JANUARY 6, 1997

 The Edwards Agency

Home & Garden

Dining In: Tips and tactics for a healthy 1997

recipes It's the New Year, so it's time to:
   Come clean (in the pantry and refrigerator) and stock up: Toss out those things that stand between you and a healthy diet. Most of us know our weaknesses. High-fat foods and snacks become a temptation--so surround yourself with fruits, vegetables, and low-fat snacks (lite popcorn, fat-free potato chips, fat-free pretzels, frozen fruit bars) that will help keep you on track.
   Build your own tongue-tingling arsenal: Look for ways to add flavor and flair to your food--without adding fat. Ginger, garlic, hot sauce, chili peppers, mustards, relishes, chutneys, and salsas add fat-free intensity and flavor to many dishes.
   Give your favorite recipes a makeover for a healthy indulgence: Those homemade cookies you loved as a kid don't have to be off limits. Try using lower-fat ingredients. Use egg whites instead of whole eggs and evaporated milk in place of heavy cream.
   Eat early and often: The best way to maintain a brisk metabolism is to feed it energy the same way you expend it--in small increments throughout the day, trailing off as you slow down to sleep. Don't skip meals, especially not breakfast, and schedule healthy low-fat snacks into your day.
   Keep a journal to track your food, feelings & exercise routine: Jotting down everything that you put in your mouth can help you objectively analyze your nutritional peaks and pitfalls. And tracking how you feel when you eat is also important. Set exercise objectives--and then track your success.
   Read--and understand--nutrition labels: Food labels are now required to use standardized terminology to provide an instant read of fat content. Here's how the terms translate: fat-free,less than 0.5g fat per serving; low-fat,3g or less fat per serving; fat- or calorie-reduced,25% less fat or fewer calories or fewer calories than the original.
   Exercise portion savvy: While cutting the fat in your diet has numerous important health benefits, it's not the only factor in a healthy diet. Don't forget that calories count. Thus, the designation of lowfat--or even fat-free--on a box of cookies doesn't mean it's OK to eat every last one in a sitting.
   Just plain exercise: In addition to eating a balanced diet, a regular exercise program is critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
   Here are some luscious but healthy starts on your new year of eating...

Asian Noodle Soup With Alaska Salmon
   1 can (14 3/4 oz.) Alaska salmon
   5 c. water
   1 c. thinly sliced carrots
   1 pkg. (3 oz.) ramen-style soup
   1 c. trimmed snow peas
   4 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
   1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger or 1 tsp. ground ginger
   2 cloves garlic, minced
   2 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
   2 tsp. lemon juice
   1/4 tsp. sesame oil

   Drain salmon and separate into large chunks; set aside. In large pot, heat water to boiling; reduce heat to simmer and add carrots. Cook 5 minutes.
   Set aside seasoning package for noodles. Break ramen noodles into 4 pieces and add to simmering mixture; cook 2 minutes. Stir in snow peas, onions, ginger, and garlic; cook 2 minutes.
   Stir in salmon, soy sauce, lemon juice, sesame oil, and contents of seasoning package; let soup stand 5 minutes before serving.

Sweet Polenta Cran-Apple Tarts
   1 c. whole-berry cranberry sauce
   3 Washington apples (Fujis, Galas, Braeburns, or Jonagolds)
   1/3 c. yellow cornmeal
   3 Tbsp. sugar
   1/4 tsp. cinnamon
   1/4 tsp. salt
   1 1/3 c. lowfat 1% milk

   In large pan, heat cranberry sauce over medium heat just until melted, pass through strainer, reserving liquid and as many whole berries as possible. Set aside berries for garnish; return cranberry liquid to same pan.
   Peel, core, and cut apples lengthwise into quarters; cut each quarter into long 1/8-inch thick slices. Combine apple slices with cranberry liquid and simmer, covered, stirring gently, until apple slices are just tender 15 to 20 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove apples from pan and divide among four 6 oz. lightly-oiled custard cups; press apple slices in firmly set aside.
   In heavy-bottomed pan, combine cornmeal, sugar, cinnamon, and salt; stir in milk. Heat mixture, and cook, stirring, until mixture is thick and cooked--about 4 minutes. Pour polenta evenly over apple slices. Let stand at least 20 minutes to cool and firm.
   To serve, run a thin knife around inside edge of each custard cup to loosen polenta and apples. Invert cups onto serving plates to make "tarts." Garnish each tart with reserved whole cranberries. Pass any remaining cranberry liquid.

Chicken Roll-Ups
   Nonstick spray coating
   1/2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
   1 small onion, sliced
   1 clove garlic, minced
   1 7 1/2 oz. can tomatoes
   1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
   3/4 tsp. sugar
   3 medium chicken breasts
   1/2 c. low-fat ricotta cheese
   3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
   1 tsp. Tbsp. snipped fresh parsley
   1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)
   1/4 tsp. rosemary
   1/4 tsp. oregano
   1/4 tsp. basil
   1/4 tsp. thyme

   For sauce, spray a cold large saucepan with nonstick spray coating. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Cook till onion is tender. Cut up tomatoes. Stir undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce and sugar into vegetables. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes or until mixture is reduced to 2 cups.
   Meanwhile, skin, bone, and cut chicken breasts lengthwise in half. Place each chicken piece between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Pound with a meat mallet to about 1/4-inch thickness.
   In a bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and parsley. Spoon about 1 1/2 Tbsp. of the cheese mixture on each chicken piece. Fold in long sides of chicken pieces, then roll up from short end. Place chicken rolls, seam side down in an 8x8x2-inch baking dish. Pour sauce over chicken. Cover with foil and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.
   Before serving, bake, covered, in a 375 F oven for 35 to 40 minutes or till chicken is no longer pink. If desired, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese; bake 4 minutes. Transfer to a platter.

Fajita Salad
   1 lb. beef flank steak
   2 Tbsp. lime juice
   1 Tbsp. vinegar
   1 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil
   Salt and pepper to taste
   2 cloves garlic, minced
   1 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
   Vegetable cooking spray
   1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
   1 medium red pepper, sliced thinly
   1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
   3/4 c. sliced green onions
   2 c. peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
   3 c. torn ice berg lettuce
   3 c. torn romaine lettuce

   Trim excess fat from steak and put into a shallow bowl. Combine lime juice and next 5 ingredients, stirring well. Pour over steak; cover and marinate in the refrigerator 8 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.
   Slice meat diagonally across the grain into thin strips and set aside. (Partially freezing the meat makes slicing easier.)
   Coat a wok or skillet with cooking spray and add oil. Heat on medium high for 2 minutes. Then add red pepper, onion, and green onions. Stir-fry for 2 minutes. Remove vegetables from wok and set aside.
   Add half of the reserved steak to wok. Stir-fry 3 to 5 minutes and remove from wok. Repeat procedure with remaining steak.
   Return reserved vegetables and steak to wok. Add tomato and stir-fry for 1 minute. Remove wok from heat and add lettuce, stirring constantly for 1 minute or until lettuce wilts. Serve immediately.