Category Archives: Recipes!

8 Things: Fall Recipes

Autumn begins on Saturday here in North America. That means lots of leaves falling from the trees, Halloween costumes and decorations in nearly every store, and recipes to warm our hearts as the days grow colder.

With that last part in mind, here are 8 Fall recipes I’m looking forward to enjoying in the coming months. Click on the links for the recipes:

1. Cincinnati Chili— it’s the main dish at our Halloween party every year, and a staple in my household, wherever my household has been, for over 50 years. This is one where the vegetarian version is just about as good as the meaty version, its unique blend of spices making your house smell great and making your neighbors’ mouths water.

2. Maple Roasted Acorn Squash— I am most definitely not a squash lover, either in sport or in vegetable form. But this recipe, which I took out of Diabetes Forecast magazine, changed my mind about squash entirely. If you replace the maple syrup with a touch of honey, it’s just as good or better.

3. Potato Leek Soup— here’s a super easy recipe for quick potato leek soup, taken from Jacque Pepin’s Fast Food My Way. A quick lunch or dinner option, it really hits the spot. Bolus appropriately. Note: recipe starts at around the 4:15 mark in the video.

4. Crab Dip— crab is something that I never enjoyed in my life before moving to this part of the world 24 years ago. It’s also something we don’t get a lot of here, because it’s pretty expensive. But once or twice a year, usually around the holidays, I’ll get out my crab dip recipe and give it a go. It’s worth having to bolus for the Italian bread that goes so well with it. Note: I like the second recipe on this page (Crab Dip Delight) best.

5. Flatbread Pizza— okay, flatbread pizza isn’t exclusively a Fall recipe, but it’s a great dinner because a) It’s cheap; b) It’s versatile; and c) It’s delicious with LaRosa’s pizza sauce. My favorite features green onion, mushroom, and bacon, topped with smoked mozzarella. What’s not to like?

6. Roasted Turkey Thighs— confession: I really don’t like turkey that much. But this recipe was a winner from the word Go, and if there’s a dish that says Autumn more than any other, this might be it.

7. Kicked-Up Ramen— Throw that stupid “flavor pouch” away… you don’t need it. Instead, use a little of this and a little of that to satisfy your own individual palate, and you’ll keep coming back to this recipe.

8. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Ice Cream— okay, this isn’t a recipe, and to be honest, it’s not something I’d enjoy year round. But a couple times during the Fall, I’ll pick up a quart of TJ’s pumpkin ice cream, which really tastes more ginger-and-nutmeg-snappy than anything else. Regardless of what the label says and what it tastes like, it’s still a nice dessert, when I have dessert this time of year.
 
 
Those are 8 culinary dishes I like to enjoy as the leaves fall in Autumn. What are yours?

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Recipe! Zoodles with shrimp and pesto.

Man, it’s been forever since I’ve posted a recipe. I’m a little rusty, but if you’ll allow, I’d like to give you this two part recipe involving my first foray into what The Great Spousal Unit likes to call: Zoodles. You know… those zucchinis cut up into something approximating spaghetti strands. Zoodles.

It’s something that’s burned into my brain now, so in the absence of anything else, that’s what I’m going with. This recipe includes grilled shrimp with mushrooms, shallot, and tomato, tossed in with homemade pesto.

First, let’s begin with the pesto. I don’t really know how to make pesto… I just read the back of a jar of pesto in the store and thought, “hey, I can do that”. So this is really an approximation.

I got out the mini food processor (one of my favorite kitchen gadgets), and combined flat leaf Italian parsley (just the leaves, not the stems), and fresh basil. To that, I added some shelled pumpkin seeds. In retrospect, I think pine nuts would work better, but I had pumpkin seeds, so I used pumpkin seeds. Then, a little salt and pepper, some lemon juice (from maybe about half a lemon), and olive oil. I ran all that through the food processor, then added a little freshly grated pecorino romano cheese. The goal at this point is to get it to a consistency something like this, while getting the taste exactly to your liking:
zoodles1
Meanwhile, I marinated the shrimp in a simple lemon vinaigrette, with salt and pepper. Nothing too out of the ordinary there.

After that, I just chopped up some baby portabello mushrooms, about half a shallot (it was a really big shallot), and one tomato. I tossed the mushrooms and shallot in a pan with butter and white wine. I don’t remember which white wine… it was whatever Maureen was drinking.
zoodles2
I also got the shrimp on the grill (my new griddle/grill combo that fits right over the middle burner on my stove!). About two minutes per side max. They came out great.

At this point, I’ve also put the zoodles in a bowl with a little butter, a tiny bit of celery salt, and garlic. Then I cheated and put the bowl in the microwave to heat everything up. About three minutes was good. To finish up, I kept the zoodles in the bowl, and added the mushroom and shallots, the tomato, the pesto, and a little more pecorino romano.
zoodles3
On the plate, I can tell you that it tasted as good as it looked.
zoodles4
Estimated carb count per serving: How do I figure a carb count for this meal? I dunno… maybe 10g?

I don’t think this was the perfect interpretation of this meal, but one or two more tries and I might have a real winner here. All in all, it was delicious and mostly healthy. Have you tried something like this before? Have any tips?

Carb counts are estimates only. Check with a registered dietician to find out what a healthy carb count is for you.

Throwback Saturday? Happy Halloween, and my chili recipe.

Okay, it’s not Thursday… I don’t do many throwback-type posts here, but since I do this recipe every year at Halloween, and since the weather has turned a bit colder here in the Northern Hemisphere, I thought I would pass along my Cincinnati Chili recipe once again. Even without a kitchen this year (renovation in progress), I will find a way to make this recipe. It’s Halloween tradition now. You might want to try it too. Hope this warms your soul and makes you smile this weekend. Enjoy!
 
 
When you grow up in Cincinnati, you learn two things. One is how to spell Cincinnati, and the other is how to make chili. This chili is more mild than what you might find in Texas. But very flavorful and warming on a cold night.
Also unique is how it’s served. Either on a coney… mustard, hot dog, chili, shredded cheddar, and onions if you like. Or with pasta, as part of a three, four, or five way. That is:

– Three Way: spaghetti, chili, cheese
– Four Way: spaghetti, chili, cheese, and either beans or onions
– Five Way: all of the above

I generally start with ground turkey, but you can use beef, pork, lamb, whatever you want. I also make a great vegetarian version with something called Boca veggie crumbles. I was told by a dietician once that if you rinse the turkey with hot water after cooking, you can wash off about 90 percent of the fat. This makes a lot, so be ready to freeze some for another day. Here’s the recipe:

2 pounds of ground turkey, beef, pork, lamb, or vegetarian substitue
1 large onion, chopped
8-10 ounces of low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon minced garlic
40 ounces of crushed tomato
1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
5 tablespoons ground cumin (a lot of people think it’s the cinnamon that defines Cincinnati chili. Actually, it’s the cumin)
2 dried red peppers

Finally, take some cheesecloth and make a little sack to include 5 bay leaves and 35 whole allspice
Saute your ground meat and onions in a pan. Then put everything else in a crock pot and give it a good stir. Set the crock pot to high for about half an hour to get everything heated up, then turn it down to low for at least a couple of hours. You will love how the house smells after a while.

– Total estimated carb count in each coney: 26 grams
– Total estimated carb count in each 3-way, 4-way, or 5-way: 45 grams

Carb counts are estimates only. Check with a registered dietician to find out what a healthy carb count is for you.

A cheese Coney

A cheese Coney

The classic Cincinnati chili 3-way

The classic Cincinnati chili 3-way

Recipe! Flatbread pizza.

Happy Friday!

Cliche alert: Like you, I’m always on the lookout for low-carb options of my favorite foods. Today, I’ll be showing you just how easy it is to make a tasty flatbread pizza. Not only is it low carb, it’s also about three dollars (or less) per pizza. Let’s begin:
 
 
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. I’m still working on this; you can probably cook these a little lower, say around 350. The idea is to get all the ingredients cooked through while crisping up the flatbread, but not burning it. A little finesse is required. We’ve also done this on the grill, which requires a very low flame so you don’t burn the flatbread. Regardless, watch it like a hawk the first time.

Flatout-Flatbread

I started with flatbread from Flatout Bread. Good size, easy to use, fits on a cookie sheet. 16 grams of carbohydrates per flatbread. They come in a variety of options, including Garden Spinach and Sundried Tomato. I used the Italian Herb. FYI: Their website contains great recipes from other bloggers.

I like to put a very thin layer of olive oil on the bottom of my cookie sheet, along with some garlic powder or celery salt, to give the crust a little zing. Then I went to the refrigerator.

Ingredients

I just looked for anything that might taste good on a pizza. I found turkey deli meat (for Maureen), salami deli meat (for me), green onions, baby portabella mushrooms, and green olives. I also had some cherry tomatoes left from my garden.
 
 
Classico-Pizza-Sauce

We began the pizza build with Classico Fire Roasted Pizza Sauce. The nutrition label says that ¼ cup carries about 6 grams of carbohydrates, and that’s about the amount we used on each pizza. I’m also a big fan of basil on my pizza; we didn’t have fresh basil, but I sprinkled some dried basil flakes on top of the pizza sauce to give it an extra layer of flavor.

Then we just started piling on ingredients! One thing about the tomatoes: A lot of flavor is in the juice of tomatoes, but that extra liquid can really make your pizza soggy if you’re not careful. These cherry tomatoes worked fine, but we made sure to put them on top of the other ingredients. If you’re using something like a Roma tomato, slice it really thin and place each slice on a paper towel first. It won’t drain all of the liquid from the tomato, but keeping the slices thin will keep from weighing everything down, while still giving you that tomato boost. Yes, I’m a fresh tomato addict.

Once we finished with our ingredients, all we needed was a little mozzarella cheese on top. Here’s a look at one pizza before the cheese and one after the cheese. Looks good, right?

Half
 
 
Well, they were even better when we took them out of the oven. Cook your pizza at 400 degrees for 5 to 5 ½ minutes. In our case, thanks to our 50 year old oven (literally), we needed to finish it off for 30 seconds or so under the broiler to brown the top a little bit.

Flatbread-Pizza

From start to finish, these two flatbread pizzas took about 15 minutes. It may not have taken that long to eat them.
 
 
Carbohydrate count: Let’s see… 16g for the flatbread, 6g for the pizza sauce, maybe 3g for anything else. That’s 25 grams of carbohydrates for everything you see in the photos! A regular store bought or pizzeria pizza of the same size would probably be three or four times that amount. Note: You might want to take the fat content of the cheese you use into consideration too.

Carb counts are estimates only. Check with a registered dietician to find out what a healthy carb count is for you.
 
 
Full Disclosure: I’m not getting anything from Flatout Bread or Classico for writing about their products. They are just what I used to make this pizza.
 
 
 

Recipe! Tomato Salad.

I had a really great ear of corn last weekend. The kind where it was just so sweet and creamy with just the right amount of butter and Old Bay seasoning (it’s a thing here). Of course, my BGs didn’t necessarily like the effect of a big fat ear of corn.

So the next day, even though I was grilling something again, I decided to think differently about a side dish. This one isn’t completely carb free… but it’s a lot less than an ear of corn, and don’t forget, tomatoes are just coming into their own in North America now too.

I started with a handful of small tomatoes, yellow and red, that I got from my local farm truck. And a few of my purple cherry tomatoes that are just starting to ripen.

I just sliced them in half and added about 2/3 olive oil and 1/3 red wine vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste (I also added Old Bay seasoning– I admit– I’m addicted). Then I thinly sliced some fresh basil and fresh mint. Again, about 2/3 basil, about 1/3 mint. No need to measure out all of this. Trust me… You’ll figure out the right proportions.

image

image

If you want to add a few extra carbs, you could cube up a slice of bread, throw it in a pan with butter or olive oil (just a tiny bit), and add something like celery salt or garlic powder, or both. Blue cheese or parmesan cheese too. Or experiment– how about a little cumin or siracha sauce? No matter what, this is a super-easy, tasty side dish.

Carbohydrate count: In what you see in the photos, about 6 grams to 8 grams. If you add a few croutons, add about 14g – 18g depending on the type of bread you use.

Carb counts are estimates only. Check with a registered dietician to find out what a healthy carb count is for you.
 
 
 

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