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Archive for January, 2013

TIP OF THE DAY: Baked French Fries Alternative

Baked, not fried: potato wedges are better-
for-you than fries. Photo courtesy
PotatoGoodness.com.

 

French fries hot from the deep fat fryer: so delicious, so clogged with oil, so coated with HFCS-laden ketchup, so not good for you.

We learned to love nonfat Greek yogurt, which we happily substitute for the copious amounts of not-good-for-you sour cream of earlier days. We learned to love nonfat milk instead of whole milk, with the happy side result that whole milk now tastes like half-and-half.

So, we wondered, could we learn to love some version of baked French fries?

We found that baking potato wedges in the oven with olive oil and Italian herb seasoning made us happy and feeling better about eating “fries.” We found a ketchup based on low-glycemic agave instead of high fructose corn syrup or cane sugar.

We also found that we enjoy dipping or covering the baked wedges with salsa (but check the label and be sure the salsa isn’t sweetened with sugar—an ingredient that only belongs in fruit salsa).

 
Finally, we really prefer oven baking to the hot spattering mess of deep fat frying. That’s why baked “fries” is the Tip Of The Day.

You can substitute sweet potatoes for the russets. (Do you know the different types of potatoes? Check out our Potato Glossary.)

RECIPE: BAKED FRENCH FRIES ALTERNATIVE

Ingredients

  • 3 medium russet potatoes, uniform in size (5 to 6 ounces each)
  • 1 tablespoon canola or other vegetable oil (we used good olive oil for its flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning (store bought or made from the recipe below)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Salsa or agave-based ketchup
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 450°F.

    2. SLICE potatoes lengthwise 3/4 inch thick, then cut each slice into ¾-inch long pieces. Place in a large bowl. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with herb seasoning and salt; toss to coat evenly.

    3. ARRANGE potato pieces in a single layer on nonstick baking sheet or a baking sheet coated with vegetable cooking spray. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until potatoes are golden brown, turning once after 15 minutes. Serve immediately, with optional salsa for dipping.

    Yield: 4 servings.

    ITALIAN HERB SEASONING RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • Optional heat: 1 or 2 dried chiles, crushed, seeds removed
  •  
    Preparation

    Blend all ingredients. Store in an airtight container.

    Use on other vegetables or rice, in green salad, meat balls, meat loaf, pasta sauce and other Italian recipes.

      

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    VALENTINE’S DAY: Heart Shaped Pancakes

    We [heart] heart-shaped eggs and pancakes. Photo courtesy Norpro.

     

    Yesterday we recommended some heart-shaped molds for hard-cooked eggs.

    But if you prefer your eggs fried or poached—or would rather have pancakes—try these Norpro Nonstick Heart Pancake & Egg Rings.

    Each ring holds 1/4 cup batter or 1 raw egg. A set of 2 rings is $5.61.

    Beyond Valentine’s Day, you’ll use them for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, brunches and perhaps a monthly “I [Heart] You” breakfast.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Trail Mix Peanut Butter Sandwich

    We love this nut-tricious snack idea: An open-face peanut butter sandwich topped with trail mix. Use whole wheat toast: whole wheat for extra nutrition and toast for extra crunchiness. Cut into squares for easier snacking. Our beverage of choice: a glass of nonfat milk.

    Open face sandwich on whole wheat toast, a layer of smooth peanut butter and a layer of trail mix.

    The recipe concept comes from Lee Zalben, proprietor of the restaurant Peanut Butter & Co. in New York City. He’s developed a different PB sandwich recipe for every day of the year—and for more than one year. You can see all of his creative of ideas online at the Nutropolitan Museum Of Art.

    MAKE YOUR OWN TRAIL MIX

    You don’t need ready-made trail mix: Make your own using the nuts, seeds, raisins and other dried fruits you already have”

     

    Top a slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and trail mix.Photo by Andrea Hernandez | Peanut Butter & Co.

  • Candy: carob chips, chocolate chips/chunks, crystallized ginger, mini marshmallows, M&M’s, Reese’s Pieces
  • Cereal: Chex, granola, Grape Nuts, rolled oats
  • Dried fruits: apples, apricots, banana chips, blueberries, candied orange peel (gourmet!), cherries (our favorite!), coconut, cranberries, dates, figs, raisins
  • Nuts (chop big nuts into large chunks)
  • Savory freeze dried edamame or veggie chips, roasted chickpeas, soy beans or soy nuts, wasabi peas
  • Seeds: pepitas (pumpkin seeds), sunflower seeds
  • Miscellaneous: baked soybeans, crushed pretzels
  •  
    One of our favorite combinations: dates, dried cherries, figs, pistachio nuts.

    After you’ve made trail mix, use it on everything from cereal toppers to ice cream, pudding and yogurt garnishes to baked goods ingredients (mix into brownie, cake and cookie batter).

    Do you have a signature trail mix ingredient or favorite combination? Pleas share!

      

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    VALENTINE’S DAY: Heart-Shaped Egg Molds

    Eggs of love. Photo courtesy Gifts and
    Gadgets | Amazon.

     

    How cute are these? Turn eggs into Valentine hearts or everyday love food, with Eggspress Heart Shaped Boiled Egg Molds.

    Use the heart-shaped, hard-cooked eggs (inaccurately called hard-boiled eggs—see hard-cooked eggs versus hard-boiled eggs):

  • At breakfast or snack time, on toast
  • At lunch, on a sliced egg sandwich
  • At lunch or dinner, on a salad
  • As a garnish or side at any meal, topped with flavored mayonnaise (including bacon mayonnaise), relish, chutney, etc.
  •  
    How would you use them?

    A set of two heart shaped molds is $9.95.

     

    HOW MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF EGGS HAVE YOU HAD?

    See our egg-cellent Egg Glossary for the different types of eggs.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Other Ways To Use Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce

    If you like spicy Thai peanut sauce on noodles, expand the ways you use it:

  • On grilled chicken, shrimp or other seafood, along with rice or noodles
  • As the sauce for Thai chicken pizza (top with diced cooked chicken breast, sliced green onions, grated mozzarella, grated carrot and chopped fresh cilantro, sesame seeds, diced red pepper—bell pepper or hot variety)
  • On Pad Thai, Thai chicken, beef or fish wraps; grilled beef/chicken fish, satay or skewers
  • As a dip with crudités
  •  
    Crudités have long been served with a creamy dip based on mayonnaise, sour cream and/or yogurt—which means cholesterol, unless you use fat-free products. Substitute creamy butter and keep the creaminess, while trading the animal fats for healthier peanut oil.

    If you don’t like heat, spicy peanut dip can be made without the spice. It’s still delicious.

     

    A creamy, spicy peanut dip for raw vegetables. Photo by Andrea Hernandez | Peanut Butter & Co.

     

    SPICY THAI PEANUT SAUCE

    Makes 3 cups sauce. If you’re using the sauce on an entrée, versus as a dip, make it more complex by adding the two optional ingredients.

    Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil or other vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium jalapeno, seeded and minced; or 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
  • 1-1/4 cups coconut milk (you can substitute water; the result will be less rich)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • Optional for dinner sauce: 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
  • Optional for dinner sauce: 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
  •  

    Preparation

    1. HEAT oil over medium heat in a sauté pan. Add onion and sauté until tender.

    2. ADD garlic, jalapeño and ginger; stir for 2 minutes.

    3. ADD peanut butter, coconut milk, soy sauce and honey; stir to thoroughly combine. Remove from heat; add vinegar.

    4. OPTIONAL for an entrée sauce: Add shredded basil. Heat through, and remove from heat.

    5. OPTIONAL for an entrée sauce: stir in chopped peanuts.

     
    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE DIP RECIPES.

      

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