Monday, January 31, 2011

baked egg rolls

The Super Bowl is just around the corner, and we all know what that means...good food!

These egg rolls are the perfect Super Bowl snack for those who are health conscious.  I remember when I first got the recipe.  I was in elementary school and was participating in a 4-H food fair.  All of us little kids brought food that we had made and then milled around during the judging trying to figure out who would get first prize.  I don't remember what I brought, but I do remember what Mai brought...egg rolls.

Her egg rolls were fried, not baked, and they were absolutely addicting.  I think the judges would have given her all of the blue ribbons they had if they could have.  Those egg rolls were the star of the show, and once the judging was over they were devoured by all of us kids.

I love those addicting fried egg rolls, but more often I try to make them a little healthier.  These baked egg rolls are almost as good as the fried ones (it's really hard to beat a fried egg roll!), and they are much easier to make. 

Start by grating up some carrots and onion.  To make your life even easier, buy a bag of shredded carrot from the grocery store and just dice up a white onion as finely as you can.  I just threw 4 carrots and a half an onion into my salad shooter - 5 minutes later, I was ready to go!

With the carrots and onion, toss in a pound of ground turkey (or ground beef), 1 egg, 1 teaspoon sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce.

Wash your hands and plunge them into the mixture until it's thoroughly combined.  Yummo...  (just kidding)

Take an egg roll wrapper or Phyllo dough and place about 2 tablespoons of meat on one end.

Fold the sides over the edges of the meat.

Roll up and use a small bit of water to seal the seam together.

At this point, if you were frying them, you'd drop them into a vat of hot oil.  But, we're going to be a bit healthier and line them up on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Either spray the tops of the egg rolls with cooking spray or brush egg white on them.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, or until the outsides are lightly browned and the insides are done. 

Delicious and not-so-bad for your hips, either!

Baked Egg Rolls
4 carrots, grated
1/2 white onion, grated
1 lb. ground beef or turkey
1 egg
1 t. sugar
2 t. salt
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. pepper
1 T. soy sauce
1 pkg. egg roll wrappers

Mix carrots, onion, ground meat, egg, sugar, salt, garlic powder, pepper, and soy sauce together in a bowl.  Fill wrapper with about 2 tablespoons of meat mixture.  Turn both ends in and roll them up.  Place on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray; spray the tops with cooking spray or brush with egg.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until outside is golden brown and inside is done.  Makes about 20.

Nutrition (1 roll made with ground turkey): 139 calories, 3g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 31mg cholesterol, 499mg sodium, 20g carbs, 1g fiber, 1g sugar, 8g protein, 41% vit. A, 2% vit. C, 2% calcium, 8% iron.

Super Bowl!
This week, we're pulling together ideas for Super Bowl foods!  What are you bringing? 

Friday, January 28, 2011

pumpkin thyme risotto

What do you do if you have a leftover miniature pumpkin still sitting in your kitchen?

You make risotto!  I had the most incredible pumpkin thyme risotto while in New Zealand and couldn't wait to try my own variation when I got home.  What incredible luck that I still had a baby pumpkin!  You could also use any type of winter squash (butternut, acorn, etc.) or even pumpkin puree (if you use puree, skip the first step and toss your pumpkin straight in with the rice).

Dice your pumpkin or squash and saute in olive oil for 5-10 minutes or until tender.  Meanwhile, heat an entire box of chicken broth (4 cups) in a saucepan over medium-low heat.

Toss in 1 cup of arborio rice and a teaspoon of thyme and saute for another 3 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup of white wine.  Cook and stir until all of the wine has dissolved.

Begin adding chicken broth, 1/2 cup at a time, making sure that all broth has absorbed in between each addition.  Stir constantly!

Here's a quick check to make sure you are ready to add more chicken broth.  If you run your spoon in a line through the rice, it should leave a clear trail (like picture below).

Once all the chicken broth is gone, or once the rice has reached your desired level of tenderness, toss in a cup of chopped, cooked chicken breast and half a wheel (4 ounces) of Brie.  You could really use any cheese you want, but Brie adds a creaminess that will really spin your must try it.

Stir until all of the cheese has melted and then serve!

Pumpkin Thyme Risotto
1 miniature pumpkin or small winter squash, peeled and diced
1 T. olive oil
1 cup arborio rice
1 t. thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup chopped, cooked chicken breast
4 oz. Brie 

Heat chicken broth in a saucepan over medium-low heat.  In a separate skillet, saute pumpkin in olive oil for 5-10 minutes or until tender.  Add rice and thyme; saute another 3 minutes.  Add wine; cook and stir until all liquid has dissolved.  Add chicken broth, 1/2 cup at a time, letting all liquid absorb before adding additional broth.  Once all broth has been used, or rice has reached desired tenderness, add chicken breast and Brie.  Stir until Brie has melted.  Serves 4.

IBS variation: omit the cheese

Nutrition: 409 calories, 13g fat, 6g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 58mg cholesterol, 759mg sodium, 43g carbs, 2g fiber, 1g sugar, 24g protein, 46% vit. A, 6% vit. C, 9% calcium, 22% iron.

Monday, January 24, 2011

pot o' beans

Today's This Week's Cravings is all about soups!  Now, you know I love soups.  I've posted several recipes on this site already and will be linking many of them up today.  But the soup I'm sharing today is a little different...because it's kind of not a soup.

Or is it? you consider a pot of beans the same thing as a pot of soup?  Verdict is still out for me.  Either way, it's absolutely delicious.

This particular recipe was inspired by a favorite author of mine, Jan Karon.  I get the same rush out of reader her stories of Father Tim and his small town of Mitford as I do from eating a piece of pie.  I can't get enough!  One of the best parts of her novels is that the characters are always eating delicious food, and Jan Karon paints such a vivid picture that you can actually taste it.

In addition to her novels, she also came out with a companion cookbook that's full of recipes for delicious comfort food.  Someday I look forward to owning it.  Until then, I just copy recipes out of my mother-in-law's book.  One of the recipes I copied was for Jan's pot of beans...after a few tweaks and changes of my own, this is the deliciousness that emerged!

Place 1 pound of mixed beans in a stock pot and cover with water.  Bring to a rolling boil, and then turn off the heat, place a lid on it, and let it sit there for one hour.

Next step - drain the beans.

Toss a few tablespoons of butter and a few tablespoons of olive oil in the stockpot.

Then, plop in a nice heaping tablespoon of minced garlic...

...and some slices of onion.  Saute over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, or until onions get soft.

Drop the beans back into the pot and cover everything with water.  Add some spices - rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, paprika, and black pepper.  And, of course, add a bit of pork.  Jan's recipe called for a ham hock, but my grocery store didn't have one.  Instead, I threw in a package of salt pork.

Bring everything to a boil, and then put a lid on it once again.  Lower the heat to about medium low and let it simmer for 2 hours.

After it's done, be sure to remove the salt pork and the bay leaves.

You could eat these beans as a soup, but we particularly love them served over a big slice of cornbread and covered in lots...lots...of Tabasco. :-)

Pot o' Beans
inspired by Jan's Pot of Beans in Jan Karon's Mitford Cookbook

1 pound mixed dried beans, picked over
3 T. butter
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 T. minced garlic, heaping
1 T. dried rosemary
1 T. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 package salt pork
1 T. paprika
1 t. freshly ground black pepper

Place beans in a large stockpot and cover with water.  Bring to a rolling boil.  Cover the pot, turn off the heat, and let the beans sit for 1 hour.  Drain the beans.  In the same stockpot, heat the butter and oil over medium heat and saute the onions and garlic for 8-10 minutes, or until softened.  Add the beans and enough fresh water to cover.  Add the rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, salt pork, paprika, and pepper.  Cover and simmer for 2 hours, checking the beans often and adding water as necessary.  Remove the salt pork and bay leaves before serving.
I can't wait to see what soup recipes you link as many as you want (just remember to link back to us, pretty please).

Friday, January 21, 2011

chocolate pecan breakfast rolls

Over the holidays, I gained at least five pounds.

These are part of the reason why. :-)

There's nothing special about these breakfast rolls, really.  I had intended on making cinnamon rolls when I noticed that I had leftover chocolate pecan pie filling sitting in my freezer.  Right next to that pie filling, I saw a loaf of frozen bread dough.  And that's when the light switch turned on...

I thawed out the bread dough overnight.  In the morning, I rolled out the dough on a lightly floured surface.

I spread about one cup of the chocolate pecan pie filling evenly over the top of the dough.

Then, I rolled it up!  It was an absolute mess...but aren't most great recipes?

I cut the rolled dough into slices about 1-inch thick and placed them into a sprayed baking pan.

Then, I baked at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until they looked like this:


After baking, they just needed one thing...cream cheese frosting!  I whipped eight ounces of cream cheese until it became nice and smooth, and then I slowly started adding powdered sugar.  I snuck little tastes here and there until the ratio of sugar to cream cheese was just right.  Then, I slathered it all over the hot rolls.

It really was a delightful breakfast and such a nice change of pace from the traditional cinnamon roll.  Have you been inspired to try variations on the cinnamon roll?  I'd love to hear the flavor combos that you all have come up with!

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