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Fresh Start:
Low Fat Food and Menus Day to Day

by Julee Rosso, 1996, Crown Publishing


Every year that rolls around grants us yet another opportunity to reassess our values and priorities, to begin again, to start fresh.  How marvelous!  Many of
us are paying the piper now for our reckless abandon during the Holiday Season.  And perhaps you join me in welcoming the chance to cook and enjoy "real food"
for a change.  Could it be that there actually is a limit to how much sugar and fat
one can cheerfully consume?  What a concept! [MG]

Julee Rosso writes,
"My goal in writing this cookbook is to make healthful cooking simple and delicious enough to become a daily habit. Fresh Start isn’t about tricks or
gimmicks, synthetic ingredients, magic potions or food combinations. This
is not a weight loss plan, although that may well be a benefit. This book is
meant to be a primer for helping you to change your cooking habits and
learn to truly enjoy lower-fat foods. It’s about fresh, wholesome ingredi-
ents and common sense. It’s about glorious flavor achieved without the
burden of fat. It’s about the big, intense tastes I’ve come to know and love
in perfect harmony with today’s goal of a healthy, balanced, always-on-
the-go lifestyle. And there’s only one secret to  cooking with less fat –
replace it with flavor!
Fresh Start, I don’t suggest - even for a minute - that you’ll have to sac-
rifice the pleasure of eating or swap ‘real foods’ for synthetic substitutes.
Nor will you have to give up the foods you’ve come to love. In the recipes
that follow I have either adjusted the ingredients or modified the cooking
method to lower the fat. Where it is not to my taste to give up the intrinsic
flavor of one of my favorite ingredients – such as Parmesan (I use less) or
in the case of whipped cream and coconut – it becomes an indulgence to be
enjoyed less frequently. Yet all of the recipes are simple and quick. After
cooking them for a while, you will easily know how to adapt most of
your own favorites.”

Following is a typical daily menu from Fresh Start.
With recipes, of course...

Great Granola* with Skim Milk
Fresh Strawberries
Whole-wheat Toast

Rosy Shrimp Salad*
Fresh Green Grapes

Fresh Spinach Salad with
Orange-Basil Dressing*
My Favorite Pasta Carbonara*
Sourdough Roll
Honeydew Melon with Lime


Great Granola

“Here are all the golden crunch, sweetness and clumps you love in
the higher-fat varieties of granola. A half-cup serving really gets
your engine started! I’ve made a lot because it stores so well.”

Makes 6 cups

3 cups uncooked rolled oats
(not instant)
3 cups crisp rice cereal
(such as Rice Krispies)
1 cup multi-grain cereal
1 very ripe banana (about 4 ounces)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup frozen apple juice
concentrate, thawed
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup blanched almonds
1 cup golden raisins or dried cherries

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Place the oats and both cereals in
a large bowl and toss well.
2. In a small bowl, mash the banana. Add the honey, applesauce, apple
juice concentrate, cinnamon and vanilla and mix well. Pour over the
oat mixture and toss with your hands. Do not break the clumps apart.
3. Pour onto a baking sheet, spread evenly and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, tossing gently occasionally. Add the almonds and raisins, mix well,
and set the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool completely. Store in
an airtight container.


Rosy Shrimp Salad

“Shrimp, tomato and cucumber are tossed into a salad and
dressed with a lovely creamy tarragon dressing.”

Serves 2

12 sprigs fresh thyme
6 cloves garlic, peeled
12 large raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and
halved lengthwise (about 8 ounces)
1 small tomato, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 rib celery, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
Sixteen 1/4-inch slices English cucumber, minced
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh tarragon
1/2 teaspoon tomato paste
3 tablespoons Nonfat Blend (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
Pinch of cayenne
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Lettuce leaves, for garnish
Honeydew melon and strawberries for
garnish (optional)

1. In enough water to cover the shrimp, combine the thyme and garlic
cloves. Bring to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook for 3 to 4 minutes,
until tender and pink. Drain and rinse with cold water.
2. In a large bowl, combine the tomato, celery, cucumber and tarragon.
Add the shrimp and toss.
3. In a small bowl, blend the tomato paste, Nonfat Blend, mayonnaise, cayenne, and salt and pepper. Taste to adjust the seasonings and
then toss with the shrimp to coat well. Chill.
4. To serve, place 2 lettuce leaves on 2 plates and divide the salad be-
between them. If desired, arrange 2 slices of honeydew on each
plate, with 3 strawberries next to them.

Nonfat Blend

“At the beginning of every week, I whip up a batch of this in the blender.
(But I never use the food processor; its power breaks down the mixture
and makes it watery.) I stash it in a plastic container in the fridge to
use by the cup or spoonful in myriad ways as the week progresses.
You’ll find it used repeatedly throughout
Fresh Start as a replace-
ment for sour cream, mayonnaise or heavy cream.”

Makes about 2 cups

1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 cup nonfat cottage cheese

In a blender, combine the yogurt and cottage cheese and blend until
smooth. Transfer to a container, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.


Fresh Spinach Salad with
Orange-Basil Dressing

Serves 2

Orange-Basil Dressing
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh basil
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon finely minced orange zest
Salt and freshly ground black
pepper to taste (optional)

2 cups fresh spinach, washed, dried well
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup red onion, diced or in rings

1. For the dressing, in a blender, blend the ingredients until smooth.
Transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate until ready
to use. Whisk before using.
2. Toss the spinach, mushrooms and onion in a large bowl. Add the
Orange-Basil Dressing and toss to combine.


My Favorite Pasta Carbonara

“The story goes that this dish was created in the last days of World War II. American soldiers brought bacon and eggs to Italian cooks, requesting that
they be prepared. They were, of course, made into a pasta sauce. My version
doesn’t even use eggs.!”

Serves 2

2/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 pound linguine, dried
3 tablespoons low-fat, low-sodium
chicken broth
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 cup sliced turkey ham
(or torn into strips)
1/2 cup Parmesan shards*
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried sage (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. In a medium-sized saucepan, reduce the wine to 1/2 cup over medium heat. Remove from the heat.
2. Bring 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil and cook the linguine for 8 to
10 minutes, or until al dente.
3. While the pasta is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of broth in a large skillet. Add the garlic and onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly
browned. Add the reduced wine and simmer over low heat for
1 minute.
4. Drain the pasta and add to the skillet with sauce. Add the ham, cheese, parsley, sage if desired, pepper and remaining tablespoon of broth.
Toss well, making sure the cheese melts, and serve.

*Parmesan shards: For long, broad curls or shards of Parmesan, peel
with a vegetable peeler as you would a potato. Always invest in the
real aged Parmigiano-Reggiano. Its sweet nutty flavor is well worth
it. Sixteen 3-inch Parmesan shards equal about 1/4 cup.

Featured Archive Recipes:
Chinese Chicken Salad (Jeanne Jones)
Coffee and Granola at Barefoot Contessa
Shrimp with "Gazpacho" Sauce
Spinach and Turkey Salad with
Cucumber and Feta Dressing

Thai-Style Shrimp Salad with
Spicy Peanut Dressing


More Lagniappe Recipes!
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Index - Salad Recipe Archives
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