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Flavor vegetables with lemon juice, flavored vinegars, low fat salad dressings, herbs and spices instead of adding butter.
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Week of March 27, 2011

How to Grill Chicken

As temperatures warm up, we start migrating outdoors and cleaning up our grills. We all love grilled foods, but many people have problems grilling chicken. So we found this lovely video that shows you several ways to grill chicken so that all parts end up perfect and juicy. Enjoy!

Week of March 20, 2011

Plank Grilling

Plank cooking is extremely simple and hard to goof up. Planks that are produced for grilling are widely available and sized to fit a standard grill. Any food that is cooked on a plank will stay moist and tender because of the damp smoke that wafts from the wood plank.

Flavor from Planks

• Alder: perfect for mild foods and a is good match for seafood–especially salmon.
• Cedar: most aromatic wood that adds a deep but gentle flavor. Works well for spicy dishes as well as pork.
• Hickory: offers an intense smoky flavor that pairs well with beef and chicken.
• Oak: has a moderate flavor that blends well with a variety of meats, poultry, and fish.
• Birch, Pine, and Poplar: avoid these as they impart a bitter flavor.

Tips

• Soak planks before using to help keep the meat moist. A soaked plank produces maximum smoke and is less likely to burn. Submerge it in water for at least an hour.
• Use the soaked plank right away since the wood will start to dry out quickly.
• After placing the plank on the grill, immediately cover the grill so that smoke quickly surrounds the food.
• Food that touches the wood takes on more flavor, so arrange it on the wood plank in a single layer.
• Use oven mitts to remove the plank and place it on a heatproof serving platter. The edges of the plank may be charred and smoldering.

A nice little youtube video how to plank grill from Kraft Foods:

Week of March 13, 2011

Experiment with Oils

Walnut oil is not a cooking oil; high heat destroys its delicate flavor. Where it does shine is as an ingredient in a salad dressing or a fresh pasta sauce or to give a final splash over a finished dish.

• A mix of walnut oil, sherry vinegar, a touch of garlic, prepared mustard, and salt makes an excellent dressing for an endive and radicchio salad. Top the salad with a sprinkle of crumbled blue cheese or feta.

• Walnut oil is a delicious alternative to olive oil in classic vinaigrettes or for dipping fresh bread. Either try it on its own, or with a splash of sherry vinegar or Cabernet Sauvignon wine vinegar.

• Just a splash of walnut oil is fantastic tossed through pasta with just a tiny bit of soft blue cheese such as Gorgonzola, steamed fresh green beans or spinach, sautéed mushrooms or simply parsley and garlic.

• In the winter, parsnips and Brussels sprouts taste great tossed with just a splash walnut oil before serving, or add some to mashed potato, carrot and parsnips.

Walnut Vinaigrette
Love this served with mixed greens and fruit like nectarines, peaches or strawberries. The combination of honey and the nutty walnut oil is a natural for fruit and greens.

Yield: 2/3 cup - about 10.5 tablespoons (serving size: about 1 tablespoon)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons walnut oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Store in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Per Serving: 40 Calories; 3g Fat (58.1% calories from fat); trace Saturated Fat; trace Protein; 4g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 95mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 0 Fruit; 1/2 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

 

Week of March 6, 2011

How To Make Flavorful Vegetable Stock

Te first thing is to prepare the vegetables. Use 1 onion, 2 celery ribs, 1 carrot, 2 garlic cloves, 1/4 fennel root, 3 bay leaves, and 3 - 4 black peppercorns and 10 parsley stems. You will also need one gallon water. All these are going to make a good, well-balanced vegetable stock.

Peel the carrot, peel the onion, peel the garlic. First cut the onion in half, then cut some good medium-sized pieces. Then cut your celery: again, about the same size pieces. Then cut the carrot into medium-sized pieces. The vegetable stock is only going to cook for about twenty-five minutes and then we're going to strain it through. Chop the fennel, too, and then what I like to do with the garlic is just smash the bulb with the side of your knife, because you want to be able to extract the liquid; you don't want to just add whole cloves of garlic to it.

Add the vegetables to the pot, and then add the aromatics: two bay leaves, three or four peppercorns - don't go too heavy on the peppercorns and the parsley stems. They all go right inside the pot. Then add one gallon of cold water to the vegetables, and then 1 tablespoon of kosher salt or less if watching your sodium.

Bring to a boil, and then bring down to a simmer, and simmer for twenty-five minutes. Then strain it, and cool. And you have a beautiful aromatic vegetable stock.


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