Put creativity to work when modifying familiar recipes

One of the creative pleasures of cooking and baking is to take a familiar recipe and modify it to the ingredients that are on hand or to adapt it to accommodate taste preferences or dietary needs.

Dr. Wendy Davis, naturopathic doctor from the Windthorst, Sask.’s, Harmony Health Clinic has modified many recipes to make them more gluten, sugar and dairy-free friendly for herself and her patients. This brownie-like recipe is easy and very yummy.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake

  • coconut oil
  • 1 c. raw, unsweetened almond butter 250 mL
  • 1/3 c. maple syrup (instead of white sugar) 75 mL
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 5 mL
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 c. zucchini,
    shredded 375 mL
  • 1 c. dark chocolate
    chips 250 mL
  • 1 c. cocoa powder 250 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt 1 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
  • 1/2 c. pecan pieces 125 mL

Preheat over to 350 F (180 C).

Grease 8 x 8 inch (20 cm) square pan with coconut oil (instead of butter).

Combine almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and egg until smooth. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips.

Combine cocoa powder, salt and baking soda in a separate bowl, mix to combine then add to first mixture.

Pour into pan, sprinkle with pecan bits.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool before eating.

No Chili Chili

Marnie Sholdice from Calgary modified this delicious chili-like dish so it is not spicy and contains no chili peppers, salt and pepper. The use of maple flavoured pork and beans provides the dish a nice maple flavour.

This recipe is very flexible and ingredient amounts can be altered to suit family tastes. Kidney beans can be replaced with an extra can of pork and beans, if they supply too much roughage. Tabasco sauce can be offered on the side for those who wish to up the hot factor.

  • 1 lb. ground beef 500 g
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-398 mL cans –pork and beans, maple flavour
  • 1-398 mL can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1-796 mL can whole or diced tomatoes
  • 1-284 mL can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar 30 mL
  • 2 tbsp. white vinegar 30 mL

Brown the beef and onions. Drain if necessary. Add the various beans, tomatoes and mushrooms. Mix well. Add the brown sugar and vinegar.

Simmer for 30 minutes or until the flavours meld. Serve with crusty rolls and a crisp salad.

Make tortillas with the leftovers.

No Chili Chili Tortillas

  • 6 inch white flour tortillas as needed

Place a tortilla on a microwave safe plate. Place half a cup or so of chili down the middle of the tortilla. Sprinkle with any type of shredded cheddar. Fold the 2 edges of the tortilla to the center and turn the whole thing over so it does not pop open in the microwave. Microwave on high for a minute or so. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Multigrain Apple Muffins

Margaret Plunz adapted her Mother’s Apple Cupcake recipe to reduce the sugar, added whole grains and increased the fruits. Everyone in the family enjoyed the apple desserts that her mom made.

Yield 12 medium-sized muffins.

  • 1/3 c. sunflower oil 75 mL
  • 1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar 125 mL
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. multigrain flour 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. unbleached white flour 125 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg 2 mL (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves 2 mL (optional)
  • 1/2 c. raisins, washed 125 mL
  • 1/4 c. dried cranberries 60 mL
  • 1/2 c. unpeeled apple, finely chopped 125 mL
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped walnuts 60 mL
  • 1/2 c. lukewarm coffee 125 mL

Use spices to taste preference.

Preheat oven to 350F (180C).

In a large bowl, cream oil and brown sugar. Add the egg and beat well.

In a separate bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, spices, raisins, cranberries, apple and walnuts. Add to oil, sugar, egg mixture, stir to just combine. Add the coffee and mix until fully moistened. Spoon batter into paper-lined, or well-oiled muffin cups, filling only half full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Let stand for five minutes on a cooling rack.

Banana Split Muffins

Ann Weekes of Biggar, Sask., makes these muffins often for her grandchildren. She modified the recipe to use light mayonnaise, whole wheat flour and honey in place of sugar.

Yield 12 – 16 medium-sized muffins.

  • 1/2 c. light mayonnaise 125 mL
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 5 mL
  • 3 mashed bananas
  • 1/2 c. liquid honey 125 mL
  • 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour 375 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1/2 c. chocolate chips 125 mL

Preheat oven to 350F (180C).

Mix mayonnaise, egg, vanilla, bananas and liquid honey. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and mix to combine. Add to first mixture and mix just to combine.

Fill well-oiled or muffin paper lined muffin tins half full. Bake for 20 minutes.

These muffins freeze well.

Munch Bars

Leona Schrenk of Assiniboia, Sask., took a basic snack bar recipe and modified it to include a variety of different options to personalize the bars for individual tastes.

  • 1/4 c. margarine or butter 60 mL
  • 4 c. miniature marshmallows or 40 regular marshmallows 1 L
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla 2 mL
  • 4 tbsp. cocoa 60 mL (optional)
  • 1c. rolled oats or Rice Krispies 250 mL
  • 1 c. unsweetened coconut 250 mL
  • 1 c. nuts (a combinations of raw cashews, crushed peanuts, sunflower seeds) 250 mL
  • or replace the coconut and nuts with 2 c. of a combination of dried chopped apricots, raisins, chopped almonds, butterscotch or chocolate chips, coconut 500 mL
  • 1/2 c. wheat germ 125 mL (optional)
  • 1 c. bran, grape nuts cereal, Special K, Raisin Bran cereal or cereal of choice 250 mL

Melt margarine or butter with marshmallows, add vanilla and cocoa if using.

Stir in your choice of the balance of the ingredients.

Add butterscotch or chocolate chips last so they don’t melt too much.

Mix well and pat into a greased 9 x 13 pan, use a large metal spoon to press down.

Cool and cut into snack size bars. Wrap individual bars in plastic wrap and store in a container in the refrigerator.

Betty Ann Deobald is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: team@producer.com.

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