Sunday, October 19, 2014

Spicy Spaghetti Squash Soup


I couldn't believe how tasty this soup was for how easy it was AND the nutritional count blows my mind.
For 1/10th of the recipe (approx a heaping cup) it is 58 calories, 11 carbs, 0 fat, and 3 protein. 
Crazy, right?
58 calories. NO fat. 
I checked it on Myfitness pal twice. 
I'm dying from happiness over here. I had a serving of this for lunch and it was very filling - I actually had to go looking for something else to eat to bring up my calorie count for the day. (P.S. - I ended up having half a toasted whole wheat bun with the soup to up my calories another 80)
You can, of course, throw in other veggies than the ones I've chosen but that will change your nutritional values. 


Spicy Spaghetti Squash Soup

Ingredients
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, diced
1 small jalapeno, seeded & diced
3 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cumin
salt & pepper
1 large spaghetti squash, roasted
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup 0 fat Greek yogurt, plain

Directions
Place large pot over medium high heat. Add in garlic, onion, and jalapeno.


Cook and stir until veggies soften. Stir in the curry powder, cumin, and salt & pepper. 


Take your roasted spaghetti squash and shred it with a fork.


Reserve about 2 cups of the shredded squash to add to your soup at the end. Add the rest of the squash to the pot with the other veggies.
Stir in the vegetable broth.


Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for about 20 minutes.
Blend, in batches, in blender until smooth.
Pour back into the pot and place back over medium high heat.
Add in the reserved spaghetti squash.


Bring to a simmer and then stir in the Greek yogurt.


Remove from heat and serve. 
(I topped mine with a little spoonful of Greek yogurt)


A couple of notes - If you have an immersion blender then this is even easier. No need to remove it to a blender, you can just blend it right in the pot.
If you don't want to roast your spaghetti squash (it takes about an hour) them microwaving it will work just as well (this only takes about 10 - 15 minutes).
Want it spicier? Add more jalapeno, curry and cumin. It's a very forgiving recipe. 
This also freezes very well. I simply scooped it into muffin tins (my muffin trays are 1/2 cup volume) and froze them then placed all the frozen "pucks" into a Ziplock bag. 2 "pucks" is one serving. To reheat you can microwave it for a few minutes or in a small pot on the stove top. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Lemon Meringue Pie Cheesecake


Know what tastes delicious?
Lemon meringue pie.
Know what else tastes delicious?
Cheesecake.
Know what happens when you combine these two desserts into one super mega fantastic creation?
Most. Delicious. Dessert. Evah.
Don't believe me? Make it... you'll see...
Oh.
You'll see.


Lemon Meringue Pie Cheesecake

Ingredients
Crust
or your favorite single pie crust recipe

Cheesecake
4 X8oz bricks Philadelphia Cream Cheese, room temp
1 1/4 cup sugar
6 eggs
1 vanilla bean (scraped and pod discarded)
juice of 1 large lemon (approx 1/4 cup)
zest of 1 large lemon
1 cup Greek yogurt, plain

Lemon Curd
1 cup sugar
5 egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)
juice of 6 lemons (approx 1 cup)
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup butter, cubed

Meringue
5 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/3 cup sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a 10 inch springform pan with cooking spray, set aside.
Roll out pie crust and place in bottom of springform pan. Pie crust should go up the sides about an inch or so. (You can also crumble in the dough and press in the crust using your fingers if this works better for you.) 
Set aside.
Prepare cheesecake - In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese on low, scraping sides often, until smooth. Add in eggs, one at a time, scraping sides as necessary. 
Stir in the vanilla bean seeds, lemon juice/zest, and Greek yogurt by hand. 
Pour over crust into pan.
Bake at 350 for approx 45 mins to an hour, turn off oven and let cheesecake sit in oven until cool. 
Prepare lemon curd - In a saucepan, whisk together sugar, eggs, and lemon juice/zest over medium heat. Whisk constantly until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and whisk in butter until smooth. 


Refrigerate until thickened and cool.
Spread cooled lemon curd onto the cooled cheesecake. **NOTE - you may not use all the lemon curd. Use just enough to fill the slight "dip" in the center of the cheesecake. ** 


Prepare meringue - Preheat oven to 350.
In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Add sugar about a tablespoon at a time, continuing to beat at the highest speed.
Meringue is ready when egg whites form stiff peaks. Spread meringue on top of cheesecake - being careful not to touch sides of pan with the meringue.


Bake in 350 oven until meringue is golden brown - about 15 minutes or so. Keep an eye on it!


Let cheesecake cool completely and then chill in fridge for at least 4 hours (up to overnight).
Run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen it from the springform pan. Remove the sides of the pan and serve. 


*cue angels singing*
A few notes - If you want to save some time you can use a store bought crust and use store bought lemon curd/lemon pie filling. 
This dessert does take a little prep. I made the cheesecake the day before and then the lemon curd and meringue the next day and it worked great. Totally worth the extra effort!
I find my homemade lemon curd is a little bit runnier than store bought but it still works just dandy for this recipe! I also don't use all the meringue the recipe makes as it would be piled a mile high BUT feel free to pile it on if you enjoy meringue! 
If you don't have vanilla beans feel free to use vanilla extract.
We had this as one of our Thanksgiving desserts but it would work well for Easter or Christmas too! it makes a HUGE cheesecake so there is lots to go around. 
 
Be sure to stop by these fab sites for tons of fun links - Ms. enPlace, The Chicken Chick,
 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pecan Pie


My first pecan pie ever.
I can't believe I haven't made one before this point and, after tasting it, I REALLY can't believe I've waited this long to make one.
So. Darn. Tasty.
Very sweet. I mean.... it's pretty much made of syrup and sugar.... but WOW this was fantastic as one of our Thanksgiving desserts. I'm pretty sure we are deep in sugar coma territory here but I'm not complaining about it. 
This may have been my first pecan pie but it won't be my last!


Pecan Pie

Crust
or your own favorite, single crust pie dough

Filling
3 eggs
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 Tbsp dark corn syrup
1 vanilla bean pod, scraped (pod discarded)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp butter, melted
pinch salt
1/2 cup pecans, chopped fine
 1 cup pecan halves

Directions
Preheat oven to 375. Roll out pie crust and place in a 9 inch pie plate. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, corn syrups, vanilla bean scrapings, brown sugar, butter, salt, and the 1/2 cup of finely chopped pecans.
Pour mixture into crust in the pie plate.


Gently place the remaining pecan halves on top of the filling. (Just "float" them on top, don't push them down.)


Place in oven and bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Turn heat down to 350 and continue cooking until filling is browned, puffed up, and set up (no longer jiggly), about 45 mins to an hour. If you find the crust getting to dark just carefully cover the edges with strips of tinfoil. 


Let cool to room temp before serving so filling can set. (The filling will deflate a bit as it cools!)


You can add more pecans on top if you like. 
Be careful not to overcook it as most people like pecan pie a teeny bit gooey! 
Oh, and if you don't have a vanilla bean to use then just put in 2 tsp of vanilla extract. 
Pretty simple to whip up - I think the toughest part for me was getting it into the oven without spilling it. 
Definitely a treat that is perfect for a family get together. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Asian Pulled Pork Wrap


Sue here again. I wanted to share another tasty recipe I totally-not-by-accident created before Jo shared the rest of our Thanksgiving recipes. 
And, by totally-not-by-accident I mean I threw some things in my crock pot and *tah-dah* deliciousness happened by magic. 
This pulled pork would be great on it's own or on some rice but in a wrap a little goes a long way and tastes very yummy. The different textures of the fillings also make for a very interesting (read: amazing) sandwich wrap for lunch or dinner!


Asian Pulled Pork Wrap

Ingredients
Pork
1/2 cup Hoisin sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp BBQ sauce
1/2 cup Sprite (or Coke)
1/4 cup Oyster sauce
9 cloves garlic
salt & pepper
3 lb pork roast

Sandwich Filling
large tortillas
purple cabbage, shredded (or coleslaw)
brown rice, cooked (or white rice)
green onions, diced
sesame seeds, toasted
Ichiban noodles, dry (uncooked) & crumbled

Directions
Turn slow cooker to high. Mix hoisin sauce, soy sauce, BBQ sauce, Sprite, Oyster sauce, garlic, and salt & pepper together in a mixing bowl. 
Place pork roast in slow cooker and pour the sauce over top. Turn to coat.


Cook on high for 5 - 6 hours, until pork is cooked.
Remove the cooked pork, let cool until you can handle it without burning yourself - shred it using 2 forks, then return to slow cooker on low for another 1/2 hour to an hour. 


When heated through you are ready to eat.
Prepare wrap: Lay a large tortilla on a work surface. 
1. Place a few spoonfuls of shredded cabbage in the middle of the wrap, leaving a few inches at the bottom of the wrap so it can be folded up.
2. Top the cabbage with a few spoonfuls of the cooked rice.
3. Top with a few spoonfuls of the pulled pork. (Be careful not to get too much sauce or your wrap will be soggy!)
4. Top the pork with a sprinkle of the diced green onion.
5. Then sprinkle with some toasted sesame seeds.
6. Lastly, sprinkle with some of the crushed, dried noodles.


Now you can fold up the bottom of the wrap so it covers the bottom of the filling. Then fold the edges of the wrap into the middle. Secure with a toothpick, if desired.


I didn't put measurements because it will depend on how full you like your wraps. 
We had the pulled pork for dinner the first night and then I reheated the leftovers to make these wraps. I will make the pulled pork again just for the purpose of these wraps though because my hubby and my daughter both loved them. 


Look at all those lovely colors and textures!
I Love meals that are not too labor intensive. Easy peasy is good. :)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Gluten Free Date Square


Matrimonial bars (also called date squares) are a classic square often found at weddings, funerals, baby showers, church gatherings, and family get-togethers. 
I (Sue) decided to make a pan of them for my in-laws 47th wedding anniversary but, as my in-laws are presently going gluten free, I decided to see how a gluten free version of this classic bar would turn out. 
Thanks to the many gluten free flour mixes now available it was no more difficult to whip this up than the original. From start to finish in under an hour. 


Gluten Free Date Square

Ingredients
Crust
3 cups Old Fashioned Oats
2 1/2 cups Gluten free flour blend (Such as Robin Hood)
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups butter, chilled

Filling
1 lb dates (pitted & chopped)
1 1/3 cup water
3/4 cup sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a 9 X 13 pan with cooking spray, set aside.
In a mixing bowl, mix together oats, gluten free flour, salt, cinnamon, and brown sugar until well combined. Cut in butter using 2 butter knives or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. 


Firmly press 1/2 of the crumb mixture into the prepared pan and set aside.


Prepare filling - In a large saucepan stir together dates, water, and sugar. 


Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium/low, and simmer 5 - 10 minutes, stirring often - until dates have softened and mixture is thickened.
Pour the date mixture over the oat layer in the pan. Spread evenly.


Crumble the remaining oat mixture over the date layer and lightly press down. 


Bake at 350 for 25 - 30 minutes, until topping is golden brown.
Remove from heat and let cool to room temp. Cut and serve. (Store leftovers covered, in fridge)


The in-laws really enjoyed these. They were skeptical that I used gluten free flour. They taste almost exactly like the original (gluten included) squares. 
By the way, some oats can contain gluten as well - just make sure you read the package carefully if gluten is a concern for you.  

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pumpkin Sex In A Pan


We've previously had a debate about the name of this dessert (Check out our post HERE!) as it certainly can be a conversation starter. 
The original dessert was made with chocolate but we decided to make it more fall-ish by changing things up and adding pumpkin. A friend of mine from work shared her version of this recipe with us. The recipe, as written here, is really close to our original but still a little different. 
This was perfect for Thanksgiving dessert - it's light but still extremely decadent.
Give this version a try or the original - they are both my favorite. Which one is yours?


Pumpkin Sex In A Pan

Ingredients
Bottom Layer
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

2nd Layer
1 X 8 oz brick Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 large tub of Cool Whip

3rd Layer
1 398 ml can pumpkin puree
3 small pkgs vanilla pudding mix
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 1/2 cups milk

Top Layer
remaining 1/2 tub Cool Whip
1/4 cup very finely chopped pecans

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a 9 X 13 pan with cooking spray, set aside.
In a mixing bowl, mix together flour, butter, and pecans until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press the crumbs evenly into the prepared 9 X 13 pans. 
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool in fridge while you prepare the next layer.


In the same mixing bowl you prepared the crust in, beat together cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth. Fold in the 1/2 tub of cool whip. Spoon the mixture over the crust in the pan and gently spread out evenly.


Again, in the same mixing bowl, beat together the pumpkin puree, vanilla pudding mix, pumpkin pie spice, and milk until smooth.  Spread over the cream cheese layer.


Finally, spread the remaining Cool Whip over top of the pumpkin layer.


Sprinkle with remaining pecans and chill until ready to serve.


You do not have to be a huge fan of pumpkin to enjoy this dish. It is super creamy, super rich, and has just a subtle hint of pumpkin pie going on. The pecans definitely make this dish stand out.
As with our original version of this dish, if you find you have trouble calling this "sex in a pan" then simply call it Pumpkin Delight. It doesn't have quite the impact but still explains what's going on in this tasty dessert.