Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holiday Dinners

I don't know about you, but holiday dinners always kind of pose a problem with me: how much do you eat, how about carb heavy meals, what do you do if there is nothing appropriate to eat? I have these issues every year. I try to eat what I can, and just take small amounts of the carb-y food. As much as I love it, I do have to limit my intake. I still haven't figured out what to do if there is nothing appropriate to eat, I usually just have bites of a few things, and then wait until later to eat like a normal PWD. Check with your doctor, and try to let the people who are cooking of any dietary restrictions. I had to do this recently, and everyone was really understanding.

This year, I decided to experiment a little on my own and make my own Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. I had to work on Thanksgiving, so we just put a ham in the crockpot and cooked it that way. Just plain, wrapped in foil and about a cup or two of water. Once we got home, we put it in the over for about 20 minutes to get the outside crispy. It didn't lose any of the flavor, and it wasn't overdone at all. And of course, the leftovers were great for sandwiches and split pea soup (my mom's recipe).

I had Christmas off this year, so I spent two days cooking for my husband who had to work. I also received a brand new camera for my birthday a week before, so now I have awesome pictures to post on here.

Here is the menu that I had for Christmas day:
eggs with cheese, green onions and pepper
maple bacon
Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bar triangle (homemade, not bought at the 'Bucks.)

Yes, breakfast was much of a cheat. The cranberry bar, probably had WAY too much sugar and the rest of the meal had salt and cholesterol. But for something that I never make or eat, it was tasty. And well worth it.

Now, for dinner:
Turkey - in brine
Mom's stuffing
mashed potatoes and mashed cauliflower
steamed broccoli with cheddar and bacon
cranberry chutney

Low carb Pumpkin cheesecake

The turkey. I've only made two turkeys in my life. One, I barely remember, and one was a few years ago and I had lots of help. This year, I was doing something totally different, even for me. I was determined to brine this turkey. Problem is? I have No clue how to begin. I knew there was salt and water involved. So, I jumped on facebook while doing a google search and asked for advice. The recipe that I liked and that came the most recommended was Alton Brown's from Good Eats. It was a little more complicated, but it sounded tasty and interesting. The only thing I would have done differently, was bought a bigger turkey. It was fabulous, but a tiny bit dry.

The stuffing is my favorite holiday food. Not because it's carb heavy, but because it tastes fantastic. I hated it when I was a kid, but now, it's not a holiday without it. It's my mom's recipe and I always forget to ask for it. This year, I remembered, and it was just as fantastic as I remember and I am going to pass it on to you. It's simple, yet delicious.

Mashed potatoes and mashed cauliflower, no holiday is complete without mashed potatoes, don't you agree? Well, I can't have very much of them. So... for my low carb replacement - I make Mashed Cauliflower. I love it. But then, I love love love cauliflower.

I just wanted a fairly plain veggie for dinner, but we had some leftover bacon and cheese from breakfast. I don't like to waste anything, especially food, so I just threw the leftovers in there with it.

Cranberry Chutney. I've been looking for a really good recipe for this for years. Always cranberry sauce I can find, but I can do that on my own. This last year, I found a fabulous recipe. I had planned on making a Turkey around May, (which never happened) and so I made this stuff, and I made it Diabetic friendly. It was wonderful. I froze it and just defrosted it a couple weeks ago and it's STILL awesome.

Obviously, If I was going to make a dessert, it was going to have to be a diabetic/low carb recipe. I got this pumpkin cheesecake recipe from a Low-Carb cookbook that I have had for a couple of years.

So for the next couple of days, I'm going to post the recipes to this holiday dinner, and then I will post recipes for the dinners that I am making with the turkey leftovers. As well as my traditional New Years dinner. Complete with awesome pictures because me husband is the very best.

One footnote about gravy: My husband and I do not really care for gravy, so none was made. For me, there is really nothing good for me in traditional gravy, so there was no loss there.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Black Bean and Chipotle Pepper Soup

This has become one of my favorite recipes. And it has become this for several reasons: 1. It's easy. 2. It tastes fantastic. 3. It's Diabetic friendly. Very Diabetic Friendly. It's a little hot, so you may want to experiment with how much chipotle chilis you actually want to put in the recipe. My husband actually begs for this recipe. And it may be pretty good for kids, if you really slow down on the peppers. Oh, and it's mainly vegetarian, except for the beef broth. Which can be substituted, of course. I got this recipe from a friend, who apparently got it from the Better Homes and Gardens Website.

And as usual, I made a change here and there. I also double the recipe so I have some for dinner the following night (it reheats beautifully and even more flavorful).

Extremely bad picture of a most tasty chili

Black Bean and Chipotle Pepper Soup

  • 1 cup chopped green sweet pepper (1 large)*
  • 1  cup chopped onion (1 large)
  • 2  cloves garlic, minced
  • 1  tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
  • 2  15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  14-ounce can beef broth **
  • 1  cup chopped tomato (2 medium)***
  • 2  tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 1  tablespoon snipped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 2  teaspoons snipped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 2  teaspoons chopped canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce ****
  •   Dairy sour cream (optional)
  •   Fresh cilantro sprigs (optional)*****
1. In a large saucepan cook sweet pepper, onion, and garlic in hot oil for 3 minutes. Stir in black beans, beef broth, tomato, snipped cilantro, thyme, oregano, and chipotle pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
2. If desired, mash beans slightly.# If desired, garnish with sour cream and cilantro sprigs.
3. Makes 4 servings (5 cups)

* I omitted the bell pepper

** You can substitute veggie broth if you want to keep it vegetarian.

*** I accidentally forgot to buy tomatoes for this the first time I made it, but had a can of tomato paste. It was awesome. More chili-like in it's consistency, but still amazing taste.

**** Make sure you wash your hands WELL after cutting this stuff up. It is HOT.

***** I am sure you already know that I did not use any cilantro in the making of this recipe. :-)

# Note: For a pureed bean soup, cool soup slightly. Place half of the soup in a food processor or blender. Cover and process or blend until smooth. Repeat with remaining soup.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hot Chicken Salad

The name of this recipe made me think - Oh, gross! Hot lettuce! But no. I had to read it a couple of times before I realized - ooooh, like chicken salad sandwiches! Yum! And yum, it was. It's simple. It's tasty. And I think you can just about add anything that floats your boat, that you would normally like in your regular chicken salad. Have fun with different veggies, add raisins, or apples. The original recipe is from Diabetic Living Magazine again, and it asks for yellow sweet pepper - I don't like peppers. I just don't. I don't like the way they taste at all. So, I omitted them from this recipe.

I hope you like it.

Hot Chicken Salad
3 cups cubed cooked chicken (about 1 pound)
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup chopped yellow sweet pepper
3/4 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese (3 oz)
1 10.75 oz. can reduced-fat and reduced-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup
1 6 oz. carton plain low fat yogurt (I could not find low fat plain, only nonfat, and it worked just fine)
1/4 c slilced green onions
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup crushed cornflakes
1/4 cup sliced almonds

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, stir together chicken, celery, sweet pepper, cheese, soup, yogurt, green onions, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Transfer to 2 qt. rectangular baking dish.

2. In a small bowl, stir together cornflakes and almonds. Sprinkle evely over chicken mixture.

3. Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until heated through. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

I have no notes on this, except to read the recipe through first and make sure you have enough time to cook the chicken. I didn't realize that I had to do this and it took me a little longer to make dinner than I had originally anticipated. It was totally worth it, but I wish hadn't had to wait so long for it.

Oh, I also apologize for the lack of pictures. We have been pretty hungry when dinner comes out of the oven lately, and have forgotten to take pictures. I will try to get on that as soon as I can!

And another thing... I notice a few people looking at this, do any of you have any suggestions to make the page better, and types of recipes, stats, food types that you would like to see on here? Links? Anything? I am open to suggestions. I haven't done this type of blog before, so any help is welcome!