Friday, August 29, 2008

Baby food ... made in the Crock-Pot

I saw this post on A Year of CrockPotting and thought it would be good to share.

I've been making JD's food now for several weeks, but I usually steam the veggies/fruit on the stove to avoid turning on the oven during the heat of summer. Using the slow cooker would give the food the richness of being roasted without turning on the oven. Brilliant!

Dairy-free Basil Pesto Sauce

I have a ton of fresh basil, and my absolute favorite way to use up basil is to make pesto. My usual pesto recipe is filled with Parmesan cheese, and I obviously can't eat that now! So I had to figure something else out.

The beauty of pesto is that it freezes incredibly well. Pour the sauce into Ziploc baggies and freeze flat. When you're ready to use it, allow it to thaw in the fridge and then add it to your cooked foods. No need to heat it! The residual heat from your cooked food will be more than efficient.

My favorite way to eat pesto is with pasta and sliced chicken breasts. Prepare the chicken whatever way you prefer (grill, saute, roast, etc.) and toss with the pasta and sauce. Yummy!

I adapted the following recipe from "The MSPI Guidebook/Cookbook." The original recipe calls for 1/4 cup lemon juice, which I thought excessive. I also made a few other changes.

Dairy-free Basil Pesto Sauce

1 cup fresh basil leaves
3 peeled garlic cloves or 1 tbsp. jarred minced garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tbsp. lemon juice
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process until mixture becomes a smooth paste. Add more salt to taste. Makes 1/2 cup.

Quick Start with MSPI Mama: This is one of my Quick Start recipes

Beef & Pasta

Here's a simple recipe from Campbell's Kitchens that I adapted slightly. Here's the original recipe. It's more or less glorified spaghetti with meat sauce.

I opted to use A-1 sauce instead of the Worcestershire sauce. You could also just leave it out all together. I also used 1 pound of ground beef and beef broth, because that's what I had on hand.

Beef & Pasta

1 lb. ground beef
1 can (14 oz.) MSPI-friendly beef broth
1 tbsp. A-1 sauce
1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves, crushed
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 can (about 8 oz.) stewed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups uncooked medium tube-shaped or corkscrew-shaped pasta

Cook beef in skillet until browned. Pour off fat. Add broth, A-1, oregano, garlic and tomatoes. Heat to a boil. Stir in pasta. Cover and cook over low heat 10 minutes, stirring often. Uncover.

Cook 5 minutes or until done. Serves 4.

Fruit Smoothie

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the Earth. I've been busy ... going on vacation, enjoying the end of summer, avoiding the computer, gearing up for the fall. You know, the same things you've been doing!

Anyway, my friend Laura sent me this recipe. Haven't had the chance to make it yet, but it sure looks yummy! Thanks, Laura!

Fruit Smoothie

1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen strawberries in syrup
1 banana, peeled
2 cups orange juice
2 tbsp. honey
2 cups ice

In a blender, combine all the ingredients except the ice; blend on medium speed until smooth. Add the ice and blend until slushy. Pour into glasses and serve.

Note from Laura: I made this recipe using fresh strawberries and added extra honey to compensate for the lack of syrup in the frozen berries.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Pizza Soup

Another great slow cooker recipe from A Year of CrockPotting. It has all the flavors of pizza. Just skip the sprinkle of cheese, and you're MSPI-safe and fancy-free!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mac 'N' Cheez

While we're on the foods-that-masquerade-as-cheese theme, I decided to try a recipe for Mac 'N' Cheez. I adapted this recipe from the FatFree Vegan Kitchen. The "cheez" flavor comes from the nutritional yeast, which can be purchased at natural foods stores or ordered online. The classic yellow/orange color comes from the turmeric.

Although this version doesn't taste exactly like the classic, cheesy version, the smoothness of the sauce is spot-on. Experiment with the spices if you're concerned the flavor will be too exotic for you. Feel free to mix in peas, chopped ham, etc., as well.

Mac 'N' Cheez

1 pound macaroni or other small pasta
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup rice milk
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. turmeric
pinch cayenne pepper
black pepper to taste
1/4 MSPI-friendly margarine

Put the pasta on to boil, according to package directions. While it's cooking, blend all remaining ingredients together in a blender. When the pasta is al dente, drain it, reserving about a 1/2 cup of the cooking water, and return the pasta to the pan.

Add the sauce mixture and cook, stirring, until mixture boils and thickens. Mix in the margarine and allow to melt. Add a little of the pasta water if more moistness is needed. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

*** Shortcut: If you would rather make your Mac 'N' Cheez from a box, Road's End Organics makes a decent Mac & Chreese. I've seen it at Whole Foods or you can buy it online.

Vegan Goldfish Crackers

I just came across this recipe and had to share it. Now that JD is starting to eat solid foods, I know that snacking is just around the corner. Here's a dairy-free version of a childhood staple, courtesy of Shmooed Food!

I haven't made them yet, but I will soon. I'll let you know how they turn out!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Fruit Salad Pie

Here's a favorite recipe from my mom. She's been making it for years. It always reminds me of home!

Fruit Salad Pie

1 8-oz. can crushed pineapple
1 lb. can apricot halves
1/4 cup sugar
2-1/2 tbsp. cornstarch
dash salt
2 small bananas, sliced
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 MSPI-friendly baked pie shell
whipped cream

Heat pineapple and apricots till softened and broken up. Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add to fruit, stirring till thickened and clear. Cool mixture completely. Add bananas and marshmallows. Pour into baked shell and allow to set in refrigerator. Serve with whipped cream -- for those who aren't on MSPI diet!

Black Bean Soup

I just realized that I've never posted this recipe. It's one of my favorites. So easy, low-fat, yummy and satisfying. I think I found it years ago in a magazine (maybe Redbook?) but don't know for sure. It's really good!

Black Bean Soup

1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 cans (1 lb. each) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can MSPI-friendly chicken or vegetable broth

Saute onion in oil till tender. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer 15 minutes. Remove 1 cup soup and puree in blender. (Be very careful! Hot liquids can pop the lid when blenders are turned on!) Return to soup. Serve with garnish: red bell pepper, chopped cilantro, chopped green onion, corn chips, etc.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tomato-Cucumber Salad

I found this recipe in the Aug./Sept. issue of Taste of Home. The original recipe calls for mozzarella cheese, but the salad is still wonderful without it! A great way to utilize some of summer's favorite veggies!

I left out the green peppers (Hubby isn't a fan of peppers!) and substituted plain black olives for the Greek olives (because that's what I had on hand).

Tomato-Cucumber Salad

1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cucumber, quartered and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 small green pepper, chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced onions
12 pitted Greek olives, sliced
2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1 tbsp. minced fresh basil

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the first seven ingredients; shake well.

In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, onions, olives, parsley and basil. Drizzle with dressing; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. Serve with a slotted spoon.

Quick Start with MSPI Mama: This is one of my Quick Start recipes

Beef Sandwiches

I adapted this recipe from "New Flavors From Your Crockery Cooker." I highly recommend doubling the recipe, especially when you can find the roast on sale. The leftover meat freezes incredibly well!

Beef Sandwiches

1 2-1/2 to 3 lb. boneless beef chuck pot roast
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp. A-1 Steak Sauce
1 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
3 cloves garlic, minced
MSPI-friendly rolls
MSPI-friendly barbecue sauce
Sliced red onions

Trim fat from meat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. If necessary, cut roast to fit into a 3-1/2 or 4 quart crockery cooker. (If doubling recipe, use a larger cooker.) Place meat in cooker. Add onion, water, A-1 sauce, oregano and garlic.

Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. Remove meat from cooker, reserving juices. Pour the juice mixture into a small container and place it in the freezer for an hour. Using two forks, shred the meat and put back in slow cooker to keep warm. Remove the juice container from the freezer and skim off the fats. Pour the juice mixture back over the shredded beef. Reheat in slow cooker on high until warm.

Serve the meat on rolls with MSPI-friendly barbecue sauce and sliced red onions.

Blueberry Squares

This is an old Weight Watchers recipe. Super easy and yummy! And just so you know, the bars will come out of the oven all puffed up but will quickly fall once they begin to cool.

Blueberry Squares

1 package angel food cake mix, about 14 1/2 oz
22 oz light fruit pie filling, blueberry

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine ingredients. Pour batter into an ungreased, 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish; bake for 30 minutes. Cool and cut into 24 pieces.