Friday, September 30, 2011

Hello and Welcome!

Let me introduce myself... I am a frustrated home chef. I'm frustrated because I'm not working in the industry, which I'd really love to do... and the kitchen in my apartment sucks, quite frankly. I have no storage and when I open cabinets or try to use counter space, things often fall out on my head and/or I run out of room.

Despite all of that, I'm trying to do healthy meals, sometimes gourmet type meals, sometimes just regular down-home food, to help improve my health and that of my family.

I have some obstacles - my weight, my blood sugar levels, and then there is my family. My daughter, 9, will not touch a green, leafy vegetable to save her life. My spouse, a grown man, will not touch a) seafood, b) pork, c) soup, d) anything "slimy" or e) anything with a cream sauce.

It's challenging to try and find food that we all will eat that is healthy, trust me.
This blog is going to chronicle my experiments with healthy recipes that I find and try out on my group of Picky Eaters.

Let's start with my first foray into the world of healthy eating for the picky.

This week, I tried a new recipe from Cooking Light magazine - it was "Favorites Made Healthy" - Mac & Cheese with the tagline "Creamiest Ever." Link to the recipe is here, for those people who might be interested:

The good: It was a recipe that lowered the calorie content per serving from 908 to 390, which is pretty substantial, and it lowered the sodium and saturated fat as well. It incorporated butternut squash, which meant that I got to hide a vegetable in one of my daughter's favorite dishes. I often try to hide veggies in this manner to get her to eat something healthy. It used ingredients that were pretty readily available, and it looked like we'd have leftovers to have for lunch during the week (always a plus when you're on a budget).

The bad: Prep time was lengthier than they indicated in the recipe, it's a good thing I had my food processor unpacked from storage because it would have been Hell to make without it, and the cheeses that were mandated in the recipe were quite expensive ($10.00 for a block of Gruyere at my local store, and that was only ONE of the cheeses!)

The ugly: Although the squash gave the dish the correct golden orange color that was very traditionally mac-n-cheese-like, the sauce didn't cling to the pasta properly and the dish dried out the minute that you baked it as indicated in the recipe instructions. The texture was not at all creamy. And even though it smelled wonderful, it tasted terrible. The squash gave it a bitter aftertaste, and the blend of cheeses was not optimal - not what you'd expect AT ALL from traditional mac-n-cheese dish. Maybe a more sophisticated mac-n-cheese for adults, but not for kids.

Overall, I'd give it 1 star on a 5 point scale with 1 being the lowest. Definitely not worth the time or expense, and we ended up throwing it out after we each tried it (and I hate to waste food, not to mention the fact that we really can't afford to be throwing food away in my house).

I'm currently searching for a good healthy Chinese chicken recipe... stay tuned.

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