Sunday, November 20, 2011

Healthier Green Bean Casserole with Homemade Fried Onions

Green Bean Casserole is hands down my favorite thanksgiving food. Thanksgiving dinner could contain all sorts of weird things, but as long as the casserole was there I would be happy. Because of this I knew I could tackle a makeover for Skinnygiving with fellow blogger Bree from Three and a Half Stones to Go.

Up alternative to french fried onions. While not as crispy as the store bought brand, these onions are loaded with flavor and missing all the fat. 
Baked -not- Fried Onions

2 Medium Onions, sliced thinly
2 cups fat free milk
4 tbs whole wheat flour
Olive oil spray
Slice onions into tiny little pieces. Soak them in milk for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 450. Spray a pan with olive oil.  Drain milk from onions. Add flour to bowl and use forks to toss them until they are covered. (trust me on the forks thing, otherwise your hands will be covered). Add more flour if they look soggy. Soggy = bad.
Add to pan making sure they aren't crowded. Bake for until the onions are crispy. Sprinkle with salt to season. You can make these ahead of time and store them in an airtight container until you are ready for them.

Mushroom Gravy
1 tbs olive oil
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
3 tbs cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup fat free milk
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
In a skillet, saute sliced mushrooms in olive oil until tender. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and add broth to the mushroomy pan. Bring to a boil, while scraping bottom of pan to include all that delicious mushroomyness in the gravy. Whisk together cornstarch and water until all clumps are dissolved. Slowly add this mixture to the pan, be sure to whisk constantly while it thickens to form a smooth sauce. Add milk, cooked mushrooms and seasonings. Return to a boil and allow the mixture to thicken.

To serve, top the freshly steamed beans with the mushroom gravy. Sprinkle with fried onions. While this is not the same as the casserole I grew up with, it does satisfy the craving. Plus, at the end of the meal I feel much better about a plate full of this than the alternative.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Spinach & Walnut Chicken Roulades with Pan Gravy

Roulade... that sounds fancy doesn't it. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I have never tried to roll anything inside meat before. It sounded delicious and it looked beautiful, but it seemed too intimidating.
I am now educated.
Had I known how easy this really was I would have been rolling meaty things long ago. It starts with violently beating an innocent piece of meat, and turns into something delicious... how can that be bad?! I know it sounds wrong, but I think this process will be my new mental coping mechanism for dealing with difficult people. Just imagine turning that mean spirited neighbor into a beautiful roulade. I feel better already!

This month I joined up with my friend and fellow blogger from Three and a Half Stones To Go to prove that holiday fare doesn't need to be filled with fat. Skinnygiving was a huge success!!

We limited our event to 4 dishes to prevent obnoxious amounts of leftovers. She created an amazing Brown Rice Stuffing with chicken sausage and apples and was so good. She also made a Crustless Fat Free Pumpkin Pie which I remade for a group tonight and they DEVOURED it. The bowl was literally scraped clean.

I tackled the green bean casserole and a dish to rival any turkey.
Spinach & Walnut Chicken Roulades with Pan Gravy
4 chicken breasts
1 package spinach
1 tbs garlic
1 tsp oil
Crumbled blue cheese
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Place chicken in plastic wrap and use a rolling pin or saute pan to pound the chicken nice and flat. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
In a saute pan add the oil and garlic, add spinach in handfuls and allow to wilt.
Then you start the fun assembly.
Divide your spinach into 4 segments. Each flattened breast gets one quarter of the spinach, some blue cheese and walnuts. This next part seemed intimidating before, but it's so simple. All you need to do is start rolling one end and secure with a toothpick.

Add the rolls to a heated pan (that you sprayed with olive oil) and allow them to get nice and golden on all sides. Cover and let cook an additional 5-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked thoroughly. Remove from pan and add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and be sure to scrape the pan so your gravy will include all the delicious flavor left from the chicken.
In a cup whisk the cornstarch with cold water. Slowly add this mixture into the boiling stock. Whisk constantly until thick. Serve chicken topped with gravy.

The other dish I tackled that evening was a skinny green bean casserole. It was delicious and I promise to share it soon. For now I'll be dreaming of excuses to make these dishes again.

Have you made a roulade before?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Curried Butternut Bisque

I love this recipe because it is uses a lot of free exchanges. You can read more about it in my original post about butternut squash. In the meantime you must try this cold weather escape.

It's weird to look back and see how much I trouble I had with butternut squash, and compare it to how much I crave it now.

Curried Butternut Bisque
1 cup leftover roasted butternut squash
1 cup water
1 tsp chicken boullion powder
2 tbs shredded unsweetened coconut flake
3 tsp chopped ginger from the jar
1/2 tbs curry
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp olive oil
Combine leftover squash and water in a blender. I used the Magic Bullet and it was indeed magical. Blend until it resembles baby food and there are no visible chunks. Heat the ginger and coconut in olive oil in a small sauce pan for a few minutes. Pour in the squash blend. Add boullion, curry, cumin and stir until heated through.

Serve with 1 tbs fat free sour cream (free exchange) and enjoy.

What other ways do you enjoy butternut squash?
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