FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF
I have before me a copy of “The Dairy Food Cookbook” edited by Lisa Kinglsey. Published this year by Andrew McMeel Publishing, the $25.00 hardback book includes everyday comfort food from America’s dairy farm families. Purchase of this cookbook helps support GENYOUth Foundation that helps millions of children in America have better access to nutritious foods and become high achieving adults. Organized around a dairy farmer’s day, the book begins with a “Sunrise Breakfast” and ends with an “After-Dinner Dessert’ as well as including holidays and family get-together’s. Nothing soothes the soul quite like a warm bit of Salsa Mac with Colby Jack, Apple Cheddar Pizza, Apricot Dijon Pork Chops or a taste of Triple Layer Cake with Vanilla Buttercream. We’re featuring a recipe that caught my attention in the “Sundown Supper” chapter and a dip from the “After Chores Snack” chapter.
Cajun Mac and Cheese combines spicy Andouille sausage, chopped onions and sweet bell peppers with a trifecta of butter, heavy cream and cheese tossed and bow tie pasta. Kids and adults will love Creamy Apple Butter Dip with cream cheese, apple butter and peanut butter served with freshly harvested apple and pear slices or graham crackers if you prefer. Yum!
CAJUN MAC AND CHEESE
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 large yellow onions, finely diced (about 2 cups)
• 2 cups finely diced bell pepper (2 cups)
• 1 cup sliced Andouille sausage
• 4 cups heavy cream
• 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
• 1 lb. bow tie pasta, cooked according to package directions
• 1/4 cup sliced green onions
Melt the butter in an extra large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and bell pepper and cook until vegetables are soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the sausage and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until vegetables are soft and the sausage begins to brown. Pour in the heavy cream and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer until cream has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Season with salt and black pepper. Add the cooked pasta and stir until all ingredients are well combined and the pasta is coated with sauce. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of green onion. Recipe makes 8 servings.
To cut fat calories replace heavy cream with half and half and reduced-fat Cheddar, preferably sharp Cheddar, because of its robust flavor.
CREAMY APPLE BUTTER DIP
• 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
• 1 cup apple butter
• 1 cup creamy peanut butter
Apple slices, pear slices and/or graham crackers In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, apple butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours. Serve with apple and pear slices and/or graham crackers. Recipe makes 12 servings.
Spiralizers that replace regular pasta with strings of hard vegetables like carrots, zucchini, beets, etc., is a healthy concept but watch your fingers because the gadget has a sharp part and if you’re on a blood thinner, can be a serious problem. So handle with care!
A WEIGHTY TOPIC
Body weight is an essential part pf a person’s self- image, and when pounds accumulate, so often does distress. Our culture is, to put it mildly, preoccupied with weight. And yet surveys show that almost half of people who are overweight or even obese don’t realize it, and most parents of obese children describe their kids as being “about the right weight.” Obesity is one of the biggest health risks we face. It increases the risk of many chronic disorders. It’s estimated that obesity is associated with anywhere from 10 to 25 percent of all deaths and shortens life expectancy by four to seven years. The good news is that the rate of weight gain has been slowing, In fact, obesity rates seem to have reached a plateau in some groups such as middle age women while the rate among young children has actually started to drop.
Given all of that, it’s no surprise that so many Americans are constantly going on diets or are at least trying to “watch” their weight. Clearly most have not been achieving long term success. That has fueled a $60,000 billion diet industry, from diet books, structured programs, special food supplements, medications and weight-loss (bariatric) surgery.
Source: Special 2015 Fall Issue of the University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter.