Turkey Day Prep: Pumpkin Hummus

You know you need something to let people snack on before the big meal, but you don’t want them to be too full to eat the meal you’ve been slaving over for days…

This recipe, from November 2015’s Food & Wine Magazine, takes the edge off but won’t ruin anyone’s dinner! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

How to Make It

In a food processor (I used my Vitamix), combine the chickpeas with the pumpkin, lemon juice, garlic, cayenne and 1/3 cup of water and puree until smooth. Season the hummus with salt and pepper and serve with pita chips or crudités.

Make Ahead

The pumpkin hummus can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Time for a Thanksgiving Cocktail

The frantic shopping and prep is done and this girl is doing Tomahawks instead of Tom Turkey at her house. Now it’s time to sit back with a celebratory cocktail! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Stoli shared the perfect choice via Twitter.

Stoli Turkey Day Martini

  • 1.5 parts Stoli Ohranj vodka
  • 1 part Organic Cranberry Juice
  • 0.5 parts Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 0.5 parts Maple Syrup
  • Prosecco (Approx 0.5 parts to top off with)

Shake all of the parts, strain into your martini (or saucer champagne) glass, and garnish with a sugared cranberry & twist of lime. Cheers!

Sweet Noodle Kugel

NoodleKugel2

When my father-in-law found out I enjoyed cooking, one of the first things he gave me was his Mother’s Jewish Cookbook.  He then opened it to much used page that had a recipe for a traditional #SweetLokshenKugel.  I was behind the 8 ball for a couple of  reasons on this one: I am not Jewish, so many of the words used in the, 70 + year old cookbook were, quite literally, foreign to me and, without the benefit of a picture accompanying the recipe, I was clueless as to what the recipe was actually for.  Dad did clue me in that it was for a noodle kugel that his Mother used to make, but beyond that he was pretty much useless. 😉  Once I #googled some of the words for the kosher ingredients and, what turned out to to be brand names, I was able to modernize the recipe and create something that he loved and requested for many years.

Sweet Noodle Kugel

  • 16 oz Wide egg noodles
  • 1 Cup Sugar (I now substitute 1/2 Cup Truvia)
  • 1 Stick Butter, melted
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Medium Granny Smith Apple, grated
  • 8 oz Golden Raisins
  • 1 – 20 oz Can Crushed Pineapple (mine came in heavy syrup)
  • 1-2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with butter and set aside.

Boil the noodles for 10 minutes.  Drain and put into a large mixing bowl or return to the pan you cooked them in.  Add the butter to the noodles and toss to combine.

Combine the Sugar (or Truvia), Egg, Grated Apple, Crushed Pineapple (undrained), Raisins, Vanilla, Ground Nutmeg and Cinnamon, stirring well.

Add the combined ingredients to the noodles and toss until well distributed throughout.

Pour the noodle mixture into the prepared baking pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, just until tips of the noodles on top begin to brown.  Cool and cut into 16 – 20 equal pieces.  Can be served warm or room temperature.

Nutrition Information (for 16 servings using Truvia)

  • 205  Calories
  • 6.5 g  Fat
  • 26.62 g  Carbohydrates
  • 4.75 g  Protein

If you’re interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to, like:  health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, gadget reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a community page on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Turkey Day Prep: Creamed Spinach with Bacon

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Creamed spinach may not seem like a side dish that pairs well with the traditional Thanksgiving meal, but the creamy richness is an especially nice companion to turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing, and a nice change from the same old green bean casserole.  It’s also great with ham and, of course, any type of beef.  It’s #GlutenFree when you use #BobsRedMill Paleo Baking Flour and pretty #KetoFriendly too!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Creamed Spinach with Bacon

  • 2 – 16 oz pkgs Frozen Chopped Spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
  • 3 Cups Warm Whole Milk
  • 1 Pound Bacon, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 Cup Finely Chopped Onions
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2/3 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour (Grain & Gluten Free)
  • 6 TBLS Butter, melted

Cook bacon slowly until browned but not crispy.  Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate and leave the grease in the pan.  Over medium heat, cook the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent.

RouxAdd the salt & pepper and stir in the flour.  Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes, until a very light brown, fluffy roux forms.  Slowly stir in the warm milk (I microwave mine in a Pyrex measuring cup for about 2 minutes) and stir until smooth.

cookedAdd the bacon back into the pan and cook for about another minute, stirring continuously.  Add the spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, over low-medium heat until all of the spinach is mixed in and warmed through.

Cover the top with the melted butter until ready to serve.

Nutrition Information: (Makes 12 – 14 Half Cup Servings)

  • 165 Calories
  • 5 g  Carbohydrates
  • 6.4 g  Fat
  • 8.2 g  Protein

If you’re interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to, like:  health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, gadget reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a community page on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Turkey Day Prep: Keto Zinful Cran-Blueberries

SmoothandWholeZCB

A few years ago I created a cran-blueberry sauce that was bursting with flavor and incorporated my favorite thing: wine!  Since then I have tried to limit my sugar consumption and been eating a modified Keto diet, so this year I’ve adapted my recipe, by #CookingWithStevia, for the Keto crowd.  No matter what, I use a good Zinfandel.  The taste matters.  This year it’s a 2015 #TobinJames #FatBoyZinfandel

Keto Zinful Cran-Blueberry Sauce

  • 3/4 Cup Granulated Steviadon’t use Truvia, it has an after taste when not cooked
  • 1 Cup Zinfandel Wine (Best you can afford – if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it)
  • 1 – 12 oz Package Ocean Spray Fresh Whole Cranberries
  • 1 Cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 1 Whole Cinnamon Stick
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Orange or Tangerine Zest

Bring Stevia, wine and cinnamon stick to a full rolling boil in a medium saucepan.

Add remaining ingredients and return to a full boil (cranberries will start to pop), stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring once or twice to make sure nothing sticks.  You may want to use a splatter shield to avoid splashing when cranberries pop.

Turn off heat and, if all cranberries didn’t pop fully, press with the back of a large spoon if desired.  I use my meat mallet and gently press down until all are popped.

Remove and discard cinnamon stick.  Cool slightly then move sauce to serving dish.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours and serve cold.  Sauce will thicken up as it cools.  Garnish with a few cranberries, blueberries and curls of zest.  To save time, and stove space, this can be made ahead and kept refrigerated in a tightly covered container.

*If you want it jellied:  Strain out the berry solids and skins by pressing them using a rubber spatula and fine mesh strainer before refrigerating.  To get the most of the strained pulp, I run it through my mini-chopper (or a food processor / blender) after the first pressing, then run that through the strainer again.  Sauce thickens as it cools and should be stored in a sealed container if not serving immediately (after the 2 hour chilling).

Nutrition Information: (Makes 3 CupsServing Size 2 TBLS)

  • 33  Calories
  • <1 g  Fat
  • 2.2 g Carbs
  • <1 g  Protein

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Instant Pot Spicy Tomato Bisque

TomatoBisque

I bought some organic tomatoes on the vine and a pint of grape tomatoes that I hadn’t finished but didn’t want to go to waste.  Tomato soup is my favorite, but the canned variety is SO full of carbs…enter the #InstantPot and, 20 minutes later, viola #LowCarbTomatoBisque!

Spicy Tomato Bisque

  • 2 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Onion (1 Small to Medium Onion)
  • 3 Ribs Celery, Chopped (About 3/4 Cup)
  • 2 Medium Carrots, Peeled & Cut into 1/2″ Slices
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Peeled
  • 4-6 Medium Tomatoes, Quartered (I used 4 + 2/3 Pint of Grape Tomatoes)
  • 1/2 TBLS Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 TBLS Dried Parsley
  • 1/2 TBLS Dried Basil
  • 1 – 10.5 oz Can Beef Consommé (or Vegetable Broth for Vegetarian) + 1/2 Can Water
  • Dried Red Pepper Flakes (if desired)
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese (if desired)

Set the Instant Pot to saute mode and add the oil to warm.  Add onion, celery, garlic, carrots, tomatoes, oregano, basil and parsley cook for about 3 minutes.

Add Consommé/Broth and red pepper if using.  Mix well.  Close the Instant Pot with pressure valve to sealing and set to cook for 9 minutes.

When cycle is complete, set valve to quick release, open the Instant Pot, and puree the soup using an immersion blender.  I prefer mine a little bit chunky.

Set the Instant Pot to Saute mode.  Stir in cream and adjust spices with salt & pepper as needed. Ladle into bowls, and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

Nutrition Information:  Serves 6

  • 152.5  Calories
  • 13g  Fat
  • 6.5 g  Carbs
  • 2 g  Protein

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to:  recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. If so, visit my This Girl Loves To Eat community at:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Keto Asparagus Soup

creamofasparagus

While my market still has asparagus in the produce department, I’m making soup!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Quick & Easy Keto Asparagus Soup

  • 1 Sweet Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 2 Pounds Fresh Asparagus, chopped into 1″ pieces (discard ends)
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 3 Cups Low-Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 Cup Chopped Pancetta or Prosciutto, sautéed
  • 2 TBLS chopped chives
  • Freshly Gound Sea Salt & Black Pepper to taste

In a large dutch oven, over medium heat, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion becomes translucent.

Add the asparagus and chicken stock to the pot.  Cover and boil until the asparagus is tender, about 5 minutes.  Check for tenderness by stabbing with a fork.  Add the heavy cream to the pot and cook for an additional minute.  Season with salt & pepper.

Transfer the soup to your Vitamix, blender, or  food processor and process until smooth.  Make sure there are no chunks of asparagus.  You want a really smooth soup.

Divide soup between 6 bowls and garnish with the pancetta/prosciutto and chives.

Filet Mignon Chili & Pepper Jack Crisps

My husband’s company, #Connectria, is so much different than anywhere he’s ever worked.  They do fun morale & team building activities and this week, following “come as your favorite Marvel character day,” they are having a chili cook off.  The fact that they are just outside St. Louis, Missouri, while we are in Irvine, California, is no impediment to my husband participating in all of their fun activities.  He submits photos and videos of himself participating from his one-man executive suite in his remote location.  After a $300 trip to the grocery store 😕, I will be sending his chili submission to St. Louis on dry-ice via Federal Express tomorrow.

This chili doesn’t burn your face off at first touch of your tongue to the spoon.  It’s more of a second spoon sneak up on spicy experience.  Kind of like a great glass of wine…it has a long finish!  I prefer it that way.  I serve it with lots of additional chopped peppers, onions, cilantro and hot sauce for anyone who absolutely needs to feel the burn.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Filet Mignon Chili with Pepper Jack Cheese Crisps

  • 2 Pounds Filet Mignon (Beef Tenderloin), cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 Pounds 90% Lean Ground Sirloin
  • 3 Small Yellow Onions, chopped (About 4 cups)
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers, chopped
  • 2 Yellow Bell Peppers, chopped
  • 3 Jalapeño Peppers, stemmed/seeded & chopped
  • 1 Pasilla/Anaheim or Poblano Chili, stemmed/seeded & chopped
  • 1 Cube (8 TBLS) Butter
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
  • 4 tsp + 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 2 – 6 oz Cans Tomato Paste
  • 2 – 14 oz Cans Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1-2 tsp Freshly Ground Sea Salt & Black Pepper (to taste)
  • 2 Heaping TBLS Unsweetened Cocoa (divided)
  • 1 tsp Chipotle Chile Pepper Powder (divided)
  • 1 tsp Hot Mexican Style Chili Powder (divided)
  • 1 tsp Ancho Chile Pepper Powder (divided)
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg (divided)
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper (divided)
  • Juice of 1 Medium Lime
  • 1 – 10.5 Ounce Can Beef Consommé
  • 5 – 15.5 Ounce cans Reduced Sodium White Kidney (Cannellini) Beans, drained
  • 1 – 11.2 Ounce Bottle Guinness Draught Beer
  • 2 Cups Very Strong Brewed Coffee (I used Starbucks™ Verona Blend)

In a large stock pot or dutch oven, over medium-high heat, place the butter, 2 tsp olive oil, the garlic, onions, red and yellow bell pepper and jalapeño peppers.  Cook until all start to soften and the butter starts to brown, about 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and add the 2 cans diced tomatoes, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin and salt & pepper.  Stir occasionally while simmering.

Coat a large skillet with 1 tsp olive oil and, over medium heat, brown the ground sirloin but don’t cook to well done.  You want the meat to be a little pink, not rubbery.  Mix in the tomato paste, 1 can at a time, until completely incorporated, and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes until warmed through.  In a small bowl combine: 1 heaping TBLS unsweetened cocoa, 1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder, 1/2 tsp hot Mexican style chili powder, 1/2 tsp Ancho chile pepper powder, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper.  Stir combined spices into the beef and tomato paste mixture and stir over low heat until well combined.

Add the ground beef mixture to the vegetables, stirring well to combine.  Increase heat to medium-low and stir in the Guinness, coffee, and beef consommé.  Bring mixture to a boil and allow to cook for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the beans.

Combine your remaining spices in a small bowl: 1 heaping TBLS unsweetened cocoa, 1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder, 1/2 tsp hot Mexican style chili powder, 1/2 tsp Ancho chile pepper powder, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper.  Put 1 tsp olive oil and the juice of the lime into a large zip bag.  Add the 1/2″ chunks of filet mignon then sprinkle the spice mixture over the meat.  Zip the bag closed and shake the bag to coat the meat.  I massaged the meat from outside the bag to make sure all of the spices were stuck to the meat.

Heat your skillet with the remaining TBLS of olive oil and add your meat.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes until just seared then add the meat to the chili.  Add your chopped Anaheim/Pasilla/Poblano chili to the remaining cocoa/spice-oil mixture in the pan and stir fry for about 2 minutes until the peppers begin to soften.  Add the peppers to the chili and stir to make sure all of the ingredients are combined.

Increase the heat to medium and bring just to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 90 minutes or until chili is nice and thick.  Adjust seasonings as needed before serving.

To make the pepper jack crisps:  Shred your cheese and mound onto parchment paper lined baking sheets.  Bake at 400° F for 8 – 10 minutes, or until edges start to brown.  Tip:  Don’t pile too much cheese on your mounds or your crisps will be chewy instead of crispy.

Serve chili with: an ice cold Guinness, a pepper jack crisp, and topped with diced onions, peppers, chopped cilantro, hot sauce, and sour cream if desired.

Nutrition Information:  Makes 24 – 2 Cup Servings

  • 292 Calories
  • 10.65 g Fat
  • 16.41 g Carbohydrates
  • 24.86 g Protein

Total Recipe Information:

7012 Calories / 255.61 g Fat / 393.97 g Carbs / 596.76 g Protein

Turkey Day Prep: Cute & Fun Napkins

I’m not a particularly artistic or crafty girl, but this project from #FoodNetwork looks like something even I can do! Made from paper napkins, these turkey napkins are fun, fairly easy to assemble and a surefire way to add a little extra gobble to every place setting. It’s a great way to get little hands involved – or a project for those not cooking that will keep “helpers” out of your way in the kitchen! Here’s their step-by-step guide. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

To make the turkey napkins you’ll need:

  • 8″ x 4″ (Rectangular Fold) Red Paper Napkins (1 per place setting)
  • 8″ x 8″ (Square) Orange Paper Napkins (1 per place setting)
  • Woven Brown Napkin Rings (1 per place setting)
  • Peel Off Glue Dots (4 per place setting)
  • Glue on Google Eyes (2 per place setting)
  • Orange Felt & Scissors

Assembly:

  1. Unfold red napkin so it’s halfway open.
  2. Start with the red napkins and use an accordion fold (fold, flip, fold) to fold each up completely (as pictured). When you’re done, it should be about an inch wide. Moving onto the orange napkin, fold in the edges of the napkin, about 1/2-inch on each side. Then do an accordion fold on the orange napkin, the width should be a little under an inch.
  3. Layer the two napkins so that the orange napkin fits into the grooves of the red napkin. Don’t worry if the two don’t perfectly line up — slight imperfections will actually lend some nice extra texture.
  4. Gently work the napkins back into their accordion fold and carefully slide the napkin ring onto the middle of the napkins.
  5. Gently work with the napkin arrangement to see what it will look like when the two top corners of the red napkin are touching. Using your glue dots, attach the top two inner corners of the red napkins together with a glue dot. You want the napkin “feathers” to fan out.
  6. Cut a small triangle out of the orange felt and use a glue dot to affix your turkey’s beak to the napkin ring.
  7. Using two more glue dots, affix the two eyes above the beak, creating the turkey face.

To see the step-by-step instruction photo gallery, visit this link.

30 Minute Beef Stroganoff

At the end of a long week, the last thing I want to do is spend hours cooking dinner. This beef stroganoff only takes 30 minutes to prepare and tastes like it’s been cooking all day. If you have the luxury of preparing this ahead of time and letting it sit for a few hours (or even just for one) you won’t believe how much richer it tastes! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

30 Minute Beef Stroganoff

  • 12 – 16 ounces Filet Mignon, butterflied, cut into 1/2 ” slices then 1/4-1/2″ chunks
  • 16 ounces Sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • 2 Shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 Cup Beef Broth or Consommé
  • 1/2 Cup Sour Cream
  • 1/3 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 TBLS Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 TBLS Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1+1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 3 TBLS + 1 Stick (1/2 Cup) Butter
  • 1 TBLS Finely Ground Almond Flour or All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Dried or 2 TBLS Fresh Dill
  • Freshly Ground Sea Salt & Black Pepper
  • 12 ounce Package Extra Wide Egg Noodles
  • 1 TBLS Minced Chives

Boil the noodles according to package directions. Drain and return to pan. Add 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter to the noodles, toss to combine, cover and set aside.

Spray a skillet with olive oil spray and, over medium-high heat, quickly sear the meat on all sides (1-2 minutes) and remove from heat.

Melt the 3 TBLS butter in the same skillet. Add the shallots, about 1 tsp pepper, and mushrooms and sauté over low heat until mushrooms are soft & onions are golden brown. Stir in the flour and cook for about a minute.

Combine the mustard, sour cream, whipping cream, Worcestershire sauce, nutmeg, and dill, then stir in the beef broth until well combined. Add to the mushrooms & onions and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, but don’t boil, for about 5 minutes. Add the meat and juices back to the sauce and cook just until the meat is warmed.

Pour the mixture over the buttered noodles and stir gently to combine. Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream (if desired) and chives.