Monday, March 1, 2010

Sausage and Lentil Soup

Another one of my favorite soups for "Souper Monday"! It has so much flavor and reheats for lunch in a snap.

Sausage and Lentil Soup
Makes 6 servings (about 1 C each)
4 points each

1 clove garlic, minced
1 C cooked frozen spinach
1/4 C chopped onion
1 can diced tomatoes
1 C dry lentils
6 C fat-free chicken broth
3 links of sweet Italian turkey sausage

Remove sausage from casings. In a non-stick skillet, brown sausage, crumbling it as it cooks. Set aside.

In a soup pot, sautee garlic and onion in cooking spray. Add chicken broth, lentils and spinach. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 mintues. You want the lentils cooked, but still firm.

Add sausage and tomatoes. Simmer an additional 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Can also add 2 C of cooked pasta (like orzo or other smaller pasta shape) to the soup for additional points.

Super Tuscan White Bean Soup

Another "Souper Monday" entry. I looooooved this soup. Mostly because it has bacon in it! But it's filling and yummy and makes for great lunches for the week for me. The basil, garlic and crushed red pepper topping really makes it stand out.

I think I got it off of the Betty Crocker Web site. It gave me a chance to use my new immersion blender - my favorite new kitchen gadget.

Super Tuscan White Bean Soup
Makes 6 servings (about 1C each)
5 points per serving

4 slices center cut bacon
1 medium onion, quartered
1 medium stalk of celery, quartered crosswise
1 medium carrot, quartered crosswise (I just used a handful of baby carrots)
2 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed
3 cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 bay leaf, dried
1/2 C white wine
4 C fat-free chicken broth
3 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
1/4 C basil, julienned
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 tsp olive oil (omitted)

In a 4-quart saucepan, cook bacon, onion, celery, carrot and 2 cloves of garlic over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium. Add beans, bay leaf, wine and chicken broth; cover and cook 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and cool about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in an 8-inch skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat for 1 minute. Add 1 TBSP garlic; cook 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until garlic begins to brown. Stir in red pepper flakes, cook a few seconds; stir in basil and cook until it wilts.

Remove bay leaf from soup. Pour into food processor; cover and puree. Return to saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Simmer over medium heat for 5 mintues or until heated through. Top each serving with a small amount of basil garlic mixture.

Broccoli, Cannellini Bean & Cheddar Soup‏

I found this recipe in an old issue of Eating Well magazine. We have made Monday's "Souper Mondays", trying out different low-fat healthy soup recipes. This one is fiber and protein packed. And the best part? There's no cream in it...and you'll never miss it.

We had it with grilled cheese sammiches (light whole wheat bread and 2% cheddar slices...lightly spritzed with some butter and cooked in pam) for a light dinner.

Broccoli, Cannellini Bean and Cheddar Soup
(Source: Eating Well)

1 14 oz can of fat-free low sodium chicken broth
1 C water
1 lb broccoli crowns, washed and trimmed (about 6 cups)
1 14 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 C shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (I used reduced fat)

Bring broth and water to a boil in a medium pot. Add broccoli, cover and cook until tender (about 8 minutes). Stir in beans, salt and pepper and cook until beans are heated through, 1 minute.

Transfer 1/2 the mixture to a blender with half the cheese and puree. (use caution when pureeing hot liquids) Transfer to a bowl. Repeating with remaining broccoli mixture and cheese. Serve warm. Makes 6 scant 1 cup servings

Per serving (as written): 153 calories; 7 g fat, 11g protein, 6g fiber
1 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 1/2 lean meat

Thumbprint Cookies

Thumbprint Cookies
(Source: Recipe Zaar)

1 17.5 oz pouch of sugar cookie dough mix
1/2 C butter, melted
1 egg
3 T all-purpose flour
Raspberry Jam Variation:
1/3 C raspberry jam
finely chopped nuts

Chocolate variation:
1/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 C coarse ground sugar
Mint Truffle Hershey Kisses

Preheat oven to 375F. In a large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter, egg and flour until soft dough forms.
Roll dough into 3/4" balls roll into nuts (for raspberry variation) or coarse sugar (chocolate variation)and place 2" apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Using thumb or a spoon, make an indent in the middle of each ball. Spoon 1/4 tsp of jam into each indentation. For chocolate version, skip this step.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges golden brown. Remove from oven and cool 5 mintues before using a spatula to transfer to cooling racks. For chocolate version, press chocolate kiss into each cookie immediately after removing from oven.


Whole Grain Gingersnaps

Makes 3 1/2 dozen
1 C all-purpose flour
1 C whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C sugar
6 T trans-fat free vegetable oil spread
1 large egg
1/2 C dark molasses
nonpareils or white sprinkles

In a small bowl, combine flours, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl, with mixer on low speed, beat sugar and vegetable oil spread until blended. Increase speed to high; beat until light and creamy, occasionally scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat in egg and molasses. Reduce speed to low; beat in flour mixture just until blended. Cover dough in bowl with plastic wrap and chill 1 hour or until easier to handle (dough will be slightly sticky).
Preheat oven to 350F. With lightly greased hands, shape dough by heaping teaspoons into 1" balls. Dip top half of balls into nonpareils and place onto ungreased cookie sheets, 2 1/2" inches apart.
Bake 9-11 minutes or until tops are cracked. Cookies will be soft. Cool on sheets for 1 minute then remove with a spatula onto wire racks to cool completely.
Store in tightly covered container at room temp for 3 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.

Shortbread Bites

Shortbread Bites

1 1/4 C All-Purpose Flour
3 T Sugar
1/2 C butter (1 stick), cold, cut into pieces
1 T red and green non-pareils or 1/2 C mini chocolate chips

In a food processor with knife blade attached, pulse flour and sugar until combined. Add butter and pulse until dough begins to come together. Place dough in a medium bowl. With your hands, add non-pareils or baking bits, and knead until dough becomes a ball.

On a lightly floured sheet of wax paper, pat dough into an 8" x 5" rectangle; freeze 15 minutes. Cut dough into 1/2" squares. Place squares on and ungreased baking sheet, a 1/2" apart. Preheat oven to 325F.

Bake cookies 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Store in a tightly covered container at room temp for one week; or freeze up to 3 month.

I melted red-tinted candy melts in the microwave and dipped the tops of the bites into the candy. Then added snowflake sprinkles on top while it was still melted. I put them in the fridge to set.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies

Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies
1 C Butter
2 C white sugar
2 eggs
3 tsp vanilla extract
3 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
10 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder (I used dark chocolate cocoa)

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; add eggs one at a time, beating well. Mix in the vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa powder and baking powder; add to butter mixture and mix well. Wrap dough in waxed paper and chill for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degreesF. Divide dough in half. Roll out each half to 1/4 inch thick. Cut with desired cookie cutter shapes. Place on lightly greased cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Sugar Cookie Icing
1 C confectioners sugar
2 tsp milk
2 tsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp almond extract
assorted food coloring

In a small bowl, stir together confectioners sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.

Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each bowl to desired intensity. Dip cookies or paint them with a brush.

Russian Tea Cakes

Russian Tea Cakes

1 C butter or margarine, softened
1/2 C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C finely chopped nuts
Powdered sugar (to coat cookies)

Heat oven to 400F.

Beat butter, 1/2 C powdered sugar and vanilla on medium speed with an electric mixer. Stir in flour and salt. Stir in nuts.

Shape dough into 1" balls. Place 2" apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 8-9 minutes until set, but not brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet and roll in additional powdered sugar. Cool completely on a rack. Roll in sugar again once cooled.

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons
(Source: Brown Eyed Baker)
Yields 3 dozen

For the cookies:
2/3 C sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg white
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
3 1/2 C sweetened flaked coconut

For the Chocolate:
10 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 325F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

In a large bowl, stir together the sweetened condensed milk, egg white, vanilla and salt until combined. Stir in coconut.

Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto the cookie sheets. Form the cookies into loose haystacks with your fingertips, moistening your hands with water as necessary to prevent sticking. Bake, one sheet at a time, until the cookies are light golden brown - 15-20 minutes.

Cool cookies on the baking sheets until lightly set, about 2 minutes; remove to a wire rack with a wide metal spatula.

Once cooled to room temperature, line 2 baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt 8 oz of the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of almost-simmering water, stirring once or twice, until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in remaining chocolate until smooth. Holding a macaroon by the pointed tip, dip the bottom into the chocolate. Scrape off excess chocolate and place macaroon on parchment covered sheet.

Refrigerate the macaroons until the chocolate set, about 15 minutes.

Christmas Cookies - finally

Yay, I'm finally getting Christmas pics up before all of this snow melts...woo hoo! I made tons of cookies this year for my family. I had the entire week before Christmas to have my own litle cookie extravaganza, turning our kitchen into a cookie factory.


Here's the tally:
  • 3 Dozen Peanut Butter Blossoms
  • 2 Dozen Double Chocolate Mint Truffle Blossoms
  • 2 Dozen Raspberry Thumbprints
  • 3 Dozen Whole Wheat Gingersnaps
  • 3 Dozen Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons
  • 4 Dozen Russian Teacakes
  • 9 Dozen Shortbread Bites (they are super tiny!)
  • 3 Dozen Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti
  • 7 Dozen Dark Chocolate Cut-out Cookies
Some were old tried and true favorites, and some were new. I even tried my hand at decorating the chocolate cut outs, something I haven't done before. I had a lot of fun and the family loved them!