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Sunday, August 30, 2015

No-Bake Protein Granola Bites

This is a favorite snack of the girls.  They prefer tiny teaspoon size bites.  Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

2 cups quick oats
1 cup Rice Krispy cereal
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup ground flaxseed
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2-2/3 cup honey or agave nectar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (optional but really yummy!)

Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl, mixing gently so the crispy rice cereal doesn't get crushed. Mix until well-combined.

Using a cookie scoop or spoon drop rounded portions onto a parchment or wax paper lined cooking sheet.   You can round the balls between your hands.

Refrigerate or freeze on the cookie sheet for 1-2 hours. At this point you can serve them or put the chilled granola bites in a large tupperware-type container or ziploc bags. They will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week or for a few months in the freezer.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Banana Bran Muffins

These are a new family favorite!  They combine two of our favorites--raisin bran muffins and banana muffins.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2-3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 T baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1 cup milk (or soy milk)
1/2 cup oil
1 egg (or 1 T flaxseed mixed with 3 T water and a pinch of baking powder, pre-mix & set aside)
1 1/2 cup bran flakes or raisin bran
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
cinnamon sugar (optional)

Heat oven to 400 degrees, grease muffin pan.

If using egg substitute mix flax seed, water, and baking powder in a small bowl.

Combine dry ingredients with wire whisk.  Stir in milk, oil, and egg (or flax seed mixture) until batter is moistened but still lumpy.  Stir in cereal crushing slightly with a spoon or your hand and mashed banana.  Spoon into muffin cups.   Sprinkle the top with chopped pecans and/or cinnamon sugar if desired. Bake 18-22 minutes until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.  Makes 12 muffins.

*Note we've also tried these with cinnamon chips mixed in or even chocolate chips.  Both are tasty...but I would recommend only 1/2 cup brown sugar or less for those options.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

These are our favorite mashed potatoes.  From America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

2 pounds russet potatoes (about 4 medium), peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup 2 percent lowfat milk, warmed
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoon low fat sour cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1. Place the potatoes and 1 tablespoon salt in a large saucepan, add enough water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the potatoes are tender but not falling apart (the tip of a paring knife can be slipped into the center of a potato with no resistance), about 15 minutes.

2. Drain the potatoes and return to the saucepan on the still-hot burner. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes until just a few small lumps remain. Fold in the milk, sour cream, butter, Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Ranch Version:  At the end fold in 3 minced scallions, 2 cloves minced garlic, and 2 T fresh minced parsley.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
Prep Time: 10 min.      Total Time: 35 min.                 Serves 6

1 c. sour cream
1 ½ c. chicken broth (maybe add a little more)
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (or honey mustard)
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 ½ c. instant rice, uncooked (can use instant brown rice)
1 to 1 ½ c. diced, cooked chicken
1/2 to 1 c. ham, cut into pieces
4-6 oz. of sliced Swiss cheese shredded
1 c. corn flakes or ritz crackers, crushed
½ c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375.

Whisk together sour cream, chicken brother, mustard and black pepper in a large bowl until smooth. 

Add rice, chicken, ham, Swiss cheese and peas; stir to combine.

Pour mixture into a 13x9-inch baking dish and spread evenly.

Mix together crushed corn flakes or cracker crumbs with the Parmesan cheese and melted butter in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over top of the casserole.

Bake uncovered on center oven rack for 25-30 minutes until heated through and topping is golden brown.