Double-Post Thursday

Besides being Diabetic Thursday, it's also Double-Post Thursday. Here are six yummy recipes to help you through the day, including Stir-Fried Kung Pao Chicken with Chili Peppers and Mocha Chip Banana Ice Cream. (Do I have your attention now? Thought so!) Enjoy!

STEAK ’N’ BACON CHEDDAR MEATBALLS

This is from Juila Moskin in The New York Times cooking email. Julia wrote, “This is essentially a bacon cheeseburger in meatball form. The cooked steak should be diced into small bites, not ground, for the best texture.”

Yield: About 2 dozen meatballs, 6 to 8 servings; Time: 45 minutes.

This was featured in “Lucky to Be a Leftover” and can be viewed online here.

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, minced

Scant 8 ounces bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 pound cooked steak, diced

1 pound ground beef, 80% lean

6 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

3 large eggs

1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs

2 teaspoons salt

Black pepper

Preparation

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add onion and bacon, and cook, stirring, until bacon has browned and onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer onion and bacon to a plate and cool in refrigerator.

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Use the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

In a large bowl, combine steak, ground beef, cooled bacon and onions, cheese, eggs, bread crumbs and salt, and mix lightly but thoroughly by hand. To taste for seasoning, heat a small skillet and fry a chunk of the mixture until browned. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Roll mixture into golf-ball-size balls, packing firmly. Pack snugly into the prepared dish, making even rows to form a grid. Roast for 20 minutes, or until firm and cooked through. (The center should be at 165 degrees.)

Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

STIR-FRIRED KUNG PAO CHICKEN WITH CHILI PEPPERS

This is from Rhonda Parkinson on The Spruce. Ronda wrote, “In this healthier version of traditional Kung Pao Chicken, the chicken is stir-fried instead of deep-fried, reducing the fat content.”

Prep Time: 25 minutes; Cook Time: 20 minutes; Total Time: 45 minutes; Yield: 3 - 4 servings.

To view this online, click here.

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless, 7 to 8 ounces each)

8 small dried red chili peppers

2 cloves garlic

2 green onions (spring onions, scallions)

4 tablespoons oil (for stir-frying, or as needed)

Optional: 1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorn

1/2 cup peanuts (or cashews)

Optional: few drops sesame oil

For the Marinade:

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

For the Sauce:

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)

1 teaspoon sugar

Directions

Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes.

Combine marinade ingredients, adding the cornstarch last. Marinate the chicken for 25 minutes.

While the chicken is marinating, prepare the sauce and vegetables: In a small bowl, combine the dark soy sauce, rice wine, and sugar. Set aside.

Cut the chilies in half so that they are approximately the same size as the chicken cubes. Remove the seeds.

Peel and finely chop the garlic. Cut the green onion on the diagonal into thirds.

Heat the wok over medium-high to high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil.

When the oil is hot, add the chicken. Stir-fry until it turns white and is 80 percent cooked. Remove from the wok.

Add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and stir-fry until aromatic (about 30 seconds).

Add the chili peppers and the Szechuan peppercorn if using. Stir-fry briefly until they turn dark red.

Add the sauce to the wok. Bring to a boil.

Add the chicken back into the pan. Stir in the peanuts and the green onion.

Remove from the heat and stir in the sesame oil. Serve hot.

ROASTED SQUASH CHILI MAC

This is from Rachael Ray of The Food Network show Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day.

Total: 1 hr 40 min; Active: 20 min; Yield: 6 servings; Level: Easy

To view this online, click here.

Ingredients

4 tablespoons butter, plus more for the casserole dish

1 pound butternut squash, peeled and diced (or look for diced raw butternut squash in the produce department)

EVOO, for drizzling

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Freshly grated nutmeg

1 pound rigatoni, penne or macaroni with ridges

2 tablespoons chili powder, such as Gebhardt's, or a blend of ancho or chipotle

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cloves garlic, made into a paste

1 fresh chile pepper, such as Fresno or jalapeno, finely chopped

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 1/2 cups milk

2 cups shredded sharp yellow Cheddar

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

One 14-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup shredded pepper jack or other hot-pepper melting cheese

Ingredients

Watch how to make this recipe.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly butter a casserole dish.

Put the squash on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with EVOO and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Toss to combine. Roast until the edges are browned, 17 to 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water to just shy of al dente, 7 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the chili powder, oregano, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, garlic and chile pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, then whisk in the milk. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Add the Cheddar and Parmigiano-Reggiano and stir until melted.

Combine the squash, chili-cheese sauce and beans, then transfer to the prepared casserole dish. Top with the pepper jack cheese. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the top is browned, 15 to 20 minutes more.

MOCHA CHIP BANANA ICE CREAM

This is from Kaleigh McMordie on VeryWell. (Kaleigh also has her own food blog, Lively Table. Check it out!)

This recipe begins, “Ice cream is a delicious dessert, but probably not something you want to eat daily if you are trying to get healthy. Though one pint seems small it actually contains four servings. It may be time to introduce an alternative If you often find yourself at the bottom with no idea where all of the ice cream went.

“Banana ice cream, or ‘nice cream’ as it is sometimes called, is a healthy ice cream alternative made by blending frozen banana slices in a blender to yield a smooth, creamy, and naturally sweet treat. You can add any other flavor you like.

“This mocha chip banana ice cream is blended with coffee and dark chocolate and swirled with mini chocolate chips. It’s vegan if you use dairy-free chocolate chips, and it’s the perfect healthy dessert for when you need something cool and creamy. As a bonus, you also get a serving of fruit and antioxidants in your dessert!”

Total Time: 10 min; Prep: 10 min; Cook: 0 min; Servings: 2 (1/2 cup each)

To view this online, click here.

Ingredients

2 sliced bananas, frozen

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)

2 teaspoons semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

Preparation

In a high-powered blender or food processor, blend all ingredients except for chocolate chips. You may need to add more milk to get bananas to blend.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Serve immediately, or for a firmer consistency, pour into a shallow container and freeze 10 to 15 minutes before scooping.

Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

For vegan and dairy-free, use vegan chocolate chips and dairy-free milk.

Cooking and Serving Tips

Bananas will take a little while to blend. Be patient and add milk by the tablespoon as needed.

EASY PASTITSIO (GREEK LASAGNA)

This recipe is from tbsp.com, and begins, “This big, fat Greek pasta is as delicious as it is comforting. Packed with a meaty tomato sauce, penne pasta, warm spices and topped with an easier-than-you-think béchamel, it’s a take on lasagna we highly recommend.”

Prep: 45 minutes; Total: 1 hour 30 minutes; Servings: 8

View this online here.

Ingredients

Pasta

12 oz uncooked penne pasta (4 cups)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 lb extra-lean (at least 90%) ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 jar (25.5 oz) Muir Glen™ organic tomato basil pasta sauce

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3 eggs, beaten

Topping

1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 cups whole milk

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 egg, beaten

Directions

Heat oven to 350°F. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package.

Meanwhile, in 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add beef; cook 5 to 7 minutes, breaking up any lumps with back of wooden spoon. Add onion; cook and stir about 4 minutes or until softened. Add garlic, cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and the pepper; cook 1 minute. Stir in pasta sauce. Heat to simmering; reduce heat to low. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) baking dish with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix tomato sauce mixture, cooked pasta, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and 3 eggs. Spread in baking dish; spread top smooth.

In 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in flour, 1 teaspoon salt and the nutmeg. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly. Gradually beat in milk with whisk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly; boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; beat in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. In small bowl, beat 1/2 cup of the hot mixture into beaten egg. Return egg mixture to pan, beating constantly. Pour over top of pasta.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until top is bubbly and lightly browned in spots. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

CHOCOLATE GUINNESS CAKE

This comes from Nigella Lawson in The New York Times cooking email. Nigella writes, “For me, a chocolate cake is the basic unit of celebration. The chocolate Guinness cake here is simple but deeply pleasurable, and has earned its place as a stand-alone treat.” Time: 1 hour 15 minutes; one 9-inch cake or 12 servings

To view this online, click here.

Ingredients

For the Cake:

Butter for pan

1 cup Guinness stout

10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

2 cups superfine sugar

3/4 cup sour cream

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

For the Topping:

1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar

8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature

1/2 cup heavy cream

Preparation:

For the cake: heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter. Place over medium-low heat until butter melts, then remove from heat. Add cocoa and superfine sugar, and whisk to blend.

In a small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add to Guinness mixture. Add flour and baking soda, and whisk again until smooth. Pour into buttered pan, and bake until risen and firm, 45 minutes to one hour. Place pan on a wire rack and cool completely in pan.

For the topping: Using a food processor or by hand, mix confectioners' sugar to break up lumps. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Add heavy cream, and mix until smooth and spreadable.

Remove cake from pan and place on a platter or cake stand. Ice top of cake only, so that it resembles a frothy pint of Guinness.