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MUFFINS REMAIN MOIST, TASTY WITH FEWER CALORIES, LESS FAT

SHARE MUFFINS REMAIN MOIST, TASTY WITH FEWER CALORIES, LESS FAT

Dear Jeanne: We really like these muffins. Can you reduce the fat content? Thanks.

- Johanna D., New Berlin, Wis.Dear Johanna: As requested, I reduced the fat in these large, delicious and moist muffins. Applesauce works very well to replace some of the fat, and egg whites instead of a whole egg also worked beautifully. I cut the amount of nuts in half but toasted them to heighten their flavor.

Dear readers: If you're looking for a Father's Day menu that the kids can prepare for Dad, these tasty tacos out of my new book, "Light and Hearty," published by Crown Trade Paperbacks, are ideal. If the children are too young to do the cooking, they can just spoon the cooked chicken mixture into the tortillas and still feel like they have made Dad's dinner themselves. These tacos are also wonderful for buffet parties of all types. Just fill the tortillas and let your guests add their own condiments to their tacos. As well as salsa, chopped fresh cilantro, diced onions, grated cheese and light sour cream are all good as taco toppings.

I have some delicious low-calorie, low-fat recipes for beans and legumes. You can make the most of these valuable foods by sending $3 and a stamped (52 cents), self-addressed, No.10 envelope to Beans, P.O. Box 5541, Riverton, NJ 08077-5541, and I'll send you my newest booklet, "Beans and Legumes for Every Occasion."

Jeanne Jones is a consultant on menu planning, recipes and new-product development for major hotels and spas. She is also the author of 22 cookbooks, most recently "Cook It Light: Pasta, Rice, and Beans" (Macmillan, $22).

Send your recipe for revision to:

Cook It Light

Deseret News

P.O. Box 1212

La Jolla, CA 92038

Please include a stamped (52 cents), self-addressed envelope.

ANY-FRUIT-WILL-DO MUFFINS

Streusel topping:

1/3 cup packed brown or granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

Muffins:

21/2 cups unbleached flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

11/3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

13/4 cups lightly packed fruit

To make topping, mix sugar and cinnamon in small bowl; add butter. Blend butter into dry ingredients until mixture looks like coarse, irregular crumbs with no lumps. Stir in nuts and set aside. (Note: Topping can be quadrupled and frozen.)

To make muffins, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and place rack in middle position. Grease 12-cup muffin pan lightly; use liners if necessary.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; set aside. Whisk sugar, oil and egg in large bowl, then whisk in buttermilk and vanilla. Whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients gently, to partially blend. Continue mixing batter with rubber spatula, scraping ingredients at bottom into batter. Fold in fruit. If batter seems too wet, add a few more tablespoons flour, up to 1/4 cup.

Fill each muffin cup to brim and sprinkle topping over batter. Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees F.; reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake until muffins are golden brown and spring back when lightly pressed, 10 to 12 minutes longer. Let muffins cool 5 minutes in pan, then transfer to wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 1 dozen.

BY-REQUEST FRUIT MUFFINS

Streusel topping:

1/4 cup packed brown or granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon corn-oil margarine

1/4 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts

Muffins:

21/2 cups unbleached flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

3 tablespoons canola oil

2 egg whites

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

13/4 cups lightly packed fruit

To make topping, mix sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. Blend margarine into dry ingredients until mixture looks like coarse, irregular crumbs with no lumps. Stir in nuts and set aside.

To make muffins, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and place rack in middle position. Spray 12-cup muffin pan with non-stick vegetable coating or use paper liners if desired.

In medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; set aside. In large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil and egg whites, then whisk in buttermilk, applesauce and vanilla. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients gently. Fold in fruit until just blended.

Fill each muffin cup to brim and sprinkle topping (about 1 tablespoon) over batter in each cup. Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees F.; reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake until muffins are golden brown and spring back when lightly pressed, 10 to 12 minutes longer. Let muffins cool 5 minutes in pan, then transfer to wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 1 dozen.

- Each muffin contains approximately: Original Recipe: 380 calories; 21 mg cholesterol; 17 gm fat; 231 mg sodium. Revised Recipe: 243 calories; 1 mg cholesterol; 6 gm fat; 242 mg sodium.

SOFT CHICKEN TACOS

1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds

2 medium onions, coarsely chopped (3 cups)

3 garlic cloves, finely minced (1 tablespoon)

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed

2 fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped (11/2 cups)

2 roasted jalapeno peppers, seeded, deveined and finely chopped (2 tablespoons)

1 (7-ounce) can chopped green chilies

1 teaspoon salt

18 corn or whole-wheat flour tortillas, warmed

41/2 cups salsa, optional

Toast cumin seeds in a heavy skillet over medium heat until golden brown. Stir occasionally and watch carefully. Set aside.

Combine onions and garlic in a large covered skillet or saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add a little water or stock if necessary. Add remaining ingredients (except for the tortillas and salsa) and cumin seed and cook until hot and bubbly and chicken is no longer pink, about 20 minutes. This is best if made a day ahead.

To serve, spoon 1/3 cup taco filling into each soft, warm taco and fold in half. Garnish with 1/4 cup of salsa, as desired.

- Each taco (without salsa) contains approximately 120 calories; 19 mg cholesterol; 2 gm fat; 347 mg sodium.