Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Wilted Spinach

Wilted spinach can be totally delicious... as long as you don't buy it frozen... and as long as you mix some interesting stuff into it. My current favorite is a combination of dried fruit and nuts. If you want to get real crazy you can toss in some cheese too. Basically, choose something from column A, B and C.

Column A                        Column B                          Column C
Currants                                       Pecans                                            Parmesan
Golden raisins                           Slivered almonds                       Feta
Cranberries                                Walnuts                                          Blue
Dates                                             Pine nuts
Apricots                                       Sunflower seeds

What I like to do is saute a giant wad of spinach in a pan with a liiiiiiiittle bit of olive oil and wilt the shit out of it. Like to 1/5 its original volume. You might like it crunchier, tis your preference.


Turns into this...

I actually would have liked to cook it down even a bit more, it was a little watery for my taste.

Then I make a little hole in the middle and toast the nuts in the pan for a few minutes. You can do this in different pans or do one, remove it and do the other, but my way is the nice and lazy way.

Then toss in the fruit and or cheese, toss it all around, and have yourself a flavorful little side dish!

I went cheeseless because I served it with another cheesy side dish along with my pork chop. Side note, I used this method to cook the chops and GAAADDAYAM they were delicious.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Chocolate Chip Currant Low-carb Cookie Cake Thing

I decided to try to make a low-carb baked good that didn't taste like shit, or more specifically, weird spongy eggy shit. I tried a couple recipes that used just almond flour or coconut flour and they required so many eggs that eggs were all I could taste (and I hate eggs). I was searching the fancy-pants aisles at the grocery store and came across something called Low-Carb (or crab as I just type... hahahahaha low-crab baking!... heh) Baking Mix which had a bunch of different expensive ingredients mixed together.

I adapted a traditional choco-chip cookie recipe to incorporate the baking mix and xylitol, which is a sugar substitute that I actually think tastes good. It is made from birch trees (if you get the right brand, some are made from corn) and has a very low glycemic index which makes it better for diabetics.

I decided to include a little molasses since most cookie recipes call for brown sugar too, and I wanted to stick with the xylitol. I am not sure if it was necessary, but it made the batter look the right color.

I also went high on the salt to try to balance out the extra-sweet taste of the xylitol. I was a bit worried when I tasted the batter that it would be too sweet, but the finished product was definitely not overly sweet.

They didn't come out like cookies exactly, so much as like a dense cookie flavored cake, which all in all, I think is a win. The baking mix is very "whole grain" in flavor and texture, so it is kind of muffin-y in that sense. Still, I like it, and it is worth eating. Although the baking mix is expensive and so is the xylitol, so at some point it may be worth just making regular baked goods and eating smaller portions of them.

Post script... these are really growing on me. Two days later I am loving them! They are so different than anything else I have made, and the combo of chocolate and currants is just delightful.

2 c Red Mill Low-Carb Baking Mix
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1 c butter
1 c xylitol
1 tsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
chocolate chips to taste
currants to taste

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Grease a large pan. Beat butter, sugar, molasses and vanilla in a large bowl, then beat in each egg. Gradually mix in baking mix, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chips and currants. Spread into pan, bake 20 minutes.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Dave came back from our Thanksgiving trip home with a cold and when asked what kind of soup he wanted, he told me "chicken tortilla soup but no tomatoes".  I did some Googling and voila!  Pioneer Woman had a chicken tortilla soup that sounded delicious though I had to do some tweaking because Dave later informed me he didn't want beans in it either.  Which I later found out was good because we'd eaten all the canned beans we usually keep stocked.  You'll notice I added tomato paste to the soup.  First of all, I asked Dave if it would hurt his feelings if I added the paste and he allowed it.  It doesn't add a tomato-y flavor but it adds a depth that worked well with the spices.

This tasty soup was warm and filling and I wanted to make it again because we ate it rather quickly.  I haven't made it again yet but we still have some corn tortillas left so I'll probably make it again soon.


2 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 onion, diced
6 sweet mini peppers, diced (could use 1 bell pepper instead)
3 cloves garlic
4oz can diced green chiles
4 14 oz cans chicken broth
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 corn tortillas cut into strips
sour cream
shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 375.  Mix together cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and salt in a small ramekin.  Drizzle chicken breasts with about 1 tablespoon olive oil and enough seasoning mix to coat both sides.  Place seasoned breasts in a glass dish and roast about 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

While the chicken is roasting, drizzle about 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium heat.  Saute onion and bell peppers a couple of minutes, until they start to soften.  Sprinkle with remaining spice mix and stir until veggies are well coated.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the green chiles and chicken broth and bring to a simmer.  Let simmer while your chicken cooks.

Let chicken rest about 5 minutes after removing from oven.  Cut into pieces and add to soup.  Simmer about 5 minutes.  Add corn and tomato paste.  While flavors are melding, slice up your tortillas and cut up avocado.  Place a small handful of tortilla strips to your serving bowl, ladle soup over it and garnish with avocado, sour cream, cilantro and shredded cheese.  Then eat up!

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman