Archive for April, 2011
Corn, edamame, mushrooms, onions and potatoes. That is the list of vegetables that my husband eats. Not. Kidding. No green leafy veggies of any kind. Most of the time I sneak veggies into our dinner. Zucchini in the meatballs and meatloaf and squash in the enchiladas. I’ve tried sneaking spinach into a number of meals and according to my husband they have not been successful attempts. Until I made spinach burgers. Of course I got the “No way am I eating these” when he saw the green patties but I told him he can’t say no until he tries them. One bite and he was hooked! The spinach makes the burgers nice and juicy and when cooked you can’t taste it at all. These are by far one of the best burgers I’ve ever had! I’m not a fan of hamburger buns so I opted to have my spinach burgers sans bun. They were perfect on top of some lettuce and dressed up with all my favorite fixings! Oh, and my kids loved them too – double bonus!
- 1 pound organic grass fed lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup onion, finely diced
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 2 clove garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup spinach puree (see notes)
- toppings of your choice (optional)
- 4 Homemade Hamburger Buns (optional)
- In a large bowl mix together the first 6 ingredients using your hands (if your mixture is too wet to form a patty add in 1/4 cup of Homemade Breadcrumbs).
- Using a burger press or your hands, form the mixture into 1/3 inch thick patties.
- Following the instructions per your grilling unit, grill the burgers to your desired doneness.
- Top with your favorite toppings and ENJOY!
Makes 4 servings.
Serving size 1 spinach burger.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 200.5, Cal. from Fat: 82.5, Total Fat: 9g, Sat. Fat: 5g, Carbs: 5.5g, Fiber: 2g, Sugars: 1.5g, Protein: 25g, Sodium: 201.5mg, Chol: 75mg
Any leftover burgers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To make the spinach puree simply add fresh spinach to a blender or food processor and process until pureed. About 4 large handfuls makes 3/4 cup.
One of my husband’s favorite cookies are Oatmeal Raisin with Walnuts. I happened to come across this recipe for Oatmeal Cookie Dough Truffles and I knew with a couple of changes that I could clean it up! These turned out amazing! In between bites my husband proclaimed them to be his new favorite ‘cookie’. ENJOY!
- 3/4 cup roasted unsalted cashews
- 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 tbsp So Easy Applesauce
- 1/3 cup + 3 tbsp raisins, divided
- 3 large pitted Medjool dates
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- In a food processor (or powerful blender), combine cashews and oats. Process until you have a coarsely ground mixture. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and set aside.
- Place the applesauce, 1/3 cup raisins, dates, cinnamon and vanilla into the food processor and blend until you have a thick paste. Add back in the cashew mixture and process all the ingredients together to form your ‘dough’.
- Remove the dough from the food processor and place in a small bowl. Gently knead the remaining raisins into the dough.
- Using the palms of your hands form the dough into 10 bite sized truffles. If the dough is too sticky to roll into truffles simply refrigerate for about 5-10 minutes.
- Place the truffles in the refrigerator for 10 minutes before serving. ENJOY!
Makes 10 servings.
Serving size 1 truffle.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 149, Cal. from Fat: 63, Total Fat: 7g, Sat. Fat: 1g, Carbs: 19g, Fiber: 2g, Sugars: 11.5g, Protein: 3.5g, Sodium: 3.5mg, Chol: 0mg
Store any leftover truffles in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week (although it’s highly unlikely they will last this long!).
Make sure to use a gluten free oat for a gluten free treat!
I enjoy trying new recipes. It’s fun using ingredients that I haven’t used before or cooking applications that are not what I would normally use. Well, this recipe is not one of them because sometimes it’s also nice to have those old familiar and trusted recipes to fall back on. I guess that’s why it’s called comfort food. Here is one of my favorites.
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
- 1 pound small new potatoes, sliced in half
- 4 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 8 ounces mushrooms (left whole if small or cut in half if big)
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts halves (butterflied) (or a combination of breasts and thighs)
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 tbsp whole wheat flour (for a gluten free meal substitute with cornstarch)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, oil, salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme.
- In a dutch oven or large oven proof skillet toss together the garlic, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms and half the herb mixture. Spread out evenly in the pan.
- Arrange the chicken over the vegetables and pour the remaining herb mixture evenly over the chicken.
- Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake an additional 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the vegetables are tender.
- Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a serving platter. Cut the butterflied pieces of chicken in half so you have 4 pieces.
- Add the flour to the juices in the skillet and stir to combine. Add the stock, place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened.
- Pour over the chicken and vegetables.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 306.5, Cal. from Fat: 65, Total Fat: 8.5g, Sat. Fat: 1g, Carbs: 45.5g, Fiber: 6.5g, Sugars: 7.5g, Protein: 20.5g, Sodium: 87mg, Chol: 33.5mg
Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. To heat simply place in the microwave and warm up to desired temperature.
This dish shows up a lot at my house not only because it tastes good but because there are only a few ingredients needed and there is hardly any preparation or clean up involved. This dish is great for a quick week night meal or when entertaining because it’s makes such a nice presentation all wrapped in the parchment.
- 2 (4-5 ounce) halibut fillets
- 8-10 asparagus spears, trimmed
- 16-20 cherry tomatoes
- 2 slices lemon
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp dried dill weed
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 2 sheets parchment about 13 x 16
- 2 pieces butcher’s twine, about 20 inches each
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Place one halibut fillet in the center of each piece of parchment. Place one slice of lemon on top of each fillet.
- Arrange the asparagus and tomatoes around the fillets. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, olive oil, lemon juice and dill.
- Pour the sauce equally over the fillets.
- Bring two ends of the parchment together over the top of each fillet. Fold down the center several times to seal flat against the fish.
- Fold up the ends and secure with the twine.
- Place the parcels on a baking sheet.
- Bake about 20 – 25 minutes. You can open a parcel to test the fish by pressing against it with the back of a fork. It should yield to slight pressure and flake easily.
- Remove from the oven and place on a serving plate.
- Unwrap to serve.
Makes 2 servings.
Serving size 1 parcel.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 233.5, Cal. from Fat: 88, Total Fat: 10g, Sat. Fat: 1.5g, Carbs: 7g, Fiber: 1g, Sugars: 2g, Protein: 28.5g, Sodium: 77mg, Chol: 43.5mg
For a little heartier meal you can add 1/4 cup cooked cannellini beans in with the parcels.
Here’s the visual for you. Imagine 2 dogs fighting over a juicy piece of steak. Now replace the 2 dogs with myself and my husband and you have a glimpse as to what went down over this teriyaki steak. Yes, it’s really that good!
- 1 1/2 pounds organic grass fed flank steak (you can also use skirt steak or top sirloin)
- 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp frozen apple juice concentrate (or 3 tbsp apple juice)
- 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tsp raw honey or coconut nectar
- 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
- In a glass baking dish combine vinegar, apple juice concentrate, soy sauce, honey and ginger. Stir well and add steak. Pierce the steak several times on each side with a knife. Cover with a lid.
- Place the marinating steak in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 48 hours. The longer the steak marinates the juicier and more flavorful it will be.
- Turn the steak over once during marinating.
- When ready to cook remove the steak from the marinade and place on a preheated grill. Follow the directions on your grill and cook the steak to your desired doneness.
- After cooking let the steak rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Notice the direction of the grain of the steak. You should be able to see the striations in the muscle fibers of the steak. Slice the steak in half, following the grain of the steak so that you are slicing along the grain. (This will make it easier to make cuts across the grain.) Then make thin slices (1/4-inch) against the grain and on a slight diagonal.
- Serve with a side of brown rice, green salad or a baked sweet potato.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 198, Cal. from Fat: 42, Total Fat: 4g, Sat. Fat: 2g, Carbs: 1g, Fiber: 0g, Sugars: 1g, Protein: 33g, Sodium: 50mg, Chol: 87.5mg
Any leftover steak can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Have you ever made your own fruit strips/leather? Until recently I hadn’t, mostly because it looked too complicated. It’s NOT! It’s so easy and the results are freaking delicious! I literally ate a whole batch in one sitting! How can you go wrong when only one ingredient can make something so delicious! Enjoy!
- fresh or frozen fruit of your choice (4 cups of fruit yield about one baking sheet of fruit leather)
- raw honey or coconut nectar, optional (you will only need to use a sweetener if your fruit is sour)
- Start by rinsing the fruit. If you’re using stone fruit, take out the pits and chop the fruit. If using apples or pears, peel and core them, then chop. If using grapes, de-stem them.
- Place fruit in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cover and let the fruit cook on low heat for about 10-15 minutes, or until the fruit is cooked through.
- Uncover and stir then use a potato masher (or fork) to mash up the fruit in the pan. (If you are working with grapes – strain the juice out of the mashed grapes and use to make grape juice!)
- This is an optional step. If you want a smooth fruit leather then process the cooked fruit through a food mill or chinoise. I like all the bits and pieces so I skip this step.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with sturdy plastic wrap (the kind that is microwave safe). Pour the cooked fruit onto the lined baking sheet to about a 1/4 inch thickness.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and heat to a low 140 degrees. If you have a convection setting, use it, it will speed up the process and help dry out the fruit.
- Let the fruit dry in the oven for as long as it takes to form fruit leather, usually about 8-12 hours. The fruit leather is ready when it is no longer sticky, but has a smooth surface.
- If you have a food dehydrator like I do this is a great use for it! Simply follow the directions on your dehydrator for drying fruit.
- When the fruit leather is ready, you can easily peel it up from the plastic wrap. Simply cut it into fruit strips and store by rolling it in its plastic wrap, put it in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator or freezer.
Nutritional info will vary depending on the fruit that is used.
You can mix and match the fruit to make an assortment of fun fruit leather flavors. Our favorites are raspberry/blueberry, peach/mango, apple/pear and strawberry!
You can Google (Bing, Yahoo, whatever) baked chickpeas and come up with many different recipes. I’ve tried several and never really been wowed by any and that’s a disapoinment because I really like chickpeas. I decided to take matters into my own hands and come up with something that satisfied my need for crunch and taste. After several unsuccessful tries I can now say….yum and yum and yum. This is it!
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) no salt added chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 3 tbsp sun dried tomatoes in oil, pureed (or tomato paste *see notes)
- 2 – 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or Garlic Gold Oil (if using Parmesan cheese you will only need 2 tbsp)
- 2 tbsp dried minced onion
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper or to taste
- 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast (if using the nutritional yeast you will need to use at least 4 tbsp oil)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Rinse and drain the chickpeas in a colander.
- Lay out on paper towels, cover with another paper towel and roll around until the chickpeas are dry.
- In a large bowl mix together the rest of the ingredients.
- Add the chickpeas to the tomato mixture and stir until evenly coated.
- Spoon the chickpeas in a single layer onto a non stick baking sheet and place on the middle rack in the oven.
- Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so.
- Remove from oven and let cool (the chickpeas will crisp as they cool).
- Enjoy as a crunchy snack or on top of a salad.
Makes about 2 cups.
Serving size 1/2 cup.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 310, Cal. from Fat: 87, Total Fat: 9.5g, Sat. Fat: 1.5g, Carbs: 41.5g, Fiber: 9g, Sugars: 1.5g, Protein: 14g, Sodium: 162.5mg, Chol: omg
You can use tomato paste rather than pureed sun dried tomatoes but the sun dried tomatoes give more flavor and the little bits and pieces brown up so nice as the chickpeas bake and add a whole extra level of taste.
When using the nutritional yeast if the mixture is too dry add a bit more oil until the chickpeas are evenly coated in the mixture. I’ve made this vegan version a few times and having tasted them both ways I actually prefer them with the nutritional yeast.
Leftover chickpeas can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. They will start to lose their crunchiness but they still taste great. If you want to crisp them up again you can throw them in the oven for a few minutes until crispy.
Oh cheesecake, how I love thee! Really, what else do I have to say other than you will be in cheesecake heaven in just one bite. Plus these are a mini version so you can satisfy your sweet tooth without overindulging. They also freeze really well. I like taking one out before I sit down to dinner and it’s ready by the time I’m finished. If you thaw them completely the cookie bottom does get a little soft but they still taste delicious. ENJOY!
- 9 Chocolate Fudge Cookies
- 8 ounces Neufchatel, at room temperature
- 2-3 tbsp honey or coconut nectar (I use 2 tbsp but if you like a sweeter cheesecake use 3 tbsp)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup low fat, plain Greek yogurt
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
- Line a standard muffin tin with paper (or foil) cups .
- Place one whole cookie in the bottom of each paper muffin cup.
- In a large bowl add neufchatel, honey and vanilla then beat with a mixer until well combined (you can do this by hand if you want a good arm workout!).
- Next add in the egg and beat until throughly combined. Now add in the yogurt and continue to beat until you have a smooth and creamy batter.
- Spoon batter evenly among the 9 cups and fill each one almost to the top.
- Bake your cheesecakes on the center rack, rotating the pan halfway through cooking, until the filling is set, about 22-24 minutes.
- Remove cheesecakes from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight, before serving.
Makes 9 servings.
Serving size 1 mini cheesecake.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 146.5, Cal. from Fat: 68.5, Total Fat: 7.5g, Sat. Fat: 4.5g, Carbs: 15.5g, Fiber: 1g, Sugars: 10.5g, Protein: 5g, Sodium: 114.5mg, Chol: 53mg
Leftover cheesecakes can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days. You can also freeze the cheesecakes for up to 6 months.
The Cheesecake Factory used to have a peanut butter cheesecake that was beyond delicious. It had a chocolate cake crust and was topped with a creamy peanut butter cheesecake. For my second batch of cheesecakes I decided to try this variation and it was wonderful! With the fudge cookies and peanut butter cheesecake it was just like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup! To make the peanut butter version add in 1/3 cup of organic creamy peanut butter to step 4 and continue as directed. You can also decrease the amount of coconut nectar or honey to 1 tbsp when using the peanut butter.
And for you chocolate lovers out there you can add 1/4 cup cocoa powder to step 4 and continue as directed. Chocolate cheesecake at it’s finest!
For those on a gluten free diet feel free to substitute your favorite gluten free cookie for the Chocolate Fudge Cookie in this recipe for a gluten free treat.
My grandson Caleb loved Jello chocolate pudding from his first bite. Once his family decided to eat healthier and eliminate sugars, chemicals and artificial ingredients I tried explaining to him that the jello pudding cups had ‘bad’ sugar in them and that we would have to find another option. I went through many different pudding recipes, one made with tofu, another with yogurt, even one with avocado but none of them got the thumbs up from him. I finally got his approval with this recipe. In fact he liked it so much he ate some for dessert after lunch and asked if he could have it again for his snack later that day.
- 1/4 cup coconut nectar or brown rice syrup
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp organic cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 cups milk, low fat or non fat
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup chocolate chip of your choice (I used Sunspire Brand Grain Sweetened Chocolate Chips)
- Lightly beat the egg in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
- Whisk together the cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt in a 2 quart sauce pan.
- Add in the coconut nectar and a small amount of milk (about 1/4 cup). Whisk until smooth.
- Add the remainder of the milk, whisk well and place over medium high heat.
- Bring to a boil, lower heat to low and whisk constantly for about 4-5 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat.
- Add a small amount, about a teaspoonful, of the chocolate mixture to the egg, whisking constantly. Do this several times, a teaspoonful at a time until you have about 1/4 cup of the chocolate mixed into the egg. (this will slowly temper the egg so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs)
- Gradually add the rest of the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture whisking constantly.
- Add the chocolate chips and whisk until they are melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Immediately pour the pudding into ramekins or cups. Place a layer of wax paper over the pudding to prevent a skin from forming.
- Refrigerate at least an hour or two or until the pudding is cold.
- Remove the wax paper and serve.
Makes 4 cups (approximately 8 oz size).
Serving size 1 cup.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 183, Cal. from Fat: 54, Total Fat: 6g, Sat. Fat: 3g, Carbs: 25.5g, Fiber: 2.5g, Sugars: 14g, Protein: 7.5g, Sodium: 89mg, Chol: 55mg
Any leftover pudding can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.