Convert your favorite recipes into tastier, healthy meals. It is very easy to stick to family favorite meals because you can make them in your sleep and family members love them. Favorites might include meatloaf, fried chicken, sloppy Joe’s, macaroni and cheese, hamburgers, or chicken fried steak. Although these dishes sound high in fat you can make them tastier and better for you by following these 7 simple tips:
- Substitute lean ground turkey breast mixed with extra lean ground beef in recipes where you previously used regular ground beef. Keep in mind that ground turkey breast cooks much faster than ground beef. In cases where ground beef was used in a sauce, such as sloppy joe’s and spaghetti, add meat at the end instead of at the beginning. Cooking times for meatballs and meatloaf will be shorter. In some cases you may be able to substitute half of the meat with kidney beans. One example might be chili where you can use all beans and no meat.
- For breaded, pan-fried entrees such as fish, chicken, turkey cutlets and even onion rings, dip item into nonfat plain yogurt, then bread crumbs. The key is to keep items and yogurt cold so yogurt coats them thickly. Add spices, parmesan, cracker crumbs, crushed baked tortilla chips, corn flakes, corn meal and/or fresh herbs to the breading.Turn items over in the bread crumbs several times to get a thick coating. Lightly spray the top of the breaded item with vegetable oil and bake at a high (425º) temperature.
- Low-fat, reduced-sodium cream soups (such as Healthy Choice and Campbell’s Healthy Request) make excellent quick cream sauces. Fat-free half and half will also stand in for cream.
- Use thin-sliced chicken breasts in place of veal cutlets, sandwich steaks and chicken fried steaks. Remember that chicken breast cooks very quickly.
- For oven-fried French fries, the key is to make wedges very thin and keep the oven temperature high around 450º F. Season the potato wedges well with cajun seasoning, parmesan, black pepper and/or dried herbs. (Use vegetable oil spray or egg whites to make seasonings stick.)
- Use a spray oil wherever possible and be cognizant of how much oil, butter, or margarine you are using. When reducing the amount of butter, margarine, or oil from a recipe, add another flavoring in its place, such as herbs (basil, oregano, dill, thyme, and/or cilantro), spices (black pepper, cayenne, paprika, cumin, garlic powder and/or chili powder), a little cream or broth, or parmesan cheese.
- Incorporate fresh or frozen vegetables for color, texture and flavor. Get in the habit of adding sliced veggies to almost everything you make from soups to pasta dishes to skillet meals or grilled dinners.
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Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. After a decade in food service for Hyatt Hotels, Judy launched Food and Health Communications to focus on flavor and health. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Johnson and Wales University with a BS in Culinary Art, holds a master’s degree in Food Business from the Culinary Institute of America, 2 art certificates from UC Berkeley Extension, and runs a food photography studio where her love is creating fun recipes.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.