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.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

bittersweet chocolate pudding

There's a new love in my life.

Oh my goodness, this stuff is sooooo good.  I've already made it twice this weekend.  The last time I made it, I couldn't even wait for it to cool down.  I burned my tongue licking the hot saucepan, and I ended up sporting chocolate smudges all over my face.  It's that good.

I first found this recipe on Tasty Kitchen.  The original, submitted by ericalea, calls for whole milk and egg yolks, and that's what I made the first time.  It was amazing.  But, the second time I made it, I decided to try lightening it up with 2% milk and egg substitute...still amazing!  I'm sure that it would work just fine with fat free milk or even a dairy free milk (certain types of dairy free milks...almond milk, soy milk, etc...tend to work better than others, so if you have success with one be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you used!).

The ingredient list is quite simple... 

Combine the cornstarch, cocoa powder, salt, and sugar in a saucepan.  With 1/2 cup of sugar, the pudding tastes slightly bittersweet.  Feel free to add a bit more sugar if you like things on the sweeter side.  You could also use any number of other sweeteners, if you are into that sort of thing.

Mix together 2 cups of milk with either two egg yolks or 1/2 cup of egg substitute (like Eggbeaters).

Pour the milk slowly into the saucepan, whisking as you go.  Make sure you get everything thoroughly mixed, and then turn on the heat to medium.  Whisk the whole time that you are cooking to make sure that the pudding doesn't burn.  Once it begins to boil, continue stirring and cooking for another minute.  Then, remove from the heat.

Stir in about 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.  If you want to get crazy, you might try dropping in a bit of almond or peppermint extract...yum!

This recipe makes 4 delicious servings of pudding that you should definitely eat when it's hot.  I wouldn't actually know what it tastes like when it's cold...I never have waited that long!

Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding
adapted from Tasty Kitchen
2 T. cornstarch
1/8 t. salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups reduced fat milk or milk substitute
1/2 cup egg substitute
2 T. butter
2 t. vanilla

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch, cocoa powder, salt, and sugar.  In a separate bowl, combine the milk and egg substitute.  Gradually pour the milk mixture into the saucepan, whisking until thoroughly mixed.  Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture starts to boil; boil for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.  Serves 4.

Nutrition (calculated with 2% milk, egg substitute, and Smart Balance Light): 245 cal, 7g fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 10mg cholesterol, 221mg sodium, 40g carbs, 2g fiber, 32g sugar, 9g protein, 14% vit. A, 0% vit. C, 17% calcium, 9% 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).

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