Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cranberry Relish

I will be making a double batch of this super-easy relish tomorrow. Though I prefer to make it with Splenda, feel free to indulge with real sugar. How much you need depends on how sweet the berries are. Mix in the sugar last, a little at a time, until you like it.

Cranberry Relish

1 bag fresh cranberries
1 orange, peeled
1 single-serving applesauce
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 - 1 c sugar or Splenda

Pulse the cranberries and oranges in a food processor until smooth. Stir in applesauce a d cinnamon. Add sugar to taste. Refrigerate a few hours before serving. Keep up to a week in fridge.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thai Turkey

This is wickedly good - wonderful for leftover Thanksgiving turkey, or you can always use shredded chicken. I actually combined them both this time, because I didn't have quite enough of either, and it tasted just fine. It goes together in 15 minutes or less, and reheats very well - if there's any left! (Leftovers would be wonderful in a burrito, by the way.) It's very low fat (about 4 WW points), too. Serve over a bed of fresh spinach leaves.

Thai Turkey

3 c. diced or shredded turkey
3 green onions
1 red bell pepper
2 garlic clove, minced
4 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. Dried cilantro leaves
2 tbsp. honey
3 tsp. curry powder
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. vegetable oil
Cilantro sprigs for garnish, optional

Coarsely shred turkey-breast meat. Thinly slice green onions; cut red pepper into 2-inch-long, matchstick-thin strips. In small bowl, mix garlic, soy sauce, cilantro, honey, curry powder, sesame oil, cornstarch, crushed red pepper, and 1/3 cup water until well blended. In a skillet over high heat, in hot salad oil, cook green onions and pepper, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender and golden. Stir in liquid mixture and shredded turkey meat and cook, stirring to coat turkey well, until heated through. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Serves 4.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Italian Chicken Soup

The original recipe for this elegant soup called for the cook to make her own broth. I did that - once. After that I decided to make the recipe considerably easier on myself, and started using vegetable broth instead. The chicken in this recipe is a good candidate for the slow-cooked Just Chicken, but I have used rotisserie with good success, too. It reheats and freezes quite well.

Italian Chicken Soup

1 carton (4 cups) vegetable broth
2 cups water
2 tsp low-sodium chicken bouillon granules
2 bay leaves
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
6 green onions, sliced thin
1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley or 1-2 tbsp. dried parsley
1/4 c. ketchup
1 tsp. crushed rosemary
1/2 tsp basil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 5-oz cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
3 c. shredded cooked chicken
Parmesan or Romano cheese, optional

Combine all ingredients except beans and chicken in a large soup pan.Bring to a boil. reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add beans and chicken, heat through. If desired, garnish with cheese. Serves 6-8.

White Chili

I adapted this recipe from one I found on the internet, and YUM! This uses chicken from the Just Chicken recipe, but you can use whatever you happen to have. It's a nice change from traditional chili, and if you want to kick up the heat, just add more cayenne and chipotle seasonings.

White Chili

1 tsp. canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 cups chicken broth
1 7-oz can diced green chilies, undrained
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cilantrao
1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
1/8 tsp cayenne
2 15-oz cans cannelinni beans (great northern), rinsed and drained
8 oz block pepper jack cheese, divided
sour cream, optional

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Add onions and cook until tender. Add chicken, broth, and spices. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Cut block of cheese in half. Shred one half and set aside for garnish. Cut the other half into small cubes. Add cheese cubes and beans to chili. Stir well. Cover and simmer 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and can be stirred thoroughly into chili.

Stir in beans and cook until warmed through. Garnish with sour cream and shredded cheese. Serves 6-8.

Just Chicken

I enjoy chicken dishes, but I hate to cut and handle raw chicken. Gross. Recently I discovered a couple of tricks for cooking it that are a) relatively mess-free; b) super-duper easy; and c) produce jaw-droppingly tender chicken that falls apart when you touch it.

So... Tip One: freeze your chicken, and only thaw it enough to get a sharp knife through it. It's so much easier to handle this way, and considerly less slimy. (Though I will admit that your hands get pretty cold by the time you're finished!)

Tip Two: Cook that sucker in the crock pot! I have a 3-qt pot that will hold about 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut up in big chunks). I drop it in the cooker just before bed. In the morning, it's nice and tender, and I pull out the chicken to cool just to the point that I can handle it without burning my fingers, and shred it in a large bowl. This will produce enough shredded meat for 3-4 recipes, or it will make burritos for a crowd of 20 or so. You always want some kind of liquid, but there doesn't have to be a lot of it, either.

Here are a few options for seasonings and liquids. For each one, cut the chicken in big chunks, mix up into the liquid, and cook on low for about 8 hours:

Spicy Chicken
1 jar salsa, your choice
1/2 c. chicken broth or water
chili powder to taste
(You can reserve the liquid if you want, or you can chunk it. I use about a cup and mix it back into the shredded chicken if I am using it for burritos or tacos.)

Generic Chicken (suitable for most any recipe)
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
pepper to taste
pinch garlic powder
salt, optional
(This makes delicious broth. Strain out the gook that floats to the top and save it for a later recipe.)

Italian Chicken
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. crushed rosemary
1 bay leaf
black pepper to taste
(Another good one for broth, but make sure you use it in a dish it will complement)

FYI: one boneless skinless chicken breast will shred into about 3/4 cup of meat.