Sunday, October 22, 2017

Roasted Veggie Soup

Today's kitchen challenge was a recipe I came across that just looked rather boring and bland, so I decided to kick things up a bit. I'm sure glad I did! I had some beets that needed attention right away and because almost no one in my family besides me likes beets, I needed a way to incorporate them without anyone going "eww, beets?". It almost worked. The literal PINK soup gave it away but the taste was a hit with everyone, and that made me very happy.

INGREDIENTS:

2 medium sized baking potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
2 c. diced, peeled beets (about 6 medium sized beets)
2 carrots sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 medium sized onion, peeled and chopped
6 cloves garlic
4 T. olive oil
2 t. Mrs. Dash Original Blend
1/4 t. smoked paprika
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. NoSalt
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 c. no salt added or reduced sodium chicken stock
2 c. half & half cream

Prepare all your veggies (except the celery) and set aside in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl wish together oil and all the seasonings. Pour over veggie mixture and toss to make sure all veggies are coated evenly. Pour veggies onto a parchment lined baking sheet and roast in the oven at 400 for 1 hour. Turn after 30 minutes for even roasting.

Place the chicken stock and celery in a large pot and once the veggies are done in the oven, toss them in and bring to a quick boil over medium high heat. Reduce to low and simmer for 45 minutes to one hour, until veggies are very tender. You can mash with a potato masher, or blend in a blender or use an immersion blender (I find my immersion blender works best) to chop the veggies into a rich, creamy texture.  Add the half and half and whisk well to heat through.

Serve topped with whole wheat seasoned croutons and a green salad.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Deep Fried Zucchini Made Over

Another family favorite - fried zucchini. Only in this version, it's 100% guilt (and fat) free and no sacrifice in taste or crunch. But you have to be careful to follow the directions closely to make sure you don't miss out on the crunchy deep fried goodness of baked zucchini (yes, it can be done!)  We really like to have these as a side to spaghetti or any other Italian dish.

Ingredients:

1 med-large zucchini

1 1/2 c. whole wheat panko
1 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. salt (or NoSalt)
1 t. minced onion
1/2 t. coarse ground pepper
1/2 t. basil
1/2 t. oregano
1/2 t. smoked paprika
1 egg

Pre-heat oven to 450. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray generously with cooking spray.

Slice your zucchini into 1/4 inch slices. Be sure to keep them thin - this makes all the difference in how well they'll crisp up. Lay the slices in a single layer on paper towel and sprinkle some salt on them - then cover with more paper towel.  This helps draw out some of the moisture and also helps in how they'll bake up nice and crisp.  While you're "sweating" your zucchini, mix your spices with the panko, then whisk up an egg in a separate, small bowl.

Dry off your zucchini then dip slices one at a time in the egg, then into the panko mixture, pressing down each slice to evenly coat. Transfer to the cookie sheet in a single layer. Once all slices are done, give them a generous spray of cooking oil and bake for 30 minutes, turning once after 15 minutes.  Serve hot with cucumber dill sipping sauce (Kraft salad dressing) or your favorite dip.

Spicy Italian (It's Really Not) Sausage

Doctor's orders: "eliminate sausage". 
Wife's response: "challenge accepted!"

Here's a great alternative that you can easily make ahead, freeze and use in a wide variety of dishes, from pizza toppings, meatballs, spaghetti sauce and anything else you'd want to use hot Italian sausage for. 

1 lb. lean ground turkey
1/4 c. red wine
1 T. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/2 T. garlic powder
1/2 t. oregano
1 t. pepper
1 t. smoked paprika
1 t. fennel seed
1/4 t. anise seed
1/4 t. parsley flakes
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 t. minced onion
1/8 t. coriander seed

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly so all seasonings are well blended into the meat. Use immediately (brown the same way you'd brown ground beef for any recipe)  or shape into meatballs or thin patties to freeze. 

1 batch goes a long way. Tonight I used half for 2 medium Italian sausage pizzas and the other half went into a spaghetti sauce for another night.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Oven Baked Red Onion Rings

In my ongoing effort to makeover some of our family favorite foods into heart healthy versions, my latest project was the much loved, deep fried, crispy onion ring.  There are those who say you can't beat the taste of a deep fried onion ring but I think I may have come up with a serious contender.  I'm an onion ring fanatic and my favorite are from A&W and these taste almost like theirs. Without the fat and junk, so there's an added bonus.

OVEN BAKED RED ONION RINGS

Pre-heat oven to 450. Grease a large cookie sheet with olive oil spray.

Ingredients:

1 medium sized red onion, sliced into rings
2 c. whole wheat panko
1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 egg whites
2 T. *milk
1/2 t. each: *salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano and basil
1/4 t. cayenne pepper

Place onion rings in a large ziploc and toss with the 1/2 cup flour, and salt and pepper. Set aside.

Whisk egg whites and milk, then in a separate bowl mix together the panko and seasonings. One onion ring at a time, dip into the egg mixture then into the panko mixture until well coated. Place onto cookie sheet and when the cookie sheet is full, give the onion rings another spray of cooking oil.

Bake for 12-15 minutes. Makes roughly 20-24 onion rings.

(We use NoSalt and Oat milk, any type of milk will work for this).