Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mediterranean Vegetable Pasta

There are plenty of bad things having IC has brought me, but one good thing I can say is it forces me to try new things and always cook fresh.  I spend more time in the produce section than I ever had before and I think that is a good thing.  I had never cooked snap peas, squash, or zucchini... and I love them! One example of fresh eating and my love of vegetables is this dish.   It's light and great for summer.   It's blander than what I normally cook, but the flavors are mostly the vegetables and they really sing.   The honey & brown sugar add a hint of sweetness that is just yummy.   I found this recipe online and have adjusted it to my taste.  If you want something heartier, it would probably be good with grilled chicken as well.
4 servings Thin Spaghetti
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Butter
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 small Yellow Onion, sliced into strips
1 Carrot, chopped
1 medium Zucchini, sliced
1 medium Squash, sliced
2 Cups Sugar Snap Peas
1 tsp chopped Basil Leaves
2-3 Tbsp organic Honey
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
Sprinkle Brown Sugar
2/3 Cup Mozzarella Cheese

Cook and drain spaghetti as directed on package.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat Oil & Butter over medium heat.  Saute Garlic and Onion, then add Carrots, Onion, Zucchini, Squash, and Sugar Snap Peas, stirring frequently until vegetables are crisp-tender.

Stir in remaining ingredients, except cheese;  cook until hot.  Serve vegetable mixture over spaghetti.  Sprinkle with Cheese.

Butterscotch Blondies

This recipe comes from the IC-Friendly Cookbook, Confident Choices by Julie Beyer.  If you don't have it, I highly recommend you get it.  It has some great gems in it like this tasty treat! 

1/4 C shortening or butter
1 C light brown sugar, packed
1 Egg
1/2 tsp Vanilla
3/4 C Sifted Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 C Butterscotch Chips

Heat oven to 350.  Melt Butter over low heat.  Remove from heat and blend in Brown Sugar.  Cool.  Stir in Egg and Vanilla.  In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir dry mixyure into butter, sugar, egg mixture.  Fold in Butterscotch Chips.  Spread in well-greased and floured square pan 8x8x2 inches.  Bake 20-25 minutes until a light touch with finger leaves a slight print.  Cut into bars while warm.

IC Friendly Chicken Nachos

Yes, we can still have nacho's!!!  This version I make is hearty and will fill your belly for sure!

Cooked Chicken Diced (I sprinkle mine with onion powder and grill in Olive Oil)
Tortilla Chips
Black Beans, rinsed well (Omit if you can't handle these or are unsure and are being safe)
Green Onion, diced
Red Bell Pepper, diced
Mozzarella Cheese
Sprinkle Cumin (I think this is on the maybe list.  I can handle it in small amounts on a good bladder day)

Spread Tortilla Chips on oven pan (put down foil first for easier clean up).  Layer each chip with all ingredients above (I'm very generous with the cheese) and sprinkle very lightly with Cumin.   Make as many layers as you wish.   Bake at 400 about 10 minutes until cheese is melted and starts to golden.

Chicken Pasta w/ Pesto

My Chicken version of Shrimp Pasta w/ Pesto for the hubs.  I altered a few ingredients as well.  

2 Boneless Chicken Breast
Cooked pasta (I used angel hair)
1 small Yellow Onion
1 Red Bell Pepper
3 Tbsp IC Friendly Pesto
Sprinkle Garlic Salt
3/4 Cup Feta Cheese
1/2 Cup Pine Nuts
1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Sprinkle Garlic Powder
Sprinkle Onion Powder

Cook pasta, set aside.  Sprinkle the Chicken with Garlic Powder & Onion Powder and grill on stove in Olive Oil (about 6 minutes each side).   When cooked, cut into pieces.   Combine Pasta, Vegetables, Pine Nuts, Cheese, and Pesto.  Sprinkle with Garlic Salt.  Cook about 10 minutes.  Serve & Enjoy!

Shrimp Pasta w/ Pesto

This is another yummy Pesto dish.   I created it myself and make similar version with Chicken since the hubs doesn't like fish, but this is so good I still make just for myself sometimes.

15 shrimp
Cooked pasta (I use linguini)
1 small Yellow Onion
1 Red Bell Pepper
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup fresh parsley
2 Tbsp IC Friendly Pesto
Sprinkle Garlic Powder
Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese (can use Mozzarella or Feta if Parmesan bothers you)
1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Butter

Cook pasta, set aside.  Saute shrimp in Butter & Olive Oil.  Add Pasta & Vegetables.   Sprinkle w/ Garlic Powder.  Add Pesto.  Cook about 10 minutes.  Garnish with Cheese & Serve.

Pesto Mini-Pizza's

These always sound good to me.   I make them when I'm wanting something hot & fast for lunch or a light dinner.   The hubby loves them too!

Natures Own Plain English Muffin or Pepperidge Farm Deli Flat (both work well)
2-3 Tbsp IC Friendly Pesto
1-2 Tbsp chopped Yellow Onion
1-2 Tbsp chopped Red Bell Pepper
1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese
Sprinkle Garlic Powder
Sprinkle  Parsley

Preheat Oven to 375.  Spread Pesto on Muffin or Flats.  Add Onion, Bell Pepper, Mozzarella Cheese.   Sprinkle with Garlic Powder and Parsley (for color).    Cook in oven until cheese is melted (about 5-8 minutes).   Turn oven to Broil and cook another minute or two until cheese browns slightly.

Pesto Herb Spread/Dip

I found this delicious dip recipe on allrecipies.com but adjusted it a tad based on the reviews and what I usually keep in my refrigerator.  I've made it for family and it was a huge hit!   It's great with Club Crackers, Triscuits, Pita Chips, or with Vegetables for a healthier option.   Would probably be yummy as a spread on sandwiches or roll-ups as well. 
1, 8-ounce package cream cheese (brick not tub)
2 overflowing Tablespoons IC Friendly Pesto
1 Tablespoon chopped Chives (green onion)
1 Tablespoon milk (to make a bit creamier)

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.   Top with a few extra chives for a fancier look.  Can add crunch by coating the finished spread with almonds (I haven't tried this yet).   Keep refrigerated.

IC Friendly Pesto

Pesto was one of my first inspiring discoveries after being diagnosed with IC.  It is so flavorful and can be used many different ways.   I found this recipe online here.  It doesn't make alot, but I've learned that a little goes a long way.   It also freezes well so I make double batches all the time to save up for winter.   Basil can be expensive so I bought a cheap basil plant that keeps me fully stocked all summer long.   I use this Pesto to make dips, spread on turkey sandwiches, in pasta dishes, and as a sauce on mini pizza's.   You will see it used often in my other recipes.

4 Cups fresh basil leaves (about 2 large bunches) need not dry them
1/3 Cup packed fresh chopped parsley, need not dry them
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
5 Cloves Garlic (sometimes I add more, love garlic!)
1/3  Cup lightly toasted Pine Nuts
1/4 Cup grated Parmesan Cheese (leave out if you can't handle)
1 1/2 teaspoon Pink Rock Salt
1/2 teaspoon Lemon Oil
1/4 teaspoon Lemon Zest
4 Tbsp Melted Butter
Pinch Nutmeg

Toasting the Pine Nuts:
Place the Pine Nuts on a cookie sheet.  Place in a 400 degree oven and toss several times until Nuts are light golden brown, about 5-6 minutes.

Combine first all ingredients and blend until past forms.  You'll probably have to stop often to push the basil down to the bottom.   Enjoy!   Can freeze up to 6 months.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sarah's Chicken Salad

I got this recipe from a good friend who also has Interstitial Cystitis.  It is one of my favorites and I make it all the time.   The original recipe calls for a full brick (8oz) of cream cheese, but I reduced it to save on calories.    It can be served on sandwich, in a tortilla, or with crackers (my fav!).

2, 5 ounce cans (or 1 large) Valley Fresh 100% Natural White Chicken in Water
1/3 Large Cucumber diced into small squares
1 Cup Blueberries
1/2 Cup Green Onions
4 ounces Original Cream Cheese (Brick not tub due to the preservatives in the tub kind)

Drain the water from the cans of chicken very well and place in a bowl.  Add the Cream Cheese and mix with large wooden spoon until spread evenly (takes a while).  Add the Cucumber, Blueberries, Green Onion and stir.  Enjoy!