This weekend I was a cooking/baking fiend! I'm always looking for ways to give my kids some of the foods they love but in much healthier versions...and without it taking me all day in the kitchen! Here are two of my most recent successes:
1 1/3 cup pureed white beans (just take a can of your fave white beans, dump the entire can contents into your blender/food processor and puree - sometimes I have to add just a tablespoon of water to get it really smooth)
2 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
2 tbs grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup wheat germ
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl then kneed until the dough is smooth. If the dough is really sticky, add more wheat flour by small amounts until the dough is less sticky. One note here, the dough, while warm from kneeding, will be slightly sticky but it shouldn't be so bad that your hands are getting completely covered. Once you have the dough kneeded, wrap in plastic and place in fridge for 30 minutes to an hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. While oven is heating, take a baseball size chunk of dough (leave rest in fridge) and roll it out on a cutting board or silicon mat to 1/8" thick. Cut into 1" squares or fun shapes using a small cookie cutter. Place on foil lined baking sheet and sprinkle with a small amount of salt. Bake for 15-16 minutes until just starting to brown on the bottom. Remove from baking sheet and set aside. Continue this method using small amounts of dough until you have used it all (or you can freeze part of it to use later). Once you have taken the last batch out of the oven, turn off the oven and crack the door open for about 5 minutes. Place all the baked crackers back on the baking sheet (they can just be piled - they don't have to be in a flat layer) and put the baking sheet back into the oven, shut the door and leave the crackers there until the oven completely cools down. This dries out the crackers to make them nice and crisp. I usually divide my crackers into 1/2 cup portions in small baggies, place those in a larger ziptop bag and store at room temperature. I can't be sure how long they keep because they never last long in our house!
1 pkg refridgerated pie crusts (contains 2 crusts)
filling of your choice (fruit preserves, chocolate hazelnut spread, etc.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Unroll one crust at a time. If you cut off the rounded ends, you can restick them using a small amount of water to make the crust a rectangle shape. I wish I had taken pictures of this part because I don't really know how to explain it. Roll the crust out until it is about 16" by 12". Divide in half both ways so that you have four smaller rectangles. Take about 1 tablespoon of the filling of your choice and spread on one half of each smaller rectangle. Using your finger or a pastry brush, go around the edges of each rectangle with a small amount of water. Fold the plain side over the filled side of each rectangle and press closed with a fork. You can trim them so they are perfect rectangles again. Brush the tops with a little more water and add sprinkles. Repeat with the other pie crust. Place finished pastries on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 8-10 until just starting to brown on the edges. Serve immediately or freeze for toasting later. These toast just like store bought versions but just make sure the edges are well sealed.
Make sure you use different types of sprinkles for different flavors and label the bags you put them in so you know what they are!
My kids are loving these and I'm happy knowing they are soooo much healthier than the store bought varieties! I'll be experiementing later with making whole wheat pie crusts to boost the healthy factor even more!