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Daikon Spaghetti and Meatballs

P2 spaghetti and meat balls

 

Well, I have not really posted anything since being back in America, other than my husband’s birthday cake.  It is time to get back to it, and work on the healthy cooking I was enjoying so much in Korea!  

Jeremy is on Phase 2 of the Omnitrition Drops right now.  This is the HCG diet that I was on in January.  He is doing amazing and has lost 20 lbs in 10 days, and is still loosing!  I will be starting again as soon as we have the money to buy another bottle of drops for me.  I have been cooking the food for two weeks now, and struggling to be creative.  I have done meatloaf, burgers, chicken 5 ways from Sunday.  

Since I am not on the diet, I am struggling to stick to the meals, as I am craving bread, pasta and potatoes.  I have been making some flat bread and tortillas for my tacos, but seem to grab chips or soda every once in a while.  

For several days I have been craving spaghetti.  I realize that is something I miss from Korea, as I won’t buy store bought tomato sauce anymore.  I used to make it often for different pastas such as spaghetti or lasagna.  This week I bought some tomatoes and the second I got htem out of the bag to put them in my fridge, I realized that they were either bruised from the bag, or just over ripe when I chose them.  I knew they needed to go into my simple yet beloved sauce!  I like to make this with fire roasted bell peppers, but since they are not allowed on phase 2 of the eating plan, I left them out for more tomatoes.  

First, I put an x shaped slit in the bottom of five tomatoes.  

I boiled them for up to one minute until the slit loosened and started peeling.  Then I put them in a bowl of ice cold water to cool off and quit cooking.  I then peeled the tomatoes (the skin comes right off), and cut the tomatoes into slices.  I put them in a crock pot on high.  I then diced up the onion into bigger chunks, and added them to the pot.  I diced up the garlic and threw it in.  I put the lid on and let this cook for 4 hours.  When it started cooking  down, and getting a little thicker, I added 1 small can of hunts tomato paste.  After it cooked for another half hour, I scooped 2 cups into my food processor.  I added the spinach in, and blended it together.  I added this mixture back into the pot, and added the spices and seasonings to taste.  I put this back into the crock pot to get it back up to temperature, and added 24 meatballs.  I let this cook for a half hour.

 

Meatballs

I began by blending up 2 wasa crackers, 2 cloves of garlic, and 1/4 of an onion in the food processor.  Then to blend, I added 1 lb of meat, and seasoning, and pureed for another 30 seconds.  

Next I weighed out about 40 meat balls from this mix, each 1/2 an oz in weight.  I cooked them in a pan with about 1/4 inch of water, stirring when needed to cook all the way through.  When I took them out of the pan, they went into a bowl that was lined with paper towels to collect any remaining grease that was on the surface.  When the sauce was ready, I put 24 into the sauce to cook for another half an hour (and lend flavor to the sauce), and the rest in the freezer for another day.  

 

Noodles

Now for the easiest part! (Well sort of). 

The hard part of this was locating the one ingredient…Daikon Radish.  I had to go to a gourmet grocery store and pay 1.89/lb for the radish, which was over 2 lbs.  

Today I peeled the radish, and then pulled out my mandolin.  I have a $10 one from Walmart, but it had the perfect attachment for spaghetti noodles.  I used it to slice over half of the radish into thin ribbons.

Next I boiled water.  The directions I was given said to gently boil for 5-7 minutes.  I set my timer for five minutes, but after three minutes, the texture resembled noodles and I tasted them.  The texture was good for noodles as well.  So after three minutes I drained the radish from it’s water and assembled my plate.  

To get a proper HCG phase 2 plate, I put 2 oz. of noodles, and 2 oz. of sauce.  Then I added 8 meatballs on top.

This is my all time favorite HCG recipe at the moment!  I have not had one I like more, which is mostly because I LOVE Pasta, and sincerely miss it!  

 

Spaghetti Sauce

5 large tomatoes

1/2 of a walla walla sweet onion (or one large onion)

4 cloves of garlic

2 cups of spinach

basil, parsley, salt to taste

splash of apple cider vinegar to taste

A few splashes of Franks Red Hot sauce (original)

6 oz Hunts tomato paste

Noodles

1 large daikon radish

Meatballs

1 lb ground beef

1/4 walla walla sweet (half a large onion)

2 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons Sumac seasoning (1 tablespoon sumac, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon smoked hot paprika, 1/2 teaspoon tumeric, 1/8 teaspoon salt)  I make this mix myself.  (This is optional, season meatballs however you like)

1 food scale

2 wasa crackers (I used lite rye)

 

 

Miracle Fettuccine ????

 

DSC_0209

I got some miracle noodles in my last batch from Iherb.com, and they were herb and garlic fettuccine noodles.  So tonight, I tried to make fettuccine alfredo with them.  I used three packages of Miracle Noodles, and made an awesome almond milk Alfredo sauce.

The first thing I did was cook up two chicken breasts in a little olive oil and butter.  Once they were crusty and golden brown, I removed them from the pan, and put in one sliced white onion and some garlic.  I sliced up the chicken, and threw it back into the pan.  Next I added 5 cups of homemade almond milk.  I let it simmer for 10 minutes or so until the sauce started thickening up.  I rinsed off about a cup of marinated/rinsed and chopped artichoke hearts.  I added about 1/3  cup of grated parmasan cheese, and salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, and parsley to taste.

I opened and rinsed the noodles under hot water, and sprinkled a tablespoon of flour into the sauce just to get it a little thicker.  Then I put the noodles into the sauce, and let it simmer for a minute. I flavored with a little chicken bouillon and it was perfect!

I was looking forward to trying this, although had a  little trepidation because I was not sure if the texture of this noodle would really hold up to a cream sauce.  It turns out that the trepidation was well founded, as the texture was really really off, and I found myself craving starchy noodly goodness!

SO, my experiment didn’t work  as I had hoped.  The sauce is amazing, but not with the particular noodles that I made.  In fact, for lunch tomorrow, I am going to make some pasta for lunch tomorrow and make another batch of the sauce.

3 packages of Herb and Garlic Miracle Noodles (My suggestion is skip these and use a nice whole wheat pasta or even make your own)

5 cups almond milk

1 large onion

2 chicken breasts

2 tablespoons of crushed garlic (more or less to taste)

1 1/2 cups of marintated (or any kind) artichoke hearts

salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, and parsley to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

First cook the chicken in the oil and butter until it is golden brown and crusty on both sides.  Then take it out and while it is resting, slice up one large onion and toss it in the pan with the left over oil.  Slice up the chicken and add it back to the pan.  Pour in all of the almond milk, and simmer until reduced by 1/3 to 1/2 stirring every few minutes and scraping the bottom of the pan.  sprinkle a teaspoon of flour in at a time until it begins to thicken I didn’t use more than a tablespoon.  Grate in parmasan cheese, and continue stirring.  Also add the artichoke hearts, and let cook for just a few minutes.  Once the sauce is done, add the noodles into the pan.  Once they are all mixed together you can serve.

The sauce is so easy, and on real noodles it tastes amazing.  However, this meal was very low in carbs and had lots of protein in it.  I have not figured out the WW numbers, but this honestly can’t be too bad!

Handmade Tortellini

The first thing I made when I got my pasta roller was make ravioli.  Filled pastas are so delicious, and impossible to get around here!  If it is not a spaghetti noodle, you can’t get it in a restaurant in Korea.  It is crazy!  Well a few weeks ago, I went to my friend Krissi’s house where she made some delicious Alfredo sauce with bacon.  I thought I needed to do the same.   The biggest differences in mine were that I didn’t use cream, I used almond milk in the sauce.

first I made the filling for the pasta.  It was beyond simple .  I hand made some non fat ricota cheese, but this is just as easy with store bought.  For my ricotta recipe, see here.

I put about a cup of that (which is what I was able to make with about 1/2 gallon of milk and 1/4 cup of lemon juice), and a cup of marinated artichokes from Costco into my food processor.  Before I used them I strained off some of the oil, and rinsed some of the oil off with warm water. I blended them together just until mixed.

Next, I made a basic no egg pasta dough, just 2 cups of whole wheat flour, a teaspoon of salt (I usually use a sprinkle, not a full teaspoon), and just enough water slowly to bring the dough together and get it to kneed and turn into a nice ball.  I rolled this dough into very thin sheets, going to 5 or 6 on my pasta roller (6 is the thinnest I can go).  I have to break it into small sections because my kitchen is very small, but I used my measuring cup, and cut out circles from the pasta sheets.

Next, I scooped a tablespoon of artichoke cheese filling into the center.

And, I folded them up.  To do this, you either take an egg white, or quickly whip an egg with a fork, and dip a  brush or your finger into it.  You then put it around half of the circle of the pasta you are closing, and fold the sides together trying not to let any filling escape.    If filling escapes, you know to put less in your next one.  I tried the egg wash with just water, but the egg held better.

After it is folded in half you wrap the two ends around your finger and push them together until they look like this:

Alternativly, if you want to take two pieces of pasta and maybe have a little more filling,  after you scoop the filling in, you can do your wash around one side of one, and add another piece on top, and make a ravioli instead.

After you have as many as you are cooking, (I cooked about 12 per person before I got too hungry to make anymore if I wanted filling left!)  you put them into already boiling water.  Only cook a few at a time until they are cooked.  The pasta will change color slightly.  I find that with my homemade pastas, I have to cook them 3-5 minutes, not just until they float as some people say.  I have had problems with my longer noodles turning into tasty mush from that!

My sauce was a basic white sauce that I make.  First I cooked up a little bacon (inspired by my friend’s Alfredo , then used a little grease in the pan to saturate some flour.  Next I slowly add almond milk until it thickens up, and add some seasonings.  I use whatever I like usually rosemary, oregano, thyme, salt, and fresh ground pepper.

Once the pasta and sauce combine, it is a magical thing!  I add some crumbles of bacon and parmasan shreds over the top and I know I beat the Olive Garden for both flavor and health!

So Delicious!  

Pork Souvlaki Shish Kebabs with Spanakopita Mandu

You will probably soon find out my favorite country to cook from is Greece.  From the Gyros I had with french fries in the in Athens, to the tatziki sauce I make and love so much, I just love the Mediterranean flavor profiles.  Well this recipe is a little different than other things I have cooked before, but I still thew in it’s own uniqueness.  I love chicken souvlaki.  However, last week, I was actually getting a bit tired of chicken, and I wanted to do something with ground pork.  I have made sausage before, and seen on cooking shows where cooks basically put a large meatball on a stick, grill it and call it a shish kebab.  So sure, why not?  Because pork is high in weight watchers point (well higher than my usual chicken), I did have to portion out my sizes a bit.  I could have made two large skewers, or four small ones, and I was not sure how much we would eat, so I went with small ones.  Each serving was about 125 grams of pork  before it was cooked.

First I mixed a tablespoon of oregano, 2 tablespoons of garlic, all the pork, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, black pepper, and the pork in my food processor. I should have used 1-2 teaspoons of dried mint as well, however, I could not find it in my cupboard. I was using my one bowl for something else and didn’t feel like washing it.  

Next I made four large meatballs out the mixture, and threw pre soaked bamboo skewers into them.

I threw them on the grill pan over a medium flame, and got started on my filling for my side dish.  This was also last weeks “Koreany” for my challage to incorporate more Korean food into my diet.   I was inspired by the idea of a wanton, but in Korea, a wanton is called mondu.  So, my side dish was Spanakopta Mandu.  I took a cup of fresh ricotta cheese into my food processor, with about a cup of fresh raw spinach and maybe two cloves of garlic.  I think I added a bit of salt also.

Next, I worked on wanton wrappers.  I would have bought these at the store, however for the life of me I could not find them.  So I followed the recipe on eatingcleanmag.com for some whole wheat wanton wrappers.

I mixed the ingredients by hand, and rolled them out using my pasta roller.  In hindsite, they were still thicker than they should have been, so I should have rolled them out a little more with a rolling pin.

Next I rolled them into large squares, maybe about 3×3 using the width of my pasta sheet as a measurement.  After I had squares, I put about a tablespoon of filling into the middle and then folded it over, gluing the edges shut with water.

I poked a few small holes in the top with a tooth pick, so steam could release and they didn’t explode all of the toppings out while baking.  I baked them for about ten minutes on 175 degrees C (350 degrees F) until they looked like this:

They turned out rather golden and delicious.  They were a little dry however, and needed a sauce.

So I grabbed some garlic poweder, dill and plane yogurt to make a quick tatziki inspired sauce, even though there were no cucumbers in it.  Both the meat and the mandu needed it, and it was the perfect complement.

Lastly I made a quick cucumber tomato salad.  I sliced up some cucumbers on the mandolin  and chopped some grape tomatoes in half.  I sprinkled the top with a few small cubes of feta cheese, and dusted with salt.  It was the perfect salty touch to finish off the meal.

This meal was not light on points, unfortunately   What you see on the plate was 29 points.  A lot of this is because of the pork  and the cubed marinated feta however.  I could have cut off at least six points had I used chicken breast instead, and even more if I could get low or no fat feta, and crumbled it to sprinkle, that was not marinated.  So if you really want this meal in the condition it is in, you have to commit to it, and be careful eating the rest of the day if you are on weight watchers.

Wanton Recipe:

  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 small egg (or 1/2 large egg)
  • Dash sea salt
  • 2 tbsp water, more as needed
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 1 cup fresh spinach

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place flour in a medium mixing bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together egg, salt and water; stir into flour, adding more water as needed to form a stiff dough. Knead for 1 minute, roll out onto a lightly floured surface until very thin and cut into 3 1/2-inch squares.
  2. Mix filling in a food processor and fill each square with about a tablespoon in the center of each square.  Glue the edges shut with a little water all the way around, and poke 2-3 holes in the top with a toothpick to vent.
  3. Bake on 175 C for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.

Pork Shish Kabab:

500 grams of ground pork

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon of lemon juice

1 tablespoon garlic

Mix them together and divide into four equal parts.  Make elongated meatballs maybe 3 inches long, and put a soaked bamboo skewer most of the way through.  Cook on all four sides using a grill or a grill pan

 

 

Lasagna A La Tofu

I have a friend who writes for a magazine in Seoul.  She has asked me to incorporate some “Korean-y” foods into my diet, and write a journal about a westerner trying to loose weight in Korea.  Well, I agreed to throw in one new ingredient every week, while I am on this 100 day journey (for the article).  Since I really don’t know about cooking Korean food, or what she might consider “Korean-y”.   She came back with a small list, and on it was tofu.  The first thing I did was call the one vegan I know  and ask for help!  I need tofu school because I have always been pretty scared of the stuff, but also intrigued and wanting to learn how to use it.  The only way I have ever liked it was in spaghetti sauce at a daycare I worked for in college.  She was happy to share her knowledge of both Korean food, and tofu with me, and set out quite the spread to give me a variety of foods to try made with tofu, or soy meat.

Here is the amazing Tofu Meal that My friend Emily of Justwhatgrows.com made for me last weekend.

It was quite the spread, and just about everything was made with tofu or soy.  I was very impressed.  I think the doenjang soup was my favorite part of the main course, and I will be making her dessert sometime!  She made tofu banana bread!

Anyway, she sent me home with a block of fresh firm tofu to use how I pleased.  I have been craving lasagna for the past several weeks, and since I knew that I was okay with tofu in spaghetti sauce, I decided this would be the perfect place to try my first tofu recipe!  I don’t have any ground beef right now, which is very expensive in Korea anyway, so the timing is perfect.

I started out with a tomato base, using a can of ready cut S&W chopped tomatoes.  I pureed them, added 2 small white onions, one red bell pepper, and one yellow bell pepper.

Next I cubed up the entire block of tofu, and added two more cans of chopped tomatoes to the mix along with maybe a tablespoon of both thyme and basil, and maybe three tablespoons of minced garlic.  I put the lid on the crock pot and turned it on low.  I let it cook for about seven hours.

When I came home from work, my house smelled great, and my sauce looked like this:

I added salt and pepper to taste (my husband said there was not enough salt, but he likes more than I do).  I did wind up adding a 12 oz can of Hunt’s tomato paste to the mix because the sauce was a lot thinner than I wanted it.  I started adding a little at a time, but I do like a thick sauce, so I wound up using the entire can.

Next I made Homemade nonfat ricotta again.  This time, I strained it differently  and the texture turned out very dry.  See the other blog for detailed instructions, but her are a few photos of it being made this time.

Heating milk and lemon juice to 185 degrees F.

Filter Paper over a strainer (used instead of the bag I normally use, and in place of cheese cloth)

The cheese separating from the whey.

The cheese straining, and being separated from the way. This strained a lot faster than the bag I had used, and the cheese dried and became crumbly very quickly.

The cheese still draining, and actually drying out quite a bit. I am used to it more creamy than dry.

Next, on to the noodles.  I mixed two cup of Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup of dried spinach with a teaspoon of salt

I added 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and slowly added 3/4 of a cup of water.  Only add water as needed to wet the ingredients and make a stiff/not sticky dough.

Next, roll out the dough, either by hand or machine until you get thin sheets 1/4 inch thick at the most, and as wide and long as your pan.  I have small glass pans, and a pasta roller, so I went down to 5 on my roller, and got sheets looking like this:

Here is a closeup, you can really see the spinach, and the noodles tend to turn green when they are cooked.

Next, you start layering in your pan.  I start with a thin layer of sauce so the lasagna does not stick, then line the pan with a sheet of pasta.  Since it is fresh (and I don’t use eggs), I don’t cook my pasta first.  the oven will do that part for me.

After your first layer of noodles,

add more sauce, then I add spinach,

ricotta cheese, and a tiny bit more sauce.  Add another sheet of noodle, and more sauce.  Add another layer of spinach (fresh or frozen and well drained) and another layer of nonfat ricotta cheese.  I would love to do more  layers, however I don’t have the pan for it, so after a second layer, top with another noodle sheet.  On the top, put more sauce, then a layer of ricotta, and top with part skim mozzarella cheese (this is the first time I have seen DRY, Part SKIM mozzarella at E-mart).

Next I baked it on 175 degrees Celsius (350 F) for about 30 minutes, until the top looked amazingly crunchy and brown!

You have to admit, the top of this lasagna looks picture perfect!

Now, I know when I make a full pot of sauce, I have enough for at least three of these lasagnas, so I got some foil containers from E-mart, and made two mini lasagnas to freeze for another time.  We now have a TV dinner for a night when I am unbelevably sleepy (probably tonight!)

Still having 1/3 of my pasta dough, and extra sauce, cheese and spinach, I also finally used inspiration from pinterest and made petite lasagnas.   This is one of the first things I ever pinned on pinterest, but had not gotten around to making yet.  I did not actually layer these.  The muffin tin was oiled, and then covered in the noodle, which was rolled out as thin as my machine rolls (#6).  On the bottom there is a layer of ricotta.  Then over that is sauce, and spinach.  Above that is more sauce, and then it is filled to the brim with mozzarella cheese.

They hold their shape pretty well, and look amazing.  I am taking one to my co-worker today who heard I was making lasagna for dinner last night and she commented on all the cheesy goodness and about drooled..

Honestly, I can’t blame her!

This finally used up all of my sauce.  The pan made 4 generous helpings, between the two frozen trays, I have 4 more, and 2 cups should be a serving as well, so this recipe made about 11 servings, and even with all the cheese, was only 8 weight watchers plus point per serving.  Now, what I am really impressed with; the tofu and the ricotta both had about the same texture, and because I cubed it and didn’t crumble it, I could tell the difference, but in my mouth, it all tasted about the same.  I did miss the flavor of the ground beef, but overall, my first experiment with tofu was a huge success!

Pasta sheets (the noodles)

2 cups whole wheat flour,

2 tablespoons olive oil,

¼ cup dried spinach (optional if you want green noodles)

1/8 teaspoon salt

Just enough water to make the dough stiff and forming a ball…not enough to be sticky.
Whisk together the flour, salt and dried spinach powder.  Add the oil, and mix with your hands to distribute it through the entire bowl.  Slowly add flour 1 tablespoon at a time and keep mixing with your hands letting the dry flour soak up the water before mixing too hard.  Add water just until all of the flour forms a ball, but is still very dry feeling.  Knead for several minutes. Until it has a pretty even texture.  Add in extra water or flour if you need to to keep the fairly dry consistency. I used a total of ¾ cup of water.   Roll out to the thickness you want your noodles to be.  Mine was about 1/8 of an inch, but I have done them as thick as ¼ inch (when they are that thick I recommend boiling them for a minute or two before cooking, the thinner they are, the less likely you need to do this).

Cut to size and use in lasagna pan.

Ricotta Cheese:

1tsp/5mL citric acid  (I use lemon juice for this, 5-6 tablespoons this time and it separated great)
2fl oz/60mL water
1gal/3.84L whole milk
2tsp/10 g salt

Dissolve the citric acid in the water.

Heat the milk, citric acid solution and salt to 185 F or 85 C stirring often to prevent scorching. Skim away the scum as it rises to the surface.

When the milk reaches 185 F remove from the heat and allow it to set for ten minutes.

Drain the curd for at least 1 and up to 3 hours under refrigeration in a cheesecloth lined colander or a muslin bag set over a towel.

The cheese is now ready to use. Alternatively, transfer to a storage container and hold covered under refrigeration for up to one week.

Tomato/tofu sauce:

3 cans of ready cut S&W chopped tomatoes

2 bell peppers (any color)

1 large or 2 small onions

3 tablespoons garlic

1 can of hunt’s tomato paste

1 loaf of firm tofu crumbled

Seasonings you like, I used salt, pepper, basil and thyme

Puree one can of tomatoes, then chop up all veggies and put everything except for the tomato paste into a crock pot.  Let it simmer on low in the crock pot for probably 4+ hours (I had it on for 8) and see how it is doing.  If it is thin, add some tomato paste, and let it thicken a little.  If it is really thin, add up the whole 12 oz. can, like I did.

Lasagna:

Put a layer of sauce down in the pan. Cover it with a sheet of pasta.  Next add a layer more of sauce, then sprinkle some crumbled ricotta cheese, and a layer of spinach.  Put a little more sauce, and then another layer of pasta.  Next do the same thing over again one more time.  Make as many layers this way or by changing up what you put into the layers as well, as your pan will let you.  I put one a little more sauce, one last pasta sheet, more sauce, the ricotta, and instead of spinach this time, I covered the top with part skim mozzarella cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes or so at 175 degrees C, or at least until the cheese is brown and delicious on top.  This recipe actually could make 16 generous sized portions.  I wound up making one small pan for dinner/lunch, 2 smaller pans (individual tv dinner size) for the freezer to eat another night, and a little extra for lunch for me today.  Portion wise, without any side dishes, Each my husband and I got 8 meals out of it, and I still did not wind up using all of the pasta dough.  So if you make my recipe exactly, be prepared to make a lot.