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                                                                            Mission Nutrition:


                    Your favorite recipes made healthier

By now it is not a secret that few things affect health and medical costs more than the cumulative effect of our eating habits. This doesn’t mean that to eat healthy we must submit to a diet of grass clippings and gravel – honestly!

A healthy diet is every bit as delicious as foods we used to eat, minus the negative side effects. We have come to realize that some of our favorite dishes are not good for us, because they contain tons of bacon, butter, cream, full-fat dairy products, and high amounts of salt and sugar.

Among the methods of achieving our goal to cut calories and eat more healthfully, is making a few adjustments to our favorite recipes so we can still enjoy similar, slimmed down versions of them.  For example, potato salad and coleslaw dressings can be made with olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs instead of mayonnaise. A sweet potato casserole tastes great with sliced steamed Golden Delicious apples and cinnamon, instead of sweetening it with sugar and marshmallows. A calorie-laden apple pie can be just as tasty when a sweeter type of apple is used, (rather than the very tart Granny Smith which requires the addition of a truckload of sugar), and adding a few raisins. Better yet, eliminate the crust and make it an Apple Crisp, to skip the flour, fat, and calories.

Breakfast pancakes are loaded with empty calories, fat, and syrup. Making them also requires quite a bit of time investment and using multiple dishes. Substitute a wholesome home baked granola cereal, made in minutes while you are cooking another meal. Granola includes Old-Fashioned-style rolled oats, light (not extra-virgin) olive oil, nuts, seeds, raisins, ground cinnamon, and a very small amount of light brown sugar.

Using reduced-fat cheeses and milk also contributes to better health and lower medical bills. Instead of overcooking veggies to death immersed in water, steam them as briefly as possible. They can then be eaten as is, with a little salt pepper and olive oil, or mixed with additional wholesome ingredients, such as herbs, spices etc., that further transform them into scrumptious and nutritious sides. Impoverish your doctor – eat healthy!


2 servings

½ cup grated reduced-fat Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup grated reduced-fat Sharp Cheddar cheese
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-1/2 cups uncooked whole grain elbow macaroni
Olive oil divided:
  1 tablespoon olive oil
  2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Pepper to taste

1. Measure the cheeses and place in a small bowl. Chop the garlic and keep on a separate small plate. Set aside.

2. Fill a medium saucepan 2/3 with water and 1 tablespoon oil. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook the macaroni as directed on the package. Drain.

3.  Meanwhile, place the garlic with 2 tablespoons oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When the garlic begins to sizzle, reduce the heat to medium low and stir constantly 30 seconds. Transfer to a small plate and set aside.

4. When the pasta is done, drain, and add the garlic mixture, oregano and pepper into the hot pasta. Stir in the cheeses to evenly coat the pasta.

For meatballs, over spaghetti, and more!

2 servings

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ green bell pepper, seeded, chopped
1 dried bay leaf
1-1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, cover and cook about 12 minutes, until it is translucent, stirring once or twice.

2. Mix in all the other ingredients, cover, and increase the heat to medium. When the sauce begins to bubble, reduce the heat, and cook slowly 20 – 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Remove from the stove, and discard the bay leaf.

Keep the doctor away – deliciously!

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Judy E. Buss,


Syndicated Food Columnist, Nutritional Cooking Instructor, Speaker, Blogger, and Freelance Writer