Autumn Ratatouille

It has been way too long in between recipes… but it is Autumn and this looks like the colors of fall leaves, doesn’t it? This version is super-quick, low calorie, vegan, with no added fats, but I’ll add some variations in the postscript in case you want to change it up.

Ratatouille
makes 2 large servings, 230 calories each.

Ingredients:

1 eggplant, cubed (I don’t peel them)

1 carrot, cubed (you can cut it into discs, I just like how it looks shape-wise with the eggplant & corn)

1 2/3 cup frozen corn

1 can S&W stewed Roma Tomatoes, Italian style, 14.5 oz.

Imagine Brand No-Chicken Broth, Low Sodium, 2 cups

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp (or less) Tamari

dash cayenne

Add salt & pepper to taste

Process:

Place cut up vegies in microwaveable bowl and cover (I use a corning ware casserole) cook on high 5 minutes.

Meantime, place a soup pot on burner and heat broth and tomatoes with their liquid, add vegetables and remaining ingredients to liquid and simmer until carrots are tender and flavors are blended, about 20 to 30 minutes. Enjoy with bread or crackers  if desired.

Variations:

For even lower calories, you could substitute yellow pepper for corn, but I like corn and the starchiness makes it filling. You could also use different flavors of S&W tomatoes and stock to change the character of the broth. If you like olive oil and would like a higher fat, higher calorie version, instead of cooking your vegetables in the microwave, brown an onion in olive oil, then add liquids to pot. cook as per remaining instructions.

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I scream, you scream… Ice cream!

Soft ice cream
Soft ice cream (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here, in honor of ice cream season, are two pieces of ice cream trivia for you:

  1. The first ice cream parlor opened in 1776 in NYC.
  2. 98% of all US household’s buy ice cream each year.

98! isn’t that amazing? My mom was a serious ice cream nut. A day was not complete without a bowl of ice cream. She liked those boozy Baskin Robbins’ flavors like, Apricot Brandy, Daiquiri Ice, and Rum Raisin. Grandma always had simpler stuff, one of those rectangular boxes of Neapolitan in the freezer. Remember that? One stripe each of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, like ice cream for those who can’t commit to a whole carton of a single flavor. I remember carefully scooping out all the chocolate one time, to her dismay.

I admit I am a chocolate fan rather than an ice cream fan, so even in ice cream I tend toward flavors like mud slide and triple chocolate brownie. I tend to skip the dairy altogether and go straight to the Trader Joe’s Bittersweet with Almonds. Unless we are camping in Tillamook, where the high point of every day is going to the dairy for ice cream.

For non-dairy folk, check out the Yonanas machine. I have one and it is really a fun thing. It takes frozen bananas and makes soft serve out of them. I know you are going to tell me your Vitamix does that but no, the Vitamix doesn’t do that, it makes smoothies. The texture is totally different. Come on over, try them both and see! Anyway, I had a bowl of yonanas with chocolate chips for dinner all last Summer and it was wonderful. Regardless of whatever hype you may hear on the review sites, if you don’t like bananas, you won’t like it – because it tastes like… big surprise here, BANANAS, not ice cream. There are some hysterical reviews on Amazon where people bought the thing thinking it would make frozen bananas taste like vanilla ice cream, but the texture is right so it is a good substitute as long as you aren’t a banana-phobe or something like that.

Every-day Eggplant Parmigiana

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Before you get started, I want to warn you that this is not a traditional recipe, this one is quick and simple enough for a week-night. Click this link if you were looking for a traditional recipe and want to bail out now.

Mine is low-fat, gluten free, and either vegan or vegetarian depending on whether you use mozzarella cheese or a vegan substitute. In case you worry that this is sacrilegious, don’t. First of all, the traditional dish it isn’t from Parma at all, despite the name it is from Southern Italy. Second, there are many regional variations on eggplant Parmigiana, also called eggplant parmesan in the USA, and third, there are two completely different traditions that claim the name, one is the baked casserole type and the other is the stacked slices type. I like the casserole type best but each slice of eggplant is generally salted, pressed, dipped in egg, breaded, then fried, and finally baked with sauce and cheese. That is just too many calories and way too many steps for me. Continue reading “Every-day Eggplant Parmigiana”

Healthy Cream of Mushroom Soup!

This is a winner!

I just came up with this last night and it is amazing, fresh-tasting, rich, vegan, gluten-free, and low-fat to boot. The house smells incredible while it is cooking and your guests will never believe that there is no cream or flour in the broth. The original inspiration for pairing mushrooms and a serious amount of paprika is from The Moosewood Cookbook (this link is to the NEW book but the cover pic is the same.)

Now, make it and let me know how you like it!

Ingredients:

  • Mushrooms, I used baby bellas, about 12 oz.
  • Celery, 4 stalks
  • onion, about 2 slices, you can use more but I don’t really like onion
  • Miso (any color), 3 tablespoons, (you can sub your favorite bullion)
  • Almonds or walnuts, 2 tablespoons
  • Paprika, 1 tablespoon
  • Dill weed, 2 teaspoons
  • Black pepper, 1 teaspoon
  • Tamari, 1 teaspoon, or to taste
  • 3 cups water or broth

Separate the stems from the mushroom caps, slice each mushroom cap into three or four slices. Place stems in blender, (I used my Vita-Mix), and mushroom caps into a slow cooker or crock pot, (you could use a soup pot on the stove).

Chop onion and celery and microwave on a plate until soft, add to mushrooms. Add remaining ingredients to blender or Vita-Mix and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour over mushrooms and cook in crock-pot on high, or on stove at medium, until mushrooms reach desired softness. Mine took an hour in the crock pot, it would take less time on the stove.

Options:

  • Saute your onions and celery in butter or oil instead of microwaving them
  • Sub milk for 1 cup of water
  • Sub wine or sherry for 1 cup water
  • Add sour cream to each bowl right before serving

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

How do you spell Comfort Food? I spell it: Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 onion (or you can use 1 container of Trader Joes mirepoix)
  • 1 pound chicken (I use skinless boneless breasts)
  • 1 bayleaf, salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • 1 container of Pacific Chicken broth
  • 1 &1/3 cups rice.

Process:

I make this in the crockpot. I put the vegies into the pot, cut the chicken breast into pieces and put it on top of the veg, add everything but the rice and let cook until chicken is tender (4 – 5 hours in mine) then stir in the rice and let it cook another half hour to an hour depending on when you are ready to eat. Serves 4 at about 238 calories per serving

Rice Diversity. Part of the image collection o...
Rice Diversity

Notes:

You can use any rice, I like Royal Blend. I have also made it with poultry seasoning rather than the herbs de Provence.

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