Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Guest Post: Recipe Review!!

Hello Beauties!

My life long friend and fellow blogger has agreed to do a special guest post today for me! Unfortunately, my grandma on my mom's side isn't doing well. Her health has slowly declined for a few years now and God has decided the time has come for her to soon go. I decided to go to Iowa for a few days to spend some time with her while she's still with us. So in my abscence, here is the terribly witty and funny Sarah!

Whoa! That was a heck of an introduction. I was sad when Mandy said she was heading out of town to be with her grandma- I've been lucky enough to know her grandmother and she's a wonderful person. It really made me think about how important family truly is in this life- and of course you can't think about grandma's without thinking about comfort food. Everyone has a family favorite, handed down through generations, usually something tied to their families ethnic roots.
Here in middle-of-nowhere Kansas, there are a lot of Germans. Germans are seriously good cooks! A favorite of both Mandy & I around these parts is green bean & dumpling soup! The original recipe involves  potatoes, green beans, bacon, butter, and heavy whipping cream. Delicioius? Without a doubt! But good for you? Not in the least bit! Even a small bowl is more calories that I care to spend on a meal! So after switching to the new Points Plus system, I set my mind on making this delicious soup more health conscious. Here's what I've done, and I'd love to have some reviews:

Sarah's Modified GBD soup:
1 box of chicken broth plus equal amount of water
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound fresh green beens, cut into 1 inch pieces (yes, FRESH!)
1 bag frozen cauliflower (or a fresh head if you're ambitious!)
2 cups (1 pint) fat free half & half
2 T. Flour

1.5 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 egg (or egg sub)
1/2 cup milk
(this makes SEVERAL small dumplings, so feel free to half the dumpling recipe)
In a large soup pot, heat the onion, garlic and green beans over medium heat with 1 cup of the broth to begin steaming them. Season with salt/pepper as desired. Chop cauliflower into small bites and add to veggie mixture. Cover and reduce heat to simmer.
In a small sauce pan, mix the 2 Tbsp flour with 2 Tbsp of the fat free half and half until smooth (creating a roux-like paste). Slowly add the remaining half and half and stir constantly until mixture begins to thicken and lightly boil (about 8 minutes). Remove from heat and add to simmering veggies.
Bring the remaining chicken broth and water to a boil. Mix the dumpling ingredients until just blended. (over working the dumplings can make them tough.)  Working with the dumplings, pinch a marble sized amount off and drop into boiling broth. Dumplings will swell as they cook. Work continuously dropping dumplings in and skimming the cooked dumplings out and placing them in the pot with the veggies and cream mixture. When all the dumplings are cooked, add the broth & water to the veggies. The flour residual in the broth helps to thicken the soup further. Gently mix the veggies, dumplings and broth/cream and simmer on low until you're ready to serve. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper at this stage to your liking.

The above recipe CAN include bacon if you so desire- just cook a couple pieces and chop it up to add to the veggie mixture in the first part. Of course this increases the fat of the recipe but if you've got the calories to eat, then it's worth it. Otherwise, skip the bacon completely and you won't miss it!
I omitted the potatoes in the original recipe but felt that the cauliflower added that extra bit of texture and feel of a potato without adding the unnecessary starches. The heavy whipping cream was traded for fat free half and half so the creamy feel comes through with a significant reduction in calories and fat.
This recipe is something I make on cold days, and I don't have extreme guilt or gut-aches after I eat it!

What is YOUR favorite comfort food? Have you re-made the recipe to suit your healthier lifestyle or do you just "budget" for the splurge when the time is right? 


  1. I'm so sorry to hear about your grandmother! May the Lord watch over you and your family!

    Mashed potatoes are a comfort food for me. I don't eat them often, but when I do, I don't really think much of it.

  2. So sorry to hear about your grandmother too, Mandy. Prayers to all of you.

    Oh had me at german food! lol Sounds really good and will have to try. My own grandmother was a german and that is all she cooked....LOVED IT ALL!! Sadly she has been gone for 19 yrs this month. I love to go back and try to redo some of her recipes to a healthier version. (those that can be)Thanks!

  3. I'm so sorry to hear about your grandmother :(

    My favorite comfort foods are warm and creamy- especially mashed potatoes!

  4. I'm so happy that you're able to spend some time with your grandma before she goes. Truly a wonderful thing. My grandma died last May and I was able to fly from MA to AZ and get to her 1 day before she died - I was so lucky.

    And great soup recipe, I love it!