Russian Borscht

What on earth is Russian Borscht, you ask?  It is a delicious soup with a unique twist.  While you may look at this soup/recipe and find the combination of these ingredients odd, you must trust me when I tell you it is worth trying!  I had a great friend who spent some time with the Russians and she ate this all of the time.  She made it for me once and I was hooked!  Well, I never obtained the recipe and some how this soup came up in conversation with another good friend of mine.  I immediately asked her for the recipe so I could have me some good Russian Borscht once again.

The soup alone is good, but topping it with light sour cream and dill really makes the soup ultra delicious.  I happen to love the cabbage in the soup.  If you’re not a beet lover, you will be happy to hear that the beet flavor is kind of subtle and not over-powering.

This recipe makes enough for an army!  This is a fabulous thing because the leftovers freeze very well!  So, if you don’t really have an army to feed, then eat what you want on the night you make it and freeze the rest.  You’ll be super happy when you don’t have to make dinner on one of those nights when you’re feeling lazy (which I’m sure is hardly ever, right!?).

This soup is VERY easy to make, but it does take some time.  So, just plan to put it on the stove a good 2 hours or so before you plan to eat.  You won’t have to do much, but occasionally add an ingredient and then let it simmer that whole time.  Make this on a cold day (which is about any day around my parts).  You’ll be glad you did and you might even feel a little culturally proud while you’re eating it.  (Thanks Michal!)

Russian Borscht
Adapted from my friend Michal Serre

2 1/2 lbs. chuck roast, cut into bit-sized pieces, fat trimmed
2 onions (halved)
1 clove garlic
1 T. salt
1/2 T. pepper
6 cups water
2 carrots, sliced
1 lb. can tomatoes, diced
2 medium potatoes, peeled, cubed
1 bay leaf
1 small cabbage, shredded
2 14-oz. cans beets (diced)
Lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
Sour cream
Dill weed

Put first 6 ingredients in deep pan, cover and bring to boil.  Skim off film that rises to surface.

Recover, cook over low heat 30 minutes.
Add carrots, cook 30 minutes.
Remove onions, discard.
Add tomatoes, potatoes, bay leaf, and cabbage.
Cover and cook until potatoes are tender (30 minutes).
Add beets and lemon juice.
Simmer 5 minutes.
Serve with sour cream and dill.

Serves 15.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = Approx. 1 Cup)
Calories:  327.5
Protein:  24.5g
Carbs:  19.8g
Fat:   16.1g (2.1 sat)

Bruschetta Chicken

This is a great way to use Bruschetta!  The fresh tomatoes, basil, onion, and vinegar help make this grilled chicken far from bland!  It was simple to throw together too!

Bruschetta Chicken
Adapted from Skinny Taste

3 medium vine ripe tomatoes
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
4 4-oz. chicken breasts
Combine onion, olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper. Set aside a few minutes.

Chop tomatoes and place in a large bowl. Combine with garlic, basil, onion-balsamic combo and additional salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and let it sit at least 10 minutes or as long as overnight.

Season chicken with salt and fresh pepper. Grill the chicken cutlets on your indoor or outdoor grill, top with bruschetta and serve.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving =  1 Breast + Bruschetta)
Calories:  159.5
Protein:  24.1g
Carbs:  6.6g
Fat:  4.9g (0.5g = Sat.)
Fiber:  1.5g
Sugars:  1g

Turkey Meatloaf with Brown Sugar-Ketchup Glaze

I hope you had a Thanksgiving that was full of reflection, good food, and family/friends.  I had a great week filled with all those things, but I am back to posting some delicious recipes.

I’ve been looking for a good turkey meatloaf recipe and I finally found one worth sharing with you!  I thought this turned out so flavorful and moist. The fresh herbs gave it a powerful punch of flavor and the milk/bread paste helped to make it so moist.

The technique for cooking it may be a little different than what you’ve done in the past.  I’ve included pictures to help guide you through it.  This cooking technique allows for the greases to run off the meatloaf rather than soak back into it after it’s been cooked.

While we were eating this meatloaf Beau said, “Have I told you that meatloaf might just be one of my favorite foods?”  I’m guessing that means the meatloaf was pretty darn tasty!

Turkey Meatloaf with Brown Sugar-Ketchup Glaze
Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

1 teaspoon canola oil
1 onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 slice high-quality whole-what sandwich bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces
1/3 cup whole milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 egg white, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
salt and pepper
1 ½ pounds ground turkey (93% fat-free)
1/3 cup ketchup
1 ½ tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Fold a piece of aluminum foil into a 10 by 6-inch rectangle, place in the center of a wire rack, and use a skewer (or sharp knife) to poke holes in the foil every 1/2 inch.  Place the wire rack on top of a foil-line baking sheet and spray with vegetable oil spray.  (See the following photo for what this looks like.)

Heat the oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the onion and cook until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Transfer to a bowl to cool.

In a large bowl, mash the bread and milk together into a smooth paste.  Stir in the cooled onion mixture, eggs, parsley, mustard, Worcestershire, hot sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until combined.  Add the ground turkey and mix with your hands until uniform.

Press the mixture together into a compact mass, then turn it out onto the prepared foil on the wire rack.  Press the meat into a uniform rectangle, letting the foil be your guide.  (See the following photo for what this looks like.)

Stir the ketchup, sugar, and vinegar together, then brush half of the mixture evenly over the meatloaf.  Bake for 45 minutes.

Brush the meatloaf with the remaining ketchup mixture and continue to bake until the center of the loaf registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes longer.  Let rest 20 minutes, then slice into 12 slices.  (I usually cut the loaf in half, and then each half is cut into 6 even slices.)

Serves 6.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 2 Slices)
Calories:  249.7
Protein:  25.2g
Carbs:  14.6g
Fat:  10.2g (3.1g = Sat.)
Fiber:  0.8g
Sugars:  10.8g

Bangin’ Good Shrimp

I found the title of this recipe quite clever and I totally approve of the title now that I’ve made it and eaten it.  It doesn’t lie!  It is seriously Bangin’ Good!

I pulled this recipe off of Gina’s website and I learned that it is a remake of a popular dish found at one of her local restaurants.  After eating this, I can attest that it is restaurant worthy.  The shrimp is completely engrossed in a tangy, yet subtly spicy flavor. . . thanks to the dressing.  The dressing that coats the shrimp is creamy, heavenly, and powered with flavor.  You place the cooked shrimp on a bed of lettuce and cabbage (you can use green or purple cabbage here) and it creates a delicious low-carb dinner.

Sweet Chili Sauce and Siracha can be found in most grocery stores . . . usually in the Asian isle.  And, they are both delicious and can be used in other recipes like Asian Lettuce Wraps, Fresh Thai Slaw, and many more!

We ate this for a low-carb dinner and enjoyed every bite!  I hope you do too!

Bangin Good Shrimp
Adapted from Skinny Taste

For the Dressing/Sauce:
5 tbsp light mayonnaise
3 tbsp Sweet Chili Sauce
1 tsp Sriracha (to taste)

For the Shrimp:
1 lb large shrimp, shelled and deveined (weight after peeled)
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp canola oil
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
2 cup shredded cabbage
4 tbsp scallions, chopped

In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, Thai sweet chili sauce and Sriracha. Set aside.
Combine lettuce and cabbage and divide between four plates (about 1 cup per plate). Set aside.

Coat shrimp with cornstarch, mixing well with your hands.

Heat a large skillet or wok on high heat, when hot add oil. When oil is hot add the shrimp to hot pan and cook tossing a few times until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove from pan and combine with the sauce coating well.

Divide shrimp into four equal servings an place shrimp on lettuce and top with scallions.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information Per Serving
Calories:  215.7
Protein:  23.8g
Carbs:  11.9g
Fiber:  1.0g
Sugars:  6.3g

Macaroni & Tomato Soup

This post is completely dedicated to my dad!  This has always been his go-to meal . . . ever since I was a kid.  If my mom wasn’t around to cook us kids dinner, this is what my dad would fix for us nine times out of ten.  You would think that I would have grown tired of it now that I am an adult, but that is not the case.  In fact, I even can/bottle my own tomato juice every year to make sure that I have the tastiest juice . . . just for when I make this soup!

My dad’s version is very basic.  Cook up some seasoned ground beef with chopped onion and then add it to tomato juice and cooked macaroni – elbow noodles.  Once it’s all warmed through, it’s time to eat.  This version is delicious, but I’m not going to lie and tell you that I don’t sneak veggies in my soup on occasion.  But, because this post is completely dedicated to my papa – this is the version that I will proudly display.

This is a 15-minute meal . . . the only time intense part of this meal is waiting for the hamburger to brown and the macaroni to cook.  Pretty darn easy, and tasty too.  Give it a try!

Macaroni and Tomato Soup
Recipe Source:  Mimi’s Dad

1 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup dry wheat macaroni elbow noodles
1 quart tomato juice
salt and pepper, to taste

Fill a medium pot with water and 1 tablespoon salt.  Cook elbow noodles according to package directions.  Drain noodles and return to pot.

Meanwhile, heat a medium sized skillet over medium heat.  Add lean ground beef and chopped onion.  Season ground beef with salt and pepper, to taste.  Cook until brown (stirring and crumbling the ground beef as it cooks).  Drain skillet of all fat, and rinse ground beef (I do this through a small strainer).  Add beef and onions to noodles and pour tomato juice into pot.  Gently stir to combine and then heat through.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = Approximately 1 1/2 Cups)
Calories:  342
Protein:  26.2g
Carbs:  36.3g
Fat:  12.6g (4.6g = Sat.)
Fiber:  4g
Sugars:  12.9g

Hearty Chili Over Potatoes

I hope you all had a fun and safe Halloween!  As mentioned in my last post, we ate our fair share of chili.  Are any of you sitting at home with leftover chili like I am?  Well, if so . . . here is a GREAT way to use it (if not, make some chili just so you can use it like this . . . it’s worth it)!

I love to pour leftover chili over potatoes.  You can either steam your potatoes (as pictured here), or you can use baked potatoes.  Either method works well and provides delicious results.

The beauty of this meal is that everyone can have their correct portion size.  I like to set up this meal in a potato bar fashion.  That way, everyone can take the portion size they need and include the toppings they want.  I’ve pictured my favorite combination above:  Potatoes, Chili, Reduced Fat Cheese, Light Sour Cream, and Green Onions.  Deeeeeelish!

I suppose I don’t need to mention, but will anyways, how easy and fast this meal is to throw together – especially if you’re using leftovers!  And, if you don’t want to make chili, Wendy’s sells chili and it’s pretty darn tasty and not all that bad for you.  (The calories listed below are figured using the small chili from Wendy’s).

I will say, from a nutritionist point of view, this is better suited for lunch if you’re trying to lose.  However, it works well for dinner if you use the appropriate portion sizes (or if you’re just maintaining your weight).

I hope you enjoy your chili leftovers like I know I am going to enjoy mine!

Hearty Chili Over Potatoes

1 small red potato, cooked (see text above)
1 cup of chili (make your own or buy from Wendy’s – see text above)
1 tablespoon light sour cream
1/2 tablespoon reduced fat cheese
1 tablespoon green onions

Place potato on a plate.  Top with chili, sour cream, reduced fat cheese, and green onions.  Serve & enjoy!

Serves 1.

Nutritional Information
Calories:  357.6
Protein:  23.5
Carbs:  45.6
Fat:  9.8g (4.8g)
Fiber:  8.5g
Sugars: 8.2

Grandma Grover’s Chili

Hey!  Halloween is here and I just had to post chili today because eating chili is a Halloween tradition . . . in my family and in Beau’s family!  Both of our families host Halloween get-togethers and chili is the main course.  As I talk around my friend circles, I’ve learned that this is a fairly common tradition.  So, if you want a chili that is a little healthier this year – this is a great recipe!

This is a family favorite recipe from Beau’s side.  It’s been passed down through a couple of generations now and it is usually my go-to chili recipe.  Why?  Because it’s fast, easy, healthy, and oh-so-good!  It has a very traditional taste to it.  There are some chili recipes that have spices in them that totally stand out.  While I like those, this recipe is nicely balanced.  It has a chili taste with a rich tomato base.  It really is SUPER tasty and you can about guarantee that I’ll be eating this on Sunday at the Hunter Halloween Carving Party.  The main question for Sunday is . . . what in the world am I going to dress up as?  Hmmmmmmmmm???  Any ideas?


Hearty (Halloween) Chili
Adapted from Grandma Grover

1 lb. ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 15-oz. can chili beans
1 15-oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes (juice and all)
1 8-oz. can V-8 juice
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar

1. Heat a medium sized skillet over medium heat.  Add ground turkey and chopped onion.  Cook until turkey is brown and no pink coloring exists. Drain well.

2.  In a large pot at chili beans, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, V8 Juice, ketchup and brown sugar.  Stir to combine.  Add ground turkey/onion mixture to pot and stir to combine.  Cook over medium heat until heated through, about 20 minutes.

Follow step 1 as outlined above.
Follow step 2, but add all ingredients to the slow cooker.  Cook on low 4-6 hours, or on high 2-4 hours.  I love this method because I think the slow cooking method really helps the flavors to meld together well.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information Per Serving
Calories: 355.7
Protein:  31.7g
Carbs:  40.1g
Fat:  9.1g (2.9g = Sat.)
Fiber:  10.9g
Sugar:  11.6g