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Stuttering Shell: BRACE FACE - Let's Get Cookin'!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

BRACE FACE - Let's Get Cookin'!

Where were these cookbooks when I had braces? (Remember, you can WIN these cookbooks by participating in the "Brace Face" discussion series...all comments will be entered to comment, comment, comment!)

I'm sure there was some sort of brace-friendly menu plan out there, but (of course) I had braces in the late 1980s - early 1990s so my fate succumbed to chicken noodle soup (a la Campbell's, no doubt) and any other mushy substance I could sink my sore jaws into on the days that my wires/bands were tightened. I get lockjaw just reminiscing about it all.

Anyways, wearing braces isn't so nerdy anymore and neither is the cuisine when it comes to wearing braces thanks to Pamela Waterman and Chef Amee Hoge. The pair teamed up to put together not just one, but TWO, cookbooks showcasing different (dare I say, gourmet?) recipes that can be fixed easily and LOVED by those in braces and even those who are not in braces. Ms. Waterman was not only inspired by her own daughter who was in braces, but she spent some time as an adult in braces, too.

I don't know about you, but I am a cookbook junkie so these two books are on my "wanted" list - all of the recipes look so yummy & tasty! And, as a parent who will quite possibly have two children in braces one day in the near future, I think that having these two resources on my kitchen bookshelf will be a lifesaver!

Here are some tidbits recipes from the books:

CORNBREAD PIZZA (from the Braces Cookbook 2)

This braces-friendly pizza is delicious, distinctive and oh-so satisfying. Try it tonight! Made with cornbread mix and a dash of Parmesan, it’s just the thing when you’re craving something different. You can even get your kids in on the fun by asking them to help with the toppings.

2 (8½-ounce) boxes dry cornbread mix
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 jar or can (about 26 ounces) spaghetti sauce, any flavor
1 tablespoon oregano
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Toppings of your choice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 30-to-35 minutes total.

In a large bowl, stir together the 2 boxes of dry cornbread mix, 2 eggs, milk and Parmesan cheese. Grease a 9” x 13” pan, and also grease 6 muffin-pan cups (or line them with cupcake papers). Spoon batter into the 6 muffin cups, about halfway, as this is extra batter. (You’ll have muffins for another meal – they’re great with chili.) Then spread the remaining batter into the 9” x 13” pan and spread the spaghetti sauce over the top. Sprinkle with oregano.

Bake the pizza and the muffins at 375 degrees for 15 minutes and remove both from oven. Sprinkle the pizza with the mozzarella cheese and any other toppings, then bake it at an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Cut into squares.

Chef Amee’s Gourmet Touch:
To make two specialty “soft” pizzas, bake them in two round cake pans and top with your favorite toppings. Add 1 tablespoon of dried Italian herbs to the pizza crust along with 1 teaspoon of garlic powder for added flavor.

CHERRY-CHICKEN SALAD BITES (from the Braces Cookbook 2)

1 (12.5-ounce) can (or 1¼ cups) cooked chicken
½ cup (about 3 ounces) dried cherries, presoaked in hot water for 10 minutes, then drained
½ cup (4 ounces) black-cherry yogurt
1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise

Drain the chicken and break it up into a medium-sized bowl. Add cherries, yogurt and mayonnaise. Stir together well. If you have time, let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for an hour to absorb the moisture and flavors.
This serves up nicely in tiny scoopfuls on ruffled red-leaf lettuce and is also excellent as a filling inside sliced miniature croissant rolls.

What’s so cool about this dish? Dried cherries are now as easy to find in the grocery store as raisins, a trend that makes this variation on the regular chicken salad a simple yet delicious change of pace. Plus, when it’s time for those braces to come off, you can add ¼ cup of slivered almonds to give the dish some extra pizazz. Need a gourmet touch? Chef Amee likes to add ¼ cup ground almonds and 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried mint leaves to add more color and texture to this scrumptious meal.

MOROCCAN SWEET-PEPPER CHICKEN (from the Braces Cookbook)
3 boneless chicken breast halves, boiled
3 cups (fresh or frozen, unthawed) sweet peppers, diced (any color)

For the sauce:
1/3 cup orange juice
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ teaspoon ginger
1 Tablespoon sherry
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
(Optional: ¼ cup sliced almonds)

In a large pot, boil the chicken breasts until very tender, about 1 hour. (This is a great task to do ahead of time while getting other things done in your life.) Shred the chicken on a cutting board and set aside.

In a Dutch oven or large covered frying pan, simmer the peppers in ½ cup water for 15 minutes. Add shredded chicken and keep on low heat.In a small bowl, use a whisk to stir together all the sauce ingredients except the almonds. Pour the sauce over the chicken and pepper mixture and simmer the combination, covered, for 10 minutes. Serve over rice and, if desired, add the almonds on top for non-braces eaters. This recipe makes 6 to 8 servings.

For a quick, soothing breakfast or afternoon snack, put together the ingredients ahead of time. Keep the mixture in the refrigerator ready to whip together in a blender.

2 bananas1 cup of milk1 cup of other fruit (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, mandarin oranges – fresh or thawed from frozen)2 tablespoons of protein powder (optional)

Cut bananas into 1-inch slices. Add all ingredients to a blender, and mix for 10 seconds on a low setting. Makes two servings.

These twisty soft pretzels are tasty with a dash of salt – or sweet with a shake of sugar and cinnamon. Plus, they’re easy to make. Pop a batch in the oven today!

¾ cup warm water
½ envelope yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
Pinches of salt or cinnamon-sugar

Preheat oven to 425°. In a small bowl, stir together warm water, yeast and sugar. In a large mixing bowl, mix salt and flour with a large spoon. After 5 minutes, stir yeast mix into flour mix.

With well-floured hands, shape dough into 6-inch rods, initials, animals or traditional twisted pretzel shapes. Brush with the beaten egg and place on a greased cookie sheet. If desired, sprinkle with extra salt or cinnamon-sugar.

Bake for 12 minutes at 425°.

Now you tell you really need braces to enjoy these recipes? NO! But, if you ARE in braces, I bet these recipes (as well as the many others featured in the cookbooks) are a welcome change to what you thought you were limited to, right?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cornbread pizza sounds so good right about now...

May 28, 2009, 2:07:00 PM  
Blogger Melanie said...

I don't think I paid much attention to the food restrictions when I had braces! I still chewed gum, ate popcorn, etc. I guess I was lucky and never had any problems.

May 28, 2009, 2:38:00 PM  
Blogger Kayla said...

I don't really pay much attention to the braces "rules" either. In fact, I am chewing gum right this second. I really need this cookbook...

May 31, 2009, 2:25:00 PM  

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