Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Delicious Eats

I have managed a couple new recipes this week. They were a hit in my household, and both are super easy, so I thought I'd share.

Dessert first, of course! This is a pretty typical crisp I make for parties or nice dinners. It's healthy, pretty cheap, and really stupidly easy. It all starts with frozen fruit:

You can use fresh, but I am SUPER LAZY. In this one, I used frozen peaches and frozen sliced strawberries, both unsweetened.

Other combinations I've made:

Blackberry + Raspberry
Strawberry + Rhubarb
Apple (fresh apple, peeled and sliced)
Peach + Blueberry
Peach + Raspberry

You'll notice the peaches are common. That's because they are usually much cheaper than all the other frozen fruit. I use them to beef up smoothies and yogurt parfaits, too. Plus, they can be made into a super cheap, easy, and flavorful peach salsa.

Ok, so you'll need about 4 cups of fruit. That's about 2 12 oz bags (16 oz is actually 2 cups, but the fruit takes up more space than weight)
Add 1 tbsp flour or cornstarch (you'll want double if you use fresh fruit) and 2 tbsp of your favorite sweetener. I use Splenda on the berries.
Add 1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract. And mix the bowl thoroughly.

Next, the topping:
In a separate bowl, combine 1 c rolled oats, 1/2 c almond flour -- see recipe for how to make your own --, 2 tbsp sugar (do NOT use Splenda here, but you can use maple syrup, agave, sucanat, etc), and a hefty dash of cinnamon. Mix.
Add about 1/4 c butter (I used Smart can also use shortening or probably even coconut oil). Mix with your hands (thanks for the help on the picture taking, fiance!)
Get the butter or substitute all dispersed. If you can pull your mixture along the bottom and sides of the bowl without losing crumbs, you have enough. If you need more, add more.
Looks good! Ok, time to top the fruit.

Bake at 350 uncovered for 45 minutes. It's done when the topping is a little more golden than it started, and there is thick bubbling liquid around the edges.
Benefits to this recipe:

It's a dessert-type food with minimal sugar (c'mon, 2 tbsp of real sugar for an entire pot (maybe 6-8 servings) of food...not bad)

It's REAL FOOD. It feels like you ate breakfast when you're done. It's what I call 'self-limiting' because you really have trouble overeating this because you get too full

You can use whatever fruit you like or is in season.

The only 'tricky' ingredient is almond flour, but that can easily be made at home with raw almonds and a food processor. If you are absolutely against such things, WW or AP flour does work. It's just not as fibrous or protein rich.

Ok, an easy dinner option is next. If you were only here for dessert, a nice printable recipe for the crisp is at the end of the post, so scroll down.
This recipe is a tribute to my Dad. When I was growing up, my mom was into health food before it was cool. My dad ate what she cooked for the most part, but he did get to have whatever he liked on special occasions. The thing I remember vividly from this period of my life was lasagna with italian sausage. It's very decadent, but flavorful. It sticks in your mind because it's so rich. So, when I finally recovered from my flu bout last week, after not touching a vegetable in three days, I wanted some veggie power that was still a comfort food. I came up with this. (Veggie friends - you can substitute lentils for any ground meat. Just season accordingly. I've done it with taco meat before and the fiance, my true food critic, actually requested that I do that more often. It was good!)

For this one, I don't have a play-by-play, but I'll tell you the basics.

I used italian sausage (lower cal, lower fat option is available in the recipe below - it can save you 60 cals per serving!) and browned it. We have a local grocer that grinds and seasons their own and it's superb. I dare say that I think it's lower in fat than commercial sausage, but I have no proof. In any case, because I know the source, I use this meat. If I didn't, I'd buy ground pork or turkey and season it myself. Or just use lentils.

I added some veggies - onion, red and green pepper, garlic, spinach, 1/2 can of quartered artichokes, and 32 oz cans of both diced and crushed tomatoes.

I cooked some (2/3 lb) WW spaghetti. When it was almost done, I transferred it to the pot with the sauce along with 1-2 scoops of the pasta water. What we got was an amazing, flavorful dish.

I estimate that we'd get 6 'Doc -sized servings' out of this since we got 2 meals for me and 2 meals for the fiance. He eats double what I eat most of the time. That means that you're looking at roughly 1.75 oz pasta, <3 oz sausage, and roughly 1.5 cups of veggies per serving. It's a heavy meal - I estimate about 700 cals per serving the way I prepared it, but it makes a good one-pot dinner. You can also lighten it by using another meal product.

Fruit Crisp
4 cups assorted frozen or fresh fruit
1 tbsp flour
2 tbsp sugar or sugar-substitute
1/2 tsp vanilla

1 c rolled oats
1/2 c almond flour*
2 tbsp sugar (do not use SPLENDA or ASPARTAME - it doesn't melt right)
1/4 c butter or butter substitute
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
In large oven-proof dish, mix fruit, 1 tbsp flour, 2 tbsp sugar, and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Set aside. In separate bowl, mix oats, almond flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Add butter and vanilla and mix with hands until all crumbs are included in mix. Top fruit mixture with oat mixture. Bake 350 for 45 minutes. 

To make almond flour, take 1/2 c raw almonds and process in a chopping food processor. You'll get a mixture of larger pieces and flour-like pieces leading to approximately 3/4 c. If you use this method, you may want to add 1 tbsp flour to ensure that it has the correct texture. 
Sausage Pasta
1 lb italian sausage (or ground turkey, ground pork, lentils)
1 tbsp fennel
1/2 tbsp italian seasoning
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 white onion
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1/2 jar quartered artichokes
32 oz crushed tomatoes
32 oz diced tomatoes
1/2 tbsp sugar

2/3-3/4 lb WW pasta - long variety
Set pasta water on to boil. In seperate pan, brown sausage or ground meat. If you use ground meat, double the seasonings to ensure proper flavor. You may also want to add 1 tsp paprika and a dash of red pepper flakes. Add chopped onion, garlic, peppers and saute until they are just tender. Add tomato products and 1/2 tbsp sugar. Taste add salt and pepper as desired. Finish by adding artichokes. When pasta is almost done, use pasta fork to transfer the noodles + 2 spoonfuls of liquid to the sauce. Stir. Serve hot. Top with cheese if you like.


  1. Fruit crisp is my absolute favorite dessert to make in the summer!

  2. nice ring shots! :) also, that looks soooo delicious... I have a bunch of peaches I was going to smoothify, but now I'm having second thoughts.

  3. You should try the crisp - you can use all that excess produce you come home with. I've even tried's so good!