Sunday, February 24, 2013

Carrot Souffle, Sweet Potato Bake, and Corn Casserole

When we moved the last time, I culled the cookbook collection with several goals in mind: reduce the weight of the packing boxes (out goes the 30 year old hard back cookbook with complete menus involving braising meats in lard), eliminate tomes I never used but had inherited (complicated yet delicious recipes with dozens of ingredients I would have to search out), and attempt to eat healthier (good-bye fondue booklet!).
I had difficulty parting with sentimental charitable fundraiser cookbooks that included contributions from family and friends. However, I rarely prepared recipes from those heritage pages due to the above health goal, which precluded drowning vegetables in 2 cups of heavy cream (corn casserole), 4 eggs and one stick of margarine (carrot soufflé), or brown sugar/butter/eggs/juice on the sweet potatoes.

I brought the cookbooks along, and finally decided to see how healthier substitutions would work, since plain veggies aren’t all that fun either- plus, the recipes did call for spices!

The carrot soufflĂ© turned out well, minus several hundred calories! I will make it again and will reduce the sugar even further (went down from half a cup of brown sugar called for to 1 TBSP this time). As you’ll see, we’re half-way to pumpkin pie already! I started off with a bag of baby carrots, weighing in at 1 pound, exactly what the recipe called for (thankfully, without the peeling and slicing of whole carrots!). After boiling, draining and roughly chopping, I added 1 real egg, ¼ cup liquid egg substitute, ½ cup skim milk, 1 TBSP flour, 1 TBSP brown sugar, ½ tsp. cinnamon, 1 TBSP butter, ½ tsp. ginger, and a dash of allspice. I did not use a beverage style blender, but my trusty hand-held mixer instead, since it was not important to me to have a puree. Baked about 45 minutes.

The sweet potato bake also turned out well, and I’ll prepare it again. I used one sweet potato instead of the 3 pounds called for, and reduced the other ingredients in the recipe accordingly. After boiling, draining, and roughly chopping the potato, I added 1 TBSP orange juice, 1 tsp. brown sugar, 1 TBSP butter, ¼ tsp. dried orange peel (would recommend fresh), ¼ cup liquid egg substitute, and a dash each of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. I baked the mixture in two mini spring-form pans, and as you can see, kept the peel on, since I actually like potato peel! I took the pans out of the oven when the top browned, but the bottom was still soft, so I’d suggest checking it with a spoon for done-ness. In a small pan, I didn’t want to over-cook it.

The corn casserole turned out yummy despite the severe reduction in fats from the recipe! Instead of 6 eggs and 2 cups of cream, here’s what I used: 1 real egg and ¼ cup liquid egg substitute, a pinch of salt, 1 TBSP sugar, 1 cup skim milk, and ½ TBSP corn starch. Next time I will use less sugar. Combine the cornstarch and milk, then add to other ingredients. Finally, mix in 1 pound of corn (I used a bag of frozen kernels). Bake for 45 minutes and check for doneness with a knife.

Whew! Next project will be figuring out how to reduce or eliminate cans of “cream of” soup from a bunch of other recipes! Do you know how to accomplish that?

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