Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Black Forest Pie

1½ c. water
1 (4 serving) pkg. sugar-free cherry gelatin
1 (4 serving) pkg. sugar-free vanilla cook-and-serve pudding mix
2 c. pitted red cherries (fresh, frozen, or canned, packed in water, drained)
½ tsp. almond extract
1 (6-oz.) Keebler chocolate-flavored piecrust
1 (8-oz.) pkg. Philadelphia fat-free cream cheese
¼ c. Cool Whip Lite
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Sugar substitute to equal 2 tsp. sugar
¼ c. (1 oz) chopped walnuts

In medium saucepan, combine water, dry gelatin, and dry pudding mix. Mix well to combine. Stir in cherries. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and starts to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in almond extract. Cool for 5 minutes. Pour mixture into piecrust. Refrigerate for about 2 hours. In a medium bowl, stir cream cheese with a spoon until soft. Add Cool Whip Lite, vanilla extract, and sugar substitute. Spread mixture evenly over set pie filling. Sprinkle walnuts evenly over top. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves 8.

Each serving equals:

201 calories, 7 gm Fat, 7 gr Protein, 27 gr Carbs, 372 mg Sodium, 1 gr Fiber

Diabetic exchanges: 1 Fruit, 1 Starch, 1 Fat

This recipe was one of the first "diabetic" recipes I tried when I was diagnosed with diabetes. I went to the library and checked out several cookbooks, rather than buy cookbooks without having tried any of the recipes. This one comes from the Healthy Exchanges Cookbook by JoAnna Lund. It has become a favorite of many people with whom I have shared the pie. If you don't particularly care for cherries, try using raspberry flavored gelatin and frozen (without sugar) raspberries. These both go great with the chocolate crust. I imagine other flavor fruits and gelatin would work, as would varying the crust.
For those of you who love to cook, as I do, checking cookbooks out of the library is an economical way to try new recipes. My daughter, Elizabeth, and I both like to do this. If you come across a cookbook that has many recipes you try and enjoy, then you can buy the book with confidence that it is a bargain!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fruit Dip

Beat together until fluffy:

1 – 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
Zest of 1 orange
2 T. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Fold in 6 – 8 oz. Cool Whip. Chill.

Suggested fruits: apples, oranges/tangerine segments, pineapple, grapes, bananas

I created this recipe for my nephew, Cannon, to take to his cast party for Grease. He was an absolutely fabulous "Danny Zuko" in Burke County (Georgia) High School's production of Grease last May. I decided to share this with you today, because Cannon told me on Facebook, "You need to come back and cook some more for us. My friends all loved the fruit dip you made." Aunt Shelly feels loved!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Roasted Asparagus Lasagna - NYR - YYYYY

2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
2 tablespoons Crisco® Pure Olive Oil, divided
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
Dash ground cloves
1-1/2 cups milk
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
12 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Place asparagus and mushrooms in a shallow roasting pan. Drizzle with
1 tablespoon oil; toss to coat. Bake at 450° for 8-10 minutes or
until vegetables are browned; set aside. Reduce heat to 350°.

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper and
cloves until smooth. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook
and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Set aside. In a large
skillet, saute onion and garlic in remaining oil until tender.
Remove from the heat; add roasted asparagus and mushrooms.

In a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray, layer four
noodles, a third of the asparagus mixture, a third of the white
sauce, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat
layers twice.

Cover and bake at 350° for 35 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15
minutes longer or until heated through. Let stand for 15 minutes
before cutting. Yield: 12 servings.

Nutrition Facts: 1 piece (prepared with reduced-fat butter, fat-free milk and part-skim mozzarella) equals 216 calories,

Nutrition Facts: 8 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 16 mg cholesterol, 251 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 12 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 lean meat, 1-1/2 starch

I discovered I had forgotten I had purchased some fresh asparagus when it was on sale. We have a favorite asparagus recipe, Asparagus and Ham Mornay, that I will share at a later date. However, I wanted to make something different. My friend, Nancy, told me she loves the Taste of Home website for finding new recipes, so off I went, and I found this recipe. (I think it's funny that I decided on this recipe as Nancy dislikes both mushrooms and asparagus!) Since there is just Gary and me to cook for now, I halved* the recipe with no trouble and baked in an 8 x 8 baking dish. Gary and I thought this dish was absolutely delicious, served with some garlic bread made out of ciabatta bread. You also may notice that this recipe uses a lot of preparation dishes. Although I do not have an automatic dishwasher, I am blessed to have a wonderful (human)dishwasher named Gary. We make a great pair. I cook and make the mess and he cleans the mess up.

The only change I would make in the recipe is to increase the amount of asparagus and mushrooms by half. For a full recipe I would use 3 pounds of asparagus and 1 and 1/2 cup of sliced fresh mushrooms. (For half the recipe I would use 1 1/2 pounds of asparagus and 3/4 cup of sliced fresh mushrooms.) I also need to experiment with how to heat up any leftovers. Microwaving seemed to make the cheese/noodles too dense and overcooked the vegetables. So you might want to make the smaller batch, unless you're having company!

(Reminder: NYR = New Year's Resolution and YYYYY is at the top of the "Yummy Rating."

*Ingredients for half the recipe:

1 1/2 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoons Crisco® Pure Olive Oil, divided
1 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
salt and white pepper to taste
Dash ground cloves
3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
6 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
3/42 cup (3 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hearty Beef Vegetable Chowder

1 lb. ground beef OR
1 lb. Round steak cubed in about ½ inch cubes
1 c. chopped onions
1 c. sliced celery
2 T. butter OR spray pan
with non-stick cooking spray
2 c. canned tomatoes
4 c. hot water
2 - 4 beef bouillon cubes OR
4 tsp. beef soup base
1/8 tsp. pepper
½ bay leaf
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 c. uncooked noodles OR other macaroni such as alphabet
1 pkg. (10 oz. - 16 oz.) frozen mixed vegetables
¼ tsp. thyme

Saut̩ meat, onions and celery in butter in a large soup pot until beef is well browned. (If you are not using very lean ground beef, you may want to brown the beef, drain most of the fat, then saut̩ onions and celery.) Add tomatoes, water, bouillon cubes, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Add noodles, mixed vegetables and thyme. Bring to a boil again and cook 15 minutes. Makes 6 Р8 servings.

This was a recipe Mom got from one of her friends in her Susannah Circle. (A United Methodist Women's group, named after Susannah Wesley.) I believe we kids, or at least I, called it "Hamburger Soup." It's a quick, hearty hot soup and I had forgotten how good it makes the house smell, until I made it recently.

I had a very special reason to make this soup again. My cousin, Krishana (actually my "first cousin, once removed" as she is my first cousin, Pam's daughter) has been diagnosed with Follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. She had told her mom that vegetable soup sounded good to her, so Pam asked if I could make some. I jumped at the chance to do something for her. (So as you read this, will you please pray for Krishana?) It made my heart glad when I got a call the next evening and heard a chorus of "Thank you, Michelle. The soup is delicious!" from Krishana and her parents, Pam and Dennis. Cooking is so my element, so I hope I can be of service to Krishana over the next 6 months as she undergoes her chemotherapy. Again, I ask for your prayers for Krishana.