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Posts tagged ‘Chef Lynn recipe’

HUMP MONTH is just around the corner!

Winter is hanging on… and if Wednesday is HUMP DAY, then March is the same – a month with still a lot of winter left and just a month we have to get through to find the warmer weather. Some people head south, but for those of us who stay here, the challenge is to make it fun so that it goes by quickly!

Luckily we live in a global economy, so getting fresh food is still relatively easy.  However, to pair with those vegetables and starches, Michigan still offers wonderful smoked fish – a delicious respite during this cold, winter month. Here are two of my favorites – an entrée and an appetizer. I know you will love them both and both are as easy as can be.



(Enough for a large party)

¼ Cup Shallots, Cut into rough pieces

1 Pound Smoked Whitefish (OR Smoked Salmon), Boned and Flaked

½ Cup Sour Cream

½ Cup Unsalted Butter, Softened

½ cup Cream Cheese

3 Tablespoons lemon Juice

2 Tablespoons Vodka

½ Cup Whipping Cream, Whipped to Soft Peaks

White Pepper and Salt, to taste

Cayenne Pepper, to taste


  1. Place the shallots in a food processor and chop them finely, scraping down the side of the bowl and running it a little bit more. Then add the fish and pulse a few times to blend it. Add the next 5 ingredients and process until smooth.  Remove to a bowl.
  2. Whip the cream and fold it in by hand. Season to taste with white pepper, salt and cayenne pepper.
  3. Pack into one large mold or smaller molds.  Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
  4. Serve with toast points or sliced baguette. Or serve with rice crackers and it’s gluten free!

(Serves four)

4 Fish Filets (4 to 6 ounces each)
2 eggs, beaten
1 to 2 cups Parmesan Cheese, grated
Baking Spray


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 400⁰F.
  2. Put the egg in one bowl and the Parmesan in another. Spray an oven proof casserole dish with baking spray or lightly rub it with olive oil.
  3. Dip the fish in the egg (on both sides). Then press it onto the Parmesan (both sides again) and place it in the casserole Press more Parmesan into the fish to cover it well.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the fish just flakes.

 NOTE: You can prepare the fish ahead and then just pop it into the oven when you are ready. If it’s cold, allow a few more minutes cooking time.

 It doesn’t get any easier than this! Enjoy!

Winter Squash Salad

So many people are asking me for great vegetable recipes these days, so this one is for you… a very different and hearty salad from the Pasolivo Olive Oil Company in Paso Robles, California. Add a piece of sautéed chicken or meat and your dinner is done!

Paso Robles (in San Luis Obispo County) is an interesting area in itself… a wine region that is less known than Napa or Sonoma, but rapidly becoming a popular destination wine and resort area. Wine Enthusiast Magazine named it “Wine Region of the Year” in 2013… Obviously because it is the up and coming place to go for some interesting wines. Having been there a number of times, I can tell you that it can boast of being a quiet little western town with GREAT restaurants and places to stay. The hills are alive with up and coming wineries and darling start-ups, like the Pasolivo Olive Oil Company, which was the product of the original owner’s wife’s hobby. I love their oils, but especially the flavored ones… lemon and lime. They told me they crush the skins of the fruit with the oil to get these lovely tastes. In my opinion, they are the best citrus flavored oils out there and worth ordering on the Internet. I use them to flavor vegetables and to make vinaigrette to  flavor salads. (Remember… fruit acids and salt spike up the flavor of everything else in the dish!) So here’s the EASY recipe!

Squash Salad


1 medium butternut squash, roasted until you can just get a fork easily through it and cut into cubes

2 sweet potatoes, roasted al dente and cut into cubes

1 T ground cumin; 2 tsp. salt; Pinch of paprika

¼ cup olive oil

1 cup blonde-green lentils, cooked (1 cup to 4 cups of water. Simmer 30 minutes.)


¼ cup + ½ T fresh lemon juice; ½ cup olive oil (Passolivo suggests its California Blend)

½ cup green onions, finely chopped

2 tsp salt (I left this out because there was enough salt in the salad, but taste yours and decide. Conditions can vary.)

Pinch of paprika

½ cup feta cheese

Chopped nuts and/or bacon (Optional. I used turkey bacon and no nuts.)

METHOD: Mix the salad ingredients together. Then mix the dressing ingredients together. Combine them just before serving.



Wacky Frozen Banana Tortilla Desserts

This is the fourth and last in the series of four WACKY things to do with tortillas! So of course it’s a dessert… and what a dessert! These healthy treats will keep in an airtight container in the freezer for several months. They are always great to pull out and enjoy… not just in the hot, summer months! These tasty treats contain only 350 calories per huge serving… enough to satisfy sweet tooth, although the main ingredient is a healthy banana! Great for an after school snack or as a make ahead dessert for a party!

Frozen Banana Desserts

Wacky Frozen Banana Tortilla Desserts

Serves: 12


12 six inch MexAmerica flour tortillas

6 large bananas

24 Tablespoons Weight Watchers Cream Cheese

3 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet, milk or white)

4 cups ground pecans


  1. Cut each banana in half. Lay the banana piece on a tortilla and trim it at each end of the banana.
  2. Remove the banana and spread the tortilla with cream cheese. Place the banana on the end of the tortilla and roll it up tightly. Place seam side down and repeat for all bananas.
  3. Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler. Brush melted chocolate on each tortilla roll; then roll in the ground nuts.
  4. Push a Popsicle stick half way into each one. Freeze for at least two hours before serving or up to 1 month.

Chef Lynn’s Tip:

You can also melt chocolate in a microwave. Zap it in spurts starting with 20 seconds and reducing to 10 seconds each, stirring in between. Chocolate burns VERY easily, so zap it in moderation!

Healthier Fast Food for YOU!

I can’t remember the last time I stopped for fast food. It has been so long that I decided to bring some into the test kitchen to see what it’s all about these days. I chose three popular “sandwich type” meals, dissected and analyzed them and came up with a much healthier alternative. Here they are. The “store bought” ones are listed first, followed by the healthy makeovers. Take a good look at what you are eating!

ONE:  The first one was the cheapest. At $1.05 – no joke – it was called a Beefy Crunch Burrito. I thought “crunch” sounded good, but here’s what was inside:

Taco Bell 2_1This sandwich contained 1/3 cups not so crispy – in fact very soggy things that looked like iridescent red Fritos. When I first looked at it, I said “Where’s the beef?” Then I was able to scrounge up about 1/4 cup of hamburger, not quite 1/3 cup of rice and a squirt of a liquid Velveeta type cheese. I found 1 Tablespoon of sour cream squirted in one spot, so you get that in only one bite. The flour tortilla was 10-1/2″, for comparison purposes.

This sandwich contained 540 Calories, 16 g Protein, 21 grams of Fat, 1110 g of Sodium, 71 g Carbs, 7 g Fiber an 7 g Sugar. That sugar is always there to entice you to want to eat more… and frankly this sandwich contains so little protein, you would definitely want two or three to feel full. The problem is that you can’t get the protein without all the other stuff, so then you are way off the charts in terms of healthy.

TWO:  The second sandwich – and these are all from different establishments by the way, was called a Crispy Chicken Caesar. This one weighed in at $1.37, but again I think you would need two to fill up.

Wendys Crispy Chicken Used

My first reaction to this one was, “Where’s the Caesar?” In this 8″ tortilla, I found 2-1/2 oz. breaded and fried chicken, about 1 Tablespoon of dressing that tasted like mayo, 2 slivers of Parmesan cheese included with about 1 Tablespoon of lettuce. Huh?

The crispy chicken was breaded and fried. This sandwich had 440 Calories, 17 g Protein, 26 g Fat, 970 g Sodium, 33 Carbs, 2 g Fiber, and 1 g Sugar.

I think we can do better, add some protein, use a healthier method of cooking and really get some Caesar Salad in there without sacrificing a lot of calories.

(Nutrition information came from the web-sites of their companies or Live Strong.)

THREE: My third choice was called a Chipotle Steak and Cheese with Avocado Sandwich – and I threw in some banana pepper too, but their nutrition info on their sites is not with any extras, mind you. My first reaction was NOT “Where’s the bread?” Who could miss it? This one was out of control with Carbs and out of balance with its protein. It will be an easy one to re-design. It was also the most expensive at $5.60.

Subway Chipotle Steak and Cheese 1 UsedThis sandwich contained 2-1/3 oz. of meat that looked like some sort of compressed meat or Salisbury steak but I think it was billed as Rib-eye – not sure, 1/4 cup of Avocado, about 2 Tablespoons Chipotle Mayonnaise, and 6″ of thick bread (with Parmesan baked into the top). It had 550 Calories, 28 g Protein, 28 g Fat, 1260 g Sodium, 52 g Carbs, 8 g Fiber and 8 g Sugar. So now let’s get busy and re-design these so they are healthier, easy to make and easy to carry along in a lunch bag with an ice pack. By the way, the three sandwiches cost $8.02 and at retail prices, I spent $9.07 getting the ingredients for my new ones (per serving), assuming I had condiments in the fridge already, and a tortilla costs about 25 cents. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

ONE – FIRST RECREATION: Beefy (Crunch) Burrito 

Our Beefy Burrito has 545 Calories… pretty similar Sandwich #1 above. However, we were able to increase the protein to 33 g (from 16 g) and reduce the fat from 21 g to 19 g. We reduced the Carbs from 71 to 47 and reduced the sugar from 7 g to 2 g. Fiber was about the same.

“Crunch” sounds good, but isn’t that practical in a sandwich with this much moisture. If you want some “crunch” add a small portion of baked tortilla chips on the side. Nothing will stay crunchy inside a sandwich when it’s mixed with mayonnaise – especially if you are carrying it along for a lunch later in the day. Also, this was the most unhealthy part of the Burrito, so we decided to leave it out.

Here’s the new recipe! (Doesn’t this look a bit tastier and more substantial? Not to mention healthier!)

Beefy Burrito - LOGO

3 ounces lean ground beef, (1/2 cup) fried without oil in a non-stick pan. (Be careful not to overcook it.)

1/2 cup wild rice, cooked with 1 Tablespoon butter. (Wild rice takes a long time to cook. You might want to make some extra to save for a future meal. Multiply the amount of rice by 2 and that’s how much water you need. Bring it to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to cook for 50 mins. Then let it stand for 10 mins.)

1/4 cup Low Fat Cheddar or Colby Cheese
1 Mex America 10″ flour tortilla, warmed
2 Tablespoons Fat Free sour cream or yogurt
Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper

Method: Put the sour cream or yogurt on the tortilla first. Top it with rice, then beef, then cheese and sprinkle with pepper. Roll up and either grill or bake just long enough to melt the cheese.

TWO – SECOND RECREATION: Crispy Chicken Caesar

Here’s the re-make on this one. Calories were reduced by 23. Protein was increased by 2.4 g. Carbs were increased by just one gram due to more dressing, which was badly needed! Protein went up 2.5 g. Fiber was the same. Fat was reduced by 5 g. Sodium was a little more, again due to more dressing, as well as sugar by 2 grams for the same reason. I do not feel these increases are significant since we added lots more minerals with much more lettuce and more cheese. I don’t think the first sandwich should really be called a Caesar when there’s 1 Tablespoon of lettuce and cheese combined! Our sandwich has much more taste and more minerals – and comes across as a real Caesar (sans croutons) – and for less Calories!

Here’s the new recipe! …………..

Chicken Caesar Taco - LOGO

3 ounces chicken breast tenders, (baked or browned in a non-stick frying pan)

1 8″ MexAmerica flour tortilla
1 cup shredded green lettuce 2 Tablespoons Fat Free Caesar Salad Dressing
1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese, reduced fat, sliced Pinch of pepper

Method: 1. Place all ingredients on the tortilla and roll it up. Enjoy your healthy Caesar Salad!


THREE – THIRD RECREATION: Chipotle Steak and Cheese with Avocado Sandwich

For this last sandwich, we were able to drop the Calories by 140! Protein remained the same. Fat was decreased by 6 grams. Carbs were decreased by 27 g! Fat was decreased by 6 g. Fiber was 4 g less. Sugar was 5 g less – cut to almost nothing. Sodium was decreased by 494 g. What a great improvement! Plus it sure looks a lot more appetizing. I think I would rather eat this one.

Here’s the new recipe! …………

Chipotle Steak & Cheese with Avocado Wrap - LOGO3 ounces Top Sirloin Steak, boneless, fat trimmed, sliced thin and browned in a non-stick frying pan with no oil
1/4 cup Avocado, mashed
2 Tablespoons Fat Free Mayonnaise
1 Chipotle pepper (Canned, in Adobo sauce), minced
1/4 cup Low Fat Cheddar Cheese, grated
Pinch of freshly ground pepper

Method: 1. Once your meat is cooked, mix the minced pepper with the mayonnaise. Spread a little of it on the tortilla.

2. Add the mashed avocado, then the grated cheese, then the meat. Sprinkle with a little freshly ground pepper. Then just roll it up and eat it!

I think you can see that with just a little planning ahead you can make much healthier sandwiches/wraps for you and your family. All you need is a lunch bag a couple of ice packs! No lines, no stopping, no waiting. Just pull it out when the hunger bug strikes! You also know exactly what’s in those sandwiches… so enjoy every healthy bite!

First to “SPRING” up: Asparagus!

white-green-purple asparagusWhen I think of Spring and especially May, my eyes light up and I’m transported back to all the times I spent in Germany during this special month. It’s special because the first asparagus tips have pushed through the soil and the first “Spargel” starts showing up on menus. You will find these tender (primarily white) tips served in an unbelievable variety of ways… with radicchio and Parma ham (one of my favorites), with strawberry sauce, in delicious, creamy soups, with potatoes and spices, with egg omelets, with fresh river trout, with homemade linguine  bacon and tomatoes, in crepes, in lasagna, in quiche, with a variety of meat dishes and simply topped with lovely, creamy, homemade Hollandaise sauce. Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is with all of these memories!

When you look for asparagus in the markets, you will find it in three distinctly different colors. So what is really the difference?

WHITE ASPARAGUS is white because it can’t get any light. This process is called etoliation. Dirt is mounded around the emerging stalks and the fields are also covered with light proof netting. No chlorophyll (which would make the plant green) develops to help the plant absorb light, because there isn’t any light, so the stalks remain white. Many plants that are grown using etoliation are small and weak, but in the case of asparagus, the white stalks are usually large and robust. They also develop a stiff outer coating that MUST be peeled in order to eat them. Try not peeling it once and you will see what I mean. The asparagus will be absolutely inedible. On second thought, trust me on this one and don’t waste this beautiful vegetable. The taste is a bit milder than green asparagus and the color can be very interesting when added to other dishes. You cook it just like green asparagus and it can be interchangeable in recipes.

GREEN ASPARAGUS, on the other hand, does not need to be peeled, with one exception. When the stalks are very large, I do peel it very thinly, using a peeler, just to remove the large “thorns”. The thorns will not prick your fingers, but when they get very large, they don’t taste that great and the texture can be unpleasant. With green asparagus, I prefer the tender, young stalks that only take a couple of minutes to steam and enjoy. The larger stems can have a very “woody” taste and are simply not as good.

PURPLE ASPARAGUS was cultivated from green asparagus. It is just as healthy, a little tenderer and has a slightly different taste than green asparagus. It needs to be steamed quickly or baked because its color fades when exposed to water. But again, it’s an interesting color addition to recipes.

All asparagus is also a GREAT diet food! It contains high levels folate and potassium as well as antioxidants that fight against heart disease and Alzheimer’s Disease. To cook it, just steam it for a few minutes or until you can just get a fork through it. It’s easy to make and a good idea to get it into your diet!

Spring Asparagus Roll

Here’s a fun asparagus recipe that I did for MexAmerica Foods: Get the recipe at:

Beautify Your Easter Buffet!

If I said EASTER followed by a blank and you had to fill it in, I bet you would say EGGS! It’s the quintessential symbol associated with the holiday since ancient times, when eggs were a symbol of re-birth. During the Spring Equinox (Wednesday, March 20 in 2013) they were even colored just like we still do today – except they used natural dyes from plant leaves and flowers.

Deviled Eggs Fit For a Queen!

Deviled Eggs Fit For a Queen!

Intrigued by that idea, I decided to go natural this year to keep my eggs healthier and chemical free, plus make a more interesting Easter brunch item besides. I discovered that there were a ton of things at my fingertips to use to accomplish this. Some could be cooked right along with the eggs and other added after the eggs were cooked. Here are some examples of how to make some fun colors:

Yellow and earth tones: Onion skins: Cover with water and simmer for 30 minutes. Cook, then refrigerate with the skins left in the water to darken to the color you want. Drain and let the cooked, peeled eggs sit in the colored water for at least 3 hours or overnight. You can also use red onion skins with the same method and the color will be a reddish brown.


Go Fish!!

When I’m cooking for one or want a really quick, low calorie but delicious and filling meal, one of my “go to” recipes is BEER FISH. You have to try this because I know you will love it and it will be at the top of your list for diet food! Plus, it’s easy. What more can you ask for in a recipe?

Beer Fish!

Beer Fish!

This recipe is called Pijiu Yu in Chinese and it comes from the southern region where rivers are abundant and fish are plentiful. I often make it with salmon because it’s inexpensive and easy to obtain where I live, but to be more true to its origin, you should make it with a firm and fairly thick white fish.

This is also a one pot dish – so there’s not much clean up. That pot is a Chinese WOK (with a cover), but you can also make it with a chef’s pan that has a cover. Stir frying in general is a quick and healthy way to cook, so if you don’t have a wok and want to get one, here’s a good, inexpensive source: The Wok Shop in San Francisco. I recommend that you get one made of carbon steel. Your choice if you want a single or double handle. With the double handle, you have to have oven mits handy because they get hot, but that’s the only real difference. You can get a great wok at this link for $20. Make sure you also get a wok spatula. They are wide and flat and great for stir frying. So now to the recipe!

When using a wok, the cooking process is very quick, so it’s important to first assemble your ingredients. You will need:

Delicious and healthy ingredients

Delicious and healthy ingredients

4 to 6 ounces of fish (skin can be on or not)
2 Tablespoons corn or peanut oil
1/2 teaspoon each, salt, pepper and ground ginger (or 2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, sliced thinly)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tomato, chopped
1/2 green pepper, sliced thinly
1/2 red pepper, sliced thinly
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup beer
1 Tablespoon spring onion, sliced thinly, on a diagonal, for diagonal

1. Mix together the salt, pepper (and ground ginger if you are using it). Sprinkle part of this mixture on the fish. If you are using fresh ginger, just sprinkle the fish with some of the salt and pepper.

2. Heat your wok on high heat. Then add the oil. Sear the fish on the meat side (if your fish has a skin). When it’s lightly browned and cooked half way through, flip it over. (Watch the side to see the color change as it cooks, so you can see when it’s cooked half way through.) By the way, this wok is not dirty! Woks develop a patina from the oil and you want it do so because the coating is “non-stick”.


Sear the Salmon

3. Place the tomato, peppers, fresh ginger slices (if you are using fresh) and garlic on top of the fish, plus any leftover salt and pepper. (If you are using ground ginger, so the same but sprinkle in the rest of your mixture you made in step one.) Add the soy sauce and beer.

Add all other ingredients!

Add all other ingredients!

4. Put the cover on the wok and set a timer for five minutes. (You are still cooking on high heat.)

5. Remove the lid and transfer the fish and vegetables to a large bowl. In most cases, there should be a thick gravy underneath. If it’s a little thin, just cook it by itself for a minute or two to thicken it. Watch it because it will thicken very quickly! Spoon this “gravy” over the top of the fish and garnish with the sliced garden onions. Serve immediately.

If you want to watch a video about how to make this dish for more than one person, come see me at this YouTube link on the MexAmerica Foods channel:


Kick Start your Resolution Diet!

Soup with Tortilla CroutonsAre you dreading the start of your New Year’s Resolution Diet? The biggest deterrent to a successful diet is failure to plan ahead. We all get snack attacks and they’re not always emotional. They can represent real hunger. The key to success is to have immediate access to food that is both healthy and filling so it provides both satisfaction and energy. To me, that’s a batch of homemade soup that is surprisingly easy and inexpensive to make. Just freeze it in individual portions so it’s always there for you! Here’s a basic recipe for a fabulous vegetable soup and a video to show you how easy it is to make:

2 pounds root vegetables, peeled and chopped

1 medium yellow onion, 2 carrots, 2 stalks celery – all peeled and chopped into random pieces

Approximately 2 quarts liquid, Spices

…And here’s how I would interpret that, using squash:

Make several slashes in the top of a large Butternut squash (so it won’t burst) and roast it in a baking pan (no oil) for an hour. (This intensifies the flavor and makes it easier to peel.) Cool just enough to handle; then peel and cut into random pieces. (If you prefer, you can skip this step. Just peel and chop the raw squash and proceed to step two.)

  1. In a large pot (taller than it is wide so the liquid won’t boil away too quickly), soften the onion over low heat. When the juices start to release, you can turn the heat up to medium and add the carrot and celery pieces. Cook until they start to brown. (If you do this carefully, you don’t need to use any oil.)
  2. Add the squash and enough chicken stock to barely cover the vegetables. (If you do this, it will never be too thick and you don’t have to add any starch (calories!) to thicken it. You can also vary the liquid. I like to add a little fruity white wine and/or a cup of orange juice for fruit acid and flavor and then add chicken or vegetable stock just to cover.)
  3. Bring to a boil. Then turn it down and let it simmer over low heat for 45 mins or more – until the vegetables are all really soft. Purée the mixture. I think thick soup is satisfying, so I leave it thick, but you may want to thin it, so use more of a liquid you have already used (stock or orange juice). You will be surprised at how flavorful this soup is. You do not need cream for it to be delicious!
  4. The last step is to add the spices. The two things that spike up flavor the most are salt and fruit acid. If you used juice or wine above, that’s the fruit acid. If not, add the juice of one fresh lemon with your salt and pepper. (I would use white pepper in this light colored dish.) Last, I add a couple of teaspoons of Tabasco or other hot sauce. It won’t make it hot, but will considerably “brighten” it and make it more satisfying – which is the whole point! Always TASTE and add more spice if necessary.
  5. COOL your soup quickly in an ice bath. Keep up to a week in the refrigerator or freeze in airtight individual containers for up to 3 months so it’s always available.


Spring into Spring!


A good friend reminded me yesterday about a wonderful, fresh appetizer that I used to make a lot. I dug out the recipe for you because it’s very versatile and an absolute diet WINNER. You can fill up on these for a delicious vegetarian meal, use them as an appetizer or as a side with a protein like chicken. I have even successfully made them a day ahead. You just have to be sure not to pile them up or let them touch each other because the skins are sticky and can pull apart when you try to separate them.

The spring roll skins are the wonderful part because you can see your lovely ingredients through them, but they are also the tricky part. Find them in the Asian section dry food section of almost any grocery store these days, but for sure in Asian supermarkets. They look white and are round – and you will see SPRING ROLL SKINS in English on them. When you are ready to use them, the trick is not to let them sit too long in the water. So moisten one and moisten the next as you are rolling the first. Don’t plop a bunch in the water and expect them not to glom together and destroy themselves! One at a time is magical. Also, make your own fillings Use your favorite salad or seafood recipes and fold them into a lovely delicacy!


1 leek, washed, trimmed and cut into thin rings
1 large carrot, washed, peeled and cut into thin julienne
1 cup Savoy cabbage, cut into fine strips
4 ounces Shiitake or Straw mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons peanut (or vegetable) oil
2 ounces soy bean sprouts
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 Tablespoon curry
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
4 pieces of rice paper
4 salad leaves
Approximately 1/4 cup Olive oil
Soy sauce or Sweet chili sauce for dipping


1. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a wok and stir fry the leek, carrot, cabbage and mushrooms (in that order) until cooked but still firm.

2. Stir in the sprouts, peanuts, salt, pepper, soy sauce and curry. Taste and adjust seasonings.

3. Soften the rice paper for a minute or two in water. Lay on a thin, dry kitchen towel and carefully dry off with a second towel. Fill and roll, wrapping the ends in as you go.

4. Serve with soy sauce (for dipping) and/or sweet chili sauce. ENJOY! I love these! Add seafood, especially shrimp, if you like.

Healthy Comfort Food

As rain drizzles on a cold day in Detroit, a girl’s fancy turns to comfort food. Mac and cheese is out of the question and the cupboard is devoid of chips. But that’s not really what I want. I want something healthy, warm and filling that will stick to my ribs and not send me reeling back looking for something else in an hour. To me, the answer is homemade soup. Added pluses are that it’s quick to make, you can easily make any amount and you can use any vegetable – even leftover already cooked ones! That’s exactly what I just whipped up for lunch. Butternut squash soup from leftover cooked squash. Here’s a recipe adapted from the Flavor Secrets cookbook, but if you have less vegetable than it indicates, just use a pan where the amount covers the bottom and barely cover the vegetables with broth. If you do that, you will get the great consistency of a thick, hot and hearty soup that is lovely to enjoy. This is just a general guideline! (Serves 6 or more. Keeps up to 7 days in the refrigerator and can be successfully frozen for up to 3 months.)

2 large onions, diced
1 jalapeño pepper
4 Tablespoons olive oil
4 stalks celery, peeled and diced
2 carrots, diced
2 pounds squash or other vegetable
1-1/2 quarts chicken stock (Approx.)
2 cups orange juice
Salt and white pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric (Optional)

In a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion with the pepper until it’s soft. Add the celery, carrots and vegetable and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Add the stock and orange juice and cook until all vegetables are soft. Purée the mixture. Taste and season with the salt, pepper and turmeric. Crawl under an afghan in your favorite chair and savor it until it’s gone!

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