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. 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]

  2. 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]

  3. 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]

  4. 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]

  5. 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]

  6. 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]

  7. 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]

  8. 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]

  9. 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]

  10. 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]

  11. 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]

  12. 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]

  13. 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]

  14. 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]

  15. 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]

  16. 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]

  17. 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]

  18. 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]

  19. 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]

  20. 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]

  21. 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]

  22. 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]

  23. 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]

  24. 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]

  25. 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]

  26. 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]

  27. 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]

  28. 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]

  29. 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]

  30. 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]

  31. 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]

  32. 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]

  33. 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!

  34. 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]

  35. 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]

  36. 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]

  37. 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]

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