March 29, 2006 in Food

If it tastes good and it’s low in fat, it’s in this book

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Don’t expect to find a recipe for low-fat pie crust in Cook’s Illustrated’s new book, “The Best Light Recipe.”

Not all recipes can be light and still worth eating, test kitchen editors said. In fact, the editors at America’s Test Kitchen vowed not to release a light cookbook unless a lower-calorie version of cheesecake could stand up to its full-fat cousin.

After tasting 28 light cheesecakes, they finally had a winner. The lower-fat New York Cheesecake was actually preferred by tasters, according to a news release. The test kitchen slashed 240 calories and 30 grams of fat from each slice using light cream cheese, low-fat cottage cheese and low-fat yogurt.

The book is full of recipes that will help you take better care of your heart and your waistline, from chocolate cake and biscuits to crab cakes and fettuccine alfredo. And they did it without cheating on serving sizes or taste. Each recipe was approved by expert tasters. Nutrition information is included with each recipe.

Cook’s Illustrated cut 100 calories and shaved 14 grams of fat from the classic recipe for Chicken Parmesan by oven-frying the chicken cutlets rather than pan frying them in oil.

Here is the recipe:

Chicken Parmesan

From “The Best Light Recipe” by the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated. You can substitute 2 cups of plain tomato sauce for the Simple Tomato Sauce. Also, 2 cups of fresh bread crumbs can be substituted for the panko.

1 1/2 cups panko

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 ounce Parmesan, grated (about 1/2 cup), plus extra for serving

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

Salt and ground black pepper

3 large egg whites

1 tablespoon water

Vegetable oil spray

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (8 ounces each), trimmed of excess fat and sliced into cutlets

1 recipe for Simple Tomato Sauce for Chicken Parmesan, warmed (recipe follows)

3 ounces low-fat mozzarella, shredded

1 tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 475 degrees. Combine the panko or bread crumbs and oil in a 12-inch skillet and roast over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes. Spread the bread crumbs in a shallow dish and cool slightly; when cool, stir in the Parmesan.

In a second shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. In a third shallow dish, whisk the egg whites and water together.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, place a wire rack on top and spray the rack with vegetable oil spray. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the cutlets in flour, shaking off the excess, then dip into the egg whites and finally coat with the bread crumbs. Press on the bread crumbs to make sure they adhere. Lay the chicken on the wire rack.

Spray the tops of the chicken with vegetable oil spray. Bake until the meat is no longer pink in the center and feels firm when pressed with a finger, about 15 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the oven. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the sauce into the center of each cutlet and top the sauce with 2 tablespoons of mozzarella. Return the chicken to the oven and continue to bake until the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil and serve, passing the remaining sauce and Parmesan separately.

Yield: 6 servings

Approximate nutrition per serving: 310 calories, 8 grams fat (2.5 grams saturated, 23 percent fat calories), 38 grams protein, 20 grams carbohydrate, 75 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram dietary fiber, 790 milligrams sodium.

Simple Tomato Sauce for Chicken Parmesan

From “The Best Light Recipe.” This simple sauce also works well with pasta.

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed (about 4 teaspoons)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves

Salt and ground black pepper

Pulse the tomatoes with their juices in a food processor until mostly smooth, about 10 one-second pulses; set aside. Cook the garlic, tomato paste, oil and pepper flakes in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the paste begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the pureed tomatoes and cook until the sauce is thickened and measures 2 cups, about 20 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: About 2 cups

Approximate nutrition per serving: 35 calories, 1 gram fat (no saturated fat, 25 percent fat calories, 1 gram protein, 7 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, no dietary fiber, 350 milligrams sodium.


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