Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sweet & Savory Breakfast Squash Skillet

Brrrrr.  It's chilly today and I'm cold inside and out. I wanted something warm this morning that would also clear my head. This sweet and savory skillet was a wonderful addition to my collection.

I keep heirloom pears from my father's tree and squash chopped and stores in the fridge and freezer for a quick grab.  All of my squash is about half pre-cooked.  I find it cooks quicker and keeps flavor better this way when I freeze it.

1 oz. onion, chopped
3 oz. butternut, chopped
3 oz. pear
1-2 tsp. bacon fat, just enough to keep it from sticking
cayenne and hickory salt to taste
1 egg

  1. Heat fat.  Add in onion and squash.  
  2. When smaller squash pieces start to become tender, add in pears and cayenne to taste.  I use about 1/8 a tsp, but I like spicy. 
  3. When pears start to become tender, fry your egg how you like it on the other side of the pan. I like mine over easy, just barely.
  4. Serve as is, or pop that egg and make a mess, which is how I prefer it.

244 calories.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Lazy Turkey Stock/Broth Hybrid

It's the day after Thanksgiving in the US, and all through the house, the delicious smell of cooking broth permeates. I absolutely love feast days, because they leave behind animal carcasses which become tasty broths and stocks for me to freeze and enjoy later. Added bonus, I'm cutting down on waste.

This is super, super simple to do, and a great thing to toss on if you're going to be home anyway.  I'm hiding from the Black Friday masses today, grading papers and being a bum.

This is also a great way to use up things like ugly veggies and the bits and pieces everyone doesn't know how to use up.  Honestly, any veggies can go in, but these are the ones I prefer to use. I freeze it all in baggies I mark for stock. Some I keep in the fridge to be dried and ground into a veggies powder I use in skillets for flavor and nutrition.

1 turkey carcass, dismembered.
1 medium yellow onion, peeled, ends chopped off, quartered
2 oz. celery leaf
9 oz. carrot, chopped (or 2-3 handfuls of clean peels)
6 oz. fennel, chopped stem, bulb, frond
5 bay leaves
1 small bulb of garlic, peeled and crushed
1/2 Tbsp. iodized salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
10-12 cups water

  1. Place turkey carcass in your large crockpot.
  2. Throw in veggies and seasoning.
  3. Submerge all in water.  
  4. Cook on high for 6 hours, and then low until vegetables are colorless, translucent, and meat is cooked off the bones completely. Should be a nice fat slick on the top.
  5. Convert a colander to a sieve with either flour sack or cheese cloth.  
  6. Hold over a big bowl and slowly ladle through stock, then pour in the rest once it's more handle-able.
  7. Cool until touchable.  Fill clean, glass jars to halfway to freeze, or completely cool and use plastic.
  8. Thaw in fridge one day before using.  It will be somewhat gelatinous and should be once cooled.
  9. Then you can just toss in whatever you want and make soup as needed!  I generally keep some chopped up, precooked and frozen veggies and meats in pre-made soup baggies in the freezer for a quick meal.

About 30 calories a cup. Makes about 3 spaghetti jars worth.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Ruby Roots and Bacon Skillet

One of my favorite things about cooking with beets is how they color everything lighter beautiful shades of monochromatic ruby. Not to mention how it can be sweet and savory at the same time.

This super simple skillet it's a showstopper for the eyes and pie hole. 

3 oz. celeriac, diced small
3 oz. radish, sliced about 1/6 an inch
3 oz. Beet, sliced about 1/6 an inch
One small red onion, 2 oz., quartered
2 cups baby spinach
2 slices thick cut bacon
Garlic salt
Black pepper

  1. I use my mandolin for slicing. Quick and easy.  For beets, when I buy them I always leave behind a bit of stem so I can use that as my grip rather than the pokey thing, which I find leaves behind a lot of waste.  What waste I do have is wash, dried, dehydrated and ground into a veggie additive I often cook with for a bit more flavor.
  2. Fry up your bacon until just done.  You want it a little on the chewy side. Set aside to drain. 
  3. Leave behind about 2tsp. fat.  Drain rest to store.
  4. Add in all roots. 
  5. Saute until radish soft and onion mostly translucent. 
  6. Add spinach, bacon, and seasonings. Just wilt and serve.

Approx. 350 calories for whole skillet. Easily serves 2 as a side.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Celeriac Root Skillet

Something happened this weekend, and now I have a ton of views.  I'm hoping it's not all bots, and that some people want some tasty, low cal idea.  If it's bots, well, just save me a nice place in your warm, people zoo when you overthrow the world.

I've gotten 2 big bulbs of celeriac root in my farm share to end the season, and having cooked with it, I had no idea what would happen. I did some online searching, came up with less than I wanted in information, and decided to just chop it up and add it to a skillet.

4 oz celeriac, peeled and diced medium
1/2 oz. onion, chopped
3 oz beet, sliced thinly
3 oz. red cabbage, chopped
2 slices bacon, applewood Archer Farms thick

  1. In a pan fry the bacon till almost done and remove to drain.
  2. Add in everything to the bacon fat but cabbage and cook until onions start to brown, then add cabbage.  
  3. Cook until onions start to go translucent and add seasoning if you like.  
  4. Then re-add bacon in chunks.  
  5. Heat through and serve.

About 375 calories for the skillet.  Can serve 2, but this was my breakfast.

The celeriac has a hint of celery, and a texture between potato and turnip.  It's a little bitter around the edges, but pairs nicely with the sweet of the beet and salty of the bacon.

My veggies seasoning is literally just the off bits and eds of my veggies and the un-pretty veggies dried and pulverized.  Everything from beets to lettuce.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Semi-Homemade Chai Concentrate

Super easy, super quick, and greatly reduces your chai calories.

1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
5 chai tea teabags I'm using celestial seasons sweet thai coconut

  1. Boil water and make your tea in the saucepan.  All 5 teabags in, and squish them around to jump start the process, being careful not to break the tea bags.  
  2. Let sit until water completely cools.
  3. Remove tea bags, squeezing all that goodness back into the pan.
  4. Stir sugar in over low heat.  
  5. Once dissolved, bring to a boil for 3 minutes.  Then store in unopened glass jar until cool. 
  6. Cap and keep refrigerated.  Good for several weeks.

Calories vary by the amount you use, your sugar, etc.  I like 2-3 Tbsp for a coffee mug's worth of milk. 3 puts you around 57 calories. 2 around 40. Plus milk choice.

To prepare, just add to milk and heat.

Strawberry Papaya & Apple Fruit Leathers

Now that the weather is cooler and dryer, I'm playing with my Dehydro more. I'm super sad today, because my babier sister and nephew hit the road for the big move to Idaho tonight, so I'm in the middle of baking out my feelings.

Tomorrow is also my last farm share box of the season, so I'm trying to clear out a bit of fridge space.  Finally, I'm craving sweets now that the weather has turned, so I need something low cal and delicious to confuse my brain with, and fruit leathers are pretty good for that.

16 oz. fresh strawberry
1 small, fresh, ripe papaya
1 small granny smith apple, cored

  1. Cut the greens from your strawberry, chop.
  2. Cut your papaya in quarters, remove seeds, scoop out of skin. I'm using the smaller Caiman Golden Papaya today.
  3. Core apple and dice.
  4. In blender or food processor, puree papaya.  
  5. Add strawberries a bit at a time.  
  6. Then the same with the apple until smooth, slimy puree forms.  
  7. The papaya makes a nice base with some sweetness, and the apple provides the pectin. The taste should be mostly strawberry.
  8. Oil 2 fruit leather sheets with coconut oil.
  9. In my Presto Dehydro, it takes about 8 hours. Until only slightly tacky to touch. Set for 7, and then check every 30 min after.
  10. Roll pieces in wax paper and twist to store.  This will also make them less hard.

Makes 8 roll ups for 35 calories each.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tortilla Pizza with Beets, Aged Feta, Applewood Bacon and Rosemary

I love beets, but I'm sick of them just roasted or hashed or pureed, etc.  I've had a lot of beets this year thanks to my farm share. So, I spent my morning on pintrest after a banana pancake catastrophe (yuck, no, one banana and one egg do not make pancakes, they make banana eggcakes) used up a ton of my calories for nothing. I needed something low cal, filling, and delicious to make up for it.

I see a lot of galettes with beets and feta, and while a crusty, buttery dough wasn't going to do it (this time), I've made enough tortilla pizzas in my life to know it should work. And oh boy, did it.  This is another recipe going into my BEST OF EVERYTHING file.

2 tortillas (taco sized)
1 small beet, about 1.5 oz.
2 Tbsp. feta, aged, fat free
1 tsp. rosemary
1 slice thick cut, applewood bacon.

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.  If using the convection/toaster, try 300.
  2. While the oven preheats, chop up your slice of bacon and fry it up until it's just under done. I'm using the Archer Farms brand for this batch. Drain and set aside.
  3. Thin slice your beet, skin on, about 1/8 to 1/4 an inch, using a mandolin. Or just as thin as you can by hand.
  4. On a nonstick cookie sheet, layer your torillas with one layer of beet, half the bacon on each, 1 Tbsp. feta each, and then a sprinkle of rosemary.
  5. I age my feta by buying crumbled, no brine, removing some and keeping it in a separate container in the fridge until it starts to yellow.  This makes it more pungent and stinky, but not too much so. Just enough for some flavor.
  6. Bake until tortilla and feta are golden, about 10-15 min.

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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Spicy OctoberFest Collard Kraut

I'm an UnTappd fiend.  I love my craft brews, especially porters and stouts. This time of year though, all of the pumpkin stuff is out, and I have to try it. Peer pressure you know.

But I rarely loooove it, and since it has spices or some nonsense in it, it's not usually a good choice for a beer bread.  But I save it for cooking.

I find sucky pumpkin ales make a really great collard kraut that freezes well, is full of flavor and tasty. Also, if you're doing seafood, like shrimp or a boil, hit it with the sucky pumpkin ale. You're welcome in advance.

I don't have a picture yet (because I completely gobbled up everything), but this looks pretty much the same as my original variation of the collard kraut.

10 oz. Post Road Pumpkin Ale
10 oz (or a medium mixing bowl full) thinly sliced, de-stemmed collard
1 yellow union, diced
1 tsp. iodized salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp. red pepper flakes
1 cup champagne vinegar
1 cup water

  1. In your large sauce pot, combine bee and half the vinegar. 
  2. Toss in the onion and allow to cook while you slice your collard.
  3. Toss in collard and rest of the ingredients.  Cook uncovered until collard is tender to bite.
  4. Drain in a colander and allow to cool.  
  5. Once cool, package in 1/2 cup servings, and freeze for storage or keep in fridge up to one week.

9 servings of 1/2 cup/ 49 calories each

Friday, November 6, 2015

Beet Chips with Himalayan Salt

I love beet chips.  I'm a great friend to have if you prefer the sweet potato chips in the Terra beet mic.  I just want the beets.  But since they're made with oils they have a bit more calories than I like.  I want to see if I can make something that's 1) easy and 2) satisfying despite being lower cal. So, I decided it's time to give this dehydrator chip thing a go.

I used about 8 oz. of beets, small, and raw so that's about 100 calories for the whole batch. They're not as amazing as the fried in fat variety, but I sat down and ate most of them, so... yeah.  I won't be making them again though.  Nearly 10 hours for two snack bags just isn't enough.

  1. First, put on gloves.  Seriously, you're going to be red-handed if you don't.
  2. Clean your beets well. Leave the skin, but remove any blemishes. Slice off the rootie end, and leave the stem end. Then you can use the stem instead of he pokey mandolin handler. I save the rootie bits in a bag in my freezer, and once a month I thaw it, dehydrate them as well, and grind them into a powder I toss into my skillets and stews for extra flavor and nutrition.
  3. Using a mandolin, slice your beets as thin as you can gets them-mine were between 1/8 and 1/4 inch. Layer them, single, not touching, on your dehydrator racks.  
  4. Holding the rack over the sink, sprinkle with fine, but coarse, Himalayan salt. Use less salt than you want to, by half. Remember, dehydrate means shrink, but the salt doesn't!
  5. Place into dehydrator.
  6. My dehydrator is a one temp serves all Presto Dehydro 6300 model at 600 watts. Basically, this is a dehydrator for dummies.  No playing with the temp, just watch the time and check on your items. If yours is mine, walk away for 8 hours, and then check on it every 30 minutes, until there is no chew left in the pieces and they're just crisp.
  7. Cool, and store.

2 trays makes one formerly 4 oz. serving at 50 calories.
Makes 2 servings.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Beet, Butternut, and Bacon Skillet with Dilly Greek Yogurt Sauce

I was starring at a pin last night that involved thin cut squash and beets and feta and I was thinking it was far too complicated, but I could do this or that.

So I did.

If you don't love dill, you can leave it out.  Use straight up plain Greek yogurt though.  In my opinion, the dill and yogurt's savory sourness was enough to balance the sweetness of the squash and beets.

3 slices low sodium, lower fat bacon
8 oz. beets, chopped fine
8 oz. squash, partially cooked and scooped out
2 oz. onion

2 Tbsp. fresh dill
1-6 oz. Plain Greek Yogurt

  1. Cook bacon, and set aside to drain.  Drain most of the fat from your pan and store in the fridge for cooking later.  
  2. Toss in beets and onions and cook for 5 minutes before adding partially cooked squash.  Because this is a mix mashed in the scooping process, I recommend using a turner/spatula rather than a spoon.
  3. While food cooks, combine dill and yogurt in your blender or processor and mince until well integrated and slightly green.  In a blender, you'll have to scrape the sides down often, but it will work. Scrape out and it's ready to serve.
  4. Once beets and squash hash start to brown, re-add bacon in the mix.  
  5. Heat through and serve with about 2 Tbsp. of the Silly Greek yogurt sauce.  I kept mine on the side to add as I liked.

300 calories

I also suggest cutting the serving in half, dropping the yogurt and adding maple for a sweet treat. Mmmm.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Brussels, Celery and Sausage Skillet

Celery is strong flavored and the leaves even more so.  They're often tossed, but like most kitchen greens, thy're completely edible. Maintain the root, and you can even grow more. But, if you undercook them, they can be bitter, so make sure they are thoroughly wilted.

In general, I try to stay under an ounce of leaves because they are very pungent. However, celery is super low calorie for its weight, which makes it great for dieters. 2 ounces is about 9 calories. And hanks to m farm share, I have a lot of it.

1 3oz. chicken, feta and spinach sausage link
4 oz. brussels
1 oz. chopped celery
1 oz. celery leaves
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

  1. In your large skillet, fry up your sausage.  Just before it's done, remove and slice.
  2. Return to the pan with celery stem, brussels, and garlic.  
  3. Cook medium high until browning begins.
  4. Add celery leaf and 1/4 cup water.  Cook until water is gone and leaves are tender.

203 calories

Monday, November 2, 2015

Simple Chicken Sausage Skillet with Brussels and Turnips

Skillet meals are a single person's godsend.  They're tasty, quick, easy, and often low cal. The next few weeks are going to be super busy, so I plan to be making quite a few of them.

Brussels sprouts, on the other hand, are one of those things you either loathe or love. However I think if you love cabbage and hate brussels, you need to rethink your cooking methods.

I'm not talking about that traditional bowl of whole slimy brussels.  Thank goodness.  I used to think that's all they were, but I'm overjoyed to find I'm wrong. Cooked right, they're crisp, cabbagie, and delicious.

4 oz. raw brussel sprouts, cleaned and quartered
4 oz turnip, cleaned and thinly sliced
3 oz. chicken feta & spinach sausage.
Black pepper to taste

That's it!

I usually do a meal like this when I'm prepping.   Want to cook up a package of sausage for some quick meals this week, so first, in my large skillet, I'm going to brown them up good, and remove them all.  I'm going to chops just one up and set it aside, because each like of the Wegman's brand is 3 oz.  I hear it's comparable to the Trader Joe's brand.

  1. While the sausages cool, toss a handful of water in the skillet to make all of that sausagie goodness come free, and toss in your sprouts and turnips.  
  2. Saute until starting to brown, reintroduce the sliced sausage, and cook until heated through and sausage is browned.

Can serve one as a lunch at 221 calories, or 2 as a side at 110.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Glazed Lemonies

This recipe has been on my pintrest forever for Glazed Lemon Brownies, but I knew I could, well, do better. Having some experience with lemon scones and muffins and such, I didn't think the original recipe called for anywhere near enough lemon for my tastes, and I wanted a thicker, fudgier glaze.

I was right.  The resulting original batter just wasn't anywhere near lemony enough, so I upped the ante and switched to my glaze. And oh boy and I ever glad I did, because what resulted was a wonderful, dense, buttery, super lemony bar of artery clogging amazingness.

For the lemonies
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, soft
2 eggs
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemons
  1. Butter a piece of foil, and line your 8x8 pan. 
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. Combine everything but flour.  Beat on high until comes together.  
  4. Add flour and beat low until smooth batter forms. Don't overdo it, but yes, this is one of those times where flour and beater are friends.
  5. Bake 25-40 minutes, until golden bubbles appear and edges start to brown. Remove to cool.
  6. Once cool, remove from aluminum, and place back in pan.
For the glaze
Powdered sugar (about 1 2/3 cups)
2 Tbsp. coconut milk
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
  1. Combine lemon juice, zest, butter, and milk.
  2. Adding a Table spoon at a time, beat in powdered sugar.
  3. Around 20-25 Tbsp. seems to be the sweet spot, but a thick, off-white glaze should develop.
  4. Smear over top of lemonies.
  5. Refrigerate until firm.
Makes 9 lemonies at approx. 225 calories a piece.

Parmesan Black Pepper & Garlic Beer Bread

I hate waste, and I love a good loaf of beer bread.  The leftovers from my little dinner party are haunting me in the fridge, and today is a bit chilly, so I thought I'd toss together something yummy.

Enter the mini-loaves, because I'm still dieting and I love bread. It was a good thing, because I ate half of one straight out of the oven. because, you know, SCIENCE!

This cheezy, garlic goodness is full of flavor, and just a bit of that hoppy bite rounds it out into a nice, savory loaf.

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups Smuttynose Rhye IPA and a bit more
1/2 heaping tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup shaved parm
2 large cloves garlic, crushed and diced
1/4-1/2 tsp. ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Line 2 mini loaf pans with aluminum and butter them. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Combine flour, powder, salt and sugar and give a good whisk.  
  3. Add garlic, parm and pepper.  Stir until coated.  
  4. And 1 1/4 cups beer.  If still a bit dry, add by Tbsp. until a slightly wet, almost drop biscuit consistency, but not that wet.
  5. Spoon in, smooth out, and bake about 30-40 min, until golden and pass the toothpick test all the way to the bottom!
  6. For a full loaf, double everything but the beer.  Just use a whole 12 oz. bottle of beer.

10 servings at about 100 calories a serving.