Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Wheat Banana Muffins {Egg-free, Dairy-free}

Here is another attempt to make some of our favorite recipes a little healthier.  I replaced half of the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour in my most popular recipe, Banana Muffins (EF, DF).

I know these muffins still aren't whole wheat, but it is still a big increase in fiber when compared to muffins only made with white flour.  Whole wheat flour has 6 times more fiber than all-purpose white flour.  So, by substituting just half of the flour with whole wheat, these muffins now have 3 times the fiber!

Of all the recipes, I have substituted half of the flour for whole wheat, the change is least noticeable in this one.  You can't tell I changed anything at all!  I tell you these muffins are the most resilient recipe ever, as you can see in my notes in the original recipe, all kinds of substitutions have been made and they always cook up and taste great.  I don't know how I came up with a recipe that works so well but it is a favorite for sure!  Next time, I may try them with only wheat flour...

Wheat Banana Muffins

¾ c all-purpose flour
¾ c whole wheat flour
¾ c - 1 c sugar*
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
½ t salt
¼ c vegetable oil
¼ c milk or non-dairy milk
3 medium mashed bananas
1 t vanilla extract

Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, blend the bananas until smooth.  Add oil, milk and vanilla mixing until combined.  Slowing add in the dry ingredients, while mixing the batter.  Spoon batter evenly into 12 greased muffin tins.  Bake at 375o for 16-20 minutes.  Cool in muffin tins.  Makes 12 muffins

*I have always made these with 1 cup of sugar.  The last time I made them, I reduced it to ¾ c of sugar.  I thought it worked really well. [update 09/16/15]

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mexican Rice

Ahhh... This is good Mexican Rice.  This recipe came from the ever so talented Homesick Texan!  This woman knows how to cook delicious food!  Love her blog and cookbook that my brother gifted me for Christmas last year.  Like her, I have forever been searching for the perfect Mexican Rice recipe.  I have been making one for several years but it always seemed a little bland.  I tried this recipe recently and this is what Mexican Rice should taste like!  Yummy!!

Mexican Rice - please click to link to recipe.

Note:  The recipe says to use two cups of chicken broth to one cup of rice.  I would say to adjust the chicken broth to the liquid recommend on your rice package.  For example, my rice said to use 1¾ cups of water for 1 cup of rice.  So, for this recipe I used 1¾ cups of broth (which was exactly one can).  This will help ensure your rice is dry enough and not mushy.

Allergy notes:  If you have a gluten allergy, make sure the chicken broth and tomato paste you use are gluten free.  If you have a dairy allergy, use additional olive oil in place of the butter.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Smothered Burritos and/or Enchiladas

Who doesn't like their Mexican food smothered in a delicious sauce.  I make various kinds of smothered Mexican goodness!  These meals are some of my favorites to make for a friend in need of a dinner, especially if I know they are a fan of Mexican food.  I give them the following choices:

  • Corn or Flour Tortilla
  • Shredded Chicken, Shredded Beef, or Ground Beef
  • Red Sauce, Green Sauce or Queso (aka Cheese Sauce)
My favorite combinations are as follows:
  •  Flour Tortilla, Shredded Beef with Red Sauce, as published in Smothered Shredded Beef Burittos.
  • Flour Tortilla, Ground Beef with Queso using my recipe for Taco Meat, as pictured below.
  • Corn Tortilla, Shredded Chicken with Green Sauce, as published in Easy Chicken Enchiladas. I recommend only using the green sauce on the corn tortillas.  I think most green sauces make the flour tortillas kind of squishy, probably due to the lower fat content in the sauce. 
Queso Smothered Burritos are ready to deliver to a friend.

In case you are wondering about my calling them burritos or enchiladas...  Burritos use a flour tortilla and enchiladas use a corn tortilla. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Taco Meat

We eat a lot of tacos and or quesadillas.  You can pretty much put any meat in a tortilla or shell and my family will eat it.  So, guess what we do with most of our leftovers...

On this blog, I have shared recipes for Shredded Beef Tacos (EF, DF), Shredded Chicken Tacos (EF, DF, GF), Shrimp Tacos (EF, DF, GF) and even Chili Rubbed Salmon Tacos (EF, DF, GF).  I also admitted to using a taco seasoning packet in Taco Salad (EF, DF).

I often use taco seasoning packets to make regular ground beef tacos at our house.  But I also use my own seasoning mix, if I don't have a packet handy or just because.  I especially like to use my own taco seasoning when I am using the taco meat in a recipe.  I use less salt in my recipe and a lot of times whatever you are adding it to has more than enough sodium.  I even buy the low sodium taco seasoning packets and sometimes that is still too salty for some recipes.

So, here is my recipe for ground beef taco meat.  Try it in this recipe for simple Smothered Burritos!

Taco Meat

1 pound lean ground beef
½ t onion powder
½ t garlic powder
½ t season salt
1 t cumin
1 T chili powder

Add ground beef to a large heated skillet.  Cook until coarsely crumbled.  Drain.  (I like to rinse in a colander under hot water to get it as lean as possible.)   Add remaining seasonings.  Stir frequently to incorporate spices.  Serve in warm flour tortillas with your favorite taco toppings.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies {Egg-free, Dairy-free}

New recipe!  I took a meal for some close friends that just had a new baby.  The dad really only likes sweets if chocolate is involved.  I was trying to decide if I should include a dessert with my meal and if so what.  I decided to try to adapt my Chocolate Chip Cookie (EF) recipe to see if I could make it into Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I thought of this as I was working out this morning.  That was a little counter productive, especially considering how many of these cookies I sampled!  These are something between a brownie and a cookie!


Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies 

½ c unsalted butter
½ c vegetable shortening
½ c sugar
1 c brown sugar
1 t vanilla
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
½  t salt
½ c cocoa powder
2 c flour
3-4 T milk
1 ½ c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375o.  Cream together the butter, shortening, both sugars and vanilla.  Add the baking powder, baking soda and salt mixing constantly.  Slowly mix in the coco powder.  Then mix in flour.  Add milk one tablespoon at a time, until dough starts to stick together.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet.  Bake for about 8 minutes.  Do not overcook.  Let cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheet before removing.  
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

*Dairy-free notes:  I haven’t tried to make these dairy-free, but one of my readers made my regular chocolate chip cookies dairy-free.  See her comment on that post.  She used butter flavored shortening in place of the butter and shortening combination used in my recipe.  She also replaced the milk with soy milk.  You would also need to ensure the chocolate chips used were non-dairy.  Please let me know if you give it a try!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

I found this recipe on Pinterest, of course.  I made these while my husband grilled steaks on the grill this weekend.  So good! 

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps - Click to link to recipe. 

Note:  In the link it appears that she cooked them on parchment paper but doesn't mention it in the recipe.  That is what I used and I think it works better than foil for zucchini.