Healthy Recipes
Healthy Recipes
Healthy Recipes
Low Fat Lifestyle.com
Low Fat Recipes
Stock your pantry with low fat snacks - popcorn and baked potato and corn tortillas chips.
Make sure to keep plenty of fresh fruits and cut veggies in the refrigerator for snacking.
Heart Healthy
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Week of April 27, 2003
It is that great time of the year when boundless fresh produce awaits you in the produce isles of your grocery store. Run, don't walk to the fresh peas. They are just great this time of year. Their peak growing season is from April through July.

When I was a kid growing up, I hated peas. All I had ever tasted was the canned variety. Canned peas lack the appetizing color and the delicate texture and flavor. Most canned peas have also have added salt and sugar. I still hate canned peas but I LOVE fresh and frozen green peas. There is no comparison.

Green garden peas are legumes. Unlike dried beans or split peas and chick-peas, that require long cooking times, green peas are packaged and prepared like all fresh green vegetables. They are full of nourishment and provide low-fat protein, too. Green peas are second only to lima beans as a fresh vegetable source of protein. A 1 cup serving of peas contains more protein than a whole egg or a tablespoon of peanut butter yet has less than half a gram of fat.

Fresh green peas should be refrigerated; if kept at room temperature, half their sugar content will turn to starch within a few hours. Low temperatures also help preserve the texture and nutrient content. You will need about 8 ounces of unshelled fresh pods per person for a serving.

Fresh as well as frozen shelled green peas, snow peas and sugar snaps peas can be eaten raw. If you cook them, do so briefly so that they retain their delicate and delicious flavor and texture. Just as they come to a boil, immediately remove from the heat and drain the boiling water off. If overcooked, they will turn a gray green color, become mushy and lose much of their vitamin C content. Or after shelling, pop them in a steamer and steam for one to two minutes. They should be bright green and retain a slight crunch. The earlier in the season the less cooking time needed.

Toss cooked peas with a small amount of Liquid Butter Buds, Smart Beat Non Fat Squeeze or a VERY small amount of low fat nonhydrogenated margarine for flavor. If you are watching your sodium, skip the salt and add a pinch of sugar. You will never miss the salt.

Serve with low fat mashed potatoes, fat free cream gravy (Pioneer makes an excellent one and it is easy and fast) and your favorite grilled chicken breast. It just doesn't get any better. You will know that Spring as arrived!

Week of April 20, 2003
People who do not have access to an outdoor growing area and like to have fresh herbs on hand can plant an indoor herb garden.

Choose herbs that are easy to grow indoors. Go to Windowbox.com - The Biggest Name in Little Gardens for a starter kit from seed. Some good choices would be mint, basil, rosemary, savory, chives and parsley. If you are too impatient to start your herbs from seed, your local nursery should have some plants already growing and ready to plant in a window garden.

The best type of container to use is a terra cotta pot because it will let moisture and air pass through and will keep your plants from becoming water-logged and getting root rot. Herbs require good drainage and should be watered thoroughly and then allowed to get fairly dry before watering again.

You can use a water soluble plant food at half the recommended strength. Grow herbs in natural light, at least 4 to 5 hours a day if possible. If not, you can supplement with fluorescent lighting.

Snipping and using the herbs as you need them will give you the best flavor. You will never eat another baked potato again using dried chives. There is nothing quite like the flavor of fresh herbs.

Week of April 13, 2003
Try stocking your kitchen with these low fat snacks. If you are watching
calories and refined carbohydrates, back off on some of the processed foods
like low fat cookies and chips.

  • Fig Newtons or other Newton Flavors (watch the calorie count and the amount
    of sugar on other kinds of low fat cookies - it can be deceiving)
  • Graham Crackers
  • Carrot and Celery Strips as well as other raw veggies like turnips, bell
    peppers, radishes
  • Prepared Low Fat Ranch Dressing for dipping the veggies in
  • Pickles and pickled vegetables like cherry peppers and mixed pickled
    vegetables (high sodium - don't overdo)
  • Rye Krisps Crackers
  • Rice Crackers (includes the flavored varieties) Quaker make the best tasting
    ones
  • Other Low Fat Crackers - go for the high grain ones
  • Pretzels
  • Salsa - the Pace Chunky is great, but this is a taste preference - most are
    low in calories and fat - Read the labels
  • Pico de Gallo (can usually be found premade in the deli area or produce
    section)
  • Imitation Crab Sticks or pieces like Louis Rich makes ( it is really surimi,
    white fish) This is great for a low fat protein snack and can be placed on
    crackers or a veggie slice with a little low fat ranch dressing for great
    appetizer snack
  • Also you can keep low fat deli meats on hand (low fat lean ham thin sliced
    as well as turkey breast deli meats) to place on crackers or chips or
    veggies. I love making a small plate of baked chips, assorted veggies like
    bell peppers (all colors), pickles and low fat deli turkey or ham. If you are in a hurry, it can even become a meal.
  • Low Fat or Fat Free Sour Cream and some of the dried dip mixes (you will
    usually find these in the salad dressing isle) that you can add like Ranch
    Dressing Mix or Dip Mix, Calypso Dip Mix, etc. There are usually no fat
    grams in the dried mixes. That come from the Regular Sour Cream that they are mixed with.
  • Some of the bean dips (read the labels, Frito Lay makes a great black bean
    dip that is good)
  • Tortilla chips (but only the baked variety - there are several brands)
  • Baked Potato Chips (only the baked variety - Lays is good)
  • All kinds of Fresh Fruit
  • Dried Fruit like Apricots, Prunes
  • Low Fat Yogurt
  • Fat Free or Low Fat Frozen Yogurt
  • Carmel or Cocoa based Chocolate Syrup (read the label - it will state the
    fat grams and calorie content)
  • Apple, Orange, Grapefruit, Cranberry, Grape and Tomato or V-8 Juices
    Canned Fruit in natural juices for emergencies when fresh is not available
  • Pop Corn (go for the low fat varieties in the microwave section) If the
    flavor is not up to par for you - you can spice it up with fresh ground
    black pepper or a sprinkle of grated Romano or Parmesan Cheese
  • Invest in a good blender or food processor to make smoothies in! You won't
    regret it.

Week of APRIL 6, 2003

If you have been trying new ways to lower fat in baked goods, you have probably found that it is fairly easy to find fruit fillings and meat fillings that are lower in calories and saturated fat. But finding a low fat pastry crust has been a little bit of a challenge. Phyllo dough may be your answer. You can use these paper-thin pastry sheets in place of puff pastry and pie crust while cutting the fat content and baking time down. Phyllo dough's crisp, golden-brown layers can encase both sweet and savory.

Traditional methods for preparing Phyllo crusts use oil or butter between the layers. You can use cooking oil spray to achieve this or you can cut the fat calories even further by brushing layers with pear nectar and and sprinkling with sugar for sweet crusts or brushing layers with evaporated skim milk for savory crusts.

You will need cooking oil spray, waxed paper, a damp tea towel, 1/2 cup fruit nectar (pear works well)* and 4 teaspoons granulated sugar. A box of dough will include 20 sheets, each measuring 14 by 18 inches, that have been rolled and placed in a plastic or waxed paper bag. Follow manufacturer directions for thawing. You want to thaw the dough slowly, in its box and wrapping bag. If you have never worked with Phyllo dough, you must do it quickly as the dough dries very fast so have everything ready for assembly before you unwrap the dough..

For a prebaked pie shell, spray a 9 inch glass oven proof pie plate with cooking oil spray. When everything is ready, remove 6 sheets of phyllo dough from the package, unroll the dough and place on a sheet of waxed paper. Cover the stack with another sheet of waxed paper. A damp towel, placed on top of the waxed paper, will help keep the stack of dough moist while you are working with individual sheets. (Do not place the towel directly on top of the dough.)

Remove the first sheet and lay it across the plate, draping evenly over each side. Recover the stack as you work. Paint with pear nectar and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Layer 3 more sheets going in alternating directions and painting and sprinkling with sugar between the layers. Lay the last sheet on top and sprinkle with sugar but do not paint. Moisten your fingers with pear nectar. Starting at one of the corners between the longer overlaps of dough, gather up the dough, fold it in, and crimp it down along the way around the plate. Paint the crust with nectar and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar. Bake for about 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven, until light gold and crisp. Remove to a wire rack and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

*Replace the pear nectar with evaporated skim milk for savory meat pies. This method can also be used for individual tarts.


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