Sunday, May 29, 2016

Lemon Curd Pie with Shortbread Crust

We love lemons, and I made Glazed Lemonies for Mama's birthday, so I have a bunch stored in a glass mason pickle jar in my fridge.  You simply clean the lemons, put them in the jar, fill completely with cold water and pop a lid on and they'll keep juicy and fresh for up to a month.  You jut drain it, rinse it, and refill once a week. An added bonus to this method is that it makes it so much easier to zest the lemons and juice them.

I've been wanting to learn to make curds for awhile, specifically for pies and tarts, so I spent the morning researching and found a Homemade Lemon Curd from Wicked Kitchen. I simplified and changed very little from the original recipe.

Making the curd is time consuming.  This isn't for a day when you're feeling off or don't think you could stand 30 minutes at the stove. It takes some prep, and timing, but it is so worth it.  Cool, creamy and refreshing. I'm giving this recipe to you in the most time efficient order.

This is NOT a healthy recipe.  All of the butter should warn you.  This is completely a cheat day recipe if you're dieting.  Or a treat.  Not a pie you want to eat 5 slices of in a day.

For the Curd
8 large egg yolks
4 large lemons
Pinch of kosher salt
1 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 scant cups sugar

For the Crust
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 stick salted butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour

  1. Zest all 4 lemons.  Waste not want not. Put zest in bowl and set aside.
  2. Roll lemons under your palms across the counter top to loosen up. Cut in half.  Remove seed and juice into a cereal bowl.  I don't have a juicer, so I stick a knife into each section within the lemon, and squeeze with my hands until I can't get any more out.  If you have sensitive skin, wear gloves.  Lemons are acidic.
  3. Set aside juice.
  4. Throw away lemon husks and seeds.
  5. Cut softened butter, one stick salted, one stick unsalted, into pats.
  6. Combine flour and sugar for the crust, and cut in pats one at a time.
  7. Use your hands to smoosh everything together good in the bowl.
  8. Use a bit more powdered sugar on a surface, kneed dough until comes completely together.
  9. Section out, and press into your un-greased pie pan. Once pressed in, poke bottom with fork.
  10. Preheat oven to 350F. Set your pie crust nearby.
  11. Fill a medium saucepan with about an inch and a half of water, and bring to a simmer while you do the next steps.
  12. In a medium glass or steel bowl, add egg yolk, sugar, and pinch of salt. I recommend saving the whites in the fridge.  They keep up for 2 days and will make a lovely breakfast tomorrow.
  13. Whisk until yolks, sugar, and salt comes together smooth.  Will be a pain in the butt at first, but stick with it until smooth.
  14. Add lemon juice to yolk and sugar mixture and whisk until combined.
  15. Now your oven is preheated, and your water simmering, pop the crust in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes.
  16. Immediately put the bowl on the saucepan. The lemon mixture should not be touching the simmering water in the pan.
  17. As pie shell bakes, cook lemon curd, whisking constantly.  Constantly constantly.  Switch hands, but don't stop.  This can take 15-30 minutes depending on your stove top, bowl, and pot.
  18. At 15 minutes your curd should be thickening.  Once the yellow oil lines show up you're about half there.
  19. Check pie crust.  If it's not golden on the edges, and slightly in the middle, pop back in for 5 more minutes.  Otherwise, remove to cool.
  20. Get back to whisking that lemon curd immediately.  Once it starts to get hard to whisk, and the curd coats the whisk when removed, it should be ready.  
  21. Remove bowl to counter and turn everything off.
  22.  Add in 2 Tbsp. of lemon zest immediately.  Stir thoroughly.
  23. Pull the chilled butter pats from the fridge, and add one at a time.  Wait until each has melted before adding the next.
  24. Once butter is stirred in, fill pie crust.  You shouldn't have any leftover, but if you do it will store in a jar for up to 2 weeks.
  25. Let curd and pie cool for 10 minutes.
  26. Refrigerate and cool 15 minutes.
  27. Refrigerate until serving time. I put it in my cake tin.  Then sifted a spoon of powdered sugar over it.
Now you know how to make curd, and shortbread.  Try different fruits for the curd, and the shortbread is the same I use for Simple Lavender Shortbread Cookies, Pomegranate-Tangerine Shortbread Cookies, Chocolate Heath Shortbread Cookies, and quarters down easy for individual pies!

12 slices at 412 calories a slice

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Portobello Fajitas

I love taco Tuesday, but I prefer fajita style a little more.  I've been trying to find new and amusing ways to cut down taco calories, because TACOS.

6 yogurt tortillas
1 large portobello mushroom (5-6 oz.), sliced
4 oz. bell or sweet peppers, sliced
1 small onion (1-2 oz.), sliced
1 roma tomato, sliced
1/2 cup Greek yogurt, plain, fat free
1/2 cup reduced fat "Mexican" cheese or taco cheese.
taco or fajita seasoning
  1. In a large saute pan, combine onion and peppers with just a bit of water 3-4 Tbsp.
  2. In about 5 min., add portobello mushroom slices.  Cook until almost done.
  3. Add taco/fajita seasoning a bit at a time, and gently fold and stir.
  4. Serve with yogurt tortillas, tomatoes, and cheese.
Make 6 @ 110 calories each

For vegan option, substitute cheese and yogurt. I recommend avocado.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Baked Eggs with Asparagus and Crab

I gave blood today, so I'm supposed to eat.  Unfortunately, when I give blood I get sick to my stomach and the last thing I want is food. So, I need something tasty, and full of good stuff, to get me back on my feed.

I downloaded the Cartwheel and Ibotta apps this week, and got some decent deals on veggies, and crab delights, so thought, well, why not make baked eggs instead of a seafood omelette? I'm not horribly fond of the texture of omelettes, but I like everything in them.

Good idea.  I gobbled this super tasty, light dish right up. Perfect for brunch too!

4 oz. asparagus
3 oz. crab or imitation crab meat
1/3 cup low mozzarella, shredded
2 eggs
Pepper and Salt to taste

  1. Spray the inside of a small casserole dish with whatever non-stick spray you use.  I use a coconut oil one.
  2. Trim and chop asparagus.  You can arrange spears whole, but it'll be easier to eat if you chop them.
  3. Layer pre-cooked or imitation crab.
  4. Layer cheese
  5. Crack eggs over.
  6. Bake on 325F until eggs reach desired consistency.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and eat immediately.

325 Calories, serves 1

Friday, May 20, 2016

Blueberries & Lilacs on Baby Greens

It's that time of year again!

With salads, I'm not going to give you amounts on anything but the dressings, or calories.   These posts are more to inspire you and give you ideas about making something every dieter must eat more enjoyable.

Mixed baby greens and baby arugula
Lilac blossoms, cut fresh

1:1 ratio Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar and Maison de Monaco Peach & Lavender Preserves.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Yogurt Bread Grilled Cheese with Bacon & Tomato

I love grilled cheese, but I rarely have it, since the average grilled cheese has some mondo calories. But, I've gotten good at making tasty things lower calorie or healthier, so I have it a go.

Using the pizza dough recipe, I've started making bread-sized disks for a lower cal bread. It doesn't save a ton of calories (10-20 depending on your white bread brand), but it tastes better to me.

1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup self-rising flour
2 Tbsp. reduced fat Mexican cheese
2 Tbsp. reduced fat mozzarella
2 slices reduced sodium bacon
1 small tomato (a small roma, about 1.5 oz.)
2 Tbsp. spaghetti sauce
  1. Combine yogurt and flour, and then knead into handle-able dough.
  2. Separate, and roll into 2 disks, about hand sized.
  3. In a small pan, fry up your bacon.  I recommend cutting it in half first.
  4. When bacon is done, drain on paper towels and drain grease.  Wipe pan down.
  5. Cook dough disks one at a time in pan, until each side is slightly golden.  Don't go all the way, since you'll be tossing it in again.
  6. Remove dough, and layer with cheese, bacon, tomato, and cheese before tossing the other on top.
  7. Carefully put into same pan keeping the cheese in.  Cook one side.
  8. Carefully flip, and cook other side until both sides golden and cheese melty.  Remember, reduced fat cheese doesn't usually completely melt.
  9. Cut in half, and serve with 2 Tbsp. of your favorite spaghetti sauce warmed for dipping.  I used Prego 3 Cheese because I have some leftover from a dinner thin.
315 calories, makes 1

Baked Blueberry Oatmeal

Filling, low cal, and delicious this is a breakfast for a morning when you have some time as it takes some measuring and baking.

It's like eating a huge muffin, but for less calories.  I used blueberries for this batch, but I'v also used strawberry & rhubarb, and bananas.

1/2 cup oats, quick or traditional
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup so delicious unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 Tbsp. Lakonto Monk Fruit Sweetener or Sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
1 cup blueberries
  1. Combine oats, and sweetener. Remove 2 Tbsp. and set aside for later (optional-leave in if you don't like the crusty top)
  2. Add powder and spices to main oat mix, and stir. 
  3. Combine milk, egg, and vanilla well.
  4. Arrange half of berries in the bottom of a personal sized casserole dish or ramekin.
  5. Cover with main bowl of oat mix.
  6. Pour liquid mixture over top.
  7. Shake and let sit until liquid absorbed.
  8. Place the other 1/2 of berries on top.
  9. Sprinkle with the reserved oat mixture.
  10. Bake at 325F in for 20-30 minutes until golden on top. I use my toaster oven.
  11. Let cool for 10 minutes.
362 calories, serves 1

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Spinach & Tomato Baked Eggs

I'm getting a bit more experimental as the school year comes to a wrap and I have more time to myself.  I scoured the internet for all the variations of baked eggs I could find before settling on my combo.

This super simple dish is a simple to make and pretty to look at.  Perfect for brunches and family breakfasts. It's a perfect mix of sweet and savory.

2 eggs
2 cups baby spinach
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 small tomatoes (3.5 oz.), sliced
  1. Combine garlic and spinach in small saute pan, and wilt.
  2. Scoop spinach mixture into the bottom of a personal sized casserole or ramekin dish.
  3. Layer tomatoes over, slightly overlapping.
  4. Crack eggs over top, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Bake at 325F for about 5-10 minutes, until egg yolks reach desire consistency.  I use my toaster oven for my single serving.
  6. Drain off excess tomato juice.
  7. Sprinkle with paprika and serve immediately with your favorite bread for dipping into the yolks!
195 calories a serving, makes 1
Seen here with 2 quick flatbreads for 325 calories.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Simple Scampi on Spinach

You don't have to give up your favorites-you just have to rethink them!

Tonight I was feeling pretty pasta, but I don't even keep it in the house because I'll just eat it all in one sitting. True story.  Love egg noodles.

So, I decided to make my second favorite pasta dish sans pasta.

3 cups baby spinach, raw
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. butter
3 oz. shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tale off
*optional red pepper flakes

I used pre-cooked shrimp this time.  I don't always, but I wanted my food to be quick.
  1. While your shrimp thaw, melt 1 Tbsp. butter in large saute pan.
  2. Once butter is melted and shrimp are thawed, add shrimp, garlic, and spinach to pan.
  3. Cook until spinach wilts down, separating the shrimp from the spinach near the end.
  4. Use tongs to remove spinach, and then pour remaining buttery goodness over.  Top with cooked shrimp.
  5. Sprinkle with a few pepper flakes for some heat, or don't.
190 calories, makes 1 serving.