Sunday, November 25, 2012

Turkey or Chicken Noodle Soup

When we still ate gluten, Rem and I used to make this chicken noodle soup a lot in the winter.  We made it with thick, Amish egg noodles, which tasted amazing.  Now we make it with brown rice penne pasta, which is also extremely delicious.  Either way, it is a hearty chicken soup that warms your soul on a cold fall or winter day!

Even though we typically make it with chicken, yesterday we used leftover turkey from a whole turkey my dad cooked on the grill.  Thanks, dad, for letting us cook at your house and for buying all of the ingredients!  Normally we roast a whole chicken in the oven and then shred some of it up to use in the soup.  You could also shred the meat from a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.   I highly recommend making this soup with your leftover Thanksgiving turkey, especially if you’re experiencing the first real signs on winter like we are here in Ohio.  I am not looking forward to the freezing cold weather that winter brings… but I do love making soup to warm us up, so maybe it’s not all bad!

One thing we learned from a few trials of making this soup is that it is best with regular chicken broth, not reduced sodium.  I like it best with Trader Joe’s Organic Free Range Chicken Broth.

I hope everyone had a very happy Thanksgiving!  What do you like to make with leftover turkey or other Thanksgiving leftovers? 

Turkey or Chicken Noodle Soup

Adapted from Tyler Florence

2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into coins
4 celery ribs, diced
4 fresh thyme sprigs (sometimes I also age a little fresh sage and rosemary)
1 bay leaf
2 quarts chicken broth (regular, not reduced sodium)
8 oz. brown rice penne (I use Hodgson Mill brand
1 ½ cups shredded, cooked chicken or turkey (we like to roast a whole chicken in the oven just prior to making the soup and then shred up about half of the chicken to put in the soup)
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Coat a medium dutch oven or stock pot with oil and turn heat to medium.  Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme, and bay leaf.  Cook until the vegetables are softened but have not turned brown, then remove bay leaf.  Pour in the chicken broth and bring it to a boil.  Add the brown rice pasta and simmer for 4-6 minutes (or according to package directions).  Add the chicken and simmer for about 3 more minutes to heat up the chicken.  Taste, then season with salt and pepper if the soup needs it (it shouldn’t need too much salt since the broth has salt in it, but it may need some pepper).  Then stir in the fresh parsley.  Serve hot!  This makes outstanding leftovers, so don’t be afraid to double the batch if you want lots of yummy soup leftover.  The recipe as written makes 4-6 servings.  

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Brownie Bites

These brownie bites please any palate and are a perfect tiny snack that will satisfy your sweet tooth without any guilt!

Brownie Bites

Originally from Detoxinista

1 c almond meal
½ c cocoa powder
½ c honey
½ c coconut oil (melted and cooled a bit)
3 eggs (wait until the oil has cooled to add these)
1 T vanilla
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Grease mini muffin tins with coconut oil.  In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until a gooey, thick batter forms.  Spoon batter into tins and bake 10-15 min or until brownies are puffed up and spring back to the touch.  Cool in pan 20 min then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling. 

These freeze well and can be eaten directly from frozen (as they do not harden too much).

I used a small cookie scoop to scoop the batter evenly into 24 mini muffin tins, then but the remaining batter (5 small scoops) in a ramekin.  I baked the ramekin for 10-15 min as well.  The center did not set, but remained incredibly fudgy!  It was amazing.  So, if you want to experiment with baking the whole recipe in ramekins and make very fudgy brownies, let me know how it turns out! 

Macronutrient Breakdown
For 29 brownie bites, each has approximately 84 calories, 6 g carbohydrates, 1.5 g protein, 6 g fat.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Oven Roasted: Brussels Sprouts, Spaghetti Squash

Believe it or not, I actually hated most vegetables up until part way through college.  It’s crazy for me to think back to what I ate at that time since now vegetables are a main focus of every meal and snack I eat.  I have come to love every vegetable I try and can’t get enough!  However, it wasn’t until recently that I started adding Brussels sprouts and spaghetti squash to our weekly dinner rotation.  I am so happy to have discovered these two tasty vegetables.  I’ve you’ve never tried them, you are missing out!  Go to the store and grab some today!  At this time of year you can find both at nearly every grocery store.  They are easy to prepare and are versatile enough to accompany almost any main meat dish.  

Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts served with Cod.  We sauteed frozen (then thawed) cod pieces from Trader Joe's with an onion, garlic, some olive oil, and white wine.  Yum!

Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts

2 lb. Brussels sprouts
Olive oil (1-2 T)
2 cloves crushed garlic

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Thoroughly rinse Brussels sprouts under cold water and dry.  Chop the end off of each Brussels sprout (not too much, just the hard “stump” looking part), then chop each sprout in half.  Put Brussels sprouts on baking sheet then drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and also throw on two crushed cloves of garlic (for extra flavor).  Toss it all with your hands to coat the Brussels sprouts with oil and seasoning.  Bake for 20 min. or until they start to turn a nice brown color on the edges.  Enjoy!  

For Rem and I, a 2 lb. bag ends up being about 3 servings... but we eat them like candy, seriously.  So a 2 lb. bag should really make about 6 servings.  (A tip: I tried prepping the Brussels sprouts early by cutting them and putting them in a bag in the fridge with the olive oil and seasonings.  They were definitely not as good.  The flavor was just off.  So I recommend preparing these just before you are going to roast them!)

Oven Roasted Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line baking sheet with foil.  Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.  Be careful not to cut off your finger or hand.  The squash is very, very hard, so use a heavy, sharp knife but be cautious as you cut!  Then scoop out the pulp and seeds with a spoon.  Place both squash halves, cut side down, on foil lined baking sheet.  Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until you can easily insert a butter knife through the skin.  Let the squash halves cool for a few minutes, then scoop out the flesh!  I like to use a fork first to really separate the strands, but you will also need a spoon to get all of the flesh away from the skin (you don’t want to eat the skin).  Eat plain, or season with grass fed butter, salt, and pepper!  I like to eat it cold with cottage cheese, or as a side with any type of meat.  It’s also a great substitute for regular spaghetti.  Clearly it does not taste like regular spaghetti, but it tastes good with any type of normal pasta "topping" or sauce.  Makes about 4 servings.