Tag Archives: ellie krieger

Sweet Hearts for my Valentines


Mini Heart Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce

My kids have been pretty good guinea pigs through all this recent cooking of mine, and so it felt great to cook up their favorite for dinner on Valentines Day:  pancakes.  With NO vegetables.  Plain, buttermilk pancakes made with healthy whole wheat pastry flour, and nothing hidden inside.  They were thrilled.  I was inspired by the fun Nordic Ware pancake pan I found at Target, which makes 7 mini heart-shaped pancakes.  On the side I made a delicious strawberry dipping sauce, which tasted more like a smoothie (and it might as well have been a smoothie, as the kids ended up drinking it with straws…).  Both recipes are from Ellie Krieger.

My girls loved the mini hearts.  I don’t consider myself to be the most coordinated person, and I wasn’t sure how I would flip those little guys back into their exact spots in the pan.  So I flipped them into a second skillet, which also allowed me to have twice as many pancakes on the go.  Ellie’s advice to keep the first pancakes warming at 200F while you cook the rest was perfect.

The strawberry sauce was amazing, and so fitting for Valentines Day.  I’ll admit that 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup to a whole pound of strawberries wasn’t going to do it for our taste, so I probably used about 1/4 cup to make it sweeter.  I could eat this sauce with just about anything — fruit, toast, maybe an old sneaker.  And while this was the perfect and much needed change from routine, it will be back to vegetables tomorrow!

A Fine Time for Chili


Chili Bean Corn Bread Pie

I love chili and love trying new chili recipes, but let’s face it — the window for chili-making in Texas is pretty tiny.  This fact just makes me enjoy it that much more.  This past weekend was unseasonably cold for February in Texas, and I took full advantage by trying out Ellie Krieger‘s recipe for Chili Bean and Corn Bread Pie.  It is a delicious vegetarian recipe with two kinds of beans, green chiles, and lots of spice.  The recipe called for ancho chili powder; I had chipotle chili powder on hand and it gave the dish a wonderful smoky flavor.  The best part is the very thick corn bread topping made with honey and buttermilk, which sweetens the whole meal when you mix it in with the chili.  I do like the fact that this is such a healthy recipe, but the extra calories added by including cheddar cheese in the cornbread would be worth it, so I will try this next time.

While I was happy that my husband liked the meal, I was most thrilled to see Romeo, my 11-year old Boston Terrier, stalking the oven while the chili baked.  He only does this when my Mom visits at Christmas and Easter (and cooks a turkey and a ham, respectively), and never for anything I cook.

Romeo, the Chili Stalker

Chili Bean and Corn Bread Pie (recipe adapted from Ellie Krieger’s “Comfort Food Fix”):

For the Filling:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp each ground cumin, dried oregano, and chili powder

1/2 tsp dried coriander

15-oz can low-sodium kidney beans, drained and rinsed

15-oz can low-sodium pink or red beans, drained and rinsed (I used pinto beans)

14.5-oz can no-salt-added diced tomatoes with their juices

Two 4-oz cans diced green chiles, drained

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves

For the Topping:

1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/3 cups low-fat buttermilk

1 large egg

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp canola oil

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.

To make the filling, heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened and lightly browned, about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the tomato paste, cumin, oregano, chili powder, and coriander, and cook, stirring, about 1 minute.  Add the beans, tomatoes with their liquid, green chiles, salt, and black pepper and bring to a boil.  (I found the mixture very thick at this point and added a few splashes of stock).  Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the liquid is reduced by about half, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the cilantro and transfer the filling to the baking dish.

To make the topping, in a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In another medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, honey, and oil.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine.  Pour the cornmeal batter over the bean mixture, then smooth the surface with a spatula.  Bake until the top is browned around the edges and a toothpick inserted into the corn bread layer comes out clean, about 30 minutes.  Makes 6 servings.

More Muffins (No Vegetables this Time)


Better Blueberry Muffins

My daughter Lauren made a request for blueberry muffins.  She doesn’t like raw blueberries, but she is a muffin monster — it seems she will eat anything if it arrives baked with a little flour and sugar.  I may have to try the spinach muffin recipe I saw recently…

This Better Blueberry Muffin recipe is another hit from the Ellie Krieger cookbook I’ve been enjoying so much, “Comfort Food Fix”.  These muffins are kept light and airy with applesauce, low-fat yogurt, and lots of lemon zest.  Whole-wheat pastry flour bumps up the fiber count.  And for 200 calories, they are a really good size.

Green Goddess Saves the Day

Shrimp with Green Goddess Dipping Sauce

I was flipping through Ellie Krieger‘s latest cookbook when Samantha caught sight of the Oven-Fried Shrimp recipe and requested that I make it.  I usually only get requests for muffins and dessert, so I was happy to oblige.  The picture in the cookbook showed the shrimp dipped into a gorgeous green dressing, which Samantha made a face at.  I decided to make the avocado dipping sauce anyway, and it was fantastic — the best part of the meal.  I will use the leftover sauce as a salad dressing and on sandwiches.

The shrimp were crispy and tasted great, but breading food is a lot of work in my opinion.  This opinion probably stems from the fact that I love shrimp that are cooked simply in a little olive oil, wine, and garlic — no breading needed.  In hindsight I would make the bread crumbs and dipping sauce ahead of time.  But I knew the kids would like these as a change, so it was worth trying something new.

When we sat down to dinner, I really talked up the green dipping sauce — told Samantha all about the parsley and the lemon, two things she likes.  Didn’t mention the avocado.  It wasn’t until I said it was called “Green Goddess Sauce” that she got excited and said it was “sooo good”.  She ate most of it, and even convinced her little sister to give it a try.  Perhaps I should start renaming the rest of the green foods that appear at our dinner table.

These recipes are adapted from Ellie Krieger’s Comfort Food Fix cookbook — I did make a few changes along the way.

Oven-Fried Shrimp (Serves 4):

Cooking spray

1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour

3 large egg whites

1 1/3 cup whole-wheat bread crumbs

1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

2 tsp grated lemon zest

1/4 tsp salt

Pinch cayenne pepper

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails on or off)

Lemon wedges, for serving

To make bread crumbs:  Pulse 3-4 slices of whole-wheat sandwich bread in a food processor.  Toast in the oven at 350 F for 10 minutes (until lighted browned).  Allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 425 F.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Place the flour on a plate.  Beat the egg whites in a shallow bowl.  On another plate, combine bread crumbs, thyme, lemon zest, salt, and cayenne.

Rinse shrimp and pat dry with paper towels.  Dip the shrimp into the flour, shaking off any excess.  Then dip the shrimp into the egg whites, and coat with the bread crumbs.  Set the breaded shrimp onto a large plate.

When all the shrimp are breaded, place the prepared baking sheet into the oven to preheat for 3 minutes.  Remove the tray from the oven and place the breaded shrimp on it.  Spray the tops of the shrimp with cooking spray.  Bake 10 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until crispy outside and cooked through (cooking time may be longer for extra-large shrimp).

Avocado Green Goddess Dipping Sauce (Serves 8):

1 ripe medium avocado

2 scallions, coarsely chopped

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk

1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves

2 tsp anchovy paste

1/4 tsp salt

Place all ingredients in the small bowl of a food processor and process until smooth.

Oh Happy Day, My Child Ate Black-Eyed Peas

New Year’s Day Good Luck Soup

While I am not an overly superstitious person, I do love the southern tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day to bring good luck and prosperity throughout the year.  Every January 1, I attempt a new recipe that incorporates tomatoes, greens, and black-eyed peas.  This year’s version was the best to date — a great way to kick off my New Year’s resolution of trying at least one new recipe each week.  I started with Ellie Krieger’s Minestrone Soup as the base, but left out the beans and pasta and instead added black-eyed peas and baby spinach.  I did not expect my children to do much more than dunk their bread into the soup and perhaps scoop the parmesan off the top, but it turns out that my oldest daughter Samantha may actually be the superstitious one — she picked out those peas to ensure her year was going to be a good one.  I think I may like this resolution thing.