Saturday, February 23, 2013

Spaghetti Carbonara

I love poached eggs.  They are nature's Sauce Bombs!  So I decided to see if I could replace the whipped egg sauce of Spaghetti Carbonara with a more-cooked, healthier helping of poached eggs.  Did I succeed?  In a word, YES!  Check out the recipe I posted at GCH:  Spaghetti Carbonara.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Stuffed Mushrooms

My friend Christi issued a challenge to her Facebook friends:  Take stock of what's in your freezer, and use only ingredients you find in there to make your dinners - for a month!  Wow, I would be impressed if someone could do that!  My freezer is mostly filled with bread and chicken breasts.  But I did move things around, look in the back for items that needs to be used soon - and I found a tube of faux sausage meat.  You know what I mean - the soy stuff vegetarians eat instead of animal flesh.  I do try to eat lower on the food chain and will occasionally give a new brand of meat substitute a try.  I guess this one didn't inspire me right away so I tossed it in the freezer.  Time to use my resources!

I ate half of it - sautéed with onions and butter - in breakfast burritos.  Not bad!  Now I had another 6 or so ounces to use.  Inspiration struck - stuffed mushrooms!  I love one-bite appetizers, so I decided to take this recipe for a spin.I imagine it would be better with real sausage meat, removed from its casing and browned, but for non-animal-based protein, this was a keeper.  Next time you have a vegetarian coming over for dinner, whip some of these babies up!

Cute, neat, and tasty - the best kind of appetizer!

Stuffed Mushrooms


  • 8 ounces button (white) or cremini (brown) mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon butter or oil
  • 4 - 6 ounces vegetarian sausage "meat", or use real sausage, removed from its casing
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 green onions, minced
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.  Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray or brush lightly with oil.
  2. In a saute pan over medium heat, cook the sausage in the butter, breaking it up into small chunks.  Cook for 5 to 8 minutes until hot and brown.  Let cool for a few minutes.
  3. In a bowl, mix together the cream cheese and green onion, and season with salt and pepper.  Add the sausage and stir well to combine.
  4. Clean the mushrooms by brushing off any dirt with a damp paper towel.  Remove the stems.  Spoon a teaspoon or more of the sausage mix into the mushroom cavity, mounding it up as necessary.  Place stuffed mushrooms on baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the mushrooms are hot and cooked through and the stuffing is browned.
That's it!  These little bites went fast (even the kids liked them) and would fare well at a buffet or cocktail party.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Spicy Sweet Potato Fries with Chipotle Sauce

I don't really care about football, but I do like the Super Bowl (tm) (please don't sue me, NFL!)  We usually invite friends or family over to the house, just a few people, and enjoy snacks and beer.  My favorite thing to eat during the game is Ruffles potato chips and sour cream and onion dip - you know, the kind that is comprised of a tub of sour cream and a packet of French Onion soup?  LOVE!  I only make it once a year, and it's my special, no-carbs-barred day with salty treats.  Only this year, I abstained.  It was hard, seeing all those shiny, brightly-colored bags in the store, but I made a commitment to treat my body better and lose weight, so I took a stand and passed.

Instead, I made these sweet potato fries.  They were incredibly tasty and easy to make, so I had to share the recipe.  The basic recipe, of course, is just sweet potatoes, oil, and salt.  And feel free to make them like that, they are wonderful!  But I found a jar of garam masala, a relative of curry powder, at my local Target last week, and I thought the two tastes would go well together.  I was right!  Garam masala ingredients vary by neighborhood in India, so there's no one "authentic" composition.  This one has black pepper, cardamom, anise, and other spices.  If you were to add sugar, it would remind you of chai.  If you add it to a savory dish, it is a fragrant, warm spice mixture that hints at sweetness and heat - perfect for sweet potatoes!

Eat these as-is, or make the chipotle dipping sauce recipe below.  I think these would be great with just a bowl of plain yogurt to dip into, too.

Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

  • 3 small sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (if you don't have it, use all olive oil)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (OR 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Peel the sweet potatoes and slice into wedges.  Mine were pretty thin - they will crisp up quicker if you cut them thinly lengthwise, and as evenly as possible.  
  2. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients.  Pour onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake.
  3. Flip sweet potatoes every ten minutes until they are crisp.  Mine were unevenly cut, so some were done after 30 minutes and the rest at 40 minutes.  When crisp, remove from pan to a cooling rack or a plate lined with paper towels.  Serve plain or with sauce of choice.
And if your sauce of choice is the Chipotle Sauce...

In a food processor, add 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon plain yogurt or sour cream, one chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, 1/2 lemon (juiced), and 1/4 cup cilantro stems and leaves.  Blend, taste, add salt, maybe some more adobo sauce from the can, or a little orange juice or more lemon.  Oh, ground cumin would be nice in here too!  Or, if you are lucky and recently made my recipe for Fajitas Salad, skip all this and use the leftover dressing!