Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Super Green Summer Soup

With the abundance of vegetables in gardens and available at farmer's markets, it's the right time to make this delicious summer soup.  It is a wonderful first course and can be heated gently or eaten cool.  It is refreshing and nutritious!  If you don't have fresh vegetables available, then substituting frozen vegetables is fine, too.  (I used the frozen California Blend of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots in place of some fresh vegetables called for in the recipe.  Also, frozen broccoli or sliced leeks can be substituted for fresh, if it is more convenient.) It's a very quick and easy to prepare meal and will keep well in the refrigerator for several days, making it easy to grab something nutritious to bag and go for a work day lunch.

Super Green Summer Soup
Makes 4 servings

1 teaspoon organic coconut oil or olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 leek, sliced
3 cups broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflower florets
1/2 cup carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 cup chopped kale leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 and 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or Coconut Almond milk)
salt and pepper, to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon (or dash or two of hot sauce or cayenne pepper, as desired)

1. Melt the coconut oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  Saute the onion, leek, broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, celery and kale until beginning to soften and kale leaves are wilted, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant.  Remove from heat.

2.  Into a blender, measure the broth and coconut milk.  Add the vegetables, salt, pepper, lemon juice or hot sauce.  Blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.  Serve immediately or can be refrigerated for several days.  Serve warm or cool, as desired.

Nutritional Information per serving: 81 calories, 12.6 g carbohydrate (2.6 g dietary fiber, 4.7 g sugars), 1.8 g total fat (1.1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 678 mg sodium, 116 mg calcium, 142 mg potassium, 2 g protein.

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2013

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Fish Taco Salad

Tonight I had a craving for fish tacos.  I love them, but one single taco (which is all I will allow myself at a meal) sometimes just isn't enough to satisfy.  It would only leave me wanting more!  So, I created this huge, dinner-size salad that has all the same flavors.  It filled me up and left a happy smile on my face.  You can serve the toppings on any amount of your favorite greens, but when it comes to leafy greens, I say more is better!  One of the best parts of this salad is the delicious homemade dressing.  It is derived from the tangy sauce that normally accompanies a fish taco and it is YUMMY!  Make a note of it and file it away in your recipe box because I know you'll want to use it often.

Fish Taco Salad
Makes 1 meal-size serving

3 ounces frozen fish nuggets or fish sticks (I used Henry and Lisa's Gluten Free Fish Nuggets)
3 to 4 cups leafy greens or mixed greens, torn into bite size pieces
1/2 cup shredded cabbage (a coleslaw mix works well)
1 plum tomato, seeded and diced
4 or 5 corn tortilla chips, lightly crushed into small pieces (gluten free)

Dressing Ingredients:

2 tablespoons light mayonnaise (gluten free)
1/4 teaspoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
juice from 1/2 lime (about 1 tablespoon)
dash of ground cumin
dash of cayenne pepper or hot sauce, to taste
dash of garlic powder
ground black pepper, to taste
dash of smoked paprika
2 teaspoons fresh chives, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro or parsley, minced
1 and 1/2 tablespoons original, unsweetened almond milk (or skim milk)

1.  Prepare the fish nuggets according to package directions, turning half way through cooking.  Bake until crispy.  Remove from oven and cool slightly.  Cut into bite-size pieces; set aside.

2.  While the fish is cooking, place the lettuce, cabbage and plum tomato on a serving plate or in a large salad bowl.  Crush the tortilla chips and set aside.

3.  In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.  Add the herbs and spices in amounts according to your own tastes.  It should be somewhat thin so it can be drizzled easily over the top of the salad; set aside.

4.  To assemble, place the chopped fish nuggets over the lettuce, cabbage and tomato mixture.  Sprinkle the crushed corn tortillas on the salad and spoon the dressing over all.  Toss, if desired, and serve immediately.

Note: Other salad toppings you might include are chopped avocado and/or sliced black olives, although these optional additions are not included in the nutritional information below.

Nutritional Information per entire recipe (1 serving): 302 calories, 20.4 g carbohydrate (3.7 g dietary fiber, 3.6 g sugars), 17.8 g total fat (1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 50 mg cholesterol, 475 mg sodium, 121 mg calcium, 318 mg potassium, 16.2 g protein.

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2013

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Lemon Mug Cake

Cake from a microwave?  Can it really be good?  The answer is YES!  This is a very quick, easy and versatile recipe.  If served as a single serving, it's delicious as the main course for breakfast, brunch, a quick and light lunch or, when divided into two portions, it makes a perfect snack or dessert.  The addition of flaxseed boosts the nutritional complexity, making this cake an excellent source of dietary fiber, Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, thiamine, magnesium, manganese and copper.  Who would guess that something that tastes so decadent would deliver such a healthy punch?  The cake is meant to be eaten warm, right out of the microwave or oven.  Top it with crushed raspberries, strawberries or blueberries for even more antioxidants, vitamins and fiber.  It's gluten free, sugar free, and low carb -- who could ask for more?

Lemon Mug Cake
Makes 1 meal-size serving (or 2 dessert servings)

1/4 cup almond flour (or finely ground almonds)
1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed meal
1 Tablespoon gluten free all-purpose baking mix
1/2 teaspoon GF baking powder
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons Splenda granular (or other sweetener of your choice)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1/2 Tablespoon salted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 large egg
juice from 1/2 lemon (about 1 TB)

1. Spray an 8 ounce microwaveable or oven-proof ramekin or mug with non-stick vegetable spray: set aside.  (If making two servings, prepare two 1/2 cup custard cups or mugs.) 

2. In a small bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (almond flour through lemon zest).  With a fork, stir until well mixed.  In another bowl, beat the egg, melted butter and lemon juice until blended.  Add all at once to the dry ingredients and whisk with a fork until all the dry ingredients are moistened.  Pour batter into the prepared dish(es). 

3.  Microwave on high for 1 minute and check for doneness.  The cake will puff up and begin to release from the ramekin or mug along the edges.  The center should be puffed and almost set (the cake will continue to cook slightly after being removed from the microwave).  If the center is still sunken and soft, microwave for an additional 15 seconds.  The cake should spring back when touched slightly off center.  Do not overcook.  Remove from microwave and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.  (Note: For two dessert-size servings, divide batter into two dishes and microwave on high for 40 seconds and then test for doneness.  If more cooking is required, microwave in 10 second intervals until desired consistency is reached.)

4.  For oven cooking: Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Bake for about 12-14 minutes or until center springs back when touched.  Cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

5.  Top with berries that have been crushed with the tines of a fork and sweetened with 1 teaspoon Splenda and whipped cream, if desired (optional).

Nutritional Information per entire recipe (1 meal-size serving, no toppings): 353 calories, 18.6 g total carbohydrate (6.1 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugar), 27.3 g total fat (6.1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 210 mg cholesterol, 298 mg sodium, 270.4 mg calcium, 35 mg potassium, 14.4 g protein.  (Note: For a dessert size serving, divide the batter into two dishes and cut the nutritional information by half.)

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2013