Friday, 6 March 2009

Making Your Favorite Restaurant Food Healthy

By Chef Pablo

For some reason McDonalds is a huge motivator for eight year old little girls. I love to give my daughter a nice treat every once in a while. We're not a family that eats out more than once a week and usually it's something other than fast food. But, this time, my daughter wanted a Happy Meal and I was happy to take her. I've been doing very well with my eating lately, so I planned on making something at home.

As I pulled up to the menu board, I started thinking about how much I love some of the items they offer. I looked and saw "Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese." Mmmm, that used to be one of my favorites, but now that I'm working out and eating right I had to pass. That's when it struck me

There have been many times I've taken an old recipe and modified it to fit what I had in the cupboard or what was on sale that week. If I was willing to put up with food that's a little different than the restaurant serves, I'm sure I could fulfill my cravings. top secret recipes aren't more difficult that other recipes. I can substitute Splenda for the sugar or even evaporated low fat milk for heavy cream. I could do this.

Of course, I know it's probably not going to taste EXACTLY the same, but I'm willing to sacrifice a little to save on the scale each morning. I also know Splenda isn't a duplicate for sugar and low fat cheese doesn't always melt exactly the same way regular cheese does, but that's OK.

If you think about it, there are a few major areas that contribute to our battle with our weight. They usually come down to sugar and fat. So, here are some things you can do to curb both of those culprits.

Drop the Fat - The next time you're buying eggs, look around the shelf and you'll probably see a low fat real egg substitute you can use for cook and baking. You'll find the same thing in the cheese section and the other parts of the dairy aisle.

Turkey Isn't Just For Thanksgiving Anymore - As a matter of fact, it's for breakfast many mornings in my house. I've replaced my pork bacon with turkey bacon and cut a ton of fat out of my diet. You'll find turkey ham, turkey sausage and even turkey burgers.

Spray, Don't Pour, Your Oil - Spray on oil isn't lower in fat pound for pound, but you are able to use a lot less when you spray it on. Experiment a little bit with it and you'll find some new creative ways to use it. I was just telling a friend how to make chimichanga's in the oven instead of deep fried. Just spray them with oil and bake until crispy.

Sugar Busting - Sugar is everywhere these days. But, you can fight the battle and win. When you're favorite restaurant recipe calls for sugar, measure out some Splenda instead. I've done this with so many recipes and the results have been fantastic.

I'm not going to tell you that a Big Mac made with low-fat secret sauce (shhh, I think it's just Thousand Island Dressing) and turkey patties instead of hamburger is going to taste exactly the same, but it does taste pretty darn good.

If you're looking to do some experimenting, head over to my top secret recipes website and find something you've been craving lately. I think you'll find the healthy version meets the demands of your taste buds for the most part.

About the Author:
Chef Pablo loves cooking. Whether it's his favorite restaurant recipes or authentic Mexican foods from his days growing up in San Diego, he's always excited to teach others how to please their guests in the kitchen with The Cheesecake Factory recipes, Outback Steakhouse, The Olive Garden, The Cheesecake Factory or Red Lobster.


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