Thursday, January 8, 2015

Garlicy Zucchini 3 Cheese Bake

Super simple, super healthy.

This is a single serving side side, so if you're making for more, take that into account.  I love it, because it feels guilty, but isn't.

You need:

One small zucchini
1 Tbsp Shredded mozzarella, part skim lowfat
1 Tbsp Parmesan shredded
1 Tbsp Swiss, shredded
1/4 tsp minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
  1. I sliced up 3 oz. of zucchini on the mandolin, not paper thin, but thin cut on a 2 setting.
  2. Place them in your baking dish.  
  3. Add salt and pepper.  
  4. Lightly smear with minced garlic.  
  5. Top with swiss, parm, and mozarella.  
  6. Bake until golden and bubbly at 325F in a big oven, or 275F in a convection oven.
That easy.

Approx. 124 Calories

Greek Yogurt Thousand Island/Russian Dressing-Updated

I love creamy dressings, but mayo packs a mean punch of calories. I'm constantly looking through the salad dressings when I pick up my weekly pound of spinach, for something new and low calorie that isn't a vinaigrette (too sour for me usually).  This week, I noticed Wegmans now caries a greek yogurt thousand island, and I was like DOH!  I can do that!  Why didn't I ever think of it?  And I bet I can yield more with less calories.

You Need:
1/2 Tbsp Simply Heinz Ketchup (any Ketchup will work-you can use whatever you like, but you'll need to adjust your calories)
1 1/2 Tbsp. Plain Greek Yogurt, Fat Free
1/2 Tbsp sweet pickle relish

If you like yours a little less relishy, adjust yogurt and ketchup accordingly.

Mix and serve.

(This whole salad is 320 calories-2 cups spinach, one boiled egg, two slices thick cut baked bacon, 1 whole roma tomato, and 1 Tbsp grated parm.)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Perfect Bacon

Bacon is both foe and friend.  Yes, it is high in fat, but it also packs a powerful protein punch and has choline, something women, especially those who are pregnant or post-menopausal need. Go ahead, take some time and google it ladies.

Back?  Alright.

The second wonderful thing about bacon is that the drippings are quite useful for people doing the all-natural all the time thing.  So, this is a great way to cook your bacon so it comes out just the way you like it every time, and a nice way to get some pretty clean drippings.

We're going to bake the bacon.

Now, the bacon pictured here is slightly underdone by my standards.  This is because I have every intention of adding it to other recipes or nuking it for a quick morning protein fix.  For me, availability is key, since once the classes get going I have very little time to myself.  I store it in baggies, some in the freezer, some in the fridge.

It's also nice to do on cold winter mornings, when you don't turn up the thermostat fast enough.
  1. Line your big baking sheet, the kind with sides, not a cookie sheet (what a mess that would be!) with foil to catch the drippings. If you're doing the whole pound, you will need two sheets for most bacon cuts.
  2. Lay your bacon down as it best fits the pan.  No, no racks just lay it down. If you look at the picture you can clearly see the bacon outline on the foil.
  3. Pop it in the oven, and turn the oven to 400F.  Yes, cold oven.  Yes, it's in there for the preheat. Set your timer to 20 min, and walk away. You don't need to cover it or anything.
  4. Thinner cuts can take a little less time, so set it for 15 and check back.  The thickest cut I've gotten (Wegman's Thick Cut Hickory) took closer to 35-40.
  5. Once crispy or floppy to your taste, remove to paper towels to drain, and pour the drippings into your holding container.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Strawberry Trifle is So Not Healthy

I'm super excited to have survived the last few weeks.  Those of you who know me are aware that everything has been in turmoil since 12/12.  We've shed a lot of tears of sadness and horror going into the New Year, and Christmas just didn't feel like Christmas knowing what I knew.  I took a break from almost everything but family and friends, and found comfort in my community.  We've got a long road ahead of us, but we will grow strong, we will find joy, and we will BAKE.

Because that, kids, is what you do when you're sad or bored.  Just ask my Mom.

So, today I'm sharing absolute garbagey comfort food that is wonderful and decadent and so easy.  Because sometimes you need Grandma's favorite summer picnic dish to cheer you up. This beauty was made for the family Christmas, because it is a fave among the older generation (the younger are pretty fond of it to, but this trifle always comes with stories of the before times).

1 box yellow cake mix
1 box french vanilla jello instant pudding (well, and pudding you want, but this is what I used)
1 box cook and serve vanilla jello pudding
16 oz. frozen strawberries
1 container cool whip or whipped cream
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
4 eggs
1 cup water
A quart whole milk

Obviously, there are ways to make this clean.  You can make your own pound cake, and extra vanilla bean paste.  You can make the pudding and whip cream from scratch.  But today, it's about fast, dirty, and easy.

The night before:
  1. Preheat over to 350F
  2. I used this Wilton's recipe for Pound Cake from Cake Mix, because the holidays left the shelves empty of the confection in both the bakery and baking aisle of my favorite grocery store.  In general, I've had good luck with Wilton's recipes, so I braved it.  I did sub in coconut oil instead of veggie or canola, because I like a little health in my fat.
  3. Mix boxed cake mix, water, oil, and pudding thoroughly before adding the eggs. This is because you probably heated that coconut oil and don't want the eggs to cook in the bowl.  
  4. Beat with electric mixer for 2 minutes until smooth.  This is super heavy, so you'll have to lift your motorized whisk attachments now and again to keep it in the bowl rather than crawling up your hand.
  5. Grease 2 round cake pans with butter or coconut oil.  I actually had the butter on hand so I used that.  
  6. Pour cake batter equally in both pans, and bake about 30 minutes.  Cake will brown on edges and spring back when pushed.
  7. When done, cool in pan 10-15 minutes, then flip out on racks to cool completely.  
  8. Before bed, wrap those babies up in flour sack towels to keep them moist over night.
  9. While the cake cooks, prepare cook and serve plain old vanilla pudding according to box and cool.  Store overnight in fridge.
In the morning:
  1. Pull strawberries from freezer to thaw while you go about your business.  You can also nuke those babies for a few minutes and mash them for faster thaw, but you want the juice too.
To assemble:
  1. Cut cakes up into squares.  
  2. Place one layer of cake in bottom of trifle bowl or a bowl a little deeper than your cake carrier's lid.  You can also use the cake carrier lid if you don't mind being ghetto, and have one of those nice flattop ones.
  3. On top of cake, pour/scoop half of strawberries and juice.  Use a spoon to distribute.  I know, it doesn't look like much, but trust me.
  4. On top of strawberries, scoop in half the pudding.  Same deal.
  5. Repeat cake, strawberry, pudding layer.  
  6. Place in Fridge to chill 2-4 hours.
  7. Before serving, cover with cool whip or whipped cream.  You can sprinkle with almonds if you like.  
  8. It can be chilled up to 12 hours before it goes to disaster mush.