Sunday, March 24, 2013

Fresh Berry Smoothie

Natalie woke us up this morning with breakfast in bed for her mommy.  She said mommy has been working so hard to take care of daddy she wanted to make breakfast for her. (Since my flu and bronchitis illness, my bride has been taking good care of me.)  Natalie prepared toast with butter and jelly, coffee prepared correctly with cream and Splenda, and blackberries and strawberries.  The strawberries she even capped herself.  She wheeled the breakfast place setting to our door using an old microwave cart.  It was awesome!  I’m so proud of her.

Natalie’s timing was perfect today as Stephanie was worn out herself.  Feeling a bit better myself, I tried taking care of her some.  For lunch I took some of the berries and made her a smoothie.  I got to use my Ninja!


½ cup vanilla coffee creamer
½ cup low fat milk
1 Tbsp.  Splenda
½ cup fresh blackberries
½ cup fresh strawberries
3 cups of ice cubes

What to do-

Put all of it in the blender/Ninja and mix until smooth.

Top with a couple berries and insert a straw!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Simple “Egg-Drop” Soup

Day two home with the flu has not been fun at all.  I dread tomorrow even more as the sore muscles from all the coughing and hacking is going to be painful and the fever is draining all my energy.
This is my ‘fast-food’ for the flu menu.  My bride has been taking great care of me.  Yes, I am the typical male when sickness hits- I want my mommy and to be pampered.  I guess since I can’t have my mommy, my bride has stepped it up double time.  She and Natalie went to the school for the Book Fair Festivities and ate at the school.  She offered to bring me something back, but I said I’d fix something simple. 

This is simple and something I fix when it’s cold and want soup in a hurry.
Make sure you drink plenty of fluids too!

2 15oz cans chicken broth (reduced sodium and 99% fat free)
2 large eggs, room temperature then beaten in a small bowl or glass
2 scallions or green onions, sliced (separate the white parts from the green)
1 cup or so of sliced mushrooms  (I like baby bellas for this)
1 Tbsp. of butter
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
What to do-

In a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, add butter and olive oil.  When this is hot add mushrooms and white parts of the onions.  Cook these for about five minutes stirring often. 

Add the broth and stir well to get the good bits off the bottom.  Heat to a slow boil and then reduce heat to medium-low

Give the pot a good stir to get the mixture revolving well.  Slowly add the beaten eggs trying to keep the stream thin.  Once all the egg is added give the pot another vigorous stir and allow to cook for about a minute or two.
Get your bowl and spoon and dish up half the contents.  Top with a few baked goldfish crackers or oyster crackers.

* I'm fortunate that my strain of flu is not the "other" brand going around our fair city.  I was blessed to not have the "stomach bug".  The high-fever, coughing, hacking, aches and pains, congestion and severe headache is the one I got.

If you have the "other" brand, you must force the fluids.  Just heat the chicken broth alone with some bay leaf in it and allow to simmer for ten minutes or so.  Then remove the bay leaf and drink the warm broth in small sips.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Tuscan White Beans

I was the recent benefactor of last month's Food Network Magazine.  I found it in my mailbox at Royall Elementary School - Thank You!!

There were several recipes in this publication that will be on the dinner table at Richard's.  This post is about a side dish.  It was pretty simple, and most importantly - tasty!


2 cloves garlic (Fresh, smashed; or minced)
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. Olive oil
1 Roma or plum tomato, chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup water
Chopped parsley (optional)
Salt to taste
Shredded parmesan cheese for sprinkling on the top.

 What to do-
Cook the garlic, pepper flakes in olive oil over medium high heat for a minute.  Add the tomato, and rosemary sprig cooking an additional two minutes.  Add the rinsed and drained beans and slightly smash with a spoon.  Cook for five more minutes.  Remove the rosemary and discard. 
Stir in water and parsley and top with sprinkling the parmesan on top. 
Broil until golden and drizzle with olive oil.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Skillet Chicken & Orzo Dinner

This is a simple recipe that uses pantry items or can be ‘dressed-up’ with a few extras.  Tonight was a simple pantry item night.  The origination of the base recipe came to me from Taste of Home Healthy Recipe Cards. Of course, I have a very hard time sticking to a recipe, so I made a few adjustments.  It received my bride's approval and even though she was very skeptical at first, Natalie ate her fair share too.  Leftovers for lunch at school tomorrow!

1 cup orzo, uncooked
1 lb boneless chicken (two average breast halves), cut into small bite size chunks
1 ½ Tbsp. Olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 cans stewed tomatoes, cut up 
2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

4oz sliced mushrooms

1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano

½ tsp. Thyme
¼ cup red wine

2 cups of fresh broccoli florets (or a 1lb bag of frozen, thawed)

Salt & Pepper to taste
What to do now –
Cook the orzo as per package directions, then drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
While the orzo cooks, take a large skillet add 1 Tbsp. oil and cook the chicken until no longer pink. 

Add the remaining oil to the skillet and add the garlic and stir well for one minute.  Stir in tomatoes, beans, mushrooms, broccoli, seasonings and wine.  Bring this to a boil/simmer.  Stir in orzo and mix well.  Reduce heat to simmer.  Continue to stir periodically for 8 ten minutes. 

Serve with crusty bread.

A serving is a large 1 ½ cup serving of the mixture.  Each serving is about 415 calories – serves six.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Beef Stew – Winter’s Comfort Food

It’s a typical South Carolina winter this year – Warm days, followed by cold days (for SC that is) and even a little snow.  This weekend we have a chill in the air again so Natalie wanted some beef stew.  So here is a little comfort food for our chilly weekend. 

1-2lbs. beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes

5-6 carrots, peeled, cut into bite size chunks
1 lg. sweet onion, rough chopped (reserve 1 slice to chop fine)
4 stalks of celery, thick sliced (reserve ½ stalk to chop fine)

4 mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves minced garlic
15oz can of diced tomatoes

1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp. corn starch (mixed with a little red wine)

2 Tbsp. flour

1 qt. beef broth
Salt & Pepper to taste

Olive oil

What to do-

Put meat in a gallon plastic bag with the flour, toss well to coat.
In a large frying pan add oil and brown meat over medium high heat.

Meanwhile in a Dutch oven or large heavy pot, heat a tbsp. olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the garlic and rosemary sprig – cook for about one minute, stirring often.  Add mushrooms, reserved chopped onions and reserved chopped celery to the Dutch oven and sauté until softened. 
Add tomatoes, broth, celery, and onions to the Dutch oven.  Stir to blend, adding salt and pepper to taste.  Add browned beef to the Dutch oven.  Be sure to scrape and of the flour bits from the bottom of the pan!

Bring mixture to a slow boil then reduce heat to simmer and cover.  Allow to simmer for 60-90 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The last 5 minutes or so, mix cornstarch in a cup with the red wine, blending well.  Pour the mixture into the stew and stir pot.  Allow to 'set' and thicken the stew for about five minutes.
Serve over rice.