Tasty family dishes with fat, calories cut


April 17, 2002|By Larry Bingham | Larry Bingham,SUN STAFF

Weight Watchers cookbooks are to dieting what utensils are to eating. You can do one without the other, but the first makes the second easier - not to mention more appetizing. Weight Watchers Simply the Best: 250 Prize-winning Family Recipes (Pearson Education Macmillan Co., 1999, $17.95) is a case in point.

The recipes are not hard to make. They're not time-consuming. You don't need much experience in the kitchen or any hard-to-find ingredients. They are what they are: family standards reinvented for people cutting back on fat and calories or counting points on the Weight Watchers diet plan. They were culled from 2,000 recipes, and all were contributed by people who have successfully lost weight on the program.

The trick is: Are the meals any good after the transformation? For the most part, these are.

The almond biscotti is nearly as good as the regular. Ditto for tasty home-fried potatoes. But just as you'd expect, if you shave the eggs, butter and oil that add flavor, you have to compensate for the loss, and that's where some of the recipes falter. You find yourself adding oregano to the white-bean-and-spinach lasagna and extra garlic to creamy chicken and spinach. Still, every dieter knows you have to cut back to lose weight, and that's why this cookbook, with its 250 ideas, is a best seller.

Tasty Home-Fried Potatoes

Makes 2 servings

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 small all-purpose potatoes, cooked and cubed

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese

freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil. Add the potatoes and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until the potatoes are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle with cheese and pepper.

Grilled Turkey-Herb Burgers

Makes 4 servings

1 pound ground skinless turkey breast

1 onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons seasoned dried bread crumbs

3 tablespoons minced parsley

3 tablespoons reduced-calorie mayonnaise

1 tablespoon minced fresh basil, or 1 teaspoon dried

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

Preheat the broiler. In a large bowl, lightly combine the turkey, onion, bread crumbs, parsley, mayonnaise, basil, mustard and pepper. Shape into four equal burgers. Spray the broiler rack with nonstick cooking spray; broil the burgers 5 inches from the heat, until well done, 4 to 5 minutes on each side.

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