Monday, March 28, 2011

One-Pot Spaghetti

  Ever thought about making a spaghetti recipe where there is minimal clean up and it's all cooked in ONE POT? Well, you don't have to look any further, because this recipe is for you! . Our whole family loved it, so if you are ever short on time try this recipe out. 

Raw Apple Sauce

  One of my favorite snacks as a kid was applesauce. We had a couple apple trees in our backyard and my mom would make a boat load of applesauce every fall from that yummy fruit. Then she would can it which would take 2-3 days, but we would have fresh, organic applesauce all year around! 
With this technique, all you have to do is put all the ingredients in the blender. You don't have to go to all the trouble of caning and you can still have fresh applesauce without having to buy it at the store.  This recipe is very versatile as well. Check out the berry apple sauce you can make in the Change it Up section. Yummy!

*I adapted this recipe from Spark People Recipes . You can check out the original recipe from their recipe.

 Apple Sauce Recipe

Serves: 4 Prep: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 0 hour

1/4 cup raisins
5 apples, cored and quartered (I use a couple Fuji and a couple granny smith) 
1 lemon, juiced
1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
2-3 TB agave syrup (optional)

 1 Soak raisins in enough water to cover them for about 15-20 minutes.
2. Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. If your apple sauce seems too thick or your apples are having a hard time blending, add 2-4 TB of the raisin liquid. Add optional sweetener if the apple sauce seems too tart.
**Makes four 1 cup servings***

Plan and Prep Ahead 

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner. 

~Cut apples ahead of time and brush some lemon juice on them to prevent the browning.


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 
 ~Add some fresh berries to the apples like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries to make it a "berry-apple sauce".
~Juice half an orange instead of lemon juice.
~Try dried cranberries or dried cherries instead of raisins.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Baked Potato and Leek Soup

  This is one of my favorite soup recipes. I love the flavor of baked potatoes, so why not put it into a soup? I had no clue what to make one cold, windy evening for dinner, so I looked in the fridge and this recipe evolved. I had made the Cooking Light Baked Potato Soup version many times, and knew the recipe by heart. It was fun to tweak an old favorite a little with the ingredients I had on hand.  I hope you and your family enjoy this soup as much as we have! Bon Appetit!

*I adapted this recipe from Cooking Light . You can check out the original recipe from their recipe.

Soup Recipe
Serves: 6 Prep: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 1 1/2 hour

1 large leek or 2 small leeks, washed and rinsed, chopped (Check out this post on how to clean leeks) 
5 medium red potatoes or about 1 1/2 lbs of potatoes
1/3 cup flour
3 cups milk (I used fat-free)
1/2 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used low-fat)
3 bacon slices (I used turkey)
Green onion (optional)

 1 Preheat oven to 400*F. Pierce potatoes with fork and bake in oven for about 1 hour, or cut them quarters and bake them for about 1/2 hour. If you are super duper short on time, just cut the potatoes into cubes, throw them into boiling water and let boil until they are soft.
 2. Peel them and mash with a fork. 
 3. Get out a dutch oven or soup pot. Spray it with cooking spray and add your chopped leeks. Cook over medium until they are soft, about 6 minutes. 
4. Dump the sauteed leeks into a large bowl, wipe out dutch oven. Add your flour to dutch oven and cook over medium heat for about 1 minute. 
5. Gradually add the milk. I started with 1/2 cup at a time, and blend with a metal whisk. Constantly stir until you have added all the milk, and let the sauce simmer while stirring for about 8 minutes until it is thick and bubbly. 
6. Add leeks, mashed potatoes, cheese, yogurt and salt and pepper. Over medium heat, cook for about 5 more minutes until the soup has warmed up to desired temperature. 
7. This next step is optional. I added half of the soup to a blender, and blended till smooth so it wouldn't be as chunky. It depends how you like your soup. You can leave it alone and serve as is, or blend all of it, or do half and half. It's up to you! Garnish soup bowls with bacon and green onion. You can even add a little dollop of yogurt on to each soup bowl. Serve hot!


Plan and Prep Ahead 

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner. 

~Bake potatoes ahead of time.
~Rinse and chop leeks ahead of time. 
~Grate cheese ahead of time and leave in fridge. 
~Make the whole soup ahead of time and then reheat when ready for dinner.


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 

 ~Use shallots or onions instead of leeks.
~Replace sour cream with yogurt.
~Try Monterrey jack cheese instead of cheddar.
~Instead of red potatoes use baking potatoes or yellow ones.

How to: Clean Leeks

Leeks can be tricky things to wash if you don't do it correctly, because the dirt gets everywhere! Here's a simple technique that you can use whenever you have a recipe that asks for leeks.

 1. First you are going to chop off the roots and throw them away.
2. Next you are going to cut off the rough dark green leaves of the leek. Most recipe don't use that part, but you can save it to make vegetable or chicken stocks. 
3.Now with a sharp knife, you will cut a slit down the middle of the leek. At this step you can either rinse them off really well in a colander and make sure you get all the dirt out, or go to Steps 4 and 5. 
 4. Cut the leek into quarters. 
 5. Add them to a bowl full of water and rinse them repeatedly until there is no more dirt left. 

Snack: Whole-wheat bran muffins

    I have made these muffins at least 5 times in the last 3 weeks including for our daughter's preschool, and I am happy to say 90% of the twenty kids that tried them loved them! One of the little girls begged her Mom to get the recipe from me that night. She couldn't stop raving about how good they were, and she is a picky eater! I was a proud mama that day.  

I buy a lot of these ingredients in bulk like the dates and flour, so if you have a local supermarket in your area that sells stuff in bulk, you will probably save some money. These muffins pack in 3.4g of fiber per muffin, and are irresistibly flavorful and yummy. They are great for a snack or breakfast, and freeze really well if you don't want them taking up any room in your fridge. Just plastic wrap them individually, place them in a large freezer zip lock bag, and let it defrost in your fridge overnight or just pop it in the microwave for a minute. 

Check out the Change it Up section at the bottom for ideas on how to alternate the ingredients to create your muffin to your liking.

*I adapted this recipe came from Cooking Light . You can check out the original recipe from their website.

Muffin Recipe
Serves: 12 Prep: 25  minutes Cooking Time:  18-20 minutes

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup oat bran, or wheat bran or wheat germ
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1/3 cup pitted dates, chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup low-fat buttermilk (see alternative in Change It Up)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, well beaten
1/2 cup boiling water
Cooking Spray

1 Preheat oven to 375*F. In a large bowl mix flour through walnuts. In a smaller bowl combine buttermilk through egg. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix well. Add the boiling water, and combine well. Let sit for 15 minutes.
2. Spray your muffin tins with cooking spray. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, add muffin batter to the muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes in muffin tins, and then let cool all the way on a cooling rack. Enjoy!

Plan and Prep Ahead 

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner. 

~Chop up dates and walnuts ahead of time. 
~Mix together flour through walnuts in a bowl and set aside.


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 

 ~If you don't have buttermilk, add 1 TB of white vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk to make sour milk. 
~Use dried cherries, raisins or currants instead of dried cranberries. 
~Chop up 1 apple and add to the mixture. 
~Instead of 1 cup of flour, just use 1/2 cup of flour and use 1/2 cup oat bran, wheat bran or ground flax seeds or a mixture of them. 
~Regular old fashioned oats may be replaced for quick oats. 
~Chop up some peans, almonds or pistachios instead of walnuts. 
~Zest 1 orange or lemon into the batter to change up the flavor. 



Related Posts with Thumbnails