Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Gluten Free Low Carb Chicken “Noodle” Soup

First make Chicken Broth in Pressure Cooker or other Big Pot
2 chicken thighs with skin and bones
6 cups of water (just fill until about 3” from top of pot)
1 chopped white onion
2 cups mushrooms (sliced)
2 cups celery (chopped)
½ cup minced garlic
4 bay leaves
1 tbsp. tarragon leaves
1 tbsp. chives
1 tbsp. cilantro leaves
1 tbsp. basil leaves
1 tbsp. thyme leaves
2 cups chopped spinach
2 tbsp. *Himalayan Pink Salt (or sea salt, or iodized salt)
1 tbsp. black pepper

Cook for 1-2 hours.  Remove bones and skin throwing the good meat back in.   
Use a potato peeler to shave 4 zucchinis into ribbons, peel and all.  Put them in the broth and boil for about 15 minutes until soft and they match the texture of noodles.  
Add more salt and pepper to taste.

*Himalayan Pink Salt contains 84 natural minerals and elements found in the human body. This form of salt has also been maturing over the past 250 million years under intense tectonic pressure, creating an environment of zero exposure to toxins and impurities. 

Stacy Pessoney
February 26, 2013

Friday, February 15, 2013

Stacy's Copy Cat Chili's Chicken Tenders

I LOVE Chili's Chicken Tenders!  I accidentally discovered this copycat recipe while making fried chicken yesterday.  One bite and I screamed, "OH MY GOD! THESE TASTE JUST LIKE CHILI'S!!!"

Mix the following together in a bowl:

1 cup milk
2 tbsp. hot sauce
1 tbsp. honey (or 1 tsp. sugar)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. red pepper
1 tsp. Tony Chachere’s Seasoning (or seasoned salt if you don’t have it)
1 tbsp. parmesan cheese

Add 6-8 chicken breast tenders.  I cut mine up into nugget sizes.
Let marinate for a few minutes.
Add about a cup of plain flour and stir.  Lumpy is okay.
Keep adding flour until thick and sticky (about ½ cup more), just sticky enough that it’s hard to get a piece of chicken out with a fork.  You don’t want it dry, but you want a lot of batter to stick to each piece.
Heat oil in skillet and add one piece at a time.  I have to pick the chicken pieces out with my fingers.  I also added a blob of batter to the tops of each piece while the first side was frying!  YUM!  Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side.  It should be LIGHT brown. 

Stacy Pessoney 2-14-2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Roulage Low Carb Version

This was my favorite cake growing up and I crave it pretty much every day.  Now that I'm trying to be a "Hot Mom", I have to count carbs and (*blech*) DIET.  I'm impatient and never want to be hungry (I might die of mild discomfort), so I took the fast track to weight loss, which is Atkins for me.  However, I am a CHOCOHOLIC. Since artificial sweeteners give me migraines and make me gain crazy weight, I get pretty limited in the dessert department.

I knew that this special Roulage recipe was flourless, so I got to thinking, "How can I make it low carb and still good?"  I experimented a little, replaced the chocolate chips with cocoa powder and butter, lowered the sugar down to almost nothing, and IT WORKED!  This cake doesn't need much sugar and the whipped cream is unsweetened because the cake is sweet enough.  REALLY GOOD.
This cake has NO GLUTEN, 6 GRAMS NET CARBS per slice, and tastes like CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM.  You can even lower the carb count if you like dark chocolate, just use less sugar.  But I determined that the amount in the recipe below makes it come out PERFECT.  Now I have my favorite cake, which tastes so much like the original that I can barely tell the difference, EVERY DAY while I lose weight.  I hope you enjoy it! I included a single serving recipe at the bottom if you just want to try it.

Low Carb Roulage

Preheat oven to 350.
½ cup butter (melted)
Whisk in ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Whisk in 7 egg yolks (put aside whites)
Whisk in ¼ cup sugar (or less)
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Fold chocolate mixture into egg whites.
Pour on 10x15 baking sheet lined with parchment paper or wax paper if you don’t have parchment.
Bake for 15-17 minutes (15 minutes makes moist cake, 17 minutes makes fluffier cake. 15 minutes is pictured).
Remove from oven and take off of hot pan to cool.  If you used wax paper, you'll need to turn hot cake upside down on a hand towel and pull off wax paper to cool.
You can let it cool directly on the parchment.
Beat heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
Spread on cake (adding strawberries or other toppings if you’d like, but it will add to the carbs).
Roll up and place on a plate.  If you used parchment, you can just roll it with the parchment on the outside so you don't get too messy.
Cut into 10 equal slices.
6 grams net carbs per slice.

Single Serving Recipe

1 tbsp. melted butter
Whisk in 1 tbsp. cocoa
Whisk in 1 egg yolk
Whisk in 1.5 tsp. sugar
Fold into 1 egg white, beaten until stiff peaks form.
Bake at 350 on parchment or wax paper for 8-10 minutes.
Remove wax paper and cool on towel.  Remove from pan if on parchment.
Beat whipping cream and spread on cool cake.
Roll up and eat.

Stacy "Hot Mom" Pessoney

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bacon (Oh, yes I said bacon!) Tomato Pie

[UPDATE: This pie won!  Yeah!!!!]

My boyfriend works at a glamorous ad agency downtown (to me, anything downtown is glamorous) and they have a super slick white laminate office designed with clean lines, glass, bright colors, and populated with all manner of hipster-type youngsters and Austin crunchy hippies.  They have food catered and free beer on Friday.  And, like most ad agencies, it is jam-packed with hypercreative people who have more ideas than any hippie art teacher you had in high school.  These minds need constant inspiration, and they are always having some fun, weird, so-Austin event.

Compare to my insurance job.  (Need I say more?)  (Disclaimer:  I love my job.  I love my job!)

So, yesterday's event du jour at the Ad Agency was a pie-off.  Thinking outside the box, of course, you have to go with a pie that you can't just buy at Marie Callendar's...but that you can get at one of Austin's staples, Kerbey Lane:  tomato pie.

In 140 characters or less:

@KerbeyLaneCafe is often filled with earthy-type/zen people who love pancakes, serenity, and prefer organic, seasonal, & vegetarian dishes.
For me, Kerbey Lane in northwest Austin became a dependable, easy-to-find neighborhood spot with something on the menu for everyone.  Tomato pie is my all-time fave from Kerbey Lane, but it is a seasonal item.  So, during the non-tomato pie season, I make do with their Nabil's Feast or whatever pancake they have on special (they have seasonal pancakes, too--like their lemon poppyseed.) 

Anyway, when you decide make anything remotely sounding like a comfort food, like tomato pie, you only need one website to reference:  JustAPinch.com

For those of you who have never heard of JustAPinch...I forgive you.  ;-)

Just let me get my nerd moment over with:  this website appeals to me on several levels.   At first glance, it looks like an interesting forum-based website chock full of sassy (not flashy)  graphics, links, and products.  It is a platform for foodies to post recipes, photos, questions, and yummy goodness to their hearts' content.  It's like a Facebook for people who love to cook! 

The people who run this website really have it down.  Marketing, $$, people who have been in the publication biz forever.  It's a solid website, backed by a solid business model.

When you do a search on JustAPinch for "tomato pie," you'll get several equally yummy-sounding recipes.  However, anything with "bacon" will always pop out at me.

This one was a winner for us, and you will be the talk of the town if you make it for your coworkers:

Bacon Tomato Pie
by Kim Phillips-Randolph

Kim, if you ever read this:  I love you!  Thank you so much for this recipe!!!

As with my last post, this recipe is so crazy easy.  Shame on you if you don't make one yourself.

Just a few notes:

  • Ain't no shame in using pre-made pie crust.  I used a two-pack of Pillsbury pie crusts.
  • You can either cut the bacon prior to frying, or (like I did) just fry it, drain, and crumble.
  • I did not realize I should have skinned the tomatoes, per the recipe.  Oopsie!  It didn't matter.
  • I used about 8 larger-sized Roma tomatoes per pie and nuked the slices for about four minutes.  You don't have to--I just thought it would help "melt" them down a little.  After that, I drained them.
  • My secret ingreedamint was McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning instead of salt & pepper.  The recipe calls for 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.  I used 1/2 tsp of the Steak Seasoning.  I pretty much love it on anything.  You could say it's my ketchup.  ;-)
  • I don't know why it just seemed weird to mix cheese and mayo together, but it is very effective as a topper.
  • 425F at 35 minutes???!!!!  Yes.  Just do it.  Check in at about 30-minutes. 
  • Make extra bacon.  Everyone smelling it in the house will want some.  Especially the cook.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Chef Emil's Bean & Sausage Casserole

There is not a lot of info on the mysterious Chef Emil, but according to his blog, he is a member of the "Cooking Connection Team at the Boerne HEB Plus!" and that is all you really need to know because saying you are with HEB says it all here in central Texas.

For those of you not in the know, HEB is probably one of the best all-'round grocery stores with everyday low-low prices.  :-)  They also own Central Market, a fierce Whole Foods competitor.  In a nutshell, HEB truly caters to local tastes and needs, and is on the mark when it comes to being in communication with their customers.  Their employees make a real difference by not only maintaining that happy face you want to see behind the counter, but by actually knowing their stuff and not hesitating to help their team mates?  For example, that lady passing out coffee samples can tell you exactly where to find that tapenade--and so can the cashier and the person at the meat market.  They know everything there is to know about their store.

On top of that, HEB works hard to promote its own brand as well as those of their vendors by offering coupons and specials coupled with ideas of what to do with all these products.  Their social media is off the charts, too.  Just check out their Twitter feed.

You know, I could be gushing about any solid company, but there's something so much more than that with HEB.  This is a company that is so integrated with family life here in Texas, that I would be hard pressed to say anything negative.

Anyway, in an effort to promote its brand, as I stated, HEB has test kitchens and will also listen to your feedback, too.

I am one of those people who is addicted to hitting SUBSCRIBE, especially when food/recipes is involved.  You would be quite amazed to see my blog reader--and, yes, I actually read many blogs on a daily basis!  (What is wrong with me?!) 

When I came across Chef Emil's blog, I became an instant fan and have enjoyed all of his (their?) updates.  The recipes aren't all fancy-fancy gourmet stuff, but EASY, AFFORDABLE, and stuff I would actually EAT.

And, when I say "easy," I mean RIDONKULOUSLY easy.  Like...if it was any more easy, then you'd just be downright lazy.  That easy.

The other night, we made Chef Emil's Bean & Sausage Casserole.  Click HERE for the direct link.  And, here are a few pics I snapped.  (For you unfortunate HEB-less souls, just sub HEB products with your favorite products.  If you can't find a marionberry/jalapeno sauce, and you feel a little adventurous, try this recipe for Dyna's Marionberry-Chipotle Barbecue Sauce.)

If there is one thing I would change about this recipe:  double up on the sausage and just use 1/2 a bottle of the Green Valley sauce.  I also chopped my own onion, saving an extra $1 or two.

In total, the meal was about $25, the most expensive ingredient being that sauce.  It is spicy/sweet, and brings out the sweet side of the pork.

Also, the tapenade is not kept with the other canned and jarred tomato products.  (grr!)  I eventually found it in the aisle marked "gourmet," "international."  You can also try checking near the olives where they keep olive tapenade.