Wednesday, October 29, 2008

No-Oven Peanut Butter Squares

Yes, you have died and gone to heaven. These decadent, finger-licking, almost-like-a-Reeses-Peanut-Butter-Cup bars can be made MSPI-friendly!

The recipe comes from Kraft Foods. The trick is to just make sure you are using MSPI-friendly versions of the ingredients.

If you can't find semi-sweet chocolate that's safe, go ahead and use 12 ounces of safe chocolate chips.

Now you won't feel completely deprived on Halloween when everyone else is diving in to the chocolate!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Melody's Spinach Salad

I was going through a notebook of recipes and came across this one that my friend Melody often brought to events with our friends and at church. She has since moved away, so I am so grateful that she shared this recipe with me! It's so good, and I am super excited because it's MSPI-friendly!

Melody's Spinach Salad

1 cup vegetable oil (canola, safflower or olive oil, but not extra virgin)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/3 cup cider vinegar
3 bags baby spinach
6 crisp strips of bacon, crumbled
5 mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch green onions, sliced (use white parts only)

Whisk together oil, sugar, salt and dry mustard. Slowly add in vinegar. Set dressing aside and allow it to set up.

Toss together salad ingredients. Add salad dressing immediately before serving -- you may not need all of the dressing.

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

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pear Bundt Cake

This recipe from Taste of Home is incredibly easy and yields a moist and tender cake.

I used an MSPI-friendly yellow cake mix (several Duncan Hines mixes are safe) instead of the white cake. And since I was going the yellow route, I went ahead and opted to use two eggs instead of one egg and two egg whites. Do what works best for you!

Chicken With Mushrooms

Mushrooms are one of those ingredients that I often buy as an impulse purchase. They look good in the store and are on sale, so I grab them. But then I forget about them, and I often end up tossing them. Well, I was determined to use them this last time I purchased a pound. So after doing some looking around, I opted for this meal.

My recipe comes from this Taste of Home recipe for Chicken Marsala, but I couldn't call my version "Marsala" because I didn't use the wine. (I also skipped the marinating step.) So I opted for the boring name. Anyway, it's delicious. My husband loved it -- especially the mushrooms!

If you want to go the "Marsala" route, just make sure you use MSPI-friendly substitutions.

Chicken With Mushrooms

6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 oz. each)
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 tbsp. MSPI-friendly margarine
1 cup MSPI-safe chicken broth
1 lb. sliced fresh mushrooms
1 tbsp. dried parsley flakes

Flatten chicken to 1/2-inch thickness. Combine the flour, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, paprika and pepper; sprinkle over both sides of chicken. In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook chicken in 1 tablespoon oil and margarine for 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Transfer to a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Gradually add broth to skillet, stirring to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Strain sauce; set aside. In the same skillet, cook mushrooms in remaining oil for 2 minutes; drain. Stir sauce into mushrooms; heat through. Stir in parsley. Pour over chicken. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.

NOTE: If sauce isn't as thick as you would like. Mix together 1 tablespoon corn starch with 1-2 tablespoons water and add to the sauce after bringing it to a boil.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ham and Scalloped Potatoes

It's rainy and cold outside, and I need comfort food! This classic dish that's been adapted from "Betty Crocker's New Cookbook" is all about comfort. Omit the ham, and you have a fantastic, vegetarian side dish.

Ham and Scalloped Potatoes

2 lbs. boiling or baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tbsp. MSPI-friendly margarine
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 1/2 cups rice milk
1 tbsp. MSPI-friendly margarine
1 1/2 cups smoked ham, cubed

Heat oven to 350. Grease bottom and sides of a 2-quart casserole with shortening or use cooking spray.

Melt 3 tablespoons margarine in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion in margarine about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly.

Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in ham.

Spread potatoes in casserole. Pour sauce over potatoes. Dot with 1 tablespoon margarine.

Cover and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Lentil Soup

My friend Tina and I were talking about lentils the other day, and I mentioned that I had a lentil soup recipe that I really liked. So here you go!

This recipe comes from the "Comfort Food Fast" cookbook by Anne Gardon. It's super easy, and the addition of leek really ups the flavor.

Make a double batch and freeze the leftovers for an easy meal later on.

Lentil Soup

1 cup dried lentils
2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for serving
1 onion, minced
1 leek, white part only, minced
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper
chopped fresh parsley

Soak lentils in cold water overnight or longer, changing the water twice a day. Drain.

In a heavy saucepan, heat two tablespoons oil and cook onion and leek over medium heat, stirring, until soft, about three minutes.

Add lentils, celery, carrot, garlic, bay leaf and stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until lentils are cooked, about 45 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and drizzle with oil before serving.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Skillet-Roasted Potatoes

My daughter, Libby, doesn't like potatoes. I know! Isn't that crazy? The only way she'll eat them is if they're french fries (of course!) or roasted. Since french fries aren't the healthiest potato option, we eat the roasted potatoes every few weeks. I usually roast them in the oven, but making them on the stove top is quicker!

Here's a simple stove top recipe from Cook's Illustrated. I also like to add about a teaspoon of rosemary.

Skillet-Roasted Potatoes

1 1/2 lb. Red Bliss potatoes , small or medium, scrubbed and unpeeled
2 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 tsp. kosher salt (or sea salt)
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

If using small potatoes (1 1/2- to 2-inch diameter), halve each potato. If using medium potatoes (2- to 3-inch diameter), quarter each potato to create 3/4- to 1-inch chunks. Rinse potatoes in cold water and drain well; spread on clean kitchen towel and thoroughly pat dry.

Heat oil in heavy-bottomed 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add potatoes cut side down in single layer; cook, without stirring, until golden brown (oil should sizzle but not smoke), 5 to 7 minutes. Using tongs, turn potatoes skin side down if using halved small potatoes or second cut side down if using quartered medium potatoes; cook, without stirring, until deep golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes longer. Stir potatoes, then redistribute in single layer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until potatoes are tender (paring knife can be inserted into potatoes with no resistance), 6 to 9 minutes.

When potatoes are tender, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss or stir gently to combine; serve immediately.

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

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Apple Strudel

Did you know that Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry is MSPI-friendly? Isn't that fantastic?! It literally opens up a world of possibilities in the dessert-making department!

One of my favorite apple desserts is a strudel, and since I love to use short cuts when possible, puff pastry makes the strudel so easy!

Here's a recipe from Pepperidge Farm that I like to use. If you want to make your life even easier, follow this recipe. It uses apple pie filling.