Let's face it . . . the holiday season traditionally is not the time when most people begin a strict regimen to reduce dietary fat, but the truth of the matter is, there are people who want to continue to follow conscientious eating patterns right through this festive time of year.
For those who fit into the first category--those die-hards who wouldn't even consider serving anything less than the obligatory mashed potatoes smothered with rich, thick cream gravy, a comforting helping (or two) of macaroni and cheese and of course those luscious pies on Thanksgiving--the interest in this column stops here.
This column (and those to follow in the upcoming weeks) will be devoted to the health watchers for whom the holiday season can be a time of dread and worry about what to serve to family and friends like themselves who want to have a fancy and hearty meal--sans fat.
A Premium Choice
Turkey is a premium choice for meats with this menu. When roasted, it contains about 150 calories per three-ounce serving of light meat and 173 calories per three-ounce serving of dark meat--compared to the whopping 318 calories for the same amount of ham. Serve the turkey with some slim, but fancy, vegetable side dishes, each at about 100 calories or less, and you could easily afford a helping of dressing and dessert without feeling guilty.
Offered here is a selection of recipes designed to take the doldrums out of vegetable side dishes. You won't find boiled green beans, sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping or any boring baked squashes in this group. We've accumulated a good mix of dishes that showcase vegetables in some pretty and tasty ways.
Juice Cocktail, Vegetables
Many of these dishes team vegetable juice cocktail, which provides a distinctive flavor and a boost of vitamins and minerals, with cooked vegetables. Asparagus, carrots, peas and cucumber are in Chilled Mixed Vegetable Mold. Sliced green beans, pimiento and spices join the cocktail juice in Festive Bean Salad, and green pepper strips, sliced zucchini and cubed eggplant round out the ingredients in Italian Vegetable Medley.
Baked Eggplant With Cheese, added to the list for comparison, calls for part-skim mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, so note the high calorie count. You might want to skip the macaroni and cheese in the holiday meal if this dish is added to the bill of fare.
CHILLED MIXED VEGETABLE MOLD 2 packages unflavored gelatin
3 1/2 cups vegetable juice cocktail
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup cooked peas
1/2 cup chopped cooked asparagus
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
Sprinkle gelatin over 2 cups cocktail juice in 2-quart saucepan to soften. Cook and stir over low heat until gelatin dissolves. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups cocktail juice, lemon juice, fennel and garlic powder.
Refrigerate until mixture mounds slightly when dropped from spoon. Place 2 tablespoons peas in decorative design in bottom of 5-cup mold.
Meanwhile, gently fold remaining peas, asparagus, carrot and cucumber into gelatin mixture. Pour into mold. Cover and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
Unmold gelatin onto chilled platter and garnish with yogurt. Makes 9 servings.
PER SERVING: 56 calories; 3 gm protein; 6 gm carbohydrate; 3 gm fat; 212 mg sodium; 278 mg potassium.
Protein 05% Riboflavin 04% Vitamin A 29% Niacin 06% Vitamin C 24% Calcium 02% Thiamine 06% Iron 04%
FESTIVE BEAN SALAD 2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1 medium clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup vegetable juice cocktail
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
4 cups cut green beans
1/2 cup chopped pimiento
Heat oil in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic until tender. Add cocktail juice, vinegar, beans and pimiento. Heat through, stirring occasionally. Makes 4 servings.
PER SERVING: 114 calories; 3 gm protein; 12 gm carbohydrate; 7 gm fat; 105 mg sodium; 380 mg potassium.
Protein 05% Riboflavin 09% Vitamin A 33% Niacin 06% Vitamin C 79% Calcium 07% Thiamine 08% Iron 08%
ITALIAN VEGETABLE MEDLEY 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 medium green pepper, cut into strips
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, crushed
1 1/2 cups vegetable juice cocktail
3 cups cubed eggplant
2 cups sliced zucchini
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Heat oil in 3-quart saucepan. Cook onion, green pepper, garlic and Italian seasoning until vegetables are slightly tender.
Stir in cocktail juice, eggplant, zucchini and pepper. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
Stir together water and cornstarch and gradually stir into vegetable mixture. Cook until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Makes 5 servings.
PER SERVING: 115 calories; 3 gm protein; 15 gm carbohydrate; 6 gm fat; 153 mg sodium; 541 mg potassium.
Protein 05% Riboflavin 09% Vitamin A 16% Niacin 09% Vitamin C 81% Calcium 05% Thiamine 10% Iron 09%