Mango Frozen Yogurt

by Susan on April 27, 2017

It’s been so gray and rainy here in CT all week that I’ve been trying to find ways to brighten things up. This homemade frozen yogurt seemed perfect, as it’s loaded with summery flavor and and pretty much looks like sunshine in a bowl!

While you can make this with either fresh or frozen mango, I would highly recommend opting for frozen because you don’t have to bother with the slippery task of peeling and dicing the fruit. You can also use whatever natural sweetener you prefer and tweak how much based on the sweetness of your fruit. We personally like the tang of plain yogurt, so I erred on the side of slightly less sweet. I chose to use raw agave nectar because my husband doesn’t like the taste of honey. I generally prefer using liquid sweeteners in ice cream, but since you reduce the mixture over heat granular would work as well.

I have an ice cream attachment for my stand mixer which I use for just about all of the ice cream and frozen yogurt recipes I share on here. I know not everyone has one, but I think you could definitely make this one without! How do I know this? Well, my ice cream paddle seized up only about 10 minutes into the churning process. What I recommend if you’re not using an ice cream maker is to simply stir your mixture every 45 minutes or so in the freezer to make sure it’s mixed well. I found these tips from David Lebovitz helpful.

You’ll want to allow plenty of freeze time for this regardless of how you make it; I find a minimum of 6-8 hours in the freezer allows for the best texture. You also need to thoroughly allow the mango mixture to chill before mixing it up. I did the mango the night before, then churned the ice cream in the morning to serve for dessert later that evening.

If you’re not a mango fan, you can make this one with just about any fruit. For the yogurt, opt for an unsweetened Greek yogurt that’s at least 2% fat. This will yield the best texture and offer a nice boost of protein too. If you’re vegan or dairy-free, you can use coconut or almond milk yogurt (again, look for unsweetened).

Mango Frozen Yogurt

3 cups diced mango, either fresh or frozen (don’t need to thaw if frozen)
juice of one large lime
pinch of salt
3/4 cup natural sweetener of choice (or to taste)
4 cups 2% unsweetened plain Greek yogurt

Put mango, lime juice, salt and sweetener in a large saucepan over medium heat. Allow to boil then lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. Remove mixture and place in refrigerator to thoroughly chill.

When ready to make the ice cream, combine the plain yogurt with the mango mixture and stir to combine. Either make with an ice cream maker per the manufacturer’s instructions, or freeze and follow these suggestions on how to best prepare it.

Allow to thoroughly set until scoopable. To serve after the first day, you might need to let the frozen yogurt sit at room temperature for a bit to soften up enough to scoop.

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Homemade Healthy “Hamburger Helper”

by Susan on April 26, 2017

Let’s talk Hamburger Helper for a minute. I never tried it myself until I was a poor college student. As an adult I’ve never bought it for my kids, because what it offers in convenience it sacrifices in healthy ingredients. The most popular flavor (I believe) is the cheeseburger macaroni. There is a dizzying array of flavors, so forgive me if I’m wrong! Anyway, that particular variety contains artificial flavors, food dyes, MSG and partially hydrogenated oils (ie. trans fats). All of these are high on the list of processed ingredients to avoid!

I decided to try my hand at making a homemade version of the dish, and I’m very pleased with the results. My take on it is gluten-free, and can be made dairy-free by using shredded vegan cheese. I sampled it before adding the cheese, and it was tasty without it as well.

The best part about this dish is that everything cooks up in one skillet, including the pasta. I did find that mine began to stick to the bottom a little toward the end of cooking, so definitely have some stock on hand to add a splash as needed. It will depend on the size of your bag of pasta: some are 12 oz. or less, whereas I used a full 1 lb. bag.

Any ground meat would work here, so feel free to substitute ground chicken or turkey. Likewise, either beef or chicken broth will work. While I used dairy-free milk for the sauce, you can certainly use cow’s milk if that is what you normally have on hand. I would NOT recommend skim as you’re trying to achieve a creamy sauce.

Everyone really liked this one, and it was the perfect weeknight dinner served up with a big salad.

Homemade Healthy “Hamburger Helper”

2 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. ground beef, turkey or chicken
2 minced shallots or 1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tbs. tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp.onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. palm sugar or other natural sweetener
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tbs. arrowroot or tapioca starch
2 cups unsweetened, non-dairy milk
1 cup organic chicken or beef broth
1 package brown rice pasta
2 cups sharp shredded cheddar cheese
chopped parsley, to garnish

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Drain any excess grease.

Add onions to pan and cook for an additional 5 minutes, until soft. While onion is cooking, combine arrowroot or tapioca with broth, stirring until dissolved.

Add tomato paste, seasoning, milk and broth mixture to skillet with meat and onions. Stir to mix well, then add pasta. Raise heat and bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium-low and cover skillet. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is cooked to your liking. If the mixture seems to dry, add a splash more broth.

Remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese until melted. Serve immediately garnished with chopped parsley.

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