Friday, December 24, 2010

No Butter Magic Layer Bars

I had a hankering for something sweet today, and I really wanted to bake.
So I opened up the refrigerator door only to find... No butter. 
But I saw apple sauce...but didn't feel like making cookies...and I recently made brownies (Raspberry Chambord Brownies, mind you...coming soon!)....I wanted another bar like treat. Like Seven Layer/Magic Bars.

So I looked in my pantry and found all the necessary ingredients...again, but no butter.
I decided to use maple syrup instead to bind the graham cracker crumbs together, and it came out pretty well!

I hope you enjoy these delectable treats! Warning: These are not low calorie, but the fat in them comes from the coconut and walnuts, which are better fats for you then those from butter!

What you need:

    • 1/2 cup 100% pure maple syrup
    • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
    • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    • 1 cup butterscotch chips
    • 1 cup chopped walnuts
    • 1 (14 ounce) can low fat sweetened condensed milk
    • 1  cup shredded coconut
    How you do it:

    Preheat oven at 350.
    In a bowl, mix graham crackers and maple syrup.

    Line a 13x9 dish with foil, and spray with cooking spray.
    Press down graham cracker crumb mixture at the bottom of the pan.
    Sprinkle on the chocolate chips, followed by the butterscotch, and then the chopped walnuts.
    Now, layer the sweetened condensed milk on top of that.
    Lastly, sprinkle the shredded coconut on top.

    Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown. TIP: Let the bars sit in the pan they cooked in, on a cooling rack, for a minimum of one hour before cutting into them. They need to solidify.

    Yields about 36 small bars; under 250 calories and 10 grams of fat per bar. 'Tis the holiday season, you're allowed to indulge. Pardon the less-than-pretty photo; I couldn't wait the full hour before I could cut into them to share these with you!

                Monday, November 22, 2010

                This Blondie Was A lot of Fun!

                After watching an episode of Down Home With the Neely's on the Food Network last week, I decided to make Blondie brownies. Now, normally, I am a chocolate brownie only type of girl, so I must admit, I was way skeptical.

                The recipe originally called for toffee pieces, but I didn't have those, and I made a series of other changes to the recipe. The result was a fluffy, moist, cake like little treat with a hint of peanut butter and some chocolate chips.

                You can find the original recipe over here

                The ingredients:

                • Sprays of Pam/cooking spray
                • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
                • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
                • 1/4 tsp baking soda
                • 1 tsp baking powder
                • 2 sticks land o lakes butter (I used light)
                • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
                • 1 cup granulated sugar
                • 2 eggs
                • 1/4 cup egg beaters
                • 2 tablespoons light cream cheese
                • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
                • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
                • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
                Line a 13 by 9-inch glass pan with tin foil, leaving enough overhang so that your can pull the brownies off easily. Spray with Pam/nonstick spray.
                In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.
                In a large bowl, using a mixer (I used my Kitchen Aid stand mixer), cream the butter and the sugars together until they are well combined and fluffy. Slowly add eggs one at a time, and then the egg beaters. Add the cream cheese, vanilla extract, and peanut butter and continue to mix. Slowly add the dry mixture into the wet mixture in 3 separate additions. Fold in the chocolate morsels.
                Pour the batter into prepared 13x9 pan. Bake in the center rack of the oven for 45 minutes. Remove the treats when toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean!

                Sunday, October 24, 2010

                Beef Stew & Dumplings!

                Sometimes you just need a hearty stew. Whether it's stressful at work, rainy and full of drab outside, or maybe you're just starving; a beef stew will do the trick.
                I've never made chicken and dumplings before, but I have made beef stew a few times. It's full of protein and vegetables just like chicken and dumplings, so I thought to myself, why do you never hear of beef and dumplings? Well, after I tried this recipe out, I figured it was tasty enough to share with you all.
                What you need for the Stew:
                •  About 15 ounces of beef chuck for stew, dredged in flour that has been seasoned with salt & pepper.
                • 1 cup of onions, sliced
                • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
                • 2 large carrots, chopped
                • 3 stalks of celery, chopped
                • 2 russet potatoes, diced in large chunks
                • About 1.5 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
                • 2 cups of low sodium beef broth
                • 3 cups of water
                • 2.5 cups of diced tomatoes in a can
                • 1 tbsp tomato paste
                • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
                • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
                • 1 tsp granulated sugar
                • 1/4 tsp black pepper
                • 1/2 tsp paprika
                • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
                • 2 bay leaves
                How to do it:
                Heat the oil in a large dutch oven.Add the meat and brown on all sides. 
                Lower the heat to medium and add the onions and garlic to the meat and let them sweat out for a few minutes. 
                Add the worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, salt, sugar, paprika, pepper, cloves, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, and broth. Cover the pot and let the mixture simmer for about 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove the bay leaves. Add the carrots, celery, and potatoes. Season to taste at this point. Cover again and let simmer for about another 2 hours.

                About 20 minutes before you're ready to eat, start the dumplings. 
                What you need for the dumplings:
                • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
                • 1 tsp baking powder
                • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
                • 1/8 tsp dill weed (dried)
                • 1/8 tsp parsley (dried)
                • 1 egg
                • 1/4 cup fat free half and half (you could substitute skim or 1% milk)
                Mix the dry ingredients together (flour, baking powder, salt, dried dill weed, dried parsley). Beat the egg & half and half together.  Add the wet to the dry mixture. Form into little dumplings (about 10).
                Add the dumplings for the final 10 minutes of cooking.

                And now you have, Beef Stew and Dumplings!
                Approximate facts for the Dumplings:

                Amount per Serving

                Calories 101
                Calories from Fat 13.1 
                Total Fat 1.46g
                Saturated Fat 0.38g
                Cholesterol 53.75mg
                Sodium 146.17mg
                Total Carbohydrate 15.76g
                Dietary Fiber 2.68g
                Sugars 1.65g
                Protein 4.67g
                Approximate facts for the Stew:

                Amount per Serving

                Calories 307
                Calories from Fat 101.6

                Total Fat 11.29g
                Saturated Fat 4.62g
                Cholesterol 50mg
                Sodium 750.33mg
                Total Carbohydrate 25.25g
                Dietary Fiber 4.09g
                Sugars 8.29g
                Protein 4.36g
                Stay warm out there!

                Sunday, October 17, 2010

                Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

                This soup is easy, delicious, and filling. Let me tell you something. I've played around quite a bit with squash soup recipes; to the point I make it probably 3-4 times a fall season, on every holiday during the fall and winter, and every party my husband and I host- I do this just to determine the perfect recipe. I've tried adding cream or half and half or even milk to add a creamier flavor; maybe some brown sugar to sweetened it up, and you know what? You just don't need it. I've finally found the one that is worthy of sharing with you- and also isn't necessary to add nutritional information because quite frankly, nothing in this recipe is bad for you.

                I love fall, and I love a good thick, hearty, flavorful soup. This one does the trick.
                Let's just cut to the chase and get to it:

                What you need:
                For roasting:
                1, 2 pound butternut squash; split in half lengthwise, seeds removed (keep the seeds, wash them, you'll need them for roasting)
                3 small gala apples
                3 small cloves of garlic, unpeeled
                1/2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to spread
                Kosher salt & pepper
                Ground cinnamon
                For the base of the soup:
                2 medium yellow onions, diced
                Another 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil
                1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
                1/8 tsp ground ginger
                1 tsp ground cinnamon
                1/2 tsp kosher salt
                Up to 4 cups of water
                How you do it:
                Oven to 375.
                Season the squash with oil, salt, pepper, and cinnamon. A healthy dose will do the trick. No need to really measure (but if I were going to, try 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper, and 1 tsp of cinnamon. Put the squash on the sheet pan flat side down; but place the garlic cloves underneath the squash (in the crevice of the squash). Next, using an apple corer, slice the apples and place them on the pan as well, drizzle a touch of oil and about 1/2-1 tsp more of cinnamon over the apples. Roast the squash, apples, and garlic for about 45 minutes.
                Meanwhile, place another 1/2 tbsp of oil in a small soup pot. Toss the onions in the pot and let them sweat until transparent, about 15 minutes. 
                When the roasting is complete, let everything cool so it's easy to handle. Scoop out the squash and place the squash in the soup pot. Throw the roasted apples in the pot, as well as the garlic cloves (this time, take the peel off!). Note, you do not need to remove the peel from the apples!
                When all the veggies are in, throw the nutmeg, ginger, salt, cinnamon, and about 3 cups of water. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
                Then, get your immersion blender our (or blender, or food processor), and puree the soup so it is very smooth and velvety. Season to taste.
                For the seeds; 
                In a small fry pan, place a tiny bit of butter or oil and then add the seeds and a touch of salt; let them toast for about 5-7 minutes until they change to be golden in color.
                Serve these seeds on top of your bowl of soup.
                Enjoy- You'll find that this is a naturally sweet and hearty soup; perfect for a fall day.

                Friday, October 15, 2010

                Lose the guilt: Burger & Mashed

                But where are my fries, you ask?
                I decided to toss the taters and substitute for a healthier, less carb alternative that I've been wanting to try for a while; mashed cauliflower.
                Don't run away. It's good. I promise.
                And the turkey burger is pretty tasty as well; Mr. Not Your Bubbe's Kitchen is in charge of the beef burgers; I find myself in charge of the turkey burgers. It works.
                Here we go:
                What you need:

                • About 20 ounces of 99% lean ground turkey breast
                • 1/4 cup of yellow onion chopped finely
                • 2 cloves garlic, minced
                • 1 tsp (about) of worcestershire sauce
                • 1/8-1/4 cup of egg beaters
                • 1/2 tsp chili powder
                • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
                • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
                • 2 tsp grill mates montreal steak seasoning with reduced sodium
                • 50% light cheddar cheese slices (like Cabot, Trader Joe's, Kraft)
                • 1/2 Tbsp of oil
                • whole wheat burger buns (4)
                • 1 head of cauliflower
                • some kosher salt & black pepper
                • 2 Tbsp fat free cream cheese
                • 1/4 cup of 2% shredded cheddar
                • 1 Tbsp light style butter
                • 1/4 cup of fat free half and half (you could use skim also, but I suggest adding 1-2 tsp of cornstarch in the milk before adding to the mashed cauliflower
                • Fry pan, food processor or immersion blender
                How to do it:
                Assemble the burger patties-
                In a bowl, add the meat, onion, garlic, worcestershire sauce, egg beaters, spices together.
                Mixture will be very wet. Mold 4 burgers of equal size.
                Heat oil in a non stick pan.
                Place burgers on pan, do not squeeze them; allow the juice to stay in the burger. Cook on each side for about 7 minutes. Burgers should be golden brown.
                Add cheddar to each burger, place a cover on the pan and let cheese melt for about 1-2 minutes.
                Arrange with your favorite fixin's; lettuce, tomato, avocado is what I made mind with.
                Now for the cauliflower-
                Chop the cauliflower roughly and add to salted water. Boil for about 20 minutes.
                Next drain the vegetable in a colander and take a bowl or a plate and lightly press all the liquid out of the cauliflower. 
                Place cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add cream cheese, half and half, butter, cheese. Pulse again. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

                It's good eats, folks. Hungry yet?
                Serving Size: 1 burger patty

                Amount per Serving

                Calories 254
                Calories from Fat 62.4

                Total Fat 6.93g
                Saturated Fat 3.25g
                Cholesterol 91.25mg
                Sodium 793.63mg
                Total Carbohydrate 3.77g
                Dietary Fiber 0.28g
                Sugars 0.38g
                Protein 42.42g

                Serving Size: 1 cup

                Amount per Serving

                Calories 69
                Calories from Fat 27.7

                Total Fat 3.08g
                Saturated Fat 1.88g
                Cholesterol 6.25mg
                Sodium 159.79mg
                Total Carbohydrate 5.95g
                Dietary Fiber 1.88g
                Sugars 3.04g
                Protein 4.74g

                Wednesday, October 13, 2010

                Less Processed Pop Tarts!

                Once in a blue moon, my parents would purchase pop tarts as a kid. As an adult, I have never, ever, ever purchased them.

                Recently, Meghann from The Flour Pile and I were discussing homemade pop tarts. Now, I must preface, she knows her baked goods. Me, I can bake, but I often find myself experimenting too much on how to cut corners and make it healthier; which is very difficult to do with baking. Baking, unlike cooking, is very exact. If a recipe calls for unsalted butter, you really should use unsalted butter. Me, well, I break the rules. While, these aren't the lowest calorie treats, it could be worse!

                Here is my journey at attempting to recreate the childhood treat in two varieties; Pumpkin Spice & Cinnamon & Brown Sugar. 

                Recipe adapted from this one, over at King Arthur flour.
                For the pastry dough:

                • 2 cups whole wheat flour
                • 4 packets of truvia no-calorie sweetener (I wouldn't try this with splenda, sweet and lo or that other stuff; too sweet)
                • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
                • 2 sticks of any light, non-full fat butter, like Land O Lakes Light, Smart Balance Light, etc.
                • 1 egg
                • 2 Tbsp of fat free half and half
                • Another egg, lightly beaten, and set aside.
                For the filling-
                Pumpkin Spice:
                • 4.5 Tbsp canned pumpkin
                • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar (or 1-2 packets of Truvia)
                • 1 tsp cornstarch
                • 2 tsp cinnamon, ground
                • 1 tsp nutmeg, ground
                • 1/2 tsp ginger, ground
                • How to: Just mix all ingredients in small bowl, set aside. Fills about 6-9 pastries.You should have extra.

                For the filling-
                Cinnamon Brown Sugar:
                • Approx. 1/4C dark brown sugar
                • 2-3 tsp cinnamon, ground
                • 1 tbsp flour
                • How to: Just mix all ingredients in small bowl, set aside. Fills about 6-9 pastries.You should have extra.
                How to: The pastry dough
                1. In a stand mixer (or a large bowl), whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. 
                2. In the mixer (or likewise, with your best tools, your hands) add the butter until it is the size of peas and the mixture holds together easily when you squeeze it together.
                3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and half and half and then add this mixture to the dough- only mix until everything is moistened.
                4. Flour a pastry board, and knead dough.  This dough is messy; you may need to add what seems to be a good amount of flour. 
                5. At this point, divide the dough in half. 
                6. Roll out one piece of dough to about 1/8-inch thick, in a 10 x11 rectangle. 
                7. Trim the rectangle to 9×10 inches with a pizza cutter.
                8. Cut the sheet of dough into nine 3×4 (ish) rectangles. 
                9. Next, move the rectangles to a baking sheet (using a spatula will help greatly) that has been lined with aluminum foil that has been sprayed with non stick cooking spray. 
                10. Brush the lightly beaten egg on each of the rectangles. Spoon approximately a tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, leaving a ½-inch of space around the edges.
                11. Follow the same steps as 6-9, only place each rectangle on top of one which has filling in it.
                12. Lightly press the seems of the dough with your fingers to close them tightly & then press a fork along all of the edges.
                13. Poke some fork holes on the top of the pastries.
                14. Glaze the pastries with more egg wash
                15. Refrigerate for 30-40 minutes.
                16. Preheat oven at 350.
                17. Bake for 25-27 minutes until golden brown

                Wednesday, October 6, 2010

                My Oh My, It's Shepherd's Pie!

                Creative title, no?
                The weather this week has been nothing less than sucktastic; rainy and cold.
                When it's rainy and cold, I crave something warm and comforting, as many of us do.
                This recipe I have adapted slightly from Rachel Ray's cookbook, Cooking 'round the clock.
                I've eliminated some items (e.g. egg yolk), swapped out full fat for less fat items (cream cheese, less oil, less butter) and added some more veggies. 

                • 4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed into small pieces
                • 2 tbsp fat free cream cheese
                • 1 tbsp light butter, like Land O Lakes Light
                • 1/2 cup fat free half and half
                • 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
                • 20 ounces 93% lean ground beef
                • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
                • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped.
                • 2 tbsp light butter
                • 2 tbsp flour
                • 1 cup low sodium beef broth
                • 2-3 tsp worcestershire sauce
                • 1 cup mixed frozen vegetables (corn, peas, carrots)
                • Sprinkles of paprika
                For the Mashed Potatoes-
                Bring potatoes to boil in salted water; boil about 15 minutes.
                Drain potatoes and mix them with light butter, softened cream cheese, and half and half (you've now used the first 4 ingredients).
                Season to taste with salt and pepper.

                For the Meat and Vegetable mixture-
                Heat a saute pan with the olive oil.
                Add the ground beef, brown for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.
                Add the chopped onion and raw chopped carrot to the meat mix. Cook for another 5 minutes.

                In a smaller saute pan, make a roux with the 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp flour. Cook for 3-4 minutes.

                Add the cup of beef broth and the worcestershire sauce to the roux, and whisk until the gravy thickens.
                Add the gravy to the beef, onions, and carrots.
                Now add about a cup of the frozen carrots, peas, and corn mixture.

                In a small rectangular pyrex (or pan), layer the meat mixture in the pan.
                Carefully layer the mashed potatoes over the meat.
                Sprinkle with paprika
                Broil for about 5 minutes (give or take) on high.

                The factos: Serves 5

                Amount per Serving

                Calories 387
                Calories from Fat 135.0
                Total Fat 15g
                Saturated Fat 5.3g
                Cholesterol 75mg
                Sodium 321.2mg
                Total Carbohydrate 34.38g
                Dietary Fiber 4.14g
                Sugars 7.96g
                Protein 29.81g

                Serve with a nice pint...I mean, you saved some calories in the recipe; you could splurge a little...couldn't you?


                Tuesday, October 5, 2010

                Cheesy Potato Leek Soup

                This Potato Leek soup recipe is adapted from the Williams & Sonoma Bride and Groom cookbook that I received as part of a shower gift from my lovely friends Laura and Vickie. I've made some changes to it, but I will say, there's nothing warmer to me on a cold, rainy night than a hearty bowl of soup.
                The original recipe does not call for any cheese- I added 2% cheddar, a little grated parmesan, and a touch of cream cheese. I also opted to make the soup have a creamier texture, so added a little fat free half and half that was pre thickened with a touch of cornstarch. 
                This is a meal that is made in 45 minutes- including prep time.


                2 large russet potatoes, diced very small
                5 medium leeks, remove the leafy greens & ends so you are only using the tender portion. Quarter lengthwise and than dice 1/4" thick. Rinse and Drain.
                4 cups of low sodium vegetable broth
                4 cups of water
                1 tsp kosher salt, to taste
                1/4 tsp black pepper
                1/4 tsp (maybe a little less) dried thyme- NOTE: If you do not like thyme, omit!!!
                2 cloves of garlic, crushed
                2 tbsp fat free cream cheese
                1 cup of 2% cheddar cheese (shredded would work best)
                1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (I used the Kraft Parmesan/Romano blend)
                1/2 cup fat free half and half, thickened with 1 tsp of cornstarch

                Bring the broth & the water to a boil. Once boiling, add the potatoes, salt, thyme, pepper, and garlic. 
                Lightly boil for 5 minutes.
                Then add in the leeks. Cook for 10 minutes.
                Add in all of the cheeses to the pot of awesome.
                With an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth (you could also just use a blender, it will be messier though!)
                Last, add in the half and half, and let thicken for about 5 more minutes.
                Serves about 6, makes about 48 ounces, give or take.

                The facts:

                Serving Size: 8 oz

                Amount per Serving

                Calories 175
                Calories from Fat 42.1
                Total Fat 4.68g
                Saturated Fat 2.67g
                Cholesterol 14.17mg
                Sodium 530.54mg
                Total Carbohydrate 25g
                Dietary Fiber 3.02g
                Sugars 5.67g
                Protein 8.57g

                Voila. Wasn't that easy?