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Dining In: Get ready for spring with less fat and more taste

by Karen Diefendorf, food and features editor

Black bean spread
   1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
   4 cloves garlic, peeled
   1 c. plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped
   2 dashes hot pepper sauce (or to taste)
   Non-fat sour cream
   Crackers
   In food processor, puree beans and garlic until smooth. Stir in tomatoes and hot pepper sauce. May top with non-fat sour cream. Serve with crackers.

Turkey scaloppini with creamy mushroom sauce
   1/4 c. all-purpose flour
   1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves, crushed
   1/4 tsp. dried tarragon leaves, crushed
   1/4 tsp. salt
   1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
   1 1/2 lbs. turkey breast slices
   3 Tbsp. light margarine, divided
   1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
   1 c. undiluted evaporated skim or low fat milk
   Cooked rice or pasta
   Combine flour, thyme, tarragon, salt, and pepper in large shallow bowl. Dip turkey slices in flour mixture, coating both sides. Reserve remaining flour mixture. Melt 1 tablespoon margarine in large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add turkey slices and cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through (cook in batches, if necessary). Remove from pan and keep warm. Melt remaining margarine in pan. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until tender and most of liquid has evaporated. Mix reserved flour mixture with small amount of evaporated skimmed milk until smooth. Add to mushroom mixture. Add remaining milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Serve sauce over turkey slices with rice or pasta. Makes 4-6 servings. Nutritional information per 1/4 cup serving using skimmed evaporated milk: calories, 280; total fat: 7 grams. Traditional recipe contains 400 calories and a total fat count of 17 grams.

Low fat seafood lasagna rollups
   6 lasagna noodles
   1 can (15 oz.) Italian-style tomato sauce
   Filling:
   1 package imitation crab flakes or chunks
   1 c. low-fat (1%) cottage cheese, drained
   1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
   1 egg
   1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
   1/4 tsp. onion powder
   Cook noodles as directed on package. Rinse in cold water and drain well. Combine filling ingredients with fork. Spread 1/3 cup filling on each noodle. Roll tightly and place seam-side down in a 9-inch baking pan. Pour sauce over rollups. Bake covered at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Garnish with a sprinkling of grated cheese. Makes 6 servings. Nutrition information per serving: 200 calories, 30 calories from fat, 15 grams protein, 27 grams carbohydrates, 3/5 grams fat, 45 mg. cholesterol and 860 mg. sodium.

Chicken simmered in white wine
   2 medium carrots, trimmed and peeled
   2 medium leeks, the tender part only, cleaned and washed
   4-6 tender celery stalks, trimmed and washed
   1/4 tsp. dried tarragon
   1 bay leaf
   Seasoning salt and fresh ground pepper
   3 1/2 lbs. cut-up frying chicken
   French vermouth or dry white wine
   1 1/2 c. (approximately) clear chicken broth
   Cut the vegetables into 1 1/2-inch julienne strips. Toss the vegetables with salt, pepper, tarragon, and bay leaf. Strew a third of them in the bottom of a casserole dish. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and bury them in layers with the rest of the vegetables. Pour in the wine and enough chicken broth to barely cover the chicken. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer slowly for 25 to 30 minutes, or until chicken is done (the legs and thighs are tender when pierced, and their juices run clear with no trace of rosy color). Let the chicken steep in its cooking liquid for 10 to 15 minutes before proceeding. This will pick up the flavor. Degrease the liquid and remove the bay leaf. You may wish to peel the skin off the chicken pieces. Note: May be cooked a day ahead and reheated. Also, the broth is easier to degrease if it's been refrigerated.

Light 'n easy popovers
   1 c. all-purpose flour
   1/4 tsp. salt
   1 c. low-fat milk
   2 Tbsp. oil
   1 egg
   2 egg whites
   Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a muffin pan with vegetable cooking spray.
   Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. In another bowl, beat together the milk, oil, egg and egg whites.
   Add the milk mixture to the flour and whisk until batter is smooth. Pour batter into pan.
   Bake for 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove and serve while hot.

Chocolate sauce cake
   2 c. all-purpose flour
   2/3 c. baking cocoa
   1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
   1/2 tsp. baking powder
   1/2 tsp. salt
   1 3/4 c. granulated sugar
   1/2 c. (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
   1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
   2 tsp. vanilla extract
   2 eggs
   1/4 c. water
   3/4 c. undiluted evaporated skimmed or low fat milk
   Chocolate sauce (below)
   Combine flour, baking cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar, butter, applesauce, and vanilla in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs and water; beat well. Add dry ingredients and evaporated milk; beat until well blended. Spread into greased and floured 13x9-inch baking pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven 25-35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 20 minutes. Spread with chocolate sauce; serve warm or cool completely.

Chocolate sauce
   1/4 c. granulated sugar
   1/4 c. evaporated skimmed or low fat milk
   3 Tbsp. baking cocoa
   3 Tbsp. corn syrup
   2 tsp. butter
   1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
   Heat first 4 ingredients in medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until mixture comes to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla extract. Cool slightly.
   Nutritional information per serving using skimmed milk: 120 calories, 3 grams fat. The traditional recipe contains 180 calories and 8 grams of fat.

Low fat strawberry muffins
   1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
   1/2 c. sugar
   2 tsp. baking powder
   1/2 tsp. cinnamon
   1/4 c. applesauce
   2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
   1/4 c. low fat, cholesterol free commercial egg product
   1 (10-oz.) pkg. frozen, sliced strawberries with juice
   Sift dry ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix by hand just until all ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix. Spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-22 minutes. Makes 12 muffins. Nutrition information per serving: 130 calories, 2g fat, 0mg. cholesterol, 60 mg. sodium.