Monday, July 31, 2017

Be Warned - Appetizer Crack


Looking for something to serve at a family outing or take to a party that you can nibble on without guilt?  The first time I made this for three friends, they ate the whole bowl - and it was a BIG bowl. We ended up putting the enchiladas I made for the main course in Tupperware for everyone to take home.

It's easy to make but for some chopping, fat free and vegan.  If you want to cut the carbs -  slice up celery sticks to use as a dip transport mechanism.

Around here it's known as Appetizer Crack

(easily cuts in half measurement wise)

2 cups roasted corn, chilled before blending with other ingredients. (honestly, you can  use the Trader Joe's frozen roasted corn and no one will be able to tell the difference)

2 cans black beans - rinsed and drained

2 red peppers

2 green peppers

2 Roma tomatoes - chopped

2 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed and finely diced.

1 cup chopped cilantro. (I'll be honest, I don't like cilantro but I loved it in this dish).

1 medium to med/large red onion - chopped (but not one of those Jabba the Hut sized onions).

DRESSING

juice of 4 limes (if you must use bottled lime juice, try and find the Key West brand, use 8 tablespoons).

2 Tablespoons APPLE CIDER vinegar

1 clove garlic (if you used the minced fresh in the jar, the amount to equal a clove is on the jar, about 2 tsp).

1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika (there's sweet and smoky types, get the sweet)

few grinds of fresh pepper,

1/4 (roughly) teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder (I used Penzey's, their stores are in many Midwest cities and you can buy on- line, very reasonably priced). Some stores carry other brands. If you absolutely can't find it, use regular chili powder.

2 Tablespoons honey

1/2 cup  extra virgin olive oil

Directions: Wash all the produce well. Chop and combine all the fresh veggies, the corn and the beans. Chill while mixing dressing. Mix all dressing ingredients except the olive oil. In a thin stream, while using a whisk like you mean it, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whipping it until it is emulsified (if you want to be boring you can use a blender).

Pour over veggies and stir well, chill at least two hours, re-stir and serve.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Perfect Guacomole

Guacamole is one of those "love/hate" dishes for some people.  I used to hate it until I tried actually GOOD guac and not some runny and bland Mexican fast food versions.  It also is full of healthy fats so even if watching calories, it's a great nutritious snack with some veggies or baked tortilla chips.

Unlike many popular recipes for this dish, I leave out the tomato and garlic  (though I might use a little tomato for photo garnish ). You can also leave out the onion if you don't eat onions.  The key is using the grocery store avocado (Hass)  which are ripe but not so ripe they are mushy.  The avocado should yield to a gentle squeeze of your hand. Friends don't let friends buy mushy avocados.  If all the store has are hard ones, take them home and put in a bag with a couple of bananas which will help ripen them in a day or two.)

4 medium ripe avocados, halved and pitted
1/2  cup finely chopped white onion
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 small jalapeƱo, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
3 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 and 1/2 limes)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin OR coriander
1 teaspoon salt
dash of black pepper
4 dashes hot sauce (optional - I love Scoville Brothers Singing Smoke brand)

INSTRUCTIONS

Use a spoon to scoop the avocado flesh into a medium sized serving bowl, discarding any browned bits.  Promptly add remaining ingredients (except hot sauce) and mash using a  fork, or potato masher until it's at your preferred texture. If using hot sauce, gently stir in after mashing - to taste

I often add a pinch more salt, but taste first and add extra salt after.

Store leftovers in a tall narrow container to reduced the top surface area that may brown.  Cover well with plastic wrap (note, if you use onions in yours, placing a good chunk on top of the guac will help reduce the browning, though you will wish to remove any small areas that do brown before serving leftover.)



Friday, July 7, 2017

Reduced Fat Crockpot Sloppy Joes

I decided to do something different than our usual pizza night as my husband had been fed pizza  several times lately while working late in a plant in another city that needed the advisory engineer.

I also had a busy work week and didn't want to fuss in the kitchen OR heat up the stove when it was 90 degrees out.

Crockpot Sloppy Joes!

But I wanted to make a lower fat version that, other than sweetener, had simple ingredients.

I know you can buy a can of the sloppy joe sauce at the store.  But have you ever looked at the ingredient list of the most popular brand?

Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Distilled Vinegar, Less than 2% of: Salt Sugar, Dehydrated Onions, Dehydrated Red and Green Bell Peppers, Chile Pepper, Tomato Fiber, Spices, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Dehydrated Garlic, Carob Bean Gum, Natural Flavors. 

I think I will pass. This went together as the ground beef cooked and smelled wonderful cooking in the crockpot.  You can also make this with cooked lentils, TVP, or Gardein "beef" crumbles for a veggie version.

In a cast iron pan cook ground sirloin or ground turkey breast with 1/2 chopped onion (or a small handful of chopped celery) until cooked.  Do not add seasoning as you are going to rinse when done to get rid of as much fat as possible.  When meat is cooked, spoon into a colander and rinse thorough under cool water.

While meat is cooking or after mix in a crockpot:

1 and 1/2 cups ketchup (or use tomato sauce if you are cutting back on sugar)
dash of salt and pepper
3 shakes crushed red pepper
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic (optional)
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon Molasses
2 and 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (I use Braggs, with the "mother")
3/4 cup water (note:  this makes a fairly "sausy" sauce, if  you like it nice and thick reduce to 1/2 cup)
2 Tablespoons tomato paste.

Add in protein/onion mix and a large handful of chopped red, yellow, and green peppers

Cook on low until heated through and the veggies have softened, at least 4 hours.  Serve on toasted buns with salad.