Low Fat Tips

Recipes: Quick Fajitas and Savory Beef Stew

Tips For Trimming Fat
  • Select lean cuts of beef. Look for those with loin or round in the name.
  • Trim fat before cutting beef into strips or pieces for stir-fry, kabobs or stew. For other cooking methods, cook beef first, then trim any external or inside fat before eating.
  • Use low-fat cooking methods: broiling or roasting on a rack; pan-broiling; grilling; or "under cover" cookery.
  • Use vegetable cooking spray in place of fat for browning meat.
  • Cook meats in a heavy non-stick skillet without added fat.
  • Stir-fry vegetables in water or broth instead of oil. It not only eliminates fat but the vegetables retain their color better and they're fresher tasting.
  • Reduce oil called for in marinades to no more than 1 teaspoon per 1/2 cup marinade, or eliminate the oil altogether.
  • Substitute low-fat, low-calorie versions of ingredients. For example, substitute nonfat dairy sour cream or dairy sour half-and-half for sour cream.
  • Cook with fresh ingredients that add flavor but not contribute extra fat such as lemon juice, hot and sweet peppers, onion, garlic, tomatoes and ginger.
  • Chill soups and stews after cooking in order to remove fat from the surface after it solidifies.

Quick Fajitas with Pico De Gallo

Total preparation and cook time: 45 minutes


  • 1 pound boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 3/4 inch thick
  • 8 flour tortillas (each about 8 inches), warmed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed


Combine marinade ingredients. Place beef steak in plastic bag; add marinade, turning to coat. Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator 20 to 30 minutes, turning once.

Meanwhile prepare Pico de Gallo.

Remove steak from marinade; discard marinade. Place steak on grid over medium coals. Grill approx. 12 to 16 minutes for medium-rare to medium doneness, turning once. (Or broil, 2 to 3 inches from heat, approx. 12 to 15 minutes.)

Trim fat from steak. Carve steak crosswise into slices; serve in tortillas with Pico de Gallo.

Pico de Gallo


  • 1/2 cup diced zucchini
  • 1/2 cup seeded, chopped tomato
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup prepared picante sauce or salsa
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice


In medium bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well.

Makes 4 servings (serving size: 2 filled tortillas and 1/4 cup Pico de Gallo).

Nutritional information per serving:

  • 433 calories
  • 32 g protein
  • 13 g fat (4 g saturated fatty acids)
  • 116 calories from total fat (55 calories from fat in beef)
  • 76 mg cholesterol
  • 5.2 mg iron
  • 507 mg sodium

Savory Beef Stew with Roasted Vegetables

Beef Stew

Total preparation and cooking time: 2-1/2 hours


  • 1-3/4 pounds boneless beef bottom round
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 can (13-3/4 to 14-1/2 ounces) ready-to-serve beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
  • 12 medium mushrooms
  • 6 plum tomatoes, each cut lengthwise into quarters, seeded
  • 3 small onions, each cut lengthwise into quarters
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (divided)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 cups cooked couscous


Trim fat from beef. Cut beef into 1-inch pieces. In Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat until hot. Add beef and garlic (1/2 at a time) and brown evenly, stirring occasionally. Pour off drippings. Season with 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir in broth and dried thyme. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Cover tightly and simmer 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until beef is tender.

Meanwhile heat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly spray 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan with vegetable cooking spray. Place vegetables in pan. Combine 1-1/2 tablespoons oil and 1-1/2 tablespoons vinegar; drizzle over vegetables, tossing to coat. Roast in 425 degrees oven 20 to 25 minutes or until tender.

Bring beef stew to a boil over medium-high heat. Add cornstarch mixture; cook and stir 2 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in roasted vegetables and remaining 2 teaspoons vinegar. Serve with couscous.

Makes 6 servings (serving size: 1/6 of recipe)

Nutritional information per serving:

  • 374 calories
  • 33 g protein
  • 13 g fat (3 g saturated fatty acids)
  • 120 calories from total fat (63 calories from fat in beef)
  • 82 mg cholesterol
  • 4.9 mg iron
  • 268 mg sodium

This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.

Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.

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This page modified February 2007

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