Friday, July 8, 2011

Healthy Recipe Swap

Palak Paneer (Spinach & Homemade Cheese)

This is my favorite vegetarian dish, served with rice. But the only way to truly appreciate Palak Paneer, is to make it yourself. Prep it in the morning, and you will have perfect cheese to fry for lunch.
Making the cheese is so easy, and well worth it! It only takes a few minutes to prepare it, and a couple of hours to set in the fridge. Then you have the freshest cheese ever... homemade! Though this is not fat-free, I believe that this is an incredibly healthy meal when eaten before mid-day. Even my meat addicted hubby really enjoys this meal.

Tea and Cookies Blog suggests drizzling your favorite honey and toasted almonds on top of a few pieces for nice dessert! FXCuisine is the website that I learned how to make paneer from. Just be sure that you have a milk with fat in it. I made the mistake once of using a brand which had very little fat, which yielded enough cheese to feed a small mouse! Be sure to prepare your favorite rice while making the spinach.

Paneer (Homemade Cheese):

1 Gallon of Milk
1 lemon, lime, or white vinegar (all have acid to separate curds & whey :)

In a stainless steel pot, warm 1 gallon of Whole Milk. Using a milk with less fat will not make cheese! (You could add a little cream to the milk if you want your paneer to be creamier, though this is not really necessary.) Warm the milk gradually, but be sure to keep your eyes on it. Once it's nice and steamy, start adding about a tsp to a T of lemon juice. The milk will separate into tiny clumps (cheese) and a clear liquid. If the liquid isn't clear, add a little more juice until it is.

Place your clean cheese clothe into a bowl or colander, with the edges of the cloth hanging over the sides. Pour your milk into the colander, and allow the liquid to drain off. Lift the cloth and allow the liquid to continue to drain off, twisting and squeezing as needed.

Unwrap the cheese and put it in a bowl. Put a plate on top of the cheese, and put something with some weight to it on top of the plate. Place it in the refrigerator for 2 hours or so. The cheese will set, and more water will drain off.

*Cut it into pieces, and fry them Med-Low for 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan to a paper towel lined plate, to absorb excess oil. Optional: After a couple of minutes, pour the paneer into a bowl of cold water, and allow it to sit for 5 minutes.*

Palak (Spinach):

20 oz Frozen Chopped Spinach
1 medium onion minced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 inch of ginger chopped
Vegetable Oil
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
Salt to taste - optional
Red Chili Powder to taste - optional
2 T tomato puree or a chopped tomato
1 tsp garam masala
2 T cream

Defrost and cook spinach. Blend spinach (don't over-blend.)

Heat about 2 T oil over MED. Add minced onion, cover & cook about 5 minutes.
Add Ginger and Garlic. Cook 4-5 minutes.
Add tomato, stirring frequently to prevent this Masala from burning.

*Start frying paneer, if you haven't already*

Add blended spinach, stir. Add garam masala, cumin, coriander, tumeric, red chili powder, and salt. Stir and cook 3-5 minutes.
Add in Cream or milk. Stir for a few more minutes.
Add Paneer (gently squeeze water out of Paneer if placed in bowl of water before adding to the spinach).
Stir and serve hot.


The result is not your typical low-fat muffins. These have the splendid mouth-feel of luxurious cake, studded with dried fruit; the scent of cinnamon; eye-pleasing golden-orange colour. Combine one with a skim-milk café au lait, or a shake of 3/4 c orange juice and 1/4 c low-fat yogurt, and you've got a satisfying breakfast or light lunch under 300 Kcal. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Bread/Muffins with Cranberries and Pumpkin seeds
adapted from Julie Van Rosendaal's Grazing (Whitecap, 2009)

Preheat oven to 350F for loaf; 375F for minis; 400F for muffins

1/4 c margarine, softened
3/4 c sugar
In medium bowl, beat margarine and sugar until well blended - the consistency of wet sand.

1 large egg
one 14 ounces can pumpkin purée (just pumpkin, not pie filling!)
1 tsp vanilla
Add egg, pumpkin and vanilla; beat until smooth.

2 c all-purpose flour
2tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (opt)
3/4 c low-fat buttermilk

Stir together dry ingredients. Stirring after each addition, add about 1/3 flour mix to margarine-pumpkin; then 1/2 buttermilk; 1/3 flour; the rest of the mik; the last of the flour. Mix and stir by hand until just combined.

Then stir in 1/3 c dried cranberries 1/3 c raw pumpkin seeds

Loaf: pour into 8x4" or 9x5" loaf pan sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake 1h10mins at 350F. Test with a skewer, cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 16 slices at 140 Kcal each. Muffins: divide batter among 12 muffin cups sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake 25-30 mins at 400F. Makes 12 muffins at 180 Kcal each Mini muffins: Oven 375F for 25-30 mins. Makes 24 at 75 Kcal each. Plus one mini loaf pan 375F for 30-35 mins (test with a skewer). Makes 8 slices at 70Kcal each.

I've reduced sugar from 1 cup to 3/4, cranberries and pumpkin seeds from 1/2 to 1/3 cup each with no loss of flavour, and a reduction from 230 to 180Kcal per large muffin.
If buying a whole carton of buttermilk seems excessive for one recipe, stir 1T lemon juice into 3/4 c skim milk for the same effect.
I leave out the salt and haven't missed it yet.

Missadoodle Here's a recipe for a veggie pizza that my family and I love. I make it every once in awhile when we want pizza, but not so much the regular greasy toppings.

-1 red pepper, chopped
-1 cup broccoli florets
-1/2 medium onion, sliced & separated into rings
-1 Tbs. + 1tsp. olive oil, divided
-1 (12") pre-baked pizza crust (or you can make your own)
-1/3 cup light cream cheese
-2 cups low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
-1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
-1 large tomato, sliced

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place pepper, broccoli, and onion into a shallow glass baking pan. Toss veggies with 1 Tbs. olive oil and spread in a single layer.
-Bake 20-25 minutes or until tender.
-Brush pizza crust with 1 tsp. olive oil. Spread cream cheese over pizza crust, layer 1 cup cheese over; top with roasted veggies. Top with spinach, remaining cheese and tomato slices
-Increase temperature to 420 degrees F
-Place crust on oven rack or pizza pan
-Bake 12 minutes.

I've made this casserole looooads of times. I love it for several reasons - it tastes lovely, it's *ridiculous* easy to make (and I'm sure would go in a slow cooker if you use one) and it's really healthy. It goes great with a Jacket potato, or if you're wanting to be super healthy serve with fresh veggies for a ludicrously low cal dinner. I personally find that 11 sticks of celery is over-egging the pudding somewhat, and generally use 6 or so.
Bon appetite! JayS

_*Minted Lamb Casserole*_

Serves 4. 3 1/2 points per serving

400g lean diced lamb
4 carrots
1 leek
11 celery sticks
500ml vegetable or lamb stock
20g gravy granules
1 tablespoon mint sauce

1. Preheat oven to 170 C
2. Put lam and veg in a casserole dish
3. Make gravy using stock, gravy granules and mint sauce, and pour over
4. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours
5. Uncover, stir and cook for a further 15 mins

BONUS RECIPE! I love these little guys as either a savoury snack, or an accompaniment to grilled chicken etc. They're tastier than chips, and lower in cals. American swapees, I aplogise that I have no idea whether Marmite is available on the other side of the pond. I have a feeling it probably isn't, but I believe you have Vegemite? Unfortunately I've not seen Vegemite in the stores to try, so I can't be sure if it's a similar product, but the name suggests it is? I think these would still be tasty without the Marmite both for those that can't get hold of it, or those that don't like it :) I don't have chilli flakes in my cupboard (or fresh chives for that matter, I use dried) but use hot chilli powder instead - it still works nicely and the wedges have a pleasant tingle.

*_Chilli Chips_*
Serves 4. 2 1/2 Points/175 Points per serving
10 mins to prepare, 20 mins to cook

700g Potatoes, scrubbed and cut into thick wedges
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon marmite
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives

1. Preheat oven to Gas mark 6/200 C/180 C fan oven
2. Rinse the potato wedges and pat dry with kitchen paper
3. Mix together oil, paprika, chilli flakes, Marmite and boiling water in a large bowl.
4. Toss the wedges in the bowl until well coated with the mixture
5. Arrange the wedges on a baking tray lined with baking parchment (I use a teflon sheet) and bake for 20 mins or until crispy and cooked through. Turn halfway through cooking.
6. Scatter with chives and serve hot.

(crissygirl) Recently my church did what is called the Daniel Fast. Basically, it boils down to eating fruits and vegetables and their by products (olive oil, vegetable oil, etc). No highly processed foods are allowed, this includes sugar, flour, margarine, etc. Since I don't eat sugar anyway, it wasn't a huge deal but everyonce in while I get a craving for something on the sweet side so we ate a lot of these cookies while doing the fast. They're really good and a bit addicting. Enjoy!!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup almond flour or oat flour
1 cup almond butter, or peanut butter (I used both)
1/2 cup applesauce
1/3 cup Date Honey (see recipe notes)
1/2 cup raisins
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix oats, almond flour, cashew butter, applesauce, and Date Honey in a large bowl until well combined. Add raisins, walnuts, and cinnamon. Stir well. Drop by spoonfuls, two inches apart, on an 11 by 17-inch baking sheet. Flatten and shape into circles. Bake 10-12 minutes.

Yield: 18-20 servings (serving size: 1 cookie)

Recipe Notes
• Make your own oat flour by placing old-fashioned rolled oats in a food processor or blender and process until fine (1 cup old-fashioned oats will yield about 3/4 cup ground oats).
• Date honey is made by boiling approx. 20 pitted dates in water (enough to cover them) for 45 minutes then putting the dates and water in a blender and blending together.
• Increase applesauce to 1 cup if you don't use Date Honey.

Kallie K It will keep overnight if needed but is best when eaten on the same day that it is made. Avacado tends to brown in the fridge. After a day it will definitely need a good stir, and it will not have the same vibrant colors.
My recommendations for the recipe include:
Use red union - any onion (even dried, just reduce the amount) will work, but red adds some more color
Remember the salt. I use kosher salt. It doesn't take much, but it truly enhances the flavor.

Eat Your Greens Guacamole

3 avocados - peeled, pitted, and mashed
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup diced onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 Roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)

1. In a medium bowl, mash together the avocados, lime juice, and salt. Mix in onion, cilantro, tomatoes, and garlic. Stir in cayenne pepper. Refrigerate 1 hour for best flavor, or serve immediately.

Kathryn .N here are two recipes I make a lot, based loosely on dishes I've been served at retreats and/or recipes recommended to me by others.

Tuscan Bean Salad

I was served a version of this with crumbled Asia go cheese at an off-grid retreat center while attending a meeting about renewable energy in a nearby county. It was very tasty, but I decided to drop the cheese from it to save on the saturated fat (though I do love cheese and you could probably add some sort of 'Mediterranean' cheese to this with very good results. There is some flexibility in the proportions/ingredients so if there is something you hate, leave it out or use less of it, and if there's something you love, add more. I have made it with two cans of beans (kidney & garbanzo) instead of three, and with olive tapenade instead of olives and oil, and it works. The essential components are beans (obviously), something olive, something tomato, and something artichoke, so feel free to substitute freely.
Note: This recipe is really, really healthy, but not what you could call low fat. The fat is all heart-healthy olive oil, which raises you good cholesterol, and studies suggest can help you burn abdominal fat, but be cautious of the calorie count if that concerns you. The beans of course are very healthy, full of iron & other nutrients, and especially fiber, both soluble & insoluble, which fills you up and keeps you full, and they also provide protein. Artichokes provide vitamins & minerals, and tomatoes are chock full of powerful antioxidants. Use organic ingredients where you can. You can also toss this salad with whole-grain pasta for a complete protein dish for vegetarians or vegans.

1 cans red kidney beans
1 can mix salad (no sauce, just the beans)
1 cans chick peas or garbanzo beans
1 can artichoke hearts OR quarters
Sundried tomatoes
You favorite olives and/or olive tapenade
Capers (optional)
Handful fresh cherry or grape tomatoes (optional)
Garlic in your favorite form (optional)
Dried pepper flakes (optional)
Olive oil
Diced red bell pepper (optional)
1/2 red onion (optional, or use another kind of onion)

To make: Put the beans in a colander and rinse & drain them. Drain thoroughly.
While the beans are draining, chop other ingredients. Artichokes & sundried tomatoes should be coarsely chopped, onions finely chopped, red pepper can be chopped finely or sliced thinly, whatever your preference. Olives can be chopped or added whole, if using. Cherry/grape tomatoes may be added whole or halved/quartered.

Assemble beans & chopped veggies in a large bowl. Toss in olive oil or olive tapenade to coat, and season to taste with garlic, salt, dried pepper flakes, and any other herbs you think fit (basil & oregano might work well). Garnish with a few extra olives or tomatoes as appropriate and let marinate at room temperature for a couple hours or overnight covered in the fridge to let flavors blend.

Enjoy! Makes quite a bit, I brought it to a weekend campout and shared with a whole bunch of people with no problem.

Green Smoothies
They look odd, but are packed full of fruity vegetably goodness. I often make these for breakfast and steam the greens (I usually use a couple kale leaves) by putting them in a mug and with some of the water I boiled for tea, then covering the mug and letting it sit while I get everything else ready to go. You can use raw greens, but steaming frees up some of the iron to make it easier to absorb, and makes the greens blend better.
If you like the idea but can't wrap your head around the idea of putting greens in a smoothie, start with a tiny bit and see what you is comfortable working up to. You don't really taste them over the fruits; you just have to get over the green color.
These are ridiculously full of vitamins, minerals & antioxidants. I like to add some flax seed or walnuts or pecans to get the 'good fats' to help with nutrient absorption, but your tastes may vary. 1 T of flax seeds or 2 T of nuts will do it - they have a lot of calories so don't go overboard, but the minerals and healthy fats in nuts make them worth the calories.

Some sort of green leafy vegetable. I recommend kale myself, I have used beat greens. Some people use spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, etc., but I find lettuce doesn't work well and the others have too strong a flavor to be appetizing in a smoothie. Amount will vary, I usually use 1 or 2 large kale leaves but you may want to start with just a bit if you find the idea odd, and work up from there to where you're happy with the taste & texture.
1 frozen banana
Unsweetened orange juice or orange juice-based blend
1/2 mango, fresh or frozen, OR use an orange-mango blend
Other fruits you like. I usually leave it at this but I know some people add peaches, berries, applesauce, etc.
1-2 T flax seeds or sweet nuts like walnuts or pecans, for the healthy oils (optional)

Steam or blanch greens with small amount of boiling water, however you'd like. I pour boiling water from the kettle over mine after making tea; you might also put them in a pot on the stove, microwave briefly in a covered container with some water, and whatever you find quick & easy.
While greens are steaming, put ~1 cup juice in the blender, and chop other fruits into the blender. Add seeds/nuts if using.
Drain greens, rinse with cool water if needed. Place in blender.

Blend on high until smooth and homogenous. Add more juice if needed for blending.

By h.gething This one ticks lots of boxes. Healthy as turkey is low fat, quick for getting food on the table in a hurry and easy peasy.

500g turkey mince
1 cup water
1 cup rice
Turmeric - maybe 1/4 tsp.
1 small onion
Other optional veg like carrot, sweet corn, peas. Whatever you have lurking in the fridge

Chop and fry the onion
add the turkey and water and cook until the water has gone.
Meanwhile cook the cup of rice with the turmeric for color.
When rice is coked add to the turkey. Season with S and P for kiddiewinks or jazz up with Worcester sauce or something spicier if you prefer for adults. Chuck in your veg. Tada!!
Filling, healthy and quick tea is ready.

By Karmadi
Chickpea Chicken Salad

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, crushed with fork
1 cup romaine lettuce, finely chopped
1 white or 1/2 red onion, diced
1 (4-ounce) bunch basil, minced
1 roasted red bell pepper, diced
1/2 apple, diced
1/2 tomato, diced
1/4 green bell pepper, diced
1 green onion, diced
3 to 4 tablespoons plain apple sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon yellow mustard


1. In a bowl, combine chickpeas, lettuce, white onion, basil, red bell pepper, apple, tomato, bell pepper, and green onion; mix thoroughly.

2. Add the apple sauce, lemon juice, olive oil, and mustard; mix until everything is combined. If mixture is too dry, add more applesauce, lemon juice, or olive oil until it does. (It should stick together pretty well, like traditional chicken salad made with mayo.)
Source of recipe: I decided that i needed to use up a lot of things in my kitchen, and knew that chickpeas smelled chicken-y... and here we are.
This recipe is vegan, without any store bought "fake meats". It is also raw.

Makes: 4 to 5 hearty sandwiches, Preparation time: 10 minutes

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