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A century from now, if Designated Dining Droids from the planet Epicure discover the volumes of weight-loss cookbooks that have been written, they'll probably be perplexed by our wierd reducing regimens.

The Grapefruit Diet won't seem too outrageous.But eating Light?

Pull the plug on that delicacy, Tom Edison!

Actually, there are a lot of folks today who think that "light" recipes have about as much appeal as a tungsten tureen.

Could it be that they haven't given lowfat cooking a chance?

Hey! Lowfat cooking is easy as pie. Er . . . a piece of cake . . . sort of.

The "lowfat movement" began after our generation suddenly discovered one day that the frumpy big-bunned bully following them around was their own shadow.

There are various ways to attack that bovine bully of bulge. All have to do with our eating habits.

You might call the drama "The Weigh We Were."

One version of "lightening up" is succinctly simplistic: Consume smaller portions of the finest foods you can afford.

Basically, this fat-busting technique goes something like this: Instead of putting away an entire box of Godiva truffles (fancy ribbon included), chew on one chocolate and slowly savor the thing.

It's impossible for taste buds to respond when foodstuffs are flying by, down the hatch to Big Thigh City.

Another way to tame the flab factor is to try some really palatable lowfat recipes.

There are such things? Yes, indeed!

Longtime keepers of Utah's cultural comfort food - The Lion House cooks - have reworked and tailored the hearty, rich recipes into leaner versions of well-known favorites presented in the new "Lion House Lite Recipes" cookbook.

Simply by making a few changes in the ingredients and preparation techniques, their versions of "light" are quite all right . . . maintaining the flavor and appeal of their rich relatives.

With the smashing success of "Lion House Recipes" in 1980, it was natural for the Lion to roar once more . . . this time in a lighter voice.

Don't expect the identical flaky crusts or rich cream sauces so prominent in the original "Lion House Recipes." Light is light . . . period. Something's got to give. . . but the familiar flavors are still there . . . alive and swell. Just not so caloric.

We tested all the following recipes and consider them tasty versions of recipes much higher in fat.

Melba Davis, who compiled "Lion House Lite Recipes," has revamped calorie-laden dishes by using low-fat products, lean meats, nonstick vegetable cooking spray, and egg whites instead of yolks.

"I knew what people were ordering when they'd go through the cashier's line at the Lion House," said Davis, a longtime Lion House staffer.

A natural for knowing which recipes were clientele favorites, Davis became the decisionmaker as to what recipes would make it to the cookbook.

And she's kept intact the "down home" feel of the Lion House. Fat-gram counters can feast on this collection of trimmed-down dishes for their mealtime respite.

After a few slices of "Lion House Lite Recipes," the slimmed version of the original pie, we think you'll find that light can be rather illuminating.

The introduction of the book notes "there are many versions of `light,' `reduced calorie,' `low-fat,' and `nonfat' products available in today's market."

The Food and Drug Administration guidelines dictate the following:

- "Light" products contain 1/3 fewer calories or 1/2 the fat of the regular version.

- "Low-fat" product contain 3 grams or less total fat in one serving.

- "Fat-free" or "Non-fat" products contain no more than trace amounts of fat in a serving.

The importance of careful product selection and label reading is this obviously key in "light" cooking.

Eating light isn't difficult with the plethora of "lightened" products leaping out at us from supermarket shelves. Magazines like "Cooking Light" and "Eating Well" are booming - educating cooks about the benefits of cutting the fat from our food.

With advances in scientific research and nutritional information available, we can't ignore the health benefits of eating "lite."

A person doesn't have to be a registered dietitian to know that subtle changes in diet eventually add up to a big difference.




1 Lite Pie Crust baked pie shell

3 cups water

1 cup sugar

1 package (3 ounces) strawberry-flavored gelatin

3 tablespoons cornstarch

3 cups fresh strawberries, washed and hulled

Prepare 1 Lite Pie Crust baked pie shell according to directions. In a medium saucepan, bring water and sugar to boil. Mix gelatin with cornstarch; gradually add to boiling mixture. (Be careful - it will foam). Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until mixture is clear and thickened slightly. Let stand at room temperature until just warm, about 15 minutes. Pour over fresh strawberries and fold together gently. Mound in baked pie shell. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Top with low-fat whipped topping, if desired. Makes 8 servings.

- Each serving contains 251 calories, 8g fat, 208mg sodium, 0mg cholesterol, 28% calories from fat.

- From "Lion House Lite Recipes"


1/3 cup margarine, cut in small pieces

1 cup flour

1/3 cup ice water

1 egg white

1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl, cut margarine into flour with a fork until mixture resembles coarse meal. Combine water, egg white, vinegar, and salt in a small bowl; mix well. Add liquid mixture to flour mixture. Mix lightly with a fork until mixture forms a ball. Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour before rolling out dough. Makes one 9-inch pie shell, or pastry for a 1-crust pie. For baked pie shell: Roll pastry in a circle; fit into pie tin. Flute edges. Prick in several places with fork. Bake at 425 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Makes 8 servings.

- Each serving contains 119 calories, 8g fat, 175mg sodium, 0 cholesterol, 59% calories from fat.

- From "Lion House Lite Recipes"


3 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 package (1 scant tablespoon) quick-rise active dry yeast

1 cup water

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 egg

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 red onion, sliced thin

1 teaspoon rosemary or basil

Coat a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine 1 cup of the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Mix well. Heat water and vegetable oil in a small saucepan until very warm (120-130 degrees). Add warm liquid to the flour mixture, along with the egg. Beat at low speed until moistened, then beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Stir in by hand an additional 13/4 cups of the flour. Continue stirring until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead in the remaining 3/4 cup flour. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Invert bowl over the top of the dough and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Place dough on prepared baking sheet and roll or press into a 12-inch circle. Spray a length of plastic wrap with nonstick cooking spray and cover dough loosely; gently place a cloth dish towel over the wrap. Let dough rise in a warm place until double in bulk, about 30 minutes. Remove cover from dough. With your finger or the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes in dough 1 inch apart. Drizzle olive oil over top of dough. Separate onion slices into rings and arrange on loaf; sprinkle evenly with rosemary or basil. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove immediately from baking sheet and cool on wire rack. Makes 16 servings.

- Each serving contains 124 calories, 4g fat, 137mg sodium, 0mg cholesterol, 27% calories from fat.

- From "Lion House Lite Recipes"

- NOTE: Focaccia is extremely versatile and can be flavored with many different herbs, onions, and cheeses, so experiment with your favorites. To freeze, wrap cooled loaf in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store in freezer for up to 3 months.


1 1/2 pounds extra-lean ground beef

2 onions, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) chopped stewed tomatoes, undrained

1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste

4 cups water

4 medium carrots, sliced

2 large potatoes, diced

1 can (16 ounces) corn, undrained

1 can (15 ounces) red kidney beans, undrained

1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo or baby lima beans, undrained

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 zucchini, sliced

Cook ground beef, onions, celery, and green pepper in a large pot until meat is brown and crumbly and onion is translucent. Drain. Add tomatoes with liquid, tomato paste, water, carrots, potatoes, corn, kidney beans, lima or garbanzo beans, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 20 minutes. Add zucchini and cook another 10 or 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Makes 12 servings.

- Each serving contains 324 calories, 11g fat, 648mg sodium, 61mg cholesterol, 29% calories from fat.

- From "Lion House Lite Recipes"

- NOTE: Experiment with herbs such as basil, marjoram, thyme, and bay leaves for a more flavorful broth.


1 1/2 cups nonfat plain yogurt or nonfat sour cream

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast halves

2 cups dry bread crumbs

Mix together yogurt or sour cream, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, celery seed, paprika, garlic, salt, and pepper. Wash chicken breasts and pat dry with paper towel. Dip each piece in yogurt mixture to coat thoroughly. Place chicken pieces in large bowl and pour yogurt over; cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove chicken pieces from yogurt mixture and dredge in bread crumbs. Place in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until chicken is fork tender and juices run clear. Makes 8 servings.

- Each serving contains 357 calories, 10g fat, 351mg sodium, 97mg cholesterol, 27% calories from fat.

- From "Lion House Lite Recipes"


1 medium zucchini

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup finely chopped green onions

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 can (141/2 ounces) chopped, stewed tomatoes, drained

1/4 teaspoon basil

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/8 teaspoon pepper

3 egg whites

1 whole egg

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, and slice the halves in 1/4-inch slices. Preheat the oil in a nonstick, ovenproof frying pan. Stir in green onions, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, zucchini slices, tomatoes, basil, thyme, and pepper. Cover and cook about three minutes or until zucchini is tender. Whisk together the egg whites and the whole egg. Add them to the vegetable mixture in the frying pan and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the frying pan on the middle rack and bake frittata, uncovered, about 5 minutes, or until just set. Reset the oven to broil, and place frittata under the broiler 5 to 6 inches from the heat until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

- Each serving contains 254 calories, 14g fat, 613mg sodium, 38mg cholesterol, 49% calories from fat.

- From "Lion House Lite Recipes"