Modifying Recipes

Two basic ways to modify your favorite recipes are:

  • Change a Cooking Technique
  • Change an Ingredient (Reduce, Eliminate, or Replace)

Healthy Substitutes for Cooking and Baking

Ingredients Possible Substitutes
1 cup vegetable shortening or lard 1 cup unsaturated oil or vegetable spread
1 cup butter 1 cup allowed vegetable spread
1 cup whole milk 1 cup skim or 1-2% milk
1 cup cream 1 cup evaporated skim milk
1 cup sour cream ¾ cup 1% buttermilk and ¼ cup unsaturated oil
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 cup blended cottage cheese with lemon juice
1 oz hard cheese 1 oz mozzarella cheese
1 oz low fat cheese with 2-5g fat/oz or less
1 oz baking chocolate 3 tbsp powdered cocoa and 1 tbsp unsaturated oil
1 cup ice cream 1 cup ice milk
1 cup sherbet
1 cup nonfat frozen yogurt
1 cup nonfat ice cream
1 tsp. bacon fat 1 tbsp unsaturated oil and crushed imitation bacon bits
2 whole eggs 3 egg whites or ½ cup egg substitute*
1 whole egg 2 egg whites

Enhancing the Flavor without Adding Fat by Using:

Lemon juice Fruit Juices
Lime Juice Flavored Vinegars
Tomato Stocks: ready made no fat/no added sodium
Tomato Juice Vegetable Purees
Fruits Corn starch to thicken and make sauces
Fruit Purees Use pureed white beans instead of fat for creamy texture in soups and casseroles

Use fresh herbs, dried herbs, and spices to enhance the flavor of foods in place of added sodium & fat.  Here are some favorites:

Basil For flavoring tomato dishes and tomato paste, great in fresh salad
Bay Leaves For spicing sauces , soup, and stews
Cayenne Pepper Excellent source of vitamin A; great when added to cheese dishes and creamy  sauces and soups
Cilantro Use for salsa, tomatoes, chicken, pork and seafood
Cumin Goes well with beans, chicken, couscous, curry, eggplant, fish, lamb, lentils,  peas, pork, potatoes, rice, sausages, soups, stews, eggs
Curry Powder For all Indian curry recipes such as lamb, chicken and rice, eggs, vegetables
Garlic Can be eaten raw in dips or marinades, or blanched and roasted for a creamy accompaniment to roast chicken
Paprika Used to season and color rice, stews, and soups, and as an ingredient that is mixed with meats and other spices
Rosemary, Thyme, Sage Great in soups, stews, tomato sauces
Turmeric A flavoring and coloring in prepared mustard and in combination with mustard as a flavoring for meats, dressings and salads.


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