Pork

Zoodles & Cheese with Ham and Peas

by Shawnda on March 2, 2015

in Pork,Quick & Easy,The Great Detox of 2015,Veggies & Starches,Zoodles,Zucchini

Zoodles & Cheese with Ham and Peas

Hi. My name is Shawnda and I have the blahs. Can I just put out my Halloween lights (I take back every bad thing I ever said about the suburbs) and start watching Nightmare Before Christmas over and over again?

Because I’d really like to just fast-forward to the fun part of the year. When it’s warm. And there’s sunshine and $350+ electric bills. And football.

Zoodles & Cheese with Ham and Peas

All I wanted to do was chase away the gray-and-sads with a bowl full of spring for lunch.

All I wanted to do was feed the gray-and-sads with a bowl full of cookie dough ice cream for lunch. But there’s no cookie dough or ice cream in the house. Or cookies. Or potato chips. Or anything else starchy and crunchy with which I could self-medicate so vegetables it is.

Zoodles & Cheese with Ham and Peas

Lunch today is courtesy of two of my latest – and still current favorite – kitchen purchases. A spiral vegetable cutter, which turns a pound of zucchini into spaghetti-like strands, and a 1/2 tsp of sodium citrate, which allows shredded havarti cheese to melt without breaking so it can beautifully coat the zucchini noodles.

I sauteed the zucchini noodles, tossed them with chopped ham and leftover peas, and sat down with a bowl of veggies coated in comforting, melty cheese. You won’t quite get the same opiate response that you’d get with a bowl of Blue Bell. But a bowl of Blue Bell wouldn’t have knocked out 2 servings of vegetables on the day either.

Zoodles & Cheese with Ham and Peas

Zucchini noodles with havarti cheese sauce, ham, and green peas.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 407 | Fat: 19g | Fiber 7g | Protein 32g | Carbs 24g

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lb zucchini, cut into spirals (I have this tool)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp sodium citrate
  • 4 oz havarti, shredded
  • 1 1/3 cup peas (if frozen, cook them in the microwave)
  • 4 oz ham, chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil over high heat and add the zucchini noodles.
  2. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes and then transfer to a strainer/colander in the sink (the zucchini will continue to lose water as it cools - you don't want that extra water in your lunch).
  3. Wipe the pan clean and reduce heat to medium-low.
  4. Stir together the water and sodium citrate in the pan until steaming.
  5. Add the cheese and let heat for a minute, and then begin stirring. As the cheese melts, stir more frequently until uniform.
  6. Heat the peas and ham for 1-2 minutes in the microwave (don't add them cold to the cheese sauce).
  7. Add the zucchini and heated ham and peas to the cheese sauce, tossing to coat.
  8. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Notes

Yields: 2 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 20 minutes

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Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya with Cauliflower

Let the good times roll, y’all!

It’s not Fat Tuesday yet but don’t let that stop you. I sure as heck didn’t let it stop me from whipping up a monster pot of chicken and sausage jambalaya. I found it to be the perfect opportunity to try out cauliflower “rice” on the family.

Their verdict? Well, they did let me live to share the recipe. Soo…

Mom: MMMMmmmm
Jason: It’s a little different. And it doesn’t taste much like cauliflower. [That is a win from him.]
Landry: I NEED SOME MILK! [I’ll return my Mother of the Year trophy, stat.]

I never know where to draw the line with her. Because this is the same little girl who took snagged a serrano pepper straight off the plant and took a bite out of it and had absolutely no reaction. None. ZERO.

Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya with Cauliflower

So cauliflower rice is not rice at all. It’s fresh cauliflower florets that have taken a ~15 second low-speed spin through the food processor so that the size and appearance looks rice-ish. But the flavor? All cauliflower.

I happen to adore cauliflower (Exhibits A and B. And C.). I can actually remember the first time I ever ate raw cauliflower: it was the summer after my freshman year in high school (because cauliflower didn’t come in a can), and it was served like we serve every other veggie down here in Texas: with half a squeeze bottle of ranch dressing.

Raw cauliflower can be pretty strong and cooking it will really help reign-in the flavor. And cooking it in a big pot with caramelized vegetables, sausage, chicken, garlic, and bay leaves? The cauliflower is mostly masked by the stronger flavors of the jambalaya.

Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya with Cauliflower

The one real difference between the original recipe and the cauliflower version is the amount of liquid you’ll use at the end of the recipe. The original recipe adds a bunch of chicken stock and water, which the rice would then absorb. With the cauliflower, you’ll only add as much chicken stock as you need to reach the consistency you’re looking for. Where I’m from, the jambalaya isn’t overly soupy so I tried to add as little as possible but as you can see, I did have some standing liquid.

Enjoy it. We sure did. It is a little different but it is every bit as delicious as a more traditional rice version.

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya with Cauliflower "Rice"

Hearty chicken and sausage jambalaya made with cauliflower "rice."

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive or your cooking oil of choice
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 bunch chopped green onions, dark green parts reserved for garnish
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne/red pepper
  • 1lb smoked sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 tsp Tony Chachere Original Creole Seasoning*
  • 1 1/2lb chicken, cut into 1-in cubes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 medium cauliflower head, sliced into florets (will make 3-4 rounded cups of "rice")
  • 1-2 cups chicken stock
  • *Tony's has salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic, onion, and at least oregano. If you can't find it, season the chicken with at least salt and pepper before adding it.

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, white and light green parts of the bunch of green onions, salt, and cayenne. Stirring often and keeping the lid ajar, brown the vegetables for about 20 minutes.
  3. Scrape the bottom and sides to loosen any browned particles. Add the sausage and cook, stirring often and keeping the lid ajar for 10 to 15 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides to loosen any browned particles.
  4. Season the chicken with Tony Chachere's.
  5. Add the chicken and the bay leaves to the pot. Brown the chicken for 8 to 10 minutes, scrapping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned particles.
  6. While the chicken is cooking, add the florets to the bowl of a food processor. Chop on low for 15-20 seconds, until the cauliflower is small and resembles rice.
  7. Add the cauliflower and 1 cup chicken stock.
  8. Cook and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring a few times, until all of the cauliflower has softened. If necessary, add additional chicken stock (I tried to add as little as possible so I wouldn't have a ton of standing liquid).
  9. Remove the pot from the heat and let stand, covered for 2 to 3 minutes.
  10. Remove the bay leaves. Stir in the dark green onions and serve.

Notes

Yields: 8 servings

Adapted from Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya

Estimated time: 1 hour

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Macaroni and Brie with Bacon and Peas

As much time as I’ve spent there over the last couple of years with my mom, you’d think I wouldn’t be so surprised. But I still am. How a hospital, a place with a core business model of healing and wellness, can have such awfully unhealthy food is beyond me.

I spent a week eating from bags, boxes, and coin-operated machines. And unless we’re counting Polynesian sauce as a vegetable, there were some days that I’m certain nothing I took a bite of ever grew in any ground.

But as we’re again returning to some sense of normalcy around here, heavy one house guest (hi mom!), I have returned to zoodling everything in sight and making magical melty cheese sauces. And for those who refuse to jump on my still-a-one-girl zoodle bandwagon, they get pasta with their magical melty cheese sauces. Real pasta.

Macaroni and Brie with Bacon and Peas

I mentioned before how I’ve been playing with sodium citrate for a few weeks. I took a house favorite, Bacon & Pea Macaroni and Cheese, and gave it a makeover with some creamy brie. The original recipe uses fat-free Greek yogurt, pasta water, and easy-melting cheeses to achieve a nice and creamy sauce.

But today’s recipe? It uses brie, milk, and a 1/2 tsp of that sodium citrate to achieve melty perfection. It’s macaroni and cheese with brie.

Macaroni & Brie with Bacon and Peas

Macaroni and Brie. Or at least it would have been if I’d had macaroni and brie. So Bowties & Brie it is! (And I’ll show you the Zoodles & Brie version soon.)

Creamy Brie, Bacon, and Pea Pasta

Make a creamy stovetop macaroni cheese sauce with brie, milk, and a little sodium citrate.

Ingredients

  • 12 oz pasta
  • 8 oz frozen peas
  • 8 oz wheel of brie
  • 5 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 tsp sodium citrate
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. Boil pasta in salted water according to package directions. In the last two minutes of cooking, you'll add the peas to heat through.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, crisp up the bacon (I did it in the microwave) and prepare the brie.
  3. Use a spoon to scrape the white off the brie and then use a vegetable peeler to go around the edge of the wheel to remove the hardened rind.
  4. Cut the wheel in 8 wedges and use the peeler to make a quick pass over the top and bottom surfaces (don't try too hard, doesn't need to be perfect - you just want to minimize the hard portions).
  5. Cut the wedges into cubes.
  6. Drain the pasta and peas.
  7. Return the empty pot to the cooktop over medium heat, add the milk and sodium citrate, and stir to mix.
  8. Add the brie and stir occasionally at first, more frequently when it starts to melt.
  9. When the sauce is smooth, add the pasta and peas to the pot. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. If eating immediately, crumble the bacon into the pot. If not (and to prepare for leftovers), crumble the bacon over when serving so it doesn't get mushy.

Notes

Yields: 4 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 30 minutes

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