Healthy Alternatives

  • Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Squares

    Weekly Recipe: 
    NonWeekly
    Serves: 4

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion

    1 clove garlic, minced or pressed

    1 teaspoon dried thyme

    2 tablespoons superfine brown rice flour

    2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth, warmed

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    Freshly ground pepper

    1 tablespoon agave nectar

    1 (28 ounce) can whole plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)

    1/2 cup rice milk

    Grilled cheese squares

    8 slices allergy-friendly sandwich bread

    8 teaspoons Earth Balance soy-free buttery spread, at room temperature

    1/4 pound thinly sliced Daiya vegan cheddar

    Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for two minutes, stirring a few times. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for one minute more. Sprinkle in the brown rice flour and cook, stirring, for two minutes, until lightly golden and aromatic. Slowly add the warmed broth, stirring. Add the salt and a few turns of pepper and stir in the agave nectar. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for two minutes, stirring often. Add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for ten minutes. Purée in the pot with an immersion blender, or purée in batches in a jar blender or food processor, then return to the pot. Add the rice milk and cook for five minutes more. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

    Meanwhile, prepare the grilled cheese squares. Lay out four slices of bread. Spread one teaspoon of buttery spread on each. Flip so that the buttery side is down. Distribute the vegan cheese evenly among the four sandwiches, and cover each with another slice of bread. Spread one teaspoon of buttery spread on top of each. Heat a large nonstick pan or griddle over medium-high heat for two minutes. I use a well-seasoned cast iron pan for this. Add as many sandwiches as will fit, cover and cook for two minutes, until the cheese is starting to melt and the bread is browning on the bottom. Flip the sandwiches and press down hard with a spatula. Cook for about one minute more, then flip again and press down to get a final crisp on both sides. Remove the sandwiches from the pan and cut each into quarters. Grill the other sandwiches if you were not able to do them all in one batch. Serve alongside the soup. Source: Allergy-Free and Easy Cooking by Cybele Pascal

  • Glazed Baked Doughnuts

    Weekly Recipe: 
    NonWeekly
    Makes: 8

    1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour with xanthan gum in mix

    1/2 cup sugar

    1/4 cup dried buttermilk powder

    4 teaspoons dried egg whites

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    1/2 teaspoon baking soda

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    2 eggs

    1/4 cup canola oil, melted butter, or nondairy alternative

    2 tablespoons water

    1 tablespoon vanilla extract

    Chocolate glaze (recipe follows)

     

    Chocolate glaze

    1 cup confectioners’ sugar

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

    Pinch of salt

    1 tablespoon milk (regular or lactose-free) or nondairy alternative (almond, rice, soy), plus more as needed

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a nonstick doughnut pan with nonstick cooking spray. Also spray the inside of a one-gallon self-sealing plastic bag well with nonstick cooking spray. Cut a 3/4-inch diagonal off one corner. (If the corner is cut too large, the doughnut yield will be less.) In a two-quart bowl, place the flour, sugar, buttermilk powder, dried egg whites, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to mix well. In a separate two-quart bowl, place the eggs, oil or butter, water, and vanilla extract. Beat well with a handheld mixer. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to combine with a silicone spatula. Let the batter rest for five minutes.

    Scrape the batter into the plastic bag, squeeze out the air, and seal. Push the batter toward the cut corner of the bag and, twisting the bag, pipe the batter into the doughnut pan, making a complete round (standard pans hold six doughnuts.) Bake for 10 minutes or until the doughnuts are brown on top and cooked through. Remove from the oven. Flip the doughnuts onto a cooling rack, then turn right side up. Place the cooling rack on a baking sheet or parchment paper to make cleanup easier when icing. Repeat with the remaining doughnut batter. Brush the doughnuts with the glaze while they are still warm. If using sprinkles, add now. Let the glaze dry until the doughnuts are completely cool. Wrap loosely and serve within two days, or wrap and freeze.

    To make chocolate glaze, place the sugar in a small bowl. Add the vanilla extract, cocoa, salt, and the one tablespoon milk; stir well. Add more milk only as needed. The glaze needs to be thin enough to spread with a pastry brush but thick enough to stick on the warm doughnuts. Source: Cooking for Your Gluten-Free Teen by Carlyn Berghoff, Sarah Berghoff McClure, Dr. Suzanne P. Nelson, and Nancy Ross Ryan

  • Tofu Kale Lasagna

    Weekly Recipe: 
    NonWeekly
    [title]
    SERVES 8

    5 – 7 sun-dried tomatoes

    12 lasagna noodles

    6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    4 garlic cloves, minced

    1 large onion, chopped

    8 – 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced

    2 pounds fresh firm tofu

    2 tablespoons mirin

    2 teaspoons dried basil

    2 teaspoons dried parsley

    2 bunches kale, finely chopped

    Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

    4 cups tomato sauce

    1 1/2 cups grated soy or rice mozzarella

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, soak sun-dried tomatoes in enough hot water to cover. When soft, drain, chop, and set aside. Cook lasagna noodles until just soft. Drain and set aside. In a large pot over medium heat, sauté garlic and onions in oil until soft. Add mushrooms and sauté three minutes. Drain tofu, wrap in towels, press to remove excess water, and crumble into pot. Add mirin, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and parsley and sauté five minutes. Fold in kale, cover, and cook three minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce over bottom of 9x12-inch lasagna pan. Place single layer of noodles over sauce and cover with half the kale mixture. Cover with 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup soy mozzarella. Cover with another layer of noodles and remaining kale mixture. Add 1 1/2 cups sauce, 1/2 cup soy mozzarella, and final layer of noodles, then 1/2 cup sauce and remaining soy mozzarella. Cover tightly with foil and bake 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and set aside for 10 minutes before serving. Source: Clean Food by Terry Walters, image by Gentl and Hyers, courtesy of Sterling Epicure

  • Health Matters: Snacks to Stay on Track

    Snacking is a venerable American pastime, but it can also be a diet-buster this time of year. Here’s a look at five nutrient dense snacks that will have you putting down the chocolate chip cookies.

  • Health Matters: Healthy Snacks

    BooginHead Squeez’Ems are reusable food pouches that help parents give their kids a healthy snack on the go. Try this Squeez’Ems recipe to get your kids hooked.

    Peppermint Patty Green Smoothie

    SERVES 2

    3/4 cup almond milk

    1 cup spinach (about one handful)

    1 frozen banana

  • Cook’s Corner: Chili Season Is Upon Us

    Most people grew up with their family chili. Filled with beans, thick and meaty, vegetarian—there are endless possibilities. Then of course there are the toppings: sour cream, cheese, Fritos, or maybe you pair it with some cornbread. As we’ve learned what’s good for your body (and what definitely is not), we see some of those classics in a different light.

  • From Bland to Bold

    Chili powder tastes great in chili or as a taco-style meat flavoring. Also try adding it to meat rubs.

    Smoked paprika adds a deep brown color to bread-crumb casserole toppings, barbecue rubs, or to seasoning blends for sauteing or searing any proteins. Also adds a great smoky flavor to marinades.

    We are a sodium-overdosed people: here are five spices to use instead of salt
  • Focus On: Stevia

    WHAT IT IS: Stevia is an extract from the plant Stevia rebaudiana, which originated in the rainforests of Brazil and Paraguay. Stevia is used as an alternative to sugar. The flavor comes from glycosides—particularly stevioside, which is 200 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar.

  • Substitute This for That!

    While losing weight and keeping it off is definitely a lifestyle change that takes place over time, there are small habits that can help get you started. First you must create a calorie deficit. This can be accomplished in several different ways, but the simplest is to change your diet. These quick and easy food substitutions can give you an edge in shedding winter pounds.

     

    Quick and easy food substitutions
  • Finding Youth and Vitality in Foods

    Making a quick trip to the grocery store seems harmless, but most times it isn’t. People on the go tend to gravitate towards foods they know of that are easy, but may not be the healthiest choice out there. Eudene Harry, MD, author of Live Younger in 8 Simple Steps, gives some simple food combos for shoppers who are looking to eat healthy this year.