Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cream Corn Like No Other

I loved creamed corn when I was a kid. The canned kind, of course! I'm not sure if my Mom ever made creamed corned from scratch. She probably did, as she's a great cook. I just remember eating creamed corn practically straight from the can.

I was going through my freezer yesterday as I was figuring out my grocery list. I saw that I had a couple of ears of cooked corn in there, from Mom. I wanted to use them but I didn't just want a side of plain ol' corn. Off I went to search the website and came up with this recipe. Simple enough and I had most of the ingredients. I saw that it required heavy cream which would be a killer ,nutritionally, if this were a main dish. However, in smaller portions, like a side dish, it fit the bill. I went with it.

The ingredients are:
1) frozen corn, thawed
2) heavy cream
3) salt
4) sugar
5) black pepper
6) butter
7) whole milk
8) all-purpose flour
9) Parmesan cheese

The only thing I had to buy was the heavy cream. Yay! For the corn, I used a knife and ran it along the ears of corn to remove the kernels. Here's a YouTube video for demonstration: Cutting Corn Off the Cob for Smothered Chicken. No, that's not me in the video. I didn't have quite enough for the recipe but I used a purchased package of frozen corn kernels to make up the difference. I did a little taste test and even though both types of kernels had been frozen and thawed, I thought that my corn 'fresh from the cob" tasted better, even a bit sweeter. I was probably biased, though!

This dish is really easy to make and yummy as well! I have to remember to keep the portion sizes down, however, so I don't blow my calorie and fat intake for the day. That will be hard!

Szechwan Shrimp

Hi Gang:
The title of the post links to the recipe at the site. There's a pretty good picture of the shrimp there as well.

I found this a bit bland but I also just realized I forgot to add the green onions. I think that would actually make a big difference for this dish.

The ingredients called for are:

1) water
2) ketchup
3) soy sauce
4) cornstarch
5) honey
6) crushed red pepper
7) ground ginger
8) vegetable oil
9) green onions
10) minced garlic
11) cooked shrimp

My Changes:

1) As I read through the ingredients and the directions, I decided to use raw shrimp instead of cooked shrimp. I then made a marinade out of the remaining ingredients (sans oil) and let the shrimp marinade for about 5 minutes. I sauteed the shrimp in a touch of oil over medium heat until the shrimp were pink. If I can get shrimp cheap enough, I'll probably try this again. The shrimp for this dish were given to me by my Mom. Thanks, Mom!

2) I also added salt and pepper to taste; those two ingredients are not specified in the ingredients list.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Spaghetti Meatsauce w/ Ground Turkey

Hello again! Yes, it has been a long time. I moved from the coast of North Carolina to central NC; the "Triangle" if you are familiar with the state. I'm settled in and ready to blog once more. Unfortunately, my camera broke during the move. That stinks! So, no pictures for the foreseeable future.

I am discovering a love for ground turkey. I have to thank my friends, the Neill family, for introducing me to this "new" meat. I have broken bread with them many times over the past 5 years. They do not eat pork or beef, so they use ground turkey in many meals. And while I could tell the difference, the dish was still delicious. However, being a dedicated beef eater, I have never made the switch myself, until a few months ago.

Over the summer, I started using a budget. Twenty-five dollars was my new weekly limit for groceries. I went to a cash only system. I'll say this, using cash to pay for things really curtailed my grocery expenditures. That is when I started cooking with ground turkey. It is healthy and far more affordable than the equivalent weight in ground beef or pork. I have used it in egg rolls; you can see my previous post about Mom's Egg Rolls. I have made amazing turkey burgers with sauteed onions and mushrooms. It has also been the star of the show this week, in a spaghetti meatsauce.

I found the recipe a few years ago, in a book called "Cooking for Two, or Just You," by Frances Price. She is a registered dietician. I liked many of the recipes in her book and it is great for those singletons or couples who like a different meal every night of the week. Her recipe is actually called "Turkey in the Straw." The name is a bit confusing, as it is really a pasta sauce with meat. I have also made it before but it has been a while and I was once again struck by how good this sauce tastes! I have actually been eating it over rice, since I completely forgot to buy pasta!

I can not give the exact details of the recipe due to copyright laws; however, I think that substituting ground turkey in virtually any meat sauce would work out just fine. The basic components of most Italian-style sauces are as follows:

1 lbs of lean ground turkey or beef
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, optional but highly recommended
2-4 garlic cloves, minced. Use more or less according to your taste. I love garlic.
1 onion, chopped

Tomatoes: chopped fresh tomatoes (about 2 large), a can of diced tomatoes, a jar of marinara sauce, canned tomato sauce, take your pick. You can also used canned tomato paste in a pinch...thin it out with chicken broth or water to a "sauce-like" consistency.

Reduced fat, low sodium chicken broth, or water

Brown the meat over medium high heat. I like to rinse and drain the meat as well. Return the meat to the pan add the remaining ingredients. Cook over medium high heat, allowing the fresh tomatoes (if you are using those) to cook down and release their juices. The smell will be heavenly. Add some reduced fat, low sodium chicken broth to the sauce if it is too thick. You can also use water but of course, the sauce will be less flavorful. Serves 4.