Mary’s Memo #2151


Since Betty Crocker Impossible Pies were introduced I've been a fan of them and can't recall one that I haven't liked. The problem is that regular Bisquick has trans fats that we should avoid because they raise LDL (bad cholesterol) and lower HDH (good cholesterol). But General Mills also makes HeartSmart Bisquick and it is trans fat-free. Happily for me, I found that it can be used interchangeably in Impossible Pie recipes! Fresh asparagus was on sale when I put it to the test at home and at the Bryan Chief. Note that this is a meatless entree and perfect for Lenten meals.


2 cups fresh asparagus cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese, if available (sharp Cheddar may also be used)
1/2 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup HeartSmart Bisquick
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (I used 1 percent but skim will also work)
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Layer first three ingredients in a buttered deep dish 9-inch pie plate. Whisk together remaining ingredients and spoon over asparagus mixture. Bake in preheated 375F oven for 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Recipe makes 4 servings.

Homemade biscuit recipes usually call for hydrogenated shortening like Crisco. I found a recipe on the internet that called for melted butter instead. I also added a generous amount of shredded sharp Cheddar cheese to the batter and it's become a favorite quick bread.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)
1 cup milk (whatever kind you have on hand)
1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375F. In large bowl combine flour, baking powder, sugar, cream of tartar and salt. Stir in melted butter and milk just until moistened. Fold in cheese. Spoon onto parchment-lined baking sheet (I used the larger Pampered Chef scoop). Bake in preheated oven for about 10-11 minutes or until brown around the edges. Serve warm. Recipe makes a dozen.

Source: Adapted from recipe, the world's favorite recipe web site. INCLUDE BARLEY IN YOUR DIET

Adding barley to your diet can lower your cholesterol and thus reduce your risk of heart disease. The FDA allows this health claim, similar to the one for oats. In one USDA study people with mildly elevated blood cholesterol saw their levels drop significantly when they ate a heart-healthy diet that contained the equivalent of about half a cup of barley flakes a day. Barley is the best source of beta glucan, a soluble fiber known to lower cholesterol. It also contains another soluble fiber called pectin, along with iron, selenium, zinc and some B vitamins. Look for hulled barley, which retains its nutrient-and-fiber-rich bran.

Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, February 2010.

When one of my Purdue mentors, Dr. Gertrude Sunderlin, shared this barley casserole recipe many years ago, we didn't have rotisserie chickens at the supermarket but we do now so when I need cooked chicken for a recipe rotisserie chicken is the way to go!


1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups quick-cooking barley
2 cups fresh button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 can Campbell's Healthy Request mushroom soup
3 cups cooked, cubed chicken
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups chicken broth without MSG

Melt butter in large skillet. Saute chopped onion. Add barley and stir until golden. Add remaining ingredients. Spoon into 2 1/2-quart casserole and bake covered in 325F oven for about 1 1/2 hours (check after one hour). Recipe makes 8 servings.


While some people may need supplements at certain stages of their lives, nutritional deficiencies are uncommon in the US. "Almost all of us get or can get the vitamins and minerals we need from our diet," says Paul M. Coates, PhD., director of the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institute of Health. Major health organizations for cancer, diabetes and heart disease all advise against supplements in favor of a healthful diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Unlike pills, those foods contain fiber plus thousands of health-protective substances that seem to work together more powerfully than any single ingredient can work alone.

Source: Consumer Reports on Health, February 2010. Download PDF of Memo #2151

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