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happymomof4 01-14-2009 02:37 AM

Healthy Soups
 
Soups make delicious, nourishing, low-fat meals. While most Americans view soup as a quick lunch item or long-simmered main course, soups are easy to make and are terrific first courses for people trying to lose weight. Broth-based soups fill you up without being high in calories or fat.


Low-Fat Substitutions


Here are a few tricks for upping the flavor of your soups while lowering their fat content:
  • If your recipe calls for pre-cooked vegetables--such as onions, celery, or carrots--use a very small quantity of oil or cooking spray. If the vegetables start to stick to the pan, add a tablespoon or so of water, wine or broth to keep them from burning.
  • Brown meats in a separate pan. Discard fat, and pat meat dry before adding to your stock pot.
  • Miso--fermented soybean paste--adds savor to soup stocks, especially vegetarian broths. Add a tablespoon or so per quart of water, or to taste.
  • Fry your spices for a minute or so over medium heat before adding them to your soup. Add dried herbs at the beginning of the cooking time, and fresh herbs right before serving.
  • If your recipe calls for a heavy cream, use pureed cooked potatoes instead. Or remove about two cups of your cooked soup and blend until smooth. (Use a stick hand blender for best results, or puree it one cup at a time in a blender. Hold the lid on tight with a kitchen towel to protect yourself from burns.) Stir the puree back into the soup to thicken it.
  • To add real cream flavor, stir in a few tablespoons of heavy cream when the recipe calls for 1 cup--a little cream will go a long way.
Note: because cream is an emulsion, it doesn't "break" or curdle--like milk or sour cream can do--if the soup starts to boil. Use the real thing, but in small amounts, if you're watching your saturated fat intake.


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