Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: What About the Butter?

When people find out about what I do here at cookinlean.com, one of the most common questions they ask me is, "What do you do about all that butter Paula puts in her dishes?" If anyone is familiar with Paula Deen's delicious, southern recipes, then they know how this woman is fearless when it comes to butter. It tastes great and works well in so many dishes; from appetizers to desserts. Therefore, it is used quite frequently throughout her recipes. There is no doubt she knows what tastes good. The problem is, when you are on a mission to cook lean, butter tends to work against you. So, I have researched and experimented with many different butter substitutes in efforts to cut fat, but to also keep Paula's dishes tastin' great and lookin' beautiful. Here are some suggestions for easy butter substitutions:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil- For pasta dishes or certain frying recipes (such as the Faux Crab Cakes), extra virgin olive oil works wonderfully and offers "healthy" fats, which research has shown to reduce levels of LDL (the bad cholesterol) in our bodies. Also try pouring olive oil onto a small plate with spices or just pepper. This is great for dipping bread, instead of spreading butter.

Fruit Puree- I will commonly use apple sauce in place of butter or oil when baking. Other fruit based puree options include plums and prunes. This past weekend I tried an absolutely delicious brownie made with pureed prunes instead of butter and oil. They were unbelievable! One tablespoon of fruit puree cost you 0 grams of fat and about 35 calories. The butter...11 grams of fat and 100 calories.  That is some HUGE savings!

Smart Balance Blends- This is a wonderful product I use quite a bit in my cooking. It is made with extra virgin olive oil. Therefore, it contains 30% less saturated fat (the bad fat) than butter, plus offers the vitamins and healthy fats found in olive oil. I use this to start out many of my dishes beginning with cooked onions, garlic or other vegetables (Try using it in the Fried Bacon Mashed Potatoes. Wonderful!).

"I Can't Believe It's Not Butter"- When it comes to baking and you just have to use butter, the best substitute is this. It bakes and tastes as close to butter as you are going to get, with half the saturated fat of regular butter. The total fat is three grams less than butter too, at 8g fat per serving (tablespoon).

If you surf through my recipes and then look at Paula's, you will see that these simple substitutions are used in almost every one I try (except for the recipes were she already uses EVOO). Like I have said before, cookin' lean doesn't mean giving up all those wonderful and sometimes buttery dishes we love. There are simple ways to keep the flavor and cut out tons of fat and cholesterol. That's just part of livin' lean!

Try some of these substitutions out in your own recipes and let me know how it turns out. I would love to hear from you.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

1 comment:

  1. On Friday, I have a blog award for you. It'll be posted on my blog under my Flashback Friday post. Swing by then to check it out. Sorry for letting you know early, I'd post tomorrow but it's my little one's 10 month post and that's all that'll be up! Hope to see you Friday!




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