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Keep boullion and some flavorfull dried soup bases on hand for a quick soup base.
Keep fresh fruit in the refrigerator at all times for those sweet attacks. The fresh fruit will satisfy as well.
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Week of October 26, 2003

When you walk into the produce section of your grocer at this time of year, all you see are apples, apples and more apples. A Finnish study published in 1996 showed that people who eat a diet rich in flavonoids have a lower incidence of heart disease. Other studies indicate that flavonoids may help prevent strokes.

Apples are a delicious source of dietary fiber, and dietary fiber helps aid digestion and promotes weight loss. A medium apple contains about five grams of fiber, more than most cereals. Also, apples contain almost zero fat and cholesterol, so they are a delicious snack and dessert food that's good for you.

Red Delicious Apples arethe most popular variety to eat fresh. This firm, crisp, sweet and juicy apple is low-acid. Though it's very tasty when eaten raw, it's not a good choice for cooking and baking.
Golden Delicious: Not related to Red Delicious. Slightly elongated; sweet, juicy. All-purpose apple-great for snacking, cooking, and baking. Available September to June.

Red Rome (Rome Beauty) have a mild flavor that is enhanced after cooking or baking. They're a very good choice for desserts like apple crisp.

Winesap is a firm but juicy apple with a wine-like, tart flavor. They're good for eating fresh, for making cider, and for baking. Since they hold their shape well when baked, they're good for making apple dumplings.

Granny Smith Apples were the first green apples introduced to supermarket shoppers across America. It's a large mild-flavored apple with a good balance of tart and sweet. Granny Smith apples are available year-round.

McIntosh Apples are a deep red color with a tender white flesh that cooks down quickly, making them a good choice for applesauce. Juicy McIntosh apples are also good for snacking.

Jonathan Apples are medium sized with a bright red color. The flesh is yellowish-white, occasionally with red veins running through. They are tender, juicy, and moderately tart. This is another all-purpose apple, meaning it can be used for cooking, baking or eating fresh.

Gala: It is aromatic with a very sweet flavor and crisp and firm texture with both Red and Golden Delicious in its family tree. It is excellent for snacking

Here is a great recipe for Chunky Applesauce that has a lovely hint of lemon and spice that uses either Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples.

Servings: 16 (Makes 8 1/2 cups)

• 4 3/4 to 5 1/2 pounds cooking apples, such as Granny Smith or Golden Delicious (15 cups), peeled, cored and sliced
• 2 1/2 cups water
• 1 to 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar *
• 3 tablespoons finely shredded lemon peel
• 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
• 1 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice or 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a 6 quart Dutch oven, combine the apples, water, borwn sugar, lemon peel, lemon juice and apple pie spice or cinnamon. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered for 40 minutes or until the apples are very soft, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Mash mixture lightly with the back of a large wooden spoon. Applesauce should still be chunky. Serve warm or cover and chill before serving.

* The amount of sugar depends on the tartness of the apples. I use a lot more with a tart apple like the Granny Smith and much less with a sweeter apple like a Golden Delicious.

Per Serving: 122 Calories; trace Fat (1.0% calories from fat); trace Saturated Fat; trace Protein; 31g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 8mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 1 Fruit; 0 Fat; 1 Other Carbohydrates.

 

Week of October 19, 2003

Using the whole pumpkin!

Pumpkin tastes good but it is also good for you. It has no cholesterol, is low in fat and sodium and rich in vitamins, most notably beta carotene and vitamin A.

Pulp: If you want to want to use fresh pumpkin (fresh puree always has a much better taste than canned) for your fall recipes, here are the directions for making pumpkin puree or pulp.

Choose a medium but firm pumpkin - large pumpkins tend to be grainy. Carefully remove the seeds and fibrous strings. Reserve the seeds. Throw away the fibrous strings.

The easiest way to remove the pulp is to cut the pumpkin into four to eight pieces along with the rind. Line a large baking pan with aluminum foil. Place the pumpkin pieces onto the baking pan. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees F. for one to 1 1/2 hours, or until the pulp is soft. Let sit until cool enough to handle. Remove the pulp from the rind with a spoon and discard the rind.

Blend the pulp until smooth using a blender, food processor or mixer. If you want a very thick puree, put the pulp into a piece of cheesecloth and squeeze to strain out the excess water. This works best when replacing canned pureed pumpkin which is much thicker.

You can freeze leftover puree but only for a short period of time.

Seeds: Don't forget about the seeds. They are great for snacking without adding the mega fat of most nuts.

Pick the seeds from the pulp and place in a colander and rinse. Blot them dry with paper towels. Spray a baking sheet lightly with cooking oil spray and place the seeds evenly in one layer on the baking sheet. Spray with cooking oil spray and sprinkle with a spice or seasoning blend.

Pick a seasoning of your choice: chili powder, ranch dressing mix, cheese popcorn seasoning, taco seasoning, lemon pepper, curry powder or Cajun seasoning and a little salt. For a sweeter snack, sprinkle with cinnamon, sugar and a little salt. Then toast them in the oven at 350 degrees F., stirring occasionally, for about 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Test one - If the insides are dry, they are done.

Per 1/4 cup serving of pumpkin seeds: 71 Calories; 3g Fat (37.6% calories from fat); 1g Saturated Fat; 3g Protein; 9g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 3mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain (Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1/2 Fat.

Week of October 11, 2003

Ever have your heart on cooking a certain fish recipe, but when you get to the market, they are totally out of that kind of fish.

Don't fret, just substitute the kind of fish and enjoy the recipe anyway.

Here is a handy list of categories that divide the fish by texture and flavor. Feel free to substitute fish in one "same" category like orange roughy, tilapia and pike under lightly firm texture and mild flavor. You can often substitute "same" flavor but neighboring texture like halibut which is mild in flavor and has a firm texture and orange roughy which is mild in flavor and has a lightly firm texture.

Light and Delicate Texture
Lightly Firm Texture
Firm Texture
Mild Flavor
Cod, Flounder, Haddock, Pollock, Sole
Mild Flavor
Orange Roughy,
Tilapia, Pike
Mild Flavor
Sea Bass, Halibut, Monkfish, Snapper, Tilefish
Moderate Flavor
Lake Perch, Whiting, Whitefish
Moderate Flavor
Ocean Pearch, Trout, Mullet, Sea Trout
Moderate Flavor
Catfish, Mahimahi, Shark, Pompano
-
Full Flavor
Bluefish, Mackerel
Full Flavor
Swordfish, Tuna, Marlin

Week of October 5, 2003

Did you know that only one serving of pasta topped with creamy alfredo sauce at your favorite Italian restaurant contains almost 52 grams of fat? Just the thought of that much fat in one dish is enough to clog your arteries! Alternatives? Of course! As my mother always said, you have always got a choice.

In fact you have several low fat alternatives and they all taste great too!

Instead of topping your pasta with alfredo, opt for a low fat Marinara sauce. Most Marinara sauces do not contain a great deal of oil or fat. Most canned varieties contain 1 to 2 grams of fat per serving. Or for a wonderful fresh, mouthwatering sauce try our Fresh Marinara Linguine sauce made with fresh tomatoes and fresh basil. Just a few grates of fresh Parmesan and you will be very satisfied.

If tomato based sauces are not to your liking, try our Linguine with Mushrooms in a creamy blend of a mushroom and sour cream sauce, spicy Chipotle Tomato Pasta or Roasted Red Pepper Pasta.

Or if you just have to have Alfredo, here is a lower fat version that can be paired with seafood, chicken or vegetables on top of your fettucine.

Fresh Grated Parmesan Alfredo Fettucine
Serves 4

1 pound Fettucine or Linguine if you prefer
1 cup evaporated skim milk
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 teaspoons fresh ground white pepper
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese*
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Fresh ground white pepper to taste

Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain. In a large saucepan, bring the evaporated milk to a simmer over moderate heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, green onions and parsley. As soon as it has melted, and the sauce is thick and creamy, pour over cooked pasta. Season to taste with white pepper.

For variety, add your favorite cooked vegetables, chicken or seafood (or a combination of all three) and serve over linguine or any pasta of your choice.

*Always try to use freshly grated Parmesan cheese whenever possible. It melts very well and the taste is far superior to the canned variety. If the canned variety is all you have on hand, go ahead and use it. The sauce will still taste good, but it will not be as smooth and creamy.

Per Serving: 528 Calories; 5g Fat (8.7% calories from fat); 2g Saturated Fat; 24g Protein; 95g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 10mg Cholesterol; 276mg Sodium. Exchanges: 5 1/2 Grain (Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 1/2 Non-Fat Milk; 0 Fat.

Told you, Mom was always right, you always have a choice!


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