Sugar-Free Cranberry Sauce, Low-Fat Blue Cheese Dressing & Other Salad-Like Things

Creamy Cucumbers

Great summer recipe. If using as a side dish, cut recipe in half. 

1 cup mayo

1/4 each of cup of sugar and vinegar

1/t tsp of salt

4 cucumbers

  1. Slice cucumbers
  2. Combine mayo, sugar, vinegar, and salt in a bowl. Add cucumbers. Stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for two hours.

I wouldn’t let this salad sit for more than 4 days in the fridge. As a single person, I make all the dressing on Sunday, but only slice two of the cucumbers. Then I mix the cucumbers with half the dressing in a large container and pour the remaining half of the dressing in a small container. Wednesday evening I slice the second pair of cucumbers and mix with the rest of the dressing. This recipe makes enough for me to have 6 good-sized portions for lunches and 4 smaller portions to accompany dinner.

 

Stuffed Apple

A great thing to bring to work for lunch or with you on a hike.

2 Tbsp of peanut butter

1 Tbsp of honey

1 tsp of raisins

Apple

  1. Core the apple. I don’t have an apple corer so I just use a paring knife. The tunnel needs to be a decent size.
  2. Combine peanut butter, honey, and raisins in bowl. Spoon into the center of the tunnel.
  3. Wrap in saran wrap for transport.

 

Low(er)-Fat Blue Cheese Dressing

My salad of choice for this is: assorted baby greens, grated red beets, yellow bell pepper, blueberries, blackberries, halved red grapes, walnuts, dried cherries, assorted seeds, blue cheese

1 cup of low-fat cottage cheese

1 cup of fat-free plain yogurt

2 Tbsp of chopped onion

2 garlic cloves

4 Tbsp of blue cheese

  1. Mince garlic cloves.
  2. Combine cottage cheese, yogurt, onion, garlic, and 2 Tbsp of crumbled blue cheese in blender and process until smooth. Stir in remaining 2 Tbsp of blue cheese (crumbled, obviously).
  3. I also add another couple Tbsp of blue cheese to the entire salad because I love blue cheese, obviously.

 

Sugar-free Cranberry Sauce to Cranberry-Apple Salad

I wanted to make this salad for my friend who can’t have any kind of processed sugar. I originally started making this salad with store-bought canned cranberry sauce, but over the years I have learned how to make cranberry sauce at home that is WAY better (probably because my recipe entails brandy, rum, Grand Marnier, and amaretto), but it still contains sugar. This was an experimental recipe that I deemed successful! 

Bag of frozen cranberries

3/4 cup of pineapple juice (make sure it’s 100% juice and no sugar added)

1/2 cup of applesauce (again, make sure it is UNsweetened with NO sugar added)

Orange

2 apples

2 ribs of celery

1 cup of chopped walnuts

  1. Put cranberries, pineapple juice, applesauce, and 1/2 cup of water in pot and bring to boil.
  2. Keep on medium heat, stirring constantly for about 10 minutes.
  3. Reduce to a simmer. Zest the entire orange. Add zest to sauce. Cut orange in half and squeeze both halves to add juice to sauce as well. You can use a juicer if it is easier, but I don’t have one.
  4. Simmer 10 minutes and then remove from the heat.
  5. Cool completely and then store in fridge for at least 4 hours prior to mixing with remaining ingredients.
  6. Dice apples. Don’t peel them.
  7. Thinly slice celery ribs.
  8. Combine cranberry sauce, apples, and celery. Cover and refrigerate.
  9. Chop walnuts.
  10. When ready to serve, stir in walnuts.

I’m used to things being a little sweeter, so I will probably add 2-3 Tbsp of honey to the cranberry sauce next time, but that is totally optional.

Chocolate Cookie Breakfast Cereal (Dinner for Two Week 15)

Breakfast: Chocolate Cookie Breakfast Cereal

Lunch: Cherry Coke Salad, Fruit Medley, Salad with French Salad Dressing, Papaya or Peach

Dinner: Mac and Cheese Tuna Casserole or Beef and Bean Skillet, Zucchini Pancakes, Egg Noodles, Green pepper or Leafy greens

Dessert: Bananas Foster Loaf Cake

French Salad Dressing

Combine 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, 2 Tbsp of vinegar, 3/4 tsp of salt, 1 minced garlic clove, and a dash of pepper in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well. Store in the refrigerator.

Mac and Cheese Tuna Casserole

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a package of macaroni and cheese according to package directions. Stir in a can of cream of celery soup, a drained and flaked can of tuna, and 1/2 cup of milk. Pour into a greased baking dish. Sprinkle with 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and minced fresh parsley. Bake, uncovered, for 2o minutes.

Bananas Foster Loaf Cake                               Gluten-free, Dairy-free!

3 – 4 large bananas
¾ cup sugar
2 Tbsp unsalted butter or shortening, in 1 piece
1   large egg plus 1 large egg white
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1   cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
1   tsp baking powder
1   tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
½ cup canola oil or melted coconut oil (unflavored or virgin)

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325°. Grease a loaf pan. Trim both ends off each of 3 bananas so the bananas will fit crosswise in the pan. Peel the ends and the long pieces and halve the long ones lengthwise. Transfer to a plate.
2. In a large, heavy skillet, bring ¼ cup sugar and 2 Tbsp of water to a boil, without stirring. Cook until the water evaporates and the mixture just starts turning amber. Remove from the heat and swirl in the butter with a fork. Add the banana pieces cut side down and cook over low heat for 1 minute. Transfer the banana pieces to the prepared loaf pan, arranging them crosswise, cut side down. Drizzle the remaining caramel on top.
3. Transfer 1 cup of the banana ends (add more banana if necessary to equal 1 cup) to a medium bowl. Mash with the remaining ½ cup sugar. Beat in the egg, egg white and vanilla.
4. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add the banana mixture and oil and whisk until blended. Scrape the batter over the bananas in the pan and bake 50-55 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes and then invert onto a serving platter and let cool completely.

Chocolate Cookie Breakfast Cereal

  • 3/4 cup gluten-free corn flour
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil or butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 tsp Stevia
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees with the rack in the middle. Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spray the pan first with some cooking spray so the paper sticks to it. Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Mix peanut butter with warm butter or coconut oil until there are no lumps. Stir in water. Combine wet and dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
  • Spread the batter as thin as possible on the cookie sheet with a spatula. About 1/8″ is good. Try to keep the same thickness throughout the batter. Bake for about 22-25 minutes. Leave oven on and remove baking pan. Carefully place on a cutting board (be sure parchment is removed too, it can go back in the pan for the next step.) Cut strips of dough with a pizza cutter or serrated knife, then cut into squares. 1/2 inch is a good size that fits well on a spoon.
  • Arrange cereal squares back on sheet pan in a single layer. Put back in the oven and bake for another 3-5 minutes per side, flipping once. Be sure to watch they do not burn. Your cookie cereal will crisp up more as it cools. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Egg Noodles

Beat 1 egg, plus 3 yolks until light and fluffy in a mixing bowl. Add 3 Tbsp of cold water and 1 tsp of salt. Mix well. Stir in 2 cups of all-purpose flour. Turn onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth. Divide into thirds.

Roll out each portion to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut noodles to desired width. Cook immediately in boiling salted water or chicken broth for 7-9 minutes. Drain. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.

Zucchini Pancakes

Shred 2 zucchinis and lightly beat 1 egg. Combine zucchini, egg, 2 Tbsp of biscuit/baking mix, and 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese in a bowl. Heat 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls and flatten. Fry until golden brown. Turn and cook the other side.

Fruit Medley

Combine a can of peach or apricot pie filling, 2 drained cans of fruit cocktail, a drained can of pineapple chunks, and a drained can of mandarin oranges in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate. Stir in a few slices of banana to each serving just before eating.

Cherry Coke Salad

Drain a can of crushed pineapple, but reserve juice. Set fruit aside. Bring pineapple juice and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a pot. Add 2 packages of cherry gelatin. Stir until dissolved. Stir in a can of cherry pie filling and 3/4 cup of cola. Pour into a serving bowl. Refrigerate until slightly thickened. Fold in reserved pineapple. Refrigerate until firm.

Bean and Beef Skillet                              I usually double the batch and use half as a dip for tortilla chips as a late night snack

Cook 1 lb of ground beef and a chopped onion over medium heat in a large skillet. Drain. Stir in a can of baked beans and 1/4 cup of ketchup. Heat through. Sprinkle with 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Cover and cook on low until cheese is melted.

SHOPPING LIST:

Cheddar cheese (12 oz)

Parmesan cheese

Eggs

2 onions

2 zucchinis

3 green peppers

Leafy greens

Parsley

Bananas

Papaya

6 peaches

2 lb ground beef

Can of tuna (6 oz)

2 cans of baked beans (28 oz)

Can of condensed cream of celery soup (11 oz)

1 can of crushed pineapple, 1 can of pineapple chunks

2 cans of pie fillings – one cherry and one peach or apricot (21 oz each)

2 cans of fruit cocktail

Can of mandarin oranges

2 pkgs of cherry gelatin

Tortilla chips

Can of cola

Biscuit/baking mix

Gluten-free oat flour

Cocoa powder

Fine sea salt

Natural peanut butter

Gluten-free all-purpose flour

Pkg of macaroni and cheese

[Also needed: ketchup, vegetable oil, salt, all-purpose flour, butter, vanilla extract, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, canola oil, coconut oil, milk, vinegar, garlic, pepper]

Corn State Broccoli Bake (Dinner for Two Week 14)

Lunch: Salad with honey poppy seed dressing, Watermelon cups, Nectarine or Orange

Dinner: Crispy chicken strips or Cheesy beef macaroni, Corn state broccoli bake or Citrus carrots, Cabbage

Corn State Broccoli Bake

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Crush a package of Chicken in a Bisket crackers. Combine with 1/2 cup of melted butter. Reserve 1/2 cup for topping. Combine a thawed package of chopped broccoli, a drained can of whole kernel corn, a can of cream-style corn, and remaining crumbs in a bowl.

Transfer to a greased baking dish. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes.

Citrus Carrots

Combine 3 Tbsp of orange juice, 1 tsp of melted butter, and 1/2 tsp of cumin. Set aside. Cut carrots into 3 inch chunks, then into matchstick strips. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add carrots. Cook for about 2 minutes. Drain. Place in a serving bowl. Drizzle with orange juice mixture.

They taste great served straight out of the serving bowl, but for extra presentation/style points, cut a bundle of green onions lengthwise into ribbon-like strips and tie up a serving-sized bundle of carrots. It should kind of look like a bundle of firewood. So cute!

Honey Poppy Seed Dressing

Combine 1/3 cup of vegetable oil, 1/4 cup of honey, 2 Tbsp of cider vinegar, 2 tsp of poppy seeds, and 1/2 tsp of salt in a small bowl or jar with tight-fitting lid. Mix or shake well. Store in the fridge.

Serve over a plain lettuce salad or fresh fruit.

Salad suggestion: Lettuce, endive, cucumber, green beans, green onions, grapefruit, and mango. Squeeze a lemon and grate a little zest over the whole thing. Also add any leftover dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and cheese you have kickin’ around.

Watermelon Cups

Dissolve a package of watermelon gelatin in 1 cup of boiling water in a bowl. Stir in 1 cup of cold water. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, slice 4 limes in half lengthwise. With small scissors or a sharp knife, cut the membrane at each end to loosen pulp from shell. Using fingertips, pull membrane and pulp away from shell. Discard pulp or save for another use.

Fold 1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips into the gelatin. Spoon into lime shells. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Crispy Chicken Strips

Flatten 3/4 lb of chicken breasts to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into 1 inch strips. Combine 1/2 cup of mashed potato flakes and 1/2 cup of seasoned bread crumbs in a shallow bowl. Dip chicken in egg substitute equivalent to one egg, then in potato mixture. Cook chicken in 2 Tbsp of olive oil for 4-5 minutes in a skillet.

Cheesy Beef Macaroni

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook 1 lb of ground beef over medium heat in a large skillet. Drain. Add a drained can of whole kernel corn and a can of cream of chicken soup. Shred 8 oz of Velveeta and set aside 1/2 cup for topping. Stir remaining cheese into meat mixture until melted. Cook elbow macaroni according to package directions. Gently stir in 2 1/2 cups of macaroni until coated.

Transfer to a greased baking dish. Top with reserved cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes.

SHOPPING LIST:

Egg substitute

8 oz process cheese (like Velveeta)

Orange juice

4 limes

Lemon

Grapefruit

Mango

6 nectarines

6 oranges

Lettuce

Cucumber

Endive

Cabbage

Green beans

2 bundles of green onions

1 lb carrots

1 lb ground beef

3/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts

Frozen chopped broccoli

Can of whole kernel corn (15 oz)

Can of cream-style corn (15 oz)

Cider vinegar

Elbow macaroni

Chicken in a Bisket crackers

Mashed potato flakes

Pkg of watermelon gelatin

Mini chocolate chips

Poppy seeds

Ground cumin

Gluten-Free Corn Flour

[Also needed: seasoned bread crumbs, olive oil, vegetable oil, honey, salt, butter]