Fat Free Strawberry Ice Cream (Easy!)

I love a strawberry ice cream that takes 5 minutes to prepare and then you just sit and let it swirl around in the ice cream maker. Mmmmm strawberries.

Chris and I totally cheated and reworked a recipe from Cuisinart. Our is much easier, and less fat!
It’s sitting in the freezer right now, calling my name.  🙂

Ingredients:
2 cups frozen strawberries
1 cup sugar (split into 1/3 and 2/3 cups)
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp lemon juice
2 3/4 cups fat free half and half (we used Skim Plus brand)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
Put frozen strawberries in blender with lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar. Blend until strawberries are broken up and smaller.
Toss in the fat free hald and half, rest of the sugar, and vanilla. Blend again 1-2 minutes until creamy.
Pour into ice cream maker and run for 25 minutes. Yum!

You can freeze it in quart containers or any sealed tupperware for 2 hours to make it harder if you prefer (and if you can wait).

Makes 5.5 cups, so that’s eleven 1/2-cup servings at 102 calories a piece (no fat at all).

***My follow up: Yummy on day 1, but because there’s no fat, once you have it in the freezer overnight it crystalizes and isn’t much fun after that. More like ice milk, very icy. Great for a party when everyone will eat it right away. Other than that, I wouldn’t make it again.  😦

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Mushroom Ragu (from Giada’s Everyday Italian cookbook)

Yummy! This is a mushroom lover’s dream.  🙂  Really fresh tasting with the parsley in it too. It was a perfect chance to use the wild mushrooms I bought at Wegman’s. I love that store! I’m so hooked.  🙂

Chris and I were drooling the whole time it took to cook (45 minutes!), but he was a great sous chef, chopping everything up so that I could cook it as quickly as possible. Especially helpful since I worked late and we were starving. This even works well for calorie counters, especially since I followed this recipe from her cookbook, which omits the cream, but the Food Network website uses cream (Chica, I added the recipe to Livestrong). I’m sure the cream would have made it super creamy and thick, but better for us that I didn’t use it!

I served it over strozzapretti pasta** (fun). I think it will be even better tomorrow (this is a picture of of the leftovers that I’m saving for tomorrow since I forgot to take a picture of our plates).

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms (cremini, oyster, shiitake) chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Marsala [I used 1 cup following her cookbook recipe]
  • 2 cups chicken broth [can use vegetable broth of course]
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream  [Oddly enough, her cookbook omits this ingredient, so I cooked without it!]
  • 5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup grated Parmesan [Cookbook calls for 2/3 cup]

Directions

In a large skillet heat the oil. When almost smoking, add the onions and garlic over medium-low heat until the onions have wilted, about 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Raise heat to high and saute until mushrooms are tender and all the liquid has evaporated. Remove pan from heat and pour in Marsala. Return pan to stove and allow wine to evaporate, about 3 minutes. Add chicken broth and simmer for 1/2 hour until the sauce has reduced by half. Add heavy cream and mix well. Take the pan off the heat and add the fresh herbs and Parmesan and mix thoroughly.

My note: Giada says it serves 6 but it is intended to go over a whole pound of pasta, so I consider that serving 8 (a pound makes 8 cups of pasta). It’s really filling too. I had just 1/8 of it and I was stuffed, but it’s sooo yummy and nothing bad for you anyway, except all of the salt from 2/3 cups of grated cheese! I used pecorino romano.

**Interesting Note: strozzapretti means “priest choker” in Italian!  🙂 Really! 

Fall is for Beets (3 variations)

That trip to the farmer’s market yielded some delicious beets and I was determined to waste not, so three dishes were made from the find.

1. Roasted Beets: Remove stems and leaves (save greens for sautee!), wrap beets individually in foil, place on baking sheet, bake for 45 minutes at 425 degrees. Easy. We threw some into a pasta dish I made (dish #3 below).

2. Beet salad: Peel roasted beets (rub with paper towel to remove skins and avoid burned and purple hands), cut beets into half slices, add olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt. Throw in tupperware and shake, refrigerate for a day or more.

3. Sauteed Beet Greens over Pasta: Remove stems from greens and blanch in salted boiling water 2-3 minutes [water will turn purplish but you can use it to cook pasta anyway]. Remove greens into ice bath. Heat olive oil into sautee pan, add 1 minced shallot, salt. When beginning to caramelize, add drained greens and salt and black pepper. Sautee until flavors mix, just a few minutes. Eat as is [greens are mild in flavor, but rich in nutrients] or serve over small pasta (like orzo) and throw in some roasted beets if you like. Yum.

Thanks to Mom for being my beets bonanza guinea pig!

Potato Leek Soup (2 variations)

A book recently donated to our library (and destined for the rubbish heap) was too interesting to resist. Marion Cunningham’s The Supper Book.
Her recipes are super simple and appealing, and a spontaneous visit to the farmer’s market on Saturday  sent me home with beautiful bouquets of fresh beets and leeks.
First recipe was delicious, even with my single diet-friendly alteration. Again, photos are not mine, but this is exactly what it looked like.

First day (Sunday) we ate it fresh and not pureed. The onion flavor was wonderful, and the combo of brothiness and creaminess was satisfying. Yum. I made little toasts with pecorino romano to dip in the soup.

Second day (Tuesday) we ate the remainder pureed (looked thicker than this photo). The flavors were harder to distinguish, not enough accent on the onion when it was blended.
The recipe made 4 big bowls at about 233 calories each.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Butter
  • 3 Leeks
  • 2 Large Stalks Celery
  • 3 medium Red Potatoes
  • 2 3/4 cups Skim Plus Milk
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions

Slice leeks thinly and wash thoroughly. Thinly slice celery, and peel and dice potatoes [small dice].
Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Put in the leeks and celery to cook over moderate heat for 10 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking. Stir in 1 cup of the water, cover, and cook for 10 more minutes. Add the potatoes and the remaining 1/2 cup of water, stir, cover, and cook over low heat for 10 more minutes. Stir in the milk, cover, and cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. [Note: I had to cook the potatoes for another 25 minutes until they were tender, and they were a small dice!] Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.