Saturday, January 8, 2011

Recipes From The Food Group

So on my lovely vacation (Thanks again Jonny!) Angela (Hi Ange) expressed interest in the recipes from the local food group. I typed them up and will post below with some reviews of the ones I tried and/or made. These recipes are from our pre-holiday community meal to show that holiday foods can be more healthy. This doesn't necessarily mean lower calorie.
Anyway, here goes.

Roasted Winter Vegetables
Preheat Oven to 350. Serves 8

2 large carrots
2 beets (no tops)
2 sweet potatoes
1 red onion
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 white or yellow onion
2 T soy sauce
2 T olive oil (strong flavored OK)
Generous pinch of each: dried basil, oregano, thyme, black pepper, sea salt.
Optional: dash of hot sauce or small pinch of hot pepper

Peel and chop into chunks: carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, onions.
In large mixing bowl combine all ingredients and toss to coat.
Transfer to shallow baking sheet and bake 50 min. to 1 hour.
Serve warm. Left overs are good cold tossed into salad greens.
Nutrition facts (from
Per serving: 82 calories. 4g fat. 293 mg sodium. 12g carbs. 2g fiber. 2g Protein.

I loved these! Very tasty and pretty sweet from being roasted. I was about the only one dubious about beets since I find them a tad bitter. I generally use young red beets, striped red/white (striped on the inside), orange or yellow beets partly because these are sweeter and easier to cut up than the giant old red beets, AND because the yellow and orange ones don't bleed that dark red staining beet juice everywhere.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower
Prep time: 15 min. Total Time: 35 minutes. Serves 4-8.

1 head cauliflower, chopped
2 1/2 pounds potatoes, cubed (peeled if you like)
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c butter
1/4 cup milk or cream
1/4 cup sour cream
lots of pepper salt to taste
1/4 tsp paprika
1 head roasted garlic, squeezed out of skins (yes, the WHOLE HEAD).

Boil potatoes and cauliflower together until tender. Drain and mash potatoes and cauliflower with oil and butter. Add rest of ingredients and mix well.
Nutrition facts per serving (at 8 servings) 94 calories, 4g fat, 2s sat. fat, 14mg sodium, 14g carbs, 2 g fiber, 2g protein.

I swear you can't taste the cauliflower, but it does add a firmer texture. So if you hate snotty paste-like mashed potatoes, this is an excellent way to go. There were kids there who were used to eating sugary crap and they loved these potatoes too. They are not particularly low calorie, but they do have a wider variety of vitamins and garlic is an anti-inflammatory and good for the immune system (AND it keeps away vampires).

Spinach Artichoke Dip

5oz fresh spinach, rinsed and stemmed
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

1 1/2 c cooked (or canned) butter beans
(NOTE: cannellini beans OK. 1 1/2 cup = 1 15oz can)
1 c chopped scallions
2 T chopped fresh basil
2-3 T lemon juice to taste

5-6 artichoke hearts or bottoms, minced salt and pepper to taste

Using the water clinging to the spinach after rinsing, stem the spinach until just wilted (2-3 min), and drain. In food processor or blender, puree spinach, garlic, beans, scallions, basil and 2 T of lemon juice until very smooth. Fold in minced artichokes and add more lemon, and salt and pepper to taste.
Nutrition facts per serving: 18 calories, 0 fat. 32mg sodium, 4g carbs, 2g Fiber, 1g protein
(not sure of serving size...sorry)

OK, at the event, I hadn't read the ingredients of this one so I avoided eating more than a couple of tastes since I thought it had dairy in it! This was probably good since I ate lots of the bean-based fudged (see below) and had I added another cup of beans with this dip, there could have been complications. It is delicious and truly tastes like it should. Not like some bean-substitute crap (I am not one who likes fake dairy products). If you can't get or don't have fresh basil, only use a couple of tsps of dried basil to avoid adding a sort of dusty flavor. Even in the dead of winter, there is usually a package of fresh basil in the produce section and I think it would be worth getting for this recipe. Bottled lemon juice will work fine, though fresh squeezed is extra good.

Roasted Green Beans
1 16oz packaged frozen green beans, thawed (or fresh beans if you can get them)
1 T olive oil
1 minced garlic clove
good shake of cajun seasoning
bacon bits (optional)
parmesan cheese (optional)

Place beans on oven-safe pan. Mix with olive oil, minced garlic and spices to coat . Add bacon bits late in baking time and sprinkle with cheese after removing from oven. Bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes. Stir halfway through the baking process.
Nutrition info per serving without bacon bits(4 servings):
83 calories, 4g fat, 1g sat. fat, 42mg sodium, 8g carbs, 3g fiber, 3g protein.

These green beans were delicious! We left out the parmesan cheese and bacon bits and they were still delicious. As usual, roasting makes things sweeter and takes the sort of squeaky-gritty thing out of the frozen beans. Maybe I'm the only one who thinks that frozen green beans are squeaky-gritty. We were cooking for about 50 people so made enough to fill 2 jelly-roll pans about 1 layer deep. There were no beans left even though only 20 people showed up.

Chocolate Bread Pudding (by Paula Deen)
Cook time: 1 hr. 10 servings

1 (1 pound) loaf whole wheat French or Italian Bread, cubed
1/4 c heavy cream
1/2 c coffee

1 c sugar
1 c packed light brown sugar

1/4 c cocoa powder
1 T vanilla extract

2 t almond extract
1 1/2 t cinnamon

6 eggs, lightly beaten
3 c milk

8 oz semisweet chocolate, grated (not chips)
Whipped cream (real cream, whipped up) (optional)

Preheat oven to 325

Lightly grease a 9X13 baking dish and place the bread in it. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, cream and coffee. In another bowl, combine the sugar, brown sugar, and cocoa powder and mix well. Add the sugar mixture to the milk mixture and mix well. Add the vanilla and almond extract, and cinnamon to the beaten eggs. Combing the egg mixture with the milk/sugar mixture and mix well.

Stir the grated chocolate into the mixture. Pour the mixture over the cubed bread in the pan. Let the mixture stand, stirring occasionally for approximately 20 minutes or until the bread absorbs most of the milk mixture. Bake pudding for 1 hour or until st. Check pudding by inserting a knife through the middle and it should come out clean. Serve the pudding warm, or refrigerate and serve chilled with whipped cream.
Nutrition facts per serving: 497 calories, 11g Fat, 4g sat. fat, 1g trans fat, 481mg sodium, 83g carbs, 6g fiber, 18g protein.

I am not a fan of bread pudding and only tasted a bit of this since it has a lot of dairy and I'm not a fan of bread pudding. Why waste my dairy allotment on something slightly icky? It was a big hit with the bread pudding fans. Obviously not a "light" or low-calorie option. The "healthy" bit is that the ingredients are all real foods. The chocolate must be high quality. We used ghirradelli which isn't the top of the top of chocolate, but it's what the designated shoppers could get at the giant-mart in Coeur d'Alene. We chopped it rather than grated the chocolate because holding it to grate made it melt in our hands. If the chocolate does not melt in your hand either you are dead and cold, or you have cheap crappy chocolate with paraffin in it and you should not be making this recipe. No, chocolate chips won't do it justice as they generally have plenty of wax in them. A nice belgian or swiss brand of chocolate would do well. Again, I was not a fan because I don't like the texture of bread pudding. BUT many people loved it. Several of the participants were surprised that making whipped cream involved pouring a little carton of heavy cream into a mixing bowl and setting the mixer on "whip" for about 1 minute. It really is no more effort than thawing out the cool whip from the freezer and will clog your arteries with real food rather than "guar gum" (an item found in cool whip and many landscaping products). (interesting how I have more to say about the item I didn't like)


1 2/3c OR 1 16oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 c cocoa powder
2/3 c butter, melted
1 T vanilla
4 c powdered sugar
Chopped walnuts, optional

Put beans in blender or mixer and puree. Add cocoa, butter, and vanilla. Mix. Combine powdered sugar with bean mixture; beat 3 minutes until well mixed. Add nuts. Spread into greased 9X13 pan.
Nutrition information per 1" square:
224 calories, 8g fat, 3g protein, 36g carbs, 74mg sodium

This is another one that is NOT "low calorie" but "low calorie fudge" is also known as "total crap". The "health" benefit is the protein instead of so much fat. Since there are still 4 cups of powdered sugar, it's hardly healthy. We served this and THEN after people said "wow, good fudge" we told them it was made with beans. You do need to use a bean that cooks up to a brown color or the fudge color will be off. Pinto beans have a fairly light flavor so avoided the beany taste folks get when they use garbanzos and they are light brown so you avoid the oddly ashy-black color you get when you use black beans. There was no fudge left at the end of the meal. I would use real butter in this rather than substituting margarine. It has a better texture and helps the fudge set up. Margarine can turn to oil after it's been melted and won't add the creamy texture to compensate for the beans. If you take all the dairy out, then just don't make fudge.

Apple Cake with Carmel Sauce

3 c flour
1 t salt

1 t baking soda
2 t ground cinnamon

1 c white sugar
1 c brown sugar

3 lg eggs, beaten
3/4 c milk

2 t vanilla extract
4 c apples, peeled (or not), and diced

1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c milk

1/4 c butter

Preheat oven to 350.

In med bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon. Set aside. Place white sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs and stir by hand until well blended. Stir in milk and vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir just until blended. Fold in apples. Pour batter into a greased 9X13 pan or 2 8" round pans. Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

To prepare topping, mix all ingredients in a saucepan and cook at a slow boil for 3 min. Pour topping over the cake and return to the oven for 4 minutes or until the topping is bubbling and golden.
Nutrition facts (though don't know how many servings...):
360 calories, 9g fat, 4g sat. fat, 89mg sodium, 61g carbs, 4g fiber, 11g protein.

This cake was delicious. Unfortunately, it wasn't done until late in the meal and we were all full. Folks took servings home though. The carmel topping is instead of frosting (which I rarely put on a cake anyway...too much dairy for the flavor...and you can have like 3 pieces of cake without frosting (and without carmel sauce) for the calorie-price of one frosted/carmeled piece). I wouldn't peel the apples, I would just run them through the big holes on the stand up grater (which no one though to bring). If you do peel your apples, it's nice to through the peels into cold lemon water while you finish the cake, then, take them out and toss with some cinnamon sugar (not much) and spread on a cookie sheet and bake a bit along with the cake until they are dry. They make nice little fiber-filled snacks that taste like bits of apple pie. Please use a nice baking apple, not red or yellow delicious. I know some people like them, but the ones in most grocery stores are basically flavor free and too watery so the cake will come out bland and soggy and you'll end up baking it until the edges are over done. A nice granny smith or any other slightly tart variety. I've used Fuji and Gala in a pinch but I end up adding some crushed dried apples to the mix to get some flavor in there.

Tart Cranberry Dipping Sauce
Recipe from Alton Brown

Cook time 1hr. 12 servings.

1 lb frozen cranberries
2 c orange juice

3 c ginger ale
2 T maple syrup

2 T light brown sugar
1/2 t kosher salt

1 orange, zested

Combine all ingredients in non-reactive sauce pan (stainless steel...aluminum will turn the sauce dark), and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 30-45 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half.
Carefully puree with stick blender or in blender until smooth. Check for seasoning.
Nutrition Facts per serving: 49calories, 0g fat, 8mg sodium, 13g carbs, 1g fiber.

This was very good. I ate it on the roasted turkey. We used sea salt instead of kosher (because that is what we had). You could probably use regular table salt, but I'd only use 1/4 tsp then since that salt is more acid and there are several acid elements already in the recipe.

Roasted Butternut Soup

2 butternut squash (+/- 4lbs total)
5-8 cloves garlic

1 lg onion, chopped
4 c vegetable broth

1 lg or 2 small apples or pears, peeled, cored and diced
olive oil regular or non-dairy milk as needed
(a nutmilk is very nice)
Spices as you like (suggest 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp nutmeg and 1/2 tsp allspice)
Fresh cracked pepper to serve.
Lemon juice to serve.
Sea salt to serve.

Preheat oven to 350.
Cut squash in half, seed. Place cut side down on cookie sheet. Cot top off garlic head(s). Drizzle with oil. Wrap in foil.
Put squash and garlic in oven.

After 30 minutes, carefully turn squash halves cut-side up and continue cooking until soft, about 20 min). Meanwhile, sautee onion in oil in BIG saucepan over low heat until softened, about 10 min.

Take squash out of oven when soft. Scoop squash out of shells and add to saucepan. unwrap garlic and squash the soft garlic out of the cloves into the sauce pan. Add broth. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until flavors blend. Anywhere from 30min to 2hrs. Keep a lid on it. Add water if it gets too thick.

Use a stick blender to puree soup in the pan, or puree in batches in a food processor or blender. If the soup is too thick after blending, stir in a bit of milk until the consistency is correct. Serve topped with fresh ground pepper.
Nutrition facts (per 1 1/2 cup serving):
133 calories, 1g fat, 298mg sodium, 32g carbs, 1g fiber, 3g protein.

This is something I make frequently. Butternut squash is a good deal because there is more flesh and less seed-guts per pound compared to other squash. It doesn't store as well as hubbard or other super hard squash varieties, but I've had a couple last 2-3 months. The cooked squash freezes well (I've got 2 or 3 tubs of it in the freezer now) and reconstitutes well.
It looks like a lot of work, but it's not bad if you're home all day anyway. For this event I roasted the squash and garlic the evening before and should have scooped the squash out while hot. It was harder to scoop out after it had sat in the skins (in the fridge) over night as the skins got soggy and tended to cling to the squash. Still, it was pretty good. The digging the squash out of the skins is the only messy bit. If you don't like digging the seeds out of raw squash you can get them out after it's done roasting and it will be easier. I like to keep the seeds to plant or roast so I take them out before cooking. The texture of the soup is VERY THICK. I believe I heard the word "baby food" a couple of times. I like that. It's similar to split pea soup in consistency. If you like thinner soup, add more broth and/or milk (we used walnut milk which is a bit grey unless you roast the walnuts ahead of time...can do it while the squash and garlic are in the oven) to thin it own to the consistency of tomato soup.
Once people tasted it, it was a big hit. I really enjoy the fact that it is so low calorie and quite sweet. It's an unexpected flavor for a soup. I wouldn't put the apple or pear skins in this recipe since they will always be chewy and the smooth texture is sort of the point.

If you don't want to use apples or pears, you can use carrots, well scrubbed. Either dice them up very small and sautee with the onion or cut them into 1inch chunks and roast with the squash and garlic.

If you don't have a stick blender, I'd start with a potato masher. It's a pain to get it all into a blender and back in the pan. Just make your peace with a chunkier soup.

I'll try to find some of the other recipes from our other meetings and post those now and then.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Jill - I am just getting caught up with our blog and email and snail mail and new semester starting and and and, so I just remembered to check out your blog (don't feel bad --I've been ignoring my own for months). I will definitely check out those recipes, especially the mashed potatoes one. Maybe I can use my rice cooker :-)

I'm going to be on the lookout for rice cooker recipes. Thanks for including these. I'll adopt some into my routine.