Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Recipe Round Up

With only two days until Thanksgiving I thought it was appropriate to compile a few "dietitian approved" thanksgiving inspired recipes from fellow food bloggers!  These recipes are slimmed down versions of some of my favorite dishes. I hope they give you some inspiration for your holiday feast!

I had to end with my favorite holiday dessert, my Apple Cranberry Mini Pies which were featured on the Today Show last December and have been a big hit with all my family and friends..
enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Spicy Hermit Cookies

       This month's Recipe Redux theme is " A Food Memory That You Are Thankful For". Obviously very fitting given Thanksgiving is less than a week away! Foods are often connected with memories and for me my Mimi's famous hermits reminds me of special times spent with my family.
       My grandmother or "Mimi" as we call her was a high school cooking teacher and a wonderful home cook. Her award winning hermits are well known and loved by all that know her, and often make a showing around the holidays. They remind me of Christmas spent with family and our annual summer vacation to Ossipee, NH. Since my brother and I were young we have spent at least one week a summer at Ossipee Lake with my mom's side of the family. Even now after growing up and getting married I still make a point to spend time at the lake each summer. It is well known that my Mimi will come with her hermits in tow. I won't say that is why we all go but something we all look forward to enjoying!
       I know I will never be able to re-create her recipe perfectly but I thought I would attempt to give her hermit recipe a good healthy "redux" try. For a healthier spin I used vegetable oil spread instead of stick margarine, replaced some of the fat and sugar with applesauce and used part whole wheat flour.  The final product was indeed tasty, and may have to make an appearance this Christmas to see what Mimi and the rest of the family thinks!

Spicy Hermit Cookies

Makes about 24 cookies 

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil spread
  • 1/3 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a large standing mixer, blend butter, applesauce, sugars, egg and molasses.
3. Sift together the dry ingredients and add gradually to wet mixture, blending well.
4. Fold in raisins and craisins with a spatula or on a low mixer setting. 
5. Spread dough in two equal rolls onto an ungreased 15x10 jellyroll pan (I used a 17x 10 pan). Shape rows to an even thickness, leaving space for spreading between rows and on sides and ends. The thickness of the dough should be about the depth of the side of the pan.
6. Bake at 375 degrees for 14 to 15 minutes. Dough should be set with cracks still looking moist. Let cool for 10 minutes then score for size of hermit and then cool for another 10 minutes before removing from pan. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Kale Pesto

          Pesto is a great way to add flavor and color to a variety of dishes. Traditional pesto consists of basil and pine nuts but in an attempt to clean out the fridge and pantry, I used leftover kale and walnuts instead. The flavor and look is similar to traditional pesto but with a boost of nutritional value. Kale adds in fiber, Vitamin C and K while the walnuts add protein and heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Kale Pesto

  • 3 cups kale, washed and roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons crushed walnuts
  • salt/pepper to taste
1. Add kale to a food processor. Process for 20 seconds or until finely chopped.
2. Add in garlic gloves, olive oil, parmesan cheese, walnuts and salt/pepper. Process for 30 seconds, scrape down sides then process for another 10-20 seconds.
3. Store in air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or store in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.

Where to use Kale Pesto?

-Add to a pasta dish
-Spread on toast and top with tomato and mozzarella
-Add to pizza instead of tomato sauce
-Mix into ricotta cheese to make stuffed shells or lasagna
-Use as a marinade for chicken, beef, fish, or vegetables
-Add to vegetable soup

Check out this Food Network site for even more ideas!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pumpkin Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

            When I am on the go I always have healthy snacks with me.  As my husband can attest I am the first to complain when I get hungry. Having snacks on hand is key to preventing my hanger!
            One of my favorite snacks is my low calorie oatmeal cookies, I've spiced them up a bit for the season by using pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice. What makes these cookies so great is that they are portable and portion controlled. The secret ingredient in this recipe is the applesauce, which I used instead of oil to cut down the fat calories and also help moisten and bind the cookies. 
           These cookies also make for an easy breakfast, just enjoy on the go with a yogurt or a hard boiled egg and a piece of fruit!

Pumpkin Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Makes about 18 cookies

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree 
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce, no added sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl mix together oats, flour, baking powder and salt.
3. In a medium bowl mix together pumpkin, sugar and applesauce.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix to combine.
5. Fold in cranberries.
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Corn and Pea Fritters with Cilantro Lime Dipping Sauce

I am always looking for time saving solutions in the kitchen. Libby’s is coming out with new Vegetable Pouches that are shelf stable, stored in environmentally friendly packaging and are microwavable. Because Libby’s pouches can be stored at room temperature they take only a minute to microwave, easy for a quick side dish or addition to appetizer, salad or soup!

  Libby’s was nice enough to send me some free samples to test and make a recipe with. For my recipe I used their Sweet Corn and Sweet Pea pouches to make a Corn and Pea Fritter. The recipe takes all of 3 minutes to prepare and 5 minutes to cook. While the recipe was cooking I put together a cilantro lime dipping sauce made with Greek yogurt and avocado. This recipe is both sweet and spicy and made for a quick appetizer to keep everyone satisfied until the main course was ready!  These fritters are also made healthier by cooking them in a lightly greased pan versus frying them.  

Corn and Pea Fritters        
Servings: 4 (2 fritters per serving)

  • 1 pouch Libby’s Sweet Corn, drained and washed
  • ½ pouch Libby’s Sweet Peas, drained and washed
  • 2 tablespoons onion, minced
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • vegetable oil spray

1. Add all ingredients into a large bowl. Mix to combine.

2. Lightly coat sauté pan turned on medium heat with vegetable oil. Spoon ¼ cup of mixture on pan, press to flatten. Cook each fritter for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Cilantro Lime Dip

  • 5.3 ounce container of 0% plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ avocado
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves

1. Add all ingredients to a food processor.

2. Process until smooth.

“I received free samples of Libby’s new Vegetable Pouches mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Libby’s and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.