Saturday, January 27, 2018

Leader Enterprise - January 24, 2018 - Soups to Warm you Up



Among the numerous food holidays in January, one of them is National Soup Month...so I'm happy to help you celebrate with these tasty soup recipes.  Slurp up and enjoy! 

I'm very pleased to share with you these favorite tried and true dishes that we enjoy. Trust they'll warm your tummies and fill your families. Dinner doesn’t have to be perfect or elaborate. A simple meal with your family is a weeknight gift. Enjoy it! Something I try to do on a regular basis, is cook chicken and beef for the freezer, so when I need a fast meal, it's ready to be added. I also keep chopped onions, celery and carrots in the freezer. It's a time-saver.

CHEESEY HAMBURGER SOUP 

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
2 Tb. minced garlic
1 (10.75 ozs.) can tomato soup
1 (soup) can water
2 (14 ozs.) cans beef broth
(about 2-1/2 cups)
1 sm. can corn, undrained
(or just add a cup of frozen)
1 c. uncooked pasta twists
4 - 6 ozs. Velveeta cheese, chunked

In a large skillet, brown ground beef with the onion and garlic. Season with salt & pepper (we are pepper lovers and I always use a garlic pepper from Watkins!) Drain grease. In large cooking pan, combine tomato soup, water, broth and corn (and/or beans). Add ground beef mixture and stir to combine. Heat just until it begins to boil, then add pasta. Cover pot and cook until pasta is just done (or el dente). Add Velveeta and heat on low until melted. Serve with a sandwich or salad, or even crackers and cheese, and you are ready to enjoy! 


It doesn't get much easier than this! 

BLACK & WHITE BEAN CHILI

3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 (48 ozs.) jar great northern beans
2 (16 ozs..each) jars black bean and corn salsa
2 c. (16 ozs.) shredded cheddar cheese

Heat first 3 ingredients together until hot, then add cheese. Stir until melted. Serve hot alongside tortilla chips, cornbread, or a grilled cheese sandwich. 





SMOKED SAUSAGE, WHITE BEAN AND POTATO CHOWDER 

2-1/2 c. (low sodium) chicken broth 
3 c. potatoes, diced
(I use frozen cubed southern hash browns)
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1/2 c. carrots, diced
1-1/2 c. smoked sausage or ham, chopped
3 Tb. butter, melted
3 Tb. all purpose flour
2 c. half & half (or whole milk)
1 can (15 ozs.) northern beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 chicken bouillon cube, crushed
black pepper to taste

In large pot, add chicken broth, potatoes, celery, onions, carrots and smoked sausage; bring to boil and cook until veggies are tender, about 12 - 15 minutes. 

In medium saucepan, melt butter, stir in flour (a whisk works great) then add half and half a little at a time, stirring until smooth and thick. Drain some of the broth from sausage mixture, adding that to flour mixture, stirring until smooth. Add cheese and heat until it melts.  Slowly add that back to the pot with veggies and sausage. Add beans, bouillon and pepper.  Heat through and serve. 


I love serving these tasty crackers with any kind of soup!  If you like Ranch, substitute dry mix for the Italian seasonings. 

SEASONED BUTTERY CRACKERS

1 stick salted butter
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. dried basil
a few sprinkles garlic powder
(or substitute 1 tsp. Italian seasoning instead of all 3 spices above)
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1 sleeve saltine crackers

Preheat oven to 275. 

Melt butter in saucepan and add seasonings...stir until well blended. Add saltines, 2 (or more) at a time, coating with butter mixture on both sides. Place on baking rack over a cookie sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven; cool; place in sealed bag or container. 

Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.~Maya Angelou 

Friday, January 26, 2018

Snickerdoodle Zucchini Bread {New Recipe}

I am absolutely blown away to realize I have not posted this recipe from the summertime when I was doing Farmer's Market!  DUH!!! 

I saw the photo in my files recently and when I went hunting for the recipe on the blog, it was no where to be found.  EEKK!! 

I combined ideas from about 3 recipes to come up with this 'winner winner!' and want you to be able to enjoy it too. 

It's a great seller at my market - maybe because some folks are just intrigued by the idea???  (And I do give samples!)

It tastes WONDERFUL!!! 

It tastes similar to the cookie - and it freezes nicely too. 

Cinnamon is good for you, you know! 

I stock up on the cinnamon chips when they are in stores as they can be seasonal. I'm blessed to be able to find them at our local bulk food store during the year. 

I've already reduced the amount of sugar in this recipe, (by 1/2 c.) but if you want less, I say GO FOR IT! Whatever turns your crank...

Don't forget...the cinnamon chips sweeten the bread also...

(hover over photo to pin) 

SNICKERDOODLE ZUCCHINI BREAD 

3 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon 
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 c. cinnamon chips
(found in aisle with chocolate chips)
3 eggs
1 c. vegetable oil
1-3/4 c. white sugar
1 Tb. vanilla
2 c. grated zucchini

TOPPING: 
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 and grease 2 - 9" loaf pans or 2 - 8" X 4" loaf pans, and one medium pan - 5".  

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves; set aside. Stir in cinnamon chips (coating them with flour helps to keep them from sinking in the pan). 

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla. Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture just until its blended. 

Fold in zucchini until blended smoothly then pour into prepared pans. 

Combine topping ingredients and evenly sprinkle over the dough before baking, trying to keep it away from the sides.  

Bake small loaves about 33 minutes, large ones about 45. When you stick a toothpick in the middle, a few crumbs may be on the toothpick.  I'd say then it's time to take it out of the oven...let cool about 10 minutes, then remove from pans to wire rack to cool. 

If you decide you want to freeze one for later, I suggest wrapping a cool loaf with plastic wrap, then placing inside a ziploc freezer bag.  Be sure to label! 

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Leader Enterprise - January 10, 2018 - Tips to help make right food choices




Welcome 2018! (Can we even believe it??) If you're anything like me, I felt I had to clear the kitchen of anything unhealthy to eat so I won't be tempted by it before I begin my healthy eating program in January.  EEK! Here's to a happy and healthy new year!

I so appreciate thoughts like these, found at www.sparkpeople.com that give me something concrete to wrap my mind around when trying to eat healthier. Enlisting some of these ideas into our daily lives, one change at a time, will help jump-start our healthy New Year's Resolutions.

Eat a fruit or vegetable with every meal. If half a plate of fruits and vegetables seems like an overwhelming goal for you right now, start by simply adding one fruit or veggie to each meal. You can eat them as a side -- think a cup of green beans with dinner or an orange with breakfast -- or simply start adding them to foods you already eat. Fruit is a cinch to add to oatmeal, yogurt and cereal in the morning. 

Drink up. While you should limit the number of calories you get from beverages, if you have trouble fitting fruits and vegetables into your busy life, work them into a drink that you can take on the go. Try out smoothie recipes until you find a few you love and work them into your rotation as a breakfast or afternoon snack option
. You can easily get several fruit and vegetable servings in a yummy beverage.
 
Slurp some soup! Soups and stews can be a nutritious, filling way to get lots of vegetables into a meal. Soup is an easy way to increase the variety of veggies you eat as it can make some of your least favorite options more palatable. 

Keep them in sight, in mind. Just like you keep sweets out of sight to discourage incessant snacking, keeping fruits and veggies in sight will help you think of them as an option for eating. Stock a fruit bowl at work each week and keep a bowl on the kitchen counter at home so you’ll be more likely to eat it when you’re hungry. 

My husband and I love this delicious soup from the Skinny Kitchen website. It makes a large batch, but it freezes well. You can easily cut the recipe in half. 

TURKEY BARLEY SOUP WITH SWEET POTATOES

10 c. (reduced-sodium) chicken broth
1 c. dried pearl barley (I use quick)
1 tsp. olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic,minced
1-1/2 c. carrots, sliced
1-1/2 c. celery, sliced
1-1/2 c. onions, chopped
2-1/2 c. sweet potatoes (or butternut squash), peeled and chopped 
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried sage
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 lb. cooked turkey breasts or chicken, cubed

In a large pot, add the chicken broth and barley. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. In the meantime, in a nonstick pan add the olive oil, garlic, carrots, celery and onions; sauté until soft,about 5 minutes. Add the sautéed vegetables to the broth. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, thyme, sage and fresh ground pepper. Continue to cook uncovered for 25 minutes. Add the cooked turkey and stir with a rubber spatula so the squash doesn’t get mushy. Cook for 5 minutes more. Yield: 12 cups. 1 cup= 142 calories; 1 gr.fat, 13 gr.protein, 22 gr.carbs, 5 gr.fiber



BLUEBERRY BANANA FLAXSEED SMOOTHIE

2 TB. flax seed meal
1 ripe banana (frozen slices are great)
1 c. blueberries
1/2 c. (fat free) Greek Yogurt
1 c. (skim) milk
1 TB. honey
1/4 tsp. almond extract
6 chopped ice cubes

Add all ingredients and blend until smooth, about 1 minute.  Yield: 2 servings. Garnish with blueberries. 

STUFFED PEPPERONI PIZZA MELT
1 (whole wheat) Deli Sandwich Thin
1 tsp. Smart Balance Light or reduced-fat butter
1-1/2 Tb. pizza or marinara sauce
7 slices Hormel’s 70% less fat turkey pepperoni
1 slice light provolone cheese or light mozzarella
Preheat Panini maker, George Foreman grill or stove-top skillet. Spread the outside of the sandwich thin, both top and bottom, with 1/2 teaspoon of butter on each. Split open and spread the inside of the bottom slice with pizza sauce. On top of sauce, place pepperoni slices and top with 1 slice of cheese. Place remaining top piece of sandwich thin, butter side out. Place in preheated grill or skillet; cook for 4 to 5 minutes until melted and golden brown. Remove with a spatula as the cheese oozes out a bit while cooking. De-Lish! Yield: 1 serving= 215 calories, 8 gr. fat, 14 gr. protein, 26 gr. carbs, 6 gr. fiber

Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm. ~Abraham Lincoln 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Cranberry Orange Layered Salad - MMMM! (Reduced Sugar Option) {New Recipe}



Well, I had hoped to share this before the end of the year, but it didn't happen.

No problem, for me anyway - I crave cranberries often during the year.  And this dish will be made again and again.  I'm tickled to get it on my blog for future reference. 

THIS RECIPE CAN BE MADE AHEAD 2 DAYS!! So it's perfect for the holidays. 

I cut the original recipe (easily!) in half and used sugar free jello along with xylitol for sweetener in the middle layer. I did use canned cranberry sauce and it has sugar, so this isn't sugar free, per se, but overall it is reduced sugar for sure....if you want to use sf jello and a sugar substitute. 


And so luscious!!! 

With a nutty crust...a layer of cream cheese and whipped topping...topped with a layer or orange jello (I used sugar free), mixed with cranberry sauce and nuts...

WHAT'S NOT TO LOVE???

It's truly amazing!  I found the recipe at Norine's Nest...who found it at Pinterest. It's a Paula Deen original...Norine adapted it, then I did too. 

Isn't that the way recipes evolve?  

Please be sure to check out Norine's Blog - she's chock full of awesome recipes - and a ton of humor too!  If you haven't ever visited her, PLEASE don't hesitate.  She's a true gem. 

This is half the original recipe and how I made this tasty dish. The crust needs to be prepared ahead of time so beware when you are ready to make it. 



CRANBERRY ORANGE LAYERED SALAD 

CRUST:
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. chopped pecans
4 Tb. firmly packed brown sugar
(I used 3 Tb.)
4 Tb. butter, melted 

FILLING: 
1 (8 ozs.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
3 Tb. white sugar 
(or equivalent in substitute)
4 - 6 ozs. frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (4-serving size) box orange jello
1 c. boiling water
1 (14 ozs.) can whole-berry cranberry sauce, chunked
(just use a knife inside the can to cut into chunks) 
1/2 c. cold water
1/2 c. chopped nuts, optional 
Garnish: whipped topping, whipped fresh cranberries


Preheat the oven to 350*. Spray 9" X 9" (glass) square pan with nonstick cooking spray. 

In a medium sized bowl, add flour, pecans and brown sugar; combine to mix. Add melted butter and stir until evenly mixed. Press into bottom of prepared pan.  Bake about 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool to room temperature. 

In a medium sized bowl (same one if you want!) beat softened cream cheese and sugar until smooth, using a mixer at medium speed. Beat in whipped topping until blended. Spread evenly over the cooled crust. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or more if necessary. 

In a large glass bowl, pour boiling water over jello, stirring until dissolved. Stir in cranberry sauce (I find it easiest to use a whisk). Add 1/2 c. cold water, stirring until combined. (If using nuts, add now). Slowly pour jello mixture over the cream cheese layer. (I find if I pour it onto a big spoon, it won't 'cut into' the cream cheese layer as much, but hey - it's all good!) OR YOU CAN REFRIGERATE JELLO FOR ABOUT 20 MINUTES OR SO UNTIL IT BEGINS TO THICKEN. 

Cover and chill for at least 3 hours or up to 2 days. Cut into 6 or 9 squares for serving, topped with more Cool Whip and a few fresh cranberries if desired. 

It's just as delicious as it is beautiful! 




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