Monday, April 28, 2008

Have your cake and eat it, too

Yesterday was Jim's birthday, so on Saturday evening we hosted a little dinner get-together at our house to celebrate. I made bbq sandwiches with coleslaw, sweet tea, and a German chocolate cake. Other friends rounded out the feast by bringing baked beans, potato salad, fruit salad, and of course some beer. It was a nice evening, made nicer by the fact that we were able to sit out on the porch and have apples & brie appetizers and drink a few beers before the lack of sunlight drove us inside. It's been a long time since it's been warm enough to hang out on the porch like that. And even though it wasn't quite really warm enough, we all threw on extra sweatshirts and sat there, anyway, because it was warmer than it has been!

Anyhow, I took some measures to cut calories and fat from all of the dishes I made, and used my friends as guinea pigs. No one seemed to notice at all! I took the fact that there were very few leftovers to indicate the taste wasn't sacrificed with the spare calories. So here's what I did:

BBQ Sandwiches:
I used venison (deer meat) instead of pork or beef. I filled my crock-pot 3/4 full with the meat early in the morning, and slow cooked it all day. About an hour before dinner I took it out and shredded/chopped it, added a half a bottle of bbq sauce, and put it back in to warm. The venison is a much leaner cut of meat than pork or beef. For example, 1 oz (raw weight) of each type of meat equals:
Calories Fat (g) Carbs (g) Protein (g)
Venison 36 1 0 7
Pork (shoulder) 61 4 0 5
Beef (roast) 58 4 0 6

I also served whole wheat buns, which at least add some more fiber and vitamins than the regular white buns.

Instead of using lots of regular mayonnaise for the dressing, I used a mix of reduced-fat mayo and fat-free yogurt. This cut lots of fat and calories. The approximate recipe would be: 1/4 c each reduced-fat mayo & fat free plain yogurt, 1 Tbs cider vinegar, 1 tsp sugar, 1 splash milk, 1 Tbs dill, salt & pepper. Mix all and add to 1/2 large head of cabbage, sliced thin, and 1 shredded carrot. Mix well, refridgerate several hours, serve cold.

German Chocolate Cake:
I got this tip from my friend Amy. When making a cake out of a mix, instead of adding all the things the box tells you to add (eggs, oil, water), simply add 1 can of Diet Coke or Diet 7Up (depending on the color of cake you're making... use 7Up for lighter colored cakes). Stir as directed, then bake as directed. This saves 100 calories per slice (all from eggs & oil), assuming you cut your cake into 12 pieces. The cake turned out nice & fluffy and flavorful... no one knew the difference!

Sweet Tea:
Since I'm sensitive to caffeine, I brewed some decaf tea bags. Then I sweetened with Splenda. Result= no calories, no caffeine, no guilt about drinking several glasses of the stuff!

It's fun to find little ways to make your favorite foods a little less terrible for you! Of course, it better taste good!

Enjoy some of these recipes, or share your own.

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