Distressed by dietary doubts? You're not alone. According to the New American Dinner Table Survey — commissioned by the Pork Information Bureau — two out of three (67%) respondents complain that food nutrition information is getting too confusing, and half (50%) of those surveyed admit they're not always sure what foods they should be eating for good health.
Fat is at the heart of the matter. Nearly nine out of 10 (88%) of the survey respondents report that they are more concerned than ever about reducing fat in their diets. Here are 10 simple tips for controlling fat and diminishing the distress.
Think in terms of moderation with high-fat foods. Ask yourself "how much?" and "how often?" and try to balance those foods with other lower-fat food choices.
Plan meals from the food groups — include a protein source, fill up with breads, grains, fruits and vegetables — and keep the fat-laden sauces and dressings to a minimum.
Savvy shoppers can spot the hidden fats in many foods, especially prepared foods and baked goods. Keep a watchful eye on crackers and snacks that often can be high in hidden fat. Learn to read nutrition labels.
Look for ways to reduce fat from your favorite recipes. For example, for sautéing, 1 or 2 teaspoons of fat often will suffice instead of the usually called for 2 to 4 tablespoons. To avoid sticking, stir often while cooking.
Skim or low-fat milk makes a great substitute for recipes calling for cream or whole milk.
Shop for lean cuts of meat like fresh pork loin or chicken breast. And when broiling or roasting, remove skin from poultry and trim away all the visible fat from meats before cooking.
Prepare soups or stews the day before, then refrigerate to let the excess fat rise to the top and solidify. Just lift off the fat before reheating and serving.
Use little-or no-added-fat cooking methods such as broiling, grilling, panbroiling or roasting. When broiling or roasting, place meat on the rack so that it does not remain in the drippings.
Sprinkle herbs and spices on foods to give them a little zest and avoid fatty condiments such as cheeses and nuts.
When making salads and dressings, try using low-fat or non-fat plain yogurt instead of mayonnaise.
by Chef Chris Schlesinger
Yield: 12 servings
Boneless pork loin, cut into 3/4 to 1-inch cubes—9 cups (4 lbs)
For Glaze: Combine all glaze ingredients in small bowl; mix well and set aside.
Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper, if desired. Thread pork and pineapple alternately on skewers. Place skewers on grill over high heat and sear well, about 5-6 minutes per side.
Just before meat is done, brush skewers with glaze. Continue cooking on grill about 30 seconds per side, just until pork and pineapple develop rich color.
Serving Suggestion: Place skewers over cooked Oriental noodles prepared with sesame seeds and Oriental parsley.
Serving Tip: If a lighter sauce is desired, thin glaze with pineapple juice.
Tex-Mex Ribs with Tomato and Poblano Sauce
by Chef Lisa Smith
Yield: 12 servings
Baby back ribs—12 racks
For Sauce: Place tomatoes and poblano peppers on hot grill. Cook, turning, until browned on all sides. Place in container and cover with plastic film. Let steam 2-3 minutes. Remove stems from poblano peppers. Place peppers in blender with tomatoes. remove stems from cilantro and add cilantro to blender. Remove stems from jalapeños and cut jalapeños into 1-inch pieces. Add to blender. Pulse 3-4 times to coarsely chop. Place vegetable mixture in large saucepan with barbecue sauce and jalapeño juice. Heat until sauce reaches 165 degrees F; then simmer 10 minutes. (Yield is 30 servings.)
Place ribs on grill, meat side down. Brush sauce generously on bone side. Cook about 2 minutes. Turn ribs over and brush sauce generously on meat side. Cook about 3 minutes and turn again. Cook 1 minute and turn again. Brush on sauce and turn again. Repeat process until ribs are well coated with sauce and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. (Sauce must be added in stages in order to adhere.)
Serving Suggestion: Serve ribs with fried tortilla triangles or strips, accompanied by ranchero beans and sautéed vegetable strips in chipotle butter.
Provided by National Pork Producers Council
This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.
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This page modified September 2007
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