Getting back on track after indulging on fair food

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The SEMO District Fair has folded up and moved out and we have to say goodbye to all of the delicious fair food. We made our way around enjoying bites from each others food. We especially enjoyed the 4-H rib eye and pork burger sandwiches, the Grace Methodist fish and the marinated pork kebabs. There is something special about eating these foods at the fair and enjoying them with good friends and family. Now that the fair is over and fair food is long gone, we have a few recipes today on the lighter side and vegetarian to get us all back on track.

Roasted Squash and Sage Pita Pizza

These are flavorful, and a good reminder that pitas make a great base for any kind of pizza you want, and are easy and fast.

1 butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded and cut into 1 inch chunks

16 fresh sage leaves, minced

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 teaspoon course sea salt, divided

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 (28-ounce) can of diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded

8 whole-grain pita bread rounds

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss squash, half of the sage, 2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt in baking dish. Roast in oven for 30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes until squash is tender. While squash is roasting, heat remaining oil, salt, oregano and garlic. Saute for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in tomatoes and cook, uncovered until thickened. Add balsamic vinegar, stir and heat through, then turn heat off. Remove squash and reduce heat to 400 degrees. Place pitas on cookie sheet and heat for 3 minutes until slightly browned. Remove from oven and spread on the tomato sauce, then the squash. Sprinkle with mozzarella then remaining sage. Bake 5-8 minutes until cheese is melted. Cut in fourths and serve hot.

APO (Apples, Prunes and Oranges)

I was visiting with someone at the senior center recently and she asked me for a high-fiber recipe. I have the perfect one to "get you going."

1 apple, washed and cored

3/4 cup canned prunes or dried prunes, rehydrated with hot water

1 1/2 cups drained mandarin oranges

Combine all ingredients together in a blender, adding prune or orange liquid as needed to mix. Grind up until pieces are small. Portion out into 3 ounce portions into small plastic Dixie cups. Freeze on a flat cookie sheet. Take two out each day to thaw to eat the next day.

If you need more at first to "get you going" use a 4 ounce serving 3 times a day, then cut back as needed. This is a really good recipe for anyone who is on pain medications as they can be quite constipating.

Caramelized Onion and Red Pepper Sauce

Jodi Thompson from Jackson sends me her round Robin recipes and this one was included. I thought it sounded interesting and a great way to jazz up ordinary fish or chicken.

Serve this sauce over pasta, chicken or fish for a delicious entree.

1/4 cup olive oil

2 large red onions, thinly sliced

3 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, cut into thin strips (julienne)

1 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over low heat and saute the onions slowly until tender and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the bell peppers and increase the heat to medium. Saute until the peppers begin to brown slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, salt, pepper and optional red pepper flakes, and either toss with cooked pasta or serve over cooked chicken or fish.

Skinny Red Velvet Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1 cup white whole-wheat flour

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 egg

2 egg whites

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/3 cups light buttermilk

1 tablespoon red food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with liners. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flours, salt, cocoa and baking powder. In another large bowl beat sugar, applesauce and butter. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix baking soda and vinegar. Add half of the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, mix well. Add buttermilk, red food coloring and mix well. Add the remaining dry ingredients and fold in vinegar and baking soda. Pour in prepared cupcake liners 3/4 of the way. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool, then frost with low-fat cream cheese frosting. Makes 26 cupcakes.

Low-Fat Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces 1/3 of the fat cream cheese

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.

Have a great week, and until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by Southeast Missourian staff.

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