Monthly Archives: January 2016

Turkey Meatball Soup

I don’t know about you, but I have put on a few pounds since the Christmas season.  December was a month of lots of baking and gifting AND tasting, maybe more than a taste.  I really can’t afford to put on any more  pounds.  So, I’m looking at some tried and true recipes that have less calories.

I love soup.  Do you?  The only soup I had growing up was Campbell’s Chicken Noodle and Cream of Mushroom.  My mom would only eat the latter.  You see, my grandmother, who lived to 96 years old and died an accidental death, had soup every day.  Grandmother would have a stew-like soup called “Puchero”.  She would separate the broth from the meat and vegetables.  With the broth, she would add some pasta and make soup for the first course.  The meat and veggies were served as the second course.  Since, grandmother had the same lunch every day, Mom developed a dislike to soup.  Not me, I love it.

I’d like to share this soup recipe with you.  It has few calories and little fat. This is fast and easy.  I adapted it from a Susan Sommers’ recipe called “Oriental Turkey Meatball Soup”. I used homemade broth with very little salt added.  Be careful with the broth you use.  It may already contain lots of sodium.  So, watch the soy sauce.  I’ll give you my homemade broth recipe soon.



6 cups Chicken Broth

1 lb. Ground Turkey

2 finely chopped Celery Stalks

5 slices peeled fresh Ginger

2 Tbl. Soy Sauce

1/2 tsp. Hot Chili Oil

2 heads Baby Bok Choy

1 -2 Green Onions

Bring the broth to boil in a large saucepan.  Meanwhile, chop only the greens of the Green Onion.  Add the Green Onion to the Turkey.  Mix with your hands and make 1 inch meatballs.


When the broth boils, add the Turkey meatballs, Celery, Ginger, Soy Sauce, and Chili Oil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.



Then add the Bok Choy for 5 more minutes.  I cut the Bok Choy in fourths because they were a little large.  Usually, they can be cut in half.



Add more Soy Sauce and/or Chili Oil to taste.  Have you been reading all the articles about those people who like cilantro and those who hate it?  Well, I love cilantro.  My daughter hates it.  I topped my bowl with some cilantro leaves…YUM.  (Optional, of course.)


Serves 4, each at  225 Calories, 3.4 grams Fat, 1.3 grams Carbs, 35 grams Protein.

I fix this soup usually for lunch and don’t always have music on.  Once I get everything in the pot, I go and finish my chores until it’s ready.

Soup’s on!

Mediterranean Lentil and Green Olive Salad

I put on a Mozart CD to make this Lentil and Green Olive Salad.  I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for a while now.  It’s from The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook  by Nancy Harmon Jenkins.  It is a simple dish but I think what can make it delicious is the quality of the ingredients.  I kept thinking about an old friend as I considered making  this recipe.  He is a vegetarian.  I remember once he was over and enjoying my lasagna rolls.  I proceeded to tell him what was in them and he giggled.  He told me this joke about a man who was invited to the White House for dinner.  He was served a hamburger.  The man said it was the best hamburger he had ever had.  He asked to go speak to the chef to let him know.  The guest asked what the secret was and the chef answered that they started with USDA Prime Top Sirloin and ground that up.  Then, my friend would smile.  I had heard him tell this joke before and I never got it.  I would smile back at my friend, politely, but I never got it!  I always gave lots of credit to the cook who figures out what ingredients work well together and figures out how to prepare them and get everything on the table looking beautiful.

This man’s joke has been on my mind a lot because I finally got it.  Of course!  The White House was feeding everyone a ground up excellent quality of steak.  A recipe will taste its best only when the best quality ingredients are used.  There are times that ingredients won’t make a big difference but since this recipe is simple, it is essential that you buy the best.  So, I used everything fresh and organic.  I used my own lemons and arugula.  The olives were a Greek Blend which included Kalamata, so, I added them along with the green olives.  They weren’t pitted.  It took a little more work to slice the meat off the pit but it was worth it because they are my favorite.  I, also, used a lovely robust olive oil.  This dish is where you want to use your best EVOO.  It will make the salad.



1/2 lb. brown or green Lentils

1 small Onion, peeled

1 Garlic Clove, peeled

1 Bay Leaf

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 cup pitted Green Olives, coarsely chopped

1 Red Bell Pepper, cut into long thin strips (I left them too long.  Next time I will cut in half.)

1/3 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

3 Tbl. fresh Lemon Juice

Bitter Greens like Arugula, Chicory, Frisée, Radicchio…

Zest of 1/2 lemon, cut into fine julienne strips

1 Tbl. minced Flat-Leaf Parsley


Pick Lentils over carefully, looking for stones or unusual beans.  Rinse under running water.  Place in a saucepan with the Onion, Garlic, Bay Leaf, Salt, Pepper, with 3 cups cold Water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, lower heat, and simmer 30 minutes until Lentils are tender. Check because the time can vary.  Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients.


When the Lentils are done, drain them, discard all the vegetables and mix while still warm with the Olives, Red Peppers, Olive Oil, and Lemon Juice.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

IMG_3864 Serve on a pile of bitter greens.  I mixed some Arugula from the garden with a bit of romaine lettuce I had in the frig.  Garnish with the strips of Lemon and Parsley.


Makes 6 servings.  Each consisting of 274 Calories, 11 grams of Protein, 25 grams of Carbs, 16 grams Fat.

If you are watching your fat intake, by all means use less olive oil.  I have to say that I found the 1/3 cup to be perfect.

Buen Gusto!

Lemon Cream Scones

I made these scones for my fellow volunteers at the food locker.  I bring some baked goods every once and a while for them to try and tell me what they think.  This recipe was a hit.

I am partial to cream scones.  When my son was young, there were many days that he didn’t feel like eating breakfast.  I couldn’t find anything that was appetizing to him.  Now, today, he eats breakfast regularly.  In the earlier years, to enticing him to eat, I would make cream scones with mini chocolate chips.  That would always do the trick.  It’s not the healthiest meal but I wouldn’t make them every day either.  Cream scones are so easy and quick.  I could prep them in 15 minutes and stick them in the oven for another 15 minutes while I would finish getting ready for work.

Today’s recipe came about because my lemon tree is full of beautiful yellow fruit.  Looking for lemon recipes, I found a lemon scone one in The Joy of Cooking.  Great!  As I read over the ingredients, I had everything.  It called for golden raisins and I remembered that one of the volunteers doesn’t care for raisins, plus they just didn’t sound right for this scone.  I kept reading and it did suggest some substitutions for the raisins, like dried apricots, dried blueberries and others.  I didn’t have any on hand but I did have a bit of white chocolate chips.  Well, they aren’t officially called “white chocolate”.  They are called “Choc-au-lait Vanilla Milk Chips”.  A mouthful, but so is the taste.  I always buy Guittard to bake with.  They are the best but I have to stay away from their Milk Chocolate Chips because I’ll eat the whole bag before they make it into any recipe.  Their chocolate is divine.  So, white chocolate chips, it is, I thought.

I don’t usually glaze my scones.  In fact, I am horrible with glazes and frostings.  I can never get them right.  I’ll tell you what I did and you can decide whether to add it or not.  Most people liked it the way I made it but some said it didn’t need the glaze.  Make your own if you have a better one.  In fact, send me the recipe!  I could really use the help.


2 cups Unbleached Flour

1/3 cup + 1 Tbl. Sugar

1 Tbl. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Salt

1-2 Lemons for 1 Tbl. Lemon Zest and 3 Tbl. Lemon Juice

1/4 cup White Chocolate Chips

1 1/4 cups Cream

For scones:


Preheat the over to 425 degrees.  Make sure the rack is in the center of the oven.

Whisk together the Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, and Salt in a large bowl.  IMG_3811

Add the grated Lemon Zest.  I used a microplane.  Have I told you how much I love this tool?

IMG_3813Add the White Chocolate Chips.

IMG_3815Stir with a spatula until the Lemon Zest and Chocolate Chips are mixed in.  Add the Cream and continue to stir until the dough gets too stiff.  Continue mixing with your hands.IMG_3819IMG_3820Once the dough is formed, dust a little flour in a 12 inch round pan or cookie sheet.  Knead the dough right in the pan five or six times.  I got this trick from my nephew, Peter.  He is an actual chef!  The recipe says to turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead 5 – 6 times.  When Peter saw me do this, he suggested to do it right in the pan.  What a genius!  The pan takes no special preparation and the dough won’t stick to it while you knead.  Saves time and clean-up.  Perfect.

Anyway, once you have kneaded the dough, roll it out to an 8 inch circle with a rolling pin.


Slice the circle into 12 pieces.

IMG_3825Pull 1/2 inch apart.

IMG_3826Brush with cream. There is usually just enough in the previously used measuring cups.

IMG_3828Bake in a 425 degree oven for 12 -15 minutes.

For Glaze:

Mix the 3 Tbls. Lemon Juice with 2/3 cups Confectioner’s Sugar.  Pour over the scones.

Like I said earlier, I’m not totally happy with this glaze.  It was very thin, so it gave the scones a very light cover and mostly drained down the pan.  You might like a thicker one.  I think something like a donut type icing.  If you know of one, please comment below.


Makes 12 servings of 163 Calories, 3.7 grams Fat, 30.4 grams Carbs, 2.9 grams Protein. (without the glaze)

The best music in the early morning for me is the Classical station on NPR.  No news, please, just soothing, upbeat music.

These scones are quick and easy – worth a try.