Monday, August 06, 2007

Lower Calorie meals

Nowadays health warnings suggest we cook with far less fat, so todays' offerings are aimed at cutting calories rather than costs, though in some instances the two may go together.

Yogurt Salad Dressing: serves 6
5 fl.oz (150ml) plain, low-fat yogurt
2 tblsp. low-fat ricotta or cottage cheese
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp red or white wine vinegar
2 tsp apple juice
Put everything in a blender and whizz together (if you haven't a blender put into a screwtop jar an shake vigorously until well blended. If too thick, add a tsp more or lemon or apple juice (lemon if you like it tart, apple juice if you want it sweeter).

Tuna Melt with Potato Wedges: serves 4 (V)
750g frozen oven-cook potato wedges
3 - 4 tblsp. low-fat mayonnaise
1 shallot, finely chopped
4 oz (100g) grated low-fat chedar cheese
2 x 160g cans tuna packed in spring water or brine
bunch parsley, chopped (opt)
Tip the potato wedges onto a large baking sheet so they are in a single layer. Bake in a hot oven 220C, 435F, gas 7 and bake for 7 minutes. While they are cooking, drain the tuna and put into a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix well together. Tip the potato wedges into one large (or four individual) ovenproof dishes and top with the tuna mixture. Return to the oven and bake for a further 12 minutes until bubbling hot.
Variation and tips: instead of tuna, used shredded cooked chicken. If you wish to make your own potato wedges, first cook a jacket potato, cut into wedges and spray with a very light coating of oil. Also spray the baking tray. To aid even browning, put the tray in the oven when heating and it will start browning the wedges (or chips if you prefer) underneath immediately.

Pasta with melting Cheese Sauce: enough for two servings (V)
2 portions of freshly cooked pasta
4oz (100g) extra light cream cheese
handful of snipped chives
small amount of Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper
After draining the pasta, return it to the pan and add the cream cheese, stir until melting and add the chives and Parmesan. Season to taste with the pepper. Serve immediately.

Roasted Vegetable Sauce: (V)
1 each red and yellow bell peppers
1 red onion
4 ripe tomatoes
1 courgette
Slice peppers in half, remove stalk and seeds and cut into large chunks. Cut the onion into thin wedges. Halve the tomatoes and slice the courgettes. Place on a baking tray, spray with oil and roast in a moderate oven 180C, 350F, gas 4 for about half an hour or until softened and beginning to brown at the edges. Cool, then rub through a coarse sieve. Season the puree to taste. Put into a dish, cover. Will keep in the fridge for up to three days. To use, prepare pasta as in above recipe, stir in the sauce adding chopped herbs if you wish, and heat through. Serve hot with a sprinkling of Parmesan.
Variations: If you wish to make a chunkier version (which can also double up as a cold salsa or dip), roast the peppers, onion, courgette and tomatoes on a ridged griddle pan and remove the skins from the peppers and tomatoes. then pop them into a blender together with a couple or so stoned black olive, a teaspoonful of capers and a tblsp. chopped parsley. Give a quick blitz just enough to chop down but not form a smooth puree. Season to taste.