Bold flavors and low-fat ethnic cuisine make diet foods satisfying

March 10, 1993|By Cathy Barber | Cathy Barber,Dallas Morning NewsUniversal Press Syndicate

Once, a dieter could look forward to cottage cheese and peaches or maybe a poached chicken breast.

Today, a "diet" meal might be a thick bean soup with vegetables and herbs. It might be cubes of meat served on a bed of grains and grilled vegetables, or Oriental noodles with seafood in a pungent sauce.

It's not diet food, but it's good for you. Such hearty, filling foods satisfy the soul as well as the palate.

You just have to forget that they're low in fat.

"I think we've overcome that stigma that in order for something to be good for you it has to taste bad," says dietitian Kathleen Celman of Ochsner Medical Institution in New Orleans. She is a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

America's love affair with strong ethnic flavors, combined with the plethora of low-fat ingredients pouring into the market, makes eating right in the '90s more an adventure than a challenge.

Robust seasonings replace the flavor that's lost when fat is removed from a dish. Author Steven Raichlen used this principle in his "High-Flavor Low-Fat Cooking" (Camden House, $18.95, $24.95 hardcover).

He predicts that aging baby boomers, anxious to eat right, will encounter a flood of foods geared to the new, low-fat table.

In his kitchen, one garlic clove becomes three. Fresh ginger replaces powdered. Where fat is needed, flavorful extra-virgin olive oil is his choice.

* Pasta with shrimp and salsa Makes 4 servings.

non-stick olive oil cooking spray

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 green onions and tops, cut in 1-inch diagonal pieces

4 stalks celery, cut in 1-inch diagonal pieces

2 yellow squash, cut in 1/2 -inch rounds

2 bell peppers, seeded and diced

1 pound fresh medium to large shrimp, peeled, deveined and rinsed

1 chicken or vegetable bouillon cube, dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water

juice of 1 lemon

3/4 cup picante sauce

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

12 ounces angel hair pasta, cooked according to package directions

Spray the bottom of a 12-inch non-stick skillet with olive oil spray Over medium heat, add garlic, green onions, celery, squash and bell pepper. Saute and stir until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add shrimp and bouillon at once. Continue cooking until shrimp are pink, about 5 minutes. Do not overcook.

Remove pan from heat and add lemon juice, picante and cilantro. Toss lightly with cooked pasta; serve immediately.

Per serving: Calories: 411; fat: 3 grams; cholesterol: 82 milligrams; sodium: 640 milligrams; percent calories from fat: 6 percent.

( (Source: Prissy Shaffer)

*

Baker's-style potatoes Makes 4 servings.

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 onions, thinly sliced

4 large potatoes (about 2 pounds)

salt and black pepper

2 to 3 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup bread crumbs

Heat the broiler. Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch non-stick fryin pan with a metal handle. Add the onions and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 4 to 6 minutes or until golden brown.

Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut into 1/4 -inch slices. Stir the potatoes into the onions and season with salt and pepper. Add enough stock to cover the potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until soft. Flatten the potatoes with a fork and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Place the pan under the broiler. Broil for 1 minute, or until the top is crusty and golden brown.

Per serving: Calories: 303; fat: 6 grams; cholesterol: none; sodium: 87 milligrams; percent calories from fat: 18 percent.

7+ (Source: "High-Flavor Low-Fat Cooking")

*

White beans and brown rice with sage non-stick cooking spray

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 (15 1/2 -ounce) can Great Northern or other white beans

1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chilies

1 cup quick-cooking brown rice

1 (2 1/4 -ounce) can sliced ripe olives, drained

6 leaves fresh sage, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried)

salt (optional)

Spray a large saucepan with non-stick spray. Saute onion an garlic over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Drain some of liquid from beans. Add beans and tomatoes with juice to pan. Add half a tomato can of water. Bring to a boil. Add rice, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add olives, sage and salt if desired. Heat through. Makes 3 servings.

Per serving: Calories: 330; Fat: 4 grams; cholesterol: none; sodium: 1,073 milligrams; percent calories from fat: 10 percent.

(Source: Cathy Barber)

* Raspberry-peach freeze Makes 6 to 8 servings.

1 (16-ounce) can peaches in heavy syrup

2 cups buttermilk (1 percent)

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1 cup frozen raspberries, thawed

Puree peaches, buttermilk, corn syrup and confectioners' suga in food processor until smooth.

Pour into a large, shallow pan. Freeze, uncovered, until mixture has set around the edges, about 2 hours. Scrape into food processor bowl and process again until smooth. Repeat this process 1 more time. Add raspberries and spoon into 1-quart container; cover and freeze 4 to 6 hours or until firm.

Per serving: Calories: 184; fat: negligible; cholesterol: 1 milligram; sodium: 93 milligrams; percent calories from fat: 1 percent.

(Source: Prissy Shaffer)

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