Recipes - Non-Desserts

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Spaghetti and Meatballs
Mich's Stir-Fried Rice
Mich's Best Vegetable Soup Ever
Brussels Sprouts Fricassee
Super Easy Pumpkin Soup
Rice Paper Spring Roll Thingies Two Ways
Mich's Greatest Egg Salad Ever (and how to properly hardboil an egg)

ACTUAL Irish Soda Bread
...a.k.a., Brown Bread

You will need:
- 4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 - 2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups buttermilk

To make:
- Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together. Make a well in the middle of the mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Mix it all together until well blended. 

- Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface, and then press into rounds that are about 1 - 2 inches thick. Use a butter knife to cut crosses into the top.

- Traditionally, the bread was baked in cast iron pots over a stove. You can do that if you like--put a little flour in the pot or pan and bake the bread over medium-low heat, 10 - 15 minutes on each side. I've never had success with that, and neither did Granny. You can bake the bread in the oven at 375 degrees F for about 20 minutes.

Tastes even better the next day!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

You will need:

- 1 lb ground turkey (it was actually 1 lb 5 oz, I weighed it), 630 cals for whole 21 oz

- Tomato sauce (I just used Prego), 70 cals per 1/2 cup

- 1 slice bread (normally I would have used a low fat one, but we only had some fancy Italian bread that was a few days old), estimated 150 cals based on the nutrition label

- ketchup (I ended up using 3 tablespoons), 45 cals

- Worcestershire sauce (I used 3 tsp), 15 cals

- spaghetti squash (I used 2 medium-sized ones), between 40 and 50 cals per cup

- 1/2 small onion (minced with the Slap Chop), ~30 cals

- garlic salt, pepper, basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, and marjoram

- 2/3 cup beef broth (you can use any kind of broth), 10 cals

Put the Prego in a crock pot and turn it on high. If you don't have a crock pot, just heat the Prego sauce in a big pot and let it simmer on medium-low heat. Soak the bread in broth for like 15 minutes. In a big bowl, combine the meat, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, minced onion, and soggy bread (squeeze a lot of the broth out) and mixed it up real nice (wash your hands first!). Then fling in the salt, pepper, and herbs until it smells nice. Next, make the meat combo into balls roughly 1 1/2 inches across. It made a total of 30 meatballs when I did it.

In a skillet on medium heat, quickly brown the meatballs just to sear the flavor in. Then put them in to cook in the Prego sauce. Leave that cooking in the crock pot or simmering in a regular pot on the stove for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (Check it after 1 1/2 and test one.)

For the squash, cut it in half and scrape out the seeds and stringy bits, then bung it in the oven on 400 degrees Fahrenheit (~205 degrees centigrade). Let it cook for like an hour, then poke it with a fork. Use your best judgment to decide if it's soft enough. I left them in for like 1 hour and 20 minutes. After you take it out, let it cool a bit, and then use a fork to scrape the insides out into a bowl - it comes out like spaghetti. Serve it with the meatballs and sauce.

If I had used low cal bread, 1 meatball = 26 calories.

Mich's Stir-Fried Rice
This is my signature dish (apparently). I memorized it from watching the chefs cook at the table in Japanese Hibachi restaurants.

You will need:
 I used broccoli, onion, orange peppers (usually I use red, but they had none), shitake mushrooms (just a little), and courgette/zucchini. I like to use seasonal veggies, but you can really use whatever the heck you want. I would recommend always starting with the onion, for flavor.
- You don't have to use meat, but I like it. Sometimes I will use steak or chicken, but last night the sea scallops in the supermarket looked good, so I got a few of those (~40 cals per scallop).
Rice is also technically optional, but when I first created this recipe the rice was the main attraction, because this is essentially a lesson on How To Make Asian-Style Fried Rice Without Clogging Your Arteries. (I made the rice last night for Little Sis, but did it in a separate pan because I am [always] trying not to eat carbs.)
You will need Goya Medium Grain Rice.
 If you are using rice, this is not optional. To get it to taste like Chinese fried rice or Japanese hibachi-style fried rice, you MUST use medium grain.

This recipe is tricky as far as getting everything ready at the same time, but don't get frustrated - if you're okay combining the rice and veggies (and meat, if you're not a herbivore), then everything goes into the same pan at the end anyway, so you don't have to worry about anything getting cold.

- You will also need at least one egg, and some version of soy and/or teriyaki sauce. Kikkoman seems to have the best selection of good stuff. I usually use just straight up teriyaki, but last night I opted for something new and it turned out pretty excellent.
- Start with the rice. You will need double the amount of water for however much rice you use (i.e., I cooked 1/2 cup of rice in 1 cup of water). Don't listen to anyone who tells you to put margarine or oil in it. It's a lie. To cook the rice, put the water and rice in a pot and bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once it boils, cover the top of the pot, reduce it to a simmer, and DO NOT TOUCH THE RICE FOR 20 MINUTES. I have watched many people ruin a perfectly good pot of rice because they just can't help themselves - they feel the need to stir it. Just leave it alone. It knows what it's doing.
After 20 minutes, check and see if it's done, and take it off the stove. Set it aside until you need it.

- For the meat--I always sauté it in whatever I'm using for the rice, just in a separate pan. Last night I cooked the scallops in a frying pan with 1/2 tbsp of Oyster sauce (10 cals) and 1 1/2 tbsp of Kikkoman's Signature Teriyaki sauce (45 cals). As with the rice, you can just set it aside when it's done. 

- For the veggies, I used 1 tbsp of whipped butter (70 cals) just to coat a large frying pan, and fried the onions until they were transparent. Then added the other veggies. I used a total of 4 tbsp of the teriyaki sauce (120 cals - you'll need less for less veggies), and sprinkled a bit of salt, pepper, and ginger on the veggies while I cooked them.

- When the veggies are cooked to your liking, use your spatula to clear a space in the middle of the frying pan, and then break your egg into it. Scramble it up a bit, and then mix it with the veggies. If you're combining everything, now is when you add the rice and meat to the big frying pan, and mix everything up.

And voila - fried rice. This dish seems to be a surprisingly huge hit with children, considering how many veggies are in it.
Mine, with scallops and without rice:

Mich's Best Vegetable Soup Ever
This recipe is perfect for autumn and winter holidays, and I make it every year for Thanksgiving. Little Bro#2 says it's one of his favourite foods, and he usually hates all vegetables. 

You will need:

- Lots of veggies!! Seasonal/Autumn veg is best, since this is a wintertime sort of soup. It's lovely as a starter at Thanksgiving and Christmas. This time, I used 1 Spanish onion, 4 cups of broccoli, 3 cups of carrots, 1 butternut squash, and 2 large parsnips. The 2 parsnips turned out to be a mistake--I would recommend using maybe half of a big one, and then instead using more broccoli and squash. Or you can replace the parsnips with potato (always the gold ones). It tasted good (OBVIOUSLY) when I made it, but the parsnip flavour was very strong. Technically you can use whatever vegetables you want, but you must begin with an onion. I also would not recommend using celery--bits of string always seem to get left in the soup even after the blender.

- I used 1 1/2 tbsp whipped butter (105 cals). You can make the whole recipe vegan-friendly if you replace this with something non-dairy.
- 4 cups vegetable broth (I used Swanson, 60 cals). I think I actually should have used more, as the soup came out quite thick, but you can always add more if you notice it's not soupy enough. You could use chicken broth if you want, but I think that takes away from the flavour.

- Salt, pepper, thyme, sage, and celery seed. You can play around with any herbs and spices, but I really recommend using the celery seed.
To make it:
- Chop up all your veggies. Make sure to try and separate/group them according to how long they usually take to cook. The onions should be kept separate from everything.

- Using a really big pot,  cook the onions in the butter and a little salt and pepper until they are transparent.
 Cook them on a medium - low heat, so they cook slowly and don't start turning golden-brown. Once they're transparent, add half of the broth, and the first batch of veggies (in my case, the squash and parsnips) and bring it to a boil.

- Simmer for 10 - 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the rest of the broth and the rest of the veggies, and bring it to a boil again. Let it simmer another 10 - 15 minutes, until everything is cooked. You want the vegetables soft enough that you can easily squash them with a fork. Add the celery seed, sage, and thyme (or whatever you want to use) when everything is almost cooked.
 - Once it's cooked enough, take the pot off the stove and let it cool down for a while.  Then get your potato masher out and mash it all up to make the blender's job a bit easier.

 - Let it cool down for like 20 minutes after mashing, and then put the whole mess into the blender. Puree it!

In total, I made about 9 cups of the soup, at roughly 155 calories per cup. If you want an extra garnish to make it look pretty, when you're serving it you can add a drizzle of light cream (30 cals per tbsp), and then you mix that into the soup as you're eating it. I would have posted a photo of how that looks, but my soup turned out a bit too thick (I had no broth left), so I couldn't make it look photogenic enough.

 I invented this recipe all by myself. :D It's pretty basic and others have come up with it before I did, but I'm still proud of myself

Brussels Sprouts Fricassee
 I found this thing called Brussels Sprout Fricassee in NewYork magazine in 2009, and I improved it. It was tested on a 5-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy, and both of them ate quite a bit of it (can't go wrong adding bacon to stuff). I now make it every Christmas. 
You can make it vegetarian/vegan friendly by omitting the bacon and using a non-butter spread to cook the onions. So here's my version.

You will need:
- Brussels sprouts (about 2 containers)
- Butternut squash (about 3 1/2 cups, or half of a large one)
- broth (2 cans, vegetable or chicken)
- 1/3 cup minced onion
- 1/2 tbsp butter
- salt, pepper, and pumpkin pie spice
- bacon bits (1 to 2 tbsp)
- chopped pecans (1 ounce)

To make it:
- Chop the butternut squash into little cubes, about half an inch thick.

- In a big pan, bring one can of the broth to a simmer, and add the squash cubes. Keep it covered, and stir it every few minutes. You should simmer it for about 15 minutes.

- To prep the Brussels sprouts, cut the stems off the bottom and then chop each sprout in half, longways.

- In a separate saucepan, saute the minced onion in the 1/2 tbsp of butter. Once the onion is a transparent golden colour, add the other can of broth and bring it to a simmer. Then add the sprouts. Stir it occasionally, and cook them in the broth for five minutes.

- After five minutes, add the bacon bits to the sprouts, as well as a pinch of pumpkin pie spice. Simmer for another five minutes, or until the sprouts are cooked but still crunchy.

- Once the butternut squash is tender (after the 15 mins), turn the heat up and stir it a lot to burn off some of the excess broth.

- After the sprouts are cooked, add them to the pan with the squash.

- Stir it up for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once it's done, you can stir in the chopped pecans, or sprinkle them on the top when it's ready to serve.

I did mine with only one container of sprouts, 1/2 ounce of pecans, and 1 can of broth (because SOMEONE [ahemLittleSisahem] used the other one), so at the end it came to about 633 cals for the entire thing.

Super Easy Pumpkin Soup
You will need:

- 2 cups pumpkin (the canned kind is fine) (160 cals)
- ~1/2 small or medium onion, chopped very fine
-1/4 tsp nutmeg
- a pinch of clove (and when I say pinch, I mean take a pinch of ground clove and then take a much smaller pinch from that)
- 3 cups broth (45 cals)
- salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp white cooking wine (10 cals)
- 1/2 cup fat free half & half (40 cals)

 To make it:
[If you do not have a blender, I would recommend skipping the onion.]

- Heat the cooking wine in a medium-large saucepan. If you don't have wine, you can use butter instead (like 1/2 tbsp of the whipped kind--35 cals). The wine is nice because it's lower calories and it brings out all the flavours. Once the wine is heated a bit, saute the onion until transparent and turning slightly golden. Add the 2 cups of pumpkin and stir constantly for about 5-10 minutes. Add the nutmeg and cloves.

- After 5 or 10 minutes, add the broth and keep stirring, bringing it to a boil. Once it starts bubbling, reduce the heat to a simmer. Keep it on a simmer, stirring a lot, for another 5 or 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 230 minutes.

- Blend the soup in a blender or food processor just so it isn't lumpy from the onions. 

- Serve the soup with drizzled half and half (to make the recipe vegan, just skip the half & half). 

The entire pot of soup is ~275 with onions (255 calories without the onions), and 310 if you use onions and butter instead of wine). And it's a lot of mf soup.

You'll probably need 2 cans of pumpkin and 3 cans of broth, and you'll end up with a little of each left over. I ended up having the perfect amount of both left over to make a smaller batch of the soup a few days later, which was awesome.

Rice Paper Spring Roll Thingies Two Ways

For both of these, I really just winged it rather than planning out a proper recipe...

For the broccoli-squash-zucchini rolls: 
- You will need broccoli, 1 yellow summer squash, and one zucchini
- I cut everything up really small (to make it easier to roll up later), and then stir-fried the veggies in a little teriyaki sauce. 

Set aside to cool down a bit.

- I also made a sauce to go with them: 2 tbsp low fat mayonnaise, 1 tsp horseradish mustard, and 1 tsp wasabi powder mixed together in a bowl; once it's mixed, you have to cover the bowl and turn it upside down for a minute, so the wasabi can properly blow your head off.

Here were those finished with the sauce:

(For rolling instructions, see the end of the next recipe...)

For the other set of spring rolls, I did a weird take on an Italian sausage, peppers, and onions sandwich recipe. I sauteed red peppers and onions (cut up as small as possible, for easier spring-rolling) in a teensy bit of olive oil.

And I cooked three little veggie-sausage patties (frozen ones from Trader Joe's) in the oven,
 then mashed them up and added them to the frying pan.
Then set aside to cool.

Now for the rolling! I use this rice paper:

They come in hard sheets. To soften them, get two large plates and drip a layer of warm water on one. Keep some paper towels handy by the dry plate. One sheet at a time, place the rice paper on the wet plate until the whole sheet is coated with some water on both sides.  Then take it off the wet plate, pat it dry (don't worry about getting it too dry), and set it down on the dry plate. Let it sit for up to a minute, until it softens.

 For both spring rolls, I actually cut the pieces of rice paper in half before rolling, to make smaller rolls that were more bite size. 
Then rolled them up and tried to make them look pretty.

Mich's Greatest Egg Salad Ever

For a single serving, you will need:
- 2 eggs (140 cals) Take the eggs out of the refrigerator at least 20 minutes before you cook them. (You should do this with all animal products; meat should be taken out at least half an hour before being cooked; just an FYI :D)
- 1 tsp-1 tbsp lite mayonnaise (~12 - 35 cals)
- 1 tbsp honey mustard salad dressing (I use Newman's Own, the lite version, 35 cals)
- salt & pepper
- Herbs from Provence; I just buy them in a bottle, but you can mix it yourself with lavender, basil, marjoram, savory, thyme, parsley, chervil, rosemary, and tarragon. These are not optional. The lavender in particular is not optional. This is the secret ingredient that makes this salad the Greatest.
- and also, if you want to make it into a salad, some salad greens; I like a mix of baby lettuce and baby spinach. You could also just put it on a sammich, or do like Mumsy and eat it right out of the mixing bowl with a spoon.

Before we proceed, I am first going to instruct you all on How to Properly Hard Boil an Egg.

A frightening number of people cannot do this properly. Even people who think they can--they're still doing it wrong. How do you know if you're doing it wrong? If your hard boiled eggs have that nasty greyish-brown crust around the yolk

Guess what--you're doing it wrong.

Ok fine, I suppose it's not "wrong," but it's icky. I never used to eat hard boiled eggs because of that crust of Ick around the yolk.

So to Properly Hard Boil an Egg, you will first need a pot with a decent lid, one that fits snugly on top of the pot. (I've also done it with a plate covering the pot, and something on top of the plate to hold it down since hardly any of the pots in our house have matching lids.)

 Fill your pot with water and bring it to a rolling boil.

Put your eggs in the water, and then make sure the water gets back up to a rolling boil again (should only take a few seconds). Once it does, cover the pot with your lid and/or plate, and TURN OFF THE STOVE. If you have an electric stove, take the pot off the burner. Leave it covered for exactly 12 minutes. Do not take that cover off until the 12 minutes are up.

After 12 minutes, empty the hot water out of the pot and fill it with cold water. Let the eggs sit in cold water for at least 10 minutes. Check the water every now and then to make sure it's still cold (if it gets warm, dump the water out and get new cold water; you'll probably have to do that a few times).

When the eggs have cooled, you may take the shells off. And look at that--no greyish-brown crust.

To make the egg salad:
- Cut up your boiled eggs and put them in a bowl, (or use an egg slicer) to make for easier mashing.

- Add the mayonnaise, honey mustard dressing, salt, pepper, and herbs. 
- Mash it!

 - You can add more salt, pepper, and herbs to your tastes. I personally prefer lots of salt, just a hint of pepper, and buttload of those herbs.

- Serve the egg salad over your salad greens, or mix it up with the lettuce. or serve on a sandwich, or whatever.

 Single serving (the whole recipe) is like 200-240 calories, if you count the calories in the lettuce and junk.

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