Tag Archives: vegetables

Low-Carb Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

1-recipe

Today’s dish isn’t much like the original recipe. It is “inspired by” the clipping, but there are several significant differences: I don’t have a Dutch oven, I added strips of chicken, and I substituted spiral-sliced yellow squash and zucchini instead of using actual fettuccine noodles. The “thick” slice produced by my Veggetti slicer makes a pretty good pasta substitute!

Finding ways to make recipes low-carb is a challenge on several fronts. In recipes like this, which have a thick sauce, the biggest issue is water content. Vegetables tend to release liquid, where rice and noodles would absorb it. I’m still working on ways to alleviate this issue. I’ve had decent results with roasting vegetables, and less success with salting them. For this recipe, I chose to blanch the spiral-sliced vegetables in boiling water for 2 minutes, and then drained them onto paper towels. This did reduce the volume of released liquid, but the sauce still became thinner than I wanted. Perhaps next time, I’ll skip the “pasta” altogether and simply toss the alfredo sauce with a selection of primavera vegetables. :)

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 medium yellow squash and zucchini, spiral-sliced and boiled for 2 minutes
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions:

2-chicken

In a medium skillet, combine the sliced chicken, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper, and sauté over medium heat until thoroughly cooked.

3-butter

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.

4-cream

Whisk in the heavy whipping cream, and heat gently to a simmer.

5-parmesan

Add the Parmesan cheese, and whisk until thick and creamy.

6-veggie-pasta

Remove from heat, and toss with the chicken and spiral-sliced vegetables.

7-finished

Serves 4.

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Beef Kebabs

Lots of beef recipes on this blog lately. :) No complaints? Then I’ll keep going!

I love to grill. It’s one of the best summertime activities, and a great way to prepare large amounts of food. Unfortunately, where I live, there is a ban on open flame. No grilling, no joy. Enter the George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor Grill! It’s not *quite* the same as propane or charcoal, but for $80 dollars, I can’t complain. It lets me get outside and cook food, which is a major improvement. I’ve been grilling things all week!

Today’s dish is a recreation of something my mother used to make all the time: no-frills shish kebab. The secret to this one is a great little seasoning called Liquid Smoke. This is potent stuff — a little goes a VERY LONG WAY. It makes a great addition to most marinades, especially for grilled items. Most supermarkets will carry the stuff: it’s manufactured by Colgin.

Now go outside and get cooking!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound eye of round or lean beef of choice, sliced into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced into large chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into large chunks
  • 8 ounces whole button mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into large chunks

Directions:

1-marinate

In a large bowl, combine the beef cubes, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, garlic, seasoning salt, and Liquid Smoke.

Cover with plastic wrap, and allow the meat to marinate for at least 1-2 hours.

2-skewer

Thread the meat, bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions onto bamboo skewers.

Grill over medium-high heat for 4 minutes, turn, and grill for another 4 minutes.

3-finished

Serves 4.

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Forgotten Minestrone (100th Post!)

1-recipe

Yaaaay! I’ve finally hit 100 posts on this blog! I’ve been writing since the end of September last year, and it’s nearly July now. I love the motivation to try new things that this blog has given me; every week is a new adventure. I’ve met some great people along the way, as well… food bloggers, recipe testers, professional chefs, and home cooks. The food is great, too. :) Here’s to another 100 delicious posts!

I’ve been doing a lot of slow cooker recipes lately. They work well with my busy schedule; I love being able to add a bunch of things to a pot, leave it alone, and come back in several hours to food. Today’s recipe is super easy, very nutritious, and yields a huge quantity. My slow cooker was literally full to the brim!

I only made one change to the ingredient list: in respect of the low-carb guidelines I’m trying to follow, I omitted the pasta. Please feel free to include it if you would like.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean beef stew meat
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 2 tablespoons minced dried parsley
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups finely chopped cabbage
  • 1 (16-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to top

Directions:

2-crockpot

In a slow cooker, combine the beef, water, tomatoes, onion, bouillon cube, parsley, salt, thyme, and pepper.

Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours, or until the meat is tender.

3-pull_beef

Remove the meat to a plate, and pull into shreds using two forks.

4-add_veggies

Return the meat to the slow cooker, and add the zucchini, cabbage, and beans.

Cover and cook on high for 30-45 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

5-finished

Serves 8.

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Rasta Pasta

1-recipe

In the pursuit of new and better low-carb substitutes, I recently acquired a Veggetti slicer for the tidy sum of $14 plus tax. I am generally suspicious of “As Seen On TV” products, and not without reason. However, the Veggetti has been well worth its price. It’s basically a giant pencil sharpener for vegetables, which can slice them into thick or thin strings depending on which end you use.

Here’s a picture of what the sliced vegetables look like:

4-spiral_squash

For this recipe, I substituted yellow squash for spaghetti. I used the “thin” end of the Veggetti to slice the squash, and then boiled it for 2 minutes. The result was an excellent substitute, and I plan to use this device quite frequently in the future.

I substituted shelled edamame for the black beans in this recipe. I happened to have it on hand, and it fit the color scheme. :) Definitely making this dish again: the flavors are excellent, and it’s remarkably satisfying for a recipe which contains nothing but vegetables and seasoning!

Ingredients:

  • 4 yellow squash, spiral-sliced and boiled for 2 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup shelled cooked edamame
  • 2 cups broccoli flowerets, blanched
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese for topping

Directions:

2-peppers_onions

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onion, bell pepper, and garlic until tender.

3-edamame

Add the edamame and broccoli, and cook for 1 more minute.

5-finished

In a large bowl, toss together the cooked spiral-sliced squash, vegetable mixture, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper.

Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4.

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Savory Baked Spinach

1-recipe

Hooray, another Dr. Matthews recipe! The man who contributed recipes for Salisbury Steak and Sherried Beef is back with a baked spinach dish that will knock your socks off – which isn’t easy to do with frozen spinach. It’s one of the least glamorous ingredients imaginable, in the same class with creamed corn and tinned fruit cocktail. There just isn’t anything good to do with frozen spinach… or so I thought.

This recipe is AMAZING. Seriously. SO GOOD. I try to avoid excessive use of capitalized words, as it is far too easy to overuse their emphasis, but this is an exceptional case. I have never had such good spinach in my entire life. The dish is something like a quiche, but without the “jiggly” texture. The seasonings, cheese, and spinach all combine to create an absolutely scrumptious flavor that neither I nor my SO could get enough of. If you make this, expect to hear cries of “More spinach, please!”. It may be a first. :)

I replaced the rice in this recipe with cauliflower rice, to continue the low-carb trend. Absolutely delicious, I don’t feel that it hurts the finished product at all. The “finished” picture is shown served with Josie’s Crockpot Apple Pork Tenderloin from Clean Eatz, which was super tasty! Full credit to this cool lady for a great recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups cauliflower rice
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2-casserole

Combine all ingredients in an 8” x 8” x 2” Pyrex baking dish.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Slice into squares, and serve.

3-finished

Serves 6.

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Low Carb Chicken Broccoli Casserole

1-recipe

Doctor’s orders: it’s time for us to start cutting carbs. This is fine: I want to do what’s necessary to maintain good health. It does pose a challenge with some of these old recipes, however. Nobody cared about carbs when most of these were written. I’m going to have to find ways to adapt the recipes without sacrificing enjoyment or flavor. The basic truth is that if it’s not tasty, we won’t eat it. Health food shouldn’t make you miserable. Life is too short for that.

Ingredients-wise, today’s recipe is pretty similar to the Chicken and Broccoli Casserole I found earlier. This recipe is in my grandmother’s handwriting, so my guess is that she and my mother created a variation of their own and wrote it down. There are no biscuits on top, and this recipe calls for cream of celery rather than cream of chicken soup. The seasonings are the same, but they differ in proportions. For this casserole, I used leftover shredded chicken from a whole chicken I had cooked previously. We never make it through a whole bird in one evening, so I strip the leftover meat from the carcass and freeze it for just such occasions.

In order to make this recipe low-carb, I replaced the rice with “cauliflower rice”. For those unfamiliar with this substance, it is generated by finely chopping raw cauliflower into tiny chunks, which are texturally similar to rice. I highly recommend using a food processor for this, unless you like spending a great deal of time chopping cauliflower. :) The chopped cauliflower is blanched in boiling water for about 5 minutes, to soften it, and is then served in the place of rice. The flavor is not the same, but the texture is good enough for now – especially in a casserole, where everything gets mixed together anyway.

One key factor to be aware of with cauliflower rice is that it does not behave like rice in the presence of liquid. Rice absorbs liquid and increases in volume as a result; cauliflower rice tends to release liquid in small amounts, and may shrink ever so slightly. Note this carefully, and adjust your own recipes accordingly when using this substitute.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cauliflower rice
  • 2 cups shredded chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped broccoli
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon curry powder

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2-caulirice

Grease an 8” x 8” x 2” Pyrex baking dish, and spread the cauliflower rice in the bottom.

3-chicken

Place the chicken on top of the cauliflower rice.

4-broccoli

Sprinkle the broccoli on top.

5-sauce

In a medium bowl, combine the cream of celery soup, egg, mayonnaise, sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, milk, celery seed, salt, and curry powder.

6-in_casserole

Pour this sauce over the casserole.

Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

7-finished

Serves 4.

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Bulgarian Monastery Bean Soup

1-recipe

Today’s recipe is an excellent illustration of why one should hire a recipe tester before publication – or at least do some basic logic-oriented proofreading! There are poorly-worded directions, ingredients out of order, and an entire set of instructions which go nowhere and leave the reader hanging. No bueno, my friends. Muy mal.

Ingredients out of order are a large problem for the home cook. It is very annoying to read through a recipe, begin cooking, and then realize that something is missing. Preparation instructions are also important. I would like to point out to the publisher of today’s recipe that carrots are round. You do not cube carrots. I know that this is a small detail, but details are important.

The most notable problem with this recipe involves the preparation and addition of the paprika. The technique described is borrowed from Indian cooking, and is called chaunk: spices and seasonings are fried briefly in a small amount of oil to enhance their flavor, and then added to a dish. This recipe totally screws up the concept. The amount of oil used is WAY too much: 1/2 cup?! If I actually added this much oil to a soup, it would be disgusting. 1 tablespoon would have been sufficient. Still, even with a corrected amount of oil, the recipe has a still larger problem: after the instructions to prepare the paprika in oil, there is absolutely NO further reference to said paprika or oil whatsoever! If I had made this soup precisely according to the recipe, I would have ended up with a pot of somewhat inoffensive soup, and a skillet full of red, burnt oil sitting on my stove until the cows came home. Not acceptable, recipe publisher. You fail the test.

I chose to avoid the paprika-oil-chaunk problem altogether, and simply add 1/2 tablespoon of paprika directly to the soup. The resulting flavor was pretty good, and I would make this again – my rewrite, not the original.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried lima beans
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint, or 1-2 tablespoons dried mint
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • Salt to taste
  • Parsley to garnish

Directions:

In a large pot, soak the beans in water for several hours.

2-carrots

Bring the water-covered beans to a boil, and add the onion and carrots.

Boil for 30-45 minutes, or until the beans become soft.

3-mint

Add the mint, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for another 15 minutes.

4-tomato_paste

Add the tomato paste, paprika, and salt, and simmer over low heat until ready to serve.

Serve warm, and garnished with parsley.

5-finished

Serves 6-8.

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Soulful Black-Eyed Peas

1-recipe

Writing about this recipe is making me so hungry! I’ve always liked black-eyed peas, and this is a proper Southern preparation. The only thing missing is bacon, and I definitely plan to add some next time. Be warned: when the recipe says that it serves 8, it’s being humble. I ended up with an absolutely huge volume of leftover black-eyed peas, and we ate them for a week! My SO suggested making refried beans with some of the leftovers, and I think this is a great idea. Next time I make this recipe, I’ll give it a shot and make some sort of Creole enchiladas. :)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked red pepper

Directions:

Wash and drain the peas, and allow them to soak in water to cover for at least 1 hour.

2-onions

In a large saucepan, sauté the onion in the oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the onion begins to brown.

3-water

Add the garlic, water, salt, thyme, bay leaves, and pepper.

4-peas

Bring the mixture to a boil, add the black-eyed peas to the saucepan, and return to a boil.

5-cover

Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the peas are tender.

6-finished

Serves 8.

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Smoky Pasta and Bean Soup

1-recipe

Thanks to everyone on Facebook and elsewhere for the birthday wishes! One of the awesome things I received was a camera upgrade; my old camera was top-of-the-line when I bought it, but that was in 2004. The new model is super easy to use, and takes great pictures. I still have a few recipes to work through which were photographed with the old camera, but expect better photography to filter in over the next two weeks. I’m excited!

I am sometimes cautious about serving soup for dinner; I don’t want to leave anyone hungry, and some soups are a little on the wimpy side. Today’s dish is far from wimpy: it is hearty, wholesome, and permeated with the wonderful flavor of bacon. The recipe gives the option of using either macaroni or “other small pasta”. I chose to use miniature farfalle, because I feel that they are more interesting to have in a soup than macaroni. :) Everybody does macaroni. Why not be a little different?

I modified the quantities of the canned ingredients in this recipe. It’s a little inconvenient to measure canned ingredients by the cup. How many cups of any particular ingredient are in a can, anyway? Isn’t it dependent on packing? And what about the leftovers? I find it much simpler to simply add however many cans are required. I measured the can contents myself before modifying the recipe, and the modified amounts given below are pretty close to what the original recipe called for. No more half cans of tomatoes sitting in the fridge!

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 (16-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (16-ounce) cans white beans, drained
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 cups macaroni or other small pasta
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese, optional

Directions:

2-bacon

In a large skillet, sauté the bacon over medium heat until it is cooked.

3-add_veg

Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and red pepper to the skillet, and sauté for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables become soft.

4-add_tomatoes

Add the tomatoes, and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes.

5-add_liquid

Add the beans and chicken broth, and bring the mixture to a gentle boil.

6-add_pasta

Add the pasta and cook for another 15 minutes, or until the pasta is tender but firm.

Top with Parmesan cheese if desired.

7-finished

Serves 8.

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Vegetable Beef Soup

1-recipe

It’s a rare recipe where the directions can be summarized with the word “make”. My mother’s soup really is that simple: assemble ingredients, put the pot on to simmer, and let it do its thing. If you’d rather have more of a stew than a soup, simmer the mixture down until it’s nice and thick. If you want to make this recipe vegetarian, it’s equally simple: don’t add the meat. Bam. Done. Robust vegetarian dinner for several, coming up.

When I think of commercial vegetable soup, I remember watery broth with a few vegetables half-heartedly swimming in it. That isn’t a stand-alone dinner by any stretch of the imagination, and I’d be a little embarrassed to have it on my table. To use an automotive metaphor: if the store-bought option is a Ford Pinto, this soup is a Ferrari. It’s packed chock-full of every kind of delicious vegetable, plus chunks of tender, savory beef. This ain’t yo mama’s vegetable soup. It’s mine.

I chose to use chunks of round steak rather than a beef bone for this particular preparation, because I am currently city-bound and don’t have access to a good butcher. I also omitted the macaroni: I can’t remember my mother ever actually putting it in, and the soup doesn’t need it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound round steak, cubed
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups diced potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 (15-ounce) can peas
  • 1 (15-ounce) can corn
  • 1/2 cup dried lima beans (you can use the canned ones, but they’re so much better cooked fresh)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

2-ingredients

In a large pot, combine all ingredients and add water to cover.

Simmer for 2-3 hours, or until all ingredients are tender and fully cooked.

3-finished

Serves 6-8.

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