Everything we’ve read over the past several years tells us how important it is to eat healthy, how important it is to follow the food pyramid, then they tell us the pyramid has changed and we end up not knowing how and what to eat. Sometimes, I feel that if we ate everything they tell us to eat to be healthy we would eat from the time we got out of bed in the morning until the time we got back into it at night! First they tell us that eggs are bad for us, then, they tell us they’re not, red meat is bad, then it’s not if it is lean but eat small portions. Some types of fish are good others are not. Poultry is OK if it is not fried. So, basically, we are back to the old theory that calories do count and if we bake, broil or boil our meat, we are in good shape. When I do fry, I have gotten in the habit of using peanut oil. It has a hotter smoke point and the food does not seem to absorb so much of the oil.
When it comes to changing your eating habits, you can accomplish a great deal just by making some modest changes.
Kid size, don’t super size: At fast food restaurants, kid’s meals offer built-in portion control. Look for heart-healthy selections such as broiled fish, grilled chicken and steamed vegetables. Try to avoid creamy sauces and soups, fried foods and butter. When my mother and I used to eat out at our local DQ, I noticed she always ordered the Jr. size burger and we usually shared an order of fries. Now, during the Lenten season, when my friends and I eat at a local burger place, I’ve found that ordering the Jr. size works really great for me. When I finish eating, I’m not overly full, but am comfortable! This helps as we usually eat there the days I work at the gift shop and will be sitting for the next four hours!
Cook with extra virgin olive oil instead of butter or stick margarine to eliminate artery clogging saturated and trans fats. Several of my children and grandchildren cook with olive oil, and their meals taste great. They also almost use reduced fat dairy products instead of full-fat ones.
If you make chili with ground turkey or chicken and low fat cheese instead of ground chuck and regular cheese, you will be cutting your calories and fat intake almost painlessly! Rather than browning your meat in cooking oil, use olive oil, the taste does not change, and it’s healthier. Another tip, if you have venison hamburger available, it makes great chili or tacos with less fat in the meat. Whatever type of meat you use, it always helps to drain the excess fat from the skillet before proceeding with your recipe. (Yeah, I know, fat equals flavor, at least that’s what lots of people believe).
The Internet is a great resource to find other healthy substitutions. During the past several years, I’ve discovered that you truly can find almost anything you want to know about special diets, low fat diets, regular diets and everything concerning them on the Internet.
Eat the right foods from the famous food pyramid in the right amounts, choose pasta and breads and cereals made from whole grains, and eat fruits and vegetables with the deepest colors, such as dark green or bright red and orange.
1 frozen pie shell, 9-inch size, thawed, unbaked (or use the refrigerated type that come in a package of two, from Pillsbury®)
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 large onions, sliced into rings
¾ cup celery, chopped coarsely
1 can bean sprouts
½ teaspoon thyme leaves
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (divided usage)
2 cans (7-oz size) chunk-style tuna, well drained*
Beat together eggs, milk, flour and seasonings; set aside.
Melt butter; add onion slices, and celery and cook, stirring frequently until onion is very soft. Stir in bean sprouts and thyme. Sprinkle 1-cup cheese evenly over bottom of pie crust. Place one half of onion over cheese, top with tuna. Cover with remaining onion and cheese. Stir egg mixture and pour over ingredients in pie shell. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until custard appears firm in center. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
*Since tuna no longer comes in 7-oz cans, you are going to have to check the ounces of various cans to find the total of ounces. I think they are either 5 or 6-oz now. It will not matter if you use 2 cans at 6-oz, or you decide to use 3 at 6-oz the difference is not that great.
1 large can salmon
½ cup cream style corn
½ cup oatmeal (uncooked, quick or regular, not instant)
1 cup canned evaporated milk
Empty salmon into bowl; remove skin and bones if desired. Add remaining ingredients, mix well and pour into lightly greased 1-quart casserole. Bake in preheated oven at 350º F for 30 to 40 minutes.
1 or 2 cans tuna (solid pack tastes best for this)
1/3 to ½ cup sweet pickle relish or chopped sweet pickle
1/3 to ½ cup finely chopped celery
1 small apple, diced, (optional)
1 hard cooked egg (optional)
Mix all ingredients together and add enough mayonnaise or salad dressing to hold it together. Serve in sandwiches, or on a lettuce leaf or cut a tomato into 4 wedges without cutting completely through the stem end, drain well and fill with the tuna salad.
Cherry Pie Cobbler
1 stick butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 (20-oz) can pitted tart cherries (not cherry pie filling)
Melt butter or margarine in baking dish. Mix together the sugar, flour, milk, salt and baking powder; pour into the pan of melted butter or margarine. Pour the can of cherries on top of this mixture. Bake at 350ºF for 40 minutes or until browned. Serve warm with whipped topping or ice cream.
Creamy Lime Colada Pie
1 Pillsbury® Pet-Ritz® frozen deep dish pie crust (from 12-oz. Package)
1 package (3-oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 box (4-serving size) coconut cream instant pudding and pie filling mix
2/3 cup milk
1 can (6-oz) frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
Few drops green food color, if desired
1½ cups frozen (thawed) reduced-fat whipped topping
3 tablespoons flaked or shredded coconut, toasted*
Heat oven to 400ºF. Bake and cool crust as directed on package for One-Crust Baked Shell.
In medium bowl, beat cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Beat in pudding mix until well blended. Gradually beat in milk. Add limeade concentrate and food color, beating until slightly thickened. Gently stir in 1 cup of the whipped topping. Pour into pie shell. Refrigerate at least 5 hours until set.
Just before serving, sprinkle toasted coconut over pie. Garnish with remaining whipped topping. Cover and refrigerate any remaining pie. 6 servings.
Tip: *To toast coconut, spread on cookie sheet; bake at 350ºF 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown. Or spread coconut in microwavable pie pan; microwave on Low 4½ to 5 minutes, tossing with fork after each minute, until light golden brown.