Wednesday, February 27, 2013

White Bean Sausage Soup

I threw this soup together with basically what I could find in our pantry this week.  It was a cold, rainy day and we had just gotten back into town from a funeral and it just seemed like a hearty hot soup kind of day.  I was actually pretty surprised at how yummy this turned out because it really didn’t require many ingredients but the flavor was SO very good.
I’m pretty sure recipes similar to this exist online and in doing a quick review, they use full fat or regular pork sausage.  I had turkey sausage crumbles on hand and honestly, there is no way I would have been able to tell the difference if I hadn’t made it myself.   Using the turkey sausage saves a ton of time, but also saves 221 calories, 387mg sodium and 16g fat/per serving.
This is a great low calorie recipe that came together within 40 minutes – easy and low cal?  Yup, my favorite kind of recipe!   It’s souper (Ha!) hearty, filled with heart-healthy beans, and antioxidant rich spinach – so GOOD for you!

1T extra virgin olive oil
2 cups turkey sausage crumbles (I used Jimmy Dean)
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced (add as much or as little as you like)
1 bay leaf
2 cans white beans, drained (I had navy and black eyed peas on hand)
6 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
¼ tsp dried rosemary, chopped finely
¼ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups frozen spinach
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Additional option:  Shaved Parmesan topping

Heat oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven on high heat, adding garlic to sauté for about 1 minute.
Add sausage crumbles and red pepper flakes and stir until sausage begins to brown.
Add the potato, carrot, onion and bay leaf and stir.  Sauté for about 5 minutes until carrots begin to soften.
Add the beans, broth, herbs and spinach and stir.

to high simmer then reduce heat to med/low and simmer for about 25 minutes.
Top with shaved Parmesan if using.

A little bit spicy and a whole ‘lotta deliciousness!

Serves 4
Calories 272 / Carbs 44g / Fat 4g / Protein 24g / Fiber 12g / Sodium 1982mg

Friday, February 22, 2013

Healthy Hash

A random fact about me:  Grocery stores make me a little bit happy.  Strange right??  I think it might be the potential of goodness just waiting to be created that does it.  And don’t even get me started on how much I love Trader Joe’s or *insert angels singing* the mecca of all that is wonderful in the food world:  Wegmans…I could spend HOURS in that place…I think I have at some point.
Even though I love the grocery store, this week I just wasn’t feeling it.  So, I went through our supplies and decided that I wasn’t going.  It was a little bit relieving, actually.  Annnddd, that meant that I needed to get creative.  Do you ever have a “kitchen sink” night where you have nothing planned for dinner and all of these random ingredients to use?  Yah, that was me the other night, so I decided to make a version of hash.
Now, this isn't remotely anything related to that canned version you’re thinking about – although, another random fact, I heart that stuff!!  Don’t judge me.  This is an obviously much healthier version and it was so easy to throw together.
2 med/large russet potatoes, diced (you can leave the skins on for some extra fiber or remove; your choice!)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 bell peppers, any color, diced (I had red and yellow but I think green would have been really pretty...yes, as a matter of fact, I do think food should be pretty.)
1 cup sliced mushrooms, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2T olive oil
¼ tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 package (approximately 5 links) any flavor chicken sausage (I used Trader Joe’s Spicy Jalapeno), diced

Preheat oven to 475 degrees – get it good and hot.
Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
In a large bowl mix together all of the vegetables.
Add the olive oil, salt and pepper and mix so that all of the veggies are coated.
Spread the veggies onto the baking sheet and bake for approximately 50 minutes, stirring occasionally, and until the potatoes are tender and begin to brown.

Add the chicken sausage to the top of the veggies and bake for about 15 more minutes until the chicken sausage is beginning to brown.


Calories 367 / Carbs 44g / Fat 15g / Protein 20g / Fiber 6g/ Sodium 658mg

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pancit (Filipino Noodles)

As you may know by now, I’m half Filipino; my ‘Pino Mama is an amazing cook and she taught me my love for cooking, food, and all things delicious.  She also taught me how food should be enjoyed.  Some of my happiest childhood memories are our family dinners; and we sat down every single night as a family…does that happen much anymore?  You know how in those random questionnaires, there’s always that question that asks, “What would you have if it was your last meal?  Hands down, some of my Mom’s Filipino dishes like lumpia, adobo, fried rice and pancit (pronounced Pon Sit)! 
Mom’s been in the US now for almost 39 years so she’s much more Americanized in her cooking than she used to be.  She says that I’m a way better cook than she is but I think Moms are supposed to tell their children thinks like that, aren’t they?  Anyway, when she goes home to the Philippines she gets to eat some things from her own childhood that she doesn’t make here…they are definitely much more cultural to her and I think she probably didn’t think her family would be keen on eating strange (to us, anyway…let’s not call them strange, we’ll go with hmmm…foreign) things so she kept ingredients and recipes pretty tame so the dishes above are our little repertoire of ‘Pino food.  I think they are a good representation.
One time I was experimenting with her pancit recipe and it turned out pretty well.  I actually made it for her and she literally said, “This is the best pancit I’ve ever had – you make it better than I do!”  And now when she makes it, she makes it that way.  A compliment on my ‘Pino food from a true ‘Pino??!
This time I tried to make it even healthier by using lower sodium ingredients and here it is for you!  You can also make this a veggie only dish; just leave out the chicken.
8oz Vermicelli Rice Noodles (they need to be made of rice & I’ve seen these come really thin up to the thickness of linguine)
1 tsp sesame oil
10oz boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced or diced (I used tenders, then chopped after cooking)
1tsp minced garlic
1 cup sliced carrots
6oz mung beans or bean sprouts
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cups green cabbage, chopped
1 cup leaf spinach (I used frozen so if you use fresh, I’d use one whole bag)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
3 cups fat free reduced sodium chicken broth
2T low sodium Worcestershire sauce
2T low sodium soy sauce
And now, for my no-longer-secret ingredient:  2T Lipton Onion Soup Mix (dry)

This is what the rice noodles look like.  I prefer the very thin vermicelli kind but this is what I had:

In a wok or large skillet with higher sides, heat sesame oil and garlic until nice and hot – sizzly, if you will.
Place the chicken in and brown it on both sides until it’s no longer pink.  Remove and set aside.

In the still hot pan, add carrots, onion and mushrooms (I stir-fried my mushrooms and spinach up separately since Hubs doesn’t like them…the things you do for love…) and sauté for about 6 minutes until onions are about cooked and carrots are beginning to tender
Add the chicken back into the carrot mix and stir together.

the spinach, cabbage and mung beans and incorporate everything together…heating through…you don’t want to cook the cabbage too much; it should be a little bit crunchy.  Then, remove everything from the pan.

In the still hot pan (see a trend?  Keep that pan nice and HOT!) add the chicken broth, Worcestershire, soy sauce and dry soup mix.  Heat through.
Add the dry noodles to the pan and let the liquid get absorbed.  It will happen, just wait for it…wait for it…see?  It happens pretty quickly. 
As soon as the noodles have almost absorbed all of the liquid and they are easily stirrable (pretty sure that’s a word), add the veggies and chicken back in and mix everything together; heating through.  It’s easier at this point to use tongs to mix.

That’s it!  I like to add hot chili paste to mine afterwards.  YUM!!
This makes a lot of Pancit – I’m estimating about 6 servings.

Calories 258 / Carbs 44g / Fat 2g / Protein 15g / Fiber 4g / Sodium 758mg

Friday, February 15, 2013

Spicy Corn Chowder

One of the recipes I have made for as long as I can remember is corn chowder.  It is probably one of my most favorite Fall/Winter meals; it screams comfort to me.  But my old version had lots of “cream of’s…” in it…cream corn, cream of chicken soup, heavy cream, etc.  I have been wanting to make a lighter version and wanted to try to use less processed ingredients.  Still, those cans can sure make things move pretty quickly, huh?  Well, after a little bit of searching I found a similar recipe at Cooking Light only they used crab and I didn’t have crab on hand, so I subbed canned chicken.  I’m not normally a fan of canned meat, but I swear in a pinch, it’s quick and surprisingly delicious!

No need to worry that this is a weekend soup, I didn’t have anything prepped and this came together within an hour.  Perfect for a weeknight!  Save YOURself even more time and have everything ready to go; you’ll be enjoying creamy, comforting goodness in no time flat.

The name of this soup is pretty accurate; the poblano adds a lot of spice!

1 medium poblano chile (roasted, peeled and diced; see below)
1T butter
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1T crumbled bacon (I used Hormel Real Bacon Pieces)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon Cayenne (ground red) pepper
1 (16-ounce) package frozen corn kernels
1 cup fat free half-and-half, divided
1 medium/large russet potato, peeled and chopped  
2 cups fat free low sodium chicken broth
2T all-purpose flour
1 cup 1% reduced-fat milk
1 (10-ounce) container 98% premium chicken breast, or 1 ½ cups leftover cooked chicken, cubed


Preheat broiler.

Place pepper on a piece of aluminum foil and broil approximately 8 minutes on each side or until blackened.  Then place the pepper in a small plastic bag & seal. Let sit for about 10 minutes.  Peel and chop.  I always remove the seeds since the seeds have tons of heat.  It’s easiest to do this by cutting the pepper around them (they stay nice and neat on the inside; you might get a few stragglers.)

In a Dutch oven or large soup pan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add onion, salt, sugar and cayenne to pan; sautéing approximately 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add corn; sautéing 2 minutes.

Remove about ½ of the corn mixture from pan and combine it with ¾ cup half-and-half in a blender, processing until smooth.  Set aside.

Add potato to pan; sauteing about 2 minutes.
Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook approximately 6 minutes or until potato is almost tender. Reduce heat to medium.

Combine remaining ¼ cup half-and-half and flour in a small bowl, stirring until smooth.

Add flour mixture to pan. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Return corn puree to pan.

Stir in poblano pepper, milk, and chicken bringing to a simmer. Cook about 3 more minutes, stirring frequently, then serve!

We had ours with some crusty French loaf; a perfect accompaniment!

Serves 4
Calories 331 / Carbs 47g / Fat 7g / Protein 22g / Fiber 4g / Sodium 1039mg

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Turkey Sloppy Joes

Do you have a recipe in your repertoire that is so super easy, and has some funny ingredients in it that it’s almost embarrassing to share??  Well, this one is mine.
Growing up, Sloppy Joes was not my favorite meal…I mean even the name at the time sounded blech…but it was a constant in my parent’s dinner rotation because I’m sure it was easy and obviously pretty inexpensive.  Brown some meat, pop open a can of Manwich, slap it on a bun and voila! 
But there was just something not very tasty in the sauce that I just never loved; I have no idea what it was but I could really never enjoy it.  Then one day things changed for the Sloppy Joe and me.  Hubby and I were at his Aunt’s house and she is this AMAZING, country cook – I’m talking down-home, real ingredients, honest-to-goodness-bad-for-your-waistline kind of good.  EVERYTHING she makes is delicious.  In the family, when we talk about Aunt Judy’s cooking, we all kind of close our eyes and just moan out our favorite meals, followed by “Mmmmmmmmm…”  So my S.J.-changing moment came when she asked if we’d like Sloppy Joes for dinner.  Even though it’s not one of my favorites, I was not about to be rude, nor turn down dinner!  We were visiting in the kitchen and I love to watch people cook so I watched Aunt Judy brown up some hamburger…then I watched her add a little brown sugar…then I watched her pull out some ketchup…and throw that in there, too.  And, then…um…dinner was served.
Now, my Mama taught me NEVER to be rude so no matter what, I was going to eat that Sloppy Joe.  So, I took that first bite and then I took another…and another…and I’m pretty sure, I said the proverbial “mmmmmmmmm…” Seriously, I was literally shocked at how good this little thing was!!  That my friends, is how the Sloppy Joe & I became buds.
Here’s my version of the recipe; I wanted to try to make it a little healthier for us and I added a few extra ingredients, but don’t worry, it’s still very much the same tasty little treat that I first enjoyed at Aunt Judy’s.
·         1 package 99% lean ground turkey; approximately 1 ½ lbs
·         3T low sodium Worcestershire sauce
·         2 tsp garlic powder
·         2 tsp dried minced onion
·         2 T light brown sugar
·         ½ cup + 2 T ketchup

In a large skillet over med/high heat, brown the ground turkey.  While the turkey is browning, add the Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and minced onion.  Cook until the turkey is no longer pink and beginning to brown.

Add the brown sugar and mix through.

Add the ketchup and stir, heating through.

And yah, that's it, friends!

on your favorite buns alongside some steamed veggies and/or baked potato wedges!

I TOLD you it was so SUPER easy that it’s embarrassing!
Serves approximately 6
Calories 167 / Carbs 15g / Fat 1g / Protein 23g / Fiber 0g / Sodium 380mg

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

On Vacation!

From Google Images

Hi!  Thanks for stopping by! 

I'm on vacation in an undisclosed location...welllll, somewhere near the above island :)
But feel free to check out my archives for some delicious, HEALTHY recipes!