During December 2011, I experienced 3 gallbladder attacks within a week and a half. Although I don't think my diet was THAT bad before this happened, I decided after the third one to drastically alter my eating habits. So, for at least the next couple of months (until my baby comes), my goal is to seek out and share low-fat, high fiber, and low-sugar recipes. I figured as long as I was figuring things out for myself and my family, I may as well share what's working!

July 15, 2010

Pepperoncini Beef

I'll be honest, I don't know how to start this post.  This Pepperoncini Beef has me nearly speechless.  Really.  It is an incredibly simple recipe, yet packs in so much flavor.  And it has become a favorite around these parts--one of those meals that I will make again and again.

I originally saw this recipe on "My Muffin Thursdays" (which has recently changed to One Lovely Life). And, since I like to share random stories, here's a story for you: It's been about a year since I started finding recipes on My Muffin Thursdays (MMT).  The hostess was from UT, had a husband in school, etc.  Just like we were a few short months before.  The world, when connected through Utah, is so small that I wondered if I knew this person or if we knew some of the same people.  A few months ago, one of my former neighbors (and good friend), mentioned that the hostess on MMT was her former neighbor as well.  Turns out that we moved out as they were moving in.  All I can say is that it really is a small world after all.

Pepperoncini Beef

2.5 lbs. beef roast
1/2 jar pepperoncinis (16 oz.)
1 cup beef broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Sandwich buns
Provolone cheese

Trim visible fat from your roast.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place in slow cooker.  Add pepperoncinis, about 1/4 cup of brine from pepperoncini jar, and beef broth.  Cook on low 7-8 hours.

Remove pepperonicinis from slow cooker; slice or chop.  Shred beef; add pepperoncinis back to slow cooker. 

Toast sandwich buns.  Top with beef then cheese.

NOTES: You can use any cheese that you like.  I do suggest staying away from cheddar, though, as it would probably overpower the beef.  And, I brush the buns with my Sotto Voce garlic olive oil before toasting.  It gives it just a little more flavor, (not that it really needs much more).  You could toast them and then rub them with garlic if you feel so inclined.  My mouth is seriously watering just typing this recipe up.  I wish we were having this for dinner tonight! 

July 13, 2010

Floating Tacos

Last year, my friend mentioned that she was making freezer meals before her baby came.  She took an entire Saturday to cook and stock her freezer so her family would actually have food while she was out of commission.  I was thoroughly impressed.  And, of course, knowing that my baby was coming a few months later, I checked out her recipes.  Not that I stocked my freezer before my baby came.  When I'm pregnant, I feel accomplished if I shower and get dressed in the same day.  That and my baby came a little sooner than I planned.  But if I had stocked my freezer, this would have been in there, (with a few adjustments).

Floating Tacos
Servings: A LOT (See notes)
(Adapted from Just Because I am Me)

1 lb. hamburger
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)
1 can tomato paste (6oz.)
3 cups water
2 cans kidney beans
1 cup uncooked rice

1 T. sugar
1 T. cumin
1 T. oregano
1 T. chili powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Saute meat and onion in large saucepan (or dutch oven) until onion is tender. Add tomato sauce, paste, water, beans, and rice. Stir in sugar, cumin, oregano, chili powder; bring to boil. Cover; reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 min., (or so) stirring occasionally until rice is fully cooked.  Add water as needed if mixture becomes too thick.
Serve over Fritos and top with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, olives, and Ranch Sauce (recipe below).

Ranch Sauce
1 cup Ranch dressing
1 cup sour cream
Mix thoroughly.
NOTES: While I thought this was pretty good, I thought that it lacked SPICE.  I'm not talking "burn your mouth" spice--I'm not into that.  But, it just needed some more intense flavors.  And, I would most likely leave out the sugar.  When I used the leftovers, I added about 1/4 cup taco seasoning.  It was good--but, once again, could have used even more spice. 
This makes a TON of food.  It made 2 meals for our family, (with leftovers), in addition to a meal for another family of 4.  It's a great one to make ahead and freeze for easy meals later.
Oh--and the ranch sauce?  It reminded me of an amazing cucumber dressing from Romeo's in Gilbert, AZ.  Aadd some chopped green onions and finely chopped cucumber to your leftover sauce.  Then use as a dip for soft, warm pita bread.  Or french fries.  Or really anything.  It's that good.

July 6, 2010

Recipe Roundup: 4th of July

We had a great 4th of July weekend!  We spent it at my inlaw's cottage on the coast.  The week before got away from me a bit--as you can tell from the lack of recipes from last week.  But I'm back.  At least for today.

As we left the house, we thought we were completely packed and ready to go.  Well, we were.  Except for one thing.  The camera.  So, no pics with these recipes, but they're pretty simple and easy to envision.  I thought about drawing a few pics to go with this post, but really, that wouldn't make it any more appetizing.  Moving on...

We were in charge of lunch on Saturday.  And, we had the added challenge of a couple of Weight Watchers joining us for that meal.  Here's the menu I came up with:

Kangaroo Pocket sandwiches
Fruit with fruit dip
Multigrain chips
Peppers and carrots
Patriotic jello

I'll start with the Kangaroo Pockets.  Although I was aware of the idea for most of my life, this was something that really stuck when I married into my husband's family.  They are simple and easy to feed a crowd.  I made a large salad of lettuce and tomatoes, then added cubed ham and chicken breast.  I served cucumbers and shredded cheese on the side.  (My hubby doesn't like cucumbers and I wanted to let the WW decide whether to put cheese on.)  The salad was then served in pocket-style whole wheat pita bread, then topped with salad dressing.  My husband likes to mix his salad and dressing in a bowl and then put it into the pita.  Something about better distribution of dressing.  I figure it all just drips down and out the bottom anyway.  Either way, this is a light but filling lunch. 

On to the fruit dip.  Years and years and years ago, I was at a church youth function and tasted a fabulous and simple fruit dip.  From that time on, it has been my dip of choice when fruit is involved.  Are you ready for this?  Mix one small container of Cool Whip with one container of yogurt.  Voila!  Fruit dip.  This time, I used lite Cool Whip and lite mixed berry yogurt.  Again--a totally light, totally simple addition to the meal.  (By the way, although I didn't use them this time, my favorite flavors for this dip are lemon or vanilla.  Always great with fruit.  Or waffles.  Or cookies.  Or...)

Finally, the patriotic jello.  I found this recipe a few months ago on foodgawker--which led me to Brown Eyed Baker's post about stained glass jello.  I instantly knew I had to make it THIS YEAR.  It couldn't wait. I wish I had a pic of this--it looks so cool!  You'll just have to head over to Brown Eyed Baker and check out her pics.

Stained Glass Jello

1 box (6 oz.) cherry jello
1 box (6 oz) berry blue jello
2 envelopes Knox gelatin (unflavored)
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
Water for jello prep

Pour the jello powder into 2 separate bowls.  For each flavor, add 2 cups boiling water; stir until jello is dissolved.  Pour into 8x8 baking pan. Chill until firm. (Should be a few hours.)  Cut jello into small "blocks." 

In the mean time, bloom Knox gelatin in 1/2 cup cold water.  Add 1 1/2 cups boiling water; stir until dissolved.  Add sweetened condensed milk.  Set aside to cool.

Gently combine red and blue jello blocks in 9x13 pan.  Pour cooled Knox/milk mixture over cubes.  Chill in fridge until solid. 

NOTES: The original recipe called for 4 (3 oz.) boxes of jello.  Since I was only doing 2 colors, I used the larger boxes.  If you want to make more colors, just use 1 cup boiling water for every 3 oz. package of jello.

I didn't let my Knox/milk mixture cool enough before pouring it over the jello cubes.  As a result, my jello cubes melted just a little into the white--which made the colors just a bit less crisp than I would have liked.  Live and learn.

And, I didn't cut my final product into cute little stars or even boring cubes.  I just let people scoop it out of the glass cake pan with a spoon.  Hey--I was on vacation.

Hope you had a happy 4th of July celebration!