Friday, March 25, 2016

Three-Ingredient Apple Yogurt Cake

I'm really more of a cook than a baker, but I like to have a few "cheater" dessert recipes up my sleeve in case I am asked to bring one to a potluck or something. This Apple Yogurt Cake is the next installment in my series of few-ingredient recipes, like my Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Bread, Three-Ingredient Whoopie Pies, Magical Four-Ingredient Cookies, and Super-Easy Low-Carb Fudge. I have no pretenses about these recipes. Some of them are just one step better than picking up a premade dessert at the grocery store. And I'm ok with that.

Three Ingredient Apple Yogurt Cake: the name is basically the ingredient list. Some might argue that a product like "cake mix" does not count one ingredient, but rather a series of ingredients. To that I say, lighten up! It's a slippery slope. Most people would accept "cheese" as a single recipe ingredient, but in fact, it contains several ingredients. Basically, cake mix is a single item I have to buy, and I'm calling it a single ingredient!

This dessert is somewhere between apple pie and cake, with a subtle creaminess and tang from the yogurt. The cake is very low fat if you use low-fat or fat-free yogurt. It's a very moist cake with lots of fresh apple flavor and texture. It is perfect on its own or paired with ice cream.

Three-Ingredient Apple Yogurt Cake
1 cup plain yogurt of choice (I like Greek lowfat)
1/2 cup water
1 box cake mix (I like yellow cake mix, but spice or carrot cake mix would also be good)
3 apples of choice, peeled and chopped into 3/4 inch chunks
2 t cinnamon (optional, best if used with yellow cake mix, spice or carrot would not need it)

With a mixer or by hand, beat cake mix, yogurt, water, and cinnamon, if using. Fold in apples. Bake according to cake mix instructions. You might need to add another 5-10 minutes onto baking time.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Cheeseburger Cauliflower Helper

In the wake of my Baked Fake-Ziti and my Cauliflower Cheese, I've been playing around with the general theme of turning pasta-based casseroles into low-carb, veggie filled dishes using cauliflower in place of noodles. Here is my latest creation, inspired by the low-brow but very nostalgic Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni. This is supremely comforting food, and I bet it would go over well with kids.

Cheeseburger cauliflower casserole
approximately 40 oz cauliflower florets (I use frozen)
1/2 t salt
1 onion, diced
1 lb lean ground beef
1 T minced garlic
30 oz canned diced tomatoes (I like to use the kind with green chilies)
1 T Worchestershire sauce
black pepper to taste
1/2 seasoning salt (I like Tony Chachere's)
1/2 t smoked paprika (optional)
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
6 ounces shredded low-fat cheddar, a few handfuls reserved for topping

Salt the cauliflower and cook until al dente. You can microwave it for about 10 minutes or do what I like to do, which is roast it in the oven at 450 for 30ish minutes while I'm preparing the rest of the ingredients. If any liquid pools in the bottom of the pan after cooking, drain it to prevent it from watering down the sauce. (This only happens to me if I microwave it.)

Saute onion in skillet. When softened, add ground meat and garlic and cook until meat is no longer pink.

Combine all ingredients (except reserved cheese) in bowl. Transfer into a 9 x 13 baking dish (or equivalent) and top with reserved cheese. Lower oven temp to 375 degrees and bake, uncovered for 30 minutes or until the casserole is bubbling, cauliflower is tender, and the cheese is completely melted. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.