Artichokes With Roasted Garlic Wine Dip

home-artichokeI love living in Southern California where there is the availability of local fruits and vegetables in the stores, as well as what is trucked and flown in from around the country and from other parts of the world, pretty much year-round.  It really makes cooking and eating fun! #ThisGirlLovesToEat 

One of the few things that I do have to be patient for are artichokes.  Nowhere grows them as big and meaty as we do in California.  In fact, 99.99% of all commercially grown artichokes are grown in California. 

CAF_fest_logo-2017Since I happen to love them, it’s a pretty good thing that Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom named artichokes the Official State Vegetable of California on April 10, 2013.  Artichokes from California are so fabulous that they’ve had their own festival for the past 56 years: Castroville Artichoke Food & Wine Festival.

Some people dip their leaves in mayonnaise (which makes me want to gag), others in various aiolis, dips or other concoctions, but I’ve been a ridiculous creature of habit for as long as I can remember, eating my artichokes one way and one way only: dipping each succulent leaf into a bowl of melted butter.  Occasionally I may deviate in the preparation of the steam that surrounds my artichoke, adding some white wine, maybe some garlic or some lemon to the water, but I never deviate on my buttery leaf bath.  Until now.

This long forgotten recipe I’d clipped from the May 2007 edition of Cooking Light Magazine convinced me to change my ways (at least temporarily).

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Artichokes With Roasted Garlic Wine Dip

  • 2 whole garlic heads
  • 4 medium artichokes (about 3 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  1. Preheat Oven to 400° F.
  2. Remove white papery skin from garlic heads (do not peel or separate the cloves). Wrap each head separately in foil. Bake at 400° F for 45 minutes; cool 10 minutes. Separate cloves; squeeze to extract garlic pulp. Discard skins.
  3. Cut off stems of artichokes, and remove bottom leaves. Trim about 1/2 inch from tops of artichokes. Place artichokes, stem ends down, in a large Dutch oven filled two-thirds with water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes or until a leaf near the center of each artichoke pulls out easily. Remove artichokes from pan.
  4. Combine half of garlic pulp and wine in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes. Add broth; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 8 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in butter and salt. Pour mixture into a blender; add remaining half of garlic pulp. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Sprinkle dip with parsley, if desired. Serve dip with warm artichokes.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

slow-cooker-chicken-cacciatoreNobody likes to worry about cooking dinner after getting home from work on Monday night.

The weekend was a non-stop whirlwind of activity.  Kids games, recitals, activities, parties, chores, and maybe some adult beverages have left you with no energy to plan a meal after your first day back at the grind of the work week.

Thankfully Cooking Light Magazine has come to the rescue with a YouTube video to guide us all through a “fix it and forget it” healthy and hearty weeknight meal that will bring the whole family to the table and make you look like a SUPERSTAR!

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 cup drained capers
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8-oz.) pkg. cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 8 (6-oz.) boneless-skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces uncooked spaghetti, broken in half
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)
  1. Combine 1/2 cup water and flour in a 6-quart electric slow cooker, stirring with a whisk
  2. Stir in stock and next 8 ingredients (through mushrooms)
  3. Add chicken thighs to stock mixture; submerge in liquid
  4. Cover and cook on LOW 7 1/2 hours
  5. Remove chicken
  6. Add oil and pasta to slow cooker
  7. Cover and cook on HIGH 15 minutes or until pasta is done
  8. Stir in spinach until wilted
  9. Divide pasta mixture among 8 shallow bowls
  10. Top evenly with chicken
  11. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese

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

Broccoli and Chicken Noodle Soup

broccolichickensoupCooking Light is my favorite “Go-To” resource for a quick and healthy weeknight meal.  It’s been cold and blustery this week and the last thing I wanted to do was put together a big fussy sit down meal, but I wanted something hearty enough to be filling.

This soup, that they did a recipe rescue on, has 40 percent fewer calories and 62 percent less fat than the heavy original.  It satisfied the need for something hearty and filling without completely blowing the diet while also giving a big sit down meal feel with some crusty bread and a glass of wine!

Broccoli and Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup pre-sliced mushrooms
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1.1 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/4 cup)
  • 4 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 ounces uncooked vermicelli, broken into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded light processed cheese (such as Velveeta Light)
  • 4 cups (1-inch) cubed cooked chicken breast
  • 3 cups small broccoli florets (8 ounces)
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Preparation

  1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  2. Coat pan with cooking spray.
  3. Add onion, mushrooms, and garlic to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally.
  4. Reduce heat to medium; add butter to mushroom mixture, stirring until butter melts.
  5. Sprinkle mushroom mixture with flour; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Gradually add milk and broth, stirring constantly with a whisk; bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 10 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly.
  8. Add pasta to pan; cook 10 minutes.
  9. Add cheese to pan, and stir until cheese melts.
  10. Add chicken and remaining ingredients to pan; cook 5 minutes or until broccoli is tender and soup is thoroughly heated.

Nutritional Information

Calories 317 Fat 12.3g Sat fat 6.8g Mono fat 2.9g Poly fat .9g  Protein 27.5g Carbohydrate 23.8g Fiber 1.9g Cholesterol 74 mg Iron 1.6 mg Sodium 723 mg Calcium 179 mg

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

A Lemon Bar That Won’t Derail Your Diet

6021601_SYYOL12299Most people who put themselves on diets at the beginning of each year wrongly assume that they have to deprive themselves of anything sweet and especially anything that falls under the category of dessert.  Thankfully they are wrong on both counts.

This week my main focus is finding low fat & calorie conscious ways to satisfy your sweet tooth whether you are dieting or not.

This recipe from Cooking Light Magazine cuts the sugar from a standard lemon bar recipe down from an estimated 36 g of sugar to 6 g of sugar and only 129 calories.

Tangy Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Crust:

  • 4 ounces whole-wheat pastry flour (about 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • Cooking spray

Filling:

  • 3/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (8-ounce) package 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 2 large eggs

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

2. To prepare crust, weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place flour, almonds, powdered sugar, oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor; pulse until almonds are finely ground. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Pour mixture into an 11 x 7-inch glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pat mixture down into an even layer, patting firmly without compacting too tightly (which will make crust tough). Bake at 350° for 23 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven; cool completely.

3. Reduce oven temperature to 325° F.

4. To prepare filling, rinse processor, and wipe dry. Place yogurt and next 6 ingredients (through cream cheese) in processor; process until smooth. Add eggs; process until smooth. Pour mixture over crust, spreading evenly. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes or until set.

5. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate 3 hours or until chilled.

Nutritional Information

Calories 129     Fat 7.7 g       Sat fat 3.5 g      Mono fat 2.6 g
Poly fat 0.8 g   Protein 4 g  Carbohydrate 12 g
Fiber 1 g     Cholesterol 37 mg    Sodium 130 mg    Calcium 34 mg

Sugars 6 g     Est. Added Sugars 5

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