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Savor low-fat Frog’s Eye Salad

SHARE Savor low-fat Frog’s Eye Salad

Dear Jeanne: This recipe used to be on the box of De Cecco brand pasta. I would like to know the nutritional values of the original, and can you make a light version? Thanks. — Debi Beard, Schutz, Texas

Dear Debi: This recipe is one that is popular at family gatherings and potlucks, as you can see by the large number of servings. I actually made this for Thanksgiving so that I could try it out on a large group, and I got some varied reactions. The first suggestion was that the name had to be changed. In Italian, "Acini di Pepe" sounds exotic, but in English, "Frog's Eyes" just doesn't have the same appeal. The little balls of pasta reminded my tasters of tapioca, and they felt the flavor was similar to the popular fruit salad called ambrosia.

If you are familiar with this salad, you will recognize the ingredients. You can vary the amounts of pineapple and mandarin oranges. If you prefer to cut the recipe in half, it is not necessary to be precise in the amount of fruit — in fact, I think more fruit in proportion to the pasta would be an improvement. You can also use other kinds of canned fruit — just make sure they are packed in fruit juice, not syrup, and always use only 1 3/4 cups of juice for the sauce. That is the exact amount you will get when you drain the cans of pineapple as listed in the recipe.


FROG'S EYE SALAD

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 tablespoons salt

1 3/4 cup pineapple juice

2 eggs (beaten)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon oil

1 (16-ounce) package Acini di Pepe pasta

3 (11-ounce) cans mandarin oranges (drained)

2 (20-ounce) cans pineapple chunks (drained)

1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple (drained)

1 cup mini marshmallows (optional)

1 cup coconut (optional)

1 (9-ounce) container Cool Whip

1. Mix together the sugar, flour and salt. Stir in the pineapple juice and eggs. Cook over medium heat and stir until thickened. Add the lemon juice and cool to room temperature.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the oil and pasta, cooking about 7 minutes or until done. Rinse and drain the pasta, and allow to cool to room temperature. In a very large bowl, combine the oranges, pineapple, marshmallows and coconut. Add the cooled pasta and mix well. Combine the cooled sauce and the Cool Whip, and mix into the salad. Refrigerate for approximately 3 hours prior to serving. Serves 25.


FRUIT PASTA SALAD

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups pineapple juice (drained from the chunks and crushed pineapple)

1 egg, beaten

1 egg white, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 package (16 ounces) Acini di Pepe pasta

3 cans (11 ounces each) mandarin oranges (drained)

2 cans (20 ounces each) pineapple chunks, packed in juice (drained)

1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple, packed in juice (drained)

1 cup mini marshmallows

1/2 cup coconut

1 container (8 ounces) fat-free whipped topping, thawed

1. In a small, preferably heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, salt and pineapple juice. Using a wire whisk, stir until the flour is completely dissolved. Beat in the eggs until you cannot see any of the egg white separate from the juice mixture. Place over medium heat and stir constantly until the mixture thickens and boils. Add the lemon juice and set aside to cool.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta, cooking 7 to 9 minutes or until done. This is one time when you want your pasta well-cooked, not al dente. Drain and cool pasta to room temperature.

3. In a very large bowl, combine the oranges, pineapple, marshmallows and coconut. Add the cooled pasta and mix well. Combine the whipped topping and the cooled sauce, and mix into the salad. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving. Makes 25 servings. Makes about 20 cups of salad.

Each serving contains approximately (including the marshmallows and coconut): Original Recipe: 228 calories; 4 gm fat; 15 mg cholesterol; 396 mg sodium; 45 gm carbohydrates; 3 gm protein; 1 gm fiber. Revised Recipe: 171 calories; 1 gm fat; 7 mg cholesterol; 101 mg sodium; 37 gm carbohydrates; 3 gm protein; 1 gm fiber.


Jeanne Jones is a consultant on menu planning, recipes and new-product development for major hotels and spas. She is also the author of 32 cookbooks, most recently "Jeanne Jones' Homestyle Cooking Made Healthy" (Rondale Press, $27.95). Send your recipe for revision to: Cook It Light, (Deseret News, P.O. Box 1212, La Jolla, CA 92038. Please include a stamped (60 cents), self-addressed envelope. © King Features Syndicate Inc.