A Healthier Toad-in-the-Hole

 

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Though I always stress the presentation of food, here is an exception: Toad-in-the-Hole, a classic British supper that consists of Yorkshire pudding and sausages.  Not the most attractive meal but you will be hooked and the family will ask for it by name.  It is also one of the easiest meals to make when time is short.

As always, we use chicken sausage to cut of the majority of the fat in this recipe.  Goes well with vegetarian baked beans or roasted potatoes.

  • 1 1/2 cup of plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb of good-quality sausage (we always use chicken)
  • salt and pepper

Place your baking dish in the oven with some vegetable oil and pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Sift flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper. Make a well in the center of the flour. Whisk the eggs and the milk into the center of the well in the flour, gradually to smooth out lumps. Cover and let stand 30 minutes.

Place the sausages into the preheated baking dish and return to the oven to brown for about 10 minutes, turning once.

Pour the batter over the sausages and return to oven. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the batter is risen and golden. Serve at once.

Serves 4-6

*This picture is courtesy of watkiss online. co. uk. I will update this post with our own picture next time we serve this tasty dish.

Making meals leaner without anyone knowing it

It is rare to find lean foodstuffs that actually taste as good as their original counterparts.  Like low-fat or no-fat dairy items such as cream cheese.  We all know it’s not “the real thing” but we often settle in order to save on calories.

Well I have found a delicious item that is not only 75% leaner but also tastes “real.”  Al Fresco Chicken Sausage can be found in grocery stores in 28 states, and is also available online.  Their roasted garlic sausage tastes like the real thing and our guests had no idea that their delightfully wicked toad in the hole was actually quite healthy!

J’s Cooking Tips

Stay away from table salt. Kosher salt’s distinct crystals deliver more even taste, in both cooking and seasoning.

Use chili pepper or paprika as a garnish by sprinkling at the edges of your serving and entrée plates to instantly dress up a meal.

Try using unsweetened condensed cow’s or goat’s milk in place of heavy cream in your recipes to reduce fat and cholesterol yet maintain a rich, creamy flavor.  A vegan substitute to try is puréed cauliflower.

For spreads and toppings for crackers and breads, use a good butter such as Plugra.  Cut down on fat by using substitutes with the cooking and baking. We recommend Smart Balance Omega with Extra Virgin Olive Oil Buttery Spread. Yes, it’s a mouthful but worth it as it is not only lower in fat and cholesterol-free, but packed full of vitamins!

Reviving an Old American Staple – Bison

Bison, also often known as “American Buffalo,” is a wonderful meat that is protein rich and more healthful than poultry (see chart below).  Once endangered, there are now over 400,000 bison in America and its meat become increasingly available to the local consumer.  More and more specialty grocers and local butchers carry it or can special-order for customers, and there are many ranches that also have online stores.

Though bison can generally be substituted for beef in most recipes, due to its low fat content, bison doesn’t marble and will cook faster much faster.  Reducing your heat will solve the problem.  

For more information and to find suppliers in your area, visit The National Bison Association.

 

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To Your Health – Cinnamon

The Ten Health Benefits of Cinnamon

  1. Studies have shown that just 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol.
  2. Several studies suggest that cinnamon may have a regulatory effect on blood sugar, making it especially beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes.
  3. In some studies, cinnamon has shown an amazing ability to stop medication-resistant yeast infections.
  4. In a study published by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Maryland, cinnamon reduced the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells.
  5. It has an anti-clotting effect on the blood.
  6. In a study at Copenhagen University, patients given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month.
  7. When added to food, it inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative.
  8. One study found that smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory.
  9. Researchers at Kansas State University found that cinnamon fights the E. coli bacteria in unpasteurized juices.
  10. It is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.

Courtesy of healthdiaries.com

How to Roast Peppers

There is nothing like roasting your own red bell peppers.  The taste is better, there are no artificial ingredients, it’s economical, and best of all, EASY!  

Step One: Rub oil on peppers and put them under the broiler until blackened, turn to get all sides.

Step Two: Put the pepper into paper bag, seal and let rest for 15 minutes.

Step Three: Once cool, take the pepper out and pull the green stem out.  The core and seeds should easily fall out and the skin will easily peel off.

And it will smell so good!

Puréed Broccoli and Roasted Garlic Canapés

 

Puréed Broccoli and Roasted Garlic Canapés
This is a slightly modified version of a recipe from epicurious.com.  Though it does call for some cheese, this appetizer is actually packed full of vitamins. Enjoy!
  •  garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (preferably extra-virgin)
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups broccoli florets plus 1/2 cup peeled thinly sliced stalks (from about 8 ounces broccoli)
  • 1 cup canned cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained (or organic pino or navy beans)
  • fresh basil
  • 1/8 cup freshly shredded parmigiano-reggiano
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 16 1/2-inch-thick baguette slices
  • sliced roasted red bell peppers
  • cracked pepper and kosher salt to taste

 

 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine garlic, oil and crushed red pepper in small custard cup. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until garlic is tender, about 35 minutes. Cool slightly. Arrange baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes.

Steam broccoli florets and stalks until very tender, about 8 minutes. Rinse with cold water. Drain. Transfer to processor. Add beans, basil, lemon juice, oil-and-garlic mixture. Process until smooth. Still in parmigiano and season broccoli puree with salt and pepper. 

Spread broccoli puree atop toasts and top with slices of roasted red bed pepper. Transfer canapés to platter and serve immediately.