Spicy and Sweet dumpling salad

I have a strange obsession with dumplings which depending on where you are in the world can also be called a potsticker, gyoza or simply ravioli. They generally has a small amount of meat and some vegetables wrapped around a wrapper and you can boil, fry, bake or any combination of the three cooking methods. I have made my fair share of homemade dumplings but I have found a frozen brand that is delicious and I haven’t made a single dumpling since. A friend of mine showed me where there is a dumpling restaurant in Montreal that I’m kind of happy isn’t closer to me.
IMG_5588.JPGI’m sure that I am not off the hook and they are not difficult to make but sometimes a quick and simple lunch or dinner is just what the doctor ordered. Today we have been getting things done. We cut down our tree and it is finally is in place, we’ll need to get it decorated before the weekend ends.
IMG_5571This recipe fits a few of my requirements especially this time of year it is quick, easy, and limits my dumpling eating to a few and not the whole pan 🙂 which I could easily do but should most definitely not.
IMG_5581Sweet and Spicy Korean Dumpling Salad

3-5 dumplings per serving
Lettuce a few leaves chopped
Cabbage a few slices chopped
1 small Cucumber – peeled, seeded and julienned
1 small Carrot – peeled and julienned
1-2 tablespoons oil for pan frying
IMG_5584Spicy & sweet dressing
1 tablespoon Koren chili paste
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon sugar in the raw
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Place veggies in a bowl and set aside. Place all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk till combined.
Heat oil in a pan on medium low heat and arrange the dumplings so the bottoms are all touching the pan, you’ll want to brown the bottoms and then add a tablespoon or two to the pan and cover with a lid cook for about 5-10 minutes till the dumplings are cooked thru.
Mix everything when you are about to sit down and eat so the veggies and dumplings stay crunchy.
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Macros = 1 serving – recipe makes 3-4 with 4 dumplings per
227 Calories – 5 g Fat – 36 g Carbs – 9 g Protein

 

recipe adapted from Korean kitchen

Tomato butternut squash soup

Pretty much every Friday at work a group of us order lunch out from somewhere in town. How we decide depends on if someone wants to run out and pick it up; which generally isn’t the case so we end up ordering from 1 of the 2 places that will deliver. If we can get someone to run there are so many more options and it is getting that time of year where most places have soup back on their menus.  There is a marketplace in the center of town that makes a mean tomato cheddar soup.  They are kind of “famous’ for it. Or at least here in town they are.  It is only soup that is on the menu every day of the week.
IMG_5520Many years ago one of my co-worker’s and I used to get a bowl of Tomato Cheddar each and split a loaf of their fresh made french bread at least once a month; we did this for a couple of years. The marketplace was sold and the new owner still made the soup it wasn’t quite the same so we stopped going there.  

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I think this looks pretty cool! It makes me smile…

A couple of weeks ago we decided to give it a try. I ordered a cup and was going to forgo on the bread; still trying to eat a little healthier. When I googled the nutrition of a cup of tomato cheddar soup I was shocked and so disappointed. I could eat that little cup of soup but that would have been pretty much it for the day. I had no idea; if nothing else paying attention to macros-protein, carbs and fat. I am trying to make better choices; but being a foodie I will not compromise eating yummy food.
IMG_5525I had heard and seen people on TV use butternut squash in recipes in place of cheese. I know I too was a skeptic. I hadn’t tried anything until I bought a cup of soup I didn’t feel I should eat. The I was on a mission I was going to make a hearty tomato soup that had the love that tomato cheddar has without taking up so much of my fat allowance.
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1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium or 1 large onion, diced
1 ½ lb butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon basil
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
½ teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons sugar –  optional
chives and pumpkin seeds – optional but a very nice touch!

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent about 8 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the butternut squash and continue sauteing for another 10-20 minutes stirring a few times.

Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer on low for about an hour.

Puree with whatever you have, I use my immersion blender for convenience
Add salt and pepper to taste.
IMG_5531Bonus is you can freeze the leftovers since there is no cheese or cream

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My husband and I taste tested adding sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds – pumpkin won!!!


Tomato & Butternut Squash soup
Macros = 8 ounce
68 Calories – 2.2g Fat – 10.9g Carbs – 3g Protein

Tomato & Cheddar Soup generic
Comparison Macro = 8 ounce
370 Calories – 28g Fat – 19g Carbs – 15g Protein

Egg Roll in a Bowl

Tis the season for the gardens to be cleaned out and prepped for next year!  It has been a pretty disappointing gardening season for me this year.  My garlic and onions were small, I didn’t get any cucumbers, my pepper and eggplant plants died and I may have gotten 10 squash in total. It wasn’t a total loss I still have a couple of enormous cabbages and I still have some rainbow beets and rainbow carrots that I am leaving in the ground until I need to take them out.
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So processing produce has been kept to a minimum this year and that is OK with me; though who eats that much cabbage? I know we don’t I gave some to my family but they wouldn’t even take one of the huge ones – gosh I can’t understand why…
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I did find a great recipe for Eggroll in a Bowl. Basically it is everything that goes into an eggroll minus the fried wrapper. I know that is probably the best part, this very easy and better for you. The first batch I made it was a little too spicy for my husband so I cut back on the crushed red pepper flakes and it still taste delish. Since I made it twice in a very short period of time, I ended up portioning it out and put them in the freezer. Great when/if you bring lunch to work and have access to a microwave.
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Egg Roll in a Bowl

Ingredients

9 cups shredded or chopped cabbage
1 1/2 cup shredded carrots
2 medium onions, diced
1 1/2 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup beef broth
4 teaspoon Tamari or soy sauce
1 1/2 pound ground or diced chicken – can also use turkey or pork
Scallions for garnish

Instructions

using a large skillet cook the meat till browned, add the onions and sesame oil. cook until lightly browned. Reduce heat to medium; add spices and broth and stir well.
Add the cabbage and stir to coat. Cook stirring frequently until the cabbage slightly wilts.
Add carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft.
Add tamari to taste and adjust flavorings as desired.
Serve plain or you can serve over rice
Garnish with green onions if desired.
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Macros – using diced chicken and 1 cup
97 Calories
2 Fat
16 Carbs
5.5 Protein

Pasta e Fagioli – similar to Olive Garden

Soup season came pretty quickly; at least for a couple of day. Nothing like going from 90’ to 40’ within a couple of days to start me thinking of making soup; literally any soup is fine with me. I do have a secret fantasy; well I guess it’s not a secret anymore; but to open a little soup shop. Kind of like a loaf and ladle kind of place. Because having a nice piece of bread with a warm cup of soup is just plain heaven to me.
IMG_5441I remember being in NY City quite a few year ago doing some sightseeing with my husband and we went looking for the Soup Nazi – you know the one that the show Seinfeld made a little more famous than he might have wanted to be. It really was a small hole in the wall kind of place on a side street and I thought it was simply brilliant. I can’t remember the exact wording but the sign said something like know what you want to order, have your money ready, place your order and move all the way to the left. Me being; well me I couldn’t stop smiling so I can only guess he knew I was only there because of the Seinfeld episode. My husband and I stepped up with our order and money ready, placed and paid and moved to the left. Apparently not far enough; or he played along; but we were pointed at and motioned to move further to the left. Still brings a smile to my face.
IMG_5439Anyway I loved how you got your soup, a spoon, napkin, an apple and a piece of bread ripped from a loaf all in  brown paper bag. What a great lunch; I would go there daily if I lived or worked close by. So simple yet so fulfilling.
IMG_5440Pasta e Fagioli Soup makes approximately 12 cups – freezes nicely

Ingredients
1 pound lean ground turkey (your choice – chicken, beef, sausage all would be great)
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
32 ounce low sodium beef or chicken broth plus a little more as needed or use water
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
28 ounce can tomato sauce
1 ½ tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
¾ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried marjoram – or substitute with more oregano
1 cup ditalini pasta – or substitute with another small pasta
1 15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can northern beans, drained and rinsed
Kosher salt and fresh crack Black Pepper to taste

Instructions
Heat 1 tbs olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat, crumble in the meat and cook, stirring occasionally until cooked through. Drain fat and transfer to a plate and set aside. Heat remaining olive oil add carrots, celery and onions over medium-high heat until tender, about 6 minutes, add garlic saute another minute or so. Reduce heat to low, add the tomato sauce, broth, tomatoes and all the spices plus the meat back into the pot. Cover with a lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, until veggies are tender, about 20 minutes.
Prepare pasta according to the directions on the box. Add cooked drained pasta to the soup along with both cans of beans. Allow to meld for a few minutes. Serve warm with grated parmesan or romano cheese.
IMG_5446Macros = 1 cup using ground turkey
Calories 221
Fat 7.54
Carbs 21.25
Protein 18.2

Ground Turkey Chili

I believe I mentioned a few weeks ago trying to pay a little more attention to what I was eating. Well it has been a pretty slow process for me. I refuse to eat something healthy that I can’t stand the taste of just because it’s healthier. In the same breath I have definitely gone the other way and also refuse to waste calories on something that isn’t worth it.  I’ve spit out gum, candy and baked goods  and deemed them not calorie worthy.
IMG_5419So this last week I bought extra lean ground turkey and some ground chicken with absolutely no idea what to do with them, but I knew they were better for me than my lovely Ribeye that I cooked last week wink wink.
IMG_5412So I set myself a task of turning 94% lean ground turkey into something delicious. Or at the very least something I could eat and not throw away. It was surprisingly easy; a few pantry items and some spices I made a wonderful Ground Turkey Chili. I had intended to take one of the cans of beans and smash them to thicken the stew but I forgot and just added it but the next time I might, just to make it a little thicker, though totally not necessary.
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Ground Turkey Chili
1 lb ground turkey
Swirl or two extra virgin olive oil
1 10 oz can rotel
1 15.8 oz great northern beans
1 16 oz can pinto beans
1 15 oz can white hominy
1 32 oz low sodium chicken broth – or homemade
1 large onion diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 small bulbs shallots diced
1 medium green pepper seeded & chopped – I added this because I needed to use it up
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Handful fresh spinach leaves – I added this also to use it up
3-4 drops of sriracha hot chili sauce – to taste
IMG_5415It’s best to take everything out and put it on the counter and chop all the vegetables.
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In a dutch oven or your favorite soup pot. Swirl a little oil in the bottom, add the onions, garlic, green pepper and shallots, sweat for a couple of minutes, add the turkey and brown. Add cumin, salt and pepper then the beans and hominy. Cover with broth and toss in a handful of the spinach. Finish off with some sriracha and taste for salt.

Tastes even better the next day; according to my husband!
IMG_5414I am going to try to start including this information with my recipes; I will do my best but forgive me if they all don’t include it

Serving size: 1 cup
Makes: approx. 12 cups
Calories: 206.53
Fat: 3.56 g
Carbs: 31.78 g
Protein: 13.77 g

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Sauteed Scallops & Swiss Chard

I have been craving scallops lately; when I order them out I love them fried; when I make them at home I tend to always sear them.  They take no time at all to cook so this could be a wonderful quick weeknight meal. Even though I made them; I still want to go out for some crispy, tender, juicy fried scallops. They are just plain delicate and delicious!
IMG_5359My husband has taken over the task from my son who is now living with his girlfriend; of asking me “what are we having for dinner?” When I said sauteed scallops & Swiss chard over rice. His face lit up and said Risotto? Well I was thinking wild rice but we haven’t had risotto in quite awhile so why not? Now I can tell you why not; since scallops are on the lighter side for flavor the heavy Parmesan flavored risotto overpowered my sauteed scallops.  Not to say dinner was a disaster; it was absolutely delicious and I would make it again, but with either a wild rice or jasmine or even a basmati rice. IMG_5355

Ingredients

Scallops – I buy by the quantity I want to serve each person plus a couple of tasting
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 small shallot, minced
¼ cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon dijon mustard
½ teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon butter

Directions

In a large nonstick fry pan over medium heat, add a couple of swirls of the olive oil. Add the chard and season with salt and pepper. Saute until just softened, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm
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Scallops; remove muscle, pat dry and season with salt and pepper. In the same pan over medium high heat and another swirl of olive oil. Add the scallops and cook; without moving so they get nice and browned; after 3 or so minutes turning once to finish cooking. They are done with they are still springy to the touch and no longer translucent. Approximately 3 minutes on each side. Transfer scallops to a plate and keep warm.
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Add another swirl of olive oil and saute the shallots till they are softened a couple of minutes. Add wine and boil until it’s almost evaporated. Stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Add the broth, lemon juice, mustard and the thyme. Boil until slightly thickened. Remove from heat, add the butter and stir till melted. Season with salt and pepper.


Place a spoon or two of rice on a plate or in a bowl; top with the chard and then arrange the scallops on top and then spoon the sauce over it.
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16 Bean Soup – pasta e fagioli

Last weekend my daughter and I were binge watching some Ina Garten episodes and we have already made 3 of the recipes. She is my favorite “I can make that” person to watch.  I have on numerous occasions watched an episode and then my mind starts racing to my fridge/freezer and pantry to see if I have everything so I can make it when I’m finished watching.

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They look beautiful; before they were cooked

The one I want to share with you today I had to go to the store for 16 bean soup mix I know a few of my close friends that read my blog are going to ask me what the heck is fagioli it is simply pasta and beans. I want to share with you a couple of my thought processes; just to proving once again that that I can be a total nerd!  First thought; it was a passing thought – don’t judge me “16 beans, you have to buy 16 different bags of beans to make a soup, that’s going to be HUGE?” OK there must be a 16 bean mixture you can buy.  I get to the store and I see 15 bean mixtures; another passing thought Oh Sure Ina’s store gets 16 beans; my store only gets to 15 whatever so a few bags away there it is a 16 bean mixture bag of beans. I’ve been to this area of my store numerous times and never even noticed them there.

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So I had everything else I needed but should I actually make a hot soup when we are having a heat wave this week? The quick answer is yes I really wanted to make it as it looked awesome! Result the fam loved it and I will most definitely be making it again. I also have to share that there was one bean that kinda scared me, the fava bean was HUGE so I made sure that when I pulled out the portion to smash; to thicken the soup I made sure they were in that pile. I’m such a baby!
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Pasta E Fagioli

1 bag of 16 bean soup mix – (Goya)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 package 6 ounces pancetta diced
1 large onion diced
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup dry red wine
4+ chicken stock
kosher salt & black pepper
1 cup miniature pasta – Ditalini
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 table spoon red wine vinegar
a few fresh basil leaves – julienned


Directions
you’ll need to soak the beans the day before. In a large bowl cover the beans and add an extra 2 inches above; cover and place in the fridge. Day 2 drain the beans and rinse under cold water.  Place the beans in a large pot and cover with 8 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about an hour.  If needed skim off any foam and toss.
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In a stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat add the pancetta and onion, saute till browned, roughly 12-18 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, saute another minute. Add the tomatoes, wine and 4 cups of stock. 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus 1 teaspoon black pepper. Remove from the heat

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as I said, they were very colorful before being cooked

To thicken the soup a little drain the beans and add two thirds of them to the soup. Put the rest of them through a food mill or like to mash them. If you used the food mill discard the skins. Stir the bean puree and the pasta into the soup. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 to 30 minutes stirring occasionally; until the pasta is tender. If the soup is too thick add more chicken stock till you get the consistency you like. Stir in the parmesan cheese and the red wine vinegar. Serve with a swirl of olive oil, a little more parmesan cheese and some basil.

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Recipe from Ina Garten – Food Network