Sunday, November 29, 2009

Every so often I find a common kitchen staple that serves me well in many ways.  One such common ingredient that is mostly known as a “spread on bread” is cream cheese.  I use the reduced fat or “neufchatel” which sits next to its more calorie rich cousin in the dairy section, as the difference in flavor and texture is minimal and I’m happy to eliminate calories where I can!

One of the themes of Acts of Living is adding nutritious foods to our diet and sometimes, especially in the case of vegetables, it means dressing them up a little. There are many sauces and dips in Acts of Living that do just that with very little effort.  My newest discovery is a simple substitute for the ever popular white sauce (the base so many wonderful dishes) that can be used with vegetables or pasta and takes minutes to prepare.  I call it Simplicity Sauce and it goes like this:  Pour about 1/4 cup of milk into a small saucepan over a low heat.  While it is heating drop in two tablespoons of neufchatel cheese, cut into 1/2 inch (more or less) cubes and stir until smooth.  Add 1/4 cup  of grated cheese - parmesan, cheddar  or swiss work equally well.  When it begins to bubble, turn off the heat and pour over cooked vegetables.  That’s it!

It can be used in many ways and different herbs and vegetables can be added according to taste.  Sun dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, green tail onions can be added for color and flavor. I add a little onion powder to the sauce and then stir in two to four cups of frozen chopped spinach, cook for three minutes or until the spinach is heated through and  have a quick creamed spinach  that pleases everyone.

For an even quicker sauce, and one that requires no clean-up, put the milk and the cream cheese in a microwave ceramic bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds.  Stir or whisk the cheese into the milk and cream cheese and microwave for 30 seconds.  If it is not hot, microwave for another 30 seconds.  At this point you can serve it over vegetables or add spinach to it with a little onion powder and microwave for another minute.  Stir, microwave for another minute and stir again.  If it is not hot, continue to cook it a minute at a time until it is heated through.  When its hot, its ready to serve, right from the microwave to the table.  It doesn't get easier than that!

1 comment:

  1. I avoid anything that calls for making a white sauce, but this strategy might solve the problem.