Tag Archives: fat-free cooking

Tilapia

Tilapia is a wonder food. Mild, adaptable, and plentiful, it cooks quickly and can be prepared in a variety of ways. My favorite method (and it’s the quickest) is to steam over low heat in a covered skillet. No oil, no batter, no breading…just a few seasonings like lemon pepper and/or garlic salt. Even frozen, it’s done within 10-15 minutes. Fresh cooks faster. When preparing a meal, I typically cook my tilapia last. I don’t want to risk overcooking it, and I certainly don’t want to serve it cold.

When you shop for tilapia, keep in mind the recommendations of the Monterrey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. Buy farmed-in-USA if available. Aquaculture is suited to the tilapia, making it a sustainable fish. If USA isn’t available, buy from Costa Rica, Equador, Honduras, or Brazil farms. Do not buy tilapia farmed in China or Taiwan! (For more information, consult the Monterrey Bay Aquarium Watch List.)

Tilapia is not a new fish. It’s most plentiful in Africa and the Middle East and is believed to be the fish Saint Peter caught. In the miracle of the loaves and fishes (Matthew 14:15-21) Jesus served the crowd of 5,000 from two tilapia and five loaves of bread. Bible scholars also believe tilapia was abundant in the Sea of Galilee (Lake of Tiberius) and would’ve been the fish Jesus served his disciples when He revealed Himself after the resurrection. That’s why some refer to tilapia as either Jesus’ fish or Saint Peter’s fish. 

All I know is it’s delicious and nutritious, perfect for a Hasty Tasty Meal!

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Use Your Noodles!

I previously sang the praises of spiral vegetable slicers when I bought my SpiraLife. I upgraded to the fancier model but still love my trusty hand-held.

My latest experiment involves sweet potatoes. I peeled a Beauregard (grown locally) and combined its noodles with one zucchini, also spiral-cut, and steamed over low heat for about ten minutes.


I added salt and pepper, and then tossed the “noodles” with a dressing I made from 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, one clove garlic, and a pinch of Chinese Five Spice seasoning.  I topped it off with chopped fresh cilantro. Delicious!

You can change up your vegetables by mixing up the combinations and/or dressings or sauces. What a fun way to be sure you’re eating your vegetables. Enjoy!

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Filed under cooking, Healthful Eating, kitchen equipment, pasta dishes, Recipes, Vegetables, Zucchini

Fat Free Dessert

How are you doing on that New Year’s resolution to lose weight? Or perhaps you vowed to eat more healthily. Forego all sweets? I’m a firm believer in moderation. If you say “no desserts” you’ll feel deprived. Self-pity leads to indulgence, which leads to discouragement and feelings of failure in your efforts to maintain a healthy diet.

One of my favorite choices for the occasional dessert is angel food cake. It’s light, versatile, and is one of the few cakes I prefer the boxed mix to homemade. Homemade is too time consuming for me when a mix produces reasonably tasty results.

I call this version Aunt Nell’s cake because my late aunt made it the first time I took my husband to her house. He ate three or four slices of it because he loved it! She loved that he loved it. It’s simply an angel food cake frosted with 7-minute icing. I thought it was amazing. (Because I suck at frosting, mine never looks pretty, but hers did)

To make 7-minute frosting:

In a small saucepan, combine 5 Tbsp. water (or citrus juice if you prefer) with 1 1/3 cups sugar, 1 Tbsp. light corn syrup, and 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar. Stir over low heat until a syrup forms. Using a candy thermometer, cook (stir occasionally) until it reaches 140°.

Meanwhile, using a stand mixer and a whisk beater, beat 2 egg whites until fluffy. Turn mixer to low and SLOWLY pour in the syrup. Remember it’s 140° and you don’t want to cook the eggs. After all the syrup is incorporated, turn the mixer up to its fastest speed and whip for seven minutes. Set a timer.

That’s it. Then you’re ready to frost the cooked and completely cooled cake of your choice. 

Aunt Nell's version was much prettier.

Aunt Nell’s version was much prettier.

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One slice is enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Even if a dessert is fat free, it’s still a good idea to limit the desserts in your diet. Enjoy.

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REVISITING THE GRAVY TRAIN

Encore of my low fat gravy method post:

Several have asked me about my fat-free roux method for making gravy or sauce. Traditional roux is made from browning equal amounts of fat (typically butter) and flour. Although my gravy isn’t fat-free (I finish it with a Tbsp. of butter for flavor and gloss), mine is a lot lower in fat calories. I recently made a batch of this gravy to reheat leftover cooked turkey. The turkey flavored the gravy while the gravy gently warmed the turkey. That’s a win-win!

Start by preheating a quality, heavy-duty skillet. To make one cup of gravy, add two tablespoons flour to the dry skillet over medium heat. Whisk often to cook the flour. Season the flour as desired. When the flour turns light brown and emits an aroma indicating it’s cooked, remove the skillet from the heat.

Add flour to dry, preheated skillet

Add flour to dry, preheated skillet

Whisk flour often to keep it from burning.

Whisk flour often to keep it from burning.

Carefully add about a pint of broth or stock, whisking into the roux. Stand back as the hot skillet may steam from the cold liquid (as an additional step, preheat your broth or stock before adding it to the roux). After roux is incorporated into the liquid, return the skillet to medium heat. Whisk occasionally.

Remove from heat and whisk in broth or stock.

Remove from heat and whisk in broth or stock.

Continue to whisk over medium heat to blend together roux and broth.

Continue to whisk over medium heat to blend together roux and broth.

Allow the gravy to thicken and reduce, then lower the heat. If using the gravy to reheat cooked food such as leftover turkey, place the food in the gravy and let it cook gently until warmed.

Optional: Use gravy to gently reheat cooked meat or poultry.

Optional: Use gravy to gently reheat cooked meat or poultry.

To serve, remove all food from the gravy and plate for serving. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in one pat (approx. 1 Tbsp.) butter to finish the gravy. Pour into gravy bowl to serve.

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Filed under cooking, gravy, Healthful Eating, sauces, turkey

Gravy Train

Several have asked me about my fat-free roux method for making gravy or sauce. Traditional roux is made from browning equal amounts of fat (typically butter) and flour. Although my gravy isn’t fat-free (I finish it with a Tbsp. of butter for flavor and gloss), mine is a lot lower in fat calories. I recently made a batch of this gravy to reheat leftover cooked turkey. The turkey flavored the gravy while the gravy gently warmed the turkey. That’s a win-win!

Start by preheating a quality, heavy-duty skillet. To make one cup of gravy, add two tablespoons flour to the dry skillet over medium heat. Whisk often to cook the flour. Season the flour as desired. When the flour turns light brown and emits an aroma indicating it’s cooked, remove the skillet from the heat.

Carefully add about a pint of broth or stock, whisking into the roux. Stand back as the hot skillet may steam from the cold liquid (as an additional step, preheat your broth or stock before adding it to the roux). After roux is incorporated into the liquid, return the skillet to medium heat. Whisk occasionally.

Allow the gravy to thicken and reduce, then lower the heat. If using the gravy to reheat cooked food (see photos) such as leftover turkey, place the food in the gravy and let it cook gently until warmed.

To serve, remove all food from the gravy and plate for serving. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in one pat (approx. 1 Tbsp.) butter to finish the gravy. Pour into gravy bowl to serve.

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Filed under cooking, gravy, Healthful Eating, sauces, turkey