Un-Fried French Fries

As I've mentioned, we try to eat healthy meals around here so that we can justify the indulgent treats. This is one of our favorite ways to eat something that tastes fattening, but isn't.

Un-Fried French Fries

adapted from In The Kitchen with Rosie
5 large baking potatoes (about 2 3/4 pounds total)
cooking spray
2 large egg whites
1 T Cajun seasoning

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Slice each potato length-wise into quarter-inch by quarter-inch fries (I have an attachment to my apple slicer that makes perfectly shaped fries).
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly spray parchment paper with cooking spray.
Combine egg whites and Cajuns seasoning in a bowl. Add the potato sticks and toss to coat. Pour the coated potatoes onto the prepared baking sheet and spread them out into a single layer (I always make too many, so they are overlapping quite a bit).
Place the baking sheet on the bottom shelf of the oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until fries are crispy, turning them every 8-10 minutes with a spatula so they crisp evenly.
Serve immediately.

Being from Utah, we like to serve these with "fry sauce". A simple version consists of equal parts mayonnaise (I use low fat) and ketchup. You can add a little pickle juice or relish. Sometimes we kick it up a notch with barbecue sauce, liquid smoke, chipotle powder or hot pepper sauce.

Almond Poppyseed Muffins

These were the perfect little Sunday Morning pick-me-up. The crunchy sugar coated tops were the bomb.

Almond Poppyseed Muffins
from Betty Crocker cookbook

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 T poppy seed
3 tsp sugar
sliced almonds

Heat oven to 375. Line 12 medium muffin cups with paper baking cups (or spray them very well).
In a large bowl, stir together 1/2 cup sugar, the oil, egg, and almond. Beat in sour cream and milk with a spoon until blended. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, soda, and poppy seed until well blended. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Sprinkle batter with 3 tsp sugar and the almonds.
Bake 14-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Ristorante della Fontana's Minestrone Soup

Years and years ago, there was a fun Italian restaurant in downtown SLC. They served a seven course Italian dinner, including a Romaine salad you ate with your fingers, a sorbet palate cleanser, pasta, and the tastiest Minestrone soup I've ever had.
I was given this recipe as a newlywed, and was always a bit overwhelmed by the long list of ingredients. This cold winter weather inspired me to cook up a pot.

The long list...well worth it.

1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups diced onion
2 cups diced celery
2 cups diced carrot
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup whole, skinned tomatoes
1 cup french style green beans (I used frozen)
1 cup canned kidney beans
3 t salt
1 1/2 t white pepper
1 1/2 t garlic powder
4 T instant beef bouillon
3 T instant chicken bouillon (I substituted both with vegetable bouillon for my sweet husband)
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
2 t dried oregano
7 cups water
1 cup tomato puree
1/2 cup barley
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup canned garbanzo beans
1 cup macaroni, cooked
1 cup chopped spinach (I used frozen)
grated Parmesan cheese

In large, heavy saucepan, heat olive oil. Saute onions, carrots and celery until onions are translucent. Add diced and whole tomatoes, green beans, kidney beans, salt, pepper, garlic powder, bouillon, basil oregano, water, tomato puree and barley. Simmer 45 minutes.
Stir in peas, garbanzo beans, and pasta. Simmer 15 minutes. Add spinach. Serve hot, sprinkled with cheese.