Friday, January 30, 2009

Olive Garden Style Chicken Gnocchi Soup - UPDATE

I made the Chicken Gnocchi Soup on Wednesday which was one of the (many) days D had off from school due to snow/ice. I didn't use whole milk, heavy cream or the chicken bouillon. Instead, I used skim milk, fat free half & half and homemade chicken broth. The soup was probably not as thick as it would have been had I used the original ingredients but I'm quite sure I reduced the amount of cholesterol and sodium by a lot. I also used quite a bit more fresh spinach than called for in the recipe. The only thing that I would do next time I make the soup is use olive oil rather than butter to cook the chicken. You could use more flour if you like your soup thicker or even use a smaller amount of cream to get the right consistency. I'm sure the soup would still be much healthier and easier on your arteries!

In my opinion, and both B and D agreed with me, the soup was yummy. B and two bowls and D declared it the best soup he had ever eaten (of course he is only 10 years old). Still, that was quite a high compliment coming from him.

Please try this soup, it is easy and scrumptious. If you take out the heavy cream and whole milk, it is somewhat healthy, too! Especially, if you increase the spinach, carrots and celery.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sloppy Turkey Joes

We made another meal out of our Cooking Rocks! Rachel Ray 30-Minute Meals for Kids cookbook. Last Friday night, D had a friend over and we all decided it was a good night for Sloppy Turkey Joes. Apparently, one of the few things that D's friend will eat is Sloppy Joes! I was glad I had picked up all the ingredients the previous day. The boys seemed to really enjoy this meal. I served it with carrot and celery sticks and ranch dressing to dip 'em in. B and I also liked the sloppy joes. It was a nice treat.

Sloppy Turkey Joes
Makes 4 Servings

1-1/3 pounds ground turkey or ground turkey breast
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) (2 turns of the pan)
1/2 red onion
1/2 red bell pepper
1 tablespoon grill seasoning blend (a palmful), such as Montreal Seasonings by McCormick or Mrs. Dash grill seasoning for poultry
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup tomato sauce (8 ounces)
4 crusty sandwich rolls, split
12 celery sticks (available in produce department, or GH can chop)
12 carrot sticks (available in produce department, or GH can chop)

Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut open the package of ground turkey and hand it off to your GH (grown-up helper).

Have your GH place a big skillet over medium-high heat for you. Add the evoo. Have the GH add the ground turkey to the pan, in case it splatters. Break the turkey up with a wooden spoon as it starts to cook. If anyone touches the raw turkey, they should go wash their hands.

If you are a really good chopper, using a small, sharp knife chop up some red onions. Remember when you are chopping to keep the fingers that are not holding the knife all tucked in and curled under. Have a GH help you. You need half a red onion chopped up small. Pull the seeds and white membrane and the top out of a half red bell pepper and chop that up small too. Add the veggies to the cooking meat and stir it all together.

Next, mix in a small bowl: grill seasoning blend, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and the tomato sauce. This will make your special sauce. When all the ingredients are combined, pour the sauce evenly over the meat and stir everything together really well. Turn the heat down to simmer and cook the sloppy mixture for 10 minutes. Blow on a spoonful until cool and taste it to see if you need to adjust the seasonings.

Have the GH help you serve. Place bun bottoms on plates. Use a big ice cream scoop to get a pile of sloppy meat onto each bun. Put bun tops in place and serve with vegetable sticks on the side and cheese fries (recipe on page 72 of Cooking Rocks!).

This recipe should satisfy even your pickiest eaters.


The Creative Cook & Son