it's "healthy enough" when you're in a pinch.

Pour beef and bean chili over top of a handful of blue corn chips. Sprinkle Mexican cheese on top. Microwave 30-45 seconds, or until cheese is melted. Spoon salsa on top - be generous, it's probably the healthiest part! 

The only way that this recipe is moderately healthy is if you use the cheese sparingly, lather on the salsa, and don't go crazy with the corn chips. Also, if you're like me, put the corn chips away before you decide to snack on them while you wait a whole 45 seconds for the cheese to melt. 

A Leftover Success Story

I am starting to notice a trend. All the recipes I try that turn out really well are recipes from manufacturers. All the recipes that are so-so are from random people. My dark cherry muffins, spinach & cheese crescents,  yellow curry chicken, and chocolate scotcheroos were all recipes from the manufacturer of the products I was using. My unfortunate spaghetti squash and my average-tasting lemon cookies, on the other hand, were someone's home-grown recipes. Not to say that all home recipes on the internet are bad, but they just haven't been tested for consistency the way professional recipes are. Also, I'm sure the processed foods (like crescent rolls) are going to taste good no matter what I do with them, but that's another story.... 
This is an example of yet another manufacturer's recipe that is awesome, awesome, awesome. I NEVER enjoy leftovers, and I thought this quiche recipe tasted even better after I reheated it two days later. 

8 oz. Fake Crab Chunk Style
2 cups Swiss cheese, grated
1 tbsp. flour
1 1/2 cups milk, or half & half
4 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/3 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1-9" pastry shell (I used a frozen shell from whole foods by wholly wholesome naturally wholicious that was better than any Pillsbury refrigerated crust)

Bake frozen pie shell in 375°F oven for six minutes and allow to cool. Combine Crab Classic, cheese, and flour; spread mixture in pie crust. Beat together eggs, milk, lemon juice, salt and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over cheese mixture. Bake 35-45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Fighting cravings with Baking?!?

After eating take out for lunch and dinner, I knew I couldn't sit around in my apartment and wait for the cravings to strike. So, I dragged myself to the gym, and when I got home, I baked. It seems counter-intuitive to bake to prevent snacking, but it keeps my mind off of the tortilla chips in the cupboard and the Ben & Jerry's in the freezer. And even when I have "no food in the house", I always have flour and sugar. Kill two birds with one stone and bake your breakfast, lunch or dinner for the next day in advance!

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup frozen, pitted dark cherries, quartered

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add egg, milk and oil. Stir until combined. Stir in dark cherries. Fill greased 2 1/2 inch muffin tins two-thirds full. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until tester inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from tins. Makes 12 muffins.  

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Baked Goods are Made for Sharing II

The lemon bars turned out great... just a few minor flaws...
1) I used half the butter (1 stick), and it made the lower crust a little crumbly, no big deal though
2) I used yellow food dye instead of red...oops... it looked red in the bottle! I think I used all the red dye making red velvet cake....
3) I forgot to share them... I'm going to have to bring them to work tomorrow...