Monday, November 29, 2010

Slow Cooker Mixed Berry Bread Pudding

On a chilly, blustery Vegas day, this was the second of the two slow cooker recipes I made, using Dawn Hall's super simple, fantabulous guide: Busy People's Slow Cooker Cookbook.

As I frequently do, I made several ingredient changes to the recipe, to slim it down just a tad and hopefully add nutrients.  Enjoy!


  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup Just Like Sugar (Dawn uses Splenda in the original recipe.  I am trying to get away from using artificial sweeteners, and I've found Just Like Sugar to be a terrific, no-calorie, natural sweetener.  You can get it at the Whole Foods or online.  To me, it's virtually indistinguishable from sugar, with only a teeny tiny aftertaste depending on the recipe. Of course, you could also use plain old sugar if you'd like.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice (Dawn uses only cinnamon.  You could also use pumpkin pie spice.)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (Dawn uses non-fat milk. I almost always sub unsweetened vanilla almond milk for any milk called for in a recipe.  It's only 40 calories for a cup, has a gram of fiber, and is richer tasting than non-fat milk.)
  • 1/2 cup fat-free French Vanilla non-dairy liquid creamer
  • 4 cups French Bread, torn into approximately 1/2-inch cubes (I would like to try using whole wheat French Bread next time.)
  • 1/2 cup Sunsweet Antioxidant dried fruit blend of blueberries, cherries, cranberries, and plums (Dawn calls for dried cranberries or raisins.)


  • Preheat a slow cooker to high.
  • Spritz with non-stick buttery spray.
  • In a bowl, stir the egg whites, Just Like Sugar, apple pie spice, almond milk, and creamer - until well blended.
  • Gently stir the bread pieces and dried fruit into the egg white mixture.
  • Pour into the slow cooker, and cook on high for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Serve hot.

Serving size: 1/2 cup
Makes six servings

Nutrition stats from the original recipe:

  • Calories: 142
  • Fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrate: 26g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sodium: 191mg

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

On this chilly, blustery day in Vegas, slow cooked comfort food seemed the way go to.  I found the most amazing slow cooker cookbook at the Barnes & Noble: Busy People's Slow Cooker Cookbook by Dawn Hall.  Each recipe is seven ingredients or less and is very easy to prepare.  Although not all of  the recipes are low-calorie, Dawn uses healthier ingredients whenever possible.  Each recipe includes full nutrition information, too, which is great.

I made a couple of substitutions to increase the protein in the dish and add a few more nutrients.  It's delicious and tasty fare!


  • 1 1/2 cups of uncooked elbow macaroni (Dawn recommends Mueller's brand.  I used Barilla Plus because of the extra protein, Omega 3s, and fiber.)
  • 1 14-ounce can fat-free, low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 12-ounce can roast beef
  • 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
  • 1 6 1/2-ounce can of mushroom stems & pieces
  • 1/2 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt (Dawn uses fat-free sour cream in her recipe.  I increased the protein by subbing Greek yogurt.)
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Spritz a slow cooker with non-fat olive oil spray.
  • Turn the cooker on high. Put the pasta and the beef broth in the cooker, making sure all the elbows are covered with the broth.
  • Cover and cook on high for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Stir in the roast beef, minced garlic, mushroom, and Greek yogurt.
  • Cover and let sit for 5 minutes or until everything is heated through.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Serving size: 1 cup
Makes 7 servings

Nutrition stats for Dawn's recipe are below.  Mine will be higher in protein and fiber and lower in sodium.  The calories should be the same.

  • Calories: 183
  • Fat: 4g
  • Carbohydrate: 22g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 15g
  • Sodium: 825mg

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pork & Beans Bread

Isn't this a kooky-sounding recipe?!  I simply couldn't resist making it for Mike when I read about it in Joanne Fluke's "Plum Pudding Murder".  It was just too odd not to try!  Turns out, it's really good: moist, not too cakey, subtly sweet with a hint of spice.  Perfect with a cup of tea.  I waited to tell Mike what it was called 'til he tried it. No need for preconceptions, right? :)  He loved it.  I plan to make it for everyone for Christmas this year.  Everyone should have Pork & Beans Bread at least once in their lives! :D

  • 1 15-ounce can of Pork & Beans
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup of vegetable oil (not canola or olive - be sure to use vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 cups flour

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray 3 loaf pans with non-stick spray.
  • Pour the Pork & Beans into a blender and puree until they're smooth with no lumps.
  • Pour the beaten eggs into a large mixing bowl and mix in the pureed Pork & Beans.  Blend thoroughly.
  • Mix in the vegetable oil and vanilla.
  • Mix in the sugar.
  • Mix in the baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Blend thoroughly.
  • Add the flour into the batter, one cup at a time, blending thoroughly after each cup.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the three loaf pans.
  • Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the bread.
  • To freeze it, let the loaf cool completely.  Then wrap it in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag.  It can be frozen for up to three months.