Books & Cooks: Rachael Ray

I chose Rachael Ray at BestHealth for the month of April because the whole of the land seems to be obsessed with this woman. She's got multiple TV shows, is being endorsed by a slew of celebrities and home cooks alike; Her personality radiates through the screen during every 30 Minute Meal and Rachael Ray Show. She's grabbed a star and held onto it. She's worked her way up the ranks and is just a normal person just like you and me. To be honest, I admire her greatly because of this.

She just uses too much EVOO.

This last class turned out to be a hit.

Anything with gravy makes people happy. Having biscuits with which to sop up the goodness swirled on your plate just makes people want to dance. I'm dancing right now. No biscuit in sight. Coffee also makes people happy. Good, high quality coffee.

Quick Tiramisu Serves 8

1 Sara Lee Free & Light pound cake, cut into 8 slices** ½ cup espresso or strong coffee
1 cup fat free cottage cheese
4 oz fat free/sugar free white chocolate pudding
1/4 cup cocoa powder
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2 oz coffee liqueur (optional)

1. Lay pound cake slices in a dish.
2. Paint the slices with coffee combined with the coffee liqueur, if using, with a pastry brush.
3. In a bowl, beat pudding and cheese together 2 or 3 minutes.
4. Spoon pudding mixture on top of cake slices. Sprinkle with cocoa powder combined with cinnamon. Serve

**I could not find this pound cake in any retailer (and Sara Lee has a distributor directly in my city so this MUST be a problem nationwide) so I came up with my own fat-free pound cake recipe. I'm not Sara or Sandra Lee, but Nikki did a pretty good job with this one:

Fat-free Pound Cake

2 1/2 c unbleached flour

1 cup fat-free sour cream

4 egg whites, whipped to soft peaks

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup Splenda for Baking

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven at 325 degrees F. Prepare a loaf pan with cooking spray and flour; set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine sour cream, egg whites, and vanilla. In another mixing bowl, combine flour, Splenda, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients just until moistened. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour or until cake tests done.

Don't use all Splenda because your cake will not hold shape and will become a soggy mess upon cooling outside of the oven. The sugar in the baking blend (or in your own blend) is needed to help the cake maintain its shape.

Using 1 cup Dixie Crystals Extra Fine Granulated Sugar and 1 cup regular Splenda is also acceptable.

Powdered egg whites are another economical, safe, acceptable substitution that I fully endorse. The container will direct you to how many teaspoons equal the number of egg whites you need to use.

Beef Tenderloin with Gravy and Biscuits Serves 4(Serving= 3 oz meat, 1/4 cup gravy, 1 biscuit)
2 6 oz. beef tenderloins, sliced very thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp smoked salt
1 Tb dried thyme
1 Tb dried parsley
1 ¼ cup fat free/low sodium beef stock
2 Tb flour
2Tb oil
¼ cup fat free plain yogurt

1.On a small plate mix garlic, pepper, thyme, parsley, and salt.
2.Coat each tenderloin slice with spice mixture.
3.Spray 9-inch skillet with non-stick spray and cook tenderloin 1 minute on each side.
4.Remove steaks to serving platter and tent with foil to keep warm.
5.Add 2 TB of oil to pan. Add 2 tablespoons flour to drippings and cook 2 minutes.
6.Whisk in broth.
7. Whisk yogurt into gravy. When gravy bubbles, remove from heat. Serve steaks and warm biscuits with gravy on top.

Drop Biscuits (Makes 5 biscuits)
1 cup Bisquick Heart Smart Pancake and Baking mix
1/3 cup fat-free milk
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Butter-flavor cooking spray, if desired

1. Heat oven to 450°F.
2. In small bowl, stir Bisquick mix, milk, and garlic powder to make a soft dough. Drop dough by 5 spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.
3. Bake about 8 minutes or until golden brown. Spray warm biscuits with cooking spray before removing from cookie sheet. Serve warm

The following recipe wasn't included during my class, due to time constraints, but I wanted to include it here because It really did taste like pizza and I cooked my mushrooms and let them cool before adding them to the salad. It was a favorite in my house.

Supreme Pizza Pasta Salad Serves 8

2 plum tomatoes, diced
20 basil leaves, chiffonade
½ medium red onion, sliced
8 white mushrooms, sliced
34 slices turkey pepperoni, sliced into strips
8 oz reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 lb pasta, broken into bits, cooked and rinsed
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp oregano
1 Tb tomato paste
1/3 cup Kraft fat free Italian dressing

Combine all ingredients, chill, serve.

Chiffonade literally means "made of rags" and typically it is when leafy green vegetables like lettuce, basil, and collard or callaloo greens are rolled up and cut into strips.

Combining the tomato paste with the dressing helps distribute and incorporate it better into the salad.

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About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

Leave a reply

  1. Nicolette,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, I'm glad you found me! I have just been perusing your blog, and am so excited to add you to my reader, as I can see you have lots of great recipes, plus some good stories to tell! I especially enjoyed the "Wall of Julia." Perhaps I should organize my pots and pans that way. :) As for Rachel Ray, I know she's a big hit right now. I do like her because of the whole 30 minute thing. She actually grabs everything out of the fridge, cuts it, and does it all in 30 minutes, which rocks. Ok, so sometimes she talks to you like you're a baby, but I'll deal with that!

  2. Nicolette, Thanks for sharing your Teramisu and fat free pound recipes...i love them, so easy and low in fat...great yummy stuff!

  3. Sarah: Thanks for stopping by my blog, too! I love your recipes. I need to add you to my reader too. I'm working off three different computers and I wish it were one so I could read everyone on a daily basis. But again, thanks for stopping by and sharing!

    Summer: I'm glad you found something you like! There will be many many more fat-free/low-cal recipes to come!


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