Banana Coconut Cake

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Craving a sweet tooth, but you don’t want to damage your diet?  The banana coconut cake hits the spot without busting your diet plan.  Made with real bananas I added a light whip topping to make it even healthier (for a sweet).

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. For the cake, I substituted a thick Greek yogurt for sour cream which will provide the same consistency with less calories and more protein.
  2. Use skim milk instead of whole milk for a better balanced diet.
  3. Be sure to use a very ripe banana.  Not only will it cook better, but you can use up those ones you haven’t had time to eat and it mashes easier.bananacoconutcake3
  4. Instead of using thick, sugared frosting, I substituted for a light, whipped topping.
  5. Between each layer of whipped topping I added
    toasted coconut.
  6. The toasted coconut will only take a few minutes (3 at max) to brown in the oven at 350 ˚F.
  7. Instead of icing the entire cake, ice the layers and leave the rest exposed.  It will give it a more modern look and
    less calories.
  8. The cake itself will be denser since there is banana and thin because of less batter.
  9. Lay it on a cooling rack to cool before handling.  This process will allow the cake to firm up and stack easier.
  10. Use can use pam to coat the cake pan instead of butter again for less calories and
    no sticking.

banancoconutcakeCut the cake into 2 or 4 pieces to share or save for later.  Scoop a mouthful and satisfy that sweet tooth.  The cake is a dense banana cake with a touch of sweetness.  The toasted coconut helps bring that coconut flavor forward and adds a crunch.  In place of coconut, you could use toasted walnuts or another topping of your choice.  There are tons of possibilities to try and indulge your guests in.  You won’t have to break your diet with this cake.

 

Leave a comment with your topping ideas.  Follow my Pinterest for more delicious recipes.  Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.

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Beef Enchilada

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Is Spanish food calling your name?  Beef enchiladas hit the nail on the head putting those Spanish cravings to rest.  I love that this recipe is simple and manageable to any skill level.  It allows for flavor without busting the budget.  Also, the author provides a detailed listing of substitutions and nutritional information to keep track of those pesky calories.  Simple and tasty, these enchiladas open a whole new world into making low calorie meals delicious.

Enchiladas are corn tortillas rolled in a filling and covered in a salsa or chili sauce.  The filling can be mixed from a variety of beans, cheese, meat and seafood.  Enchiladas originated in Mexico, where the practice of rolling tortillas around other food dates back at least to Mayan times.  The people living in the lake region of the Valley of Mexico traditionally ate corn tortillas folded or rolled around small fish.  There are now many varieties, which are distinguished primarily by their sauces, fillings and, in one instance, by their form.  Various adjectives may be used to describe the recipe content or origin.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. I suggest doubling the recipe because ground beef is packaged in one pound increments.  I was able to make 16 enchiladas.
  2. I used the six-inch yellow and corn tortillas.  You can use larger tortillas and just make less enchilada.
  3. I enjoyed the yellow corn tortillas more because they were a thicker tortilla.
  4. I used yellow and orange peppers.  These peppers add sweetness to any dish.
  5. You can use any type of cheese.  I suggest a sharp cheddar or three cheese Mexican mix.
  6. I sprinkled the cheese on top of the completed enchiladas before placing them in theoven.
  7. I used two cans of salsa, one picante and one organic, mild salsa.
  8. I nixed the cilantro because I do not like the minty flavor.
  9. I cooked my enchiladas in the oven for only 15 minutes.  You just need to cook the tortillas and melt the cheese on top.

beefenchiladaVen a probar esta receta!  While most Spanish food is a great balance of nutrient rich tomatoes and ingredients, they can be high in calories.  However, these beef enchiladas are only 330 calories per serving.  You can lessen the carbohydrate intake by using a one semi-larger tortilla and more filling.  Try a variety of fillings and combinations to satisfy your family’s growling stomach.  With only a few ingredients and 20 minutes, you create a Spanish fiesta.

 

Leave a message with your favorite enchilada sauce and filling.  Follow my Pinterest for more recipes.  Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.

Paprika Spiced Vegetables

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My favorite items to buy at the famer’s market are the colorful carrots.  They come in purple; they come in white; they come in orange.  Each color has a different flavor; mixed together they create a vibrant side dish.  The purple carrots happen to be my favorite providing sweetness; the white carrots taste closer to parsnips; the orange carrots have an earthy taste to them.  Peeled, sliced, seasoned and cooked, the carrots are one of my favorite side dishes with a low-calorie, nutritious benefit.

Carrots are plentiful in various vitamins.  One medium carrot contains 204% of your daily recommended value of vitamin A.  They are a good source of vitamins K and C.  Vitamin K maintains your blood’s ability to clot and contributes to bone and kidney strength.  Vitamin C is associated with a healthy immune system and strong gums.  It helps your body absorb iron.  Among those valuable reasons to eat carrots, carrots provide you with 7% of the daily recommended value.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. I cook my carrots for about 40 minutes flipping them halfway through at 350 F.  If you are in a rush, you can use aluminum foil and cook the carrots in about 25-30 minutes.
  2. Spray pam on a baking sheet to keep the carrots from sticking.
  3. I spray my carrots with pam before seasoning them to allow the spices to adhere.
  4. Be sure to peel the carrots and cut them in even pieces.
  5. Space the carrots evenly along the tray and sprinkle them with paprika.
  6. You can add other root vegetables to the mix just be sure to adjust cooking times, and keep the other vegetables around the same size.

paprikaspicedveggies3These paprika spiced vegetables won’t stay on the table for long.  Spices are a great way to mask the taste of vegetables and provide them with flavor.  It mixes up the monotony of the daily vegetables.  Check your local farmer’s market or grocery store for your favorite vegetable and try a hand with your own spice mixture.

Leave a comment with your favorite farmer’s market finds.  Follow my Pinterest for more recipes.  Be sure to check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.

Whole-Wheat Honey Bread

 

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Since I was a kid, I have always loved bread; however, breads need to be eaten in moderation.  Making homemade bread can warm your house and provide aromas to your senses.  This whole-wheat honey bread takes me back to the days where my grandparents baked everything from scratch or my mother would take us to the local bakery.  In other countries, making bread is standard.  Rarely do individuals buy pre-processed Wonderbread from a grocery store.

honeywheatbread2After baking, there is nothing better than eating a warm piece of freshly baked bread as a sandwich, side dish or peanut butter lathered snack.  Using whole-wheat flour can increase the health benefits such as dietary fiber leaning towards less weight gain.  If you are like me, insulin resistant, whole-wheat grains can help reverse the cycle along with other necessary precautions.  The high fiber and low glycemic index of whole wheat grains allows for a well balanced diet when reaching for those carbohydrate filled breads.

 

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. I used regular whole-wheat flour in place of bread flour.  It made the bread denser, but every piece was like the center: gooey and delicious.honeywheatbread
  2. I suggest melting the butter before adding it to the milk.  This allows the milk to keep its temperature and having to take time to mix until the butter melts.
  3. You’ll need a dough hook for this recipe.  Dough hooks keep incorporating the mixture without flour and pieces getting stuck in the center of a whisk.
  4. You can mix the dough with your hands in place of dough hooks.  Be sure to knead it well and flour your hands.
  5. Allowing the dough to rise is important.  It should triple in size by the time it is ready to cook.  Do not rush this process.
  6. Allow the bread to cool before setting it on the cooling rack.  It will harden and keep its form better.
  7. I cut my bread into slices before packing it away.  Allow it to cool so that you don’t smash the bread in the process.

Making bread is a process that takes time.  It needs to rise and rest allowing the gluten structure to become finer and preventing large air holes in the bread.  Also, it provides texture to the bread and permits the yeast to convert more sugars from the flour giving you a nice flavor complexity.  The bread will be delicious along with your satisfaction of making food from scratch.  Scrap all those pesky preservatives and aim for a higher goal.  The bread can last for two weeks in the cupboard or fridge and about one month frozen.  Lather it with nut butter or pumpkin pecan butter for a delicious pairing.  The sweetness of the honey and the nuttiness of the butters create a mouth-watering delicacy.

Leave a comment with your favorite bread recipes.  Follow my Pinterest for more recipes.  Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.

Almond Biscotti

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I decided to try my hand at some biscotti.  Almond biscotti is a great addition to your coffee, glass of tall milk or tea party.  Because of the dry texture, biscotti is usually served with a drink (dunking required!) as a dessert.  These tasty treats are easier than I expected to make.  Their shortbread, crumbly texture and delicious flavors make it a must for an evening, family
get together.

almondbiscottiBiscotti is a twice-baked, oblong-shaped cookie or biscuit made dry and crunchy.  Theprocess relies on cutting the loaf of dough while still hot and fresh from baking in the oven to prevent a pile of crumbs.  It also relies on baking it twice to create that firmer texture.  Biscotti is made in these methods for long storage periods.  There are various forms of biscotti flavors, usually made with almond and nut bases.  Modern biscotti is made with nuts and seeds (almonds, pine nuts and pistachios) and dipped in chocolate.  Today, they are enjoyed in numerous coffeehouses around
the world.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. You can use almonds in the flour mixture or almond meal (ground almonds).
  2. Toasting the almonds is essential because it gives them a delicious aroma to the biscotti and your house.
  3. I used Truvia, which allows for ½ the amount of regular sugar.  You can use Stevia (1-to-1 ratio) for sugar free treats.
  4. I used an even amount of all purpose flour and wheat flour for a healthier variation.  You can use all wheat flour or gluten free flour in substitute.
  5. Since I used wheat flour, my dough was not as sticky and easy to work with.almondbiscotti2
  6. I suggest chopping the remaining almonds into slivers to pieces, so they stay in the dough mixture.  I kept mine whole, which left me with a pile of almonds that wouldn’t fit in the dough.
  7. Smoothing the top of the biscotti is essential.  You want thin long pieces in
    the end.
  8. Let the biscotti cool just enough to handle, but not enough to harder too much because you’ll want to keep it from breaking when cutting it into pieces.  Your cut pieces should be in the iconic biscotti shape.
  9. Cooking it a second time creates that hard, signature crunch of biscotti.
  10. Once cooked, dip the biscotti in chocolate.  Dark chocolate works well complimenting the sweetness of cooked almonds.
  11. Let them cool at room temperature.  While the chocolate might melt at your fingertips, refrigerating it will make it harder than a rock.  The chocolate should set within an hour.

almondbiscotti3Enjoy a cheese and wine plate for dinner; then, dazzle guests with coffee and homemade biscotti.  Since biscotti lasts for long periods, it is a great gift to send.  Swap the overpriced, manufactured cookies for these delicious treats that will make your house smell glorious.  Surprise the office by bringing these treats in for coffee and meetings.

Leave a comment with your favorite drink to enjoy with biscotti.  Follow my Pinterest for more recipes.  Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.