Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cooking up a Storm!

In the interest of being healthy, and also saving money, I have been attempting to cook lots of new, healthy recipes, and also to make more things myself.

For example, last week, I:

learned how to make my own yogurt with my yogurt-maker (which, unbelievably, worked, and my yogurt tasted and looked great!) and it was incredibly easy...I just need milk and culture.
I am never buying yogurt again!

I had a zucchini to use up (got it free from Jaymi's school) and made chocolate-zucchini mini-muffins that were awesome too.

Here is the recipe:

1 ¼ cups flour, whole wheat pastry
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 banana, ripe, mashed
½ to 1 cup sugar, raw
½ cup applesauce, unsweetened
¼ cup milk, skim
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup zucchini, shredded
¼ cup walnuts or chocolate chips, chopped

Preheat oven to 350F.
Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda, salt and cinnamon together.
In another bowl, cream mashed banana with applesauce and sugar.
Add in milk, vanilla, zucchini, and nuts/chips to wet mixture.
Stir to combine.
Add flour mix to wet mix in 3-4 batches.
Stir until just combined.
Spoon into greased muffin pan.
Bake 15-20 minutes.
For a cake (you'll need a bundt pan), double the recipe. Once it has cooled, drizzle a sugar glaze overtop (confectioners sugar mixed with water or milk and a touch of vanilla extract or lemon juice to form a runny glaze).

I made one of my family's favourite snacks, Roasted Chickpea Crunchies. All this one is, is tossing a can of chickpeas in olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasting them in the oven until they are like nuts.

I had some bread that was going stale, so I made bread crumbs and froze them in a Ziploc bag (I have been adding to the Ziploc whenever I have some extra crusts, bits of bread, stale bread, etc.)

And I have also tried a few recipes that were soooo good!
Here they are for you to try. Please leave a comment on this post if you try one and like it!

Crunchy Corn Chips (from The Sneaky Chef book)

12 6-inch corn tortillas
2 tablespoons oil, olive
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400F.

Brush both sides of tortillas with oil. Stack 6 of them together and using shears, cut into 8 triangles, for a total of 48 chips. Repeat with the final 6 tortillas.
Scatter the chips in a single layer onto a large cookie sheet and sprinkle them evenly with salt. Bake 10 minutes, then flip them using a wide spatula and bake another 8-10 minutes.

Sweet & Sour Beef & Cabbage Soup (which I made because I had a cabbage to use up)

tablespoon oil, canola
1 pound beef, ground, lean
1 ½ teaspoons caraway seeds
1 teaspoon thyme, dried
2 ½ cups frozen bell pepper mix, thawed, chopped
1 medium apple, Golden Delicious or other sweet-tart cooking apple, unpeeled and diced
6 cups broth, beef
1 15-oz. can tomatoes, crushed or diced
1 ½ tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon paprika, perferable Hungarian sweet
3 cups cabbage, Savoy or green, coarsely chopped
1-2 tablespoon vinegar, cider
¼ teaspoon salt
1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add beef, caraway seeds and thyme and cook, stirring and breaking up the beef with a spoon, until it is mostly browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in pepper-onion mix and apple; cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes more.
2. Stir in broth, tomatoes, honey and paprika and adjust the heat so the mixture boils gently. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Stir in cabbage and cook just until barely tender, 3 to 4 minutes more. Season with vinegar to taste, salt and pepper.

Egg & Ham Turnovers (a fantastic breakfast - make a bunch and freeze individually for later)
from Eat Clean magazine

1/2 cup scallions, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup white mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 eggs
6 egg whites
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 16-oz pkg pre-made whole-wheat pizza dough (the recipe also works with whole-wheat wraps/tortillas if you have to)
6 1-oz slices of Swiss cheese
6 oz low-sodium ham, torn into small pieces, divided

1. Preheat oven to 400F. In a medium nonstick skillet, saute scallions, garlic, red pepper and mushrooms in 1 tsp oil for 5 minutes over medium-high heat. While sauteing whisk together eggs, egg whites, black pepper, thyme and parsley in bowl. Pour egg mixture into skillet. Scramble with veggies for 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl. Let cool.
2. Dust a work surface and rolling pin with flour. Knead dough until it is in a tube-like shape, about 6 inches long. Divide dough into 6 sections by cutting with a knife. Roll out each section into a circle and place circles onto a foil-lined baking sheet.
3. To assemble, layer the following ingredients: On each circle of dough, place 1/2 slice cheese, 1/3 cup egg-veggie mixture, 1 oz ham and top with other 1/2 slice cheese. Fold dough over to make a half-moon shape, pinch sides together with water to stick. Brush outer dough with remaining oil. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes for dough and contents to set.

Paprika Chicken (

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon oil, vegetable
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon paprika
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 19-ounce can tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pepper, green, diced
½ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons parsley, fresh, minced

Cut chicken into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces. In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; brown chicken, in batches. Transfer to plate.

Drain fat from pan; fry onion, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes and tomato paste; bring to boil, stirring and scraping up brown bits from bottom of pan. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Return chicken and any juices to pan. Add green pepper; cover and simmer until sauce is thick enough to mound on spoon, about 10 minutes. (Make-ahead: Let cool for 30 minutes; refrigerate until cold. Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 24 hours or freeze for up to 1 month.) Garnish with sour cream (or plain yogurt) and parsley.

Tilapia Fish Sticks and Cucumber & Yogurt Sauce (from Eat Clean magazine)

1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
2 egg whites
2 1/2 tbsp flaxseeds, ground
2 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp sea salt
8 oz tilapia fillets
1/4 cup cucumber, minced
1 tbsp yellow onion, minced
1 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup nonfat Greek-style yogurt
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375F. In a mini food processor, pulse sunflower seeds for 10 to 15 seconds, until reduced to a fine consistency. In a small bowl, whisk egg whites for 30 seconds. In a separate bowl, stir together ground sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, parsley, pepper and salt.
2. Cut tilapia fillets into thin strips. Dip strips in egg whites, then in bowl with sunflower mixture to coat. Place strips on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, prepare sauce: In small bowl, stir together cucumber, onion, vinegar and oil. Add yogurt and season with salt and pepper. Stir until well combined. Chill in refrigerator for at least 10 minutes in order to meld flavours.

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