Category Archives: Lunch/Dinner

Single Serving

Yesterday was a bitterly cold, blustery day.  After a trip to the gym I pottered around most of the afternoon and because, like most GPers, I’m not always hungry the dinner hour sneaked up on me.  What to eat?  I wanted something warm and comforting with absolutely no effort involved…translation: Hubby was on his own for dinner.  Quickie Salmon Corn Chowder was just the ticket…easy, nutritious and the epitome of a “dump recipe” with literally three ingredients: Trader Joe’s Simply Wild Pacific Salmon (already cooked and available in the refrigerator section), a jar of Earth’s Best Organic Corn and Butternut Squash baby food and fat free milk.  A handful of Ritz-type crackers rounded out the meal.

Oh, and if you’re worried about Hubby, don’t be.  He rustled up enough ingredients to build a hearty and delicious open-faced sandwich that he toasted to perfection under the broiler.

Just a reminder: If you haven’t participated in the one question poll and would like to it will be open for another week.  The front-runner to date is “getting more fruits and veggies”.  Thank you if you’ve already participated.

Quickie Salmon and Corn Chowder

I used cooked wild Pacific salmon but crab meat and a sprinkling of Old Bay seasoning might be a nice version as well…I’m allergic so if you try it please let me know how it is.

Serves 1 but can be multiplied

3 ounces cooked salmon, flaked (used Trader Joe’s Simply Wild Pacific Salmon)

1 4 ounce jar Earth’s Best Organic Corn and Butternut Squash baby food

1/2 cup fat free milk (or milk substitute) I just filled the empty baby food jar

generous sprinkling of Penzey’s Mural of Flavor salt free seasoning

salt and pepper (be generous as baby food is under-seasoned)

pinch Spanish smoked paprika  (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer until warmed through

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

205 calories, 2 grams fat, 1 gram fiber, 23.5 grams protein

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Soup’s On!

It was 7 degrees when I got up yesterday morning and I spent the entire day trying to chase away the winter chill.  All I wanted was a nice, hot, savory bowl of minestrone soup that ate like a modest meal.  The trouble is, most of what makes a good minestrone isn’t necessarily GP-friendly.  There was a bag of low fat cheese tortellini stashed in the freezer and not surprising,  a box of organic chopped spinach snuggled next to it.  My Ode to Minestrone Soup aka Tortellini Soup is really a hearty twist on traditional tortellini soup which is commonly served as a simple chicken broth with some parsley and a sprinkling of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. When shopping for cheese tortellini read the package carefully as some brands are much lower in fat than others.  I’ve used  Mama Rosie’s frozen cheese tortellini.  A full serving of 28 pieces contains 260 calories, 3 grams of fat and 10 grams of protein…I certainly can’t eat 28 pieces so each serving of soup consists of 14 tortellini at 130 calories, 1.5 grams fat and 5 grams of protein.

I thought a nice dusting of freshly grated parmesan cheese would finish off the soup nicely but then decided to make this simple meal a little more special by baking off a few Frico.  A frico is simply a thin, delicate parmesan crisp that’s toasted in the oven.  They are very simple to make and the cooking concentrates the nutty, salty goodness that is Parmigiano Reggiano.

Ode to Minestrone Soup aka Tortellini Soup

Combining beef and chicken broth gives the soup a heartier flavor.  I’ve kept things simple but feel free to add any veggies (carrots, zucchini) that are GP-friendly for you for more of a Minestrone feel.

Serves 4

4 cups beef broth

4 cups chicken broth

2 garlic cloves

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning

1 bay leaf

56 low fat cheese tortellini

1/2 of 10 ounce box frozen, chopped spinach-defrosted, excess water squeezed out

salt and pepper to taste

freshly grated nutmeg

Bring beef and chicken broths, garlic cloves, tomato paste, Italian herb seasoning and bay leaf to a simmer.  Cook until fragrant and garlic is soft enough to smash into a paste on the side of the pan.  Alternatively, remove the garlic cloves if desired.  Bring soup to a boil and cook tortellini until very tender (Mama Rosie’s recommends 15 minutes).  Stir in spinach and warm through.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg.  Serve 14 tortellini per portion with a Frico on the side for crumbling over the soup.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: 14 tortellini per bowl of soup

170 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 1 gram fiber, 8 grams protein


Fricos

Courtesy of Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie Season One.  These are simple three ingredient parmesan crisps that pack a salty, nutty punch of  Parmigiano Reggiano flavor.  Don’t skimp on the parmesan…use real Parmigiano Reggiano for the best results.

Makes 6

1 1/2 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano coarsely shredded on the largest holes of a box grater

1/2 tablespoon flour

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and using a compass or biscuit cutter draw six  3″ circles about 4″ apart with a pencil.  Turn parchment over so the graphite is on the other side of the paper.  Mix shredded cheese, flour and pepper.  Place a tablespoon of the mixture in the center of each circle stirring ingredients between each spoonful.  Flatten mounds to fill each circle.  Bake for 10 minutes (I like mine to get a little toasty and golden).  Remove pan and cool on a rack for 2 minutes.  Remove parchment paper with frico to the rack and allow to cool and crisp.  Repeat with remaining sheet pan.  Store frico in an airtight container with parchment or wax paper between each layer.  Will keep for 3 days.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: 1 Frico per serving

33 calories, 2 grams fat, o grams fiber, 2.8 grams protein

Making The Most of Baby Food…The Sequel

Yes, I’ve been enjoying Noodle Kugel, Chicken Curry and even a small ham sandwich for lunch…my first red meat in over a year (anything with four legs is considered red meat, by the way)!  And, I’m still buying baby food fruits and veggies.  They’re convenient, already portioned plus they’re pureed and strained, making them easy on the tummy-tums.  Despite the progress I’ve made over this past year I’m still a very cautious eater because: chant it with me now…Nothing tastes as good as being well feels!  I periodically give my tummy a rest in order to enjoy a few more highly seasoned solids.  According to the Registered Dietitian I saw shortly after I was diagnosed, all baby food is considered acceptable on the Gastroparesis Diet and anything that spared me from some of the endless pureeing in those days was a blessing.

Back in September, I posted the original Making The Most of Baby Food with a recipe for No Puree Baby Food Sweet Potato Bisque and promised to revisit the topic.  I’m still enjoying my daily vanilla Activia yogurt with a jar of baby food fruit poured over the top.  My favorites are Gerber 1st Foods prunes, Gerber 2nd Foods peaches, peach cobbler smoothie, pears, pear with wild blueberries and pear with pineapple and Earth’s Best Organic pear with raspberries.  Except for the peach cobbler flavor, which is sweetened with white grape juice and thickened with rice flour,  none of the fruit has added starch or sweeteners and at approximately 60 calories each are considered a serving of fruit.  I’m allergic to apples so I haven’t been able to try the varieties that are cut with apple like Gerber 2nd Foods cherry and in my opinion anything mixed with mango is revolting.  Each flavor has one to three grams of fiber but since the fruit has been cooked, pureed and strained it hasn’t bothered me (which is why I use it as a very sneaky way to include a little “legal” fiber in my day).  I still buy canned peaches and pears packed in juice for when I want to enjoy fruit I can chew or use in a quickie recipe.

Baby food veggies are a different story.  Because they have no added sugar, salt or flavorings like adult processed food, they require a great deal of seasoning.  I stick to the veggies that are not considered GP-friendly except in baby food form like peas and corn.  I’m able to eat frozen chopped spinach and preferred it pureed (when necessary) to other forms of spinach.  I absolutely love crisp blanched french green beans so I haven’t been able to bring myself to try baby food green beans and am allergic to carrots so I haven’t been able to try any varieties mixed with carrots.  I heat up a package of Gerber 2nd Foods peas whenever I have fish or scallops for dinner.  They are especially good poured over baked or mashed potatoes but be warned, because we are all so used to processed adult food (even frozen and canned peas are packaged with salt and sometimes sugar) they are blander than bland without some serious salting and peppering, garlic powder or onion powder.  As far as fiber is concerned the same is true for baby food veggies as is with baby food fruit…each serving has one to three grams of fiber.  The veggies have been pureed and strained and I haven’t had any difficulties with the small amounts of fiber.

Recently, after a cold day out I wanted an easy cup of warming soup with a little substance.  No Puree Cup O’ Green Pea Soup was born.  Thicker and more substantial than a broth based soup and not tomato based it was savory and felt hearty and substantial without being overwhelming.  My newest baby food veggie find is Earth’s Best Organic corn and butternut squash.  It actually inspired me to develop (with a little inspiration from two Whole Foods recipes for Cod Chowder) the following recipe for Non-dairy Baby Food Corn & Cod Chowder.  Unlike some of my more recently posted recipes with curry and cumin this chowder is warming, plain and comforting…yes, I said “plain” but I mean it in the most positive way possible.  The corn, potato and cod are gentle, simple flavors that make this mild soup very easy to eat.  I have found white fish very easy to tolerate even on more symptomatic days.  So if thoughts of curry, cumin or anything tomato based make you recoil this is the soup for you.  Hubby and I enjoyed it with Ritz-type crackers because I forgot to pick up the oyster crackers.

No Puree Cup O’Green Pea Soup

Serves 1

1 package Gerber 2nd Foods peas

1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock

1 teaspoon onion powder

pinch Herbes de Provence or oregano, pulverized with a pinch of salt to form a powder (I use a coffee grinder specifically to grind spices or use a mortar and pestle)

1/4 teaspoon salt (can always add more but can’t take away)

pepper to taste

pinch Spanish smoked paprika (optional)

well-cooked or canned diced potato, carrots (if tolerated) and/or lowfat ham (optional)

Combine peas and chicken stock in a small saucepan.  Whisk in seasonings.  Bring to a simmer and adjust salt to taste.  Optional: add well-cooked or canned diced potatoes, carrots and ham if “Chunky”-style pea soup is desired/tolerated.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: (does not include additional potatoes, carrots or ham)

52.5 calories, .5 grams fat, 3 grams fiber, 3.5 grams protein

Non-dairy Baby Food Corn & Cod Chowder

Serves 4  (Can be easily halved.  For a true “dump recipe” if you’re too tired to peel and dice potatoes, drained and rinsed canned diced potatoes can be substituted for the diced fresh potatoes just reduce the chicken stock by half.)

2 cups unsweetened almond milk

1 cup low sodium chicken stock

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, ground to a powder with a little salt

1 pound red skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice

4 4 ounce jars Earth’s Best corn and butternut squash baby food

1 pound cod, cut into 1″ chunks

salt and pepper, to taste

Spanish smoked paprika (optional)

Bring almond milk, stock, spices and potatoes to a boil.  Simmer until potatoes are very tender (approximately 20 minutes).  Stir in baby food and bring back to a simmer.  Season with salt and pepper and be generous with the salt as up to this point there has been very little added to the chowder.  Add cod chunks (do not stir) and cover.  Simmer until cod is cooked (approximately 7 minutes).  Dish up bowls of hot chowder and garnish with Spanish smoked paprika, if desired.  Serve with Ritz-type or oyster crackers.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

315 calories, 3.3 grams fat, 3.6 grams fiber, 29 grams protein

Still Pukka Christmas Curry Redo

Christmas dinner took a fortuitous but unexpected turn this year…we enjoyed Chicken Curry made with my GP-friendly Christmas Chutney!  I respectfully withheld the recipe because I knew that with a little more time and thought (and some fresh curry powder!) it could be something special.  Hubby and I enjoyed a Chicken Curry redo this weekend and I couldn’t wait to share the recipe.  The Christmas Chutney adds and extra layer of flavor and texture because it’s already seasoned and savory with onion powder, garlic, ginger, cinnamon and cloves and sweet from the diced pears, peaches and baby food prunes…and GP-friendly with no onions, raisins or seeds.  At one tablespoon, I was conservative with the curry powder as some recipes call for up to three tablespoons.  Use the amount you’re most comfortable with.  Remember, unless you’re baking, a recipe is only a guideline.  Feel free to get as creative or conservative as necessary depending on your needs, tastes and tolerances.  Aside from the splash of fat-free half and half at the end this is a dairy free curry especially if you substitute some low fat coconut milk for the half and half at the end. We enjoyed our Chicken Curry redo with basmati rice and Roasted Butternut Squash Cubes sprinkled with a little garam masala before roasting.  And now as promised…

Chicken Curry

Serves 4

This curry isn’t sweet.  If you prefer a sweeter curry substitute some of the chicken stock with apple or pineapple juice or sweeten with a spoonful of honey.  Serve a little extra Christmas Chutney on the side, if desired.

1 teaspoon canola oil

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces

1 teaspoon salt

ground black pepper to taste

1″ piece of fresh ginger peeled and grated, press through a sieve to catch fibers

2 cloves garlic, grated

1 tablespoon sweet curry powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick

1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup Christmas Chutney

1/2 cup fat free half and half

Preheat a heavy-bottomed pan.  Spray with cooking spray.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Saute chicken pieces until golden brown.  Remove to a plate.  Add canola oil.  Briefly saute ginger, garlic, curry powder and onion powder.  Do not burn!  Add  tomato paste, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, chicken stock and chutney.  Bring to a simmer then add chicken back to the pan.  Simmer for 20 minutes then stir in fat free half and half.  Cook until warmed through.

Helpful Hint: When you spray a pan with cooking spray first you can reduce the amount of oil needed in a recipe.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

298 calories, 5.8 grams fat, 2.8 grams fiber, 36 grams protein

Knoodling GP-friendly Style

I love Noodle Kugel (or Noodle Pudding, as Hubby’s family calls it)!  Noodle Kugel is, simply put, Jewish Mac and Cheese…only sweet and cinnamon-y.  It’s enjoyed warm, cold or room temperature, as a holiday side dish or as a dairy lunch.  Noodle Kugel is quintessential comfort food traditionally made with egg noodles, raisins and tubs of full fat sour cream, cottage cheese, butter and sometimes cream cheese.  But, thanks to my favorite healthy eating magazine: Eating Well, we can not only enjoy a delicious low-fat version but a Gastroparesis-friendly version with only one slight modification: no raisins in this kugel.

When Hubby first brought me home his mother served a Noodle Kugel from a local family deli.  Along with the cinnamon and raisins (and copious amounts of full fat dairy) this particular kugel always had the faintest taste of orange.  It wasn’t my first taste of Noodle Kugel, but it has always been my favorite.  I’ve always added a little orange flavoring along with the vanilla.  It’s optional but I think you’ll really enjoy it.  I promised a comforting casserole so without further ado…..

Noodle Kugel aka Noodle Pudding

Serves 12  (Recipe can be halved to serve 6 just reduce the size of baking dish)

10 ounces (8 cups) wide egg noodles (I used No Yolks brand)

2 tablespoons butter

2 large eggs

2 large egg whites

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 cups nonfat cottage cheese

2 cups nonfat plain yogurt

1 cup skim milk

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon orange extract (optional)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups crushed cornflakes

1/2 cup packed brown sugar (used dark brown)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (used Vietnamese-bolder flavor)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a 9″x13″ glass baking dish with cooking spray.  Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water for 8-10 minutes (I deliberately over cooked the noodles for us GPers so that they would be easier to digest).  Drain and refresh in cold water.  Set aside.

Melt butter in a small skillet over low heat.  Tilt pan to skim off the froth and cook remaining butter until it begins to turn light, nutty brown, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.  Do not burn the butter.  Pour into a small bowl to cool.

Whisk together eggs, whites and cornstarch in a large bowl (large enough to accommodate noodles and remaining ingredients).  Mix in cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, sugar, orange extract, vanilla, salt and browned butter.  Stir in the cooked noodles and turn into prepared baking dish.

Stir together cornflakes, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle evenly over the noodle mixture.  Spray top with cooking spray.  Bake until browned and set, about 1 hour.  If top starts to burn, cover with foil.  Let cool for at least 20 minutes.  Cut into squares.  Enjoy warm, cold or room temperature.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

273 calories, 3.8 grams fat, 1.9 grams fiber, 12.6 grams protein

Inspiration From Unlikely Sources

I promised a hearty stew and here it is…with inspiration from an unlikely source!  The following recipe for Chicken Stew with Greens and Two Potatoes is adapted from a Recipe of the Month published in the free, little local newspaper that appears in my mail each week.  Except for the lentils…which are sadly not Gastroparesis-friendly the recipe was made to be adapted for us GPers.  Warning: this dish has a kick and is not the recipe for any GPer who is “spice shy” because it packs a lot of flavor into humble GP-friendly ingredients.  The ginger, garlic, cumin, cinnamon and coriander are a warming addition to simple chicken and potatoes. If you are at all concerned cut the spice by half or season in whatever manner you feel most comfortable.

This is the first recipe for the blog that uses chicken thighs.  Thighs work better for a longer simmer but do contain more fat than chicken breast so I trimmed all visible fat with kitchen scissors before cooking and blotted the seared thigh pieces with paper towels before continuing on with the dish.  The original recipe called for carrots so I left them in for anyone who is able to eat them…unfortunately, I’m allergic.  The stew is finished with spinach and two tablespoons of fresh cilantro.  I used only the tender cilantro leaves and stirred them into the hot stew with the spinach but if you’re at all concerned leave the cilantro out.  Potatoes don’t freeze well so share this one with friends and family.

Chicken Stew with Greens and Two Potatoes

Serves 6

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of all visible fat, cut into 1″ pieces

1 teaspoon salt

ground black pepper, to taste

2 cloves garlic, grated on microplane

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger, pressed through as sieve to collect fibers

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried coriander

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (used Vietnamese-it has a stronger flavor)

1 tablespoon brown sugar

4 cups (1 32 ounce box) low sodium chicken stock

1 15 ounce can tomato sauce

2 carrots, cut into half-inch rounds (allergic, left out)

2 white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes (12 ounces)

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes (12 ounces)

1 16 ounce bag frozen, chopped spinach defrosted and excess water squeezed out

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves (optional, if concerned leave out)

6 tablespoons fat free plain yogurt

Spray a dutch oven with olive oil cooking spray.  Preheat over medium heat.  Add chicken, sprinkle with salt and pepper and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Blot chicken with paper towel to remove fat.  Add remaining ingredients up to spinach, cilantro and yogurt.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, partially cover and simmer until vegetables are tender (approximately 30 minutes, 40 for very tender).  Stir in spinach and cilantro and simmer until heated through.  Serve each helping with a tablespoon of fat free plain yogurt.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: (includes carrots)

232 calories, 4.7 grams fat, 3 grams fiber, 24.3 grams protein

I Go Where The Muse Takes Me….

I still have plans for the stew and casserole I promised but the placard outside Whole Foods announced: wild caught shrimp $4.99 per pound.  The muse called and I answered!  It’s shrimp season…yes, shrimp has a season.  In the days before the revolting abomination that is farm raised shrimp people actually waited until this time of year to enjoy those tasty little critters.  Shrimp, shrimp…that’s literally what shrimp scampi translates to.  So in an effort not to be redundant I’ve named this dish Oven Roasted Scampi.  The following recipe was inspired by Ina Garten’s Roasted Shrimp Cocktail and Lydia Bastianich’s Scampi Alla Buonavia but adapted to be Gastroparesis-friendly…with only 1 tablespoon of butter in the entire dish!

Shrimp are classified by “U” number…U10-12, U20-25 or in this case U31-40.  The U number refers to how many shrimp there are per pound.  Larger shrimp have a smaller U number.  At U31-40, the shrimp I purchased from Whole Foods were about the size of peel and eat shrimp. I prefer to buy shrimp raw with the shells and heads, if I’m lucky.  Last year they had raw, whole, wild shrimp (with the heads!) at Whole Foods…such a treat to find up here in New England you would have thought they were encrusted with diamonds with the way I reacted. Shrimp shells (and the heads!) are loaded with flavor and easy to transform into the quickie shrimp stock that provides a savory boost to this dish and any seafood dish, soup or stew.  Simply peel and devein shrimp with a pair of kitchen scissors by cutting down the back, peeling off the shell leaving the tail portion attached then scraping out the vein.

Hubby and I enjoyed our Oven Roasted Scampi with chunks of french bread to sop up all the saucy goodness.  For a complete meal spoon shrimp and pan sauce over very well cooked orzo pasta and spinach…and have some bread on hand for sopping.

Quickie Shrimp Stock

Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups.  The Oven Roasted Scampi only needs 1/2 cup.  Freeze the remaining shrimp stock for future use.

Shells from 2 pounds raw shrimp

3 cups water

2 bay leaves

1/2 lemon

1 onion, finely chopped

1 large clove garlic, smashed

1 sprig fresh thyme (can substitute generous pinch of dried)

1 sprig fresh tarragon (optional…I had it already, feel free to substitute dry)

a few peppercorns

pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

Place all ingredients in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Strain and cool.

Oven Roasted Scampi

Serves 4

2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left intact  (I used U31-40 shrimp)

3 cloves garlic, grated to a paste using a microplane

1 tablespoon butter

sprigs of fresh thyme

1/2 cup Quickie Shrimp Stock

1/4 cup dry white french vermouth

1 tablespoon lemon juice

zest of 1 lemon, grated using a microplane

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Combine butter and garlic into a paste.  Set aside.  Spray a large baking dish with olive oil cooking spray (I used a large porcelain casserole the size of a large lasagna pan).  Spread shrimp out in a single layer.  Lay sprigs of thyme over shrimp.  Combine shrimp stock, vermouth, lemon juice and lemon zest.  Pour over shrimp.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Dot garlic butter over casserole.  Bake until shrimp are pink and firm, approximately 5 to 10 minutes or longer depending on size of shrimp and how cold they were when they went in the oven.  Toss to coat shrimp with sauce and transfer shrimp and sauce to a serving dish.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

253 calories, 5.3 grams fat, 0.1 grams fiber, 47.6 grams protein