Nutella Ice Cream

Nutella Ice Cream
Serve 16 (1/2 cup portions)

Watch me prepare this on Fox11 Good Day Wisconsin.

1 pint (500ml) heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (250g) Nutella, room temp
Ground hazelnuts for garnish

  1. Place mixing bowl in the freezer for several hours.
  2. Pour cream and vanilla in bowl. 
  3. Begin mixing, until the cream starts to foam.
  4. Begin adding Nutella, one spoonful at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
  5. When all Nutella is mixed in, return to freezer. Two hours for soft serve, 4 or more hours for hard ice cream
  6. Top with crushed hazelnuts, toasted coconut, shaved chocolate, or instant coffee.
Nutritional data:
Calories:      330
Fat:            28.2g
Sat fat:       16.6g
Chol:          80mg
Sodium:   31.2mg
Carbs:        16.5g
Fiber:           0.8g
Protein:        2.2g
Variations in place of Nutella (I haven’t tried any of these yet):
Peanut butter
Lemon curd
Banana sauteed in butter and flamed with rum
Cream of cocunut with flaked coconum
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Creme Brulee–a Delicious, Yet Low Calorie Version!

Creme Brulee
Serves 6

This is a lower fat, lower calorie version of the classic creme brulee, but it still has the requisite caramelized sugar crust.

4 large eggs
1 1/2 cup (12 ounce/360ml) evaporated 2% milk
1/3 cup Splenda (or you can use table sugar, if you want)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 teaspoons brown sugar, divided.

  1. Preheat oven to 325F
  2. Whisk first four ingredients ingredients together.
  3. Pour mixture evenly into six 6 ounce (180ml) ramekins. Place ramekins into a 9×13 baking dish. Pour boiling water carefully into the dish to a 1 inch depth (or halfway up the sides of the ramekins.) NOTE: I poured the water into the dish, to about 1/2 inch, then carefully placed the ramekins into the water. To me, it seemed easier and less likely to have a problem.)
  4. Bake 30-35 minutes or until gently set in the center (It will be “wiggly” but not soft.)
  5. Remove to wire rack and cool for 10 minutes, then refrigerate several hours (overnight is better.)
  6. The next day, you have two options. A) Preheat boiler, sprinkle 1 teaspoon brown sugar evenly over each, and place under broiler, 4-6 inches from heat, until caramelized. This is 5-6 minutes, but watch carefully. B) Sprinkle with brown sugar and use a small propane torch to brown the sugar (faster and less likely to burn.) 
  7. Return to fridge for 5-10 minutes so the sugar crystallizes.
Nutritional data:
Calories:       124
Fat:              4.2g
Sat fat:         1.1g
Chol:     134.7mg
Sodium: 117.5mg
Carbs:          11g
Fiber:             0g
Protein:          8g

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Creamy Chicken and Spinach Pasta

Creamy Chicken and Spinach Pasta
Serves 4
2 cups warm, shredded cooked chicken (or about 8 ounces)
6 ounces dry pasta, some sort of short variety (penne, rotini, etc)
1 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup Vidalia onion, diced
2 garlic cloves
1 cup (10 ounces by weight) plain Greek yogurt
6 ounces baby spinach
  1. Prepare pasta according to directions. When the pasta is done, save 1 cup of the pasta water.
  2. Heat the shredded chicken in the microwave (or any other preferred method.) Keep hot.
  3. While you are boiling the pasta, in a small non-stick skillet, add olive oil. When hot, add onions. Saute until they are beginning to become translucent (4-6 minutes over medium-high heat.) Add garlic and stir for an additional minute.
  4. Add yogurt to the onions and garlic. Stir to combine. If it seems too thick for your preference, add small amounts of the hot pasta water.
  5. To quickly and easily thaw the peas, place them in a large colander, and pour the cooked pasta over them. Quickly drain the pasta, and add back to the pasta pot. The pasta does not need to be fully drained.
  6. Add half of the spinach.  Top with onion/yogurt mixture and chicken.  Stir to combine.
  7. Add remaining spinach.  Toss to combine. The spinach will partially wilt under the surrounding heat of the dish.
Note: You could easily use leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. Simply shred it and reheat in the microwave, or in a saute pan with some broth and a bit (1/4 cup) of gravy.
Nutritional data (each portion is approximately 1 1/4 cups):
Calories:      279

Fat:             7.7g

Sat fat:           2g

Chol:            36mg
Sodium:      130mg
Carbs:       32.5g

Fiber:             3g

Protein:        20g

Note: This was the first time I made this dish. Next time, I will add something with another color, maybe some diced fire-roasted red bell peppers.

Dublin Lawyer (my version)

Dublin Lawyer
Serves 4

2 tablespoons butter
2 cans crab (or 8 ounces crab meat)
12 ounces cooked shrimp
1/4 cup whiskey
1 cup minced shallot (about 4 large)
1/4 cup half and half
1/4 plain Greek yogurt
Salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste

  1. Melt the butter in a large (10″) non-stick sauce pan.
  2. Saute shallots until they become soft.
  3. Add the cooked shrimp and crab meat. Stir together of medium-high heat.
  4. Add whiskey. Turn heat in high, and CAREFULLY flame the dish.  (This burns off the alcohol and concentrates the flavors.
  5. Stir in half and half and yogurt.  Stir until well mixed.
  6. Season to taste.

Nutritional data:
Calories:        199
Fat:                8.3g
Sat fat:           4.7g
Chol:          127.8mg
Sodium:     703.7mg
Carbs:           8.1g
Fiber:                0g
Protein:        22.8g

Note: I don’t have access to fresh crab. I used canned crab, which increased the sodium content. But the dish was still really tasty and a nice change of pace.  Also, traditionally is only uses crab, but I had shrimp on hand so I used that in addition to the crab.  It worked.

Carrots in Beer and Dill
Serves 4

1 pound bag of baby carrots
1 cup of beer
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon dried dill

  1. Cut the carrots in half the long way.
  2. Place carrots in a non-stick saute pan over medium heat.
  3. Add beer. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat.
  4. Stir occasionally.
  5. If the beer evaporates, add a little more. (It probably won’t need more.)
  6. Just before serving, add a teaspoon butter and dill.  Toss to coat and serve.

Nutritional data:
Calories:         61
Fat:                   1g
Sat fat:           0.6g
Chol:             2.5mg
Sodium:       32.5mg
Carbs:           8.1g
Fiber:            1.3g
Protein:         0.9g

Oven Roasted Chicken Thighs, Creamy Cucumber-Olive Salad and Herbed Polenta

Oven Roasted Chicken Thighs
Serve 4

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves

  1. Combine all ingredients in a Ziploc bag, seal and refrigerate for 2-4 hours, turning occasionally.
  2. Preheat oven to 400.
  3. Place chicken thighs in a shallow baking dish, uncovered, for 18-20 minutes, or until they begin to brown.

Nutritional Data:
Calories:        289
Fat:             18.3g
Sat fat:          4.2g
Chol:            99mg
Sodium:        93mg
Carbs:          2.6g
Fiber:           0.4g
Protein:      27.3g

Herbed Polenta
Serves 4

2 cups skim milk
2/3 cup dried polenta
1/4 cup feta cheese
1 teaspoon Italian or Greek herbs

  1. Prepare polenta according to label instructions.
  2. When it is finished cooking, stir in the feta and herb.
  3. Serve immediately, or spread it flat, 1/2 inch thick and let cool.  Then, pan-fry in a bit of olive oil, flipping it over when the edges begin to brown. 

Nutritional Data:
Calories:        158
Fat:               1.7g
Sat fat:          1.2g
Chol:            8.6mg
Sodium:       126mg
Carbs:          23.2g
Fiber:           2.1g
Protein:           6g

Creamy Cucumber-Olive Salad
Serves 4
2 cucumber, peeled and seeded, cut into 1/8 inch thick crescents.
9 Kalamata olives, sliced
4 banana peppers, cut into rings
3 ounces (by weight) Fage plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
Nutritional Data:
Calories:       69
Fat:             2.7g
Sat fat:           0g
Chol:             0mg
Sodium:     206mg
Carbs:         8.2g
Fiber:          3.6g
Protein:       3.9g

The Many Lives of Beer Can Chicken

I try to be efficient with my time. Why only cook one meal when you can easily prepare for two meals simultaneously?

Beer Can Chicken (aka Beer Butt Chicken)
Serves 2? 4? 8? 16? Depends on how hungry everyone is!

Get your grill going to about 350F.

Take a whole chicken. Rub the outside with some olive oil. Sprinkle your favorite seasoning on it. I used Penzey’s Bouquet Garni.

Find an empty beer can. If you don’t have an empty one, buy some beer and pour half the can into a glass. Insert the can into the open end of the chicken. It will stand upright on its two legs and the half-full can of beer.

While working, drink the beer in your glass. Repeat as needed. Grilling is hot work!

If you prefer to not use beer, use any empty soda can and your choice of liquids. I have used orange juice, cola, ice tea, wine and margarita mix. The options are endless.

When the grill is hot, place the bird on the grate as in the picture. Use indirect heat if possible, and place the bird on a pie tin to catch the drippings and prevent a flair up. It will be done when the breast meat has an internal temp of 165F (or when the internal juices run clear.)  This will be approximately 90 minutes.

Nutritional Data (per 6 ounces of meat, skinless and boneless):
Calories:       180
Fat:                 4.5g
Sat fat:            1.5g
Chol:             128mg
Sodium:          75mg
Carbs:              0g
Fiber:               0g
Protein:          36g

The meal as I served it to the family.  Beer Can Chicken, Sweet-Sour Cucumbers, Corn on the Cob, and my Zucchini-Potato Pancakes.

Sweet-Sour Cucumbers
Serve 8 (Approximately 3/4 portions)

5 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 small onion, slice very thin
Kosher salt

In layers, slice one cucumber, add a slice of onion, and top with a sprinkling of salt. Repeat until the cucumbers are all sliced. Place a plate on the cucumbers and top with a heavy weight (a gallon of water is ideal.)  Let sit on the counter at room temperature. Occasionally drain off the liquid. The idea here is to dehydrate the cucumbers so that they absorb the dressing when you add it.

1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons table sugar
2 tablespoons Splenda

Dissolve together. You will probably need to microwave this to get the sugar fully dissolved.

After the cucumbers have been sitting for 3-4 hours, and all liquid is drained off, quickly rinse with cold water, and then press with the plate to remove the water. Pour the dressing in the bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutritional Data (per 6 ounces of meat, skinless and boneless):
Calories:          31
Fat:                0.2g
Sat fat:           0.0g
Chol:             0.0mg
Sodium:           3mg
Carbs:            6.5g
Fiber:             0.9g
Protein:          0.8g

After the meal, strip all the meat from the carcass of the bird. Add to a large kettle, with a medium onion chopped in large pieces, 2 large carrots chopped, 2 ribs of celery, a bay leaf, 2-3 cloves garlic crushed, and 1 tsp whole peppercorns.  Add 6 cups water, bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Let simmer for 2 hours and pour through a colander. Chill overnight and remove the thickened chicken fat.  You should have about 1 quart of low-sodium chicken stock. (I doubled everything for my batch as pictured above.)

Then, the last step …

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Serve 4 (1 3/4 cups per portion)

1/4 cup wild rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces raw mushrooms, sliced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed and minced
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup white wine
1 quart chicken stock
1 tsp sage (or other preferred spices)
1/4 tsp table salt
8 ounces cooked chicken, chopped
1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt

1.  Prepare wild rice according to directions. You will need about 1/4 cup dry rice. This will take about an hour.
2.  While the rice is cooking, prepare the mushrooms, carrots, onions and garlic.
3.  Heat the olive oil in a large soup kettle. Add mushrooms, onions and carrots. Cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic.
4.  Add flour.  Cook another 2 minutes, stirring.
5.  Add wine.  Mix, then add 1 quart chicken stock. Bring to a boil.  Add chicken, and reduce to a simmer. Add spices and salt.
6.  When the rice is done, add to the soup. Stir in Greek yogurt.
7.  Taste and adjust spices and salt as needed.

Nutritional Data (per 6 ounces of meat, skinless and boneless):
Calories:       257
Fat:                7.5g
Sat fat:           2.2g
Chol:              48mg
Sodium:         240mg
Carbs:              30g
Fiber:              1.9g
Protein:         20.8g

We just got done feeding this soup and a bowl of salad to four teenage boys and a teen age girl. They all agreed that the soup was a good meal.

Mushrooms and Beef in Cream Sauce

Mushroom and Beef in Cream Sauce
Makes 6 servings
12 ounces beef roast, cut into ½ inch cubes
16 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 ounces red wine
4 ounces water
8 Tablespoon (4 ounces) of reduced fat cream cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
3 cups uncooked whole wheat wide noodles
Prepare the pasta as directed on the label. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a non-stick skillet, saute the onion for 3-4 minutes, and then add the garlic and mushrooms.  Continue to cook over medium-high until everything is soft, approximately 3-5 minutes. Remove from skillet into a large bowl, set aside and keep warm.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat. When hot, carefully add all meat.  Season the meat with pepper as needed, stirring to brown all surfaces. When the meat is browned, add to the bowl containing the cooked mushrooms.
The skilled will probably have meat and mushroom residue adhering to the sides and bottom (also called fond.)  Pour the wine into the skillet, deglazing the pan.  Then add the cream cheese, return the skillet to medium heat and stir until the cheese has melted and is mixed with the wine.  Add the water and mix well.
Return the meat and mushrooms to the sauce, and stir to coat.
One serving is 1 cup pasta (or less) and 3/4 cup stroganoff.
Nutritional data (of the stroganoff):
Calories:               226
Fat:                       11.4g
Sat fat:                  4.4g
Cholesterol:       59.5mg
Sodium:               137mg
Carbs:                   6.7g
Fiber:                    1.1g
Protein:               20.8g
Nutritional data (of 1 cup of cooked pasta):
Calories:               180
Fat:                          1g
Sat fat:                  0.0g
Cholesterol:        0.0mg
Sodium:               15mg
Carbs:                   41g
Fiber:                    6.0g
Protein:                   8g

Chicken in Garlic-Vinegar Sauce

Chicken and Garlic-Vinegar Sauce
Makes 6 servings  (Served as above with steamed broccoli and 1/2 cup whole wheat couscous.  The nutritional values below are for the chicken only, not the side dishes.)
Note:  I used 8 garlic cloves in this recipe.  The next time I will double it.  The garlic was very subdued by the vinegar and sour cream.  I wanted it to be more assertive.  I might also try malt vinegar instead of red wine vinegar, and use 8 ounces of beer instead of chicken broth, to reduce the sodium load, and bring out a different flavor.  As always, recipes are meant to be creative.
6 chicken breast 5 ounces each (approximately)
3 teaspoon Olive oil, divided
1 cup onion, diced
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
2 tsp dried thyme
¼ cup reduced fat sour cream
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tsp all-purpose flour
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons chives
1.      Dry chicken.  Season with pepper (and salt, if desired)
2.      Heat heavy Dutch oven (or similar pan) over medium heat, spray with cooking spray and add 1 tsp olive oil.  Add the chicken, turning as needed until browned.  5-7 minutes.  If needed, cook chicken in multiple batches, if all will not fit at the same time.
3.      Remove chicken, add 1 tsp olive oil.  Add onions and garlic, stir over medium-high heat until the onion is lightly brown.
4.      Add vinegar, bring to a boil
5.      Return chicken to pot, add broth and thyme.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and let cook until chicken is very tender, about 50 minutes.
6.      While cooking, mix sour cream, tomato paste and flour until smooth.
7.      Seed and dice tomatoes, add chives and the remaining olive in a bowl and reserve for garnish.
8.      When the chicken is finished, remove from the stock and place on a plate.  Stir in sour cream mixture until smooth, bring to a simmer and let cook for 1 minute.
9.      Return chicken to sauce, and gently stir to coat.
10.  Serve garnished with diced tomatoes.
Cal:           272
Fat:           3.5g 
Sat Fat:     1.0g 
Chol:       110mg
Sodium:  228mg 
Carb:         7.5g 
Fiber         1.4g 
Protein:   41.9g