Friday, June 25, 2010

Restaurant Style Salsa

If you're lucky enough to have access to homegrown tomatoes, then you're probably no stranger to making fresh salsa. But what do you do if tomatoes aren't in season or buying fresh tomatoes is just too expensive? I recommend trying out this great recipe from the Pioneer Woman.

It combines canned tomatoes with a few fresh ingredients to make a dip-worthy condiment. It's so easy to throw together in the blender or food processor. You'll be chowing down on chips and salsa in no time!

You can follow the Pioneer Woman's version with no MSPI problems, but what I have listed here tames the heat and cuts the super large recipe in half.

Restaurant Style Salsa

1 14-oz. can whole tomatoes with juice
1 10-oz. can mild Rotel (diced tomatoes and green chilies)
2 tbsp. chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 cup cilantro (or more to taste)
1 tbsp. lime juice

Combine tomatoes, Rotel, onion, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you’d like. Test seasonings with a tortilla chip and adjust as needed.

Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips.

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

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dana's Brownies

Once upon a time there was a high school senior taking a tour of a liberal arts college in Iowa. This was her second visit to campus. She was pretty sure she wanted to go there in the fall, but this trip was meant to finalize her decision.

Since she had already seen the majority of the campus on her previous visit, her tour guide said, "We need to kill some time. Wanna go see my girlfriend's sorority house?"

"Ummm, sure," she said, although she considered it a pretty big waste of her time. After all, she was NOT the sorority type.

However, when she walked in the door of that house, the delicious smell of brownies wafted to her nose. The cook, a lovely lady by the name of Dana, was baking up a batch of her chocolate diet-killers.

"Hey," the girl thought as she chewed on one of those luscious, cake-like brownies. "Any place that has food this good can't be all that bad."

And wouldn't you know it. That fall, this young lady joined that very same sorority ... and she got a copy of that recipe!

In case you haven't figured it out yet, that young lady was me. ;)

These brownies are so good, and they can be made MSPI-friendly! (And for those of you avoiding eggs, they're egg-free, too!)

Dana's Brownies

1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup water
1 tbsp. vinegar
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp. MSPI-friendly margarine (I recommend Fleischmann's Unsalted.)
1/4 cup rice milk
3/4 cup MSPI-friendly chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together the first five ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the oil, vanilla, water and vinegar then pour into dry ingredients and stir until blended.

Pour batter into an ungreased 9X13 cake pan and bake for 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

To make the frosting, combine the sugar, margarine and rice milk in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat and add the chocolate chips and vanilla. Beat the mixture with an electric beater for a few minutes or until it looks like the frosting will set up. Spread over the cooled brownies.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Banana Waffles

My kids adore pancakes and waffles. Obviously, the store-bought versions are not an option in this house. I usually opt for using Bisquick, which is MSPI-friendly, and make it with rice or almond milk. However, I've had some issues with Bisquick and cross-contamination. With Caroline being so sensitive right now, I really have to avoid cross-contaminated items. So Bisquick isn't an option for the next few months.

But to be honest, I don't mind, because these waffles are fantastic! I found the original recipe over at Zupa's Cafe. If you don't have a waffle iron, then make pancakes.

Make a double batch and freeze the leftovers. The best way to freeze them so that the waffles don't stick together, is to lay the waffles in a single layer on a baking sheet and place the sheet in the freezer. Once the waffles are completely frozen, transfer them to a large resealable bag and place them back in the freezer. Just pop the waffles in a toaster to reheat.

Oh! And one super thing about this recipe, besides the fantastic flavor, of course, is that there are no "special" MSPI-friendly ingredients, which can be daunting for people who are not familiar with the diet. This is an easy, go-to recipe that anyone can make for you!

Banana Waffles

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tbsp. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 ripe medium bananas
2/3 cup water
4 large eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
canola oil for brushing waffle iron, optional

In a bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Quarter banana and in a blender puree with water. Transfer puree to another bowl and whisk in eggs and oil. Add flour mixture and stir until combined well.

Heat a well-seasoned or nonstick waffle iron until hot and brush lightly with oil, if necessary. Pour batter into iron and cook waffle according to manufacturer’s instructions. Make the rest of the waffles with remaining batter in same manner.

Serve waffles with syrup and MSPI-friendly margarine. Makes four servings.

Tip: If using a frozen banana, you can skip the blender and just mash it with a fork, after thawing the banana first. And because thawed frozen bananas are usually pretty watery, don't add in the water until you've mixed together all the ingredients. Add a splash of water, as needed, to thin the batter to your preferred consistency.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Corn and Kielbasa Chowder

Dairy-free chowder? Yes! There's no cow's milk, half-and-half or cream in my version of this Rachael Ray recipe. Granted, it's probably not quite as rich, but it's still mighty good!

Double the recipe and put the extra in the freezer. Just make sure you thaw the soup completely (preferably overnight in the refrigerator) before reheating, otherwise the potato will turn to mush.

Corn and Kielbasa Chowder

8 oz. kielbasa, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
One 14.5-oz. can MSPI-friendly chicken broth
1 large baking potato (about 12 oz.), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup rice milk
One 1-lb. bag frozen corn, thawed
Salt and pepper

Heat a pot over medium-high heat. Add the kielbasa and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the onions and oil to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 6 minutes. Add the broth and potato and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer until the potato is tender, about 10 minutes. Add the rice milk and corn and cook, stirring, until heated through.

Using a blender or food processor, puree 1 cup chowder until smooth. Stir the puree back into the chowder along with the browned kielbasa and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Tip: Want a thicker chowder? Puree an extra cup.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

One-Pot Spaghetti

(Wow! I'm posting recipes two days in a row!)

Spaghetti is definitely near the top of the list of favorite family meals in our household. I usually have the ingredients on hand, and it's easy to throw together at a moment's notice. But it can get a little boring.

This recipe from Better Homes and Gardens uses the same ol' ingredients but jazzes things up a bit in the preparation department. Because the pasta cooks right in the sauce, a deeper flavor develops. Serve it with a salad and garlic bread. Your family will love it!

One-Pot Spaghetti

8 oz. ground beef or bulk pork sausage
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms or one 6-oz. jar sliced mushrooms, drained
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 14-oz can MSPI-friendly chicken or beef broth (water can be used here for Quick Start -- adjust seasoning as needed)
1-3/4 cups water
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. black pepper
6 oz. dried spaghetti, broken

In a large saucepan cook the ground beef or sausage, fresh mushrooms (if using), onion and garlic until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain.

Stir in the canned mushrooms (if using), broth, water, tomato paste, Italian seasoning and pepper. Bring to boiling. Add the broken spaghetti, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered, for 17 to 20 minutes or until spaghetti is tender and sauce is desired consistency, stirring frequently. Makes four servings.

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

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Marshmallow Swirl Brownies

I'm baaaack!

Caroline is doing incredibly well. Since there was very little dairy in my own system, she was able to work it out of her system very quickly. We only had three to four rough days, instead of three to four rough weeks. It was definitely worth going on the MSPI diet early!

Since I haven't posted a recipe in ages, I thought I would start with something sweet. These are ooey, gooey and oh-so yummy. The recipe comes from Pillsbury. You can make it with a brownie mix, as is done here, or use a favorite brownie recipe of your own.

Marshmallow Swirl Brownies

1 family-size package MSPI-friendly brownie mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs
1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow cream
1/3 cup MSPI-friendly chocolate fudge frosting

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare brownie mix as directed on package using oil, water and eggs. Cool completely.

Spread marshmallow cream over cooled brownies. Place frosting in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high 10 to 20 seconds. Stir until smooth. Drizzle frosting over marshmallow cream. Swirl with knife to create marbling effect.

Refrigerate 15 minutes. To cut cleanly, lightly coat knife with no-stick cooking spray, as needed. Run knife around inside edge of pan to release. Store loosely covered in refrigerator.