Tag Archives: low carb

June Cooking Club: Chilled Grape and Almond Soup

24 Jun

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It’s been a few months since I’ve participated in cooking club with my co-workers.  Last time was actually in March when B and I hosted (still owe you a post about that iteration actually!)  I’ve missed the secret ingredients cherry and flowers respectively.  What have I missed since this thing started?  Earning the trophy for best dish!   This time I was determined to take it home.  The secret ingredient was grape and I decided to make 2 dishes to increase  my odds 🙂  Consequently, I received an email with a very promising sounding recipe for Chilled Grape and Almond Soup

To continue with a theme of starters, I researched Welch’s website.  I arrived at making Tangy Grape BBQ Meatballs for my other dish.  While cooking club participants seemed to enjoy the meatballs, I have to say that I was not a big fan of the recipe.  I feel that meatballs should have a consistency of browned/ slightly crisp on the outside and tasting more meaty than overpowered by any sort of filling to hold them together on the inside.  These meatballs, while cooked through, were too moist for my liking.  B agreed with this.  Thus, I don’t intend to promote that dish all that much with my readers!

The Chilled Grape and Almond Soup is worth encouraging you to try though (recipe below). I’ve heard of other chilled soups not turning out so well. My friend, Megan, from cooking club had one such story to share where her boyfriend attempted a similar sounding chilled grape soup for this event and it tasted awful. 😦 He’ll have to make this one sometime! It is silly easy too- you simply do some food chopping/measuring prep, blend it together in a blender or food processor, and chill. The creativity of recipe and taste were there and then I simply added the presentation factor. I did it right this time, because we won! The other awesome dishes included: a shrimp cup, grape salad, and chicken and grape kebabs. The drink category included old school Snoopy grape snowcones (adult style of course) and drunken purple cows featuring plenty of ice cream, grape juice, and vodka. Stiff competition, but Gleason’s purple cows took the win. See photo slideshow at the end of this post.

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The trophy is pretty freaky, huh? It has been through a lot since its original gold plated gnome existence. The only rule is you must add to it once you win. Due to a tragic car accident, the gnome’s head was lost, but a stuffed animal duck head was gained. The flag, flowers, green bow, and stand are among other fabulous additions. July’s cooking club theme is MUUUUURRRICA: A Backyard Potluck which will feature dishes you bring to a cookout/potluck and plenty of red, white, and blue attire- hopefully of the fantastic tacky persuasion.
 

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs seedless green grapes, destemmed
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  • 2 scallions, white & light green parts, chopped
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 3 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 dill sprigs, chopped
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine grapes, cucumber, almonds, scallions, vinegar, yogurt, cream cheese, olive oil, buttermilk in food processor or blender, and process until mostly smooth – leave some texture.
  2. Stir in salt, pepper, dill, and cayenne. Cover and refrigerate.
  3. IMG_20130615_164640_374

  4. Serve ice cold, garnish with fresh chives, thinly sliced cucumber rounds or grapes and fresh chives and/or some additional dill.

 
Other Grape Cooking Club Photos:

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Skinny Coconut Shrimp

17 Jun

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Coconut shrimp is not a dish you usually think of as skinny, but you can make it that way thanks to Skinnytaste.  This recipe serves 8 assuming 3 shrimp and 1 TBSP of the sauce with the following stats: 162 calories/ 3.4 g fat/ 10.2 g protein/ 15.7 g sugar.  Now we had this for dinner (with a little bit of leftovers) not as an app yet the shrimp portion still came out to around 400 calories each which would not happen in a restaurant setting, my friends.  I will say we were approaching the sinner meal line since I made us our own individual dipping sauce bowls and the apricot preserves were not of the sugar-free persuasion.  I indulged and maybe you’ll decide to as well.  Blanket statement of caution: dipping sauces, dressings, and other ancillary items like cheese, nuts, etc. can take your caloric intake to new levels in your meal.  It’s like those people who don’t count drink calories when they’re dieting.  When you’re banging out 2-3 margaritas at happy hour and wondering why the lbs aren’t falling off, consider looking at the “nutrition” facts on one of those bad boys.  Point being the that extras do matter if you’re not moderate about them.  No judgement here- I am the same girl who made my own dipping sauce bowl for this recipe after all- just a tip to be mindful of whether you’re eating out or cooking in!  Enjoy this shrimp recipe that I’m so happy I stumbled upon.

Ingredients:

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  • 1 lb (24) large raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined (weight after peeled)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp panko crumbs
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour (you will only use 1 tbsp)
  • 1 large egg
  • pinch salt
  • non-stick spray

For the Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves (you can use sugar free)
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or a tad less if you’re very sensitive to spice)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Position one of your racks in the middle of the oven.
  2. Spray a non-stick baking sheet with cooking spray.
  3. Combine coconut flakes, panko bread crumbs, and salt in a bowl.  Place flour in a small dish.  Whisk egg in yet another dish.
  4. Lightly season shrimp with salt (I threw them in a large ziplock bag, added the salt, and gave it a great shake to distribute evenly).  Dip shrimp in the flour shaking off the excess, then into the egg, and finally into the coconut crumb mixture.                                                                                                   IMG_20130606_194347_949
  5. Lay shrimp on the cookie sheet and spray the top of the shrimp once more with cooking spray.  Bake on the middle rack for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, combine all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
  7. Turn shrimp over after the first 1o minutes and continue cooking for 6-7 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.
  8. Remove from oven and serve with dipping sauce.

Slow Cooker Mexican-Style Pulled Chicken

12 Jun

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In pursuit of a quick, minimal ingredient, yet still delicious slow cooker recipe?  You will find it in this recipe.  With a slow cooker and just 4 main ingredients plus a few spices that you likely have in your pantry already, you can throw together this tasty pulled chicken recipe.  I suggest you make it meal by partnering it with some hard taco shells, soft wheat tortillas, or grab some crisp Boston or Bibb lettuce to go easy on the carbs by making lettuce wraps.  Toppings like guac, greek yogurt in sour cream’s stead, lettuce, or chopped tomatoes are fabulous ones to consider.  A side of black beans, reduced fat refried beans, or a fresh salad with a cilantro dressing would be fantastic to round out a meal here.  Thanks to Running to the Kitchen for this great recipe!

Ingredients:

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  • 1 lb. chicken breasts
  • 1 16oz. jar of salsa
  • 1 15oz. can of black beans, rinsed & drained
  • ⅓ cup crumbled feta (or grated cheddar)
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (I only had regular and it was just fine!)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Pour salsa into slow cooker then layer beans and chicken in that order.
  2. Cook on high for 3 hours.
  3. After 3 hours, remove chicken from slow cooker and shred with two forks. It should come apart easily.
  4. Return chicken to the slow cooker.
  5. Add the spices and cheese and mix to combine.
  6. Serve with garnish of cilantro and avocado and/or the toppings I have recommended above.

Skinny Cilantro-Garlic Shrimp in Coconut Milk

29 Mar

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Have you been observing Lent?  Congratulations to those who have and those who have not been eating meat on Fridays.  If you’re a vegetarian or vegan it probably was not too tough for you, but us carnivores have a little challenge remembering that chicken, beef, pork etc. may not make participate in our meals on these days.  Remember that while I’m not married to observing Lent and the meatless Fridays tradition, I do generally follow it since I eat with Bryan most Friday nights.

Here is one more dish that is quick and super tasty for your last meatless Friday!  The tomato-coconut broth is velvety smooth and tastes indulgent, but this is a Skinnytaste recipe so your fat content is far less than what you might assume as you munch away (10 g fat/ servings with 4 total servings in this recipe).  Have a fabulous Easter weekend!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 lbs jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (weight after peeled)
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • kosher salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 14 oz can light coconut milk (50% less fat)

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat  OO over a low heat. Add red peppers and sauté until soft (about 4 minutes).
  2. Add scallion whites, 1/4 cup cilantro, red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook 1 minute.
  3. Add tomatoes, coconut milk and salt to taste.
  4. Cover and simmer on low about 10 minutes to let the flavors blend together and to allow the sauce to thicken.
  5. Add shrimp and cook 5 minutes. Add lime juice.
  6. To serve, divide equally among 4 bowls (or 2 for double servings.  You’re looking at around 520 calorie meal if you have 2 servings/person like we did) and top with scallion greens and remaining cilantro.

Coconut-Lime Tilapia

18 Feb

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The Lenten season has arrived which means no meat Fridays around our house.  I am not a very religious person and thus don’t have to follow this, but I usually do to help Bryan stay on track.  Completely vegetarian meals don’t appeal to us much so getting creative with fish dishes is a must.  I stumbled upon this recipe in a recent edition of Women’s Health Magazine.  I love these tropical flavors and have never cooked with coconut oil before so it was a new cooking adventure.  You can buy liquid or solid coconut oil for cooking.  I found that the solid coconut oil was cheaper and a little more reasonable health stats wise.  It melts very quickly too so you’re not adding a lot of time to your prep.  This is what it looks like below.  It is very subtle and almost waxy like consistency.  Hope this is a meal you’ll consider for your Lenten season!   

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Ingredients:

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  • Zest of 3 limes
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted, divided (This can be found at a local health food store or somewhere like a Vitamin Shoppe)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil, melted, divided
  • 4 (5 ounce) tilapia fillets
  • 8 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (fresh is best)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

Directions:

1. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, combine lime zest, garlic, salt, pepper, and 4 teaspoons coconut oil.

2. Coat tilapia fillets with the oil mixture on both sides. Place fillets, two at a time, in the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until golden and crisp.

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3. In a large bowl, toss spinach with the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil and 1 tablespoon lime juice. You may sautee the spinach or serve fresh- more like a salad.  I opted to do a quick sautee and serve with couscous.  Divide amoung four serving plates with a fillet, and drizzle with lime juice.  If the table is for two, consider saving the second filet for lunch!

Perfect Tortilla: How Perfect Are We Talkin’?

18 Jan

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You may have seen the Perfect Tortilla infomercial which boasts its product’s ability to provide a healthy and fun way to enjoy a tortilla bowl.  Bryan really wanted this item to be added to our repertoire of fun kitchen items (other such items we own include a tabletop popcorn maker, deep fryer, fondue pot, and Skookie which is a cookie skillet.)  The set comes with 4 tortilla molds and a recipe booklet with sweet and savory ideas. 

I typically buy 10-12″ whole wheat, low carb tortillas and simply heat them in the oven until a little crisp.  I fill them with low-fat browned ground turkey seasoned with El Paso low-sodium taco seasoning.  I’ll top with myriad of extras like lettuce, salsa, Wholly guacamole, a little reduced-fat cheese, and greek yogurt in place of sour cream.  Serve with black beans on the side and you’ve got yourself one flavor-bursting, reasonable meal!  The only change to this is that I used the Perfect Tortilla this time.  I simply put the tortilla in the mold, ensured it was flush with the edges, and baked for about 8 minutes.  It did, in fact, make the normal taco meal I love a lot more fun!  This goes to show that a little novelty can go a long way.  I’m excited to try different recipes  in my Perfect Tortilla. 

Do you have a favorite fun kitchen item that makes a meal 10x more fun?

BBQ Chicken Chop Salad

17 Dec

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This recipe from Fitness Magazine will have you wondering why you’d bother eating the unhealthy version of this type of salad when you can make this one.  This is equally booming with flavor (337 calories/ 13 g fat (3 saturated) per serving= WINNING!)  It serves 4 so I usually cut in half and it is plenty for the two of us.  Although full disclosure, I don’t half the dressing because I like a little more of it!  I hope you’ll enjoy it as much.  I recommend Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce as it my absolute favorite BBQ sauce from the grocery store (Andy Nelson’s BBQ sauce holds the all-time favorite BBQ sauce spot in my heart).  It really works with this salad.  Have a good week and stay tuned for some treats I made for a recent holiday cookie exchange.  They’re easy and your friends/fam will love ’em (and you for making them) this holiday season.

Ingredients:

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Salad

  • 4- 4 ounces boneless chicken-breast halves, visible fat
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  TBSP BBQ sauce
  • 10 cups finely shredded romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups seeded, diced, chopped tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups seeded, diced cucumber
  • 2 cups diced zucchini
  • 2 ounces (or 4 TBSP) light cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion ( I leave out because I’m not a fan of red onion!)
Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • TSBP Dijon mustard
  • TSBP honey
  • TSBP extra virgin olive oil
  • TBSP finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • pinch salt
  • Black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Rub each breast with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through, or cut into cubes and saute in a pan (the latter is my preferred method. Let chicken cool.
  2.  Whisk together the vinegar, mustard and honey. Slowly whisk in the oil. Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper.   IMG_20121211_191801_440
  3. Chop the chicken (if you grilled the breasts) and transfer it to a medium bowl.
  4. Mix in the barbecue sauce and stir to coat.
  5. In a large serving bowl, toss the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, cheddar, red onions, and dressing. Top with the chicken and serve.   IMG_20121211_194151_273