Throwing a low-fat dinner party

Q: If you were going to cook a special low-fat dinner for six, What would you serve from beginning to end, including wine?

A: Low-fat entertaining is not as limiting as you might think. Your request leaves the categories of complex carbohydrates and protein wide-open to the imagination. I interpret your “special” designation to mean you’d like a multi-course, somewhat fancy meal. But, I won’t stray far from the convenience factor, to avoid intimidating you with overly complicated recipes! Let’s see if I can create some satisfaction for you with a low-fat menu.

Appetizer: Spicy Boiled Shrimp

When I entertain, I often begin with shrimp. Shrimp is the most popular seafood, next to canned tuna. And most people consider it a special treat. Bring home peeled tiger shrimp from your grocer’s fresh seafood counter. Boil them a few hours ahead of time, for no more than five minutes, in a highly spicy broth. Drain, cool and refrigerate. Serve with a sauce of seedless raspberry jam, prepared horseradish and a few drops of raspberry vinegar. Another good dipping sauce is soy sauce flavored with minced garlic, toasted sesame oil and sliced scallions.

I use very little butter in my cooking  and none at the table. If you buy a hearty, crusty peasant bread, no butter is necessary. If guests want something to put on their bread, offer hummus, babaganouj, tapenade or extra virgin olive oil.

I like pasta with lots of fresh vegetables, served in a tomato-herb broth. You can offer a small pasta course of this type, without bloating any appetite. Just keep it small and serve in a small, shallow bowl.

Main Course: Savory Turkey Cutlets

For the main course, most people like meat. Here is a year-round turkey recipe that is filling and low fat at the same time:

Savory Turkey Cutlets with Saucy Wild Rice and Mushrooms

1 pound fresh turkey breast slices (4-6)
1 box (4.5 ounces) 10-minute brown & wild rice mix
no-stick cooking spray
1/2 large yellow onion, peeled & sliced
1 jar (12 ounces) fat-free turkey gravy
1 cup water
10 ounces fresh mushrooms, cleaned & halved

Sprinkle turkey breast slices with seasoning packet from rice mix, to coat each side. Spray large skillet with no-stick spray. Arrange seasoned turkey slices in skillet. Cover, and cook over medium heat five minutes, turning once. Remove turkey to a plate and set aside.

Add onion slices to pan and sauté four minutes. Remove rice from bag and add to onions. Stir. Add turkey gravy and water. Stir, cover and cook five minutes. Add mushrooms; gently push mushrooms into rice. Lay cooked turkey slices flat on top of mushrooms. Cover and cook five minutes.

Arrange turkey slices, overlapped, on one side of a serving platter. Spoon rice and mushrooms onto the platter and serve. Serves 4

Per Serving: 294 cal.; 0.747 g. fat (2% of cal.); 1.2 g. dietary fiber; 47 mg. cholesterol; 531 mg. sodium; 23.5 g. protein.

Salad, Dessert and Wine

My preference is to serve the salad after the main course, like the French. It helps digestion. Use a prewashed bag of organic spring mix or mesclun. Flavor it lightly with red wine vinegar dressing and a sprinkling of grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

If I venture into dessert land at all, I keep it simple. A popular finale suited to most tastes is a quick sundae. Top vanilla frozen yogurt with thawed raspberries or strawberries. They are available unsweetened, in your grocer’s freezer case.

Throughout the meal, I would serve a moderately priced pinot grigio or pinot gris white wine. By dessert, I would switch to a richly flavored decaf coffee. I hope you and your guests enjoy this meal!


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