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Low Fat Recipes
Make foods appear pretty and appetizing and everyone will enjoy their food more!
Learn to use spices and fresh herbs to add aroma to both savory and sweet foods.
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Week of December 25, 2005

Leftovers!
The mountain of food is long gone, but there is still food left. Just remember that proper storage of leftovers and other previously-cooked foods is imperative for food safety. Follow these steps to keep foods properly chilled:

Refrigerate foods quickly because cold temperatures keep most harmful bacteria from growing and multiplying. Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food and leftovers within two hours. Foods left out longer should be discarded.

Set the refrigerator at 34 °F to 40 °F and the freezer unit at 0 °F and occasionally check these temperatures with a thermometer.

Never defrost (or marinate) food on the kitchen counter. Use the refrigerator, cold running water or the microwave.

Divide large amounts of leftovers into small, shallow containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator.

With poultry and other stuffed meats, remove the stuffing and refrigerate it in a separate container.

Hot foods may be put directly into the refrigerator or freezer, but don’t overload. Cool air must circulate to keep food safe.

SAFELY USE LEFTOVERS
Use refrigerated leftovers within three to four days. Freeze quantities that can’t be used by then. Since bacteria can’t grow at freezer temperatures, food is generally safe indefinitely while frozen. However, use frozen foods in a reasonable length of time for best quality.

REHEATING LEFTOVERS SAFELY
Reheat thoroughly to a temperature of 165 °F or until hot and steaming. Soups and gravies should be brought to a rolling boil.

REHEATING IN THE MICROWAVE
There’s no doubt about it. The microwave is America’s favorite reheater. But careless reheating can contribute to foodborne illness. It’s important to become thoroughly acquainted with your micro-wave. It doesn’t cook like other appliances. While microwaves can get food hot enough to kill bacteria that may be present, the microwave doesn’t always cook evenly. Therefore, it’s up to the cook to arrange, cover, rotate, stir and turn foods so they reach a safe temperature throughout.

Foods cook differently in microwaves than by conventional heat. In a regular oven, hot air makes both the food and its container hot, while in the microwave, the air is cool. Cooking occurs when microwaves cause food molecules to vibrate; the resulting friction creates heat. Since microwaves go about an inch deep in most foods, the center cooks when heat from the outer areas travels inward.

Food continues to cook after the microwave turns off, whether the food is still in the oven or someplace else. Be patient and allow the food to stand for an additional one third of the original cooking time, or as the recipe directs.

This carry-over heat can raise the internal temperatures several degrees and helps equalize temperature throughout the food. Both are important to food safety because in order for food to be safe, food must reach a temperature hot enough and long enough to kill bacteria.

Microwave Food Safety Checks For Leftovers:
Microwave only properly stored and handled foods.

Arrange food to promote even heating.

Use only microwave-safe dishes. Remove food from plastic wrap, styrofoam and/or freezer containers.

Cover dish with lid or heavy-duty plastic wrap turned back at one corner.

Midway through cooking and as needed: turn dish, reposition dish on rotating table, rearrange or stir food, and turn large food items over.

Allow food to stand after microwaving.

Reheat foods to 165 °F to ensure that bacteria are destroyed. Bring soups, sauces and gravies to a rolling boil. Food should steam throughout, not just at the edges. The center bottom of the plate or utensil containing the food should be very hot to the touch.

Week of December 18, 2005

Advocates of soy say that by consuming soy protein rather than animal protein, you may see a significant decrease in total cholesterol driven by a decrease in LDL ("the bad") cholesterol.

So bring on the tofu!

To make everything even more enticing is the fact that tofu can be low fat and low calorie. Lite, extra firm tofu per each 3 ounce serving: 32 Calories; 1g Fat (16.3% calories from fat); 6g Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; 0g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 83mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Lean Meat. (There are four serving per container or box)

If you are not appreciative of the creamy texture, you can freeze and thaw tofu to give it a more dense, chewy, and meat-like texture. After freezing at least 48 hours, tofu has a texture similar to a fish filet, chicken breast, or red meat.

For best freezing results: First remove tofu from the package. Slice lengthwise in 1/4-inch thick strips and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the freezer for a few days (at least 24 hours). We recommend preparing and freezing several packages-worth at once. Then you can thaw as needed like frozen cutlets. When you thaw these tofu "cutlets" in the microwave or in warm water, the ice will fall off, leaving a tofu that has a meat-like appearance. Marinate in any thick sauce (like teriyaki, sweet & sour, or barbecue sauce), then broil, bake, or even grill on the BBQ!

The longer tofu is frozen, the better the results will be. However, it not recommended eating tofu that has been frozen for more than 60 days.

Week of December 11, 2005

Just a Little Dessert Please!

Fresh Mini Fruit Tarts

12 - 3" x 3" wonton skins
2 tablespoons reduced, or sugar-free jelly or fruit spread
1 ½ cups diced fresh fruit
1 cup nonfat or low-fat yogurt, any flavor (my favorites are vanilla or lemon)
Nonfat cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375ºF and spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray. Press wonton skins into muffin tins allowing the corners to stand up over the edges. Bake wontons for 5 minutes or until they are lightly browned. Remove from oven and carefully take each wonton shell out of the muffin tins and allow to cool on wire rack.

Warm jelly or fruit spread and lightly coat the bottom of each wonton shell. Fill each shell with fruit, adding a rounded tablespoon of yogurt on top. Garnish with a small piece of fruit or a dab of the jelly or fruit spread. Serve immediately.

Makes 12 servings. Nutrition information per serving: Approximately 57 calories, <1g fat, 1g protein, 12g carbohydrate, 32mg sodium.

Week of December 04, 2005

Sweet Yogurt Cheese

You've probably already tried using plain yogurt cheese in savory dips and spreads, but try using lemon or vanilla yogurt cheese for dipping fruit. You don't have to add any sugar either. It retains much of the sweet flavor just more intense and so very creamy.

Also use the sweet yogurt cheese on muffins, sweet breads, bagels, pancakes and waffles.

Top that angel food cake with a sweet yogurt cheese and add some seasonal fruit. Instead of icing your low fat carrot cake, try a dollop of sweet yogurt cheese.

Use it in place of whipped cream. You can jazz it up with lemon or orange peel (zest) or a very small amount of spices like cinnamon or nutmeg or add a little honey or flavored extracts.

Layer it with berries or other fruit and low fat granola or nouget type cereal like Grape Nuts for wonderful breakfast parfaits.

Try it with fruit salad. My favorite is chunks of fresh strawberries, fresh pineapple, fresh raspberries, and halved green grapes topped with vanilla yogurt cheese and sprinkled with a few chopped walnuts. This stuff is addictive . . .

Create your own yogurt cheese blintzes by filling thin pancakes or low fat crepes with sweet yogurt cheese and topping with fruit or a warmed fruit sauce.

Yogurt cheese is easy to make. You can use plain lowfat or nonfat yogurt, or lowfat, vanilla, coffee or lemon flavored yogurt. WARNING: You should not use
a yogurt that contains gelatin. Check the ingredients on the carton. The gelatin will prevent the whey from separating.

Place two cups of yogurt into a large, fine-meshed strainer or colander lined with a double thickness of cheesecloth, a few plain white paper towels or a coffee filter. (I have even used a large kitchen funnel lined with a coffee filter) Place a bowl under the strainer to catch the liquid (whey) that will separate from the yogurt.

Cover the strainer or colander and refrigerate for 8-24 hours; the longer the yogurt is allowed to drain, the thicker the cheese will become. Two cups of yogurt make about 1 cup of yogurt cheese.


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