Sunday, September 21, 2014

Frozen Mulled Wine

Living in the south, the Fall is both hot and cold. You will wake up and it is cool, the air is crisp and it feels like Fall. You just can't wait to get home and make a pot of soup or gumbo even. Or sip hot apple cider or mulled wine by a fire. But then by noon, Oh my! It is time to go home and put on your shorts and forget cooking it is too hot! Well here is a way to celebrate Fall in the south without losing your cool; Frozen Mulled Wine. It is so so good! I love the sweet spicy apple flavors with the wine. All the warm flavors of fall but very refreshing if it is still warm outside. The idea came to me last year but temperatures suddenly dropped and it was too cold to post a frozen drink recipe. Now is the perfect time to make a pitcher and share it with your friends. I originally wanted to use sugar free spiced apple cider mix but I could not find it. As soon as I do I am going to try it. I have tried making it with six envelopes of spiced apple cider mix and it is too sweet. Four was kind of bland. But five is perfect! Plus there are ten envelopes in the box, so with one box of spiced apple cider mix and a bottle of wine you have a great gift or a party. I hope you enjoy this cool Fall treat. I am going back to the frig for a refill.




Frozen Mulled Wine
Serves 4

Ingredients

1/2 a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon
5 envelopes of spiced apple cider mix
3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Ice to fill blender
Apple slices for a garnish

Directions

Combine wine, spiced apple cider mix and pumpkin pie spice in a blender container. Blend until mix is dissolved into wine. Fill blender with ice (at least to the 6 cup line). Blend until ice is finely crushed and smooth. Garnish with apple slices and serve with a straw for sipping.

**UPDATE** 9/30/2014

This frozen spicy apple wine delight is also 
delicious made with Pinot Grigio.

Linking to:
Ms. enPlace: See Ya in the Gumbo
The Chicken Chick: Clever Chicks Blog Hop
Yesterfood: Treasure Box Tuesday
Stone Cottage Adventures: Tuesdays with a Twist
Horrific Knits: Fall Into the Holidays
Anyonita Nibbles:Tasty Tuesdays
Dizzy Busy & Hungry: Wine'd Down Wednesday
Family Home and Life: Wow Us Wednesday Link Party
Miz Helen's Country Cottage: Full Plate Thursday
Carole's Chatter: Food on Fridays - Cocktails and Mocktails
Love Bakes Good Cakes: Freedom Fridays with All My Bloggy Friends

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mississippi Chicken Spaghetti

Growing up I was never served chicken spaghetti. It wasn't until college that my roommate mentioned she had it at a church social. That was the first time I had heard of it. It was many years later when I found a recipe and tried it myself. It is delicious. The recipe I normally make is cheesy; it has chicken, Velveeta, peppers, onions, cream of mushroom soup and spaghetti. A quite common recipe for chicken spaghetti. This post today is something very different. I found it in a company cookbook my Nannie gave my Mom. I copied it and it has been in my to try pile for a few years. This week I decided to make it on one of the days I was home working. I thought it would be great to have a pot of something I could eat from when I was too busy to cook. It was delicious! Much lighter than the recipe I usually make. It is so hard to describe this one. It has such an unique flavor; it is not BBQ or creole, but maybe related in a way. It is sweet and creamy, loaded with the trinity of celery, onion and peppers hence the creole reference. Then is has chili powder for spice, I think that is what makes it have a hint of BBQ flavor. I really enjoyed it. I did try to make it healthier than the recipe in the cookbook. I cut way back on the butter and used healthy options for the can soups. I took a short cut too and used a rotisserie chicken. It was a very hearty, comforting pasta meal. It was even better the next day. Believe or not it is great cold too. I will definitely keep this recipe in my recipe box.



Mississippi Chicken Spaghetti
Serves 8

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
6 stalks celery, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 can reduced fat, low sodium, cream of mushroom soup
1 can reduced fat, low sodium, tomato soup
2 cups fat free, low sodium, chicken broth
1/4 tsp. black pepper, or to taste
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 rotisserie chicken, skin and bones removed and shredded
16 oz. package spaghetti

Directions

In a 3-1/2 quart pot melt butter in olive oil over medium heat. Add celery, onion, and bell pepper; sauté until tender. Add sugar, chili powder, soups, broth and peppers; simmer for 30 to 40 minutes on low heat.  Boil spaghetti according to package directions and drain. Add chicken and spaghetti to sauce stirring to combine. Serve and enjoy.







Linking to:
Ms. enPlace: See Ya in the Gumbo
Stone Cottage Adventures: Tuesdays with a Twist
The Chicken Chick: Clever Chicks Blog Hop
Yesterfood: Treasure Box Tuesday
Anyonita Nibbles:Tasty Tuesdays
Dizzy Busy & Hungry: Wine'd Down Wednesday
Family Home and Life: Wow Us Wednesday Link Party
Miz Helen's Country Cottage: Full Plate Thursday
Love Bakes Good Cakes: Freedom Fridays with All My Bloggy Friends

Three Breakfast Scrambles

Weeks and weeks ago when D and I went to Ed Lesters and shopping we started our Saturday at IHOP. We each ordered one of the scrambles they had been advertising. They were so good! Well you know me, I had to try to make them at home. That is one of my things I guess? I love to replicate delicious restaurant recipes. They are so easy to make at home. I decided not to add salt. I let the cheese and other topping season my scrambles. Feel free to use the salt shaker if you like, I do on occasion. I am just trying to cut back in support of my family member on a no/low salt diet. Honestly I did not miss it in the California and Tuscan Scrambles. But the eggs and tomatoes seemed a little blah next to the salty bacon in the All American Scramble. I am trying to decide which might be my favorite, but it is difficult? I think in this case variety wins. I like having all options available to me. The California Breakfast Scramble is cool, fresh and creamy. The avocado is luxurious next to the salsa and eggs. The All American Breakfast Scramble is fresh, crispy and savory. Bacon and eggs is so comforting. I love the tomato as a fresh topping. The Tuscan Breakfast Scramble is fresh, tangy and savory. I love the red peppers, they are a little tangy from their brining liquid. It is delicious with the spinach and parmesan. See why I can't choose just one? I hope you enjoy these scramble recipes. Come back and let me know if you have favorite.



California Breakfast Scramble 
Serves 1 

Ingredients 

1 tsp. unsalted butter or butter flavored cooking spray 
2 eggs, beaten 
Black and red pepper flakes, to taste 
2 Tbsp. 2% Mexican cheese blend 
1 Tbsp. Salsa (no salt added) 
1/4 avocado, sliced 

Directions 

Melt butter if using in a non-stick pan over medium low heat. Beat eggs with pepper and add to pan. Gently stir eggs until soft curds form, add cheese and continue to cook until cheese is melted and eggs are set. Garnish with salsa and avocado. 

Nutrition facts per serving: Calories 277.1, Total Fat 21.0 g. Saturated Fat 7.4 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 2.1 g, Monounsaturated Fat 4.7 g, Cholesterol 392.3 mg, Sodium 277.2 mg, Potassium 294.4 mg, Total Carbohydrate 5.7 g, Dietary Fiber 1.5 g, Sugars 1.1 g, Protein 17.4 g. 
WWP+ 7 



All American Breakfast Scramble 
Serves 1 

Ingredients 

1 tsp. unsalted butter or butter flavored cooking spray 
2 eggs, beaten 
Black and red pepper flakes, to taste 
2 Tbsp. 2% cheddar cheese 
2 Tbsp. tomato, chopped 
2 pieces of precooked bacon, crumbled 

Directions 

Melt butter if using in a non-stick pan over medium low heat. Beat eggs with pepper and add to pan. Gently stir eggs until soft curds form, add cheese and continue to cook until cheese is melted and eggs are set. Garnish with tomato and bacon. 

Nutrition facts per serving: Calories 264.1, Total Fat 20.0 g, Saturated Fat 8.6 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 2.2 g, Monounsaturated Fat 4.7 g, Cholesterol 399.8 mg, Sodium 375.3 mg, Potassium 208.0 mg, Total Carbohydrate 2.2 g, Dietary Fiber 0.3 g, Sugars 0.4 g, Protein 18.9. 
WWP+ 7 



Tuscan Breakfast Scramble 
Serves 1 

Ingredients 

1 tsp. unsalted butter or butter flavored cooking spray 
2 eggs, beaten 
Black and red pepper flakes, to taste
1-1/2 tsp. Parmesan, shredded 
1 Tbsp. jar roasted red peppers, chopped 
1/2 cup fresh baby spinach leaves 
3 basil leaves, torn 

Directions 

Melt butter if using in a non-stick pan over medium low heat. Beat eggs with pepper and add to pan. Gently stir eggs until soft curds form, add cheese, red pepper and spinach; continue to cook until cheese is melted and eggs are set. Garnish with basil. 

Nutrition facts per serving: Calories 201.5, Total Fat 14.6 g, Saturated Fat 6.3 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 2.2 g, Monounsaturated Fat 4.7 g, Cholesterol 386.0 mg, Sodium 229.4 mg, Potassium 229.8 mg, Total Carbohydrate 2.4 g, Dietary Fiber 0.4 g, Sugars 1.0 g, Protein 14.6 g. 
WWP+ 5

Linking to:
Ms. enPlace: See Ya in the Gumbo
Stone Cottage Adventures: Tuesdays with a Twist

Friday, September 12, 2014

Asian Style Vegetable Soup

In the pursuit of low sodium recipes for my family I have found soups a little difficult. Of the five recipes I tried, two were a disaster and three were great. This one falls in the great category. It is a little dark in color for my taste but so delicious who cares what it looks like. I may try chicken stock next time? Or make my own veggie stock. We will see? This soup has a wonderful sweet flavor. But my absolute favorite thing about it is the sesame oil. It is so different and rich tasting. I tried it with added salt, some low sodium soy sauce and even Sriracha. But honestly it is great as is. No need for those extras, but they are delicious too if you just need variety. This is truly a delicious healthy soup.



Asian Style Vegetable Soup
Serves 12; generous 1 cup serving

Ingredients

14 dried shiitake mushrooms (or substitute fresh shiitake mushrooms)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1” ginger, peeled and minced
6 green onions, divided and sliced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
6 cups Napa or Savoy cabbage, chopped
8 cups unsalted vegetable stock
1/4 tsp white pepper, or to taste
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 cups baby spinach leaves
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. Sherry vinegar

Optional garnishes:
Sriracha

Directions

If using dried mushrooms, soak them in warm water for 15 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water and reserve soaking liquid. Cut or discard the stems from the shiitake mushrooms. Thinly slice the mushroom caps and add to a soup pot. Add garlic, ginger, 4 green onions, carrots, corn and cabbage. Cover vegetables with vegetable stock and mushroom soaking liquid. Be careful not to add the sediment at the bottom of the mushroom liquid. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, and simmer covered for 10 minutes. Turn off heat add spinach, sesame oil and sherry vinegar. Serve garnished with remaining green onion.




Linking to:
Love Bakes Good Cakes: The Ultimate Soup Recipe List Linky
Ms. enPlace: See Ya in the Gumbo
Stone Cottage Adventures: Tuesdays with a Twist

Low Sodium Chili

Boy it has been awhile hasn't it? I am still here. I took a trip for the long labor day weekend, I have a furniture installation in progress at a fire station and well just more work than usual. A blessing but it is cutting into blogging. I am still cooking and taking photos but really behind in posting. I hope this weekend I will catch up a bit.

This is another experiment in eliminating sodium from a tried and true recipe. I tried making my Wendy's Chili recipe with all no or low sodium ingredients. It was a hit with the family, deliciously spicy. I think using fresh hatch chilies instead of a can of green chilies is what did it. I really enjoyed it. But if spicy foods is not your thing add the hatch chilies in the last 10 minutes of cook time. This was a successful experiment. Just cutting out some of the sodium is a healthy option for my family.



Low Sodium Chili
Serves 4

Ingredients

2 Hatch or Anaheim (California) green chilies
1 lb. 93% lean ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 rib celery, chopped
15 oz. can no salt added diced tomatoes (liquid included)
15 oz. can no salt added red kidney beans (liquid drained)
15 oz. can no salt added pinto beans (liquid drained)
8 oz. can no salt added tomato sauce
1 cup water
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 Tbsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Directions

Pre-heat grill to medium-high heat for 10 minutes.

To grill the chilies: Place chilies on the grill. Grill for five minutes on each side on medium high heat. Remove chilies and cover with plastic wrap. When chilies are cool enough to touch, peel off the skin of the chilies. Cut chilies in half from stem to tip, remove seeds, stem and veins. Chop into small dice.

Heat a Dutch oven to medium high heat. Brown beef over medium heat breaking into small pieces with a spoon. When beef is brown, add the remaining ingredients stirring to combine thoroughly. Over medium heat, bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, and continue simmering covered 50−60 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve and enjoy!






Linking to:
Miz Helen's Country Cottage: Texas Star Chili Cook Off 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Creamy Tomato Soup with Spinach and Sausage

The first time I made this soup it was nothing more than a raid of the pantry and frig. I had 3 turkey Italian sausage links and some spinach in the freezer. There was garden vegetable pasta sauce, chicken stock and egg noodles in the pantry. I had a little half and half about to expire. And what goes great with spinach and cream? Nutmeg! It all came together so easy and was amazingly delicious. Right away I knew I wanted to use bow-tie pasta the next time. But I really loved the garden vegetable pasta sauce. It has little pieces of veggie like onion, carrot and zucchini. Call them bonus veggies you don't have to chop. It was so good I knew I wanted to try to make it low sodium. There was so much flavor in this recipe we could lose a little salt. So by all means if you or family do not need to watch your sodium intake use your favorite brands. But if you would like to limit the sodium in your diet this post is for you. 

First things first I made my own Low Sodium Italian Sausage. I found unsalted chicken stock and low sodium marinara sauce. That is it! Very simple. If you have the sausage pre-made. This soup can be on the table in 30 minutes. It was delicious even without the added sodium. What I did miss was the little pieces of bonus veggies. I thought about adding some but I like the simplicity of the recipe. I love the nutmeg and red pepper flakes. Dear sister did not pick out the nutmeg she said it was well balanced. She had more questions about the Italian sausage meatballs. So be sure to check out that recipe too. I made a double batch tonight. I have some put away for my sodium restricted family member. I can't wait to see what they think.



Creamy Tomato Soup with Sausage and Spinach
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

Olive oil cooking spray
12 oz. Low Sodium Italian Sausage (click here for recipe)
4 cups unsalted fat free chicken stock
25 oz. jar low sodium marinara sauce
10 oz. box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
Pinch (1/16 tsp.) ground nutmeg
Pinch (1/16 tsp.) red pepper flakes
1-1/2 cups bow-tie pasta, dry
1/2 cup half and half (fat free)

Directions

Using a tablespoon measure, scoop sausage into small meatballs. Spray a 4 qt. soup pot or Dutch oven with olive oil cooking spray; add sausage and brown over medium high heat. Add chicken stock; deglazing pot, scraping the bottom of the pot to lift any brown bits. Add marinara sauce, spinach, nutmeg, red pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Add pasta, reduce to a simmer and continue to simmer 12 minutes until pasta is al dente. Remove from heat, stir in half and half and serve.

Nutrition information per serving*: (calculated on 5 servings) Calories 310.1, Total Fat 10.5 g, Saturated Fat 3.1 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g, Monounsaturated Fat 2.7 g, Cholesterol 48.4 mg, Sodium 338.6 mg, Potassium 412.5 mg, Total Carbohydrate 30.4 g, Dietary Fiber 2.5 g, Sugars 7.6 g, Protein 22.7 g.
WW P+ 8

*Information from the Sparkrecipes calculator. NI may vary depending on the brand or size of the ingredients used to prepare it.










Linking to:
Buns In My Oven: What's Cookin' Wednesday
Love Bakes Good Cakes: The Ultimate Soup Recipe List Linky
Dizzy Busy & Hungry: Wine'd Down Wednesday
Miz Helen's Country Cottage: Full Plate Thursday
My Turn for Us: Freedom Fridays with All My Bloggy Friends
Ms. enPlace: See Ya in the Gumbo
Kneaded Creations: Tuesdays With A Twist

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Low Sodium Italian Sausage

UGH! This post almost did not happen tonight. You may want to skip down a bit I am about to rant a little. I started preparing this sausage recipe and when I went to get the fennel seeds I realized I only had a teaspoon. Woops! I should have taken inventory I guess. So I rushed out looking "comfortable" to a store where no one would recognize me, running one yellow light as I go. But they did not have any fennel on the shelf. Back to the car. Oh no! I need gas. Stop at the gas station choosing the slowest pump there. Back in the car, run yellow light number two. Driving to second store thinking to myself calm down, this is no big deal. Wait another yellow light. Stop it Denise! Calm down. Oh! A nice parking spot right up front at Wal-mart things are looking up. Look two bottles of fennel seed left get them all just in case. Okay... Well that was interesting? But it is done now, your almost home. Last yellow light really? Yes really! So if you were counting that is 4 yellow lights, 2 stores, 1 gas station, 1 great parking spot and all the fennel I could find. DONE!

The first time I made this sausage it was to stuff mini peppers. I wanted to develop a no salt added sausage so I could make the Grilled Italian Sausage Stuffed Peppers for my family. I used all turkey the first time and it was delicious. This time I decided to use both lean turkey and pork. I used most of it right away in a soup (click here for recipe) but stored some as links in the freezer. It really turned out delicious. The pork adds just the right amount of fat. The meatballs I made browned well and there was little fat left behind. Dear sister asked if there was Parmesan, egg or bread crumb in them. But nope just a few simple spices and a little water to help incorporate them. I think it also helps make the sausage moist too. I will definitely keep making this recipe. It would be great for lasagna or sandwiches with peppers and onions. There is tons of low sodium potential in this recipe.



Low Sodium Italian Sausage

Ingredients

1 lb. lean ground pork
19.2 oz. 93% lean ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. fennel seeds
1-1/2 tsp. black pepper
1-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. paprika

Directions

Crumble pork and turkey alternating as you go into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with minced garlic and gently combine. Poke holes into surface of pork and turkey mixture. Place fennel in a mortar and pestle and crush. Add remaining spices crushing again to combine. Add cold water to seasoning mixture to create a slurry. Pour half into the holes in meat mixture and gently combine. Poke holes into surface of pork and turkey mixture again. Repeat process with the remaining slurry and gently combine. Form into 4 oz. links, patties for burgers, meatballs or store in bulk for future use. Freezes well.



 






Use old style sandwich bags to wrap individual links 
and store in a zipper top bag in the freezer. It will stop the links 
from freezing together and you can take out just what you need.



Use a tablespoon measure to help form 
meatballs for soup or pasta sauces.


Linking to:
Dizzy Busy & Hungry: Wine'd Down Wednesday
My Turn for Us: Freedom Fridays with All My Bloggy Friends
Ms. enPlace: See Ya in the Gumbo

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