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Christina Nelson is FitMamaEats' enthusiastic recipe tester. She is a Midwest transplant who regularly scans foodie blogs and websites (the Food Network is a favorite) for tempting recipes that she can test and tweak to make her own. She's mindful of using healthful ingredients when possible, but not to an extreme, modifying popular recipes with subtle changes. Her eternal food weaknesses include crispy French fries, low-fat cookie-dough ice cream, and homemade chocolate chip cookies. 

Tuesday
Oct122010

Pancake Truffles

I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for ages and finally got around to making them over the weekend. Although they are not unhealthy, you will feel like you are eating dessert for breakfast! The sweet and savory banana combined with the warm oatmeal crust provides a very satisfying start to a Saturday morning. Add a little coffee and shopping and my perfect weekend is complete!

Recipe adapted from Healthy Tipping Point

Ingredients (makes about 4-5 truffles)

1/2 c quick-cooking oats

1/3 c reduced fat Bisquick or pancake mix

1 egg white

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t vanilla extract

1/4 c skim milk

1 large banana, cut into 1.5 inch pieces

1/4 c crushed pecans or slivered almonds

Maple or pancake syrup to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease cookie sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine oats, Bisquick, egg white, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and milk.
  3. Spread out pecans or almonds on a medium-sized plate.
  4. Take each banana piece and coat in pancake mix to form a ball.
  5. Roll each ball in nuts and place on cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Let cool slightly, plate, and serve with syrup.

Tips

  • The mix is pretty messy, so I tried to spoon it on top of the banana pieces after arranging them on the cookie sheet. I then pressed the nuts on top of each piece. It worked pretty well! (Or, try Nancy's way by baking them in muffin tins coated with cooking spray: Place banana piece in tin and pour batter until it covers banana. Top with nuts.)
  • The recipe works best with fresher bananas as opposed to overly ripe ones (unlike a banana bread), unless you prefer a stronger banana flavor.
  • These take very little time to make—try them out as a mid-week pick-me-up!
Friday
Apr022010

Cowboy Calzones

I’m back! I apologize for my lengthy absence but I did manage to fit in a good deal of recipe testing during my time away, one of which I'm bringing to you from The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond, a hugely famous blogger with a vibrant down-home country-style cookbook. While most of her recipes are too rich for me on days ending with a “y”, these modified calzones made for a tasty, filling dish that reminded me of a guilt-free pizza. I brought one to work for lunch and warmed it up for two minutes in the toaster oven before eating. It was the best week ever.

Ingredients

1 lb turkey breakfast sausage, removed from casings

1/2 onion, diced

1 8 oz can tomatoes and chilies (Rotel brand)

8 oz fat free ricotta cheese

3/4 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese (Mexican blend or cheddar will also work)

1 egg, beaten

1 store-bought package of pizza dough (preferably wheat)

Salt and pepper to taste

Flour for rolling

Olive oil for brushing

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F. In a large skillet, cook turkey with onion until browned; drain any fat.
  2. Add tomatoes and chilies, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Remove and let cool.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix ricotta, mozzarella, and egg. Add a dash of salt and pepper.
  4. Gently combine meat mixture with cheese mixture.
  5. Divide dough into 6-8 smaller balls. On a well-floured surface, roll each ball out into a circle about 6 inches wide.
  6. Add a hearty dollop of the filling in the center of each circle and fold in half to close (try to let out any air). Use a fork to seal the edges.
  7. Transfer calzones to a nonstick-sprayed baking sheet and drizzle or brush a light coat of olive oil over them.
  8. Pop them into the oven for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Wait until slightly cooled to devour.

Tips

  • I could only find the sausage in links at my grocery store, but it only takes a few minutes to liberate them from their casings before cooking.
  • The dough’s stretchiness will be forgiving if you roll it too thin or become overzealous with the filling. And you can always pinch any mistakes closed.
  • If you are rolling-pin deprived, a straight-edged drinking glass works just as well (just be sure to flour it generously beforehand).
  • Tasty variations include adding turkey pepperoni, diced green peppers, leftover chicken, or even pineapple. Oh the possibilities!