Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Reese's Potato Soup

Scott and I are both on crazy diets right now - two separate ones! We're crazy! He's doing the "Paleo" diet, and I am attempting to go Gluten free to see if it helps with some symptoms I've been having for a long time.

I was in the mood for potatoes all day and decided to make a potato soup, but one that isn't so heavy as a potato-cheese soup. Don't be mistaken, I'll still grate a little cheddar over the top, but I'm hoping to make it a little lower fat.

A lot of soups and gravies start with a roux of butter and flour, since I'm trying to avoid flour right now I can't do that, so I decided to bulk it up a little with more celery and I used neufchatel cheese instead of the milk and cream.

I started with this recipe and then changed it up.

 (sorry my picture is sideways)
Reese's Potato Soup
  • 4 tbs (1/2 stick) Smart Balance w/ Olive Oil  (or butter)
  • 3 stalks celery, trimmed and diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cubes Not Chik'n bouillon cubes
  • 4 med/lg baking potatoes, peeled & cut into 1" chunks
  • 1 pkg Neufchatel cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • In a large pot on med/low heat, melt margarine/butter. Add celery, onion, garlic and salt, and saute until onions are starting to turn clear.
  • Raise heat to medium and add water and bouillon cubes and stir to dissolve.
  • Once it reaches a simmer, add potatoes and continue to simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender. 
  • Turn heat to low and use a potato masher (I use a silicon one so it doesn't wreck the bottom of the pot) to mash up the potatoes. 
  • Add Neufchatel cheese and stir until melted.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste, serve with diced green onion or chives, and a little shredded cheddar cheese.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Other People's Ideas

I've been trying new things as much as possible lately, trying to get healthy food into Scott isn't always easy to do without him getting bored.

Pinterest is great for ideas, and I have made several recipes that I found there recently.

The first one is a Creamy Avocado Pasta - it's basically an avocado-pesto but it's got a great complex flavor. It was easy and fast and is very tasty hot OR cold as leftovers! I didn't have a lime, so I skipped the zest part and used about 2 tbs of lime juice.  I served it with Barilla Plus Angel Hair pasta instead of whole wheat pasta.

The second is Roasted Broccoli by Alton Brown. This was faster than most vegetable roasting, only about 12 minutes of total oven time. Next time I will spread the panko out better and stir it part way through, the crumbs around the edges of the pile got a little too brown and the ones in the middle didn't really brown at all.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Reese's Corn & Black Bean Salsa

An easy meal at our house is burritos/tacos/taco salad. It's reasonably fast, and a tasty and easy way to get fresh veggies and some good protein.

We'll often make guacamole or salsa to go with it, today I decided to make a corn and black bean salsa. I based it roughly on this recipe, but it's a little bit different in quantities (and mine has no green onion).

It went together pretty quick and sat (covered) in the fridge while I was preparing the other ingredients for our burritos.

Reese's Corn & Black Bean Salsa
  • 2 cups frozen yellow corn
  • 1 15oz can black beans (I grabbed the ones with the least amount of sodium and sugar I could find)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1/2 medium jalapeno, diced small (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbs lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt (or salt to taste)
  • a grind or two of black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. EAT!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Italian Spaghetti Squash Bake

I bought a Spaghetti Squash a few days ago and decided I had better do something with it before it goes bad. 

On Pinterest I routinely find a plethora of gorgeous recipes. That may sound wrong, but since Pinterest is all photo-based, any link or "pin" to anything is attached to a photo on that page. 

I'm not saying this picture is anything particularly gorgeous, in fact, if I had thought about plating it would probably look significantly different...but I was starving and we're lucky I remembered to take a picture at all!

I consulted several different recipes for Spaghetti Squash that I found on Pinterest, and then came up with my own.

Reese's Italian Spaghetti Squash Bake
  • Medium sized spaghetti squash

Preheat oven to 400F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out all of the seeds and discard them. Place cut-side down in a baking dish or cookie sheet (I put parchment down to save on cleanup) and stab with a fork a few times in each half.

Bake for about 30 minutes, squash is done when fork-tender. Flip squash cut-side up and let cool while you prepare the sauce.

Browned Butter Sauce:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 tbs dried organic sage
  • 1/2 large shallot finely diced

In a small sauce pan on low heat, melt the butter (you may not need an entire stick, but I would make the whole thing and then you don't have to use all of the sauce if you don't want/need to).

Turn heat up to med/low, when butter starts to foam add sage and shallots, continue to brown for a few minutes until shallots are cooked, remove from heat.

Once squash is cooled, use a fork and scrape the squash flesh into a medium sized mixing bowl. It will automatically come out in spaghetti-like pieces (so cool!).  

Pour browned butter sauce over squash and stir to combine. 

Add the following to the bowl, stirring to combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Spoon mixture into a baking dish (I used a 9"x9") and bake at 300F for about 25 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and top starts to brown.

Serve with pieces of fresh tomato and ground black pepper on top.