It’s been a while since I posted a culinary-related post, and given all of the stress I’ve been under lately a light topic is all I can muster. Plus, it happens that dairy-based foods and drinks tend to be my comfort foods. They curb my stress hunger, and provide soothing. I’d also like to mention that some dairy-based foods (fat free or low fat) have in the past also helped me in my dieting efforts. Again, they curb my hunger and tend to be yummy alternatives to more sinful sweets and starchy carbs. Note, however, that I have included one dessert recipe (the Malakov) that is not exactly diet food, but is oh so worth it, on occasion.
Cottage Cheese Pancakes
These pancakes are delicious and similar to ones my Czech husband remembers growing up in Prague. I use fat free small curd cottage cheese, which works beautifully. Though maple syrup could be used, they are more traditionally topped with preserves. I also top with fresh fruit, plain yogurt or whipped cream. They are super quick and easy to make! Total time to make is maybe 10 mins max. Serves 2
- ¾ cup cottage cheese (I use fat free. Do NOT use lactose free.)
- 1 egg
- 3 Tbs all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp oil (like veggie or canola)
- Jam/preserves of choice (We like raspberry)
- Whipped cream or plain yogurt
- Optional fresh fruit
Mix all ingredients together well. Spray a non-stick pan with cooking spray. Heat to medium or medium-high. Spoon batter into pan to make 4 pancakes. Cook like regular pancakes, being careful to turn gently. When done, spread each with jam/preserves, then plain yogurt or whipped cream/topping, then optional fresh fruit.
Belgian Endives au Gratin
Have you ever tried cooked Belgian endives? They are delicious! Especially wrapped with ham and smothered in a light cheese sauce and browned in the oven. An endive with some of the delicious sauce makes a light, but filling dinner entrée. The recipe makes a lot of the cheese sauce, which can also top potatoes and/or side veggies. Serves 4
- 4 medium Belgian endives
- ¾ cup water
- ½ tsp salt, divided
- 2 Tbs each butter and minced onion
- 3 Tbs all-purpose flour
- 2 cups skim (or other) milk, heated
- Dash of pepper and ground red pepper (cayenne)
- 4 oz (115 grams) Swiss cheese (light Swiss is fine), shredded with 2 Tbs reserved for topping
- 4 slices boiled or plain baked ham (thin enough for wrapping the endives) 1 oz or 28 grams per slice
In medium skillet combine endives, water, and ¼ tsp of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover pan, and let endives simmer, turning once until tender (about 20-25 mins). If needed, add more water (which I usually do). Using a slotted spoon, remove endives to a plate, then discard liquid from pan.
While endives drain, in a medium saucepan heat butter until bubbly. Add onion and sauté until softened. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly for a few minutes. Remove from heat, and using a whisk, slowly whisk in heated milk until smooth. Add dash of white or black pepper and red pepper, and remaining salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sauce is thickened. Turn heat to low and continue cooking and stirring 10 more minutes. Add all of the shredded cheese except the reserved 2 Tbs. Stir until cheese is melted. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C). Into a medium shallow baking dish, just large enough for endives, pour ¼ of cheese sauce. Roll 1 slice of ham around each endive and place in baking dish. Top with remaining sauce, then sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbs of cheese. Bake in upper-third part of oven for 15-20 mins.
Any fruit frozen smoothie
I like my smoothies on the verge of being like soft-serve frozen yogurt, but they can be thinned down by adding more milk. 2 servings
- ½ cup frozen fruit of choice (i.e. berry mix, mango, pineapple, etc.)
- ½ cup plain yogurt (I use fat free with great results)
- Optional: 2 tsp sugar or 2 packets of non-sugar sweetener of choice (Truvia, Equal, Sweet & Low, Splenda)
- ½ cup skim or other milk, plus more as desired
Blend all ingredients in a blender. Add any extra milk, if desired, and blend in. Pour into medium to tall glasses.
Malakov (Chocolate Paris Cream Delight)
This is not the most beautiful dessert, but it is among the most delicious I’ve had. It was my mother-in-law’s recipe and the favorite choice of everyone. It is basically a chocolate Paris cream with fruit, nuts, and Nilla cookie sandwiches held together with raspberry preserves. It’s best after 2 days so that the fruit infuses the cream and the Nilla cookie sandwiches absorb some cream. Use only egg yolks from fresh pasteurized eggs since the yolks are not cooked. Serves 8
- 3 egg yolks
- ½ cup plus 1 Tbs confectioner’s sugar
- 1.5 bars high-quality semi-sweet cooking chocolate (approx. 6 oz/170 grams), melted
- 1-2 Tbs water, boiling
- 1 cup whipping cream, whipped (heavy cream, whipped is OK, too)
- 1 med jar raspberry preserves (use as needed to sandwich Nilla wafers)
- 20-24 Nilla wafers, found in cookie section of grocery store (Plain vanilla thin cookies)
- 2 bananas, peeled and sliced thinly or in medium chunks
- 1 cup raw almond slivers
- 1 1/2 cups seedless orange chunks, removed from membranes
In a large bowl mix egg yolks with confectioner’s sugar until well mixed and smooth.
Melt the chocolate according to cooking chocolate instructions (or in a double boiler). Add the small amount of boiling water. Cool slightly and then add to egg yolk mixture, stirring or whisking until smooth.
Whip the whipping cream and fold it into the chocolate mixture.
Separately, spread raspberry jam in between 2 Nilla wafers so that rounded sides of wafers face out. Repeat with all vanilla wafers making 10-12 raspberry filled Nilla “sandwiches”.
Prepare a large decorative bowl that will contain the finished Malakov.
Lay half of the prepared Nilla wafers “sandwiches” in a single layer on the bottom of the decorative bowl, then layer half of the banana slices, orange chunks, almond slivers over top. Cover completely with half of the Paris cream (chocolate cream mixture). Then repeat the layering of the other half of the Nilla wafer sandwiches, banana slices, orange chunks, and almond slivers over top. Then lightly cover with the remaining Paris cream.
Let bowl of Malakov rest in refrigerator for at least 24 hours. 48 hours is best. This allows the Paris cream and other juices to flavor and slightly soften the Nilla wafers.
Serve a large scoop into individual bowls making sure each bowl has some Paris cream, banana, almonds, orange and raspberry filled Nilla wafer.