- When purchasing meat, buy only the leanest cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal. Ask your butcher to help with your selections. Trim all visible fat from the meat before cooking. Fish is a good low-fat option to meat. The higher fat fish (bluefish, mackerel, salmon, tuna, etc.) are good sources of Omega-3 oils which medical experts claim may be a defense against some health problems.
- Roast meats and poultry on a rack to allow fat to drip away.
- As long as you don’t eat the skin of roasted poultry, you won’t be getting any extra fat. The skin acts as a flavor-sealing envelope, keeping the flesh moist. We like to tuck herbs between the skin and the flesh of roasted chicken and turkey to heighten the flavor.
- Use dry herb and/or spice mixtures to rub over and into food before grilling it. This works wonderfully with meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, and…even fruit. There’s no oil or fat involved — just great flavor. Experiment with blends using different amounts of these herbs/spices to cook around the world (note there’s no salt)). These are great for your Easter or Passover lamb or turkey. Here are some guidelines to get you started:
Pacific Rim: Chinese 5-Spice Powder, paprika, ground ginger, and black pepper
Caribbean: curry powder, ground cumin, ground allspice, ground ginger, cayenne
English: crushed juniper berries, crushed dried thyme, black pepper, ground cloves, and onion powder
French: crushed dried tarragon, crushed dried chervil, onion powder
Italian: crushed dried basil, crushed dried thyme, crushed dried oregano, garlic powder
Mediterranean: crushed dried sun-dried tomatoes (if you freeze them first, they will easily crush), crushed dried basil, crushed dried oregano, crushed dried thyme, and garlic powder
Middle Eastern: ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric, ground cinnamon, crushed dried mint
Sonoran: ground chili powder, black pepper, crushed dried oregano, crushed dried thyme, crushed dried coriander, garlic powder
- Make soup stock and soups ahead of time and chill overnight in the refrigerator. The hardened fat can be easily lifted away with a spoon. If you’re short on time, you can quick-chill a stock or soup in the freezer with the same results.
- If you’re making a gravy or sauce from the meat drippings, be sure to chill first to remove all possible fat before adding your liquids and seasonings. Create sauces or gravies by adding wine and/or stock to the pan juices and cook over high heat until reduced and thickened.
- Use nonfat cooking sprays instead of butter, margarine, or oil when sauteing garlic, onions, celery, etc.. We always have vegetable, olive oil, and a refrigerated butter-flavored cooking spray in our kitchens. When using a nonstick skillet or saucepan, you won’t have any problem with burning; just stir often to prevent sticking and over-browning.
- Also use cooking sprays to coat baking dishes, baking pans, and casseroles instead of greasing the pans with butter, oil, or solid shortening.
- Marinate meats and poultry in fat-free (no-oil) marinades before cooking to enhance flavors, using fresh herbs, spices, a special mustard (just a smidgeon as they are high in sodium), flavored vinegars, wine, or citrus juices. If using dried herbs instead of fresh, use 1/3 of the fresh amount.
- Baste meats and poultry with stock or wine instead of butter, margarine, or oil.
- Steam dishes to concentrate the natural flavors, instead of adding butter or margarine. Works especially well with vegetables and fruits.
- Use your microwave for fat-free cooking of vegetables, fruits, fish, and poultry — everything cooks so quickly so that natural flavors and juices are retained.
- Use egg substitute or egg whites instead of whole eggs in your baking. One-fourth cup of liquid egg substitute or two large egg whites equal 1 large whole egg. Experiment with egg substitutes before the holiday; some are much better than others.
- Replace fat-laden whipped cream with whipped evaporated skim milk. For best results, pour the canned evaporated skim milk in a metal mixing bowl. Place the mixing bowl and the beaters of your electric mixer into the freezer for about 30 minutes, until ice crystals form around the edges. Remove the bowl and beaters from the freezer; whip on high speed until soft peaks form. Use at once.
- Use fat-free cream cheese and sour cream in your dips and spreads or make yogurt cheese by draining nonfat yogurt (without added gelatin) in a yogurt funnel or a sieve lined with cheesecloth suspended over a bowl in the refrigerator for 12 hours or overnight to extract the whey. The results will be a soft cheese with the consistency of soft cream cheese. Discard the whey and refrigerate the yogurt cheese for up to a week, discarding any liquid that accumulates