Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Low Calorie Swedish Meatballs ~The Kitchen Witch~ Comfort Food Classics

Riddle me this Bat people, what is it about Autumn that makes me want to put on a feed bag, fill it with mashed potatoes, and cover the entire mess with gravy? Every. Single. Year. Hand to God - around the same time I begin thinking about boots and sweaters - except neither look very good when your ass is full of cream sauce.

No matter, I'm two weeks away from running my second 8 k road race, and one day away from getting my first (mid-life) tattoo -  in other words, ain't no way I'm going back on the butter any time soon.

But what's a devoted Kitchen Witch to do when seasonal delicacies like Chicken Pot Pie, Salisbury Steak, and Swedish Meatballs mockingly call out "Eat Me, Eat Me, Eat Me," as I munch rice cakes and drink lemon water?

                   If you answered "Come up with an incredibly delicious recipe that is lower in fat and calories than the standard fare," then DING DING DING DING DING!!!! You win the prize because that's exactly what I did - today with a recipe for Swedish Meatballs that will have you licking the plate and asking for more!

Don't believe me? Well come on over to the Kitchen Witch cottage and let me change your mind! Pour a glass of wine and we'll cook these together - and maybe share a laugh or two while we're at it. If you like what you see, head over to the printable recipe and make yourself a copy.

Printable recipe: Low Calorie Swedish Meatballs




Ingredients

  • 1 cup (125 ml) whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated white or yellow onion

  • 1 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
  • 1 lb ground turkey thigh meat
  • 1 egg, beaten 

  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice 

  • 1/2 tsp each coarse sea salt and black pepper
  • 8 sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic 
  • 1 bundle of fresh sage, thyme, parsley, rosemary, and thyme
  • 2  cups (250 ml) plus 1/4 cup no sodium chicken stock
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup (120 ml) low fat sour cream
  • black pepper
Directions
  1. Mix he ground turkey, grated onion, egg, bread crumbs, nutmeg, allspice, salt and pepper together and then form into small balls.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high, reduce heat to medium and then add the meatballs to the pan, 6 at a time. Continue to saute until golden for two minutes, moving them around the pan constantly to keep them from sticking.Remove to a plate.
  3. Add 1/4 cup of chicken stock to the pan and scrape all of the brown bits from the bottom.
  4. Add the mushrooms and continue to saute until tender and golden and there's no more moisture in the pan.
  5. Add the garlic and stir fry 30 seconds. Add the remaining chicken stock, parsley bundle, grated lemon zest.
  6. Bring that to the boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes letting the gravy reduce slightly. 
  7. Add the sour cream and stir until it' well incorporated, bring to the boil and let simmer stirring constantly for 1 minute. Serve drizzled with the sauce with mashed potatoes, rice or noodles. 

About Lyndsay the Kitchen Witch

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel where she puts out three new cooking videos each week.


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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Roasted Tomatoes with Beans and Rice ~Meatless Weekday~ Comfort Food Classics

Okay, so today's comfort classic dish isn't as sexy as Creamy Mac and Cheese or Chicken and Mushroom Casserole - but if you're like me and love to hibernate with hearty delicious food this time of year, this one's for you. Further to that, if you're among the uninitiated and don't know how easy and economical a can of mixed beans, black beans, or chick peas can be in changing up a meal, well now you know. And who knew that beans have so much flavour and depth, not mention they're also a healthy source of fiber and protein that leave you full for hours.

But now that I've sold you on the bean, I'm going to introduce a new element: the roasted tomato. I got onto roasting tomatoes years ago after a particularly abundant harvest and not knowing what to do with all of them, I remembered reading about a technique of roasting them in the oven with a little balsamic, olive oil, and garlic to bring out the depth of the fruit. I've been roasting them ever since.


The other good news is that if you don't have fresh tomatoes on hand - or if they're out of season, canned tomatoes can also be drained and roasted and are absolutely amazing in dishes. Here's a link to more information about roasting canned tomatoes.

If you're roasting the tomatoes in large batches they can also be cooled and frozen to use in meals throughout the year.

But the ultimate test with this kind of meal is, as always, the Pool Boy (aka the man I married). I can remember the astonishment I felt on our first date - not only because he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt with biker boots, but because he didn't hit the salad bar - and we were at The Keg! Those in the know will remember the salad bar at The Keg back in the 80's was like a right of passage and it was unheard of to me that someone would forgo such a treat. But then he dropped the big bomb: the man didn't like salad or greens in any form.

At this point I'm sure you're wondering, "Why did you marry him? The Kitchen Witch could not possibly live happily ever after with someone who didn't eat greens (and wore Hawaiian shirts)." But the truth is, I can and I did because I never believed he didn't like those things, I just figured he'd never had them prepared right.

We started slow, you know with things like steamed broccoli - until then he'd never had broccoli that hadn't been boiled in water for upwards of 45 minutes. Hand to God, when you eat boiled veggies at the PB's mom's place they look like vegetables from Land of the Lost. Who new Brussels Sprouts could get so big?

Nowadays, however, he loves greens like Swiss chard, kale, and spinach and requests meatless meals often.

That said, I hope you file this one away to try because I truly believe you'll love it! Better still, it goes with my favourite beverage, red wine. So pull up a chair, get eating, or join me in the Kitchen Witch cottage and cook it along with me!

Visit the printable recipe here: Roasted Tomatoes with Beans and Rice




Ingredients
  • 10 medium tomatoes sliced in half
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1  tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste (about a half tsp each)
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp chile pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup no sodium chicken stock
  • 1 540 ml tin beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups baby greens
  • 2 cups cooked basmati rice
Directions
  1. Place the halved tomatoes onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. 
  2. Mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and garlic together and generously brush the tomatoes all over. Roast in a 450 degree oven for about 25 minutes.
  3. Saute the onion and celery over medium high heat in the second tbsp of olive oil until the onion grows soft and translucent. Add the minced garlic, and red chili pepper flakes stirring well to incorporate. 
  4. Add the stock and mixed beans. Add the baby greens, put a lid on it and let them continue to cook and they wilt into the sauce. 
  5. When the greens have cooked down, add the roasted tomatoes, pressing them down so that the tomato sauce busts out. 
  6. Serve over cooked rice. 


About Lyndsay the Kitchen Witch

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel where she puts out three new cooking videos each week.


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Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe ~The Kitchen Witch~ Comfort Food Classics

I have a guilty secret to share (okay, maybe more than one, but lets start this off easy), and it involves a love of cheese, butter, and carbohydrates that borders on the kinky.

What?

We've all heard of food porn, I see no reason why I can't be a little kinky when it comes to cheese.

I'll have what she's having!!!


















Especially on a cloudy day.

And by cloudy I mean those days when you feel a little blue, under the weather, or in a funk. You know what I'm talking about... you're stuck on the couch in a furry pink bath robe watching back to back episodes of The People's Court - or worse - Maury Povich, and you just know on a deep cellular level that nothing goes better with the revelation he was not the baby daddy than a big hunk of soft white bread with butter and cheese. Or cheese grilled between two slices of buttered white bread. Or cheese melted into butter and cream and poured over white macaroni noodles.

I know, right?

The only problem is, after you've eaten it the TV screen as if by magic suddenly becomes inundated with beautiful women who obviously don't get depressed - or eat cheese. You click through the channels and there she is: Kelly Ripa looking perky on ABC, Giada De Laurentiis stirring meat sauce in a low cut number by Diane Von Furstenberg, the women of The Young and the Restless looking as young and restless as promised - hell, even the woman in the poise commercial is looking younger and hotter than, well, me.

I know this because on such a day a few weeks ago, I got up mid commercial to use the powder room and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. All I can tell you is that there's nothing more depressing than seeing yourself in the large pink robe your husband has been begging you to donate or, better still, burn, with day old mascara smudges under your eyes,  uncombed hair, and a belly full of cheese, butter, and carbohydrates.

In other words, when the good ladies of Poise are making you feel fugly, it's time to get off the couch and make some changes. Or, at least, change up your mac and cheese.

















Look at it sitting there all svelte and fabulous!

This easy recipe is something I came up with as part of my latest series called "Comfort Food Classics" - though you can't remove the pasta or the cheese from a mac and cheese recipe, there are some easy changes that - in my humble opinion - actually make mac and cheese way more delicious.

Instead of using cream and butter, I lightened things up with low fat cream cheese and low sodium chicken stock. And then it's all about the comfort - brought to you by Gruyere and sharp cheddar to be exact! Put on a push up bra, a little lipstick, and melt that oooey goooey loveliness into the chicken stock and cream cheese. Girlfriend, Giada ain't got nothin on you now. To prove it, add a little fibre to your life by using a high fibre macaroni noodle that is disguised as a regular noodle. Italpasta makes a product called Total Pasta and it is the bomb diggity. Mix all that velvety creaminess together (I told you we were gonna get kinky) and VOILA!

Amazingness on a plate!

Visit the printable recipe here: Mac and Cheese

Or come on over to the Kitchen Witch cottage and cook along with me. The coffee's usually on... or I can always be tricked into opening a bottle of wine!




Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Serves:6

Ingredients
  • 1 cup low/no sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup Philly light cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 4 cups macaroni noodles
Directions
  1. Cook the macaroni noodles in boiling water for four minutes. Add salt during the last 30 seconds of boiling
  2. Meanwhile, bring the cup of broth to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium high and add the cream cheese. Stir until the cream cheese in incorporated into the sauce. Add the other cheeses and stir until melted. Reduce heat to low.
  3. When macaroni has cooked 4 minutes, drain it and then add to the hot cheese sauce. Stir well, cover, and let sit 10 minutes. Serve with fresh cracked black pepper.

About Lyndsay the Kitchen Witch

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel where she puts out three new cooking videos each week.


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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Mediterranean Meatloaf

During the cold, crisp days of Autumn there's nothing quite like meatloaf to warm the heart and soul. It's one of those comfort classics we turn to again and again; there to remind us that even with the changing of seasons, there are some things in life that hold steady and true. When I make this dish I think of my grandfather, Harry, who loved nothing better than a meat loaf sandwich slathered in ketchup on my grandma Helen's beautiful fresh baked bread. The flavour memories this conjures takes me back to these wonderful people who live on in my heart and in my cooking.

Today's recipe adds a delicious new twist on an old classic. Using black olives, peppers, herbs, spices, pasta sauce, and feta cheese, I have created a meatloaf that is moist, flavourful, and lean. It is equally delicious with ground beef or ground turkey.



I hope you enjoy!

Mangia Mangia!!
Mediterranean Meatloaf
For printable recipe click HERE

Or cook along with me in the Kitchen Witch cottage as I show you just how easy this delicious meat loaf is to make!





Ingredients
  • 1 lb  extra lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup diced black olives
  • 1 heaping Tbsp diced pickled banana peppers
  • 1 heaping Tbsp diced sweet roasted red peppers (in the jar)
  • 1/2 tsp each dried thyme, oregano, basil, salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup pasta sauce - I like Ragu light tomato and basil
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 3/4 cup oats or dried polenta
  • 1/2 cup Kraft shredded parmesan cheese
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Mix the ground beef, feta, olives, peppers, spices, salt, pepper, egg, oats and a 1/2 cup of the pasta sauce. Place and pat down evenly in a loaf pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. 
  3. Cover with the remaining pasta sauce and bake for 70 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven. Let rest 10 minutes on counter before slicing.


About Lyndsay the Kitchen Witch

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel where she puts out three new cooking videos each week.


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Friday, September 19, 2014

Not Your Grandma's Creamy Chicken and Rice ~ The Kitchen Witch ~ Comfort Food Classics

It's interesting to me how much my food preferences change with the seasons and as I look out my window noting the early signs of Autumn encroaching, I'm struck by a need both deep and primal for comfort. Foods connected to memory; fragrant soup bubbling on the stove top, the golden crunch of biscuits tempered by a warm blanket of velvety gravy, buttery mashed potatoes, and the certainty of casserole. These are the dishes that remind us of cold nights and warm kitchens; meals prepared by loving hands and made better with the familiar ingredients of our childhoods.

But after a summer of red ripe abundance, of tomatoes on the vine, the vibrancy of  basil, and the smell of grilled meats mingling with fresh cut grass on warm breezes, I realize that the sturdiness of the potato and the loving hug of cream sauce come with a price. Where once upon a time I would race in to dinner after a long round of hide and seek or red rover, an extra serving of grandma's tuna casserole had no affect on my health or pant size. But as I approach the Autumn in my own life, I am also reminded that winter will come and I become more and more aware of wanting to live well and live active.

At the same time, I have no desire to give up the foods, tastes, and textures I loved so much growing up. No desire to be lactose free, carb free, or whatever free, because that kind of freedom - for me - is its own prison. Instead, I've made it my passionate mission as a recipe developer to lighten up and make healthier the dishes I love like today's rendition of creamy chicken and rice.




There are many versions of this classic dish with a variety of twists like the addition of grated cheese, deep fried onions, or mayonnaise, but the unifying feature is the use of a cream soup as the base. Not one to mess with perfection, I too use a cream soup as the base for this dish - but I use the low fat version of Cream of Mushroom made by Campbell's. Instead of adding salt, I use fresh lemon juice, garlic, chiles, fresh thyme, and sodium free chicken stock to flavour the sauce. I also add fresh baby spinach and serve the dish over a bed of either brown basmati rice, or a mixed grain medley. Both are outstanding. It all comes together in ways that make this creamy chicken dish better than the original version from my childhood and is, for me, a new comfort food classic I turn to again and again.

I truly hope you will try this recipe!

Visit the printable version here: Creamy Chicken and Rice

Or visit me in the Kitchen Witch cottage, have a nice glass of wine, and cook it with me!




Ingredients
  • 1/2 lb chicken tenders
  • 8 sliced button mushrooms
  • 2 tsp minced fresh garlic
  • 1/4 tsp dried chiles
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • juice from 1 medium lemon
  • 1/2 cup no sodium chicken broth
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 can 1/2 fat Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 cup brown Basmati rice
Directions
  1. Rinse the rice and then cover with 2 cups of cold water in a medium sauce pan. Bring to the boil and then turn down, cover, and let cook for 40-45 minutes until tender.
  2. Saute the chicken and mushrooms in a non-stick pan spritzed with olive oil over medium high heat for about 7 minutes until the mushrooms begin to lose their water.
  3. Add the dried chiles, pepper, and garlic and saute an additional 30 seconds until fragrant. 
  4. Pour the lemon juice and chicken broth over all and add the spinach and thyme sprigs. Toss the spinach into the broth and then let simmer until the broth has reduced by half.
  5. Stir in the tin of mushroom soup and serve ladled over the brown rice.


  About Lyndsay the Kitchen Witch

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel where she puts out three new cooking videos each week.


Facebook Twitter YouTube


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Oven Baked Fish Stick (McNugget) Recipe

Here's the thing - and those of you who've been following the Kitchen Witch for awhile now already know I tend to live my life in two cycles: hibernation and beastmode. When in beastmode I'm eating healthy, exercising on the daily, drinking tons of water, taking my vitamins and, you know, being a bastion of total health and fabulousity.

But as the adage "what goes up must come down" promises, my dalliances with an athletic lifestyle never seem to last. That said, I'm embarrassed to admit even to you that my last foray into the world of the fit and fabulous was in 2011 when I lost 20 pounds on Weight Watchers and ran a half marathon.



Every good marathoner should relax with a glass of wine after a big race!













The above picture was taken after my triumphant crossing of the finish line and even though one of the attendants asked if I needed medical attention, I knew, verily that red wine was the only medicine for me. So I had that and a honkin big plate of pasta with cream sauce. I had just run for my life, after all.

I continued to jog in the evenings, albeit slowly, and ate whatever the heck I wanted because *ahem* I WAS exercising so that even though my run times grew shorter and spaced further and further apart, it never occurred to me that my 20 pounds was creeping back.

This summer when the PB and I went for our west coast adventure, and despite the fact we hiked every day, an abundance of alcohol, potato chips, ice cream, and bacon had me feeling like a Sumo Wrestler by the time we got home. And so I faced my fear:  I pulled my scale from its hiding place under a stack of towels in the bathroom cupboard and began the delicate procedure of weighing myself.

This involved the divestment of all clothing, foot wear, and jewelry and  then gingerly stepping onto the scale while simultaneously gripping the bathroom counter top. My weight, which began at 140 pounds in full grip, slowly climbed as I gradually loosened my hold on the counter.

And then... "Holy Mother of God!"

That's what I weighed: Holy Mother of God!

And yes, that is a number. I'm just not telling you what one.

That was five weeks ago and I'm happy to report, that I'm back to beastmode and am now down 15 pounds from HMOG. Part of that is due to the fact I'm running again, and the other is because I'm no longer eating like I'm on a cruise 365 days of the year.

Which brings me to today's recipe for Home Made Fish McNuggets.







These panko covered nuggets of crispy fabulousity are quick and easy to make and will be sure to quench your thirst for something deep fried if you ever get a yen for such things.

Visit the printable recipe here: Fish McNuggets

Better still, cook along with me in the Kitchen Witch cottage with my step by step recipe video.




Homemade Fish McNuggets Recipe

Ingredients
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp each sea salt and pepper
  • 2 cups whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp Creole Seasoning
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds cod fillets cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
  • 2 teaspoons prepared white horseradish or Wasabi paste
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 475. Line a baking sheet with foil, spray with PAM; set aside.
  2. Place egg in a wide shallow bowl; season with salt and pepper. In another bowl, combine Panko, Creole seasoning, and oil. 
  3. Dip each cod nugget into the egg, then into the Panko mixture, pressing to adhere. Place on prepared baking sheets.
  4. Bake until lightly browned, for ten minutes, turning once. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, parsley, mustard, lemon juice, and horseradish; season with salt and pepper. Serve with sauce and lemon wedges on the side. 

About Lyndsay the Kitchen Witch

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel where she puts out three new cooking videos each week.


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