Friday, November 21, 2008

No Sugar Added Sweet Potato Casserole with Streusel topping

This is a new and completely made up recipe. I just researched the method, and added my own ingredients. It sounds like it should turn out ok. Enjoy!!

• 3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
• 1 cup Splenda brown sugar
• ½ teaspoon cinnamon
• Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
• 2 eggs, lightly beaten (or ½ cup eggbeaters)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• ½ cup non fat half and half
• ½ cup melted light butter, have extra to coat the pan. (may use vegetable spray instead)

• ½ cup Splenda brown sugar
• ½ teaspoon nutmeg
• 1/3 cup almond flour
• 1/3 cup melted light butter
• 1 cup chopped pecans (all natural)

1. Combine first 8 ingredients.
2. Pour into a buttered 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish.
3. Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top.
4. Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, until hot and browned.

Serves 6 to 8.

Manchego Smashed Potatoes

My friend Jen (southmiamijen) was nice enough to share her recipe for mashed potatoes. I believe the first time I saw this recipe was two years ago, and have loved it ever since. Thanks Jen!! There isn't too many ways this recipe can be converted to being "healthy", but I made my best attempt without sacrificing the flavor. For the original recipe please go to Manchego Smashed Potatoes .


· 4 pounds baby red-skinned or baby Yukon gold potatoes
· 4 tablespoons light butter, cut into small pieces
· 3/4-1 cup reduced fat milk or non fat half and half
· 2 1/2 cups shredded Manchego cheese, about 3/4-1 pound of cheese
· salt and black pepper


1. Halve large potatoes; small ones can be left whole. Place potatoes in a deep pot, cover with water. Place a lid on potatoes and bring them up to a boil. Uncover, salt the water and cook until tender, 12-15 minutes.

2. Drain potatoes and add back to the hot pot. Allow heat of pot to remove some excess liquid potatoes have.

3. Add butter, milk or cream and cheese and smash the potatoes to desired consistency.

4. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Wild Mushroom Quinoa Stuffing

This, to me, was the biggest challenge yet for thanksgiving. I was thinking of making quinoa stuffing, but couldn't seem to find any good recipes, until I stumbled upon this one. I was set on making a bread free stuffing. So that meant no croutons, regular bread, cornbread, or anything else like it. The majority of the recipes out there still call for a little bread, and I'm sorry but I refuse to settle. Which is why I am so thankful I found this recipe. It just sounds so savory and yummy. I will still be making a generic stove top stuffing for those people in the house who want it. This is just something I want to make for me, I wanted a stuffing that was healthy without giving up flavor. Hope you enjoy it. (Press on this link for direct access to recipe: Wild Mushroom Quinoa Stuffing )


1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
8 crimini mushrooms (sliced)
2 teaspoon fresh rosemary (minced)
1 clove garlic (minced)
1/4 cup onion (small dice)
2 tablespoons parsley (minced


1. Soak porcini mushrooms in very hot water for 30 minutes. Drain and reserve 1/2 C of soaking liquid. Roughly chop mushrooms.

2. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté crimini mushrooms until lightly browned (about 3 minutes). Remove and set aside.

3. Heat another tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté onion and garlic with rosemary until softened (about 1-2 minutes).

4. Add quinoa and sauté 1 minute. Add broth, porcini mushrooms, and reserved soaking liquid and bring to a boil.

5. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes). Add sautéed crimini mushrooms during the last 2 minutes of cooking.

6. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.

Makes 8 servings.


Southern Style Green Beans

This will take the place of the usual green bean casserole. I really hope my family can cope with something that is so blatantly healthy. lol (recipe from Susan Leach's book)


· 1 small onion, diced
· 1 teaspoon olive oil
· 1/4 pound smoked turkey, cut from a wing or drumstick
· 1 teaspoon Cajun or Creole seasoning
· 2 pounds green beans (fresh or frozen)
· Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Sauté the onion in the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat until soft.

2. Add the smoked turkey, Cajun seasoning, and green beans, cover with water. Bring the beans to a boil, set lid on the pan slightly open, lower heat, and simmer till tender and liquid is almost gone. (40 minutes for fresh beans and follow cooking time for frozen)

3. Season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Light Banana Bread

In our household banana bread is a must for Thanksgiving. Luckily for me, when I ordered my almond flour it came with this great recipe from Susan Leache's recipes. Hope you all enjoy this as much as I will.


Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 cup mashed ripe bananas, about 2 or 3 medium fruit
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup baking Splenda
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup almond flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans


1. Preheat oven to 350 F

2. Lightly spray a 9 by5 by 3-inch loaf pan with cooking spray

3. Combine bananas, vanilla extract, egg, and Splenda in a large bowl.

4. Mix flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl then add to the wet ingredients, gently folding to incorporate.

5. Stir in the butter and pecans.

6. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake 40 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

7. Cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes, unmold and slice with serrated knife.


Reduced Sugar Cranberry Sauce

This is so quick an easy, you'll never want to go back to that bottle stuff again.


· 1 bag of fresh cranberries (12 oz)
· 1 cup water
· 1 cup of Splenda
· ½ teaspoon orange zest
· 2 tablespoons orange juice (reduced sugar, preferably)
· 1/4 teaspoon salt


1. Rinse cranberries and remove the soft and/or brown ones.

2. Combine water, Splenda, orange zest, and orange juice in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil; add cranberries, return to boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time.

Sugar Free Reduced Fat Pumpkin Cheesecake

Every year my mother in law makes absolutely the BEST pumpkin cheesecake. Due to diet restrictions, I cannot have her original version. :0( So I searched everywhere for an equivilant, and believe this to be it's best , healthier, replacement. (It's an adaptation from Atkins cookbook)

Almond Flour Crust: Made for 9” pie

· 1 1/2 cups almond meal or almond flour
· 3 tablespoons melted of light butter
· 3 tablespoons Truvia (or it’s equivalent)
· ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. Heat oven to 350 F. Melt the butter (if the pie pan is microwave safe, melt the butter in it) and mix the ingredients up in the pan and pat into place with your fingertips.

2. Bake for about 10 minutes until the crust is beginning to brown. After 8 minutes, check every minute or so, because once it starts to brown it goes quickly.

3. Set aside and allow crust to cool completely.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling

· 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened. (may use light or fat free but won’t be so creamy)
· 2/3 cup Splenda
· 1 cup heavy cream (suggest replacing with non fat half and half)
· 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
· 3 large eggs (or ¾ cup of egg whites eggbeaters)


1. Pre-heat oven to 325 F. Combine cream cheese, Splenda, and cream in a large mixing bowl. Beat until smooth with an electric mixer at medium speed. Add pumpkin puree, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice, mixing to combine. Beat in eggs, one at a time, just until combine.

2. Pour batter over crust. Bake until just set, 45 to 50 minutes. Turn off oven and let stand 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. 4 hours or overnight.

Best Turkey EVER!!

I have been making this recipe for the past three years, and every time I make it there is never any left overs. It really is one of the most flavor pact, aromatic, and juiciest bird to ever exist. Okay, so can't really know that for a fact, but if it isn't it's pretty darn close. lol Warning: It's defiantly a labor of love, but hey it only happens once a year, and aren't our loved ones worth the trouble? This year I made a few adjustments to make it a bit healthier. Other than that it is exactly the same recipe I've been making since I created it. A few key notes. Buy all your ingredients ahead of time, begin prepping the day before, and defiantly invest in a meat thermometer. Other than that I really hope you enjoy this recipe.

(Recipe adaptation from Party Line with the Hearty Boys, Good Eats, and Everyday Italian)


1 (14 to 15-pound) turkey, neck and giblets reserved


1 gallon vegetable stock (don’t buy low sodium, you need the salt content for the brine)
2 cups kosher salt
2 cups sugar free maple syrup (sugar free pancake syrup is ok too)
2 bunches fresh thyme
6 bay leaves
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3 tablespoons black peppercorns
1/2 cup Splenda brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon allspice berries
1 bottle of red wine
small bucket of ice
2 Glad turkey bags

1 orange, cut into wedges
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1 onion, cut into wedges
6 fresh rosemary sprigs
6 fresh sage sprigs
6 fresh oregano sprigs

7 tablespoons unsalted light butter
2 tablespoons herbes de Provence (please see note below on how to make your own.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 package pre-cut celery
4 large onions, cut in half
5 whole carrots, washed and peeled

herbes de Provence (combine and place in airtight jar)
3 Tablespoons dried marjoram
3 Tablespoons dried thyme
3 Tablespoons dried savory
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

1. Combine all brine ingredients, except the wine, ice, and glad bag, in a stockpot, and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from heat, add ice to cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

2. Early on the day of cooking, (or late the night before) combine the brine and wine. Place thawed/rinsed turkey inside glad turkey bag, fill bag with brine, completely close bag, and double bag it through other end, refrigerate or set in cooler with ice for at least 6 hours. Turn turkey over once, half way through brining.

3. Ten minutes before roasting, heat oven to 500 degrees. Also take this time to arrange all base vegetables on roasting pan. (order does not matter) This will be used instead of a roasting rack.

4. Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard brine.

5. Place bird directly onto pre-arranged vegetable base. Add aromatics to cavity.

6. Stir 2 tablespoons of butter, the herbes de Provence, oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of each the salt and pepper in a small saucepan over medium heat just until the butter melts. Rub the butter mixture all over the turkey and between the turkey breast meat and skin. Tuck back wings and drumsticks.

7. Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil, insert probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350 degrees F. Set thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving. ( I highly recommend investing in a meat thermometer, it’s the best way to ensure the you don’t overcook/under cook the turkey)

*Reserve roasted vegetable base for stuffing and gravy