Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Healthy Ingredient Substitutions

The topic of my latest appearance on Good Day Columbus (Monday, August 18, 2014 ) was healthy ingredient substitutions. The objective: create healthier options of popular foods and see if the anchors could guess which was which...and which they preferred...I love taste tests and playing what's that ingredient with my family, so this kind of segment is right up my alley!

As you saw, or will see, we had a lot of taste tests (read: too many). A fun segment, except that I sorta forgot that , although the reactions of Marshall and Shawn were fun, I really ought to give some more details. So read on and find recipes and the whys and wherefores of substituting some healthy ingredients. First ingredient: Greek Yogurt instead of sour cream, mayo, oil (you can also use in baked goods like banana bread, but make sure to add some baking soda to dry ingredients, e.g. 1-2 teaspoons baking soda to each 1 cup flour). Yogurt, especially Greek adds protein, can reduce the calories in the finished product and replaces the saturated fat found in sour cream.

Jenny's Ranch Dressing
1 cup Plain Greek yogurt (I prefer at least 2% fat) 1/2 cup + more to taste, low fat buttermilk (I
                                  typically make my own with 1 cup milk + 1 Tablespoon vinegar)
1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh herbs like tarragon, parsley, chives, basil, etc. (I use tarragon        
                                  without exception, parsley and chives. Add basil for a distantly different, but
                                  yummy flavor change) splash of Worcestershire sauce, sriracha or lemon juice
1 teaspoon (or to taste) Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Shake all ingredients in a tightly closed jar until combined.  Keep in fridge.

For the show I simply made dip with a Lipton Onion soup package. I prefer the dip with some mayonnaise as well, so I used 1/4 cup mayo and the rest of what the package called for in sour cream, I subbed Greek yogurt. If you like the taste of straight yogurt - do that!

Second ingredient: avocado instead of butter/oil in cookies. I'm a HUGE chocolate chip cookie fan. Avocado is a good fat, i.e. monounsaturated; butter is saturated fat - the bad kind that can mess-up your blood flow. Use 1/2 cup mashed, ripe avocado instead of 1 stick of butter.

Chocolate chip cookie 
Cream together: 1/2 cup avocado 1/2 cup salted butter
Add until well combined:
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar (try organic sometime - yum!)
Add: 2 eggs, one at a time until well combined
Add: 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beat on med-high speed in a stand mixer for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, whisk together:
2 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until combined.
Fold in: 1-2 cups chocolate chips (my very favorite is Ghirardelli 60% cocoa bittersweet chips) and 1 cup nuts if you'd like (When I use nuts; it's always unsalted roasted pecans or walnuts)
Drop cookies by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet and bake in preheated 375 degree F oven for approx 9-11 minutes.

Third ingredient: flax meal instead of egg. Prepare 1 Tablespoon flax meal + 3 Tablespoons water, let sit 5 minutes before using in recipe. I used this ingredient sub in a Ghirardelli brownie mix instead of the egg the package called for and added approximately 10 minutes to the baking time. I also tried the flax meal in the above chocolate chip cookie recipe. The brownies were delicious, but the cookies clearly had something altered - still tasty, but for me it's hard to make a cookie healthy and not give up some of the satisfaction of eating them.

This is just the tip of the iceberg! I'd love to hear about healthy subs you make at home - so please comment.

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