Healthy Cooking For Today

By Marianne Yeomans

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WELCOME FALL

Posted on October 25, 2012 at 11:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Almost everyone loves Italian food and what isn't there to love.  Most dishes are hearty, not to difficult to make, and very economical., although some may be time consuming.  But the recipe that I am sharing today is great for busy days or especially wonderful for working moms.  It still has that old world taste because like mom or mom's mom the food cooks slowly all day.  But we brought it up a notch by using our Crock Pot-Slow Cooker.


Chicken Cacciatore

1/4 cup olive oil

2 1/2 pounds chicken tenders or boneless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces

1 28 oz. can crushed Italian tomatoes

2  8 oz cans Italian style tomato sauce or your own homemade sauce

1 med. onion, chopped

1 lb. sliced mushrooms

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. dried oregano leaves

1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves

1/2 tsp. black pepper

hot cooked spaghetti

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-low heat.  Brown chicken on all sides.  Drain excess fat.  Transfer chicken to crock-pot slow cooker.  Add remaining ingredients except spaghetti.  Cover; cook on low 6 to 8 hours.  Serve over spaghetti.  As always add what ever other ingredients that you like, such as bell or hot peppers.

Members be sure to check out the members blog for a great dessert to go with dinner.  You will love

Easy Taramisu


For Whom the (School ) Bells Toll

Posted on October 2, 2012 at 10:10 PM Comments comments (2)

I am certain that many of you have made some form of an oatmeal bar sometime in your baking life, because a version of the Oatmeal Bar Cookie recipe has been around for a very long time. However, I have raised the bar a little by adding fruit and/or berries to the jam used in the recipe to make it a suitable and healthy breakfast (or anytime) treat.  I even added a modern touch to its preperation by incorporating the use of a food processor.  This recipe can be made in minutes with out much effort on your part.

OATMEAL BARS


1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat or white whole wheat flour (King Arthur)

Or you may use just all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp. brown sugar, light or dark

1 cup Smart Balance Blend (2 sticks), at room temperature

1 1/2 cups old-fashion oats

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt (kosher salt preferred)

1 large egg

1/2 cup seedless all fruit jam or jelly

1 cup-or to taste of berries or chopped fruit, fresh or frozen thawed

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare a 9 x 13 in baking pan with non-stick foil, leaving a 3-in overhang on two sides.  In a food processor, pulse 1/2 cup flour, the brown sugar and 1/2 stick of Smart Balance Blend until the mixture forms large crumbs.  Place in a medium bowl and stir in 1/2 cup of oats.  I like to refrigerate the mixture until I am ready to use it.

In the uncleaned food processor ombine the granulated sigar, baking soda, salt and the remaining 1 cup flour and 3/4 cup of Smart Balance Blend until the mixture forms fine crumbs.  Add the egg and pulse until blended.  Transfer to a large bowl, fold in the remaining 1 cup oats and spread into the prepared pan.

Mix the jam with the fruit and spread evenly over the batter.  Crumble the chilled crumb mixture into small clumps over the jam.  Bake until the jam is bubbly and a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Bake approximately 22 to 25 minutes.  Using the overhang that you created, transfer the bar to a wire rack to cool completely (jam gets very hot)  Cut into squares.  YUM!






Where Did the Summer Go?

Posted on August 19, 2012 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Oh Gosh, Summer will be over in a few weeks, so that means most of the vegetables in the garden will be ready to harvest and if you are like me and love to cook and try new taste, you will be pretty busy. Most of you will probably have to find snips of time to spend in the kitchen between getting the kids ready for school and dropping them off at their designated sports games.  But if you truly enjoy fresh vegetables and want to feed your families healthy, you may want to try the few recipes that I have shared today, including the very tasty baked tomato recipe that follows.


Baked Tomatoes Florentine

4 or 5 medium ripe tomatoes

1 cup Progresso Italian Style Bread Crumbs

2 ounces Swiss Cheese, grated

1 package 10 ounce frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

4 tablespoons butter or Smart Balance, melted

Cut tops off tomatoes, scoop out insides.  Combine remaining

ingredients, spoon into tomatoes.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.


If you live in Connecticut, don't forget this week is tax free shopping week.




LIFE INTERRUPTED

Posted on July 11, 2012 at 9:50 PM Comments comments (0)

CUPCAKES, CUPCAKES AND MORE CUPCAKES

They say "What is old, is new again" and that saying certainly fits the bill when it comes to cupcakes.

You would think cupcakes were a new found treat, the way they are being promoted.  Back in the day we old folks made cupcakes for every occasion.  You would always find a huge tray of creative cupcakes at birthday parties, PTA meetings, Indian Guide meetings, Scout and Den meetings and I even went to a wedding that had a tiered cupcake wedding cake that was so unique and unusual at the time-many years ago. 

Today everyone wants to get into the act, we have Food Channels Cupcake wars, popular cupcake speciality shops and kiosk in the mall selling cupcakes.  Also young people seem to enjoy creating cupcakes.  You may have seen Olivia from Connecticut a regular contributor to our Creativity in the Kitchen segment.  If not check them out on my Classic Link WordPress Archives by searching cupcakes.

I thought that you would enjoy creating these fabulous flower decorations for your cupcakes and cakes as well.  People will not believe that the flowers are so easy to make using gum drops, which come in lovely pastel or seasonal colors.

All that you need is a package of gumdrops-large or small, depending on the size of the flower that you want.

1. Sprinkle a board with granulated sugar.  Place a gumdrop on the sugar and flatten with the palm of your hand.

2. With a rolling pin, roll the gumdrip very thin.

3. Using a round bottle cap cut out a circle.  For a rose, make a slit from the edge to the center of the circle and roll gumdrop to make the center.  Prepare 4 to 5 circles and add to center.  Gently twist bottom to hold petals to gether. 

4. For a fringed flower stack 3 circles together and slash from edge to center all the way around.  With your fingers separat fringe and shape to resemble a flower.  Twist bottom to form stem.  Be creative and design your own shapes. 






Sign of Spring

Posted on May 10, 2012 at 8:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Now we are going to get just  a little bit nasty-not really, because everyone needs a little fat or we would be all like the tin man in the Wizard of Oz.  With the following recipe that is just what we will be doing, just getting a little bit of fat, but boy does it taste good.  Shopping with a friend one day last spring we stopped at the "99" resturant for a snack.  They were featuring their spring vegetable special "Panco Crusted Asparagus with a Sweet Red Pepper Dipping Sauce."  This sounded exciting, so we had to try it and yes it hit the spot and was delicious.  So, I stopped at the market on the way home and purchased two bunches of asparagus and the next day I challenged my self with the task of duplicating the recipe.

I tried both, frying the asparagus in a small amount of Canola oil and baking the asparagus in the oven on  a well oiled cookie sheet.  The recipe follows:

CHRUNCHY  PANCO CRUSTED ASPARAGUS

1 lb asparagus

Flour

2 egg whites

1/2 cup skim milk


Prepare the asparagus by holdfing the stem with one hand on each end of stalk.  Slightly bend until stalk snaps.  Fill a bowl with cold water add stalks and soak of a few minutes.  Drain, rinsh with cold water and drain again.  Cook asparagus in a small amount of boiling water for only a few minutes-do not let the stalks get to soft.

Dip the stalks in the flour.  Blend the egg whites and milk  and dip floured stalks in the egg wash and then in the seasoned panco.  Fry in a small amount of oil, turning often until golden brown.  To bake preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place breaded asparagus on a oiled cookie sheet and bake, turning often until golden brown.

Seasoned Panco

1 c. panco

1 tsp. parsley flakes

1 tbl. grated Italian cheese

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. salt (optional)

1/4 tsp. pepper

Mix all ingredients together and coat asparagus and proceed as above. Mix sour cream with bottled sweet red pepper jelly and blend well for a delicious dipping sauce.



Happy Birthday Oreo Cookies

Posted on March 30, 2012 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (1)

I never met a kid who didn't love Oreo cookies and I was always amazed at the creative ways they would eat them.  Some would serparate them and lick out the frosting, then dunk them in their milk.

Others would simple dunk the whole cookie in their milk and I think the most unusual way I saw a child eat an Oreo was when he separated the cookie and licked off the frosting and then sandwiched a whole cookie in between the halves.  It was so funny, he had a difficult time fitting it in his glass of milk.  So I guess any way you eat an Oreo, it will be delicious.

The following ideas for making Oreo Pops-which by the way you will discover that any kind of cake pops are all the rage now-even Starbucks sell them.   The following recipes for pops are so easy and so inexpensive to make and the kids love them-and mom you can go crazy when decorating them. 


Chocolate-Dipped Oreo Pops

10 lollypop sticks

10 doubler-stuffed Oreo cookies

1 1/2 cups ((oz.) bag semisweet chocolate chips

1 1/2 Tbsp solid vegetable shortening

Decorations: sprinkles (Jimmies), Candy coated candies, nuts

Line a baking sheet with wax paper.  Insert lollypop stick into cream filling or each cookie.  Melt chocolate and shortening in a small bowl in the microwave; stir until smooth.  Dip 1 cookie pop 1 at a time letting cooking rest on bottom of bowl for support.  Spoon melted chocolate over cookie to cover completely .  Transfer to wax paper lined cookie sheet.  Decorate cookie with sprinkles or candies.

Let rest until set.  Continue to melt chocolate and shortening and repeat with remaining cookies.

Wrap in food safe celephane or plastic wrap and tie with a bow for gift giving.  For my desert table, I like to wrap a piece of  foam with a colorful foil wrapping paper placed on a tray with the pops stuck into the foam. 

Members check out your exclusive blog for another great Oreo Pop recipe.







HOLD ON TO YOUR HEART

Posted on February 24, 2012 at 11:35 PM Comments comments (0)

As promised the heart healthy oat bran muffin.  using Quakerr Oats oat bran available in ther cereal section of you grocery store.  You can also find a muffin recipe on the box.


The Ultimate Oat Bran Muffin

2 1/4 cups of oat bran

1/4 cup raw wheat germ

(If omitting wheat germ use 2 1/2 cup of oat bran)

1 Tbls. baking powder

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup of nuts (walnuts, pecans or almonds) or sunflower seeds or Chia seeds.

1 1/4 cups skim milk, soy milk, vanilla soy milk or almond milk

2 very ripe bananas

2 Tbls. vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray cupcake tins with butter flavored cooking spray or use cupcake liners.  Mix dry ingredients and add ins in a large bowl.  Mix the milk, bananas, egg whites or Egg Beaters and oil in a bowl or a blender and mix throughly.  Add to the dry ingredients and mix until blended.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes.


For variation add 1/4 cup of raisins or chopped dates, blueberries or chopped apples .

For Applesauce Muffins omit bananas and 1/4 cup skim milk and add 1/2 cup chunky applesauce and 1/4 cup of raisins.

For Pumpkin Oat Bran Muffins omit bananas and 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg.  Be creative and try your very own combinations. The kids would love chocolate chip Oat Bran Muffins.  Go ahead Chocolate in moderation (dark) is heart healthy.


Not So Welcomed Snow

Posted on January 31, 2012 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Now for the delicious peanut butter cookies using the cookie mix in my last update.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

1/2 Cookie Mix

3/4 cup Peanut Butter

36 Hershey kisses, unwrapped

Mix dough and peanut butter throughly . Mold dough into 1" balls. Place each ball 2" apart on an  ungreased cookie sheet (I use parchment paper) and bake for 12 minutes or until set.  Remove from oven and push a chocolate kiss in the center of the cookie.  Do not disturb until kiss hardens at room temperature or in the refrigerator.  Makes 36 cookies


Peanut Butter Cups

1/2 Cookie Mix

3/4 cup Peanut Butter

36 Reeses Miniature Peanut Butter Cups, unwrapped

Mix dough and peanut butter throughly.  Mold dough into 1" balls. Place balls into ungreased miniature muffin wells.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes immediately remove from oven and press a Reeses Miniature Peanut Butter Cup into the center of the well so cookie dough forms around the candy like a shell.

Cool at room temperature-place in the refrigerator until chocolate becomes glossy.  Delicious and looks like you worked all day rolling and molding shells.  I have tried this with other doughs and minature candies as well.  Very unique.

Let me know how you like this handy mix and of course how you enjoyed the cookies.  Just makes life a little easier.  Lov





Another Christmas Past and A Happy New Year

Posted on January 2, 2012 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)

As promished I have two more recipes using the homemade cookie mix.  It is a great way to have wholesome treats for the kids without purchasing processed cookies with all kinds of nasty stuff in them.  Yes cookies are treats and should be eaten in moderation but the plus side is by making your own cookies, you can control the amount of sugar and use 1/2 white whole wheat flour instead of all white all purpose flour.  You can even sneak grated carrots, which resemble coconut and which add sweetness to the cookie.  Mix in oatmeal or crushed dry cereal, raisins and nuts.  Believe me you will have fun creating your very own healthy snack.  I know that it is much easier to purchase a box of cookies that are loaded with unhealthy ingredients such as too much sugar, food coloring, stabilizers and enhanchers. You can do it mom and your kids will love yoy and you will love yourself.

Sugar Cookies

1/2 portion cookie dough

Decorator sugar or sprinkles or cookie paint (recipe follows)

Heat oven to 3475 degrees F.

Roll dough 1/8 inch thick on floured surface and c ut with cookier cutters.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet-I use parchment paper. Sprinkle with sugar or sprinkles or paint with cookie paint and sprinkle with superfine sugar or sprinkles. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Remember you can make a variety of cookies simply by changing add-ins.


Cookie Paint:  In small c ustard cups, tint small amounts of evaporated m,ilk with food coloring.  Apply with small fine tipped paintbrush.

Note:  Instreead of sugars and cookie paint, when cooled cookies may be frosted with Royal Icing and decorated

Pecan Refrigerator Cookies

1/2 cookie dough

1 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix dough and pecans thoroughly.  Shape dough into seven inch rolls and wrap in waxed paper.  Chill two hours, until firm enough to slice.  Slice about 1/8 inch thick. Bake 10 minutes mor until throiughly browned.  For sandwich cookies simple put two cookies together with jelly or frosting


OH NO NOT AGAIN

Posted on November 4, 2011 at 11:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Perhaps the kids have already eaten all the candy they collected on Halloween by now.  Unfortunately or fortunately, I am not sure which when our kids were young we had to contend witn pillowcases filled to the top.  I had to be very creative when it came to using the candy for desserts. I am just going to throw out some simple ideas, no recipes.  You decide on the amounts of the ingredients.

Why spend exorbitant prices for those designer ice creams that you find in the freezer at you supermarket.  Simple purchase a less expensive brand or better yet buy the 2 for 1 sale ice cream and try different ideas or let the kids make it.  Leave the ice cream at room temperature until it has softened slightly.  Chop the candy in pieces and gentle fold into the ice cream. One of my kids favorites was Reeses Peanut Butter Cup ice cream, but any kind of candy can be used.

A little more work, put just as easy would be triffle-This is a layered dessert that is made in a large clear glass bowl.  You simple layer ingredients and the variations are endless.  I make a wonderful gingerbread triffle for the holidays simple by layering crumbled gingerbread, pudding that is made with light eggnog instead of milk, whipped cream, or cool whip and crushed Heath Bars. It is a family favorite and I only make it for Christmas.  But I am sure that you can come up with some great ideas. You can incorborate the crushed candy in the layering or simple sprinkle on top.  Have fun.




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