Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bean Week -- Day Two

Bean week is progressing well, so far.  The key, I've learned, to keeping Veggies in Disguise is not really taste, but texture.  Last night I made my regular kid-favorite Healthier Tator Tot Cassarole but I added a can of Chickpeas AKA Garbanzo Beans.  Just one can (2 cups) adds 24g of fiber and 30g of protein to the dish.

It turned out well, if a bit grainy.  On my second try, I simmered the beans with the frozen veggies and got a better texture.  Still thumbs up from all and no one has spotted a bean yet.  Even me!

Healthier Tator Tot Casserole

1 box of frozen diced carrots

1 box froze cauliflower in low fat cheese sauce

1 can Healthy Request cream of chicken soup

1 large shallot or small onion

1 pound ground chicken or turkey

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon rosemary

1 teaspoon white worstishire sauce

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 cup shredded cheese of any kind

1 small bag of tator tots or enough hash brown patties to cover the top of a 9X13 casserole.

Put frozen carrots and cauliflower in a frying pan with a splash of water. Cover and place on medium heat, stirring occasionally until cooked though. Put in food processor with a steel blade or blender. Add cream of chicken and puree until smooth.

Dice shallot or onion and brown with meat until cooked through and golden brown. Add herbs and sauce. Add soup/veggie mixture to the pan and mix well. Spread in the bottom of a 9X12 casserole. Cover with cheese, then layer the Tater Tots on top.

Bake in a 425-degree oven for 30 minutes or until browned and bubbly or refrigerate or freeze for another day.

Big Mama likes it better than the original. The chicken is flavorful with seasoning and the pureed veggies give it more sauce. Thumbs up for fix-ahead ability, taste and nutrition. The little mouths say…Yummy good.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

It's Bean Week

I hate beans.  All kinds of beans.  Green beans, wax beans, navy beans, kidney beans, soy beans, refried beans, garbanzo beans and everyother kind of bean except for jelly.

But I do like hummus...and just figured out it was made from Garbanzo Beans!  I do like beans after all...that is if you put enough garlic and other yummy stuff in them...but it gave me hope. 

Beans are SO good for you!  They are packed with protein, take on whatever flavor you put them with and they're CHEAP!  Just one cup of Cannillini beans adds 12 g of protein and 10 grams of fiber. 

It was just the texture I didn't like.  Tonight I added a can of Canillini beans to my sneaky tomato soup.  It was delish!  (Which means you couldn't even tell they were there.)  Here's the recipe again in case you missed it.  I quadrupled the batch and froze the rest for later. 

“Sneaky” tomato soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion (about 1/2 small onion)
1 cup chopped or shredded carrots
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine (optional)
4 to 6 cups broth, chicken or vegetable
1 (14-ounce) can diced, Italian-style tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) can tomato puree
1 small can tomato paste
1 (14-ounce) can tomato sauce
Coarse-grained salt and cracked black pepper
10 ounces fresh spinach
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, very loosely packed
1/2 cup half-and-half (I used fat-free)
1 teaspoon fresh basil

In a stock pot, sauté onion and carrot in olive oil until softened. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds or so. Add tomato paste and cook for a minute or two to develop sugars in paste.

Deglaze pan with wine (or chicken stock) and stir to combine. Allow mixture to come to a bubble, then add chicken stock, tomatoes, puree and sauce. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Add spinach and stir until wilted. Blend soup in a food processor, blender, food mill or with a hand-held blender until smooth.

Add Parmesan and simmer for 1-2 minutes until cheese melts. Add half-and-half and basil, and serve.

The soup can be frozen or refrigerated.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Valentine's Day Macaroni and Cheese

This year, instead of purchasing presents, the Little Mouths and I made Macaroni and Cheese for gifts.  I used this recipe, inspired by Ina Garden's.  It freezes well and in the depths of a snow filled Midwestern February, our friends and family were glad to have a hot meal, ready to pop into the oven on a cold winter's night. 

Big Mama's Heart of Hearts Mac and Cheese

This recipe makes one large 9 X 13 cassarole or three smaller 8 X 8 foil cake pans.  I looked for heart shaped cake pans at the last minute, but was unable to find any.  I'll plan ahead better next year.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and put a large pot of salted water on to boil.

1 pound of your favorite small pasta
2 jars "Junior" yellow squash baby food
Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 pound fresh tomatoes (4 small)
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Add the squash.  Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...