Sunday, March 30, 2008

Indoor S'mores

This Easter, my daughter got her weight in sugar (not from me, I assure you.) A week later I was staging an indoor "campfire" for a sleepover and instead of buying milk chocolate chips to concoct these indoor S'mores, I raided her Easter haul. Two solid chocolate crosses and a Dove rabbit were sacrificed for the good of the project. I didn't think about it until later, but possibly Peeps could be used in place of the mini marshmallows. But those never last around my house as long as the solid chocolates.

Indoor S'mores
Copyright 2007 General Mills
8 cups Golden Grahams cereal
5 cups miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup light corn syrup
5 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 additional cup miniature marshmallows, if desired

I made the stovetop version; microwave directions follow.
Into large bowl, measure cereal. Butter 13-by-9-inch pan. In 3-quart saucepan, heat 5 cups marshmallows, the chocolate chips, corn syrup and butter over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.
Pour over cereal; quickly toss until completely coated. Stir in remaining cup of marshmallows.
Press mixture evenly in pan, using buttered back of spoon. Let stand uncovered at least 1 hour, or refrigerate if you prefer a firmer bar (I don't recommend this from past experience with a similar recipe, not this one.) For squares, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store loosely covered at room temperature up to 2 days.

Microwave directions:
Into large bowl, measure cereal. Butter 13-by-9-inch pan. In large microwavable bowl, microwave 5 cups marshmallows, the chocolate chips, corn syrup and butter uncovered on High 2 minutes to 3 minutes 30 seconds, stirring after every minute, until melted and smooth when stirred. Stir in vanilla. Continue as directed above.

Monday, March 3, 2008

What's for dinner: Veggie Turkey Burgers

This is a tasty way to sneak in a vegetable and stretch a pound of ground meat.

1 pound lean ground turkey
1/2 pound mushrooms, wiped clean, trimmed and finely chopped
1 cup whole-wheat or Italian breadcrumbs (see bonus tip)
1/2 cup grated zucchini
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 heaping tablespoons ketchup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Nonstick cooking spray
1 tablespoon oil
4 bagels, split and toasted
Steak sauce or ketchup for topping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Use a food processor to chop the mushrooms and grate the squash.
In a large bowl, mix the meat, mushrooms, breadcrumbs, zucchini, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, salt and pepper until well-combined. The mixture will be moist. Form into eight patties.
Coat a large nonstick ovenproof (like cast-iron) skillet with cooking spray and set it over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the oil. Add the burgers and brown on one side for 4-5 minutes. Turn the burgers, then slide the skillet into the oven. Bake for 4-5 minutes longer, or until the burgers are no longer pink in the center. You might have to cook them in batches or use two skillets.
Serve each burger on half of a bagel.
Makes 8 servings.

I slightly adapted this recipe. The original came from the West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources. It was printed in a newsletter to participants in the Women, Infants & Children nutrition program. My changes were: 1. serving the burgers open-face atop bagels (1/2 a bagel or hamburger bun counts as a serving of grain -- so if you eat a whole one, you're actually eating 2 starch/bread servings); and 2. doubling the amount of zucchini because I wanted to use up all that I had. To compensate, I added a little more seasoning than called for in the original recipe. The extra quantities of squash and sauces did not make the mixture moister. I was tempted to add garlic to this mix but I held back because I was using garlic in the side dish.

For which I baked a 16-ounce bag of frozen french fries according to package direcitons. I melted 3 tablespoons butter in a skillet and added two large cloves of garlic, chopped. When the garlic started to sizzle, I took it off the heat and added the fries. Each diner salted his own portion.

Bonus tip: To make Italian breadcrumbs when all you have is plain:
Mix together:
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried basil

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