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!

November 21, 2010

Butternut Squash Bake

With Thanksgiving approaching, my mind is spinning with all of the recipe possibilities.  This year, our Thanksgiving celebration will be a smaller affair with my family and my in-laws.  And I'm OK with that.  While it can seem like a lot of work for so few people, it's nice to know that it will be comfortable and I don't have to worry about impressing anyone.  Because of this, I'm still deciding what I'm going to do with the sweet potatoes this year.  Should I go savory or sweet?  Should I make a casserole or keep them in a recognizable form?  So many decisions to make.

One thing I have already decided, however, is that this Butternut Squash Bake will be making appearances on our table in the future.  I recently triend another similar casserole to see how they matched up--and this one is the knock-out champion at our house.  Even my husband, (who doesn't normally approve of winter squash), liked this version!  AND, he took seconds.  That's huge over here.

So, if you're like me and not sure what direction you're heading with a Thanksgiving side (or two), try adding this one to your menu.  You (and your guests) can thank me later.

(Sorry about the lack of pic AGAIN.  You'll just have to go with your gut on this one.  It should be growling by now.)

Butternut Squash Bake
Adapted from Taste of Home

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp. oil
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup crushed saltines (about 8 crackers)
2 Tbls. Parmesan cheese
1 Tbls. butter, melted

Place squash in saucepan.  Cover with water and bring to boil.  Boil 20(ish) minutes until squash can be easily pierced with a fork.  Drain well and place in large bowl.  Mash until squash is nearly smooth.  Set aside to cool a bit.
While squash is boiling, heat oil in small skillet.  Add onion and saute until soft and translucent.
In medium bowl, mix mayonnaise, sauteed onion, egg, sugar, salt and pepper.  Add cooled squash; mix well.  Pour into greased casserole dish.
Mix saltines, Parmesan, and butter.  Sprinkle over squash mixture.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until heated through and top is golden.
NOTES: The original recipe doesn't have you sautee the onions.  I didn't.  If you're a fan of crunchy onions, then feel free to leave that step out.
As for the Parmesan, I use the pulverized Kraft Parmesan.  I'm sure it would look fancier if I shredded some myself, but it still tastes fantastic!

November 15, 2010

Philly Chicken and Pasta

I will admit right now that there was a point at which the scale and I were friends.  After I got pregnant with my third baby, our relationship became somewhat strained. And now, as I visit every day, I usually leave in a bit of a huff.  I fondly remember our happy times together--the scale and me--and I am looking forward to having a great relationship once again.  Therefore, my current challenge, as it relates to this blog, is to find amazing low-fat, calorie-counter's-dream recipes.  And, I will admit, this task does seem a little on the big deal side of things.  (I would say big FAT deal, but that's what we're trying to get away from...)  So, it's with this new goal in mind that I created tonight's recipe.  I know that I'm not the first person to combine these ingredients in this manner.  But, since I made it up tonight, sans recipe, I'm going to call it an original.

(Now, imagine a great pic here.  OK--well, mediocre.  Oh wait--that's what WOULD have been here if my camera battery hadn't died yesterday.)

Philly Chicken and Pasta
Servings: 4

2 large bell peppers
1 large onion
1 tsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced (or pressed)
1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
4 oz. neufatchel cheese (lite cream cheese)
1 cp. chicken stock
salt and pepper
8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti, prepared according to package directions

Chop bell peppers into thin slices.  Cut onion in half, then into thin slices (half-moons).  Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in large skillet; add peppers and onions; saute until soft.  Add garlic; saute for about a minute.  Slice chicken into very thin bite-sized pieces and add to pepper mixture.  Cook until no pink is left on chicken.  Add cream cheese and about 1/4 cup of stock.  Stir for a minute.  Add stock, about 1/4 cup at a time and stir until cream cheese is completely melted and incorporated into stock.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  If a thinner sauce is desired, add more stock about 2 Tbls. at a time until desired consistenct is reached.  Serve over hot spaghetti.

NOTES: I used both a red and a yellow bell pepper.  I prefer their sweetness over the bitterness of the green.

In the end, I probably used a little over 1 cup of stock.  I wanted a little more sauce and figured it was a lower-calorie way to cut the cream cheese a little more.

November 10, 2010

Black Beans and Rice

What kind of lame food blog is this anyway?  Doesn't she know she's supposed to actually POST recipes?  Not just collect them.  Not just prepare them and never talk about it.  Ahh, well, we can't all be terrific food bloggers, right?

I can't believe it's been nearly two months since I last posted!  I guess that's what I get for involving myself in a musical and then starting to work with the Young Women at church.  But finally, FINALLY, life is slowing down a little.  And I'm hoping that will mean a little more posting.  I'm sure that most of what I post for the next few weeks will be something we tried out long, long ago.  And, therefore, I'll be able to offer a slightly tempered review of each recipe.  Is this a benefit?  Not sure.  As for pictures, some have them, most don't.  Oh well.  I'll take what I can get at this point.  Lucky for you, this one has a picture!

I love beans.  I believe I have said that before on this blog, and I'll probably say it again.  When I found this recipe on My Kitchen Cafe, I couldn't wait to give it a try!  And, Oh. Boy.  This recipe truly stands out in my mind.  Of the many I have in the queue, this one was definitely a favorite.  It was full of flavor and incredibly satisfying--but completely simple to make.  Thus, it has already gone into the "Favorites" folder.  Oh, and I should also mention that Mel at My Kitchen Cafe adapted it from the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook.  So it's completely calorie friendly--which we all need around the holiday season!

Black Beans and Rice
Yield: 4-6 servings

4 tsp. olive oil
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 (16-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup water
2 Tbls. finely chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

In medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add bell pepper, onion, and garlic; saute, stirring often, until vegetables are soft and tender. Stir in beans, tomatoes, chicken broth, thyme, bay leaf, oregano and water; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes. If mixture becomes too thick, add 1-2 Tbls. hot water to thin to desired consistency.

Stir in cilantro and season with salt and pepper; discard bay leaf. Serve over hot rice.

NOTES: I didn't use low-sodium chicken broth.  Just used less salt at the end.  And, I can't find anything but ground thyme anywhere, so I'm usually light-handed when I add the thyme.  Plus, I think ground thyme tastes a little like dust.  And no one likes the taste of dust in their food.