Thursday, October 27, 2011

REFRIGERATOR BRAN MUFFINS {HEART-SMART & HEALTHY!}


When you hear "bran muffin", a few thoughts come to mind...bland, dry,and old people ;)
These are SO much the opposite...flavorful, moist, and my KIDS ate so many, I was nervous what might come from it! 
The nice thing about this recipe is that the batter can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks, making fresh-from-the-oven muffins realistic for a weekday school morning. Especially when you make mini muffins, such as I did, which cuts the bake time in half.
Other recipes for this kind of muffin typically have a lot of oil and sugar, which to me, negates the benefit of the whole bran concept somewhat. 
You can also customize the muffins each time you make them by adding golden raisins, shredded carrot, mini chocolate chips, pineapple, etc.

REFRIGERATOR BRAN MUFFINS              makes 2 dozen regular muffins
Recipe adapted from relishmag.com
2 C. All Bran or Fiber One Bran Cereal
2/3 C. wheat bran
1 1/3 C. boiling water
1 2/3 C. all-purpose flour
1 C. wheat flour
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 C. low-fat buttermilk (I make my own by using skim milk and lemon juice to curdle)
1/2 C. pasteurized egg substitute (such as Egg Beaters)
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. white sugar (I used a low-glycemic sugar called Whey Low which I LOVE)
1/2 C. date sugar (found in health food stores) or another 1/2 C. white or brown sugar
1/2 C. unsweetened applesauce
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1.  Mix cereal and and wheat bran in a large bowl. Add boiling water, stir well and set aside for 1 hour.
2.  Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
3.  If baking right away, preheat oven to 375 F. and coat muffin tins with cooking spray or liners.
4.  Add 1 C. of the buttermilk to the bran mixture; stir well. Add remaining buttermilk, egg substitute, sugars, oil and vanilla, stirring until smooth.
5.  Add flour mixture, stir until a thick batter forms.
6.  Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full of batter. For regular size muffins, bake 20-25 minutes for mini muffins, bake 10-12 minutes, until puffed and lightly browned.

Per regular muffin:  approx. 130 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 2 grams fiber


Thursday, October 20, 2011

HOMEMADE CHUNKY APPLESAUCE


A girl at church last Sunday mentioned that she was given a ton of apples and didn't know what to do with them all, so she'd been drying apples like crazy. I told her she should make homemade applesauce because it's SOOO good! 
I hadn't been able to get the thought out of my head, so I finally made some of my own. I had to go buy my apples to make this, but it's worth it. You can make it just the way you like it...sweetened, or natural, cinnamon or plain, chunky or smooth. I typically like unsweetend, plain & chunky. This time I gave in and added some cinnamon & sugar. 
On a really good day, if I added some whipped topping and a graham cracker, you could almost convince me it's dessert!

HOMEMADE CHUNKY APPLESAUCE
Recipe from Annie's Eats

6 lbs. apples, peeled, cored & diced (such as Jonathan, Cortland, Pink Lady) 
1 1/2 C. water
6 Tbsp. sugar (more or less, depending on taste)
pinch of salt
3 cinnamon sticks (I just added ground cinnamon to taste)

Place all ingredients in a large dutch oven over medium heat until it reaches a boil. Cover with lid and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 25-30 minutes, stirring a few times, until apples are soft and broken down. Remove from heat. At this point, you can mash with a potato masher for a chunky consistency, or puree in a food processor until smooth. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

SWEET PEANUT CHICKEN MEATBALLS


I've had chicken with peanut butter sauce before, but this I have to say, is my favorite so far! I am a little embarrassed to admit that I don't think I've ever cooked with ground chicken before. I've meant to, but haven't found it in the fresh meat department, so I always use ground turkey. Then, I found some in the frozen food section. I might be hooked on ground chicken after tasting these. They tuned out so tender and flavorful without too much peanut butter taste. They can easily be used as a unique appetizer too. If you've never had peanut butter with meat, this is the recipe to try!

SWEET PEANUT CHICKEN MEATBALLS
Recipe from Rachael Ray Magazine

1 lb. ground chicken
1/2 C. chopped fresh cilantro (I used slightly less)
1/4 C. dried breadcrumbs
1/4 C. grated onion
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tsp. salt 
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
1/4 C. peanut butter
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. sesame oil
chopped peanuts for garnish

Mix chicken, cilantro, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, salt and pepper; roll into 1- Tablespoon balls.  In medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add meatballs and cook though, about 6-8 minutes, flipping half way through cooking time. Meanwhile, mix remaining ingredients (except peanuts) and warm in microwave for about 30-60 seconds. Pour sauce over meatballs in skillet and sprinkle peanuts on top. Serve.




Wednesday, October 5, 2011

CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP


As much as I love soup, it's hard for me to admit it's that time of year! To "kick-off" soup season, I made this easy soup for my daughter's school teacher appreciation luncheon that's held during SEP conferences. You'd never believe this soup is made with so few ingredients and is so easy. Besides the chicken, you basically dump a bunch of canned goods into the pot and you're done! The best part is that it doesn't taste canned at all. 
You can add whatever toppings you like, but I served it with grated cheese, sour cream, diced avocado, and of course, crushed tortilla chips. This is one of those soups that tastes even better the next day, so it makes a great leftover meal.

CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP                   serves 6

2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes (I used ones with roasted garlic and olive oil)
2 cans (14.5 oz) reduced sodium chicken broth
1 can no-fat refried beans*
1 can corn, drained*
2 C. cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
for extra flavor, add a few dashes of cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper 
* I doubled the recipe and used 1 can refried beans and 1 can black beans and pureed 1 can of corn in addition to can of whole kernel corn

Toppings:
shredded cheese
sour cream
tortilla chips
diced avocado

Dump all ingredients (not toppings) into a large pot. Stir to break up refried beans. Heat over medium high heat until bubbling. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often. Serve with desired toppings.