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Our test kitchen cooks want to share lighten up recipes inspired from your favorite restaurant. What's your go-to restaurant and menu item?
Be sure to include your name and hometown in your response.
the Healthy Cooking team
Oh, my goodness... I have so many ! Where to begin??? Okay, (1) Carraba's Chicken Marsalla, (2) Shells' Seafood pasta or (3) Shells' Beer Battered Fish n Chips... (4) Hoa Wah's General Tso Chicken, (5) Any Philly Cheese Steak sandwich, or how about (6) Ruby Tuesday's Chicken Piccata... ??? My mouth is drooling as we speak... please, find a better, more healthy version of any of these and I will put you in my Will.
♥ Life is a song, sing it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a dream, realize it, Life is a sacrifice, offer it. Life is love, enjoy it. And, life is cooking, eat it. (Sai Baba & Judy)♥
♥ Judy Batson, Field Editor, Taste of Home, 2009 ♥ Reader Council, Simple & Delicious, 2011♥ Contest Winner, Country Woman, 2011♥ Meet me at Cooking for Two.
Here in western NY the Buffalo Wing is king! Finding a way to lighten that up would make you a star in my book!
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Hi, Healthy Cooking Team!
This is a GREAT task to take on because who doesn't love to eat out sometimes! Only thing is, most restaurant dishes are loaded with fat and calories. Let's face it, any dish that truly makes your mouth water and that you crave, usually has over 1,000 calories per portion!! I know you are looking for restaurant dishes that you can transform, but you caught my eye with this request because I was able to dramatically lighten up the Penne Rustica dish at Romano's Macaroni Grill. It is one of their best sellers and for good reason. It really tastes good!! I experimented several times and was told that it truly tastes like the original, but with probably only 1/2 the fat and calories!!
I try to re-create restaurant dishes in a more healthy way all the time. I don't want to eat the full-fat version too often, but if I can make it much healthier and just as tasty at home, why not? Then I can have more of that taste without the guilt!!
There is one dish I am still experimenting with, though, and have not gotten just right yet. If you could recreate and lighten-up Olive Garden's meat sauce and meatballs, I think many of us would be appreciative!! Thanks!
Thanks for the comments! We have re-created four restaurant dishes. I knew they would taste wonderful, but I was shocked at how closely they matched the restaurant version. While I don't want to spoil which dishes they are... I will tell you that we nailed a saucy well-known entree from the Olive Garden.
Would you like to submit the recipes you re-created to us? We'd love to try them out. email@example.com
Editor, Healthy Cooking
Hello Healthy Cooking Team.
This is not only a very nice post it is also a very needed post. I too enjoy eating out on occasion. And sadly my choices are not always the best.
I usually order things that I normally do not make at home. And they always seem to be very rich & heavy dishes. That always involves some type of a creamy, cheesy sauce and topped off with even more Cheese.
The pasta part I can get through by using healthier pasta. But, It's the heavy fat laden sauces that seems to get to me. Yet I am so drawn toward them.
I'd so appreciate a lightened up version of These cheesy, creamy sauces that are interchangeable with so many recipes.
From Alfredo to Mac and Cheese and I can't forget Scalloped Potatoes.
I, too, love the creamy, cheesy sauces at restaurants! When I "redo" those recipes at home, I have a go-to product that dramatically reduces the fat and calories. It's Land O Lakes Fat-Free Half and Half. You still get that creamy texture and taste. Just swap it for the heavy cream! Also, when a dish calls for a large portion of Parmesan Cheese, try a stronger and more flavorful cheese like Asiago and just use half of the amount you normally would.
When eating out and I know the dish is rich, I ask the waiter to tell the chef to only use 1/3 the amount of sauce that he/she normally would or get the sauce on the side and mix it myself. I also never eat the entire portion in 1 sitting. I eat half and take home the rest either to eat for lunch the next day or freeze for another time. It save calories AND money!
Hi Debbie, Nice to meet you. I see you are as new here as I am. Welcome.
Your ideas sound spot on. I do like to cut corners when I can. But sometimes in doing so you can risk taking away too much of the wonderful flavor and texture.
I have tried a few things like losing the cream for 1/2 whole milk and half low fat. Doesn't work as the sauce is very thin and slightly watery.
I even thought of using evaporated milk which I do like to cook with. But have never applied it to the Alfredo recipe.
I do like scaling up the Parm cheese! That I will try !
Thanks so much for your constructive imput.
Janie / Appy_Girl ( Recipes )
Nice to meet you, as well!
If your sauce is too thin and watery using low-fat dairy, I suggest working Wondra flour into your sauce. Put about a Tbsp. in a small glass container and mix with about a 1/4 cup of water. Pour, as needed, into your sauce, when it is Boiling, That will give you the desired thickness without the fat. Also, for other dishes, natural thickeners are ground mashed potatoes and rice.
To not lose any flavor, try using strong herbs like Rosemay, Thyme, Oregano and Ginger! Experiment with them for your tastes. My Low-Fat version and RE-DO of Macaroni Grill's "Penne Rustica" has my neighborhood in a "tizzy"!! All the same flavors, yet low in fat and calories!! Go Figure!! YES, you CAN do it Healthy and keep the Flavor!!
Thanks so much ! Ohhhh That Rustica is a Bomb ! awesome.
This is right up my alley.... I make Alfredo sauces often using the lighter versions of half n half, as suggested, but instead of using Wondra (which I used to use all the time) I have begun using corn starch instead. Just make a slurry with 1/4 cup liquid and 2 tablespoons corn starch, stir into your sauce, and you have a nice creamy sauce, without adding any fats, or sodium.
If you are still wondering... There are a lot of restaurant recipes that I can't eat because I have to eat gluten free! I would LOVE a good gluten free pizza crust. I can't seem to find one, and restaurant ones can be so expensive.
What a great subject. There are several favorites I wish were made a little more healthy; however, these are real challenges.
DH's favorite dessert is Triple Chocolate Meltdown at Applebees. Yes, he's a chocoholic. Even when we split one, I feel like it's way too many calories and fat grams.
One of my favorites is the Loaded Potato Skins at Chili's. Yum and double Yum! But I rarely get them anymore because I know they're loaded - but with calories.
Please help with either of these favorites.
Land of the Free....because of the Brave
Proud Field Editor for Taste of Home and Simple and Delicious
Although this topic was started about six months ago, perhaps the Healthy Cooking Team will re-address the subject from time to time, and if so, I would love to have a "light" version of Shell's Seafood Pasta - the sauce is out of this world, but you can almost "taste" the calories. And, is there anything better than a creme brulee???
BeemaAlthough this topic was started about six months ago
Oh Judy the team is ALWAYS looking for great ideas! There's never a time limit on conversation
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