Feed Your Soul

Healthy Spaghetti for Spaghetti Day

Pujols Kitchen - Monday, January 04, 2016


Simple and delicious, spaghetti is more than deserving of its own little holiday. The first historical reference to boiled noodles suggests that the Arabs invented the dish thousands of years ago, long before it became an Italian cuisine staple. Spaghetti appeared in Sicily around the 12th century and with the steady flow of Italian immigrants to the United States, Italian dishes and spaghetti were offered in restaurants as early as the 19th century.

The best way to celebrate Spaghetti Day is to eat spaghetti of course, but if you’re trying to watch carbs and stay true to your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier in 2016, opt for whole-wheat spaghetti (1 cup) with 4 meatballs (3 ounces), sauce (1/2 cup) and Parmesan cheese (1 tablespoon), crusty bread, ½ cup steamed broccoli, and a salad of mixed greens with vinaigrette dressing. Two tablespoons of vinaigrette dressing provides plenty of flavor without drowning the salad. Homemade salad dressings have much less sodium and often more flavor than commercial versions.

For great flavor and a fraction of the fat, sodium and calories of the original, broil a slice of crusty whole-wheat bread with 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese.

Reduced Fat Cream Puffs for Cream Puffs Day

Pujols Kitchen - Saturday, January 02, 2016


There’s a day set aside for everything it seems and cream puffs are no exception. So how do you celebrate Cream Puff Day when you’ve resolved and committed to eating healthier in 2016? By treating yourself to these reduced fat cream puffs as a healthy alternative.

Ingredients

For batter:

·         Nonstick cooking spray

·         1 cup water

·         1/4 cup margarine

·         1/4 teaspoon salt

·         1 cup all-purpose flour

·         4 eggs

·         1/3 cup sugar

For Pudding:

·         3 tablespoons cornstarch

·         1/8 teaspoon salt

·         3 cups skim milk

·         1 slightly beaten egg

·         2 teaspoons vanilla

·         1 drop of yellow food coloring (optional)

·         12 large strawberries, sliced

Directions

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Bring water, margarine, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to boiling. Add flour and stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball that doesn't separate. Cool 10 minutes.

Add the 4 eggs, one at a time, and beat until smooth after each addition. Drop heaping tablespoons of the batter, 3 inches apart onto baking sheet, making 12 mounds. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until golden brown and puffy. Allow puffs to cool, then split in half and remove any soft dough from inside.

For pudding, combine sugar, cornstarch, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a saucepan. Stir in milk, cooking and stirring until bubbly. Cook and stir 2 more minutes. Then remove from heat.

Gradually stir 1 cup of the hot mixture into the bowl with the beaten egg. Once combined, return all to saucepan and cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and food coloring, if desired. Pour into a bowl, cover with clear plastic wrap and chill up to 24 hours.

To serve, fill cream puffs with pudding and strawberries. Makes 12 servings.

Make Ahead Tip

Once you’ve prepared your cream puffs you can wrap them in plastic freezer bags and place them in airtight freezer containers and freeze up to 1 month or store at room temperature up to 24 hours.

Resolve to Eat More Bacon in 2016

Pujols Kitchen - Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Celebrate Bacon Day with this Warm and Creamy Bacon Dip. It's a great way to ring in the New Year.

Ingredients

·         8 ounces light cream cheese, softened

·         2 cups reduced fat Daisy Brand Sour Cream

·         3 ounces bacon bits

·         2 cups reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

·         1 cup chopped green onion

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Place mixture in a 1-quart baking dish, cover and heat for 25-30 minutes or until hot. Serve with assorted fresh vegetables, cut up pieces of bread, crackers and/or chips.

You could also serve this dip in a hollowed round sourdough loaf, wrapped in foil and heated in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cupcakes to Celebrate Candy Cane Day

Pujols Kitchen - Saturday, December 26, 2015


Candy canes are ubiquitous this time of year though few of us know when, where or how candy canes came into existence. According to German folklore, a 17th century choirmaster in Cologne, Germany, needed to find a way to keep the children quiet during the exceptionally long Christmas Eve Mass so he ordered peppermint-flavored candy sticks from a local confectioner with a few stipulations of his own.

First, that the sticks be shaped like canes the shepherds coming to visit baby Jesus might have had. Second, the sticks were to be white to represent the sinless, pure life Jesus led, and red to represent the blood he lost when he died for the sins of mankind. Modern candy can historians dispute this but the good news is we can enjoy candy canes on their own special day regardless of the theories.

We think this Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cupcake is great way to celebrate Candy Cane Day.

Ingredients

·         2 ounces mini semisweet chocolate chips

·         1 cup hot-brewed coffee

·         2 cups sugar

·         1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

·         1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

·         1 1/3 teaspoon baking soda

·         1/2 teaspoon baking powder

·         1 teaspoon salt

·         2 eggs

·         1 cup buttermilk

·         1/2 cup vegetable oil

·         1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Chocolate Ganache:

·         1/2 cup heavy cream

·         1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

·         6 ounces semisweet chocolate

For Peppermint Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting:

·         1/2 cup butter, softened

·         7 ounces marshmallow creme

·         1 teaspoon peppermint extract

·         4 cups powdered sugar

·         2 tablespoons milk

To sprinkle on cupcakes once frosted:

·         1/4 cup crushed peppermint candies

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Line a cupcake or muffin pan with 24 regular-size cupcake liners.

In a small sauce pan, combine chocolate chips and hot coffee, stirring until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. In a large bowl, sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer until thickened slightly. Slowly add the buttermilk, oil and vanilla to the egg mixture, then the chocolate mixture and combine completely. Next, add the sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until well combined.

Fill cupcake liners three-quarters full with the cupcake batter, then place in oven and bake 18-21 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Allow cupcakes to completely cool.

While cupcakes are baking, prepare Chocolate Ganache and Peppermint Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting.

To assemble: Remove the center of each cupcake using an apple corer and fill cupcake with a spoonful of the Chocolate Ganache. Frost cupcakes with peppermint buttercream marshmallow frosting (from a pastry bag fitted with a star tip), and sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies.

Directions for Chocolate Ganache:

In a small saucepan, bring heavy cream and butter to a simmer, then turn off heat and add in the chocolate. Stir mixture until smooth and set aside to cool.

Directions for Peppermint Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting:

Using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip butter and marshmallow cream together. Add peppermint extract, then slowly add 2 cups of the powdered sugar and continue to mix on a slow speed. Add milk and more powdered sugar (up to 2 cups) until desired consistency is reached.

Date Nut Bread Day

Pujols Kitchen - Tuesday, December 22, 2015


     Nobody seems to know for sure who came up with Date Nut Bread Day, but the delicious, fruity bread recipe has been published since the 1920s. The best way to celebrate Date Nut Bread Day is to bake some bread and serve it up to friends or family for breakfast or afternoon tea.

This Date Nut Bread Recipe is sure to bring a smile to their faces.

Ingredients

·         1 ½ cups pitted dates, coarsely chopped

·         ¾ cup boiling/ very hot water

·         1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

·         2 tsp. baking powder

·         ½ tsp. salt

·         ¾ tsp. freshly ground nutmeg (or cinnamon)

·         ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

·         ½ cup light brown sugar

·         ¼ cup sugar

·         1 large egg

·         1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

·         1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts), plus 5-8 pecan halves reserved

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.

Pour boiling water into a medium-sized bowl. Place dates into water and let stand for 20 minutes, then drain before use.

In a separate, larger bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg and set aside.

In another large bowl cream butter and sugars. Add egg, then vanilla, then sift in the flour mixture and blend until just combined. Fold in nuts and drained dates.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and top with reserved nuts.

Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until inserted toothpick in the center comes out almost clean.

Allow bread to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove bread from pan and cool completely.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Pujols Kitchen - Saturday, December 19, 2015


Perfect for the holidays or any special occasion, Mexican Wedding Cookies are delicious nutty cookies rolled in powdered sugar. One of our favorite guilty pleasures.

Ingredients

·         1 cup butter

·         1/2 cup white sugar

·         2 teaspoons vanilla extract

·         2 teaspoons water

·         2 cups all-purpose flour

·         1 cup chopped almonds

·         1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

Directions

In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar, then stir in vanilla and water. Add the flour and almonds and mix until blended. Cover and chill for 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Shape dough into balls or crescents and place on an unprepared cookie sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove cookies from pan and cool on wire racks. Once cookies have cooled, roll in confectioners' sugar. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

Bake Cookies Day

Pujols Kitchen - Friday, December 18, 2015


It’s Bake Cookies Day, as if we needed an excuse to this holiday season to bake some delicious cookies to help ourselves get through the cold, winter days!

Though cookies date back as far as 7th Century Persia, cookies arrived in America in the 17th century. The word, “cookies” stems from the Dutch word, “koekje”, meaning “little cake,” which over time has been shortened to “cooky” or “cookie.”

Celebrate Bake Cookies Day by baking your favorite recipe. It’s okay, we won’t tell and we certainly won’t count the calories either.

Maicena Pudding

Pujols Kitchen - Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Based on a Dominican Children's favorite breakfast dish, Vanilla and Chocolate Maicena Pudding is the perfect comforting dessert.

This recipe takes 5 minutes to prep and 10 minutes to cook. Serves 6

Ingredients

·         6 cups of whole milk

·         ½ teaspoon of salt

·         1½ cup of sugar

·         Seeds of 2 vanilla pods, or ½ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

·         ½ cup of cornstarch

·         ½ cup of toasted coconut flakes

Instructions

·         Mix together milk, salt, and sugar, then add in cornstarch. For vanilla maicena pudding, add vanilla seeds or cocoa powder if making chocolate. Be sure to sieve to eliminate undissolved solids.

·         Next, pour mixture into a pot and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent it from sticking. Once liquid breaks a boil, reduce heat and continue stirring until it has thickened to the same consistency as condensed milk.

·         Remove from heat and pour into another bowl, stirring until pudding has cooled to room temperature. Once cooled, pour into small serving cups, sprinkle with toasted coconut and chill.

*** For a vegan version, use almond milk.

Gingerbread House Day

Pujols Kitchen - Saturday, December 12, 2015


Gingerbread is believed to have been introduced to Europe by an Armenian monk named Gregory of Nicopolis in the 10th century. Gregory brought the necessary spices back from the Middle East and taught the art of gingerbread making to French Christians until his death. By the 13th century gingerbread made its way around Europe–and to Sweden where it was baked by nuns to help soothe indigestion and where it slowly became popular to paint the cookies and use them as window decorations as well.

The best way to celebrate Gingerbread Decorating Day is to bake your own gingerbread cookies and decorate them.

Ingredients

·         1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

·         1/2 cup dark brown sugar

·         1/4 cup light molasses or dark corn syrup

·         1 tablespoon cinnamon

·         1 tablespoon ground ginger

·         1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

·         1 teaspoon baking soda

·         2 cups all-purpose flour

·         2 tablespoons water

 

For assembly and decorating:

·         Melted white chocolate or Royal Icing

·         Gumdrops, licorice and peppermint and candies or your choice

 

For Royal Icing:

·         1 pound (3-3/4 cups) powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy

·         1 to 2 large egg whites, or substitute 4 teaspoons packaged egg whites and 1/4 cup water

·         1 teaspoon almond extract, vanilla or lemon juice

Directions for Royal Icing:

Using an electric hand mixer, mix all ingredients together until icing is smooth and thin enough to be pressed through a pastry bag with a writing tip. You can add more lemon juice, if icing is too thick.

Directions gingerbread dough and assembly

1.    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2.    In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and baking soda together until smooth. Blend in the flour and water to make a stiff dough, then chill for 30 minutes or until firm.

3.    Cut out the following paper patterns for the gingerbread house template:

·         2 – 3x5 inch rectangles for the front and back of the house

·         2 – 3x5 ½ inch rectangles for the roof.

·         2 pieces that are 3 inches wide at the base, 3 inches to the roof line, and slanted to a peak 5 1/2 inches from the bottom for the end pieces of the house.

·         4 – 1 ½ x 1 inch rectangles for the roof and sides of the entryway.

·         1 piece that is 2 inches wide at the base, 1 ½ inches to the roof line, and slanted to a peak 2 ½ inches from the bottom for the front of the entryway.

4.    On a large, rimless cookie sheet, roll gingerbread dough out to the edges, then place paper patterns onto the rolled out dough and cut around each of the pieces with a sharp, straight edged knife, leaving gingerbread dough pieces in place on the cookie sheet.

5.    Bake at 375° F for about 15 minutes until dough feels firm.

6.    Allow the gingerbread to cool on the baking sheet and then trim shapes, cutting edges with a straight-edged sharp knife and using patterns on top of gingerbread again for guidance.

7.    Fill pastry bag with royal icing and with a writing tip, press out to decorate parts of the gingerbread house, doors, windows, etc. Allow icing dry until hardened.

8.    Use royal icing to glue sides, front and back of gingerbread house. You can place an object against the pieces to prop them up until the icing is dry.

9.    Next, glue the two roof pieces to the pitched roofline of the house. Do the same for the sides and roof of the entryway. Then attach the entryway to the front of the house.

10. Continue decorating your gingerbread house with gumdrops, licorice and peppermint.

Brownie Day

Pujols Kitchen - Tuesday, December 08, 2015


Not that we chocoholics need an excuse to whip up a batch of brownies, but since today is Brownie Day why not try treat your family to these quick and easy brownies for dessert tonight after dinner? Served with cream, ice cream or toasted nuts, brownies are a little luxury that make any moment perfect.

Ingredients

·         2 cups white sugar

·         1 cup butter

·         1/2 cup cocoa powder

·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract

·         4 eggs

·         1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

·         1/2 teaspoon baking powder

·         1/2 teaspoon salt

·         1/2 cup walnut halves

 

Directions

1.    Melt butter and then mix all ingredients in the order given above.

2.    Bake at 350° F (175° C) for 20 - 30 minutes in a 9 x 13 inch greased pan.


 

© 2013 Pujols Kitchen. All Rights Reserved.