Lighten up in the kitchen!

Enchiladas - lower calorie version
We can make our favorite recipes healthier by making minor changes. Check out my included recipe for this spicy dish!

When we’re trying to cook healthier and “lighter”, it can be fun to play around with and lighten-up calories in traditional recipes. Slightly reducing the fat, sugar, and salt will usually be unnoticeable. Using applesauce for part of the shortening called for in baked goods, and substituting lower-fat cheese, leaner meat, and 1% to 2% milk in other recipes may be things you’d like to try. Here are a couple of recipes I’ve adapted: 

Scalloped potatoes and ham (serves four) 

  • 4 med. potatoes, thinly-sliced
  • ¼ c. flour
  • salt and pepper
  • ¾ c. cooked ham, thinly sliced
  • ¼ c. chopped onion
  • 1 c. 1% milk
  • ¾ c. grated reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Layer potatoes, ham and onion in a greased casserole dish. Sprinkle each layer with salt, pepper and flour. Bake covered at 350° about 45 minutes (check potatoes for tenderness). Sprinkle with cheese and return to oven until cheese has melted and browned slightly. Exchanges per 1 cup serving: ¼ milk, 3 ½ meat, 1 fat, 1 ½ bread 

 Enchiladas – reduced fat/calorie version (makes about 10)* 

  • 1 pound extra-lean ground beef
  • 16-ounce can fat-free refried beans
  • whole-wheat tortillas (6-inch)
  • package of taco seasoning mix
  • 10-ounce can of enchilada sauce
  • 2% grated cheddar or Mexican-blend cheese (4-ounces or less)
  • 3 or 4 chopped green onions

Brown ground beef and about 2/3 of the green onions. Drain and rinse to remove fat. Add taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions. When almost done, stir in beans until blended and hot. Spread about 1/3 cup of mixture off-center on tortilla, sprinkle with a couple of teaspoons of enchilada sauce and a rounded Tablespoon of cheese, and roll up. Cover bottom of glass casserole dish with a bit of enchilada sauce. Place enchiladas in pan and drizzle with remaining sauce. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or microwave for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with about ¼ to ⅓ cup additional cheddar and reserved green onions. 

            *My nutritional “guess-timate” (as close as I can figure it): 215 calories with 10 grams of fat each. 

Do you have some cooking secrets you’ve used successfully to trim calories from recipes? Please post them in the comment section. 

Thought for today: 

“Discipline begins with small things done daily.”  

(From God is in the Small Stuff  by Bruce & Stan) 


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