Monday, December 14, 2009

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

No, you're not hallucinating. The "cream cheese" part is correct!

I was so excited when MSPI Mama reader Katie shared with me that Pillsbury's cream cheese frosting is MSPI-friendly! That's just fantastic for those of us who adore carrot cake and other desserts that are best topped with that type of frosting! Thanks, Katie!

I really wish I could have posted this recipe before Thanksgiving, but that unfortunately didn't happen. Sorry! The kids really enjoyed eating this after all that turkey and mashed potatoes!

I slightly adapted a Paula Deen recipe. The only change is using the Pillsbury frosting and baking it in a jelly roll pan, instead of a cake pan.

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1-2 cans MSPI-friendly cream cheese frosting, such as Pillsbury

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased jelly roll baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until done.

Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Easiest Focaccia

As you already know, it isn't always easy to find bread that's safe for you or your child to eat. Don't despair, make your own! My favorite go-to bread recipe when I'm in a hurry is the No-Knead Wheat Bread, made with whole wheat flour and bread flour. It's extremely easy!

When we're eating soup, I like to make the following recipe, which I adapted slightly from AllRecipes. It does require a little more work than the No-Knead method, but in the world of bread making, it's still relatively easy. And delicious!

Easiest Focaccia

1 tsp. white sugar
1 (.25-oz.) package active dry yeast
1/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. dried Italian herbs, optional

In a small bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with flour; stir well to combine. Stir in additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all of the flour is absorbed. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly for about 1 minute.
Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface; knead briefly. Pat or roll the dough into a sheet and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. If you like, lightly poke all over the dough with your fingertips or the end of a wooden spoon to create divots. Brush the dough with oil and sprinkle with salt and herbs.

Bake focaccia in preheated oven for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on desired crispness. If you like it moist and fluffy, then you'll have to wait just about 10 minutes. If you like it crunchier and darker on the outside, you may have to wait 20 minutes.

Tip: Because my home is often cool (Especially in winter. Gotta save a few bucks on the heat!) I will warm my oven slightly for a few minutes, then turn it off. This is the perfect "warm place" for dough to rise in. Just make sure you remove the dough from the oven prior to preheating!

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

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sweet & Scrumptious Skillet Chicken

OK. The name of this recipe is pretty silly, but I didn't name it. Campbell's Kitchen did. (They've recently redesigned their website. It's very nice! Check it out!)

Regardless of it's silly name, the recipe is a family-pleaser and it's very simple to make. Plus it's not unusual to have all these ingredients on hand, if you have a well-stocked freezer and pantry. Don't know what to make for dinner tonight? Make this!

I served ours with garlic mashed potatoes, but rice would be equally good.

Sweet & Scrumptious Skillet Chicken

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) MSPI-friendly condensed tomato soup
1 tbsp. packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tbsp. MSPI-friendly Worcestershire sauce

Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until it's well browned on both sides.

Stir the soup, sugar, vinegar and Worcestershire in the skillet and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Coconut Tapioca Pudding

I've had this idea to make tapioca pudding with coconut milk for quite a while now, but never got around to trying it. Well, I finally did, and it is so rich and yummy that it'll knock your socks off! My son, JD, is just crazy about it! Now he has something creamy and delicious to eat when the rest of us are pigging out on ice cream!

I adapted a recipe from Kraft Foods for my recipe. It's excellent both warm and cold. You could serve this with berries or use it as a dip for MSPI-friendly graham crackers. For extra coconut kick, try sprinkling the top of each serving with toasted coconut.

Coconut Tapioca Pudding

2-3/4 cups coconut milk
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp. minute tapioca, such as Kraft
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix coconut milk, sugar, tapioca and egg in medium saucepan. Let stand five minutes.

Cook on medium heat until mixture comes to full boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Cool 20 minutes; stir. Serve warm or chilled. (Pudding thickens as it cools. For creamier pudding, place plastic wrap on surface of pudding while cooling. Stir before serving.) Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Tip: This recipe uses about 1-1/2 cans of coconut milk. For a lighter version, use a light coconut milk instead of the full fat version. It won't be quite as rich-tasting, but it will still be delicious!

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

Monday, November 9, 2009

Spicy Shredded Pork

I'm baaaaack! I'm now in the second trimester, and the idea of cooking doesn't make me nauseous anymore! Woo hoo!

I've been trying out a few new recipes, so hopefully I'll get them posted over the next few weeks. Here's the first.

This pork recipe is beyond delicious! We're talking melt-in-your-mouth good! The flavors are incredible, and though the recipe's name has "spicy" in it, this isn't spicy hot. It's spicy flavorful.

The original recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman, who is an incredibly talented cook, writer, photographer, etc. I made her recipe as written, but I cooked it in the slow cooker. So much easier! I've listed the slow cooker version below, but feel free to make it in the oven following the original directions.

Spicy Shredded Pork

4-7 lb. pork shoulder
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1-2 tbsp. salt
pepper to taste
3-4 cloves garlic
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
2-3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 whole onion

Rinse and pat dry the pork shoulder. Place in the slow cooker.

To begin, just throw the dried oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt, black pepper, garlic, olive oil, white wine vinegar and brown sugar into a food processor or blender. Cut one onion into quarters and put it in the food processor with the spices. Blend mixture until totally combined and then pour it over the pork shoulder in the slow cooker.

Now rub it into every nook and cranny of the meat, tucking it under folds and in crevices. Place lid on slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours. (Do not add water. Condensation will build up in the slow cooker, making excess water unnecessary.)

Remove pork from slow cooker and let cool slightly for easier handling. Shred the pork shoulder (two forks work well). When it’s all shredded, pour excess juices all over the meat, but if you prefer a drier meat, skip that part.

Serve in tortillas with salsa and your favorite taco toppings, as I did in the photo above, or on MSPI-friendly hamburger buns with your favorite MSPI-friendly barbecue sauce.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Update on life

Hello friends. Sorry I've been MIA lately, but I have a very good reason: MSPI Mama has a bun in the oven -- and I'm not talking about bread! Our third child is due in early May, and we're super excited about it! Our daughter, Libby, can hardly contain herself!

I'm nearing the end of the first trimester and starting to feel better, so I'm hoping to be trying out some new recipes and posting them sooner rather than later. In the meantime, check out my friend Michelle's new website: Intolerant Offspring. She has a ton of recipes for you to try.

One thing that you may be wondering is what I've decided to do regarding the baby's likelihood of having MSPI. The conventional wisdom is that once you have a child with MSPI, chances are any subsequent children will also have it. Some doctors recommend going on the MSPI diet during the last trimester or for even the entire pregnancy. Well, I haven't decided what to do yet, but one thing I know for sure is that I'm not going on the diet until after Christmas! ;)

I hope things are going well for all of you! Take care!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rice Pilaf with Vermicelli

Who doesn't love the "San Francisco Treat"? Rice-a-Roni is comfort food at its best, but unfortunately, the boxed stuff usually isn't compatible with the MSPI diet.

So Martha Stewart to the rescue! I found this recipe over at Everyday Food. It's super good and super easy -- well, not as easy as a box, but close!

Rice Pilaf with Vermicelli

1 oz. angel-hair pasta
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2/3 cup long-grain white rice
1 can (14.5 ounces) MSPI-friendly chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

Hold pasta upright in a medium bowl, and, using kitchen shears, cut into 1/2-inch lengths; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add rice, pasta, and remaining tablespoon oil. Cook, stirring frequently, until pasta is browned, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add broth, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Add parsley, and season with salt and pepper; fluff pilaf with a fork.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Gazpacho Salad

So what's a girl to do when she's got a whole lot of cucumbers and tomatoes -- and she wants to have Mexican for dinner? Well, she makes Gazpacho Salad!

I found the original recipe at Taste of Home. I messed around with the amounts of the ingredients and left a few things out (because of personal taste and what I had on hand) but feel free to go with the original. It's completely MSPI-friendly as is.

Also, the Taste of Home version says to stack everything in layers. I'm not that fancy; I just mixed it all up in a bowl.

Gazpacho Salad

2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 green peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
3 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cumin

In a large bowl, gently toss together the first four ingredients.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Pour over vegetables. Cover and chill several hours or overnight. Serve with a slotted spoon.

Tip: Although the flavors intensify as this salad sits, it's still delicious served immediately without the wait.

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

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Screaming S'Mores Bars

Who doesn't love ooey-gooey s'mores? Next time you go camping or attend a campfire outing, make sure you take along MSPI-friendly ingredients (marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate -- I use MSPI-friendly chocolate chips) so you can enjoy this awesome treat!

If camping and campfires aren't your thing, then make this yummy dessert! The original recipe came from Kraft Foods years ago, but I can't find the recipe on the website anymore. Thankfully, I still have a printout from 2002!

Screaming S'Mores Bars

7-8 MSPI-friendly graham crackers
1 1/2 cups MSPI-friendly chocolate chips
6 tbsp. MSPI-friendly margarine, divided
1 10-oz. package marshmallows
1 13-oz. package MSPI-friendly cocoa-flavored crisped rice cereal

Line a 13x9 inch pan with foil and coat with cooking spray. Place graham crackers on bottom of pan, cutting crackers to fit, if necessary.

Microwave chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons margarine in microwave bowl on high for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Spread about two-thirds of the chocolate in a thin layer over the graham crackers.

Microwave remaining 4 tablespoons margarine in a 4-quart microwavable bowl on high 45 seconds or until melted. Add marshmallows; toss to coat. Microwave 1-1/2 minutes or until marshmallows are melted and smooth, stirring halfway through. Stir in cereal.

Press cereal mixture firmly over chocolate-coated graham crackers in pan. Reheat remaining chocolate. If desired, add a touch more margarine or shortening to help thin it out. Drizzle the melted chocolate randomly over the cereal mixture. Cool; cut into squares.

A little tip: Before pressing the cereal mixture into the pan, I like to coat my hands with cooking spray. It helps keep the mixture from sticking to my hands!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Southwest Taco Burgers

I know, another grill recipe, but it's summer. Gotta use that contraption while it isn't snowy or cold outside!

This burger, which was adapted from a recipe in the August/September issue of Taste of Home, was super good. The original recipe includes a slice of cheese, but thanks to the avocado, I don't think you'll even miss it. Well, let's be serious. You'll miss the cheese, but I promise you won't be disappointed in this burger. It's delish! Isn't the avocado calling out to you?

I whipped together a simple homemade salsa, but you can easily use your favorite store-bought version.

Southwest Taco Burgers

1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp. MSPI-friendly taco seasoning
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 lb. ground beef, chicken or turkey
4 MSPI-friendly hamburger buns
1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup salsa

In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Crumble meat over mixture and mix well. Shape into four patties.

Grill burgers, covered, over medium heat for 4-6 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 165° and juices run clear.

Serve on buns with avocado and salsa.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Grilled Cauliflower

It's official. Everything tastes better when it's been grilled. (Have you tried grilling your meat loaf yet?) Seriously, my family loves cauliflower and will eat it any way I cook it, but when it's grilled, they will devour it.

The best part about this recipe is that it's easy to make and oh-so-easy to clean up. Just toss the foil. No dishes to wash!

I used this recipe from Recipezaar for the method, but with an MSPI-friendly twist.

Grilled Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Prepare grill and heat to medium.

Remove stem and leaves from cauliflower. Wash and pat dry. Lay out a large piece of heavy-duty foil or stack two pieces of regular foil. Place cauliflower head on foil. Gather sides of foil around the cauliflower, creating a loose bowl shape.

Drizzle olive oil over the cauliflower. Sprinkle with seasonings -- adding more or less per your preferences. Wrap the foil around the cauliflower.

Grill over medium heat about 30-40 minutes or until desired tenderness. Unwrap cauliflower and slice into pieces.

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

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chex® Caramel Corn

I'm back! The new computer is up and running -- although the old computer's hard drive is completely fried. Unfortunately, I hadn't backed it up in ages, so tons and tons of photos and documents are lost. Please, learn from my very difficult lesson and back up your computer!

Enough about me and my misfortunes, let's talk food!

Here's a super yummy snack that my friend Laura brought to a lake outing for our small group from church. Seriously, I could have eaten the entire bag!

The original recipe comes from Chex.

Chex® Caramel Corn

4 cups popped MSPI-friendly popcorn
4 1/2 cups corn or rice Chex cereal
1/2 cup MSPI-friendly honey-roasted peanuts, if desired
1/4 cup MSPI-friendly margarine
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. vanilla

Oven Directions: Heat oven to 250°F. Remove and discard unpopped kernels from popped popcorn. In ungreased large roasting pan, mix popcorn, cereal and peanuts. In 2-quart saucepan, heat margarine, brown sugar, corn syrup and vanilla to boiling over medium heat, stirring frequently. Pour over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly coated. Bake 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on waxed paper to cool, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up. Store in airtight container.

Microwave Directions: Remove and discard unpopped kernels from popped popcorn. In large microwavable bowl, mix popcorn, cereal and peanuts; set aside. In medium microwavable bowl, microwave margarine, brown sugar, corn syrup and vanilla uncovered on High about 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute, until mixture is boiling. Pour over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly coated. Microwave uncovered on High 5 to 6 minutes, stirring and scraping bowl after every minute. Spread on waxed paper to cool, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up. Store in airtight container.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

An unintended hiatus ...

Well, my computer took a swan dive Sunday. Until we get a new one up and running -- it's been ordered -- I won't be adding any recipes to the site. Hopefully, I'll be back soon! (And hopefully we'll be able to recover the old hard drive, because that's where all my recipes and pics are saved! Aaaargh!!!)

Until then, peruse some of the old recipes. They're yummy, too!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Apple Sauce Icebox Cake

We went to visit my parents in Kansas last weekend. While the rest of us were pigging out on ice cream, my mom made this old-fashioned dessert just for JD, and he couldn't get enough of it.

This is the perfect first dessert for an MSPI baby. It's super simple to make. I didn't indicate any measurements because you can make it as big or as little as you want. I like to use a loaf pan.

Be generous with the apple sauce! It soaks into the graham crackers and creates a soft texture.

A dollop of whipped cream would be nice for non-MSPI eaters, and I'm thinking a sprinkling of toasted walnuts or pecans would be super yummy! And a sprinkling of cinnamon, too! (And speaking of cinnamon, cinnamon graham crackers would be great!)

Apple Sauce Icebox Cake

Apple sauce
MSPI-friendly graham crackers

Spoon a layer of apple sauce in the bottom of a square or rectangular casserole dish or baking pan. Follow with a single layer of graham crackers. Cover graham crackers with a layer of apple sauce and repeat to top of pan, ending with a layer of apple sauce.

Cover and place pan in refrigerator for several hours.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Marinated Grilled Vegetables

Oh yeah! More food on a stick!

This makes a great side dish to just about anything you cook on the grill. I served it along with the Beer Can Chicken. It worked out really well to cook these kebabs on the "hot" side of the grill while the chicken hung out on the indirect side.

The original recipe comes from Taste of Home. I didn't have any peppers, like the recipe recommended, so I just skipped them. You can adapt it to whatever vegetables you have on hand.

Marinated Grilled Vegetables

4 small onions, halved
2 medium carrots, cut into 1-1/2-inch chunks
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
1 summer squash, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks

In a large saucepan, cook onions and carrots in water for 10 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain. In a large bowl, combine oil and seasonings. Add the vegetables; stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Thread vegetables alternately onto skewers. (If using wooden skewers, soak them in water prior to use.) Grill over medium heat, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until tender.

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

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Grilled Meat Loaf

Evidently, the trick to getting my hubby to eat meat loaf is grilling it. He hates meat loaf. Doesn't matter how good a loaf it is, he'll only grudgingly choke it down. Well, he had two huge slices of this one! Yay! I love meat loaf, so I'm a happy camper now.

Because the temperature of a grill can fluctuate, please utilize your meat thermometer. It makes all the difference in over or under cooking your meat.

I followed this recipe from Taste of Home, but changed a few things and cut it in half. If you have a favorite MSPI-friendly meat loaf recipe, I'm guessing you could easily grill it, too, by following this method. It's great to keep the heat out of the kitchen!

Grilled Meat Loaf

1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1 tbsp. dried minced onion
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. MSPI-friendly Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1 lb. lean ground beef
Additional ketchup, optional

Prepare grill for indirect heat.

In a large bowl, combine the first nine ingredients. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into one loaf. Take a sheet of heavy-duty (or fold in half a sheet of regular) foil and place it on a plate. Place meat loaf on foil (do not seal foil).

Slide the foil onto the area of the grill that doesn't have direct heat. Grill meat, covered, over indirect medium heat for 50 minutes or until meat is no longer pink and a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. Brush top with additional ketchup if desired. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Yields four servings.

A note about Worcestershire sauce: In the past, I've always substituted A-1 Sauce for Worcestershire because I just assumed all Worcestershire sauces had soy in them. But some of them are MSPI-friendly -- including the Lea & Perrins brand! Thank you to reader Jason for sharing this with me.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Lemon Crunch Cookies

I love oatmeal raisin cookies, but Libby isn't a big fan of raisins. No problem, just make the cookies without the raisins, but where's the fun in that? The raisins are the best part -- in my humble opinion! They just add a depth of flavor that makes the oatmeal sing.

Well, this recipe from the Gooseberry Patch's "Simple Country Pleasures" is a wonderful compromise. The lemon helps elevate the oatmeal, and there are no raisins for Libby to complain about!

Usually when I make cookies with margarine, the cookies spread and end up thin and crispy, but the cream of tartar in this recipe helps the cookies hold their form and gives them a nice crunch.

Lemon Crunch Cookies

1 cup flour
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup MSPI-friendly margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. lemon zest
1 egg
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup quick oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In bowl, mix flour, cream of tartar and baking soda; set aside. Cream margarine and gradually add sugar. Beat at medium speed until well blended. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, egg, allspice and salt; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture and mix until combined. Stir in oatmeal.

Drop by teaspoonful onto cookie sheets, and bake for 12 minutes. Makes 3-1/2 dozen.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Beer Can Chicken

This method of cooking chicken was all the rage a few years back. You couldn't watch a cooking show on TV without the host making this recipe. However, this is the first time I've ever made one, and I really wish I had done it sooner!

It's really super easy and looks incredibly impressive. The hardest part about the recipe is getting the hot chicken off the can when you're ready to eat. I ended up holding the can steady with a sturdy pair of tongs, while pulling the chicken off with another set of tongs. There's probably a better way to do it, so let me know if you figure one out!

I used this recipe from The Surreal Gourmet over at the Food Network as my starting point, and then I used this Tyler Florence recipe for a dry spice rub. I was very happy with the results of the rub on the chicken, but you could easily skip the rub and just be generous with the salt and pepper.

If you prefer not use beer, then I think you could probably use a can of Coke or Sprite with similar results. I really didn't taste the flavor of the beer in the chicken. The beer itself just helps add moistness to the meat, not so much flavor.

Beer Can Chicken

2 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. dry mustard
1 (4-pound) whole chicken
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 can beer

Prepare grill for indirect cooking. Combine the salt, pepper and spices together in a small bowl.

Remove neck and giblets from chicken and discard. Rinse chicken inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels. Rub chicken lightly with oil then rub inside and out with the dry rub. Set aside.

Open beer can and pour off (or drink) half the can. Place beer can on a solid surface. Grabbing a chicken leg in each hand, plunk the bird cavity over the beer can. Transfer the bird-on-a-can to your grill and place in the center of the grate, balancing the bird on its 2 legs and the can like a tripod.

Cook the chicken over medium-high, indirect heat (i.e. no coals or burners on directly under the bird), with the grill cover on, for approximately 60-85 minutes or until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees in the breast area and 180 degrees in the thigh, or until the thigh juice runs clear when stabbed with a sharp knife. (The exact cooking time will really depend on how hot your grill is, so be flexible and make sure you use a thermometer!) Remove from grill and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

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

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Healthy Blueberry-Banana Muffins

These muffins are a super yummy way to kick start your day. And, as the name implies, they're healthy, too!

Just beware: If you give them to your kiddos, be prepared to change many diapers! JD ate one for breakfast, and we had to change FOUR diapers that day. Lots and lots of fiber!

The original recipe comes from Everyday Food. It calls for using wheat germ, but I used oat bran instead, so that's what I've listed in my version. Use what you have on hand or can find easily at your grocery store.

Healthy Blueberry-Banana Muffins

1 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup oat bran
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup MSPI-friendly margarine, room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 ripe bananas
1/3 cup MSPI-friendly milk substitute
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a bowl, whisk together flours, oat bran, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, beat margarine and sugars with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In another bowl, mash bananas with a fork (you should have 3/4 cup); stir in milk substitute and vanilla. With mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture and banana mixture to margarine mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined. Fold in blueberries.

Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 28 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Let cool in pan 10 minutes; transfer muffins to a rack to cool 10 minutes more.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Beef and Vegetables on Polenta

My neighbors have been so generous in sharing some of their garden bounty. Lots and lots of zucchini and summer squash. I put the zucchini to work in this yummy change of pace for spaghetti. The original recipe comes from Woman's Day.

If you've never had polenta before, it's basically corn mush. Yeah, I know, it doesn't sound incredibly appetizing, but it's really good and it pairs beautifully with this chunky sauce.

The original recipe calls for mixing some Parmesan cheese into the polenta, but we obviously can't do that. However, if you would like a creamier polenta, try substituting all or part of the water in the recipe with your favorite MSPI-friendly milk substitute. You can also mix in a pat or two of MSPI-friendly margarine.

If you're still not sold on polenta -- which would probably make a cheap, homemade baby food! -- you can just put the sauce on pasta. And just leave the beef out for a yummy vegetarian option.

Beef and Vegetables on Polenta

3 cups water
3⁄4 cup cornmeal
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1-1⁄2 tsp. olive oil
1 large zucchini, quartered lengthwise, sliced
1 package (8 oz.) sliced mushrooms
8 oz. lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp. chopped fresh (or 1⁄2 tsp. dried) rosemary
1 tsp. chopped fresh (or 1⁄2 tsp. dried) basil
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 jar (25 to 26 oz.) MSPI-friendly marinara sauce

Mix water, cornmeal and salt in a 2-quart microwave-safe bowl. Cover with vented plastic wrap and microwave on high, whisking every minute, until thick and smooth. This can take 6-10 minutes. Add more salt to taste. The polenta will continue to thicken upon standing.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute zucchini and mushrooms 5 minutes, stirring often, until tender. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Add beef and onion to skillet; cook, breaking up with a spoon, until browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in rosemary, basil and garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in marinara and bring to a simmer.

Add zucchini and mushroom mixture; heat through. Spoon polenta onto plates and top with sauce.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Green Calzones

There's nothing more pitiful looking than a pizza without cheese. Yeah, we eat it that way because we don't have much choice, and if we close our eyes, we can pretend it's "normal" pizza because the flavor is still darn good. But a cheese-free pizza still looks naked. So I figure a calzone is a great way to get around this predicament because everything is hidden inside the crust!

I had some leftover pesto sauce and decided to throw it together in this recipe. It turned out really good!

You could easily adapt this recipe to whatever veggies and meats you have on hand. A vegetarian version with sauteed mushrooms, onion, spinach and bell peppers would be great! Not feeling especially "green" today? Red Calzones with pizza sauce, pepperoni and sauteed red peppers would be fun!

If you have any extra filling leftover after using all your pizza dough, just toss it up with some pasta.

Green Calzones

1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 lb. chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
9 oz. package frozen broccoli cuts, thawed
1/3 cup MSPI-friendly purchased or homemade pesto sauce
MSPI-friendly purchased or prepared homemade pizza dough, enough for a 12-14-inch pie

Heat olive oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Saute chicken breast until halfway cooked, add broccoli until everything is cooked through. Set pan aside to cool slightly. Mix in the pesto sauce.

Heat the oven to the temperature called for in the pizza dough instructions.

Cut pizza dough into four pieces. Roll or pat one piece out into an 8-by-5-inch oblong shape on a well-floured surface. Spoon 1/2 cup of filling onto one side of the dough, leaving a 1-inch edge. Fold the other side over the filling, pinching the edges together. Place calzone on a cookie sheet.

Repeat with other three pieces of dough and filling. Bake according to pizza dough instructions.

Optional: Brush tops of the calzones with olive oil prior to placing in oven.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Grilled Lemon Turkey Cutlets

There was a big meat sale at the store this week. I loaded up, big time: over 25 pounds of meat! Yes, I know, that seems crazy, but it all goes in the freezer. Stock up when it's cheap!

One of the things I purchased was a package of turkey cutlets. I didn't really know what I wanted to do with it, other than grill it. I found this recipe from Everyday Food and swapped the turkey for the chicken. It turned out great! The lemon juice marinade tenderizes the meat and gives it a nice, subtle flavor.

Grilled Lemon Turkey Cutlets

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges, for serving
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds turkey cutlets

Heat grill to high. Mince the garlic clove, and place in a shallow dish. Add lemon juice and the oil; season with salt and pepper. Add chicken, and toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature at least 5 minutes (and up to 30).

Grill turkey until opaque throughout, 1 to 3 minutes per side. Serve with lemon wedges.

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

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Grilled Asparagus

I've grilled asparagus before, following directions I found online. It tasted good but was kinda chewy. I mentioned this to my mom -- aka Martha Stewart. She said to blanch it first. Duh! Why didn't I think of that!?!

So here's her version. Libby couldn't get enough of it. She would have literally eaten the ENTIRE bunch of asparagus, but I had to cut her off at 10 spears, in order to save some for the rest of us!

Grilled Asparagus

1 bunch asparagus, rinsed and tough ends removed
1-2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Light your grill and get it nice and hot.

While it's heating, fill a large frying pan with about a quarter-inch of water and set it on high on the stove. Once it starts to slightly boil, add the asparagus and simmer for 2 minutes. (You aren't looking to completely cook the asparagus at this point. You want it to remain somewhat crispy.) Remove asparagus from the pan and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process. Pat asparagus with a towel to remove excess water.

Place asparagus in a shallow dish and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss together.

Once grill is ready, place asparagus on the grates and grill, flipping occasionally, until the spears are slightly charred and warmed through. About 2-3 minutes, depending on the grill's heat.

Return asparagus to the shallow dish, to sop up any excess oil, salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Make-ahead tip: Prepare the asparagus through the oil, salt and pepper step. Cover and place in the fridge, up to a few hours, until you're ready to grill.

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

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hawaiian Popsicles

Want to make your kids (and you!) super happy? Then make this uber-delicious, oh-so-cool summertime treat! My daughter, Libby, obviously can't get enough of them!

I found this super-simple recipe on Weelicious, which is a fun baby and toddler food blog. Go check it out!

I made the recipe as directed, but I was thinking that it easily could be adapted to your favorite fruits or whatever you happen to have on hand.

And if you aren't in the mood for Popsicles, when refrigerated, the mixture gets nice and think and creamy -- almost pudding-like. So yummy!

Hawaiian Popsicles

1 13.5-oz. can coconut milk (regular or light)
1 14-oz. can pineapple, drained
1 banana

Pour ingredients into a blender and puree. Pour into Popsicle molds and freeze at least four hours or until set. Serve.

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

Friday, July 10, 2009

Couscous Tabbouleh

I've always made tabbouleh salad with cracked bulgur wheat, which is delicious but it takes quite a bit of time because you have to soak the grain for several hours. This recipe from the July '09 issue of Woman's Day uses couscous, which cuts back dramatically on the preparation time. And it tastes great, too!

You may be asking: Ummm, what's tabbouleh? Pronounced "tuh-boo-lee," it's basically a Middle Eastern pasta salad.

I served this with the Armenian Beef Kebabs. An excellent pairing!

I tweaked the recipe a little bit because I didn't have any fresh mint on hand. Here's my version.

Couscous Tabbouleh
1 cup water
3⁄4 cup whole-wheat couscous
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 large seedless cucumber, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
3 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. olive oil
1⁄4 tsp. salt

Heat water in small saucepan to a boil. Stir in couscous, cover with lid and remove from the heat. Allow couscous to soak up water for several minutes. Once water is absorbed, fluff couscous with fork, then let cool.

Once cool, toss with remaining tabbouleh ingredients in a large bowl.

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

Armenian Beef Kebabs

There's just something about food on a stick that gets people -- especially husbands and kiddos -- excited. When I saw this recipe in the July '09 issue of Woman's Day, I figured it would be fun to try and a new way to use ground beef. It didn't fail me!

Libby was absolutely fascinated by the skewers, and my husband loved it, too. I broiled the kebabs, as directed by the recipe, but next time I'm going to use the grill and keep the heat outside.

I tweaked the recipe, not because of MSPI but because I didn't have all the ingredients. I also explained some of the directions a little better. Here's my version below, but go ahead and try the original, too.

(Yes, I know the kebabs kind of look like something your dog might leave in the yard, but they really do taste good!) If you would rather not bother with the skewers, then just form the meat into patties, but like I said, the sticks make it fun!

Armenian Beef Kebabs
1 tbsp. dry minced onion
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp. finely chopped Italian parsley
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 lb. lean ground beef
6 bamboo or metal skewers

Mix together all ingredients, except the beef, in a medium bowl until well blended. Mix in the beef.

Divide mixture into six equal portions (about 1⁄3 cup each). With hands, form each into a meatball shape, the force skewer through meatball. Then form the meat into a long sausage-like shape, about 1 inch thick, around each skewer.

Place skewers on a broiler pan and broil 8 to 10 minutes, turning once.

A note about skewers: If you use bamboo skewers, then make sure you soak them in water prior to putting the meat on them. This will keep them from catching fire.

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

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Blueberry-Strawberry Buckle

Berries are on sale and so delicious this time of year, so why not make a yummy dessert that showcases some of your favorites?

This recipe, which I adapted from "Life's Little Berry Cookbook," is simple to mix up and just melts in your mouth. Libby had a lot of fun helping me layer the blueberries and strawberries on top of the batter.

Feel free to use whatever types of fruit you like or have on hand. Peaches and raspberries would be excellent! I would normally serve this with a drizzle of cream, but that's obviously not an option. Instead, why not try a drizzle of coconut milk? Make sure you serve this while it's still warm from the oven!

Blueberry-Strawberry Buckle

1/2 cup MSPI-friendly margarine, room temperature, divided
1 cup sugar, divided
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/4 cup flour, divided
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup MSPI-friendly milk substitute
1 cup blueberries
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan. In a small bowl, cream 1/4 cup margarine and 1/2 cup sugar. Blend in the egg and vanilla.

In a small mixing bowl, stir together 1 cup of the flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternating with the milk substitute. Stir until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Arrange fruit over the batter.

In a small bowl, combine remaining sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cut in remaining margarine until mixture is crumbly and sprinkle mixture over fruit.

Bake for 35 minutes or until golden on the edges and the middle is set. An 8-inch pan will take longer to bake.

A note about margarine: There are only a few margarines on the market that are MSPI-friendly. Some of these are "light" versions. I highly recommend NOT using light margarines in your baking. If you can't find an MSPI-friendly, non-light margarine (I use Fleischmann's Unsalted for baking.) then I recommend using a butter-flavored shortening. Light margarines have too much water in them, which won't allow your dessert to bake correctly.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

18-month update and blog news

Well, I've been away for awhile. We've been enjoying summer and just plain busy! But I do plan to get some more updates on here a little more regularly now.

First, some blog news. In case you only read my updates via e-mail or a reader, you might want to stop by sometime and see the change I've made. Things are looking kind of nice, if I do say so myself! My intent is to be more a little more "uptown" like some of those nifty food blogs I like to read. I'm planning to take photos of the food I make (I'm no professional, so please forgive my amateurish attempts!) and to have fun with those photos by making them look kind of scrapbooky. So I hope you like the changes!

Now for an update on JD and our diet. I'm no longer nursing and am eating dairy. Yay! It was a long 16-plus months of no dairy/soy, but I'm living proof that it can be done! I must admit, it's been nice getting to eat those forbidden foods again! However, JD is still touch-and-go when it comes to dairy -- he's OK with soy -- and I'm still cooking our family meals sans dairy. So don't worry, I'll still be putting new recipes here!

Now, one last bit of news. You can now e-mail me with your questions at mspimama(at)gmail(dot)com. (I'm trying to avoid spam, thus the funky spelling out of "at" and "dot.") Please feel free to continue leaving comments -- I think they can be helpful for the other readers -- but if you have more personal correspondence, send me a note! Please be aware I can be kind of slow to reply, but I will reply ... ;)

Anyway, hope you all are having a great summer! We are here in Omaha -- as can be seen in the photo below. Libby's eating McDonald's ice cream, and JD's chowing down on a McD's apple pie -- yes, those pies are MSPI-friendly!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Strawberry Bread

I posted an Apple Cranberry Bread recipe during the Christmas season, and it's fantastic. You would never know it's low in fat. So when I decided to make some Strawberry Bread, I figured I would use that Taste of Home recipe but adapt it to strawberry. So this is what I came up with.

You could actually use several fruit combinations in this bread: strawberry-rhubarb, mixed berries, apple, peach, mango! Go crazy! Be creative! Clean out your fridge!

Strawberry Bread

2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. canola oil
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cup strawberries, cleaned, hulled and diced

In a bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and oil. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to egg mixture just until combined (batter will be very thick). Stir in the strawberries.

Transfer to an 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

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

Super-Duper Easy Mexican Rice

I've posted a Mexican Rice recipe before, and it's pretty easy, but this recipe from Your Homebased Mom takes the cake for being super-duper easy!

Using tomato juice instead of a tomato sauce yields a nice, light version, and it's the closest I've ever gotten to a restaurant-style Mexican rice. Make sure you take the time to brown the rice before adding the liquid. It really intensifies the nutty flavor.

Costa Vida Chicken

I recently stumbled across the blog Your Homebased Mom. I love Leigh Anne's recipes -- so easy and geared toward us busy moms -- and the photos are fantastic! I'll be sharing some of the recipes as I work my way through ones that are MSPI-friendly. Here's the first one!

This recipe is meant for the slow cooker, but it was about 4 o'clock in the afternoon when I decided to make it, and we weren't about to wait to eat dinner at 9! So I cooked it on the stove top on a medium-low heat until the chicken was tender. Super easy.

Just make sure you use MSPI-friendly Italian dressing. It's a tangy way to serve the chicken -- perfect for tacos, burritos or as a topping for rice or a salad. Yummy!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Ice cream is something we all miss on this diet. Have no fear, here's some dairy-free ice cream to the rescue -- thanks to my friend Michelle, who shared some recipes with me.

She made this vanilla version and added Oreo cookies. She also made this chocolate version.

If you're not familiar with agave syrup, it can usually be found in the natural foods section, but you can sometimes find it with the honey. If you would rather use sugar, just keep taste-testing until you find an amount you like, and make sure you let it dissolve before adding the mixture to your ice cream maker.

Yes, this recipe is pretty expensive to make, but it's still much cheaper than buying coconut milk ice cream from the store.

Thanks, Michelle!

Beef and Potato Burritos

I was craving some Mexican food a few weeks back, but I didn't want the usual taco standby, instead, I made this recipe from Everyday Food Magazine.

Obviously, skip the sour cream and cheese, but I seriously did not miss 'em. The filling is incredibly flavorful, and as a nice twist, I paired the burritos with Carrot-Cumin Slaw. In fact, I didn't bother with chopping up some lettuce and cilantro; I just topped the burritos with a little bit of slaw. Very good!

Carrot-Cumin Slaw

The next time you decide to make Mexican for dinner, consider having this slaw recipe from Everyday Food Magazine as part of the meal. It is so flavorful! My husband even had seconds -- that's a miracle! He never takes seconds of a vegetable, much less a salad!

If your taste buds prefer a milder version, just leave out the jalapenos.

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

Killer Cookies

We had a group of friends over for a Memorial Day party. My friend Laura brought these cookies. They are sooooo good!

Killer Cookies

1½ cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1 cup sweetened flake coconut
1 bag (6oz) MSPI-friendly semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350. Place parchment paper on four baking sheets and set aside.

In small mixing bowl, blend flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt with a whisk; set aside.

In large bowl, beat shortening and both sugars on medium-high speed about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

On low speed, gradually add flour mixture and beat until just combined. Stir in oats, Rice Krispies, coconut and chocolate chips.

Form balls with two tablespoons of dough and place two inches apart on prepared sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool on sheets for five minutes then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

Grilled Honey-Cumin BBQ Pork Packets

If you haven't been using your grill yet this year, what's holding you back? Get out there and grill! Thankfully, grilling lends itself beautifully to MSPI cooking!

This recipe from Betty Crocker is unusual in that you're cooking in foil, but it also allows you to adapt each packet to individual eaters. You daughter hates carrots? Then don't put carrots in her packet. So easy!

Just make sure you use an MSPI-friendly barbecue sauce, and I recommend following the potato substitution at the bottom of the recipe. It'll be cheaper, and you'll know for sure that it's safe to eat!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dairy-Free Coconut Yogurt

I've toyed with the idea of making coconut yogurt for quite sometime, but I really didn't want to buy a yogurt machine. The last thing I need is another appliance in my small kitchen! But this recipe is made in the slow cooker. Yippee! I already have one of those!

I looked at two recipes for direction. The first is from A Year of CrockPotting, and the second is from Funky Food Allergies.

I used five cans of coconut milk and one container of store-bought coconut milk yogurt to make it. I also mixed in an envelope of plain gelatin to help with thickening. Next time, I will use two envelopes of gelatin.

If you can't find coconut milk yogurt to use as your starter, there are non-dairy yogurt starters available on the internet. One is from GI ProHealth.

This can be rather expensive to make, but it's a lot cheaper than buying the store-bought coconut milk yogurt at $2 for 6 ounces! Plus, it is so good!

Graham Break-Aways

Wow! It's been a long time since I last posted. I'm such a slacker! Sorry about that.

Anyway, here's a yummy recipe to satisfy any chocolate craving you may have. The original recipe comes from Kraft Foods.

I made this using Fleischmann's Unsalted with good results. I don't know how well a "light" margarine would work. If that's all you can find where you live, give it a shot. It'll still taste good, but the texture may be a little off.

You can also make this using saltine crackers.

Graham Break-Aways

12 MSPI-friendly graham crackers, broken in half (24 squares)
1/2 cup (1 stick) MSPI-friendly margarine
1/4-1/2 tsp. salt, optional -- only add this if you're using unsalted margarine
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup MSPI-friendly chocolate chips
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, optional

Heat oven to 350°F. Arrange graham crackers in a single layer in a 15x10x1-inch pan.

Bring margarine, sugar and salt to a boil in medium saucepan on medium heat; cook two minutes or until margarine is completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring frequently. Pour over grahams; immediately spread to completely cover all grahams.

Bake six to eight minutes or until sugar mixture is lightly browned and bubbly; top with chocolate chips. Bake one to two minutes or until chocolate is softened. Remove pan from oven; immediately spread chocolate over grahams. Sprinkle with nuts; press lightly into chocolate with back of spoon. Cool completely before breaking into squares.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Red Kidney Bean Curry

My kids really don't care for beans, and my husband, well, he doesn't think a meal is complete unless there's meat. So a dish like this recipe, from the Smitten Kitchen, doesn't work as a family meal, but that doesn't stop me from making it for myself for lunch!

I made half a recipe and have been enjoying it for several days now. Add some coconut milk for added creaminess or to tame the heat -- although you can eliminate the heat by skipping the chili and cayenne.

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

Dairy-Free Orange Julius

I love Orange Julius -- unfortunately, trips to the mall for this drink have been off-limits for the past year. Boy do I wish I had found this recipe earlier. It is so yummy -- and a lot cheaper to make than buy!

The original recipe, which comes from the Favorite Family Recipes blog, has milk in it, but I just substituted rice milk. Yummy! And for a little extra nutrition, I made sure to use calcium-fortified orange juice concentrate. Every little bit helps!

Dairy-Free Orange Julius
Source: Adapted from Favorite Family Recipes

1 small can (6 oz.) frozen orange juice concentrate
1 cup rice milk
1 cup water
 ¼ cup sugar
2-3 tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
about 10-11 ice cubes

In a blender, blend all ingredients except ice. Slowly add ice cubes one at a time until it reaches a “smoothie” consistency. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Triple Lemon Cake

If you love lemon, then this is the cake for you! It really packs a lemony punch! The recipe comes from the "Cake Mix Magic" cookbook.

Triple Lemon Cake

1 pkg. MSPI-friendly lemon cake mix (I used Duncan Hines.)
1 3-oz. pkg. lemon-flavored gelatin dessert mix
4 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water


2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/3 cup lemon juice

In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, gelatin mix, eggs, oil and water. Beat on medium speed for 4 minutes. Spread batter evenly in a 9x13-inch greased cake pan pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for about 20 minutes.

Poke holes with tines of a fork about 1-inch apart on top of warm cake. Whisk powdered sugar and lemon juice together until sugar dissolves. Pour evenly over warm cake. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack before cutting.

Tip: If you leave the cake 20 minutes before glazing, the glaze will harden to look like a white icing, with a bit of a crunch. Reduce the cooling time to only 10 minutes and the glaze sinks in, leaving a softer, shiny top.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Porcupine Meatballs

I made this recipe from Taste of Home last night for dinner. It's really tasty, and kids love the "porcupine"!

It would be a great recipe to share with friends and family who have to cook for you because the ingredients are "normal" -- no rice milk, margarine, chicken broth or other items that are unusual or easy to buy incorrectly.

Oh! One other nice thing about this meatball is that it's egg-free, which I know some MSPI moms also avoid.

The only thing you have to substitute is A-1 sauce for the Worcestershire sauce.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

“To Roll or Not to Roll” Sugar Cookies

I adapted this recipe from a bag of Gold Medal Flour. I opted "not to roll" -- so much easier that way!

In case you're wondering, the imitation butter flavor (McCormick's brand) that I used is MSPI-friendly -- although it contains "artificial flavor," which some people avoid. You can find it in the spice aisle near the vanilla, but if you would rather leave it out, just double the vanilla.

“To Roll or Not to Roll” Sugar Cookies

1 cup sugar
1 cup shortening
½ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. MSPI-friendly imitation butter flavor
½ tsp. almond extract
1 egg
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
Colored sugar or granulated sugar

Heat oven to 375.

FOR NO-ROLL COOKIES: In large bowl, beat sugar and shortening on low speed or with spoon until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla, butter flavor, almond extract and egg. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Shape dough by teaspoonfuls into balls. On ungreased cookie sheet, place 2 inches apart. Flatten with bottom of glass dipped in sugar. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until set. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.

FOR ROLLED CUTOUT COOKIES: Use 1½ cups powdered sugar instead of 1 cup sugar. In large bowl, beat powdered sugar and shortening on low speed or with spoon until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla, butter flavor, almond extract and egg. Stir in flour, salt and baking soda. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Divide dough in half. Roll each half ¼-inch thick on lightly floured surface. Cut into desired seasonal shapes with 2 to 2½-inch cookie cutters. If cookies will not be frosted, sprinkle with sugar. On ungreased cookie sheet, place cutouts 2 inches apart. Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are light brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.

About 4 dozen cookies.

Asparagus Chicken Fricassee

I made this recipe from Taste of Home recently. Our whole family loved it. Libby ate every single piece of food on her plate. That NEVER happens.

One thing I will probably change when I make it again, is that I will probably skip flouring the chicken before sauteing it. Instead, I'll just season the chicken and fry it directly in the oil. Otherwise, the breading just gets soggy when you add the chicken broth.

Just be sure you use MSPI-friendly chicken broth!

Bread Maker Hamburger Buns

MSPI Mama reader Stacy highly recommended this recipe from RecipeZaar. She said when she makes the recipe, she likes to make nine regular-sized buns instead of 18 slider-sized buns.

I don't have a bread maker, but I thought I could adapt the recipe to my Kitchen Aid. Those buns look so good! Thanks for sharing, Stacy!

Honeymoon Chicken and Biscuits

I know it's spring, but I still crave warm comfort food. It's the Midwestern in me. This recipe, that I adapted from "Gooseberry Patch Family Favorites," it's comfort food at it's best. Rich, creamy and filling.

Although the sherry is optional, I highly recommend it. It's what gives this dish it's tangy flavor and makes it different from other chicken and biscuits recipes.

If you only have regular oatmeal on hand instead of the quick-cooking variety, just pulse the oatmeal in a blender to break it down somewhat.

Also, my biscuit mixture turned out rather runny (probably because I was using regular oatmeal), so I just poured it over the top of the chicken mixture to create a crust, instead of making dropped biscuits.

Honeymoon Chicken and Biscuits

1 cup red onion, chopped
½ cup MSPI-friendly margarine, divided
¼ cup sherry or water
10 ½ oz. MSPI-friendly chicken broth
1 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
2 ½ cups chicken breast, cooked and chopped
10 oz. fresh or frozen vegetables
¾ cup quick cooking oats
2 tsp. baking powder
½ cup rice milk
1 egg white
1 tbsp. maple syrup

Cook onion in two tablespoons margarine over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, or until tender. Add combined sherry, broth, ¼ cup flour and seasoning. Cook an additional 3 minutes or until thick. Stir in chicken and vegetables and pour into 2-quart casserole.

Combine remaining flour, oats and baking powder. Cut in remaining butter or margarine until crumbly. Stir in milk, egg white and syrup until moist. Drop by ¼ cupfuls onto chicken. Bake 35 to 42 minutes at 425 degrees.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Crash Hot Potatoes

I made this recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks ages ago but forgot to post it. So good! You have to try it!

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

Herbed Potatoes N Peas

I love herbs, and this recipe from Taste of Home delivers a powerful punch of flavor. It would be a great addition to your family's Easter dinner! It's simple to make, and the peas look so colorful next to the potatoes.

Make sure you use MSPI-friendly margarine for the butter. I didn't have any marjoram on hand, so I substituted rosemary with great results.

Nacho "Cheese" Dip

Cheese is the No. 1 thing I have missed the most on this diet. There are no good substitutes for the real thing, but sometimes you can trick yourself into thinking you're eating cheese! This recipe from Shmooed Food is a great cheat!

I made the recipe as written, accept for one change. Instead of using the cashews, I substituted a can of white beans. (I also tried using a can of chickpeas, but I preferred the white beans.) The consistency to a real cheese sauce was surprisingly close! The flavor of the nutritional yeast is pretty strong, so be prepared for that!

Harvest Snack Cake

This recipe from Taste of Home is so good and good for you! There are 3 grams of fiber and only 1 gram of fat in each serving. I made the recipe as written, but I think the next time I make it, I will cut back on some of the sugar. Even healthier!

JD and I devoured it, and Libby liked it, too, until she came to a raisin. Not a big fan of raisins. I think I'll skip the raisins next time to make her happy! Maybe I'll try chopping up some dried apple instead ...

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

Fruity Chicken Salad

Yes, I've been an absentee blogger as of late. I have very good reasons, though. The kids were sick with a stomach bug, and it took JD more than a week to get back to normal. Darn that MSPI! He was having a milk reaction (from something I must have accidentally eaten at a restaurant) when the bug hit him. Since his gut was already compromised from the MSPI, it took forever for the flu to pass. Poor kid! He was miserable!

Also, we've been out of town and trying to catch up on life. So we've been busy, but I have lots of recipes to share!

I promised several friends that I would post this recipe from my friend Joy. It's so good and easy. She likes to serve it with crackers, or you can put it on bread or a bed of lettuce. Very yummy!

Fruity Chicken Salad

2 cans chicken, drained
2 cups celery, diced
3/4 cup onion, diced
1 cup Craisins
1 can pineapple, drained
1 cup slivered almonds, optional
1-2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. dill
2 cups mayonnaise

Combine first six ingredients. Mix together last three then pour over salad. Serve. Keep leftovers refrigerated.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Chicken Fajita Spaghetti

I try to plan out our dinners for the week -- although I often forget and don't get items out of the freezer to thaw or run out of time, etc. So spaghetti is a favorite meal to substitute, but it does get old.

This recipe from Taste of Home is a great twist on Italian spaghetti. Just be sure your fajita mix is MSPI-friendly. (I actually used taco seasoning, which worked well.) I didn't have green chilies on hand, so I left them out. And I definitely don't think the dish suffered for it. Very good!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pad Thai

MSPI Mama reader Jamie posted this recipe on her blog. She's able to eat soy, thus the tofu in the recipe, but she recommended making it MSPI-friendly by substituting chicken for the tofu.

Just be sure to double check the other Asian ingredients for soy-free versions. You never know when that pesky soy will show up!

I haven't had the chance to make this yet but am looking forward to it. Thanks, Jamie, for sharing with us!

Cinnamon-Apple Chex Mix

I love snack mixes! Sweet, savory -- I love them all!

Here's a recipe from Chex that can be made MSPI-friendly. Make sure you use safe margarine and substitute regular raisins for the yogurt-covered variety. Just toss the raisins in with the dried apples. Cooking them makes the raisins plump up!

Roast Pork Loin with Carrots and Mustard Gravy

So I've been posting a lot of Everyday Food recipes lately, but can you blame me? They're so good!

This recipe was a huge hit in our house. When my husband saw we were having carrots, he said, "Oh, carrots." But then when he started eating them, he couldn't believe how good they were! The roasting process really brings out their natural sweetness.

I didn't have any shallots on hand, so I substituted two quartered onions.

This meal would be great for company!

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

Friday, February 27, 2009

Irish Beef Hand Pies

Not a fan of corned beef? Then plan on making this recipe from Everyday Food for St. Patrick's Day. The best part is that the recipe includes instructions on how to freeze the pies, so you can make them on the weekend when you have more time.

Substitute A-1 for the Worcestershire sauce to make it MSPI-friendly.

When I made these, I didn't have any cabbage on hand, so I used a couple of grated carrots and some diced onion. Turned out great!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fried Rice with Ham

When I was a kid, whenever we had leftover rice, my mom would make "eggy rice" for me. Basically, it's scrambled eggs with rice. I loved it and still do to this day, so this recipe from Everyday Food definitely appeals to me.

The rice wine vinegar seemed like a strange addition to me, but it really adds a lovely sweet tang to the dish. If you don't have the vinegar on hand, the rice is still good without it.

Leave the ham out for a great vegetarian option.

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

Hearty Red Beans and Rice

Here's a nice, hearty recipe from the Full Bellies, Happy Kids blog.

I substituted A-1 for the Worcestershire sauce, and because I had only one can of kidney beans on hand, I used a can of black beans, which added to the texture and appearance.

My husband had two servings, which unless we're eating steak, he never does that!

You could easily double the recipe and put half of the beans in the freezer for later use. Also, make a vegetarian version by skipping the bacon and sausage and using oil to saute the veggies and water or vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Coconut Macaroons

As I've mentioned before, I am not a fan of coconut flakes, but it doesn't mean this blog has to be a coconut-free zone!

MSPI Mama-reader Nell recommended this recipe from Baker's. She made the chocolate-dipped version with MSPI-friendly chocolate and said they tasted just like Mounds candy bars.

Thanks for sharing, Nell!

"Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake

One of the readers of this blog, Nell, recommended this recipe from Hershey's, and it looks fabulous to me! Nell substitutes rice or almond milk for the regular milk with good results. She said the cake is so rich and moist, that frosting really isn't necessary!

If you come across a recipe that you think others would enjoy, please share it by leaving a comment. I would love to post your successes as well!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pumpkin Soup

My friend Angela has this awesome recipe for pumpkin soup. It is so good and easy, but the thing that makes it so good is half and half. Obviously, something you can't eat on the MSPI diet! No worries! I figured out a way to make it, and it's just as good -- without the dairy!

If you have a lot of people to feed or want leftovers, definitely double the recipe!

Pumpkin Soup

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, diced
½ tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. ground red pepper
¼ tsp. ground coriander
1 can chicken or vegetable broth
1 15-oz. can solid pack pumpkin
1 can coconut milk
1 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. curry powder

In a large sauce pan, saute onion in oil until tender. Add garlic, spices and salt. Simmer 1 minute. Add broth and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in pumpkin and milk. Simmer 5 minutes. Pour in batches in blender and blend until creamy. Reheat and serve.

Quick Start with MSPI Mama: This is one of my Quick Start recipes. For more information about Quick Start, read the introductory post.

Corn in the USA Muffins

Whenever I make chili -- which is often! -- I almost always whip up a batch of corn muffins to eat with it. I have a plain Jane recipe that I usually use, but I came across this recipe in the Feb./March issue of Taste of Home and thought it looked pretty good. It comes from the "Eat, Shrink and Be Merry" cookbook.

I had to make a few substitutions for MSPI, including the use of soured rice milk for buttermilk. To "sour" your rice milk, put 1-1/2 teaspoons of white vinegar in a measuring cup and add enough rice milk to the vinegar to reach a 1/2 cup.

And in case you're wondering: Cream-style corn doesn't have cream in it! It's found in the canned food aisle next to the regular corn.

The muffins come out very dense. Delicious with honey!

Corn in the USA Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 can (14.75 oz.) cream-style corn
1/2 cup soured rice milk
1 egg
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 can (4 oz.) diced green chilies, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together corn, soured rice milk, egg, oil and diced green chilies. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Divide batter among 12 muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake. Remove muffins from tin and cool slightly on a wire rack. Best if served warm!