Monday, October 6, 2008

Taco Soup

Whenever you open one of those cookbooks that was put together by the boy scouts or another organization for a fundraiser you will most definitely find several recipes for taco soup. This is the recipe I like to make. I use some sodium free ingredients to cut down on the amount of salt, which can be overwhelming when using so many canned foods in one dish. This makes a ton! It's a great dish to make when you want something you can eat all week. I love to serve this with a simple green salad and my dad's Mexican cornbread.

1.5 lbs. lean ground beef or lean ground turkey
1 small onion, diced
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can sodium-free corn
1 can sodium-free diced tomatoes
2 cans rotel tomatoes (I like to use mild, but you can add medium or hot if you like it spicy)
1 envelope low-sodium taco seasoning
1 envelope ranch dressing mix
2 cups of water
For optional toppings: Shredded cheddar, torn corn tortillas or tortilla chips, diced red onion, sour cream, avocado

Brown the ground beef/turkey with the onion. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Top with your favorite toppings.

Dad's Mexican Cornbread

I'm sure my sisters will remember my dad baking this cornbread on random Saturdays. It was almost always gone by the time we sat down to eat dinner, because we snacked on it all day. My favorite time to eat it is right when it comes out of the oven and its nice and hot. I love to serve it with chili and with my taco soup (recipe to follow this one). Its so easy to make and SO yummy! It's a great crowd-pleaser

1 1/2 c. cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. canola/vegetable oil
1 can creamed corn
1 1/2 onions diced
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar or more if you really love cheese like I do!
3 eggs, beaten
bottled jalapeno pepper rings, minced (amount to taste. I usually dice up a small palm full)

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Bake in a 350 degree oven for one hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

100% Whole Wheat Snickerdoodles

These cookies were so soft and chewy. They were really good! I love the lemon zest. Gives them a nice flavor. I baked half the dough and refrigerated the other half until we were ready for more freshly baked cookies!

1 cup sugar
1/2 c. lowfat butter
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and lemon zest and beat until fluffy. Turn off mixer. Pour in flour, baking powder and salt. Beat until just combined. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes, or until it can be handled and rolled into balls. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the cinnamon and sugar. Roll the balls in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place on cookie sheet, at least 2 inches apart (they spread a lot). Bake for 7-10 minutes until light golden brown.

Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce, Asparagus, and Peas

This is a great fake-out! You think you're eating alfredo sauce, but it's actually very light. Broccoli also works great in this dish in place of or in addition to the asparagus. The addition of roasted red bell peppers is also fantastic. You can prepare it with whole wheat or regular linguine. This is a recipe from Cooking Light magazine. The only change I made was I used a little more cornstarch than it called for, because it just wasn't thick enough, and I used light cream instead of full-fat cream.

8 oz. whole wheat or regular linguine
1 3/4 cups sliced asparagus (one bunch)- make sure you break the ends off and throw them away-they are as tough as tree trunks!
1 c. frozen green peas, thawed
1 tbsp butter
1 garlic clove, minced (fresh tastes much better in this recipe)
1 c. chicken or vegetable broth
1 tsp cornstarch
1/3 c. light cream or heavy cream
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
dash of ground red pepper
grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Add asparagus during the last minute of cooking. Place peas in a colander. Drain the pasta mixture over the peas; set aside.

Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic to pan; saute 1 minute. Combine broth and cornstarch. ADd to pan and bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in cream, juice, salt, black pepper and red pepper. Add pasta mixture to broth mixture; toss gently to coat. Garnish with freshly grated black pepper and Parmesan.