Saturday, March 31, 2012

Buggy's Spring Asparagus Saute

So simple, it barely qualifies as a recipe. The nutrition facts for this delicious use of asparagus can be found at Calorie Count!

Spring Asparagus Saute


1 pound asparagus, rinsed, trimmed, and patted dry
2 t olive oil
2 t balsamic vinegar (use a good quality aged balsamic from Modena)
1/8 t freshly ground sea salt


Heat the oil  in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil begins to shimmer add the asparagus and gently saute until they are to the state of tenderness you prefer. Many like this to be a very crisp tender, some like them a little more "done", but do not over cook them. Overcooked asparagus only makes people think they don't like asparagus!

Sprinkle with the vinegar and sea salt. Toss and turn into a pretty bowl for serving. Enjoy.


If you want to try something very wonderful, Buggy suggests finding Aged Balsamic Sea Salt and using it in place of the vinegar and salt above. She gets hers from Artisan Salt.

Green Beans with Prosciutto

This is a fast and easy side dish just dressed up enough for company.

Serves 6 at only 66 calories a delicious and healthy serving! Find the nutrition facts at Calorie Count.

Green Beans with Prosciutto


2 oz prosciutto, cut in to strips
1 t olive oil
½ C onion, chopped
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 lb green beans, fresh, trimmed, leave whole or cut in half as you prefer, about 3 cups (you can use frozen if you like, but avoid canned)
fresh ground black pepper to taste


Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add prosciutto. Cook about three minutes or til crisp. Remove and cool, crumble, and set aside.

Add 1 t olive oil, onion, and mushrooms to skillet. Sauté over medium heat, stirring frequently, about 4-5 minutes or til onions are translucent and mushrooms are tender – you may need to add a bit more oil.

Add the green beans and sauté for about 6-8 minutes or til the green beans are crisp-tender. They should be fork-tender but still maintain a slightly crisp bite. Do not over cook.

Return the prosciutto to the pan with the beans, onions, and mushrooms, season with a dash of ground black pepper and toss. Serve immediately. You can always add a bit of oregano or garlic if you like, but I think it's perfect as is.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Meganr’s Italian Chickpea Soup

The nutrition facts for this simple and delicious soup can be found at Calorie Count!

Italian Chickpea Soup


1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
3 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne
3 cups garbanzo beans
1 large sweet potato, diced small
1 stalk celery
1 tbsp mustard
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
Black pepper to taste


Heat oil in a heavy stockpot and sauté the onion for 5 minutes.

Add broth, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, oregano, cayenne and bring to a boil in the stockpot over medium heat. Simmer 5 minutes.

Add chickpeas, sweet potatoes, celery and mustard and simmer 20 minutes more or until vegetables are very soft.

Mash vegetables and chickpeas to a chunky puree with potato masher or spoon. (Chickpeas will remain mostly whole.)

Stir in parsley, and season with pepper.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Hollandaise Sauce

This is the lightly lemony sauce you find on Eggs Benedict or vegetables (think asparagus!). There are many ways to make it, most involve a lot more butter. The recipe below is lowers the calories of the traditional sauce quite a lot but retains the wonderful flavor.

The nutrition facts are at Calorie Count!

Hollandaise Sauce


1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup hot water

1/4 t pepper
4 egg yolks
1 1/2 T lemon juice
Optional: salt, up to 1/4 teaspoon


In a small saucepan with the burner set to low or medium, melt the butter, water, and pepper.

In a separate bowl, beat the yolks slightly and add to the butter mixture. Set the burner to low and whisk vigorously with a wooden spoon until it is thick and smooth.

Blend in the lemon juice, taste and add salt if you need it.

If the sauce curdles on you, beat in a teaspoon of very hot water.

Enjoy over every veggie you can find!

Veloute Sauce

Veloute is a lower calorie version of Bechamel sauce (that thick white sauce made with milk). You make it in the exact same way as a Bechamel except that you substitute the stock of your choice for the milk. You can still add a little bit milk if you want it to be a "cream of" sauce. The nutrition facts are at Calorie Count!

Veloute Sauce


2 T butter, unsalted
3 T flour
2 cups hot stock (beef, chicken, veggie, fish - or use meat juices to create a fantastic gravy)
salt to taste
black or white ground pepper to taste
Optional: substitute some of the hot stock with hot skim milk. How much depends on how light in color you want the sauce to be.


Melt the butter in a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in the flour until it is thoroughly incorporated into the butter - about two minutes will help remove the "floury" taste and that's where many people mess up when making thickened  sauces or gravy.

Remove from heat.

Heat the stock in your preferred way - in a small pan or in the microwave. Either way is fine but get it hot. It should be heating while you are prepping the butter and flour.

Dump the hot stock into the butter/flour mixture and vigorously stir or whisk to make sure the sauce is not lumpy.

Return it to the medium heat and bring it to a boil - stir or whisk the entire time it is coming to a boil.

Then lower the temp and simmer for another two minutes. Season with the salt, pepper.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Susan D.'s Irish Soda Bread

This recipe for Irish soda bread Susan D.'s family's made for decades. Her mother got it from the parents of an Irish nun who happened to be Susan D.'s 1st grade teacher! The nutrition facts are at Calorie Count!

It's a very simple recipe to make.

Irish Soda Bread


4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups flour
 1 tsp caraway seeds
1 cup sugar
2 to 3 Tbl shortening (calories based on 2 Tbl)
1 cup raisins
1 cup water


Mix by spoon. Put in greased dish*, then sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour.

*Susan D. says she has always made this in a round Pyrex style casserole dish, but it would work just as well in a square pan.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bonnie's Corned Beef and Cabbage

We also called this Mom's New England Boiled Dinner and we made it to feed a very large crowd! Choose ingredient quantities to make it the right size for your family.

Corned Beef and Cabbage


One very large pot with lid

1 flat cut corned beef (they come with a packet of spices, *if your corned beef does not include the spices, mix up the following:

*Pickling spice: 2 tablespoons black peppercorns, 2 tablespoons mustard seeds, 2 tablespoons coriander seeds, 2 tablespoons hot red-pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons allspice berries, 1 tablespoon ground mace, 2 small cinnamon sticks, crushed or broken into pieces, 2 to 4 bay leaves, crumbled, 2 tablespoons whole cloves, 1 tablespoon ground ginger

4 Potatoes, peeled and cut into large hunks so they don’t dissolve if you boil them a bit too long.

2 heads of cabbage – either green or white, cut into quarters (two quarters per guest)

4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch lengths – to make sure there are leftovers you may want to use more carrots, two per guest.


Cut off excess fat from the corned beef, cover with water completely, add spices, bring to boil, reduce to; a simmer, cover and cook as per directions on package.  The longer you cook the more tender it is.

One hour before the corned beef is done, add the potatoes to the pot – place them right on top of the beef.

Half an hour before beef is finished add the carrots to the pot.

15 minutes it is finished add the cabbage to the top of the pot.

Drain it all. Slice the corned beef and platter it with the veggies.

Extra Notes:

We serve Irish soda bread, and three sides for the meet...a mustard/horseradish mix, a yogurt and dill mix, and yogurt and horseradish (the dill one turns green in the food processor and is very pretty on the table).

Table settings have been pots of clover, tall stems of bells of Ireland - all lovely and springy.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sharpshootinstar's Irish Lamb Stew

This terrific Irish lamb stew could easily be made with beef, instead.

Irish Lamb Stew


2 lbs boneless lamb, cut into pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 large parsnip, chopped
3 large potatoes, peeled & quartered
1/2 tsp salt and black pepper to taste
4 cups water or beef stock


Heat oil over medium heat in a large stockpot or dutch oven.  Add lamb to brown.  Season with the salt and pepper, then add the veggies and the four cups of liquid. Stir, cover, and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for at least one hour. 

I like to let it go for two or more.  It seems it just gets more delicious as it continues to cook. :D  Serves 6-8.


a half cup of barley is a delicious addition to this stew.  Or serve it with irish flatbread :D

Sharpshootinstar's Irish Potato Skillet Bread

Sharpshootinstar says that this is also called Irish Flatbread!

The nutrition facts are at Calorie Count, go check them out and top o' the morning to ya!

Irish Potato Skillet Bread


4 potatoes (medium sized, nothing gigantic)
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon melted butter


Peel and halve potatoes and boil till tender, about 20 minutes, then mash 'em.  Add the flour and butter and mix well (you could add a dash of salt here if you wanted). 

This dough is sticky, so flour your rolling pin* and roll it out into a circle. 

Cut into quarters and transfer to a skillet that has a bit of nonstick spray or oil in it. 

Cook till evenly browned on both sides. 

These are good with eggs for breakfast or served as a side with dinner.


a rolling pin is not really necessary.  You can always just portion the dough ball out as you want it and flatten with your hands before frying.  That's usually how I do it, as I am a lazy cur. :D  Enjoy!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Megnar's Black Bean Casserole

The nutrition facts for this delicious vegetarian casserole can be found at Calorie Count!

Black Bean Casserole

6  corn tortillas
1 ½ cups  black beans
10  tomatillos
3  zucchinis, chopped
3  tomatoes, chopped
2 cup  onion, chopped
3 cloves  garlic, minced
1 tbsp  olive oil
1 cup  red bell pepper, chopped
¼  cup nutritional yeast
3 tsp  Mexican seasoning


Peel off the tomatillo skins.

Fill a large sauce pan with water and set to boil. When boiling drop in the peeled tomatillos and cook for 5 - 7 minutes until they start to soften. Drain the tomatillos.

Add the tomatillos, 1 garlic clove and 1/2 cup of the chopped onion into a blender and liquefy.

Chop all the remaining vegetables. Heat up the oil and sauté the onion and red bell pepper 5 minutes. Add the zucchinis and sauté till just tender. Add the black beans (drain and rinse if they are canned), chopped tomatoes and the nutritional yeast and sauté another few minutes.

Put about 1/4 of the tomatillo sauce into the bottom of a lightly greased baking dish. Layer half of the corn tortillas on top of the sauce. Put in the sautéed veggies. Layer the rest of the corn tortillas and the remainder of the sauce.

Stick in 425 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until hot.

Wharis124's Slow Cooker Spinach Chicken Feta Quiche

Yes, quiche in a slow cooker - with the wonderful nutrition of spinach! Wendy said that this delicious dish began with a recipe from Family Circle online, but that she tweaked it a bit. I think you'll find her version as yummy as she did.

The nutrition facts are at Calorie Count!

Spinach, Chicken, and Feta Quiche


2 1/2 chicken breasts (approximately 1 pound), raw, cut into 1 in chunks
1 pkg (10 oz) frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
6 oz fat free feta cheese
1/3 cup fresh dill
2 Tbsp onion flakes
6 large eggs
1 can fat free evaporated milk
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup Heart Healthy Bisquick

1. Coat slow cooker bowl with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In large bowl, combine chicken, spinach, feta, dill, and onion flakes. Stir until evenly blended.

3. In another bowl, whisk eggs, milk, and pepper. Stir into chicken mixture. Fold in Bisquick.

4. Pour into slow cooker. Cook for 6 hrs on LOW.

5. Remove slow cooker insert and turn out onto wire rack. Cut quiche into 8 wedges and serve.