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Wed, Oct. 23

Make your favorite recipes heart-healthy

A steaming bowl of pasta Alfredo for dinner followed by your mom's famous gooey chocolate chip cookies for dessert? Your favorite guilty pleasure meal. You know you shouldn't eat those treats very often, or your waistline and health will pay the price. But what if there was a way to indulge in your favorite treats without all the sugar, fat ... and guilt?

Follow these simple tips to turn your favorite fattening recipes into healthy meals you can make every week, without sacrificing taste.

• Lower the sugar. You can usually reduce sugar by a third without making a noticeable difference to the original recipe. So if a recipe says 1 cup sugar, use 2/3 cup. To enhance the flavor, spice things up with vanilla, cinnamon or nutmeg.

• Reduce the fat. For baking, use 2 tablespoons of fat per cup of flour. You can usually reduce the fat by a third without making significant changes to the recipe. Also, opt for heart-healthier fats when you can. Choose olive oil over butter. Skim milk will work in most recipes that call for whole milk.

• Cut the salt. Salt is crucial in baking, so don't cut it completely out, but most other recipes can do with much less salt. Aim to cut your intake in half, and replace it with your favorite herbs and spices.

• Make substitutions. Replace some of the flour in a recipe with whole wheat flour (up to half). Use non-fat yogurt instead of sour cream, or non-fat ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese. Instead of two whole eggs, use one whole egg and four egg whites. Bulk up pasta dishes with more vegetables and use less pasta and meat.

You don't have to give up on your favorites. Get into the kitchen and get creative. It's easy to give your recipes a heart-healthy makeover.

Healthier Country Garden Alfredo

Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 16-oz. package frozen mixed vegetables

12 oz. egg noodles

1 8-oz. package reduced fat cream cheese, cubed and softened

1 cup reduced-fat milk

1/2 cup sliced green onion

2 teaspoons garlic and herb seasoning

Cook noodles according to package directions. In last 4 minutes of boiling, add frozen vegetables to boiling noodles. Drain noodles/vegetable mix; set aside and keep warm. In separate saucepan, add milk, cream cheese and seasonings. Heat until cream cheese is thoroughly melted. Toss hot noodles, green onions and sauce.

Source: www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org.

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