Tag Archives: diet

Mushroom soup!

Now, isn't that pretty?

I really hate heavy meals sometimes. There are just some times where a heavy meal packed with butter and calories isn’t going to cut it. That’s why I invented this delightful(ly light!) yet filling mushroom soup: for those nights when something light and beautiful is called for.

When I realized that I needed something light, yet filling and delicious, I couldn’t help but reach for mushrooms. They’re meaty and tender, yet light and airy. With a few tweaks to the usually butter- and cream-laden creamy mushroom soup recipes littering the internet, I came up with a creamy yet not cream-filled recipe for mushroom soup. It goes absolutely stunningly with some baguette slices topped with broiled Parmesan, or a little swirl of cream to fill out the flavors.

Pheasant’s Creamy Mushroom Soup

6 medium-large Crimini mushrooms OR 2 medium Portobellos, diced

6 button mushrooms, diced

1 rib of celery, sliced thinly

1/4 boiled, peeled potato (optional), diced

1/4 small yellow onion, diced finely

3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

4 large walnut halves, minced

3 tbsp soy sauce (Aloha brand highly suggested)

4 1/2 c hot (near boiling) beef broth

 

In a small soup pot, saute the celery, potato if you’re using it, onion, garlic and walnut together. When the onion and celery are beginning to brown, move everything to a food processor. In the same pot, add all the mushrooms and saute until golden and wilted. Add those as well to the food processor. Start the food processor on low and process the entire mass until smooth and thick. While the processor is running, add the soy sauce.

Transfer the final, smooth blend to the original soup pot. Set the burner to medium and add in the beef broth slowly, stirring to combine. Taste and adjust for spices.

M liked this soup…granted, she preferred it once I’d added at least a half cup of cream and a tablespoon or so of butter to her bowl. She really likes her creamy goodness. For the rest of us, though, a nice swirl of heavy cream on top after the soup is dished up will do just fine. And, ah, a few drops of truffle oil never hurt it, either…enjoy!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Autumn, Seasonal, Soup

Baked tilapia with coconut curry

How delicious does this look? Trust me, it's ten times better than it looks!

As you can tell, I’m a really, really big fan of fish. I love it, and for good reason: it’s healthy, it’s delicious, and there are so many things you can do with it. That being said, I have another fish post for you, and I really think you’re going to adore this one: flaky, moist fish, nestled inside a rich, flavorful coconut curry sauce. I served mine up with some delightful vegetables mixed in to keep it healthy and filling.

Now, before I go any further, I’d like to address tilapia. What is it? Where does it come from? Why does my dad hate it so? Things like that. So, here we are:

Tilapia isn’t one kind of fish, like red snapper or yellowfin tuna. In fact, it’s a lot like tuna or salmon in that a lot of different species of fish fall into the category. Most of the time, though, tilapia is never labeled as anything but “tilapia.” Tilapia, fish of the cichlid family, can be found all over the world, but for all intents and purposes, unless otherwise stated, assume your tilapia comes from China.

Tilapia are notably low in mercury, and are low fat, low calorie, and extremely high in protein. Even better? They’re cheap. Cheap is good for college students!

That being said, a lot of people have a shared memory that dates back to who knows when, which alerts them that tilapia tastes…muddy. Because wild tilapia are bottom-feeding fish, they do indeed have a muddy aftertaste. Farmed tilapia, however, is totally different: it has a cleaner, more cod-like flavor to it. So, for those of you with reservations about tilapia, fear not! It is tasty!

Now, onto greater and tastier things. This recipe, for example. I’d consider it…very Thai-inspired. It’s creamy, smooth and spiced, with hints of coconut and lime. What more could you want in a supper? Serve it over rice for something beautiful, delicious and easy. M has declared that she doesn’t need the lime to make her love the curry, and so she eats hers without. I absolutely adore the very Asian-tropics coconut-lime flavor, so I go nuts with the limes.

This recipe is SO good. I hardly ever condone using caps for emphasis. That’s how good this curry is!

Tilapia with Coconut-Lime Curry 

2 tilapia fillets (approx 3-4 oz apiece), cut into 1/2×1 inch chunks

4 curry blocks (Vermont or Golden House)

1/2 crown of broccoli, cut into small florets

1-2 carrots, cut into coins

1/3 yellow onion, sliced

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1/2 red bell pepper (optional)

1/3 can coconut milk

5 cups fish stock

curry powder, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and paprika to taste

cumin to taste (optional)

1/2 lime, cut into small wedges

So, for starters, you can do this recipe two ways: you can brown all the vegetables to start with, or you can just dump everything in and go. If you’re in a hurry, go with the latter. If not, I’d highly advise going with the browning method. It makes everything tastier and more beautiful in the long run. This curry will, however, be absolutely delectable with the quick method too. If you’re going the recommended route, read on. If you’re doing curry in a hurry, though, skip to the third paragraph.

Set a medium to large pot on medium-high and drizzle in a little garlic oil if you have it, butter if you don’t. Let it melt/bubble, then add in the carrots. Try to keep them all in a single layer, so they get evenly browned. When they’re all golden-brown and beautiful on one side, flip as best you can to the other (don’t sweat it if you only get half flipped.) Brown this side, then transfer the carrots out of the pan. Repeat the process with the garlic and onion, as well as bell peppers, if you’re using them. Transfer everything out of the pan and set it to medium.

Once all of this is done, add in the fish stock and broccoli bits. You can cut them small or large, per your preference, but we prefer them large enough to keep a good bite. Simmer the broccoli for about two minutes, then add the curry blocks, curry powder, cayenne, garlic powder, cumin and paprika. Place the carrots, broccoli, onion and bell pepper back in the pot, and stir. Bring it to a simmer and keep it there, stirring every so often to keep anything from sticking to the bottom.

When the curry blocks have melted and the curry begins to thicken, bring the heat slightly higher. We want thick, rich curry here. Allow it to simmer for another few minutes until it has thickened further, then add half the coconut milk and all the fish.

Taste frequently…you want to personalize the curry to your tastes. If you like it thinner, add more stock or coconut milk. If you want it more coconut-y, add more of the milk. It all depends on your tastes.

Cook, stirring infrequently, for about six minutes, or until the fish is flaky when squeezed between your fingers. Transfer it all to a bowl and serve immediately, with lime wedges.

Served with white or brown rice, this makes for a very filling, surprisingly hearty meal. It’s light and summery in flavor, though, which makes it quite pleasing.

2 Comments

Filed under Ethnic, Seasonal, Winter

Stewed apples, and why you should make them

Note: I have no picture for this, because they literally disappeared as soon as I took them out of the pan. Trust me, these are amazing.

Ahhh, fall. Just thinking of it brings to mind such beautiful sensations: brown, red and gold leaves; the nippy chill of late October and November; cinnamon sticks in apple cider. These are wonderful things, pheasants.

Another wonderful thing about autumn is stewed apples. I love them. Why? They’re sweet (but not too sweet,) soft, cinnamon-y, and fragrant. They go with just about anything: use them to top oatmeal or an English muffin, as a side to ham and eggs in the morning, or on pork chops, with onions. Toddlers and children of all ages love these for their sweet, subtly spiced flavor, as do adults! You can use them as a pre-made apple pie filling, or for apple galette. You can use them to stud an applesauce cake, for the vegans out there. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination!

As for me, I like using mine as a topping for angel’s food cake, with a little whipped cream on top. It’s a delightfully light, deliciously autumnal dish.

The greatest thing in my mind about stewed applies is that they’re easier to make than you could possibly imagine. It just takes a knife, a chopping board and a pan to make them! Cleanup is a breeze.

Stewed Apples

2 1/2 to 3 apples (using apples of different types ups the interest level)

2 tbsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp mulling spices (optional), ground

1 tbsp honey

2 tbsp brown sugar (optional)

3/4 c water, divided

Slice the apples thinly; you can peel them if you like, or leave the skin on. Place them in a pan with 1/4 cup of water and sprinkle with some cinnamon. Cover and bring to medium heat. Allow this to cook for about fifteen minutes. When the apples have softened, add in the brown sugar, honey and spices. If you like it more soupy, add in 1/4 cup of water at a time until you reach your desired consistency. If not, leave it as is! Use them to top whatever you feel like. Enjoy!

1 Comment

Filed under Autumn, Seasonal

Spicy, skinny chicken nuggets!

If you’re like me, you’re kind of addicted to hot wings. I absolutely adore spicy food, and hot wings are no exception…spicy barbecue, mild or “so hot I can barely see straight,” I love them all. There’s just something about the crispy chicken skin, moist meat and spicy, blow-your-socks-off flavor that keeps me coming back for more. M and I have even found our favorite place to go for wings (and burgers!) It’s a great place on the Ave in the U District called Wing Central. I’d never had a burger so flavorful, or a hot wing so beautiful in all my life before we found that place. It’s glorious!

But, sometimes I get in the mood for hot wings when I’m not willing to splurge 800 calories to get the wing fix I want. That exact thing happened this morning, and I realized that I absolutely must come up with a way to enjoy them without throwing away more than half a days’ calories (as well as more than twice my daily sodium intake, my entire daily fat consumption, etc.) I wanted something delicious, crunchy, satisfactorily spicy, and something I could make quickly when I’m craving, without having to worry about how many calories it will kill for the day.

So, I stood there staring at a defrosting chicken breast for a while. It came to my attention early on that using egg wouldn’t keep the calories low at all…that left very few ideas. Thankfully, I found a quick replacement to that. The sauce was easy enough: hot sauce itself is generally very low-fat and low-calorie, so the only thing to watch would be the sodium amount. Most places and recipes mix butter in with the sauce, but I could definitely do without that…I did, however, want something creamier, something more rib-sticking, lip-smacking and finger-lickingly delicious than I’d had before. This was the ultimate challenge. I ended up with a mix of sauces and a small half teaspoon of sour cream (to give it a creamy, delicious taste.) I’ll miss the bleu cheese dressing…but not by much! You can toss them in the sauce like normal chicken wings, or dip them in, which is my favorite way.

As for the lack of nutritional information: I’ve decided that, because of a recent change of heart, I won’t be posting the caloric content here anymore. If you like, you can use the Livestrong MyPlate website to tally, which is where I entered them in before. It’s a great website! I’d urge everyone aiming to gain a healthier body to look it up.

Pheasant’s Spicy Chicken Nuggets

1 chicken breast (about 12 0z)

6 tbsp breadcrumbs (I like to mix Progresso breadcrumbs with craggy, homemade ones)

1 tsp olive oil

1 1/2 tsp Frank’s Red Hot Wings (I used Hot Buffalo style)

2 tbsp Texas Pete Original (or any vinegar-based, 0 calorie hot sauce)

1/2 tsp reduced fat sour cream

1/8 tsp liquid smoke (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C.) Then, place the breadcrumbs in a bowl and mix them with your favorite spices; I used cayenne, garlic powder, black pepper, parsley and a little onion powder. I’d caution you to not use salt, because the hot sauce has a whole bunch of sodium in it already. Cut the chicken up into approximately 24 nuggets of more or less equal size. Then, in a bowl, toss them with the olive oil until they’re all very well-coated.

Dip the nuggets into the breadcrumbs, coating them well. Place them on a foil-lined, Pam’d baking sheet and then slide those puppies into the oven for 9 minutes; take them out, flip them all over and replace them in the oven for 4-5 more minutes. While the nuggets are baking, mix up your hot sauce. Place the sour cream in a small snack bowl and pour the Frank’s Red Hot over it. Mix them together until smooth, then add in Texas Pete and mix again until combined. If you’re using the liquid smoke, add it in along with the Texas Pete hot sauce.

Once the nuggets are done, take them out and let them sit for a bit. If you choose to toss them in the sauce, do this now. If not, serve ’em up and dip them to your heart’s content!

Now, these nuggets were fantastic! I had them with some baked potato wedges and peas…wow, they definitely hit the spot. If you start getting a craving for spicy and crispy, this is definitely the way to go!

Leave a comment

Filed under Chicken

Egg whites: they’re what’s for breakfast

Today, I realized that if I keep eating so many pale foods, I should start buying red or blue plates.So, I seriously made myself an egg white omelet this morning. You know how, whenever you hear a woman talking about her weight loss, she mentions how much she loves exercise and egg white omelets? Unless she really likes plain, bland food, she’s lying through her Crest-whitened teeth. But, I wasn’t going to stand for that, pheasants. Why can’t healthy food be delicious and good for you?

I will admit, though, that I didn’t go into breakfast this morning with a very open mind. My mother loves that term, “an open mind,” and always wanted me to apply it to eating new foods. Well, I made myself a whipped egg white omelet this morning because A) one regular egg with its yolk has more cholesterol than I’m supposed to eat in a day, and B) I needed to use those egg whites.

So, I made myself a cup of tea, steeled myself, and brought out the beaters. After eating this, I’d most adamantly recommend that you whip them, because two flat egg whites can’t fill anyone up, I’d think. Anyway, I beat them until they were approximately three or four times their original size, and then turned on the pan. Do as I say, pheasants, not as I do: whipping the whites before making everything else leads to a lot of flat whites. Whip them right before you put them into the pan, not before.

I added a handful or two of raw spinach to wilt, as well as some chopped yellow onion, and some diced red chiles. I love heat…it’s filling, and the small buzz you get from eating spicy foods is absolutely euphoric. Also, I am of the belief that eating spicy foods makes you feel more full, but that’s just me.

Anyway, I sweated everything together, transferred it out of the pan, and added some Pam before spreading the egg whites in the pan. This is easier said than done when you’re attempting to spread the whites out to fill the pan (I used a 10″ nonstick with high sides) and keep them from deflating, but I did it! And when I lifted the omelet to flip it…pheasants, it was gorgeous. Lightly browned like beautifully toasted white bread, and smooth as a  baby’s bum. Lovely!

Once everything was cooked up, I’d filled the omelet and sat down, I couldn’t help but pause. The omelet itself was beautiful, but was I really going to eat this? I felt like a valley girl, and not in the good way. Oh well.

With the first bite, pheasants, I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t the best thing I’d ever put in my mouth (fried chicken might hold that prize) but it was definitely…tasty. On the second bite, I was definitely converted. The green, fresh flavor of the spinach mixed with the snap and aroma of onion, backed by the slight hint of chile made for a fabulous combination of fresh, popping flavor without a layer of egg to confuse it. I was pleased in a way I haven’t been pleased for a long time.

So, pheasants, my final judgement on egg white omelets? They’ll never replace shirred eggs or waffles in my book as a favorite breakfast food, but they’re definitely a nice everyday breakfast that I can enjoy. Even better? The entire omelet only had 110 calories with cheddar, and approximately 65 without. That’s a fabulous start to a beautiful day!

Egg Whites, done right

2 egg whites

1 c raw spinach

1/8 c chopped or sliced onion

1 tbsp diced red chile (or your favorite color)

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 oz sharp cheddar cheese (optional)

In a 10″ nonstick pan, sweat the spinach, onion and chiles together. Sprinkle with black pepper once they’re done, and set them aside. Heat the pan on medium and, as it’s heating, whip your egg whites. Start on low, then work your way up to high. If you’re like me and enjoy a good arm workout, whip them by hand.

Spray Pam into the pan and then carefully dump the whipped whites into it. Spread them out with the back of a rubber spatula, making as smooth and wide a surface as possible. Then, mix up the cayenne, salt and garlic powder, sprinkle it on, and wait. About two minutes later, lift the edge of the omelet. If it doesn’t come up easily and isn’t browned, put it back down. If it is, carefully flip it over and let it go for another two minutes. Once it’s nice and toasty on the other side, slide it out onto a plate, load it up, fold it, and enjoy!

2 Comments

Filed under All things eggs

Spinach-stuffed sole

So, pheasants, how do you feel about fish?

As for me, I absolutely adore fish. Both of my parents hail from the lovely and sunny state of Hawaii, where fish is practically a staple. My dad has lots of stories of going out fishing with his brothers, and whenever we go back, my family loves nothing more than to visit the Suisan Fish Market for the tuna, opihi (like limpets, but much better) and anything else they’ve got for sale that day. It’s heaven to look at, and the local boys working there aren’t bad either!

From a very young age, I learned to love fish. It hasn’t always been that way, though, pheasants. Believe it or not, there was a time when I wouldn’t touch the stuff. I turned my nose up at it, believing it to be disgusting, nasty stuff…that wasn’t, however, the case with lobster. And my dad is a devious man when he puts his mind to it.

I can’t recall exactly what age I was when it happened, but we went out for supper one night after many, many nights of coaxing on my parents’ behalf to get me to love those delicious morsels from the sea. I wouldn’t have it. At this restaurant (a seafood restaurant) we all ordered. I was quite excited, because although I didn’t like fish, I was mad for all other sea critters: shrimp, crab, lobster, mussels, clams. I’d scarf them down like they were going to be my last meal. And, like any young child, I didn’t pay a whit of attention to my parents’ orders. The coloring mat I’d been giving was much, much more interesting.

So, the food came, and I was all a-bounce for it. My dad, casual and wonderful man that he is, cut up his food, and offered me a forkful. I sniffed and turned away.

“I don’t want that!” I said. “You know I don’t like fish.”

“I ordered lobster,” My dad said, and, more excited than not, I gleefully shoved the fork in my mouth, chewed, and swallowed. Then, I frowned. “Did you not like it?” He asked.

“I liked it a lot. But it doesn’t taste a thing like lobster. Are you sure that’s what they gave you?”

“Not at all. Because I ordered fish.”

Oh, pheasants, can you imagine the heartbreak, the horror I felt at this deception? I pouted. I frowned. I couldn’t believe this. But it tasted so good, pheasants. So, so buttery, smooth, and with just the right touch of salt. And thus began my love affair with all things piscine.

So, it was with great excitement that I headed with the girlf (from here on out, she requests to be known as M. I’ll never be able to think of her as anyone else but the James Bond character again) down to Costco, that wondrous land of plenty. We were headed for the fish section. About a month before, we’d purchased some lovely tilapia fillets, which were completely and utterly delightful. My dad can say what he will about tilapia, but it’s absolutely delicious to me.  However, this time, M picked up a pack of Dover sole fillets.

“How about this?” She said. I turned away.

“Sole tastes like nothing,” I replied. “Why not go with the tilapia again?”

“Sole is cheaper,” M insisted. She loves it when things are “cheaper.” I shrugged.

“Fine, but it won’t taste like much.”

So, tonight’s supper is, after everything, going to be stuffed sole. And not just any stuffed sole, pheasants. Don’t ever think I go with “just” anything. No. We’re stuffing this sole with garlic-scented wilted spinach, baking it, and topping that puppy off with an aioli sauce to knock your socks off.

Pheasant’s Spinach-Stuffed Sole Fillets

2 Dover sole fillets

1 1/2 cups packed fresh spinach, washed and drained

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 tsp black pepper, optional

1/2 tsp olive oil

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 whole lemon, rolled and halved

1/4 tsp roasted garlic oil, optional

1/2 tsp butter

To begin with, you’ll want to put a pan on medium heat, and add the olive oil and garlic. Wait for the garlic to saute, and when it’s slightly golden and extremely fragrant, add the spinach. Toss the greens in the oil and garlic, coating everything. Allow it to wilt down, then take the pan off the heat and divide the spinach into two equal portions.

Placing the sole on a foil-lined, Pam’d, rimmed baking sheet, place half the spinach (make sure it’s cooled, so you don’t burn yourself!) on one sole fillet, and squeeze some of the lemon juice onto it. Then, roll it up like you’re making a pig in a blanket. You can secure it with a toothpick if you like. Once both fillets are all nice and roly-poly, place the butter and garlic oil in a small dish, whisking them together until they’re blended (or, to skip this, just nuke it for about ten seconds.) Then, divide and baste each fillet with half that beautiful mixture. Sprinkle on some cayenne pepper and parsley, if you like, then stick them in the oven for 6-7 minutes, or until the flesh is opaque and looks cooked. Once they’re out, let them rest for a moment. Sprinkle with more lemon juice, dollop on some aioli if you please, and dig in!

Servings: 1 ~ Calories: 250 ~ Fat: 9g ~ Carbs: 9.5g ~ Fiber: 3g ~Protein: 34g ~ Sodium: 612mg

Questionable content:

What types of fresh, regional fish do you prefer?

Leave a comment

Filed under Seafood

Oatmeal Lovin’

So, pheasants, I have a passion for oatmeal that I feel you must know about.

It all started a few weeks ago, when I discovered the blog ChocolateCoveredKatie.com. Katie is an absolute sweetheart, I’m telling you, and she has a lust for oatmeal that entirely matches my own.

In this blog, Katie talks about something she calls “the voluminous oatmeal trick.” Now, the first time I tried this trick, I tried it on the stove. Pheasants, don’t do that. Learn from my mistakes. Make it up in a Pyrex measuring cup and you’ll never go hungry again! Or, rather, not when there’s oatmeal around.

It’s a pretty simple premise: oatmeal is a grain, which readily soaks up water. If you put in the right amount of water for one serving (1/2 cup or 40g) you get…a half cup of oatmeal. But what if you add more? Well, nothing…immediately. You get a bunch of oats swimming in their own private pool. But if you leave it for a few hours, or overnight…wow. You get two cups of the most delicious oatmeal ever. Well, okay. It really tastes like normal oatmeal until you add the delicious sugary things into it, but seriously. For those of you who are looking to watch what you eat (and how much) this oatmeal is definitely the way to go. Come to think of it, it’s a great thing for poor college students, too!

The recipe goes a little something like this:

Katie’s Voluminous Oatmeal

1/2 cup oats

water to fill

Place the oats in a two-cup Pyrex (or another microwave-safe) measuring cup. Fill with water until it reaches the max line. Then, nuke it for three minutes and let it sit for another five. (Or, I like to leave mine in there overnight…but I know a lot of people have this thing about “germs” so you can do as you wish.)  Reheat it the next morning (or eat it cold, if you’re me.) It’s amazing!

I really like sweet things. I’m not ashamed of that. Thus, my oatmeal is usually chock-full of sweet, delicious things. I like honey, cinnamon, cloves, oranges, pomegranate seeds (a lovely, lovely idea I had the other day, which turned out to be even more beautiful in my mouth.) Also, chocolate. Mmm, chocolate. Who says you can’t have it for breakfast? I took a half tablespoon of cocoa powder and a full tablespoon of some Swiss Miss cocoa mix we had lying around, and mixed it in. Ohhhhh yeahhhh. With a nice cup of green tea to finish off, you’ve got yourself a meal, pheasants.

Servings: 1 ~ Calories: 160 ~ Fat: 2g ~ Carbs: 33g ~ Fiber: 3g ~Protein: 4g ~ Sodium: 270mg

And, get ready for tonight! We’re doing a very special post on stuffed sole for one!

Leave a comment

Filed under Pastas, grains and oatmeal