Monday, December 7, 2009
When Dinner is the Last Thing You Want to Think About...
I love Christmas time, but I tend to overdo things. This past week, I feel like I have been running so far behind on everything. Trying to get the decorating done, attending an ornament exchange, complete with a dozen hand painted ornaments, planning for classes, shopping, etc. I admit, I have neglected the blog a bit, and relied on Thanksgiving leftovers much more than usual. Once those leftovers were gone, I used up more than the usual store of Multiply Meals and Freezer Favorites. It has been so good to have those ready to go.
Alas, I have also been hanging out in Sugar Land. My mom and I have hosted a Cookie Exchange for years. I simply cannot imagine Christmas without it. And since I am certainly not expecting everyone's contributions to be sugar free and low carb, I have been testing standard sugar and flour laden recipes. I am keeping them away from the hubby. I only bake them at my mother's house and leave them there. This past weekend, guilt overcame me, however, and I tested a recipe which could easily be converted to a truly low carb cookie for him. It was a German cookie--Zimtsterne. This recipe used ground nuts, cinnamon, eggs and sugar. I decided to try it with regular sugar before I splurged on the expensive erythritol. This is an odd recipe that mixes the sugar with egg whites. The meringue ended up looking more like marshmallow cream. Not sure if I did it right or not. After working with the world's softest dough, as it was actually closer to batter, I managed to make star cut outs. They were to dry for 24 hours before baking. Did that. But when we baked them, they puffed up. Each cookie seemed to have a mind of its own. Some puffed way more than others. Some looked like a roundish cookie with a star on top. They were definitely the Charlie Brown tree of the cookie world. Ugly is not the word, sad is much closer. They taste wonderful, however. But after all that work, I am on the fence. I don't know if erythritol would perform any differently, and I am hesitant to try.
So, I confess all that to explain why I certainly don't want to be thinking about dinner plans. But we have to eat, and I was naughty and did not follow my prep day plans, choosing to postpone that cooking a couple of days this week. This is last night's dinner that I threw together while I was still trying to get warm from putting up the outside decorations. Brrr. This was really yummy. It is almost the Italian soup recipe from the e-book, but I was running short on ingredients, so I can't say it is actually that recipe. Soups are so forgiving. Into the pot went the last of those cherry tomatoes that were somehow still clinging to my frozen plant. I even threw in a couple of green ones, deciding that they were never going to ripen. Those were a bit tart, but the soup didn't suffer a bit! This dinner left us much warmer and happier. Everyone had seconds. That is always a good indicator.
Quick Italian Soup
1 pound Italian sausage (or 1 package Minute Sausage)
3 green onions
14 ounce chicken broth
2 cups water
1/2 head cauliflower
6 or more cherry tomatoes
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 ounce can of tomato sauce
4 ounces American cheese
2 ounces cream cheese
Brown sausage with chopped green onion. When browned, transfer to a pot. Add broth, water, cauliflower, Italian seasoning, garlic, tomatoes and tomato sauce. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add cheese slices and cream cheese. Stir to incorporate.
Now with the house all decorated, and many of my gifts already purchased, I promise to have more time to devote to some really good low carb Christmas goodies. In fact, I have something chocolatey to try this afternoon. We will see how it works.