Easy Pasta From Scratch

Making pasta from scratch intimidates a lot of home chefs, but it’s pretty easy. It’s just 4 ingredients, rolled together, rested, flattened, cut, and boiled. Really, that’s it!

I use a KitchenAid for the mixing, flattening, and cutting, but everything can be done by hand.

USING A KITCHENAID

In the metal bowl, add 2 cups of flour (I use all-purpose). Then add 3 slightly scrambled eggs, a tablespoon of olive oil, and a pinch of salt.

Secure the bowl to the KitchenAid and add the dough hook. Lower the top of the KitchenAid and secure it. Place the speed on 2 or 3 and mix for about 10 minutes. Stop the mixing a few times and scrape down the sides. Mix until the dough becomes a ball and releases from the bowl and stays on the hook. You may need to add a few drops of water if it’s dry, or more flour (a tablespoon at a time) if it’s too wet. Where you live, climate, or kitchen temperature can affect the dough.

Place some flour on a clean countertop or cutting board. Place the dough ball onto the flour and knead the dough for a few minutes. Kneading is pushing out the dough with the palm of your hand outward and slightly to the right, fold the dough in half, and now knead outward and slightly to the left.

Mold the dough into a ball. Once you can press the dough slightly and it bounces back, you’re done kneading. Wrap the dough with cling wrap, or covered with a clean dish towel, and let it rest on the counter for about 30 mins upto a few hours. If using a dish towel, make sure it’s not drying out.

Attach the pasta roller to the front of the KitchenAid and move the dial to the thickest setting. Set it on the lowest setting and sprinkle the rollers with flour.

Grab 2 sheet pans (or something close to that) and sprinkle flour over them. Set aside.

After the dough rests, cut up the ball into 8 pieces. Grab one of the pieces and place the cling wrap or dish towel over the other 7.

Flatten the dough piece slightly with your hands and dust it with flour. Place the dough in the rollers (thickest setting) and roll it out. Set the thickness setting on the next thinner setting (or two), dust the dough with flour if needed, and roll out the dough. Keep going thinner (and dust if needed) until you get your desired thickness (I stop at 7 or a few setting before the thinnest setting).

Cut the dough crosswise in half into 2 pieces and place the rolled out dough onto the pasta drying rack. Sprinkle the dough with flour. Cover the dough with cling wrap or a dish towel.

Repeat with the next piece of dough, and place under the cling wrap or towel for just 1 layer. In-between layers, sprinkle the cling wrap or towel with flour and repeat until all the pieces of dough are done.

Remove the pasta roller and add the pasta cutter to the front of the KitchenAid. Turn on the cutter on the lowest setting and sprinkle the cutters with flour.

Get one of the flatted pieces of dough and cover the rest. Dust with flour if needed and run it through the cutter. Definitely sprinkle the cut pasta with flour and place them on the 2nd sheet pan.

BY HAND

On a clean counter, place 2 cups of flour (I use all-purpose). Make a divot (circle well) in the center of the flour (not going all the way to the bottom)..Then add to the divot/well 3 slightly scrambled eggs, a tablespoon of olive oil, and a pinch of salt.

With a fork, start mixing a little bit of the flour to the egg and keep going (little by little) until all combined (or mostly combined.

Knead the dough for a few about 10 minutes. Kneading is pushing out the dough with the palm of your hand outward and slightly to the right, fold the dough in half, and now knead outward and slightly to the left. Sprinkle the dough and the counter top with flour frequently.

Mold the dough into a ball. Once you can press the dough slightly and it bounces back, you’re done kneading. Wrap the dough with cling wrap, or covered with a clean dish towel, and let it rest on the counter for about 30 mins upto a few hours. If using a dish towel, make sure it’s not drying out.

Grab 1 sheet pan (or something close to that) and sprinkle flour over it. Set aside.

Clean up the counter where you did the kneading (scrape up wet or dry pasta).

After the dough rests, cut up the ball into 8 pieces. Grab one of the pieces and place the cling wrap or dish towel over the other 7.

Sprinkle the counter and the piece of dough with flour. Also flour a wood rolling pin. Roll the dough out with the rolling pin, sprinkling the counter, dough, and rolling pin with flour as needed. Keep rolling out until desired thickness (about 1/16 inch thick). Cut in half. Cover one half while cutting other half.

Sprinkle flour on a pizza cutter or large knife, and cut the dough into pasta strips.

  • 1 to 2 millimeters for spaghetti
  • 1/4 inch for fettuccine
  • 2 to 3 inches for lasagna

Spaghetti/fettuccine (slices of pasta): Holding the pasta with it touching the pan, twist your wrist so you make a nest of pasta. If you skip the nest step, just add the pasta to the pan, sprinkle with flour, and gently mix. No need to cover the cut pasta. Repeat until done.

Lasagna (large slices): Cut dough and place on sheet pan in 1 layer. When you’re ready for a new layer, sprinkle flour on the lasagna pieces, cover the pieces, sprinkle flour over the cover. Repeat until done.

BOIL PASTA

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add some salt to the boiling water. Gently shake the flour off the pasta pieces and add the pasta gently to the water. Stir now and occasionally so they don’t stick to each other. Cook for a few minutes (I cook mine about 4 minutes for fettuccine). Taste a piece of the pasta until it’s cooked to your desire.

2 cups of flour (I use all-purpose). Then add 3 slightly scrambled eggs, a tablespoon of olive oil, and a pinch of salt.

Grab a coffee mug and scoop out some of the water (which now has starch in it which can be used for thickening sauces). Drain the pasta and add it directly to your sauce or mix the pasta with butter and olive oil, and garish with parsley.

NOTES

  • When mixing the egg into the flour, if it’s too wet add some flour, and if it’s too dry add some water. Add either one tablespoon at a time. Where you live, climate, and temperature of your kitchen can affect the dough.
  • If you insert the dough into the KitchenAid roller on the thinest setting in the beginning, just remove it, clean up the roller, push the dough back together, and start again at the thickest setting.
  • Make sure you have flour on hand at all times.
  • Yes, you can use egg substitute instead of fresh eggs for less calories. And if your sauce is just butter, you can use I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.

I hope this inspires you to make pasta from scratch.

Please leave a comment, and sign up to my blog for more recipes.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3 slightly scrambled eggs
  • tablespoon of olive oil
  • pinch of salt

EQUIPMENT

  • KitchenAid with dough hook (or countertop and fork)
  • Pasta roller (or rolling pin or wine bottle)
  • Pasta cutter (or pizza cutter, or knife)
  • Cling wrap (or dish towel)
  • Sheet pan or pasta drying rack

DIRECTIONS USING KITCHENAID

  1. In the KitchenAid’s metal bowl, add 2 cups of flour, 3 slightly scrambled eggs, a tablespoon of olive oil, and a pinch of salt.
  2. Secure the bowl to the KitchenAid and add the dough hook.
  3. Lower the top of the KitchenAid and secure it.
  4. Place the speed on 2 or 3
  5. Mix for about 10 minutes
  6. Stop the mixing a few times and scrape down the sides.
  7. Mix until the dough becomes a ball and releases from the bowl and stays on the hook.
  8. You may need to add a few drops of water if it’s dry.
  9. Place some flour on a clean countertop or cutting board.
  10. Place the dough ball onto the flour
  11. Knead the dough for a few minutes.
  12. Once you can press the dough slightly and it bounces back, you’re done kneading.
  13. Mold the dough into a ball.
  14. Wrap the dough with cling wrap, or covered with a clean dish towel
  15. Let it rest on the counter for about 30 minutes.
  16. Cut up the ball into 8 pieces.
  17. Grab one of the pieces and place the cling wrap or dish towel over the others
  18. Attach the pasta roller to the front of the KitchenAid
  19. Set it on the lowest setting (thickest) and sprinkle the rollers with flour.
  20. Flatten the dough piece slightly with your hands and dust it with flour.
  21. Place the dough in the rollers (thickest setting) and roll it out.
  22. Set the thickness setting on the next thinner setting (or two), dust the dough with flour if needed, and roll out the dough.
  23. Keep going thinner (and dust if needed) until you get your desired thickness
  24. Cut in half
  25. Place on a sheet pan or counter and cover
  26. Repeat with the next piece of dough until all done
  27. Remove the pasta roller and add the pasta cutter to the front of the KitchenAid.
  28. Turn on the cutter on the lowest setting and sprinkle the cutters with flour.
  29. Get one of the flatted pieces of dough and cover the rest.
  30. Dust pasta with flour and run it through the cutter.
  31. Dust cut pasta with flour again.
  32. Place cut pasta pieces on a sheet pan in a pile or pasta drying rack.
  33. Repeat with the rest of the pasta
  34. Let pasta dry

DIRECTIONS BY HAND

  1. On the countertop, add 2 cups of flour.
  2. Make a divot in the center of the flour (like making a flour bowl) and add 3 slightly scrambled eggs, a tablespoon of olive oil, and a pinch of salt.
  3. Start mixing the eggs with a small amount of flour and keep adding small amounts untill almost all combined.
  4. Knead the dough for a about 10 minutes.
  5. Once you can press the dough slightly and it bounces back, you’re done kneading.
  6. Mold the dough into a ball.
  7. Wrap the dough with cling wrap, or covered with a clean dish towel
  8. Let it rest on the counter for about 30 minutes.
  9. Cut up the ball into 8 pieces.
  10. Grab one of the pieces and place the cling wrap or dish towel over the others
  11. Sprinkle the pasta with flour
  12. Sprinkle a rolling pin (or you can even use a wine bottle) with flour.
  13. Roll out the dough piece until you get your desired thickness
  14. With a pizza cutter or knife, Cut the flatted pasta in half, then into strips.
  15. Dust pasta with flour.
  16. Place cut pasta pieces on a sheet pan in a pile or pasta drying rack.
  17. Repeat with the rest of the pasta
  18. Let pasta dry

Valentine’s Day Heart-Shaped Salmon

I wanted to make a special Valentine’s day dinner at home for my hubby instead of going out to dinner this year. So I made him heart-shaped Salmon and green beans over rice, with a side of homemade dill Greek yogurt sauce.

This blog is more of an idea I wanted to share and not a recipe (although recipe links are below). You can mix and match the starch, veggie, and protein. The main idea is to get a large heart shape cookie cutter and fill it.

I made the rice in my rice cooker. You can find the recipe here.

I then took a the heart shaped cookie cutter and cut the salmon into a half heart shape. Removed the cookie cutter, wrapped the salmon pieces in parchment paper and baked it. You can find this recipe here. Then I microwaved green beans.

Then after I washed the cookie cutter, I placed it on a plate. Filled it with rice, then placed half of a heart-shaped Salmon and filled the rest of the heart with the green beans. Removed the cookie cutter, repeat for my dish, and served warm.

For the sauce, I mixed a cup of fat free Greek yogurt, tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon, tablespoon of dill, and salt & pepper to taste. I placed a dollop of the dill yogurt sauce on a small plate and placed a lemon slice on top.

I hope this inspires you to make a heart shaped dinner for you love!

Please leave a comment, and sign up to my blog for more recipes.

Lighted Up Spatchcock Chicken

Spatchcock chicken is the best way to cook a chicken because it cooks evenly.

So what is spatchcock? It is when you cut out the backbone of the chicken. Then you turn the chicken breast side up and press down on the breast bone to flatten it. That’s it!

To go a step further, loosen the skin and place melted I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter (mixed with Italian seasoning and salt & pepper) under the skin. Place the chicken, breast side up, on a rimmed baking sheet with a rack, including the backbone for future stock.

Cook at 400 degrees for 1 hour until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Cut it up into pieces and serve.

Ingredients:

  • One 3-4 pound chicken
  • 1 tbsp I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Equipment:

  • Cutting board
  • Kitchen shears
  • Rimmed baking sheet
  • Rack
  • Thermometer (oven-safe if you have one)
  • Tinfoil

Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 60 minutes
Rest time 10 minutes
Total time 1 hour 25 minutes


Directions:

  1. Preheat over to 400 degrees
  2. Melt 1 tbsp of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter
  3. Mix into the butter 1 tbsp of Italian seasoning and a pinch of salt and pepper
  4. Pat dry one 3-4 pound chicken
  5. Turn the chicken over onto it’s belly
  6. With kitchen shears cut out the backbone (reserve)
  7. Turn chicken over onto it’s back and press down on the breast bone to flatten
  8. Loosen skin and place the butter under the skin (from the top and from the bottom)
  9. Place the chicken breast side up on a rimmed baking sheet that has a rack
  10. Also place the backbone in the baking sheet
  11. Insert an oven-save thermometer (or skip until the end if you have a regular meat thermometer )
  12. Bake for 1 hour until the internal temp is 165 degrees (check with a regular meat thermometer now if no oven-safe one)
  13. Cover with tinfoil and rest for 10 minutes
  14. Enjoy

Please let me know if you make this recipe, and please join my blog! Happy cooking!!!!

Lightened Up Stuffed Peppers

One of my mom’s go-to meals was the stuffed pepper. You can stuff the pepper with anything, especially left overs. You can make taco peppers, pasta peppers, even veggie peppers. This is my lighted up recipe of the classic stuffed pepper.

Instead of ground beef, which has a lot of calories and is greasy, I use ground chicken (but you can also use ground turkey). I also use brown rice. My hubby just bought me my first rice cooker and it’s a game changer!!! Check out my rice cooker on my Kitchen Toys page.

The basic premise of the stuffed pepper is to cut open bell peppers, fill it with meat and rice (and I add a veg) or stuff it with whatever you have, cook it and top it with tomato sauce and cheese. I use thin sliced provolone cheese, but again – make it your own! You can add some onions (didn’t have any that night – sigh), some carb or filler (rice, pasta or even cauliflower rice), some veg to sneak in the good stuff, ground or minced meat (totally optional), sauce, and cheese. And that’s it. The variety is endless! Think of it like this, you can make a stuffed pepper with a bell pepper and a left over fast-food burger with a few touches. But less keep this recipe light. Here’s what to do…

Prepare the brown rice (see my rice cooker recipe), and set aside to keep warm. This takes about 70 mins.

Cut the tops off the peppers and then cut them in half. NOTE: If you like making homemade chicken stock, keep the tops of the peppers for free stock. Scoop out and discard the seeds and ribs. Place them in a bowl (that has a top) cut side up. Fill the peppers with water (so they don’t float), then fill the pot with water to cover the peppers. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-high, and cook the peppers for 10-15 mins, until tender.

Prepare a bowl with ice water. Take the peppers out of the pot of water with tongs and place them in the ice water to stop the cooking process and cool them for a few minutes. Discard the water from the pot and set aside to dry. Once the peppers are cooled, take them out of the ice water and set them aside on paper towels. Don’t leave them in the ice water or they will get water logged.

In the same pot you cooked the peppers, heat the pan and add a tablespoon of Olive oil. Add the ground chicken and a sprinkle of salt, also add a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce (optional) and brown until almost fully cooked.

Cut up broccoli into very small florets and add them to the chicken, mix and cook 1 min. Mince 1-2 cloves of garlic, add it to the chicken, mix and cook for 30 seconds. Add a couple of tablespoons if water and cover the pot to steam the broccoli. Cook for 3 mins until the broccoli is soft.

Take off the heat and add half of a can of small tomato sauce, teaspoon of Italian seasoning, can of diced tomatoes, and the rice to the chicken and mix. Salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a glass baking dish with spray oil. Roll up some tinfoil and put it in the middle, longway, to keep peppers from going flat. Place the peppers on either side of the tinfoil, cut side up, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Over stuff the peppers with the chicken by pushing down the chicken rice into the crevices, then add more chicken rice on top of that. Pour the rest of the tomato sauce over the chicken rice.

Cook for 10 mins. Cover the peppers with thin provolone cheese and melt the cheese for a few mins. Remove from the stove, top with minced parsley and serve warm. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 4 – 6 bell peppers
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken (or ground turkey)
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli florets
  • 1 – 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 4 – 6 slices thin provolone cheese (or cheese of choice)
  • 1 – 2 tbsp minced parsley (optional)

Equipment:

  • Pot with lid
  • Bowl for ice water
  • Knife
  • Tongs
  • Paper towel (or clean dish towel)
  • Glass baking dish
  • Tinfoil

Prep time 10 minutes
Rice time 70 minutes
Chicken/Peppers 40 minutes
Total time 50 minutes up to 2 hours

***save time by making the rice and the chicken/peppers at the same time***


Directions:

  1. Prepare the brown rice (see my rice cooker recipe), and set aside to keep warm. This takes about 70 mins
  2. Cut the tops off the peppers and then cut them in half
  3. Scoop out and discard the seeds and ribs
  4. Place them in a bowl (that has a top) cut side up
  5. Fill the peppers with water (so they don’t float, then fill the pot with water to cover the peppers
  6. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-high, and cook the peppers for 10-15 mins
  7. Prepare a bowl with ice water
  8. Take the peppers out of the water with tongs and place them in the ice water to stop the cooking process and cool them
  9. Discard the water from the pot and set aside to dry
  10. Once cooled, take the peppers out of the ice water and set them aside on paper towels
  11. In the same pot you cooked the peppers, heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil
  12. Add the ground chicken, sprinkle of salt and a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce (optional) and brown until almost fully cooked for about 5 minutes
  13. Cut up broccoli into very small florets and add them to the chicken, mix and cook 1 min
  14. Mince 1-2 cloves of garlic, add it to the chicken, mix and cook for 30 seconds
  15. Add a couple of tablespoons if water and cover (to steam the broccoli). Cook for 3 mins until the broccoli is soft.
  16. Take off the heat and add half of a can of small tomato sauce, teaspoon of Italian seasoning, and can of diced tomatoes and mix.
  17. Add the rice to the chicken and mix.
  18. Salt and pepper to taste.
  19. Preheat oven to 350°
  20. Spray a glass baking dish with spray oil
  21. Roll up some tinfoil and put it in the middle, long-way, to keep peppers from going flat.
  22. Place the peppers on either side of the tinfoil, cut side up, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  23. Over stuff the peppers with the chicken
  24. Pour the rest of the tomato sauce over the chicken
  25. Cook for 10 mins
  26. Cover the peppers with the thin provolone cheese, melt cheese for a few mins
  27. Remove from the stove, top with minced parsley and serve warm
  28. Enjoy!

Let me know if you make this recipe, and please join my blog! Happy cooking!!!!

Pesto Stuffed Pork Loin

Watching what you eat DOESN’T have to mean you can only have bland boring food (that doesn’t even fill you). Whether you are counting calories or fat, my Pesto Stuffed Pork Loin is the answer. It is stuffed with my Healthy (No Oil) Pesto or you can use store bought pesto. Pork Loins are low in calories and low in fat, and filling…but are usually bland – but not anymore.

First, gather all your ingredients and equipment needed because you will be touching raw meat. Grab 2 knifes and 2 cutting boards (or wash the knife and cutting board while the loin is cooking), mallet, parchment paper, 6 pieces of kitchen twine, pesto, salt and pepper (best to put your S&P in a small bowl at this point), 2 spoons or a spoon and a spatula, pan (oven safe), baking sheet with rack (if pan is not oven safe). And preheat your oven to 350o.

To cut open a pork loin, place the loin onto a cutting board and make a slit down the enter (lengthwise) 2/3rd the way down and open it to reveal the inside. Then cut each side 2/3rd down and open the sides.

To eliminates splatter, place a piece of parchment paper over the loin to completely cover it with a few inches extra on all sides (about the size of your cutting board). With the side of a mallet, gently pound the loin to flatten it to about 1/2 inch. Start from the center and pound to the ends. This process may take few times. If you don’t have a mallet, you can use the long part of a rolling pin or even the side of a can. Remember, whatever you use to pound, you need to wash it with soap and water later.

Remove and discard the parchment paper and season both sides with salt and pepper. Get 2 spoons or a spoon and a spatula. Scoop the homemade or store bought pesto with one spoon and drop it on the loin (do not touch the loin with the spoon) and spread the pesto with a 2nd spoon or a spatula on the inside of the loin. Why 2 spoons? To avoid cross contamination of E. coli, salmonella and listeria. You don’t want to touch the spoon to the loin, decide you need more pesto, then put that spoon back in the pesto.

Roll the loin as tight as you can back to how it looked before you cut it. Slide 6 pieces of twine under the loin a few inches apart and tie it up. At this point you’re done touching the raw pork – so wash your hands. Heat a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. With a pair of tongs, place the loin in the hot pan and sear the outside for a few minutes on each side. Then place the pan (if it’s oven safe) or place the seared loin on a baking sheet pan with a rack into the oven and cook it in the oven at 350o until the center of the loin reaches 140o, about 45 to 50 minutes.

When the pork loin is done cooking, take it out of the oven and place it on a clean cutting board. Let it rest for 15 minutes and the loin’s internal temp should be raised to above 145o, then remove the twine, slice the stuffed pork loin with a clean kitchen knife and serve. I served this with a side of garlic steamed broccoli. I really hope you enjoy this recipe and the pesto recipe. Please follow my blog and enter your email address to get notifications of new recipes – and leave a comment too! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Equipment:

  • 2 knives (or clean 1 after cutting into the raw loin)
  • 2 cutting boards (or clean 1 after using with the raw loin)
  • Pan (oven safe if you have one)
  • Baking sheet pan and rack (if you pan is not oven safe)
  • 2 spoons (or 1 spoon and 1 spatula)
  • 6 pieces kitchen twine
  • Tongs

Prep time 15 minutes
Bake time 45-50 minutes
Rest time 15 minutes
Total time 75-80 minutes


Directions:

  1. Gather all your ingredients.
  2. Preheat oven to 350o.
  3. Place the loin onto a cutting board.
  4. Slit down the enter (lengthwise) 2/3rd the way down and open it to reveal the inside.
  5. Then cut each side 2/3rd down and open the sides.
  6. Place a piece of parchment paper over the loin
  7. With the side of a mallet, or rolling pin, gently pound the loin flatten it to about 1/2 inch, starting from the center and pound to the ends.
  8. Remove and discard the parchment paper.
  9. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
  10. Use 2 spoons or a spoon and a spatula to avoid cross contamination.
  11. Scoop store bought or homemade pesto with one spoon and drop it on the loin (do not touch the loin with the spoon).
  12. Spread the pesto with a 2nd spoon or a spatula on the inside of the loin.
  13. Roll the loin as tight as you can back to how it looked before you cut it.
  14. Tie it up with kitchen twine.
  15. Wash your hands.
  16. With a pair of tongs, place the loin in a hot pan with a tablespoon of olive oil.
  17. Sear the outside for a few minutes on each side.
  18. Place the pan (if it’s oven safe) or place the seared loin on a baking sheet pan with a rack into the oven and cook it in the oven at 350o until the center of the loin reaches 123o, about 45 to 50 minutes.
  19. Remove from the oven when the pork loin reaches 140o.
  20. Place the loin onto a clean cutting board, letting it rest for 15 minutes and the temp is raised above 145o.
  21. With a clean knife, cut off the twine, slice the pork loin and serve.
  22. Enjoy!!!

Roasted Cauliflower Curry Soup

One of my hubby’s favorite flavors is curry. Curry is a smooth luxurious soup that has a warm and inviting aroma, with a deep spiced and coconut background. Regular curry soup has a lot of calories, so I developed this recipe to cut those calories in half – but with all the spice and flavors.

The main component of this soup is roasted spiced cauliflower. In a small bowl add 2 tablespoons of red curry powder, and tablespoon each of cumin, paprika, and turmeric. Cut up, in semi-small pieces and florets, the cauliflower. Place the pieces in a large bowl and mix with a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of the spice mix. Then place the spiced cauliflower on a sheet pan and roast in a 375o oven for 45 minutes – until the cauliflower is soft and slightly brown. Set a few aside for garnish (and remember to tell your better-half do NOT eat those for a snack!).

Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large pot and add chopped up onions. After a few minutes the onions will look translucent. Add graded garlic and graded ginger. See Helpful Hint below.

After 30 seconds add the rest of the spice mix to bloom in the oil. After 30 seconds add 2 cups of homemade stock or box stock and 2 tablespoons of reduced sodium soy sauce. Bring to a boil and scrape up the spices from the bottom of the pot. Take the pot off the heat and add 1 cup of unsweetened cashew milk. Then, in batches, add 1/2 of the roasted spiced cauliflower and half of the stock to a blender. Make sure the top is on tight and hold a kitchen towel of the top. Blend until smooth and place aside (I put it in the same bowl I mixed the cauliflower in). Repeat with the second half of the cauliflower and stock, then put all of it back in the pot. Heat until hot while stirring, about 5 minutes. Add salt to taste.

Some might use a hand-held emersion blender, but I like my stand blender better. It makes for a more smooth texture. If you do use an emersion blender, you can blend the cauliflower and stock all at once right in the pot.

To finish the soup, I use a 5.3 oz single container of low-fat coconut flavored Greek yogurt. Place most of it in the soup and mix, keeping 2 tablespoons in the container. Add a few tablespoons of cashew milk to the remaining yogurt in the container and mix to loosen.

Put a couple of scoops of the soup in a bowl. Place one of the cauliflower florets and a few parsley leaves on top as a garnish, and swoosh a tablespoon of the yogurt/milk on the top in a circle. I really hope you enjoy this soup and my hubby and I did. Please leave a reply if you make this recipe. Happy healthy cooking, and please Follow this blog, and enter your Email address for future recipes.

Helpful hint: Keep the skins and ends of the onion and garlic for future homemade stock.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower (about 4 cups)
  • 2 tsp red curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin powder
  • 1 tsp smoked ground paprika powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric powder
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chopped medium onion
  • 1 tbsp graded garlic
  • 1 tbsp graded ginger
  • 2 cups of stock
  • 1 cup unsweetened cashew milk
  • 2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 5.3 oz single container of low-fat coconut flavored Greek yogurt
  • Salt to taste

Equipment:

  • Sheet pan
  • Large bowl
  • Grader
  • Large pot
  • Blender or hand-held emersion blender

Prep time 10 minutes
Bake time 1 hour


Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375o.
  2. In a small bowl add the spices: red curry powder, cumin, paprika, and turmeric.
  3. Cut up, in semi-small pieces and florets, the cauliflower.
  4. Place the cauliflower pieces in a large bowl.
  5. Mix with a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of the spice mix.
  6. Place the cauliflower on a sheet pan and roast for 45 minutes, until soft and slightly brown.
  7. Remove the pan from the oven when ready, and set a few aside for garnish.
  8. Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large pot.
  9. Add chopped up onions and cook for a few minutes until translucent.
  10. Add graded garlic and graded ginger and cook for 30 seconds.
  11. Add the rest of the spice mix to bloom in the oil for 30 seconds.
  12. Add 2 cups of stock.
  13. Add 2 tablespoons of reduced sodium soy sauce, and bring to a boil.
  14. Scrape up the spices from the bottom of the pot.
  15. Take the pot off the heat and add 1 cup of unsweetened cashew milk.
  16. In batches, add 1/2 of the roasted spiced cauliflower and half of the stock to a blender.
  17. Make sure the top of the blender is on tight and hold a kitchen towel of the top.
  18. Blend until smooth and place aside (I put it in the same bowl I mixed the cauliflower in).
  19. Repeat with the remaining cauliflower and stock, then put all of it back in the pot.
  20. Note: If using a hand-held emersion blender, blend all of the cauliflower and stock right in the pot until smooth.
  21. Heat until hot while stirring, about 5 minutes.
  22. Add salt to taste.
  23. Add most of a 5.3 oz single container of low-fat coconut flavored Greek yogurt, keeping a few tablespoons in the container.
  24. Add a few tablespoons of cashew milk to the remaining yogurt in the container and mix to loosen.
  25. Scoops the soup into a bowl. Place one of the cauliflower florets and a few parsley leaves on top as a garnish
  26. Swoosh a tablespoon of the yogurt/milk on the top in a circle.
  27. Enjoy!

Healthy, No Oil, Pesto

Pesto is a herb paste and can be used alone, like as a dip, or added to a recipe as a flavor enhancer, like a condiment or in sauces. I even add pesto to my tuna salad sandwiches so I can decrease the amount of mayo I use, and it brings such a light and flavorful taste to it. Pesto is packed with fresh herbs and parmesan cheese – even nuts if you like. Sounds healthy, right? Except there is also oil in it. It can make some recipe a bit oily and runny. This pesto recipe is healthy because there is no oil, but has all the fresh herbs and cheese, with a couple of twists.

The twists I use are replacing the fatty oil with roasted green peppers and the zest and juice from a lemon or a lime. The peppers give a fatty yet smooth texture to the pesto, with no fat! And a lemon or lime will not only brighten up the pesto with the citrus, it also provides the liquid to blend it all together. And instead of nuts I use a half of a shallot, minced.

To roast the peppers, cut off four sides off of each, leaving the top, center with seeds, and bottom attached. (Hint: save the unused portions of the peppers for free homemade stock). Place them on a tinfoil lined baking sheet, skin side up. Place the oven shelf as high as it will go and set the oven to broil. Spray the pepper skins with cooking spray and put them in the oven for 5-8 minutes. The skins will burn, which is exactly what you’re looking for. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and cover the entire sheet with loose or tented tinfoil. The carry-over heat will steam the peppers and loosen the skin while they are cooling. When the peppers are cool, the skin will feel like tissue paper. Rub the skin off, which is very easy, with a dry paper towel or clean dish rag. Discard the skins, roughly cut up the pepper flesh and place them in a food processer or blender.

If you grow your own herbs, rinse them and lay them on a paper towel or dish cloth to dry. I used the herbs from my garden: basil, oregano, and chives. Once dry, rip off the leaves of the herbs (or break apart soft herbs like chives that have no stems) and place them in the food processor. Add the lemon or lime zest and juice. Cut up 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese from a block of cheese (or you can use reduced fat graded parmesan cheese). And add a few cloves of chopped garlic and a 1/2 chopped/minced shallot. I usually do not add salt or pepper because the parmesan cheese is salty, so if you do add salt, only add a pinch. (Hint: save the herb stems, shallot skin, and garlic skin for free homemade stock).

You can also make this pesto yours. Add what you have on-hand. Maybe you have extra fresh spinach or blanched kale, or a variety of nuts. You can also switch up the cheese with another kind of hard or semi-hard cheese. Let me know if you make this – enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 green peppers
  • Zest and juice from a lemon or lime
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1/2 shallot chopped/minced
  • 1/2 cup cubed parmesan cheese (or grated cheese)
  • Bundle of fresh herbs (basil, oregano, chives)

Equipment:

  • Baking tray
  • Tin foil
  • Food processor or blender

Prep time 5 minutes
Bake time 5-8 minutes


Directions:

  1. Cut four sides off of each pepper, leaving the top, center with seeds, and bottom attached.
  2. Save the unused portions of the peppers (see helpful hit at the bottom)
  3. Place the peppers on a tinfoil lined baking sheet, skin side up.
  4. Place the oven shelf as high as it will go and set the oven to broil.
  5. Spray the pepper skins with cooking spray.
  6. Broil the peppers in the oven for 5-8 minutes until the skins are burnt.
  7. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and cover with loose or tented tinfoil until cool.
  8. Rub the skin off of the peppers with a dry paper towel or clean dish rag.
  9. Discard the skins.
  10. Roughly cut up the pepper flesh and place them in a food processer or blender.
  11. Add the leaves of your herbs to the food processor: basil, oregano, and chives.
  12. Save the herb stems (see helpful hint at the bottom)
  13. Then add the lemon or lime zest and juice.
  14. Add 1/2 of a chopped/minced shallot
  15. Cut into blocks 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese (or you can use reduced fat graded parmesan cheese).
  16. And add a few cloves of garlic.
  17. Optional: pinch of salt and pepper.
  18. Optional: 1/2 cup of soft greens like spinach or blanched kale
  19. Optional: 1/4 cup of nuts
  20. Blend until smooth
  21. If using later or you have extra, place the pesto in a container and put it in the fridge

HELPFUL HINT:

(Hint: save the unused portions of the peppers, herb stems, and skins from the shallot and garlic for free homemade stock).

Freeze Your Stock Into Perfect Portions

I absolutely hate to waste food – and I hate even more to throw anything away. So, when I have extra homemade stock or soup, I save it as perfect portions in the freezer. This can also be done with all kinds of liquids – sauce, gravy, stew, pesto…

My Free Homemade Stock is just that – FREE – made from scraps (remember, I don’t throw anything away if I can use it). And it has a short shelf life. So if I don’t use it within that time, which is unusual but it happens, I freeze it.

Just pour the cold or room temperature liquid in ice-cube trays and place in the freezer. Then once frozen, put the cubes in a freezer bag. Don’t forget to label and date it.

Now, not only will you have stock whenever needed, you can choose how much or how little you want. If you need just a bit, for when you’re cooking and it looks a bit dry or needs a flavor boost – or a lot, for soup – you can grab as many cubes needed. All you have to do is heat it up on the stove until hot – and bam, you got stock.

Just remember that when you add these frozen cubes to a pot, it will lower the the temperature of the pot – so plan accordingly and increase the time of the cook. For example, if you want to make rice, you usually add the rice to the liquid, simmer and cook. When using frozen cubes of stock, you’ll need to melt the cubes first – then add the rice and simmer from there. Or when you are making veggies and they suddenly look dry – sure, you can add plain water, but that’s boring – just grab a cube and add it to the pot to melt then steam (or you can even melt it in the microwave before you add it to the pot).

Save money, save time, and save your stock!

Low Calorie Creamy Peanut Butter Dip

One of my fav snacks is an apple slice dipped in peanut butter, but PB has sooo many calories. PB has 190 calories and 16g fat for just 2 tbsp. This entire recipe, including an apple (which has about 95 cal) is less calories and fat than 2 tbsp of PB. How? I used PB2.

So what is PB2? It is a powder form of PB. It is made by pressing out most of the natural oils from roasted peanuts and then grinding the nuts into a fine powder. Once mixed with water or another form of liquid, it becomes peanut butter, but with only 60 calories and 1.5g fat for 2 tbsp.

To make low calories creamy peanut butter, mix 2 tbsp of the PB2 with 3 tbsp of fat free Greek Yogurt and 1 tbsp of Vanilla Cashew Milk. Cut up an apple into slices and dip away!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp PB2 powder (60 cal)
  • 3 tbsp Fat Free Greek Yogurt (22 cal)
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Cashew Milk (1.5 cal)
  • 1 apple sliced (95 cal)

Prep time 5 minutes


Mix together in a bowl 2 tbsp PB2 powder, 3 tbsp Fat Free Greek Yogurt, and 1 tbsp Vanilla Cashew Milk. Slice apple and dip into the creamy PB dip.

Tuna Avocado Egg Tower

Have you ever had Tuna Tartar at a restaurant? Delicious, but who has that type of tuna at home? We all have can tuna! And with an avocado and egg, you can make the “tartar” tower at home. It’s a great low-fat, low-calorie, low-carb lunch or dinner, or even a quick appetizer for guests.

First you need to hard boil some eggs. You only need one for this recipe, but I like to boil a few more for future snacks. You start by adding eggs to a pot, then fill the pot with water an inch above the eggs and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, add a splash of white vinegar and a pinch of salt. Turn the burner off but leave the pot on the burner for 10 to 12 minutes. Then, with a slotted spoon, remove the eggs and shock them in a bowl of ice water. Once cooled, slightly crack the eggs on the counter, then put them back in the water and peel the shells off (the shells slide right off in water and you are cleaning them making sure no shell pieces stick). Drain the water and set aside.

Next, slice an avocado. Set aside 2 slices and mash up the rest (rustic, not too smooth). Squeeze 1/2 a lemon over the avocado and set aside. Then, open a can of tuna.

Place a cookie cutter or mold on a plate (preferably round or you can use the tuna can if you open both sides). Add the tuna to the bottom of the mold and tamp it down (using anything small enough to fit in the mold like a squeeze bottle).

Reserving a spoonful of avocado, add the avocado to the mold and tamp down. Then slice one of the eggs. Reserve one slice and cut up the rest. Add the cut up portion of the egg to the reserved avocado and mix. Add a pinch of salt then add that to the mold and tamp down. Top the mold with the slice of egg. Lightly pushing down on the egg slice and remove the mold by sliding it up.

Add a slice of whole wheat toast cut in corners and enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • Can Tuna
  • Avocado
  • 1/2 lemon or tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Eggs (1-6)
  • Slice of whole wheat bread

Equipment:

  • Pot
  • Slotted spoon
  • Bowl with ice water
  • Round mold (or the tuna can)
  • Something with flat bottom to tamp down food (ex: squeeze bottle)

Prep time 15 minutes
Bake time 10-12 minutes


Instructions:

HARD BOIL EGGS

  • Add eggs to a pot
  • Fill the pot with water enough to cover the eggs and an extra inch above and bring it to a boil.
  • Once boiling, add a splash of white vinegar and a pinch of salt.
  • Turn the burner off but leave the pot on the burner for 10 to 12 minutes.
  • With a slotted spoon, remove the eggs and shock them in a bowl of ice water.
  • Let cool
  • Slightly crack the eggs on the counter
  • Put the cracked eggs back in the water
  • Peel the shells off (the shells slide right off in water and you are cleaning them making sure no shell pieces stick).
  • Drain the water and set eggs aside.
  • Slice an avocado.
  • Set aside 2 slices and mash up the rest (rustic, not too smooth).
  • Squeeze 1/2 a lemon or a tablespoon of lemon juice over the avocado and set aside.
  • Slice one of the eggs.
  • Reserve one slice and cut up the rest.
  • Add a tablespoon of the mashed avocado to the cut up portion of the egg .
  • Add a pinch of salt

ASSEMBLE THE TOWER

  • Place a cookie cutter or mold on a plate (preferably round or you can use the tuna can if you open both sides).
  • Add the tuna to the bottom of the mold and tamp it down (using anything small enough to fit in the mold like a squeeze bottle).
  • Add the remaining avocado to the mold and tamp down.
  • Add the egg to the mold and tamp down.
  • Top it with the slice of egg
  • Lightly pushing down on the egg slice, remove the mold (slide up)
  • Add a slice of whole wheat toast, cut in corners, for a dipping vessel.