Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Whole Grain Wednesdays-Sweet Potato and Cheese Biscuits

Happy Wednesday!  I have a delicious new recipe to share with you today for Whole Grain Wednesday.  I had a sweet potato left over from Thanksgiving that I was looking to use.  So, I decided to give this recipe a try for "homemade soup and bread night" (otherwise known as Monday at our house).  I baked the sweet potato the other night when I had some squash baking in the oven.  I love to toss sweet potatoes in the oven, bake them, and then put them in the refrigerator.  That way, I have them ready when I need them to add some extra nutrition to whatever I am cooking, or even to my morning oatmeal!

I put the sweet potato into the food processor to make the puree for these biscuits.  Feel free to replace the fresh parsely with whatever fresh herbs you have available.  These are best served right out of the oven or warmed so the cheese is nice and melty!

Sweet Potato and Cheese Biscuits
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 Tablespoons canola oil
3 Tablespoons cold butter
1/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 cup cooked, pureed sweet potato
2 ounces lowfat cheese, finely diced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Spary a nonstick baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and fresh parsely.  Stir well.  Drizzle in the canola oil.  Grate the butter into the flour mixture and use your fingers to mix it in until the butter is in pea-size pieces.

In a small bowl, mix together the buttermilk and sweet potato puree.  Add the sweet potato mixture to the flour mixture and use your hands to gently knead it into a ball.  Add the cheese and continue to gently knead the ball until all ingredients are incorporated.  If the dough is too dry, mix in a little more buttermilk.

Pat the dough out on a floured counter until it is about 3/4-inch thick.  Cut out biscuits in round or square shapes.  Pat the scraps together and cut out the remaining dough.  Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Crediting information:  Makes 30 servings.  Each serving is creditable for 1 bread/bread alternate at any meal or snack for 3-5 year old children.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Whole Grain Wednesdays-Quinoa Tabbouleh

Happy Wednesday everyone, and welcome to Whole Grain Wednesday here on the Healthy Helper blog!

I would like to feature one of my favorite whole grains today, quinoa. Have you tried quinoa yet?  I have shared several quinoa recipes with you already: quinoa salad, green bean and quinoa toss, and quinoa sweet potato casserole.  But today I would like to give you a recipe for another wonderful quinoa salad that I tried recently at a meeting.  Many of the people at the meeting had never tried quinoa before and they loved this salad!  They all remarked about how fresh tasting and delicious it was!  The lady who made it got the recipe from  

Quinoa Tabbouleh  
2 cups water
1 cup dry quinoa
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tomatoes, diced ( about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cucumber, diced (about 1 cup)
2 bunches green onions, diced (about 1 cup)
2 carrots, grated (about 1 cup)
1 cup fresh parsely, chopped

In a saucepan bring the water to a boil.  Add the quinoa and pinch of salt.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Allow to cool to room temperature; fluff with a fork.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine olive oil, sea salt, lemon juice, tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, carrots and parsley.  Stir in cooled quinoa.

Crediting information:  Makes 12 servings.  Each serving creditable for 1 bread/bread alternate and 1/4 cup of the fruit/vegetable requirement at lunch or supper for 3-5 year old children.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Whole Grain Wednesdays-Pumpkin Millet Muffins

Tis' the season!  For buying cranberries and pumpkin that is  :) 

In November when bags of cranberries and canned pumpkin are on sale, I start craving the seasonal quick breads and muffins that I like to bake.  Last weekend I made my favorite cranberry nut bread.  Yesterday, I tried out a new pumpkin muffin recipe that I want to share with you  (it even has two different types of whole grains for Whole Grain Wednesday).  The thing I like best about these muffins is the millet, it adds a nice crunchy aspect!  You can find millet in the bulk bins at Sunflower or Whole Foods.  Millet is a tasty whole grain that can also be used in heartier recipes such as the savory millet patties recipe that I shared previously.

Nutrition bonus: pumpkin's deep orange color is a dead giveway that it is a great source of beta-carotene (vitamin A).  But did you know that it is also a great source of potassium, fiber, and iron? 

Hope you enjoy these "birdseed" muffins! 

Pumpkin Millet Muffins (adapted from Whole Foods Market)
1/2 cup millet
1 egg
1/2 cup lowfat sour cream or plain lowfat yogurt
1/2 cup skim milk
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose enriched flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place paper liners in 18 muffin pan cups, set aside.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the millet and toast, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and just beginning to pop (about 3-4 minutes).  Transfer the millet to a plate to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, sour cream, milk, butter, canola oil, pumpkin, granulated sugar and brown sugar.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cooled millet.  Gently fold into egg mixture until just combined.

Spoon batter into lined muffin tins and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean 20-22 minutes.  Allow the muffins to cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Crediting information:  Makes 30 servings.  Each serving creditable for 1 bread/bread alternate at any meal or snack for 3-5 year old children.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Whole Grain Wednesdays- Nutty Granola

Good morning everyone.  I hope that you are enjoying the snow! 

Today I have a recipe for granola that I would like to share for Whole Grain Wednesday.  I will have to admit that when I first saw this recipe I was skeptical that it would be good because it calls for steel cut oatmeal.  Steel cut oats are so chewy that I expected that baking them in the oven would not be a good idea.  However, this granola turned out to be quite tasty!  The oats, coconut, nuts, seeds and dried fruit are a perfect mixture of crunchy and chewy.   My kids and I love it sprinkled on yogurt,  but I am sure that you could also eat it as a breakfast cereal.  You can adapt this recipe to include whatever type of dried fruit you have on hand, or even throw in your leftover pumpkin seeds from Halloween! 

Nutty Granola- adapted from Potpourri magazine
1 cup steel cut oats
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds 
1/4 cup almonds* or walnuts*, chopped
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 cup coconut
1 cup raisins* and/or dried cranberries

Toss the oats, seeds, chopped nuts, brown sugar and oil together in a large bowl.  Coat a 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray and spread the mixture out on the pan.  Bake at 300 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the oats are lightly browned (check often to prevent burning).  Turn the oven off and stir in the coconut and dried fruit.  Return the pan to the oven until the oven has cooled.  Store in a sealed container. 

*This food can be a choking hazard for children under the age of 4.