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?)


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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  1. 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:

    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!


  2. 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!!!!


  3. 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.


  4. 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.


  5. says

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


  6. 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!


  7. 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.


    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!


    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.


    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!

  8. 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.


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