February – Spicy White Bean Soup with Chicken

February – Spicy White Bean Soup with Chicken

Melissa Clark of the NY Times calls this recipe “a poem in a bowl”. I must agree that it is certainly delicious and a little different. It gets it’s spiciness from fresh ginger, red-pepper flakes, and cumin. A squeeze of lemon at the end adds a welcome freshness.

Spicy White Bean Soup with Chicken

Spicy White Bean Soup with Chicken

If you have home made chicken stock in your freezer, this is the place to use it. If not, a good quality boxed stock will substitute. To make this vegetarian, use vegetable stock and leave out the chicken. It’s still very healthy with all those beans and veggies.

I modified her recipe slightly as I didn’t have ground turkey or chicken or hand. What I did have is a package of boneless and skinless chicken breasts which I cut into cubes about the same size as the beans. Ms. Clark also suggests sturdy greens such as collards, kale, mustard greens or collard greens. Since I don’t currently have any of those growing in the garden, I substituted chard leaves. I think baby spinach added at the last minute would be just as good. It should still be bright green but a little wilted. I also added a chopped parsnip along with the carrots (not part of the original) just because I love them and there was one languishing in the vegetable crisper.

Spicy White Bean Soup with Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 large parsnip, diced
  • 1 bunch of sturdy greens
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
  • 1 lb. of cubed boneless chicken, breast or thighs, cubed
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 quart of chicken stock
  • 1 can of white kidney beans
  • 1 can of cannelloni beans
  • 1 cup chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, mint, basil, chives or a combination of them
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Method:

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat for a minute to warm it up. Add the olive oil and heat slightly until warm. Add the onion, carrot and parsnip. Saute until softening and turning golden brown at the edges. Add a bit of water if things start to burn.
  2. Meanwhile rinse the greens, remove the large ribs and tear or chop into bite-sized pieces.
  3. When the onion is golden, add the tomato paste, the cumin and red pepper flakes to the pot. Saute until the paste darkens, about 1 minute. Add the chicken, garlic, ginger and salt. Saute until the chicken starts to brown in spots.
  4. Add the stock and beans. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook until the soup looks thick and flavorful, about 15 to 25 minutes. You can mash some of the beans into the soup if you want it to be thicker, leave them whole for a brothier soup.
  5. Add the greens to the pot and simmer until soft. The time will depend on the toughness of the leaves.
  6. Add a little water if the broth gets too thick and reduced.
  7. Stir the herbs and lemon juice into the pot. Taste and add more salt, cumin or lemon juice if needed.
  8. Serve topped with a drizzle of more olive oil and red pepper flakes, if desired.
Spicy White Bean Soup with Chicken

Spicy White Bean Soup with Chicken

I’m taking this soup to the celebration at Angie’s for Fiesta Friday #369. I think it will be welcome with the cold winter weather in mush of the U.S. right now. Click on the link to see all the wonderful posts collected to party on with Angie at the Fiesta.

This recipe would be suitable for phase 1 of the 30 day metabolic diet.

January – Spice-Rubbed Braised Beef

January – Spice-Rubbed Braised Beef

Spice-Rubbed Braised Beef

Spice-Rubbed Braised Beef

I rarely braise any kind of meat in the summer or spring. Late fall and winter things are different though. Braised foods make your home smell amazing, definitely comfort food in the cold weather. And they usually provide several meals, a bonus these days of seemingly constant cooking.

I’ve made this dish several times now, it’s based on a combination of recipes. One from the New York Times and my own special 5-hour slow cooked beef stew. That one is a favorite on the blog (it was first published in 2016) and I highly recommend it as it’s walk-away-easy as well as delicious. That first recipe uses cubed chunks of beef, this one a chuck or other roast. Use a cut you would use for a pot roast. What’s so special about that recipe? One – there is no pre-searing of the meat, and two – it will cook unattended by you during the afternoon while you do more interesting things. This time I adapted the recipe to a larger roast of beef, rump or chuck or cross rib.

Note: cook this in your oven, not the slow cooker. The liquid amounts are not designed for your slow cooker, or your pressure cooker for that matter.

This is the dish to use up that half bag of cranberries left over from Thanksgiving or Christmas, or one forgotten in your freezer from last year. It’s a reason to stock up on those bags as they are a seasonal item and usually unavailable the rest of the year. The cranberries add a tart but sweet note that is addictive. 

I will let you decide what vegetables to add. Some type of onion is essential but the rest can be varied. What about a bag of those small differently colored potatoes, or young carrots, small boiler onions, shallots…or all of them?

Spice-Rubbed Braised Beef

Spice-Rubbed Braised Beef with baby potatoes

Spiced Braised Beef with Cranberries and Carrots

Spiced Braised Beef with Cranberries and Carrots

The second time I made the recipe I used a bag of those baby carrots in various colors from Trader Joe’s. Both time dinner was a big hit.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 beef rump roast, brisket, or chuck roast
  • 1 large onion, peeled and sliced into half moons
  • 1/2 package of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1-1/2 cups of tomato juice, V8, or spicy V8 (my favorite)
  • 1 cup chicken stock or water
  • 3 ½ tablespoons of instant tapioca, I used Minute Tapioca
  • 1-1/2 pounds of small boiling onions or shallots, peeled and left whole. Or 2 larger onions, peeled and cut into wedges and/or a dozen small potatoes or a couple of cups of carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
  • For serving – chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper as needed

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F
  2. In a small bowl combine the paprika, garlic, cinnamon, cardamon, cumin, salt, and pepper
  3. Dry the roast and rub it all over with the spices, let sit for 30 minutes while the oven preheats and you combine the other ingredients.
  4. In a larger bowl combine the juice, stock (or water), wine, and tapioca. Stir to mix and dissolve the tapioca.
  5. Place the roast in a large casserole or baking dish with a lid. Pour the liquid over then add the cranberries.
  6. Nestle the the onions and other vegetables at the sides.
  7. Cover and cook 6 hours.
  8. Uncover and let sit for 20 minutes before serving.
  9. Add the lemon juice and garnish with the parsley.
Spice-Rubbed Braised Beef

Spice-Rubbed Braised Beef

Let this simmer away, undisturbed, while you go for a hike or a walk or a bike ride… You will arrive home to the heavenly scent of slow cooked beef and spices. All you need for a complete meal is a green salad and something to mop up any juices. Mashed potatoes would be excellent here, or polenta, or a loaf of crusty country bread.

Coast trail on the headlands in Fort Bragg CA

Coast trail on the way to the lighthouse – New Year’s Day 2021

Slice and serve a good strong mustard or horseradish along side.

Spice-Rubbed Braised Beef

Spice-Rubbed Braised Beef

Braised Beef with Carrots

Braised Beef with Carrots

It will be fall-apart tender.

January 4 is the first day of our annual 30-day healthy eating plan. With a few friends we do this every year. We cheer each other on and support each other through our individual difficult spots. For some it’s the sugar or carbs, others late night eating, and still others that 5 pm cocktail. We have all slid into comfort food the last 10 months. For 30 days we give up empty carbs, sugar, dairy, wheat, caffeine, alcohol and fatty/fried foods. We feed our bodies whole grains, beans, lean meats and lots of fruit and vegetables. It’s a reset. Yes, we usually lose weight but we also speed our metabolisms and reset our taste buds for healthier food. You can find details of the diet and some recipes by clicking on the category “30 day Metabolic Diet” on the right side of my blog. You will need to use your computer as the categories don’t show up on the mobile app.

I wonder if the folks over at the blogging party Fiesta Friday have left over cranberries? I think I will mosey on over there and add this post to the link party. It’s Fiesta Friday #362 hosted by Angie and co-hosted by Petra @ Food Eat Love.

Come on over and join the party. Click on the links to read blogs about food, travel, decorating plus arts and crafts.

As this dish is cooked without any additional fat (strain any off the sauce), it would qualify as a phase 1 or phase 3 dinner.

Again, wishing you a safe, healthy and love filled 2021.

January – Turkey Chili

January – Turkey Chili

Okay, I know there are about a million recipes out there for chili. I have a whole Pinterest folder full of them. Why do you need one more? Well…what about easy, almost fat free, delicious, full of healthy vegetables, suitable for both phase 1 and phase 3 of the Fast Metabolism Diet, and lastly an insurance policy in the freezer. Chili is the answer for the question “what shall we have for dinner?” frequently posed at 6 pm when everyone is tired, hungry, and grumpy. That’s the kind of insurance I’m talking about. It’s good with rice, with cornbread, poured over a baked potato, garnished with cheese or avocado or chips or cilantro or chopped onion or sour cream, use it in a burrito bowl or rolled in a taco. Whew! And it is delicious just as is, perfect for lunch or dinner on a chilly day. You have lots of options.

This recipe makes a big batch, four quarts of chili. Enough for to put a quart or two in the freezer.

2 cups of chili are a phase 1 meal, garnish with half a sliced avocado for phase 3. Because of the large amounts of legumes, it counts as a starch as well as a protein.

Turkey Chili

4 quarts of Turkey Chili

Turkey Chili

Makes 4 quarts – 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (depending on how spicy you like your chili)
  • 2 cans of black beans
  • 1 can of pinto beans, drained
  • 4 cups of chopped zucchini
  • 2 red peppers, chopped
  • 1 32 ounce can of chopped tomatoes with juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt plus more to taste

Directions:

  1. Brown the turkey over medium heat in a large heavy bottomed pot, add a tablespoon or two of water if it sticks.
  2. Add the onion, herbs, chili powder, cumin, garlic and red chili flakes to the pot. Cook on until the onion softens, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the 2 cans of black beans with their liquid, the drained pinto beans, and the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and turn down the heat. Simmer 40 minutes.
  4. Add the zucchini, red pepper and salt, simmer for another 40 minutes to an hour.
  5. Taste for salt.
  6. Garnish with chopped cilantro, thinly sliced cabbage, avocado, sour cream, cheese, etc.

    Turkey Chili

    Turkey Chili

This recipe is adapted from one in the Fast Metabolism Diet.

 

January – Fast Metabolism – Phase 1 Day 2

January – Fast Metabolism – Phase 1 Day 2

It is day 2 of phase 1, first week of the Fast Metabolism Diet.

How are you doing? You don’t need to be on the diet to enjoy the healthy fat free recipes I am posting. And the idea of eating small meals throughout the day is not a new one, it keeps your body fueled and your blood sugar steady. There is also evidence that going many hours without food will put your body into starvation mode, so you actually retain fat. It makes sense if you consider our ancient ancestors, they would need to conserve in times of famine.

Here is my plan for the day, as a reminder here is the phase 1 program:

Breakfast – grain and fruit

Snack – fruit

Lunch – grain, protein, fruit, vegetable

Snack – fruit

Dinner – grain, protein, vegetable

You should plan your menu but here is my own:

Phase 1, day 2 – Tuesday menu

Breakfast – 1 cup Oatmeal cooked sous vide (or slow cooker) with freeze dried fruit (you can also cook your oatmeal the regular way). This recipe is a game changer for oatmeal and non-oatmeal fans alike.

Today I reheated the second canning jar of oatmeal. A few notes: I found the oatmeal made with oat milk rather than rice milk was smoother and naturally sweeter. I reheated it in the microwave (watch carefully) with a silicone cap. I find these silicone lids in various sizes invaluable in the microwave but also for storing foods in the refrigerator. They come in a variety of sizes and are useful for reheating anything from a cup of coffee to a large bowl of soup. I even use them as a lid for a frying pan when cooking eggs.

Overnight oatmeal with silicone lid

Snack 1 – orange

Lunch – Open faced sandwich (1 slice of sprouted wheat bread, mustard, sliced tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion), tangerine

Open faced chicken sandwich with mustard, red onion, tomato and arugula

Open faced chicken sandwich

Snack 2 – mixed fruit

Mixed fruit – blueberries, mango and strawberries

Dinner – Stir-fried Steak with Baby Bok Choy, Red Onion and Brown Rice

Steak and Bok Choy

You will find the links to the recipes imbedded in the titles.

 

January – Turkey, White Bean and Kale Soup

January – Turkey, White Bean and Kale Soup

It’s soup weather here in the Northern Hemisphere. This warming, healthy, low fat and very filling recipe fits the bill. It is wonderful with a slice of toasted sourdough bread on the side and a substantial meal on it’s own.

The only fat in this recipe is from the turkey, a meat which tends to be low in fat to start.

Turkey, Kale and White Bean Soup

Turkey, white bean and kale soup

4 servings of about 2 cups each (2 1/2 quarts)

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 1 cup of chopped celery including some of the tops
  • 1 cup of chopped carrots, not too small
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 cups of vegetable, turkey or chicken stock
  • 3 cups of chunked winter squash (butternut, kaboucha, or delicata), peeled if necessary (you can often find chunked butternut squash already prepared at the grocery store).
  • 3 cups of chopped kale (I used baby kale and added it whole just before serving, it was only slightly wilted)
  • 2 cans of white beans or cannellini beans or 1 of each, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. In a large soup pot, saute the turkey, onions, celery, carrots, and garlic in 1 tablespoon of water with a teaspoon of salt until beginning to soften. Add an additional tablespoon of water if things seem to be sticking.
  2. Mix in the thyme, rosemary, cumin, bay leaf, and chili powder. Let simmer for a minute or two with the turkey and vegetables.
  3. Add the broth, squash, kale (if using regular sized kale), and beans. Bring to a boil.
  4. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. If using baby kale, add it to the soup just before serving so it is only slightly wilted.
  6. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.

For a vegetarian version, add another can of beans (maybe black bean or adzuki).

2 cups of this soup would be a phase 1 lunch or dinner. If you are not avoiding dairy, a spoonful of freshly grated parmesan sprinkled on top would be delicious.

This recipe is adapted from one in the Fast Metabolism Diet.

Celery, Onion and Carrots

Large soup pot, this was my mother’s

Saute the turkey, onions, carrots, celery and garlic with a little salt

Delicata Squash, you don’t need to peel it

Turkey, White Bean and Kale (not yet) Soup

 

Turkey, White Bean and Kale Soup

Turkey, Kale and White Bean Soup