Tips for anyone on core
Posted By: Connie
Date: Wednesday, 22 March 2006, at 5:32 a.m.
Fried" Meats and Fish
You can oven-fry to your heart's content on the Core Plan. Boneless skinless chicken breasts and catfish filets are our favorites. Dip them in nonfat milk, then in cornmeal or oats seasoned with celery seed, garlic powder, salt, and pepper (or a pinch of cayenne). Place on a nonstick baking sheet coated with cooking spray, lightly spray the breasts or fillets with cooking spray, and bake in a preheated 400°F oven until cooked through, brown, and crunchy, about 25 minutes.
Gravies and Sauces
Although most gravies are thickened with flour or cornstarch, you can thicken them with arrowroot — as you would for Chinese stir-fries. Simply use half the amount of arrowroot to replace flour. The minute the gravy thickens, usually right before it comes to a simmer, remove it from the heat. Or, puree a potato and add it to the gravy until desired thickness. Try theses recipes, too:
If your family likes veggies only when they're loaded with butter, try Molly McButter or Mrs. Dash, and a little squeeze of lime or lemon. If you're in the mood for brighter, more intense flavor, add chili powder and fresh herbs. And remember that sometimes less is more – enhancing a fresh vegetable's natural flavor with just a little salt, pepper, garlic and maybe a dash of oil can be simple and delicious.
You're allowed one portion of whole-wheat pasta each day. But you can avoid even this limitation by serving your favorite pasta sauce over polenta, a coarsely ground cornmeal mush. Cook polenta in its standard ratio of 4 parts water to 1 part cornmeal. Slowly stir the cornmeal into the boiling water, then reduce the heat and continue cooking and stirring until creamy, about 20 minutes. Pour out in a thin layer onto a baking sheet, cover with nonstick aluminum foil and cool 30 minutes or until hardened, then peel off the foil and cut into thin "noodles" which are now ready to be the base for your sauce (no further cooking needed).
As you probably know, you can make lasagna with whole-wheat noodles and enjoy it for one meal per day on the Core Plan. But if you can't bear to limit yourself, try our alternative: zucchini noodles. Cut long, thin strips of zucchini with a paring knife, parboil 20 seconds, dry on paper towels, and use as "noodles" in lasagna — or any casserole.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, gently boil 1 cup nonfat milk until it is reduced to 1/3 cup . Use this rich, reduced milk as a cream substitute in any soup.
Creamy Pasta Sauces
Blend 12 ounces silken tofu with 1/4 cup nonfat milk in a large blender or food processor until creamy. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week; use in any cream-sauce recipe. For example, stir 1/2 cup into 2 cups sugar-free, nonfat jarred marinara sauce for a rich pasta topping.
You can always use your weekly POINTS® Allowance for treats like ice cream. Or try this Core Plan friendly alternative: Combine nonfat ricotta or plain nonfat yogurt with a dash of vanilla extract and Splenda; serve over fresh fruit or berries. For a super treat, bake peeled bananas, peeled and cored pineapple, pitted peaches or apricots in foil packets in a 400°F oven for 15 minutes; then unwrap and serve the hot fruit with the cold, creamy sauce.