Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Recipe makeover: make family favorites healthier

(ARA) - Many favorite comfort foods are chock-full of fat and calories. But a few simple tweaks can transform familiar favorites into delicious and nutritious meals your family will ask for time and time again.

The nutrition experts at Mayo Clinic share their top five tips for healthy recipe makeovers that cut the calories, boost the nutrition, and keep the taste:

1. Cut the fat and sugar

When you cut sugar and fat out of your favorite recipes, you reduce the calories. Most recipes can be altered without making the food taste different. Reduce the amount of sugar by one-third to one-half and play up the other flavors in the dish by increasing the amount of spice, such as cinnamon and nutmeg, the recipe calls for. Replace half the fat (like butter or shortening) in baked goods with applesauce or mashed banana.

2. Swap out

Make whole wheat French toast instead of using white bread. Add fiber to family spaghetti night by using whole wheat pasta. Replace whole milk with 1 percent or fat-free milk and you’ll cut fat and calories without anyone even noticing.

3. When in doubt, leave it out

Do you really need extra cheese on top of your pasta? Or frosting and nuts on that brownie? While items like mayonnaise, butter and syrup might seem like a delicious bonus, leaving them out can reduce sugar, fat and calories. And, in most cases, you won’t even miss them.

4. Small plates mean a smaller waistline

You should eat enough food to be satisfied, but not enough to give you that uncomfortably full and bloated feeling. Strive for a variety of foods and reasonable portion sizes. If you’re served a huge portion of food at a restaurant, immediately ask them to box up half of it. It’s like getting two meals for the price of one.

5. Change techniques

Instead of frying, try baking, broiling or grilling. Instead of sauteing, try steaming. Use nonstick cooking spray instead of butter or oil and baste food with wine or vegetable broth instead of oil or fatty meat juices.

Making a few simple substitutions and changing your method of preparation can result in mouthwatering new versions of your family’s favorite foods. The next time you are looking for a delicious and nutritious meal without all the fat and calories, try these simple recipes from the Fix-it and Enjoy-it Healthy Cookbook.

Herb Marinated Steak

Makes four servings.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Marinating time: six to eight hours (or overnight)
Cooking/baking time: 12 to 18 minutes
Standing time: 10 minutes


1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound London broil or chuck steak

1. Combine onion, parsley, vinegar, oil, mustard and garlic in a bowl.

2. Place meat in a sturdy plastic bag. Add onion mixture, spreading it on both sides of the meat. Close bag securely.

3. Place filled bag in a long dish in case of leaks. Marinate in refrigerator six to eight hours, or overnight. Turn over at least once while marinating.

4. Pour off marinade. Place steak on rack in broiler pan so meat is about 5 inches from heat source. Broil about six to eight minutes on each side for rare; nine minutes on each side for medium. You can also grill the steak instead of broiling it.

5. After broiling, allow meat to stand for 10 minutes.

6. Carve diagonally across the grain into thin slices.

210 calories, 10 grams total fat, 3 grams saturated fat per serving.

Guilt-free Golden Mashed Potatoes

Makes eight servings
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking/baking time: 40 to 45 minutes

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
2 reduced-sodium chicken bouillon cubes
1/4 cup skim milk
Half an 8-ounce package fat-free cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup low-fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped

1. Peel and cut potatoes into small cubes. Place in 4-quart saucepan with bouillon and water to cover.

2. Cover pan. Bring to a boil and cook until very tender, about 30 minutes.

3. Drain and return potatoes to pan.

4. Preheat oven to 425.

5. Mash potatoes with electric mixer or hand-held ricer.

6. Add all remaining ingredients to potatoes except parsley. Mix well.

7. Place six oval-shaped mounds of potatoes on baking sheet, lightly covered with vegetable spray.

8. Bake in preheated oven 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

9. Garnish with parsley just before serving.

118 calories, .5 grams total fat, .3 grams saturated fat per serving.

Recipes reprinted from “Fix-it and Enjoy-it Healthy Cookbook.” Copyright by Good Books. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Courtesy of ARAcontent

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