Sunday, August 3, 2008

low-fat cooking

i'm thinking i will start sharing some general cooking tips, tricks, and ideas in between recipe posts.

because of some previously-mentioned gall bladder pains, i've started being more careful about the fat added to dishes. while most of what i cook is naturally low-fat, i thought i'd give you all some tips for cutting down on the fat in foods. i promise you probably won't miss it! not only are these tips good for lower fat cooking, but they will often save money and are just generally healthier.

  • when sauteeing garlic (or anything else), just cut the oil in half. a little oil helps bring out flavors and aromas in many herbs and spices (and garlic), but if a recipe calls for 8 tbsp, i bet you could get away with 4. or less. once the cooking gets started, add a little water or broth to keep foods from adhering to the pan and keep the foods moving.
  • invest in a high quality food-grade oil spritzer. misting oil until your pan is lightly coated is better than pouring oil from the bottle into the pan. you can also mist oil onto the top of food before it's flipped, and will cut down on sticking. this also saves money since you wont need to buy any more of that spray-oil in the aerosol cans!
  • when baking, substitute unsweetened apple sauce or mashed banana for oil. not only are you ditching the fat, but you're adding healthy fruits! and we all need to enjoy more fruits. if you're leery about giving up all the oil, try switching just half of it out. it'll cut the amount of fat in your cupcakes in half!
  • switch to a non-trans fat variety of your favorite margarine and shortening. my favorite is Earth Balance. you're still eating fat, but it's tasty and delicious fat that won't cause nearly the same damage as trans fats.
  • just forget about it. pancakes don't need butter. fresh veggies don't need butter! mashed potatoes should be drowned in nearly-fat-free mushroom gravy, not butter! try it. if you make tasty, delicious, fresh food, i promise it won't need to be drowned in fat.

so i hope your gall bladder isn't as angry as mine. but if you're looking to cut down on fats, maybe this will give you some ideas when you're in the kitchen.

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