The Gorgeless Gourmet

Fat free recipes by Ferris Robinson

To order 1 year (12 issues) of The Gorgeless Gourmet, send $12 to Ferris Robinson, 208 Oberon Trail, Lookout Mtn.., GA 30750


Appetizers: Cheesy Artichoke Dip; Beer Cheese Spread; Hummous; Manly Tex-Mex;
Main Dishes: Poulet in a Pot; Cheesy Baked Spinach and Artichokes; Chile-Orange Glazed Turkey;
Side Dishes: Island Stuffed Sweet Potatoes;
Desserts: Chocolate Cheesecake;

October

It's officially Fall, and I'm ready for the change in season. My oldest son is the same way, and has been trying on his blue jeans, hiking boots and winter sweaters for a month now. But the heavy wall of heat outside sends him immediately scurrying for T-shirts and shorts again.

I'm sick of eating refrigerated salads, and long to be able to turn on the oven and actually welcome its warmth. I'm tired of having to turn the air conditioning down at least 20 degrees to compensate for the heat in the kitchen. I want hearty, stick-to-the-ribs dinners and desserts that taste heavy and decadent.

Believe me when I say we're gonna have it this month, no matter what the heat index is or how low I have to turn the air.

Poulet in a Pot

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 potatoes, scrubbed & cut up
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 red or yellow pepper, chopped
1 t. basil
1 bay leaf
1 can chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
Spray heavy Dutch oven with cooking spray, then throw in all ingredients. Cover and bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours. This makes a wonderful sauce, so serve in shallow bowls with lots of French bread for dipping. Serves 2 at 3 fat grams each.

Chocolate Cheesecake

5 egg whites
2 cups sugar
6 t. cocoa
2 t. vanilla
2 cups fat-free sour cream
3 T. Hershey's syrup
2 pounds fat-free cream cheese
1 box fat-free chocolate cookies with filling (Snackwells)
Put cookies in food processor and whirl, then press on bottom of spring-form pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Put in fridge to chill. Beat cream cheese til fluffy, then add sugar. Add egg whites one at a time, then add remaining ingredients and pour into chilled crust. Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Serves 10 - 12 with no fat grams.

November

Thanksgiving is officially my husband's favorite holiday -- both beofre his open-heart surgery and after it. And not just because he feels trully thankful (though he does), but because of the glorious feast put on that day.

He claims it's a low-maintenence holiday, i.e., no impossible-to-find presents and frantic scrambling (of course he doesn't know how everything gets to the table!)

But I can't really complain because he cooks the best bird ever on the grill. White turkey meat with no skin is one of the lowest fat meats around (less than 4 grams for 4 ounces) and all the trimmings here are practically free of fat, but extravagent on taste. So this year, indulge in Cheesy Baked Spinach and Artichokes and stuffed sweet potatoes, and don't worry a second about the least bit of guilt.

Cheesy Baked Spinach and Artichokes

1 can artichokes packed in water, quartered
2 packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 small onion, minced (optional)
1 8-ounce block fat-free cream cheese
1/4 cup skim milk
1/2 cup fat-free Parmesean cheese
Mix spinach with cream cheese, Parmesean cheese onion and skim milk. Pour into Pammed casserole, then top with artichokes. Sprinkle with more Parmesean cheese and bake at 350 for 40 minutes, covered. Uncover and bake 10 minutes uncovered. Serves 6 at zero fat grams.

(This recipe is so good my skinny bachelor brother-in-law asked for the recipe, and he doesn't even cook!)

Island Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

6 medium sweet potatoes
4 egg whites or 1/2cup fat-free egg substitute
3/4 cup brown sugar, divided
3 T. fat-free butter (Fleishmans squeeze butter is good)
1/2 cup crushed corn flakes mixed with 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 16 ox. can crushed pineapple.
Bake sweet potatoes until tender, then scrape out potato, leaving shells intact. Mash potatoes with 1/2 cup sugar, egg whites, pineapple and fat-free butter, then stuff into shells. Top with cornflake crumbs and 1/4 cup brown sugar and bake at 350 for 350 degrees. (If you want to use canned sweet potatoes, you can just pour the potatoes into a Pammed casserole and bake.) Serves 6 at zero fat grams.

Chile-Orange Glazed Turkey

2 T. chili powder
1 can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 T. grated orange peel
1 t. ground cumin
Roast turkey the way you usually do (I just stick an orange and an onion in the cavity, and stick in in a roasting bag) About 30 minutes before turkey is ready, spread turkey with orange mixture. Cook until done. If glaze becomes too dark, cover dark areas with foil. Makes about 1 2/3 cups glaze.

December

December is the one month most people throw their will power and good intentions out the window, indulge and resolve next month to loose the holiday ten. The month is stressful enough with getting Christmas cards addressed, stamped and actually the P.O., bribing salespeople for the last Ultra-Power-combat Alien, and putting up tinsel around the house. Just the thought of this holiday makes me want to sit down with a Reeses --- and not just one.

If you're of the mind to indulge, go on --- you deserve it. But just because holiday food is notoriusly high in fat doesn't mean it has to be. Check out these I-could-have-sworn-it-had-fat hors'd'oevres. And unless you make it yourself, you won't have a clue why those 5 pounds didn't apprear this year.

Cheesy Artichoke Dip

1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup fat-free mayonnaise
dash Worcestershire sauce
1 cup Parmesean cheese
pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together and bake in Pammed casserole for 20-25 minutes at 350. Serve with fat-free crackers. Serves 6 with zero fat grams.

Beer Cheese Spread

1/2 pound fat-free cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 t. minced garlic
dash Cayenne pepper
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t. dry mustard
1/4 cup flat beer
Mix all ingredients in food processor. Put in bowl, and if you like, top with strawberry preserves and serve with fat-free crackers. Makes 1 cup with zero fat grams.

Hummous

1 can garbonzo beans, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. lemon juice
1/2 red pepper, chopped
4 rounds whole wheat Pita bread
Put beans, garlic and lemon juice in blender. Whirl until almost blended, then add red pepper and whirl until definitely blended, but pepper is not pureed. Cut edges of bread with sizzors (making 2 circles from each round) and toast. Cut into triangles and serve with hummous.

Serves 4 - 6 with zero fat grams.


January

I'm not much for football, but my husband adores it. He starts watching something call pregames in August, when the idea of even sitting in the stadium, much less dressing in pads and tight-fitting outfits, makes me want to sit in an ice bath.

However, I do love the trimmings of watching football. The rip-roaring fire, the massive bowl of popcorn and the hearty top-your-own-chili that is as much of a given on Super Bowl Sunday at our house as the half-time show. This is the day my three sons and I raid the supermarket for junk food, hide it in the furniture and discretely munch on M&Ms, knowing the head of the household, who is alternately jumping up on the furniture and holding his head in his hands, is too preoccupied with the game to notice what we do.

On the other hand, I don't know if the Cowboys strike out or if the Chiefs get a foul shot. I'm just there for the party.

Manly Tex-Mex

1 8-ox. block fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 bottle mild Picante sauce
1 can black beans, drained
1 t. minced garlic
1/2 chopped red or yellow pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onion
fat-free sour cream
Mix cream cheese with Piante sauce. Mix beans with remaining vegetables. In shallow bowl, layer bean mixture, then Picante mixture, then top with dollops of sour cream and fresh cilantro. Serve with low-fat tortilla chips. Serves 8 at 1 fat gram per serving.

To order 1 year (12 issues) of The Gorgeless Gourmet, send $12 to Ferris Robinson, 208 Oberon Trail, Lookout Mtn.., GA 30750


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