Cannoli Creme Parfait: Low Calorie and Low Fat

 

I have been tivoing ABC’s new daily cooking TV show called “The Chew” ever since it first debuted last month.  One of the regular cast members is none other than Daphne Oz,  oldest daughter of  Dr Oz, resident  medical expert from the Oprah show and now having his own daily  TV show on Fox.  Daphne Oz is only 25, and while the youngest regular cast member on the show, is the designated  health expert.  (Although all of them look and act pretty health conscious to me)  While I have yet to watch a full 2 weeks of my taped shows, I am fairly impressed with what I have  managed to watch so far.  For starters the show is fun, interactive, and even for someone like myself who cooks a lot, I have gotten something educational or “new” out of every episode.  I consistently love the recipes they have been featuring, whether they are healthy or not.  And although I don’t think Daphne is a trained chef like some of the other heavy hitter’s on the show, mainly chef’s Mario Batali and Michael Symon of Iron Chef, I really like what she has “brought to the table”, so to speak.  Mainly her role seems to be the provider of healthy little tips and fun, easy to recreate recipes almost anyone can do.  And that  “easy to do” spirit she brings to the show is a great thing for viewers who want to eat healthy and be able to cook some of the  show’s dishes at home without some complicated grocery list or cooking process.

I saw Daphne create this dessert on the show, and while I am absolutely no fan of ricotta cheese or even desserts for that matter, for some reason I saw the final product and thought “hmmm… that might be good”.  The process was certainly simple enough,  the dessert inexpensive, and I liked the fact it was stated it was only 150 calories and 7 grams of fat.  I embedded here the recipe and video from the show featuring this dessert, but if you do watch it and read the recipe from the show’s website I provided, you’ll notice there is a bit of confusion translating the ingredients stated on the show and then what was actually stated in the recipe provided on the website.  None the less, my recipe on here is accurate, and I really do suggest watching the 4 1/2 minute clip from the show for directions and serving ideas.  Also, when I first mixed up the ricotta and tried it with the ingredients, I did not like this at fridge temperature. It just tasted like whipped ricotta to me, and I was a little disappointed.  So after my initial tasting, I put the whole thing in the freezer.  A couple hours later I removed it and let defrost for about 20 minutes before eating, and LOVED it. Its a totally different dessert frozen.  I highly suggest freezing this dessert after its prepared and eating it very cold.

 

Ingredients:

Makes 1 serving

  • Aprox 2 to 3 thin lowfat almond cookies broken up (I used this kind)
  • 1/2 cup skim Ricotta cheese (really do try to get the better organic kind, it tastes so much better)
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons organic honey
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips or dark chocolate crushed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon or so of orange, grapefruit or lemon zest
  • slivered almonds for garnish (I toasted quickly in a skillet first)

Directions:

  1. In a parfait, small serving bowl or dessert type glass (I was desperate and used a martini glass as you can see from the photos), place 1/2 of the broken up cookie pieces at the bottom
  2. In a bowl whip the ricotta, vanilla, and honey together by hand
  3. Stir in chocolate chips to the ricotta mixture
  4. Spoon and layer in the ricotta/chocolate chip mixture over the broken cookie pieces
  5. Sprinkle the remaining cookie pieces over the mixture.  If you want to spend the extra time for presentation value, you can even add in a layer of cookie pieces between the ricotta mixture and then sprinkle the rest over the top.
  6. Sprinkle the est and slivered almond pieces over the top
  7. Place in freezer for at least an hour (I’ve kept it in the freezer  for up to 2 days, covered with plastic wrap or tin foil, and it tasted just fine. May even be able to stay yummy in the freezer for longer periods of time, I just haven’t tried it) and defrost for 20 minutes at room temp when ready to eat
  8. Add the optional cinnamon and mint sprig

~Serve and Enjoy

 

 

 



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Raw Healthy Pumpkin Banana “Shake”

This is super healthy and tastes great.    Perfect flavor combination with the canned pumpkin and the “Pumpkin Pie Spice” for the upcoming Halloween and Thanksgiving holiday to entice picky children yet with all the healthy nutrition and non dairy aspects parents love.   This is naturally sweet on its own, but you can add a little bit of sugar, honey or stevia for added sweetness.  I utilized a few “light coconut milk” cubes to add some healthy fats give  a nice frothy rich milkshake feel to a “raw” shake.  I finished it off with some sweet nutmeg spice and chopped walnuts sprinkled on top.

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 4 “light coconut milk” cubes or 1/2 cup unfrozen coconut milk (coconut milk frozen in an ice cube tray)
  • 1/2 cup organic canned pumpkin (I used Trader Joes brand from last year)
  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (I used Almond Breeze)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pumpkin Pie spice, couple shakes to taste (I used Trader Joe’s brand or you can make homemade)
  • stevia,  a bit of honey, sugar to taste (I didn’t need any)
  • Optional : top with  sweet nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice and chopped wlanuts

Directions:

  1. Blend all ingredients except sweetener in a high speed blender
  2. Taste and add sweetener if necessary
  3. Pour into two glasses and top with sweet nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice and chopped walnuts
  4. Serve and enjoy

 



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Healthy Chocolate Almond Butter “Milkshake”: Vegan or Organic Dairy

This shake is packed with protein and and healthy fats.  Super fast, easy to make, filling and great for recovery after working out.  I used almond butter because I like its flavor better than peanut butter, but you can substitute peanut butter if that’s what you prefer.  For me this is super “decadent” tasting, so I make a batch and split it into 2 servings of 8 ounces each.  Works out to about 210 calories each with over 25 grams of protein.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender (I use my vitamix) until well blended.
  • Sprinkle with a little cocoa powder on top
  • Serves 2.  Enjoy 🙂

 

 

 

 

 



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Fresh Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble Healthier Version

 

OK, I have to admit that I have never cooked with rhubarb before.  On my last trip to Whole Foods, the rhubarb looked so gorgeous and bright, I  just had to grab three big stalks.  I had seen  recipes where it was cooked with strawberries  before, so I grabbed a couple baskets of them and challenged myself to making some kind of healthy version of a rhubarb “crumble” dish.

I have never even made an “unhealthy” dish with these ingredients, so this was literally created  “from the hip”, as much it gets.  Most everything I Googled sounded completely calorie, sugar and butter-laden so I tried to use my imagination with what recipes were available. I still used sugar, but reduced it significantly.  Next time I make it, I think I can get away with even less sugar or no sugar at all.  I am also not a sugar fan or have much of a sweet tooth either.  I was excited it turned out so good – the final product was really yummy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 large stalks of rhubarb (aprox 1  lb), trimmed and cut in 1/2
  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp all purpose wheat flour or other “healthier” flour

Crumble Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 all  wheat flour or other healthier “flour”
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp of organic butter
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil (or Canola oil, but its less healthy in my opinion)
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Make Filling: Toss the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and flour in a bowl.
  3. Transfer over to 6 individual (4 for larger ones) ramekins, or you can make it all in one rectangular baking dish or pie dish.
  4. Press filling into the ramekins/baking dish to form an even layer.
  5. Make Crumble Topping: Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, butter and oil in bowl.  Work ingredients together with a fork until crumbly.  Stir in applesauce until the mixture is moistened.
  6. Distribute the topping mixture evenly over the fruit in the ramekins.
  7. Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the topping crispy and golden.  (Aprox 40 – 45 minutes but watch closely)

Nutrition:

  • Per serving: Approx 250 calories, 5 grams of fat, 57 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, 4 mg sodium

 



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Poached Pears in Saffron Broth

Yes!  Another healthy yet yummy recipe I learned from Rebecca Katz, author of “The Cancer Fighting Kitchen”, during a class she taught last February at Draeger’s Marketplace in the SF Bay Area. Don’t let the title of her

cookbook or class fool you into thinking she cooks boring healthy “granola head” type food.   Rebecca finished her training from the highly acclaimed “Natural Gourmet Institute” in New York City, and then went on to get her M.S in Nutrition because she realized there was a definite vacuum in conduits teaching medical professionals that good health and great food, can in fact, be one in the same. She was chef staff at the Deepak Chopra Center down in San Diego, and teaches medical professionals and students all around the country.

Honestly, my only prior interaction with poached pears was watching a contestant on BRAVO’s TV show “Top Chef” be sent home for making it for a “Tailgate Party” during the Chicago season.  It was not an “appropriate tailgate dish” was the explanation.  But it’s HEALTHY and appropriate for almost all other occasions. It is fairly easy to make, delicious and a beautiful looking dish that is great when entertaining guests.   Thanks to Rebecca for introducing me to this!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups pear nectar click here for store bought example
  • Zest of one lemon in long pieces
  • 4 inches of peeled fresh ginger, cut into 1.4 inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons Grade B Maple Syrup
  • Generous Pinch of Saffron ( 12 to 15 threads
  • 2 ripe but firm pears (preferably Bosc or Comice, peeled, cut in half, seeded and stemmed

Directions:

  1. To make the broth, stir the pear nectar, lemon zest, ginger, maple syrup, and saffron together in a large saucepan or 3 qt saute pan over medium-high heat; Bring to a boil.
  2. Place the pear halves in the saucepan, flat side down.
  3. Place a piece of parchment paper over the pears and cover with a small plate to weight the pears down as they simmer.
  4. Lower the heat and simmer until the pears are tender and a knife pierces them all the way through without resistance.
  5. Remove the pears from the saucepan.
  6. Return the liquid to the heat, bring to a lively simmer, and cook until syrupy, about 10 minutes.
  7. Taste the liquid for a quick Fat/Acid/Salt/Sweet check.  It may need a pinch of salt and squeeze of lemon juice to balance the flavors.
  8. Serve the pears drizzled with the poaching liquid and topped with a dollop of nut cream or creme fraiche (just a little)

Variations:

  • For Vanilla broth – omit the lemon zest, ginger, maple syrup, and saffron and instead stir 2 teaspoons of  organic agave nectar into the pear nectar.  Cut a vanilla pod in half lengthwise, scrape the seeds into the saucepan, then throw in the pod.  Proceed with the recipe as above.
  • For a star anise broth – omit the lemon zest, ginger, maple syrup, and saffron, and instead stir in 4 pods of star anise, 4 whole cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 teaspoons of organic agave nectar, and 2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Proceed with the recipe as above.

Notes:

  • Prep time: 10 minutes  Cooking time: 40 minutes
  • Can be stored in an airtight container n the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days
  • Calories per serving:  225  Total Fat 0.2, Carbs 59 gms,  Protein 1 gm,: Fiber 4 gm Sodium 15 mg
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