Brigadeiro, a famous Brazilian treat, is such an easy candy to make, and tastes delicious. It is sweet, chewy, decadent and slightly addictive. The recipe I use is one I found years ago in an international recipe book.
This recipe makes approximately 40 Brigadeiro
2 cans sweetened condensed milk (14 oz each)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted*
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup NESQUIK® Chocolate Powder*
1/3 cup chocolate candy sprinkles
Grease an 8″x8″ or similar size pan with a little butter and set aside. Sift cocoa powder into a non-stick saucepan, then add sweetened condensed milk and butter. Turn heat on to medium, and stir mixture constantly with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. As soon as it starts to bubble, reduce heat to medium-low and continue stirring until the mixture is thick and begins to pull away from the pan, about 15 to 20 minutes. When you can run the spoon from one edge of the bottom of the pot, through the center and to the other edge, and the candy is thick enough to stay separated for a couple of seconds, it is thick enough.
Remove from heat and pour into the prepared pan. Refrigerate or let stand until the candy is cool enough to easily handle. Meanwhile, place the NESQUIK or chocolate sprinkles in a shallow dish – I use a pie pan. Once the Brigadeiro candy is cool enough to handle, scoop up teaspoon sized amounts, and with buttered hands, form into balls. Roll the balls in the NESQUIK or chocolate sprinkles and place in mini paper baking cups.
Store the Brigadeiro, covered, in the fridge up to one week. Remove from fridge and let them come to room temperature before serving.
*A note about sifting the cocoa powder: I find that if I do not sift the cocoa powder, it will sometimes clump in the milk and butter mixture. As it’s heating, most of the clumps will dissolve, but not all of them. Some recipes suggest to combine the cocoa powder with a small amount of water before adding it to the milk but I have not tried this.
*You can also roll the Brigadeiro in crushed nuts or shredded coconut, or, an alternative to the NESQUIK is to combine unsweetened cocoa powder with powdered sugar (sift together to combine).
I am participating in a fitness challenge hosted by our local hospital. It’s a 12-week challenge, with various fitness activities, classes and opportunities to win cool stuff. At the last class, they had a cooking demonstration and showed us how to make a few easy recipes. Here is my adaptation of their Bruschetta Chicken. I had a spaghetti squash that needed to be cooked so I decided to incorporate it into the recipe as well. You can use fresh tomatoes instead of canned for the bruschetta, I just find the canned to be more flavorful during the winter.
Bruschetta Chicken with Spaghetti Squash
3-4 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 to 3/4 cup prepared low-fat Italian salad dressing (like Good Seasons or Kraft)
1 15-oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup fresh basil, slivered
1-3 cloves garlic, minced (depending on how well you like garlic)
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 small spaghetti squash
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, optional
Trim any fat off of chicken breasts, then slice diagonally into 4-5 strips. Place chicken strips in bowl and pour salad dressing over, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 8 hours, turning occasionally. You could also place the chicken and dressing in a Zip-lock bag instead of a bowl.
Combine tomatoes, basil, garlic and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste then cover and refrigerate at least an hour to allow flavors to mingle.
Cook spaghetti squash by whatever method you prefer. I cut mine in half lengthwise, seeded and removed the strings, then placed in a small casserole dish with a little water and microwaved it for 14 minutes. I let it cool a few minutes, then used a fork to separate the strands and placed them in a bowl.
Place chicken and the salad dressing marinade in a skillet and cook over medium heat until cooked through. Spread a tiny bit of the bruschetta sauce over the chicken, and combine the remainder with the spaghetti squash. If desired, sprinkle parmesan cheese over the squash. Plate and serve.
This is an easy base recipe for protein ice cream. Any number of variations can be made. Use your favorite add-ins and your favorite brand and flavor of protein powder.
3-C Protein Ice Cream (Chocolate, Coconut and Coffee)
2 cups milk of choice*
2 scoops BSN Syntha-6 chocolate protein powder, or your protein powder of choice
2 tablespoons instant coffee
1/8 tsp Xanthan gum, optional*
1/2 cup coconut
Combine milk, protein powder and instant coffee in Vitamix, or high-speed blender. Blend until combined, then with blender running, sprinkle in Xanthan gum. Pour the mixture into your prepared ice cream maker. When the mixture starts freezing, add coconut. When ice cream maker stops churning, remove and serve immediately for soft-serve, or transfer ice cream to a covered bowl and freeze for a couple of hours. If the ice cream becomes too hard after freezing, you can place it in microwave for 30 seconds, or leave it on the counter for a few minutes to soften it enough to scoop.
*You can use any milk, dairy or not. I’ve found that when using low-fat, skim milk or fat-free almond milk, the ice cream crystallizes more than when using full-fat milk. This is not a problem for me, but if you want it to be creamy, use full-fat milk. The use of Xanthan gum also helps to prevent ice crystals.
*This is what America’s Test Kitchen has to say about Xanthan gum in ice cream:
Many ice cream manufacturers add xanthan gum to their products because it prevents the formation of large ice crystals during churning and storage. And that translates into a smoother ice cream. This can easily be done at home. Adding 1/8 teaspoon of xanthan gum to the base prior to churning had our ice cream starting out smoother and less noticeably icy than a control recipe made without the gum—and it stayed that way for more than a week.
HOW TO ADD IT
Xanthan gum has a tendency to clump when it comes in contact with liquids; here’s how we ensure even incorporation:
Create a vortex: Place ice cream base in tall, narrow container, leaving at least 4 inches of headspace. Insert immersion blender to bottom of container. With blender on high speed, create vortex in middle of liquid.
Sprinkle and Blend: Slowly sprinkle xanthan gum over vortex (3/8 teaspoon per 2 cups of gravy or sauce and 1/8 teaspoon per quart of churned ice cream), allowing it to be sucked down into blade of blender for at least 30 seconds to thoroughly combine.
I have 3 different types of lentils in my pantry and use them regularly. They cook in about 30 minutes and are very versatile. Sometimes though, I want to serve a meal that practically prepares itself. While I am not a big proponent of canned soups, there are a couple I will occasionally use. Campbell’s Lentil Soup is one of them. It’s seasoned well and makes a great base for soups and stews. Here is one of my go-to recipes when I want to do zero chopping and measuring.
Quick and Easy Turkey-Lentil Stew
1 lb. ground turkey breast
1 tbsp. Canola oil, I just eyeball it
2 small cans Campbell’s Lentil Soup
16 oz jar of roasted Salsa Verde
1 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1-2 cups water, as needed to get to desired consistency
1 Parmesan cheese rind – optional*
1/2 cup shredded cheese – optional – I used Asiago because it’s what I had, but Feta would be good too
salt and pepper, as desired
Brown ground turkey in Canola oil in large pot. Add all remaining ingredients except shredded cheese. Cook 20-30 minutes, although if you cook it longer it will thicken up nicely. Garnish stew with cheese if desired. Delicious and easy.
*I buy Parmesan cheese rinds from Kroger, in the deli section, and freeze until needed.
For me, one of the hardest things about trying to eat a low-fat AND lower-carb diet is finding sauces and dressings that are not filled with oil and sugar, so I usually make my own. Take mayonnaise for example – the low-fat variety tastes terrible in my opinion, and I do not like the long ingredient list on the label. For a while now, I’ve been substituting plain fat-free Greek yogurt for anything that calls for mayo. I usually add a little Dijon mustard and a few Stevia drops to the yogurt and it actually makes a decent mayo substitute. However, I kept searching for something that would taste really good in dishes where mayo plays one of the starring roles – like my Stuffed Baked Potato Salad for example. I’ve been making this for years and even though I don’t really eat white potatoes any more, my family and friends love it so I still make it for them. It’s creamy and yummy and full of flavor and I just didn’t think yogurt would be a good substitute for mayo in this instance.
Enter Rocco DiSpirito’s Amazing Mayonnaise. I was searching for mayo substitutes found this recipe on the Dr. Oz Show website. As soon as I read the list of ingredients, I knew it was what I was looking for – yogurt based with just the right ingredients added to make an acceptable mayo for my potato salad. I whipped up a batch, tasted it, and said, “YES” so loud that I scared my cats who were lounging in the kitchen at the time. It is really good. It has cornstarch, so it may have too many carbs for people who are on ultra-low carb diets, but it works well for me.
Try it and let me know what you think.
Rocco DiSpirito’s Amazing Fat-free Mayonnaise
6 tbsp white vinegar
4 tbsp cornstarch
1 (17.6 oz) container Greek yogurt (plain non-fat)
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Salt
1 packet Stevia in the Raw (start off with less and add more if desired)
In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar into the cornstarch. Whisk 2/3 cup of the yogurt into the vinegar mixture. Pour the yogurt and vinegar mixture into a small saucepan and cook over high heat, whisking constantly, until it comes to a boil. (The yogurt mixture will thicken very quickly.) When it is very thick, scrape it into the bowl of a food processor.
Blend the yogurt mixture for about 1 minute. Turn off the food processor and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue to blend the yogurt mixture until it is slightly cool and very smooth, about 3 more minutes. Add the remaining yogurt, mustard, sweetener, and salt to the mixture. Blend for another minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and blend for 30 more seconds.
Pour the mayonnaise into a plastic container. Cover tightly and place in the refrigerator until it is cold and firm, about 2 hours. The mayonnaise can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.