Chef Mom

Homemade Cheese Crackers 

Recipe from Full Fork Ahead
Prep Time: 15 minutes/Total time: 17 minutes.
Makes 2 dozen or so.
Head to the site here for the recipe.

Ingredients: 

8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
½ stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons ice water

Directions: 
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cheddar, butter, and salt until soft and combined. Add the flour and mix on low speed (the dough will be dry and pebbly). Slowly add the water and continue to mix as the dough forms a ball.
  2. Pat the dough into a disk, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.
  4. Divide the dough into two pieces and roll each into a very thin (1/8 inch or less) 10 x 12-inch rectangle. Using a fluted pastry cutter, cut the rectangles into 1-inch squares, then transfer to the baking sheets. Use the tip of a chopstick to punch a hole into the center of each square.
  5. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until puffed and browning at the edges. Watch carefully, as the high fat content of the crackers makes it a fine line between golden delicious and burnt. Immediately move the crackers to racks to cool.

Notes:
I seem to be the world’s worst patry-roller-outer person, and ours resembled more a super-sized amoeba rather than a rectangle. If you have small pieces that branch off from your dough as your rolling it, just break them off, squish them back into the main part of the dough and roll that section some more to reincorporate it all together again. We still had to cut some pieces off and set them aside to try to make as even a cracker shape as possible. If you do this, you can recombine the loose pieces like play dough and just roll them out again and make more crackers.

If you don’t have the fluted pastry cutter you can always use a small sharp paring knife to slice your cracker shapes. The fluted edged cutters just make ‘em look a little fancier and is a little more convenient because of the rolling motion.

Zucchini Bread 

Recipe from Brooklyn Galley
Prep Time: 15 minutes/Total time: 70 minutes. Makes 1 loaf.
Head to the site here for the recipe.
Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients: 

3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups coarsely grated zucchini, packed (about 2 medium zucchini)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9″x5″ loaf pan. Set aside.
    In a mixer, beat the eggs at medium speed until foamy on top.
  2. Continue beating while you carefully add the oil. Add the sugar and cream the mixer on high speed. Add in the zucchini, lemon zest, orange zest, and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, and baking soda.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients into the batter one cup at a time, stopping the machine once the last cup is well-incorporated so you don’t over-mix.
  5. Manually fold in the pecans.
  6. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, checking at the 60 minute mark. The bread is done when the top is brown and a butter knife or toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Allow the zucchini bread to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. (It might fall apart if loosened too soon.)
  8. Loosen the bread around the edges with a spatula or butter knife, then turn out onto the rack. Allow it to cool for another 5 to 10 minutes before cutting.

 

Apple Chips

Recipe from The Italian Dish
Prep Time: 15 minutes/Total time: 3 hours. Serves 2-4.
Head to the site here for the recipe.

Makes about 25 chips

Ingredients: 

1 large Granny Smith apple
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Directions: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F.
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Using a mandoline, slice the apples as thinly as you can.
  4. Mix the sugar and the cinnamon in a shallow bowl and dip the apple slices lightly in the mixture, just lightly coating them.
  5. Lay the slices on the baking sheets, about 12 slices per sheet.
  6. Bake for 1 hour. Remove one pan at a time and flip the apple slices over with tongs.
  7. When you return pans to oven, also rotate them - put the one that was on the top rack on the bottom.
  8. Bake for one more hour. Remove pans from oven. Apple slices will start to harden up pretty quickly. Remove with tongs.

 

15 minutes Donut Holes

Recipe from Cooking Classy
Prep Time: 10 minutes/Total time: 15 minutes. Makes 30 donuts.
Yields about 30 Donut Holes

Ingredients: 

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp melted butter
2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
Granulated sugar, cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar, for coating

Directions: 
  1. Preheat oil over medium heat in a 10 inch non-stick fry-pan (keeping an eye on it as it is heating).
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together milk, buttermilk, sugar and melted butter.
  3. Using a fork stir in dry ingredients and mix just until combine (think of making biscuit dough, you just want to incorporate the ingredients).
  4. Once the oil has reached 350 degrees, measure out 1/2 tablespoonfuls dough and using your hands gently roll into a ball (gently rolling to keep them fluffy, think of rolling something really fragile. Again this is like a biscuit dough you don't want to overwork it).
  5. Gently place dough ball into oil and fry until golden brown on bottom then flip and cook reverse side until golden brown. Carefully remove with metal tongs or a fork and drain onto a paper towel lined plate.
  6. Roll in sugar. Repeat this process with remaining dough (you can fit about 8 donuts in the pan at once if you can work that fast

    Note: these are best enjoyed the day they are made.

 

Beef and Sweet Potato Stir Fry

Recipe from Natural Noshing
Prep Time: 10 minutes/Total time: 30 minutes. Serves 4.

 

Ingredients: 

1/2 lb lean beef for stir-fry, sliced 1/8 inch thick & 1 inch strips (recipe called for eye round steak but I used lean sirloin steak)
1 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
pinch of ground cinnamon
dash of ground cloves
1 Tbsp low sodium gluten free soy sauce (or Braggs)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (use less if you don’t like spicy)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 to 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped (or a rounded 1/2 tsp ground ginger could be subbed)
1 large sweet potato, diced into 1 inch chunks (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup green beans
1 tsp coconut oil, olive oil or butter
3/4 to 1 cup sweet onion, thinly sliced
Handful of baby spinach (about a cup)

Directions: 
  1. 1. In a medium mixing bowl, add beef, applesauce, cinnamon, cloves, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, garlic and ginger. Toss to combine and set aside to marinate.
  2. In a medium pot, add sweet potato chunks with 2 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, cook for 5-7 minutes until soft but still firm. Remove sweet potato with strainer or slotted spoon; do not drain water.
  3. Return water to a boil. Add green beans and boil for 4 minutes, until soft but still firm. Drain and set aside with cooked potato.
  4. In a large wok or skillet, add coconut/olive oil or butter over high heat. Once hot, add beef mixture and onion, tossing quickly until done, about 3 minutes. Then toss in spinach, sweet potatoes and beans. Cook for 1- 2 more minutes and serve!

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken

Recipe from Closet Cooking
Prep Time: 10 minutes/Total cooking time: 8 hours.
Serves 4 .

Ingredients: 

    * 1 tablespoon oil
    * 1 onion, diced
    * 2 cloves garlic
    * 1 teaspoon cumin, toasted and ground
    * 1/2 cup chicken broth
    * 1 pound chicken breast
    * 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
    * 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
    * 1 cup frozen corn
    * cayenne pepper to taste
    * salt and pepper to taste
    * 4 green onions, sliced
    * 1 handful cilantro, chopped

Directions: 
  1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions and saute until tender and a bit caramelized, about 4-6 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute and transfer to the crockpot
  4. Add the chicken and cook until browned on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side and set aside.
  5. Add the chicken broth to the pan, deglaze it and transfer to the crockpot
  6. Add the diced tomatoes, black beans, corn, cayenne, salt and pepper to the crockpot, stir, add the chicken and cook on low heat for 8 hours.
  7. Remove the chicken, shred it and return to pot.
  8. Serve over steamed rice, garnished with green onions and cilantro.

 

 

Healthy Fudge Pops

Recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie
Prep Time: 10 minutes/Total time: 2 hours.
Serves 5-6 pops.

Ingredients: 

* 2 T cocoa powder
* 1/2 cup canned coconut milk (see below link, for lower-cal ideas)
* 2 small, very-ripe bananas (200g)
* scant 1/16 tsp salt
* 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
* optional: feel free to add peanut butter!

Directions: 

Combine all items in a blender (I used a Magic Bullet). Pour into popsicle molds and freeze. Easy, right? As I said, the hardest part is waiting for them to freeze!

Click to see the Fudgsicle Calorie Information.

A good way to remove pops is to run the popsicle mold under room-temp water for about 15 seconds, then gently twist. And the proper way to eat the pops is with chocolate dripping down your face.

 

Slow Cooker Pork Tacos with Broccoli Slaw

Recipe from Better Recipes
Prep Time: 10 minutes/Total time: 6-8 hours. Serves 6-8.
Head to the site here for the recipe.

Ingredients: 

Pork:

2 cups Chicken Broth

1 (8 Oz.) Bottle Hoisin Sauce

⅓ cup White Vinegar

¼ cup Reduced-sodium Soy Sauce

¼ cup Granulated Sugar

¼ cup Cornstarch

5 Garlic Cloves, minced

3 Tbsp Minced Fresh Ginger

1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

2½ lb Pork Tenderloin, or any amount that will fit into your slow cooker

Slaw:

⅔ cup Orange Juice

⅓ cup Olive Oil

½ cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro

2 (10 Oz.) Packages Broccoli Slaw, or cabbage slaw

Soft Tortillas

Directions: 

1. Whisk together broth, hoisin sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, garlic, ginger, and red pepper in a slow cooker until well combined.

2. Add pork to slow cooker and spoon some sauce over top. Cook on low heat setting for 6-8 hours. Remove pork from slow cooker and shred with 2 forks. Place pork in serving dish and coat with desired amount of sauce from slow cooker.

3. Meanwhile, as pork is cooking, whisk together orange juice, olive oil, and cilantro in large bowl. Stir in broccoli slaw. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

4. To serve, top tortillas with pulled pork and slaw.

Helpful Tips:

I would suggest sticking with the reduced-sodium soy sauce so that the dish doesn’t taste too salty. You can serve the pork and slaw in tortillas or you can also serve the pork with rice or noodles. You could use chicken legs/thighs instead of the pork. Instead of the broccoli slaw you can substitute shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix.

Recipe from Better Recipes
Prep Time: 10 minutes/Total time: 6-8 hours. Serves 6-8.
Head to the site here for the recipe.

Ingredients: 

Pork:

2 cups Chicken Broth

1 (8 Oz.) Bottle Hoisin Sauce

⅓ cup White Vinegar

¼ cup Reduced-sodium Soy Sauce

¼ cup Granulated Sugar

¼ cup Cornstarch

5 Garlic Cloves, minced

3 Tbsp Minced Fresh Ginger

1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

2½ lb Pork Tenderloin, or any amount that will fit into your slow cooker

Slaw:

⅔ cup Orange Juice

⅓ cup Olive Oil

½ cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro

2 (10 Oz.) Packages Broccoli Slaw, or cabbage slaw

Soft Tortillas

Directions: 

1. Whisk together broth, hoisin sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, garlic, ginger, and red pepper in a slow cooker until well combined.

2. Add pork to slow cooker and spoon some sauce over top. Cook on low heat setting for 6-8 hours. Remove pork from slow cooker and shred with 2 forks. Place pork in serving dish and coat with desired amount of sauce from slow cooker.

3. Meanwhile, as pork is cooking, whisk together orange juice, olive oil, and cilantro in large bowl. Stir in broccoli slaw. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

4. To serve, top tortillas with pulled pork and slaw.

Helpful Tips:

I would suggest sticking with the reduced-sodium soy sauce so that the dish doesn’t taste too salty. You can serve the pork and slaw in tortillas or you can also serve the pork with rice or noodles. You could use chicken legs/thighs instead of the pork. Instead of the broccoli slaw you can substitute shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix.

Brown Rice Casserole with Leftover Turkey 

Recipe from Kalyn's Kitchen
Prep Time: 25 minutes/Total cooking time: 1 hour. Serves 6.
Head to the site here for the recipe.

Brown Rice Casserole with Leftover Turkey (or chicken), Mushrooms, Sour Cream, Cheese, and Thyme

Makes about 6 generous servings

Ingredients: 

2 cups cooked brown rice (long grain brown rice is best)
16 oz. mushrooms, washed, thickly sliced, slices cut in half
2 tsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil (or more, depending on your pan)
1 onion, diced into small pieces
2 tsp. ground thyme
1/2 tsp. ground poultry seasoning (see note after the recipe if you don't have it)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 - 2 cups diced leftover turkey or chicken, cut in 1/2 inch dice
1/2 cup turkey stock or chicken stock
1/2 cup sour cream (I used low-fat sour cream, but don't use fat-free)
1/2 cup coarsely grated parmesan cheese
1 cup + 1 cup grated low-fat cheese (I used Four Cheese Mexican Blend, use any type of low-fat cheese that you like the flavor of.)

Directions: 

Cook brown rice following package directions or using a rice cooker and let cool. Preheat oven to 375F/190C.

Wash mushrooms and spin dry or dry with paper towels. Cut mushrooms into thick slices, then cut slices in half. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in heavy non-stick pan and saute mushrooms until they're starting to brown and all liquid has evaporated. Remove onions to a dish.

In same frying pan, add 1 tsp. more olive oil and heat, then add onions and saute 3-4 minutes until onions are softened. Add thyme, ground poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper, and saute about 2 minutes more.

While onions cook, dice leftover turkey or chicken into 1/2 inch pieces. Add mushrooms and diced turkey into pan with the onion-herb mixture, and stir to combine. Add rice and gently stir until all the meat and vegetables are evenly distributed in the rice.

In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream and chicken stock, then stir in coarsely grated parmesan cheese and 1 cup grated low-fat cheese. Gently stir the sour cream mixture into the rice mixture.

Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick spray or olive oil. (I'd use a relatively flat dish without a lid for this casserole.) Spoon rice mixture into the casserole dish and press down to evenly distribute. Bake for 25 minutes, or until casserole is slightly bubbling and barely starting to brown. Sprinkle with second cup of grated low-fat cheese and bake about 15 minutes more, or until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve hot.

(Note about poultry seasoning: My poultry seasoning from Penzeys has sage, white pepper, red and green bell pepper, lemon peel, savory, rosemary, dill weed, allspice, thyme, marjoram, and ginger. If you don't have it, just use a pinch of what you have.)