Tag Archives: comfort food

Lower Carb Amazing Red Sauce over Spaghetti Squash

The sauce is so delectable and rich, you will not miss the pasta. You will shed about 30 carbs per cup from this dish though.

If you’ve never tried it, spaghetti squash is a big yellow squash that you bake and when it’s done, you use a fork to shred the flesh and it turns into strings that resemble noodles. It’s a healthier, lower-carb option than past; a cup of spaghetti squash has less than 10 carbs compared to about 40 carbs in pasta.

My amazing red sauce was adapted from a recipe my dear friend Heather Landwer gave me a few years ago. I had my own red sauce recipe at the time, but it took about 5 hours to make and this one is just as good but takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes (most of that time is just simmering). It is an intense, thick red sauce and it pairs perfectly with spaghetti squash. I liked the combination so much, I will not use traditional pasta again with this dish.

Amazing Red Sauce over Spaghetti Squash

Serves 4

1 (16-ounce) package Jimmy Dean Sage or Hot sausage

1 large white onion

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 (12-ounce) can tomato paste (note, this is the big size)

1 tomato paste can filled with water

1 (15-ounce) can diced or stewed tomatoes

1 large garlic clove, chopped

2 bay leaves

1 large spaghetti squash

Olive oil and salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut spaghetti squash in half and remove the seeds and strings in the cavity. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt on the flesh. Pierce the flesh with a knife in several places. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour.

While the squash cooks, chop a large white onion. In a pot or pan with a tight lid, fry the sausage and onion together. When sausage is nearly cooked, add oregano, basil and sugar.

When it’s cooked through, drain the fat off the sausage and return the mixture to the pan. Add tomato paste, water, tomatoes, garlic, bay leaves and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Then reduce to a simmer, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

When the squash is done, remove it from the oven and use a fork to shred the inside. Continue to shred until you have removed all the flesh away from the shell. Serve topped with red sauce.

Advertisements

Pumpkin Chili

This dish combines some of my favorite fall foods: pumpkin and chili.

I write a weekly column for The Joplin Globe, Claremore Daily Progress, and Ottumwa Courier and this week’s theme was pumpkins.

I love everything pumpkin. From pumpkin patches to carving them to eating the orange globes.

That is why I came up with these pumpkin chili, which is filling and delicious.

pumpkin chili crock

My pumpkin chili is a hearty stew that gets a boost of fiber and Vitamin A from the pumpkin. Pumpkin is very healthy and ½ cup contains 50 calories, 3 gram of fiber and 280 percent of your daily Vitamin A needs. You can’t really taste the pumpkin in my recipe, but it bulks it up and gives it a velvety texture. I add a little cinnamon to compliment the pumpkin this dish.

I love using bison instead of beef in this recipe, but it’s more expensive and not as readily available. Bison is healthier than beef and we are big bison fans.

punpkin c

Fall is my favorite time of year and I feast on pumpkin. I actually bought six cans last week. In my recipes, I usually use canned instead of real pumpkin because most people don’t have time to roast and puree a whole pumpkin.

I hope you enjoy it.

Pumpkin Chili

Serves 6-8

2 cups chopped red onion

1 pound ground sirloin or some lean ground beef

2 heaping tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon cumin seed

½ teaspoon garlic salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (or more to taste)

1 (6-ounce) can of tomato paste

1 ½ cups water or chicken broth

1 (14.5-ounce) can of diced tomatoes

1 ¼ cups salsa

2 cloves chopped garlic or 1 tablespoon dehydrated garlic

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree

¼ cup chopped cilantro

1 (15-ounce) can chili beans

*1 (4-ounce) can green chilies (optional)

Shredded cheese, chopped onion, cilantro to garnish

*The green chilies make this dish spicy, so I skip those when serving my family.

Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and when hot, add onions and beef.  Cook for 3 minutes. Then add chili powder, cumin, garlic salt and cinnamon and cook until ground beef is cooked. If necessary, drain beef before going on (if you use lean beef you won’t have to drain it).

Next, add tomato paste and water and cook for 2 minutes until the paste dissolves into the water. Then add salsa, garlic, pumpkin, cilantro and reduce heat to a simmer for 30 minutes (the longer you simmer, the better the flavor). Add beans and cook 10 minutes before serving.

This chili is even better the next day, but some of the cinnamon flavor will fade because of the strong flavors of garlic, cumin and tomatoes. To combat this, I sprinkle plain cinnamon on a bowl just before serving for more emphasis on the cinnamon (you could also just double it in the recipe, but try the ½ teaspoon first because you don’t want to overwhelm the dish with cinnamon).

Chicken Pot Pie with Refrigerator Biscuits

Chicken Pot Pie with Refrigerator Biscuits

My drop biscuit chicken pot pie is a favorite in our house. It’s totally comforting with warm biscuits baked on top to soak up the juices in the dish. I use the refrigerator biscuits on top, so that saves time.

It’s packed with vegetables and I use whole milk instead of cream, to lighten it up. A dash of thyme and bay leaves lifts the flavor in this dish.

It’s a simple recipe, but will take longer than my usual recipes because you have to bake it for 15-20 minutes. But hey, I find that’s the perfect time to clean up and set the table.

Chicken Pot Pie

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 ½ cups chopped yellow onion

2 cups chopped celery

2 tablespoons flour

2 bay leaves

¼ teaspoon thyme leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

1 ½ cups chicken stock

3 cups whole milk

1 ½ cups frozen peas and carrots

4 cups chopped rotisserie chicken meat

2 packages small refrigerated biscuits

This makes a large batch, but you could halve the recipe and make it in an 8 x8 dish. If you’re a family, you will want the larger version because it’s delicious and you will probably eat more than you expect. This is the quintessential winter dish—down home and comforting. It’s a great recipe to make on a Sunday night.

Chop all ingredients and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, add the onion, celery, flour, bay leaves, thyme and cook for 5-7 minutes. Stir to be sure the flour doesn’t burn. Then add a dash of salt and pepper.

Add chicken broth, milk, peas and carrots and cook 7 more minutes, stirring frequently. The sauce should be thickening. Add your chicken and cook about 3 more minutes.

If sauce is not thickening to your likening, remove ½ cup of liquid and whisk in 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Then whisk that back into the mix and turn heat up slightly. It will thicken. Keep in mind though, this is meant to be slightly soupy so that you can soak it up with the biscuits on top.

pot pie prei

When done, pour into a 13 x 11 baking dish. Topwith 15-20 refrigerator biscuits (these are the small ones). Bake for 15-20 minutes, until biscuits are golden.

Serve. Here’s a close up of the buttery goodness.

pot pie

Creamy, Chicken and Dumpling Soup (SUPER EASY)

I wish I could take credit for this brilliant, delicious Creamy, Chicken and Dumpling Soup, but I can’t. My husband’s cousin’s wife made a version of this a few years ago. I don’t remember the original recipe. but she used flour tortillas to make the dumplings, which I thought was brilliant. That soup served as the inspiration for this one/

I normally hate Chicken and Dumpling Soup, but this is creamy and absolutely delicious. Plus, it’s SUPER EASY.  It’s perfect for a cold winter day. Your family will love it.

Creamy, Chicken and Dumpling Soup

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 medium onion

2 stalks celery

2 bay leaves

1 (15 ounce) can chicken broth

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 soup can filled with water

1 1/ 3 cups mixed frozen peas and carrot

2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken

3 (6-inch) flour tortillas

Chop onion and celery. Set aside.

Place tortillas on top of each other and use a knife or pizza cutter to cut into ½ inch rectangles or squares. Set aside.

Heat oil in a medium-large pot over medium heat. When hot, add onions, celery, bay leaves and cook 5-7 minutes, until tender. Add chicken stock, soup and then fill the soup can with water and add to pot. Toss in frozen peas and carrots and bring to a boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce to strong simmer and add chicken and tortillas. The tortillas serve as dumplings. Cook 5  minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and then serve. Serve with a roll because you will want to sop up all the deliciousness that is this soup.

This easy version of Chicken and Dumpling Soup is pure comfort food

This easy version of Chicken and Dumpling Soup is pure comfort food

Vegetable, Barley, Chicken Soup

It’s bleak outside, which puts me in the mood for soup. And I’ve shared a couple of decadent dishes lately, so I thought I’d post a delicious, healthy soup today:  Vegetable, Barley, Chicken Soup.

I love this soup because it’s packed with vegetables and feels nourishing.

There are a couple ways you can shave a little prep time off. Buy a bag of cole slaw mix instead of chopping your cabbage; buy pre-cut mushrooms; precut carrots; and use dehydrated garlic instead of fresh.

This soup has a lot of ingredients, but don’t let that deter you from trying it. It’s a simple soup that on the table in 30 minutes and it’s healthy so you can feel good about feeding it to your family.  It’s packed with vegetables and we know we all need more vegetables. The barley adds bulk and fiber and helps thicken the soup.  It’s important to use quick cooking variety of barley because it only cook 15 minutes before you serve it.

The Italian seasoning and rosemary season this beautifully.

The chicken goes in at the very end, so again to save yourself prep time, chop the chicken while the soup is boiling. The same apples to the zucchini. While the first four ingredients cook down, then you can chop the zucchini.  Ok,let’s get started.

Vegetable, Barley, Chicken Soup

1 large yellow onion

2 carrots

1 ½ cups chopped white cabbage

2 stalks celery

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

¼ teaspoon dried rosemary

1 pint sliced baby portobella mushrooms

1 zucchini

2 bay leaves

1 garlic clove, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

7 cups chicken stock

2/3 cup quick cooking barley

2 ½ cups chopped, skinless rotisserie chicken

Directions:

Chop saute onion, cabbage, carrots and celery and set aside. Cut zucchini into fourths horizontally, and then slice those pieces. Slice mushrooms and set aside.

In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add onion, cabbage, carrots and celery and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add Italian seasoning and rosemary, mushrooms, zucchini, salt and pepper and cook another 3 minutes. Add bay leaves, garlic, stock and barley and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and cook 12-15 minutes. While the soup cooks, chop your chicken.

Drop in chopped chicken and heat through. Serve.

Southwest Chicken Egg Rolls

This is one of my all-time favorite indulgent recipes! This is my take on a restaurant favorite, and these are just as good. They would be perfect for a Super Bowl party or entertaining in general. A margarita pairs beautifully with these. Your guests or family will be impressed when you serve these delightful bites.

southwest eggroll

Directions

1/2 cup canned corn, drained

1/2 cup black beans, drained

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chunky salsa (a chunky salsa is a MUST)

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1/2 cup  Campbell’s Fiesta Nacho Cheese Soup

2 cups diced rotisserie chicken, skin removed

3/4 teaspoon cumin seed

3 tablespoons chives

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (optional)

Egg roll wrappers

Canola or peanut oil

Stir together the first eight ingredients. Add cilantro, if desired. Fill the egg rolls, following  the directions on the back of the egg roll wrapper package on how to roll the egg rolls. Only make about 10 and then start heating the oil. You can make the rest while the oil heats.

Add oil to a large frying pan and heat over medium heat. Do not heat the oil too fast or it will brown the egg rolls.

When they are all assembled, test oil. If it bubbles when you add an egg roll, add egg rolls and fry 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown.

Drain on paper towels.

Serve with a dipping sauce of equal parts Ranch dressing and Salsa.

Light version of Chicken, Corn Chowder

I am looking out the window and it’s gray outside today and going to snow later. What a perfect day for chowder. I adore this version of my chowder because it’s light. I use milk instead of heavy cream. It’s chicken, corn and potato. My daughter and husband both love it.

Light Chicken, Corn Chowder

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 large yellow onion

3 stalks celery

1 heaping tablespoon flour

1 large Russet potato

¼ teaspoon salt

2 cups chicken stock

1 bay leaf

2 cups whole milk

1 can creamed corn

1 can corn

2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken breast

Salt and pepper to taste

Chop onion, celery, potato and set aside.  I don’t peel the potato.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in large pot over medium heat. When hot, add onions and celery and cook 2 minutes. Then add flour and cook 5 minutes. Add potato, salt, stock and bay leaf and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to strong simmer and add milk and corn and cook about 12 minutes or until potatoes are just tender. Add chicken at the last minute just to heat through.

The vegetables should still be slightly crunchy. This lighter version of chowder uses milk instead of half and half or cream but it’s still packed with flavor.  It’s an excellent soup and easy to make.