Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tomatillo Soup

Do not be intimidated by the use of the mysterious tomatillo! They are easily found in your grocery store, and you just have to remove the outer husk, then they look and work just like a little green tomato. This is an excellent soup. I don't think I would have tried to make this had I not tasted it first. Even then, I thought it looked too hard. But it was sooo easy. It was served at a church function, and my friend Kiki encouraged me to make it at home. Thanks Kiki! This is one of our favorite recipes. it has very few calories (though I didn't measure out exactly how many cups it makes) and is based on lots of greens.

2 QT chicken stock
6-8 tomatillos with husks removed and rinsed
2 bunches of cilantro
1 jalepeno REMOVE SEEDS FIRST unless you like it HOT
1 whole med-large yellow onion
½ head garlic
Juice of lime
2 4oz cans diced green chiles
3 chicken breasts cooked and shredded
1 can corn
2 15 oz cans black beans
1 green bell pepper diced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Warm up stock on stove in med-large pot, add fresh or frozen chicken breasts to stock. Rinse all veggies. Put tomatillos (roughly sliced and raw), cilantro, and jalepeno (WITHOUT SEEDS) in blender. Blend well.

Add 1 can of diced green chiles. Add garlic and onion to blender mix. Blend well for a few minutes. Add lime juice and make sure it is well blended. Add to chicken and stock in pot. Bring to boil. Add diced green pepper, other can of diced chiles, corn, beans, and chicken. Add seasonings (cumin, salt, and pepper). Let simmer stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. Remove Chicken breasts, shred with a fork, and add back into soup mixture.

Optional: serve with corn tortillas cut into strips, sour cream and diced avocado. Add more limejuice if you desire.

Whole Wheat Veggie Chicken Sausage Pizza

I saw this pizza on the cover of Clean Eating and had to try it. It is delicious! They had no crust recipe, and instead basically just said to buy the frozen crust from Trader Joes. Well, I have no Trader Joes within about 400 miles. So we found a recipe online and followed that.

It turned out sooo good. I loved the toppings. Pizza is my favorite food by a long shot, but it makes me feel sick and puffy after I eat it. I wake up all swollen and it just isn't worth it most of the time. This one doesn't do that.

I think the key is that it has a healthier crust, and isn't so salty. The crust makes it very filling. One or two slices will fill you up, where many other kinds, I can really eat about four slices. I ground up my own flour in my Blendtec, but you can just use whole wheat flour if you don't have a grinder or wheat.

Here is what is in the crust:

1 T honey or sugar (any simple sugar that will feed the yeast will do)
1.5 C warm water (110 degrees F)
1 T active dry yeast
1 T Olive oil
3.5 C Whole Wheat flour

Toppings we used:

Fresh mushrooms
1 small can sliced black olives
1 Amy's Apple Gouda Chicken Sausage (refrigerated deli foods from Costco)
Sliced red onion
Bell Peppers
1.3 cups Mozzarella Cheese/pizza
3/4 C Marinara Sauce

In a large bowl, dissolve honey or sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the top and let stand for about 10 minutes until foamy.

Stir the olive oil and salt into yeast mixture, then mix in the whole wheat flour until dough starts to come together. Tip dough out onto a surface floured with the remaining flour, and knead until all flour has been absorbed and the ball of dough becomes smooth, about 10 minutes. Place dough in oiled bowl, then turn to coat surface. Cover loosely with a towel, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

When the dough is doubled, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 2 pieces for a thin crust, or leave whole to make one thick crust. Form into a tight ball. Let rise for about 45 minutes until doubled.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Roll a ball of dough with a rolling pin until it will not stretch any further. place on a well oiled pizza pan or seasoned baking stone with a bit of cornmeal. Top pizza with your favorite toppings.

Bake for 16-20 minutes depending on thickness. When the crust is crisp and golden at the edges and cheese is melted on top, remove from the oven.

My pizzas were 12" in diameter, and sliced into 8 pieces were about 170 calories per slice.

My Butterbell bit the dust

This is really one of my favorite little gadgets ever. I love real butter. I don't like margarine. But I hate how the real butter gets so hard in the refrigerator, and so icky and messy when it stays out.

So the Butterbell solved those little problems. You pack a cube of butter into the bell shaped lid, and add a bit of water to the crock to create a seal to keep your butter fresh and cool, but not cold. It stays fresh--they say up to thirty days--and it is so easy to spread.

Sadly, Simone knocked
it off the counter last week and mine shattered. But if you are still looking for Christmas ideas, this is a great little item. I bought
ours for $20 at the local health food store. But I haven't seen them anywhere else. You can buy them online here.
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