Food for thought…Part 4: Armed for the Holidays

Food for thought…Part 4: Armed for the Holidays

“Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat”…but I’m not planning getting fat! ‘Tis the season of cookies and cakes, eggnog and
overindulgence. I love my Christmas treats as much as the next gal, but this year I am on a mission: to stay on track with my fitness goals and not gain a pound over the holidays. Not only is there strength in putting pen to paper (or in this case, finger to keyboard) to express my vision of a happy, svelte me in the New Year, but I have secret weapons in my armada that make me feel good about myself and satisfied at the same time. These snacks will leave your guests feeling guilty, but you’ll know the truth. Can it be true? Is there more wisdom contained in the annals of the Filter? By golly, yes!

**Disclaimer and Warning: The following recipes may contain nuts. If you, your kid, your brother, sister, parent, dog, mother’s-cousin’s-aunt’s-daughter’s parakeet is allergic to nuts…OMIT them! The Faulty Filter will not be held responsible for you stupidly feeding your loved-ones substances that may be toxic to them! (Read: Don’t put nuts in the food, dumbass.)***

Not Your Average Turkey Salad

1 can reduced-salt turkey flakes, drained (or the real stuff after the holidays)
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 dill pickle, finely chopped
Dried cranberries (not those “Craisin” things as they have added sugar)
Slivered almonds or sliced filberts (hazelnuts, to you culinary neophytes)
Ultra Low-fat Miracle Whip
Celery salt
Poultry Seasoning (Contains Marjoram, Savory, Thyme and Black Pepper)
Fresh ground pepper (Yes, you do need this. Even though the PS contains pepper, the freshly ground stuff adds a different taste altogether.)
Whole Wheat or Multigrain Pita Bread

Mix ingredients to desired consistency and flavor. To me, it tastes like good ol’ turkey stuffing when it’s all done. This is great in a pita, for canape stuffing, on a salad or on it’s own. How good is it? Suffice it to say that it left my co-worker salivating…

Terrific Tuna Melts

1 can tuna
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 dill pickle, finely chopped
Ultra Low-fat Miracle Whip
Prepared Horseradish
Celery salt
Fresh ground pepper
Sharp cheese, thin slices or grated (suggestions: Parmesan, Monterey Jack, Emmenthal, Gruyere or Aged White Cheddar)
Whole Wheat or Multigrain Pita Bread

Mix ingredients to desired consistency and flavor. Spread mixture on the pita and cover evenly with the cheese. Place in a toaster or regular oven until cheese melts and finish under the broiler to brown the cheese. You’ll know it’s ready when the cheese is bubbly in the middle.

My favorite combo is Emmenthal and Gruyere together. If these don’t appeal to you, just pick your favorite strong cheese. The secret here is that you use less of a more pungent cheese than a mild cheese to achieve the same flavor. This too is great stuffed on the inside of a pita served cold. This can also become canape stuffing, a salad topping, or on it’s own.

Super Fast Spinach Dip

1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed in cold water and drained
1 cup Ultra Low-Fat Miracle Whip
1 cup Fat-Free Sour Cream
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
1 envelope Knorr Vegetable Soup Mix
1 Round Sourdough Bread Loaf, top cut off and loaf hollowed. Reserve bread for dipping.
Fresh ground pepper

Mix ingredients together and put in the hollowed loaf. Serve with the bread removed from the loaf and other crackers or pita bread. This is the fastest thing to make, but does taste better if it can be refrigerated overnight prior to serving. If you have the time, to make it the day before, put the dip in a plastic container until it is time to serve. This will save your bread from getting soggy. This is also great for canape stuffing, a salad topping, or on it’s own.

Note the theme here: these three have multiple uses and can be prepared ahead of time. Spend one hour making these beauties and have lunches for the whole week! This recipe is courtesy of a super gal who is now a super-mom!

Last, but not least….. a little sweet to finish it off. This is the best fudge I have ever had, but remember: a little piece goes a long way. I cannot claim any credit for this recipe - it is a classic Eagle Brand Magic Milk recipe. My only contribution is using the low-fat Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk, which does add some social redeeming value to the fudge, but it is still fudge.

Magic French Fudge

3 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1 can Low-Fat Eagle Brand condensed milk
Dash salt (1/8 tsp. - 1/4 tsp.)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. chopped nuts

In the top of a double boiler, melt chocolate chips over boiling water, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in Eagle Brand milk, salt, vanilla and nuts. Spread mixture evenly onto waxed paper lined 8″x 8″ pan. Chill 2 hours or until firm. Turn fudge onto cutting board, peel off paper and cut into squares. Store in an air tight container.

Whatever you end up doing to this recipe, do not omit the salt! Fudge without salt is like pizza without cheese. The small amount of salt used is essential to balancing the sweetness of the chocolate and sweetened condensed milk. Trust me, it will not make you grow cankles overnight, or wake up looking like the Goodyear Blimp. As a suggestion for portion-control, use a larger, rectangular pan and spread the fudge in a thin layer on the waxed paper. After the fudge has set, cut it into rectangles, then again on the diagonal to make triangles or points. The best tool for this job is a sharp, non-serrated knife (like a chef’s knife). This makes a nice embellishment to other fancy deserts, or served with a cup of your favorite coffee.

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