THE HEALTHY HAG

I COOK … I EAT … I SHARE.

Homage to Aunt Marg!! Mac’n’cheese and Buttery Raisin Scones January 28, 2010

So growing up I was lucky enough to have all 4 grandparents PLUS an extra couple of great aunts that basically were like yet another pair grandparents (all lived within a 20 min radius).  Lucky – you think?? I was super close with my Aunt Marg, and spent many a weekend and vacation with her … and she’s mostly the reason I got into cooking and baking as a young kid.  She was an old fashioned chef with the tastiest classics under her belt.  I could always expect my favaourite meal of the year on my birthday – mac ‘n’ cheese and warm buttery scones.  Don’t ask.  So, when it came time for my brothers birthday a few weeks ago, I offered to make him a tasty meal in honour of our good old Aunt Marg (she passed quite suddenly 6 years ago), and he was like a little kid he beamed with glee.  What was the result?  One banging dinner the entire fam enjoyed… beyond delish and so reminiscent of dinners with Aunt Marg we were all taken back to over-heated apartments and the soft laugh she bellowed so often.  What’s your favourite childhood meal?

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MAC’N’CHEESE

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INGREDIENTS:

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

¼ cup TBSP butter

2 ½ TBSP flour

2 cups shredded OLD cheddar cheese

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

3 cups milk (I used 1%)

½ cup bread crumbs (I used multigrain)

1 pinch cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

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DIRECTIONS:

1. Cook macaroni according to the package directions, then rinse with cold water, drain and set aside.

2. In a large stove-top & oven-friendly casserole pot (I use my big Le Crueset for this), melt butter over medium heat, and then sauté onion and garlic for 3-4 min until soft (not browned!), then stir in flour and combine.

3. In a separate small pot, bring milk to a steam (not boil!) then add milk slowly to onion/garlic/flour mixture, stirring constantly, and lightly simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Stir in cheeses and cayenne pepper to casserole pot, and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and the sauce is a little thick, adding salt and pepper to taste.

5. Remove from heat and add macaroni to casserole dish, and stir well, then sprinkle with bread crumbs to cover completely.

6. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, then place under broiler for a few minutes until top is slightly browned.

7.  Allow to cool for 5-10 min before serving, and serve HOT!

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BUTTERY RAISIN SCONES

I always wanted scones with my mac’n’cheese – I still love the combo for some reason.  So buttery and so comforting, these scones are juicy with raisins, and are a semi-sweet treat you can enjoy all on their own too.  I loved to wipe up all the leftover cheese in the bottom of my bowl with these.  Oh good grief – huge cravings now!

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INGREDIENTS:

2 cups flour (use regular white if you can)

2 TBSP baking powder

2 TBSP sugar

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ tsp nutmeg

½ cup COLD butter (I then use a grater and grate the butter in for easier mixing)

¾ cup raisins

¾ cup buttermilk

1 egg white, lightly beaten OR 1 TBSP butter melted

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DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat oven to 425F, and mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl.

2) Grate in butter until mixture is like large crumbs, then stir in raisins and buttermilk.

3) Drop dough (using a ¼ cup measuring cup – or very large spoons) onto a greased baking sheet, brush tops with egg whites OR butter and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

4) Remove from oven and serve immediately!

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The Weekly Soup – Red Lentil

I live for lentils.  Okay not literally, but I get excited about lentils the way some people do about bacon.  I could add them to just about everything and be one happy camper.  Packed with flavour, protein and fiber (okay, and phosphorus, copper, thiamin and potassium, you get the point) lentils come in a variety of forms and typically are cheap cheap cheap.  Oh did I mention they are pretty darned easy to prepare too?  If you’re a lazypants, buy the canned, however you can really control the flavour and texture (and sodium!) if you buy them dried, and they’re even cheaper.  This soup is creamy, slightly sweet and hearty.  Perfect for fall, winter or a chilly summers night.  PS – it’s dairy free too!

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INGREDIENTS:
1 TBSP coconut oil (this is a great way to add more flavour, but you could use olive oil if you’re desparate)
1 cup onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp salt

2 cups red lentils
2 cans coconut milk (I use the powdered kind that you add to water – it’s handy to have, and less fatty)
4-6 cups water (enough to cover all ingredients)
1/2 cup carrot or zucchini, diced

1/2 cup celery, diced
2 cups sweet potato, diced
1 TBSP fresh ginger, minced
1 1/2 TBSP curry powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp pepper
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DIRECTIONS:
1. In a dutch oven or large stockpot over medium heat, sauté onion for 2 min in coconut oil, then add garlic and salt, stir, and cook for 1-2 min.
2. Add all remaining ingredients, combine and cover and bring to a boil.
3. Stir well, reduce heat to simmer, cover again, and cook on low for 30-45 min, until lentils are cooked through and creamy.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with your favourite naan or pita bread!

 

Harvest Loaf January 17, 2010

 

I love loaves… add to that something savoury and nutritious?  I’m sold.  This little gem will impress your guests, be kind to your hips, and won’t break the bank.  Try subbing in your favourite squash or whatever you happen to have on hand.  Oh, and it’s totally dairy free so it’ll knock the socks off your dairy-freer pals.  You could even make this one vegan by using egg substitute for the 2 eggs.  Impressive, I know!!!!

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INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups flour

2/3 cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 cup pureed squash (I used canned organic butternut, but you could use pumpkin or even sweet potatoes!)

1/3 cup canola oil (you could use almond or any other seed oil, but I’d avoid using Olive oil)

1/2 cup raisins

handful of pumpkin seeds

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DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat oven to 350F, and grease loaf pans.

2) In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and set aside

3) In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, squash and oil with a wooden spoon, until smooth.

4) Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix to combine, then stir in raisins.

5) Pour batter into loaf pans (I used 3 mini, but you could use 1 large), sprinkle with seeds, and bake at 350F for 40 min until browned and tester stick comes out dry.

6) Allow to cool for 10 min in pans, then remove and cool on a wire rack for another 5-10 min, and serve!

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NOTE – these can be frozen and allowed to defrost at room temp.