Category Archives: Savory

Rocco DiSpirito’s Amazing Fat-free Mayonnaise

For me, one of the hardest things about trying to eat a low-fat AND lower-carb diet is finding sauces and dressings that are not filled with oil and sugar, so I usually make my own. Take mayonnaise for example – the low-fat variety tastes terrible in my opinion, and I do not like the long ingredient list on the label. For a while now, I’ve been substituting plain fat-free Greek yogurt for anything that calls for mayo. I usually add a little Dijon mustard and a few Stevia drops to the yogurt and it actually makes a decent mayo substitute. However, I kept searching for something that would taste really good in dishes where mayo plays one of the starring roles – like my Stuffed Baked Potato Salad for example. I’ve been making this for years and even though I don’t really eat white potatoes any more, my family and friends love it so I still make it for them. It’s creamy and yummy and full of flavor and I just didn’t think yogurt would be a good substitute for mayo in this instance.

Enter Rocco DiSpirito’s Amazing Mayonnaise. I was searching for mayo substitutes found this recipe on the Dr. Oz Show website. As soon as I read the list of ingredients, I knew it was what I was looking for – yogurt based with just the right ingredients added to make an acceptable mayo for my potato salad. I whipped up a batch, tasted it, and said, “YES” so loud that I scared my cats who were lounging in the kitchen at the time. It is really good. It has cornstarch, so it may have too many carbs for people who are on ultra-low carb diets, but it works well for me.

Try it and let me know what you think.

Rocco DiSpirito’s Amazing Fat-free Mayonnaise
6 tbsp white vinegar
4 tbsp cornstarch
1 (17.6 oz) container Greek yogurt (plain non-fat)
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Salt
1 packet Stevia in the Raw (start off with less and add more if desired)

In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar into the cornstarch. Whisk 2/3 cup of the yogurt into the vinegar mixture. Pour the yogurt and vinegar mixture into a small saucepan and cook over high heat, whisking constantly, until it comes to a boil. (The yogurt mixture will thicken very quickly.) When it is very thick, scrape it into the bowl of a food processor.

Blend the yogurt mixture for about 1 minute. Turn off the food processor and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue to blend the yogurt mixture until it is slightly cool and very smooth, about 3 more minutes. Add the remaining yogurt, mustard, sweetener, and salt to the mixture. Blend for another minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and blend for 30 more seconds.

Pour the mayonnaise into a plastic container. Cover tightly and place in the refrigerator until it is cold and firm, about 2 hours. The mayonnaise can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

 

 

Jill’s Sausage Dip

My friend Jill shared this recipe with me many years ago. Ever since, it has been a hit every time I take it to a party or family gathering.

Jill’s Sausage Dip
1 lb Jimmy Dean mild or hot sausage
2 cans Ro-Tel tomatoes, do not drain
2 blocks cream cheese (I use low-fat or fat-free, but any kind works well)
½ tsp. Chipotle Chili powder
½ tsp. garlic powder

Brown sausage in a skillet. Drain off all grease and place sausage a Crock-pot. Add tomatoes, cream cheese, Chipotle Chili powder and garlic powder. Cook on low temperature until cream cheese melts enough to stir, then set Crock-pot to warm. Serve with tortilla chips, carrot sticks and celery sticks.

Recipe can easily be doubled.

Leftovers taste great the next day as an omelet filling.

Black Bean Soup

I love bean soups. They are flavorful, economical and versatile. This easy slow-cooker version has a fresh taste, thanks to the last-minute addition of salsa.

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Black Bean Soup

Yields 6 main course servings

1-medium onion, rough chopped
1-medium-size green bell pepper, rough chopped
12-ounce package baby carrots
1-large jalapeño, halved and seeded
6-garlic cloves
16-ounce package dried black beans
6-cups vegetable broth or water
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1-Tablespoon ground cumin
1-cup fresh salsa
Salt and pepper to taste

1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
1/3 bundle of cilantro, chopped
Vegan sour cream, if desired
Fresh Salsa

Place onion, bell pepper, carrots, jalapeño and garlic into a food processor and process until nearly smooth. Transfer vegetable mixture into a 6-quart slow cooker. Add beans, broth or water, crushed tomatoes and cumin. Cover and cook on high until beans are very tender, about 3 hours.

Transfer half of the cooked beans to a food processor along with a little of the broth; process until smooth. Return purée to slow cooker and stir in salsa. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve soup with lime wedges, cilantro, vegan sour cream and additional salsa as desired.

This soup is even better the next day, and freezes well.

Click here to learn my method for preserving leftover cilantro.

Spicy 3-Bean and Quinoa Soup

1 2/3 cup dried pinto beans
1 cup dried black beans
2/3 cup dried garbanzo beans
2 yellow onions, chopped
4-6 cloves garlic
6-8 cups vegetable broth or water
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp Tony’s Cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1 can hominy, drained or 1 cup frozen corn
Salt and pepper to taste

Cooked quinoa
Cilantro
Tortilla chips
Lime wedges

Rinse pinto, black and garbanzo beans well to remove any debris, then pour into a large pot of fresh water. Bring to a boil then remove from heat, cover and let sit for 1 hour. After an hour, drain water, rinse beans again and return to pot with enough water or vegetable broth to cover.  Add onions, garlic and spices and cook until beans are almost tender, about an hour. Add hominy and cook until beans are very tender, another 30 minutes to an hour. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
Ladle soup over quinoa in bowls and garnish with cilantro. Serve lime wedges and tortilla chips on the side.

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