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Low Fat Recipes
Use marinades and rubs to add an ethnic flair and to tenderize leaner cuts of beef.
When roasting beef, put a rack in the pan to allow fat to drip away from the meat.
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Week of February 22, 2009

Recipe Redo

Do you ever crave crispy fried chicken? You can have the taste without all of the bad fats. Try this oven fried chicken. We especially like the crunch in this breading.

Serves 4

1 1/3 cups rice-corn crispy cereal, (recommended: Crispex)
2 1/4 cups broken bagel chips or melba toast
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper **
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup low fat mayonnaise (We use Hellmann's®® Low Fat)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
24 ounces bone-in, skinless chicken breasts or 24 ounces drumsticks*

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Set a rack on a foil lined baking sheet. Spray the rack generously with cooking spray.

Finely grind the cereal and toasts together in a food processor. Transfer crumbs to a large gallon size plastic bag. Add the oil, salt, cayenne, paprika, and ground pepper and toss to mix thoroughly. Whisk the light mayonnaise and Dijon mustard together in a medium shallow bowl. Add chicken to mayonnaise and turn to coat all the pieces evenly. Drop the chicken into the plastic bag, seal and shake until each piece is evenly coated. Place coated pieces on the prepared rack. Spray the chicken pieces evenly with cooking spray, and bake until the coating crisps and browns and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the pieces registers 160 degrees F, 35 to 40 minutes.

Transfer to a platter and serve hot or at room temperature.

COOKS NOTE :
* Cooking the chicken on the bone result in more moist and juicy chicken. If you can't find bone-in skinless chicken, simply pull off the skin before coating. Some chicken breast halves can be quite large. To get a healthy 6 ounce portion, cut the breast pieces crosswise with a heavy knife into pieces about the same size as a chicken thigh.

** Start out with even less cayenne if you are sensitive to hot seasoning.

Per Serving: (using breast meat) 323 Calories; 8g Fat (22.1% calories from fat); 1g Saturtated Fat; 34g Protein; 27g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 79mg Cholesterol; 1561mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 4 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Per Serving (using drumsticks): 287 Calories; 9g Fat (29.7% calories from fat); 1g Saturated Fat; 23g Protein; 27g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 73mg Cholesterol; 1556mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 2 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Week of February 15, 2009

All About Tomatoes

Buying and Storing Tomatoes
As long as they are kept at room temperature, tomatoes picked at the mature green stage will finish ripening in supermarkets and after you purchase them. Within a few days, they will soften slightly, turn red and—most important of all—develop their full flavor and aroma.

To avoid interrupting this process, place the tomatoes on a counter or in a shallow bowl at room temperature until they are ready to eat. DO NOT REFRIGERATE THEM.

When tomatoes are chilled below 55° F, the ripening comes to a halt and the flavor never develops.

To speed up the process, keep tomatoes in a brown paper bag or closed container to trap the ethylene gas that helps them ripen. Adding an ethylene-emitting apple or pear to the container can also hasten ripening. Store the tomatoes in a single layer and with the stem ends up, to avoid bruising the delicate "shoulders."

Once they are fully ripened, tomatoes can be held at room temperature or refrigerated for several days. When you’re ready to use them, bring the tomatoes back to room temperature for fullest flavor.

Tomato Techniques

To peel: Fill a saucepan with enough water to cover tomatoes; bring to a boil. Immerse tomatoes about 30 seconds; drain and cool. Remove stem ends and slip off skins.

To seed: Cut tomatoes in half crosswise. Gently squeeze each half, using your fingers to remove seeds. To reserve the juice for use in dressings, sauces or soups, seed the tomato into a strainer held over a bowl.

Tomato Shells: Cut a 1/2 inch slice off the stem end of each tomato. Using a spoon, scoop out the pulp.

Roast: Preheat oven to 450° F. Halve tomatoes crosswise. Place halves, cut side down, on a shallow baking pan; brush with oil. Roast until lightly browned, about 20 minutes; cool. Remove skins and stem ends.

Slow-Cook: Preheat oven to 300° F. Remove stem ends; slice tomatoes. Place slices on a shallow baking pan; brush with oil. Cook until tomatoes soften and shrink, about 45 minutes.

Tomato Equivalents
1 small tomato = 3 to 4 ounces
1 medium tomato = 5 to 6 ounces
1 large tomato = 7 or more ounces
1 pound of tomatoes = 2 1/2 cups chopped or 1 1/2 cups pulp

Week of February 9, 2009

Miscellaneous Healthy Tips

  • Get into the habit of measuring the oil you use while you cook,
    rather than just pouring it out of the bottle. It will be much
    easier to moderate the amount you use.
  • Use non-stick cookware so that you don't have to use as much,
    if any, fat. When sauteing, use a small amount of chicken broth
    or wine instead of butter or oil.
  • To make fat-free broth, chill your meat or chicken broth. The
    fat will rise to the top, and you can remove it before using
    the broth.
  • Many vegetables and fruits, including potatoes and apples,
    retain many of their nutrients in their skin. So when possible,
    leave the skin on your fruits and vegetables and cook them whole.
  • Romaine lettuce is loaded with vitamins compared to iceberg.
    It has three times as much Vitamin C and six times as much
    Vitamin A.
  • Vitamin C is destroyed quickly in cooking - so cook your
    vegetables with Vitamin C in the smallest amount of water
    possible and for a short amount of time.
  • Stock up on spices. One of the keys to cooking low-fat and not
    getting bored is to spice your food well. When you have finished
    your recipe, always taste it and adjust the spices to meet your taste.
  • Purchase the best (i.e. heaviest) set of non-stick cookware you
    can afford.
  • When cooking a dish with both vegetables and meat (i.e. in stir frys
    and stews), reduce the amount of meat by 1/3 and increase the amount
    of vegetables by 1/3. You will hardly notice!
  • Thicken gravies with milk or broth blended in the blender with
    flour. Be sure to cook long enough to remove the raw flour taste.
    You'll never notice the lack of fat.
  • Use olive oil for cooking when appropriate. It adds to the taste
    of the dish and is better for you.

Week of February 1, 2009

The Sweetness of Honey

To substitute honey for sugar in recipes, start by substituting up to half of the sugar called for. With a little experimentation, honey can replace all the sugar in some recipes.

When baking with honey, remember the following:

  • Reduce any liquid called for by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used.
  • Add l/2 teaspoon baking soda for each cup of honey used.
  • Reduce oven temperature by 25 F to prevent over-browning.

Because of its high fructose content, honey has a higher sweetening power than sugar. This means you can use less honey than sugar to achieve the desired sweetness.

When measuring honey, coat the measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray or vegetable oil before adding the honey. The honey will slide right out.

To retain honey's wonderfully luxuriant texture, always store it at room temperature; never in the refrigerator. If your honey becomes cloudy, don't worry. It's just crystallization, a natural process. Place your honey jar in warm water until the crystals disappear. If you're in a hurry, place it in a microwave-safe container and heat it in the microwave on HIGH for 2-3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Remember, never boil or scorch honey.

 


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