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. 

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.

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.

Jacques Pépin Criques – Potato Pancakes via the Food Processor!

  

This was a superb Jacques Pepin recipe!  I saw him demonstrate this recipe on More Fast Food My Way on TV.  It’s really simple thanks to the food processor and was fun to make.  I highly suggest using a fish turner like he uses.  Make sure you place the finished pancakes on a raised rack so they do not sit directly on a plate or paper towels and get soggy!  Enjoy!

This makes about 12 potato pancakes!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup diced white or yellow onion
  • 2 cloves crushes garlic
  • 2 T. potato starch
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • few pinches of salt
  • scallion/chives/or green onion
  • Vegetable oil

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Begin by peeling your potatoes, rinse any dirt off with water.  Place them in a bowl with water to cover.
  2. Once all your potatoes are peeled and in water, take one out to chop it and put the chopped potatoes directly in your food processor.  Do NOT rinse the chopped potatoes at this point; you will rinse all the starch away.
  3. Once all the potatoes are chopped and into your food processor, add the 2 eggs, chopped onion, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, potato starch, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Puree until you get an applesauce texture.
  5. Pour batter into a fresh bowl, add chopped green onions.
  6. Heat your oil in your skillet.
  7. Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into the hot oil, you should be able to get 4 potato pancakes into a 12″ skillet.  It will take about 3 batches.  Flip pancake to cook the other side when you sneak a peek and the bottom is browned. Add more oil as needed and adjust temperature as needed for proper browning, not burning.  
  8. When you remove the cooked pancake, place it on a raised cooling rack.  You do not want to put it directly on paper towels or a plate, it will get soggy!
  9. Serve with sour cream, ketchup, or eat plain.  YUM!

 

“Huck Finn Clone” Chicken Cesar Pita

I’m obsessed with a Huck Finn Donut’s dish called “Chicken Ceasar Pita”.  I’ve spent too much money buying it in the restaurant over and over again.  One of my friends loves it too.  I don’t need the fries or the fruit cup, so it’s not the best deal in the restaurant to order this dish AND it’s kind of simple, so why not make it at home?  It came out shockingly close to the restaurant meal!

I can’t have Caesar dressing as it has lemon in it, so I just used Ken’s Italian with Romano dressing.

The following ingredients are for 2 servings.  
INGREDIENTS:

  • About 1 large boneless skinless chicken breast,  (Make sure it’s filleted so it cooks evenly and quickly)
  • (Pepper, coarse salt, onion powder, garlic powder)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 Kronos pitas (not pita pockets)
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Chopped tomato
  • Caesar salad dressing, or Italian dressing
  • 2-3 thick slices of Swiss cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Begin by heating pan with vegetable oil, on medium heat.
  2. Fillet your boneless skinless chicken breast if necessary.  Pat dry.
  3. Season the chicken on both sides with pepper, coarse salt, onion powder, and garlic powder.
  4. Once the oil in pan is heated, add chicken breasts, flip after chicken is browned on one side, and cook thoroughly until at least 165* F.
  5. Remove to a clean plate and let chicken rest 5-10 minutes.
  6. While the chicken is resting, add your 2 pitas to the pan that has residual oil and heat.  Remove pitas to clean plates ready to serve.
  7. Chop chicken into bite-sized pieces.  Add back to pan and cover with desired amount of Swiss cheese slices.  Let cheese melt 2-3 minutes onto chicken.
  8. Add cheese-covered chicken to top of warmed pitas.
  9. Place chopped tomato and shredded lettuce on top of chicken pita.
  10. Drizzle Caesar or Italian dressing to top of veggie-covered chicken pita.
  11. Serve warm.

 

Spinach and Ricotta-Stuffed Shells

This is really good.  It smells like an Italian restaurant.  If you need to reduce the calories or fat, just substitute part skim ricotta instead of whole fat ricotta.  It’s creamy and wonderful.  Don’t skip the broiler step as it slightly chars the shredded mozzarella topping and gives it a great flavor!  Next time, I’d chop some fresh parsley on top.  

INGREDIENTS:

  • 20 jumbo pasta shells (about half a 12-ounce box)
  • One  24-ounce jar marinara sauce
  • Two  15-ounce containers ricotta
  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces)
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella (4 ounces)

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Set an oven rack to the highest position and heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and run under cold water to cool.
  3. Spread the marinara sauce in the bottom of a large broiler-proof baking dish.
  4. In a bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the shells and place them on top of the sauce.
  6. Sprinkle the shells with the mozzarella and bake until heated through, 10 to 12 minutes.
  7. Increase heat to broil. Broil the shells until cheese begins to brown, 2 to 5 minutes.
  8. Serve with the salad, if desired.

NOTE: If you want to sneak in an extra helping of green vegetables into this dish, chop up cooked green beans, broccoli, or asparagus and fold it into the ricotta mixture along with the spinach.