What a lovely Scottish dish this one is, some of you might know this better as mince and tatties. In LOTRO you make this comforting food using leek stock, carrot, taters, herbs, and beef. Like the description says this is a simple and extremely satisfying meal. A traditional approach to this tends to be a bit of a…well…rustic presentation. I’m going to pretty it up a little but I feel it’s still rustic and so tasty. I played around a bit with my usual gravy recipe too, instead of flour I worked with potato starch. A very successful experiment, I have to say as a thickener, potato starch is pretty awesome and of course, gluten free for those who worry about that.
- 1 lb extra lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp mustard powder
- salt and pepper
- 4 red potato
- 2 cups leek or beef stock
- 2 tbl potato starch
- 2 tbl light butter
- In a bowl combine beef, carrot, onion,worcestershire sauce, cloves, mustard powder, salt and pepper. Form into small, slider sized patties about 2-3 oz each.
- In a med-high heat pan sear each patty for 2 minutes on each side. Set aside.
- In a sauce pan melt the butter.
- Add the potato starch and stir to create a roux.
- Whisk continuously as you pour the stock slowly in.
- Allow the gravy to come to a boil for 2 minutes then lower the heat to a simmer. Season gravy to taste. Add the patties and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile wash and cube potatoes. Bring water to a boil in another pot. Add potatoes, cook until fork tender (about 10-15 minutes). Drain, add a bit of stock and mash.
- Serve your mince patties, with a mountain of tatties (having a close encounters moment like I did is not required), and gravy. Enjoy!
Makes 6 patties, a whole bunch of potatoes, and more gravy than you actually need…I’m a gravy eating monster and I couldn’t finish it. Each patty contains 142 calories, 9.7 grams fat, .4 gram carbohydrate, 0 fibre, and 10.6 grams protein. Each 1/2 cup of potato contains 117 calories, .1 gram fat, 26.7 grams carbs, 4.1 grams fibre, and 2.9 grams protein. Each tbl of gravy contains 12.5 calories, .8 gram fat, 1.4 grams carb, 0 fibre, and .1 gram protein. *phew* That was a lot of math today. You know what would finish this dish even better? An english pea puree. That is another story though.
For those not in the know, Welsh rarebit is a tasty dish of a melted cheese sauce (usually cheddar and mustard) poured over toast and devoured with gusto. In LOTRO rarebit muffins are made with black barley flour, goat cheese, milk and an egg. All fabulous starting points as usual but this time I decided to use some extreme guidance from Nigella Lawson. Her recipe is simply delicious, I lightened it up, changed a few things around and it still came out delish…my husband, the Surly Dwarf, ate about 6 of them. I call that a win! Want to make some too and not feel the guilt? Let’s go!
- 275g flour (I used the nutrigrain flour, hurray whole grains!)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 100g rathtrevor cheese (this is a great local cheese made by Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, if you can get it go for it! If not a nice sharp cheddar is good too)
- 1/4 cup melted light cooking margarine
- 150g 0% fat greek yogurt (use the kind with no gelatin)
- 1 egg
- 2 tbl worcestershire sauce (keep the bottle on hand for sprinkling)
- 1/2 cup milk (I use unsweetened almond milk)
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and mustard powder. I don’t always sift but for these I always do. They work out best this way, totally worth the effort. Here I will prove it, I actually sifted.See? Told ya.
- Add the cheese, reserving a couple tbl worth for topping later. Toss to coat the cheese.
- In a measuring cup combine the remaining ingredients.
- Add the yogurt mixture to the flour, stir until moistened. Don’t over stir, the lumps help make this airy when you bake it instead of dense.
- Scoop into a greased 12 muffin tin. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven top with remaining cheese and a sprinkle of worcestershire sauce. Back in the oven for 5 minutes.
- Serve while warm but not piping hot. Cheese burns are lethal.
Makes 12 servings. Each serving contains 142 calories, 5.3g fat, 17g carbs, 2.3g fibre, and 7.2g protein. Pretty great for a super tasty savoury muffin. I paired this with a salad topped with my garlic dressing for dinner. Good times. Enjoy!
I know, everyone has a chocolate chip cookie recipe. I keep getting asked how it is I make mine so healthy without sacrificing tasty classic flavour. It really is my go to cookie, I’ve made them quickly before we settle in to watch a movie, takes me less than 5 minutes. I never buy premade cookie dough, you can just freeze this stuff instead. I’ve been told by folks that they like this version far better than anything some puffy commercial icon provides. So, here is my healthy version of that good old classic cookie.
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, not packed
- 1/2 cup sugar substitute (I like either truvia or splenda, both work nicely)
- 1/2 cup light butter or light cooking margarine
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 prepared serving vegan egg substitute (you can sub an egg but it changes the values, this substitute is fat free and only 15 calories for an egg, wow.)
- 1 cup nutri-flour (this is a blend of flour and ground wheat bran, great stuff much healthier than white flour and bakes better than whole wheat in these cookies)
- 4 tbl dark chocolate chips (I use 70% when I can find them but 50% works great too, if you can find mini chips, Do IT! the coverage is great for so little)
- Cream together sugar, margarine.
- Add salt, baking powder, extracts and egg substitute. Combine until light and fluffy.
- Fold in nutri-flour.
- Add chocolate chips.
- Measure out the dough using a tsp. You can either drop them on the sheet or roll the dough out in your palms and pat to form a small disk. Depends on the look you are going for.
- Bake 350F for 10 minutes.
Makes 24 cookies. Each cookie contains 52 calories, 2.8 grams fat, 7.6 grams carbs, .7 gram fibre, .8 gram protein.
I found myself inspired by a book I received for review. The book is ‘Cooking for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet’ by Erica Kerwien. What a thorough book this was! SCD is an option for those who are trying to work with delicate digestive situations such as Crohn’s disease, IBS, Celiac disease, and ulcerative colitis to name a few. I have spoken to so many people dealing with these conditions who find themselves restricted by their guidelines, all so that what they eat does not end their day. We eat to nourish and make ourselves happy (in far too many cases for me), can you imagine what it would be like if many of the foods you ate made you want to just curl up and wish the day or in many cases, week would end? So, when this book crossed my desk I was interested. Ofcourse, this book is not just for those looking to control a condition, it has a wealth of creative recipes and basics for anyone trying to eat sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free and she even offers dairy-free alternatives.
One of the recipes that caught my eye was a sweet cashew cream, basically a whipped cream alternative for folks. My recipe is not all that similar in the end but it was an inspiration. To check out the original recipe and the many other delicious healthy dishes I suggest you check out this book. Not being a gluten-free or grain-free follower myself I am happy to say that these recipes even appealed to my grain addicted self.
- 1/2 cup ground hazelnuts (if you can’t find ground just get regular and do them up in a blender or coffee grinder, like I did)
- 1 cup fat free evaporated skim milk
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar (or icing sugar)
- 2 tbl light butter or margarine (I used the stuff with plant sterols to add extra nutrition)
- Combine ingredients in a blender until smooth.
- Refrigerate overnight (it will thicken with time and cold), stir and only serve chilled.
Makes 24 servings (about 1 tablespoon in size). Each serving contains 30 calories, 1.2 grams fat, 4 grams carbs, .2 gram fibre, and 1 gram protein. A great nutty flavoured alternative to plain old whipped cream. Amazing with chocolate cake.
I woke up one day and decided it was a day for molasses. So, so I made molasses cookies. then I got tired of rolling them out and cutting them. There must be an easy and lazy way to make these right? What about a cookie crust? My inner lazy cook offered. But what do we put in it? It can’t be too sweet. I whined. So, time was meant thinking until finally “Cherries!”…and I realized I had spent quality time talking food…with myself. Obviously, I was experiencing molasses withdrawal and needed to bake this up stat. I did…and it was delicious.
- 1/4 cup light cooking margarine or light butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses of choice
- 1 egg white
- 1 1/2 cup flour
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup dried cherries (or cranberries, cherry flavoured)
- 1 cup water
- Cream margarine and sugar in a bowl until soft and fluffy.
- Add sugar, molasses, and egg. Combine until smooth.
- Sift flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in another bowl. Add slowly to the creamed mixture. Combine until a smooth dough forms.
- Press dough into a 9×9 glass pan.
- Bake at 375F for 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven. Lower heat to 350F.
- Combine the cherries and water in a saucepan.
- Heat over medium heat until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally.
- Pour mixture over the cookie crust and distribute evenly.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Allow to cool slightly before slicing into 12 bars. Serve warm or cool. Tasty either way!
Makes 12 servings. Each serving contains 134 calories, 1.9 grams fat, 29.5 grams carbs, .9 gram fibre, 1.7 grams protein. These are fabulous with a cup of chai tea.
I don’t often do Mexican food (or my interpretation of Mexican food). for some reason, Surly Dwarf just doesn’t trust it. Occasionally though I rebel and push for something Mexican around here. Usually, it’s tacos but lately I’ve been wanting these enchiladas I used to make when I was a teenager. I wanted to change them up though, I figured doing them like a lasagna would not only be easy but fun too. I was right. Instead of a meat filled enchilada I decided to make a simple bean filled one, great for those meatless nights. Total success, it was so good even Surly Dwarf went for seconds on this one. It may not make for the best picture but it is full of delicious.
- 5 corn tortilla (warmed according to directions)
- 398 ml fat free refried beans
- 1 tsp smoked applewood seasoning
- 1 tsp ground ancho chili (I freshly ground mine from a dried chili)
- 120 grams light tex mex cheese
- mole sauce of your choice (I used packaged stuff due to time constraints)
- Combine beans, applewood seasoning, chili, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Set aside.
- Spoon a couple of tablespoons worth of sauce into a 9×9 glass pan.
- Cut a warmed tortilla in half, dip in the warm mole sauce. Once pliable but not over soaked place in the pan. Repeat to create the tortilla layer using two of the tortillas.
- Top the tortilla layer with the refried bean mixture and half the cheese.
- Layer the rest of the tortillas, pour the sauce remaining carefully on top, and then top with the rest of the cheese.
- Bake at 350F for 30 minutes covered with foil. Remove foil and bake for an extra 5 minutes.
- Allow to sit for 5 minutes, slice into four slabs and serve.
Makes four servings. Each serving contains 275 calories, 7.9 grams fat, 38.8 grams carbs, 7.3 grams fibre (I know!), and 15.1 grams protein. So filling, so nummy, and far less fat than a Mexican restaurant would wallop you with. Enjoy!
“I love cheesy poofs, you love cheesy poofs, if we didn’t eat cheesy poofs, we’d be LAME.” the immortal words of Cartman.
Alright, so these aren’t quite the fabled South Park junk food but they are so very nummy. The beauty of these is that you can use any cheese you have on hand to make it suit your taste. My favourite version of these is a toss up between the smoked gouda or my goat cheese ones. The goat cheese is my healthiest version so I will go with that one today. The perfect snack for entertaining guests, as part of an afternoon tea platter, or just because you want them. Remember, you can’t share them with kitty…they are YOUR cheesy poofs.
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or buttermilk
- 4 tbl butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 ounces low fat goat cheese
- 1/8 tsp ground mace
- 1/8 tsp dry mustard powder
- freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 400F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a saucepan combine the milk, water, and butter. Bring almost to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Stir constantly until a smooth dough forms. Once it begins to pull away from the edges of the pan remove from the heat and allow to cool for one minute.
- Add one of the eggs, beat in until the dough is smooth again. Repeat with the second egg.
- Stir in the cheese, pepper, salt and mace until smooth.
- Transfer the dough into a piping bag (or in my case a freezer bag that I cut a corner off of). Pipe the dough into desired shape on the parchment covered pans. I go with little round cushions.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and slightly golden brown. Serve warm.
Makes 40 cheesy poofs. Each poof contains 22 calories, 1.6 grams of fat, 1.2 grams of carbs, 0 gram fibre, .6 gram protein. Why not have a few? Then pat yourself on the back for making a choux pastry. You top chef, you.
Hobbits and mushrooms are like a glass and milk! they just go together. It has been fun juggling ideas to make this recipe come to life. So much pondering. Finally I had a tasty, filling idea come to me, I bounced it off my husband and he added an idea that made it even better. In the game mushroom stew is made with just mushrooms and coney stock. Well, I don’t keep coney stock on hand so I went with chicken. Still, it needed something to make it exciting. That’s when my husband suggested “what about a blend of different types of mushrooms.” So simple and so brilliant. The end result smelt so delicious when cooking it was maddening…and tasting it warmed us to the core. A definite win.
- 1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced to desired size (I like to cut mine small)
- 1 cup lobster mushrooms, sliced to desired size (I like to cut mine small)
- 2 shallots, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbl rice bran oil (or other suitable cooking oil)
- 1 tsp poultry seasoning
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 1/2 cup chicken stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add the shallots, garlic, and mushrooms. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the poultry seasoning, then add the quinoa. Stir, cooking for 30 seconds.
- Add the broth and wine to the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer covered until liquid is absorbed, about 20-30 minutes.
It may not technically be a stew but I figured the mushrooms were being stewed as much as I would go for. Serves 4. Each serving contains 255 calories, 6.6 grams fat, 33 grams carbs, 3.4 grams fibre, and 7.5 grams protein. Experiment with your own mushroom blends, that is a big part of the fun with this dish. Great as a side or as your main.
This past week or so I have definitely been on a meat, sauce, and sticky rice as comfort food kick. So good, so easy, and so filling! So easy to stick in veggies of choice with dishes like these. The more veggies you stick in the more you can have. The more you can win at eating healthy really. Anytime I think about dishes like these I’m always reminded of what my uncle said to my one day as we considered having leftover Chinese food for breakfast one day. “Hey, 1.3 billion people can’t be wrong.” So true, so tasty. I have said “so” a lot in an intro for General Tso chicken haven’t I? This particular dish is a north American invention, it did not really come from china granted it claims its inspiration from there. Just like so many other dishes we tend to order. Did you know the typical serving from a restaurant tends to include 1,300 calories, 11 grams of saturated fat? Yeah. Let’s see if we can do better than that.
- 1 lb skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into chunks
- 5 tbl white wine
- 2 tbl cornstarch
- 1 tbl oyster sauce
- 2 tbl water
- 2 tbl soy sauce
- 1 tbl honey
- 1 tbl rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp virgin coconut oil
- 1 tbl grated fresh ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 2 shallots, sliced
- 1 tsp sriracha sauce
- 2 stalks celery, chopped (or carrots, or broccoli, any of these or all are tasty additions)
- Add 2 tbl of white wine and oyster sauce to 1 tbl cornstarch. Add chicken, toss to coat and set aside to marinate.
- Combine the remaining white wine, water, soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, sriracha sauce, and cornstarch in another bowl. Set aside.
- Heat pan over medium high heat. Don’t be shy, the heat helps the chicken stay moist with a quick sear. When pan is heated add the coconut oil and swirl.
- Add the chicken mixture to the pan. Stir-fry until browned and cooked through.
- Add ginger, garlic, and shallots. Stir-fry until fragrant.
- Add celery (or veggie mix of choice), stir fry until slightly tender but still crisp.
- Stir in the sauce set aside earlier. Stir constantly until the sauce thickens.
Makes four servings. Each serving contains 158 calories, 3.1 grams fat, 10.4 grams carbs, .5 gram fibre, and 16.9 grams protein. Delicious over steamed rice. Yup, this is definitely a win for north american style chinese food. A guilty pleasure and comfort food without the sad weight in the next week.
To make dessert time easy and on track I like to make my desserts ahead of time and freeze them for the week. It makes me less likely to omnom the whole tray justifying to myself that they might go bad if I don’t. Really, who hasn’t used this excuse one time or another? After the holidays I had some leftover marshmallows, can’t let those go to waste. What does one do with marshmallows? Make rice cereal treats of course! We can’t make the same old treats around here though. After spending a bit of time fantasizing about a sushi dinner I was looking forward to I realized just what had to happen. Numminess followed.
- 4 tbl light butter or margarine
- 16 marshmallows
- 4 cups brown puffed rice cereal
- 4 tbl light peanut butter
- 2 tsp reduced sugar jam (I used my hardcore hobbit blackberry jam)
- 1 tbl honey
- Melt margarine/butter using either a microwave (10 second bursts) or in a pot on an element.
- Add marshmallows, stir and melt in micro (10 second bursts) or on the element.
- Remove from heat and add brown rice cereal. Add the treat mixture to a greased baking sheet. Press down and into edges to create a flat rectangle. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes. It should still be pliable if you list the edges but not too tacky to the touch.
- Combine peanut butter, jam and honey in a bowl.
- Turn out the cool rice mixture onto a plastic mat or plastic wrap.
- Spread the peanut butter mixture onto the rice treat.
- Roll, using the plastic to help you keep it all together, like a sushi roll.
- Put the roll into the freezer for about 20 minutes. Slice and enjoy!
Makes 16 “dessert sushi” each one contains 155 calories, 4 grams fat, 25 grams carbs, 1 gram fibre, 2 grams protein. You can keep these in the freezer and take them out to eat immediately. A fun twist on a classic that you can customize with any filling you feel like. My husband suggests the chocolate and almond butter.