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Low-fat sour cream can be a substitute for heavy cream or whipping cream used to flavor and thicken creamy soups.
Removing the skin from chicken reduces fat content by approximately 50%. Wow, that's a lot of fat!
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Week of June 28, 2009

Slow Cookers for Summer

When the temperature begines to soar outside, it is time to rummage through my kitchen appliances for my crock pot. My thoughts are: why heat up the house with an oven or stand over a hot grill or stove top?

Try our Creamy Salsa Chicken with a tossed green salad for a delicious dinner made by a "really cool cook".

Creamy Salsa Chicken
Serves 4

• 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
• 1 (1 1/4 ounce) package reduced-sodium taco seasoning mix
• 1 cup salsa
• 1 - 2 tablespoons cornstarch
• 3 tablespoons water
• 1/4 cup light sour cream

Spray liner of crock pot with vegetable spray. Add the chicken breasts on the bottom in a single layer.

Sprinkle with taco seasoning mix with salsa poured on top. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

When ready to serve, remove chicken from crock pot and place on meat platter and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Mix together 3 Tablespoons water and 1 - 2 Tablespoons cornstarch. Add to salsa mixture in crock pot and stir well. Turn crock pot to high and sauce should begin to thicken in five minutes. Lastly, stir in sour cream. Serve immediately.

Per Serving: 194 Calories; 2g Fat (9.2% calories from fat); 1g Saturated Fat; 29g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 70mg Cholesterol; 944mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 4 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

Week of July 21, 2009

Herb Rubs

An herb rub is any herbal dry seasoning mix applied to meat either directly before cooking it or used to marinade the cuts for a longer period of time. You can use almost any dry ingredient, so the possibilities of what you can make are almost endless.

Pick the seasonings you will use for the herb rub. Be creative and experiment with your favorite herbs. For fish, pork and poultry, consider using salt, black pepper, rosemary, thyme, garlic and onion powder. For beef, consider salt, black pepper, white sugar, brown sugar, cumin, cayenne pepper, lemon pepper and paprika.

  • Mix up the ingredients you choose. Add, mix and taste ingredients until you come up a taste combination you like. Try mixing several different combinations and storing them in old season jars or freezer bags for use as you need them.
  • Prepare the meat for the herb rub by first wetting it with a liquid substance. Because the herb rub is dry, you must use something to make the seasonings stick to the meat. Liquid smoke works well for beef and olive oil works well for pork and poultry. Dijon mustard is a good liquid seasoning for all meats.
  • Apply the herb rub to the meat. Sprinkle the herb rub generously to both sides of the meat. Massage the seasonings into the meat with your finger tips.
  • Let the seasoning soak in. Let fish sit for about 15 minutes before cooking. With other meats, the longer you let them sit, the more flavorful they will be. Place them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes for a light taste or as long as 2 days for bold flavor.
  • Cook the meat. Herb rubs are usually applied before grilling, but they work well with any cooking method.

Week of June 14, 2009

How to Deglaze a Pan

Deglazing is a technique often used to create a base for making sauces. After you finish the sauté and remove the excess fat, you will notice small amounts of flavor rich browned food particles stuck to the saute pan. To loosen these bits, just add a small amount of liquid, (wine, stock, lemon juice for example) to the pan and start stirring.

Then you have two choices: off the heat, you can pour a boiling stock into the pan and begin to scrape up the deposits. Others would have you put the pan directly over medium-high heat as you add the deglazing liquid, which is wine as often as stock. Putting the pan over the heat may be necessary in any event, as it will help loosen the really stubborn deposits. Once the deposits have been scraped up and dissolved, it is a good idea to pour everything through a strainer to remove any remaining solid particles that might wind up in your sauce.

(NOTE: It is important you remove the pan from the heat when adding any liquids with alcohol, so that flames do not rise up.)

You can now use this mixture to create a wonderful rich flavored sauce to accompany your meal.

Week of June 7, 2009

Kebabs don't necessarily have to have meat in them. Serve up your favorite combinations of vegetables on a stick. These make perfect sides for your grilled burgers or entrees.

Grilled Vegetable Kebabs
Serves 6

1 pound russet potatoes, scrubbed
2 onions, cut in wedges
12 small button mushrooms
2 ears fresh corn, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 red bell peppers, cubed
1 zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick on the diagonal

Lemon-Herb Mop:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (like basil, rosemary, marjoram & sage)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a small saucepan until very hot; remove from heat and stir in garlic. Let cool, then stir in herbs, salt, lemon juice and pepper; set aside.

Place potatoes in a medium-size microwave-safe bowl and cover with a glass lid. Note: Microwave on high for 10 to 12 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender. When cool enough to handle, cut into large chunks. Thread potatoes, and other vegetables onto skewers.

Grill over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, turning frequently and brushing with a little of the herb mixture during the last few minutes of cooking. Remove from grill and place on a platter; drizzle with remaining herb mixture.

 


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