Homemade Lamb Stock

Last night I shattered poor Mary’s heart when I turned her little lamb’s leg into soup stock.

That was probably a bit morbid and overly dramatic.  I apologize to those of you who choose not to eat meat for political reasons.  But damn, that lamb was tasty.

When I buy something like a lamb leg, I do my absolute best not to waste any bit of it.  It’s pretty expensive, first off, and it’s delicious too, so why would I want to waste any?  Usually I buy a leg when it’s on sale and then cut the meat into 8-oz portions and stick them in the freezer.  The first time I did this, I knew I didn’t want to just throw away the bone.  I mean, that’s a big bone!  And it’s FULL of flavor.  So I looked up a few recipes for some inspiration and made my very first batch of homemade stock that night.

I used that first batch of lamb stock to make Italian Chicken Noodle Soup.  Wow, was it good!  The second time I made lamb stock (this is only the third time I’ve bought a leg of lamb.  I make it last.)  I used it to make a Lamb Kale and White Bean Soup.  I’ll be sharing the recipe for that later this month.  You absolutely must try it.  It’s divine.

In case you haven’t tasted lamb before, here’s a lame attempt at describing the flavor: It’s meaty, but almost sweet in a nutty kind of way.  It’s rich and tastes slightly creamy when it’s cooked properly.  Jess says it’s a sensual meat; the “lavender” of meat.  It’s a flavor that works perfectly with certain spices like mint, cumin and masala or rosemary and garlic, but you can’t just throw it in a pan and expect it to cook up like a steak with some rub.  Well, maybe you can, but I haven’t done that.  It seems disrespectful.  I always have a plan for my lamb and now you will too!

lamb, stock, homemade, soup, broth

Homemade Lamb Stock
Yield: about 4 quarts
PointsPlus for whole Yield: 1

Ingredients

  • Lamb leg bone
  • 1 potato, cut in fourths
  • 3 celery stalks, cut in fourths
  • 1 onion, cut in fourths
  • 2 large carrots, cut in fourths
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp whole dried thai chilis (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 quarts water

Directions

1. Put all ingredients into a stock pot, bring to a boil for 3 minutes and then turn down to low for about 4 hours.  Or you could just put it all in a crockpot and put it on low for 6-8 hours.

2. Once it’s done cooking, throw away (or somehow use) all the solid ingredients and strain the stock into a container until you are ready to use.  It can be refrigerated or frozen.

This can be applied to any bone, really.  If you have a roaster chicken that you haven’t cooked yet, you can use the bones in this rather than the lamb.  You can do the same with some beef bones too.  I wouldn’t use this recipe for fish stock, though.  I haven’t made that yet, so I can’t attest to this being the proper procedure and/or flavors.

Have you ever made your own stock?  How did you do it?

Beef and Pinto Bean Chili

chili, beef, pinto bean, warm meals, soup, stew

January is one of my favorite months to make stews and chilis.  It’s the best way to heat up your body when you literally turn into a meat popsicle the minute you step outside.  Eat some chili to stop being chilly!  The word “chili” actually comes from “chile con carne”, which means “peppers with meat” in Spanish, which makes complete sense, so I’m going to stop myself from spewing out a bunch of ridiculous, stupid-American jokes about food vs. weather :)

In all actuality, I want to focus on warm soup/chili/stew recipes in January because you all are probably looking for some new ones to try while you’re trying to stay warm.  Here’s the first one!  I found it on the 2013 Cooking Light recipe box calendar that Jess got me for Christmas.  I love it!  I’m speaking about the calendar AND the chili.

Calendar = food porn.  Chili = delicioso.

I happened to have a bag of dry pinto beans laying around from an Aldi shopping trip from loooooong ago.  Seriously, I’ve had these beans for a YEAR.  They’re not my bean of choice, so naturally I didn’t think to use them. When I saw this recipe and realized I had every single ingredient in my kitchen (including the pinto beans!), I knew I had to make it!  So I did.  At 11pm on a Thursday night.  I soaked the beans for a day, then I stuck all the ingredients in the crockpot, put it on low and went to bed.  And at 3am, Jess woke me up because the delicious smells lured her out of sleep, lol.

I brought some in to work on Friday to share with my friend, Richard.  He is a spicy food fanatic like myself and he recently acquired this ridiculously spicy hot sauce.  The first time Richard tried it, his mouth was on fire, he felt like he was dying and laid on the floor curled up in a ball for about two hours.  He put a bit too much on his BBQ sandwich.  He also felt like a demi-god when he survived it.  So, of course, I wanted to try it!  What more perfect pairing is there than chili and hot sauce?  NONE!  (except maybe sea salted caramel and dark chocolate)  So we put about 1.5 tsp into a mere 1.5 cups of chili, stirred it up and ate it in the break room at work.  HOLY CRAP.  That sauce is HOT!  A sweet hot with a gentle, but voracious fire that makes the inside of your mouth sweat and then fires up your belly slowly from the top down.  But you know what?  It tasted great even when it was burning its way through my body and I now feel like a superhuman!  I WANT MORE.  I’m totally getting a bottle because it belongs in my kitchen.  And in this chili.

beef, pinto bean, bean, chili, soup, stew, dinner

Beef and Pinto Bean Chili (from Cooking Light)
Servings: 6
PointsPlus Per Serving: 8 (10 with topping) *See tips on lightening it up even more at the bottom*

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces, 18 PP
  • 1/4 tsp salt, divided
  • 2 tbsp canola oil, 7 PP
  • 4 cups chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup minced jalapeno peppers
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 12-oz bottle beer, 5 PP
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste, 1 PP
  • 3 cups fat-free beef broth (like Better Than Bouillon Beef Base), 1 PP
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained, 8 PP

Topping

  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced radish
  • 1 avocado, chopped, 9 PP
  • 6 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 6 tbsp light sour cream, 5 PP
  • 6 lime wedges

Directions
1. Heat a dutch oven over high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle beef evenly with 1/4 tsp salt. Add beef to pan; saute 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove from pan.

2. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and jalapeno; saute 8 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; saute 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in beer, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; bring to a boil. Cook until liquid almost evaporates (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in paprika, cumin, and tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Return beef to pan. Add broth, tomatoes and beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 1.5 hours or until mixture is thick and beef is very tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining 1/2 tsp salt.

4. Ladle 1 cup chili into each of 6 bowls and divide toppings evenly.

OR JUST PUT ALL THE INGREDIENTS IN A CROCKPOT (minus the olive oil) AND COOK ON LOW FOR 4-8 HOURS.  heh.

**WAYS TO LIGHTEN THIS UP**
– Use half as much meat and this goes down to 6 PP per cup.
– Need some extra filler in now that you’ve take out some of the meat? Add a cup of diced zucchini and 1/2 cup chopped celery and your chili will be hearty and healthy and remain at 6 PP per cup.
– If you use half the oil and only 2.5 cups of onion (not adding in the celery and zucchini), it goes down to 5 PP per cup.
– Top with fat-free sour cream or leave out either the light sour cream or the avocado and you’ll only be adding 1 PP per bowl rather than two. (if you’re using the topping).

Balsamic Beef and Veggie Soup

beef stew, balsamic, soup, dinner

Yummy yummy in my tummy!

You can tell it’s the winter season when the majority of my recipes are soups, stews or chili. Here’s more proof that it’s cold outside! Although not today… it’s a freaky 65 degrees, which Maxwell and I enjoyed with a long walk outside. But that’s beside the point; I still made some damn soup.

This one was thrown together when I went home during a lunch hour to check on our sick little poochie. I peeled/cut everything, threw it in the crockpot and came home to fantastical smells permeating from our apartment. If you follow these simple steps, you too shall experience such fantastical smells permeating from YOUR home. Ridiculously awesome, right?

Balsamic Beef and Veggie Soup
Servings: 4 (2 cups each)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 8 (or 4 PP per 1 cup)

Ingredients

  • 9.5 oz lean and trimmed steak, 12 PP
  • 5 oz frozen green beans
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 medium red potatoes, diced, 12 PP
  • 3/4 cup sliced carrots
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste, 1 PP
  • 3 tsp Better Than Bouillon beef base, 1 PP
  • 5 tsbp balsamic vinegar, 2 PP
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Directions
1. Chop up all those veggies and the meat and throw in into the crockpot. Then mix the tomato paste and bouillon base into the water and pour over the veggies. Pour in the balsamic vinegar and the rest of the spices. Cook on low for six hours and enjoy!

Yep, that’s the beauty of a crockpot.  No worries, just dinner!

Pork Enchilada Soup

Click here for this Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe from the “Cooking Classy” blog!

Thanksgiving weekend is upon us and I DID promise this recipe to a few of my facebook followers, so here you go! You can be thankful that I got it up amongst my busy days :)

This is a soup that is very easily thrown together and very easily modified to your own tastes. I prefer green enchilada sauce, but I’m sure that red enchilada sauce would work as well. This is also amazing as leftovers! I just top it off with some tortilla strips and I’m in heaven. I’ve made it with chicken before, but I think there’s something extra special about the pork flavor in here, so try it with the pork first if you can. And at 6 points per serving (and they are quite large servings; almost 2 cups worth!) this is definitely a soup you can enjoy as a dieter!

FYI, I recently downloaded a great app to my iPad called My Recipe Book. It lets you import recipes directly to your iPad! You can either import them from typical websites like AllRecipes or Epicurious, or you can “custom import” recipes from ANY website, including blogs! I started importing some of my own recipes using the app and I found that when I had the little dashes in front of my individual ingredients, it messed up the import and I needed to manually remove them. In order to make it easier for you all to import my recipes when using this app or similar ones, I’ll be going through all my recipes and removing the dashes from in front of the ingredients. Apps are about convenience, so I’d might as well do my part to make getting my recipes through this app TRULY convenient! You should all check it out. I love it!

Click here for this Chicken Enchilada Soup recipe from “The Family Kitchen”!

Pork Enchilada Soup
Servings: 6
PointsPlus Per Serving: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil, 4 PP
  • 8 oz raw pork loin, cut into bite sized chunks 8 PP
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder or regular chili powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp hot chili pepper, minced
  • 4 cups fat-free chicken broth, 1 PP
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pouch/can green enchilada sauce, 4 PP
  • 1 tbsp dried cilantro flakes (or fresh!)
  • 1 cup corn, 5 PP
  • 2/3 cup uncooked white rice, 12 PP (replace with brown rice if you’d like. It’ll just take longer to cook)
  • 2 large jalapeno peppers, chopped, 1 PP
  • 2/3 cup mixed sweet peppers, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Click here for this Chicken Enchilada Soup recipe from “Amy Bites”!

Directions
1. Heat up a large soup pot with the olive oil over medium heat. Put in the onion, hot pepper (I like habanero!) and garlic and cook until fragrant (just a couple minutes at most). Then put in the pork. Sprinkle the chili powder and some salt and pepper over top. Cook until the pork is no longer raw and then pour the chicken broth and extra water over top.

2. Pour in the enchilada sauce, cilantro flakes, corn, rice, jalapeno peppers and sweet peppers. Bring to a boil and let it boil for a few minutes, then turn it down to medium low and let it cook until the rice is done. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Top it off with some tortilla strips and MAYBE some sour cream and/or cheese if you’d like and enjoy! Quick and easy!

You can add beans in there if you want, but with the rice and corn, your carb sector is covered. Basically, anything that you’d want to eat as a normal enchilada, put in the soup (except for the actual soft tortilla). You could do sweet potato, black bean and pork. You could try shrimp, zucchini and corn. It’s really hard to fail at this one. Just remember to put in the enchilada sauce! It really makes it.

Spicy Beef Lentil Chili

lentil chili beef

Photo Courtesy of the “Debbie Does Dinner” blog!

My friend, Carissa, found this recipe on AllRecipes, modified it to her tastes and then sent it to me when I begged her for it.  I modified it as well by using beef instead of turkey, adding in white beans and upping the spices a bit.  It’s got the perfect level of heat for me… which could mean it’s a bit spicy for other people, but I also use very pure chili powder, so it could just be that!

This is a perfect dish to eat on such a perfectly chilly day like today!  It’ll warm you from your head to your toes and leave you with a bunch to eat throughout the week.  Score?  I think so :)

Spicy Beef Lentil Chili
Servings: 15 (1 cup each)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 4

Ingredients

  • 8 oz raw 85/15 lean ground beef, 12 PP
  • 2 cups cooked white beans, 11 PP
  • 3 cups dry green lentils, 24 PP
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 quarts chicken/vegetable broth, 3 PP (I used water and 3 tbsp Better than Bouillon Organic Chicken Base)
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin, 2 PP
  • 2 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp chili powder, 1 PP
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric, 1 PP
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp sea salt

Directions
1. But everything into a giant pot, turn on medium heat and cook for about 3-4 hours! Easy, right? You could even do this in a crockpot… but I’d recommend splitting the recipe in half because it is a LOT for a crockpot.  I even halved the written recipe after making it at home since the crockpot almost overflowed.  I had to put it into a pot and continue cooking it in there!

Top it off with a little Chobani 0% and you’ll be set!  If you don’t eat meat, you can leave it out and put tofu in there.  A little trick for those vegans out there… if you want your tofu to take on a similar texture to ground meat, try freezing your tofu and then thawing it.  Once you’ve drained it, it’ll have the texture you’re going for!

Curried Yellow Squash Soup

On my FB page, I got a request for a good recipe to use with Yellow Squash. Well, I found something that’s different than just a saute or a casserole or covered in cheese. Curried Yellow Squash Soup! This recipe is one that you can all enjoy, no matter if you are vegetarian, dairy-free or just in the mood for something a bit different.

Spicy Lamb and Potato Stew

Life has been busy!  I apologize for the lack of blogging.  I’ll be getting back on that now.  Today I’m sharing a recipe that I tried in the colder months, but figured I’d share with you now before it’s WAY too hot for a stew!  Later this week – another frittata, protein smoothies and other tasty goodness.

This recipe comes from The Best Ever Indian Cookbook, just like most of my other Indian recipes.  Jess and I both really enjoyed this, especially since it actually DOES have a kick to it!  The flavors just blend really well together.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Topped off with a little chobani and we’re good to go!

Spicy Lamb and Potato Stew
Servings: 3
PointsPlus Per Serving: 7

Ingredients

  • 8 oz lamb leg or loin, cubed, 6 PP
  • 1 tbsp oil, 4 PP
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 fresh green chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, 1 PP
  • 2 1/2 cups raw potato, cut in large chunks, 7 PP
  • chopped fresh cilantro to garnish

Directions
1. Remove any visible fat from the lab and cut the meat into neat 1-inch cubes.

2. Heat the oil in a large heavy pan and fry the onion, bay leaves, chile and garlic for 5 minutes.

3. Add the meat and cook for about 6-8 minutes, until lightly browned.

4. Add the ground coriander, round cumin, ground turmeric, chili powder, and salt and cook the spices for 3-4 minutes, stirring all the time to prevent the spices from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

5. Add the tomatoes and stock and simmer for 5 minutes. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

6. Add the bitesized chunks of potato to the simmering mixture, stir in, and cook for another 30-40 minutes, or until the meat is tender and much of the excess juices have been absorbed, leaving a thick, but minimal sauce. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and serve piping hot.

Arabian Rice and Lentil Soup

Angela:

So I’ve decided to try this “reblogging” thing. Basically, once or twice week, I’ll search for a delicious looking recipe that includes WW Points and reblog it. Here’s a recipe I found that all my vegetarian friends will love! Everyone needs a little tofu in their lives. And it’s only 5 PP per serving :)

Originally posted on Please Pass the Tofu:

Looking for a new soup to try?  This Lebanese soup/stew from Appetite for Reduction is delicious.  The whole family loved it, and it’s very easy to make.   Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 cups diced carrots
  • 1 cup dried red lentils (I think I used yellow)
  • 1/2 cup brown basmati rice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  1. Spray olive oil into a 4 quart pot over medium high heat and saute onions till translucent.
  2. Add garlic, pepper, salt, cumin, coriander and stir a minute.
  3. Add carrots, lentils, rice, zest, broth.
  4. Cover pot and bring to boil, then simmer for 40 minutes stirring occasionally and adding water if necessary.
  5. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Let…

View original 29 more words

Simple Broccoli Soup

Sometimes life’s complicated and you just want something simple to calm you down and let you catch your breath. If that’s how you feel today, you should make this soup. Believe me, it will calm you down and let you relax. It will also surprise your taste buds at how delicious a soup can be despite the fact that it has NO broth and No preservatives added! It’s simple – veggies, water, salt and a blender. Well, there’s a little more to it, but nothing you can’t handle :)

I came up with this recipe after watching an episode of Gordon Ramsey’s “Kitchen Nightmares”. He’s definitely not a simple person, but he definitely knows how to keep his food simple and delicious! He came up with a soup that was literally just water, broccoli and salt. I wanted to do something along those lines, so I looked through my cookbooks at different soup recipes to see what looked good to me. I ended up using my own mix of veggies and spices to create this pure, creamy, hearty soup. I hope you enjoy! Bella and I sure did. And this is DEFINITELY going on the menu of the bistro that I’ll open up some day!

Photo Courtesy of: Jess Costantini of Beautiful Orange Productions

Simple Broccoli Soup
Servings: 2 BIG BOWLS (like 2.5-3 cups each)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 5

Ingredients

  • 2 small white potatoes, cubed (I left the skin on for added nutrients!), 3 PP
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1/2 big white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp olive oil, 1 PP
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 chili powder

Directions
1. Cut off the florets of the broccoli, rinse and set aside. Then cut up the stems of the broccoli (and rinse), cube the potato, smash the garlic cloves and slice the onion.

2. Warm up the olive oil in a soup pot, add the broccoli stems, onion, garlic, potato, bay leaf, and 1/2 tsp of the salt. Saute for about 2 or 3 minutes until fragrant.

3. Add 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and let cook for about 5 minutes. Then, add the broccoli florets and cook for about 5-7 more minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Then, turn off the stove top and plug in the blender!

4. Pour the soup mixture into a separate bowl, but make sure to discard the bay leaf! Put two ladle-fulls of the soup into the blender at a time and puree until smooth. Pour the pureed soup back into the pot on the stove and put on low.

5. Once it’s back to cooking on the stove, add in the black pepper, chili powder and the rest of the salt. Let simmer for a few minutes before serving.

If you want, add a little parmesan cheese on top.  Bella’s favorite is a sharp, tangy parmesan called “locatelli”.  Not many soups or pasta dishes pass by her without a sprinkling of locatelli on it, and rightfully so.  It’s delicious.  Personally, I don’t add a thing to this soup.  Although, I do think that some croutons or crusty bread would be a great addition!

Chinese Noodle Soup with Chicken and Arugula

Photo Courtesy of: Jess Costantini from Beautiful Orange Productions

Anyone who knows me knows that I love Asian food. And those closest to me know that I love soup. I could eat it every day for lunch! It’s not so helpful when I’m trying not to be boring an monotonous, but it DOES help when I need something quick, hearty, filling and relatively low in points.

I found this recipe for Chinese Noodle Soup in my WW Cookbook and I was dying to try it! I ended up changing things around a bit and adding some new ingredients and changing portion sizes of ingredients, so it really ended up being a completely new soup! And it was gooood. We ate every last bite!  The arugula was a fantastic addition with it’s mustardy/peppery bite.  It was definitely hearty, full of flavor, and made us feel quite content afterward. How can I NOT share such a tasty bit of happiness with you?  I mentioned it in an earlier post, so…. Teresa, this happiness is especially for you!

Chinese Noodle Soup with Chicken and Arugula
Servings: 3 (2 heaping cups per serving! you seriously get a whole bowlful!)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 8
Calories Per Serving: 580

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth, 1 PP
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 chicken breast, 6 PP
  • 1 tsp red chili oil, 1 PP
  • 2 tsp dark sesame oil, divided, 2 PP
  • 3 cups sliced up bok choy (or chinese cabbage!)
  • 1 cup matchstick cut carrots
  • 2 cups cooked asian noodle of your choice (I recommend glass/bean thread noodles), 12 PP
  • 1 handful arugula
  • 2 scallions thinly sliced (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. If you haven’t prepared your noodles yet, prepare as instructed and set aside.

2. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. Put red chili oil and 1 tsp sesame oil in a small skillet. Cook chicken in it until just until completely cooked through. Turn off burner and set aside.

3. Combine broth, scallions (if you’re using them), sliced garlic, ground ginger, soy sauce, garlic powder, a bit of salt and pepper and other tsp of sesame oil in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 3 minutes.

4. Add bok choy and carrots. Simmer for about 7 minutes.

5. Stir in chicken, noodles and arugula. Simmer until arugula is wilted, about 2 minutes longer. Serve hot and enjoy!

Photo Courtesy of: Jess Costantini from Beautiful Orange Productions