SparkPeople Cooking Secrets http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets-category.asp?category=cooking Learn some of the secrets of success for Cooking from SparkPeople members. SparkPeople Cooking Secrets http://www.sparkpeople.com/assets/nav/nav_logo_v3.gif http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets-category.asp?category=cooking Homemade Oat Milk http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=44273_homemade_oat_milk Homemade Oat Milk <br><br><br>I forgot to get some plant milk and I had one cup of steel cut oats so...<br> <br><br><br>...I soak one cup overnight in lots of water...rinse very well (they will be slimy if you don't rinse well)...add 3 cups of new water and blend in blender...strain.<br> <br><br><br>I don't use very much milk so I freeze the leftovers in smal... Sun, 7 Feb 2016 21:12:00 EST Substitute Healthy Ingredients when Baking for Less Calories and Greater Nutritional Value (Part 2) http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=44260_substitute_healthy_ingredients_when_baking_for_less_calories_and_greater_nutritional_value_part_2 I enjoy baking, and am always on the lookout for new dessert recipes – cakes, cookies, squares, you name it. But when it comes to home-made desserts, I frequently overeat and wind up packing on the pounds with all those extra calories. Recently I’ve begun reading about making healthy ingredient substitutions, wherever possible, when preparing certain dishes. It is really fascinating how you can take a particular ingredient in a recipe and substitute in its place a healthier ingredient, whi... Sun, 7 Feb 2016 10:43:00 EST Veggie stock made with scrap veggies http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=44255_veggie_stock_made_with_scrap_veggies Veggie stock made with scrap veggies<br><br>I thought that making stock (or both) would be really hard. Then I started reading how easy it is to make especially when you use the pressure cooker.<br><br>Well then I just didn’t have the heart to use the good veggie to make the stock.<br><br>Well why not use scraps from the veggies…you know parts you throw away. Hey what a great idea so here is what I did.<br><br>Saved:<br>Onions including the skins (three different types)<br>Carrots even the ... Sat, 6 Feb 2016 20:40:00 EST Substitute Healthy Ingredients when Baking for Less Calories and Greater Nutritional Value http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=44241_substitute_healthy_ingredients_when_baking_for_less_calories_and_greater_nutritional_value I enjoy baking, and am always on the lookout for new dessert recipes – cakes, cookies, squares, you name it. But when it comes to home-made desserts, I frequently overeat and wind up packing on the pounds with all those extra calories. Recently I’ve begun reading about making healthy ingredient substitutions, wherever possible, when preparing certain dishes. It is really fascinating how you can take a particular ingredient in a recipe and substitute in its place a healthier ingredient, whi... Sat, 6 Feb 2016 01:30:00 EST Red Lentils Barley and a Lot of Veggies Soup http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=44240_red_lentils_barley_and_a_lot_of_veggies_soup Red Lentils Barley and a Lot of Veggies Soup <br><br> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/634f24b4-31d3-4bc8-8c02-8e5917459d3e.JPG"><br><br>Ingredients <br>1 tablespoon of broth <br>1-2 onions (red, white, yellow) <br>1 cup chopped celery <br>I cup carrot <br>2 cups purple and green cabbage <br>2 cups collard greens<br>1 small diced zucchini <br>5 mushrooms, chopped <br>3 potatoes, diced <br>1 cup cauliflower <br>1/2 cup diced eggplant <br>1 cans diced tomatoes <br>2 cups red l... Sat, 6 Feb 2016 00:17:00 EST Cooking: Changing diet food into a sustainable lifestyle http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=44228_cooking_changing_diet_food_into_a_sustainable_lifestyle Many people hear the word "diet" and think of torturous months of bland rabbit food. It most definitely does not have to be like this!<br><br>I have followed many different meal plans that were traditionally bland, felt extremely restrictive, or consisted of nothing but salads. And it was always so hard eating my pitiful diet food while I saw my family enjoying foods I craved. My diabetic husband was still eating regular food, which was not helping him control his condition. And there was... Fri, 5 Feb 2016 12:44:00 EST Butternut Squash Soup http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=44218_butternut_squash_soup Butternut Squash Soup<br><br><br>1 big butternut squash (mine was about 2 pounds)<br>1/2 cup onion<br>1 can white kidney beans<br>1/2 red pepper<br>big pile of cut up greens<br>3 cups of water<br>1 cup orange juice<br>A small amount of ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon<br>1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder, Mrs. dash, garlic, curry powder, seasoned salt<br><br><br>Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut up the butternut squash into small pieces and place on a pan and bake for around 30-45 minutes.<br... Thu, 4 Feb 2016 19:34:00 EST italian wedding soup http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=44212_italian_wedding_soup Italian Wedding Soup<br>Think of this as a first-rate chicken soup with mini-meatballs and loads of flavor.<br>Ingredients<br><br>1 cup chopped onion<br>1/2 cup chopped celery<br>1 cup diced carrots<br>1 tablespoon minced garlic<br>8 cups fat-free chicken broth<br>1 1/2 cups beef broth<br>1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves<br>1 cup orzo pasta<br>6 cups fresh baby spinach<br>1 pound ground sirloin<br>1 egg<br>1 egg white<br>2 tablespoons chopped parsley<br>1 teaspoon minced garlic<br>1/4 cup Ital... Thu, 4 Feb 2016 14:19:00 EST PREPARATION IS A BIG DEAL http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=44205_preparation_is_a_big_deal I have been working out a minimum of 120 minutes a day. I only do 30 minutes at a time, so I do not get frustrated or burnt out. It has been good so far.<br><br>I have been dealing with weight issues since I was about five or six years old. I have done lots of diets, exercise, and even a medical fast. I have had many levels of success and failure over the years. However, now I believe that I have a grasp on what I need to do to be successful. I have a compulsive eating disorder. I have to rem... Thu, 4 Feb 2016 09:26:00 EST Hearty Veggie Soup http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=44182_hearty_veggie_soup Hearty Veggie Soup<br><br> <em>140</em> <br><br>1 tablespoon of broth or water<br>1 medium diced onion<br>1 red pepper <br>1 cup chopped celery<br>1cup chopped carrots<br>2 - 4 cups cabbage and greens ( I used turnip <br>and collard greens )<br>1 small diced yellow squash<br>3 chopped roma tomatoes<br>1/2 diced eggplant<br>1 cup green beans<br>1 can diced tomatoes<br>2 cans of beans ( I used great northern and red <br>beans )<br>6 cups of veggie broth ( I used 4 cups of veggie <br>broth an... Tue, 2 Feb 2016 21:12:00 EST Cauliflower and Broccoli Soup http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=44160_cauliflower_and_broccoli_soup Cauliflower and Broccoli Soup<br><br><br>1/2 of a cauliflower<br>A bunch of broccoli<br>1/2 of a zucchini and yellow squash<br>1 to 3 stalks of bok choy (the white stems cut up and sauteed, the green leaf tear up with the other greens)<br>2 to 3 stalks of celery<br>1/2 cup onion<br>1 to 2 cups white kidney beans<br>1/2 red pepper (any color pepper would work)<br>big pile of torn up greens<br>6 cups of water<br>1 cube of veggie broth<br>1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder, Mrs. dash, garlic, c... Mon, 1 Feb 2016 22:17:00 EST Substitute Healthy Ingredients when Baking for Less Calories and Greater Nutritional Value (Part 2) http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=44127_substitute_healthy_ingredients_when_baking_for_less_calories_and_greater_nutritional_value_part_2 I enjoy baking, and am always on the lookout for new dessert recipes – cakes, cookies, squares, you name it. But when it comes to home-made desserts, I frequently overeat and wind up packing on the pounds with all those extra calories. Recently I’ve begun reading about making healthy ingredient substitutions, wherever possible, when preparing certain dishes. It is really fascinating how you can take a particular ingredient in a recipe and substitute in its place a healthier ingredient, whi... Sun, 31 Jan 2016 08:42:00 EST Substitute Healthy Ingredients when Baking for Less Calories and Greater Nutritional Value http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=44104_substitute_healthy_ingredients_when_baking_for_less_calories_and_greater_nutritional_value I enjoy baking, and am always on the lookout for new dessert recipes – cakes, cookies, squares, you name it. But when it comes to home-made desserts, I frequently overeat and wind up packing on the pounds with all those extra calories. Recently I’ve begun reading about making healthy ingredient substitutions, wherever possible, when preparing certain dishes. It is really fascinating how you can take a particular ingredient in a recipe and substitute in its place a healthier ingredient, whi... Sat, 30 Jan 2016 08:16:00 EST Include the Family http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=44061_include_the_family We sit down on Thursday nights and menu plan as a family -- my 7 year old daughter, my husband, and myself. We have 3 major cook books we choose from plus the spark app. We grocery shop on Friday evening or Saturday mornings as a family. I cook 6 nights per week so we each choose 2 dishes. I find it's easier for everyone to eat healthy while I only cook 1 meal. This way my daughter feels like she has a say in what she eats and it motivates her to come to the kitchen and help prepare our me... Thu, 28 Jan 2016 07:20:00 EST Substitute Healthy Ingredients when Baking for Less Calories and Greater Nutritional Value (Part 2) http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=43937_substitute_healthy_ingredients_when_baking_for_less_calories_and_greater_nutritional_value_part_2 I enjoy baking, and am always on the lookout for new dessert recipes – cakes, cookies, squares, you name it. But when it comes to home-made desserts, I frequently overeat and wind up packing on the pounds with all those extra calories. Recently I’ve begun reading about making healthy ingredient substitutions, wherever possible, when preparing certain dishes. It is really fascinating how you can take a particular ingredient in a recipe and substitute in its place a healthier ingredient, whi... Fri, 22 Jan 2016 05:52:00 EST How to Spark with the Recipe Builder! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=43923_how_to_spark_with_the_recipe_builder I love the recipe builder in Spark! It's easy to use, I can add my foods from my favorites (which are all in grams), I can enter directions, and the end result is clear and concise recipes in an Internet recipe box that I can easily share with others. In my opinion, there are some secrets for successfully building killer recipes. <br><br>First, always weigh your ingredients and enter them into the recipe builder in grams. You're mixing a lot of different foods together and using generic "serv... Thu, 21 Jan 2016 10:47:00 EST Substitute Healthy Ingredients when Baking for Less Calories and Greater Nutritional Value http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=43912_substitute_healthy_ingredients_when_baking_for_less_calories_and_greater_nutritional_value I enjoy baking, and am always on the lookout for new dessert recipes – cakes, cookies, squares, you name it. But when it comes to home-made desserts, I frequently overeat and wind up packing on the pounds with all those extra calories. Recently I’ve begun reading about making healthy ingredient substitutions, wherever possible, when preparing certain dishes. It is really fascinating how you can take a particular ingredient in a recipe and substitute in its place a healthier ingredient, whi... Thu, 21 Jan 2016 00:23:00 EST A filling low-fat meal! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=43907_a_filling_lowfat_meal Bake 1/2 of a Spaghetti Squash (seed the squash)<br><br>While baking the squash<br><br>1. Saute onion and red pepper in cooking spray<br>2. Add 1/2 cup of shredded cooked chicken<br>3. Add one can of enchilada sauce<br><br>When the squash is done - loosen up with a fork in the skin creating a squash "bowl"<br>Pour the mixture above over the squash in the "bowl"<br><br>This is a low-fat, low calorie and delicious meal that is incredibly filling. Spaghetti Squash is one of the most filling ... Wed, 20 Jan 2016 17:39:00 EST cook on weekends http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=43906_cook_on_weekends I found that cooking during the week was almost impossible. I'd come home from work too tired to cook. But I've since learned that cooking your own food is the secret to eating healthy.<br><br>Therefore I have started planning my meals on weekends, shopping for them and cooking them.<br>This simple change has made it possible to eat healthy, home-cooked food every night.<br><br>That way when you come home from work you don't have any decisions to make except to take the meal out of the free... Wed, 20 Jan 2016 17:01:00 EST JANUARY IS THE MONDAY OF MONTHS http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=43883_january_is_the_monday_of_months I have been dealing with weight issues since I was about five or six years old. I have done lots of diets, exercise, and even a medical fast. I have had many levels of success and failure over the years. However, now I believe that I have a grasp on what I need to do to be successful. I have a compulsive eating disorder. I have to remain very structured in what I do every day. I am not somebody who can just come into work when there are doughnuts, have one and be fine about it. I have to be v... Tue, 19 Jan 2016 12:03:00 EST BEING PREPARED IS KEY http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=43846_being_prepared_is_key I have been dealing with weight issues since I was about five or six years old. I have done lots of diets, exercise, and even a medical fast. I have had many levels of success and failure over the years. However, now I believe that I have a grasp on what I need to do to be successful. I have a compulsive eating disorder. I have to remain very structured in what I do every day. I am not somebody who can just come into work when there are doughnuts, have one and be fine about it. I have to be v... Mon, 18 Jan 2016 10:26:00 EST Dehydrators are Presents from Above! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=43838_dehydrators_are_presents_from_above If you're just beginning to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet and find that they tend to go bad before you can use them, invest in a dehydrator. You can dehydrate food (and rehydrate as needed) as much as you need and while it's in season, allowing to save money. Double bonus!<br><br>Also, if you're a candy kid, and miss those sweets, dehydrating fruit intensifies the flavour and gives it that little chewy texture like chewy candies. You're Welcome! <br><br>I personally love chips, ... Mon, 18 Jan 2016 00:10:00 EST Like beef? Substitute! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=43776_like_beef_substitute I like the taste of beef. <br><br>After days of chicken I want to squawk or sprout feathers. <br><br>I started with ground beef and went down the fat chain from ground beef to ground chuck to ground round to 93% fat free. Eventually, although it supposedly is much better for you, I would rather cook meat in its own fat than add fat just to brown the meat. What should I do? <br><br>I switched to stew/shredded meat for spaghetti, tacos and such. First, you braise the meat to turn it brown. Nex... Thu, 14 Jan 2016 21:35:00 EST Substitution of Healthy Foods for Not So Healthy Foods http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=43755_substitution_of_healthy_foods_for_not_so_healthy_foods I am writing about finding healthier alternatives in cooking simply because...I am NOT going to eat something if it doesn't taste good; however, I have made a choice to consciously put healthier options into my body. <br>One of my favorite foods EVER is potatoes. They are not the worst....right? However, when watching carbohydrate intake; well, they just don't make the cut. In my desperation to find something, anything, that can take their place; I stumbled across something that is so much he... Wed, 13 Jan 2016 22:51:00 EST Meal Planning/Prepping helps you eat healthy! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=43750_meal_planningprepping_helps_you_eat_healthy Do you find it difficult to find time to cook a healthy dinner for you and your family? I know I do. I work full time and between that, a husband and kids, having the time and energy to cook healthy dinners has been one of my biggest struggles. My only new year's resolution this year was to resolve this issue.<br><br>A few years ago, I attended a cooking class at the local Jr. College, and it was centered around "freezer cooking" or "30 day cooking" as you may have seen titles out there on th... Wed, 13 Jan 2016 16:03:00 EST Flames and Sauce http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=43738_flames_and_sauce Thought I would venture into the world of cooking today. As I was growing up way back in the '50's, my mother thought we should know our way around the kitchen even if we were boys and at the school I went to, boys took home ec and girls took shop. Everybody learned a little bit of everything.<br><br>Today, my cooking chores are for the most part relegated to the grille. Chicken, steak, pork chops, ribs, salmon, vegetables, and corn pretty much make up my palate. <br><br>Two staples on my... Wed, 13 Jan 2016 09:46:00 EST Avocado oil is the new coconut oil http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=43614_avocado_oil_is_the_new_coconut_oil Use it to replace canola oil when making homemade mayonnaise. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to a week.<br>Drizzle it over fish before baking or roasting.<br><br>Lecic / Shutterstock / Lecic<br>If hashtags are any indication, avocado oil is having a moment—the green oil has over 17,000 mentions on Instagram, plus it's trending on Pinterest, with tons of ideas for using it in DIY skin and hair treatments and recipes. But does it live up to the hype?<br><br>The avocado itself is no... Thu, 7 Jan 2016 18:53:00 EST Discover the Versatility of Eggs...for Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=43392_discover_the_versatility_of_eggsfor_breakfast_lunch_or_dinner Since embarking on my weight loss journey, I have been looking at different foods with lower calorie counts, that also have the benefit of making me feel full. Eggs are one such food, and they are so versatile! They can be used for any meal - breakfast, lunch, or dinner.<br><br>For breakfast, I can prepare an egg in a variety of ways -- fried, scrambled, poached -- or use eggs to make French toast. French toast is always enjoyed in my house, but it's the syrup I have to be careful about wh... Mon, 28 Dec 2015 10:24:00 EST This is how I do it http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=43354_this_is_how_i_do_it I like to host dinner parties. I even like to try new recipes when I entertain. I know, sounds risky doesn't it? I'm getting cocky because my new recipes generally turn out well. I make an announcement to my guests that they are being Guinea pigs and helping me test the recipe. They are asked to tell me if I should make it again. Fortunately for me, my guests enjoy this and are happy to participate. Some recipes make it into the recipe file, some do not. All in good fun and file building. Alt... Sat, 26 Dec 2015 07:54:00 EST Use the Slow Cooker to Prepare Today's and Tomorrow's Meals http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=43335_use_the_slow_cooker_to_prepare_todays_and_tomorrows_meals I've recently "rediscovered" my slow cooker, and started using it to prepare soups, stews, and spaghetti sauce - either during the day while I'm at work, or on a weekend while I'm doing other housework. <br><br>My favorite meals to prepare in the slow cooker include a vegetable soup, beef stew, or spaghetti sauce (once I've pre-cooked the ground beef on the stove). To add flavor to my soup or stew, I will sometimes add in a dry soup mix (consisting of vegetables, barley, and spices), or I ma... Thu, 24 Dec 2015 10:21:00 EST Changes I made http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=43324_changes_i_made Spark people has helped me significantly change the way I cook. Before SparkPeople, I fried or deep fried everything. Or I made pasta with most every meal. I never weighed my food, I filled the plate and I was raised that what you put on your plate you eat. Since coming to Sparkpeople, I have become more selective in the sorts of foods and meats that I cook and eat. I used to eat a lot of junk foods - hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages or brats. Not bad food if mixed with some healthy choic... Wed, 23 Dec 2015 19:37:00 EST Cooking for one is making me a much more creative cook. http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=43231_cooking_for_one_is_making_me_a_much_more_creative_cook It sounds selfish to just cook what you like, especially if you are cooking for others as well as yourself. Most people are. Having lost my husband earlier this year the last thing I wanted to do was cook. I relied on my grown daughters and quickly got tired of pizza and tacos. My husband had been the cook. He loved the praise and rightfully so. When I used to cook for him I was always taking that into account his tastes and it never turned out quite right for either of us. SO.. I say to... Sun, 20 Dec 2015 18:20:00 EST Dinner meals at home and at restaurants don't have to be too difficult, it takes planning, to ensure good nutrition. http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=43226_dinner_meals_at_home_and_at_restaurants_dont_have_to_be_too_difficult_it_takes_planning_to_ensure_good_nutrition I try to limit my dinner meals to smaller amounts. I cook most of my meals at home. I make lots if marinated chicken on the grill and I use leftovers for lunch the next day at work. I try to only have 3 oz. of chicken, a side vegetable, and a vegetable salad for dinner. If I haven't had enough fruit, I'll include some with dinner. If I have a desire for something sweet I will eat 1 cup of fruit and some fruit dip. I make a simple fruit dip. I make up instant unsweetened vanilla pudding with... Sun, 20 Dec 2015 13:23:00 EST Cooking Substitutions http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=43096_cooking_substitutions I like to substitute egg beaters for eggs for lower cholesterol and applesauce for less fats. In most baking you can not tell the difference. Also to save a bit of money I sometimes use cheese soup (Campbell's) or fiesta soup for flavor in place of cheddar cheese or American cheese. <br><br>Anything left over, I freeze most leftovers or have them for lunch the next day. (My men are not real big on eating leftovers.) <br><br>For a bit more nutrition, try adding apple pieces or orange pie... Wed, 16 Dec 2015 22:37:00 EST plan ahead http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=42997_plan_ahead Because cooking for one is tedious every night I create several servings of a new healthy meal and package the rest for lunch the next day, and freeze what is left in individual portions for use when I just don't have time to cook. Mon, 3 Aug 2015 17:47:00 EST Healthy, easy, delicious treat http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=42969_healthy_easy_delicious_treat Are you barbecuing this weekend? Grill some fruit for an easy treat. You can grill anything from melon to pitted fruits. Suggestion: cut some peaches in half. Remove the pit. Spray the cut halves with cooking spray. Grill cut side down until the fruit has some grill marks, a couple minutes on each side, but be careful not to overcook, as the fruit will get mushy. Enjoy guilt free AND get your serving of fruit. It's a win-win! Fri, 19 Jun 2015 17:47:00 EST Using packaged frozen spinach http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=42960_using_packaged_frozen_spinach I have a few ways that I use frozen spinach because it is so convenient. I make a spinach-rice casserole, cream of spinach soup, spinach frittata, but I'm always looking for new recipes to use it. (but I don't care for spinach in smoothies, I know that most say you can taste it but I certainly can) Mon, 8 Jun 2015 19:04:00 EST Success Salad Dressing http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=42758_success_salad_dressing Balsamic vinegar<br>Italian dressing dry mix<br>Water<br>2 Splenda packets<br>1 Salad shaker<br><br>Mix 2/3 vinegar with 1/3 water, a couple of Splenda packets and dry Italian dressing mix in a dressing shaker. Wed, 27 Aug 2014 22:49:00 EST Quick and nutritious soup for a week http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=42648_quick_and_nutritious_soup_for_a_week Recipe for a 5 veggie soup that runs about 350 calories for 2 cups. Kids like it to0. Freezes for lunches<br>1 pound ground veal <br>1 46 oz can Cento chicken broth (we love Cento the best; Swanson's is our #2)<br>1 can chopped tomatoes (we like Cento or Furman)<br>half a head of napa cabbage (not as pungent)<br>1 huge onion<br>About half a stalk of celery<br>Garlic (we like Penzey's dehydrated)<br>fresh parsley (huge bouquet)<br>green beans<br><br> Wed, 9 Jul 2014 08:16:00 EST Tofu success without deep fat frying http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=42525_tofu_success_without_deep_fat_frying I love tofu in Asian restaurants but know that they deep fat fry the pieces. I asked a Chinese friend how her tofu comes out so perfect . She told me to drop the pieces into boiling water for a minute or two, then drain. Then fry the pieces with just a thin coating of oil in the skillet. Comes out perfect without the excess oil. The outside of the pieces are nice and crusty. I use firm tofu for this. Fri, 23 May 2014 12:07:00 EST Stretch meat with lentils. http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=42519_stretch_meat_with_lentils To cut back on our meat intake, I add cooked lentils to dishes that I use ground beef or ground turkey in. Thu, 22 May 2014 00:30:00 EST Rice Cooker & Brown Rice http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=42508_rice_cooker_brown_rice I kept having my rice cooker spewing out liquid when cooking brown rice.<br><br>I started putting the steamer basket in empty and it "breaks up the bubbles" as the rice cooks -- no more spewing! Tue, 20 May 2014 16:00:00 EST Prep the pan! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=42418_prep_the_pan Buy a pan with a good non-stick coating and use less than half the oil or butter for saute or pan-frying. Thu, 24 Apr 2014 21:17:00 EST Love long-cooking oatmeal? Hate stirring? Use your crockpot http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=42396_love_longcooking_oatmeal_hate_stirring_use_your_crockpot My hubby loves the oatmeal that takes 40 minutes of constant stirring until it's cooked. (example is McCann's Steel Cut Oat Meal).<br><br>Now he can use a small crockpot, 4 cups cold water, 1 cup oats and set it on low just before going to sleep.<br><br>6 hours later, an entire pot of perfectly cooked oatmeal. Sun, 13 Apr 2014 15:00:00 EST Kitchen Workout!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=42389_kitchen_workout If you cook wearing your work out clothes; you'll be less likely to keep on tasting; therefore saving calories. Sounds silly and it may just be. But it works. lol<br>Plus it also may remind you to squeeze your booty muscles! <em>244</em> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 18:24:00 EST Skinny Taste great cooking site. http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=42381_skinny_teste_great_cooking_site Is a great website with recipes it gives you the calories count and WW points and so far I try 3 recipes and they were delicious I made : Flourless Brownies, Beef stir fry , Thai coconut shrimp yummy. Wed, 9 Apr 2014 06:29:00 EST Buy chicken with bones -- then make soup with leftovers http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=42380_buy_chicken_with_bones_then_make_soup_with_leftovers I usually buy my chicken with the bones in -- whether it's chicken breasts, thighs or an entire roaster. <br>Then I toss any left over carcass in water to cook for about 4 hours. Delicious broth and occasionally pieces of meat as well that were just too difficult to pull off the bone. <br>If I only have a couple of bones, I freeze them until I have enough. Tue, 8 Apr 2014 22:19:00 EST fats http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=42342_fats well instead of making goodies with sugar or bad fats I use very little or add things like unsweetened applesauce, or bananas, coconut milk, whole wheat flour, nonfat milk if called for, nonfat cream cheese, etc. little tricks that help lower fat and sugar too. Fri, 28 Mar 2014 11:27:00 EST The Weekly Purge http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=42305_the_weekly_purge Once a week, I 'purge' the refrigerator, getting rid of all limp or wilted foods, wipe down the shelves and drawers; then I can see what we need to replenish and it helps me w/ my grocery list as well as menu plan for the week. (It only takes minutes) Mon, 17 Mar 2014 10:21:00 EST USE BANANAS!!!! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=42211_use_bananas Need a healthy, natural, sweet, and usable substitute for cooking? IN place of eggs or anything else unecessary? Go the Vegan route and use bananas. It only takes one, mush up your ingredients w/ your hands and it makes it fun!!!! Wed, 12 Feb 2014 15:58:00 EST Lasagna without noodles http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=42169_lasagna_without_noodles I blanch cabbage leaves and drain them and then use them in place of the pasta. It freezes beautifully and my husband and I hardly miss the pasta. Mon, 3 Feb 2014 20:51:00 EST Silk Coconut Milk as Coffee/matte for coffee http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=42158_silk_coconut_milk_as_coffeematte_for_coffee I use Coconut milk Vanilla flavor for coffee . I don't like just milk in my coffee but this is a great creamy milk it does the trick .I use same one for Oatmeal too . Wed, 29 Jan 2014 06:28:00 EST Extend splt pea soup with spinach and butternut squash http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=42149_extend_splt_pea_soup_with_spinach_and_butternut_squash In addition to sauteed carrots, onions and garlic I added 4 cups of fresh spinach and 1 cup of cooked butternut squash to the 8 cups of water and 1 pound of dried split peas when I made soup. Once cooked, the immersion blender mixed everything into the familiar look of split pea soup. Doing this adds flavor, nutrients and some volume lowering the per serving calorie count. . I also added a splash of balsamic vinegar to finish the soup. Quite Yum Sun, 26 Jan 2014 16:59:00 EST Savory Oatmeal http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=42127_savory_oatmeal I make oatmeal and add some sauté onion, carrots, olives and is a nice healthy lunch. You can add what veggies you like . Wed, 22 Jan 2014 10:31:00 EST Low Fat Ranch dip http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=42126_low_fat_ranch_dip I mix 1 c of Greek yogurt with 1 tablespoon of Ranch dip powder mix is a delicious dip good for veggies ,I put it over a bake potato. If you don't like too salty start with 1 teaspoon first,, and add more for you taste. Wed, 22 Jan 2014 09:24:00 EST Oatmeal growing with more water http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=42114_oatmeal_growing_with_more_water If you want to double your Oatmeal but use only 1/2 c put 2 c of water in a pot simmer slow after start boiling 5 min.add 2 T flax meal at the end and you have almost double the amount .I add cinnamon and 2 T of light cream and Splenda in mine is delicious. Sun, 19 Jan 2014 08:45:00 EST Fun Cooking http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=42052_fun_cooking I love cooking and I always look for recipes in sparkpeople. I usually cook dishes that I can take leftovers for lunch the next day. My favorite recipes are slow cooking ones. I recently found crock pot liners that come right out after your food is ready leaving your crock pot spotless. Fri, 3 Jan 2014 17:04:00 EST Batch Cooking Has Saved Me! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41992_batch_cooking_has_saved_me Struggle to cook homemade, healthy dinners during the week? Try batch cooking on Sundays. This week I baked chicken with oregano & lemon, baked pork chops, roasted potatoes & carrots, baked sweet potatoes, & lasagna (1 for this week, froze 2). From this I make my lunches, early dinners and my husband can make his dinner easily from the already cooked choices. Add ons are salads, frozen veggies and more. We eat well, I'm not exhausted, and I still have time for me after dinner to workout and ... Mon, 9 Dec 2013 23:19:00 EST Meal Planning http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41897_meal_planning I don't always have time to make a meal plan for the week. In an effort to make at least one healthy dinner I keep a favorite cookbook in the car and stop at the store on the way home. This way I know I will have everything I need. Mon, 4 Nov 2013 10:29:00 EST preparation http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41810_preparation Preparing meals for your family the night before help save time and makes the next day a little easier. Sun, 13 Oct 2013 21:19:00 EST sneaky vegetable (kids and me) http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41805_sneaky_vegetable_kids_and_me When making chili, curries, or other seasoned meat sauces. mince vegs to a very fine level, or puree. Then and to sauce. You may need to add some additional seasoning. Fri, 11 Oct 2013 22:26:00 EST Rice cookers http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41688_rice_cookers I cook most of my meals in an electric rice cooker, which has a steaming tray. Better carbs, no extra fat, and no picking at it while you eat. If you're shopping, try to find a rice cooker with a steaming tray. If you can't find one, there are still lots of recipes you can make, and a lot of them don't even include rice. <em>4</em> Fri, 6 Sep 2013 22:28:00 EST Pre-cooking meat http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41681_precooking_meat I pre-cook a turkey and split in baggies for the freezer in 3 or 4 oz portions. This is great to grab and go to put in pasta, salads or just as your daily protein. I can then make alternative meat for my hubby and son if they don't want turkey and eat the same veggies and sides while lowering my calorie count. <em>465</em> Thu, 5 Sep 2013 14:44:00 EST Calorie Free Noodles http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41632_calorie_free_noodles One of my MOST favorite things is shiritake fettucini noodles. Just rinse well,then I cut them in half, since they are long. They are wonderful stir fried with just a little olive oil and an abundance of fresh vegetables! You can also saute some chicken breast or lean pork and have a great, healthy and very low calorie meal. <em>4</em> Mon, 26 Aug 2013 09:49:00 EST Baking measurements http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41604_baking_measurements I like to cook & bake but hate measuring things like flour & olive oil - I always make a mess. So today I used my food scale to see just how much a cup of flour weighs, a Tbl of oil, etc. & wrote all the weights & measures a 3x5 card, which is now taped to the inside of the cupboard door. Now I can just put the mixing bowl or pot/pan on the scale & add the ingredients without having to spill flour everywhere trying to get it in the measuring cup. Sun, 18 Aug 2013 14:40:00 EST 1LB Ground Meat = 4 Meals with 4 servings per meal!!! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41589_1lb_ground_meat_4_meals_with_4_servings_per_meal Use 1lb ground meat and lots of veggies to make 4 different meals! Add bulk with lots of different veggies (shredded or chopped). You get up to 4 servings per meal (approx. 12-16 servings). I stretch meat and save money too. I do the same with boneless chicken breast and boneless pork. Some weeks I get 12-14 individual meals that I would add different side dishes, salads or more veggies too! All my lunch & dinner entrées for the week done!! Thu, 15 Aug 2013 10:59:00 EST freezer cooking http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41577_freezer_cooking Double your dinner and save some in your freezer for later. It saves time and stress on those busy school nights. Running to soccer or baseball? Not a problem you have dinner waiting in the freezer. My family's freezer fav? Chicken Pot Pie! Tue, 13 Aug 2013 14:33:00 EST Cook in batches http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41576_cook_in_batches Pre-chop veggies. Do the prep work in the evening when you're watching TV. Chop veggies while you watch your favorite shows. You can chop veggies for all your evening meals for the week in an hour or so. Then put in containers or bags and stick them in the fridge. Tue, 13 Aug 2013 14:29:00 EST Cook in batches http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41575_cook_in_batches Pre-chop veggies. Do the prep work in the evening when you're watching TV. Chop veggies while you watch your favorite shows. You can chop veggies for all your evening meals for the week in an hour or so. Then put in containers or bags and stick them in the fridge. Tue, 13 Aug 2013 14:28:00 EST Hide and seek veggies http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41491_hide_and_seek_veggies Add grated carrots to chili. They will disappear , add a sweetness, and help thicken it. I added four cups to a pot of chili and got complements on the taste and texture. Wed, 24 Jul 2013 10:15:00 EST Light Hummus http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41447_light_hummus This hummus is very simple to make. Drain a can of chick peas and add to the processor. Add the juice of half a lemon, one clove of garlic pressed or minced, two tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Whirl the ingredients or pulse a few times until the beans have pureed. The calorie count includes the beans and the two tblsp olive oil. That's it. A low calorie hummus that anyone can whip up. Serve with crudite or crackers. Fri, 12 Jul 2013 13:54:00 EST Easy Way to Make Iced Tea http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41440_easy_way_to_make_iced_tea I use my drip coffee maker to make quick easy iced tea. Put 3-4 tea bags in the coffee filter and run through a carafe of water. Pour hot tea into a pitcher 1/2 full of ice and Viola... perfect iced tea! Thu, 11 Jul 2013 09:38:00 EST Buy Local http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41408_buy_local Buy local fruits and vegetables, especially in season, from your farmer's markets and food will last longer and to me, is more fun to cook with. Sat, 6 Jul 2013 10:32:00 EST NO CALORIE ITEMS TO COOK & BAKE WITH http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41372_no_calorie_items_to_cook_bake_with I USE BUTTER SPRAY A LOT NO CALORIES.I EVEN USE IT TO COOK WITH.ALSO MRS.DASH.I ALSO LOVE COOKING WITH STEVIA I BUY THE OFF BRAND LIKE MEIJER'S B/C IT'S CHEAPER.I LOVE BAKING WITH IT Sat, 29 Jun 2013 13:28:00 EST Grilling Veggies http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41370_grilling_veggies Use a cooling rack placed crosswise on your grill to keep vegetables in place and not falling through. Spray it with nonstick cooking spray to make it an easy job.<br><br>No fancy gear needed, nothing extra to store in the off-season. Sat, 29 Jun 2013 11:20:00 EST Healthy Low Calories Snack http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41344_healthy_low_calories_snack I keep home made hummus in the refrigerator, usually spinach edamame hummus as a quick snack. Sliced cucumber or zucchini make a healthy vehicle for the hummus. I also add it to wraps or pita bread sandwiches. Wed, 26 Jun 2013 07:58:00 EST Cooking Meat http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41340_cooking_meat When cooking meat or poultry, remove it from the refrigerator 5 minutes before adding to a hot pan. If you put it in right away it shocks it and it becomes tough. Wed, 26 Jun 2013 05:25:00 EST Easy Vegetables http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41303_easy_vegetables Toss some broccoli into your pasta that's boiling for a couple of minutes at the end. Then you bulk up your meal with healthy vegetables that are al dente along with your pasta! It doesn't get any easier than that! Tue, 18 Jun 2013 16:52:00 EST clean up http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41265_clean_up As I cook I do dishes and so that way the only dishes that need to be washed are the one that are being used. It makes it easier and shorter time in the kitchen Tue, 11 Jun 2013 12:40:00 EST Full flavor salad dressing alternatives http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41195_full_flavor_salad_dressing_alternatives I recently tried a yogurt blue cheese dressing. It's delicious and tastes just like the full fat/calorie version at a fraction of the calories. The one I tried had only 35 calories per serving. <br><br>If you haven't tried it already...give yogurt dressings a try on your salads! Wed, 5 Jun 2013 00:55:00 EST Easily remove an egg yolk http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41151_easily_remove_an_egg_yolk If you're like me and not supposed to eat the egg yolk (but love eggs), use a turkey baster. Take the rubber portion off, squeeze it, hold it over the yolk, and then stop squeezing. The suction will force the yolk (and only the yolk) into the handle. Voilà! Egg whites! :) Wed, 29 May 2013 12:30:00 EST TOMATO PASTE http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41144_tomato_paste I keep a tube of tomato paste on hand for cooking. Good for when you only need a tbls. Tue, 28 May 2013 09:37:00 EST Looks so good I can taste it! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41139_looks_so_good_i_can_taste_it I find that I am a very visual person, I like colorful food...so when making meal plan to avoid the temptation of going out I make a visual meal plan calendar and then it is like punishment if I miss out on something that looks to good to give up.<br>sort of the you don't know what your missing until it is gone approach...well I see it and I know I will miss it <em>211</em> Mon, 27 May 2013 13:05:00 EST Double Duty http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41120_double_duty Anytime I cook I try to cook two days worth of food. For instance, instead of one healthy casserole, I'll cook two and freeze one for a day when I'm feeling too tired to cook. It's sometimes too tempting to call for pizza delivery. If I have that casserole to throw in the oven, that's one day that I won't give in to temptation! <em>4</em> Tue, 21 May 2013 16:01:00 EST Gum! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41114_gum Pop in a piece of mint gum (or flavored if you like it but mint is the strongest) to stop all the finger licking and tasting while you're cooking and baking. You won't wanna ruin the taste of the gum by eating the food. My sister and I own a cake business on the side, it helps to avoid eatng all of the sweet stuff. Mon, 20 May 2013 22:53:00 EST Dutch Ovens http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41096_dutch_ovens I use my Dutch oven instead of a slow cooker, the food comes out with a rich flavor (like in a slow cooker) but takes less time. And I can get everything ready and have my husband throw it in the oven if I'm not at home. I prep and pre-cook whatever needs to be done and put the Dutch oven in the fridge. In the end, it saves me time and saves me from having to explain how the slow cooker works. Thu, 16 May 2013 13:56:00 EST Fill Up Before a Meal http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41095_fill_up_before_a_meal Still in the phase where your always hungry? Try filling up on low-cal foods and water before you eat. I often eat a cup of watermelon slices and a glass of water before a meal to help make me fuller faster. Thu, 16 May 2013 12:44:00 EST Making Pie Crust http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41060_making_pie_crust When you have completed your pie crust dough, wrap it in saran wrap and refrigerate it for one/half hour. Doing that produces a more tender crust. Wed, 15 May 2013 05:52:00 EST Coconut Oil http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41048_coconut_oil Cooking with oil is best done with coconut oil. the properties in it are amazing compared to everyday oils like veggie oil and canola. Sun, 12 May 2013 01:42:00 EST DON'T USE PAM! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=41031_dont_use_pam I have found that pam and those other aerosol cooking sprays has butane in them! So instead I went to my kitchen store and brought a sprayer that you have to pump, put your olive oil or other favorite oils in there, pump then spray... much cleaner for your body and lets get away from those chemicals! Wed, 8 May 2013 10:32:00 EST Tomato paste papillottes http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40997_tomato_paste_papillottes When a recipe requires some tomato paste it's usually the equivalent of two table spoons. What to do with what's left? I freeze it in aluminum foil papillottes containing each two table spoons. When I need some tomato paste I just take one papillotte. Tue, 30 Apr 2013 20:31:00 EST Adding helpful kitchen aids to your Sparks grocery list http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40943_adding_helpful_kitchen_aids_to_your_sparks_grocery_list If you come across a handy kitchen aid you want to buy you can add it to the weekly shopping list. <br><br>Go to "My Nutrition" page,<br>"Add/Edit Extra Meal category",<br>In the pop-up "New Extra Meal Category" enter a word like "shops",<br>"Save settings",<br>which sends you back to "My Nutrition" page.<br><br>There is now a section for "shops"<br><br>Add kitchen aid under "Enter food not listed" then add it to the new "shops" section.<br><br>Press "Grocery List" and the new aid now appea... Fri, 19 Apr 2013 06:31:00 EST SLOW COOKERS http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40908_slow_cookers I use a liner in my slow cooker to save time on cleaning it. Fri, 12 Apr 2013 11:57:00 EST Pasta on the go http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40873_pasta_on_the_go I cook a whole package of pasta and after removing the water, I put individual size servings in a ziplog bag. I add about 1 tablespoon of water each (to prevent dryness) and put them in the refrigerator. It stays fresh for about 3 days, and it freezes perfectly for about 2 weeks. Sat, 6 Apr 2013 10:37:00 EST Easy Way To Poach Eggs http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40828_easy_way_to_poach_eggs I LOVE poached eggs for breakfast and a fast and easy way to poach them is in the microwave. I get a bowl and fill it about 1/3 with water and heat it for 2 minute in the microwave. I then crack open two eggs into the water and microwave for another minute. Once done, I gently pour out excess water and then add salt and pepper to taste. YUM! Wed, 27 Mar 2013 17:39:00 EST Secret to peeling hard boiled eggs http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40822_secret_to_peeling_hard_boiled_eggs <em>451</em> Add at least one Tablespoon of baking soda to the water I boil my eggs in. Also stir your eggs occasionally as they begin to boil, this keeps the yolk in the middle. The baking soda always makes the egg shells come off easily. 90 calories and packed with protein, hard boiled eggs are a great snack too. <em>451</em> Tue, 26 Mar 2013 16:23:00 EST Satisfying dessert http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40781_satisfying_dessert What I miss the most in low calorie diets is dessert. I cannot eat just one or two cookies. For 100 calories, I have a sixteen ounce root beer float. I use diet root beer and one-half cup (100 calories) of slow churned low fat vanilla ice cream. Mmmmmmm delicious and extremely satisfying! Wed, 20 Mar 2013 22:02:00 EST i sneak veggies in every meal! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40777_i_sneak_veggies_in_every_meal I add spinach, broccoli, and zucchini to almost everything. Omelets, spaghetti, sometimes the family doesn't know:) Tue, 19 Mar 2013 20:29:00 EST Easy Oven Clean up http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40759_easy_oven_clean_up Tin foil or better yet purchase a rectangular tin pan (dollar tree) and place at the bottom of your oven or bottom rack for food spillage. Saves on time cleaning oven. Fri, 15 Mar 2013 22:10:00 EST The Joy of Cooking! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40650_the_joy_of_cooking Learn to enjoy cooking your meals! You are in control of what goes into what you eat, and it's fun finding new recipes for tasty, healthy meals. Wed, 27 Feb 2013 07:56:00 EST New favorite snack http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40631_new_favorite_snack I work in a hospital from 7a-7p and anyone that has ever worked in an ER knows how awful the staff tends to eat. There are always treats and lots of take out food. To combat the sugar cravings I brought in my own personal jar of natural peanut butter and I bum a couple of packages of broken hospital graham crackers. It's plenty sweet for me and it takes care of the cravings. I actually feel like I've been cheating.........but I haven't :) Sun, 24 Feb 2013 16:42:00 EST Chicken in a pinch http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40630_chicken_in_a_pinch I bake or grill 5 or 6 boneless chicken breasts once a week. I cut them in half and put them in a zip loc bag and put them in the freezer. Any time I need some chicken for salad or quesadillas, I pull one out and microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. The chicken is very moist and fresh and readily available. Shhhh, don't tell anyone. Sun, 24 Feb 2013 11:00:00 EST freezing space http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40617_freezing_space I like to buy in bulk like burger meat or stew meat I unpack the meat and repack in ziplock bags most bags are filled with just the meat I will be cooking as I am alone I do not waste and by laying the bags flat I save space and defrosting is fast Sat, 23 Feb 2013 10:04:00 EST making a SERRANO PEPPER taste good http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40608_making_a_serrona_pepper_taste_good take this simple pepper and prepare it for many of your favorite dishes by either putting a tsp of low fat butter or some oil of your choice in a frying pan. It does not take much but you want to saute it in something. Turn the stove top on low heat and just cook the Serrano Pepper until 4 sides are darkened (not burnt). It will then be soft and VERY TASTY with your meal. This is a SIMPLE something to make your meal interesting. Fri, 22 Feb 2013 02:30:00 EST The Healthy Breakfast Sandwich http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40605_the_healthy_breakfast_sandwich Do you love breakfast sandwiches, but hate the calorie content? Well, I make a really good one and its under 250 calories. crack 2 egg whites into a bowl, cover with a paper towel and microwave on high 70 secs. put on top of a 100 calorie english muffin. add 2 jimmy dean turkey sausage patties. you could add a low fat cheese, but I don't think it needs it. It's very hearty and yummy! enjoy. Thu, 21 Feb 2013 16:38:00 EST New Alternative for Stir-Fry http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40542_new_alternative_for_stirfry Instead of cooking up brown rice as the base to toss your stir-fry on -- go for the extra green veggie instead. Put a layer of fresh spinach on your dinner plate and top that with your stir-fry. More greens, less starch, but nicely filling. Sun, 10 Feb 2013 20:35:00 EST Chicken stock http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40534_chicken_stock Whenever I cook a chicken I make stock from the leftovers. Once I've removed the fat from this I keep it in the fridge (or freeze it in flexible cupcake molds) and use it to stir fry vegetables with/add to sauces instead of oils... it really works. My current favourite use is a steak sauce made from mushrooms and onion fried with the stock, a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, and a tablespoon of reduced fat greek yoghurt... it's great! Sun, 10 Feb 2013 16:15:00 EST NO BRAINER http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40502_no_brainer Take a 2 serving package of Uncle Bens rice and by adding broccoli, make it a 4 serving recipe. I can half all my diet calories by doing that with any recipe. PLEASE!! Fri, 8 Feb 2013 10:33:00 EST Cream Soups http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40439_cream_soups When making a cream soup, use an immersion blender to thicken soup. In some soups like potato reserve some pieces and add to thickened mixture. Great Carb reducer! Mon, 28 Jan 2013 07:03:00 EST Tuna Wraps http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40431_tuna_wraps I wrap my tuna salad (I substitute a fat free salad dressing to step up taste instead of a light mayo) inside of large Iceberg lettuce leaves instead of a pita or wrap bread.....delicious and way less calories! Sun, 27 Jan 2013 12:07:00 EST Creamy Chicken Casserole http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40400_creamy_chicken_casserole When in hurry and don't have leftover chicken I get a whole cooked chicken from the deli. Any leftover from that I make chicken salad for lunches the next day. Wed, 23 Jan 2013 12:04:00 EST Spice Things Up! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40389_spice_things_up My mother has always eaten tons of salt so to avoid the same pattern, I try combining different and new spices to add flavour. It makes meals more interesting and breaks up the usual routine. Now, I never add salt when I cook or eat, and I don't miss it. Mon, 21 Jan 2013 12:10:00 EST Steamed Chicken. http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40387_steamed_chicken Under the pasta insert in your stock pot, put halved onions, chopped carrots and celery into the steaming water. Put your chicken (whole or parts - be sure to slit to the leg and wing joints for even cooking) in the pasta insert and steam for a half hour or so, until the meat reads 160 degrees F. Lift the insert out, put the chicken on a baking sheet and finish crisping the skin in a 350-degree oven. Season the broth left in the stock pot, add some of the chicken, and enjoy! Mon, 21 Jan 2013 10:22:00 EST Planning Ahead http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40365_planning_ahead Instead of making my usual recipe for Spark's yummy buttermilk cornmeal muffins and freezing the leftovers after DH and I finish a meal, I doubled the recipe and now have muffins for more 5 more meals in my freezer! <em>334</em> Thu, 17 Jan 2013 20:54:00 EST Meal Planning http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40336_meal_planning Each night when I clean up after dinner, I make sure that I have things underway for the next night's dinner. I make sure that I know what I am planning to make and I double check that I have all ingredients. If something needs to be taken out and defrosted, I get that done. Mon, 14 Jan 2013 18:49:00 EST Keep the kitchen tidy http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40302_keep_the_kitchen_tidy By keeping the kitchen tidy, you can prepare homemade snacks and meals that are lower calorie - better than takeaways or fast food! Sat, 12 Jan 2013 01:55:00 EST Reduced fat chicken stock http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40222_reduced_fat_chicken_stock I steam my veg in either reduced fat chicken stock or vegetable stock. They taste super yummy! And it makes me want to eat more. another good tip is using evaporated milk(low fat) and a little corn starch to thicken sauces, it gives a really creamy texture to recipes without having to use the high calorie heavy cream. Sun, 6 Jan 2013 09:25:00 EST eggs http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40200_eggs I love eggs in the morning but they are a lot of calories first thing in a day so I separate them and only cook the whites because most of the calories are in the yolk Sat, 5 Jan 2013 06:51:00 EST Poaching Chicken http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40183_poaching_chicken When I poach chicken and dont have time to let it dry out a little before using it in a recipe. I shred it, put it in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out the extra liquid. Fri, 4 Jan 2013 14:19:00 EST Tomato Paste http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40162_tomato_paste A lot of recipes I use call for 1 Tbs of Tomato Paste.<br>In the past I threw out the can. Thu, 3 Jan 2013 23:13:00 EST Whip Cream Cheese Secret Ingredient http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40158_whip_cream_cheese_secret_ingredient Add 1-2 tbsp of Whipped Cream cheese to pasta sauces, gravies, meat and pasta/veggies etc to add a CREAMY RICH flavor and consistency. This will turn a regular tomato sauce into "Tomato Alfredo" ; and impart a creamy taste when cooking vegetables, meat, and pasta with no sauce. Thu, 3 Jan 2013 18:36:00 EST Soy Smoothie Made in my Bullet Blender http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40079_soy_smoothie_made_in_my_bullet_blender Healthy way to start your morning <em>7</em> ! Tastes great, adds lots of protein to your morning and will hold off cravings until lunch time. Fri, 21 Dec 2012 23:42:00 EST Cookies: You don't have to make the whole batch! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=40000_cookies_you_dont_have_to_make_the_whole_batch If you are craving cookies but don't want to eat the whole batch, this secret is for you! Next time you make a batch of cookies, bake only 1 or 2 for each person in your household. Use a melon baller to scoop the rest of the dough onto a cookie sheet and then freeze it on the sheet. When frozen, store in a freezer bag (separate w/ wax paper) & write the time to bake and oven temp on the front. You can bake 1 or 2 at a time by adding 2 minutes to the total baking time! Sun, 2 Dec 2012 08:37:00 EST Fruit Smoothie Freezer Packs! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39993_fruit_smoothie_freezer_packs Each week, I buy 3 fresh bananas, plus one bag each of frozen mangoes, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Then I divide these up into 6 baggies, each containing 1/2 of a banana and 1/4 c. of each other kind of fruit. I store the baggies in the freezer and in the morning, take one out, put it in the blender with 1c. of almond milk and 1 c. of warm water. I blend it for a quick & healthy smoothie breakfast for me and my husband! Fri, 30 Nov 2012 11:36:00 EST Homemade Soup!!!! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39960_homemade_soup Save some left over turkey and freeze it until your ready to make soup!!!!!! Sun, 25 Nov 2012 09:58:00 EST Lemon Juice http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39853_lemon_juice If you need only a few drops of lemon juice, just prick a lemon with a fork and squeeae. That way you can use the rest of the lemon for zest, etc. Sun, 4 Nov 2012 05:44:00 EST Oatmeal Doesn't Equal Sweet http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39812_oatmeal_doesnt_equal_sweet You do not have to make sweet oatmeal in the mornings. This morning I had Bacon Egg and Cheese Oatmeal. <br><br>1/2 c Oatmeal<br>1c. water<br>1 egg<br>Pepper to taste<br>Microwave high 3-5 minutes ( watch because this boils over so quickly on me)<br><br>Add 1/2 TBSP Bacon <br>1/2 TBSP shredded cheese or feta ( I used Kraft shredded Queso Blanco this morning)<br><br>Let this sit to allow the oatmeal to thicken and stir it all together. <br><br>Approximately 300 calories and protein! <em>4</e... Thu, 25 Oct 2012 13:14:00 EST 1/8 Cup = 2 Tbsp http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39777_18_cup_2_tbsp Did you know that 1/8 cup equals 2 Tablespoons? Many Coffee Measures are the same amount. Check yours, and see if you can turn it into a multi-purpose tool!<br>This tidbit can save you some time when you're cooking. Thu, 18 Oct 2012 12:02:00 EST Savory Soup and Stew Secret http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39762_savory_soup_and_stew_secret When making stews, curry meat and soups, stir in a Frozen 10 ounce Block of Cooked Squash for unusual delicious taste, and fiber. It blends right in to beef, turkey, lamb, pork, and chicken Stews, Tomato based anything, Curries, and Soups. What a delicious difference for hardly any calories! Sun, 14 Oct 2012 09:26:00 EST alternatives to oil when cooking http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39728_alternatives_to_oil_when_cooking Instead of olive or other oil, use vermouth, broth or water. If you can't do without some oil and have to watch cholesterol, use coconut oil. Flax seed oil is also good if you need oil for salad dressing or other cold/room temp recipes. Flax seed oil doesn't do well when heated. Wed, 10 Oct 2012 01:45:00 EST Cook a meal in the slower cooker and have leftovers for lunch http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39726_cook_a_meal_in_the_slower_cooker_and_have_leftovers_for_lunch Cooking a meal in the crockpot on Sunday/ Monday gives you an inexpensive dinner as well as leftovers for lunch. Tue, 9 Oct 2012 19:17:00 EST Maple Flakes http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39646_maple_flakes I love Maple flakes. They taste great on my oatmeal. You can also add it to yogurt, sprinkle it on fresh fruit or berries. Add a small amount to sweeten cream or flavor your stir-fry. A small amount goes a long way. <br><br>The serving size is 2 teaspoons that are only 10 flavor pack calories. I rarely add more than a 1 teaspoon to my oatmeal. <em>4</em> Sun, 30 Sep 2012 20:52:00 EST FIXING MASHED POATOES http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39622_fixing_mashed_poatoes When i fix mashed potatoes i use chicken bullion and not milk or butter in them , the bullion gives then a better flavor and no salt i do use pepper , <em>4</em> Wed, 26 Sep 2012 22:08:00 EST Stop Throwing out spinnach/lettuce? http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39617_stop_throwing_out_spinnachlettuce I have saved so much $$ by just putting the spinach in a plastic food storage lidded container with a paper towel on the bottom and another on top of the produce! Keeps up to 2 weeks! Works on sliced bell pprs too! Dry off the inside of the lid each time you open and use some of the contents. It's the water/wetness that spoils the produce before you have time to use it all. Amazing. Wed, 26 Sep 2012 00:20:00 EST chicken broth http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39607_chicken_broth I cook beans and peas in low sodium /99% fat free chicken broth. Sun, 23 Sep 2012 20:01:00 EST Easy Corn on the Cob http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39601_easy_corn_on_the_cob I tried out the method for cooking corn on the cob recommended by a friend... and boy is it a winner. You cook the corn in the microwave. Just put the corn in the microwave oven right in the husk and zap it for 4 minutes per cob. Take it out (use an oven mitt.. it will be HOT), cut off the end (where it was attached to the stalk) and then just shake the corn out of the husk. It will slide out without a problem and NO SILK attached. It was yummy too.. no fuss... no mess. <br><br> <em>104... Fri, 21 Sep 2012 23:27:00 EST Mac and cheese http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39550_mac_and_cheese I'm a huge mac and cheese eater, which pretty much does nothing for me. I've learned to throw in veggies and use half the cheese sauce to make more of a lite, spring pasta. Wed, 12 Sep 2012 07:15:00 EST Cook or bake less often. http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39546_cook_or_bake_less_often So, I know this sounds crazy, but I've found I'm better able to stay on track when I cook less frequently. I'm an excellent baker and have a hard time not eating the cookies, rolls, and breads of my labors. Baking less means I eat the veggies in the house, not all those calorie-laden carbs. Tue, 11 Sep 2012 23:33:00 EST Quick salads http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39495_quick_salads Making a side salad can take a lot of time. Instead, purchase a cheap compartmentalized serving tray with a lid (less than $5 at Walmart), cut up your lettuce and a few veggies of your choice and keep them in the fridge in this serving tray. Mon, 10 Sep 2012 18:01:00 EST Does Brown Bag Popcorn Work? http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39454_does_brown_bag_popcorn_work How many places have you read that you can take a lunch sack and popcorn kernals and make your own DIY microwave popcorn? I never believed it - but it's true! Kernals in a brown bag, fold the top a few times and pop for about 2.5 minutes - today I topped mine with feta and smoked paprika! YUM! Mon, 3 Sep 2012 19:10:00 EST Granola flavor without all the calories http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39449_granola_flavor_without_all_the_calories Instead of having a cup of granola which is 600 calories have a .75 cup serving of bran flakes with two Tablespoons of granola and you get the taste plus save over 400 calories. Check out my modified Alton Brown SP recipe it is really good. I have also started adding chia seeds to to granola and bran cereal to up the protein and fiber. Sun, 2 Sep 2012 23:21:00 EST "Frosting" an Avocado Half http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39436_frosting_an_avocado_half A whole avocado may be too much for 1 meal. How to keep the second half from turning brown? "Frost" it with Greek yogurt! The thick yogurt creates an airtight layer, and the avocado stays fresh, green and delicious--ready to eat as a healthy "frosted" snack, or to be mashed up for yogurt-based guacamole. To make it even more elegant, sprinkle the "frosting" with dill weed or paprika. Fri, 31 Aug 2012 21:33:00 EST Easy, Breezy Clean-up Routine http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39416_easy_breezy_cleanup_routine The first thing I do (learned from my mother) is to fill my sink half-full of hot water and detergent. That way I can clean up as I go while items are fresh and keep my work space free of items no longer in use. <em>306</em> Tue, 28 Aug 2012 12:52:00 EST Skip social eating http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39414_skip_social_eating Telling my husband not to cook or wait for me and instead suggest to eat salads together. Tue, 28 Aug 2012 09:04:00 EST Celery storage http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39410_celery_storage When you buy celery, try taking it out of the plastic bag, rinsing it, and replacing it putting the leafy end in first. That way you can pull the root end out an inch or two, cut off as many stalks as you need and slide the rest back to the bag easily. Mon, 27 Aug 2012 23:15:00 EST Importance of clean pots & pans http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39407_importance_of_clean_pots_pans It's been almost 2 months that I haven't dragged my family to any fast food chain or restaurant due to my unpreparedness. By cleaning my pots & pans IMMEDIATELY after each use, I can attack my kitchen with eagerness & cook healthier meals over and over. Mon, 27 Aug 2012 00:51:00 EST Keep Toss Salad Fresh Longer Use A Silicon Veggie Steamer http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39382_keep_toss_salad_fresh_longer_us_silicon_veggie_steamer I make a big bowl of toss salad and store the left overs in a bowl that has a silicon steamer pressed into the bottom. The steamer I have has little silicon legs so any water that drips off of the salad ends up below the steamer and the leaves stay fresh longer. Wed, 22 Aug 2012 21:07:00 EST Make Your Own Coffee Pods http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39357_make_your_own_coffee_pods If you have a coffee maker that uses single use coffee pods and you're having a hard time finding them as I am or just find them too expensive...make your own. I found tea bags (no tea, just the bags) at Whole Foods (100 for $4.99). They are larger than the single tea bags so I trimmed the bag a bit. Open the bag and spoon in 4 tbsp of coffee and fold over and staple at the fold. I made 40 pods for $6.57 or 17 cents each. Mon, 20 Aug 2012 00:13:00 EST Keep Salad Greens Crisp http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39356_keep_salad_greens_crisp Making your salad ahead is a time saver and keeping the greens fresh and crisp is easy. Wet a few paper towels with cold water then squeeze out the excess. Lay the paper towels over the salad and add a few ice cubes to keep cool. To serve just take the paper towels off and discard. Your salad will be nice and crisp. Sun, 19 Aug 2012 23:53:00 EST Use less sugar http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39342_use_less_sugar When cooking and baking I reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe down at least a third. Some recipes can even be made with no sugar at all. I started doing this because I can not stand the taste of the artificial sweeteners. Fri, 17 Aug 2012 22:47:00 EST Hide Veggies in meat loaf http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39341_hide_veggies_in_meat_loaf Saute onions, mushrooms, finely minced carrots til brown then mix with ground beef or turkey along with seasonings, rolled oats and an egg. This is a great way to stretch the meat and sneak veggies into everyone's diet. We also like chopped jalapenos added to the sauted veggies. Fri, 17 Aug 2012 21:05:00 EST Cooking With Sweetners http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39340_cooking_with_sweetners Cooking with Equal Fri, 17 Aug 2012 17:49:00 EST Rinse your ground beef http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39324_rinse_your_ground_beef Studies show rinsing mince after cooking drastically reduces fat! See the link below for the facts. You can buy the less expensive mince and rinse it to get the same result as lean mince<br>http://www.foodsafety.wisc.edu/as<BR>sets/pdf_files/reducing%20fat%20in%20g<BR>round%20beef.pdf Thu, 16 Aug 2012 06:00:00 EST Mocha Coffee? http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39318_mocha_coffee Mocha Flavored Brew without the calories Wed, 15 Aug 2012 19:25:00 EST tomato soup http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39315_tomato_soup try adding dried basil too tomato soups for a zesty taste Wed, 15 Aug 2012 14:25:00 EST Brownies vs. Cookies http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39314_brownies_vs_cookies When asked to bring either cookies or brownies to a party or function, I bake brownies - one can't go 'missing' out of a pan without anyone noticing, the way a cookie out of a pile on a plate can. <br> <em>211</em> Wed, 15 Aug 2012 14:16:00 EST Beef http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39283_beef Let cooked roasts stand at room temperature 10-15 minutes before carving to let the juices settle. The meat will firm up for easier slicing. Wet your hands in cold water before mixing or shaping ground beef and the meat won't stick to them. Sat, 11 Aug 2012 17:07:00 EST Getting the "freshness" out of Meats http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39260_getting_the_freshness_out_of_poultry Try this before seasoning and cooking your meat or fish. To get the freshness out of your poultry or seafood place contents in a bowl fill with a little water and squeeze a lemon or lime (juice) in it let sit for 5 mins and rinse. IF you dont have lemon use 1/2 cup flour make sure the water is covering your meat before adding flour. Use your hands to break down the lumps in the water and mix your meat. Rinse well & You can now season your meat and cook. Fri, 10 Aug 2012 12:36:00 EST Cornflake your Fish http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39259_cornflake_your_fish For added crunch with fewer calories, use cornflakes instead of breadcrumbs to coat fish fillets. Not only do cornflakes contain fewer calories than breadcrumbs, it's less absorbent and give the fish a lighter covering, and the fish will soak up less oil. Fri, 10 Aug 2012 12:28:00 EST Rice http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39206_rice Rice<br><br>Add a teaspoon of lemon juice to each quart of water used to cook rice. The grains will stay white and separated. If you want your rice to be light, fluffy and separated, try cooking with a teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice. Tue, 7 Aug 2012 16:05:00 EST seasoning and drinking http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39193_seasoning_and_drinking When seasoning only add salt and pepper once food is cooked and add to taste.<br><br>Also to increase your drinking always have a glass of water with every meal even snacks and make sure the glass is empty before you finish. The water will quench your thirst and reduce your appetite. <em>91</em> Sun, 5 Aug 2012 11:10:00 EST Instead Of Salad Dressing/Oil... http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39189_instead_of_salad_dressingoil I saw a friend's mom dip her fingers in a bowl of water and sprinkle it over her salad, then she would season her salad. I now do the same, and I use a mixture of different spices to add flavor. The water gives the spices and seasonings something to stick to, without turning the salad soggy! <em>48</em> Sat, 4 Aug 2012 16:18:00 EST Stop boilovers http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39185_stop_boilovers Before filling your pasta pot with water, spray it with nonstick spray. It will prevent the water from boiling over. <em>198</em> Sat, 4 Aug 2012 12:43:00 EST Create an Album of Healthy Meals you LOVE to eat! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39176_create_an_album_of_healthy_meals_you_love_to_eat Take photos and create a small album of meals you love to eat.... then on a photo sized piece of paper write out (or type) the ingredients and instructions and add to the album. When you are stumped what to have for breakfast, lunch or dinner just take a look at your album for inspiration! Thu, 2 Aug 2012 00:03:00 EST crock pot cooking http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39171_crock_pot_cooking want to use your crock pot but hate to clean it afterwards? try crock pot liners cook eat then throw it away (in the recyclable can that is) Wed, 1 Aug 2012 08:58:00 EST Freeze char-grilled peppers http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39166_freeze_chargrilled_peppers char-grill peppers (red/yellow/green bell peppers) then open freeze. When frozen put into a plastic box. I buy loads when they are on offer and cook them on a tray in the oven whilst cooking something else. When they are cooled, I pop the tray in the freezer. They stay sticky even when frozen, so they're best kept in a box rather than a baggie. Tue, 31 Jul 2012 05:34:00 EST Easy Soup Stock http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39155_easy_soup_stock After simmering or steaming vegetables, freeze the cooking liquid in baggies. When it's time to make soup, use up the baggies instead of canned broth--they're rich in vitamins, minerals, and give soups some one-of-a-kind flavor. Sat, 28 Jul 2012 13:44:00 EST Dill weed is the spice of life http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39146_dill_weed_is_the_spice_of_life I really enjoy dill weed mixed in with my mashed steamed cauliflower,and what a great tasting substitute instead of mashed potatoes. Love that Dill!!! <em>244</em> Fri, 27 Jul 2012 17:48:00 EST Use the Microwave http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39139_use_the_microwave Use the microwave for more than making popcorn and warming coffee! Cooking with your microwave is fast, healthy and keeps the heat down in the kitchen during the summer. <br><br>Despite what you may think, you don't have to use processed foods, either. I've made whole grains like brown rice and regular oatmeal, quick eggs for breakfast sandwiches, toasted nuts, melted dark chocolate for dipping fruit, baked apples and potatoes, and steamed spaghetti squash in minutes, all thanks to my microwa... Fri, 27 Jul 2012 14:36:00 EST Sauteeing Veggies http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39136_sauteeing_veggies Use water, not oil. You cut the cals, etc., but still have amazing veggies! :) Fri, 27 Jul 2012 13:23:00 EST Easy, healthy http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39080_easy_healthy_belgian_waffle_omelet Use a belgian waffle maker to cook up a quick omelet. Spray with olive or canola oil. Use 1/2 cup egg substitute. You can add spinach, mushrooms, onions, green pepper, turkey bacon, turkey sausage, etc. Allow to cook about 2 minutes then check....time may vary. Remove to a plate and top with a little bit of your favorite cheese and then fold and put a little bit more cheese on top (no more than a serving total though). It makes a quick, easy, fluffy omelet in no time.<br> <em>56</em> Sat, 21 Jul 2012 09:49:00 EST Freeze your drinks into cubes! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39035_freeze_your_drinks_into_cubes I make ice cubes of coffee, lemonade, tea, apple juice, etc. Your drinks stay cold and not watered down! Plus, you can mix and match. Say, lemonade cubes in your tea? Sat, 14 Jul 2012 17:30:00 EST Baking bags http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39030_baking_bags When roasting your favorite dinner use a baking bag. you will love it when it is time to do the washing up! Fri, 13 Jul 2012 06:34:00 EST Summer time farmer's markets! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39023_summer_time_farmers_markets A great way to eat healthy, and enjoy good foods is to take advantage of the summer time farmer's markets! Check your local papers/ towns for times and dates where locals sell their fresh, organic, healthy goods! It's can be a fun event for the family; help support local farmers, and help your community; and if you have never tasted a locally grown tomato; your salads and taste buds have been missing out! A good opportunity to try something new, and cost many goods are cost effective! Wed, 11 Jul 2012 22:33:00 EST Quickie Zest Substitute http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39009_quickie_zest_substitute Need orange zest but don't have any oranges in the house? Try this handy tip. <br><br>When frozen it can be used to add extra orange flavor to any recipe or great for using in punches! Tue, 10 Jul 2012 14:36:00 EST Healthy Homemade French/Catalina Dressing http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=39005_healthy_homemade_frenchcatalina_dressing Mix 3/4 portions of Greek yogurt with 1/4 portion of Spicy Low Sodium V-8 juice (or just enough to thin as desired) for a low cal/low sodium red salad dressing. Use for salad, or for a chicken/fish marinade or sauce. V-8 is always in my refrigerator for a quick veggie fix, anyhow! Mon, 9 Jul 2012 23:07:00 EST Easy to slice flank steak http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38989_easy_to_slice_flank_steak Freeze the raw steak for at least an hour before cooking. Remove from freezer when partially frozen (till just "icy") and then It will slice like butter. <em>252</em> Thu, 5 Jul 2012 23:52:00 EST Making Hard-Boiled Eggs http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38986_making_hardboiled_eggs Instead of boiling eggs, heat the oven to 325 and put the eggs in a cupcake pan and bake for 25-30 mins. The shells come off amazing. I saw this on pinterest and had to try it and it worked like a charm! Best thing I found on pinterest. Thu, 5 Jul 2012 21:06:00 EST Grate carrots http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38978_grate_carrots Grate carrot into Spagetti Bol or into patties to add sweetnes, moisture carrots are usually cheaper, have less callories than meat Wed, 4 Jul 2012 19:51:00 EST Keep Your Hands Clean While Making Hamburger or Turkey Burger Patties http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38977_keep_your_hands_clean_while_making_hamburgerturkey_burger_patties Here's a tip to keep your hands (relatively) clean while shaping hamburger patties: Wet your hands before you start to handle the ground meat. The patties will be more pliable, and your hands won't pick up nearly as much grease or food particles. Wed, 4 Jul 2012 19:27:00 EST Juicy Yet Healthy Burgers http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38970_juicy_yet_healthy_burgers Burgers made with 96% lean beef or with ground turkey can be as dry as sawdust--and as tasteless. Add a dash or two of olive oil to the raw meat to make them as juicy as those decadent no-no burgers. Tue, 3 Jul 2012 15:52:00 EST Georgia Sweet Corn on Sale Now http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38960_georgia_sweet_corn_on_sale_now ..So buy it! Blanch the shucked ears in boiling water for 4-5 minutes; let them cool down; then cut off the kernels. Portion the corn into 2-cup ziplok baggies (or whatever measure is convenient for you), and freeze them. Thaw for chowder, muffins, salads or sides as needed. Sun, 1 Jul 2012 15:43:00 EST Plan meals http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38959_plan_meals Plan your meals for a week b4 you go shopping, it makes your shopping list easier to stick to and you're less likely to be throwing food away <em>190</em> Sun, 1 Jul 2012 06:49:00 EST Mock Constant Comment Tea http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38933_mock_constant_comment_tea Have you just eaten a navel orange and have a nice, thick juicy peel begging to be used? Brew up a pot of green tea (think of the antioxidants in it!), and throw in the orange peels! Let it steep until it gets a bit mushy, then throw it out. Refrigerate the tea, and voila! icy refreshment for the hot summer ahead. No sugar needed. Tue, 26 Jun 2012 15:17:00 EST Rice Cooker--Triple+ Duty http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38931_rice_cookertriple_duty Cook more than just rice in a Rice Cooker: Why hide away that rice cooker you got as a shower gift and only use it once in a while! I discovered it cooks hot cereals like Cream of Wheat or Red Mill grains--quickly, easily, with no boilover to clean up afterwards. I use mine to cook beans after soaking them--again, easy and no boilovers. And why not easily and gently poach a chicken breast the same way? Mon, 25 Jun 2012 16:45:00 EST Quinoa recipes needed http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38930_quinoa_recipes_needed I would like anything special or interesting you do with quinoa recipes .I really like it but dont know what to do with it!Also,I've gotten grains of sand in it before which was not pleasant scraping on my teeth! Mon, 25 Jun 2012 15:27:00 EST Keep cooked pulses in the freezer http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38918_keep_cooked_pulses_in_the_freezer Pre-soak a big batch of pulses for the recommended 8 hours (overnight?), then cook for three quarters of the recommended time. Cook, bag in portions and freeze. Then you've got cooked pulses when you need them. Thu, 21 Jun 2012 03:09:00 EST Parsley freezes well http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38917_parsley_freezes_well If I ever see fresh parsley on the reduced counter I buy it and pop it straight into the freezer in a baggie. <br><br>When you take the bag out of the freezer, the leaves strip right off the stalk easily. No more chopping parsley, voila! Thu, 21 Jun 2012 03:03:00 EST Tips for adding nuts, etc. http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38915_tips_for_adding_nuts_etc When adding chocolate chips or nuts to a batter of any type, flour the added ingredients so that they will not sink to the bottom. Wed, 20 Jun 2012 10:32:00 EST Save Money on Tomato Paste http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38908_save_money_on_tomato_paste Often a recipe calls for less tomato paste than is in the can you bought. Not to worry - freeze the remainder in ice cube trays, using 1 Tbsp per "cube". Once frozen, put in a freezer bag and label. Keeps 2 to 3 months. Tue, 19 Jun 2012 13:57:00 EST kids in the kitchen http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38904_kids_in_the_kitchen let them help make a healthy meal and they will be more willing to try what they made. Tue, 19 Jun 2012 11:09:00 EST Cutting Small, Round Fruit Quickly http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38882_cutting_small_round_fruit_quickly Rather than cutting grapes, cherries or cherry tomatoes one by one, try this. Arrange the fruit close together on a cutting board. Take a flat object (such as the flat part of a plate bottom), and place on top of the fruit. Press firmly, but gently. Run a sharp knife through the fruit, halfway between the flat object and the cutting board. Voila! Several fruit cut at once. Sat, 16 Jun 2012 16:21:00 EST ER Chocolate http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38844_er_chocolate I keep a stash of 3 envelopes of instant no-fat, no-sugar hot chocolate mix at work for an afternoon when it's stressful so I don't visit the vending machines. One cup of hot chocolate sipped slowly usually does it. Sat, 9 Jun 2012 21:41:00 EST Sunday cooking http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38822_sunday_cooking To keep myself on track for the week I cook several items on Sunday to use for quick meals during the week. I boil 6-8 eggs and keep them at eye level for quick breakfasts or snacks. I cook a couple of chicken breasts and cut them up for salads or wraps. I cook some dishes like salsa chicken and turkey meatballs. This has really helped on busy weeknights to know there is a quick meal at home and no excuses to pick up fast food. <em>9</em> Tue, 5 Jun 2012 19:26:00 EST EASY GREEN BEANS http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38821_easy_green_beans WHEN YOU CAN NOT GET FRESH GREEN BEANS. I USE A CAN OF GREEN BEANS WITH LOW SODIUM, AND1CAN FAT FREE CHICKEN BROTH. I DRAIN THE GREEN BEANS AND COOK THEM IN THE CHICKEN BROTH. I COOK THEM UNTIL THE CHICKEN BROTH EVAPORATES IN THE GREEN BEANS. THEIR IS NO NEED FOR SALT OR BUTTER. THE GREEN BEANS ARE FULL OF FLAVOR... Tue, 5 Jun 2012 18:21:00 EST Keep Your Cilantro Fresh Longer http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38816_keep_your_cilantro_fresh_longer When you bring your cilantro home, trim a small amount off the bottom of the stems, remove any leaves near the bottom, and place the cilantro in a jar of water. Make sure no leaves get into the water. Place the jar in the refrigerator. Your cilantro will stay fresh up to 2 weeks! Tue, 5 Jun 2012 13:28:00 EST Roast veggies http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38812_roast_veggies When I'm baking rolls for my family's dinner, I also slide in a little pan of vegetables to roast for me. I especially love blanched brussels sprouts with olive oil just spritzed on them, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper. Carrots are amazing roasted a bit, too, with some onion slices.<br><br>I enjoy them instead of the rolls and don't feel deprived! Extras go in a lunch baggie for work the next day.<br><br>Watch them start snitching "my" veggies... Mon, 4 Jun 2012 10:07:00 EST Freeze Herbs and Other Fresh Seasonings http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38793_freeze_herbs_and_other_fresh_seasonings Do you like using fresh herbs in your cooking, but never use a whole pack? Waste money on those jars of ready chopped seasoning?<br><br>Save money and time by:<br><br>1) Preparing<br> Fresh Herbs - Finely chop <br> Fresh Garlic - Finely chop/press/grate/shred<br> Fresh Ginger - Finely chop/grate/shred<br> Citrus Rind - Finely chop/grate/shred<br> Stock & Sauces - Remove any surface flotsam/fat<br><br>2) Press/pour into an ice cube tray and freeze<br><br>3) Transfer to baggies ... Tue, 29 May 2012 21:26:00 EST Cut Down on Cooking Oil http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38792_cut_down_on_cooking_oil Put all of your oils in spray bottles, label them and adjust the spray to a mist. Use in place of cooking sprays - you'll need much less oil when you saute foods. Tue, 29 May 2012 16:35:00 EST Jazzing up a fruit salad http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38772_jazzing_up_a_fruit_salad Instead of using just raw fruit in a fruit salad, try adding some rhubarb stewed with a sweetener and its' juice, apple stewed with a teaspoonful of mincemeat, or a piece of stem ginger in syrup chopped finely with some lime juice as the base then add some fresh and canned fruit in juice. This gives a few more options for ringing the changes and if you want some topping use yogurt, low fat custard or low fat home made rice pud made with a sweetener. They are all good served cold for breakfas... Mon, 28 May 2012 12:36:00 EST Date your food! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38698_date_your_food Keep a Sharpie in your kitchen and label all your food with that day's date whenever you open a new package or when you're packing up leftovers. That way, you never have to question if something is still good (like that cottage cheese/yogurt container that got pushed to the back of the fridge or that yummy batch of chicken breast you pre-cooked for your workweek!). Saves you money and saves you from any potential tummy aches :) Tue, 15 May 2012 13:30:00 EST Economical cooking http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38658_economical_cooking I have found that most recipes can be made with far fewer ingredients than they call for, especially if you add spices. I do this because I can't afford to get extra ingredients, but I am desperately trying to eat healthy. So I leave out the things that would make the food cost more than the basic food itself, and if you spice it up, it's tasty anyway. Tue, 8 May 2012 10:56:00 EST Cut lots of veggies for a few days http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38657_cut_lots_of_veggies_for_a_few_days Cut up a few days worth of peppers, onions, carrots, etc that stay fresh for a number of days when in a sealed container. Prep lettuce for two days at a time. Then you only need to prep perishable veggies like cucumber daily.... Tue, 8 May 2012 01:59:00 EST Boiled Chicken http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38630_boiled_chicken Boil chicken in water or sodium free chicken broth. When done take a fork and knife and you can shred it apart. Store in an airtight container and it will last for days. The chicken stays tender and can be used in tons of ways for a great lean protein. I use this on salads and to to make quick meals when I'm low on time. Sun, 6 May 2012 19:14:00 EST Use less pasta http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38609_use_less_pasta When I'm cooking a dish where it calls for 4 ounces of pasta for two people I only add 2 ounces and it is always pleanty when added together with the rest of the veggies. Sat, 5 May 2012 10:07:00 EST Oatmeal for Breakfast http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38506_oatmeal_for_breakfast Planning is a great part of the weight loss and healthy eating journey. For breakfast, I normally have steel oats or Quaker oats for breakfast. I cook a large batch on Sunday and place a service in containers to last 3-5 days. I cook the oats in almond milk, with an apple, raisins, walnuts, and flax meal. Cooking with milk adds flavor/nutrients. It heats nicely in the microwave if topped with a tsp of milk. This is an easy "grab and go" meal. No more excuses for missing breakfast. Sun, 22 Apr 2012 21:46:00 EST Greek Yogurt Flavoring http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38497_greek_yogurt_flavoring I have heard people use honey, jello packet powder, fresh fruit etc. But have you tried... instant coffee crytals??? they blend right into the yogurt and it tastes delicious!!!! (I'm a coffee fanatic) I usually add a bit of splenda too (I use Greek Gods yogurt which is a bit more bitter) It's an awesome snack or even dessert! Sat, 21 Apr 2012 17:49:00 EST A new lemon chicken! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38492_a_new_lemon_chicken I love roasting chicken with lemon juice, but last night I had none. As a test, I poured Crystal Light lemonade over my chicken, and it was super moist with just a hint of lemon flavor. Next time I'll make the lemonade double strength, but this is wonderful and low cal! Sat, 21 Apr 2012 12:34:00 EST A new lemon chicken! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38493_a_new_lemon_chicken I love roasting chicken with lemon juice, but last night I had none. As a test, I poured Crystal Light lemonade over my chicken, and it was super moist with just a hint of lemon flavor. Next time I'll make the lemonade double strength, but this is wonderful and low cal! Sat, 21 Apr 2012 12:34:00 EST Veggie Water 2 http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38454_veggie_water_ii Cool and freeze the water from steamed or boiled veg to use as stock in soups. You could even pop the icecube into a bowl of soup or stew to cool it down. Fri, 13 Apr 2012 14:35:00 EST Easiest popcorn ever http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38374_easiest_popcorn_ever Use a plain brown paper bag, what I grew up calling a "lunch bag". Measure about 1/4 cup popcorn kernels into bag. Fold twice to close securely and tape with scotch tape. Place in microwave laying bag down. Microwave 1-1/2 minutes to 2 minutes on high. Watch close and don't let burn. If you must, use a butter flavor spray or something like "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" spray and season as desired or just eat plain. One bag plain is about 130 calories. Sun, 1 Apr 2012 20:34:00 EST Greek Yogurt http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38363_greek_yogurt Greek yogurt can be subbed for many things: Mix 2 parts reg mayo w 1 part non-fat, plain Greek yogurt for tuna or chicken salad; yogurt w salsa & tortilla chips; yogurt instead of sour cream in any cold preparation. Cuts the fat & adds protein, calcium, & probiotics at the same time. ( <em>223</em> Sat, 31 Mar 2012 14:10:00 EST GREAT Protein Shake http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38212_great_protein_shake 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder<br>1 cup Kefir (plain)<br>1 cup unsweetened vanilla Almond Milk<br>1 cup frozen strawberries<br>1/2 of a frozen banana (or you can use fresh!)<br>1 T Sugar-Free Strawberry Preserves<br>3 packets Splenda<br><br><br><br>Blend all ingredients in blender and enjoy! This is my favorite "smoothie" recipe ever!! <em>345</em> Mon, 12 Mar 2012 12:47:00 EST Avoiding sampling while baking http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38195_avoiding_sampling_while_baking Accidentally discovered a way to keep myself from snitching batter / dough while baking - chew gum. I was chewing a strong-flavored gum and knew that the batter would taste nasty after that, so it was easy to resist! Sat, 10 Mar 2012 21:59:00 EST Thaw several meals in your fridge http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38190_thaw_several_meals_in_your_fridge I hate coming home from work and having to figure out what to cook... so to make things easier I take out several meals and thaw in the fridge. Having pork chops, chicken and hamburgers ready to go is a life saver. As I cook one up, I take another package out of the freezer. They stay fresh in the fridge for 3-4 days easily so I now always have something at hand ready to go to choose from. <em>30</em> Sat, 10 Mar 2012 10:43:00 EST Keeping your half banana from browning. http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38048_keeping_your_half_banana_from_browning Cut the banana with skin on. Take one half and put it flat on a small plate cut edge down. Press on it and then genetly try to pull it off. I should be stuck down like a suction cup. I use half a banana twice a day using this method to keep it fresh. I keep it out of the refrigerator. Pat in Maine. Fri, 24 Feb 2012 17:58:00 EST Using the core of the pineapple http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=38007_using_the_core_of_the_pineapple When we buy a whole pineapple and peel/core it to serve, we save the core and put it INSIDE a chicken or turkey while it's being roasted. GREAT flavor, keeps the bird moist and tender, and uses up what otherwise would have been thrown away. Mon, 20 Feb 2012 20:46:00 EST Veggie water http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37997_veggie_water After steaming or cooking veggies instead of throwing the water away I share the water with the plants outside. (Only veggie water) Share the nutrients! Sat, 18 Feb 2012 17:21:00 EST Spreading the chocolate thin. http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37988_spreading_the_chocolate_thin I use dark chocolate very often. I grind it in a coffee mill and put the powder in to a jar with a sprinkler top. Mine was off the parmesan cheese container. It fits many other glass jars. I sprinkle it on oatmeal, on microwaved peeled fruit like pears and Bananas and it goes great with peanut butter. Like a peanut butter cup sandwich in fact.. I meausre 1 tablespoon to sprinkle on fruits like strawberries,fruit cocktail with cool whip, yogurt or cottage cheese, it goes a long way. Fri, 17 Feb 2012 14:55:00 EST Soup Over Time http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37961_soup_over_time I keep a zip lock freezer bag in my freezer that I am adding veggies to each day. If I have a 1/4 cup of green beans left over from dinner,etc. I add to the soup bag. I do this with every veggie, bean, celery leaf, etc. When I'm craving a pot of homemade soup I already have enough ingredients and also do not waste any food during the week. I accumulate and keep frozen until ready to use. This works well for 1-2 person households that have a little left after each meal but not a serving ... Tue, 14 Feb 2012 14:04:00 EST Fast Dark Chocolate Drops http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37915_fast_dark_chocolate_drops Melt 6oz dark chocolate in micro. Add 1 cup Brown Rice Cereal and 1 cup of any combination of dried fruit and nuts. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto wax paper and cool. One is usually enough to satisfy and give a nice boost. Sat, 11 Feb 2012 12:07:00 EST Breaking eggs http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37897_breaking_eggs When a recipe calls for eggs, break them into a separate bowl. This saves dropping a shell or worse yet a bad egg into your batter. Sat, 11 Feb 2012 05:17:00 EST Quinoa buckwheat pasta http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37892_quinoa_buckwheat_pasta I discovered at Costco a gluten free quinoa pasta. Full of protein and fiber this is filling and tastes like regular spagetti. The down side is it is expensive and when you cook it the water gets very creamy looking so you must rinse the pasta when it is done. For my food needs though it is worth it! Fri, 10 Feb 2012 08:50:00 EST Immaginary Chocolate Brownie http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37834_immaginary_chocolate_brownie When I crave Chocolate Cake or Brownie I heat milk put in two table spoon of drinking chocolate and two sweeteners and then add two biscuits of wheatabix leave it for a while tastes very close to a chocolate brownie Sat, 4 Feb 2012 15:17:00 EST soup http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37800_soup i am always making soup. i love to make new recipes, that are low calorie and healthy. when i get hungry i always have that on hand so i heat a cup of that to hold me through until meal time. that way i don't get over hungry and eat something i shouldn't. <em>4</em> Wed, 1 Feb 2012 13:02:00 EST Pasta Lover http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37796_pasta_lover For the past 6 months I have been cooking with shirataki noodles instead of regular pasta. Depending on which shirataki noodle you get, they can be anywhere from 0 to 20 cal. per serving instead of the regular 200 cal per serving for regular pasta. <br>They taste like any other pasta...especially love using them with the "Hungry Girl" recipe for the Fettuccine Alfredo and adding chicken or shrimp with tons of veggies!<br> Tue, 31 Jan 2012 18:39:00 EST No More Scraping Pans!!! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37785_no_more_scraping_pans Bring water with 1 tsp EVO to a rolling boil - turn "OFF" burner ADD pasta and cover pan with lid. Let sit for 15 minutes and WALA!! Cooked noodles that slide right out of the pan. Nothing left on bottom to scrape out. Tue, 31 Jan 2012 11:18:00 EST Shred it to Spread it! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37762_shred_it_to_spread_it If you enjoy cheese, but don't want to overload..use a cheese grater to shred your block cheese! You won't use as much, and it will cover a larger area! Mon, 30 Jan 2012 07:08:00 EST Save time, money and feel great at the end of the day http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37757_save_time_money_and_feel_great_at_the_end_of_the_day Many of us work long hours, and the last thing we want to do is to get home and start cooking. <br>So, how would you feel if you get home to a delicious smell of a great dinner that is healthy, warm, and ready for you?<br><br>Aroma Digital rice cooke, $29.99 at Costco, Can be used as a slow cooker too. you can delay cooking. I cook rice, steam vegetables and fish, at once, I also cook soup, cakes, Ommelets there. it is dish washer safe. Sun, 29 Jan 2012 09:58:00 EST flaxseed oil http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37750_flaxseed_oil I love flaxseed but i couldnt incorprate the seeds into all my meals..it has a nutty flavor and can present itself if u use too much...so i switched to the oil..i add it to my sauces, chillis, smoothies..it doesnt change the flavor of my foods and i am getting well needed nutrition Sat, 28 Jan 2012 16:15:00 EST Homemade http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37748_homemade I try to make as much of my own foods as i can to eliminate the additives preservatives and salt...my own breads, soups, muffins, a few others...i freeze alot and it keeps more on track better because i know it is as fresh as can possibly be, additives free Sat, 28 Jan 2012 16:11:00 EST Almond Flour/Meal http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37737_almond_flourmeal This is an awesome replacement for bread crumbs and flour in almost every recipe. A little different for baking, but awesome for cooking. Get rid of all those carbs, add some protein, and it actually adds a lot of flavor!!! I always keep a bag in the house... keeps longer in the fridge. Sat, 28 Jan 2012 01:07:00 EST Ice Cream http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37735_ice_cream I am an ice cram a hillier. No matter what flavor it is I love it. With the exception of black liquorice. That could be how I put on so much weight. Ice cream and a lot of medications. The I discovered Skinny Cow. Skinny Cow is the Dieters dream. It comes in many flavors and my favorite is chocolate truffle. <em>4</em> Fri, 27 Jan 2012 18:34:00 EST vegetable substitute for pasta http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37725_vegetable_substitute_for_pasta I like spaghetti squash instead of pasta. It is easy to prepare and is yummy with a simple homemade tomato/herb sauce. Fri, 27 Jan 2012 06:28:00 EST Peanut butter cup...sorta http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37656_peanut_butter_cupsorta I mixed 1/2 c plain Greek yogurt and 2 Tbsp peanut butter with a bit of Truvia and mixed well. Add a bit of chocolate chips and it tastes just like a peanut butter cup. It is great since they are my weakness! Fri, 20 Jan 2012 16:30:00 EST Sugar free white chocolate syrup http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37642_sugar_free_white_chocolate_syrup Amazing coffee syrup found at Walmart. There are several sugar-free syrups with no calories, but so far the white chocolate is my favorite!!! This is amazing in the morning I make a strong cup of coffee, add the peppermint mocha creamer (another amazing find) and the white chocolate syrup. It makes me feel as though I am getting something NAUGHTY, with 62 calories!!! <em>287</em> Thu, 19 Jan 2012 14:20:00 EST Breakfast Muffins to Go http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37630_breakfast_muffins_to_go I have a healthy bran muffin recipe that I just love. On a Saturday morning I'll quadruple the recipe and make 4 dozen muffins. Pop two into a sandwich bag, put all the sandwich bags into a gallon freezer bag. When I am running short of time or need a healthy snack, remove a sandwich bag. Micro for one minute or just eat it at work. <br><br>No more morning vending machines or drive thrus!<br><br>Here's the recipe with a picture:<br><br>http://recipes.sparkpeople<BR>.com/recipe-detail.asp... Wed, 18 Jan 2012 17:51:00 EST Less calories , same oil http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37617_less_calories_same_oil In order to benefit from Olive oil and not get as many calories:<br><br>Use 2Tb spoon of olive oil together with lemon juice as a salad dressing, <br><br>Whenever you need to use oil, spray it <br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><b<BR>r><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><BR><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><b<BR>r><br><br><br><br>; Tue, 17 Jan 2012 19:35:00 EST Quick Brown Rice http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37572_quick_brown_rice I cook 2-3 cups of dry brown rice at once and spread a thin layer on baking sheets. I pop them into the freezer and after a few hours I take them out and break up the rice. I put it into a freezer bag or container and keep it in the freezer. This way I have a bag of individually frozen brown rice. I can scoop it out and thaw it or pop it into the microwave. It also helps with portion control! Sun, 15 Jan 2012 15:32:00 EST Make veg more interesting http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37512_make_veg_more_interesting I love fresh vegetables and quite often eat them raw after picking them (we grow a lot of our own). But sometimes you want a bit more oomph! Especially if you're hungry. <br>Buy a ready made curry powder from an indian specialty shop (there are heaps to choose from!) and throw it in with whatever veggies and a tin of chopped tomatoes. Serve with rice. You're well under 300 cals per serve, so enjoy with half a cup of cooked rice. Delish! <em>4</em> Thu, 12 Jan 2012 07:41:00 EST Making Eggs to fit your muffin! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37471_making_eggs_to_fit_your_muffin Mix your eggs in a bowl and set aside. Saute any veggies (onions, mushrooms, etc.,) set aside. Using the bands from canning jar lids, place top side down on a warm skillet. After the bands have warmed up, spray pan and inside of bands down with Pam. Place 1-2 Tablespoons of veggies in each band. Pour enough egg over the top to almost fill the band (about 1/4 c. or 4 Tablesppons). Using a fork, move the veggies around a little. (This will help keep the veggies attached.) Tue, 10 Jan 2012 02:11:00 EST Red lentils are quick to cook and very healthy! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37468_red_lentils_are_quick_to_cook_and_very_healthy I used to hate cooking green or yellow lentils because they took so long. Red lentils are done in 20 minutes! I add onion, garlic, tomato, spinach and whatever other vegetable is in my fridge to them. I also use different Asian spices which makes them taste great. It's healthy and affordable! Mon, 9 Jan 2012 19:01:00 EST whole grain pasta http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37462_whole_grain_pasta for added flavor, boil the pasta in chicken or veg stock and go a min or two past the recommended cook time Mon, 9 Jan 2012 08:26:00 EST Cookbook http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37437_cookbook I don't have a secret just a comment. I'm going to create a new cookbook from the recipes here on the Spark website. I cannot afford to buy anything at the moment due to very low funds but I can save the recipes that look good to me that my family will eat. I will print them out one at a time and if they are liked I will put them in a page protector and put them in a 3 ring binder. I can't believe there are so many wonderful recipes here that are good for you that my family will eat. Sat, 7 Jan 2012 10:34:00 EST Brown Rice http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37417_brown_rice So I decided to traded white rice for brown rice as a way of being healthy but i had my doubts since a lot of people claim brown rice has no taste. So I decided to use coconut milk to flavor up my brown rice. I can tell you that its delicious and I have never regretted it. Sometimes i add some turmeric for color & flavor or some curry powder. For one cup of brown rice, I use half a can of coconut milk, then a cup & a half of water but simmer the heat (btwn low & medium). If am cooking for mor... Fri, 6 Jan 2012 03:52:00 EST Satisfying Sweet Tooth http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37415_satisfying_sweet_tooth I am a mindless grazer. So my husband bought me a one of the bite size cup cake pans. I have made muffins and bite size brownies and if I get a sweet tooth I eat just 1. I also keep them hidden so that they are out of sight and out of mind. Fri, 6 Jan 2012 00:11:00 EST Vegtable soup http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37397_vegtable_soup Making a vegetable soup and eating it with a meal really helps make you feel full and its so yummy. I added a dollop of daisy fat free sour cream and a splash of tapitia. That's how i lost the 85 pounds I lost 5 years ago, which I spent the last 3 years finding- back on track and excited about being healthy again! <em>306</em> Wed, 4 Jan 2012 22:08:00 EST Fruit to Go http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37367_fruit_to_go I commute an hour every morning to work. I found that if I skipped breakfast, I would be in the closest drvie through as soon as I hit the city. Now I make a containter of fruit to go with me, and I do it the night before. Peel oranges, clean berries or grapes, and sometimes in the morning I'll add a sliced apple - whatever I can eat as finger food on the road. I often get in 3 fruit servings in the morning, have a fat free yogurt at work, and I'm set! Wed, 4 Jan 2012 11:35:00 EST Muffin tin to the rescue http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37365_muffin_tin_to_the_rescue My muffin tin holds 6 - 1/2 cup portions. I freeze leftover dinner in the muffin tin and when it is frozen I pop it out into a container to keep in the freezer. It is great having pre-measured portions available!! <em>4</em> This is helping me with portion control. Wed, 4 Jan 2012 11:25:00 EST Lighten Up: 20 Tasty & Healthy Recipes for the New Year from Mr. Food http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37342_lighten_up_20_tasty_healthy_recipes_for_the_new_year_from_mr_food Per website, "healthy appetizers & bites and soups & salads to easy main dish recipes & light easy desserts. Great-tasting recipes are simple to make, so it's easier to eat smart this year. Our lighter versions taste decadent but will keep you on track, whether looking to lose weight or simply eat healthier. Also got the tools needed to make healthy choices: include an informative guide on sizing up a serving & a portion, and each recipe in free eCookbook features complete nutritional informa... Wed, 4 Jan 2012 03:46:00 EST better mayo http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37314_better_mayo I just don't care for the taste or consistency of low cal/low fat/canola/fat free or whatever mayos. To satisfy mayo cravings, I have two suggestions:<br> - cut regular mayo 50/50 with fat free yogurt - immediate 50% savings and a snappier but perfectly "mayo-like" taste<br> - try fat free Miracle Whip. Since it doesn't taste like mayonnaise anyway, thre change in taste doesn't bother me. Mon, 2 Jan 2012 03:02:00 EST Cream cheese http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37299_cream_cheese Try using fat free cream cheese (available at Walmart) instead of butter and cream. One serving is 30 calories and of course no fat. It's really good on a baked potato instead of butter, and I have also used it to make Alfredo sauce and to make the creaminess for chowder soups. Sat, 31 Dec 2011 11:07:00 EST Crystal light snow cone http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37297_crystal_light_snow_cone Grab your blender or Magic Bullet equivalent. Put in some ice, water, and a Crystal Light packet or low cal drink packet of your choice. Throw in some fruit if you want. Tastes just like a snow cone but with very few calories. Satifies the sweet tooth/ice cream craving as well. Sat, 31 Dec 2011 07:14:00 EST Yummy...Pizza alternative! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37288_yummypizza_alternative I see so many people shunning pizza, as I am looking through the site.<br><br>If you love pizza, portabello mushrooms is your secret to still having pizza! I take the stems off 2 of largest mushrooms I can <br>find. I bake them at 400, about 20 minutes. You want all the water to evaporate, if they still seem wet out of the oven, blot them with paper towels. Next, pizza sauce about 1 tsp up to 1 tbsp. Dice finely veg, meat, grate mozzarella. Mix together and pile on caps. Bake til bubbly! yum... Fri, 30 Dec 2011 18:03:00 EST Unleash the power of Greek Yogurt http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37283_unleash_the_power_of_greek_yogurt Use greek yogurt (which is fat free and high in protein) in place of cream, mayonnaise, and sour cream when you cook. Mix plain greek yogurt with ranch seasoning to enjoy fat free dip, and add a little skim milk to make a ranch dressing. It can be added to soups, sauces, dips, and drinks to add a little creaminess without the fat. Fri, 30 Dec 2011 10:42:00 EST Prepare lots of onions, Microwave , cool and freeze. http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37254_prepare_lots_of_onions_microwave_cool_and_freeze This way you only smell up the house once in a couple of weeks. They bother my eyes but I actually get used to them after a while.I chop them and cook in microwave on High 6 minutes for 2 cups measured.Cool and put in bags or containers and you have Onions ready to go for soup or omelettes for a couple of weeks.It really goes fast especially if you have a dicer or slicer. I do 10 pounds at once. Flatten your freezer bags and it takes up even less space and thaws quickly.These caramelize well ... Tue, 27 Dec 2011 13:13:00 EST Get Boiling Faster http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37249_get_boiling_faster Need to bring water to a boil before adding an ingredient? You probably know that covering your pot with a lid causes water to boil faster. I go one step further: My tea kettle is fully enclosed. I add the water to the tea kettle and put it on the stove. Mon, 26 Dec 2011 17:43:00 EST Easy way to eat watermelon http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37235_easy_way_to_eat_watermelon I love watermelon, but hate cutting it! I now cut one in half then scoop out pieces with an ice cream scoop or melon baller and put them in a tupperware! So much easier! Thu, 22 Dec 2011 18:12:00 EST organization is key http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37194_organization_is_key I keep all my cubards organized so I'm not frantically looking for that one ingrediant. It's a huge help and only take a few minutes to do. Fri, 16 Dec 2011 09:15:00 EST Cook only 2 days a week. http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37172_cook_only_2_days_a_week I make 1 or 2 days my days to cook for the week. It takes just as long to cook oatmeal for one day as for the whole week. I then divide it into serving size containers and just 45 seconds in the microwave and I have breakfast. Can do this with everything. Some weeks I cook several times a week and freeze for a sick day when I don't have the strength to make toast. (NOT a joke) Mon, 12 Dec 2011 20:32:00 EST Recipes http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37170_recipes When I am just sitting and relaxing, I look up recipes and then read all the comments and add them to my planner. I have found that my husband loves the idea that I am making new dishes and had no clue that they were healthier. I never tried substituting applesauce for oil before. I tried it with pumpkin bread. WOW that was awesome. Try new things and healthier recipes. We never eat out any more because I can make most of my favorite recipe now at home and I know what is really in them Mon, 12 Dec 2011 20:16:00 EST Greek Yogurt in Salad Dressings http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37128_greek_yogurt_in_salad_dressings Recently I've started using greek yogurt in place of mayo in salad dressing recipes. It knocks fat and calories way down and tastes better in my opinion, particularly with tangy dressings. My favorite so far is the Hidden Valley Ranch dry mix. 20 calories and 1 gram of fat per serving when substituting yogurt and nixing the mayo. Thu, 8 Dec 2011 06:46:00 EST Tear Free Onion Chopping http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37096_tear_free_onion_chopping Can you believe swimming helped my cooking? One day I realized swim goggles do well keeping chlorinated water from my eyes, so they could do the same with onion fumes. Indeed, they do! Your nose will still feel some pain, but I no longer dread seeing 'chopped onions' on the ingredients list of a recipe. Sun, 4 Dec 2011 19:33:00 EST SOUP'S ON! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37089_soups_on Staying on track was always easier when I turned to soup ( just watch the sodium if you are using canned) ESP good in winter , it can be a hearty lunch or stand in for supper when paired with salad or healthy sandwich /fruitbowl dessert!<br><br>Years ago I went to WW (Before the points PLUS) and they just basically had you make your own soup from veggies you like, low sodium LITE chicken broth and some canned tomato and spices ( DELISH!) You could make a lge pot for a few days or freeze ... Sat, 3 Dec 2011 16:27:00 EST Grocery Lists and Menus http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37082_grocery_lists_and_menus I make a Menu for 2 weeks every Pay Day. Today I found a site to help me organize my shopping lists into categories so make shopping easier.<br><br>http://www.freeprintablegro<BR>cerylist.com/ Thu, 1 Dec 2011 19:58:00 EST Homemade Bread Crumbs http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=37042_homemade_bread_crums Freeze a slice of whole wheat bread, then grate the frozen piece to make your own breading for meats. Cheaper and healthier than store-bought bread crumbs. Sun, 27 Nov 2011 18:30:00 EST Oatmeal http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=36818_oatmean Oatmeal is so versatile. Use it in place of bread crumbs in a meatloaf. Thicken soups with oatmeal. You will be pleasantly surprised and benefit from whole grain. Mon, 31 Oct 2011 11:44:00 EST fat free substitute!!! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=36788_fat_free_substitute i had the BIGGEST craving last night for brownies... so i gave into the craving and decided i would reward myself for hard work... one won't hurt and you can't deprive yourself! then i realized i was out of veggie oil... I then found that an amazing fat free substitute for veggie oil is applesauce! my brownies tasted great... and i was able to give into my craving (guilt free) i read online you can sub it in cakes as well! loved this and couldn't wait to share! Fri, 28 Oct 2011 17:14:00 EST Cereal http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=36738_cereal If your 1/2 or 2/3 cup of cereal looks bleak, add one cut up banana or 1/2 cups of berries to it. It'll fill the bowl and look like a lot of food. Mon, 24 Oct 2011 14:04:00 EST A little bit is better than none http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=36714_a_little_bit_is_better_than_none A little bit of butter - 1/2 pat on 1/2 of an English muffin, a few thin slivers of cheddar cheese - less than 0.5 oz on a fried egg, a few cranberries and 1 tb of chopped walnuts on a salad, seasoned rice wine vinegar with red pepper flakes instead of traditional salad dressing. Little things keep the color and flavor going but the calories down and contribute to permanent healthy changes that I can enjoy the rest of my life. No deprivation, no dieting, no "NOs." Stress free! <em>4</em... Sat, 22 Oct 2011 09:56:00 EST Frozen Dessert http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=36674_frozen_dessert If you have a penchant for ice cream or frozen desserts, why not make a Fruit slushy? I treat myself like a queen when I make these. Take a big wine goblet or fancy dessert glass, add frozen fruit (cherries, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, etc.). This is where you can splurge...either pour diet cranberry juice over the fruit, OR wine (if you work it into your daily calorie in-take!) and then eat it with a spoon! The liguid turns slushy. Sun, 16 Oct 2011 10:07:00 EST Tomato based sauce secrets http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=36568_tomato_based_sauce_secrets When I make tomato based sauces such as meat sauce or marinara they taste so much better with a little sweetness added. I found that pouring in a little balsamic vinegar gives a perfect hint of sweetness to balance the flavors, and the strong vinegar taste cooks off. Also, adding cinnamon makes a meat sauce great! Wed, 5 Oct 2011 00:00:00 EST Potato Salad http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=36381_potato_salad Boil potatoes with skin on then when cooked, the skin will peel right off. Much easier than peeling potatoes. Use a tiny bit of evoo, vinegar & add herbs for flavor..even a boiled egg for protein. Skip the mayonnaise. <em>4</em> Thu, 15 Sep 2011 23:44:00 EST X Marks the Spot! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=36372_x_marks_the_spot For easy peeling of tomatoes simply penetrate the skin of the tomato with a knife to make a "x" then add the tomato to boiling water and watch for when the skin peels back or spreads in a stretchmark-like manner!<br><br>X marks the spot, add the circle (tomato) to the pot! Thu, 15 Sep 2011 01:08:00 EST Sugar and Oil Substitution in Recipes http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=36356_sugar_and_oil_substitution_in_recipes As I'm sure a lot of people already know...you can use unsweetened apple sauce as an oil and sugar substitution in a lot of recipes. I've also started using Agave Nectar as a sugar substitute. You just have to adjust time and temp when using Agave. Tue, 13 Sep 2011 01:40:00 EST ZESTY GREEN BEANS http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=36313_zesty_green_beans ADDING A TBS, OR 2 OF KRAFT FREE ZESTY ITALIAN SALAD DRESSING INSTEAD OF MARGARINE OR BUTTER ADDS A UNIQUE FLAVOR AND YOU SAVE A FEW CALORIES. Fri, 9 Sep 2011 21:30:00 EST Low fat snack http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=36264_low_fat_snack Try slicing cucumbers and using them as a "chip" with salsa. Very tasty, crunchy and very low calorie. Just be careful about the sodium on the salsa you select. This fits the bill when others are eating tortilla chips with salsa. Mon, 5 Sep 2011 13:27:00 EST Self made flavored water for 0 calories http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=36249_self_made_flaovired_water_for_0_calories Every once in a while I get sick of plain water, but the flavored waters here in Germany are either full of sugar or artificial sweeteners. <br>I found out how to make my own 0 calorie flavored water threw accident!<br>We have great fruit teas here in germany, I use 5 bags of fruit tea on a pitcher of hot water and just let it cool down. Then I mix it with sparkling water and finished. Flavored Water! Sun, 4 Sep 2011 07:24:00 EST Weighing corn on the cob http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=36248_weighing_corn_on_the_cob Instead of cutting the corn off the cob, weigh your corn on the cob, eat the corn, weigh the leftover cob, subtract. Then you'll know exactly how much you've eaten. (I weigh in grams for accuracy.) Sun, 4 Sep 2011 04:16:00 EST whole grain yumminess http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=36149_whole_grain_yumminess I buy a pound of multi-grain dough & make "pizza bites". I divide the pound into 4 pieces & spread garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper, low fat cheese & some kind of lunch meat or leftover meat. I cook them until the cheese is melty & then cut them into very small pieces. Whenever I am hungry I grab 1 or 2 & they fill me up until the next meal. Every time I eat these I lose the next day. <br><br> <em>252</em> Fri, 26 Aug 2011 12:40:00 EST If you like potatoes but not the carbs try Radishes http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=36118_if_you_like_potatoes_but_not_the_carbs_try_radishes If you like those little red new potatoes but don't want to eat the starch try boiling some radishes. They taste so similar and fill you up. Haven't mashed um yet, but I like them with a little salt...Yum...<br> <em>148</em> Thu, 25 Aug 2011 18:40:00 EST Healthy Home Fry Alternative http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=36111_healthy_home_fry_alternative If you use firm eggplant, cubed small and fried dry in a cast iron pan with a bit of butter flavored Pam the texture and flavor is very close to a home fry and a lot healthier. If you're feeling adventurous you can throw in a little red pepper. Thu, 25 Aug 2011 10:42:00 EST Saute onions in the microwave before using the Saute Pan http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=36102_saute_onions_in_the_microwave_before_using_the_saute_pan I always precook Onions and other vegetable in the microwave oven before adding them to the sauté pan. I use one large Onion and it usually takes 5 minutes. Check at that time to see if they are soft and translucent. Carrots cut in pieces also do well this way they keep their bright Orange color. You can go on to Caramelize using just broth if you stir often. This way gives me the best Onion soup or stock for onion Gravy it gets to a deep brown. I love to eat French Onion soup in the winte... Wed, 24 Aug 2011 14:54:00 EST No More Tears! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=36048_no_more_tears When your slicing onions wear glasses, I wear sunglasses. It doesn't burn your eyes as bad. Thu, 18 Aug 2011 20:21:00 EST Use less fat http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=35931_use_less_fat If you want to save on use of fats and $$$ get an oil mister! They can be purchased on line (Amazon) and you can spray your pans, etc for cooking as well as use it on salads!! You will use less on your salad since it come out in a mist. Add rice vinegar (reg or seasoned), lemon and spices! <em>284</em> <em>286</em> Wed, 10 Aug 2011 03:24:00 EST Braggs Liquid Soy Seasoning has 0 calories and all-natural http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=35928_braggs_liquid_soy_seasoning_has_0_calories_and_allnatural Once I learned that on average a tablespoon of olive oil has about 120 calories, I started looking for other options for cooking and salad dressing, and I found Braggs. Now I use it in stirfrys, and on salads. Just drizzle it over your salad with some fresh lemon/lime and any fresh herbs/spice you like, and you will have created a 0 calorie salad dressing. Wed, 10 Aug 2011 01:24:00 EST Smaller Plates http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=35867_smaller_plates When serving food, use a smaller plate. (You can always go back for seconds.) Less food, better portion control. Since the plate looks full, you won't miss the larger portion. Sat, 6 Aug 2011 08:41:00 EST Ice Cream Scoop = Easy Portion Control http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=35859_ice_cream_scoop_easy_portion_control If you're watching your portion sizes of various foods at mealtimes, it can be tedious to use measuring cups. Here's a trick that's often used in cafeterias and professional kitchens: use an ice cream scoop with a retractable food release mechanism. They come in various sizes and make it easy to measure out a half cup serving or a tablespoon portion as long as you know how much the 'bowl' of the scoop contains (I've marked mine with permanent marker.) Quick, easy, and foolproof. Fri, 5 Aug 2011 02:52:00 EST CROCKPOT leftover grease cleanup! Amazing trick! http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=35856_crockpot_leftover_grease_cleanup_amazing_trick I have a huge, heavy crockpot that I love, but cleanup is a chore. Line a deep, medium-sized strainer with a large coffee filter. Place the strainer over the hole in the sink or a pot, if you're saving the broth. Pour the cooled liquid into the strainer. The coffee filter will catch the bay leaves, grease, etc. Toss the filter into a plastic bag, fill the crockpot with hot soapy water and immerse the strainer washing both at the same time. then go enjoy your evening! <em>104</em> Thu, 4 Aug 2011 15:48:00 EST Don't be afraid of oils http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=35855_dont_be_afraid_of_oils Although too much oil is bad for you, you do need some oil in your diet. Some nutrients and vitamins need oil to work properly in your body. <br>A 1/2 serving of light mayonnaise is not going to hurt your diet. Using enough olive oil so that meats like fish, chicken, and beef will not stick to the pan (1 teaspoon) is not going to wreck your calorie count either. <br>I know a lot of people like using the spray oils but using olive oil is actually quiet healthy in moderation and it tastes bett... Thu, 4 Aug 2011 15:36:00 EST Thin out your dressing http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=35765_thin_out_your_dressing If you tend to use more dressing than a serving, add a little water to your cream based dressing. This will thin it out enough to cover all your lettuce perfectly. Mon, 1 Aug 2011 17:16:00 EST Meat + soup + crockpot http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=35755_meat_soup_crockpot Pretty much any kind of meat (pork roast, pork chops, chicken breast, bone-in chicken, beef roast, etc.) can be put in the crockpot with pretty much any kind of "cream of X" soup (broccoli, mushroom, onion, potato) and will become a delicious meal. Mon, 1 Aug 2011 10:05:00 EST freezing food in silicone muffin pan http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=35714_freezing_food_in_silicone_muffin_pan I received silicon muffin pans for my wedding, and instead of using them to bake, I use them like big ice cube trays for food. When I have leftovers, like soup or beans, I freeze it in the pans, then when it is frozen, I put the "cubes" into a labeled freezer bag. Then, when someone wants a serving, they can just remove how much they want and heat it. I also freeze broth, pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, juice, etc. Thu, 28 Jul 2011 19:07:00 EST Planning http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=35708_planning Plan all your meals op forehand, so you can shop for the healthy stuff, and eat the right food Thu, 28 Jul 2011 13:24:00 EST Measure that Ladle PLUS http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=35680_measure_that_ladle_plus Before I had a look at Stage two and saw it was all about Measuring and being sure the portions were accurate, I decided to measure a few items I use in the kitchen. The ladle for beans plus. A few other easy serving utensils, ramekins, bowls, plus. Just keeps things a bit simpler.<br><br>cheers to healthy eating and cooking,<br>dDawn <em>302</em> Wed, 27 Jul 2011 17:20:00 EST Planning is Everything http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=35647_planning_is_everything I plan out what I am going to eat the next day before I go to bed. This helps me stay on track. Searching for something to eat when you are hungery leads to bad decisions. Wed, 27 Jul 2011 05:58:00 EST Adding Veggies to Ground Meat http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=35570_adding_veggies_to_ground_meat Add spinach, shredded carrot, tomato, <br>Make ahead ground meat for dishes in advance and freeze. Mix in some frozen chopped spinach, shredded carrot into meat mixture. Can use to make spaghetti sauce, meatballs, burgers, etc. It cooks in well, you can't really taste it! Great to get veggies into picky eater's diet. Sat, 23 Jul 2011 14:12:00 EST Adding Spinach to Ground Meat http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=35567_adding_spinach_to_ground_meat I buy a lot of ground turkey and make burgers and meatballs in advance and freeze them. The easiest way to add a secret serving of veggies is to mix in some frozen (but thawed) chopped spinach to the burger/meatball mixture. It cooks in perfectly and you can ensure even the pickiest eater that you can barely even taste it! Sat, 23 Jul 2011 11:40:00 EST Using up canned broth http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=35561_using_up_canned_broth Often a recipe will call for using only part of a can of broth. When that happens, rather than throw away the rest of the broth I add it to the cooking water for my next boiled or braised dish. This works especially well for starches, like rice, potatoes or pasta. Fri, 22 Jul 2011 23:16:00 EST Easy produce washing, drying, & prep. http://www.sparkpeople.com/secrets.asp?tip=35544_easy_produce_washing_drying_prep To save time I wash all my weekly produce in the sink at once and drain it in the dish drainer (it only held clean dishes). The dish drainer is large enough to handle the entire load, and the silverware cup is perfect for herbs, Swiss chard, celery, or carrots. I leave it all to drain for an hour, then prep the veg for cooking & put them into containers, dry & chop the parsley & put it into a jar, and I"m done 'til next week. The whole process takes 1/2 hour excluding drying time. Fri, 22 Jul 2011 04:46:00 EST