Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tuscan Ravioli Stew

I got some new cookbooks right after the New Year started, and I spent 3 days going through them and marking what I would like to try. Then, I handed them off to the husband and told him to pick three-five meals he wanted to try and I would pick up the stuff for them when I went shopping. So he did. And all was well.

The first book we deicded to try (and remembered to take pictures of) is Our Best Diabetic Living Recipes. I picked this one up for several reasons: One, I have loved the recipes I've tried out of the magazine so much so far; Two, the other book I wanted was not available; and Three, the pictures were pretty. I made a very good decision. The first recipe we tried was this stew/soup. Now, I've never cooked or even eaten Broccoli Rabe (which I have also seen spelled raab), so I was a little unsure how it was going to taste or even how to cut it up. But this was by far, one of the best soup/stews that I have ever eaten, and it was easy to make. Another thing that we think helped, was freshly grated Asiago cheese. Instead of buying that prepackaged stuff, we went to New Seasons and got a big hunk of it and grated it ourselves. And then we started using it on everything. See what you think.


Totally worth every penny and the time and effort


Tuscan Ravioli Stew
makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 large leek, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14 1/2 oz. no-salt added stewed tomatoes, undrained*
1 14 oz. can beef broth**
3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
5 cups coarsely chopped broccoli rabe or Swiss chard (about 6 oz)
1 9 oz. package refrigerated chicken or cheese filled ravioli***
1 Tablespoon snipped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
Fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)****
1/4 cup finely shredded Asiago Cheese

1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add leek and garlic; cook about 3 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in undrained tomatoes, beef broth, the water, and if desired, crushed red pepper; bring to boiling.


 

2. Stir in broccoli Rabe, ravioli and rosemary. return to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 7 to 8 minutes or until broccoli rabe and ravioli are tender. Ladle into shallow bowls. If desired, garnish with rosemary sprigs. Top individual servings with Asiago cheese.

 

*I used cut up stewed tomatoes, rather than whole stewed tomatoes
**Again, I used Better Than Bullion, it just has better flavor and you don't have to worry about waste
***We bought our fresh ravioli at New Seasons, but couldn't decide on a flavor, so we got Cheese, artichoke and olive; and chicken mushroom, I think. Both were fantastic. I highly suggest freshly made (like that day, if you can), it takes less time to cook, and the flavors are usually amazing.
****Fresh Rosemary tastes great. Problem is? I don't like sticks in my food. The dried spices are easy to grind down and still have that flavor, so that's what I do. But I don't need it as a garnish. All it is, is for looking anyway, so unless you're having the queen for dinner, I wouldn't worry about it.

 
How fabulous and tasty does this look to you?

Chicken Cordon Bleu

I am not a big fan of Swiss cheese. I only eat it in a few things - Reuben Sandwiches and this recipe. The husband seems to like it no matter what, but I just think it has the wrong taste for me. I am broadening my horizons with cheese, don't get me wrong, but as a girl raised on American cheese, this always tasted a little weird to me.

That said, I got this recipe from dLife. And it's really tasty. We use Black Forest Ham, and a fairly high quality (and sometimes, Guyere) Swiss. We have also finally been able to afford Foster Farms chicken, instead of the icky stuff (fatty, and veiny) that comes in a bulk bag. Things are starting to taste better! This is a fairly easy recipe to make, and we served it with lightly steamed broccoli. Fabulous dinner!

Chicken Cordon Bleu
(Makes 8 servings)

Ingredients
8 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts (4 small)
2 oz sliced, smoked ham , cut in half
2 oz Cheese, Swiss, reduced fat, thin slice, cut in half
1 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp white all purpose flour
1 cooking spray
1/3 cup fresh chopped onion*
2 1/2 oz Soup, cream of chicken, condensed, canned (1/4 can)



 
 1. Flatten each piece of chicken to about 1/4-inch thickness by placing the chicken breasts in between 2 sheets of heavy duty plastic wrap and then using a meat mallet or rolling pin to flatten them out.

2. Next, place one-half slice each of ham and cheese in the center of each chicken breast half. Roll up lengthwise, and then secure with wooden toothpicks.

 
3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Dip each chicken roll in egg and then dredge in flour. Place the chicken rolls seam side down into a shallow casserole dish coated with cooking spray.

4. Bake for 20 minutes. While baking, combine the onion and soup, stirring well. After the first 20-minute baking period, pour the soup mixture over the chicken and then continue to bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the chicken is done.


*If you prefer, mushrooms may be substituted for the onion in this recipe.


Yummy!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Brown Rice and Turkey Casserole

This will be the last turkey post for a while. I did make a turkey pot pie, it's the Pioneer Woman's recipe, but I messed it up, so I decided not to post it here. If you want the recipe, here is the link. Pioneer Woman's Turkey Pot Pie.  If you haven't checked out her blog before, I highly suggest you do. It's not great for us diabetics, but she takes beautiful pictures and tells really fun stories.

I wanted to make s comfort food-like casserole. My dad made a wild rice and turkey casserole when I was a kid that was awesome. But I couldn't find the recipe for that. So, I did what every good cook does - Googled it. :-) I found one that sounded really yummy, and decided to try it. I wasn't disappointed. This one is from Kalyn's Kitchen. She seems to follow the South Beach diet, which works with the glycemic index.

We forgot to take pictures until the very end (actually, my husband made it, so I can't take credit for anything). But it was really good. Hope you enjoy it (and it can be made with chicken, too).

Brown Rice Casserole with Leftover Turkey (or chicken), Mushrooms, Sour Cream, Cheese, and Thyme
(Makes about 6 generous servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

2 cups cooked brown rice (long grain brown rice is best)
16 oz. mushrooms, washed, thickly sliced, slices cut in half
2 tsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil (or more, depending on your pan)
1 onion, finely diced
2 tsp. ground thyme
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 - 2 cups diced leftover turkey  cut in 1/2 inch dice
1/2 cup turkey stock (We used the leftover broth from the soup I made)
1/2 cup sour cream (I used low-fat sour cream, but don't use fat-free)
1/2 cup coarsely grated parmesan cheese
1 cup + 1 cup grated low-fat cheese

Cook brown rice following package directions or using a rice cooker and let cool. Preheat oven to 375F.

Wash mushrooms and spin dry or dry with paper towels. Cut mushrooms into thick slices, then cut slices in half. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in heavy non-stick pan and saute mushrooms until they're starting to brown and all liquid has evaporated. Remove onions to a dish.

In same frying pan, add 1 tsp. more olive oil and heat, then add onions and saute 3-4 minutes until onions are softened. Add thyme, ground poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper, and saute about 2 minutes more.

While onions cook, dice leftover turkey or chicken into 1/2 inch pieces. Add mushrooms and diced turkey into pan with the onion-herb mixture, and stir to combine. Add rice and gently stir until all the meat and vegetables are evenly distributed in the rice.

In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream and stock, then stir in coarsely grated parmesan cheese and 1 cup grated low-fat cheese. Gently stir the sour cream mixture into the rice mixture.

Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick spray or olive oil. (I'd use a relatively flat dish without a lid for this casserole - we used a lasagna pan.) Spoon rice mixture into the casserole dish and press down to evenly distribute. Bake for 25 minutes, or until casserole is slightly bubbling and barely starting to brown. Sprinkle with second cup of grated low-fat cheese and bake about 15 minutes more, or until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve hot.


Now, doesn't that look yummy? 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Years Good Luck Pork and Sauerkraut

This year for New Years, I decided to do things up right. I am part German, and I read all the superstitions and things that different cultures do to insure a good New Year. I found this little ditty on Shine:

"The custom of eating pork on New Year's is based on the idea that pigs symbolize progress. The animal pushes forward, rooting itself in the ground before moving. Roast suckling pig is served for New Year's in Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, and Austria—Austrians are also known to decorate the table with miniature pigs made of marzipan. Different pork dishes such as pig's feet are enjoyed in Sweden while Germans feast on roast pork and sausages. Pork is also consumed in Italy and the United States, where thanks to its rich fat content, it signifies wealth and prosperity."

and

"Cooked greens, including cabbage, collards, kale, and chard, are consumed at New Year's in different countries for a simple reason — their green leaves look like folded money, and are thus symbolic of economic fortune. The Danish eat stewed kale sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, the Germans consume sauerkraut (cabbage) while in the southern United States, collards are the green of choice. It's widely believed that the more greens one eats the larger one's fortune next year."

So, I got to work looking for recipes that would have something along these lines. I found a few and decided to kind of mix and match. What I ended up making was glorious. At least it made the husband happy, and he hates sauerkraut. I will say this... the flavor was excellent, but the keilbasa ended up not cooking very nicely. It was kind of a mealy texture and over salty. But it added a really great flavor to everything else.

Good Luck Pork and Sauerkraut for New Years Day

2-3 # Pork Roast
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Fresh Thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1 # Keilbasa, cut in 2-3 inch slices
32 oz. Sauerkraut
1 bottle of beer - a sweeter beer is better, we used an apricot ale.

Turn on broiler.
Cover roast in olive oil and sprinkle the thyme, salt and pepper on it.
Put roast in over for about ten minutes, until it starts showing some brown edges.

While that is cooking, get the crock pot ready: spray it non-stick spray, put the sauerkraut along the bottom, and then lay the keilbasa around the edges.

When the roast is done, Put it right in the middle.
Pour the beer over the whole thing.

Cook on low for about 8-9 hours.

We tried to eat the keilbasa, but it just had that weird texture, and I could feel my ankles swelling as I ate, so I threw it away.

The thing I love about meat that gets cooked in the crock pot is that it just falls apart. No knives needed, just forks. The flavor on this was really good. I may make it another time, not just for New Years.

Turkey Vegetable Soup

There is no wrong time of year to make soup. At least that's what I think. I love soup. I could eat it every day. Seriously. My dad told me once, that when I was a kid, I used to try to order soup with every meal when we'd go out. Of course, I also tried to order the most expensive on the menu, but that's another story (and really, who could blame me? It always sounded good).

I started making my own broth from chicken and turkey bones only a few years ago, and I've never gone any other way. It's so wonderful. And the beauty of it is, you can make it with any spices you want, or none at all. You can what you want, you can take away what you don't want. This particular version, I went with the less is more method. By the time I started working on this broth, I was pretty tired, but I made it, and just added what I had on hand, or what I wanted. It's nice and warming during the winter and the broth is great to keep handy for future recipes (which I did). You can do this with leftover chicken or turkey carcasses (I haven't made any beef or pork broth yet, so I'm not really clear on how to pull that off).

Turkey Vegetable Soup

For the Broth:
1 Turkey carcass with a little meat left on it
2 celery stalks, cut in halves or thirds
2 carrots, cut in halves or thirds
1 onion, quartered
about 3-4 garlic cloves, quartered
Any spices you like (I use Poultry Seasoning, Thyme, Oregano, Parsley and Celery Seed)
Sea Salt
Pepper
2 bay leaves

Heat the oven to 375 degrees ( I sometimes will go higher, but I like mine to get almost burned before I use it, it also depends on how much meat you have on there). Spray a pan that will fit your turkey carcass with non-stick coating. Place turkey carcass in the pan and put in the over for 1-2 hours. I do really like my bones to be crispy. But make sure they are roasted well.

Boil water in a large pot - for as much broth as you want. I use a couple gallons at least. You can do this one of two ways - put the carcass directly in the pot of water, or wrap it in some cheesecloth. I put mine directly into the water. add the vegetables, and spices, salt, pepper and bay leaves.





Turn down to simmer. I leave mine for a couple of hours to get maximum flavor. Sometimes, after I do that, I will add some water to the broth so there is even more for other cooking projects. Not too much water, but maybe a few cups or so. It doesn't dilute it too much.

Remove the carcass and vegetables from the pot. Put them on a plate and let them cool before tossing them out. At this time, you should have a beautiful golden broth, somewhat like this:




Now, is when you get to be creative. I do not make measurements, because it's up to you. But here are some options to add.

For the Soup:
Celery
Carrots
Onion
Garlic
Turnips
Potatoes
Mushrooms
Green Beans
Snow peas
Kidney Beans
Corn
Tomatoes
Fresh noodles
Wild rice

The list is really endless (and yes, I have put all this stuff in my soup at one time before, and it was fantastic)

Also add some turkey meat to it. Usually about two cups or so will do you just fine. Cook it until just heated through. Then, you'll have a very good soup, and it freezes extremely well.




This particular batch, I ended up using the leftover veggies and turkey from the Pasties I made the night before. And it turned out just fine. I hope you enjoy yours.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Turkey Pasties


No, this isn't a mis-spelling. It's not supposed to be pastries. Pasty. Pasties. The idea just makes me giggle. With more leftover turkey, I decided that my husband and I were going to make these. He helped me with the crust.

But first, let me tell you a story. Pull up a pillow and your blanky and get comfy. It's not long, but it's kind of cool. My husband is of Welsh/Cornish descent. He remembers Christmas Eve with his Grandma making Pasties. There were made with beef and potatoes. They are filled pie crust and almost look like Calzones. The husband told me that his Grandma used to make these for his Grandpa for lunch. They would be wrapped in tinfoil, and they were perfect to take down in the mines in Montana. You could eat them with one hand, and generally, they were still warm at lunchtime.

Since I have met the husband, he has been telling me how wonderful these pasties were. I thought about them, and even one time, my mom and I went for high tea, and they were served. While they were good, they were somewhat dry. I found out later that they should not have been. so, every year, I have been hoping that the husband would make them for me around Christmas time. He never has. So I finally asked him why not. He told me that while he watched his grandma make them, he never learned how. So, with that in mind, and leftover turkey in mind, I looked for a recipe so I could make these special treats for him.

I found a recipe that sounded easy enough for a beginner, yet yummy enough to work for the husband without beef or traditional. I ran it by him and he said it sounded good. I got this recipe from Leftover Lovers.

Leftover Turkey Pasties

Ingredients: 

For the filling
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced in 1/4″ rounds
  • 1/2 cup celery stalks, sliced 1/4″
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 4 Tbsp. butter or margarine
  • 2 tsp chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced*
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups leftover turkey, chopped
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
For the dough**
Use leftover pie crust or use the following ingredients:
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups flour
  • 6 T water

Preparation:

In a skillet, sauté the carrots and celery in the water, butter, and chicken bouillon for 5 minutes.



The one that would eventually belong to the husband

The one that would eventually be mine

Add potatoes, onion, leftover turkey meat and poultry seasoning.

Potatoes and onions

Turnips and onions
 
Husband's potato mixture
 
my turnip mixture
Salt and pepper and mix well.
Divide into fourths.
Mix dough ingredients and roll into four 10- inch circles.
Put the meat mixture on one side of the dough.

Husband's pasty



my pasty
Fold the other half of the dough over and seal with fingers or a fork.


two down, two to go

Aren't they so cute and shiny?

Bake 1 hour at 375°.

The beautifully finished product. Husband said they were perfect. And wonderful.
Our initials are forked in on the top so we could tell who's was who's.

    Serves 4.

    *I mixed this up a little. Potatoes, as we all know, can be the devil for us diabetics, so I have learned to substitute turnips. They don't taste bad in most cases, and can easily be substituted with no taste or texture difference. I gave the husband two potatoes and I ate two turnips. 

    **I used a pre-made refrigerated crust. We rolled it into balls and rolled it out with a rolling pin, cut each one in half, and used it that way.

    Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    Turkey Salad Sandwich

    Now that I was done with Christmas dinner, and I had taken apart the turkey and put it in a big Tupperware for later use. So then began the long process of figuring out which recipes sounded good enough and good enough for me to use. I settled on turkey salad sandwiches, turkey soup, turkey pasties, turkey and brown rice casserole, and turkey pot pie. Yeah, that's a lot of nights (and lunches) of turkey.

    The first night after Christmas, I had to work, so I thought the turkey salad sandwiches would be the quickest and easiest to make and eat.I was right. This recipe is so good, that I have started making it to take in my lunches, with chicken instead of turkey (because really, who has time to make a turkey every week?) I got this recipe from Closet Cooking, which is an awesome cooking site with all kinds of experimental (but not always good for diabetics) ingredients that I never would have thought of using in my food. Plus, his blog writing is really fun, his story about he started cooking is interesting, too.

    Also, when looking for bread to have with this sandwich, I came across this stuff by Orowheat, called Double Fiber bread. It's awesome. It's light, fluffy, soft, and has a good flavor. I can have two pieces for the carbs of one. So instead of having the requisite one piece of bread for my sandwich with 20 carbs, I can have 2. (this is with fiber included in the count). It works great for keeping this sandwich healthy, and it actually makes good toast (which is something I crave a lot of, but never have). I added a picture of the bag so you can find it too.

    Turkey Salad Sandwich

    Ingredients:
    1 cup cooked turkey (shredded)
    1/2 apple (cored and diced)
    1 stalk celery (chopped)
    1 green onion (chopped, or red)
    1 tablespoon pecans (toasted and coarsely chopped)
    1 tablespoon dried cranberries
    2 tablespoons mayonnaise
    1 splash lemon juice
    2 leaves sage (chopped)
    salt and pepper to taste
    2 leaves lettuce
    2 slices bread

    Directions:
    1. Mix everything but the lettuce and bread in a bowl.
    2. Assemble sandwich.
     


    Yummy sandwich


    Great Bread

     
    More yummy sandwich

     
    And now... it looks at you and says..."EAT ME!"

    Enjoy and Happy New Year!

    Tuesday, January 5, 2010

    Low-Carb Pumpkin Cheesecake

    I wanted cheesecake. I wanted pumpkin pie. What could be better than having pumpkin cheesecake? Well, it's not exactly the best thing for me, I'm afraid. Even eaten in small portions. So, luckily, I found this Low-Carb recipe for pumpkin cheesecake. It's not very sweet, but it's very rich and very thick and creamy. And pumpkinny. I made it for our Christmas dessert. Unfortunately, we were both too full to have any on that day, so I have been having it with my lunches every day since. It hasn't caused a sugar spike, so that has to be good, right?

    This is pretty easy to make, just kind of time consuming. I used fresh pumpkin in mine, so I just measured out the same amount that it asks for. I find that usually gives it a richer, fresher flavor than the canned stuff. Make sure it is really well mixed. Sometimes, I don't end up mixing mine well enough and I get chunks of cream cheese that separate from the rest a little. And make sure you really scrape the sides often while mixing. My mixes tend to slough off on the side and stick.

    I hope that if you make this, you really enjoy it. I am pretty sure you can add more Splenda than I did. It can be really tasty and the nut crust give it a really interesting flavor. I got this recipe from 500 Low-Carb Recipes by Dana Carpender.

    Pumpkin Cheesecake

    Butter
    1/2 Cup pecans, coarsely chopped
    2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened (I use Neufchatel, it's lower in fat and tastes EXACTLY the same)
    1/2 to 3/4 cup Splenda sweetener
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 1/2 cups pure canned pumpkin
    1/2 cup sour cream
    4 eggs
    1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
    1 teaspoon ginger
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon ground gloves
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    Preheat the oven to 300 degrees
    Butter thebotom and sides of a 9 1/2-inch springform cheesecake pan. Sprinkle the botom of the pan with chopped pecans, distributing them evenly.




    In a large mixing bowl, use an electic mixer to beat the cream cheese, Splenda, and vanilla until fluffy, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl and beaters.



    Add the pumpkin and sour cream, mixing thoroughly on medium speed.

     


    Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly between each one. Mix the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. 

    Pour the batter over the nuts in the pan.




    Bake for 60 to70 minutes, or until a knife placed in the center comes out clean.



    Cool for 20 minutes before removing from the pan, and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.


    Sunday, January 3, 2010

    Mom's Stuffing

    Warning: This is NOT diabetic friendly, unless you eat it in very small amounts (like 1/2 cup).

    This is my favorite stuffing ever. It's my mom's recipe, and it's fabulous. I hated stuffing when I was a kid, but grew to love it. Especially once it was not cooked in the bird anymore (yuck!) My mom told me that if you plan on putting this stuffing into the turkey, to make it a little dryer, but if you want to leave it out, add a little more chicken broth. I found that I actually didn't need to add any, it was perfect for me.

    So, here is the recipe:

    Mom's Stuffing

    2 cubes butter
    1 whole box Mrs. Cubbison's cubed stuffing (not corn bread and not torn bread), this comes seasoned
    2 cans chicken broth*
    2 cups chopped celery
    1 1/2 cups chopped onion
    1 Tablespoon poultry seasoning

    Melt one cube of butter in large skillet or deep pan, add onions and celery.





    Cook until opaque.



    Stir in 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning.
    Add 1 can chicken broth and the other cube of butter. Stir, heat, melt.





     In a large bowl put bread crumbs and pour mix over it, stirring until mixed well. If it's dry add some more chicken broth, until you reach the desired consistency that you want.




    Bake @ 325 degrees for 25 min covered
    Cook for another 20 min uncovered.



    *If you do not used canned chicken broth (I don't, I use Better Than Bullion), each can is 10 1/2 oz.