Ingredient Substitutions

Hot CocoaBy Diane Ruyack

If you don’t have a particular ingredient for a recipe — or you don’t want to buy it, or you run out while you’re cooking — here are some swaps you can make with ingredients at hand.  For sour cream or mayonnaise use fat-free, plain Greek yogurt. It is just as thick and creamy with less fat and double the protein.  Idea: Mix a scoop of Greek yogurt with salsa for a dip. Equal amounts of yogurt can be used instead of sour cream.  For butter, half is replaced with half as much yogurt. (1 cup of butter would become ½ cup of butter and ¼ cup of yogurt.)  For shortening or oil, replace half the oil with three-quarters the amount of yogurt. (For example, instead of 1 cup of oil, use 1/2 cup of oil and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of yogurt.)

Swap out the oil in baked goods with the same proportion of applesauce,  strained prunes (use baby food, if you want to save a step), mashed banana, pumpkin puree.  You may want to reduce the sugar a little since fruits are sweet.

If you are out of eggs for baking, mix 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed with 3 tablespoons of water or for  2 eggs substitute 1 egg + 2 whites or egg substitute.

Regular whole wheat flour can be strong in flavor and texture, but there are two kinds of whole wheat flour that are closer replacements for all-purpose flour. When a recipe calls for all-purpose flour, you can substitute white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour for 25 – 50 percent of the amount. Both of these swaps work great for many baked goods, but may present too much flavor for the most delicate items like angel food cake.

Another simple substitution for 1 ounce of chocolate is 3 tablespoons cocoa. Making frothy hot cocoa is easy just use 1 c. milk, 2 tbsp of sugar, 2 tbsp water, 1 tbsp cocoa powder cook on low until desired temperature! Whisk until frothy.  Bottoms up!

The best use of a quarter

By Michelle Plummer

The drought is profoundly affecting American agriculture and dairy farmers are some of the hardest hit. Dairy farmers appreciate Americans understanding their situation, and recognize these are tough time s for everyone.  Consumers can show their support for dairy farmers by continuing to enjoy and purchase nutritious, and great tasting dairy products.

Dairy farmers don’t control the price of milk at the store and a higher cost at retail doesn’t mean farmers make more money, on average farmers receive 30% of the retail cost.  Thinking about all the farmers do every day to make sure they deliver a perfect product, that isn’t much money!  An 8-ounce glass of milk costs about a quarter and provides so much benefit.

At the American Dairy Association we have a slogan and it seems to never go out of style that Dairy is always in season!  Today I want to share three of my very favorite dairy recipes that are good for you and your wallet!  Just in time for the Fall Season.

Maple and Fruit Oatmeal

½ cup oats                                                                           1 cup milk

2 tablespoons maple syrup                                          ½ banana sliced

In microwave safe bowl combine oats and milk.  Place in microwave for 2 minutes on high; stir halfway through cooking time.  Remove from microwave and top with maple syrup and sliced bananas.  Delicious!  Additional toppers: Peanut butter and fruit, nuts, spices, wheat germ (the sky’s the limit, be creative!)

Creamy Mac and Cheese

2 tablespoons butter                                                      2 tablespoons onion

2 tablespoons flour                                                         2 cups milk

8 ounces of macaroni                                                     2 dashes each Worcestershire, tabasco, cayenne pepper

2 cups assorted cheese, cubed                                  1 cup cooked chicken

½ cup peas and carrots

Cook macaroni in boiling water until tender; drain.  Meanwhile, in pan the macaroni was cooked in add butter, and onion.  Sauté for 3 minutes, add flour and stir for 3 minutes.  Add milk and whisk until smooth and add the Worcestershire, tabasco, cayenne and cheese.  Cook until smooth.  Add macaroni and chicken and combine.  Lastly add peas and carrots.  Here is the decision — bake or stove top?  At our house I like stove top and others like the crunchy edges—either way if you bake it place contents in the pan to a prepared baking dish and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F or until you see the crunchy edges.  You can also add spinach or red peppers or salsa…. just open the fridge and get a bit wild! 

Ole’ Quesadillas!

4- 7” flour tortillas                                                            16 ounce package of onion pepper medley

1 tablespoon taco seasoning                                       1 cup grated cheese, assorted mild and sharp

Salsa                                                                                      avocado slices

In large skillet place frozen onion pepper mixture and add taco seasoning plus ¼ cup water.  Cook until tender about 5 minutes and mixture is dry.  On griddle place the tortillas add ¼ of the pepper mixture to each and top with ¼ of cheese on half of the tortilla.  Flip the top over the mixture and griddle until golden then flip to second side and griddle until golden.  Remove from griddle and place on platters. Serve with salsa, taco sauce, sour cream or plain yogurt and avocado.  Using a pizza cutter cut each quesadilla into fourths and serve with a green salad topped with salsa!  OLE!

Bonfires and Cocoa

By Michelle Plummer

There is something magical about a bonfire, from the crackling wood to the flames of color jumping about while the red embers quietly smolder below providing warmth and comfort on a chilly autumn night.  As you look in to the fire and recall memories of camp outs with scouts, family and friends there is one thing these memories have in common… hot cocoa!

Hot cocoa is one of my favorite foods and really what is not to love?  Warm milk, chocolate and whipped cream… ooohhhh, well not all of my hot chocolate memories are like this. There was the camp out that we burnt the milk and used water, chocolate and sugar and topped it off with whipped cream—-horrible! Or the time I ran out of milk and mixed milk and water (who would notice) and added whipped cream as a thickener to the cocoa and sugar and well never mind…one more disaster!  And my personal favorite of trying to melt chocolate bars over the fire into a cup of warm milk…why you ask?  Because it took much too long to melt the chocolate in the milk together, the chocolate burnt into the fire and I was left with warm milk and whipped cream…not bad, but not what I had envisioned around the campfire!

However, many years later and lots of practice I have developed delicious hot cocoa that is perfect for any group, any fire and even perfect near the indoor fire pit (fireplace)!

Homemade Hot Cocoa  (serves 10)

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot water
1/2 gallon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon instant coffee

1 cup half and half

Garnishes:
Whipped cream, cinnamon sticks, chocolate shavings, peppermint sticks, marshmallows

In large saucepan combine sugar, cocoa powder, salt and coffee together.  Add water and stir until blended.  Whisk milk in gradually; add chocolate that has been chopped.  Heat until very warm; add vanilla and half & half.  Place on stove to heat again until warm.  Place in thermos for the bonfire or place in crockpot on low for a crowd or simply ladle into large mugs, garnish as desired and go to your best memory of past bonfires or build a new memory with a delicious cup of cocoa.

Quickie Cocoa

Open an envelope of cocoa mix, add warm milk and stir in your favorite mug.  All the benefits of cocoa plus the milk nutrition and it done in just a minute and you will not miss one crackle or spark!

Using Up Garden Veggies and Herbs

By Michelle Plummer

Using up Garden Veggies and Herbs (mostly Herbs)! It is not too late, with the past rain and sun there is going to be a final bounty from our gardens before the first frost!

Looking out my kitchen window I have bunches of sage, rosemary and basil just crying for attention and a good ‘hair cut’! The tomatoes are in all shades from green to bright red and the peppers are doing well.

I hate to say I lost the fight on cucumbers and lettuces (I know they are a spring time product, but I was sure I would have time to pick each evening after I came home from the fair… never mind, best made plans you know!

Back to what I can work with and how I can make what is bountiful last over the winter. Pesto comes to mind right off, this vibrant green sauce is wonderful over pasta or just dipping parmesan cheese bread into with a glass of wine. The fresh taste of the pesto reminds you of your garden, the cheese has many benefits and the wine just makes you warm like the summer day picking the herbs. Pesto is easy and there is a recipe below, but I really like making Colt’s Pesto Chicken Casserole, it feeds a crowd which is great when the game is on and it is simple enough no one is in the kitchen all day!

Colts Pesto Chicken Casserole

8 ounces of cooked pasta (any shape)

8 ounces of homemade pesto (more if desired)

1 cup grated Parmesan

½ cup sautéed onions (in butter of course)

½ cup chopped sundried tomatoes

6 chicken breasts- sautéed in the onion butter from above, cut into pieces

Place cooked paste in baking dish, place chicken over pasta. Combine onion, tomatoes, and half of the Parmesan and place over the chicken and pasta Pour pesto over the dish and top with remaining pesto! Bake 40 minutes until warm and bubbly at 350 degrees. Serve hot with buttered bread and Enjoy! Serves 6-8 This is a delicious way to get your dairy, antioxidants and all those other great ‘healthy’ foods in one dish and no one will know if you don’t tell them! You will just know that you had one more great way of showing off your green thumb from the bounty of your garden that now is just a few twigs and weeds! Start planning for spring; it will be here very soon.

OH by the way here is my best Pesto recipe: 1 ½ cups tightly packed basil along with ½ cup assorted (what is left) herbs from your garden, 6 cloves garlic, ½ cup walnuts, ½ cup pinenuts, salt and pepper, a dash of cayenne pepper all packed into a food processor. With the blade running add about ¾ cup olive oil until you have a thick gravy consistency. Place into a freezer container and add olive oil over the top to keep the great green color. Freeze for 1 year, but I am sure you will use before then. Thaw and use with one of the suggestions above.

Happiness Personified

By Diane Ruyack

“Ice cream is happiness condensed. “ is a quote from Jessi Lane Adams. So the month of July is happiness personified since July is National Ice Cream Month!

Today’s on-the-go families are opting for simple, elegant entertaining. The less time spent in the kitchen, the better. Ice cream is an easy, delicious and, if desired, fancy solution. Old favorites – sundaes, root beer floats, banana splits, milkshakes, pie a-la-mode, and ice cream cones – are among the most popular and simplest choices. Continue reading

Are You Ready for the 4th of July?

To get you in the proper mood for this blog, please start with this:

Now I could probably stop right here, and we’d be fine.  But there is more to this major American holiday than a rousing march.  There are fireworks (in less dry weather)!  And parades!  And picnics!

In June of 1776, the original thirteen colonies’ Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, where a document was drafted to formally sever ties with Great Britain. This document was crafted by Thomas Jefferson, the most eloquent writer on the committee charged with this task.  Eighty-six changes later, the final version of the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4.  Copies were distributed the following day and the Pennsylvania Evening Post became the first newspaper to print this historic document in its July 6 edition.

The first public readings of the Declaration of Independence were held on July 8, 1776, in Philadelphia’s Independence Square.  Bells were rung and band music was played; the following year, bonfires and fireworks were added to the celebration.  This type of festivity grew and spread throughout our young nation, becoming more common at the end of the War of 1812 with Great Britain.

In 1870, Congress established Independence Day as a holiday, which Congress reaffirmed in 1938.

Communities large and small across the country mark this major summer holiday with parades, firework displays, picnics and the playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” and marches by John Philip Sousa.

One Indiana town, in particular, has a special meaning on July 4.  Patriot, Indiana – population 209 – can’t help but enjoy a day that celebrates the patriot in all of us.  Located on the Ohio River in southeastern Indiana, Patriot is also home to Dr. Elwood Mead who supervised the construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930’s.  Hoover Dam impedes Lake Mead, named after him.

So now that we know why we’re celebrating, the question becomes how are you going to celebrate this great day?  Since the Fourth falls on a Wednesday this year, my family’s celebrating will a little smaller than those that fall on a weekend.  I don’t have my menu planned just yet, but it will definitely include watermelon; that’s about the only time of year my husband will eat it.  I think watermelon just fits so well into the red, white, and blue theme.  Need some ideas yourself for fun Fourth of July foods?  Abby, our dietetic intern, has a cute idea here:


How about a Patriotic Parfait?

Both of these ideas are colorful, fun, and nutritious!  And why not top off your Fourth of July meal with a cold glass of milk and some very special cookies?

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

New Twist on Salad

By Abby Cropper

I am a Purdue University graduate and currently an IUPUI dietetic intern at the Dairy & Nutrition Council in Indianapolis.

The summer months tend to bring salads to our tables.  But, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, and a slice of cucumber can get pretty boring.  It’s funny the way we associate salad with lettuce.  To some people lettuce is called salad and to others salad is just lettuce in a bowl!

So, according to the dictionary, the definition of salad is:

sal·ad/ˈsaləd: a cold dish of various mixtures of raw or cooked vegetables, usually seasoned with oil, vinegar, or other dressing and sometimes accompanied by meat, fish, or other ingredients Continue reading