Monday, September 7, 2009

5 lighter Labor Day favorites

What happened to my summer?? It was seriously cold and rainy (six states had their coldest July on record) and now Labor Day is just around the corner!!

Since the weather is finally warm and sunny, I want to savor every last minute of the season. My mantra for the upcoming holiday weekend is to have as much fun as possible! Here are my top picks for Labor Day recipes—I chose four foods that keep time in the kitchen to a minimum so I have more time for fun:

Wraps – Wraps are super-easy, no-cook main courses that are portable. I like to take them out on my boat for dinner while watching the sunset. My two favorites that we’ve done recently in the EatingWell Test Kitchen are the Dolmas Wrap and the Creamy Avocado & White Bean Wrap, which has chopped chipotle chiles in it to give it a little heat and smokiness.

Sandwiches – Another easy solution for the end of summer is to have sandwiches for dinner. I pack plenty of fresh summer veggies in my sandwiches. A Grilled Eggplant & Portobello Sandwich fits the bill perfectly.

Burgers – I can’t make it through a Labor Day weekend without at least one burger. I’ve been really into bison (aka buffalo) since we did an article on it last spring, and it’s leaner than beef. Plus Nicci, EatingWell’s nutrition editor, just went to Pittsburgh to interview some of the Steelers for an article and found out they really like bison too. So my recommendation for this Labor Day is, you guessed it, bison burgers. These Greek Bison Burgers are amazing! They’re spiced with dill, oregano, cumin and garlic. Plus they’ve got a creamy spread and feta cheese too.

Appetizers – Deviled eggs are a great standby for any party—they’re always a crowd pleaser. I usually have all the ingredients on hand so I don’t even have to go to the store. Here’s a great lighter version with less fat and calories than traditional deviled eggs. Enjoy!

EatingWell Deviled Eggs-Deviled eggs are a perennial potluck favorite. Our recipe replaces some of the egg yolks with nonfat cottage cheese—keeping the filling velvety and rich while reducing some of the fat. No one will know the difference.
12 large hard-boiled eggs (see Tip), peeled
1/3 cup nonfat cottage cheese
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives or scallion greens
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
Paprika for garnish
1. Halve eggs lengthwise with a sharp knife. Gently remove the yolks. Place 16 yolk halves in a food processor (discard the remaining 8 yolk halves). Add cottage cheese, mayonnaise, chives (or scallion greens), relish, mustard and salt; process until smooth.
2. Spoon about 2 teaspoons yolk mixture into each egg white half. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired.
Makes 24 servings.

Per serving: 34 calories; 2 g fat (1 g sat, 1 g mono); 71 mg cholesterol; 1 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 0 g fiber; 85 mg sodium; 31 mg potassium.
Tip: To hard-boil eggs: Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook at the barest simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, pour out hot water and cover the eggs with ice-cold water. Let stand until cool enough to handle before peeling.

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