Friday, February 26, 2010

Nothing's Better on a Cold Night Than Soup

So, I know I made soup last week, but in honor of the freezing cold we are now experiencing in Florida, I decided I had to do it again (make soup that is).  I also decided to do another old Italian favorite of my grandma's, Pasta Fagioli (pronounced pasta fawzule).  My grandma used to make this on cold nights when I was little so I just had to let you in on the fun.



Ingredients:
  1. 1/2 of 16 oz. box of whole wheat elbow macaroni
  2. 4 large (19 oz.) cans of cannellini beans
  3. 3 large carrots
  4. 4 stems of celery
  5. 2, 32 oz. containers of chicken broth
  6. 1/2 clove of fresh garlic
  7. salt and pepper
  8. 1 tsp. of olive oil
  9. 1 tbsp. of tomato paste
Directions:

This is actually one of the easier soups to prepare.  Start of course with the prep work.  Chop your veggies-carrots and celery- and mince your garlic.  You can also go ahead and cook your noodles until they are al dente (done but not mushy).  


While the noodles are cooking, open your cans of beans and drain them; do not rinse them off.  You want the starch of the beans to remain on them because this is what will make your soup thicken.

Go ahead and finish your noodles as well.  Once they are done, go ahead and drain and rinse them.  Then you can put them aside to put in the soup for later.

Once this is done, you can begin to cook your soup.  First start with the largest soup pot you have.  Put your burner on high, pour your oil in to the pot, and add your fresh garlic.  Tilt the pot to the side so that the garlic are in a pool of oil.



Cook the garlic in the oil until they turn golden brown.  Once this happens you must move fast and remove the garlic from the oil. This step is purely done to add an amazing flavor to your soup.

Now you want to add your chopped carrots and celery.  The goal here is to saute your veggies in the oil you cooked the garlic in.  Once they are tender, you can add your cans of beans, 1.5 containers of your chicken broth, and tomato paste.



Stir this all together and then put the lid on the pot and bring it to a boil.
Once it reaches a boil, turn the temperature down and let it simmer.  You can now add your noodles as well as the salt and pepper.

Once the soup thickens (it should cook for at least 15 minutes) you are ready to enjoy a wonderful Italian favorite with your family.  Enjoy!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Garbage Soup, Anyone??

So, I happen to be blessed with an Italian grandmother who loves to cook and has passed down many of her recipes to me.  This is one of her recipes that I have tweaked a bit for the low-cal concerned.  Remember, you can always substitute frozen or canned veggies for the fresh ones I use here if you are in a hurry. Hope you enjoy!



You'll need the following ingredients:


  1. 2 pounds of lean ground beef
  2. 1 28 ounce can and 1 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  3. 1/4 of a head of large cauliflower
  4. 1/4 of a head of cabbage
  5. 1 yellow squash
  6. 1 zucchini
  7. 2 cups of plucked green beans
  8. 1 large sweet onion
  9. 5 carrots
  10. 1 cup of corn kernels that have been shaved off the cob
  11. 1 tbsp. of Salt and pepper to taste
  12. 1 tbsp. of tomato and chicken flavored bullion
Directions:

The most time consuming part of this meal is in the preparation.  First, you will want to take all of your vegetables and clean and chop them into small bite-sized pieces. 

 Once all your veggies are chopped, take your lean ground beef and put it in a large saucepan.  Cook the meat until all of it is brown.  Once the meat is thoroughly cooked, drain it in a colander to get the majority of the grease off of your meat.











Once your meat is ready, put it in a large soup pot and add your cans of diced tomatoes.  After you put the tomatoes in the soup, take the empty 28 ounce can, fill it up with water, and put it in your soup.  You will need 2 1/2 cans of water added to your soup.  

Cook this for a few minutes, then add your veggies.  Now, when you add your veggies, don't get overwhelmed.  It may look like a lot at first, but they will cook down.  

All you need to do now is cook your soup.  Just hang around for about thirty minutes and stir it occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.  When the veggies are done cooking, sit down with your family and enjoy! 

Monday, February 15, 2010

Welcome to Moe's!

Welcome to Moe's!  How many of you have heard these wonderful words? I love hearing them because this means I'm about to eat some of their wonderful chicken burritos...then I thought, why wait until I go to Moe's to eat this wonderful meal?  So, here's my attempt at Moe's chicken burritos with a low-calorie twist...Good luck!


You're going to need the following ingredients:
  1. 2 hearts of romaine lettuce (chopped)
  2. 4 large tomatoes (diced and de-seeded)
  3. 1 large onion (chopped finely)
  4. 1 bar of cheddar cheese (shredded)
  5. 1 can of sweet corn
  6. 1 can of black beans
  7. 2 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken breast
  8. 1 package of fresh cilantro
  9. 5 limes
  10. 1 jar of cilantro base
  11. 1 package of soft wheat burritos
  12. Salt and pepper
  13. 2 packages of taco seasoning
Directions:
The biggest part of this meal is in the preparation.  First, cut your chicken breasts in to small bite sized pieces and put them aside for later when you will saute them.  Then chop and dice your lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and fresh cilantro and put them all in separate bowls.  Also shred your cheese and put that in a separate bowl as well.

You can also empty the corn and black beans in to separate bowls and make them ready to put on the table.  Cut your limes in to quarters and put them in a bowl to serve as well.

In a large bowl, mix your chopped tomatoes, cilantro, salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons of the cilantro base, and the juice of 1/2 lime.  This will make your salsa.

Now that all of your ingredients are ready, saute the chicken.  After it is fully cooked, add your taco seasoning and 3/4 cup of water and let simmer.

Once your chicken is ready, take several burritos and place them in the microwave for 15 seconds.  
The timer goes off and you are ready to serve your yummy chicken burritos.

Monday, February 8, 2010

My Version of the 1905 Salad






Okay, I am so ridiculously excited to share this next recipe with you.  The inspiration for this recipe comes from one of my absolute favorite restaurants, The Columbia.  The Columbia is known for its famous 1905 salad; and for years I have tried to figure out how to make this delicious salad.  Well, through much trial and error, I think I have finally perfected it.  Try it and see what you think!


For this recipe, you will need:

1 large head of iceberg lettuce (chopped)
2  tomatoes (cut in to large pieces)
6 slices of swiss cheese cut in to thin strips
1/4 cup spanish olives
6 slices of ham cut in to thin strips
1 garlic clove (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated romano cheese

Instructions:
First, cut your tomatoes into small wedges, finely chop the garlic and cut swiss cheese and ham into thin strips.

Then, in a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, tomatoes, swiss cheese, ham and olives.
In a small bowl, whisk together your garlic, oregano and worcestershire sauce.  





Gradually whisk in the olive oil, continually beating to form an emulsion.  
Then stir in your vinegar and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.  

Next, pour this delicious dressing over your salad and toss well.  For the final touch, add the romano cheese, toss and serve.
This recipe will make four servings, but you may find yourself needing to double it once your family realizes how delicious this salad really is!  

I also like to add some nice hot bread to the meal like a fresh roll of cuban bread. Enjoy!