SPLIT PEA SOUP WITH BLACK CAT TOAST

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cups chopped onion
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
11/2 cups yellow split peas (about 12 ounces)
5 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high; add the onion, celery, carrots and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the split peas and broth; bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and gently simmer until tender, about 50 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a blender or food processor in batches to puree. Stir in the rosemary, salt and pepper.

2. Cut each slice of bread into a cat shape (I used a cat-shaped biscuit cutter). Brush the cats on both sides with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Heat a large, nonstick skillet and toast the bread lightly on both sides in the pan. Place a cat on top of each bowl of soup. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 401 calories, 20 g protein, 61 g carbohydrates, 24 g fiber, 9 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 484 mg sodium

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CRUNCHY BLOODY BONES

2 1/2 pounds chicken wings
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup seedless raspberry preserves
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder

 

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a baking sheet pan with cooking spray.

2. Remove the wing tips and discard (or save for soup). Cut the remaining 2 sections (flat and drumette) apart at the joint. Toss with salt and pepper.

3. Arrange the wings on the baking sheet and cook in the center of the oven 20 minutes; turn and bake until golden brown and crisp, another 20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, warm the preserves briefly in the microwave, just until smooth and pourable. Combine with vinegar, garlic powder and chili powder.

5. Brush the cooked chicken with the preserves mixture and bake 5 minutes longer, or until the glaze is set. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 323 calories, 24 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 17 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 373 mg sodium

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VAMPIRE FRIES (AKA GARLIC SWEET POTATO FRIES)

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, (2 small), scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch-thick fries
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat 2 baking sheet pans with cooking spray.

2. Toss the potatoes with the oil, garlic powder and salt; spread out on the pans and roast until the undersides are golden, about 10 minutes. Turn the potatoes over and rotate the pans; roast until the potatoes are tender and lightly browned, another 10 to 12 minutes.

3. Toss with the Parmesan and parsley, and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 152 calories, 4 g protein, 22 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 241 mg sodium