About the recipes...

All recipes and ideas contain ingredients from the new IC diet "safe" list. Also, all ingredients are either low-oxalate content, or in small enough amounts where they can be considered low-oxalate. If there are any ingredients that don't fit these criteria, I have labled them, and you have the option to omit them from the dish. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Reinventing Leftovers

There's nothing I love more than the good 'ol open-face turkey sandwich smothered in gravy and stuffing the day after Thanksgiving, but even that can get old after a couple of days.  Last year I came across a wonderful holiday leftover recipe for an easy turkey pot-pie.  When I brought the pot-pie in for lunch at work, it smelled so good that my colleges asked for the recipe!

Leftover Herb-Crusted Turkey Pot Pie 
1 egg
1Tbsp. water
6 cups diced cooked turkey or chicken
5 cups frozen mixed veggies (I use green beans and corn)
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cups Chicken Broth (I use Pacific Chicken Broth-it doesn't have celery or carrot juice which are high in oxalate like other brands)
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 of a 17.3ox pkg. Frozen Puff Pastry (1 sheet) Thawed (Pepperidge Farm makes a good puff pastry)
2 tsp.dried herbs of choice (parsley, thyme, oregano) or 2 Tbsp. fresh herbs chopped

1) heat oven to 400 degrees.  Beat egg and water in small bowl.
2) Stir turkey and veggies in 13x9" baking dish.
3) Heat butter in skillet, add flour and stir until combined and golden.  Stir in broth, and cook for 5 minutes stirring frequently until mixture boils and thickens.  Stir in pepper.  Pour stock mixture over turkey.
4) Unfold pastry sheet on lightly floured surface.  Roll pastry sheet into 13x9" rectangle.  Place pastry over filling.  Press pastry to rim to seal.  Brush pastry with egg mixture and sprinkle with herbs.
5) Bake 25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbling.

Another great way to use your leftovers, is using them as filling for a quesadilla.  Simply fill half a flour tortilla* with your favorite shredded cheese (mozzarella, jack, or mild cheddar).  Add turkey or chicken, and any veggies you have on hand like corn and chopped red pepper.  Fold quesadilla shell to close and place in skillet and heat until cheese is melted.  Flip halfway through to allow to bake evenly.  Slice with pizza slicer into 4 triangles, and serve with green salad or fruit of your choice.
*whole wheat is high in oxalate, so stick with a white flour burrito shell.  I like Mission brand.  When checking ingredients, wheat flour is the same as white flour, but steer clear of whole wheat flour.

I usually find I have leftover pumpkin puree, but never enough to make another pie with, nor do I want to make another pie after eating one.  Some pumpkin recipes use the entire can on puree, where others use only half.  What to do with that other half so it doesn't go to waste?  How about making a pumpkin spread, much like apple butter, to top toast and pancakes.

Leftover Pumpkin Breakfast Spread:
2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. pumpkin puree
3 Tbsp. real maple syrup
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp coarse salt
Beat all ingredients in a mixer on high speed until pale and fluffy.  Store spread in fridge up to two weeks!

Whatever you decide to do with your Thanksgiving leftovers, I hope everyone has a wonderful, pain-free holiday shared with family and friends!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thanksgiving...On The Side

Ever since I was a teenager, my extended family gathers at my Aunt's house for our annual Thanksgiving feast.  The eclectic group changes every year, but you can always count on amazing food, good conversation, and a warm inviting atmosphere.  This to me is what the holidays are all about.

Like I said in my previous post, this time of year also creates anxiety for myself and my fellow IC'ers.  Lucky for me, my Aunt loves for everyone to bring their own dish to contribute to the feast.  Two years ago, I started bringing my classic green bean cassarole, which to my surprise my cousins had never had before.  Prior to making the cassarole, I would plan on eating turkey and rolls since I didn't want to burden my Aunt with my special diet requests.  It finally dawned on me after getting married that I too could now bring a dish, since I was no longer considered one of the kids.  I'm glad I started doing this for two reasons, I could guarantee that I could eat more than just turkey and I was contributing a new dish to to mix!

Most Thanksgiving dishes can be IC safe, like the turkey, pumpkin pie, and stuffing.  However, not everyone makes things the same way, and something like stuffing can easily become a problem for IC'ers, especially if it's a sausage or cranberry stuffing.  Another problem dish for those who also follow the low-oxalate diet is mashed potatoes, which have a high oxalate content, and the celery that is usually included in most stuffing recipes.  So whether you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner or if you're planning on bringing a dish to someone else's feast, I want to share my favorite sides and dessert that are both IC safe and low-oxalate.

Jenny's Famous Green Bean Cassarole:
This recipe is actually based on the French's recipe that is printed on their French-Fried Onion box.  I always felt it was too soupy, so I tweaked their recipe by adding more green beans, and decreasing the amount of milk used.  Feel free to tweak to your liking!

10 3/4oz. can Campbell's Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/4-3/4 cup milk
1/8 tsp white pepper
4 cans green beans (14 1/2 oz. cans)
1 1/3 cup French's French Fried Onions

1) Mix soup, pepper, beans, and 1/4 cup milk in 1 1/2 qt. baking dish.  Add additional milk for desired consistancy 1/4 cup at a time.  Make sure milk does not exceed more than 3/4 cup total.  Stir in 2/3 cup onions.
2) bake at 350 covered for 30 minutes.
3) Stir and top with remaining 2/3 cup onions.  Bake uncovered 5 more minutes until onions are golden.
**I've never had a problem with French's Fried Onions, but if you feel you might, then omit onions from step 1, and top cassarole with breadcrumbs and some butter to help breadcrumbs brown.  Bake as above**

Herb-Apple Oven Stuffin':
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2-1 medium yellow onion (use as much as you desire)
4 gala or fuji apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 Tbsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp each dried sage, thyme, marjoram
1/2 tsp white pepper
12 cups (1 loaf) Pepperidge Farm White Sandwhich Bread, dried and cut into 1/2" cubes
2 cups chicken broth
3 egg whites, beaten
1 tsp salt
**To dry bread, place each slice in a single layer on baking sheets and let sit overnight, then cut into cubes**

1) preheat oven to 400 degrees and butter 9x13 baking dish
2) heat butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Reserve 2 Tbls after melted and set aside.  Add onion and cook until translucent.  (about 8 minutes) Stir in parsley, sage, thyme, and marjoram and cook for 1 more minute.  Stir in apples and cook until apples are warm, about 2 more minutes.  
3) Add bread cubes, broth, eggs, and salt to large mixing bowl.  Add onion, apple, herb mixture from pan.  Gently toss to combine.  Be careful not to over-stir, it can make the bread mushy.
4) transfer mixture to baking dish and spread evenly.  Drizzle reserved butter over top, cover with foil, and bake for 25 minutes.
5) Remove foil an bake 15-20 minutes longer until top is golden brown.
**serves 10-12**

Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake:
1 1/2 cups (30 cookies) crushed gingersnap cookies (I like to use food processor to crush)
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 8oz. pkgs cream cheese, softened (use neufchatel cheese  for 33% lower fat option)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 caramel topping (I buy this from whole foods in a jar)
3 Tbls. flour
3 eggs
Topping: (use recipe below to make topping, or you can use cool whip, or make without the topping)
1 cup whipping cream
2 Tbls brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1) heat oven to 350.  Spray bottom of 9-in springform pan with cooking spray.  Wrap foil on exterior of pan, make sure foil covers bottom and sides (this will prevent the water from seeping into pan during cooking).
2) In small bowl, stir crust ingredients until combined and press into bottom of pan.  Bake crust 10-12 minutes until set.
3) Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Beat in butter until creamy.  Gradually beat in sugar.  Beat pumpkin until blended.  Beat in caramel topping and flour.  Beat in eggs one at a time until blended.
4) Reduce oven to 325.  Pour filling into baked crust.  Place springform pan in large roasting pan.  Fill roasting pan 1/4 full with hot water.  Bake 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 25 minutes until edge of cheesecake is set at least 2 inches from edge.  Center of cheesecake should still jiggle when moved.
5) cool in pan on cooling rack at least 30 minutes.  With sharp knife, loosen cheesecake from side of pan.  cover, and refrigerate at least 8 hours.  
6) For topping, beat cream, brown sugar, and vanilla in small bowl on high speed until soft peaks form.
7) To serve, remove side of springform pan and cut into wedges.  Serve with dollop of whipped cream topping on each wedge.   

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Chips 'n Dips & Things

With the holiday season quickly approaching, it's time for holiday parties, family gatherings, and what can easily be considered the "most wonderful time of the year."  As if this season didn't come with enough stress, us IC'ers also have to deal with the big question of "what if they don't have anything there I can eat?"

There are a couple of ways you can deal with this.  First, you can eat something before you go.  Last year I attended an engagement party where there was literally nothing I could eat, except rolls.  The salad was already tossed with vinegrette, and the main courses all consisted of pasta or meat with tomato sauce.  I snacked on rolls until I finally was dizzy with hunger, and we had to end up leaving so I could get a burger at the hotel bar.  I'll never do that again!  Before you go, eat something light.  Heat up some leftovers, or make a cheese sandwich and have a sliced pear.  At least you'll have something in your stomach before you go, and if they do have something you can eat, you can still indulge.

Another option is asking the party host if you can bring something.  Growing up, at most family gatherings the host would provide the main dish, and everyone would bring a side dish of their choice.  This is a great way to not show up to a gathering empty handed, and you'll ensure that there is something you can eat.

The last option is to host the party yourself.  You can control the entire menu, and have as many IC safe/low-oxalate options as your heart desires!  Why not host an appetizer party?  The food is bite-sized, and you can serve multiple dishes instead of one full meal.  The problem is, what to make that is safe for you and tasty for others?  Here are a few of my personal appetizer favorites that have also been a hit with the guests:

Faux Boursin Cheese Ball:
This recipe is from Bev Laumann's "A Taste of the Good Life", which was one of the first book's I bought after being diagnosed with IC.  This is a party staple for me, and has also become one for my friends and family.  Every time I've served this, I've had at least 2 people ask for the recipe.  Yes, it's that good!
1 8oz package cream cheese (use neufachel for a low-fat option) softened
1 tsp milk
1/4 garlic powder
3/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp drie thyme
1/4 tstp onion salt
1/4 dried basil
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 black pepper (or white pepper for low-oxalate option)
1/8 tsp dried sage
1/2 finely chopped almonds (optional)
Blend together the cream cheese, milk, and remaining ingredient, except the nuts.  Mix until smooth.  Wrap in plastic wrap in general shape of a ball.  Chill for at least 1 hour.  Remove from fridge, and roll in nuts to cover.  Serve in a round platter with IC safe/low oxalate veggies or crackers, and spreading knives.
**you can also omit the nuts by serving the cheese ball right after chilling, before rolling in nuts**

Texas Caviar:
This recipe is adapted from the VP Foundation's Low Oxalate Cookbook-Book Two.  This dip tastes much better than it looks, trust me!
1/2 cup brown lentils, rinsed
1/2 tsp onion salt
1/4 tsp. black or white pepper 
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp olive oil
Cover lentils with water and simmer until mushy, about 35-40 minutes.  In a food processor, add the mushy lentils and remaining ingredients.  Blend until combined.  Serve with pits chips or tortilla chips.

Red Pepper Pinwheels
1 red bell pepper
4 medium flour tortillas (I like Mission white flour Tortillas for a low-oxalate option)
1/2 cup spreadable cheese (you can either use Boursin Garlic & Fine Herbs cheese spread, or you can make the faux-boursin cheese ball above, and use 1/2 cup for this recipe)
1/2 cup chopped fresh tarragon, basil, or mint
1) roast the red pepper.  Preheat broiler, line baking dish with tin foil, place red pepper in dish.  Broil about 10 minutes, turning the pepper every 2-3 minutes to bake evenly.  Take out of oven, wrap broiled pepper with tin foil from baking pan, an let sit for 10 minutes.  This steams the pepper, and makes removing the skin easier.  Peel to remove blackened skin, core, and remove seeds.  Slice into thin strips.  
2) Stack tortillas on a plate, cover with damp paper towel then wax paper.  Heat for 30 seconds in microwave until warm.  
3) Spread 2 Tbls. cheese on tortilla.  Top with about 1/4 of pepper slices.  Sprinkle with herbs.  Roll up tortilla gently but firm.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour, but not more than 4 hours.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.
4) Unwrap tortillas and slice off ragged ends.  Cut each wrap diagonally in about 5 slices, and serve on platter.

Coconut Chicken Skewers:
1 pkg. boneless chicken breasts (about 1lb.)
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs (use white breadcrumbs for low-oxalate option)
1 cup shredded coconut
1 Tbls. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon (cinnamon is high in oxalate, but use in a low enough amount in this recipe)
salt and pepper (white pepper for low-oxalate option)
4 Tbls. Butter
1) Slice chicken into thin strips or in bite-size chunks.
2) Combine breadcrumbs, coconut, brown sugar, salt and pepper in a wide bowl.  
3) Dip chicken first in flour, then egg mixture, then roll in breadcrumb mixture until coated.
4) over medium high heat, melt 2-4 Tbls. butter to coat pan.  Add chicken and pan fry in butter until golden and chicken is cooked through.
5) Add chicken to skewers, or add toothpicks to each chicken bite.  Serve on platter with pear sauce.  

Pear Sauce:
1 cup pear jelly (you can order pear jelly from the IC network, or Braswells makes a low-acid pear jelly)
2 Tbls. pear juice (I use organic Knudsen's pear juice)
1/8 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients.  For a chunkier sauce, stir with spoon and serve.  For a smoother sauce, place in blender or food processor and blend until combined.

Whether you decide to have your own party or bring a dish to someone else's, I hope you enjoy all your holiday gatherings and have a wonderful holiday season!