Vegetable Beef Soup

18 Mar IMG_9223-1

Hi Friends!  Winter is winding down here in Kentucky, so I thought I would take this last cool week (i hope) to make a pot of Vegetable soup.  Now, Veggie soup is something I’ve made since, well, I don’t even remember when.  But, for whatever reason, I never thought to post it here.  Veggie soup is so versatile, which is one of the things I love about it.  For instance, nobody in my family ever made meatless vegetable soup, but I cooked it for 10 years during my vegetarian days.  My mom always included stew meat, and my granny always made it with ground beef.  Today, we’re going to go the ground beef route, but if you’re a vegetarian, you could easily just leave the beef out, so I’m going to mark this one “vegetarian friendly” over there on the categories column as well.

One of the characteristics I always found interesting in my granny’s soup, was her ability to get the ground beef to break up into a very fine texture.  I asked her how she did it like that, and she just said she didn’t really know.  So, after years of experimenting (including a couple of years where i literally poured a whole lb of ground beef into a blender) I finally got my own technique that works.  You’ll notice the “boil and stir” method in my directions below.  If you like big chunky ground beef, you can skip that and omit the broth altogether.  This is not my Granny’s recipe per-se, but it combines her beef technique with my mom’s addition of chopped cabbage, which is my favorite thing about her soup. So this is the best, of both.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 can of beef broth
  • 2 cans of original “Veg-all”
  • 1 Large can of V8 juice (use the whole thing- 46 oz)
  • 1 can (15 oz) petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups of chopped raw cabbage
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, on the stovetop, combine 1 lb ground beef and 1 can broth.  Cook on medium, and stir the heck out of the beef until it all breaks up into a weird beefy sludge. (appetizing, i know…but this is how you get the really fine beef I talked about).  Continue cooking on stovetop, and stirring, until all the beef has browned.  Then drain the beef in a colander over the sink.  You don’t even need the broth. It’s strictly for beef-texture purposes.
  2. Now, combine all those other ingredients, including beef, into a crockpot or a large pan on the stove top.  If you’re using the crock pot, cook on low for 5-6 hours.  If you’re doing the stovetop, just simmer it for an hour or so until the cabbage is nice and done.

Makes 10 cups of soup

1 cup = 145 calories per serving

Approximately 3 weight watchers points plus 





Broccoli and cheese potato bake

2 Mar IMG_9137

This recipe was presented to me as a sort of “gratin” with the potatoes taking the place of the heavy cream in the sauce.  Although, I really liked the outcome of the recipe once I made my low-cal changes to it, it didn’t feel “gratin”-y, if you know what I mean.  What this reminded me of was a broccoli and cheese stuffed baked potato.  Delicious in it’s own, but a gratin it is not.  So, I present to you, Broccoli and cheesy potato bake.  It looks i little crazy, but everyone in my house enjoyed it.  Even the tiniest one (4 yrs old) enjoyed it, and the biggest one (my husband) even ate the leftovers!

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz yukon gold potatoes
  • 10 oz uncooked broccoli florettes
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (shredded, or powdery, but i prefer shredded)
  • 1/4 cup 2% shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup 2% shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon light margarine or light butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • pinch of nutmeg

Instructions:

1. Wash, peel. and cut potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Mix all 3 cheeses together in a bowl, and set aside.

2. Place potatoes, broccoli, and 2 1/2 cups of water into a pan.  Cover with a lid and bring them to a boil.

3. Allow potatoes and broccoli to boil, covered for about 17 minutes.

4. Drain Potatoes and broccoli, but reserve some of the water in a separate bowl for later.

5. Return drained potatoes and broccoli to the pan, and use a spoon to smush the potatoes and broccoli together, until there are no chunks of potato left.

6. Mix in about 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water, salt, pepper, nutmeg, butter, and 1/2 of the cheese mixture.  Spread evenly in 1 quart baking pan sprayed with non-stick spray.

7. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top, and broil until cheese is melted and begins to brown.  2-4 minutes or so.

 

Makes 5 servings= 140 calories per serving 

approximately 3 weight watchers points plus per serving

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Asian pork loin medallions

25 Feb IMG_0711-0

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 lb pork loin, sliced into 1/2 inch medallion
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce

Directions:

Coat a large skillet with nonstick spray. Add sesame oil, and heat on medium heat.

Salt and pepper pork medallions.

Add red pepper, garlic, and pork to pan. Cook pork medallions about 5 minutes per side, stirring garlic around as meet cooks.

Remove pork and set aside. Add water, wine, and hoisin sauce to skillet and cook until sauce thickens.

Return pork to pan for about 2 minutes to warm.

Serve over rice or noodles. (Not included in calorie count)

Makes 4 servings=  220 calories per serving

Appx 5 wow points plus

 

Almond Cookies

25 Jan IMG_8911

These little cookies were a delightful treat.  They were a nice, subtle kind of sweet, for those of you who don’t like your desserts to be over-the-top sweet.  I enjoyed them, and my kids couldn’t get enough.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 Cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 TSP baking powder
  • 1/8 TSP salt
  • 6 TBSP light margarine, softened
  • 1/4 Cup sugar
  • 2 TBSP splenda
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 TSP almond extract
  • 1/4 TSP vanilla extract
  • 1 TBSP water
  • 1/2 TBSP sugar
  • 14 Slices of almond

Directions:

  1.  Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat margarine until creamy.  Add 1/4 Cup of sugar and 2 TBSP splenda and beat until sugar is incorporated and mixture is smooth.
  3. Add yolks, vanilla, and almond extract and blend until incorporated.
  4. Gradually add flour mixture into butter mixture, and continue mixing until  all ingredients are well combined.
  5. Using a cookie scoop, form the dough into 14 balls, about 1 inch or so.
  6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place dough balls about 2 inches apart.  ightly use a fork to slightly “smoosh” cookies down into cookie shape.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk egg white and water.  Brush cookies lightly with egg white wash, and sprinkle 1/2 TBSP of sugar lightly over cookie tops.
  8. Press 1 almond slice into the top of each cookie.
  9. Bake at 325 for 18 minutes.

1 cookie=70 Calories

2 cookies= appx 3 weight watchers points plus

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Moroccan Chicken

22 Jan IMG_8891

Remember a while back, when I said I was experimenting with new spices?  Tonight’s exotic adventure includes the North African spice “Ras El Hanout” and it was really fragrant and delicious.  Next time, I think I’m going to cut the chicken up, add some peppers, and serve this over rice.  I ordered my Ras El Hanout on ebay but you can make your own if you want.  Here’s a recipe on Epicurious!

Ingredients:

  • 4 (6 oz) chicken breasts (i used Tyson right-size. they’re perfect!)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP Ras El Hanout
  • 1 TBPS light butter or margarine
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • Salt
  • 2 TSP honey

Directions:

1. In an oven-proof skillet, heat olive oil on medium.  Add 1 TBSP ras el hanout, Mix and cook for 2-3 minutes, just to toast the spices.

2.  Add chicken breasts, and coat each breast with the spice mixture. Allow breasts to cook about 4-5 minutes.  Remove chicken, and set aside.

3. Add butter to skillet, and melt butter, swirling it around to incorporate remaining spices.

4. Add onions to butter mixture, and sauté about 4 minutes. Place chicken breasts on top of onions in pan.  Sprinkle the whole dish with salt.  Drizzle honey over the top of the mixture.

5.  Place skillet containing onions and chicken into a preheated oven.  Bake on 400 for 10-12 minutes. Serve chicken and onions together.

Makes 4 servings= 278 Calories per serving.

Appx 7 weight watchers points per serving

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Southern Greens seasoned with country ham

21 Jan IMG_8809

This was a favorite in my house growing up.  Even as a kid, I could not get enough turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens, mixed greens, kale.  Any green you got, with some country ham and a little vinegar. DELICIOUS.   My mom and my grandmothers made their greens on the regular stovetop, but I make mine in the pressure cooker, because I’m usually short on time.  I’ll give you directions for both.

Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches of greens ( I like turnip or collard best)
  • 6 oz of country ham pieces for seasoning (chunks, not slices. an 8 oz hamhock could also work)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Directions:

1. Fold each leaf of greens over, and cut out the thickest part of the stem (as shown below) for each leaf.  Then rough chop leaves about 3 or 4 times.

2. Thoroughly rinse all chopped greens, and drain off the rinse water.  Sometimes greens have dust or dirt from the garden they grew in.  it’s important to clean them well.

3. At this point, you’ll do 2 different things depending on if you’ve got the time to slow-cook them, or if you’re pressure cooking.

Stove top:  Open the ham and mix the pieces in with the greens.  Add water to top of greens (you’ll need more than the 1 cup here). Bring pot to boiling and turn heat down to a low boil. I cook them on the low boil for 2 – 3 hours, until tender.   Salt and Pepper to taste

Pressure cooker:  Open the ham and mix the pieces in with the greens and the water.  Place lid tightly on the pressure cooker, and cook on high until shaker rattles.  Allow to rattle about 10 minutes before removing from heat and releasing steam.  If there is still plenty of liquid left, you can continue cooking uncovered until liquid cooks off. Salt and Pepper to taste.

Makes 4 Servings= 125 Calories per serving

Approximately 3 weight watchers points plus

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Angel Food Cake

20 Jan IMG_8850-0

This is a treat that everyone knows is a great low-calorie substitute for some of the heavier, richer cakes.  I love it, and I buy it at the grocery store pretty regularly in the summer.  I thought I’d try my hand at scratch making it, and I was pleased with both the calorie count, and the taste.  If you’re up for making a cake from scratch, this will save you some calories.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 13 room temperature egg whites (large eggs)
  • 2 TBSP cream of tarter
  • 1/2 TSP Salt
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 TSP Vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Sift and blend your flour and powdered sugar together into a small bowl.  Set aside for now.
  2. In a large bowl (in your stand mixer if you have one), beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and continue mixing on medium speed until the mixture becomes forms soft peaks.  Slowly Begin adding in granulated sugar, about 3 tablespoons at a time.   Continue mixing on medium-high speed until egg whites form stiff peaks when mixer is turned off and removed. Stir in Vanilla Extract.
  3. By hand, mix flour mixture into egg whites, just until you can no longer see the flour.  Do not overmix, but be sure to mix from the bottom of the bowl so the flour is mixed thoroughly throughout.
  4. Spoon batter into a pre-coated (nonstick spray) bundt or tube (angel food) pan.
  5. Bake at 375  for 35 minutes.

Note: you may need to run a plastic knife around edges of cake in order to invert it onto a cooling rack to cool.

Makes 12 Servings= 155 Calories Per Serving

16 Servings= 112 Calories Per Serving

Appx 4 weight watchers points for 12 servings/ 3 for 16 servings.

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