Shrimp and Corn Chowder

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

This is a thick and creamy chowder without all the added fat that chowders are usually prepared with.  Using a combination of chicken broth and low-fat milk lowers calories, and blending part of the soup helps thicken it.

Great flavor is achieved by sautéing lots of celery and onion in a small amount of butter till softened, then adding the flour and cooking to incorporate it.  Add the corn, diced potato, chicken broth and seasonings and cook until potatoes are tender.  Then about 1/3 of this mixture is blended in a blender and returned to the soup kettle along with the milk and shrimp.

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To make this a gluten-free meal, omit the flour.  The soup may be a tiny bit less thick, but still deliciously seasoned and filling.  This makes four generous servings with calorie count only 394/serving, and fat at 8g.

We love this soup, and summertime is the perfect time to make it with summer corn at it’s sweetest.  However I made it recently because I ended up with an opened package of frozen corn to use up.  Mr. D. suggested I make corn chowder, so that’s the back story of why I made it now.  Although frozen corn is not ideal, it still gave thickness and corn flavor that was satisfying.

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At serving time I added some chopped green onion, (green parts only) and chopped celery leaves for garnish.  A salty cheese would also be good sprinkled on top such as queso fresco, cojita or feta.  This will add calories and fat so be mindful of that if you are counting calories.

SHRIMP AND CORN CHOWDER

Yield:   Makes 4 servingsIMG_9182

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen corn
  • 3 medium or 4 small potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepperIMG_9184
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 bunch scallions, green parts only, chopped
  • celery leaves, chopped

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Directions:

1.  Melt the butter in a soup kettle or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Stir in the celery and onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until they begin to soften.

2.  Stir in the corn and potatoes, then stir in the flour until incorporated.  Cook for about 2 minutes.  Add the chicken broth, thyme and bay leaves, plus 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grinds of black pepper.  Cook until potatoes test done.

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3. Remove bay leaves;  transfer about 1/3 of this mixture to a blender and puree until smooth, then return to the pot.

 

IMG_9187 Return to a simmer, add the milk, and shrimp.  Reduce heat to low, and cook until shrimp are pink, about 4 minutes.  Season with additional salt if needed.  Soup may be thinned with additional chicken broth if it’s too thick.

4.  Divide among serving bowls and sprinkle with chopped scallions and celery leaves.

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

 

SOURCE:  a major adaptation of a recipe from Cooking Light

 

Stuffed Turkey Tenderloins

 

 

Stuffed Turkey Tenderloins

Stuffed Turkey Tenderloins

This recipe is for anyone who is not planning on roasting a whole turkey for Thanksgiving, yet wants to have some turkey the day of…just not for a week afterward.

Can I interest you in turkey tenderloins stuffed with a savory filling of butternut squash, cranberries, sage and pecans?   All the tastes of Thanksgiving wrapped up in a neat little edible package.  These are not hard to make, they taste fabulous and even the next day, they still taste great leftover for lunch.

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Turkey tenderloins are the tender long strip of white meat hidden under the turkey breast.  They are succulent, and so excellent for fast cooking.  Because they are so lean you want to be sure you don’t overcook them or the meat will be dry. Once stuffed they are seared a little to brown them up, then covered and baked in the oven to finish cooking.  By covering the pan you keep all the moisture inside, thereby maintaining moisture in the meat.

I made these for Mr. D. and me as a pre-Thanksgiving meal to try them out, but they would be good anytime you want just a small amount of turkey or you’re planning a meal for a special occasion.

BUTTERNUT STUFFED TURKEY TENDERLOINS

Yield:  Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless turkey tenderloins  ( about 2 large, or 4 smaller ones)IMG_8597
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1  1/4 cups diced butternut squash, 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. dried sage
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped pecans
  • cooking twine
  • cooking spray

Directions:

1.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil.  Add shallots and garlic and sauté over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, or until soft and golden.

Sauté shallots and garlic till soft.

Sauté shallots and garlic till soft.

Add butternut squash, cranberries, maple syrup and 1 Tbsp. water and cover;  cook on low for 10 minutes.

Add b-nut squash, cranberries, maple syrup and water.

Add b-nut squash, cranberries, maple syrup and water.

Turn off heat and add salt, pepper and sage.    Stir in the pecans and set aside to cool slightly.

Add seasonings and pecans.

Add seasonings and pecans.

2.  Cut a pocket into the sides of the tenderloins, being careful not to cut all the way through at the ends.  Sprinkle inside and out with salt.

3.  Stuff each turkey breast with about 1/2 cup of squash mixture.  (This really depends on the size of your tenderloins.  Stuff them as full as possible.)  Cut cooking twine long enough to tie each breast with 3 to 4 pieces of twine.  Cut off extra “tails”.

Tenderloins stuffed and tied.

Tenderloins stuffed and tied.

4.  Preheat oven to 375*F.    Wipe out the skillet you’ve previously used and reheat to medium-high.  Spray with a little cooking spray.  Carefully sear each turkey tenderloin on each side.  If your skillet is oven proof, cover tightly with foil and place in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  (If your skillet is not oven proof, transfer the tenderloins to a baking dish and cover with foil.)  Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

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SOURCE:    Slightly modified from Skinny Taste

Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin Scones

I love Charlie Brown specials on TV.  I watch them whenever I can.  One in particular that  I love is It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  The Great Pumpkin seems to be known only to Linus who waits for him every year on Halloween.  Linus and his blanket wait patiently in the pumpkin patch for the Great Pumpkin to appear.  Invariably he fails to show up and a humiliated but undefeated Linus vows to wait for him again the following Halloween.

A line made famous by the  TV special is “There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people:  religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin”   Well, I pretty much adhere to that rule, too, but seeing that Halloween has just passed, today is election day, and I baked pumpkin scones, I’m breaking the rule to share with you this recipe for awesome pumpkin scones.   I imagine Linus would have loved to have one while he waited for the Great Pumpkin, but you don’t have to wait that long, only long enough to whip these up and have one while it’s still warm with a cup of coffee or tea.

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PUMPKIN SCONES

Yield:  10 -11 drop sconesIMG_8448

Ingredients:

  • 2  1/4 cup all-purpose flour ( or use half white flour, and half whole wheat)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • 6 Tbsp. chilled butter, cut into small  pieces
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup fat-free half and half ( plus extra for brushing the tops of the scones, if desired.)
  • In place of the half and half you can use 3/4 cup fat-free buttermilk, plus add 1/2 tsp. baking soda to the dry ingredients.

Optional Spice Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp. water

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice, and pulse to blend briefly.

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Add the orange zest and better and pulse on and off. until the mixture has the consistency of fine meal.

Transfer flour mixture to a large bowl.

Transfer flour mixture to a large bowl.

Transfer to a large mixing bowl and stir in the pumpkin and half and half, mixing just until combined.

Mixing in the pumpkin and half-and-half.

Mixing in the pumpkin and half-and-half.

3.  Spoon the dough onto the baking sheet, using 1/4 cup measure or large spoon, to divide evenly.  This should make about 10 scones. (I got 11.)   Space them about 1 inch apart.

Space about 1-inch apart on parchment lined baking sheet.

Space about 1-inch apart on parchment lined baking sheet.

Brush the tops with a tablespoon or two of fat-free half and half.

Brush tops with half-and-half.

Brush tops with half-and-half.

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until they are lightly browned.

4.  For the glaze:  Add powdered sugar, pumpkin pie spice and water to a small ;bowl.  Whisk together well.  Drizzle over scones and serve warm or cold.

Drizzle scones with glaze.

Drizzle scones with glaze.

Light and tender.  Just right for a snack.

Light and tender. Just right for a snack.

 

SOURCE:   old recipe from the Hartford Courant

 

A Salad….

Cherry-Quinoa Salad with Cucumber Ribbons

Cherry-Quinoa Salad with Cucumber Ribbons

I am in need of a salad.  The kind that’s heavy with greens and good nutrients, yet unique and full of surprises, and well,  sexy!

The kind of salad that makes you want to wear those sleek, super expensive yoga pants, if you wear yoga pants, that is.  Me?  I wear tight, super short dance skirts, or long skirts with a slit up to THERE!   You see where I’m going with this don’t you?   In short….when your shape is gonna show, make sure it’s a shape you wanna show!

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Yeah,  that’s exactly the kind of salad I’m craving.

Today we are making Cherry Quinoa Salad on cucumber ribbons.  Come on,  let’s do salad!

I love combining sweet summer fruit with salad ingredients.  It’s pretty amazing that sweet cherries, grated carrots and green onions get married in this salad starring our favorite grain, quinoa.  Now spoon that over some ribbons of pickled cucumbers.   Whaaat?   I know, unbelievable, right?  That’s what I said, until I tasted it. Now I want it for lunch and dinner every day.  Go figure.

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CHERRY QUINOA SALAD

Yield:  Makes 6 servings;  serving size: 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegarIMG_7810
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1  3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups pitted and chopped sweet cherries
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots ( 1 medium)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions ( 2)
  • 3 tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp. snipped fresh mint
  • 1/3 cup dry roasted pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped

Directions:

1.  Make vinaigrette:   in a screw-top jar combine vinegar, oil, honey, 1/2 tsp. salt, and pepper.  Cover and shake well; chill until needed.

2.  In a large saucepan combine water, wine, and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in quinoa.  Return to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer, covered for 12 to 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed.  Cool, tossing occasionally, by stirring with a fork.

3.  Stir cherries, carrot, green onions parsley, and mint into quinoa.  Drizzle with 6 tablespoons of the vinaigrette; toss gently to coat.

 

 

 

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Reserve the remaining vinaigrette for a later use.   Cover and chill quinoa mixture for at least 2 hours.  To serve, sprinkle with pistachios.

4.  To serve salad on Cucumber “Ribbons”:    Using a vegetable peeler, cut 1 small seedless cucumber lengthwise into thin “ribbons”.  Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette; toss to coat.   Line a serving platter with cucumber “ribbons.”  Spoon the quinoa salad on top of cucumber and sprinkle with pistachios.

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Nutritional Profile:  (Cherry-Quinoa Salad),  322 calories, 11 g fat, 365 mg sodium, 46 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 9 g protein.

(with cucumber “ribbons”), 353 calories, 10 g protein, 49 g carbs, 13 g total fat, 6 g fiber, 431 mg sodium,

SOURCE:   Better Homes and Gardens Newsletter

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Nobody really needs an excuse to drink margaritas and eat enchiladas.  But if you did, Cinco de Mayo would be it.    The fifth of May is a holiday that celebrates Mexico’s defeat of French colonists who were trying to expand into Mexico.  It has its importance in Mexico, yes, but is widely celebrated here in the U.S. where drinking margaritas and eating Tex-Mex foods is the center of most activities.

Other popular Mexican foods include guacamole, tacos, tortillas,  burittos, and churros.  I enjoy eating any or all of them, but recipes for those can be found in abundance at many food-related sites, and often include (non)healthy doses of fat and calories.   I wanted to prepare an entree that would be healthy, colorful and speak Mexican, while keeping the fat in check.   So stuffed peppers it is, with a nod to Cinco de Mayo.   They are  muy Mexican and delicioso!!

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MEXICAN STUFFED PEPPERS

Yield:   Makes 4 servings:

Ingredients:IMG_7136

  • 4  (medium sized) bell peppers in assorted colors
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 package Spanish Rice mix, such as Rice-a-Roni
  • 2 cups Colby-Jack cheese, grated
  • 1 1/2 cup salsa, choose your level of “heat”
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  •  2 tablespoon minced cilantro, or parsley

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick spray.  Clean and prepare the peppers.  Slice in half vertically, removing all ribs and seeds.  Set aside.  Note:  You may wish to leave the peppers whole for stuffing.  I like to cut mine in half so I get more stuffing–for me, it’s all about the stuffing and not so much the pepper.

Peppers halved and prepared for  stuffing.

Peppers halved and prepared for stuffing.

2.  Cook the beef:  In a large skillet heated to medium-high, crumble the beef and cook until no longer pink.  Near the end of its cooking time add the onions and sauté a bit longer till they soften.  Drain any drippings.

Browning the beef and onions.

Browning the beef and onions.

3.  Stir in the package of rice mix and its seasonings, 1  1/2 cup cheese, salsa and hot sauce.  (I added about 1/2 cup water, to be sure there was enough liquid to cook the rice.)

4.  Fill the pepper halves so the filling is slightly mounded at the top.  Place in a baking dish close together so they support each other.  Pour the 1/2 cup water around them.

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Cover with foil and bake until they are tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  If you like to use cooking bags, place the peppers in a bag and bake for about the same length of time.

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5.  When the peppers are tender, remove any covering, sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese, and return to oven to melt cheese. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

 

SOURCE:  majorly adapted from a recipe from Taste of Home

 

Oven-Fried Tilapia with Warm Spinach Salad

Oven Fried Tilapia

Oven Fried Tilapia

Fish of some sort is on the menu at least once a week around here, sometimes more often than that.  During the Lenten period especially, fish and seafood is attractively priced at the supermarket, so that is another reason why we have it more often.  One fish that we particularly like and is very easy to cook is tilapia.  It is mild flavored and can be enhanced by a variety of sauces or cooking methods.

This recipe is called oven fried, although there is no frying involved.  I think the meaning is that it will appear to be fried and have a nice crisp, crusty coating on it.  This is achieved by using panko crumbs and toasting them before dredging the tilapia with the seasoned crumbs.  The fish is tender and flaky inside the crust.

I usually serve this fish with rice or noodles and a salad. This time, however, I served it with my potato-fennel hash and a warm spinach salad that I think goes very well with this dish.  Nutritionally speaking this is a very low fat, potentially low carbohydrate (depending what you serve with it), and low calorie meal.

Potato-fennel hash.

Potato-fennel hash.

Warm Spinach Salad

Warm Spinach Salad

OVEN-FRIED TILAPIA

Yield:   4 servings

Ingredients:IMG_6997

  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • cooking spray
  • lemon wedges for serving

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F.  Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.

2.  Place panko and next four ingredients (through pepper) in a large skillet;  cook over medium heat 3 minutes or until toasted, stirring frequently.

3.  Place panko mixture in a shallow dish.   Combine 2 Tbsp. water and egg in a shallow dish.  Place flour in another shallow dish.

4.  Season fish fillets by sprinkling with the salt.  Dredge fish in flour; dip in egg mixture, then place fish in panko mixture, turning to coat.

5.  Arrange in the prepared baking dish.  Bake at 400*F for 15 minutes or until it flakes easily and is done.  Serve with lemon wedges.

WARM SPINACH SALADIMG_7009

  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

1.  Place the spinach leaves in a large bowl.

2.  Heat a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the olive oil and swirl to coat.  Add the minced garlic and grape tomatoes; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly . Add the cider vinegar, honey, black pepper and salt, stirring with a whisk.

Sauté tomatoes in oil and seasonings.

Sauté tomatoes in oil and seasonings.

3.  Pour vinegar mixture over spinach and toss to coat.  Serve while warm.

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SOURCE:    Cook Yourself  Thin

 

 

 

Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Soup

A cold stormy day calls for hot soup. We were hit with an unexpected snow storm the other day that threw everyone into a tizzy. What is it that is so often said about the last day of March, “out like a lamb”?  Not this one. The lion roared again and tied up traffic for miles with multiple accidents. What did I do? I stayed home and sent a barrage of e-mails to the Weather Goddess. Enough is enough, Mother Nature. Check your calendar; it’s Spring!!  😀

Mr. D was so thankful for a steaming hot bowl of soup. He said it hit the spot. This soup is healthy and light. It has a creamy texture from the cauliflower and would lead you to think it was loaded with cream, but there’s not a drop of cream in it. I served it with a drizzle of olive oil on top. It would make a light lunch or first course or serve with a sandwich for a full meal as I did.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil on top.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil on top.

A serving of this soup is 1 3/4 cup, with 93 calories, 3 g. fat, 12 g carbohydrate.

CAULIFLOWER SOUP

Very few ingredients.

Very few ingredients.

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth, (vegetarians can use vegetable broth)
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower chopped into florets (1 1/2 – 2 pounds)
  • kosher salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste

Directions:

1. In a large saucepan or soup kettle, melt the butter over low heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook about 1 to 2 minutes.

2. Add the chicken broth and cauliflower and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender (about 20 minutes.) Turn off the heat.

Cook the cauliflower in the chicken broth.

Cook the cauliflower in the chicken broth.

3. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth, or use a regular blender and puree in small batches. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.

Puree the cooked cauliflower with a blender.

Puree the cooked cauliflower with a blender.

Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Soup

 

SOURCE: adapted from Skinny Taste

Coconut Tapioca Pudding with Mango

Tapioca Pudding with Mango and Coconut Cream

Tapioca Pudding with Mango and Coconut Cream

Are you still sticking with your New Year’s Resolution?  You know, the one about exercising and losing weight.  You are?  Why that’s just  great!  And I’m here to help with that.  Isn’t it hard going without desserts though, denying yourself those sweets you love?  What happens most often is–you can hold out for a while, but then youabsolutelymusthavesomething for dessert.IMG_6265

For me pudding seems to be the answer.  I cannot completely cut desserts out of my life, so I think that having a limited quantity of a dessert that is not excessively decadent is exactly what’s needed.  It keeps me sane (at least I think so). In my opinion there is no better dessert for this purpose than pudding.  This week my pudding of choice is tapioca.   OK, so call me old-fashioned.  I served it in dessert cups that I found in my parent’s attic;  I love these old vintage dishes, too.

Served in vintage dessert dishes.

Served in vintage dessert dishes.

Tapioca is a pudding that doesn’t get much attention in the pudding/dessert world.   It’s a puzzle to me, as I think it’s gorgeous, has a chewy starchy texture, and comes from the plant world.  Tapioca pearls come in several sizes, but I like the tiny ones.  They get cooked in a custard to which you can add vanilla or lemon, orange, or cinnamon.  Tapioca pudding is like a blank slate.  In this case, since I am feeling the effects of this long cold winter, I included ingredients that I associate with the tropics;  mango, lime and coconut.  I used mango pureed with lime juice, and topped off the whole thing with whipped coconut cream, and toasted coconut chips for garnish.

A luxurious, but surprisingly low-fat dessert.

A luxurious, but surprisingly low-fat dessert.

If you are dreaming of warmer places, places with palm trees and tropical fruits, places where one does not need to pull on heavy snow boots with ski socks, a down-quilted jacket, knit hat, scarf and gloves just for a grocery store run, then this dessert might just be the dessert for you.

As I write this, the southern parts  of the U.S are feeling the full brunt of a winter snow-sleet-ice storm.  I feel your pain, people.  We here in the northeast know just what you’re going through.  Hang in there, Spring is on its way!

COCONUT TAPIOCA PUDDING WITH MANGO

Yield:    4  1/2-cup servings,  plus toppings

Pudding:

Tiny pearl tapioca, plus "light" coconut milk.

Small pearl tapioca, .

  • 1/3 cup small pearl tapioca, such as Bob’s Red Mill
  • 2  1/2 cups coconut milk ( light or full-fat, or use regular milk)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

 Mango Puree:IMG_6258

  • 1 very ripe mango, peeled, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar, optional ( I used it, but would skip it next time)
  • 1 squeeze or two of fresh lime juice

Optional garnishes:

  • whipped coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut chips or flakes
  • few gratings of lime zest

Make Pudding:  In a medium saucepan, soak tapioca in coconut milk for 30 minutes.  Whisk in egg yolk, sugar, and salt.  Place saucepan over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer, then reduce it to very low so it’s barely bubbling, and cook it until it thickens, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Cooking the tapioca vanilla custard

Cooking the tapioca vanilla custard

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.  Pour into pudding cups to chill for several hours.  Pudding may seem thin going into the cups but after chilling in the fridge, it will set on the firm side.

Pour pudding into dessert cups to chill.

Pour pudding into dessert cups to chill.

To make a softer, lighter pudding you may want to beat the egg white you separated from the yolk, separately with a spoonful of sugar you would otherwise have added to the tapioca.  Beat until glossy peaks form.  After the pudding has cooled for about 15 minutes, spoon some of the pudding mixture into the egg white and fold in, then pour all of it back into the pudding, folding in until it has all been uniformly incorporated.

Make Mango  Place mango chunks in a small food processor or blender with lime juice and sugar and blend until very smooth.  Refrigerate puree until needed.

Make Whipped Coconut Cream:  Place 1 can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight.  This will cause the coconut fats and thin milk/watery part to separate.  Also place small/medium mixing bowl (ideally metal) in the freezer.  The next day, turn the can of coconut milk upside down before opening it, so that the thickened coconut fat will be at the bottom.  Pour off the thin coconut milk;  you should have about 1 cup and this can be used towards the amount needed for the tapioca.  About 2/3 thickened coconut fat will remain at the bottom of the can.  Scrape this into the chilled bowl, and beat it with an electric mixer until thick and whipped, like cream.  Dollop it over desserts such as this, though you will have more than you need for 4 puddings.  It will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for several days.

Thick coconut milk whips up like cream.

Thick coconut milk whips up like cream.

To Toast Coconut Chips:  Heat an oven to 350*F.  Spread coconut flakes on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes, tossing once if needed to help them brown evenly.  Let cool before using.

To Serve:  Dollop a spoonful of mango puree on the tapioca, then top it with a some coconut cream.  Sprinkle with toasted coconut before serving.

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SOURCE:  Smitten Kitchen

Roast Butternut Soup with Parmesan Croutons

Butternut Soup with Parmesan Croutons

Roast Butternut Soup with Parmesan Croutons

Dear readers, this soup  is absolutely delicious!!  Roasting the squash creates a rich, caramelized flavor that in the finished soup is amazing.  You can go ahead and cook the squash in the chicken broth, but it won’t be the same,  I’m telling you.   You will not believe the creaminess of this soup without the use of heavy cream.  And don’t even think about skipping the Parmesan croutons…..even it you use packaged ones instead of homemade.

I realize I’ve swooned over other soups,  but, with each new soup I make, I think it’s the best and it becomes my favorite, and the one last week is like “broccoli who?”.  January will best be remembered as soup month around here, and just in case you think I’m being a little over dramatic and that I need to go to some kind of soup-overload-rehab, you’re only thinking that because you haven’t made this one yet.

Even though the soup is perfectly seasoned according to the recipe, you may want to further perk up the flavor, by adding a pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of garlic powder, being careful as to the amounts because each of these items can be quite strong.

BUTTERNUT SOUP WITH PARMESAN CROUTONS

YIELD:  Makes  2 quarts or about 8 servings

Butternut squash, onion, garlic, celery and chicken broth, plus seasonings.

Butternut squash, onion, garlic, celery and chicken broth, plus seasonings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 3 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes**
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • herb mixture, such as Fine Herbs, Italian Herb mix, Herbs de Provence
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh sage, or 2 tsp. dry rubbed sage
  • 3 cans (14.5 oz. each) reduced sodium chicken broth (vegetarians may substitute vegetable broth)
  • Croutons:
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh sage or 1 tsp. dry rubbed sage
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups cubed French bread ( 1/2-inch cubes)
  • cooking spray
  • additional grated Parmesan cheese, optional

**As a small savings in time, you may want to use precut squash cubes from the market.  I prefer to peel and cut my squash because I feel that it is fresher when purchased whole, and not as likely to be dried out.

Directions:

1.  Place squash in a 15-in. x 10-in. baking pan lightly coated with cooking spray.  Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon oil; sprinkle with pepper, and sprinkle on a small amount of herb mixture.  Toss to coat.

Dice squash, drizzle with olive oil, pepper and herbs, then bake.

Dice squash, drizzle with olive oil, pepper and herbs, then bake.

Bake, uncovered, at 425*F for 30-35 minutes or until tender, stirring every 15 minutes.  Set aside.  This will smell wonderful when it comes out of the oven and you will want to eat it, but please don’t.

Roasted squash pierces easily and has some browned edges.

Roasted squash pierces easily and has some browned edges.

2.  While squash is roasting, in a Dutch oven, saute the onion, celery and sage in remaining oil until tender.

Slowly sauté the onions, celery and garlic.

Slowly sauté the onions, celery,  garlic and sage.

Stir in the broth and squash.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes to allow flavors to blend.  Cool slightly.

Add squash and chicken broth to Dutch oven.

Add squash and chicken broth to Dutch oven.

3.  In a blender, or with an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth.  Return to the pan;  heat through. This makes a thick mixture.

Puree the mixture for a thick, wonderfully flavorful soup.

Puree the mixture for a thick, wonderfully flavorful soup.

If you prefer a thinner soup, add some additional broth, and rebalance the seasoning if necessary.

4.  For croutons, in a small bowl, combine the cheese, oil, sage and garlic.  Add bread cubes and spritz with cooking spray; toss to coat.  Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

5.  Bake at 425*F. for 5 – 8 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.  Sprinkle each serving of soup with croutons and additional cheese if desired.

Top soup with Parmesan croutons and enjoy.

Top soup with Parmesan croutons and enjoy.

Nutritional Profile:  1 cup of soup with 1/4 cup croutons equals 179 calories, 8 g. fat, 1 mg cholesterol,  541 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber,  5 g protein.

SOURCE:   Adapted from Taste of Home

Spinach Artichoke Bread

Spinach Artichoke Bread

Spinach Artichoke Bread

In my experience one of the most popular appetizers around is hot spinach dip, or a combination of spinach and artichoke dip.  Hot, cheesy, gooey spinach dip.  Oh yes,  addictively delicious with crackers or chips.

Since we would be sitting at a table with a plate onto which we could place our appetizers, I thought that in place of crackers or chips I would use bread to do two things;  add more substance, and provide a larger surface to carry all that lucious dip.  So this recipe seemed like the perfect solution.

This is great for parties, or could be used as a snack or light lunch, which is what we did with the leftovers.  Wrapped in foil and reheated in a warm oven, they were as good as new.

IMG_6011

 SPINACH ARTICHOKE BREAD

Yield:   12  servings

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened ( low-fat is OK)

    Only low-fat ingredients allowed!  :D

    Only low-fat ingredients allowed! 😀

  • 3/4 cup (6oz.) plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach,  defrosted and well drained
  • 12 oz. can artichoke quarters, in water, drained
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 4 French rolls, or 2 French baguettes

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375*F

2.  With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add yogurt, continue mixing until smooth.

3.  Chop artichokes, and squeeze out spinach to remove excess liquid.  Add to cheese-yogurt mixture.  Add onion powder, garlic powder, salt, 1/4 cup mozzarella and Parmesan.  Fold well to incorporate into a uniform mixture.

4.  Cut the French bread in half.  Slightly hollow each half by removing some of the bread from the middle.  Fill with the spinach-artichoke mixture and level the filling.  Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella.

Breads filled and ready for the oven.

Breads filled and ready for the oven.

5.  Place the loaves on a baking sheet.  Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until filling is bubbly and the cheese on top is browned slightly.  Allow to cool for several minutes before slicing and serving.

The bread gets toasty, and the filling gets melty and warm.

The bread gets toasty, and the filling gets melty and warm.

IMG_6012

SOURCE:   Happier Holidays Recipe Book