Lightened Up Charro Beans and Baked Taquitos

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So you’ve ate all the turkey you could eat and shopped all the Black Friday sales you could shop. The holiday season is approaching there is no better time to focus on you. Put the stretchy pants away, remain focused and healthy and get a jump start on your New Year’s resolution, if it’s getting in shape and eating right of course.

That’s what I’m doing anyway. I’ve begun a new Beachbody workout routine by Shawn T called T25. I’m on day 3 and love it so far! But to work the body you need to fuel the body. And I’m gonna do it all around the world.

Starting off with Charro Beans. In case you’ve never heard of this wonder food, it is typically a large pot of pinto beans cooked almost like a soup, with chunks of chorizo, bacon and maybe hot dogs, with a large ham hock for flavor and plenty of tomatoes, onions and chiles. Topped with cilantro it is goodness in a bowl. You can order this dish at many Mexican restaurants by the name of Frijoles Charros de la Hoya, which means Charro Beans from the Pot.

But this doesn’t exactly sound like a clean way to start eating clean, so I’ve made this lighter version, based on this slow cooker recipe by Slender Kitchen, and oh is it good!

Here are the Charro Bean stars:

1 lb pinto beans
1 large onion
2 large tomatoes
2 jalapeños
3 cloves garlic
4 oz lean ground turkey
6 oz Canadian ham
1 Tb bacon grease
6 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup cilantro

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First I quick soaked my beans in the morning. Pick through the beans for any rocks or dirt. Pour them in a large pot or bowl and cover them with boiling water you’ve heated in a kettle. Cover and let them soak all day, about 8-12 hours.

(You can also make these in a slow cooker all day! Pick through and rinse the beans as above and set aside; sauté everything as below; add the veggies to your slow cooker, then add the beans and boiling broth and set it for 8-10 hours.)

After the beans had soaked all day, I rinsed them under clean water and heated another kettle of water. Then I began by chopping the onion, tomatoes and jalapeños, mincing the garlic and dicing the Canadian ham. I browned the turkey and diced ham in the bacon fat in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.

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When the turkey was browned, I added the onion, tomatoes, garlic and jalapenos and cooked until the onions were slightly tender, about 4 minutes.

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Then I added the pinto beans.

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I poured 6 cups of the boiling water over the bean mixture and added 6 tsp of chicken bouillon to make a chicken broth.

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Then I covered the beans and let them cook about 1 hour and 20 minutes, until they were tender and gave when smashed with the back of a spoon.

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That’s it. Then these were removed from heat, ladled into bowls and sprinkled with chopped cilantro for a fresh green taste.

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My don’t those look good! My husband really enjoyed these-he had two bowls and ate it like soup.
Looking for a quick clean eating breakfast? Try making charro beans and egg whites!

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Knead Time But Don’t Have It? – Easy No Knead Whole Wheat Yeast Bread

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I’m a simple gal. And I love simple shortcuts. But I love to bake. And I love yeast bread. And that is just so time consuming when I have absolutely none!
So what do I do? I bake some no knead whole wheat yeast bread. That’ll take care of that baking addiction.
So it’s Thanksgiving morning and you know fresh baked bread will go perfect with your meal. So why not make this? This bread can be made the night before or morning of, depending when you are going to bake it. It will need at least 8 hours of rise time and another hour afterward.
With just these 6 kitchen staples, you can have amazing effortless bread by this evening’s supper. Or with breakfast coffee! And to boot, it is purely vegan.

Ingredients needed:
1 cup flour
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tb cornmeal (optional)

In a large bowl with a lid or a clean one gallon house bucket with lid, whisk together the dry ingredients.

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Add the warm water and mix with a wooden spoon until combined well.

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Cover with a lid tightly and set the bowl in a warm place.

It truly is science.

The natural fermentation of the yeast in this recipe is amazing. You can even do this recipe with your kids if you have a clear bowl, and have them check the bread every hour and note the rising process.

After 8-10 hours have passed, set your oven to Warm.

Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and lightly dust it with 2 Tb of cornmeal or flour. Dump the dough into the prepared loaf pan and tuck any dough under as needed.

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Optionally, you can roll out the dough and divide it into a 12 cup muffin tin for individual rolls and continue as directed.

Place the loaf pan in the warm oven and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes to an hour. (I have zero patience and only wait for 30 minutes, which lends a slightly denser bread, but I love it!)

Raise the oven temperature to 375F and bake for about 35 minutes until bread is lightly browned on top.

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Cool the bread slightly on a wire rack and slice as desired.

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Cover with lots of fresh dairy butter or vegan butter spread.

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Dig in…my boys love this stuff. It is so perfect for finicky sharks, as I can make it before I go to bed and wake up and pop it in the oven. Easy peasy!

Easy No Knead Whole Wheat Yeast Bread

Prep Time: 9 hours, 5 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 10 hours

Number of servings: 12

Per Serving 146 calories

Fat 1 g

Carbs 32 g

Protein 5 g

12

Easy No Knead Whole Wheat Yeast Bread

Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 4

*Nutritional value may vary depending upon which ingredients are used.

*PointsPlus® calculated by Famished Fish and in no way endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 Tb cornmeal (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl with a lid or a clean one gallon house bucket with lid, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  2. Add the warm water and mix with a wooden spoon until combined well.
  3. Cover with a lid tightly and set the bowl in a warm place.
  4. After 8-10 hours have passed, set your oven to Warm.
  5. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick coking spray and lightly dust it with 2 Tb of cornmeal or flour. Dump the dough into the prepared loaf pan and tuck any dough under as needed.
  6. Place the loaf pan in the warm oven and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes to an hour.
  7. Raise the oven temperature to 375F and bake for about 35 minutes until bread is lightly browned on top.
  8. Cool the bread slightly on a wire rack and slice as desired.

Notes

The natural fermentation of the yeast in this recipe is amazing. You can even do this recipe with your kids if you have a clear bowl, and have them check the bread every hour and note the rising process. Optionally, you can roll out the dough and divide it into a 12 cup muffin tin for individual rolls and continue as directed.

How will you serve your fresh bread?

You may also enjoy Vegan Whole Wheat Carrot Pecan Bread with Raisins and Dates

Skinny Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Soup with Wild Rice

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Mushrooms. Juicy, savory, a bit of bite and smooth subtle sweetness. Overloading creamy chicken soup filled with wild whole grain rice.

I can’t say what made me do it, I only know I couldn’t stop thinking about it. With all the fall flavors and cool weather, creamy mushroom soup fit the season just right.

But like any creamy soup that is typically loaded with heavy cream and butter, this soup won’t leave you feeling loaded yourself. At just over 400 calories, it is filled with some simple clean eating ingredients. And you can make this soup from start to finish in just about 60 minutes. Better yet, if you any leftover Thanksgiving Turkey, use the turkey carcass to make a stock and use the turkey meat for this soup.

It’s the basics baby!

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You’ll need these basic fresh ingredients:

For the Stock:
1 stalk celery
1 large carrot
1/4 large onion
1 Tb canola oil
1 Tb chicken bouillon
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast
1 bay leaf
6 cups water

Begin by making a stock. Roughly chop up one stalk of celery and one large carrot along with 1/4 of a large onion. Cut the chicken into large chunks so it cooks faster, and set aside.

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, sauté the celery, carrot, and onion with the chicken bouillon in the canola oil until tender.

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Then add two chicken breasts, about 1 1/2 pounds, 6 cups hot water, and 1 bay leaf to the pot. Bring to boiling, cover and simmer for about 25-30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through, tender and no longer pink.

It’s getting wild!

Meanwhile cook the Wild Rice. I mean really, doesn’t this rice look wild? Like it went on a rice Mud Run and came back in multiple colors of nature.

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For the Wild Rice:
3/4 cup rinsed wild rice
2 cups hot water

Add wild rice to hot water in medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and steam, covered until tender, about 45 minutes.

Now to the soup, oh yea.

Strain the chicken stock over a colander placed over a large bowl. Save the chicken stock. Remove the chicken and shred or chop roughly. You can throw out the veggies or save them for your husband who adds veggies to everything. Discard the bay leaf.

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Have your soup ingredients ready. Oh mushrooms, don’t you look good?!

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For the Soup:
1 Tb butter
1 shallot
1 clove garlic
8 oz baby bella mushrooms
1/2 cup flour
dash worchestershire
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 cups milk

Peel and finely mince the shallot and garlic. Remove stems from the baby bella mushrooms. Cut off the dirty stem end and slice the remaining stem pieces. Slice the baby bella caps as well.

In the same Dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter and add the garlic and shallots. Sauté about 2-3 minutes, then add the baby bella mushrooms. Sauté about 2 minutes more.

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Stir in the flour. For an entirely gluten free meal, use brown rice flour or tapioca flour.

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Cook about 1 minute more, then carefully pour in the reserved chicken stock.

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Stir in the chopped chicken. Bring back to boiling then carefully add the remaining ingredients. Simmer over medium heat

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Bears are Made of Donuts!? Mexican Chocolate Donut Bears

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Sometimes you just have to make food fun, and my boys and I love to make food fun! Even if it means pumping them full of sugar and letting my finicky shark have a little gluten-I love to let them live a little.

One evening after work, my family and I went to run a quick errand at a small shopping strip. As we were leaving, my oldest son Angel spotted a Boba shop. Well this Boba shop, like a large amount of Boba shops near us, also sold donuts. I don’t know about you, but Boba and Donuts are like my carb addiction of choice. I like those big specialty donuts and my most recent favorite Taro Boba.

Well my husband ordered a HUGE Bear Claw donut. My finicky shark, in all his autistic genius innocence questioned, “Bears are Made of Donuts!?”

Which rendered me this brilliant Cooking with Kids post for Mexican Chocolate Donut Bears. I borrowed a Bisquick recipe for this one! I love all these unique flavor choices and will definitely be making some raspberry and pistachio ones. This is Bisquick’s photo here.

donuts

This simple list of ingredients is you need:
For the Donuts:
2 cups Original Bisquick Mix
2 Tb sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg beaten
For the Chocolate Coating:
1/2 cup sugar
2 3/4 tsp unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Oil for frying
For the Décor:
1/4 cup Wilton baking chips, melted
2 Tb chocolate chips
1 Tb decorating sprinkles
Toothpicks if needed
Small paper bag

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Whisk all the dry donut ingredients together.

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Pour in the milk, egg and vanilla and mix well, but lightly.

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Using Bisquick floured hands and a small spoon, scoop out 16 one inch balls and 32 quarter inch balls.  This will make 8 donut bears including 8 heads, 8 bodies and 4 paws for each bear.

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Heat oil in a large pan to 2 inches or a deep fryer to 375F. Test a bear paw. If it browns too quickly, the donut will not cook through and if it browns too slowly, the donut will be too greasy.

Cook the donuts in small batches until browned evenly, about 3-4 minutes.

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Combine the Chocolate Coating ingredients in a small paper bag. As you cook the donuts in batches, drop them into the coating and shake. Remove to a paper towel or another paper bag cut open.

This frog insisted on photo bombing my photo. Or maybe he wanted to steal some donuts, I just don’t know.

Is your kitchen table covered in children’s toys too?

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Get your decorating ingredients out. Melt the baking chocolate to use as “glue”.

Use chocolate chips for eyes, noses, ears, a tail, buttons, whatever you fancy.

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Get the whole spread ready and call out the kids!

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Have them go at it! Use toothpicks to secure the bear paws until it is set.

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Each of my boys inhaled their bears and really LOVED this Sunday morning project.

Mexican Chocolate Donut Bears

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Number of servings: 8

Per Serving 284 calories

Fat 12 g

Carbs 40 g

Protein 5 g

8

Mexican Chocolate Donut Bears

Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 8

*Nutritional value may vary depending upon which ingredients are used.

*PointsPlus® calculated by Famished Fish and in no way endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

Ingredients

    For the Donuts

  • 2 cups Original Bisquick Mix
  • 2 Tb sugar
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Oil for frying
  • For the Chocolate Coating

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 3/4 tsp unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • For the Décor

  • 1/4 cup Wilton baking chips, melted
  • 2 Tb chocolate chips
  • 1 Tb decorating sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Whisk all the dry donut ingredients together.
  2. Pour in the milk, egg and vanilla and mix well, but lightly.
  3. Using Bisquick floured hands and a small spoon, scoop out 16 one inch balls and 32 quarter inch balls. This will make 8 donut bears including 8 heads, 8 bodies and 4 paws for each bear.
  4. Heat oil in a large pan to 2 inches or a deep fryer to 375F. Test a bear paw. If it browns too quickly, the donut will not cook through and if it browns too slowly, the donut will be too greasy.
  5. Cook the donuts in small batches until browned evenly, about 3-4 minutes.
  6. Combine the Chocolate Coating ingredients in a small paper bag. As you cook the donuts in batches, drop them into the coating and shake. Remove to a paper towel or another paper bag cut open.
  7. Melt the baking chocolate to use as “glue”.
  8. Use chocolate chips for eyes, noses, ears, a tail, buttons, whatever you fancy.
  9. Use toothpicks to secure the bear paws until it is set.

Notes

Additional equipment: toothpicks, two paper bags

What will you decorate your bear with?

You may also enjoy Pigs in a Maple Oat Donut Hole

Kidlicious-“Baked” Pumpkin Black Beans with Hoctopi

This is my tale of two chilis. My quest in using up pumpkin from Halloween. With my pumpkin I made Spicy Pumpkin Black Bean Chili with Turkey and these sweet “Baked” Pumpkin Black Beans. My kids like to call any form of sweet baked beans candy beans, because of their distinct flavor.

This batch of beans are similar, but almost soup like, and were very much enjoyed by my kids. Especially when I topped them with Hoctopi, as my 9 year old called them. Turkey sausages (you may use hot dogs) split into legs to create octopus is what I used.

Please note: I’ll add the ingredients and cooking technique for the Hoctopi as well, but it WILL NOT be included in the recipe below, as you may vary it as you want and is just a guideline to creating a meal for finicky sharks. For the Hoctopi, you will only use the Baked Pumpkin Black Beans as a side dish, not a main dish as below.

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This is the recipe for the “Baked” Pumpkin Black Beans.

What you’ll need:
3 Tb bacon fat or canola oil
1/3 onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups black beans with liquid
29 oz pumpkin puree
1 tsp chicken bouillon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp liquid smoke
dash cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tb ketchup
2 Tb apple cider vinegar

First refer back to this post to make the fresh black beans and pureed pumpkin. Or substitute canned. If using canned, DO NOT use the liquid from the beans. Instead, rinse and refill with water, then use that liquid. The cooking liquid from homemade beans is not as salty as the canned type, so that IS used in this recipe.

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In a large saucepan, heat the bacon fat (keep a jar of strained bacon grease in your fridge and refill every time you make bacon) over medium heat.

Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender and transparent, about 6 minutes.

Stir in the remaining ingredients.

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Cook over medium heat, uncovered about 45 minutes, until thickened and reduced.

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Cool slightly, garnish as desired, and serve. Makes 6 main dish servings.

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Baked Pumpkin Black Beans

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 hours, 45 minutes

Total Time: 11 hours

Number of servings: 6

Per Serving 632 calories

Fat 9 g

Carbs 113 g

Protein 30 g

6

Baked Pumpkin Black Beans

Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 16

*Nutritional value may vary depending upon which ingredients are used.

*PointsPlus® calculated by Famished Fish and in no way endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

Ingredients

  • 3 Tb bacon fat or canola oil
  • 1/3 onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 cups fresh black beans with cooking liquid
  • 29 oz pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp liquid smoke
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tb ketchup
  • 2 Tb apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the bacon fat or canola oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender and transparent, about 6 minutes.
  3. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
  4. Cook over medium heat, uncovered about 45 minutes, until thickened and reduced.
  5. Cool slightly, garnish as desired, and serve.

Notes

If using canned, DO NOT use the liquid from the beans. Instead, rinse and refill with water, then use that liquid. The cooking liquid from homemade beans is not as salty as the canned type, so that IS used in this recipe.

Now to make this meal Finicky Shark (and autistic son) worthy.  We’ll use the beans as a side dish here.

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“Baked” Pumpkin Black Beans with Hoctopi

You’ll need

2 – 14oz packages of Jennie-O Turkey Sausage
1 Tb canola oil
1/2 red onion
1 apple
1 bottle of any beer (gluten free if needed) or chicken broth
3 cups of preferred vegetable for a side (I used zucchini)…

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A Tale of Two Chilis-Spicy Pumpkin Black Bean Chili with Turkey

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I don’t know about you but we have a lot of pumpkin left over from Halloween. Yes, we actually still do! I need to make some pie! Or figure some way to make sweet pumpkin tamales for Thanksgiving.

But not all things pumpkin have to be full of sugar. You can actually make some good clean whole food with pumpkin. So one day in my slow cooker I cooked up a pound of black beans AND 5 pounds of fresh pumpkin. And I created two unique flavors.

I came home and made Spicy Pumpkin Black Bean Chili with Turkey and “Baked” Sweet Pumpkin Black Beans. I absolutely LOVED the turkey chili, especially leftover for lunch, as the flavors mingled more the next day. And I enjoyed serving the “Baked” Black Beans with “Hoctopi”, perfectly named by my 9 year old Angel, which are turkey sausages cut into octopus shapes.

Now you can just as easily use 2-3 cans of black beans and one 29oz can of pumpkin purée for each of these chilis, but I love the idea of making these completely from scratch!

First, in your slow cooker, pour in one pound of dry black beans which have been picked through of all rocks and sand.

Lay 5 pounds of cut and seeded pumpkin on top of the beans and cover with water within an inch of the top. There is no need to peel the pumpkin, you will scoop the pulp out later. Add one Tb of salt, cover and set on low for 8-10 hours.

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This is how they will look when they are done.

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For this post I’ll share the Spicy Pumpkin Black Bean Chili with Turkey. (Click here for the “Baked” Sweet Pumpkin Black Beans with Hoctopi.)

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First scoop out the pumpkin from the rind and purée in batches in a blender to make enough puree for about 30oz of fresh pumpkin. Set aside.

Then continue with these list of ingredients.

Spicy Pumpkin Black Bean Chili with Turkey
2 Tb bacon fat or canola oil
1/3 onion
1 stalk celery
1 clove garlic
1 jalapeno
2 tomatoes
12 oz belgiun ale beer
20 oz lean ground turkey
3 cups black beans drained
29 oz pumpkin puree
2 Tb brown sugar
2 Tb ketchup
1 Tb apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 dashes hot sauce
dash cinnamon

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First dice the onion, chop the celery, mince the onion, chop and remove seeds from the jalapeno, and dice the tomatoes.

In a large Dutch oven, heat the bacon fat over medium heat. If you don’t have bacon fat, you may use canola oil. I keep a jar of strained bacon fat in my refrigerator and refill it whenever I make bacon.

Add the garlic, onion and jalapeno and sauté about 3 minutes until tender.

Add the turkey and cook until browned, about 8 minutes.

 

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Stir in the tomatoes and cook 2 minutes more.

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Pour in the entire bottle of beer, but take a swig if you must.  Now for this I really wanted to use Pumpkin Ale, but I had none :-(, so I used his brother, this Belgium stuff right here by the same Blue Moon company. You really can taste it in the chili. Delicious!

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Simmer a few minutes more to allow the beer to reduce a bit. Then stir in the black beans.

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Finally stir in the pureed pumpkin and remaining ingredients.

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Continue cooking, uncovered over medium heat, until thickened, at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Serve with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt and some chives. Feel free to add some cheese too. I was keeping it light here.

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This makes about 6, 1 1/2 cup servings. I love this chili. It is full of health ingredients, plenty of fiber, low in fat, and loaded with protein. This really is a clean eating meal. And can be gluten free by substituting red wine for the beer or using gluten-free beer.

Enjoy healthy pumpkin eaters.

Spicy Pumpkin Black Bean Chili with Turkey

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 10 hours, 45 minutes

Total Time: 11 hours, 30 minutes

Number of servings: 6

Per Serving 623 calories

Fat 15 g

Carbs 83 g

Protein 41 g

6

Spicy Pumpkin Black Bean Chili with Turkey

Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 16

*Nutritional value may vary depending upon which ingredients are used.

*PointsPlus® calculated by Famished Fish and in no way endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tb bacon fat or canola oil
  • 1/3 onion
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 12 oz belgiun ale beer
  • 20 oz lean ground turkey
  • 3 cups black beans drained
  • 29 oz pumpkin puree
  • 2 Tb brown sugar
  • 2 Tb ketchup
  • 1 Tb apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 4 dashes hot sauce
  • dash cinnamon

Instructions

  1. First dice the onion, chop the celery, mince the onion, chop and remove seeds from the jalapeno, and dice the tomatoes.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, heat the bacon fat over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion and jalapeno and sauté about 3 minutes until tender.
  3. Add the turkey and cook until browned, about 8 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and cook 2 minutes more.
  5. Pour in the entire bottle of beer.
  6. Simmer a few minutes more to allow the beer to reduce a bit. Then stir in the black beans.
  7. Finally stir in the pureed pumpkin and remaining ingredients.
  8. Continue cooking, uncovered over medium heat, until thickened, at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Cool slightly and serve.

Notes

This really is a clean eating meal. And can be gluten free by substituting red wine for the beer or using gluten-free beer. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt and some chives and some cheese if desired. This will change the nutrition slightly.

How do you plan to use your leftover pumpkin this season?

You may also enjoy Triple Meaty Ranch Beans

 

 

Guilt Free Poppers-Puffed Spinach Poppers with Cheese

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It was one of those nights. A long 9 hour work day, 2 hours of homework time with my finicky shark, barely making it to pick up my other two boys from school as my gas light comes on, then dragging myself and the boys home for more homework and trying to get dinner done. Yep, one of those nights. So I made my husband a steak. Because he was literally stuck in traffic and deserved a good steak! And to even things out, I wanted veggies. Something quick, convenient and kid friendly.

So like any other day, I grabbed some basic staples from my fridge and pantry and put together these Puffed Spinach Poppers. My oldest boy got wide-eyed as he took a bite and exclaimed how wonderful they tasted. And they literally took 5 minutes to throw together and 20 minutes in the oven. And any mom is always thrilled when their kids eat veggies. This is all is takes to get bite-sized spinach poppers. And I bet these would taste great with ranch or a yogurt dip, though my kids didn’t request it.

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All you need is:
1 lb frozen chopped spinach
1 cup self rising flour
1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese
3 Tb parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper

Thaw the spinach and drain all the water out.  Then combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix it up well.  Feel free to substitute almond flour for a completely gluten free and paleo friendly snack.

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Then using a 1 1/2 inch cookie baller scoop, scoop 40 portions onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet lightly sprayed with cooking spray.

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Bake for 10 minutes, turn over and bake for 10 minutes more.  Total bake time is 20 minutes.

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Remove from oven and enjoy warm.

These can be enjoyed as an appetizer, 2 per person, or as an accompaniment to any meal, 5 per person.

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I hope you enjoy these Puffed Spinach Poppers as much as my 9 year old. And at just 24 calories and 1 gram of fat per popper, you won’t feel guilty scarfing these down.

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Puffed Spinach Poppers with Cheese

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Number of servings: 40

Per Serving 24 calories

Fat 1 g

Carbs 3 g

Protein 2 g

40

Puffed Spinach Poppers with Cheese

Weight Watchers PointsPlus®:

*Nutritional value may vary depending upon which ingredients are used.

*PointsPlus® calculated by Famished Fish and in no way endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 cup self rising flour
  • 1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese
  • 3 Tb parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  1. Thaw the spinach and drain all the water out.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well.
  3. Using a 1 1/2 inch cookie baller scoop, scoop 40 portions onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, turn over and bake 10 minutes more.
  5. Remove from oven and enjoy warm.

Notes

These can be enjoyed as an appetizer, 2 per person, or as an accompaniment to any meal, 5 per person. Feel free to substitute almond flour for a completely gluten free and paleo friendly snack.

Do you have a favorite veggie you’d like to make a popper?  Please share.

You may also enjoy Zucchini Lasagna Bites

Rolling Up Some Love-Cinnamon Roll Pumpkin Bread Pudding

 

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I reincarnated stale bread. As a cinnamon roll. And I’m not sorry. Cuz it’s gooood!

I mean, we could do croutons, or bread crumbs, or French Onion Soup. We could do Classic Bread Pudding or Peaches and Cream French Toast. But Cinnamon Roll Pumpkin Bread Pudding…oh yea. That’s the spot. And the most devoured “cinnamon rolls” I’ve seen my family eat. And the good thing about this bread pudding is it is not overly soggy, due to the large amount of bread used, but rather it is more cinnamon roll like.

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Check out those Cinnamon Rolls!!!

My husband does not typically like bread pudding at all, but he really enjoyed this recipe! It may also help that I used his favorite Cinnabon Filling. Ha.

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What’s not to love about butter, brown sugar and lots of cinnamon?

So why hold out any longer…here’s my latest Famished Fish creation. Oh, it’s healthy-it’s got pumpkin in it! Well, I did lighten it up by making a Sour Cream Cheese Sauce for it. But feel free to smother it with a can of cream cheese frosting if you are feeling bold.

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All you need is some basic ingredients:

Cinnamon Filling:
6 Tb butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 Tb cinnamon

Bread Pudding:
6 hoagie rolls
6 eggs
3 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin purée
1 cup sugar
1 Tb rum extract
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 Tb butter

Sour Cream Cheese Sauce:
3/4 c powdered sugar, sifted
8 oz Neufchâtel cream cheese, softened
1/2 c light sour cream
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

350F 40-50 min

Spray a 13×9 inch casserole dish with cooking spray.

Combine all the Cinnamon Filing ingredients in a small bowl. Cut the hoagie rolls (preferably stale) in half lengthwise. Press the cinnamon filling onto the bread, dividing evenly to all the bread slices.

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Roll the bread slices in cinnamon roll style, in toward the cinnamon filling. Holding the bread roll tightly, cut in half widthwise and carefully place the two new cinnamon rolls spiral side up, pressing the seams of the bread in well. This will make 24 cinnamon rolls. Continue with all the bread slices, squeezing each cinnamon roll in to fit, being careful they don’t flip sideways. It is okay if the bread cracks a little from staleness. Just cram it in.

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After the cinnamon rolls are fitted snugly, combine all the remaining bread pudding ingredients, except the 2 Tb butter.

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Pour the mixture over the cinnamon rolls, coating evenly.

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Dot with the 2 Tb butter. Cover with plastic wrap or foil and place in the refrigerator to allow to soak overnight, or at least 1 hour until the egg mixture is well absorbed.

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Preheat the oven to 350F. Uncover cinnamon rolls and bake for 40-50 minutes until lightly golden.

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Meanwhile, combine all Sour Cream Cheese Sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl and refrigerate until cinnamon rolls are ready.

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When cinnamon rolls are done, remove from oven and cool slightly. Cut into 3 rows of 5 slices each, making 15 servings. Smother with 3 Tb of the cream sauce and enjoy.

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You will truly obsess over each bread pudding piece looking like a little bitty cinnamon roll. I know I did.

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Makes 15 yummy servings.  And at half the calories and WW points of a typical shopping mall cinnamon roll, you can’t feel guilty eating this.  Less than 450 calories and only 12 WW points!  I’ll take that as healthy.  Enjoy 🙂

Cinnamon Roll Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Prep Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Number of servings: 15

Per Serving 443 calories

Fat 18 g

Carbs 63 g

Protein 9 g

15

Cinnamon Roll Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 12

*Nutritional value may vary depending upon which ingredients are used.

*PointsPlus® calculated by Famished Fish and in no way endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

Ingredients

    For the Cinnamon Filling

  • 6 Tb butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tb cinnamon
  • For the Bread Pudding

  • 6 hoagie rolls
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tb rum extract
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 Tb butter
  • Sour Cream Cheese Sauce

  • 3/4 c powdered sugar, sifted
  • 8 oz Neufchâtel cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c light sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Instructions

  1. Spray a 13×9 inch casserole dish with cooking spray.
  2. Combine all the Cinnamon Filing ingredients in a small bowl. Cut the hoagie rolls (preferably stale) in half lengthwise. Press the cinnamon filling onto the bread, dividing evenly to all the bread slices.
  3. Roll the bread slices in cinnamon roll style, in toward the cinnamon filling.
  4. Holding the bread roll tightly, cut in half widthwise and carefully place the two new cinnamon rolls spiral side up, pressing the seams of the bread in well. This will make 24 cinnamon rolls.
  5. Continue with all the bread slices, squeezing each cinnamon roll in to fit, being careful they don’t flip sideways. It is okay if the bread cracks a little from staleness. Just cram it in.
  6. After the cinnamon rolls are fitted snugly, combine all the remaining bread pudding ingredients, except the 2 Tb butter.
  7. Pour the mixture over the cinnamon rolls, coating evenly.
  8. Dot with the 2 Tb butter. Cover with plastic wrap or foil and place in the refrigerator to allow to soak overnight, or at least 1 hour until the egg mixture is well absorbed.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350F. Uncover cinnamon rolls and bake for 40-50 minutes until lightly golden.
  10. Meanwhile, combine all Sour Cream Cheese Sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl and refrigerate until cinnamon rolls are ready.
  11. When cinnamon rolls are done, remove from oven and cool slightly. Cut into 3 rows of 5 slices each, making 15 servings. Smother with 3 Tb of the cream sauce.

Notes

If you don't want to make the Sour Cream Cheese Sauce (nutrition information IS caluculated), use a can of Cream Cheese Icing.

What is your favorite cinnamon roll topping?

You may also enjoy Whole Wheat Banana Apple Raisin Muffins (Banapple Muffins)

Pick Your Protein-Spring Rolls with Apples and Peanuts

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Spring Rolls are one of the most creative and refreshing ways to eat a salad wrap in Asian culture, in my opinion.  I remember the first time my family and I went to a Vietnamese Pho Noodle House.  The Pho was delightful, full of flavorful anise spiced broth and fat rice noodles.  I could eat that for days.  We ordered it with an appetizer-shrimp spring rolls.  Delicious!  These spring rolls were filled with lettuce, shrimp, and rice noodles.  So simple, yet so good.  The special ingredient is the dipping peanut sauce, with yummy hoisin and nutty flavors, it just finishes the spring roll perfectly.  My friend Laura and I are addicted to these.  We can almost never go to our local Vietnamese restaurant without ordering at least one.  Nor can my husband.  If I get that for lunch at work, I best be bringing an order home for him! 😉

So if I want a quick and light meal at home, Spring Rolls are a pretty quick and easy one to make.  It is healthy and clean eating goodness, gluten free and filling.  Now these spring rolls are not typical Vietnamese fair, but they are delicious.  And I will be creating more versions.  For now, read on how to make these yummy Pick Your Protein, Apple Peanut Spring Rolls.

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With just a few simple ingredients:

For the Spring Rolls:
8 spring roll wrappers
3 cups shredded romaine lettuce
2 oz bean threads, uncooked, or optionally vermicelli rice noodles
2 1/2 Tb chopped peanuts
1/2 apple, raw, sliced thinly
12 oz shredded cooked chicken, thinly sliced BBQ pork or steak, 8 jumbo shrimp, halved lengthwise, OR 12 oz tofu, grilled lightly, OR any combination of the above

For the Protein marinade:
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp peanut oil
1/2 tsp ginger, minced
1/2 tsp low sodium soy sauce

For the Dipping sauce:
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 Tb peanut oil
1 tsp sugar
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2-1 tsp red pepper flakes

First prepare all the ingredients.

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Combine the meat marinade and soak over Protein choice.

Boil the bean threads rapidly for 5 minutes, rinse with cold water and drain well.

Chop the peanuts and slice the apple thinly.

Shred the lettuce.

Next fill the spring roll.

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Soak the spring roll wrapper in warm water until it softens, about 15-20 seconds.  Transfer to a plate, let the water absorb about 10 seconds longer, then start filling it.  Layer on slightly over a 1/3 cup of lettuce, 3 Tb of bean threads, 3 Tb of meat, 1 tsp of chopped peanuts and 3-4 apple slices.  (If you are using shrimp, layer the shrimp last, so it displays prettily through the spring roll.)

Roll the spring roll like a burrito, pinching tightly but carefully, so not to tear the wrapper.  Put the filing about 1/3 away from the edge, roll the long end, then fold in the short ends and continue rolling.  Press lightly to seal.

Set aside the spring roll to a plate and cover with plastic wrap while making the rest.

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Make the dipping sauce by combining the ingredients.  Plate out 2 spring rolls and 2 Tb dipping sauce per person.

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These spring rolls are quite refreshing and very satisfying.  This version is similar to a crisp Chinese chicken salad, without the crispy noodles.  If you are feeling daring, go ahead and throw some of those in!

If these last past dinner, you can wrap them in plastic wrap and enjoy them for lunch the next day. You can also enjoy these as an appetizer, one per serving.

Happy rolling!

Chicken Spring Rolls with Apples and Peanuts

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes

Number of servings: 4

Per Serving 392 calories

Fat 17 g

Carbs 33 g

Protein 27 g

4

Chicken Spring Rolls with Apples and Peanuts

Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 10

*Nutritional value may vary depending upon which ingredients are used.

*PointsPlus® calculated by Famished Fish and in no way endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

Ingredients

    For the Spring Rolls

  • 8 spring roll wrappers
  • 3 cups romaine lettuce, shredded
  • 2 oz bean threads, uncooked
  • 2 1/2 Tb chopped peanuts
  • 1/2 large apple
  • 12 oz shredded cooked chicken
  • For the marinade

  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp peanut oil
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, minced
  • 1/2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
  • For the Dipping sauce

  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 Tb peanut oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1/2-1 tsp red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Prepare all the filling ingredients. Combine the marinade and soak over chicken.
  2. Boil the bean threads rapidly for 5 minutes, rinse with cold water and drain well.
  3. Chop the peanuts and slice the apple thinly.
  4. Shred the lettuce.
  5. Next fill the spring roll. Soak the spring roll wrapper in warm water until it softens, about 15-20 seconds.
  6. Transfer to a plate, let the water absorb about 10 seconds longer, then start filling it.
  7. Layer on slightly over a 1/3 cup of lettuce, 3 Tb of bean threads, 3 Tb of chicken (or meat of choice), 1 tsp of chopped peanuts and 3-4 apple slices. (If you are using shrimp, layer the shrimp last, so it displays prettily through the spring roll.)
  8. Roll the spring roll like a burrito, pinching tightly but carefully, so not to tear the wrapper. Put the filing about 1/3 away from the edge, roll the long end, then fold in the short ends and continue rolling. Press lightly to seal.
  9. Set aside the spring roll to a plate and cover with plastic wrap while making the rest.
  10. Make the dipping sauce by combining all the ingredients. Plate out 2 spring rolls and 2 Tb dipping sauce per person.

Notes

Try this with any Protein: 12 oz shredded cooked chicken, thinly sliced BBQ pork or steak, 8 jumbo shrimp, halved lengthwise, OR 12 oz tofu, grilled lightly, OR any combination of the above. Nutrition information calculated for Chicken. Nutrition INCLUDES dipping sauce.

What is your favorite protein pick?

You may also enjoy Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

 

Popping Into the Month of November-Pumpkin Praline Popcorn

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It’s that time again.  Time to relax with a bowl of sweet and seasonal popcorn.  Full of pumpkin spice, sweet cream cheese icing, gooey caramel and crunchy almond slivers.

So follow along on how to make this and dig in.

What you’ll need:

2 bags light popcorn
2/3 cup pumpkin spice cake mix
8 oz white chocolate chips
3 Tb cream cheese icing
2 Tb caramel sauce
2 Tb slivered almonds

I used this Pillsbury Pumpkin Caramel Delight cake mix for this deliciously sweet popcorn.

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Pop the popcorn and pick through the unpopped kernels.

Melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave in a microwave safe dish for 90 seconds, stirring at 30 second intervals.

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VERY QUICKLY stir in the cake mix and the cream cheese icing. The mixture will harden.

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Using your hands, work into the popcorn in a large bowl.

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Spread popcorn in a casserole dish, drizzle with caramel sauce and sprinkle with almonds. Sprinkle with orange colored sugar (optional). Chill to harden and serve.

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Enjoy with some hot apple cider or a pumpkin spice latte.

Pumpkin Praline Popcorn

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Number of servings: 8

Per Serving 281 calories

Fat 12 g

Carbs 43 g

Protein 3 g

8

Pumpkin Praline Popcorn

Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 7

*Nutritional value may vary depending upon which ingredients are used.

*PointsPlus® calculated by Famished Fish and in no way endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups popped popcorn
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin spice cake mix
  • 8 oz white chocolate chips
  • 3 Tb cream cheese icing
  • 2 Tb caramel sauce
  • 2 Tb slivered almonds

Instructions

  1. Pop the popcorn and pick through the unpopped kernels.
  2. Melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave in a microwave safe dish for 90 seconds, stirring at 30 second intervals.
  3. VERY QUICKLY stir in the cake mix and the cream cheese icing. The mixture will harden.
  4. Using your hands, work into the popcorn in a large bowl.
  5. Spread popcorn in a casserole dish, drizzle with caramel sauce and sprinkle with almonds. Sprinkle with orange colored sugar (optional). Chill to harden and serve.

Notes

Enjoy with some hot apple cider or a pumpkin spice latte.

What is your favorite popcorn spice?

You may also enjoy Buffalo Hot Wing Popcorn