Saturday, June 10, 2017

Brown rice jambalaya (Instant Pot, pressure cooker, and stovetop recipes) from a native Louisianian

As is tradition, I made my brown rice jambalaya recipe for my lab's end-of-year party yesterday. This time, I wanted to try to "hack" jambalaya to make it a little easier and tastier. I've been experimenting with my new Instant Pot multicooker lately and have learned that it makes excellent brown rice using the pressure cooker setting. The pressure cooks it quickly and evenly, forcing just the right amount of moisture into the grain without it getting mushy, breaking up, or sticking to the bottom. Don't get me wrong, my jambalaya recipe comes out great when made on the stovetop as well, but it does take some patience for all the rice to cook through.

I used the same recipe I have already posted on this blog, except I halved it because I have a 6-quart Instant Pot. An 8-quart or larger cooker would allow you to make the full recipe. The original recipe makes an almost comical amount of food, so I had no qualms about halving it and still having enough for a party of 9. In fact, I'll post the halved recipe below with Instant Pot and stovetop instructions so those who would like to make a more reasonable amount of food don't have to do the math.

Jambalaya is a Cajun rice dish in which rice is cooked in stock with lots of seasoning, meat, and veggies, all in one pot. By the end of cooking, the rice should absorb all the liquid, have fluffy, distinct grains, and have an al dente texture. The key to making good jambalaya is getting the ratio of liquid to rice just right. I have seen restaurants outside of Louisiana serving meat and sauce on top of steamed white rice and calling it jambalaya. This is not jambalaya!

I make my jambalaya with brown rice. Why not? It's healthier, and it's going to end up brown anyway from the caramelized onions and delicious meat juices. No one will know the difference. Brown rice has a slightly firmer texture than white rice, so it holds together better. My jambalaya combines elements of both traditional Cajun and Creole recipes, it has the fluffy texture of Cajun (brown) jambalaya with just a subtle hint of tomato, without being bright red or tomato saucy like a Creole jambalaya. The bit of tomato adds just enough acidity to perk up the flavor. Garnishing the jambalaya with fresh green onions brightens the flavor and adds color.


Brown Rice Jambalaya (serves 8-10)
1 lbs boneless chicken thighs, raw or cooked, cut into bite-sized pieces. Leftover turkey works great here too. One of the best jambalayas I made was with leftovers from Thanksgiving turkey that Glutenless Goddess made.
1 lb sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices (Ideally, Savoie's andouille. If you don't happen to live in Louisiana, kielbasa or smoked sausage will work. When I lived in Boston, I borrowed chourico from the large Portuguese population, which was an excellent substitute. Now that I live in Oregon, the best sausage I can reliably get is Johnsonville Andoullie [insert lament about Oregon's lack of diversity here]).
1 large yellow or white onion, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 T Tony Chachere's seasoning. This is our standard seasoning blend for almost everything we make in Louisiana. You can find it at any grocery store. It may change your cooking life.
1 1/2 t Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1 lb long grain brown rice (about 2 heaping cups), rinsed and drained
15 oz can diced tomatoes
just shy 2 cups chicken or turkey stock
Tabasco sauce to taste
1 bunch chopped green onions, for garnish

Instant Pot or pressure cooker instructions:
Set cooker to saute. If using raw chicken, brown, then remove and cut into bite-sized pieces. Next, brown sausage until it's almost blackened. Add the veggies and saute until they reach a dark caramelized color. Add all remaining ingredients except green onions and stir.

Secure lid and ensure it is set to "sealing." Set the Instant Pot or pressure cooker to 22 minutes. Once it is finished cooking, allow it to naturally release pressure for 10 minutes, then manually release the rest of the pressure. Stir in green onions and serve with extra Tabasco sauce, if needed.

Traditional stovetop instructions:
Heat a large dutch oven to medium-high heat. If using raw chicken, brown, then remove and cut into bite-sized pieces. Next, brown sausage until it's almost blackened. Add the veggies and saute until they reach a dark caramelized color. Add all remaining ingredients except green onions and stir. 

Cover with a tight-fitting lid and bring to a simmer. Reduce to low heat, and cook, covered for 50 minutes. At this point, check to see if rice is tender. If not, cover and return to low heat until the rice is tender. Resist the urge to add more liquid if the rice is not cooked yet. There is plenty of steam floating around in there, and as long as you keep it covered, it WILL cook through! Only stir the jambalaya once or twice once it starts cooking--stirring too much will break down the rice, and you will end up with something resembling risotto! Stir in green onions and serve with extra Tabasco sauce, if needed.

NOTE FOR STOVETOP VERSION: Thanks to a reader comment, I've started soaking my rice in the chicken stock or broth called for in the recipe. It makes the rice cook a bit quicker (usually in about an hour) and more evenly. I soak it for 8 hours to overnight, but even just a little while helps. Pour the rice and the soaking liquid into your pot after all of your meats and veggies have browned, cover, bring to a simmer, and cook as directed above. Soaking is not needed if using an Instant Pot/pressure cooker, because these cookers are so efficient at getting moisture into the rice.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Jalapeno Popper Cauliflower Gratin

I was so in love with my recipe for jalapeno popper mac and cheese that I had to make a low carb version. Essentially, it is a combination of that recipe and my recipe for cauliflower cheese. This recipe has all the creamy, spicy flavors of a jalapeno popper, and the cauliflower takes on the texture of pasta. And it only has about five ingredients!

Jalapeno Popper Cauliflower Gratin
Approximately 2.5 to 3 lbs cauliflower florets
2 T water
3/4 t salt
8 oz cream cheese I use lowfat
8 ounces grated cheddar or cheddar jack, a handful reserved for sprinkling over the top.
2-4 jalapenos, thinly sliced (2 will yield a mild-medium dish, and 4 will yield a spicy dish)
1 t garlic powder
black pepper to taste (I like a lot)
6 slices cooked, crumbled bacon or 1/4 cup bacon bits (optional)
1/3 cup salsa verde (optional; adds a nice kick of zesty flavor)

In a large oven and microwave safe casserole dish, microwave frozen cauliflower, 2 T water and salt until softened, about 15 minutes, stirring and checking every now and then. Preheat oven to 375. In a separate mixing bowl microwave cream cheese or put in preheating oven until soft, mix all remaining ingredients except cauliflower. Once mix is combined, stir in cauliflower and any remaining liquid, and return to casserole dish. Bake, uncovered for 20 minutes, until cauliflower is hot and bubbly, and the top is slightly browned. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving; the cauliflower will absorb the remaining liquid and "set".

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Clafoutis (custardy fruit pancake)

One of the things I miss most when I am cooking low carb is sweet breakfast dishes like pancakes and French toast. Thanks to a great article in The Kitchn, I discovered the perfect lowish carb sweet breakfast dish. Clafoutis (pronounced "claw-FOO-tee") is a French fruit-packed tart/custard that resembles a Dutch pancake. The custard contains a small amount of flour to soak up the fruit juices and give it a bit of a pancake-like structure. It basically tastes like a cross between a giant pancake and a fruity french toast. 

I've altered the traditional recipe slightly to contain even less flour than is usual, and to make heartier, thicker slices. Because it is mostly (plant) milk, egg, and berries (a high fiber and lower carb fruit), with just a small amount of flour mixed in, this is a good choice for a moderately low carb diet. I have not tried it yet, but since the flour plays such a minor role in the recipe, I suspect many "alternative" flours could work, like gluten-free, almond, or coconut. Clafoutis is most traditionally eaten for dessert, but I like a big old slice for breakfast.

I think my favorite thing about it is the investment-to-payoff ratio. It's very easy to throw together the few ingredients and bake, but produces a fancy dish that will impress guests. You can even prepare the dish the night before and pop it in the oven in the morning. There is no babysitting eggs on the stove or flipping pancakes.

Serves 4 for breakfast or 6-8 for dessert or snack. Traditionally served warm or cold, plain or with a dusting of powdered sugar. I like it plain, but my husband likes it with sugar-free syrup.


Clafoutis
1 and 2/3 cup milk of choice (I used Almond)
2/3 cup sweetener (I used Splenda)
5 large eggs
2 t vanilla extract
1 /4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup flour (I've used white flour, wheat flour, and/or almond meal)
1-1 lb 4 oz fruit, such as cherries, berries, or chopped stone fruit. Can be fresh or frozen. I usually use frozen cherries and mixed berries, thawed
1 tablespoon butter

Heat oven to 375°F and place a 12-inch cast iron skillet inside to preheat.

Whisk together milk, sweetener, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Add in flour and whisk until just combined.

Remove pan from oven and grease with butter. Pour batter into pan and top evenly with fruit.

Bake approximately 45 minutes, until set but still custard-like in the middle. It will puff up when cooking but will deflate once you remove it from the oven.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

5-Ingredient Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese Wonderpot

    Mac and cheese is my favorite. It is my go-to order when I go out to eat. It's the yardstick by which I measure many restaurants. It's treat yo'self food. For a long time, I've avoided crafting a mac and cheese recipe because I thought it would be dangerous to be able to make it whenever I wanted. That all changed when I had the idea for a recipe that incorporates my favorite aspects of jalapeno poppers into a pasta wonderpot: copious amounts of jalapenos, cheddar, jack, and cream cheese, and, optionally, bacon.

    Wonderpots involve cooking pasta in its own sauce. Obviously, this is NOT the traditional way to cook pasta, which involves cooking in copious amounts of boiling water, draining it, and adding it to a separately prepared sauce. Four benefits of the wonderpot method make it superior than the traditional method for this recipe. First, as the name indicates, it only uses one pot. Second, and more importantly, since you are not draining away the starchy cooking liquid from the pasta, the liquid reduces and thickens, enhancing creamy pasta dishes by making them extra creamy and eliminating the need to make a separate roux. Third, because the pasta cooks in the sauce, flavor is infused throughout the pasta, not just the sauce. Fourth, for a hands off, fast meal, it can be modified to cook in an Instant Pot.

    Thanks to its wonderpot nature, this is a one-pot, 5 ingredient mac and cheese made entirely on the stovetop. The cream cheese is the real heavy lifter in this dish. It adds an incredible creamy smoothness, and, in combination with the starchy cooking liquid, thickens and emulsifies the cheese sauce. For this reason, the sauce is basically foolproof. It will not break or get grainy. It will be the most luxuriously smooth mac and cheese sauce you've ever tasted. Honestly, you could leave out the jalapeno and have the best traditional mac and cheese ever.

    I also make a passing attempt to lighten this dish up a bit by using reduced fat dairy, and it tastes just as good. Do NOT use fat-free dairy, however, because it will not melt properly. (And who are we trying to fool anyway, you can only make a good mac and cheese so healthy.)

    Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese Wonderpot
    1 lb pasta (I like penne)
    5 cups total milk and water (I don't keep cow's milk on hand, so I use 12 oz canned evaporated 2% milk from my pantry plus 3.5 cups water. 3 cups milk and 2 cups water would be equivalent.)
    3-6 jalapenos, diced (I like very spicy food, so I use 6, and I do not remove the seeds. If you are more of a spice lightweight, use less and remove the seeds and pith.)
    8 oz cream cheese (I use reduced fat)
    1/2 t salt
    black pepper to taste
    1/2 t garlic powder, optional (but in my world, garlic is never optional)
    1/2 cup crumbled bacon, optional
    12 oz shredded cheddar jack cheese (I use reduced fat. I tried making a mac and cheese like this using only cheddar, and it didn't turn out as well. I think at least equal amounts of jack help make the sauce creamy.)

    Place pasta, water and milk into a large saucepan, cover, and bring to a low simmer, stirring frequently.

    Once pasta begins to soften, but is not yet al dente, (after about 8 minutes), stir in jalapenos, cream cheese, seasonings, and bacon, if using. Separate the cream cheese into blobs with a spoon. It will not immediately dissolve, and that is ok. Cover and return to a bare simmer and stir again in a few minutes. At that point, the cream cheese will stir in easily.

    When pasta is al dente, after about 15 minutes total cook time, remove from heat and stir in cheddar jack cheese a few handfuls at a time. Pasta should be fairly saucy at this point because it will continue to absorb sauce as it cools. If it is too dry and thick, add a bit more water or milk. If it is too thin, let stand, uncovered, for a few minutes to thicken.

    Instant Pot or pressure cooker version:
    In Instant Pot, stir together pasta, water, and milk, and set to 3 minutes on manual high pressure. Use quick release and stir in remaining ingredients. Pasta should be fairly saucy at this point. If it is too dry and thick, add a bit more water or milk. If it is too thin, let stand, uncovered, for a few minutes to thicken.

    Serves 5-6.

    Reheats and even freezes well. Just add a little water or milk and reheat gently.

    Thursday, March 9, 2017

    Healthy One-Bowl Morning Glory Muffins


    Have you heard of Morning Glory muffins? They're like a cross between carrot cake and apple muffins. Many of you know that I don't do a lot of baking because BAKED GOODS ARE MY WEAKNESS, and I don't want the ability to make them all the time. But, I've been learning a lot from the blog Sally's Baking Addition and I was inspired by this recipe to try to make a simplified, healthier version. This is the sort of thing I don't feel guilty about making for myself. They are made with all whole wheat flour, and I crammed in the maximum amount of fruits and veggies I possibly could (there is more produce than flour)! Still, they are fluffy and just the right amount of moist.

    They're also very versatile, so you can use whatever nuts and dried fruits you have in your pantry. Have a banana that's about to go bad? Throw it in!


    Healthy One-Bowl Morning Glory Muffins

    2 cups whole wheat flour
    2 t baking soda
    1 heaping T pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
    1/2 t salt
    1/3 cup ground flax or chia seeds (optional)
    1 cup sweetener of choice (I do 1/2 cup Splenda and 1/2 cup brown sugar)
    1/3 cup oil (I use coconut or olive. Tempting as it may be to leave out the oil, I don't recommend it. You need a bit of oil to avoid a gummy texture. Just pick a healthy oil!)
    1/2 cup crushed pineapple and juice OR 1/3 cup milk or juice of choice
    3 large eggs (you can omit if you'd like to go vegan. They may not rise quite as much. Be sure to use the flax or chia seeds listed above and add 1/4 cup more liquid)
    1 t vanilla extract
    4 medium carrots (about 14oz), shredded*
    1 medium apple, shredded (no need to peel)*
    2/3-3/4 cup nuts or seeds, optional (I like pumpkin and sunflower seeds)
    1/2 cup dried fruit, optional (I like craisins)

    Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a 12-count muffin pan** with cupcake liners. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredients. Fold everything together just until no dry pockets remain. The batter will be very thick, like cookie dough. Don't worry, when the carrots and apples cook, they will release moisture and make it plenty moist. In the unlikely event that the batter is too dry, add a couple of tablespoons of water or other liquid. Spoon the batter into liners, filling them heaping full. (It will look like you have too much batter, but it will all fit if you heap it. The muffins will rise a little, but they will not spread, so don't worry about making a mess.
    Before (see how full they are?)
    Bake for 5 minutes at 425. Then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. (This initial temperature burst helps it to rise.) Bake for an additional 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    After

    *Note: Using the shredding feature on a food processor to do the carrots and apples makes this recipe super easy.
    ** I've made this in a bundt pan before and it turned out well. It took about an hour to cook.

    Sunday, March 5, 2017

    Cajun black-eyed peas and greens stew (Instant Pot and stovetop instructions)

    I was a bad Southerner--I never liked black-eyed peas growing up. But when I found myself with a lot of leftover kale in my fridge last week at the same time I ran across this recipe on one of my favorite food sites, Serious Eats, I decided to cook them for the first time. Because I always have to tweak things, I added my own spin using my Cajun intuition. Honestly, I was not expecting that much from this recipe--it was just a way to use up some ingredients on the cheap. But this turned out amazing! Like my new favorite Cajun-ish dish AMAZING! For me, what makes this so delicious is cooking the beans until they are creamy, then getting a fresh hit pop with the greens and vinegar. This dish really is greater than the sum of its parts, and such a healthy staple to have on hand in the freezer. Eat it on New Years Day and Southern tradition says that it will bring you money and luck!


    Cajun Black-Eyed Peas and Greens Stew
    4 ounces bacon (about 4 or 5 strips), cut into small pieces
    12 ounces andouille sausage, cut into bite-sized slices
    1 large onion, diced
    2 stalks celery, diced (optional)
    Image result for tony chachere's1 large green bell pepper, diced
    1 T minced garlic
    2 t Tony Chachere's seasoning (This is the Cajun seasoning salt blend that almost everyone in Louisiana uses. You can find it at grocery stores nationwide, and you will not regret your $3 purchase! You'll use it on everything.)
    1 t Worcestershire sauce
    15 oz can tomatoes with green chilies
    1 pound dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight
    1 quart chicken stock, plus 6 cups water
    2 bay leaves
    1 bunch kale, chard, or collard greens, about 10-12 oz, stems removed, leaves roughly chopped
    1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
    Tabasco sauce (optional)

    Stovetop instructions
    Cook bacon until crisp. Set aside, and pour away all but 2 T of grease. Saute sausage until nearly blackened, then set aside. Lightly caramelize onion, celery (if using), pepper, and garlic. Add remaining ingredients except greens, vinegar, and Tabasco. Simmer, partially covered, until beans start to fall apart and become creamy, 1.5 to 2 hours. If using collard greens, add 30 minutes before finishing cooking. If using chard or kale, add immediately after finishing cooking. These greens are delicate enough that they will wilt just the right amount while still retaining a bit of fresh flavor and texture. Add vinegar and Tabasco sauce if using.

    Instant Pot or pressure cooker instructions:
    Using the saute feature to saute meat and veggies as per stovetop instructions. Add remaining ingredients except vinegar, and Tabasco. If using collard greens, add them now, but if using chard or kale, reserve until the end. Set the Instant Pot to Beans/Chili for 1 hour. Use quick release. If using chard or kale, add immediately after finishing cooking. Add vinegar and Tabasco sauce if using.

    Sunday, February 19, 2017

    Simple broccoli cheese soup

    This thick, broccoli-filled soup is based on my mom's recipe. I've simplified and it and it more low-carb friendly by omitting a roux and simply blending the broccoli as a thickener. My husband just tried it and declared it to be "Jason's Deli good."

    Yes, this unapologetically contains Velveeta, because that's how my mother made it. I haven't tried using another cheese, but you are welcome to try and report back in the comments. I suspect that it might not result in as smooth and creamy a texture.

    Simple Broccoli Cheese Soup
    1 small or 1/2 medium onion, diced
    1 T minced garlic
    2 lbs broccoli (I used frozen florets)
    3 cups milk of choice (I use skim)
    1 cup water, more or less depending on how thick you like it
    1/2 t Tony Chachere's or other seasoned salt
    black and red pepper to taste
    3/4 lb Velveeta, diced

    Saute onion and garlic for a couple of minutes. Add remaining ingredients except cheese, cover and simmer until broccoli is very tender, about 10 minutes. Add cheese and blend to desired consistency. Serves about 6. Freezes well.

    Slow cooker caramelized onions

    This is not really a recipe, but a good trick to have up your sleeve. Caramelized onions usually take hours of low and slow stovetop cooking with a lot of babysitting and stirring. OR you could just use your crockpot. I take about 5 large onions, use my food processor to slice them, and dump it all in the slow cooker. (This is also a great way to avoid crying while working with raw onions. The crockpot may look full at first, but it will cook down to about 1/3. You needn't add anything else, but you could add a pat of butter or a drizzle of oil. Cook on low for 10 hours.

    I freeze this in 1/2 cup portions and use it for all sorts of things. Topping burgers, steaks, pizza, sandwiches, french onion soup, and dips. You can also use them to get a head start on recipes that need cooked onions, like soups and stews. Leave a comment below about what you'll use them for!

    Saturday, January 21, 2017

    Perfect Recipe Project Chipotle Chili (Instant Pot, slow cooker, and stovetop variations)

    Most home cooks have their favorite basic chili recipe. This is mine. I like it because it involves all the principles of my cooking philosophy: it is creative, simple, healthy, inexpensive, and delicious.

    A generous amount of smoky chipotles in adobo, flavorful veggies, my own blend of chili seasonings, and a lower ratio of long-stewed lean meat make this dish richly flavored while being healthy and inexpensive. I add my favorite creative secretly healthy ingredient: pumpkin puree. It thickens the sauce without tasting "pumpkiny" at all. This is a simple chop and dump type of one pot recipe. I recently got an Instant Pot, and this recipe works great in it. I can make a long-cooked tasting chili with dried beans in an hour's cook time. It also works well in the slow cooker or stovetop.

    This recipe makes a lot and freezes well. Halve it if you're not having a party or don't want to have a freezer full of chili (who doesn't?).

    Try it out and make it your own!


    Perfect Recipe Project Chipotle Chili

    2.5 lbs lean ground beef
    2 medium or one large onion, diced
    3 bell peppers, diced
    2 T garlic, minced
    1 T paprika
    2 T ground New Mexico chiles or ancho chiles (or more paprika if you have trouble locating these)
    2 T ground cumin
    1 1/2 T dried oregano leaves (Mexican oregano is best)
    1 T worchestershire sauce
    2 t Adobo seasoning, or salt to taste
    3 10-15 oz cans diced tomatoes with green chiles
    3 15 oz cans beans or 1 lb dried beans, soaked overnight. If using dried beans, add extra 1/2 cup liquid, like beef broth or water. I like a mix of pinto and black beans.
    1/2 can chipotles in adobo, mashed or blended to a paste. If you like it really spicy, add more. I usually use a whole can when I want a really spicy chili
    1 15 oz can pumpkin puree

    Suggested toppings
    Sour cream
    Cheddar cheese
    Green onion
    Pico de gallo 
    tortilla chips


    Instant Pot or pressure cooker instructions:
    Saute meat in Instant Pot on high until browned. Remove and set aside. Saute onions, bell peppers, and garlic until a bit caramelized. Add garlic and spices and saute for an additional minute. Add all remaining ingredients. If the Instant Pot is looking full, leave out the pumpkin puree and stir in after cooking. You don't want it to overflow. If using dried beans, set the Instant Pot to Beans/Chili for 55 minutes. If using canned beans, set it to 40 minutes. When finished cooking, turn the valve for quick pressure release.

    Modifications for stovetop or slow cooker:
    Saute meat and veggies as described above. If cooking on stovetop, cover and simmer for 1.5 hours (if using canned beans) or 2 hours (if using dried beans). If cooking in slow cooker, cook for 8 hours on low.

    Sunday, January 1, 2017

    Berry-yogurt smoothie with secret veggies

    In honor of New Year's resolution season, I'm sharing the smoothie recipe my husband and I have nearly every single morning. Obviously, the beauty of smoothies is that they are infinitely customizable, so I don't expect readers to follow this recipe exactly. Instead, I'm hoping I can provide you with a few tips and strategies you haven't thought of before to help you construct YOUR perfect smoothie recipe. Note that I have a cheap blender from Walmart. Someday, maybe I'll splurge for a Vitamix, but this recipe turns out great in my base-level model.

    Make your smoothies in bulk. I fill a big 6-cup blender carafe with 3 servings worth of ingredients. If you have leftovers, put the entire carafe with leftovers into your fridge. The next time you want a smoothie, pop the carafe back on your blender, add a couple of ice cubes, and blend for a few seconds to mix it back up.
    Make smoothie kits. I pre-pack freezer bags full of smoothie ingredients, so all I have to do is add yogurt and blend.
    Add secret veggies. I love this smoothie because each serving has approximately a serving of fruit and a serving of vegetables. I sometimes struggle with eating enough fruits and veggies throughout the day, so at least I know that I've started my day with a couple. Spinach is a common smoothie add in, but people often don't think to add carrots, which are an ideal way to add natural sweetness. Berries are an excellent source of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, and I use enough of them that they hide the color and flavor of veggies.
    Capitalize on frozen ingredients. Adding frozen rather than fresh ingredients gives you a colder, thicker smoothie. Frozen fruits and veggies are usually picked at the peak of freshness, meaning they may be MORE nutrient-rich than fresh, out of season ones. They are also more cost-effective and easier to store. Frozen berries are a natural, but I also love to use frozen spinach and carrots.
    A kitchen scale will save your dishes. Smoothies are not a meal that requires precise measurement. However, if you happen to have a kitchen scale, it will allow you to dump your ingredients directly into the carafe without using a measuring cup. Just put your carafe directly on the scale and zero out your scale every time you add an ingredient.
    Yogurt is a staple for a reason. I know a lot of people like to add protein powder, but Greek yogurt plus flax adds plenty enough protein for me. It provides plenty of protein to keep you full, and probiotics to keep your gut healthy. It also keeps your smoothie creamy and emulsified.

    Berry-yogurt smoothie with secret veggies
    16 oz (2 cups) plain yogurt (I like nonfat Greek for extra lean protein)
    210 grams (1.5 cups) frozen mixed berries
    80 grams (2/3 cup) sliced carrots (I like frozen)
    80 grams (1 cup) frozen chopped spinach or kale
    30 grams (1/4 cup) ground flax or chia seeds
    Water to fill carafe to 6 cups
    Stevia or Splenda to taste
    Add all ingredients to blender. Starting on low speed, blend, working up to high speed. Blend until smooth. Makes 3 approximately 16 oz servings.

    Approximate nutritional information: 200 calories, 4 grams fat, 15 net carbs, 6.5 grams fiber, 19 grams protein.