Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Leftover Noodles? Let's Make Noodle Soup!

Just like rice, I always make extra pasta and freeze it.  It's great to have on hand for super quick meals.  I made up this soup recipe last night and it was excellent.  Simple, light, quick, awesome!  Also great for using up leftover meat.  I make my own chicken broth and freeze it in 1 cup, 2 cup, 4 cup and 6 cup portions.  You can use store bought broth if you like, just be sure to get the reduced sodium kind!  You can also use any variety of veggies.  Cabbage, mushrooms, green beans, peas, frozen mixed, etc. 

Seems like a light meal but I promise you you'll be full!

Asian Noodle Soup
Serves 4

  • 2 -3 cups cooked whole wheat spaghetti, fettuccine or linguine
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp hoisen sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 carrots, sliced thinly diagonally
  • 2 cups broccoli, cut into thin stalks
  • 2 green onions sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups sliced cooked pork (I used leftover roast, you can thinly slice pork, chicken or beef from raw if you don't have leftovers)

  1. Heat the broth, soy sauce, hoisen sauce, sesame oil, lime juice and ginger in a large soup pot until it comes to a boil.  Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add in the carrots, broccoli and green onions, simmer until the veggies are tender.
  3. If using raw meat add now and simmer until cooked.
  4. Add eggs and stir until cooked
  5. If using cooked meat add now and heat through
  6. Place 1/2 cup noodles in each bowl, top with 1-1 1/2 cup of the broth veggie mix.
Enjoy!  If you have leftovers, store the noodles and the broth veggie meat mix separately and heat them separately so the noodles don't get soggy.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Leftover Rice? Let's Make Rice Bowls!

Here is a simple, quick dish I whipped up the other night out of leftover rice.  I always make a big batch when I make rice so I have some ready to go for the next few meals.  It freezes well and is better than the processed stuff they call 'instant'!

You can use whatever meat, veggie and herb mix you like.  This is also a great use of leftover meat since it's already cooked.  All you have to do is add it in with the rice to heat through.

Rice Bowl with Veggies and Shrimp
Serves 2

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 ounces peeled shrimp
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine
  • 2-3 cups frozen peas
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder

  1. Cook rice as per package instructions if you don't have any leftover on hand.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat
  3. Cook shrimp until pink, toss in garlic
  4. Remove shrimp from pan
  5. Saute onions until soft
  6. Add peas, curry, turmeric and ginger, heat until the peas are just bright green
  7. Add in rice and shrimp, heat through
  8. Serve!

Yup, that's it. Tasty!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Low Sodium Asian Stir Fry Sauce

I've been a little gobsmacked about the amount of sodium in Asian foods, even the recipes I make at home.  Here's a sauce that takes the sodium down to just 250 mg per serving!  Enjoy!

Be sure to cook this sauce for a couple of minutes to let the cornstarch do it's thing and thicken.  If you don't want to cook the sauce then leave out the cornstarch.

Stir Fry Sauce
Serves 4

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp garlic chili sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch

  1. Mix everything together and let sit until the sugar dissolves. 
  2. Remix before pouring into your dish to make sure the cornstarch is well blended

As I mentioned it works out to 250mg of sodium per serving!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Why yes I am part Irish, what gave it away?!  When I went back to my natural hair colour after years of highlighting it to within an inch of it's life, I kept passing the mirror and thinking to myself "holy crap can you see the Irish in me now!".  This was due to the reddish brown tones mother nature gave me.  I'm English-Irish and can trace my family roots back 7 generations.  We may be dull but we're consistent.  It's only in this generation that anything other than English-Irish has entered our gene pool!  How's that for dull?!  While I live in New Scotland (Nova Scotia) I have not a lick of Scottish in me.  So today is extra special as we Irish take over Nova Scotia and call today ours. 

For dinner tonight I'm making a Shepherd's Pie.  There are lots of great recipes out there so I won't bother sharing mine.  However I did want to mention the Beef Broth.  I make mine from scratch.  It's deadly simple, way taster than store bought and healthier.  I put no salt or fat in mine, making it a neutral addition to any recipe.  I can always add more fat or salt when I use it later. 

Beef Broth
Makes 8 -12 cups

  • 1-2 good size beef marrow bones
  • 1 rib celery, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 carrot cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2-3 springs thyme (or about 2 tsp dried)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • a good dash no salt added steak spice or Montreal steak spice
  • Cover everything with water, to about 1/2 inch from top of pot.

  1. Throw everything in a large soup pot.
  2. Bring to a boil
  3. Simmer 3-4 hours (or you can use your crock pot on high 5 -6 hours)
  4. Strain the liquid, toss out all the solids as they are tasteless now.
  5. Let cool, skip any fat off the top and freeze in 1 cup containers. 

I'll be using some of mine tonight to make the gravy/sauce base for my Shepherd's Pie.  I'll stir in some Worcestershire Sauce and a ketchup, about 1 tbsp each to add dimension to the flavour.  That will also up the sodium content so it's good to have that broth base be neutral..


Also known as Fancy French Beans and Wieners.  Really, that's all it is.  The key to this dish is to use really good ingredients.  I use a local European style sausage and Jacob Cattle Beans but you can use whatever sausage/meat and bean combo you like.  If you can't find a decent sausage try lean ground pork with lots of sage, thyme, rosemary and garlic.  Great Northern Beans are often used in more traditional recipes.  White kidney beans would also work nicely.  Remember if you are using canned beans to watch the sodium level.  If you are using dried beans be sure they are the consistency you want before you add any juice, tomato or wine since adding acid will stop the cooking process leaving you with hard beans. 

Keep this dish low sodium by using reduced sodium bacon, ground pork, dried beans or canned beans with no salt added, no salt added tomatoes and homemade or low sodium chicken broth.  I often use regular bacon and a really good quality sausage (moderate sodium), dried beans, no salt added tomatoes and my homemade chicken broth which I don't add salt to so I can control the salt when I use it in recipes.  And I NEVER salt a dish until the end once everything is added and cooked together.  Then I see if the dish needs seasoning (salting) or not.  You'd be amazed how little salt I add this way.  I constantly amazed at how rarely I need to add salt and how little it takes when I do. 

Okay I'll get off my soapbox now and get down to the recipe.

Serves 6-8

  • 2 cups dried Jacob Cattle Beans
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 slices bacon, diced
  • 5 Toulouse sausages, (French herb and garlic sausages)
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 3 ribs of celery, diced
  • 5 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 medium parsnip, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 14 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup white wine or apple juice
  • salt and pepper as necessary

  1. Heat beans and water in a saucepan, bringing to a boil.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove the pot from the heat and let sit for an hour.  This can vary depending on the beans so check them often.  Don't overcook them.  At this point you just want them to be starting to plump up but still quite firm.
  2. Heat a large dutch oven pan over medium high heat. Add in bacon and cook until crispy.  Add in the sausage and cook until the sausage is browned
  3. Add the onion, celery, carrots and parsnip and cook until tender, about 15 minutes
  4. Add in the garlic, thyme, chicken broth and beans.
  5. Simmer until the beans are the right consistency, 2-3 hours approximately
  6. Once the beans are as you like them, add in the tomatoes and wine/juice.  Let simmer for another 20-30 minutes.
  7. Check the seasoning.  Add salt and pepper if necessary. 

Some traditional recipes use breadcrumbs on the top and place the whole pot in the oven to crisp it up the top.  Sometimes I do this and sometimes I skip it.  It thickens up the dish but often I don't find this necessary.  It's up to you.