Having Your Cake and Eating It Too: Healthy Eating

Using Blossom Monk Fruit and erythritol sweeteners, Scratch Pantry Essentials has created cake, cupcake, frosting, and other mixes  as well as sprinkles and chocolate chips that are free of sugar, bleached or processed flour, gluten, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, synthetic colors, or hydrogenated oils. The sweetener used is a zero-calorie sugar with a taste very similar to table sugar.

The mixes require just a few additions. For example both the Blueberry Lemon Loaf and Vanilla Cake which calls for butter, water, and eggs. Both have a 100 calories per serving. Or you can use the mixes to create more desserts such as Easiest Baked Donuts (recipe below), Chocolate Peanut Butter Chunk Cookies, and Vegan Salted Brownies.

Easiest Baked Donuts


  • 1 package of your favorite Scratch Cake Mix
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened OR coconut oil
  • 3 large eggs OR flax eggs


  • 1/2 cup Blossom Powdered Sweetener
  • 2 tablespoons milk OR plant milk of choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder* (*optional – for chocolate icing)


  • 1/4 cup Scratch Sprinkles


Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour non-stick donut pan. (either traditional flour or 1:1 GF baking flour work best)

Whisk together Scratch cake mix ingredients as instructed on the back of the package.

Pour batter into greased donut pan, filling each 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 15 minutes, or until they pass “the toothpick test”


In a bowl, combine powdered Blossom, cocoa powder*, vanilla extract, and milk of choice. Stir until smooth. Glaze should be thick, but a pourable consistency.

Glaze donuts by simply dunking the (cooled) donuts in the glaze bowl.


Top off your glazed donuts with Scratch Sprinkles while glaze is still wet.

Gluten-free and Easy-to-Make

Remember when gluten-free usually meant taste-free? Thank goodness so many great gluten-free products are now available. I’m constantly trying new ones, not because I’m on a gluten-free diet (lately I feel like I’ve been on a glutton-plus diet but that’s a different post) but because people are always asking what I recommend.

So I was happy when my friend Aly Nardini of Chicago sent me samples of products made by Pamela’s, a leading purveyor of great-tasting, gluten-free mixes for breads, muffins, flours such as almond, cassava, tiger nut, and coconut, cookies, cakes, ramen noodles, pasta, grain-free pancake mixes using nut flours, and more. Pamela’s website is very informative and for each item, there’s a list of ingredients as well as recipes so there’s always something new to try. Besides that, the site provides substitutions so if you’re using, say tiger nut flour, you can use it both as a one on one substitute for other flours or, since tiger nuts aren’t really nuts but a milled vegetable root with a flour consistency, it can be used instead of nut flours such as almond flour. How handy is that?

I always try any recipe before I post it.For example, using Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix, I made their Fall Sheet Pan Pancake with apples and cranberries. According to the website, the mix packet contains brown rice flour, white rice flour, cultured buttermilk, natural almond meal (may appear as brown flecks), tapioca starch, sweet rice flour, potato starch, grainless & aluminum free baking powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, potato starch, sodium bicarbonate), baking soda, sea salt, and xanthan gum. According to their Allergen Information, their mix contains milk and almonds and was manufactured in a gluten-free certified facility, on equipment that processes tree nuts, coconut, eggs, soy and milk. Manufactured in a peanut-free facility.

The following are recipes that I’ve made using Pamela’s Products. They’re all available on her website under the recipes tab. Just click here.

Fall Sheet Pan Pancake

Recipe courtesy (@uncomplicatedchef)

2 cups of Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix (follow package instructions for the batter
1 apple, sliced
1/4 cup of fresh cranberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Maple syrup for serving

Make the pancake batter as per package instructions.

Slice the apple. In a bowl mix apples and cranberries with sugar and cinnamon.
Bake in preheated oven 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until nice and fluffy. Serve with butter and maple syrup.

Lemon Bars

This gluten-free recipe from @soulfooodie features Pamela’s Honey Grahams and Coconut Flour and is a delightful rift on a personal favorite.


  • 2 cups @pamelasproducts #glutenfree Honey Grahams
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup coconut palm sugar
  • 6 tablespoons of @pamelasproducts #glutenfree Coconut Flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon @pamelasproducts Coconut Flour
  • Powdered sugar for dusting


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease pan and set aside.

Mix graham cracker crumbs, coconut palm sugar, coconut flour, and salt. Then pour in melted butter and mix until thoroughly combined.

Pour mixture into pan and press crumbs into pan.

Bake crust for 10 minutes. Let cool before adding the lemon curd.

Lemon Curd:

Whisk together eggs and sugar until smooth. Then whisk in lemon juice and zest.

Add in coconut flour and whisk together until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Pour lemon curd mixture over the cooled crust and bake for 36 minutes. Cool & serve.

Kabocha Empanadas with Gruyère & Thyme {Gluten-Free}

Recipe courtesy of Snixty Kitchen.

Gluten-free Crust

  • 1¼ cups Pamela’s All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon sized pieces
  • 8-10 tablespoons ice water


1 small kabocha squash (1-1.5lb and you’ll still probably have some left over!), seeds discarded and cut into ¼ to ½-inch cubes

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup shredded gruyère cheese

3 tablespoons chopped shallot (1 large)

1 tablespoon minced garlic (3-4 large cloves)

5 sprigs of fresh thyme

Salt & pepper

Egg wash

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

Gluten-free crust:

Pulse together the Pamela’s All-Purpose Flour, sugar, xanthan gum, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can whisk by hand).

Add the cold butter, but don’t pulse. One tablespoon at a time, dribble ice water into the food processor, pulsing after each addition, until the dough holds together when pinched with your fingers. Add water until it just holds together, but is not sticky.

If you need more water, add a teaspoon at a time. (If working by hand, mix the butter into the flour with your hands, breaking up the butter until the largest pieces are about the size of a pea. Mix in ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough just holds together).

Form the dough into a flat disc and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling as directed below.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to ⅛-inch thickness. Use a 4-inch cutter to cut dough rounds and transfer each round to a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Roll out the scraps and repeat until you have 10 dough rounds.


Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Spread the kabocha squash cubes on a large parchment-lined baking sheet and toss with olive oil and about ¼ teaspoon each of salt & pepper. Bake for about 15 minutes, until just tender when pierced with a fork. Place the cooked squash in the refrigerator to cool before filling the empanadas.

When the dough rounds are ready, place filling components in the following on one half of the round: about 1 teaspoon of shredded gruyère, 1 tablespoon cooked kabocha squash, 1 teaspoon chopped shallot, a pinch of minced garlic, and leaves from half a sprig of thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Prepare the egg wash by whisking the egg and water together in a small bowl.

Lightly brush the edge of one half of one dough round with the egg wash, fold the round in half around the filling, lightly crimping the edges together with your fingertips. Repeat with all 10 empanadas.

Brush the egg wash over the top of each empanada.

Bake your empanadas for 30-35 minutes rotating the baking sheet halfway through, until the tops are lightly golden brown. (Tip: Keep an eye on your empanadas after 20 minutes, as the color of your baking sheet can vary the baking time!).

Serve warm.

  • 4½ cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 1½ tsp dried thyme or 1 TBSP fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1½ tsp dried sage or 1 TBSP fresh sage
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram or oregano or 2 tsp fresh marjoram or oregano
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • a pinch of cayenne
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • olive oil for sautéing
  • 1 cup white wine or broth
  • ½ cup butter or butter alternative
  • ½ cup All-Purpose Flour Artisan Blend
  • 1 lb or 3 cups cubed or shredded chicken or turkey
  • 2 cups carrots, diced and cooked (if using frozen, cook according to package directions)
  • 2 cups red or Yukon potatoes, cooked and cubed (if using frozen, cook according to package directions)
  • 1 cup peas (if using frozen, do not cook first)

Pie Crust


Heat chicken or turkey stock with all the spices on the stove or in microwave (this gives the seasoning time to release the flavors). In a 3½ to 4 qt. heavy pot, sauté onions in a little olive oil until soft, add wine to deglaze the pan and reduce by half. Remove from pan for later use. In the same pot, melt butter and add the All-Purpose Flour Artisan Blend, stirring constantly for a minute or two. This is the base for your roux.

Once roux has cooked for a minute or so, slowly add hot liquid, constantly whisking as it thickens. This will take a minute or two. Once thickened, add onions back in and mix well. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes until fully thickened. Remove from heat and let it cool until just warm.

In a large bowl, gently mix together the chicken or turkey, carrots and potatoes, and then pour the warm sauce in and gently mix well until incorporated. Last, add frozen peas. Store in refrigerator until totally cool — overnight is best, or you can freeze.


You will need ramekins or glass baking cups/bowls, large enough to hold enough filling for 1 person, about 1 cup. You will need approximately one recipe pie dough from either Pie Dough with All-Purpose Flour Artisan Blend or Pie Dough with Bread Mix. Depending on the size of ramekins used, you may need to double the crust recipe.

Mix together pie dough according to directions. Divide dough in half. Pat one half into a square, wrap in plastic wrap, and set aside.

Spray a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap with non-stick spray and flatten and pat the remaining dough into a rectangle or square. Spray another piece parchment or plastic wrap and lay it on top. Roll the dough to desired thickness, no thicker than ¼ “. Place rolled dough on a sheet pan and refrigerate while rolling the second piece. It is easiest to cut and remove scraps when dough is chilled and stiff. Using a pot lid or knife, cut desired size circles. You want the dough 1½ to 2” bigger than the top of your ramekin. Cut as many circles as you can, then re-roll scraps and repeat process until all dough is used. Keep circles chilled, covered, and with wax paper in-between, until ready to use.


If cooking right after assembly, pre-heat oven to 425°. Take out dough to let rest a minute until it warms up just a little and can easily be manipulated with your fingers. Spray ramekins with non-stick spray, fill almost to the top with chilled filling, and repeat until all are filled.

Cover each ramekin with a dough circle slightly larger than top. Gently try to pull dough flat so the crust is not all lying on filling. Using your fingers press the top dough over the rim, crimp the dough up like a pie crust, then press the remaining dough down onto the sides of the ramekin, so it sticks to the sides. Make sure it is securely attached all the way around to prevent seeping sauce down the sides. (You can leave the edges plain with no crimp, and then add a decoration of small shapes cut from the extra dough with very small cookie cutters.) Place on parchment-lined, rimmed sheet pan in refrigerator to chill and let edges of dough set. Repeat until all pies are completed and chilled. Once the dough is chilled and hard on top, cut 3 or 4 slits in the top. Bake, or wrap well and freeze.

Optional egg wash: Brush tops with one egg yolk mixed well with 1 TBSP milk or water for a nice brown top.


Bake in pre-heated oven at 425° for 15 minutes, then turn oven down to 375° for about 20 minutes until crust is golden and the filling is bubbling a little under the crust.

Chef’s Note: left over filling is great served with rice.

Cancer-Fighting Kitchen: Second Edition: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery

Photographs copyright © 2009, 2017 by Leo Gong

When Rebecca Katz’s Cancer-Fighting Kitchen: Second Edition: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery, a finalist in the Health & Special Diet category of the IACP Awards, came out a decade ago. the idea of cookbooks geared towards specific illnesses was still relatively new. But the success of that book as well as Katz’s One Bite at a Time: Nourishing Recipes for Cancer Survivors and Their Friends, both of which provide nurturing recipes designed to help those who are undergoing treatment and dealing with side effects as well as introduce foods that studies have shown might help in preventing the disease, was so great, that a second edition came out a little over a year ago.

Curried Chicken Salad


1 1⁄2 pounds roasted organic chicken

1 Granny Smith apple, diced into 1⁄4-inch pieces

1⁄4 cup raisins or currants

1⁄4 cup minced scallions, green part only

2 stalks celery, diced small

1⁄2 cup organic plain Greek-style yogurt

1⁄4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon curry powder

1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger

1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt

6 butter lettuce leaves, washed and dried

1⁄4 cup slivered toasted almonds, for garnish

1⁄4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Chop the chicken into 1⁄2-inch pieces and put them in a bowl. Stir in the apple, raisins, scallions, and celery. Separately, whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise, lime juice, curry powder, ginger, and salt. Add the yogurt mixture to the chicken and stir gently until thoroughly combined. Serve atop the lettuce leaves, garnished with the almonds and cilantro, if desired.

COOK’S NOTE: Save time by using store-bought organic roast chicken.

STORAGE: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days.

PER SERVING: Calories: 300; Total Fat: 11.3 g (3.1 g saturated, 3.8 g monounsaturated); Carbohydrates: 15 g; Protein: 34 g; Fiber: 2 g; Sodium: 375 mg

Orange Pistachio Quinoa

Quinoa is its own little ecosystem, containing all of the essential amino acids that we must obtain through the diet. Put another way, quinoa brings some good nutrients to the table that the body needs to begin repairing itself. Its mild taste makes it a perfect backdrop for this nicely layered crunchy/chewy portable dish, in which olive oil, citrus, vitamin-rich pistachios, and raisins dance delightfully on the taste buds, and herbs (mint, cumin, and coriander) provide a huge hit of taste and anticancer nutrients.


PREP TIME: 15 minutes

COOK TIME: 15 minutes

1⁄2 cup raw pistachios

1 1⁄2 cups quinoa

2 1⁄2 cups Magic Mineral Broth (page 49) or water

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon cumin

1⁄2 teaspoon coriander

1⁄8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1⁄2 cup chopped fresh mint

2 scallions, both green and white parts, finely chopped

1⁄8 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

Zest of 1 orange

1 1⁄2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1⁄2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1⁄2 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Spread the pistachios in an even layer on a sheet pan and bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until aromatic and slightly browned. Let cool.

Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse well under cold running water to remove all the resin.

In a pot, bring the broth and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil. Add the quinoa and cover. Decrease the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Transfer from the heat and fluff with a fork. Spread mixture out on a sheet pan and “rake” with a fork occasionally until cooled.

Transfer the quinoa from the sheet pan to a large bowl. Stir in the cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper. Add the mint, scallions, orange juice, orange zest, olive oil, lemon juice, toasted pistachios, and raisins. Mix well and taste; you may need a pinch of salt, a squeeze of lemon, or a dash of olive oil.

VARIATION: Make this a meal in a bowl by adding 1 cup of cooked chickpeas when you stir everything together.

COOK’S NOTES: Rinse, rinse, and rinse again! Quinoa is naturally coated with a bitter-tasting resin. To get rid of the resin, put the grain in a bowl of cool water, swish it around with your hand, then drain it in a fine-mesh sieve.

Quinoa is gluten free, which makes sense when you consider that botanically, it isn’t a grain at all; it’s more closely related to beets.

STORAGE: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 days.

PER SERVING: Calories: 265; Total Fat: 10.3 g (1.3 g saturated, 5.9 g monounsaturated); Carbohydrates: 40 g; Protein: 7 g; Fiber: 6 g; Sodium: 435 mg

Photographs copyright © 2009, 2017by Leo Gong

Basil Lemon Drizzle

This is the little black dress of condiments—appropriate in almost any situation. What it really comes down to is mixing lemon zest, basil, and lemon juice, and—zingo!—you have a condiment that brightens and brings out the flavor in anything you put it on top of—veggies, chicken, fish, whatever. An added bonus is the blast of cancer-fighting properties, especially basil’s anti-inflammatory agents and lemon’s antioxidant phytochemicals.

MAKES: 1⁄2 cup

PREP TIME: 5 minutes

COOK TIME: Not applicable

1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon maple syrup (optional)

1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt

Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and process until well blended.

GOES WITH: Italian White Bean Soup (page 52), Minestrone (page 57), Cooling Cucumber Avocado Soup (page 62), Roasted Red Roma Tomato Soup (page 69), Creamy Broccoli and Potato Soup (page 71), Basil Broccoli (page 75), Easy Eggs in a Cup (page 100), Nana’s Egg Salad (page 102), Tuscan Farro and Bean Salad (page 111), Lemon Mustard Salmon Salad (page 115), Mediterranean Lentil Salad (page 144), Simple Tuscan Farro (page 147), and, as you might guess from this list, myriad other savory dishes.

VARIATION: For a richer drizzle that’s more like pesto, add 1⁄4 cup pecans or walnuts when you process the ingredients.

STORAGE: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days or in the freezer for 2 months.

PER SERVING: 2 tablespoons—Calories: 125; Total Fat: 14.1 g (2 g saturated, 10 g monounsaturated); Carbohydrates: 1 g; Protein: 0 g; Fiber: 0 g; Sodium: 150 mg

CREDIT:Reprinted with permission from The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen 2nd Edition, copyright by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson,2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Danielle Walker’s “Eat What You Love”

I love the premise of Danielle Walker’s latest cookbook, Eat What You Love: Everyday Comfort You Crave, with its idea that even if you’re gluten-intolerant (which so many people seem to be), have a dairy allergy, suffer from an autoimmune disease, are following a Paleo diet or just want to incorporate healthy eating a few days a week, you can easily do so.

Shrimp Fried Rice

Walker, who also authored the New York Times best-selling Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple, likes to take classics that we love—think lasagna, apple crisp, fried chicken (yes, fried chicken), sloppy Joes and chicken pot pie and made them healthy and full of flavor.

“I’m always looking for ways to incorporate more vegetables into my family’s meals, and using riced cauliflower in this fried rice recipe inspired by Chinese takeout is a great way to do it,” she writes in her description of one of her super easy recipes (though I cheated and used soy sauce instead of coconut aminos and also bought rice cauliflower instead of doing my own). “The salty sauce can make any vegetable taste appealing, and this dish is pretty much all veggies. While it’s super-simple to make cauliflower rice at home, many supermarkets sell fresh or frozen riced cauliflower, so that’s what I use more often than not. Go ahead and use it straight from the freezer; there’s no need to thaw it first.”

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

I’ve cooked several recipes out of this cookbook which I just received and all of them have turned out great—helping me keep my New Year’s resolution of eating healthier.

Shrimp Fried Rice

Serves 4 to 6 ·

11⁄2 pounds jumbo raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tails removed

6 tablespoons coconut aminos (see note below)

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets

5 tablespoons avocado oil

1⁄2 small yellow onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons peeled and minced fresh ginger

1 carrot, diced

2 eggs, beaten

11⁄4 teaspoons fine sea salt

1⁄4 cup frozen peas

2 green onions, tender green tops only, chopped

Combine the shrimp, 1 tablespoon of the coconut aminos, and 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil in a bowl.

Place the cauliflower in a food processor fitted with the grating attachment, or use the large holes on a box grater, and process the florets into rice-size pieces. Pick out any large fragments that didn’t shred and chop them up by hand with a knife or save for another use. You should have around 3 cups riced cauliflower.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the avocado oil in a wok over medium- high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the carrot and cook, stirring continuously, for 2 minutes. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons avocado oil and the cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes more. Transfer the cauliflower mixture to a plate and return the wok to the heat.

Add the shrimp mixture to the wok and sear for 1 minute per side, until pink all over and just cooked through. Transfer the shrimp to the plate with the cauliflower and return the wok to the heat.

Pour the eggs into the wok and stir to scramble them for 10 seconds, until mostly cooked through. Pour the cauliflower mixture and shrimp back into the wok and add the remaining 5 tablespoons coconut aminos, the remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil, and the salt. Stir in the peas and cook for 1 minute longer. Top with the green onions and serve immediately.

Note: Coconut aminos, which are available at some local grocery stores or can be ordered online, are a Paleo substitute for soy sauce and still deliver the same salty tang, only they contain no soy and no wheat. If you’d rather just stick with soy, use the same amount as the coconut aminos.

Chocolate-Zucchini Muffins

Makes 24 · These muffins are moist and fluffy plus they’re nut free writes Walker, who keeps them in the freezer for a quick breakfast when the family’s frazzled and trying to get out the door for school. If zucchini isn’t in season, you could use shredded carrots.

11⁄2 cups shredded zucchini

8 eggs

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 cup pure maple syrup

2⁄3 cup coconut flour

1⁄2 cup unflavored collagen peptides powder or protein powder of your choice (optional)

1⁄2 cup raw cacao powder

6 tablespoons arrowroot powder

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1⁄2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two 12-cup muffin tins with baking cups, or grease the tins with coconut oil. Line a plate with paper towels.

Place the zucchini on the prepared plate and allow it to drain some of its moisture while you make the batter.

Place the eggs, applesauce, and maple syrup in a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment or use an electric handheld mixer. Mix on medium speed until combined. Add the coconut flour, collagen peptides powder, cacao powder, arrowroot, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and mix on medium speed until combined.

Wrap the paper towels around the zucchini and give it a light squeeze to remove any remaining moisture. Add the zucchini to the batter along with 1⁄4 cup of the chocolate chips and mix on low speed until incorporated. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each two-thirds full. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over the top.

Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the pan and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack before serving or storing.

Freeze in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, tightly covered with plastic wrap, for 4 hours. Place the frozen muffins in an airtight container and freeze for 4 months. To eat the muffins directly from the freezer, heat them in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes, until warmed through. Or, defrost in an airtight container in the fridge overnight, or for up to 1 week. If you prefer, warm on a baking sheet in a 400°F oven for 2 to 3 minutes.

The recipes above are from Danielle Walker’s Eat What You Love: Everyday Comfort You Crave Copyright © 2018 by Simple Writing Holdings, LLC. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Lighten Up, Y’all: Virginia Willis Yummy French & Southern Cuisine

Georgia-born, French-trained Chef Virginia Willis has cooked with Julia Child and cooked for President Bill Clinton but when she found herself in “unhealthy situation.” She was overweight and her cholesterol and glucose numbers were way too high. So she decided to take a new approach to Southern cooking, combining her education at L’Academie de Cuisine and her childhood spent learning to cook from her Southern grandmother, recreating the classic dishes she learned to make. Keeping the flavor but eliminating the fat is what her cookbook Lighten Up, Y’all (Ten Speed Press) is all about. And for those of us who love the flavors of the south her recipes are a joy to recreate at home.

Makeover Broccoli Mac & Cheese

Photo Courtesy of the Food Network

1 cup shredded 50 percent reduced- fat extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (4 ounces)

3/4 cup shredded 75 percent reduced-fat extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (3 ounces)

2 tablespoons panko (Japanese) bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 3/4 cups 2 percent milk

3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup low-fat cottage cheese

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces (2 cups) whole wheat elbow macaroni

12 ounces ( 4 cups) broccoli florets and stems

Preheat oven to 450°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Coat an 8-inch-square (2-quart) baking dish with cooking spray. Combine the two cheeses. Mix 1⁄4 cup of the cheese mixture, the bread crumbs, and paprika in a small bowl. Set aside.

To make the cheese sauce, heat 11⁄2 cups of the milk in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until simmering. Whisk remaining 1⁄4 cup milk and the flour in a small bowl until smooth; add to the hot milk and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce simmers and thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining 11⁄2 cups of the cheese mixture and the cottage cheese until melted. Stir in the dry mustard, and nutmeg, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Cook pasta according to package instructions. In the last 3 minutes of cooking, add the broccoli florets. Drain well and add to the cheese sauce; mix well. Spread the pasta-broccoli mixture in the prepared baking dish; sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture. Bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool slightly. Serve warm.

Oven-Fried Chicken On-a-Stick with Vidalia Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Photo courtesy of the Food Network

1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 cup low-fat buttermilk

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed (1 1/2 pounds)

2 cups panko (Japanese) bread crumbs

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 large egg whites

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Freshly ground black pepper

Vidalia-Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce:

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 Vidalia onion, peeled and quartered

1 garlic clove

1/3 cup honey

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/2 cup canola oil

Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine the salt, 1 teaspoon of the paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of the onion powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of the garlic powder. Add the buttermilk and whisk until the salt is completely dissolved and the spices are dispersed in the liquid.

Cut the chicken lengthwise into about 1-inch-wide strips. Add to the marinade and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. (Do not marinate any longer or the chicken will be too salty. If you can’t cook it right at the 30-minute mark, remove the chicken from the marinade and refrigerate until ready to continue.)

In a large shallow dish (a 9 by 13-inch baking dish works well), combine the bread crumbs, the remaining 1 teaspoon paprika, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of the garlic powder. Add the 2 tablespoons oil and toss well to coat. Whisk together the egg whites and mustard in a second large shallow dish. Season both mixtures with pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then set an ovenproof rack on it. Coat the rack with nonstick cooking spray.

Remove the chicken from the marinade, shaking off any excess, and thread onto sixteen 12-inch bamboo skewers, dividing the meat evenly, about 1 strip per skewer. Dip the chicken into the egg mixture, coating both sides. Place in the bread crumb mixture one skewer at a time, sprinkle with crumbs to cover, and press so the coating adheres to both sides. Gently shake off any excess crumbs and place the skewers on the prepared rack.

Bake the chicken, turning halfway through, until golden brown and the juices run clear, about 25 minutes. Serve warm with the dipping sauce.

Vidalia-Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce:

Put the vinegar, onion, garlic, honey, and mustard in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse until smooth. With the motor running, add the oil in a slow steady stream until thick and emulsified. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.