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Week of March 27, 2005

Looking for a make ahead quick fix for drop in company?

These tiny little pastry cups can be filled with shrimp, tuna, chicken, crab or lobster salad. You can even use a combination of dips or spreads and veggies too.

50 wonton wrappers (3" squares)*
Vegetable oil spray

Preheat oven to 325°F. Place wonton squares on work surface; brush or lightly spray with oil. Press each into miniature muffin cup, oiled side down. Bake until wonton cups are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool completely in tins. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Remove cups from tins and store airtight at room temperature.) Then you can fill as you need for drop in company.

*The thin kind usually used for soups work best.

Each wonton wrapper has: 23 Calories; trace Fat (4.8% calories from fat); trace Saturated Fat; 1g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 1mg Cholesterol; 46mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 0 Fat.

Week of March 20, 2005

Yogurt cheese can be used as a low fat substitute for cream cheese and sour cream in spreads, toppings, dips, and desserts, or anywhere else cream cheese or sour cream is called for. There are several way to make the cheese - all basically involve the straining of the liquid from fresh yogurt. Once the whey is removed, the firm yogurt solids that remain are called “cheese.”

Substitute yogurt cheese for sour cream in dishes both sweet and savory. Here's an easy way to make it easy way to make it. Spoon unflavored yogurt into a colander or seive lined with cheese cloth or a coffee paper filter set in the top of the glass coffee carafe or small bowl (smaller than your colander or seive). Cover with plastic food wrap and refrigerate overnight. Discard the liquid that drains into the glass carafe or bowl. Note that the longer the cheese drains, the stiffer the cheese will become. Invert the yogurt cheese in a small container, cover, and refrigerate until needed. (You can also purchase very inexpensive yogurt cheese makers if you wish.) Yogurt cheese can easily be made from most low fat or non fat yogurt but remember that it must be free of gelatin and thickeners.

  • Use yogurt cheese in place of sour cream in dips and spreads.
  • Mix yogurt cheese into tuna or chicken salad to replace all or half of the mayonnaise.
  • Add a dollop of yogurt cheese to tacos, taco soup, black bean soup or other favorite Mexican dishes and garnish with cilantro.
  • Mix yogurt cheese with minced chives, scallion tops, or fresh dill and spoon into hot baked potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Whisk yogurt cheese into Caesar salad dressing as an emulsifier in place of raw egg.
  • Use in place of sour cream in your favorite salad dressing.
  • Spoon over fresh berries and drizzle with honey.
  • Sweeten to taste with superfine sugar or Splenda®, flavor with vanilla extract, lemon or orange juice and finely grated zest and use as a topping for any fresh fruit dessert and for slices of angelfood cake.

Week of March 13, 2005

To zest citrus fruit . . .

  • The skin of citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes and oranges, is called the zest and is an aromatic and flavorful addition to many recipes.
  • Remove only the outermost colored layer of the citrus-fruit skin, not the white pith, which can be bitter.
  • To remove the zest, scrape against a standard box grater, using the side with the largest holes. Or use a specialty tool such as a zester or rasp. Or you may simply use a sharp paring knife to remove the peel in thin strips.

Week of March 6, 2005

Steaming seafood is the first choice for many cooks, as they discover how moist and flavorful a steamed fish can be. When you steam seafood you'll avoid adding fat and calories. Marinated in a light rice wine for just 10 minutes before cooking, the flavor and aroma of steamed fish is unparalleled. Steaming is the quintessential way to maximize the health and flavor benefits of healthy and tasty seafood. What's more, it is also a quick and easy way to prepare many varieties of the fresh fish like white seabass, albacore, lingcod, sablefish or rockfish. Thicker fillets are best from 3/4 to one inch thick.

Steaming guidelines are:

  • Arctic Char fillet (1" thick) 5 minutes
  • Bluefish fillet (3/4 to 1" thick) 7-8 minutes
  • Cod steak (1" thick) 6-8 minutes fillet (1" thick) 6 minutes
  • Flounder fillet (1" thick 4-6 minutes and Gray Sole folded in half so the tail end is under the wide end)
  • Grouper fillet (1" thick) 10-12 minutes
  • Halibut steak (1" thick) 6 minutes
  • Monkfish fillet (1" thick) 10-12 minutes
  • Pompano fillet (1/2-3/4" thick) 6-8 minutes
  • Salmon steak and fillets (1" thick) 7-8 minutes (med-rare) 8-9 minutes (medium)
  • Snapper fillet (3/4" thick) 5 minutes
  • Swordfish steaks (3/4-1" thick) 6 minutes
  • Tilefish steak (1" thick) 6-8 minutes Tuna steak (3/4-1" thick) 2 minutes (rare) 4 minutes (med-rare)
  • Wolffish fillet (1/2-3/4" thick) 5 minutes

Note: If you are steaming a fish not listed on the chart, find a fish that has a similar texture and thickness and use the time shown for it.

Cook's Notes: The bamboo steamer is favored over metal steamers because condensation does not form on the bamboo during steaming.


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