Cholesterol free recipes for after Easter

Easter is over and I am sure that your Easter brunches and dinners were delicious, but if we would check our cholesterol levels, you may find them a little higher than before all the Easter festivities and dinners.

It is very hard to resist all the fancy and delicious foods and desserts when they are placed in front of us, and many special dishes that are only made during various holiday seasons.

The bad part is that once you see the foods it is a natural thing to say “well, I will splurge today and start back on my diet tomorrow” but when tomorrow comes, you see all the leftovers and so you extend your day of resisting foods for one more day, which makes your scales start complaining and showing all the extra pounds.

We are Christian Orthodox church members and the Orthodox go by the old Justinian calendar and the moon, which makes the day we celebrate Easter on different Sundays. Every four years, both Easter celebrations fall on the same Sunday, the following year they are a week difference, the second year they fall two weeks different, the third year there is a three week difference and finally on the fourth week both are on the same day.

Last week we celebrated the traditional Easter by attending church and egg hunts and so on. This Sunday is the Greek Orthodox Easter, where it is a tradition to eat lamb (In Greece you will find everyone that has a backyard spending the day or with someone that is roasting a entire lamb on a spit and open fire.) At our house we will have roasted leg of lamb with roasted lemon potatoes, pastitsio, spanakopita, tiropita, dolmades, Greek salad and last but not least, homemade baklava. I am sure it is confusing for our neighbors that look out their windows and see all our grandchildren taking part in an Easter egg hunt a week after they celebrated Easter.

The items I listed above for our meal of course are very high in cholesterol unfortunately.

Our big meals and lifestyles of today have caused doctors and nutritionists to look more closely and regulate more what we eat to prevent health and heart problems later in life.

It is very difficult for many to change established family eating habits but you can slowly introduce new and healthier foods into your meals….

Below are some cholesterol-free foods that you might want to try.

More to come next week. Until next week.

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Cucumber-Yogurt Soup

1/4 cup margarine

1/4 cup flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups skim milk

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon dill weed

2 medium-size cucumbers, peeled and cut in chunks

2 green onions, cut in 1-inch lengths

8-ounce carton plain yogurt

1-2 teaspoons chopped chives

Melt margarine in saucepan. Blend in flour and salt. Add milk; cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Pour 1/2 of sauce into blender container. Add lemon juice and dill weed. Add 1/2 of cucumber chunks and green onion gradually; cover and blend mixture until smooth. Pour into bowl. Repeat process with remaining sauce and vegetables. Chill well. Add yogurt; beat until smooth with rotary beater. Ladle soup into chilled serving dishes and sprinkle with chopped chives.

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Patties-Vegetable Soup

18-ounce can tomato juice and water as needed to make 3 cups

8-ounce can stewed tomatoes, undrained

1 cup diced potatoes

1 cup sliced carrots

1/2 cup sliced onion

1/2 cup thin diagonally sliced celery

2 tablespoons margarine

1 teaspoon basil

breakfast patties, chopped

chopped parsley

Combine tomato juice and water, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, onion, celery, margarine, basil and salt in heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 45 minutes until vegetables are tender and flavors well blended. Add patties, heat thoroughly. Ladle soup-stew into large bowls. Sprinkle with parsley.

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Eggplant Slices with Patties

1 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons margarine

2 teaspoons flour

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon ginger

dash pepper

10-ounce can tomatoes, cut up, undrained

2 breakfast patties, chopped

3 tablespoons oil

6 3/4-inch unpeeled eggplant slices

plain yogurt

Cook onion in margarine until tender, not brown. Blend in flour, oregano, ginger and pepper. Stir in tomatoes, cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Simmer, uncovered 5 minutes. Add patties, heat. Pour oil into shallow 2-quart baking dish. Arrange eggplant slices in baking dish, turning once to coat both sides with oil. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Turn slices. Spoon an equal amount of sauce over each eggplant slice. Return to oven. Bake 10 minutes until eggplant is tender. Serve with yogurt.

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Stuffed Green Peppers

1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni

4 large green peppers

1 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons margarine

1 tablespoon flour

1/2 cup skim milk

4 slices low-fat American cheese produce, chopped

1 tablespoon fine corn flake crumbs

Cook and drain macaroni as directed on package. Cut tops from green peppers; remove seeds and membranes. Chop tops. Blanch green peppers in boiling water 5 minutes. Remove and drain well. Cook onion in margarine until tender, not brown. Add chopped green pepper; heat. Blend in flour. Add milk, cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Add cheese, stir until melted. Stir in drained macaroni. Spoon into green pepper shells. Sprinkle with crumbs. Arrange in 9-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

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Sweet Sour Cabbage with Strips

2 cups chopped peeled cooking apples

1 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup margarine

2 pound head cabbage, coarsely shredded

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup water

6 breakfast strips

Cook apple and onion in margarine in 12-inch skillet until tender, not brown. Add cabbage, brown sugar, tapioca, salt and allspice. Stir in vinegar and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer about 40 minutes, until cabbage is tender and flavors blended. Stir several times during cooking. Cook strips as directed on package; crumble and sprinkle over cabbage.

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Stuffed Acorn Squash

2 acorn squash, about 1 pound each

2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons margarine

4-ounce can crushed pineapple, undrained

1 cup 1/2-inch white bread cubes

4 breakfast patties, chopped

Cut squash in half lengthwise; remove seeds. Arrange in 9-inch square baking dish, cut side down. Add water to cover bottom of baking dish. Bake at 400 35-40 minutes until squash is tender. Turn cavity side up. Sprinkle surfaces of squash with an equal amount of brown sugar. While squash is baking, cook celery and onion in margarine until tender, not brown. Add pineapple, heat. Stir in bread cubes and breakfast patties. Fill each squash with an equal amount of stuffing. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.

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Kiki Angelos is a food columnist for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

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