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.

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.

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.

6 Ingredient Beef Barley Slow Cooker Soup

 

 

 

Here’s a beef and barley soup that is simple to make and little work in the slow cooker!  It’s only six ingredients!  It’s delicious and very easy to throw together in the morning and have dinner steamy and tasty by evening.

If your I.C. bladder is extremely sensitive, you can definitely make your own beef broth and use safe seasoning.  Maybe for you that might be onion flakes or powder, garlic powder, and parsley.  Edit the recipe to make it safe for you! 🙂

For the ground beef I usually use 85-90% lean.

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 3 (14 oz.) cans beef broth or homemade (approx. 6 cups of broth)
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking barley
  • 3 cups sliced carrots
  • 2 cups sliced celery (chop up the celery leaves too!)
  • 2 tsp. beef seasoning

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In skillet, brown ground beef, drain and transfer to 5 quart slow cooker.
  2. Add beef broth, barley, carrots, celery, and beef seasoning.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours depending on your slow cooker’s past performance.  (For myself, it was 6 hours on low).

 

Simple Shepherd’s Pie

With all my medical woes, I need some backup frozen foods that are remotely healthy, have few ingredients, and are fast.  I tried a frozen shepherd’s pie meal by “Blake’s” frozen foods.  I was blown away that a dish so simple could be so tasty.  All it consisted of was ground beef, corn, spices, and a mashed potato topping.  Blake’s doesn’t use antibiotics, artificial colors or flavorings.  It’s simply good food.  It’s great in a pinch when I don’t feel well or the day is going too fast.

View Blake’s frozen offerings here!

As great as their meals are, I’m a cook at heart.  I want to make it myself.  I also want to avoid too much sodium in my food and even the best frozen meals are chock full of sodium.  So, I had to find an I.C. bladder safe recipe for this shepherd’s pie.  Also, I didn’t want to use lamb and I wanted it only to have a few ingredients.  I’m a tough customer!

To make it I.C. safe I had to be safe by removing the Worcestershire sauce.  I replaced it with parsley and garlic powder.  It tasted just great!

I found this recipe on Simplyrecipes.com.  Wow.  It’s a keeper and it tastes like more than a sum of its ingredients.

This isn’t the time to skimp on the butter!!

I used 85% lean ground beef.  I did a mixture of frozen corn and peas.

I made 1 cup of beef broth and used a 1/2 cup initially, and added more as I needed it, to keep the pan from drying out.

 

INGREDIENTS:

 

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds potatoes (about 3 large potatoes), peeled and quartered
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1-2 cups vegetables—diced carrots, corn, peas
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground round beef
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce*   *I can cheat with an entire dish with only 1 tsp. of this sauce, but you may not be able to.  Omit it, if you know it’ll hurt you.  
  • Salt, pepper, other seasonings of choice

 

DIRECTIONS:

1 Boil the potatoes: Place the peeled and quartered potatoes in medium sized pot. Cover with at least an inch of cold water. Add a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender (about 20 minutes.

2 Sauté vegetables: While the potatoes are cooking, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until tender, about 6 to 10 minutes.

If you are including vegetables, add them according to their cooking time. Carrots should be cooked with the onions, because they take as long to cook as the onions do.

If you are including peas or corn, add them toward the end of the cooking of the onions, or after the meat starts to cook, as they take very little cooking time.

3 Add the ground beef, then Worcestershire sauce and broth: Add ground beef to the pan with the onions and vegetables. Cook until no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the Worcestershire sauce and beef broth. Bring the broth to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, adding more beef broth if necessary to keep the meat from drying out.

 

4 Mash the cooked potatoes: When the potatoes are done cooking (a fork can easily pierce), remove them from the pot and place them in a bowl with the remaining 4 Tbsp of butter. Mash with a fork or potato masher, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

5 Layer the meat mixture and mashed potatoes in a casserole dish: Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread the beef, onions, and vegetables (if using) in an even layer in a large baking dish (8×13 casserole).

 

Spread the mashed potatoes over the top of the ground beef. Rough up the surface of the mashed potatoes with a fork so there are peaks that will get well browned. You can even use a fork to make creative designs in the mashed potatoes.

6 Bake in oven: Place in a 400°F oven and cook until browned and bubbling, about 30 minutes. If necessary, broil for the last few minutes to help the surface of the mashed potatoes brown.

 

Optional / Suggested variations:

Put a layer of creamed corn between the ground beef and the mashed potatoes.

Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese over the top of the mashed potatoes before baking.

Read more: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/easy_shepherds_pie/#ixzz4gXMKyCuY

 

Read more: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/easy_shepherds_pie/#ixzz4gXMDsS28

 

 

Grilled Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches

This recipe was DELICIOUS.  The flavor comes from the cheese and oiled & toasted bread, but mainly from the roasted tomatoes with garlic slivers. It’s divine.  I will definitely make this every few weeks!  Superb!  It cooks up quickly too.
Serves 4.

*This is I.C. safe for me because it uses a small amount of raw tomatoes, not canned, and I omitted red pepper flakes.  It may not be I.C. safe for you.  Adjust if desired.

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 plum tomatoes (make sure they are more on the ripe side)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 split hero rolls (large enough for a filleted chicken breast)
  • 4 chicken cutlets (or filleted boneless skinless chicken breasts like I used)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 oz. thinly sliced mozzarella

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Core and halve the plum tomatoes. Slip some thinly sliced garlic into each half.
  2. Gently toss tomatoes with olive oil, red pepper flakes, oregano, and salt and pepper until well coated.
  3. Brush the split hero rolls with olive oil.  Separately grill rolls until toasted, and tomatoes until tender.
  4. Season 4 chicken cutlets as desired and grill one side, flip, then top with grated Parmesan and mozzarella.
  5. Grill until chicken is cooked through and cheese is melted.
  6. Make sandwiches with rolls, chicken, and tomatoes as pictured.

Cheddar and Thyme Flaky Biscuits

We really enjoyed these cheddar biscuits.  They were not too much work and you could even use the food processor to make it easier, like I did.  Definitely use butter instead of margarine.  Fresh thyme would be best but dried thyme works too.  Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (not melted!)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425* F.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar.
  3. Cut in butter using a pastry cutter or a fork until dough it is the size of peas.
  4. Make a well in the center of the mixture and measure the milk, shredded cheese, and thyme into the bowl. Gently mix until a soft dough forms.
  5. Roll or pat out on a floured surface to 3/4″ thick.  (Gradually add more flour if dough is too sticky to work with).
  6. Cut into circles with biscuit cutter and place on baking sheet.  (Use parchment paper if you want to go the extra mile).
  7. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the bottoms of the biscuits are golden brown.