Pizza Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 1 baby potato
  • 1/2 cup egg beaters
  • 1/4 cup low-sugar pizza sauce
  • 1 stick low-fat string cheese, cut into thin rounds
  • 2 Tablespoons shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  • Bake the baby potato.  (I do this quickly by wrapping the potato in a paper towel, then wrapping around the paper towel with a cloth kitchen towel, then putting the cloth towel bundle in the microwave and cooking on high heat for 2-3 minutes.)  Once the potato is baked, carefully cut it into a small/medium-sized dice.
  • Lightly spray a microwave-safe bowl with oil.  Pour the egg beaters into the bowl, then add the diced potato.
  • Microwave the egg/potato combo for 45 seconds, then stir, and cook for another 45 seconds.
  • Top the now-mostly-cooked egg/potato combo with the pizza sauce.  Then place the string cheese rounds on top of the pizza sauce.
  • Cook the bowl of egg/potato/sauce/cheese for 30-45 seconds, or until the sauce is hot and the cheese melts.
  • Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave, and top the food in the bowl with the Parmesan cheese.  Eat immediately. (Or, wait a few minutes and allow the food to cool slightly if it’s too hot to bite into right from the microwave).

Makes 1 serving.

Nutritional information per serving (approximates): 235 calories, 6.5 g fat, 19 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 6.5 g sugar, 25.5 g protein.

pizza eggs

The ratings:
Mental Cost (ingredient availability): Very low
Financial Cost (ingredient cost): Very, very low
Emotional Cost (cooking skill level): Still very low
Time Cost (recipe preparation):  Super-low
Life Cost (clean up time/effort): Relaxingly low
Worth It? (rate from 1-5): 4.314159

Miscellaneous suggestions, insights, and/or thoughts:

  • This dish tasted like a brunch item that might be served at a pizzeria.  It certainly isn’t a replacement for a proper slice of pizza, but it is good in its own right.
  • A side salad (or a serving of some other green vegetable) and a piece of fruit can be added to this main dish to create a fast, well-rounded meal.
  • I suspect kids might like this food; could be an easy way to feed the family on a harried week night.
  • (Admittedly, this dish is a close cousin of the previously documented Easy Italian Eggs; but I still think it’s good.)  :)

Stef

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Posted in cheese, egg beaters, postaweek, potato, tomato sauce, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chocolate Muffin Tops

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ cup (210 g) whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup (60 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup egg beaters
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup plain (unsweetened) Greek yogurt
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 scant cup hot water, divided
  • ½ cup (98 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F).
  • Using a wooden (or large plastic) spoon, mix all of the dry ingredients together (i.e., flour through salt) until evenly combined.
  • Add all of the wet ingredients EXCEPT for the hot water (i.e., egg beaters through vanilla extract).  Mix with a spoon until evenly combined.  (Note that the ‘batter’ will be very crumbly at this point; that’s okay.)
  • Add half of the hot water, and mix with a spoon for 5-10 seconds.  Add the remaining hot water, and mix with a spoon until the all of the ingredients are blended together.  (Should only take another 10-20 seconds or so.  Resist the urge to over mix.)
  • Stir in half of the chocolate chips.
  • Grease the muffin top tin with nonstick spray.
  • Put a heaping tablespoon of batter into each tin.
  • Place 4 chocolate chips directly on top of each muffin top batter.
  • Bake at 350 for 9-10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Let the muffin tops cool in the pan for 1-2 minutes, then move to a cooling rack.
  • If not eating the muffin tops within 1-2 days, freeze them.  If wrapped well, they will stay good in the freezer for 3-6 months.

Makes 24 muffin tops.

Nutritional information per serving (approximates): 95 calories, 1.5 g fat, 19.5 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 11.5 g sugar, 1.5 g protein.

The muffin batter, waiting to be baked and transformed into yummy goodness (I hope).

The muffin batter, waiting to be baked and transformed into yummy goodness (I hope).

The baked muffins.  They look promising.

The baked muffins. They look promising.

As I removed the muffin tops from the tin, I was honestly impressed at how 'professional' they looked!

As I removed the muffin tops from the tin, I was honestly impressed at how ‘professional’ they looked!

The first muffin I consumed.

The first muffin I consumed.

The ratings:
Mental Cost (ingredient availability): Low
Financial Cost (ingredient cost): Also low
Emotional Cost (cooking skill level): Very low
Time Cost (recipe preparation): Surprisingly low
Life Cost (clean up time/effort): Nice and low
Worth It? (rate from 1-5): 4.89421

Miscellaneous suggestions, insights, and/or thoughts:

  • I’m not gonna lie, the batter smelled a little funky.  As I filled each muffin tin, I really wasn’t sure what I was going to get once these guys were cooked…
  • Yet when I pulled the baked muffin tops from the oven, I was impressed – they looked really good!  They looked almost perfect, in fact.  But they still smelled kinda strange…how would they taste?
  • I tentatively bit into the first muffin top, and….was really surprised!  It was a wee bit less moist and a tiny bit more bitter than the commercial version; but the overall differences were pretty negligible.  I was impressed!  And considering that these homemade muffin tops are considerably less expensive than the store-bought kind, I think we definitely have a winner here.  (And I got to use my muffin top tin, too – so extra bonus!)  :)
  • I think I may have to try and recreate some other flavors…

Stef

Posted in cake, chocolate, dessert, muffin, picture step-by-step, postaweek, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Homemade Seitan

Ingredients:

For the simmering broth:

  • 3.5 cups vegetable broth (approximately two 14.5 oz cans [reserve 1/2 cup of the broth for the seitan {below}])*
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce*

For the seitan:

  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten flour
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 cup cold vegetable broth*
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce*
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon minced garlic

Instructions:

  • Fill a stock pot with the simmering broth ingredients.  Cover the pot, then set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix the vital wheat gluten flour and nutritional yeast flakes together until evenly combined.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the remaining wet ingredients (i.e., 1/2 cup vegetable broth through minced garlic) with a fork until evenly combined.
  • Pour the small bowl of wet ingredients into the large bowl of dry ingredients, and mix with a large wooden spoon until the moisture has been absorbed by the gluten flour/nutritional yeast.
  • At this point, put the covered broth pot on the stove over high heat and bring it to a boil.
  • While waiting for the liquid to boil, return to the seitan dough mixture.  Use your hands to knead the mixture for about 3 minutes.
  • Then divide the large ball of dough into three equal pieces, and knead each smaller segment for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • When the simmering broth has come to a full boil, lower the heat to a simmer.  Add the three big gluten pieces (use a slotted spoon so you don’t burn yourself), then partially re-cover the pot (so that steam can escape).
  • Let the dough simmer for 45 minutes, turning occasionally (once every 15 minutes or so).
  • After 45 minutes have passed, turn the heat off and remove the lid from the pot.  Let the seitan sit in the warm broth for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Use the slotted spoon to carefully remove the seitan from the broth, and let the seitan rest in a strainer until it is cool enough to handle.  Once cool, slice and use as desired, or refrigerate for up to 5 days.  (Or freeze for up to 3-6 months.)

Makes 7 servings. (2 ounces per serving.)

Nutritional information per serving (approximates): 105 calories, 2.25 g fat, 5 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 14 g protein.

This is what the seitan dough looks like after the two rounds of kneading.

This is what the seitan dough looks like after the two rounds of kneading.

seitan simmering

Here the seitan simmers in the pot.

finished seitan

The cooked seitan during its 15 minute “waiting period”.

seitan close up

A close-up of the finished product.

My notes:

  • When selecting vegetable broth and soy sauce, you can certainly use low-sodium varieties in this recipe.  (I actually encourage it; who needs all that excess salt?)  But if you want to use fully-leaded ingredients, you can; the seitan will work out either way.

The ratings:
Mental Cost (ingredient availability): Semi low.  (Many mainstream groceries now sell vital wheat gluten flour and nutritional yeast flakes.)
Financial Cost (ingredient cost): Quite low
Emotional Cost (cooking skill level): Low
Time Cost (recipe preparation): Medium
Life Cost (clean up time/effort): Pretty low
Worth It? (rate from 1-5): 4.77

Miscellaneous suggestions, insights, and/or thoughts:

  • The texture of this seitan was not as firm as the packaged seitan I usually buy; but I suspect if I kneaded the dough longer, the seitan would get ‘tougher’ (firmer).
  • I was disappointed that this homemade seitan is not as high in protein (per calorie) as the commercially prepared product; but I liked the way the homemade version tasted a lot more!  When I eat store-bought seitan I have to consume it with some sort of sauce or condiment (in order for it to taste more appealing to me); this homemade seitan I ate plain, and genuinely enjoyed it!
  • All in all, I was very happy with my seitan adventure.  In fact, I think I am going to continue to make it at home instead of buy it from a store.
  • The next time I make it, I might try adding some different spices, too.  I imagine if I added some oregano, sage, rosemary, and basil, I could mimic an Italian-flavored ‘sausage’; and if I added some cumin, cayenne, and paprika, I could make some fake ‘chorizo’…
  • Now, how do I make soy ‘hamburger’?

Stef

Posted in "beef", nutritional yeast, picture step-by-step, postaweek, seitan, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Frosted Cutout Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

For the cookies:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • Flour for dusting

For the frosting:

  • 2 Tablespoons margarine
  • 2 Tablespoons skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Approximately 3/4 cup powdered sugar

Instructions:

For the cookies:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F).
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, the set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix the flour, cream of tartar, and shortening together until it forms a doughy ball.  Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, beat the eggs until just blended (about 30 seconds).  Then add the sugar and vanilla, and beat for an additional 30-60 seconds (or until all of the ingredients are integrated).
  • In a very small bowl combine the baking soda and water, and whisk together with a fork until the soda is dissolved (30-60 seconds).  Then add the soda/water combo to the egg/sugar bowl, and beat until evenly combined (15-30 seconds).
  • At this point, add the sugar mixture to the dough bowl, and beat/mix until all of the ingredients are evenly integrated (1-2 minutes).
  • Dust a large, even work surface (kitchen counter top or table top works well) and a rolling pin.  Roll the dough out to your desired cookie thickness.  (We like cookies that are around 1/4″ thick.)  Then use cookie cutters to create whatever cookie shapes you like.
  • Put the cut cookies onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.  The cookies will not spread out during baking, so you can put the cookies very close together on the sheet (just not actually touching).
  • Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until the bottoms are just barely browned.
  • Remove the cookies from the baking sheet and move them to a cooling rack until completely cool.
  • At this point, you can choose to frost the cookies, or leave them plain.  (Frosting instructions are below.)  If you want to freeze some of the cookies, leave those plain (and frost them when you are ready to eat them).  Frosted cookies can be stored in a plastic air-tight container for a week, or a metal tin for 2-3 weeks.  Unfrosted cookies can stored in a ziplock bag in the freezer for 6 months.

For the frosting:

  • In a medium-size microwave-safe bowl, heat the margarine until it is just melted.  (It usually takes me two or three 30-second rotations.)
  • Once the margarine is melted, add the milk and vanilla, and whisk with a fork until evenly combined (about 30 seconds).
  • At this point, add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, and whisk with a fork until the ingredients are thoroughly integrated.  Then assess your frosting.  If it is a thickness you like, you’re done.  If you want the frosting thicker, add 1-2 more tablespoons of sugar, whisk, and re-assess.  Keep adding sugar until you attain the frosting you like.

Makes 6 dozen average-size cookies. (Of course, if you use a very large [or very small] cookie cutter, you will have fewer [or more] cookies.)

Nutritional information per cookie, unfrosted (approximates): 56 calories, 3 g fat, 6.5 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 0.5 g protein.

Nutritional information per cookie, frosted [using the full 3/4 cup of powdered sugar] (approximates): 65 calories, 3.5 g fat, 8 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 0.5 g protein.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The ratings:
Mental Cost (ingredient availability): Low
Financial Cost (ingredient cost): Very low
Emotional Cost (cooking skill level): Mostly low
Time Cost (recipe preparation): A solid medium
Life Cost (clean up time/effort): Pretty low
Worth It? (rate from 1-5): 4.94

Miscellaneous suggestions, insights, and/or thoughts:

  • This recipe was made at the same time as the spritz, and was created for the same reasons. (I.e., my sweetie wanted to bake some traditional Christmas cookies.)
  • This recipe also uses large amounts of refined flours and sugars – but a single batch also makes many cookies, so the nutritional composition of each individual cookie is actually not too bad.
  • These cookies are a fun once-a-year treat.  But I think that’s as often as I ‘need’ to make them.  :)

Stef

Posted in cookie, dessert, picture step-by-step, postaweek, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Spritz (Swedish sugar cookies)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature or slightly melted
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract*
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • Optional: Decorating sugars of your choice

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F).
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, the set aside.
  • In a LARGE bowl*, cream the butter and the sugar together. (Beat them until they form an even pale yellow mixture, 1-2 minutes).
  • Add the egg yolks, cream, and vanilla extract.  Beat for an additional 30-60 seconds, or until all of the ingredients are integrated.
  • Add the flour to the wet mixture, one cup at a time.  Fully integrate each cup of flour before adding the next one.  (Trust me.  You’ll save yourself some heartache.)  This step is most easily achieved if you own a stand mixer.  (Sadly, I only own a hand-mixer.  Ugh.  But it worked – and that is what’s important here.)
  • Load a batch of the dough into a spritz press.  Choose your favorite pattern, and squeeze out cookies onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.  The cookies will not spread out during baking, so you can put the cookies very close together on the sheet (just not actually touching).
  • Optional: Sprinkle decorating sugars over some (or all) of the cookies.
  • Bake the cookies for 9-12 minutes, or until the bottoms are lightly browned on the bottom.  (The tops won’t brown.)
  • Remove the cookies from the baking sheet and move them to a cooling rack until completely cool.
  • Once cool, you can store the cookies in a plastic air-tight container for a week, a metal tin for 2-3 weeks, or in the freezer in a ziplock bag for 6 months.

Makes 9.5 dozen cookies. (Yes, 114 total cookies.  But they’re small.)  :)

Nutritional information per serving (approximates): 65 calories, 3.5 g fat, 8 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 3.5 g sugar, 0.5 g protein.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My notes:

  • Traditional spritz are made with almond extract instead of vanilla extract.  However, these cookies were made for my sweetie, following his mom’s recipe – so we used vanilla extract. That being said, if you want ‘traditional’ spritz, replace the vanilla extract with almond extract.  (The cookies will taste good either way you make them.)  :)
  • You will need a BIG bowl to make these cookies.  I don’t own a mixing bowl that is sizable enough to hold the 5 cups of flour + pound of butter + 2 cups of sugar (that’s a lot of ingredients!), so I used a small stock pot instead.  (I felt somewhat MacGyver-esque.)  :)  It worked.

The ratings:
Mental Cost (ingredient availability): Very low
Financial Cost (ingredient cost): Also very low
Emotional Cost (cooking skill level): Skill level is low, but effort (elbow grease) is a solid medium
Time Cost (recipe preparation): For cookies, reasonably low
Life Cost (clean up time/effort): Decently low
Worth It? (rate from 1-5): 4.94

Miscellaneous suggestions, insights, and/or thoughts:

  • This recipe is a deviation from the items I normally post to this blog (e.g., the quantity of butter and sugar in the ingredient list genuinely makes me shudder).  However.  My sweetie said that he wanted to make cookies this weekend; specifically, cookies he grew up with.  So I asked his mom for the recipe to her spritz, which she kindly shared with me – and I am now sharing with all of you.
  • And while this recipe does use copious amounts of full-on butter and sugar, it also makes a vast quantity of cookies – so the nutritional composition of each individual cookie is actually rather decent.
  • And, I had a great time baking with my sweetie.  We are both very competent in the kitchen, and compliment each other well.  :)
  • I certainly won’t bake these cookies on a regular basis.  But once a year, for a special holiday treat, it’s an indulgence I’ll happily make.

Stef

Posted in cookie, dessert, picture step-by-step, postaweek, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Asian Inspired Broccoli Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces broccoli slaw
  • 2 ounces raw zucchini and/or squash, diced*
  • 1 ounce raw pea pods, diced
  • 1/3 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 Tablespoon hoisin sauce*
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 ounces seitan, diced

Instructions:

  • Optional: Put the broccoli slaw in a microwave-safe container, add a few tablespoons of water, and blanch it for 60-90 seconds in the microwave.  (If you are not used to consuming raw vegetables, this step will help minimize bloating or gas that can occur when consuming broccoli.)  Once the broccoli has cooked, drain off the water.
  • Put all of the ingredients in a large bowl, and mix with a spoonula until thoroughly combined.  (30-60 seconds should do the trick.)
  • You can eat this meal warm (so, immediately if you chose to blanch the broccoli), or at room temp, or cold.  (I.e., this dish can be refrigerated up to 12-24 hours, and eaten straight from the fridge.)

Makes 1 serving.

Nutritional information per serving (approximates): 250 calories, 2.5 g fat, 32 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 13.5 g sugar, 25 g protein.

asian salad

My notes:

  • Think about when you eat an Asian stir fry.  If you prefer different vegetables from the ones I have listed in this recipe, feel free to add/replace as you like.  (Other times I have made this meal I have included cabbage slaw, baby bok choy, water chestnuts, carrots, etc. etc.)
  • Similarly, if you prefer a different sauce (or combination of sauces), feel free to swap out the hoisin for something you like better.  (Peanut, sweet-and-sour, garlic, ginger, etc.)  Just note that the nutritional information provided may change if you choose to make any substitutions.

The ratings:
Mental Cost (ingredient availability): Wildly low
Financial Cost (ingredient cost): Very low
Emotional Cost (cooking skill level): Crazy low
Time Cost (recipe preparation): Happily low
Life Cost (clean up time/effort): Super low
Worth It? (rate from 1-5): 4.75

Miscellaneous suggestions, insights, and/or thoughts:

  • This is another solid, ‘go-to’ meal in my book.  This is also another one I “invented” from scratch (so I’m extra-proud of it), and I love that it is both tasty and healthy.
  • This is another dish that I usually make for work.  I assemble it up the night before, pack it in the fridge, and when morning comes around I’m all set to go – no scrambling to try and pull a lunch together in the morning.

Stef

Posted in broccoli, casserole, corn, peas, postaweek, seitan, summer squash, vegetables, vegetarian, zucchini | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Delicious Sandwich Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces broccoli slaw
  • 1 ounce raw pea pods, diced
  • 1/3 cup raw tomatoes, diced
  • 1 ounce red pepper hummus
  • 1 ounce ripe avocado, diced (over-ripe is okay, too)
  • 2 ounces vegetarian lunchmeat, diced*

Instructions:

  • Optional: Put the broccoli slaw in a microwave-safe container, add a few tablespoons of water, and blanch it for 60-90 seconds in the microwave.  (If you are not used to consuming raw vegetables, this step will help minimize bloating or gas that can occur when consuming broccoli.)  Once the broccoli has cooked, drain off the water.
  • Put all of the ingredients in a large bowl, and mix with a spoonula until thoroughly combined.  (30-60 seconds should do the trick.)
  • You can eat this meal warm (so, immediately if you chose to blanch the broccoli), or at room temp, or cold.  (I.e., this dish can be refrigerated up to 12-24 hours, and eaten straight from the fridge.)

Makes 1 serving.

Nutritional information per serving (approximates): 240 calories, 8.5 g fat, 20 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 17 g protein.

Not exactly the best photo in the world, but hopefully you at least get the idea...

Not exactly the best photo in the world, but hopefully you at least get the idea…

My notes:

  • My favorite lunchmeats for this recipe are Lightlife or Yves deli turkey slices.

The ratings:
Mental Cost (ingredient availability): Wildly low
Financial Cost (ingredient cost): Very low
Emotional Cost (cooking skill level): Crazy low
Time Cost (recipe preparation): Reasonably low
Life Cost (clean up time/effort): Super low
Worth It? (rate from 1-5): 4.75

Miscellaneous suggestions, insights, and/or thoughts:

  • I adore this meal.  Not only did I “invent” it from scratch, but I think it tastes fantastic.  And it really does remind me of a yummy, messy sandwich.  :)
  • I usually make this dish for work.  I whip it up the night before, pack it in the fridge, and when morning comes around I’m all set to jet – no scrambling to try and pull a sack lunch together in the morning.

Stef

Posted in "chicken", avocado, broccoli, casserole, hummus, peas, postaweek, soy, tomatoes, vegetables, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment