Tag Archives: ginger

Simple, Yet Sophisticated, Single Ingredient Sorbets

What if I told you that two cool, creamy and easy fruit sorbets were just a blend away?  That’s two sorbets with no peeling, pitting or poaching required? And the best part: no ice cream maker necessary! It’s true! Simple, yet sophisticated Pear & Peach Sorbet is that easy! All you need is canned fruit halves in heavy syrup, a freezer and a food processor or sturdy blender. Fruit packed in heavy syrup is what makes this recipe work as sugar syrup doesn’t freeze completely like juice. Avoid fruit packed in juice as it will yield disappointing results.

These sorbets are nice enough to serve as is or garnish with some very finely diced candied ginger, homemade or store bought berry syrup or diced canned pears or peaches for a little flavor alliteration. No matter how you scoop or serve  them these sorbets are keepers. And by the way, I’m happily eating candied ginger again. There was a time that even those fibers bothered me. It’s so nice to have a useful old friend back in my life.

Pear & Peach Sorbet

For best flavor allow sorbet to soften for approximately 5 minutes before serving

2 15-16 ounce cans pear or peach halves in heavy syrup

Freeze unopened cans of fruit for a minimum of 8 hours. Dip unopened cans in hot water for 20 seconds to loosen filling. Pour contents into the bowl of a food processor (I used my Vitamix) tearing at the filling with a fork to break up the pieces of fruit. Puree until smooth. Transfer sorbet to a covered container and refreeze. When ready to serve, remove from the freezer and let soften for approximately 5 minutes.

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A Recipe is Only a Guideline…

The other day I came in with one thing on my mind: hot veggie soup but there was none.  Because of food allergies I can’t just open a box of Pacific or Imagine pureed veggie soup, which is a shame because some of the varieties look really tasty.  Every recipe I post here is just that a written recipe with specific measurements and directions.   In reality a recipe (unless you’re baking) is just a guideline.  Some of my favorite meals have no recipe.  I thought I’d do a post about flying on your own, untethered by the confines of a recipe.  With that in mind I will share thoughts for an Impromptu Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Soup and an Impromptu Carrot Ginger Soup that can be put together from whatever is in the fridge, freezer and pantry.

No squash, just sweet potatoes?  No problem!  Make Sweet Potato Soup.

Not enough squash or sweet potato?  Augment with canned pumpkin.

No chicken stock?  Use veggie stock or a bouillon cube or two.

No maple syrup?  Use some of the pear juice from the canned pears.

Feeling like a “creamed” soup?  Add a white potato and/or enrich with some fat free half and half, evaporated skim milk or a dairy substitute of your choice.

Looking for more exotic flavor?  Substitute a small spoonful of a mild Thai Curry paste of your choice.

Looking for less flavor?  Back off the curry powder or leave it out entirely.

Looking for a little protein?  Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt or even stir in a small amount of peanut or almond butter if you’re able to tolerate it.

By the way, a “palmful” is just enough spice to create a mound in the center of your palm.  Also, I’m always afraid of staining food processors and blenders with curry so I add it after I’ve pureed.

Impromptu Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Soup

1  sweet potato (any size), peeled and cubed

2 cups (or so) roasted butternut squash (or equivalent frozen puree or cubes)

low sodium chicken stock

palmful of onion powder

1 garlic clove (less or more depending on your taste), grated

1 cube Ginger Paste

pinch thyme leaves

2 canned pear halves

palmful pumpkin pie spice

palmful mild curry powder

2 glugs maple syrup (I like Grade B)

salt and pepper to taste

Bring sweet potato cubes and enough chicken stock to cover to a boil.  Reduce heat and add remaining ingredients except curry powder.  Simmer until sweet potato cubes are very tender.  Puree and return to the soup pot.  Thin to desired consistency with stock.  Season with curry powder and salt and pepper to taste.

Impromptu Carrot Ginger Soup

When I was able to eat carrots I made Carrot Ginger Soup often.  It too doesn’t require an actual recipe.

carrots, peeled and chopped

low sodium chicken stock

palmful of onion powder

1 garlic clove (less or more depending on taste) grated

1 cube Ginger Paste

pinch of curry powder or pumpkin pie spice

salt and pepper to taste

Bring all ingredients (except curry powder) to a boil in enough chicken stock to cover.  Simmer until very tender.  Puree and return to soup pot.  Thin to desired consistency with stock.  Season with curry powder or pumpkin pie spice, salt and pepper.

Sooo Clever…

Sooo clever I wish I had thought of it myself!  As you know, I’m the proud new owner of a Valentine’s red Vitamix and before you think it, I promise this will not become a “Vitamix Required” Gastroparesis recipe blog.  I just had to share one recipe from the Whole Food Recipes book that came as part of the order.

Ginger is every GPer’s best friend.  It aids digestion and relieves nausea plus, its spicy heat makes everything it’s added to (sweet or savory) warm, comforting and slightly exotic.  I thought I was being clever by peeling and freezing thumb-sized pieces of ginger then grating them and pressing the pulp through a fine sieve as needed.  Turns out there is an even better way!

Ginger Paste

What an absolutely fantastic way to always have ginger on hand for entrees, soups, marinades or even baking (use half the amount of paste if a recipe calls for ground ginger).

1 1/2 cups fresh ginger root (I peeled mine and sliced it into coins)

1.  If using a Vitamix:

Place ginger into the container and secure lid.  Select Variable 1 and turn the machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10 then to High.  Blend for 45 seconds, using the tamper to press ginger into the blades.

If using a food processor:

Chop ginger into small pieces.  Pulse in food processor stopping to scrape down the sides periodically.

2.  Press ginger puree through a fine mesh sieve with a spatula or rubber scraper.  Discard fibers.

3.  Spoon heaping spoonfuls (I used a 2 teaspoon measure) into an ice cube tray.  Freeze then pop out ginger paste cubes and store in a Ziploc bag in the freezer.

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

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

Fleetingly Festive

It’s that time of year again and historically I have about a four minute window in which I feel festive.  Those four minutes basically fall somewhere between Thanksgiving Day and December 1st…after that I get “Scrinchy”…a combination of Scroogy and Grinchy.  Yesterday that four minute window opened so I took the opportunity to decorate and hang wreathes on the front and mudroom doors.  This is my first holiday season with Gastroparesis and I’m doing my very best to accept and adjust to “the new normal” but that doesn’t mean I still don’t feel a profound sense of loss.  Just between us, an occasional tantrum has been thrown…like when I dropped the gravy on Thanksgiving Day and promptly put my coat on and went out to “walk it off”.

Back to the wreathes!  It felt so good to get completely lost in a task.  I was so focused on wired ribbons and faux-sugared fruit picks that I completely lost track of time and when I looked at the clock it was time to start thinking about dinner.  What to have?

Pancakes are always easy and my stash of pumpkin spice pancakes in the freezer were gone.  Since I was feeling fleetingly festive I whipped up a batch of Gingerbread Pancakes seasoned with brown sugar, molasses and holiday spices and for topping: some Vanilla Maple Pear Compote…how I LOVE pears…at least they’re GP-friendly!  I generally enjoy my pancakes with scrambled eggs but given they were gingerbread with warm pear compote decided on a 1/4 cup of cottage cheese instead…vanilla Greek yogurt might also be a nice addition.  Either way, don’t forget some extra maple syrup to put it completely over the top!  Warm, seasonal, festive and yes…another tasty Gastroparesis-friendly recipe.

Just a reminder: Pancakes freeze well separated by wax paper in a Ziploc bag and the compote freezes just as well in small containers…just defrost in the microwave and pair with a protein for a no effort GP-friendly dinner.

Gingerbread Pancakes

These pancakes are not sweet and are subtly spiced.  Feel free to add more sweetener and amp up the spices but be careful there’s a fine line between spicy and bitter.  Having said that, the Vanilla Maple Pear Compote complements them beautifully.  Pancake batter can be made a day ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.

Makes 12 4″ pancakes, 6 servings of 2 pancakes

Pancake mix of your choice-enough to make 12 4″ pancakes (I used 2 cups Whole Foods 365 Organic Buttermilk Pancake & Waffle Mix)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon cloves

1 1/2 teaspoons ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon molasses (I prefer Blackstrap molasses)

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

freshly grated zest of 1 lemon – (a microplane produces very light wispy gratings of zest-leave out if you are concerned)

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 eggs

1 1/3 cups fat free milk (follow whatever your mix suggests, may also use water if your mix contains buttermilk-check preparation instructions)

Mix all ingredients together until smooth.  Do not overmix.  For best results allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before using.  Drop batter by 1/4 cups onto a sprayed non-stick griddle.  When bubbles form on the top of the pancake its time to flip.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

Based on 2 4″ pancakes

222 Calories, 0.4 grams Fiber, 3.9 grams Fat, 7.8 grams Protein

Vanilla Maple Pear Compote

Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups or 10 1/4 cup servings

Can be made ahead of time.  Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

3 large ripe Bartlet pears (about 2 pounds), peeled, cored and chopped

juice of 1 lemon, strained

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

pinch salt

Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Cook until pears are very soft-approximately 30 minutes-only you know how soft you require cooked fruit.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

Based on 10 1/4 cup servings

88 Calories, 0.1 grams Fat, 3 grams Fiber*, 0.4 grams Protein

*Recipe analysis based on unpeeled pears-peels contain a significant amount of fiber so this figure may be a little inflated.

Turkey Day Recipes! Gobble! Gobble!

I love thanksgiving so much that I keep a three-ring binder specifically for Thanksgiving recipes.  Each recipe page is enclosed in a plastic page protector so that it can be wiped down in case of spills.  This was my first Thanksgiving with Gastroparesis so for the first time in a decade my Thanksgiving binder stayed shut.  Instead, I decided to start a completely new chapter (plastic page protectors and all!).

My philosophy this year was KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid!).  Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie…all festive but more importantly GP-friendly.  Because I LOVE Thanksgiving leftovers I chose to break down a 15+ pound turkey and bone out the breast in order to have the roast plus the dark meat and the carcass and bones for soup.  Breaking down and boning out a turkey is an ambitious task.  These recipes will work just as well accompanying an intact roasted turkey or a boneless turkey breast ordered from the butcher.  I’ll be honest I still shed a few tears while I was cleaning mushrooms instead of cutting cornbread cubes for stuffing but the happy news is that there are a few new low-fat, low fiber Gastroparesis-friendly recipe pages to add to my Thanksgiving binder.  Oh, and I lied in a previous post…this wasn’t a butter-less Thanksgiving..there was one tablespoon of butter in the entire meal!

Maple Glazed Boneless Stuffed Turkey Breast

Serves 8

5-7 pound boneless turkey breast

1 recipe Wild Mushroom, Roasted Pear & Herbes de Provence Bread Stuffing

2 tablespoons maple syrup (I like grade B)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place turkey breast skin side down on work surface.  Open up each breast lobe by slicing open the middle of each breast. The new meat flaps should open like pages of a book and even out the roast.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place half of stuffing in the center of roast and wrap edges of turkey around stuffing-it should look like a football.   Tie roast with kitchen string and secure with “turkey pins”(the small skewers sold as turkey lacers).  Place skin side up on a rimmed sheet pan or in a shallow baking dish, spray with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper.  Roast for an 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours or until internal temperature (center of stuffing) registers 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer.  Approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes into roasting brush entire surface with maple syrup.  Allow roast to rest on cutting board 15 minutes before slicing.

Wild Mushroom, Roasted Pear & Herbes de Provence Bread Stuffing

Enough stuffing for a 5-7 pound boneless turkey breast and an additional baking dish of dressing.  This can be made a day ahead if desired.

1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence (savory, thyme, rosemary, basil, tarragon, lavender flowers)

1/2 teaspoon dried french thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried sage

1 1/2 pounds French Pullman (French white sandwich loaf) crusts removed and cut into 1″ cubes – stale

2 large Roasted Pears cut into 3/4″ chunks

2 1/2 pounds assorted wild mushrooms* (I used 1 lb chanterelles, 1 lb shiitake, 1/2 lb crimini) washed and trimmed.  Shiitake stems are tough and inedible remove.  Save stems and trimmings for Turkey Soup Stock.

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/2 cup dry French white vermouth (optional-can substitute stuffing stock)

2 teaspoons onion powder

1/2 cup fat free half & half

1 recipe Stuffing Stock

Grind Herbes d Provence, thyme and sage into a powder using a spice (coffee) grinder.  Divide mixture in half and set aside.  Spray a large saute pan and melt butter over medium high heat.  Add mushrooms to pan.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until mushrooms give off their liquid.  Add vermouth, onion powder and half of the reserved herb powder.  Cook until liquid is 3/4 evaporated.  Add fat free half & half.  Warm through and check for seasoning.  Add more salt and pepper if necessary.  Pour mushroom mixture into a large bowl with bread cubes and roasted pear chunks.  Season with remaining herb powder.  Toss to combine.  Ladle Stuffing Stock into stuffing mixture until moist but not soupy.  Save any unused stuffing stock for Turkey Soup Stock.  Taste for seasoning.  Adjust if necessary.  Use half of stuffing to stuff turkey breast and bake remaining stuffing uncovered in a baking dish along side turkey breast until crispy on top.  Approximately 1 1/2 hours.

*If using Portobellos remove gills from underneath the cap as they will stain the stuffing purple/gray.  Avoid using all white button mushrooms-they don’t have the depth of flavor of Crimini, Portobello, Shiitake and wild mushrooms.

Roasted Pears

These can be made a a few days ahead if desired.

3 ripe/firm Bartlet pears, peeled and halved

juice of 1/2 lemon

Salt and pepper

cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a small sheet pan with cooking spray.  Toss pears in lemon juice.  Place cut side down on sheet pan.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spray tops.  Roast 40-50 minutes or until tender and bottoms are golden.  When cool enough to handle, remove to cutting board and scoop out core with small spoon or melon baller and remove strings with a small knife.


Stuffing Stock

This can be made a few days ahead or even frozen until needed.

Makes 6 to 8 cups

6-8 cups low sodium chicken stock (1 1/2-2 32 ounce boxes)

3 onions, chopped

3 stalks celery, including leaves, chopped

sprig parsley

1 bay leaf

5 peppercorns

mushroom stems (optional – I had a few shiitake stems in the freezer)

Add all ingredients to a large pot with a lid.  Bring mixture to a boil, cover and simmer 1-2 hours until fragrant.  Strain and discard solids.  Cool then refrigerate.

Doctored Fat Free Turkey Gravy From The Jar

Serves 8

2 jars Heinz Fat free roasted turkey gravy

1 Roasted Pear

pinch dried thyme

fresh lemon juice

Puree roasted pear and thyme.  Stir into gravy.  Adjust seasoning with freshly ground black pepper and a few drops of fresh lemon juice.

LIBBY’S Famous Pumpkin Pie the GP-friendly Way

LIBBY’S Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe has been on the can since 1950.  I’ve always added a few gratings of fresh nutmeg and vanilla extract.  You won’t even miss the crust.  Serve with fat free ReddiWip and gingersnaps.

Serves 8

3/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Freshly grated nutmeg (a few passes across microplane/rasp)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 eggs

15 ounce can pumpkin puree

12 ounce can fat free evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Mix sugar, spices and salt in a small bowl to combine.  In a larger bowl, beat eggs add vanilla, sugar mixture and pumpkin puree.  Mix to combine.  Stir in evaporated milk.  Pour into pie plate.  Bake for 15 minutes then reduce temperature to 350 degrees.  Bake 40-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the radius (half-way between the center and the edge) comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutritional Information Per Serving of Pie:

Serves 8

144 calories, 1.4 grams fat, 1.7 grams fiber, 5.2 grams protein