Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cheesy Cajun Shrimp & Rice Casserole


Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds unpeeled, large fresh shrimp
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 small red onion, chopped*
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper*
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper*
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper*
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen sliced okra
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of shrimp soup**
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups cooked long-grain rice
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Garnishes: quartered lemon slices, fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs

Directions:

Peel shrimp; devein, if desired.
Melt 1/4 cup butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and next 3 ingredients; sauté 7 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Stir in okra, lemon juice, and salt; sauté 5 minutes. Add shrimp, and cook 3 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Stir in soup and next 4 ingredients until blended. Pour into a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and cheese is lightly browned. Garnish, if desired.
*1 (10-ounce) package frozen onions and peppers may be substituted for fresh onion and bell peppers.
**1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup may be substituted for cream of shrimp soup.
Note: Unbaked casserole may be made one day in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking as directed. To freeze unbaked casserole, prepare as directed, omitting Parmesan cheese. Cover tightly, and freeze. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking. Bake, covered, at 350° for 50 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese, and bake 10 more minutes or until cheese is lightly browned.

Cherry Chocolate Cream Cheese Bars


Ingredients:


Cream until light and fluffy:


½ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
Add
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
Beat well.


Sift together
1 cup + 3 tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda


Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, folding to combine well. Fold in


1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped


Spread in a parchment lined 9 inch square baking pan and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees F. (325 for glass bake ware) Remove from oven and cool thoroughly before frosting and cutting. Makes 25 squares.


Cream Cheese Frosting


Beat together until smooth


1/2 cup cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups icing sugar


Shared from - http://​rockrecipes.blogspot.com/​2011/12/​cherry-chocolate-cream-chee​se-bars.html

Triple Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Ingredients:


2 ½ cups of unsifted flour 
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of butter (2 sticks), softened
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla
2 eggs
15 ounces (5 ounces each) milk, semi sweet and dark chocolate chips (Ghirardelli are best)
24 mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, cut in half


Directions:


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Set aside. Beat sugars with butter until smooth. Add vanilla and eggs (one at a time). Mix on low speed until incorporated. Gradually add dry mixture into creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and drop on an ungreased baking sheet lined with parchment paper using an ice cream scooper. Will make large cookies, so spread them out to about 5-6 per cookie sheet. Place half of a peanut butter cup in the center and roll the sided up around it. Bake for approximately 12-14 minutes.

Ultimate Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips


Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 large eggs
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup crispy rice cereal
2-1/2 cups chocolate chips

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder into a medium-size bowl.

Beat butter in large bowl until creamy. Add the peanut butter and sugars; beat well. Add vanilla, corn syrup and eggs; beat to blend. Beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats, rice cereal and chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoons onto ungreased baking sheet.

Bake in 350 degree F oven 10 minutes or until light brown. Cool 1 to 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove cookies to wire rack to cool. Makes 4 dozen.
Recipe shared from: www.recipes.sparkpeople.com

Creamy Corn Chowder with Bacon and Cheddar


Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 small onion, diced
1 small carrot, finely diced
1 small celery stalk, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups white corn kernels, fresh or frozen
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups half-and-half
5 pieces of crumbled bacon 
1/2 cup of grated extra sharp cheddar
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:


Melt 1 stick of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, and saute for 2 minutes. Add the flour and stir to make a roux. Cook until the roux is lightly browned; set aside to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, combine the corn and chicken stock in another saucepan, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Pour the boiling stock with the corn (a little at a time) into the saucepan with the roux, whisking briskly so it doesn't lump. Return the skillet to the heat and bring to a boil. The mixture should become very thick.

In a small saucepan, gently heat the half-and-half; stir it into the thick corn mixture. Add the nutmeg and salt and pepper, to taste. Just before serving, cut the remaining stick of butter into large chunks (optional). Add it to enrich the soup, stirring until the butter melts. Sprinkle with bacon pieces and cheese. Enjoy!



Shared from:http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/chef-jacks-corn-chowder-recipe/index.html

Sour Cream Pork Chops with Vidalia Onions


Ingredients:

Four 1 1/2 to 2-inch thick boneless pork chops 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
1 1/2 cups sliced Vidalia onion, separated into rings 
1 cup beef stock 
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley 
1 teaspoon yellow mustard 
1 teaspoon paprika 
One 8-ounce container sour cream 
Hot cooked rice, for serving, optional 
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish, optional

Directions:

Sprinkle the pork chops with salt and pepper. 

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the pork chops and cook until browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Place the onions evenly over the pork chops. 

In a small bowl, combine the stock, parsley, mustard and paprika, and season with salt and pepper. Pour the broth mixture over the pork chops. Return the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the sour cream until blended and cook until heated through, 4 to 5 minutes; do not boil. Serve over hot cooked rice if using. Garnish with parsley if desired.



Shared from-http://www.foodnetwork.com/

Are Diet Foods Harmful?

By Aparupa Saikia 



Walk into a local shopping mall and you will see a lot of tetra packs with eye-catching labels like light or litelow calorielow fatno fatfat freeno sugarsugar free, and zero calorie...all promising great taste and convenience. Unfortunately, behind the glitzy and tempting packaging, there are various side affects to these diet foods. So here are some of the major Diet foods that are available in the market along with their side effects:
Are Diet Foods Harmful?
  • Diet Sugar: It is the single most popular diet food. This product caught everyone like wild fire when people realized that excessive sugar intake leads to obesity.  There are many sugar substitutes available in the market like:
    • Saccharin: It is no longer popular due to the fact that it is linked to urinary  bladder tumors.
    • Aspartame: It is extremely popular, but high doses of it are known to be unhealthy for pregnant women, phenylketonurics, diabetics. It also has adverse effects on the memory.
    • Stevia: It is one of the latest product to hit the market. It is still too fresh and mass consumption effects have not emerged as of yet. It is still under testing condition.
  • Diet Aerated Drinks: It is another popular category of diet food. But many of the so called diet fizzy drinks have unhealthy levels of salt, aspartame, chemical preservatives and chemical colors. As a result, many people who consume such drinks have an unbalanced insulin and blood sugar. 
  • Diet Confectionaries: This is one category which is catching very soon to feed the sweet tooth! They include diet chocolates, diet cookies, and high fibre biscuits. But these contain a high level of fat which is equally fattening and the sweetener is again aspartame which retards weight loss by interfering with the insulin metabolism.
  • Diet Foods for Breakfast: These include a wide range of breakfast food like diet jams, diet honey, Fruit juices, sugar free maida (white flour) products like sweet breads, buns etc. They promise to be the best start in the morning. The ones with added aspartame should be avoided. Also, any product made with maida should be avoided as it unhealthy and fattening even if it has no sugar.
  • Cholesterol Free Snacks: These are a wide array of munchies like diet namkeens, diet chips, cholesterol free nuts etc. These are a very good option compared to their counterparts as they are fried in healthy cholesterol free oil but they should be consumed in moderation.     
  • Diet Margarine: It is very unhealthy and inadvertently leads to fat deposits in the heart due to the trans-fatty acids, so it is best avoided.
  • Sweet Clear Water: Though better than diet drinks, it still has some levels of aspartame. Besides nothing beats natural water!
When selecting a low calorie or low fat plan, make sure you are consuming a balanced and complete diet. Bottom-line, they can help you lose weight but every coin has a flip side. Besides, nothing beats natural food.

Shared from-
http://www.lifemojo.com/lifestyle/are-diet-foods-harmful-126961

Food As Medicine- The Healing Power of Coconut Oil

RENA UNGER HOLISTIC NUTRITION CHEF AND CULINARY EDUCATOR
If you have heard the hype on coconut oil, believe it! It’s true that all fats are not equal. Coconut oil is one of the most unique and beneficial sources of fat, widely recommended for high daily consumption. 
But fat makes you fat, right? Actually, it depends on the fat and in this case,coconut oil is no ordinary fat! Coconut oil is comprised of medium-chain fatty acids or MCFAs. MCFAs are shorter length than long-chain fatty acids or LCFAs. This makes them easier to breakdown and metabolize into energy very quickly vs. LCFAs which are often stored in the body as fat for later use. In the 1930’s Dr. Weston A Price discovered that cultures consuming a diet rich in coconut oil experienced great dental and overall health, as well as maintained healthy body weight – all despite consuming a high fat diet!
Coconut oil also receives a lot of attention for its high concentration of lauric acid, which supersedes that of almost all plant sources. Lauric acid contributes to optimal brain function which comes as no surprise considering the human brain is 60% fat. Think of the brain power we are losing to low-fat diets! Lauric acid also contributes to a highly functioning immune system with its astonishing anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties.  Coconut oil closely mirrors the immune system-building properties that are found in mother’s milk which helps to develop our immunity from day one.
Coconut oil is lower in calories than most fats and has a richer taste than butter. Need more reasons to incorporate this power food into your diet? Check out these incredible health benefits:
● Fat is essential for the digestion and absorption of vitamins A, D, E & K
● Helps with the absorption of calcium and magnesium
● Regulates and supports healthy hormone production and function
● Metabolism booster that strengthens thyroid function, promoting weight loss and the release of toxins
● Protects the digestive system against viruses, yeast, parasites and pathogens
● Heals bacterial conditions including bladder infections, pneumonia, ear and throat infections, urinary tract infections, meningitis, gonorrhea, cavities and food poisoning
● Battles yeast conditions including Candida, ring worm, athletes foots, thrush, jock itch, vaginal yeast and diaper rash
● Wards off parasites including lice and tapeworms
● Kills virus including mononucleosis, influenza, hepatitis C, measles, herpes and AIDS
● Supports, relieves and reduced risks associated with diabetes by regulating blood sugar and lessening hypoglycemia
● Heals and prevents heart disease, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, stoke, osteoporosis, pancreatitis, gallbladder, liver disease, kidney disease,  crohn’s, stomach ulcers, cystic fibrosis, cronic fatigue, epileptic seizures, hemorrhoids, inflammation, breast and colon cancer, periodontal disease, premature aging and many degenerative diseases
● Promotes loss of excess weight, strong bones and teeth
It’s not just for cooking either:
● One of the best face and body moisturizers on the planet! Just a little bit goes a long way in taking years off. Don’t be surprised when people ask you if you found the fountain of youth!
● Treats psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, dry & flakey skin, dandruff, skin/wound infections, protects against wrinkles, heals scars (even old ones), sagging skin, age spots and is a great exfoliant
● Great for your hair! Add a few tablespoons and wash out after 10 minutes. For a deeper conditioning leave the oil in overnight and wash out in the morning. Surprisingly, your hair will NOT be greasy, just shiny and healthy!
Coconut oil remains stable at room temperature, and stands up well to high heat. It is a superior oil for deep frying, pan frying, baking, and sautéing; you name it! Health professionals worldwide even recommend enjoying this oil on its own, by the spoonful to reap all the benefits – up to 6 tablespoons a day depending on your needs and condition. As always if you have questions on how to incorporate this oil into your diet, consult your doctor or holistic health care professional. When selecting coconut oil, it’s important to choose virgin organic coconut oil to be certain it is pure and you are getting all of the benefits.
Eat well, heal well!
Rena Unger - Holistic Nutrition Chef & Culinary Educator

Three Cheese Mac with Cheez-It® Herb Crumb Crust



Ingredients:

1 pound penne pasta
1/2 box Cheez-it crackers
1 bunch fresh chives, chopped
1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons grated aged Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup grated fontina cheese
2 tablespoons crumbled soft goat cheese
2 cups heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt

Directions:

Set the oven to broil. Add the pasta to a pot of boiling salted water and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.

Pulse the crackers in a food processor to a coarse consistency. Mix with the chives and parsley.

Whisk the butter and flour in a medium saucepot over medium-high heat until fully incorporated and bubbly. Add the milk and bring to a simmer, whisking the entire time. Whisk in the cheeses, a little at a time, until thoroughly combined. Add the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper.

Strain the pasta and mix with the cheesy sauce. Spoon into oven-safe baking vessels and top with the crumb crust. Place under the broiler until lightly toasted and bubbling, 3 to 5 minutes. Watch carefully so the mac doesn't burn.

Shared from-http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/three-cheese-mac-with-cheez-itreg-herb-crumb-crust-recipe/index.html

Buffalo Chicken Cheese Balls

Ingredients:

1 store-bought rotisserie chicken
1/4 cup hot sauce (recommended: Frank's Red Hot)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 3/4 cups sharp Cheddar
1/4 cup freshly sliced scallions
1 cups all-purpose flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups panko bread crumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying

Blue Cheese Dip:
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup packed blue cheese, broken up
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic


Directions:

Have oil heated to 350 degrees F.
Pick the meat from the chicken and discard the skin. Place the chicken in a large bowl and add the hot sauce, pepper, cheese, and scallions, and toss to combine. Roll the chicken into 2-ounce balls, about the size of a golf ball.
Place the flour, eggs, and bread crumbs in 3 separate bowls. Roll each ball in the flour, then the egg and then the bread crumbs. Set aside.
When the oil is hot fry the chicken balls in batches. Cook for about 2 minutes per batch. Remove the chicken to paper towel lined plate to drain the excess oil.
To make the sauce, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve the chicken alongside the dipping sauce.

Shared from-http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/aaron-mccargo-jr/buffalo-chicken-cheese-balls-recipe/index.html

Deviled Breaded Brie Bites

Ingredients:

1-8 ounce round Brie or Camembert cheese, chilled
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Oil for deep-fat frying
Fresh herbs
1/2 cup prepared jalapeno or other pepper jelly, warmed


Directions:

1. Cut cheese into 8 wedges. Set aside. On a piece of waxed paper, a small plate, or a small mixing bowl stir together flour and mustard. In another small mixing bowl stir together egg and milk. In another small mixing bowl stir together bread crumbs, red pepper, and black pepper.
2. Coat each piece of cheese in flour mixture. Dip into egg mixture and coat with bread crumb mixture. Dip again into egg mixture and then into bread crumb mixture.
3. Deep-fry coated cheese wedges in hot oil (365 degrees F.) for 30 to 60 seconds or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve warm with jelly. Makes 8 appetizer servings.


Shared from-http://www.bhg.com/recipe/appetizers-snacks/fried-deviled-brie/

Lasagne alla Bolognese


Ingredients:

10 cups Ragu alla Bolognese (recipe below)
1 (9-ounce) box no-boil lasagna noodles
12 ounces mild provolone cheese, very thinly sliced
4 cups Béchamel Sauce (see recipe below)
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:


1.  Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Spread 2 cups of the Bolognese sauce in a thin layer over the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish.

2.  Construct the lasagne by layering 4 noodles over the sauce. Top with another 2 cups Bolognese sauce and spread it evenly to the edges of the dish; cover with 1/4 (3 ounces) of the sliced provolone cheese. Spread 1 cup of the béchamel sauce in a thin layer and top with 1/4 cup of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

3.  Place the next layer of lasagna noodles perpendicular to the direction of the first layer and top with another layer of filling (using the same amounts of ingredients as above). Repeat 2 more times, being sure to place each layer of lasagna noodles perpendicular to the previous layer.

4.  Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil. Place on the center rack of the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Remove the foil and continue baking until the edges are brown and the noodles are completely tender, about 20 minutes more. Allow to stand for 20 to 30 minutes before slicing.



Ragu alla Bolognese


Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds ground veal (or ground pork)
2 (28-ounce) cans chopped tomatoes
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick)
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 cup whole milk

Directions:


1.  Heat oil in a Dutch oven or a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a tightfitting lid over medium heat. When oil shimmers, add onion and garlic, and cook until vegetables are translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add carrots, celery, and parsley, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

2.  Add ground veal and stir to break up meat. Once meat starts to color, about 8 to 10 minutes, add tomatoes and stir until well mixed and tomatoes start to simmer, about 5 minutes.

3.  Add tomato paste and butter, and stir until evenly mixed and butter is melted. Add salt, and season well with freshly ground black pepper.

4.  Add milk and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Reduce heat to low and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered until sauce is thick and reduced by a quarter, about 60 minutes.

Béchamel Sauce

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 cup minced shallots (optional)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups warm whole milk
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:


1.  Melt butter in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Add shallots (if using) and sauté 2 minutes. Do not let brown.

2.  Reduce heat to low, add flour, and whisk until smooth and raw taste is cooked off, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Add bay leaf and cook until just thickened, stirring often, about 10 minutes.

3.  Stir in nutmeg and salt. Season with ground white pepper. Cool sauce slightly. Discard bay leaf before using.

Shared from: http://www.chow.com/recipes/10789-bechamel-sauce



Shared from-http://www.chow.com/recipes/10834-lasagne-alla-bolognese

Cheesy Smoked Salmon Breakfast Bake

Ingredients:


2
2
boxes (5.2 oz each) Betty Crocker® Seasoned Skillets® hash brown potatoes
1
package (8 oz) cream cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6
oz smoked salmon, flaked
1
tablespoon dried chopped onion
1
cup Original Bisquick® mix
1/2
teaspoon pepper
3
cups milk
4
eggs
4
oz pepper Jack cheese, shredded
1/2
cup chopped green onion tops (green part only)

  1. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Sprinkle 1 box potatoes in baking dish. Place half of the cream cheese cubes and the salmon pieces over potatoes. Sprinkle with dried onion. Top with remaining box of potatoes and cream cheese.
  3. In large bowl, beat Bisquick mix, pepper, milk and eggs with whisk or fork until blended. Pour over mixture in baking dish. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Cover with foil; refrigerate at least 4 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
  4. Heat oven to 375°F. Bake uncovered 32 to 38 minutes or until golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle with green onions. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Do-Ahead Ham & Cheddar Breakfast Bake

Ingredients:



1
1
cup diced fully cooked ham (6 oz)
2
boxes Betty Crocker® Seasoned Skillets® hash brown potatoes
1
medium green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
1
tablespoon dried chopped onion
2
cups shredded Cheddar cheese (8 oz)
1
cup Original Bisquick® mix
3
cups milk
1/2
teaspoon pepper
4
eggs
  1. Grease 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with shortening or cooking spray.
  2. Layer ham, potatoes, bell pepper, onion and 1 cup of the cheese in baking dish. In large bowl, stir Bisquick mix, milk, pepper and eggs until blended. Pour into baking dish; sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese. Cover; refrigerate at least 4 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
  3. Heat oven to 375ºF. Bake uncovered 30 to 35 minutes or until light golden brown around edges and cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Easy Healthy Recipe Substitutions


Easy Healthy Recipe Substitutions

With these quick and easy ingredient substitutions, cooking heart-healthfully doesn't have to be a chore.

By Mindy Hermann, R.D., and Sara Broek

Use Baby Prunes, Not Butter

When your recipe calls for: butter, margarine, or oil 

Use this ingredient instead: baby prunes 

Best used for: brownies, dark quick breads

Why substitute? Substituting baby prunes for oil and butter cuts more than half the fat and calories.

Tips on making the switch: The color of the prunes will change the batter color, so use this swap when baking dark breads or brownies. The recipe will bake up denser and have more moisture. Also, be sure to snip the tips of the prunes and finely chop them for the recipe.


Use Mini Chocolate Chips, Not Chocolate Chunks

When your recipe calls for: milk chocolate chunks 
Use this ingredient instead: 1/2 the amount of mini milk chocolate chips or finely chopped dark chocolate 

Best used for: baking

Why substitute? Using mini chocolate chips means that every bite still has the sweet flavor, but by using less overall you cut the calories. If you sub dark chocolate (with 70 percent cocoa and cocoa powder) you gain flavonoids that help keep blood vessels clear and flowing. Dark chocolate also can increase levels of HDL, or "good" cholesterol, by up to 10 percent, according to a 2006 study in Finland.



Use Low-Fat Yogurt and Cottage Cheese, Not Sour Cream

When your recipe calls for: sour cream
Use this ingredient instead: equal parts low-fat yogurt and low-fat no-salt-added cottage cheese 

Best used for: dips, salad dressings

Why substitute? The combination of the yogurt and cottage cheese gives your recipe lower fat content with the same consistency. If you choose the no-salt added cottage cheese, your dip will also be lower in sodium.

Tip on making the switch: Puree the yogurt and cottage cheese in a blender for a smooth consistency.

Use Marshmallow Creme, Not Butter

When your recipe calls for: butter or margarine 
Use this ingredient instead: marshmallow creme 

Best used for: Frosting

Why substitute? One serving of marshmallow creme has no fat or cholesterol, compared with the 11.5 grams of fat and 31 mg of cholesterol in one serving of butter. Using the marshmallow creme will also give your frosting a sweetened taste and thicker consistency.

*Note: The marshmallow creme will significantly sweeten the recipe. Add the creme gradually and taste it as you go. You may not need the entire measurement of creme.

Use Lean Ground Turkey, Not Ground Beef

When your recipe calls for: ground beef 
Use this ingredient instead: lean ground turkey breast or meatless crumbles 

Best used for: meat sauces, burgers, meat loaves, tacos

Why substitute? Ground turkey breast has less fat than beef. Meatless crumbles are a great vegetarian substitution; they also have four times less fat and zero cholesterol.


Burgers will pack more tightly and are less likely to crumble when using a 1/2 ground beef, 1/2 lean ground turkey breast ratio.

Use Evaporated Skim Milk, Not Heavy Cream

When your recipe calls for: heavy cream 
Use this ingredient instead: evaporated skim milk 
Best used for: custards, desserts 

Why substitute? Use evaporated skim milk to remove the fat and calories of heavy cream while maintaining the consistency.

Use Applesauce and Buttermilk, Not Butter

When your recipe calls for: vegetable oil, butter, or margarine 
Use this ingredient instead: 1/2 applesauce and 1/2 buttermilk 
Best used for: muffins, quick breads, cakes from mix 
Why substitute? According to the USDA, 1/2 cup of salted butter contains roughly 900 calories and 92 grams of fat, while a 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce contains about 50 calories and zero grams of fat. 

Tips on making the switch: Use a standard liquid measuring cup and add the applesauce with the liquid ingredients. Reduce the amount of added sugar in the recipe if the applesauce is sweetened. Try not to overbake recipes; low-fat recipes tend to dry out when overbaked. 

Use Fat-Free Ricotta Cheese, Not Cream Cheese

When your recipe calls for: cream cheese
Use this ingredient instead: fat-free ricotta cheese or yogurt cheese* 
Why Substitute? Fat-free ricotta cheese has less sodium than cream cheese. Yogurt cheese has the tang and texture of a soft cream cheese, but it's a healthier option. A tablespoon of cream cheese has 50 calories and 5 grams of fat. A tablespoon of yogurt cheese (made from nonfat yogurt) has 11 calories and no fat. And it can be easily made at home. 

*To make yogurt cheese:

1. Line a coffee filter or strainer with cheesecloth.
2. Spoon in plain low-fat or fat-free yogurt.
3. Place over a bowl and refrigerate for several hours.
4. The whey will drain off and yogurt will thicken—the longer you leave it in, the thicker it will become. 

Shared from-www.bhg.com