Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Challenge

One of the most frequently asked question that I hear from many of you through emails is, “Laura, do you think you could come up with a healthier version of _______?”

It would appear that you have become aware of how much I get a kick out of experimenting and coming up with new, healthy recipes in my “spare time”! Yes it’s true. I love playing with ingredients.

Your past requests and challenges have resulted in fun new recipes for Poptarts, Pancake Sausage Muffins, Chewy Granola Bars, Corndog Muffins, Hot Dog Buns, Dressing Mixes, Taco Seasoning,  Funnel Cakes, and many other cool recipe ideas that were inspired by YOU. I love taking family favorite ideas that may normally be unhealthy (like a poptart), and fiddling with the idea until I come up with a recipe that pleases the fam and is healthy(er) too! (It never hurts when the recipe is easy to make and saves money too, huh?)

granola_bars_3

Each time one of you sends in a recipe challenge or an idea, I add it to my list of foods to experiment with. You all come up with so many great ideas!! Yeah, that’s my way of saying…wow my list is really long.

I decided that it would be fun during 2011 to share part of my list with you and have you offer input for your top choices of recipes for me to try. Then all during this year, I’ll play with ingredients and get lots of honey and tomato paste and butter on my face (though not all at the same time) as I experiment to come up with some new favorite recipes to share.

Here is my list of items you’ve requested for me to come up with a “Healthier Version” of:

  1. Tater Tots
  2. Twinkies
  3. Ketchup
  4. Mayonnaise
  5. Corn Tortillas
  6. White Chocolate Baking Chips and Butterscotch Baking Chips (like these Homemade Chocolate Chips, only white chocolate or butterscotch)
  7. Fig Newtons
  8. Teriyaki Sauce
  9. Ritz Crackers
  10. Onion Soup Mix
  11. Bleu Cheese Dressing
  12. Cereal Bars
  13. Angel Food Cake
  14. White Cake (which we’ve already discussed that if using whole wheat flour and sucanat, this cake would really be tan…)
  15. Chocolate Milk

I’m sure I’ve forgotten some of the requests that you’ve sent in, so please feel free to add those ideas if you’d like. And now…I’d appreciate it if you’d all leave a comment letting me know your top two or three recipe choices from the list above so that I know where I should start with this challenge!

And now, if you’ll pardon me…I’m going to go put on my apron and start grinding some flour. Let the Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Challenge begin!

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Comments

  1. says

    tator tots are easy.. I made low carb tator tots with cauliflower YEARS ago. But for the life of me i wouldnt be able to tell you how..

    [Reply]

    Suzanne Reply:

    Wow – THAT sounds good. I would love that recipe!

    [Reply]

  2. Beth says

    A friend of mine gave me this recipe to make chocolate milk with our raw milk we drink. This is for 1 gallon of milk (with a cup or 2 removed to make room for the “syrup”)

    3/4 – 1 cup Maple syrup
    1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    1 tsp. vanilla
    dash or 2 of salt

    Mix these ingredients together (well) to form a syrup, then add to the gallon of milk. You will need to shake it up each time you want to serve it as the chocolate settles at the bottom. My children (5&3) can not tell the difference.

    [Reply]

    Michele Showalter Reply:

    Many thanks for the recipe! I’m going to try it out! I need to move away from
    giving my girls processed chocolate milk!

    [Reply]

  3. Amy says

    Ketchup
    Baking chips (but add peanut butter chips to your list)
    Chocolate milk (but, again, add strawberry to your list)

    Does this really count as five with my additions? Hmmm. Thanks

    [Reply]

  4. Danielle says

    Onion soup mix for sure. Haven’t found a good homemade recipe that doesn’t include beef bullion which has that nasty MSG! Thanks!

    [Reply]

  5. Jami says

    1. Fig newtons
    2. Cereal bars
    3. Cinnamon baking chips

    How fun! I can’t wait to see what all you come up with!

    [Reply]

  6. Holly in Virginia says

    Ketchup
    Fig Newtons
    Teryaki Sauce

    Mayonnaise is so simple and easy to make, I’ve been making my own for years. When I learned about traditional foods I switched to using pastured eggs, raw vinegar and safflower oil. My husband loves it and every complements me on my chicken salad when I use my mayonnaise.

    [Reply]

  7. Lori says

    1. Chocolate Milk!
    2. Chocolate Milk!
    3. Chocolate Milk!

    I drink this every morning and have been trying to figure out a healthier version. I know there are some healthy alternatives, but they seem to be very expensive.

    So glad you like to experiment!

    [Reply]

  8. says

    Chocolate Milk
    Fig Newtons

    I’d be interested in a recipe for breakfast biscuits using bacon and cheese that freeze well when made in bulk.

    [Reply]

  9. Cathy Burns says

    1) teriyaki sauce
    2) onion soup mix
    3) cinnamon baking chips

    I’d also be interested in a healthful version of strawberry lemonade. My family enjoys that in the summertime, but I’m sure there must be a way to make it that is better than my current recipe.

    Thanks! I’m looking forward to reading about your results.

    [Reply]

  10. Jess says

    I would want to see ketchup as an absolute must for my kids (I can’t stand it), onion soup mix (I used to use it for roasts & oven baked potatoes), and Ritz crackers.

    If I could add anything to the list it would be mac and cheese, and cream of onion soup (this is great for roast in the over and broccoli, chicken rice). Thanks Laura.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer S. Reply:

    She has an amazing recipe on her blog for mac n cheese, my kids LOVE it!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/high-five-recipe-creamy-mac-and-cheese :)

    [Reply]

    Jess Reply:

    Thanks for some reason when I looked through the recipe indexes I completely missed this. I’ll just blame it on mommy brain. Thanks.

    [Reply]

    Tammy Reply:

    Jess – I stumbled across a recipe for Cream of “Anything” soup mix the
    other day. I mixed some up and it works GREAT in recipes. Use the mix
    as a base and just add onion, mushroom, celery, “anything” as you heat it

    Use 1/3 cup mix to 1 cup water:

    4 c. powdered milk
    1 1/2 c. cornstarch
    1/2 c. instant chicken bouillon granules (we crushed 24 cubes)
    4 tsp. dried onion flakes
    2 tsp. dried thyme
    2 tsp basil – crushed dried
    1 tsp. pepper

    Heat over medium low heat.

    (I know, I know – bouillon/msg = awful…but I haven’t found a replacement
    yet!)

    [Reply]

    Danielle B Reply:

    Bouillon is just solid chicken/beef broth. Substitute chicken stock.

    [Reply]

    Danielle B Reply:

    Solid=powdered

  11. Katie M. says

    1. Chocolate milk
    2. Ketchup and please please please: chili sauce?! (like Heinz brand, it seems to have a ketchup base!)

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  12. Michelle says

    not that these all go together:)…but my choices would be:
    corn tortillas
    onion soup mix
    tater tots

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  13. Kimberlee says

    Corn tortillas, corn tortillas and onion soup mix…

    I have been working on onion soup mix since they are hard to find without gluten or MSG. We should talk.

    Yes, I listed the corn tortillas twice. On purpose. We live on these some weeks.

    [Reply]

  14. Alicia says

    Mustard!!!
    I tried making Nourishing Traditions mustard this week and it was really easy to make…however, it turned out incredibly spicy!!! Don’t get me wrong, I love mustard with a kick…but this stuff tasted an awful lot like horseradish! Help! Please! Help me fix it (I made a whole quart of it)! And help me make it better next time. Please!!!!!!

    [Reply]

    Jen Reply:

    Just let it sit longer. It gets milder over time. It might take weeks. Just be patient.

    [Reply]

    Alicia Reply:

    At room temperature or in the fridge? I did the 3 days at room
    temp per Nourishing Traditions and then transfered to the fridge.
    Should I pull it out again? Thanks!

    [Reply]

  15. Rebekah says

    I have got to try making some homemade fig newtons I love those things but won’t buy them because of the yucky ingredients. How about deer jerky?

    [Reply]

  16. Rebecca says

    Would love to see:
    1. Chocolate Milk
    2. Fig Newtons
    3. Tator Tots

    Thank you for taking the time to experiment for all of us!

    [Reply]

  17. says

    I do make my own teriakyi sauce. Very easy. Soy sauce, ketchup (organic non high fructose)chopped garlic, lemon juice salt and pepper.

    I do like a good ritz..so that is my vote.

    [Reply]

  18. Rachel says

    1. cereal bars
    2. tater tots
    3. baking chips
    They are sound like great ideas though, so I will be excited for whichever recipes are chosen. Thanks so much for keeping us all well fed and entertained! I have appreciated so so many of your recipes and ideas.

    [Reply]

  19. Melodya says

    This is awesome!

    My friend just learned she can make her own corn meal by grinding her popcorn kernals. The red, blue, purple kernals have far more nutritional value than reg. yellow/white corn. However, this would make for some interesting corn bread and tortillas..lol

    1. Tater tots
    2. Teriyaki sauce (gluten free)
    3. onion soup mix
    as a side bar, I’m hoping you’ll include how to
    substitute the boullion. (gluten free)

    [Reply]

  20. Beth says

    corn tortillas and chocolate milk! I can’t think of a way to have chocolate milk when you mix the chocolate so that it dissolves and won’t be all chunky since it’s cold. Oh, and my “corn tortillas” I make are flour ones that I roll out in cornmeal. Kinda make them half and half but at least i get a little corn taste! Thanks!

    [Reply]

  21. Tracy Compaan says

    Oooh, this is so fun!

    Onion Soup Mix-SO great to cook with.
    Mayonnaise (not a recipe where you have to use uncooked eggs)
    Twinkies (just because!)

    Haven’t commented in a long time, but I still enjoy your blog regularly, and have even “introduced” a couple fellow Bangkok expats to you!

    [Reply]

  22. Sarah says

    My top three would be:
    corn tortilla’s
    Ketchup
    Teryaki Sauce

    Thanks! And anything gluten free is always great! :)

    [Reply]

  23. Summer says

    Not to be cheeky by introducing something new, but I’d love to see a whole wheat pierogi recipe. It seems like it would be so simple, but googling brought forth almost nothing. Otherwise, I vote for mayonnaise and corn tortillas. Thanks. :)

    [Reply]

  24. Andrea says

    Ketchup
    Mayo
    Bleu Cheese

    (I have to admit, I hate to limit it to only 3, so would be very happy for anything you come up with!)

    [Reply]

  25. kelly says

    We dont buy any of those things you mentioned other than ketchup, our kids have never had them and dont know what they are missing!

    So instead of asking you to change a recipe I wanted to send you one that our family loves and I think you might enjoy

    BAKED OATMEAL

    2 cups large flake oats (not the quick cooking kind)

    1 cup spelt (the flakes not the flour – or you can make this another cup of oats instead)

    1/4 cup organic evaporated cane juice (or less)

    2 tsp baking powder

    2 tsp cinnamon

    3/4 tsp salt

    1-2 tsp ground flax

    When ready to make, combine wet ingredients in a bowl:

    2 eggs, beaten

    2/3 cup applesauce

    1/2 cup plain yogurt

    1/4 tsp vanilla

    1Tbsp maple syrup

    1/2 cup milk

    1/8 cup oil

    Mix in dry ingredients and pour into greased casserole dish. bake at 350 for 40 minutes
    Top with apples and cinn before you bake or with blueberries when out of the oven or really whatever other fruit you want!

    [Reply]

  26. Shawna Cale says

    All would be great, but I really need some good ketchup or even better bar bq sauce. Ritz crackers sound good and my household just ran out of chocolate quik and I refuse to buy anymore. We do hot chocolate right now, but this summer they will be begging for chocolate milk. We love all your recipes, now my husband gets on your site and makes copies of recipes he wants me to make. If I give him a look, he says “Laura’s recipe”. Then I smile and say “well then it must be good”

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    BBQ Sauce: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/high-five-recipes-homemade-barbeque-sauce

    Although, it does have ketchup in the recipe…which I just use an organic version of right now. IF I ever come up with a ketcup recipe to go in it, that would make this all the better! :)

    [Reply]

    SnoWhite @ Finding Joy in My Kitchen Reply:

    I’ve made a homemade cherry BBQ sauce and we love it!

    http://joyinmykitchen.blogspot.com/2010/09/cherry-bbq-sauce.html

    [Reply]

  27. says

    Newton Cookies. I’m not a big fan of fig, but I’d like to see it with strawberry or raspberry filling…

    In making a white cake – you might try the chiffon method for making it light and airy with whole grains.

    [Reply]

  28. Michelle says

    I vote for corn tortillas (thinner is better in our house). I’ll be working on them this year, too. And, fig newtons. I like the idea of making these for our lo when he is a little older.

    Sounds like a fun challenge! I can’t wait to see your results over the new year.

    [Reply]

  29. says

    I would like to see corn tortillas and ritz crackers. I’ve had a hard time finding a healthy cracker. Fig newtons are a favorite of mine also. Thanks Laura, can’t wait to see the results.

    [Reply]

  30. Dana says

    Ritz crackers would be a great recipe to have! We eat tons of them around here, we never have saltines. Whenever I’ve tried to look up recipes online, I’ve always just come up with recipes that USE Ritz crackers. I hope you can figure this one out soon!

    Butterscotch chips and ketchup would also be good. I’ve tried to make ketchup before but have never had success, so I’ll defer to your expertise.

    [Reply]

  31. Lissa says

    I have great recipes for mayo and chocolate syrup (for chocolate milk). I also have a really, really good powder chocolate recipe.

    I have not bought chocolate syrup or mayo in a very long time. I can send them to you if you want.

    [Reply]

    DreamingofSpring Reply:

    I would like you recipe for mayo–I haven’t found a really good one yet! Chocolate syrup would be good too….please share!!

    [Reply]

    darialauren Reply:

    I would love those recipes too! we love chocolate milk but hate that most have high fructose corn syrup!

    [Reply]

    Erin Reply:

    Me too, just post them…pleaseeeee

    [Reply]

    Lissa Reply:

    I will post the chocolate syrup and mayo a little later. The chocolate powder comes from “Miserly Moms”.
    Chocolate Drink Mix (works well for hot chocolate too!)
    2 cups nonfat dry milk powder (if using water)
    3/4 cup sucanat
    1/2 cup cocoa powder
    dash salt
    Put these ingredients in a blender and blend until fine. It will help in the stirring and prevent lumps. Store in an airtight container.

    If you plan to mix this with milk then I would omit the nonfat milk powder. Then add to hot or cold milk (I have used soy milk as well with no problems) to taste.

    [Reply]

    Lissa Reply:

    OK – Here is the chocolate syrup recipe. The general recipe comes from “Miserly Moms” cookbook which has been my saving grace for mixes and some recipes. I am not affiliated in any way with them just love the book. Anyway –
    1C of unsweetened cocoa
    2C of sugar / sucanat
    1 1/4 C water
    1t salt
    1T vanilla
    Mix sugar, salt and cocoa together until there are no lumps. Put in saucepan and add water. Put on medium heat and stir constantly. Heat until the sugar is disolved (until the foam is almost gone). Set aside and let cool. Once cool stir in vanilla. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Pour in glass jar and keep in the fridge. The sauce will be a bit thicker than hershy syrup but the flavor is about a million times better. The syrup is excellent over ice cream as well.

    Enjoy!

  32. Nancy says

    I’d really like a recipe for ketchup that uses only honey as the sweetener. And the corn tortillas would be fun to try too.

    Thank you for asking:)

    [Reply]

  33. Katie Pretot says

    I love my homemade ketchup recipe, I will dig it out and share it with you next time I comment. I would love to See fig newtons, ( I eat grain free for now, and found an almond flour version of fig newtons on Elana’s pantry blog. she said that her husband can’t tell the difference, so maybe you could build on her recipe!) My kids would like ones from fresh ground flour, and almond flour is pricey! I would love to make my own tater tots, and the cinnamon chips sound awesome. King Aurthur flour sells commercial cinnamon chips, that is the first I had heard of them!
    By the way You are great! I love your blog!

    [Reply]

  34. DreamingofSpring says

    For white cake sheck out healthyindugences.com she makes a white cake with no flour and uses white beans–sounds gross right!! But not a single member of my bean hating family said a word and ate the entire cake…8in round…just be sure to follow her directions about letting it sit in the fridge overnight and it is moist and delicious and white(she uses xylitol a lot but I found using OG evaporated cane juice in equal amounts to the other sweeteners worked just fine..lots of protein and fiber in that cake!! Also for Blue cheese dressing–I just add less liquid to your ranch dressing recipe(or add a little sour cream–Nancy’s from Azure as it has live cultures)and add blue cheese crumbles–so good! And for Ritz cracker–you gave away an ebook from kitchen stewardship and her cracker recipe is not only very healthy–but amazing–I am REQUIRED to bring them to family gatherings…or else!!

    [Reply]

  35. Courtney says

    Onion Soup Mix, PLEASE! I live in Indonesia and can’t get the packets here, but they are my ‘when I’m too tired to really cook’ seasoning. Besides, if they are healthier, I would probably just keep making my own if/when we ever move back to the states :D

    [Reply]

  36. Gretchen says

    Ritz crackers and fig newtons! I’ve looked for recipes for fig newtons, and they’re all too labor intensive, maybe you can make it somewhat simpler too? :-) Trader Joes makes fig cereal bars that taste a lot like fig newtons, so I think it would be possible to adapt a recipe from cereal bars to fig newtons or vice versa perhaps?

    [Reply]

  37. Katie says

    Onion soup mix and butterscotch baking chips please, although any recipe you post I want to try! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this for all of us!

    [Reply]

  38. Betsy says

    I’m for Ritz crackers and Fig Newtons also. My husband and kids go through a box of Ritz crackers a week – way too much sodium and fat! A healthier version would be nice

    [Reply]

  39. Heidi says

    I’ve been wanting a recipe for onion soup mix forever! And mayo would be great as well, preferably without raw eggs because I refuse to even chance raw eggs with my family.

    [Reply]

  40. Andrea B. says

    I found a mayo recipe on tropical traditions website using coconut oil and evoo that is delicious. You might want to check that out.
    As for tutorials, I’d love to see, and would most likely use, recipes for Ritz/Club crackers, ketchup (I have dabbled with this one too and found a recipe I loved but no one in my house loved along with me), and/or tater tots.
    Thank you for asking and thanks for all of the time and information you’ve given us. I can’t speak for everyone, but I loge your blog and look for our updates every morning. You inspire me.

    [Reply]

  41. jwmonty994 says

    cereal bars and fig newtons YUM!

    I am currently on a weight loss journey with a personal trainer in tow. I need to get more protein in and am having an extremely hard time finding a protein bar that does not have any artificial sugar, tons of processed ingredients and not a ton of grams of real sugar either.

    How about a protein bar recipe for those of us in need??? Thank you! I love your website!!

    [Reply]

  42. darialauren says

    oooh so many great choices…how to chooose?!?! i appreciate you doing all this work while raising your family! its a blessing for sure!
    perhaps i’d have to vote for chocolate milk, cereal bars, and onion soup mix!
    thanks again!

    [Reply]

  43. Bethany B. says

    Chocolate Milk, fig newtons and cinnamon or butterscotch chips…

    Really, any of them would be fine!!!

    For Ketchup, Heinz makes a “Simply ketchup” that doesn’t have HFCS in it. That’s what we’ve been using. It’s not organic, but after reading the label it didn’t seem that bad…

    Still, I’d love to see your recipe if you come up with one!

    [Reply]

  44. says

    ewwww…twinkies….just eww! they aren’t that good in the first place, but if someone likes them and feels like they want to eat them because they taste good, what’s the point of healthifying it? nothing will compare flavorwise to all the junk they put in those. just my two cents

    [Reply]

  45. Mickey says

    WAIT – Your poptart recipe makes great fig newtons!! We make the poptart ‘crust’ but roll it out in a very long rectangle, then fill it with fig preserves (we make our own). Fold the crust over lengthwise and crimp the one long edge. It bakes up softer if you leave it as the long tube. Then use a pizza cutter (or knife) to cut into newton shapes once it is cool. YUM!!
    (As a side note – your filling for cinnamon swirl bread makes great a great filling for cinnamon poptarts, too!!)

    [Reply]

  46. Danielle says

    I vote for the cinnamon and butterscotch baking chips. Between the high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, and the fact that I’m allergic to all cinnamon except Ceylon I haven’t been able to find chips that I can use. For the person who mentioned mint Oreos, King Arthur Flour has a recipe that uses white whole wheat flour and I’ve made it several times, you might need a few more modifications to make it healthier, but it is a good start–and people have explained how they modified it in the comment section. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/faux-reos-recipe

    [Reply]

  47. says

    Tater tots!! Oh please do tater tots!!

    And mayo. I have tried 3 or 4 recipes, but I have not liked any of them. And my husband liked them even less than I did, so they definitely wouldn’t fly if I made them on a regular basis.

    Onion soup mix would be great too!!

    Teriyaki sauce is actually surprisingly easy. A quick google search will give you a ton of easily-adaptable recipes, and I don’t think I’ve ever met a teriyaki sauce I don’t like, personally!

    [Reply]

  48. Leslie K. says

    My vote is for the condiment staples…ketchup, mayo, and BBQ sauce, or maybe onion soup mix. (I’ll have to check if you have a Ranch Salad dressing/mix recipe…that’s another one that my family hasn’t ever found a store-bought brand quite as tasty as restaurant Ranch!) Thanks Laura…happy concocting!

    [Reply]

  49. says

    Being that my husband is from mexico, I would be interested in corn tortillas (as they eat those way more than flour), and I tried to make chilaquiles healthier with some flour ones and it turned out awful. So here are my top three:

    1: Corn Tortillas
    2:Teriyaki Sauce, have tried to make it before and never turned out sweet and savory like the restaurants
    3:instead of tater tots, I would say another potato derivative, Jo-Jos.

    Good luck with your challenge.

    Erin GymboCraze.weebly.com

    [Reply]

  50. Sharon says

    We’re all about the condiments at our house. So, bring on the ketchup, mayo, and teriyaki sauce please! :o) Although, if you give a family some condiment recipes, it’s most likely they’re going to want some cracker, tater tots, and crackers to put them on….

    Thanks for your gusto!
    Sharon

    [Reply]

  51. says

    I would like to see the healthier version of teriyaki sauce, tator tots, and blue cheese dressing.

    I make a bbq sauce that is really good…got it from a true “cowboy” of a chef.

    Have fun with the challenge. I find that I could be on your website full time…got to find some time to hang out and read and try some of your recipes.

    [Reply]

  52. Julia says

    Ritz crackers, onion soup mix. And if you wouldn’t mind, I would like a dose of your knowledge so I could also experiment. :)

    [Reply]

  53. Maria says

    I would really appreciate a mayo recipe. I use the light version but would enjoy a healthier-than-light recipe.

    Teriyaki sauce would be my second.

    [Reply]

  54. Mayira says

    I’d like a healthier version of Ritz crackers and tater tots. We also go through boxes and boxes of Cheez-Its, so if you could figure out that one, we’d be thrilled.

    I made your poptarts the other day, and my kids keep asking when I’m making more. And your pizza pockets are going to be perfect when we go to Disney. Thanks so much.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Here’s a recipe I’ve already posted for Crispy Cheese Crackers that is a great alternative to Cheezits: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/high-five-recipes-crispy-cheese-crackers :)

    [Reply]

    Mayira Reply:

    Thank you so much. I can’t wait to try these.

    [Reply]

  55. says

    I don’t have a top three, but PLEASE

    KETCHUP!

    My husband eats a ton of this every year, and my youngest son appears to be following in my husbands footsteps. Problem???? Son has allergy to HFCS. I need to be canning a ton of this, this year. Would appreciate a healthful, GREAT tasting recipe.
    Thank you!
    Carla

    [Reply]

    Rebekah Reply:

    I make Wardeh’s Lacto-Fermented Ketchup. It’s super easy and incredibly tasty! http://gnowfglins.com/2010/06/16/lacto-fermented-homemade-ketchup/

    [Reply]

  56. Sue says

    First on my list is Onion Soup Mix…I used to use it for everything until I realized what’s in it!

    Next is ketchup or catsup.

    Third would be fig newtons- a childhood favorite!

    [Reply]

    DreamingofSpring Reply:

    Onion Soup mix recipe: 1 1/2 c. dried minced onion 2/3c. beef boullion powder ( I use country life brand–not perfect but better than most and no msg) 2/3 c. onion powder 1/2 tsp sugar I like to add a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch if I am using it for gravy or over a pot roast in the crockpot so it thickens itself.

    [Reply]

    DreamingofSpring Reply:

    Looks like Bills Best Beaf seasoning is the best bet, non GMO, no msg or animal ingredients–all of the “real” beef seasonings have nasty ingredients in them!

    [Reply]

  57. Kristy says

    Chocolate milk!!! I’d love to have a healthier version on Quik or Nestle chocolate — either a dry powder mix or a syrup! Sadly, this is the only thing my kids ever want to drink and they drink lots of it (along with water too!)

    [Reply]

    Kristy Reply:

    Forgot to mention… I made your homemade poptarts the other day and they are FANTASTIC!! Next time, I need to add more jelly though. Otherwise, a big hit! Thank you so much!!!

    [Reply]

  58. says

    I’m not crazy about the original, but I can’t wait to see you try Twinkies! The thought of healthy Twinkies makes me laugh. Little Debbies, though, THOSE are addictive. I like the little cakes with the creamy stuff inside and the chocolate icing outside. And while we are there, the doughnuts with the maple frosting and the custard inside! Goodness. I need to do a Sugar fast BADLY. :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I actually did mayo once! I was out of the healthy stuff (or at least didn’t trust my expiration dates) and so I researched online how to make it (eggs and olive oil) in the blender!
    I felt like such a domestic diva when it all emulsified and looked like the real thing1
    I was so PROUD of that chicken salad! And it was YUMMY! :)

    [Reply]

  59. Bobbie says

    Thanks Laura! I’d vote for tater tots and onion soup mix. I just made your turkey sausage and your pancake sausage muffins. They are both great!

    [Reply]

  60. Scarlet says

    Hey Laura,

    I thought I would share one of mine, in case you were curious,

    For onion soup mix:
    ¾ cup dried minced onion
    ¼ cup beef bouillon powder
    4 tsp onion powder
    ½ tsp dried dill weed or ¼ tsp crushed celery seed
    ½ tsp sugar
    Makes 4 -¼ cup packets

    I have used both the dillweed and celery based on what I had and it turned out good either way, Azure standard sells 1 pound packs of the dried onion and onion powder at a very reasonable rate and they are great to have on hand. I also get the bouillon from them and it is natural and has no MSG or other yucky stuff in it. This will keep about a year and can be made cheaper than store bought.

    I also have recipes for ketchup, mayo, corn tortillas, Worcestershire sauce, English muffin bread, and homemade chocolate syrup if you are interested. They are all healthier homemade versions of the store bought stuff.

    [Reply]

    kelly Reply:

    i would like your recipes for worcestershire sauce, english muffin bread and corn tortillas if you dont
    mind posting them or emailing them to me, thanks
    Kelly
    kelly.cogswell@gmail.com

    [Reply]

    Tiffany Reply:

    Yes…please share!

    [Reply]

    Jessica Reply:

    Scarlet,

    Would you mind sharing your ketchup and English muffin bread recipes?

    If you don’t mind, could you post them here or email me jessy@sound(dot) net.

    Thanks!!

    [Reply]

    Jamie Reply:

    Scarlet:

    I also am requesting you to share a couple of your recipes. I am really
    trying to get myself and my kids into eating healthier and you mentioned
    several items that we use regularly. I would actually like to request
    all that you mentioned but if I needed to choose two I would choose the
    chocolate syrup and the worcestershire sauce. My e-mail is
    itzjamie@hotmail.com. Thank you.

    [Reply]

  61. Michele Showalter says

    How fun!

    My vote would be:
    1. Ketchup (even though I can’t have any nightshades which includes tomatoes, it’s for my family)
    2. Chocolate milk
    3. Mayo

    Thanks for doing this!! I am eager to see what you come up with! :) Have fun experimenting!

    [Reply]

  62. Stephanie says

    I vote for Fig Newtons, Teryaki Sauce, & Ritz Crackers :)

    My family LOVES all of your recipes that I’ve made. Thanks for sharing all of your hard work with us!

    [Reply]

  63. Mindy says

    RITZ CRACKERS!! Oh how I would love to make them myself :)

    Honestly, I will try almost everything you post about so go for it!

    [Reply]

  64. says

    Tator tots and mayo!

    One of my family’s favorite casseroles has tator tots on top so it would be awesome to have a healthier way to make that!

    [Reply]

  65. says

    Onion soup mix would be great! Also cream of whatever soup. I use both of those for casseroles and would love to have an alternative!

    [Reply]

    Rebekah Reply:

    Here’s a cream soup base I made a bunch of and store in a ziploc.
    1 c. dry milk powder
    1 c. unbleached flour
    2 T. dried minced onion
    1/2 t. pepper and also salt

    It next calls for 3T chicken boullion powder but I get around that by just adding chicken broth to it in the next step instead of water.

    Blend 3-4 Tbsp of base with 1/4 c. cold water. Then add 1c. hot water. Cook and stir until thickened. This makes 1 cup which is equivalent to a 10 oz. can.
    If you want a cream of mushroom, use water reserved from mushrooms. I suppose if you wanted cream of celery, you could boil the celery until soft and use that water. I’d steam broccoli and mash it to add in for cream of broccoli.

    [Reply]

  66. Lori A says

    Marachino Cherries! I need marachino cherries to make a traditional Christmas stollen that was my grandma’s recipe. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a healthy alternative. My son is allergic to the dye Red 40 so. Do you think you can come up with a healthy alternative?

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Tammy Reply:

    Lori – check out this recipe: http://homecooking.about.com/od/fruitrecipes/r/blfruit23.htm
    It does call for 1 oz. of red food coloring, but can’t see any reason that you couldn’t leave it out.

    [Reply]

  67. says

    Tater Tots…I have a recipe for an yummy tater tot casserole that I’ve really been craving, but don’t want to buy Tater Tots. :-)

    [Reply]

    Marsha_M Reply:

    I use hashbrowns to replace the tator tots and homemade gravy instead of cream of soups. Yum!

    [Reply]

    Carrie Reply:

    That’s a great idea!! :-) Now I can’t wait to try my tater tot casserole. :-)

    [Reply]

  68. Mallory says

    Tater Tots, Ketchup, Corn Tortillas and Ritz crackers–all foods I haven’t had in over a decade since I took the “real food” plunge! Can’t wait to see what challenge you decide to take on first!

    [Reply]

  69. Jenny Watson says

    I found a delicious recipe for cocoa syrup to share. It can be used for hot cocoa or cold chocolate milk. Or any other thing you can think of to do with chocolate syrup I suppose. We haven’t found a challenge it hasn’t met yet.

    1/2 cup honey
    1/2 cup cocoa powder
    1/2 cup water
    1 tsp vanilla

    Whisk together first 3 ingredients and warm in a saucepan over low heat until slightly thickened.
    Remove from heat, stir in vanilla.

    Once it cools, I store it in the fridge in a squirt bottle.

    We use raw honey, low heat and raw milk.

    [Reply]

  70. Jamie says

    Mayo, chocolate milk, and ketchup. I know that is a weird combination, but that is the most popular in my household. Thank you for all you do. I love your website and am looking forward to getting healthier and more into cooking and planning for my family.

    [Reply]

    Jamie Reply:

    P.S. I was also wondering if there is a better tasting flour to use
    besides whole wheat. I made some really looking blueberry muffins once
    and used whole wheat flour. They didn’t taste nearly as good as they
    looked. Why do you choose the whole wheat flour as opposed to any
    other kind. Thank you for your time.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    You know, I never liked whole wheat flour either until I started grinding my own wheat into flour, useing WHITE wheat. It’s such a lovely wheat with a mild flavor and light texture. It’s WAY different from the whole wheat flour you buy at the store, which is usually made with red wheat. If you can, see if you can find flour made from WHITE wheat (not to be mistaken with white flour – usually this flour is called “white whole wheat”). Or maybe see if you can find someone with a grain mill who can grind some flour for you for you to try.

    Here are my posts on grinding flour: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/category/grains-and-grain-mills

    [Reply]

  71. April L says

    We would love TATER TOTS & RITZ CRACKERS. We had a cook-a-thon at our house and our 2 girls and me made all kinds of your recipes including poptarts, coconut macaroons, cheese crackers, and hamburger buns. We just LOVE all your recipes and ideas. Thanks so much!

    [Reply]

  72. heather says

    Laura, Here is a mayo recipe for you to try and compare. We use it all the time.

    Mayonnaise Recipe

    1 egg yolk
    1/2 tsp fine salt
    1/2 tsp dry mustard
    2 pinches sugar
    2 sp fresh squeezed lemon juice
    1 Tbs. white wine vinegar (I used red)
    1 C. safflower or corn oil

    In a glass bowl, whisk together egg yolk and dry ingredients. Combine lemon juice and vinegar in a separate bowl then thoroughly whisk half into the yolk mixture. Start whisking briskly, then start adding the oil a few drops at a time until the liquid seems to thicken and lighten a bit (which means you’ve got an emulsion). Once you reach that point you can relax your arm a little (just a little) and increase the oil flow to a constant but thin stream. Once half of the oil is in add the rest and of the lemon juice mixture.
    Continue whisking until all of the oil is incorporated. Leave at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours then refrigerate for up to 1 week.

    This is a fantastic recipe and my husband who does not like mayo, likes this! It is easy to make and the kids can help pour. Enjoy!

    [Reply]

  73. Abby says

    I would LOVE to see pictures of your fridge and cabinets. I look in mine and I feel they are all full of prepackaged foods. I am starting to try and make foods from scratch but I do need to start making more condiments from scratch.

    [Reply]

  74. katherine says

    i love your healthy “convenience food” recipes :)

    i vote for:
    *chocolate milk (because my three-year-old son requests it almost EVERY morning…)
    *ritz crackers
    *fig newtons

    [Reply]

  75. LeGay says

    Ketchup!! I’ve tried several recipes, but I haven’t found one that’s worth the effort to me. Fig newtons (or strawberry) would be a fun one to.

    [Reply]

  76. Becky says

    Would love to see tater tots and cereal bars! My sons love cereal bars but I don’t buy them too often (try to avoid a lot of processed food). I made homemade bars once and was horrified when I calculated the calories so I’d love a healthified version!

    [Reply]

  77. Sarah says

    I just found your blog yesterday and I love it!! I printed out quite a few recipes that I am very excited to try out.

    I would love to see healthier versions of Fig Newtons and cereal bars. These are the two I’m voting for :).

    [Reply]

  78. says

    I would love to see tater tots and cereal bars. My girls love both of these but they are so expensive and unhealthy straight from the store. Thanks!!

    [Reply]

  79. Heather says

    I vote the butterscotch and cinnamon chips. I love to bake with these and would love to find something a bit healthier.

    [Reply]

  80. says

    I was thinking…. would you be able to (and have time to) come up with a coffee creamer recipe? I LOVE coffee (and coffee substitutes…. teeccino, roastaroma, etc.), but store-bought coffee creamer has nasty ingredients…. plus I’m going sugar-free and need something that uses honey (or stevia or sucanat, but preferably honey…. I can adapt though!) instead of sugar or HFCS (yuck). I’ll be experimenting with my own, but everything you come up with is always so good!! I’d trust you with my tastebuds any day.

    [Reply]

  81. Tami says

    Ok, I know I already put in my two cents, and this isn’t on the list, but is there a healthy version of COOL WHIP??? I’d LOVE to know if there was or if you figured one out!!

    [Reply]

    Tami Reply:

    I know you can whip heavy cream, but for fruit salads and desserts, nothing seems to take the place of cool whip.

    [Reply]

  82. says

    I’ve got a great, easy recipe for Corn Tortillas! I buy organic corn tortillas at the store (Whole Foods has their own brand that only has corn, lime and salt…and organic means non-GMO corn!). Put the tortillas on a baking sheet and brush on melted coconut oil, then lightly sprinkle sea salt on top. Turn tortillas over and repeat. Then leave whole or using a pizza cutter cut into wedges. I usually cut them into fourth’s and it makes triangle shapes. Bake at 400 degrees for about 7 minutes. Watch carefully and pull them out just before they start to darken, otherwise they will be burnt. If they aren’t cooked enough, they will be tough.

    FYI – I’ve found that Green Pasture’s organic virgin coconut oil has the very best taste on coconut oil…very pleasantly coconutty.

    [Reply]

  83. says

    I make chocolate milk powder by mixing 1 part unsweetened cocoa powder to 2 parts sweetener. Then just add a spoonful per cup of milk & heat up until it dissolves. My kids love it.

    [Reply]

  84. Amy says

    I thought I posted a comment earlier but I don’t see it anywhere.

    I voted for
    Ketchup
    Baking chips (if peanut butter chips could be added to the list)
    and Chocolate milk (if strawberry mix could be added to)

    I came back to make a comment that I just ran across a web site for a whole wheat angel food cake while I was looking for something else. I have not made this cake. . . we are not big cake eaters here. Maybe you could start here: http://www.wheatandgrain.com/recipes.html

    [Reply]

  85. RaShell S says

    ketchup, onion soup mix (specifically a recipe for beef bouillon that doesn’t contain MSG). I have been searching for months for a beef bouillon recipe. And ketchup. :) Can’t wait to see what you come up with! Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Melanie Reply:

    Have you ever tried Frontier Herbs—-chicken and beef brother??? I use it all the time in place of beef and chicken boullion

    [Reply]

    Melanie Reply:

    broth—not brother–good grief spell check

    [Reply]

    RaShell S Reply:

    Where do you buy it? I haven’t ever heard of it. Thanks for the tip.

    [Reply]

    Melanie Reply:

    I order it from a food buying club in my area. There might be something in your area…otherwise a health food store should have it. If they don’t carry it, you can always ask they might be willing to order it.

    RaShell S Reply:

    Thank you Melanie!

  86. Stephanie B. says

    How about a homemade season packet like they have in chicken ramen noodles?

    [Reply]

    Rebekah Reply:

    I’ve made several seasoning ideas from http://www.ourbestbites.com. If something is unhealthy, I just substitute a healthier replacement. I love their Garlic Bread Seasoning especially.

    [Reply]

  87. Melanie says

    Here’s a quick easy blender mayo recipe….

    Put 2 eggs, 1/4-1/2 tsp of salt depending on your taste, and 2 TB of lemon juice in blender—
    blend on med for 2 mins
    Slowly drizzle your cold pressed oil in until it thickens. Super easy, no preservatives, and you can use whatever healthy oil you choose. You can use evoo but that has such a distinct flavor. I’ve always just used the cold pressed safflower oil. Because it’s not heated at all in the process.

    [Reply]

    Melanie Reply:

    I forgot to mention it’s about 1 1/4 cups of oil for this recipe.

    [Reply]

  88. Rebekah says

    This recipe for mayo works really well and stays creamy for more than a week.
    1 egg
    2 egg yolks
    1 T prepared mustard
    1 T lemon juice
    1/2 t. salt
    1/4 t. pepper
    2/3 cup coconut oil
    1/3 cup olive oil

    Fry up some onion rings in coconut oil and dip in this! It’s the most tasty mayo recipe I’ve found. Don’t forget to make meringues from the whites! :-)

    I’d really like a mayo recipe with healthy oils that can go in a cold salad (chicken salad, broccoli salad, tuna salad, etc.) Coconut oil doesn’t stay liquid in a cold salad and tends to taste dry!

    [Reply]

  89. says

    I love lots of the suggestions! I just threw in 2 batches of mini bagel pizzas and would love a healther alternative that I could freeze and throw into the convection oven.

    [Reply]

  90. says

    Cool whip I doubt could be replicated, but I’ve read that you can whip a very cold full fat canned coconut milk. Haven’t tried it, though.

    I actually don’t think twinkies should be that hard. White whole wheat flour based sponge cake with a homemade vanilla marshmallow fluff (corn syrup free, of course). I’ve never made vanilla but I made espresso flavored fluff and it was to DIE for.

    A quick look took me here:
    http://noemptychairs.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/strawberries-cream-sponge-cake-roll/

    Depending on how much effort and money you wanted to put into it, you could use something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Norpro-3964-Cream-Canoe-Decorating/dp/B0009R59QY

    Or you could make cupcakes (or whatever shape you have a pan for) and call that good enough. A corn stick pan is even kinda close in shape!

    [Reply]

  91. Kathy Feusse says

    I would love a healthier version of a variety of Hamburger Helpers, the Lipton rice sides (chicken and beef for sure), Folgers cappuccino drink mix (french vanilla) and Miracle Whip (not mayo). Thanks!!!!

    [Reply]

  92. Crystal says

    Okay, here’s one for you to add to your ever-growing list of things to try. I grew up with processed foods at home and I kind of miss (gasp!) Shake-N-Bake pork chops. The chicken kind is all right, but I love Shake-N-Bake pork chops. I will not buy it, ever, because of the junk it’s made with… but I think about it sometimes. Do you think you could come up with a seasoned bread coating for meats that would taste like the Shake-N-Bake ones?

    The other thing I miss is Rice-A-Roni. I can’t cook a decent rice to save my soul! If it’s the right texture it’s flavorless, if it has flavor it’s undercooked or too mushy… I *hate* cooking rice! I used to enjoy Rice-A-Roni and those Lipton rice or noodle packages quite a bit. I’d love to replicate those too. You did a great job with the Hamburger Helper request.

    [Reply]

  93. D says

    Sweet and sour sauce! I also would like a good wonton soup recipe. Our favorite place b4 eating healthy had a rich brown broth on their soup that was to die for and I just can not seem to get it right.

    [Reply]

  94. says

    I love that you did the teriyaki sauce. Would you be willing to try Worcestershire sauce? All the commercial brands have HFCS–blech!

    [Reply]

  95. says

    I like the idea of cereal bars!!! My toddler would eat nothing else if I let her. Fresh and Easy sells some that are made from better ingredients but it would be nice to make at home. I can’t wait so see!

    [Reply]

  96. says

    I love this idea! I thought I’d give you a hint though….You can easily make a white cake mix, though it won’t be bleached white (you should really reiterate to your readers that the manufacturers literally BLEACH the flour with one off the following chemicals, chlorine dioxide (unstable to be transported in the U.S.), Calcium peroxide, or Azodicarbonamide, to make it white). Anyway, what I was leading to…is that you can just buy WHITE wheat,(as opposed to red) either soft or hard, to make your baked goods significantly lighter in color. Soft white spring wheat is the best for baking goods, and actually makes your muffins and cakes lighter and fluffier.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, I actually always bake with white wheat that I grind from either soft or hard white spring wheat. But, once I add sucanat, which is unprocessed sugar and tends to be on the brown side – the cake would look tan. ;) Hmm…maybe I could use honey to sweeten it though – then it wouldn’t be as dark!

    [Reply]

    Hannah Reply:

    What about xylitol? My great-aunt left some with us recently and since we were really short on sucanat, we used it to make a lemon pudding. We were delighted with a yellow lemon pudding, as opposed to the brownish color that it would have been if we had used sucanat :) I’m not really familiar with xylitol and how it compares to other natural sweeteners … it is much more expensive than sucanat, but at least we have an option for when we don’t want to affect the color of the finished product.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’m just now starting to do a little research on xylitol and it does appear to be a safe sweetener. This may be worth a try on this cake!

  97. Anna says

    Can you make a recipe for ketchup using fresh tomatoes to make the paste?? So I guess we need a recipe for tomato paste to make the ketchup. That way I can use tomatoes from our garden.

    [Reply]

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