Cheese sauce

Wheat-free option

Cheese sauce is one of the few recipes that I remember learning to make in school, under the supervision of a very mardy nun. A good cheese sauce is something that I struggled to make when we made a move to clean eating. When l came up with a clean version of a traditional recipe, my aim is always to make it as close as possible to the real thing as l can. For some reason, the most simple recipes always seem to be the hardest to get right. This cheese sauce was no exception. After a lot of trial and error, I discovered that buckwheat is the best option.

Buckwheat isn’t wheat

It is strange, but it is true, buckwheat is not a grain. It is actually related to rhubarb, of all things. I’ve been cooking with buckwheat groats and buckwheat flour for a while now. ‘love how diverse it is, and I’m a big fan of the favour buckwheat adds to dishes. While working on this recipe, I discovered that a little bit of buckwheat four goes a very long way. Buckwheat is great to thicken sauces and gravies as it doesn’t clump the way tapioca does. The bonus with buckwheat is you use a lot less than you would with wheat flours.

Put it on anything

If you ask me, there are no rules for cheese sauce; it is excellent over the top of most steamed vegetables and that special topping on a lasagne.

Cheese sauce
Cheese sauce

Cheese sauce recipe

Ingredients 

  • 500ml milk 
  • 4 tbsp. buckwheat flour 
  • 50g butter 
  • 100g cheese, grated 
Cheese sauce ingredients
Cheese sauce ingredients
Take a large saucepan.
Take a large saucepan.
Add the butter to a saucepan.
Add the butter to a saucepan.
Wait for the butter to melt. 
Wait for the butter to melt. 
Whisk the flour into the butter to form a paste. 
Whisk the flour into the butter to form a paste. 
Whisk the flour into the butter to form a paste. 
Whisk the flour into the butter to form a paste. 
Whisk the flour into the butter to form a paste. 
Whisk the flour into the butter to form a paste. 
Slowly whisk in the milk.
Slowly whisk in the milk.
Slowly whisk in the milk.
Slowly whisk in the milk.
Continue whisking until you end up with a sauce consistency. 
Continue whisking until you end up with a sauce consistency. 
Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese.
Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese.
When the cheese has all melted it is ready to serve.
When the cheese has all melted it is ready to serve.

Cheese sauce

  • Servings: 8
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Print

There are no rules for cheese sauce; it is excellent over the top of most steamed vegetables and that special topping on a lasagne.



Credit: Cath @ easycleaneats

Ingredients

  • 500ml milk 
  • 4 tbsp. buckwheat flour 
  • 50g butter 
  • 100g cheese, grated 

Directions

  1. Take a large saucepan.
  2. Add the butter to a saucepan, wait for the butter to melt. 
  3. Whisk the flour into the butter to form a paste. 
  4. Slowly whisk in the milk.
  5. Continue whisking until you end up with a sauce consistency. 
  6. Turn off the heat.
  7. Stir in the cheese.
  8. When the cheese has all melted it is ready to serve.

Nutrition

Per Serving: 149 calories; 10.5 g fat; 8.5 g carbohydrates; 6 g protein

Equipment

  • Measuring spoons
  • Scales
  • Saucepan
  • Whisk
  • Grater 

Nutritional disclaimer

Nutrition information is provided as an estimate based on the ingredients used and available in my area (New Zealand). The nutritional information is here to help you understand the recipe; I use MyFitnessPal to generate my estimates. For more accurate nutritional information, please use a nutritional calculator with the ingredients in your area.


Easy ranch dressing

Bonus recipe

This week I am posting two new recipes, one for a Ranch Impasta Salad and this Ranch dressing.

Alternative to the traditional

I love ranch dressing, it is creamy yet light with an amazing flavour of a traditional ranch dressing.

Ranch dressing recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup easy mayo
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dill

Easy ranch dressing

  • Servings: 16
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Print

An easy to make dressing that is perfect to add a new dimension of flavour to your salad.



Credit: Cath @ easycleaneats

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup easy mayo
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dill

Directions

  1. Whisk together all of the ingredients and transfer the dressing into a jar.
  2. The dressing will keep in the fridge for up to one week.

Nutrition

Per Serving: 106 calories; 3 g fat; 19 g carbohydrates; g protein

Equipment

  • Jar
  • Whisk
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons

Nutritional disclaimer

Nutrition information is provided as an estimate based on the ingredients used and available in my area (New Zealand). The nutritional information is here to help you understand the recipe; I use MyFitnessPal to generate my estimates. For more accurate nutritional information, please use a nutritional calculator with the ingredients in your area.


Strawberry balsamic sauce

Last of the berries  

I have a few cups of strawberries in the freezer and the last of the berries off the garden. To make the most of the final berries I am making this strawberry balsamic sauce to capture the taste of summer.  

Strawberry balsamic sauce on pancakes.
Strawberry balsamic sauce on pancakes.

Sweet and sour  

The flavour combination of sweet and sour has been around for a long time. If you can get the balance right, it is incredible. I think the combination of strawberries which are sweet and juicy with the tart flavour of a good quality balsamic vinegar is perfect.  

Multi-use sauce  

This sauce has many uses and is a great way to keep the taste of summer in the fridge for a few weeks. This sauce is an excellent topping on ice cream, pancakes, a cheesecake, cake, Panna cotta or even added to a smoothie. Alternatively, you can turn this sauce into jellies, if you do be warned the kids won’t want to eat them.  

Strawberry balsamic sauce recipe 

Ingredients 

  • ¼cup balsamic vinegar 
  • 2 cups strawberries 
  • 2tbsp. honey 
  • 1tbsp. fresh lemon juice 
  • 1tsp. vanilla extract 
  • ¼tsp. salt 
Strawberries cooking down.
Strawberries cooking down.
Strawberry balsamic sauce on pancakes.
Strawberry balsamic sauce on pancakes.

Strawberry balsamic sauce 

  • Servings: 12
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Print

Sweet and tangy sauce is just for grown ups



Credit: Cath @ easycleaneats

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 
  • 2 cups strawberries 
  • 2 tbsp. honey 
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 

Directions

  1. Instructions 
  2. In a pan heat up the balsamic vinegar over high heat. 
  3. When the vinegar begins to bubble, turn the heat down to medium, let it simmer until it has reduced by half. 
  4. When the vinegar is thick and syrupy in texture, add the strawberries to the pan. 
  5. Then add the honey, lemon, vanilla and salt. 
  6. Simmer the mix over a medium heat until the strawberries break down, anywhere from 20 30 minutes. 
  7. For a smoother sauce blend it then strain. 
  8. Store the sauce in the fridge for up to a week. Store the sauce in the fridge for up to a week. 

Nutrition

Per Serving: 16 calories; 0 g fat; 4 g carbohydrates; 0 g protein

Equipment 

  • Saucepan 
  • Spoon 
  • Measuring spoons
  • Measuring cups
  • Blender
  • Sieve

Nutritional disclaimer

Nutrition information is provided as an estimate based on the ingredients used and available in my area (New Zealand). The nutritional information is here to help you understand the recipe; I use MyFitnessPal to generate my estimates. For more accurate nutritional information, please use a nutritional calculator with the ingredients in your area.


Easy mayo

Mayo seems to be our families go to for everything, chips, salad, mixed in eggs and tuna. I think at one point we were using 500g a week. Seriously that is a lot of mayo. The problem was the mayo we used contained a huge amount of sugar, not ideal.

Make your own

If you are like us and you try to avoid mass-produced processed foods, the best option is to make your own. When you make your own, you get to control which ingredients you use and how much or how sweet you want it to be. Once you have a go at making your own and you realise how easy it is you will never go back to store-bought again.

Making it for ourselves

Easy mayo in a jar
Easy mayo

I came across a mayo recipe in a book and decided to give it a go, we all liked it but it’s me so I couldn’t help experimenting and seeing what if would be like using different kinds of mustard.

The winner was whole grain Dijon for us, it added a nice flavour and a little texture that everyone liked, the best for me knows exactly what went into it. It takes a few minutes to make and tastes amazing, once you try it you are highly likely to dislike store bought mayo from that point on.

Easy mayo

Easy mayo ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cup extra light olive oil
Take a blender
Take a blender
Add the egg
Add the egg
Add the vinegar and 1/4 cup of oil
Add the vinegar and 1/4 cup of oil
Add the mustard and let everything hang out
Add the mustard and let everything hang out
Give everything a blend together so it is well mixed
Give everything a blend together so it is well mixed
Everything is well blended
Everything is well blended
Now for the hardest part
Now for the hardest part
incorporating the remaining 1 cup oil into the mixture
Incorporating the remaining 1 cup oil into the mixture slowly
Adding the oil should take 3 minutes
Adding the oil should take 3 minutes
The sound of your blender or processor make will change as the closer you get to your mayo being done
The sound of your blender or processor make will change as the closer you get to your mayo being done
The sound of your blender or processor make will change as the closer you get to your mayo being done
Scrape down the sides of the blender
You will end up with a silky and shiny mayo
You will end up with a silky and shiny mayo 
Ready to be put in a jar and kept in the fridge.
Ready to be put in a jar and kept in the fridge.

Easy mayo

  • Servings: 30
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Print

Easy to make, this mayo uses the whole egg and has no extra sugar or nasties.



Credit: Cath @ easycleaneats

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cup extra light olive oil

Directions

  1. Put one cup of oil into something that makes it easy to pour.
  2. Put everything else into the blender or food processor.
  3. Let them come to room temperature together, 30 minutes.
  4. Give everything a blend together so it is well mixed.
  5. Now for the hardest part, incorporating the remaining 1/4 cup oil into the mixture.
  6. This is the hardest part because it needs to be done slowly, the smallest drizzle you can manage.
  7. Adding the oil should take 3 minutes; if you do it quicker if may not work.
  8. The sound of your blender or processor make will change as the closer you get to your mayo being done.
  9. You will end up with a silky, shiny mayo ready to be put in a jar and kept in the fridge.

Nutrition

Per Serving: 83 calories; 9.2 g fat; 0.4 g carbohydrates; 0.2 g protein

Equipment

  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Measuring jug
  • Spatula
  • Blender 

Nutritional disclaimer

Nutrition information is provided as an estimate based on the ingredients used and available in my area (New Zealand). The nutritional information is here to help you understand the recipe; I use MyFitnessPal to generate my estimates. For more accurate nutritional information, please use a nutritional calculator with the ingredients in your area.