Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup

 

This is a must!  This soup actually has a lot of flavor and you will enjoy it!  Give it a try!  I added potatoes for extra flavor and bulk – it turned out to be a good decision!

 

INGREDIENTS:

*Onion and chicken stock can be irritating to a sensitive bladder. I use the least amount of onion possible and I make sure I’m either using homemade chicken stock or organic high quality chicken stock.  

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion in hot butter until translucent, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Whisk 1/4 cup melted butter and flour together in a large saucepan over medium-low heat; cook until flour loses it’s granular texture, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk if necessary to keep the flour from burning, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Gradually pour milk into flour mixture while whisking constantly. Stir chicken stock into milk mixture. Bring to a simmer; cook until flour taste is gone and mixture is thickened, about 20 minutes. Add broccoli, carrots, sauteed onion, and celery, (add optional potatoes here!); simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Stir Cheddar cheese into vegetable mixture until cheese melts. Season with salt if desired. 

Eggless Cheesecake

 cheesecake

I’ve been making this eggless cheesecake for over a decade.  It’s creamy, delicious, and shockingly eggless.  This is a recipe you really need to make sure you make without distractions.  Put the child(ren) to bed, get the pets out of the room, quiet your phone, don’t check texts, turn off the TV, and focus on the measurements, because they aren’t the normal amounts used in other baking recipes, and this recipe is intermediate to advanced in skill.  One time with my son in the room, I added the entire can of sweetened condensed milk instead of 1/2 cup, it puffed up too high and was ruined.  So please pay attention.  This recipe is worth it.  If you have citrus or I.C. issues like me, definitely play it safe and omit the two lemon ingredients, but it’s sadly so much better with them!  Enjoy!

Baking Knowledge level: Intermediate to advanced.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Graham crackers to make the crust (make it yourself like I do; see directions).
  • Four 8 oz. bars regular or Neufchâtel cream cheese, room temperature (I do a mixture of 2 regular bars and 2 reduced fat bars)
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (Approximately half of a standard 14 oz. can, but measure it!)*
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 T. lemon juice**
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon rind**
  • 1 T. pure 100% vanilla extract (you’re not still using that fake stuff, are you? 🙂 )
  • 1 cup sour cream*

*Buy the most simple sweetened condensed milk  and sour cream you can – the less ingredients the better! I only buy Daisy brand sour cream (full fat). 


**Remove the citrus if you have a bladder like m
ine that can’t tolerate it.  

 

Necessary Tools:

  • A SPRINGFORM PAN like this, don’t use anything else
  • A jelly roll pan for underneath the springform pan
  • Aluminum foil

 

DIRECTIONS:

To make your own graham cracker crust:

  1. Make sure your springform pan’s latch is closed.  Read the directions for your pan before beginning.
  2. Using aluminum foil, cover the outside of your springform pan to prevent leaks.  Bring aluminum foil up 1″ around the sides of the pan and make an aluminum foil barricade just in case of a small leak.  Then place your springform pan (with foil around the bottom outside of it) onto a jelly roll pan to ensure if it leaks, even though it shouldn’t, you don’t have a large oven mess to clean up.  Set aside.
  3. Note: If your pan ends up leaking after baking, try to rescue your cheesecake and throw out the pan.  Life is too short for junky & frustrating bakeware.  Treat yourself to a new leakproof pan on Amazon or where ever you prefer to buy it.
  4. Crush or food process enough chocolate or honey graham crackers to make about 1/2″ medium size crumbs on the bottom of your Springform pan.  Melt approximately 2-3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, let cool slightly.  Using your clean fingers, combine the graham cracker crumbs with the cooled melted butter in the bottom of your un-greased 9″ springform pan.
  5.   Pat graham cracker and butter mixture and tamp down until the entire bottom of the springform pan is covered in crumbs and compacted as best you can.
  6. Now set aside and finish your cheesecake filling below.

To make the cheesecake:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl with a handheld mixer, or in your stand mixer, beat everything except sour cream until smooth approximately 3 minutes.
  3. Add sour cream and blend well.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan (foil on outside bottom, with graham/butter crust on the bottom of the pan).
  5. Bake for approximately 1 hour on center rack.  Thin knife inserted into outside of cake should come out clean when cake is done.  If it doesn’t, I usually add 10 minutes and re-test.  Middle of cake will still be creamy.
  6. Turn off oven and open oven door.  Let cake sit in oven for another 2-3 hours to cool slowly.  (DON’T SKIP THIS STEP!)
  7. Remove pan from oven after it has cooled.  Loosen sides of pan with knife.  Unlatch your Springform pan to open it up and remove sides.
  8. Place cake, still on thin metal pan base, on a cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely at room temperature before placing in fridge.  Lightly cover with plastic wrap if needed (monitor condensation).
  9. Refrigerate a few hours before serving.

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins

 

I’ve been making this recipe since 2014!

This recipe is from “Smitten Kitchen” – and we found it really healthy YET wonderful.  Sometimes, as we all know, healthy baked goods can be very unappetizing, but these had flavor, sweetness, with a unique apple taste.   I got about a 18-19 muffins yield.  They freeze and defrost well.  I left them on the counter to defrost, or in a pinch, I defrosted them on the defrost setting of my microwave.  I’ve used buttermilk one time, and recently (2017) I used 2% Greek Yogurt, both work well but I prefer the Greek Yogurt (or use any regular yogurt).  🙂   ENJOY!

—You can make these eggless by obviously removing the egg – no substitution needed. The buttermilk or yogurt makes up for it.—

Smitten Kitchen Link!

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat flour
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon** (cinnamon is not I.C. safe for me, so I omit it)
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed, divided
1 large egg, lightly beaten (*eggless tip, if you need it)
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk or yogurt**
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped

 

*IF YOU NEED TO MAKE THEM EGGLESS, I JUST TOOK OUT THE EGG BECAUSE THERE IS BUTTERMILK OR YOGURT IN THE RECIPE TO MAKE UP FOR IT). 

**We used 2% Fage Greek Yogurt and it turned out wonderful. – December 2017.

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease and flour 18 muffin cups and set aside.
  2. Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and add the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Beat until fluffy.
  4. If using eggs, add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  5. Mix in the buttermilk/yogurt gently. (If you over-mix, the buttermilk will cause the mixture to curdle.)
  6. Stir buttermilk/yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients and fold in the apple chunks.
  7. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on top.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 400°F, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  9. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Easy Instapot Pressure Cooker Corned Beef – 3 Ingredients!

ABOVE PIC: After cooking.  Perfectly cooked and so tender.

ABOVE PIC:  Before cooking.

After having Interstim surgery for the management of IC pain, I need really simple recipes as I recover; and let’s face it: easy recipes are great!  This is a very quick assembly of ingredients.  My 3# corned beef package was about $12 at ALDI, so I suggest shopping around for your meat if you want to save some cash.

Warning: The spice packet is full of unknown spices as far as I’m concerned.  I saw fennel and others, but you just don’t know what’s in there and it can vary.  My package didn’t have a spice description, so please, if  you’re extremely sensitive, discard the spice package.  I removed the red pieces that looked like red pepper flakes and used half the seasoning.  I was ok afterward (no IC flare symptoms), but you may not be, so know your body. Also, alcohol is an IC irritant.  I think it burns off in cooking but who really knows.  If it bothers you badly, I’d double the beef broth instead.  

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 lb. corned beef brisket
  • 1 -12oz. light beer like Michelob Ultra (95 calories)
  • 1 cup beef broth (buy the highest quality)

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place whole corned beef in the pressure cooker with the spices it comes with.  (See warning above). I actually cut my beef brisket in half to fit into the 6 QT. Instapot a little better.
  2. Pour the light beer and the beef broth over the corned beef.
  3. Set the valve to “sealing”.
  4. Set the timer for 70 minutes on high.  My Instapot took 8 minutes to come to pressure and it was done in a total of 1 hour 18 minutes (even though I set it for 70 minutes high pressure).
  5. I did a quick release but I think either a quick release or a natural release would work. Depends how hungry you are. 🙂
  6. Remove corned beef and if serving immediately, slice and serve now.
    If serving later, remove the beef and put it in a shallow dish.  Pour a cup of the hot broth over it, cover with foil, and stick it in the oven to keep it warm until ready to serve.
  7. OPTIONAL: If you are cooking veggies, after the beef is removed from the pot, put cabbage and carrots in the pot and cook them on high for 3 minutes, then do a quick release and serve.
  8. ALSO OPTIONAL:  I made 1 cup of beef broth on the side for dunking my sandwich – I don’t like dry sandwiches that often.  I don’t think the leftover juices in the Instapot are good for dunking, but to each his own.

*I originally found this recipe on www.joaniesimon.com.  Thanks!

Almost Mexican Salad

INGREDIENTS:

  • Green leaf lettuce, rinsed and dried
  • black beans
  • avocado, freshly sliced
  • black beans, low sodium, plain, rinsed and drained
  • plain corn chips (not seasoned, not spicy) or plain toasted corn tortillas
  • flank steak or comparable steak
  • salt, onion powder and/or garlic powder, if desired
  • cilantro, rinsed and dry
  • PLAIN Chihuahua cheese, Gouda, shredded cheddar, or whatever cheese you love that’s safe

—> OMIT: Limes/citrus, bottled dressing, tomato, spicy seasonings, pico de gallo, guacamole because it’s usually prepared with lime, anything acidic, and also avoid spicy cheese like spicy chihuahua cheese.

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Season with flank steak with salt and onion/garlic powder, if desired.
  2. Grill your flank steak for best results.
  3. Make a bed of your clean and dry lettuce, chopped into bite size pieces.
  4. Add your sliced cheese, black beans, chopped cilantro, sliced avocado, corn chips.
  5. If you need a dressing, I have found that bottled dressings are entirely unsafe especially with the preservatives and citric acid!  I use olive oil and honey and never have had a problem.  
  6. Enjoy!

 

 

Naan Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil – A Simple Delight Without Tomato!

So, I think we all can agree it’s absolutely a knife in the back not to be able to eat typical pizza when you have I.C.  Don’t get me started on how much I miss an occasional pizza slice of thin or deep dish.  Just think about it makes me hangry.  (Hungry and angry at IC).  Losing tomato and chocolate were the worst losses for me, personally.  Anyway, here is my creation where I found a work around to the typical tomato pizza, and what’s even better?  It’s fast.

 

Serving: 1 Naan pizza can serve one hungry person or 2 moderately hungry people.

INGREDIENTS:

  • A package of Naan flatbread
  • 1-2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil (depending on your preference)
  • coarse salt
  • a ball of fresh mozzarella in a plastic package
  • additional shredded mozzarella cheese if needed
  • fresh basil – or dried if that’s all you have

DIRECTIONS: 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees to get it piping hot.
  • Remove one Naan oval from package.
  • Spread with a reasonable amount of olive oil – just enough to cover the top without making it a soppy mess.  Start with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and see if you need more, you probably won’t.
  • Slice your mozzarella round into thin pieces.  Cover the top of the olive oil’ed naan with mozzarella pieces.  You will not need the entire ball’s worth of cheese.  (Usually I use about 1/4 of the large 8 oz. mozzarella ball per pizza, give or take.)
  • Cover with additional shredded mozzarella, if desired.
  • Place fresh basil on top of pizza.
  • Take 1-2 small pinches of coarse salt and spread over pizza.
  • Move pizza to a baking sheet, once pre-heated, bake pizza for 10-15 minutes.  Monitor pizza’s doneness at 10 minutes.

Blueberry Maple Bran Muffins -Healthy Yet Delicious

 

 

This is a healthier awesome muffin I found on the Once Upon A Chef website.  Here’s the original (non IC safe) link: OUAC: Blueberry Maple Bran Muffins.  I had to omit the cinnamon as it’s a common bladder flare.  This recipe is just perfect.  It has whole wheat flour, wheat germ/bran, adds pure maple syrup as a sweetener, and has fresh blueberries.  Also, it’s still tasty!  It made about 16-17 muffins for me, not the stated 14.  A+!

 

You can control the “heathfullness” of the recipe.  In total it requires 2 cups of flour.  

#1 — If you want this recipe very healthy, follow the recipe: 1 1/4 cup all purpose + 3/4 cup whole wheat flour.

#2 — If you want it moderately healthy, I would do 1 1/2 cups all purpose + 1/2 cup whole wheat flour.  

#3 — If you want it just a little healthy and more typical tasting, I would do 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour + 1/4 cup whole wheat flour.  

If you are unsure, I would try the mid-range method of #2.  

 

Remember: never substitute fake sweetener in your baked goods – for many, including me – it’s a horrible I.C. flare ingredient!  I’d be out of commission two days if I had fake sweetener in any amount.  

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with back edge of knife
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with back edge of knife
  • 1/2 cup wheat bran or wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil (or other vegetable oil)
  • 1-1/2 cups low-fat milk (I used 2%)
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries, plus all-purpose flour for coating

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease two standard 12-cup muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray (the recipe makes 14 muffins, so 7 in each pan).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, wheat bran, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In another bowl, beat together the eggs, maple syrup, sugar, oil and milk. Whisk the egg mixture into the flour mixture until batter is smooth (note: batter will be very wet).
  4. Rinse the blueberries and toss them in a small bowl with 2 teaspoons flour until they are well-coated (they need to be wet in order for the flour to stick). Using a ladle or half-cup measure, scoop the batter into the muffin cups until they are about three-quarters full. Using your hands, evenly distribute the berries into the muffins, pressing them just beneath the surface of the batter (about 5 berries per muffin). If you leave them showing, they will create holes in the muffins. Carefully fill the empty cups in each muffin tin half-way with water.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating pans midway through, until golden brown and crisp around the edges. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn muffins out onto wire rack. Serve warm. Store leftover muffins in an airtight container and reheat before serving. (To reheat, wrap muffins in aluminum foil and place in 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.)

 

Simple 4 Ingredient Raspberry/Banana/Blueberry Smoothie – I.C. Safe!

Here’s a quick and easy smoothie that is IC safe! I throw all the ingredients in my Ninja Blender and put it on Intelligent IQ setting and it does all the work.  All your ingredients besides the milk are frozen, so the  key is adding enough liquid otherwise it’ll just jam up the machine. I’ve made this countless times.
For the members of your family that don’t have IC, if you add frozen strawberries it turns out wonderful too.

-Do NOT add any sugar, it doesn’t need it.  
-Do NOT add fake sweetener, even Stevia – it is a major IC bladder irritant!  

NOTE: Amounts are estimated.  The measurements below are approximate and are meant to make 1 to 1.5 smoothie servings. Play with the amounts to find your suitable smoothie.  If you dislike one the ingredients, just skip it.  It doesn’t require three fruits.  Two fruits would taste the best I think, but even one would work!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • frozen bananas (about 1/3 cup) – I pre-slice bananas and freeze then in baggies for smoothies.
  • frozen blueberries (about 1/4 cup)
  • frozen raspberries (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 cup of 2% milk

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Put all ingredients into your blender, no specific order is necessary.
  2. Make sure you add enough milk otherwise the machine will jam and will have to work too hard due to all the frozen ingredients.  Add additional milk as needed to allow the machine to whip it up easily.
  3. Blend for 45 seconds to 1 minute to reach a smooth consistency.

I.C. Bladder Safe Blueberry Bread (Eggless, Too!)

 

This is phenomenal blueberry bread all by itself: the texture is spot on with a bakery (even though it’s eggless!), the crust is perfectly browned, and it tastes wonderful but not sickly sweet!  What’s even more wonderful about it is it’s IC safe!  I had to edit a few ingredients and do some homework with apple juice to find one without ascorbic acid AND with added vitamin C – both IC irritants.

My husband’s allergic to eggs and I have IC (BOY are we a pair!)  So, with our combined restraints I’m pleasantly surprised and happy to find this recipe works for both of us AND is delicious.

I found this safe apple juice, without added vitamin C or ascorbic acid, at CVS.  Maybe it’s somewhere else too.

Yields: one loaf

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 8 TBSP.) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 TBSP. water
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)
  • 2/3 cup organic apple juice (check ingredients!)
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 TBSP. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (I used frozen and let them come to room temp, also increased to 1.25-1.5 cups)

 

DIRECTIONS: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350* F.
  2. Spray a 9x5x3″ loaf pan with “PAM for Baking” or a similar spray.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the melted butter, water, milk, and apple juice until thoroughly combined.  At this stage the mixture will look a little unsightly and unmixed but it WILL come together later.  Trust me!
  4. In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda with a wire whisk.
  5. Add the dry mixture to the butter mixture, and stir with a spatula until just combined.
  6. Gently fold in the blueberries, trying not to crush them.
  7. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan, bake 55-60 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  (Since I added more blueberries than usual, it took me about 75-80 minutes for doneness. Don’t just rely on the golden brown crust, test it with a toothpick in center to make sure it doesn’t come out wet!)
  8. Cool completely before slicing.

Grilled Corn On The Cob With Fresh Herbs!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 corn cobs, with husks still attached
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground pepper (if desired)
  • fresh parley
  • fresh chives (or substitute your favorite herb)
  • and any other seasonings you can tolerate/desire.

TIP: The peeled back corn husks become a convenient “handle” when you are eating it! 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Peel back the husk without removing it.  Pull it down in layers until you have lowered all the parts of the husk (without tearing them off!)  If you accidentally remove a piece of the husk, don’t worry, move on.
  2. Remove the corn silk fibers and discard.
  3. Use kitchen twine to tie the husk down, and knot. (See photo)
  4. Prepare your butter herb mixture by softening butter. (Either leave the butter at room temp. for 30 minutes prior to assembly or microwave for about 10 seconds).
  5. Mix butter with your desired amount of seasonings.  I chopped fresh chives and parsley from my garden, added a little freshly ground black pepper, and coarse salt.  Use whatever other seasonings you can tolerate.
  6. Use a culinary brush to smear the butter herb mixture onto all exposed parts of your corn cob, (not the husks).
  7. Heat grill to medium heat.  Place corn on grill, with tied-backed husks hanging over the edge of the grill. (You do not want the husks or twine exposed to direct heat, it will burn).
  8. Cook approximately 2-3 minutes a side until heated.