Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Focaccia: No Fuss, KAF Blitz Bread


If you're looking for a homemade bread that can be on the table in 2 hours, look no further. King Arthur Flour has many wonderful recipes on its site. This one ranks up there with the best.

INGREDIENTS
2 tbs olive oil (to drizzle into the pan)
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 tbs olive oil (for the dough)
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 tbs instant yeast
4 tsp Italian seasoning

olive oil
rosemary (opt)

Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with non-stick vegetable spray. Drizzle about 2 tbs olive oil atop the spray.

Combine the remaining ingredients and beat at high speed for 60 seconds.

Scoop the sticky batter into the prepared pan. Cover the pan and let it rise at room temperature for 60 minutes--it should be quite puffy, but not fragile looking.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Gently poke the dough all over with your index finger.

Drizzle the dough lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary or other dried herbs of your choice

Bake the bread 25-30 minutes or until it's golden brown.

Remove bread from oven and wait 5 minutes. Turn bread out of pan onto a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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TASTE NOTES
I've made focaccia using other recipes, more labor intensive recipes, and now I wonder why. This bread was perfect, not to mention quick and easy. It had a slightly chewy exterior and was soft and yeasty on the inside. The Italian seasoning gave it a wonderful flavor, not to mention the fragrance. I will definitely make it again and next time I'll carmelize some shallots for the topping.  What a perfect accompaniment to pasta, though I can see it with antipasto, a side of marinara for dunking, some pesto....

Portuguese Sweet Bread



You know those incredible Hawaiian rolls that have been popular since the slider made its appearance on menus everywhere? Well, that's basically what Portuguese sweet bread is. This is bread you want to eat slathered in butter or as the base of a French toast that will have you wondering how you can ever wait for the bread to get stale.

This recipe is from Peter Reihart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice.

Makes 2 loaves

SPONGE
1/2 cup flour1(bread flour is best, but all purpose is fine
1 tbs granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1/2 cup water at room temperature

To make the sponge stir together the flour sugar, and yeast in a small bowl. Add the water and stir until all the ingredients are hydrated and make a smooth batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes or until the sponge gets foamy and seems on the verge of collapse.



DOUGH
6 tbs granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup powdered milk
2 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbs vegetable shortening
2 large eggs
1 tsp orange extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour (bread flour is best, but all purpose is fine)
About 6 tbs water, at room temperature

1 egg + 1 tsp water for egg wash

To make the dough, combine the sugar, salt, powdered milk, butter, and vegetable shortening in a 4 qt mixing bowl (or the bowl of an electric mixer). Cream together with a sturdy spoon or the paddle  attachment until smooth, then mix in the eggs and the extracts. Knead by hand or switch to the dough hook attachment and mix in the sponge and the flour.  Add the water, as needed, to make a very soft dough.  The finished dough should be very supple and soft, easy to knead, and not wet or sticky.  It will take 10 to 12 minutes with the electric mixer and close to 15 minutes by hand to achieve this consistency. The finished dough should pass the windowpane test.

Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.


Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Form each of the pieces into a boule.  Lightly oil two 9-inch pie pans and place 1 boule, seam side down, in each pan. Mist the dough with spray oil and loosely cover the pans with plastic wrap. Proof at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours or until the dough fills the pans fully, doubling in size

Very gently brush the loaves with an egg wash. .(1 egg whisked with 1 tsp water).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with the oven rack on the middle shelf.

Bake the loaves for 50 - 60 minutes or until they register 190 degrees in the center. Remove from the pie pans and place on a rack to cool completely--at least 90 minutes.
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TASTE NOTES
This might have been the longest 90 minutes of my life. Waiting for the loaves to cool so I could sneak a baker's reward was excruciating. That tiny end slice, slathered in Nutella, was incredible. What a delicate crumb! What a lovely melding of flavors! It was hard to freeze one loaf and harder still to save some slices for the weekend. The French toast made with those stale slices was probably the best I've ever eaten. A bit labor intensive, but so worth it.




Saturday, May 9, 2020

English Muffin Toasting Bread

Image may contain: food and indoor

With yeast nowhere to be found and flour a hit or miss commodity, I didn't think bread baking would be in the cards during this long isolation. Fortunately, I found a source for yeast online and managed to find some KAF all purpose flour during my last shopping trip. I was ready to bake bread. Since I am no longer shopping in person and am at the mercy of limited supplies of many favorites, I decided to start with English muffin bread.

INGREDIENTS

3 cups (361g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon (14g) sugar1 
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 cup (227g) milk
1/4 cup (57g) water
2 tablespoons (25g) vegetable oil or olive oil
cornmeal, to sprinkle in pan


INSTRUCTIONS
Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast in a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer.

Combine the milk, water, and oil in a separate, microwave-safe bowl, and heat to between 120°F and 130°F. Be sure to stir the liquid well before measuring its temperature; you want an accurate reading. If you don't have a thermometer, the liquid will feel quite hot (hotter than lukewarm), but not so hot that it would be uncomfortable as bath water.

Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl.

Using an electric beater, or stand mixer with beater attachment, beat at high speed for 1 minute; the dough will be smooth and very soft. If you don't have an electric mixer, beat by hand for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and starting to become elastic.

Lightly grease an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan, and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal.

Scoop the soft dough into the pan, leveling it in the pan as much as possible.

Cover the pan, and let the dough rise till it's just barely crowned over the rim of the pan. When you look at the rim of the pan from eye level, you should see the dough, but it shouldn't be more than, say, 1/4" over the rim. This will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour, if you heated the liquid to the correct temperature and your kitchen isn't very cold. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.

Remove the cover, and bake the bread for 22 to 27 minutes, till it's golden brown and its interior temperature is 190°F.

Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.
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TASTE NOTES
The ease of preparation belies the delicious taste and beautiful crumb of this loaf. Whether you're an experienced baker or someone who is a little afraid of trying to make anything with yeast, this is a great recipe to have in your arsenal. I'm going to try to freeze a few slices to judge whether this is worth making in batches. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy with eggs in the morning and try it as part of a grilled cheese sandwich. I might even give French toast a try before it's all gone.


Friday, May 8, 2020

Popovers

Image may contain: food and indoor


I have a go to recipe for popovers that I've used forever, but the other day the King Arthur Flour recipe for popovers popped up on my Facebook feed and I decided it was time for a change. Yes, I know that popovers have only 5 ingredients, so how different could they be? As it turns out, very.

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs, warmed in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes before cracking
  • 1 1/2 cups (340g) milk (skim, low-fat, or full-fat), lukewarm
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt*
  • 1 1/2 cups (177g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 tablespoons (43g) melted butter  

  • Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Position a rack on a lower shelf. The top of the fully risen popovers should be about midway up the oven. What you don't want is for the tops of the popping popovers to be too close to the top of the oven, as they'll burn.
    2.  Grease the popover or muffin pan thoroughly, covering the area between the cups as well as the cups themselves. Make sure the oven is up to temperature before you begin to make the popover batter.
    3. Use a wire whisk to beat together the eggs, milk, and salt. Whisk till the egg and milk are well combined, with no streaks of yolk showing.
    4. Add the flour all at once, and beat with a wire whisk till frothy; there shouldn't be any large lumps in the batter, but smaller lumps are OK.
    5. Stir in the melted butter, combining quickly.
    6. Pour the batter into the popover pan, filling them about 2/3 to 3/4 full. If using a 6 cup popover pan, you will have batter left over. These can be baked in a well greased muffin tin.
    7. Make absolutely certain your oven is at 450°F. Place the pan on a lower shelf of the oven .
    8. Bake the popovers for 20 minutes without opening the oven door. Reduce the heat to 350°F (again without opening the door), and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until they're a deep, golden brown. If the popovers seem to be browning too quickly, position an oven rack at the very top of the oven, and put a cookie sheet on it, to shield the popovers' tops from direct heat.
    9. If you plan on serving the popovers immediately, remove them from the oven, and stick the tip of a knife into the top of each, to release steam and help prevent sogginess. Slip them out of the pan, and serve.
    10. *************************************************
    11. TASTE NOTES
    12. I'm officially a convert! These popovers had the highest rise of any I've made and the perfect combination of eggy inside and crispy outside. I'm guessing bringing the eggs and milk to room temperature was responsible for that. Whatever it was, this is my new go to recipe. These popovers were incredible. I just can't decide if I prefer them spread with butter and honey or with Nutella. I think I'll be making them for dessert in the future, stuffed with vanilla ice cream and topped with Nutella. YUM!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

One Pot Turkey Swedish Meatball Casserole



I love Swedish meatballs, but they can be laden with fat and calories, something I try to avoid. I saw a recipe for one pot Swedish meatballs and decided it could do with some editing to fit into my weeknight meal plan. Not only was the lightening a success, it really did require just one pot--in this case a deep skillet--making clean up a snap.

Serves 4 (or 2 with leftovers for the next night, this time NO POTS) 


For the meatballs:
1 lb ground turkey (I use 93%)
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg
1/2 small onion, grated
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1 tbs canola oil

2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups milk (I used Fairlife fat free; when you boil, it will break, but it doesn't affect taste; to avoid this, just use 2% or whole milk, but it will affect calories/smart points)
1 tbs worcestershire sauce
4 cups dry wide noodles (I like the yolkless variety)
2/3 cup grated cheese
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley


To make the meatballs, combine the ground turkey, bread crumbs, egg, grated onion, salt, and pepper and form into 36 one inch meatballs.

Heat a nonstick skillet with 1 tbs canola oil. Fry the meatballs one minute on each side.

Add the chicken broth, milk, and worcestershire sauce to the skillet and bring to a boil.

 Add the noodles, lower the heat to medium, and cook, stirring constantly for 8 minutes until the sauce coats the back of a spoon and the noodles are cooked. Add the cheese and parsley and serve immediately.
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TASTE NOTES
I was very pleased with how well this lightened version of a classic came together. The original was over 1000 calories a serving. This version came in at 14 Smart Points, well within the daily guidelines for a dinner that required just a side salad and a veggie. It went together so quickly, we found ourselves eating a bit early. The upside was it was very satisfying and delicious.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Italian Ricotta Cookies


If you're Italian, this cakey, ricotta cookie may look like the Christmas cookies you grew up with, but it tastes more like the white part of those black and white cookies we love. While the dough is easy to make, I recommend making it the day before you plan to bake the cookies and to keep it chilled, which may mean forming and baking the cookies one cookie sheet at a time. Because baking is an exact science, I've included measurements in weights as well as volume, for those who prefer this.

Yield is 6-7 dozen

For the cookies:

2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (425 grams) of granulated sugar
15 oz of ricotta cheese (whole milk)
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
3 teaspoons of good vanilla extract (these can be made with anise flavoring, if you prefer)
2 large eggs
4 cups (480 grams) of all purpose flour
3/4 tsp (4 grams) fine sea salt
2 tsp (10 grams) baking soda.

Using an electric mixer (I use my stand mixer), cream the butter with the sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add ricotta, lemon zest, and vanilla and beat well. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl down with a rubber spatula, then beat in the flour, salt, and baking soda, combining well. Cover the dough and chill for at least 2 hours, though overnight is better.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line several baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick liners. Shape tablespoons of the chilled dough into balls. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets--these cookies spread, so be sure cookie sheets are cool and put dough back in refrigerator between rolling out. Bake 15 minutes. Cookies will be pale golden on the bottom and will firm up a bit as they cool. Cool on wire racks while you make the icing.

For the icing:


1 tbs melted butter
4 cups (450 grams) of confectioners (powdered) sugar
2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp good vanilla extract
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk, as needed to thin icing a bit-p

colored nonpareils


Melt the butter. Whisk the confectioners sugar to break up any large lumps, then whisk in melted butter, lemon juice, vanilla, and enough milk to make a spreadable icing.

To frost the cookies:


The easiest way to frost the cookies is to quickly dip the cookies and swirl off the excess. Do 6 at a time, then carefully sprinkle with nonpareils. It's best to set wire racks over th parchment covered cookie sheets to contain the excess icing and non-pareils. Let set for at least 20 minutes before serving or packaging.
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TASTE NOTES
These cookies disappear very quickly. They are like little clouds of cake, just sweet enough, and wonderful with a glass of milk or a cup of tea. They may look like those dry, crumbly Italian Christmas cookies, but they are a whole other thing.,







Friday, October 11, 2019

Lentil Soup Slow Cooker Style

Lentil Soup Slow Cooker Style

There's a diner about a half hour from home that serves "Bavarian lentil soup." I love this soup and order it whenever we go there. I've been trying for over a year to replicate it and finally came very, very close tonight. The ingredients seem like anything but Bavarian, but the soup is delicious and I will be making it often. I added a potato--because I had one--and thought it was a great addition, but you can leave it out.

Slow Cooker Easy Lentil Soup

Yield:  6 cups

INGREDIENTS

     4 cups (1 quart)  vegetable broth
  • (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • small yellow onion, diced
  • medium carrots, diced
  • medium celery stalk, diced
  • 1 small potato, diced
  • cup lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • tablespoon olive oil
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • teaspoon kosher salt
  • teaspoon tomato paste
  • bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • teaspoons red wine vinegar

INSTRUCTIONS
Place all the ingredients except the vinegar in a 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover and cook on the high setting for 4 hours. Turn setting to low and cook for 2 more hours, until lentils are tender.
  1. Remove the bay leaf and stir in the red wine vinegar. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

(Slow Cooker) French Onion Soup

 What can beat a bowl of  rich, beefy broth laden with caramelized onions and topped with a golden crust of cheese?  As much as I love French onion soup au gratin, I seldom order it out. It's a meal in itself for me, not an appetizer. It's also nearly impossible to eat neatly. With a bit of fall in the air, my thoughts turn to soup and I began thinking of this hearty, cheesy meal in a bowl.

A bit of online research yielded any number of recipes, but I was looking for a quick and easy way to put this on the table, one that utilized my slow cooker. I read through quite a few recipes and came up with this amalgam.

I caramelized the onions overnight. They require 12 hours of cooking on low. I finished the soup the next morning.





Ingredients:

3 lbs Vidalia (or sweet, yellow) onions, peeled and sliced thinly
2 tbs unsalted butter, melted
2 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

10 cups lower sodium beef broth
2 tbs Balsamic vinegar
2 tbs brandy

mini toasts (Joan of Arc brand or Divina are good)
shredded Gruyere cheese (1 oz per serving)

Directions:

Place the sliced onions in a slow cooker. Pour over the melted butter and the oil, add about 1 tsp Kosher salt and pepper to taste and toss together. Cook on low for 12 hours. Do not stir or remove the lid during cooking. In fact, it's best to do it overnight and finish the soup in the morning.

Your onions should be beautifully caramelized after the slow cook in the crockpot. Add the broth, the Balsamic vinegar, and the brandy. Stir together. Cook on low for another 6 hours.

TO SERVE:

Preheat broiler. Place heated soup in an ovenproof bowl. Place 4 mini toasts on top of soup, then sprinkle shredded cheese over top of toasts. Place soup bowls on a baking sheet. Broil until bubbly and golden, taking care not to burn.

8-10 servings (3 SP for the soup; add 4 SP for 1 oz of Gruyere and 1 SP for 4 mini toasts)
******************************************************************8
TASTE NOTES
It was hard to sleep with the incredible smells coming from downstairs, but the 12 hours on low gave up a pot of beautiful, mahogany--colored onions. The flavor of the soup was incredibly delicious. The vinegar and the brandy meld perfectly with the sweet onions. I would have liked to dump a half pound of gruyere cheese on top, but all things in moderation. Next time I need carmelized onions for anything, I'm breaking out my slow cooker.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

(Easy) Rigatoni with Sausage and Peppers



Cooking my way through Marlene Koch's Eat What You Love Restaurant Favorites, I have had far more hits than misses. While Ina Garten has been my idol for years, I give kudos to Koch, who can make seriously lightened versions of favorite dishes taste like the originals.  This dish, which can be made totally on the stove if you're pressed for time, is satisfying and delicious. I made a few small changes, none of which affected the nutritional value.

INGREDIENTS - 4 servings

4 ounces dry rigatoni
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 medium green pepper, chopped
8 oz Italian sweet sausage (remove casings)
1 1/2 cups marinara
1/3 cup nonfat half and half
1 tbs reduced fat cream cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 tbs grated parmigiana cheese, divided
1/2 cup shredded light mozzarella

Cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente pasta; drain and set aside.

While the pasta cooks, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high meat. Add onions and peppers and cook until they begin to soften (about 5 minutes).. Add sausage and continue to cook, breaking up the meat into pieces with a spoon, until sausage is cooked and peppers are almost tender.

Add marinara to skillet and stir. Add half and half, cream cheese, garlic powder, and 2 tbs of the parmigiana and stir until everything is combined. Add the pasta and stir to combine.

At this point you can transfer to a baking dish, top with the mozzarella and the remaining grated cheese and bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Or, you can add the remaining ingredients to the skillet, cover, and cook on low heat until the cheese melts.
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TASTE NOTES
At 8 Smart Points (350 calories) per serving, this is a delicious and filling entree that comes together in the time it took me to make a salad. It was very saucy, but there was enough meat and vegetables to fill out the small amount of pasta per serving. I'm looking forward to eating the leftovers.


Thursday, July 25, 2019

Pork Fried (cauliflower) Rice



I've made cauliflower fried rice before, but this recipe from EAT WHAT YOU LOVE RESTAURANT FAVORITES by Marlene Koch yields a fried rice far healthier, but every bit as delicious, as what you'd get at P.F. Chang's. While simple to prepare, there is some prep involved. Have everything at the ready and dinner will be on the table in 15 minutes.

Serves 4 as a side dish, or 2 as an entree (4 SP per 1 cup serving)

2 tsp vegetable oil, divided
1 1/2 cups riced cauliflower (about half a cauliflower)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup diced carrots
1 tsp minced ginger
4 scallions, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped, fresh mushrooms
6 oz lean ground pork
1 (8 oz) can sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 cup cooked rice
2 tbs oyster sauce

Heat 1 tsp oil in a large, nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the cauliflower and let cook for 2 minutes without stirring, until the underside begins to brown. Stir and cook another minute. Push to the edges of the pan and add the beaten egg. Scramble it until mostly cooked, then stir into the cauliflower.

Add carrots, mushrooms, ginger, and scallions and cook for 1 - 2 minutes. Add pork, breaking it into a few clumps. Using a fork, work it into the vegetables, breaking it into crumbles as it cooks. When pork is no longer pink, add water chestnuts and rice.

Add the oyster sauce and toss well. Add the remaining teaspoon of oil then turn rice over so oiled rice is on bottom on pan and cook without stirring for another 2 minutes, or until the underside is nicely browned.
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TASTE NOTES

Other recipes I've used  for cauliflower fried rice have not contained any real rice. The addition of 1 cup of white rice made a huge difference in taste. I prefer to start with a fresh cauliflower, but the recipe states that you may use frozen riced cauliflower if you choose. The serving size is generous, even if you eat just one cup, as I did. I chose to eat mine with some Lean Cuisine spring rolls for a still low points dinner.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Carnitas-style Shredded Pork



Marlene Koch's latest cookbook, EAT WHAT YOU LOVE RESTAURANT FAVORITES is quickly becoming my go-to, healthy eating bible. This recipe, though good as written, needed some flavor boosts and some changes in the cooking time. Following is my "new and improved" version. It yields 8 small or 4 regular-size servings. I served it with black beans, yellow rice, and street taco slider-sized soft tortillas. With avocado slices, light sour cream, and salsa, it had everything you need to satisfy a variety of tastes.

2 - 2 1/2 lb boneless pork loin roast
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
6 smashed garlic cloves
3 bay leaves,
8 oz light orange juice
1 tsp garlic salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Slice the roast vertically and horizontally to make 4 even pieces.
Spray a large, ovenproof pot (I used my LeCreuset Dutch oven) with cooking spray and place over high heat. Sear pork on all sides until brown. Remove from pot and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and add 1/2 cup water to deglaze the pot.

Combine the cumin, oregano, onion powder, and black pepper in a small bowl. Coat the pork with the spice mixture, rub in,  and let sit for 15 minutes.

Return the roast to the pot and add the garlic, bay leaf, orange juice, and 1/2 cup water. Cover the pot and place in the oven. Cook 70 minutes (until pork shreds easily with a fork).


Transfer the pork to a cutting board, discard bay leaf, and using 2 forks, shred the meat and spread it on a baking sheet. Simmer and reduce the liquid in the pot until it coats the back of a spoon. Pour 1/2 cup of the liquid over the meat to moisten it, and toss.

Just before serving, turn on the broiler, sprinkle meat with garlic salt, and broil 3-4 minutes until the edges of the meat are browned and slightly crisped.

1/2 cup serving is 2 SP
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TASTE NOTES

The first time I made this dish, I knew it was a keeper; but, I also knew it needed some tweaking. Pork loin is a lean meat, so overcooking it can be problematic. The 1 1/2 hour cook time that Koch noted was too long. I reduced that to 70 minutes and it was perfect (don't forget you put it under the broiler, too, so you want it moist to begin). Also, the original recipe called for less spice mix and the juice of half an orange. I've used light OJ in other recipes and substituting a full cup in place of some of the water was a good addition. This is a dish I've made with a fattier cut of pork. Truthfully, I don't mind using the loin at all since the flavor is excellent and the health benefits of reducing the fat are huge.



Monday, July 8, 2019

Orange Chicken (Quicker Than Takeout)


Because I use this blog as a place to store my favorite recipes, I don't speak in superlatives unless a dish is really, really worthy. This quicker-than-takeout orange chicken from Marlene Koch's EAT WHAT YOU LOVE RESTAURANT FAVORITES was the very best Chinese food I've ever cooked (and I've been making Chinese food since I bought my first ethnic cookbook in the early '70's).

If you've eaten orange chicken in a Chinese restaurant, you might be thinking greasy, deep fried, battered chicken swimming in a cornstarch-rich orange sauce. That is NOT what this is. I had to rein it in or I'd have eaten a second portion. While the list of ingredients may seem long, this isn't a difficult recipe. It does require you to prepare the components in a timely fashion, but with a bit of mis en place, you CAN have dinner on the table faster--and far better--than if you got takeout.

FOR THE SAUCE
1/3 cup light orange juice
3 tbs rice vinegar
3 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs reduced sodium soy sauce
4 packets Stevia (or your favorite no calorie sweetner OR sugar, adjust accordingly)
2 tbs brown sugar
1 1/2 tbs cornstarch
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (don't omit; it adds just a bit of heat)
1/2 cup water

In a medium saucepan whisk together the sauce ingredient. Place over medium high heat and bring to a low boil. Cook for 1 minute, then keep warm while you finish the dish.

FOR THE CHICKEN
1 1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup all purpose flour (add more, if needed)
2 tbs canola oil, divided
1 small red, bell pepper, cut into 3/4 inch squares
1 small onion, cut into 3/4 inch squares

Coat cut up chicken breasts with beaten egg and toss with flour to coat. Heat 1 tbs of oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium high heat Add half the chicken and cook 4-5 minutes or until well browned on all sides. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with remaining 1 tbs oil and the rest of the chicken.

Add the red pepper and onio to the skillet and cook 4-6 minutes or until slightly softened. Add the chicken back to the skillet and pour the orange sauce over, tossing to coat. Serve immediately.
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TASTE NOTES

I served this with white rice and spicy green beans and it far surpassed my expectations. The recipe serves 4 and is low fat and low calorie (5 SP, if you follow WW). I can't wait for the leftovers.



Thursday, March 28, 2019

Chicken and Spinach Rollatine

Chicken and Spinach Rollatine (8 SP each roll)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 thin chicken cutlets, 4 oz each
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 6 tablespoons egg whites or egg beaters
  • 5 oz frozen spinach, squeezed dry of any liquid
  • 6 tbsp part skim ricotta cheese
  • 6 oz part skim shredded mozzarella 
  • olive oil non-stick spray
  • 1 cup tomato sauce 
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick spray.

  1. Wash and dry cutlets, season with salt and pepper.

  2. Combine breadcrumbs and 2 tbsp grated cheese in one bowl and 1/4 cup egg beaters or egg whites in another.

  3. Combine 1.5 oz shredded mozzarella with remaining grated cheese, spinach (make sure you squeeze it dry), 2 tbsp egg beaters, and ricotta cheese.

  4. Lay chicken cutlets down on a working surface and spread 1/4 of spinach-cheese mixture on each cutlet.

  5.  Loosely roll each one and keep seam side down.

  6. Dip chicken in egg mixture, then in breadcrumbs and place seam side down in a baking dish (no toothpicks needed).

  7. Repeat with the remaining chicken. When finished, lightly spray with olive oil. Bake 25 minutes.

  8. Remove from oven, top with sauce then cheese and 
  9. bake until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 3 more minutes.
  10. *************************************
  11. TASTE NOTES
  12. I adapted this recipe to provide for a reasonable portion size. I could have decreased the mozzarella, but decided the extra points were worth it. This was a delicious dish that goes equally well with a side of pasta or a side of sauteed broccoli rabe or escarole. One roll is a perfect serving and the only thing that could make it better would be to use homemade tomato sauce.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Stuffing Crusted Turkey Sheet Pan Supper



Love the tastes and smells of Thanksgiving? Have 20 minutes to prepare a week night supper? Then this is the recipe for you.

Makes 4 servings (10 SP per serving)

Ingredients

1 box Stove Top stuffing mix
1 tbs I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Light
3 tbs low sugar raspberry jam or preserves
2 tbs Dijon mustard
4 turkey cutlets (1 lb total; 1/4 lb each cutlet)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spray foil with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, combine the stuffing mix and butter. Boil 1 2/3 cups of water, pour it over the stuffing mix, and stir lightly to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine jam and mustard.

Place the 4 cutlets on the prepared baking sheet. Spread each piece with 1/4 of the jam mixture. Mound 1/4 of the stuffing on each cutlet. Spray top of each with nonstick spray.

Bake for 17 minutes.

Serve with roasted brussells sprouts and carrots for a filling dinner.
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TASTE NOTES

Every time I make this, I marvel at how something so simple can taste so good! I adapted this recipe from Marlene Koch's Eat What You Love:  Quick and Easy, my favorite healthy-eating cookbook.