Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Warm & Toasty

At first glance, this soup's ingredients will make you raise an eyebrow. But trust me on this one - it is totally crave-able! The soup was one of the Week 4 Dinners from my 2013 cleanse and I have made it at least once every year since. Nom nom...

Serves 4
4 c. low sodium chicken broth
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 minced garlic clove
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced (~2 c.)
8 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 in. pieces
1/2 c. smooth almond butter
1 c. collard leaves, coarsely chopped (~3 leaves)
1/2 t. ground ginger
Juice of half a lime (don't skip this -it adds so much flavor!)
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1. Combine broth, onion, garlic, and sweet potato in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the chicken. Cover and simmer for 20 min.
2. Add the collard leaves and ground ginger. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover for 5 min.  In a small bowl, whisk together almond butter and 1/2 c. of the soup mixture into a thick paste. Stir almond butter paste and lime juice into the soup. Season with salt and pepper.

This is a repeat recipe from Valentine's Day week 2013, but it is one of my favorites! I will warn you though, it has ruined every other French toast for me. The genius of this recipe is the omission of egg whites which gives the finished product a custard-like interior. Divine. But now I can't eat any other French toast without being overwhelmed by the sulfury flavor of those darn egg whites...

It's hard to improve upon an America's Test Kitchen recipe. However, I do omit the melted butter because I typically cook my French toast on a griddle that has just cooked bacon (oh yeah!).  So, I don't feel the need for extra fat. I also reduce the amount of brown sugar from 3 tablespoons to 1 tablespoon because honestly, nobody is going to eat French toast without at least a drizzle of something sweet on top.

Speaking of which... I have been super into swapping my syrup for fruit toppings lately. It makes me feel a little bit better about all of the white flour and sugar I'm consuming. :)  My favorite topping on French toast is the plum syrup in the recipe below. But I recently made Cooking Light's blueberry topping for lemon ricotta waffles that was delicious. And for Christmas morning last year I made Ellie Krieger's whole wheat waffles with a yummy strawberry topping that uses maple syrup instead of sugar as the sweetener.

Ok, so I have a lot of thoughts about French toast! And now this song is stuck in my head...

French Toast (adapted from America's Test Kitchen) with Plum Syrup (adapted from Michel Roux) - V
Serves 4
2 T. sugar
1 bay leaf
2 plums, diced with pits removed
8 slices lightly toasted challah bread, ~1/2 in. thick
1 1/2 c. milk
3 large egg yolks
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1 T. vanilla extract
1. Place plums, sugar, bay leaf, and 2 T. of water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Let simmer until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool.
2. Preheat a non-stick electric griddle to 325 degrees and spray with cooking spray. Whisk remaining ingredients together in a large baking dish.
3. Soak toasted bread in milk mixture 20 seconds per side. Using a firm slotted spatula, pick up bread slice and allow excess liquid to drip off. Transfer to griddle and cook 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown.
4. Remove bay leaf from plum sauce and serve with French toast.

Fast. Easy. Delicious. 'Nuff said.

Serves 4
1 1/2 pound skirt steak (or any steak you like)
Salt and pepper
Cooking spray
2 T. butter
1 lb. Brussels sprouts
1/4 c. sliced almonds
2 t. fresh lemon juice (about 1/4 lemon)
1. Cut steak in half and generously season steak with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Add steak and cook to desired doneness, about 5 min per side. Transfer to a plate to rest.
2. Meanwhile, halve and then thinly slice Brussels sprouts. Heat empty skillet to medium and add butter to melt. Add Brussels sprouts and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until crisp-tender, 3-5 min. Remove from heat and stir in almonds and lemon juice.

This was one of the Week 1 dinners from my 2013 cleanse. It works really well as a vegetarian entree, but I also like pairing it with pork tenderloin or a mild white fish.

Servings: 4 sides or 2 main courses
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. Kalamata olives
1/4 c. sliced almonds
1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle cauliflower and red pepper with 2 T. olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until golden, 18-20 min.
2. Whisk together remaining 2 T. olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over vegetables. Top with olives, almonds, and parsley, if using.

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