New Favorite · Skinny

Asparagus Goat Cheese Omelettes…indulging skinny style

Spring is just around the corner and while I really don’t care about swimsuit season, I do care about looking and feeling better and looking ‘fabulous’ for daughter Sarah’s summer wedding.

While I love to indulge in wonderful foods, I find that a healthy, Mediterranean style diet works well for me.  I tried this recipe and loved it.  Fresh asparagus and goat cheese with protein…a winner!  Each omelette only has 180 calories, an extra bonus.

ASPARAGUS GOAT CHEESE OMELETTES

1 cup liquid egg substitute or egg whites
4 eggs
1/4 cup fat-free milk
2 tablespoons chopped scallions or red onions
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup water
4 tablespoons crumbled reduced fat goat cheese

  • Whisk together egg substitute, eggs, and milk. Stir in the scallions, thyme, parsley, pepper and salt.
  • Place the asparagus in a microwaveable bowl and add water. Cover with waxed paper and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir. Microwave 2 additional minutes. Drain and pat dry.
  • Heat a medium nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Pour one-quarter of the egg mixture into the skillet, allowing it to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the bottom just begins to set. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon goat cheese and one-quarter of the asparagus. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the eggs are almost set.
  • Using a large spatula, fold the omelet in half. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the omelet is golden and the cheese is melted. Turn onto a plate and keep warm.
  • Coat the skillet with cooking spray and repeat for 3 additional omelettes. Garnish with chives, pieces of asparagus or goat cheese.

Adapted from South Beach Diet Cookbook

Czech Heritage · Family · My Roots

Mushroom and Barley Soup…a Czech winter delight!

My Czech heritage is fascinating to me.  My Mother gave me The Czech Book Recipes and Traditions in 1982 and it has become a treasure.  The Mushroom and Barley Soup is a favorite of mine.  You can add meat, or if vegetarian, leave it out.  It’s a hearty, healthy winter soup that makes me even more curious about the Smaha Czech heritage.  Požívat! (enjoy)

MUSHROOM AND BARLEY SOUP
Houbová Polévka as Kroupama

2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, washing, trimmed and sliced
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrot
1 tablespoon flour
3 cups chicken broth or beef broth
1/2 cup pealed medium barley
1 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken, turkey or beef

  • In a 3-quart saucepan melt butter, add mushrooms, onion, celery, carrot. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring often about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in flour, then the broth.
  • Add barley, cover and simmer until barley is cooked through, about 1 hour.

  • Add cooked diced meat, salt and pepper. For a creamier soup, stir in about 1 cup milk.

Adapted from The Czech Book, Recipes and Traditions, Copyright 1981

New Favorite · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetarian

Kale Chips…for the chipaholic in me!

KALE CHIPS

My oldest daughter first told me about making kale chips.  I like kale and I LOVE chips so what’s not to like?  She didn’t have a recipe to give me but explained how she made them.  I tried it and was instantly a fan.  Good for me, crispy/salty and easy….a winner!

KALE CHIPS

1 bunch fresh kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt (or flavored salt of your liking)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the baking sheet.
  • Wash the kale and dry thoroughly.   Remove the stem from the kale leaves.
  • Tear the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces.
  • Place kale on greased baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil and salt.
Raw kale with oil and salt
  • Bake about 10 minutes or until the edges brown.  Watch carefully because the kale burns easily.
Family · Family Favorites · New Traditions

Fancy Schmancy Asparagus…simple crowd pleaser!

A dear friend introduced me to this dish a few years ago.  The asparagus is elegant enough for a nice dinner party yet casual enough for an appetizer or family side dish. People will ‘ooh and aah’ at the presentation and keep coming back for more.

We are coming into fresh asparagus season and a perfect time to try this recipe.

Fancy Schmancy Asparagus

This dish is best served fresh from the oven.  Enjoy this favorite dish enjoyed by family and friends.

FANCY SCHMANCY ASPARAGUS

1 pound fresh asparagus
1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
Garlic salt

  • Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease large baking sheet.
  • Wash and trim fresh asparagus and dry on paper towels.
  • Open crescent rolls and separate dough into four squares. On a cutting board, cut dough into strips of about 1/8-1/4″.
  • Wrap one strip of dough around each piece of asparagus and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with garlic salt.
  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until dough is light brown.
  • Serve immediately.
Family Favorites

Portuguese Kale Soup…a travel memory

Many years ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to travel to Cape Cod and we spent the night in Provincetown, Massachusetts where we were introduced to this wonderful soup.  We learned that Portuguese sailors and families settled in Provincetown in the 19th century: http://www.provincetowntourismoffice.org/index.aspx?NID=77

When we returned home, I tried to duplicate it and discovered my recipe was very close to the original.

PORTUGUESE KALE SOUP

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large yellow onion
1 pound chorizo
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
8 cups chicken broth
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 package frozen or 1-2 lbs fresh kale
1 can Cannellini beans
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 teaspoon paprika
Season with salt and pepper to taste

  • Slice or crumble chorizo and saute in 1/4 cup of olive oil, onion, and chopped garlic. Do not allow garlic to brown, so add last.  Sausage does not need to cook through.
  • Add liquid and simmer for 10 minutes. Prepare the kale by rinsing thoroughly and tearing the leafy portions from the stems. Tear into bite-size pieces. Discard stems.
  • Add potatoes, kale, beans, seasonings and simmer additional 30 minutes.

Serve with hearty rolls or chowder crackers.

Family Favorites · My Roots

Sugar Cookies…for your special Valentine

This was my Mother’s favorite sugar cookie recipe.  She made them every Christmas and frequently during the year.  They are melt-in-your mouth yummy!

I decided this would be a wonderful Valentine’s treat to share with friends and family. The traditional chocolates would have been nice, but nothing beats homemade cookies!

Wishing you a Valentine’s Day full of love and friendships!

SOFT SUGAR COOKIES

2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups white sugar
2 cups margarine
4 eggs
2 cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon lemon extract
3 teaspoons vanilla
8 cups flour
8 heaping tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

  • Mix sugars, margarine, eggs, oil, and extracts together until well blended.
  • Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, cream of tartar and nutmeg and add to sugar mixture. Blend well and mix with hands when it gets too stiff to continue with mixer.
  • Roll dough into balls the size of a walnut. Put on cookie sheet and press with a glass dipped in sugar or press with glass and sprinkle with colored sugar.
  • Bake at 350 degrees until very light brown, about 8-9 minutes. Do not leave until brown or overbake. Cool.
Fresh baked sugar cookies

These cookies freeze wonderfully. I have often made for the holidays and freeze.

Family Favorites · New Traditions

Chicken Breasts Supreme … great for dinner parties

Chicken Breasts Supreme served with Rice and steamed broccoli

When I want my daughters to come home for a meal, THIS is the ticket.  They both love this dish and the sides have also become tradition, serving a wild rice blend, steamed broccoli, salad and rolls.

My sister-in-law, Betty, gave me this recipe early in my marriage and it is truly fabulous.  The chicken is oh, so tender, and the combination of the flavors is fabulous. In an effort to make this dish a tad healthier, I precook the bacon to remove a good part of the grease and use low-fat (or no-fat) sour cream and soup.

This recipe is a wonderful dish to serve at a dinner party.  The majority of the work is done far before the guests arrive and you will have more time to enjoy the party.

CHICKEN BREASTS SUPREME

12 half chicken breasts, boned
12 strips bacon (I cook slightly to remove some of fat)
1 large jar dried beef
1 can mushroom soup
1/2 carton low-fat sour cream
sliced almonds and paprika

  • Grease a 9×13″ baking dish.
  • Brown bacon until bacon is about 70% cooked.  Drain bacon on paper towels.
  • Cover bottom of dish generously with dried beef. Wrap chicken with bacon. Place chicken in single layer over the beef.
Layer of dried beef covered with layer of bacon-wrapped half chicken breasts
  • Cover with mixture of soup and sour cream. Sprinkle with almonds. No salt needed.
Chicken Supreme ready for the oven
  • Bake uncovered at 250 degrees for 4 hours. Cover the last hour.
Family Favorites · My Roots

Chicken and Noodles over Mashed Potatoes…that’s right!

Homemade Chicken and Noodles over mashed potatoes

Chicken and Noodles has to be our all-time family favorite.  This is the ultimate comfort food to share with those you love.  The carbs are high but your family will be feeling the love!  My mother would serve this for a hearty supper (evening meal in the Midwest) or for Sunday dinner (noon meal).  It is best made with homemade noodles, although we have found several commercial noodles (such as Kluski style noodles) that work well.

This time, I made my noodles from scratch, like my Mother did.  She could whip up a batch so fast.  I admit I’m slower and not as precise.  After I moved away from Iowa, my Mother would visit and make several batches of noodles for me, always ready in the freezer when I was craving Mom’s chicken and noodles.

This is not your ordinary chicken and noodle soup…Instead, the chicken and noodles are served over mashed potatoes.  Crazy, right?  You won’t think so once you try it.  It is a fabulous medley of flavors that is perfect for a cold, wintry night.  However, daughter Megan has been known to request this for her August birthday dinner.  We served this to her friends when she was a teenager and they thought we were crazy UNTIL they tasted it.  Now her friends ask her when she is making chicken and noodles.  The tradition continues.

EGG NOODLES

3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks
7 to 8 tablespoons cold water

  • Sift flour with salt into medium bowl.
  • Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture. Add egg yolks and 4 tablespoons cold water. Beat vigorously with wooden spoon until well combined.
  • Gradually add 3 more tablespoons water, mixing well with your hands. Dough will be stiff. If it is too stiff to knead, gradually add more water.
  • On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover with bowl and let the dough rest for 5 minutes
  • Divide the dough into four parts. Work with one part at a time. Keep remainder covered with bowl until ready to roll out.
Rolling out noodle dough
Rolling noodle dough to prepare to cut noodles
Cut noodles prepared to dry overnight
  • Roll each part, on a floured surface, to about 14″x16″. Dough will be about 1/8″ thick. The shape does not need to be perfect. Work quickly before dough dries out.
  • Make sure each side of the dough is lightly coated with flour. Starting with the long side, roll the dough loosely, like you would for a jelly roll. With a thin sharp knife, cut roll into 1/8″ strips for noodles. Arrange on ungreased cookie sheet to dry. Let dry overnight before cooking.
  • Dried noodles can be stored in a cool place. They also freeze beautifully for use at a later time.

CHICKEN AND NOODLES

Chicken and Noodles simmering in homemade chicken and broth

1 whole chicken
Salt and pepper
Water
Egg Noodles, Uncooked (or make your own)
Parsley to taste
Mashed potatoes

  • Cover whole chicken, in deep pot, with water and boil until chicken is falling off the bone. Remove chicken from broth and cool. Once chicken is cool, pick chicken pieces off the bone and return to broth. Discard bones and skin.
  • Refrigerate broth over night. Before proceeding, remove any congealed fat from top of broth.
  • Heat broth and chicken and add more water to assure enough liquid to cook one package of egg noodles. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 30+ minutes or until noodles are done.
  • Serve with a large bowl of hot mashed potatoes.
Family Favorites

Five Hour Beef Stew…melt in your mouth delicious!

Hearty Beef Stew is the perfect winter dish and is wonderful served with Cornbread (see my posting of 1/30/2011).  This recipe was shared by my neighbor and friend, Maribeth.  It’s now a favorite and terrific to serve to a crowd.  Let the stew simmer in the oven while you enjoy your family or guests.

FIVE HOUR BEEF STEW

2 pounds stew meat or round steak
16 ounces tomato sauce
1 cup water
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 large potatoes, cut up
6 carrots, cut up
1 cup coarsely chopped celery
1/2 medium green pepper, chopped
1/2 medium-sized onion, chopped
1 slice white bread with crusts, chopped

  • Trim excess fat from meat and cube.
  • Combine all ingredients in Dutch oven. Mix thoroughly.
  • Bake, tightly covered, in preheated oven at 250 degrees for 5 hours. Stir once or twice during cooking.