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Katherine's Weekly Batch Recipe: Chocolate-Covered Holiday Treats!

December 20, 2018

My fifth and final 2018 weekly batch recipe is all about holiday celebrating. This batch is a fun - and messy - activity for children, and adults, of course. They make an impressive gift, or even a dessert or snack for a holiday gathering. They taste like fresh peanut butter cups, but unbelievably ... every. single. ingredient ... is natural and healthful!

Batches make the most of the time you spend in the kitchen and ease some stress from your life. I feature batch recipes in my books, Diet Simple and Diet Simple Farm to Table Recipes. Batches are your favorite delicious, quick and easy meals made ahead of time so that you always have something in the freezer or refrigerator, ready to eat, or serve for guests, on a moment’s notice. And, believe it or not, though it may take a little extra time to prepare the batches on the weekends, it actually saves time overall and calms the daily whirlwind of your life.

Roll the Frozen Peanut Butter and Oat Balls in the Melted Chocolate Chips (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Roll the Frozen Peanut Butter and Oat Balls in the Melted Chocolate Chips

Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter & Oat Balls

I always at least quadruple this recipe. It's only four ingredients. It's fast. It's simple. These treats are so addictive, they're gone in a flash, so be on your toes!

A Heaping 1/2 Cup of Peanut Butter (or any nut butter you like, such as Almond Butter)
3/4 Cup Old Fashioned or Quick Rolled Oats
1 Tablespoon Pure Maple Syrup
3/4 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
Natural, Unsweetened Coconut Flakes (optional)
Chopped Roasted Nuts (optional)

Mix oats, peanut butter and maple syrup. Roll into about 12 or more balls (the smaller the balls, the more chocolate on each one!) and place them on a baking sheet which is covered with parchment paper. Freeze about 15 minutes or until set.

Involve Family and Friends in Creating Your Holiday Treat - Be Prepared to Get Chocolate Everywhere! (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Involve Family and Friends in Creating Your Holiday Treat - Be Prepared to Get Chocolate Everywhere!

Pull the frozen balls out of the freezer. Roll them in the melted chocolate and, if you wish, sprinkle with chopped nuts and/or coconut. Melt the chocolate carefully to prevent it from burning. Use a double boiler and stir until melted, or use a microwave stirring every 30 seconds until melted.

You may need to heat the chocolate again as the frozen balls may harden the chocolate while you're "working." Once every ball is generously covered and every last bit of chocolate is used up, freeze until the balls are set, at least 15 minutes.

Pull them out of the freezer and enjoy. You can save them in a plastic container in your refrigerator for three weeks. The more you make, the better!

Adapted from Eating Well Magazine.


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Katherine's Weekly Batch Recipe: Tastier Than French Fries!

December 13, 2018

If roasted correctly, this stunning rainbow of vegetables can taste better than french fries. Yes. You heard me! Roasting for the ideal length of time caramelizes vegetables, conveying sweetness and expressing more of their aromatic flavors. They're crispy and golden on the outside with a tender inside. The array of vegetables satisfies your natural urge for a variety of color, texture, flavor and shape, leftover from cave man times, all of which, together, help prevent cravings and provide an array of nutrients, important for survival. Even in today's space age, you still have that instinct for variety. Add a fruit, such as apples or peaches to create more sweet, if you wish.

My fourth weekly batch recipe, based on what you can find at your Farmers Market this weekend (beets, carrots, potatoes of all kinds, broccoli, and brussels sprouts), is Tastier Than French Fries! Roasted Veggies

Batches are all about making the most of the time you spend in the kitchen and easing some stress from your life. I feature batch recipes in my books, Diet Simple and Diet Simple Farm to Table Recipes. Batches are your favorite delicious, quick and easy meals made ahead of time so that you always have something in the freezer or refrigerator, ready to eat, or serve for guests, on a moment’s notice. And, believe it or not, though it may take a little extra time to prepare the batches on the weekends, it actually saves time overall and calms the daily whirlwind of your life.

Beets, Carrots, Yukon Gold Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli ready for roasting (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge Collections) Beets, Carrots, Yukon Gold Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli ready for roasting

Tastier Than French Fries! Roasted Veggies
By Katherine Tallmadge

Use this side dish with anything. It creates a colorful, artistic presentation and adds an assortment of flavors, shapes & textures, delightful to all palates. You can also use them cold in a salad, toss them in a soup, or add them to an omelette. They're a great batch; they should last for a week.

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit,

2. Select the combination of vegetables you'd like to roast. Some roast better than others, such as cauliflower, brussels sprouts, carrots, beets, mushrooms, winter squash, tomatoes, onions, eggplant, bell peppers, and of course, we all know about potatoes!

3. Cut the vegetables (and fruits, if used) in similar size pieces so that they cook evenly,

4. Place in a large bowl or plastic bag, add canola oil (it won't burn at a high temperature like butter or olive oil), salt, pepper, and an herb of your choice, such as fresh Rosemary,

5. Toss or shake until all vegetables are coated (but not too greasy). Pour off any excess oil,

6. Place on a cookie sheet or baking pan covered with aluminum foil or parchment paper (prevents sticking to your pan), and place on the center rack in your oven,

7. Roast for 30 to 45 minutes, tossing the vegetables or shaking the pan occasionally to cook evenly,

8. Roast the vegetables until they are golden brown on the outside, but tender in the center - like a french fry!

9. Different vegetables, cut in varying sizes will take a longer or shorter time to reach perfection.


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Katherine's Weekly Batch Recipe: Stuffed Shells with Ricotta & Roasted Eggplant

December 6, 2018

My third weekly batch recipe, based on what you can find at your Farmers Market this weekend (Tomatoes, Eggplant, Garlic, maybe Basil, the Ricotta cheese, and something comparable to Parmesan - do some tastings!), is Roberto Donna's Stuffed Shells with Ricotta and Eggplant. It is featured in my book,  Diet Simple, and a gift from Washington's most famous, James Beard Award-winning, Italian chef, Roberto Donna, currently Executive Chef at Al Dente Restaurant.

Batches are all about making the most of the time you spend in the kitchen and easing some stress from your life. I feature batch recipes in my books, Diet Simple and Diet Simple Farm to Table Recipes. Batches are your favorite delicious, quick and easy meals made ahead of time so that you always have something in the freezer or refrigerator, ready to eat, or serve for guests, on a moment’s notice. And, believe it or not, though it may take a little extra time to prepare the batches on the weekends, it actually saves time overall and calms the daily whirlwind of your life.

 

Roberto Donna's Stuffed Shells with Ricotta and Roasted Eggplant

excerpted from "Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations"
 

This elegant dish, always a crowd pleaser, comes together quickly. Though it may be a little more complex than some of my other batches, it's worth it! Using canned tomatoes and roasted peppers is perfectly fine in this recipe instead of using fresh, to save time. This unique Italian fare makes for an exquisite meal, or appetizer, minus loads of calories. And it can be refrigerated for use later, then re-heated easily with your microwave.

 

Katherine baking Roberto Donna's Stuffed Shells with Ricotta and Roasted Eggplant (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge Collections) Katherine baking Roberto Donna's Stuffed Shells with Ricotta and Roasted Eggplant
Serves 4

8 oz. peeled and cubed eggplant, sprinkled with 1 Tbs. olive oil
8 oz. low-fat ricotta cheese
2 Tbs. capers, drained (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
12 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade (place the basil leaves on top of each other so they're in a pile, then slice diagonally in thin strips)
12 jumbo shells, cooked, drained and cooled (you may want to boil more than 12, as some will fall apart) 
2 Tbs. olive oil
4 Tbs. grated Parmesan, optional
Italian parsley leaves for garnish

Olive Oil spray (optional)

Tomato Sauce (as an option, you can use a favorite commercial sauce):
1 1/2 cups canned plum tomatoes, or an equivalent amount of cooked fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup pureed tomatoes from a can, or an equivalent amount of cooked fresh pureed tomatoes
1/4 cup roasted, peeled, seeded red peppers, from a jar/can, or made yourself (optional)
1 garlic clove, minced
4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, or other comparable cheese from the Farmers Market

Italian parsley leaves for garnish

 

1. Preheat oven to 450F,
2. Place eggplant cubes on nonstick baking sheet - if you use parchment paper on the pan, the eggplant will not stick. Roast about 15 minutes until crisp and golden. Remove from oven,
3. Mix Ricotta with the Parmesan cheese, capers, and eggplant cubes in mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper and 4 chiffonade basil leaves. Set aside,
4. Reduce oven temperature to 400F,
5. Cover baking dish with foil or parchment paper and spray with nonstick vegetable spray. Fill each shell with about 1 tablespoon ricotta cheese mixture, filling evenly among shells until used up. Place the shells on the baking dish. Brush tops of shells with 1 tablespoon olive oil (or spray with olive oil spray). Bake 10 minutes, or until crisped and golden brown at the edges,
6. Meanwhile, to make tomato sauce, purée tomatoes, roasted peppers, remaining basil, rest of olive oil and garlic (or use your favorite commercial sauce). Season with salt and pepper,
7. Heat sauce over low heat, just  until warm (Roberto says a simple sauce, without overcooking, is the best),
8. Remove and set aside,
9. To serve, spoon one-quarter of the sauce on the dish (use a heated dish, if possible), and place 3 stuffed shells on top. Drizzle a little extra sauce over each top and garnish with parsley leaf and extra Parmesan cheese, if desired. Repeat with remaining shells and sauce. Refrigerate if not using immediately,
10. To re-heat, place 3 shells on top of sauce on microwavable plate or a shallow bowl, cover with a glass bowl and microwave for about 2 minutes,
11. If you are serving the stuffed shells as an appetizer, just one shell per plate will do.

Per serving, approximately (depending on the type of Ricotta Cheese you use):

360 calories
total fat 17 grams
saturated fat 6 grams
Fiber 4 grams
Protein 12 grams


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