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Keep boullion and some flavorfull dried soup bases on hand for a quick soup base.
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Week of October 28, 2007

Pork Tenderloin

One of the most versatile ingredients you can keep on hand for fast, easy weeknight meals is pork tenderloin. It's well suited to high-heat preparations that allow the meat to retain its moist tenderness as it cooks quickly. This lean cut has only 139 calories and 4.1 grams of fat in a three-ounce serving.

To prepare, remove the silver skin, which is the thin, shiny membrane that runs along the surface of the meat. Use a small, sharp knife, such as a paring knife.

Leaving the silver skin on can cause the tenderloin to toughen and lose shape during cooking.

Stretch the membrane with one hand so it's taunt. Slip the tip of a sharp paring or boning knife beneath the silver skin. Slice smoothly along the membrane as you pull it up and away from the meat.

Ways to use Tenderloin:

Strips and Cubes - To cut pork tenderloin into uniform smaller pieces, first cut it lengthwise—into even strips. To cube evenly, line up several strips and cut across. Then use in stirfrys or pork fajitas.

Butterflying and Stuffing - Slice the tenderloin in half lengthwise, cutting to, but not through, the other side. Open the two sides up as you would a book, and place the filling on the "binding" or hinge. Depending on whether your filling is bulky, you may need to lightly pound the tenderloin beforehand to create more surface area to accommodate the filling.

Cutlets - Place 1-inch-thick slices between two sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and pound them to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small, heavy skillet. Use pork cutlets the same way you might use pounded chicken breasts. Thin cutlets cook quickly, which makes them ideal when you need dinner ready in just minutes.

Week of October 21, 2007

Using Commercial Broths verses Homemade Defatted Stock

Making your own stocks and sauces are advantageous to healthy cooking. It allows you to create intense natural flavor while keeping the amount of sodium very low. As you can see, there is not as much difference in the calories or fat.

Based on quantities of 1 cup.

Here's how homemade and commercial stocks and broths compare nutritionally.

Ingredient (1 cup)
Calories
Fat
Sodium
Homemade beef stock
8
0.3g
9mg
Regular commercial beef stock
15
1g
890mg
*Less-sodium beef broth
15
1g
440mg
Homemade white chicken stock
28
0.8g
18mg
Regular commercial chicken stock
10
0.5g
960mg
*Fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
15
0g
570mg
Homemade vegetable stock
8
0.1g
2mg
*Less-sodium vegetable broth
15
0g
570mg



Week of October 14, 2007

What are Edamame and How to Serve Them
ed·a·ma·me (ed'?-mä'ma)

Edamame, a shell bean, is also called an immature green soybean. The popularity of this bean has grown in the past decade and is now easily found frozen in most major supermarkets.

Edamame is of Chinese origin and was developed in Japan especially for eating out of the pod. Edamame is a variation on the same yellow and black field soybean that is transformed into many popular soy products such as tofu, miso, and soymilk. However, because of its recent introduction into the U.S. market, only a small percentage of U.S. soybean fields are devoted to growing edamame.

Some call edamame the super or wonder vegetable because it is the only vegetable that contains all nine essential amino acids. This makes edamame a complete protein source, similar to meat or eggs. Edamame also contains isoflavonoids. They are found in all soy products and are being studied for their health benefits.

Availability: Edamame is rarely sold fresh, but is available frozen all year.

To eat beans right out of the shell, boil them until they are al dente (still slightly firm). Rinse to cool slightly, and season as desired. You can easily suck the al dente beans out of the shell. Beans may also be shelled and added to other dishes, such as salads. Beans are easy to shell after they are boiled briefly.

Week of October 7, 2007

How to Clean Mushrooms

It is popular nowadays to advise cooks to gently brush the dirt off of mushrooms using a damp cloth or a soft brush.However, most mushrooms will tolerate a short rinse in cold water.

Mushrooms are extremely porous and will absorb water, so you do not want to soak them. Soaking them would slightly affect their texture. Mushrooms are already 92.5% water by weight.

So, what is the best way clean mushrooms?

For white button and Crimini mushrooms, try to choose mushrooms where the underside has not opened to reveal the gills (those frilly ribs) underneath. While this isn't critical, it does make cleaning a bit easier.

If you are using Portabello mushrooms in a light colored sauce, remove the stems and then use a teaspoon to scrape away the gills, leaving the mushroom tops. The gills can turn the sauce brown, although they won't effect the taste.

Now the mushrooms can be quickly rinsed in cold water. Put them in a colander and gently spray them with cold water. Next, place the mushrooms on a dry towel and blot off all the surface water. For Oyster mushrooms, or others that have a large area of open gills, pay some special attention to drying that part, as a lot of water can be trapped there. Take one more look, and remove anything that wasn't rinsed off earlier.

Finally, remove the whole stem if it is woody and you haven't done so already, or trim off the hard end where it has dried out. Slice, quarter or chop the mushrooms as directed in the recipe. Because mushrooms will brown readily once they are cut, it is best to prepare them as close to when they will be used as possible.

 


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