Sunday Best Turkey Vegetable Soup

On a whim, I decided to roast a turkey breast last Saturday night. It was good (and fun to cook) but it’s really too much for just two people to eat. Once we were finished slicing the meat off the bone, I strained the pan juices, wrapped the bones in foil and put both the fridge.

Now, it’s time to make stock. Put the turkey breast (most meat removed), a couple of carrots, onions and some celery ribs in the pot. Fill the pot with water and toss in some chicken stock concentrate. Bring this to boil, turn down to simmer for an hour or two.

Once the stock has simmered, remove the turkey breast and pick any remaining meat off of the bone. Strain the stock, add the reserved roasting pan juices (fat skimmed off) and reserve to make the soup.
Sunday Best Turkey Vegetable Soup

  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 small head cabbage, chopped
  • 3-4 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 5-6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2-3 celery heart ribs chopped
  • 8 oz. mushrooms
  • 28-oz. can tomatoes (diced, crushed, whatever you have)
  • Handful frozen cut green beans
  • Couple handfuls each, frozen peas and corn
  • Leftover turkey bits picked from bones
  • Basil, salt, black pepper
  • Turkey stock
  • Small tomato paste (optional)

In large stock pot, heat a small amount of olive oil. Add cabbage, carrots, onion, celery, garlic and mushrooms. Cook 10-15 minutes or so until vegetables are soft. (Add a little water if it seems too dry.) Add tomatoes and  green beans and enough stock to cover all vegetables. Add salt, pepper and basil to taste. Bring soup to boil, and reduce heat to medium to simmer for an hour or so, adding more stock as needed. Once soup is thick and vegetables are cooked, add frozen carrots and peas and turkey. If you prefer your soup to be extra thick (and I do), add tomato paste and stir until paste is dissolved and soup is thick.

Ladle and enjoy!!

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Skinny Breakfast on the Go

So in my never-ending quest to get thin and STAY thin, I’m redoubling my efforts. Along with my sister (who is supporting me long distance and has just lost 10+ herself), I re-joined Weight Watchers. Being the foodie that I am (not to mention the wino who lurks within), my attention now turns to finding really great things to eat that are low in Weight Watchers points.

I was moaning about my plight at work the other day, and my friend said that she had made fritatas in a muffin pan that were not only good, but low in calories and high in protein to keep hunger at bay. Hmmmm. Good, filling, low cal and easy to eat on the go?

So, this Sunday morning I googled “fritata muffins” and an interesting Giada recipe surfaced. I “skinnied it up” a bit. Guess what? They turned out great!! Even my non-Weight Watchers husband liked them.

1-Point Ham and Asparagus Fritata Muffins

  • 8-10 asparagus spears
  • 3.5 oz. (96% fat free) ham
  • 3 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese made with 2% milk
  • 2 cups egg substituted (egg whites)
  • salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cup cake liners. Chop the ham and asparagus into small pieces, and saute in skillet with cooking spray.

Distribute the ham/asparagus mixture among the 12 muffin cups; top with cheese. Add 1 tsp. salt (if desired) to the egg whites, and pour equal amount into each of the muffin cups. Grind pepper over each cup.

Bake in oven until puffy and slightly brown on top (maybe 15 minutes?). They are done when a knife inserted into one of the muffins comes out clean. 53 calories or 1.3 Weight Watchers points plus per muffin!! (2g fat, 2g carbs, 8g protien, 0 fiber per muffin)


White Castle Burgers on Super Bowl Sunday

Ahhh. Superbowl Sunday. Not that I care anything about football, and until I went to New York last week, I couldn’t have told you who was playing. But it was hard even for me to miss the giant “Giants” posters plastered all over LaGuardia. Hmmm. But there have to be two teams, no? Who, then, is the other team? Who cares? All I know it that it’s NOT the Colts. Nonetheless, Superbowl Sunday is an excuse to get together with friends, have a few beverages and eat crazy stuff you would ordinarily not allow yourself to have.

When I was in New York, I was lucky enough to visit the New York Stock Exchange. I had been there one other time around 10 years ago. It has changed a lot. It’s much quieter. And much neater. With most trades taking place online now, no need for the shouting and tearing up of tickets. On my previous visit, there was every kind of trash imaginable several inches deep on the trading floor. Not this time.image

But one thing I did notice was a big box of White Castle burgers to which the traders kept returning and taking out burgers two at a time. So, when deciding what my contribution to today’s menu would be, I thought of sliders–and began my search for the perfect White Castle copy cat recipe.

White Castle Copy Cat Burgers

  • 1lb. ground chuck (80/20)
  • 2/3 c. beef broth
  • 1 small jar beef baby food
  • 6oz. dehydrated chopped onions
  • salt & pepper
  • American cheese
  • dill pickles
  • slider buns

In a bowl, mix ground beef, beef broth and baby food (kinda gross) until smooth. Line a 10 x 14″ rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Place another piece of plastic wrap on top and use your hands to flatten the beef and spread it evenly across the baking sheet. Take a spatula and score the meat into approximately 3 x 3″ squares, then use the tip of a wooden spoon handle to make the classic 5 holes in each patty. Put baking sheet in freezer until the meat is frozen solid. Soak dried onions in a cup or two of hot water. Fry the frozen patties on top of some of the onion/water mixture. Steam buns on top of burgers in covered skillet. When ready, remove from skillet, top with pickle and cheese. Enjoy!!


Lamb Ragu with Pappardelle

Okay, so my beautiful 29-year old daughter, Amie, and I are known to occasionally meet for a glass of wine and happy conversation on a Friday afternoon. We’re always in good moods then, anticipating the weekend ahead.

Amie owns a hair salon nestled into a converted 1920’s bungalow in Peoria Heights–what I like to call the “Broad Ripple (Indianapolis)” of Peoria. It’s a quaint little neighborhood village with eclectic shops, an amazing new-and-used book store and arguably some of the best fine dining in Central Illinois. In the summertime, people enjoy dinner and drinks al fresco while their dogs sleep under tiny cafe tables dotting the narrow sidewalks.

A couple of weeks ago, Amie walked down from her shop and met me at a one of the corner cafes where they serve really great french-inspired food in a rustic half-cafe-half-wine-and-cheese shop. That’s when I bought the package of Pappardelle nests calling my name.

I had never made pappardelle before, nor did I even know how to pronounce it. But after scouring the internet for a sauce recipe, I found one that looked worthy and added my own touches. I made it on a Saturday night when Amie was over for dinner, served with a nice Chianti. It was terrific!

Lamb Ragu with Pappardelle

  • 3lb bone-in lamb shoulder
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 handful each fresh rosemary and thyme, stems discarded and leaves finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 head of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • Two 14-ounce cans tomatoes
  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 14 ounces fresh or dried pappardelle
  • 2 14-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese

Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Add olive oil to dutch oven and sear meat on all sides. Remove the meat and keep warm; and add a bit more oil to the dutch oven. Cook herbs, garlic, carrots, onion and celery until soft. Add wine, tomatoes and mushrooms. Cook until mixture reduces by at least half. Add meat back to dutch oven; add enough water to nearly cover meat and bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat and cover; slow cook for 3-4 hours or until meat falls off the bone, stirring occasionally.

Remove meat from dutch oven, discard bone and fat. Shred meat with forks, and add shredded meat back to pot. Add tomato sauce and stir until smooth. Add tomato paste and cook for another 10 – 15 minutes until sauce is thick and rich. Season to taste.

Serve over cooked Pappardelle with shaved parmesan cheese.