Quick Mexican Chicken Soup with Hominy
Feb20

Quick Mexican Chicken Soup with Hominy

This delicious Posole (traditional Mexican soup or stew) takes 30 minutes to make, and the fun toppings add interesting textures and surprising flavor-bursts. Yummmy! Even Mr. Picky loved it. (faint)   My first request when I go back to South Africa is for my beloved Samp Mielies—a staple in the diet of the Xhosa South African people. (Mielie means corn in Afrikaans.) I have fond memories of my nanny making it for me. I even had my dad schlep a bag in his suitcase when I first moved to Los Angeles in 1996, and almost burned the house down when I tried cooking it in the microwave! (It usually takes about 3 hours to cook on the stove.) Oy! This was clearly before I learned how to cook. In our recent trip to South Africa, sweetheart Mary made it specially for me. You’ll never believe what her secret ingredient was… Cremora. (South African coffee creamer) Hmmm… interesting. That’s her making me a to-go cup (pad-kos) for the drive to the airport. 🙂   I was ecstatic to discover that hominy (the canned, Mexican version of it), was quite similar—and no cooking required! Hominy is basically like giant, puffed up pieces of corn, but with that pasta-like density and chew-factor. LOVE it! And it’s good for you. (It’s one of my top ten Weight Watchers Power Foods—coming soon) But still, I was never quite sure what to do with it—besides heat and eat.   Then last week I saw an intriguing dish at Gelsons Market in California—and on closer inspection discovered that what I thought was potato was actually hominy.   Actually, in their version, called “Chicken Ranchero”, there was hominy and potato. I fell head-over-heels in love with this dish (actually, more like obsessed) and was determined to re-create it. I remembered seeing Daphne Oz making something similar on The Chew (Daphne Oz’s Chicken Pozole Verde)—where she pureed tomatillos and jalapeños. I thought that using Salsa Verde—a green salsa made from tomatillos, green chiles and cilantro—would make it even more cinchy, and no need to conquer your fear of chiles! (Ok, you’re right…  my fear, not yours!)   If you can’t find Salsa Verde, sauté half a chopped jalapeño pepper with the garlic. Greek Yogurt in Mexican Soup, you say? If you can up the protein while adding creaminess and tang, I say why not! Some people don’t like (actually, more like hate) cilantro, so leave it as an optional topping. Crumble Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt White Corn Tortilla Chips for extra crunch! (They don’t taste guilt free at all)   And would you believe that these are all Weight...

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Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Dec18

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

This time of year—when we’re surrounded by tempting treats—this low fat, comforting soup will feel slightly indulgent and satisfy your sweet tooth, without taking you down! And it’s easy enough to make during the week, but special enough to serve for guests.   I was inspired to make this by the 2-pound container of butternut squash chunks (preservative free) at Costco.   You can, of course, just peel, core and cut up a large butternut squash to yield about the same amount. Nothing ever compares to the freshest ingredients that you peel and chop yourself, but sometimes using convenience items is the difference between getting a homemade dinner on the table, or just not attempting anything… so I’ll always opt for using precut veggies to help out when you need it! A touch of curry powder adds an interesting flavor, without overpowering the delicious squash or making it spicy. Trader Joe’s Curry Powder works perfectly in this recipe, but any mild curry powder will do.   “Sweat” the onions first, over low heat, to soften them and release the moisture—without browning them.   Garnish with Low Fat Greek Yogurt to balance the sweetness and add extra protein. If you’re doing Weight Watchers Simple Start or Simply Filling, Fat Free Greek Yogurt will keep this a Weight Watchers Power Food. Yummm!! Butternut Squash and Apple Soup 2013-12-18 14:32:41 Serves 6 4 Weight Watchers PointsPlus per serving. WW Power Food. Write a review Save Recipe Print 159 calories 28 g 0 g 5 g 4 g 1 g 351 g 59 g 10 g 0 g 5 g Nutrition Facts Serving Size 351g Servings 6 Amount Per Serving Calories 159 Calories from Fat 47 % Daily Value * Total Fat 5g 8% Saturated Fat 1g 4% Trans Fat 0g Polyunsaturated Fat 1g Monounsaturated Fat 4g Cholesterol 0mg 0% Sodium 59mg 2% Total Carbohydrates 28g 9% Dietary Fiber 5g 19% Sugars 10g Protein 4g Vitamin A322%Vitamin C60% Calcium9%Iron8% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Does this look wrong? Ingredients 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, high quality 1 large yellow onion, chopped 1 teaspoon mild curry powder 2 pounds butternut squash chunks (1 large) 2 small golden delicious apples, or other sweet apples 14.5 oz can (2 cups) low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth) kosher salt freshly ground black pepper water Instructions Add olive oil, onions, curry powder, and two large pinches of salt to a large dutch oven or stockpot and cook uncovered, over low heat, for 10 - 15 minutes, until...

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Turkey Stuffed Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Red Peppers
Sep25

Turkey Stuffed Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Red Peppers

This is one of my favorite ways to make ground turkey, and to use up gorgeous yellow squash from the Farmer’s Market—and it’s easy, healthy and kid friendly. Use this recipe as a starting point, and make it your own! My husband jokingly (kind of) asked me why I would take the time to make this when there are so many good stuffed peppers on the market. (I obviously hadn’t left enough of a break between my favorite TJ’s and Costco stuffed peppers… and now this homemade version!) However, after asking for seconds, Mr. Picky proclaimed this to be one of his favorite things that I make. Hmm. I use brown rice as a binder (instead of panko) for extra whole-grain goodness, and sauté the squash middles with onions and garlic to add texture and sneak even more veggies into the dish. Minsley cooked brown rice from Costco makes it a snap! If you don’t like bell peppers, just use yellow squash and/or zucchini—it’s your house, so you can use whatever you like! You can even substitute ground chicken to change it up. Extra-lean ground turkey breast would lower the fat and calories, but it wouldn’t be as tasty or moist (or satisfying!), so I recommend using 93% lean.  I’ve used Giada’s Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce (Target) and Trader Joe’s Low Fat Tomato Basil Marinara, and they both work great. Your  favorite marinara sauce would be perfect! Scoop out the flesh with a melon baller Stuff veggies with turkey mixture Cover with marinara and parmesan The most accurate way to tell if poultry is cooked through is with an instant read thermometer. (165 degrees) Click here for Orna’s Trader Joe’s Shopping List >> Click here for Orna’s Costco Shopping List >> Cool Tools Instant read thermometer Turkey Stuffed Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Red Peppers 2013-09-25 00:44:24 Serves 6 10 WW PP per serving Write a review Save Recipe Print 384 calories 15 g 140 g 22 g 32 g 6 g 306 g 454 g 4 g 0 g 13 g Nutrition Facts Serving Size 306g Servings 6 Amount Per Serving Calories 384 Calories from Fat 200 % Daily Value * Total Fat 22g 34% Saturated Fat 6g 32% Trans Fat 0g Polyunsaturated Fat 5g Monounsaturated Fat 8g Cholesterol 140mg 47% Sodium 454mg 19% Total Carbohydrates 15g 5% Dietary Fiber 3g 10% Sugars 4g Protein 32g Vitamin A15%Vitamin C210% Calcium19%Iron18% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Does this look wrong? Ingredients 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 1/4 pounds 93% lean ground turkey 2 red...

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Lighter Beef Bolognese
Apr17

Lighter Beef Bolognese

Who doesn’t have fond memories of eating Spaghetti Bolognese as a kid! This is my healthier take on Giada De Laurentiis’ Simple Bolognese—chock full of veggies, and with tips I learned from making Anne Burrell’s more complex and time-consuming, traditional Bolognese.   I love that you can make this the day before, but be warned that the house will smell so incredible that it will be hard to wait until the next day!   I learned from Chef Anne Burrell to add the pasta to the sauce in the pot, with a little pasta water (if necessary) and “marry the two together.” If I’m not using all of it, I just add an equal amount of sauce to the amount of pasta I’m using. Add a little more sauce on top of each plate, drizzle a little high-quality olive oil over the top and sprinkle some parm to finish. Yumm! Who needs Maria’s!   His and Hers     I don’t usually make two different types of pasta, but I thought this would be a good way to illustrate this gorgeous sauce. Barilla Plus Spaghetti is my fav because it has extra protein and fiber; even little Aja loves it. Sam prefers Trader Joe’s Corn Pasta because it’s easier on his stomach. Click here for Orna’s Trader Joe’s Shopping List >>   I like Trader Joe’s Parmesan which has a coarser texture. Please do not use parmesan from a green can!   I found Laura’s Lean Beef (92% lean, 8% fat) at Ralph’s Market, and it was delicious. Check their website for a market near you that carries it.   I used Menage a Trois wine—because that’s my favorite wine to drink. See Trader Joe’s and Costco Shopping Lists. Make sure your knife cuts are even and the veggies are chopped small. It might sound as if you’re using a lot of salt, but you have to season every single layer, or the end product will taste bland; I learned this from Anne Burrell. Make sure to use kosher salt – it really makes a difference. I copied Alton Brown’s trick of keeping it in a sugar bowl; makes it easy to pinch. Remember that the parmesan cheese will add some salt at the end, so don’t over-salt. How to Coarsely Chop Mushrooms To coarsely chop the mushrooms; slice them with a sharp knife, and then working in batches, run your knife through them in different directions to get them chopped approximately the same size. Cool Tools Mario Batali 6-quart Dutch Oven LOVE using my dutch oven for this! Epicurious hard spatula Lighter Beef Bolognese 2013-08-06 17:15:29 Serves 4 Write a review...

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Orna’s Curried Veggies
Oct16

Orna’s Curried Veggies

This dish was inspired by the beautiful japanese eggplant and zucchini I found at the Tapia Brothers Pumpkin Patch in Encino. My first request when my dad comes to visit from South Africa is for my curry powder. Ok, the truth is, it comes a very close second… right after my Cadbury Top Deck and Cote D’or Bouchées. (If you don’t know what these two are you’re probably better off!) “Curry” is not necessarily synonymous with “spicy”. It is just a flavor which comes from a mix of spices (coriander, turmeric, red pepper, cumin, etc.) and you get many different types of “curry” dishes. I have such fond memories of going to the Oriental Plaza —the bustling Indian Market in Johannesburg—with my mother. I would happily tag along as she picked up fresh spices and magnificent fabrics, and then she would treat me to a fresh, hot samosa. (We pronounced it “samoosa”.) I don’t even know what spices exactly are in this fantabulous blend of curry-goodness that my dad gets custom-made by his special Indian lady, and shleps 10,000 miles for me. But when my nose comes anywhere near the bag, I literally start to salivate and daydream about what I can make with it. You, of course, don’t have to import custom-made curry from South Africa, but can buy any brand of yellow curry powder (Indian, not Thai) from your local grocery store. Even Trader Joe’s has a good curry blend. The first time I made curry for Sam (the husband), I didn’t fish out all the leaves, twigs and seeds, and he didn’t appreciate the “texture” of the dish. So I now strain it. But don’t worry, the kind you buy in the supermarket is just plain, simple powder. I’m sure the fancy, authentic Indian chefs would frown on me using ketchup and sugar in my recipe, and not cooking the spices first to bring out the flavor. But sometimes you don’t want to go to all that trouble, and this is healthy and super-delicious without all the work. Please try it and let me know how you do! Orna’s Curried Veggies Mild or spicy but always tasty! Notes: If you don’t like spicy food don’t worry, this will just be tasty but it won’t be hot. If you prefer more spice add 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Japanese eggplant is smaller and more tender than regular eggplant, so it won’t be bitter, and you’ll have less of the middle, pulpy part when you cut it up into small pieces. You can also use Chinese or Italian eggplant. Don’t cut up the eggplant until you are ready to...

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