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The Sneaky Chef

The Sneaky Chef series of cookbooks
By Missy Chase Lapine
(www.thesneakychef.com)

Masterful Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Makes 4 to 6 Servings

1/2 pound macaroni (preferable whole wheat blend)
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 to 1/2 cup White Puree (see below)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated low-fat colby or cheddar cheese
Optional Extra boost: 2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9 inch square baking pan.
Bring a large pot of salt water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and according to the package direction, cook until firm and slightly undercooked. Drain and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the milk with the White Puree and salt. (If using eggs, whisk them in with the milk mixture.) Put half the macaroni into the baking pan and top with half the cheese. Next, layer with the rest of the macaroni, and then pour the milk mixture over the top, finishing with the last of the cheese on the top.

PUREE RECIPES:

Purple Puree

3 cups baby spinach leaves (or 2 cups frozen chopped spinach or frozen chopped collard greens)
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (NO syrup or sugar added)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3-4 tablespoons water

If using raw spinach, thoroughly wash it, even if the package says “prewashed.” Bring spinach or collards and water to boil in a medium pot. Turn heat to low and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. If using frozen blueberries, quickly rinse them under cold water to thaw a little, and then drain. Fill bowl of your food processor with the blueberries and cooked spinach (or collards) along with the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of water, and puree on high until as smooth as possible. Stop occasionally to push top contents to bottom. If necessary, add the rest of the water to make a fairly smooth puree.
This amount of spinach and blueberries makes only about 1 cup of puree. Double the recipe if you want to store another cup of the puree. It will store in the refrigerator up to 2 days, or you can freeze 1/4 cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers.  

Green Puree

2 cups raw baby spinach leaves (or 1 cup frozen chopped spinach or frozen collard greens)
2 cups broccoli florets, fresh or frozen
1 cup sweet green peas, frozen
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3-4 tablespoons water

If using raw spinach, thoroughly wash it, even if the package says “prewashed.” Using a vegetable steamer, steam broccoli and spinach (or collards) in 2 inches of water in a tightly covered pot for 10 minutes. Add the frozedn peas for the last minute of the steaming. Alternatively, place broccoli, spinach (or collard) in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with water, and microwave on high for 8 to 10 minutes until very tender, adding the frozen peas for the last minute of cooking.
Once cooked, drain the vegetables and place them in the bowl of your food processor along with 2 tablespoons of water and lemon juice. Puree on high until as smooth as possible. Stop occasionally and push contents from the top to the bottom. If necessary, add the rest of the water to make a smoother puree.
Makes about 2 cups of puree. Double the recipe if you want to store another cup of the puree. It will store in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or you can freeze 1/4 cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers.

ORANGE PUREE

1 medium sweet potato or yam, peeled and rough chopped
3 medium to large carrots, peeled and sliced into thick chunks
3-4 tablespoons water

In a medium pot, cover carrots and sweet potatoes with cold water and boil for about 20 minutes until yams and especially carrots, are very tender. If the carrots aren’t thoroughly cooked they’ll leave telltale little nuggets of vegetables, which will reveal their presence (a GIGANTIC no-no for the sneaky chef).
Drain the yams and carrots and put them in the food processor with two tablespoons of water.Puree on high until as smooth as possible. Stop occasionally and push contents from the top to the bottom. If necessary, add the rest of the water to make a smoother puree. (But the less water you use the better.)
Makes about 2 cups of puree. Double the recipe if you want to store another cup of the puree. It will store in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or you can freeze 1/4 cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers

WHITE BEAN PUREE

1 15-ounce can white beans (great northern, navy, butter or cannellini.) (If starting with dry beans, soak overnight and cook as directed.)
2 to 3 tablespoons water

Rinse and drain the beans and put in the bowl of your food processor. Pulsing in on/off turns, puree the drained beans with 2 tablespoons of water in processor unitl smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. The goal is a smooth, but NOT wet puree. (Aiming for the consistency of peanut butter.) If necessary, thin with a little more water until there are whole beans visible. It will store in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or you can freeze 1/4 cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers. It makes 1 cup of puree.

NO DOC GUAC 
Makes about 4 small servings

1 ripe avocado
1/2 lime, freshly squeezed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 to 4 tablespoons Green Puree

Halve the avocado lengthwise, remove the pit, and scoop out the flesh. In a small bowl, combine the avocado with the lime juice, salt, and Green Puree and blend well with a fork. Goes well with crunchy corn chips.

FLOUR BLEND

1 cup all purpose unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup wheat germ unsweetened

Combine the flours and wheat germ in a bowl. This blend can be stored in a sealed, labeled plastic bag for months.

BRAINY BROWNIES 
Makes about 30 Kid-sized brownies

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Purple Puree
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Flour Blend
1/4 cup rolled oats, ground in a food processor
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Butter or nonstick cooking spray
Optional extra boost: 1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter or spray only the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch square baking pan.
Melt the butter and chocolate chips together in a double boiler or metal bowl over simmering water (or in a microwave, checking every 15 seconds). Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool a bit. Meanwhile, in another bowl, stir together the eggs, vanilla, sugar, and Purple Puree. Combine this purple egg mixture with the cooled chocolate mixture.
In a mixing bowl, stir together Flour Blend, cocoa powder, oats, and salt. Add this to the chocolate mixture and blend thoroughly. Mix in the chopped walnuts, if using, then pour the entire mixture into the baking pan.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in pan before cutting the brownies and use a plastic or butter knife. Dust with powdered sugar or sprinkles, if desired. Keeps for a week in the refrigerator, cover tightly.

POWER PIZZA 
Makes 1 Large Pizza or 4 smaller pizzas

1 store bought pizza dough or 4 “Greek style” pocketless pitas (whole wheat preferred)
3/4 cup store-bought tomato sauce
3 tablespoons Orange Puree
1/4 cup White Bean Puree
1 to 2 cups low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
Optional extra boost: sliced mushrooms, onions, sweet peppers or artichoke hearts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and preheat a pizza stone, if using one, or spray a baking sheet with oil.
Stretch pizza dough or roll out with floured rolling pin on a floured surface, to form a pie and transfer it to the stone or baking sheet. If using pocketless pitas, place them on the prepared baking sheet. Combine tomato sauce with White Bean and Orange Purees. Mix well. Spread 1/2 to 1 cup of sauce mixture across the pizza dough or pitas, then top with mozzarella . Cover and refrigerate at this point, or bake for 15 to 20 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned. Allow to cool a few minutes, then cut into triangles and serve!

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