Friday, March 21, 2008
Comfort food made healthier
It seems to be a constant struggle, how do you make the foods you loved as a kid and the foods you indulge in, healthier? My philosophy is to cut back on the fat where you can, but to also try to fit more vegetables into the dish to bulk it up and cut back on the fat per serving. The other way I look at it is, always trying to make foods that somehow contribute to your daily servings of fiber, vegetables, protein, whatever it may be, make it count- no empty calories. Granted there will be some here and there, but I believe if you take this approach daily, you can still eat foods you enjoy but create a healthier diet for yourself. This dish would be a classic example. The sloppy joes are loaded with veggies and the bun has whole wheat flour and lot's of flaxseed. I used ground flax and found that it created a really nice and chewy texture in the bread.
Sloppy Joes (serves about 6)
1 lb lean ground beef (or turkey, chicken or even crumbled tofu)
1 medium onion diced
1 green bell pepper diced
2 medium cloves of garlic finely chopped
2 cups grated butternut squash (either using a cheese grater or food processor)
1 1/4 cups tomato juice (this is flexible- tomato puree or v-8 or reg tomato juice)
1 cup BBQ sauce
1 TBS Worcestershire
1 TBS brown sugar
Brown the meat in a large saute pan. Cook through and set aside to drain on a paper towel. Drain all of the fat except about 1 TBS(if your meat is very lean you may have to add some oil. Saute all of your vegetables and garlic just beginning to get tender. Add the tomato juice and cook down until it has reduced by about half then add the BBQ sauce, brown sugar, and Worcestershire) and cook until for about 15 minutes and then add the beef back in. You want to make sure you cook it until the sauce is fairly thick adding the ground beef towards the end. This freezes well.
Flax Seed Rolls or Hamburger Buns (Makes 12 medium size rolls)
8 oz all purpose flour
10 oz whole wheat flour
2.5 oz rye flour
2 oz flax seed (about 1/2 cup)
1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
2 TBS honey
14.6 oz water
2 tsp salt
Mix all the dough except the salt. Mix until all the flour has been mixed in but don't start kneeding the dough yet. Cover and let this sit for twenty minutes. After the 20 minutes are up mix in the salt. This gives the yeast a head start and gets it working it also gives the flour a chance to absorb all the liquid, making it a lot easier to handle. Sprinkle the salt on top and either by hand or machine, mix for 5 minutes or so, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a greased bowl, cover and let it rise until double (in a warm place) this will take about 1 hour assuming the room is 70 degrees or so (if it's colder it will just take longer. Gently deflate the dough and let it double again (this should only take about 20 minutes or so). **Alternatively you can mix the dough and then just put covered bowl in the refrigerator overnight and let it proof slowly. The next day take it out and let it sit at room temperature for a few hours to give the dough a chance to warm up and then continue as normal** After the dough has doubled for the second time turn it out onto a very lightly floured surface and divide the dough into 3 oz portions (you can eyeball this or weigh it) and you should have about 12 buns. Roll them into a rough round and let them sit for 20 minutes covered. Meanwhile turn the oven on to 375 and prepare a pan with either parchment or grease. Crack 1 egg into a bowl, add a pinch of salt and 1 tbs water and stir until the egg is completely broken up. After the twenty minutes re-round the balls making sure you they are smooth all over. Place them on the sheet pan and take your hand and flatten each ball as much as possible (this will create a wider surface and more of a bun shape) let them rise in a warm place covered until they have doubled in size. This should take anywhere from 1/2 hour to an hour. After they are fully proofed brush some egg wash on each bun and press down gently again to help to flatten them (they bounce back quite a bit). Bake at 375 until a dark golden crust forms. Probably about 1/2 an hour. Let them cool completely before cutting in half. These freeze well.