Cooking Matters Extreme Food Makeover

I was recently invited to participate in Cooking Matters Michigan’s Extreme Food Makeover Challenge in which 7 Metro Detroit based bloggers were assigned different unhealthy dishes to makeover in an “Iron Chef-esque” competition. And being a very devoted Food Network fan, I jumped at the chance to compete. The rules are pretty simple: each blogger was assigned a different dish and had to create a healthy version that incorporated all 5 food groups, was inexpensive to create and (0f course) was delicious. This post contains 4 delicious (and healthy!) recipes that make up my submission for the Blogger Extreme Food Makeover. Head on over to Cooking Matters’ Blog to see everyone’s submissions and vote for your favorite. The Fan Favorite will get their recipe published on the National Share Your Strength website, so I would absolutely love it if you voted for me. But the important thing here is to check out the wonderful impact that Cooking Matters is having on lower income families all over the United States.

When I received my Blogger Extreme Food Makeover assignment of Fried Chicken one thought came to mind: It’s time to give Paula Dean a run for her money. We all know this Southern queen of butter laden, deep fried cuisine, and even though her cooking style has no place in a healthy diet, I do admire some of her cooking philosophies. Paula clearly puts a lot of love into her cooking, and despite our opposing ideas on what an acceptable amount of butter is, we definitely agree on the importance of cooking for the ones you love. So when this born and bred Michigander received a very Southern dish to recreate, I decided to take a cue from Ms. Dean and create a feast of Southern classics for my family. The only difference is that my dishes are considerably lighter and healthier. And at a cost of only $3.34 per serving for “Fried” Chicken, Creamy Coleslaw, Chili Corn Muffins & “Frozen Yogurt” topped with Caramelized Plums, families can definitely afford to create a Southern feast of their own.

Chili Corn Muffins: Makes 10 servings ($0.15 per serving)

These Chili Corn Muffins have a bit of a kick thanks to the addition of chili powder. The use of  whole wheat flour not only gives you a serving of healthy grains but also gives the muffins a nuttier flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients (cornmeal through sugar)
  3. Pour applesauce, skim milk, egg & canola oil into the dry ingredients
  4. Mix until just combined
  5. Spray muffin liners with cooking spray before dividing batter into 10 muffin liners.
  6. Bake muffins for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the muffin

Coleslaw: Serves 4 ($1.12 per serving)

Traditional Creamy Coleslaw is often smothered with mayonnaise based dressing that is high in fat and hides the flavor of the fresh veggies in the slaw. My use of  Greek Yogurt as a dressing base cuts down on fat, adds protein and dairy and allows the crisp flavors of the vegetables to shine through.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup Rainbow Broccoli Slaw
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced into very thin strips
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, combine broccoli slaw and thinly sliced bell pepper, set aside
  2. In a small bowl, combine Greek Yogurt and remaining ingredients
  3. Pour yogurt mixture over broccoli slaw mixture and stir until slaw is well coated with dressing
  4. Chill for 2-3 hours before serving

“Fried” Chicken Fingers ($1.83 per serving)

To capture the crunch of traditional fried chicken, I used Panko breadcrumbs, an extra crispy Japanese breadcrumb that is found in the baking section of the grocery store. And by cutting the chicken into thin strips, you are able to set the portion size to avoid overeating.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (roughly two chicken breasts)
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs

Whole Wheat Breadcrumbs:

  • 4 slices stale whole wheat bread
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preparation:

  1. Thinly slice chicken breast into 1 inch strips; you should have around 10 strips (or 2-3 per serving) when finished cutting; set chicken aside
  2. In a shallow dish, whisk skim milk and egg together
  3. To make the whole wheat breadcrumbs, place whole wheat bread in a food processor and pulse until breadcrumbs form
  4. Stir pepper, chili powder, salt and parmesan into whole wheat bread crumbs
  5. In a second shallow dish, combine whole wheat breadcrumbs and Panko breadcrumbs
  6. Dip chicken strips into egg mixture, letting excess liquid drip off, and then dip chicken strips into breadcrumb mixture
  7. Place chicken strip onto a baking sheet that has been lightly coated with cooking spray
  8. Repeat with remaining chicken strips
  9. Spray tops of chicken strips with cooking spray
  10. Bake at 350 for 6 minutes
  11. Remove pan from oven, flip chicken strips to the opposite side and return to oven for an additional 10 minutes of baking time

Carmelized Plums and “Frozen Yogurt”:  ($0.24 per serving)

To incorporate my “secret ingredient” I thought I would play on the traditional Southern dessert of fruit cobbler. And the use of frozen bananas to create a creamy ice cream substitute adds a sneaky serving of fruit to the meal and can fool even the most devoted ice cream lovers. My family was very surprised that their ice cream dessert contained no ice cream at all!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped plums (I used 8 baby plums)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple extract (vanilla extract would work as well)
  • 2 bananas, frozen
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla Greek Yogurt (I put mine in the freezer for 3 hours prior to making this recipe so the yogurt was slightly hard and didn’t add liquid to the recipe)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preparation:

  1. To prepare the plums, place chopped plums, honey & maple extract in a saucepan over medium heat
  2. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until plums are soft & slightly caramelized  (about 10 minutes)
  3. For the “Frozen Yogurt” Place frozen bananas in a food processor and blend until mixture is smooth and creamy (about 5 minutes). I recommend chopping the bananas into bite sized pieces before freezing overnight, this makes the bananas easier to blend
  4. Next, add greek yogurt and cinnamon to the banana mixture and pulse until just combined
  5. To serve, scoop 1/4 cup of banana “Frozen yogurt” into small serving dishes and top with 3 tablespoons of plum mixture
Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Cooking Matters Extreme Food Makeover

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s