25 time trimmers part 1

Yield: 1 servings

Measure Ingredient
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Here are 25 time trimmers that can help you serve fabulous low-fat meals.

1. To peel garlic in seconds... simply place individual cloves on a cutting board and smash them with the flat side of a broad knife, such as a chef's knife. The peel should slip right off... Or, if you use a garlic press, cut the unpeeled clove in half, place the halves in a garlic press (cut side down) and squeeze---the peel will stay behind.

2. In preparation for whipping up quick sauces or super-easy soups...

stock you refrigerator with canned broth. Broth add instant flavor to almost any dish. And by keeping your cans chilled, you can scoop off the solidified fat at a moment's notice.

3. To poach a fish fillet without a recipe or endless list of ingredients... just grab that can of crab boil that's probably hiding in the back of your spice cabinet. Shake this savory blend of spices into a frying pan half full of water, add your fish and simmer until it's done---less than 10 minutes for thin fillets.

4. To shave 50 minutes off cooking time of nutrient-rich yams or sweet potatoes... cut the unpeeled potatoes into thick slabs (about ½ inch) and dredge them in a mixture of low-sodium soy sauce and a few drops of sesame oil. Grill or broil until crisp and golden... Or, if you have a microwave, you can make more traditional baked sweets by piercing them all over with a fork and microwaving until tender.

One potato takes about 5 minutes; four need about 10 minutes.

5. To soften a rock-solid (and super-nutrititious) squash in less than 10 minutes... pop it in the microwave. Spaghetti squash is ready in a mere 8 minutes. Halved acorn and butternut squash likewise cook to perfection in no time at all. For fun you can choose mini varieties, such as Jack-Be-Little pumpkins or Delicata, Golden Nugget or Sweet Dumpling squash. They're just right for single-serving side dishes. Pierce the skin with a sharp knife and microwave on high for 5 minutes, or until it turns tender. Then cut off the top, scoop out the seeds and serve drizzled with a little maple syrup.

6. When you haven't got 45 minutes to watch a pot of brown rice boil... try one of these quick-cooking grains instead. Each of these should cook to perfection in 5 to 12 minutes after your water boils: Bulgur cooks in 7 minutes. Quick Cook Barley takes 12 minutes.

Couscous cooks in 5 minutes. Quick Cook Brown Rice is done in 10 minutes.

7. To whip up a terrific luncheon salad at a moment's notice... Toss a can of beans with a can of tuna (both rinsed under cold water to remove the sodium and canning liquid). Add chopped peppers and onions, minced parsley and other fresh herbs. Dress with vinegar and a bare splash of oil. For extra zip, sprinkle on some capers, cherry tomatoes and anything else that's on hand Viola! A nutritious summer salad with a wave of the hands. 8. For a quick side dish (that tastes like a chef's specialty)...

saute some chopped onions and micned garlic in a little oil. Stir in some couscous or bulgur, boiling stock and a little curry powder (check package

directions for the proportion of liquid to grain). Cover, remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve. For variety, replace the curry powder with other herbs or spices. Throw in some chopped black olives and diced tomatoes for still another flavor treat.

9. To assemble an antipasto instantly... keep your pantry stocked with cans of pimientos, artichokes (in brine, not oil), tuna, beans, baby corn, pickled red beets and such. When buying these items, look for ones that are light on oil and sodium. Arrange a selection on a large platter lined with torn salad greens and sprinkle with lemon juice and fresh herbs. Mangia!

10. To serve up homemade pizza, pronto...use ready-made whole-grain biscuit dough (available in your supermarket's frozen-food section and refirgerator case) for a quick low-fat, whole-grain crust. Just press the biscuit dough into a crust shape and top it with tomato sauce, light cheese and your favorite veggie toppings.

11. If you're hungry for a veggie-topped pizza or vegetable stir-fry but can't face the prep work... take advantage of the cleaned-and-chopped vegetables in you supermarket's salad bar. You may pay a little more for these prewashed and precut veggies, but think of the time you save---and the nutrients you gain! 12. To make zero-fat popcorn with zero cleanup... use an ordinary paper lunch bag and your microwave oven. Place about ¼ cup of popping corn in the bag. Seal it tightly by turning over the edges several times and creasing them well. Lay it on its side in the microwave. Microwave on high for 4 to 5 minutes or until the popping stops. (Be careful when you open the bag to avoid getting burned by escaping steam.)

13. For perfect pilaf minus the fuss...(1) quickly saute some onions and garlic, then (2) add your chosen quick-cooking grain (either brown rice of barley), defatted stock (3) (check label for proportionate amount) and a few pinches (4) of herbs. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. For added zest, (5) serve sprinkled with some grated orange rind.

14. To whip up a frozen fruit dessert at a moment's notice... keep peeled and sliced fruit in your freezer, stored in plastic bags. For an instant dessert or palate cleanser beteewn courses of a large meal, puree the pieces in a food processor until smooth. All sorts of fruit work trememdously well this way---try berries, peaches, plums, bananas, mangoes, papayas and kiwis, for example.

Recipe By : Prevention Magazine, August 1992

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