Tips for Low Fat Cooking
* Get into the habit of measuring the oil you use while you cook, rather than just pouring it out of the bottle. It will be much easier to moderate the amount you use.
* Use non-stick cookware so that you don't have to use as much, if any, fat. When sauteing, use a small amount of chicken broth or wine instead of butter or oil.
* To make fat-free broth, chill your meat or chicken broth. The fat will rise to the top, and you can remove it before using the broth.
* Many vegetables and fruits, including potatoes and apples, retain many of their nutrients in their skin. So when possible, leave the skin on your fruits and vegetables and cook them whole.
* Romaine lettuce is loaded with vitamins compared to iceberg. It has three times as much Vitamin C and six times as much Vitamin A.
* Vitamin C is destroyed quickly in cooking - so cook your vegetables with Vitamin C in the smallest amount of water possible and for a short amount of time.
* Stock up on spices. One of the keys to cooking low-fat and not getting bored is to spice your food well. When you have finished your recipe, always taste it and adjust the spices to meet your taste.
* Purchase the best (i.e. heaviest) set of non-stick cookware you can afford.
* When cooking a dish with both vegetables and meat (i.e. in stir frys and stews), reduce the amount of meat by 1/3 and increase the amount of vegetables by 1/3. You will hardly notice!
* Thicken gravies with milk or broth blended in the blender with flour. Be sure to cook long enough to remove the raw flour taste. You'll never notice the lack of fat.
* Use olive oil for cooking when appropriate. It adds to the taste of the dish and is better for you.
Problems with Breads:
PROBLEM: What is the best way to bake brown and serve rolls?
First, brush their tops with melted butter or margarine. Bake at the recommended temperature (on their package), but be careful of dark coated baking sheets. Dark coated baking sheets may cause the bottoms to burn before they are done. Bake brown and serve rolls at a high temperature to insure a crispy, flavorful crust.
PROBLEM: Breads that are always too hard and heavy.
Breads made from scratch or from a mix must have an internal temperature of about 80 degrees for the yeast to work properly. Cold dough will not expand properly. Make sure the bread rises in a warm draft free environment.
PROBLEM: Bread that rises too fast in the pan.
Use cool or cold water in the mix. The place you let the bread rise in bulk should be about 80 degrees. Place the dough in the refrigerator for a few minutes to cool down (while the dough is still in bulk form).
PROBLEM: French bread that has a pale crust.
Spray or paint the loaves with water (before cutting). Use an egg wash to make the crust really brown up. French bread must have a high temperature to bake properly. Check your oven to make sure the temperature is correct. Add a little sugar to the mix.
PROBLEM: Tough pizza crust.
Most of the time a pizza crust dough should be wet and sticky (use a little extra water). Toss in plenty of spices. Oil your pan with olive oil. Try baking the crust first, then add any topping and bake only to melt the cheese. Try dipping your fingers in olive oil when you flatten the crust in the pan. Use plenty of olive oil and the crust will be flavorful and crispy.
PROBLEM: Bread loaves and rolls that are heavy and soggy in the middle.
When everything else has been done right, maybe the unit weight is too heavy. Try making the pieces smaller and let them rise longer.
PROBLEM: Bread loaves that cave in on their sides when removed from
Always remove bread from the pan as soon as taken from the oven. The crust sweats and may fall. Make sure that you use Bread Flour in the mix. Weak flour will cause loaves to fall. Make sure the loaves are done. Thump the top and if the loaf sounds hollow, it is done.
Setting (just baked) loaves in a cool draft of air will sometimes cause their sides to cave in. When the dough is allowed to rise too much before baking the loaves will sometimes collapse.
PROBLEM: Soft crusty breads.
The secret to good crusty breads is to use very little (if any) fats, egg yolks, milks or sugar in the mix. Always serve crusty breads as soon as they are baked for the best flavor and appearance. Use only Bread Flour and make sure the dough is on the stiff side rather than soft and sticky. However, some crusty breads are very sticky (excess water). These breads are made by using an extra warm dough and baking quickly at a high temperature.