Monday, July 21, 2008

In defense of Jello

Its summer


we're on low fat diet

we're on a low sugar diet

we need a salad

we need a desert

what's the answer?


now just plain jello (especially RED jello) is a staple in the winter when one of us has a "bug" of some sort, and that's not what I'm talking about here

I'm talking about using jello as the base for some wonderfully cool salads/deserts that hit the spot when its hot

and I'm not talking about just the brand name stuff either -- my grandmother used to swear by Royal -- now days I buy whatever is the least expensive, and I recommend you do like wise!!

Here then are some of my favorite jello concoctions:

Lime Jello #1

1 pkg lime jello
1 small can crushed pineapple
1 cup low fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

drain the pineapple (I usually drink the juice as a "cook's treat" when I do this)
mix jello according to package directions
add other ingredients

Lime Jello #2

1 pkg lime jello
1 small can pear chunks

drain the pears
prepare jello according to package directions
add pears

Orange Jello #1

1 pkg orange jello
1 small can mandarin oranges

drain oranges
prepare jello
add oranges

Orange Jello #2

1 pkg orange jello
2 medium carrots
1/2 cup raisins

grate carrots
prepare jello
add carrots and raisins

Tomato Aspic (Lemon Jello)

1 pkg lemon jello
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp worchestershire sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped celery (optional)
1 cup cooked salad shrimp

prepare jello by substituting the tomato sauce for the cup of cold water specified on the jello package
add all other ingredients

Anybody got any other versions?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Key Lime Pie

In the summer there's no better desert than a tart/sweet key lime pie -- and the best part of this one is that you don't have to go anywhere near that oven!

This little beauty was whipped up by my daughter for a "we're defrosting grandma's freezer" party that we had recently, so I thought I'd share it!

Easy Key Lime Pie

1 graham cracker crust (you could make this from scratch, but why?)
4 ounces key lime juice (you can use just regular lime juice, it just won't be as tart, and no you don't have to squeeze those limes, you can buy a little bottle of the stuff)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (the low fat stuff should work just as well as the "high test", just be sure its condensed, evaporated won't do it)
1 tub of cool whip (not the extra hugh size, just a regular tub)
green food color if you feel the need to make it look green

With your electric mixer, whip together the lime juice and the condensed milk (and the food color if you're going there) until well mixed.

Fold in cool whip

Pour into cracker crust

Chill for at least one hour before cutting


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fisherman Style Fish Dish

We've been trying to eat healthy, and one of the things we're trying to do at least weekly is eat some kind of fish.

In our last batch of food from Shares we got a 1 pound package of Pollack fillets.

Last night the DH turned it into a great dinner (and we have enough left over to reheat for a quick meal another night)

This is a fisherman style baked fish dinner, and I cooked up some brown rice that we poured some of the sauce over as a side dish.

1 rib of celery, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbls olive oil
1 large (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 tbls fresh basil, cut fine
1 tsp tarragon
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tbls parsley
1 lb firm flesh white fish (we've done this with Pollack, tilapia, halibut)

In a skillet, sauté the celery, pepper, onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft.

Add tomatoes and seasoning and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Place fish in a single layer in baking dish (we used the glass lasagna pan) and pour sauce over it.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Macaroni and Cheese

I usually think of this as more of a winter time dish, mostly because it requires turning on the oven, but my daughter recently requested the recipe, so here it is.

There is no real good way to make this a low fat meal -- you can use low fat milk, but there is no substitute for really good sharp cheddar cheese -- so just think of this as a "splurge" and forgive yourself!

For some reason elbow macaroni is the traditional pasta to use for this -- its just one of those "we've ALWAYS done it that way" things, but it can be done equally well with medium or small shell pasta -- you want something that the sauce will cling to.

You'll want to adjust what sort of pan you bake this in based on your family's preference. At our house we like the crusty edges, so I bake in a fairly thin layer in a pyrex pan -- the same one I cook lasagna in -- lots of crusty edges -- yum! If you're not so into the crusty parts, a round pyrex backing dish works too.

So here's the recipe:

2 c raw elbow macaroni
2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 1/2 c milk
2 tbls flour
2 tbls butter
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp yellow mustard

Cook macaroni following package directions -- don't overcook

Melt butter in sauce pan, add flour to form roux -- let it cook a little bit to take out the raw flour taste

Whisk in milk, worcestershire sauce and mustard. Continue stirring until sauce begins to thicken.

Stir about 2/3 of shredded cheese into sauce and continue stirring until the cheese melts.

Drain macaroni and return to cooking pot. Pour cheese sauce over macaroni and mix well.

Pour sauced macaroni into greased baking pan, top with remaining shredded cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes