Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Homemade (Lite) Macaroni and Cheese

4 c. cooked elbow macaroni (about half of a 16-ounce box)
2 c. shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1 c. low-fat cottage cheese
3/4 c. non-fat sour cream
1/2 c. skim milk
1 1/2 t. butter, melted
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten

1/4 c. dry breadcrumbs
1 T. butter, melted
1/4 t. paprika

Combine first 9 ingredients; stir well, and spoon into a 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Combine breadcrumbs and next 2 ingredients; stir well. Sprinkle over casserole. Cover and bake at 350º for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 5 minutes or until set.

We really like this and feel it's a great alternative to Kraft. Of course the low-fat options could be replaced with their full-fat friends (with added creaminess, I'm sure), but it's nice to know that the low-fat stuff works. Also, I think the original recipe called for about 1/2 c. of chopped onion, but as C doesn't like onion, we just omit it.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Chilled Sesame Asparagus

In response to the last post...

1 ½ to 2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed
2 T plus 2 tsp. dark sesame oil
1 T plus 1 tsp. rice vinegar
1 T plus 1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1 T sesame seeds, toasted

Cook asparagus in boiling water about 4-5 min. Or until crisp-tender. Plunge asparagus in ice water to stop the cooking process; drain, cover, and chill 2 hours.
Whisk together sesame oil and next 3 ingredients. Chill for 2 hours.
Arrange asparagus on a serving dish; spoon dressing evenly over top. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What to do with asparagus?

Can I make a request?

I'm looking for yummy recipes/ideas on how to serve asparagus. Thanks!

Chicken Salad (a.k.a. "Yummy Deliciousness")

Hi! I think this is the second time I'm adding a recipe here, so you know it has to be good. It's my most favorite recipe to make. Yummy and easy! This is my version of a recipe I found on, perfected over time. :)

4 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 cup chopped celery
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 apple, chopped
1 cup chopped pecans or slivered almonds
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
ground black pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise with paprika and seasoned salt. Blend in dried cranberries, celery, apple, onion, and nuts. Add chopped chicken, and mix well. Season with black pepper to taste. Chill 1 hour.

NOTES - I've used canned chicken in a desperate moment and it's still yummy
One full cup of mayo makes the mixture too wet for my taste so I use slightly less

This is good on just a slice of wheat or multigrain bread or in a croissant or straight out of the bowl! :)

Friday, February 15, 2008

You Make My Day, Too!

Niki, from KnockOutNikiCrochets, gave The Foodees an award for making her day. Thanks Niki! Everyone, check out her cute blog and her Etsy shop.

Now The Foodees is supposed to, "Give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times." Instead of doing this, I suggest that we list some sites that inspire us in the kitchen! Do it by posting your sites in a comment to this post. I'll go first...

Best Ever Sugar Cookie

I got this recipe from a friend, who got it from her sister, who got it from her friend. I have never made them before but had been the extremely lucky beneficiary of these delicious homemade cookies. These are the soft and oh-so-good type of sugar cookies.

1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. butter
1 egg
2 t. vanilla
1 c. sour cream
4 1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt

Cream together the butter and sugar (my friend uses unsalted butter). Then add the egg and vanilla. Next, blend in the sour cream.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Slowly add to the above creamed mixture.

Bake at 425 for 6-10 minutes.

e-notes: My friend just says the timing is always variable - mostly due to the types of pan she uses. I guess some pans require 6, some 10. Sooooo good.

Here is the recipe she uses to frost these bad boys:

4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c. butter (unsalted again)
1 pound powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla

Put it all in a mixer and mix - add milk until you get your desired consistency. I could eat this with a spoon. . .

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

2 c. boiling water
1 6-ounce package strawberry (or raspberry) jello (don't use sugar-free)
1 16-ounce package frozen strawberries (or raspberries)
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, NOT DRAINED
2 c. crushed pretzels, about size of a pea
3/4 c. butter (I use 1/2 c. and it worked)
3 T. sugar
1 8-ounce package cream cheese (can use lite, but not non-fat)
1 c. sugar
1 8-ounce carton of Cool Whip (non-fat works)

Dissolve Jell-o in the two cups of boiling water. Add frozen berries and pineapple. Take off the heat and set aside.

Crush pretzels with rolling pin. Dissolve 3 T. sugar in hot butter and pour over crushed preztels. Press into a 9x13. Bake at 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes. Cool at least one hour (can use the freezer to freeze more quickly).

Beat together cream cheese and sugar until fluffy; fold in Cool Whip. Spread over cooled crust.

When the berry/jello mix has partially jelled, pour over the Cool Whip/cream cheese layer and then finish the jelling. Chill completely.

Note: The cooling of the jello mixture took me a loooong time. I recommend letting it cool for about 30 minutes and then moving it to the fridge to finish the cooling. But this is sooooo good. It's almost dessert in our household. You might say that we LOVE it.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

White Flour Pizza Crust

This recipe makes 2 large pizza crusts

2 cups of warm/hot water
2 tsp. of yeast
4 cups of white flour
1/2 tsp. of sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

Dissolve the 2 tsp. of yeast in 2 cups of warm/hot water.

In a large mixing bowl combine 4 cups of flour, 1/2 tsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, and water/yeast mixture. Mix until it forms a dough. Cover with a towel and let rise for 1/2 hour to an hour. Do not add anymore than 4 cups of flour (this keeps the crust from being so dense)

Grease pizza pan. Sprinkle a small amount of flour in the large mixing bowl on top of the dough (so that the dough won't stick to your hands as you pull it out). Pull out about half of the dough, and place it on the pizza pan. Sprinkle a little more flour on top of the dough, and start to push and shape the dough into a pizza crust. Add sauce and toppings.

Put pizza in oven on 500 degrees for 12 minutes.

This is ONE of my family's favorites! The trick is, cooking it at a HIGH temp. We had looked for a good white flour pizza crust recipe for YEARS, and finally found one. I will NEVER try another recipe again. I hope that you try it, and love it as much as we do!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Coconut Biscotti

1 1/2 c. flour
34 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. baking soda
1/8 t. nutmeg
3/4 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs
1 c. flaked sweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 300º. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and do not put in mixer, but in some other bowl. Add the next four ingredients (through nutmeg) to the flour and whisk together. Place sugar, vanilla, and eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed two minutes or until thick. Add flour mixture and coconut; stir to combine (dough will be very sticky). Turn dough out onto heavily floured surface; knead lightly 7 or 8 times. Shape dough into a 15 x 3-inch roll. Place roll on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or greased cookie sheet), and pat to 1-inch thickness. Bake for 40 minutes or until roll is golden brown. Cool 5 minutes on a wire rack.

Cut roll diagonally into 20 slices; stand slices upright on baking sheet. Bake 20 more minutes; cookies will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool. Remove from baking sheet; cool completely on wire rack.

I love eating these plain while C loves dipping them in milk.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

from-scratch pudding

The flavor and texture of this pudding is deeper and richer than that from a box, since it’s made from actual food. It’s not too much harder to produce, either.

½ c sugar
3 T cornstarch
pinch salt
3 eggs
2 ½ c whole milk
2 T softened butter
1 t vanilla

In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Beat together the eggs and milk. Combine mixtures over medium heat, stirring almost constantly until the mixture thickens; about 10 minutes. Stir in the butter and vanilla. Pour the pudding into serving dishes and serve warm, or place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding (to prevent a skin from forming) and chill in fridge. Garnish with a dash of nutmeg. Yields 6 half-cup servings.

To make butterscotch pudding, substitute brown sugar for the white. To make chocolate pudding, stir 2 oz. melted unsweetened chocolate into the thickened cornstarch mixture.