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Monday, September 16, 2013

Fat Free Carrot Cake

A slice of delicious moist cake for only 135 calories!
Source: Mom on Timeout

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 1 (out of 5), if the carrots are already shredded

- 1 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (130 cal)
- 1 1/2 cup white sugar (1160 cal)
- 3 eggs (210 cal)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (870 cal)
- 1 tsp baking soda mixed with 1 tbsp lemon juice or apple vinegar to activate
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 cups grated carrots (135 cal)
- 1 tsp vanilla (10 cal)
- 1 cup Dole pineapple in juice, crushed, not drained (160 cal)
Total: 9x13 inch cake, 20 servings, 2675 cal, 135 cal / serving

1. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking sheet.
2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix (you don't really need a mixer for this batter, a whisk is enough)
3. Pour the ingredients into a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking sheet and cook in oven preheated to 350F for about 40 minutes, until the cake is golden and a toothpick tester comes out clean. (In my oven it always takes much longer, I baked on 375F for 70 minutes.)
4. Let cool on a rack, slice and serve.

- Only when I started mixing all the ingredients I noticed that there is no butter or oil in the recipe. I was skeptical if it would turn out ok, but it was too late to look for another recipe, so I continued, and the cake turned out really delicious. I would not be able to guess that it's completely fat free (well, of course there is fat in eggs, etc.)
- I completely skipped the frosting from the original recipe. I also skipped the nuts, added more carrots instead, skipped the cinnamon (it's not the cinnamon's fault, it's me), and reduced the sugar. The cake still turned out sweet and delicious.

To Recipe...

Sunday, September 8, 2013

General Tso's Chicken with Trader Joe's Sauce

Lighter and faster version without deep frying and using a ready made sauce.
Source: A combination of Martha Stewart's and Heather's recipes

Taste: 4 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 2 (out of 5)

- 1 lb skinless boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 lb green beans
- 1/2 cup Trader Joe's Genereal Tso's Sauce
- 2 tbsp canola oil for cooking

1. In a medium sized bowl whisk together egg whites, cornstarch, salt and pepper. Add chicken, and toss to coat. Refrigerate from 15 minutes to several hours to marinate the chicken.
2. Heat a 2 tbsp of oil in a large non stick skillet over medium-high heat. Transfer chicken pieces into the skillet, shaking off the egg white batter. Cook for about 10 minutes until golden, stirring occasionally. If there is too much chicken to fit in 1 layer on the pan, you can do the frying in 2 batches.
3. When the chicken is cooked, remove it to a plate.
4. Pour the green beans and the sauce onto the skillet and cook stirring for 4-5 mintues, until the beans are soft and the sauce thick. Add the chicken to the pan and stir to coat it with the sauce.
5. Serve over white rice (or cauliflower rice).

The taste is good, but the lighter version does not give you the deep frying crunch that I did not really expect, but was secretly hoping for. Oh, well... And maybe I would add 2 more tablespoons of sauce next time.

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Cauliflower "Rice"

Cauliflower rice
Quick, easy, healthy, vegan, gluten free, low cal, filling and even pretty tasty :-)
Source: Many blogs for example Everyday Maven has nice step-by-step pictures

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 2 (out of 5), and not 1 because I am too lazy to chop cauliflower in batches
Cauliflower rice
- 1 medium sized cauliflower (140 cal)
- 1/2 tbsp olive or canola oil (60 cal)
- pepper and salt (optional)
Total: 200 cal, 4 servings, 50 cal/serving

1. Wash cauliflower, cut it, discard the core and break of the florettes until you have pieces of approximately the same size.
2. Place the florettes in a food porcessor in 1 layer, do not overcrowd the food processor. In my food processor I have to shred a medium sized cauliflower in 3-4 batches.
3. Process until you get "rice" consistency. In my case I let the food processor run on high for 10 seconds and then pulse for 2 seconds 5 times.
4. At this stage you freeze a batch of your cauliflower rice in a zip lock bag for future use. You could then defrost the batch for 15-30 minutes and cook as usual. It turns a little mushier than freshly cooked, but pretty similar.
5. In a large non-stick frying pan heat 1/2 tbsp of oil over medium-high heat, add the cauliflower and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. You can also add salt and pepper or other spices (turmeric, cumin, etc) while cooking. Or don't add anything if you want plained steamed rice.

This is a really nice trick to make your meal healthier and eat waaaay less calories. In one cup of white rice there are 200 calories, in one cup of cauliflower rice there are 50: you save 75% of calories! And taste / texture - wise it works pretty well as a substitute for the "real" thing. Especially if you make fried rice, you might never notice the difference.

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