Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 230 - Eating Right Again and A Turkey Day Recap

Time to get back on track with eating. Yesterday was delicious and my friend Becca joined us for dinner (and the making of it because I got myself in over my head : ) ) which made the day that much better. But I ate lots of food. I kept my portions reasonable, and I didn't feel the need to go back for seconds. I did splurge a little with dessert, but I'm a baker and I have my breaking point.

Here's what I ate, pics of the final dishes, and their recipes as I made them. They would be great any time, and a few will be making an encore on my Christmas menu. Enjoy!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup
  • 4 cups uncooked broccoli (florets and stems)
  • 2.5 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup fat free milk
  • 4 oz. Cheddar (or colby) cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 Tbsp. corn starch

1. place broccoli and broth into a large sauce pot, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until broccoli is tender.

2. Laddle the broccoli and broth into a blender (food processors tend to leak and be messy... ask Becca who found this out when helping me make the soup) and puree to desired consistency. I like mine with a bit of texture and bite, not completely smooth.

3. Return to pot and add cheese, stirring, over medium heat.

4. The cheese may seem stringy at this point, so now we can use the cornstarch and milk. Combine the milk and starch together with a whisk and slowly add it, while stirring, to the soup. It will being to thicken.

5. Serve and enjoy! Adding some fresh, crumbles of the broccoli florets and shredded cheese makes for a beautiful presentation.

Asparagus Risotto
  • 1 lb. asparagus
  • 3 each shallots, diced
  • 1/2 tsp salt (for cooking water)
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 Tbsp (fresh if you can) lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups fat free chicken broth
Before we begin, let me just say that making risotto means stirring, and stirring, and stirring. I can't emphasize enough how much stirring you will do, but the end product is wonderful. So when my instructions say 'stir,'  boy do I mean it : )

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Fill a large bowl with ice and cover with cool water. Add asparagus to the pot and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove from the water immediately and place in the ice bath (stops the cooking process and keeps 'em nice and green). Set aside.

2. Bring broth to a simmer in a small sauce pot. Meanwhile, in a medium sized sauce pot, melt butter over medium heat. Once melted and hot, add shallots, stirring frequently, until they are translucent (about 5-7 minutes). Add the rice to the onions in the pot and stir: cook about 2 minutes.

3. Add lemon juice and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute.

4. Begin adding the simmering broth to the rice, while stirring, half of a cup at a time. Don't add the next bit of broth until the rice has absorbed all that it has. This is important!!! It'll take about 20 minutes for this stage. Once the risotto is creamy it's ready. Take a taste, some people like the rice slightly al dente, some like it soft (that's me). Cook a little more (with a tad bit more liquid) if you like it creamier and softer.

5. Remove the pot from the heat, add the cheese and stir to combine. Stir in the asparagus and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Corn and Prosciutto Casserole
*I've made a couple adjustments to the recipe I actually used, I didn't like the final consistency, so I adjusted it for you. My readers mean too much to be to bestow runny corn casserole on them : ) *
  • 1 thick slice prosciutto (available at most deli counters)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2/3 cup sweet, yellow onion, diced
  • 2/3 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 1 large bag Birds Eye Steamfresh Corn (plain, not the kind with sauce), cooked
  • 1/4 cup egg substitute (Egg Beaters)
  • 3/4 cups low fat Swiss cheese,grated
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup seasoned croutons, crushed slightly
1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Coat a shallow 2 quart baking dish with non-stick spray.

2. In a medium frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the prosciutto and cook on each side until it becomes mostly crisp. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.

3. In the same pan, add the onion and cook until softened (about 4 minutes). Add red pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are tender (about 6 to 8 minutes). Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

4. Transfer onions and peppers to a medium sized bowl. Chop prosciutto and add to the bowl along with corn, egg substitute, cheese, salt and pepper. Spread this mixture into the baking dish and top with the croutons. Cover with foil.

5. Bake for 30 minutes covered. Remove foil and bake until the top is golden brown and set firm (about 15 minutes). Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.

Sage and Chive Stuffing

*The bread should be sliced into cubes and allowed to sit for a day or baked slightly to dry them out)
  • 1 loaf of caramelized onion bread (I used a francese bread baked at my school, The Culinary Institute of America, but any artisan type onion bread will do)
  • 1.5 cups Pepperidge farms herb stuffing mix
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1 cup sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 tsp. dried sage
  • 1/4 tsp each salt and black pepper
  • 2 cups fat free chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. chives, fresh, snipped
1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 4 quart shallow baking dish with non-stick spray.

2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil and butter. Once hot add the celery and onion and cook till translucent (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir into the onion and celery and cook till they become fragrant (about 1 minute).

3. Transfer onion and celery mixture eto a large mixing bowl. Add bread and remaining ingredients and toos to combine. Spread into the prepared baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.

Mashed 'Potatoes' with Chive
  • 8 oz. cauliflower florets
  • 3 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup fat free evaporated milk
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chives, snipped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add potatoes and cauliflower florets. Boil until fork tender.

2. Drain and mash using your favorite method until smooth. Add evaporated milk and butter.

3. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in chives.

4. Amaze everyone at the dinner table that these are not true mashed potatoes!

Sweet Potato Casserole
*This recipe is my traditional one with the milk and most of the butter replaced by Greek yogurt*
  • 6 Large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 oz. Oikos Greek yogurt, fat free vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. genuine vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 4 cups mini marshmallows
1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

2. Bring a large pot of water to  a boil and add sweet potatoes. Cook until fork tender. Drain and mash.

3. Add remaining ingredients and blend well.

4. Spread into a shallow tart or baking dish and top with mini marshmallows.

5. Bake until marshmallows are toasty.

6. Try to keep little hands (and hubby hands) away from the marshmallows before you serve. The little open spots on the dish pictured above... Yup, that was my hubby and Angelo.

Becca's Roasted Clementines with Cranberry Glaze

Becca brought these to dinner and they were wonderful! She roasted the clementines and then added a beautifully smooth cranberry sauce/reduction/glaze. Sprinkled with a bit of ginger and sliced almonds, these were fantastic!

Thank you Becca!

 Pumpkin Pie - Dough
  • 9 oz. Pastry flour (all purpose if you can't find Pastry)
  • 6 oz. Cold, unsalted butter, cubed
  • 3 oz. Water, ice cold
  • pinch of salt
1. Combine flour, salt and butter in a food processor (using the dough blade) just until chunks of butter are the size of walnut halves.Use the pulse option, don't leave the processor in the on position.

2. Slowly add ice water until the dough just barely comes together.

3. Turn the dough out onto the counter and press together into a flat round disc. Be careful not to over-handle it as the warmth from you hands will melt the butter and reduce the flakiness of the final crust.

4. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.

5. Make your pie filling.

6. Dust your counter space or work surface with flour and begin to roll out the cold pie dough, being careful to keep it as round as possible.

7. Transfer the rolled dough to the pie dish, shape it the inside curve and crimp the outer edge.

8. Most pie fillings bake between 375F and 350F degrees which is perfect for this dough. Egg wash the edges and cover them with foil for the first half of the baking time. When you remove the foil, egg wash the crust again for a beautifully colored, shiny crust.

Kara's Apple Crisp

I featured this in the early fall when I picked too many apples... I made it again because it was fan-tab-ulous. Click here to go to the recipe : )

 Cranberry Ice (Sorbet)

I've been forbidden to share this family recipe. It is from my husbands side of the family and it is a Thanksgiving staple. I'll still show you my process which you can follow with your favorite sorbet recipe.

Not sure of a recipe you found online or in a cook book? Send it to me and I'll check out your ratios and ingredients. No guarantees, but I know my frozen desserts : )

 These are the ingredients that I use; the pot on the right has my boiled and pureed cranberries.

Oh look! My cell phone : ) It was in the picture of the Pie dough above... covered in flour. I clearly have attachment issues with my phone.

Why am I showing you an egg? Well it's this thing called Degrees Brix rating.(click there to learn about ultra food-sciencey stuff that makes sorbets and ices work).

As far back as ancient China, pastry chefs knew that having the right amount of sucrose/sugar in comparison to water/liquid was necessary for the mixture to freeze properly. How did they do it before the amazing invention of a refractometer?



Yeah, I didn't get it either when a Chef/Instructor first told me this. But when you place a raw egg (washed well of course) into a sugar/water solution, it will float to varying degrees based on how much sugar is in the mixture.

More sugar -----> the less it sinks.
We're looking for a nickel sized spot of the egg to be showing above the mixture. This mixture isn't quite there. To remedy this excess of sugar, add water a
a little bit at a time till it sinks a little more (and the opposite if the egg isn't floating enough, add more sugar and cook to dissolve, then retest with the egg).

Cool the mixture then add it to you at-home ice cream maker.

I use a Cuisinart ice cream machine. At home and for small quantities it's great... until I can afford a Pacojet!

Process until it's as thick as you like it for immediate serving, or transfer to a freezer-safe, airtight container and freeze at least 8 hours. Yum.

Well, that's my longest post EVER. And one of the most delicious : ) Any questions or suggestions on the above recipes? Leave it below!

Time to go recover from yesterday and convince my waistline that I won't eat like that again anytime in the near future... Off to decorate the Christmas tree!


  1. No problem, and thank you for having me over! And for the stuffing and turkey leftovers, I'm enjoying some with salad and a leftover clementine now :)

  2. Well, there's more where that came from! And the broccoli cheddar soup is even better today, yum : )

  3. I had to laugh when I saw your cell phone in the pic. It looks exactly like mine! I have a Motorola with a pink case. It might just be the picture that makes them look so similar.

    I really want to try your broccoli cheese soup. It looks like it would be really easy to make in my Vitamix!

  4. The Soup would work wonderfully in the Vitamix. Believe it or not, in true left-overs fashion, the soup was even better the next day!


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